By Belva Plain
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Too straight. " "No, don't. " And he stroked her head. The gesture was proprietary, as if he had a right to prescribe, as when a husband asks a wife to please him. The intimacy touched her heart as when he would caution her against salting her food or driving too close to the car ahead. Dad had been so right when he had required her to bring Gerald here every week. Gradually, almost uneasily at first, he had begun to fit into the life of the house. The two men were most definitely compatible.
I wanted the name of a spring flower. For an otherwise intelligent woman, Francine could say absurd things. In some ways, she really was a trifle ridiculous. And such a judgment about one's own mother was, at the very least, discomforting, like having a sharp pebble in one's shoe. But when absurdity turned into cruelty like last night's, it was no pebble. She started the car and drove till she reached the fork in the road, thert stopped. Where to go? It was Saturday, and Gerald was taking today and tomorrow to study for a test on Monday.
Gerald bowed. "I bow to a master," he said gallantly. "Nonsense! We're not halfway to the end, and I'm fighting hard. I only got up because Francine's standing in the doorway. " Hyacinth had made most of the dinner. Francine had done the marketing, set the table, and peeled the vegetables; it was a fair division of labor today, since the one loved to cook and the other did not. The season's first tulips flopped gracefully, as tulips do, in a blue glass bowl. The fragrance of herbs rose from a beef ragout that was surrounded by browned potatoes and carrots.
After the Fire by Belva Plain