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By Belva Plain

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By Belva Plain

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The screen door slammed below. Night came falling out of the sky. Still Hyacinth sat, trembling in the dimness. She had been wounded, degraded, and insulted. What cruel things to have said about Gerald! He was so gentle, so thoughtful-so decent'. Decent, you would say if you had to sum him up in a word. He worked so hard, he had been given so little. Yet he never complained. He was happy with even the smallest pleasure that came his way-a book on his birthday or an occasional dinner at this house.

Gerald hesitated. " "You can leave here by noon tomorrow," Jim insisted. "The roads will have started to melt by then. " "You're very kind, but really, I've driven on ice before-was Hyacinth stood there, alone under the light in the center of the hall, waiting. Why are you begging him to stay? He doesn't want to. Can't you see that? But Dad had decided. " They went upstairs. " "You're angry at me," Gerald said in some surprise. "Yes. Or no, not angry, but hurt. " "I was going to do it today, but I lost my nerve.

And even Francine, although far from enthusiastic, had a very different way with Gerald, seeming to accept him without critical gesture or word. No doubt she was sincerely examining the situation. "What a wonderful room," Gerald said now. "The whole house is what you think of when you use the word home. " "Now it is. It surely wasn't when I had three brothers here. It was mighty noisy. " "I know. My mother and I both try, but we're not good enough. " "Yes, why don't you? He says you're a great match.

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After the Fire by Belva Plain

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