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.Was he lonely, overworked, or.“I haven’t been here for you, Aimée.”She wondered where that came from.“That’s trite, Yves.”He took a deep breath.“You know, I’ve never said this to anyone.I want to spend my life with you.”Her breath caught in her throat.He’d changed, something felt different.His dark eyes searched hers, then he took her hand.She felt something smooth and cool.In her palm lay a bright embroidered patch, a coin amulet on a frayed woven string.Tribal by the look of it.Unique.“An Anatolian Sufi gave me this amulet at a Kurdish Dervish ceremony.”In the slant of moonlight, she stared at the gleaming worn Ottoman coin.“A talisman for vision, to help you to see your way.It prevents you from being blinded by obstacles and false paths.Betrothed girls wear this before the wedding ceremony.And a ring like this.”He held out a beaten copper Turkish puzzle ring.“Will you accept this?”Dumbfounded, she stared at him.“Close your mouth, Aimée,” he said.“You can nod yes or no.”She stared at him.“You’re serious?”“That’s not an answer,” he said.His eyes crinkled in sadness.“Or maybe it is.”“For real, Yves?”He nodded.Something shifted inside her.A warm feeling welled up.happiness, security, or the knowledge that he was the one.the words didn’t matter.Now it was all so simple.Her doubts were gone in a flutter of air.She wanted him.Had wanted him for a long time.“And we can make some babies,” he said.He reached for her cheek and her hands caught his.“That takes work.”“So you’ll have me?” A slow smile spread on his lips as she guided the ring onto her ring finger.She edged her leg around his waist, gripped his neck, eased him flat on the floor, straddling his hips.“‘Have you,’ Yves? Yes, yes, yes.”He pulled her down on top of him, and smothered her words with kisses.AIMÉE BLINKED AT the pink-apricot rays filtering through the half circle of the loft window.The clock read 10 A.M.Late! She reached out and felt an empty space beside her.“Yves?”No answer.No welcoming aroma of coffee.She stood and pulled a sheet around her.She looked in the bathroom and spotless kitchen.No note.No Yves.She didn’t see his briefcase, and wondered for a moment if she’d dreamed last night.But his musky scent still clung to her.He’d asked her to marry him.The beaten copper ring encircled her finger.Why shouldn’t she trust him? She knew he was undercover.But old doubts invaded her.He’d left without even waking her to say good-bye.She was ready to kick herself for her stupidity.Again.She slipped into her clothes and shouldered her laptop case.Blinking back angry tears, she walked through the narrow courtyard lined with bamboo trees in planters of the former printing works.Wind chimes tinkled and sun glinted on the tall, wood-framed loft windows.At the door, she knotted her scarf around her shoulders.Outside, by the canal, whose waters shimmered in the sun, she caught the stares of truck drivers driving past.Luck was on her side; she caught a taxi.OUTSIDE HER OFFICE she nodded to Maurice, the one-armed Algerian-veteran news vendor whose kiosk was near the café.With an adroit maneuver of his stump, Maurice stacked yesterday’s Le Monde, the same edition she’d noticed lying on Yves’s briefcase last night.“Business good, Maurice?” she asked.“These headlines increase sales,” he said.“Sad to say.”The article in the paper on the Metro bombing cited a police source indicating that new leads to suspects ranged from Bosnian Serbs angry at the French accords, members of Hamas angry at Arafat’s projected visit, the iKK Kurdish party that had demonstrated last week at the Turkish Embassy and to militant GIA Algerians suspected of murdering a moderate imam two weeks earlier.In short, the police had nothing to go on, and so had fallen back on the usual suspects.“The Metro’s running on a limited schedule,” he said.“You know how that goes [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]