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He propped himself on one elbow and looked at her. Her smile was impish
as she unfastened the buttons of the white blouse and pulled it from the
waistband of the navy blue skirt. Her fingers unhooked the snaps of the
bra and dropped it to the floor beside the blouse. The firelight was
golden against the swelling lift of her breasts and the flat expanse of
her stomach. Nick felt the thundering beginning again to slam through
his veins with the holocaust of a napalm bomb exploding against the
ground as she unzipped the skirt and dropped it into a puddle on the
thick rug. He watched in pounding fascination as she stepped daintily
from the whorl of the skirt, clad only in the pinkish transparency of
her panties. Then they too were a thing of the past, and Beth was
smiling down at him, passion spearing from her eyes.
"Will I still do?" She asked.
"Do what?" He croaked.
"You know?" She laughed at him, kneeling on the rug. "Will I still do as
He laid down flat and chuckled. "A model, sweetheart, is a small
imitation of the real thing. You don't look imitation to me." He reached
up and grabbed her arm to pull her down with him onto the rug, but she
"Oh, no, you don't. You have to undress too."
He grinned at her and peeled off his clothes quickly. She came into his
arms then and they made love, letting the glowing warmth of the fire
caress them hotly. His hands smoothed her breasts while his mouth worked
at the fire that was coming to life throughout her body.
"Just like old times?" He asked, softly.
"Better, darling ... much better."
Sometime near midnight, Beth took the car and went home. Nick poured a
cup of the coffee she had made for him and went back into the study to
look at the paintings a second time. It was good, professional work, and
he wondered if he could do the same stuff again. Hell, he decided, it'll
be a long time until I get back at an easel. He finished the coffee and
went up to bed.
It took awhile to get to sleep. Thoughts of the wrecked plane, Beth, the
strange men and Nolan Brice kept running around in his head without
finding answers to the enigmas they presented to him. Finally he slept.
* * * * *
He was looking at himself, in the dream, but it was not in a mirror. He
was standing inside a polished room and the other Nick Danson lay on a
bed wrapped in sleep. Nick blinked at the still duplicate of himself on
the bed and turned away to look at the room he was in. It wasn't large.
It appeared to be some kind of bedroom, and it was well lighted although
there were no lights to be seen; the walls seemed to glow, and
everything was of a bright metal. The mirror caught his eye and he saw
himself in the same blue and yellow uniform that he'd worn before. The
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