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Exerpt from

From chapter three:

Tom's room smelled of the tuna sandwich he'd had for lunch. He put his arms around Raina and murmured, "Don't cry," and the shape of her slim back, the smell of her hair made him grit his teeth.

She pulled away from him to take off her hat and strip off her gloves. “Three years..." she said, and wiped her cheeks with both hands. "I'd just checked in at the hotel and was taking a walk until I could phone you."
When Tom turned on a bedside lamp, Raina looked at the room's two chairs, a table, a narrow bed, a kitchenette. "You live here?"

How beautiful Raina was; she lifted her heavy hair from her shoulders with both hands, a movement so familiar Tom had to look away. "You were marrying Quentin this week," he said. “Aunt Emily told me."

"Do you know I’m still living in our little room, our one little room?“ Raina said, taking his hand in hers, kissing the palm.

"What's going on?" Tom pulled his hand away. "You phoned and said you were coming--"

"One last week. I’m going to hide here with you one last week, before you marry your rich girl." Raina turned away, snatched a stuffed toy soldier from the bedside table and said in a choked voice, "The General! You kept him."

The British guardsman's eyes were blank; there were four gold star seals pinned to his shoulder.

"And I kept your goodbye note that came with him," Tom said.

Raina put the toy back under the lamp, and the General stood at attention as she unbuttoned her dress and let it fall. "When you bought him for me, you said we'd have a London honeymoon...see the Changing of the Guard..." her voice was soft. "And then we made love for the very first time..."


"You're so lucky. You're marrying money."

"So were you." Tom stood by the door; he hadn’t taken off his coat. "Quentin's house in town, and his beach house, and his fancy cars and world trips and clothes he bought you--"

"Emily wrote about your big new house." Raina unhooked her bra and threw it with her shoes into a corner.

"You didn't want anybody poor, like me," Tom said.

Raina gave him a look under the fall of her shining hair. "Quentin was going to marry me in front of half the city—the San Francisco Event of the Year."

“So?" Tom said in a hard voice.

"So I caught him in bed with Tony Tucker. It’d been perfectly obvious to everybody but me for a long time. I could tell because the two of them laughed at me. I was so dumb. I brought everything Quentin had given me and threw it at him, except for what I’ll wear to your wedding.” Tom stepped closer, but Raina lifted her head, swiped at her wet eyes, pushed her garters and hose down and off, and was beautiful and naked in the lamplight. "I have such bad luck." She glared at Tom. "And I'm in for more, obviously--you haven't even taken off your coat." Tom met her angry eyes with his cold gray ones.

Raina said, "You'll have to put on a little act when I pretend I've just arrived in town next Thursday to stay with your Aunt Emily--I'll be the daughter of Emily's best friend." She snatched the toy soldier and hugged him to her bare breasts. “And we'll be acquaintances. That's all.”

"You can't stay here." Now the room was fragrant with the perfume Tom remembered.

"I want to be waiting for you every night," Raina said. Her dark brown eyes were almost black, veiled by her long lashes. "You can go to your toast-the-happy-bride-
and-groom parties--I don't care. You'll know I'm here, waiting."

"So you and I are supposed to be almost strangers?" Tom said. "Why not tell Anne we were lovers? She'd expect I might have had some experience—I’m twenty-five--"

"No!” Raina jumped up to grab Tom by the shoulders. "You're supposed to be a gentleman--you can't kiss and tell." Her voice trembled. "You 1eft me--"

"You wanted money, lots of it, right away. We could have married--"

"I know!" Raina cried. "And I really wanted you! I knew long ago I couldn't stand Quentin, but I was too proud--"

"Put on your clothes." Tom picked up Raina's dress. "I'11 take you to the hotel."

"Tom!” Raina ran to turn off the 1ight. Tom felt her against him and put his arms around her under her warm, silky, slippery fall of hair.

"I hurt so much," Raina whispered. "I don't love anyone but you. There's still time--let's run away. I was so stupid…”

Tom let her go to turn on the light again above the small toy soldier. “Get dressed. I’ll take you to the hotel."

Raina covered her face with her hands. “It’s all money. That’s all it ever is.”

“I love Anne,” Tom said.

“And she’s got the money!” Raina cried.