By Belva Plain

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Me? " "All true. " Dad's smile was a bit rueful. "When you know you're right, you have to be stubborn. I'm defending Gerald. " "Well. Just don't be too much in love too soon, if you can help it. " Bury your differences, smooth them, and eventually they will disappear. Platitudes. A nice way of saying nothing. "I hope you won't let your indignation run away with you, Hy. It would only lead to argument and would solve nothing. " "I know, I know. Granny said the same thing. I'm not foolish. I don't want a fight.

Oh, it is. I love it, but I have a lot to learn yet. " "Sounds like surgery. " It's a funny thing about conversations. If you don't return the ball but let it drop, people think you're unfriendly. So you must quickly think of something to say. Though why should she care if this stranger thought she was unfriendly? Nevertheless, she continued. " "It is, and I'm grateful to it. " Another silence fell. After a minute or two, he broke it again. " Yes, surely it had been a reward, her little red car, her shiny toy, a reward like the summer art course in Italy.

Francine was losing her struggle against impatience. " Now anger rushed back. " Dad cried, putting the cup down so forcefully that coffee slopped onto the table. "I'm sorry you did," Francine said. "I'm truly sorry. But I can't help what I feel. I'm not telling you never to see Gerald. I'm only afraid you will get too deeply involved. " There went the worry lines on her forehead again. They were absurd, theatrical and absurd. "I already am deeply involved," Hy said. And now their eyes joined in a long significant look.

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After the Fire by Belva Plain


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