“You expected me to come to grief!” she said.
“Well, I knew that Model.”
“And you’ve been——”
“Just practising with my new machine. I thought I might as well keep around in your neighbourhood as anywhere.”
“I’ve seen your car. But you were so goggled——”
“I hated to have you misunderstand me again, till I could explain. I thought maybe some day you’d be a little glad to see me—not for myself, but for—”
“Myself!” Angela finished. “Yes, I’m selfish enough to be glad now—very glad. You’re a friend in need.”
“Then I’m happy. That’s all I ask to be—just a friend in need. Will you let me drive you to Riverside?”
“I’d let you drive me—anywhere, to lunch. But you mustn’t ask just now if I’ve forgiven you. It would be taking an unfair advantage of a shipwrecked mariner.”
“I shouldn’t think of doing such a low-down thing,” protested the forest creature.
THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY OF MAKE-BELIEVE
Nick refrained from mentioning this to Mrs. May, but when he had last seen the Mission Inn at Riverside he had thought that he would like to come there, next time, on his wedding trip. There had been no bride in view then, or since; but now he remembered that wish. It was a good omen that fate should have made the one woman of all the world his companion to-day.
He had not expected such a wonderful stroke of luck. The little blue auto might actually have gone a whole day without mishap, or might not have collapsed until after Mrs. May had lunched alone at the Glenwood. But here they were, he and she, in his yellow car, sailing into Riverside together; he driving, Angela by his side, talking as kindly as if she had forgiven him his sins without being asked. If he had not thought it “wasn’t playing fair,” he would have “made believe” like a small boy building air-castles, pretending that it really was a wedding trip, and that he and his Angel were about to have their first luncheon together.
“But she’d hate me even to make believe,” he said to himself. “No! It wouldn’t be a fair dream to have, behind her back.”
Yet it was difficult not to dream. Angela was so delighted with the garden city watched by desert hills; and she said so innocently, “What sweet houses for brides and grooms! Oh, no one except people in love ought to live here!” that Nick had to bang the door of his dream-house with violence. And for the first time since he had fallen in love with Angela, he began to say, “Why not—why shouldn’t I try to make her care? There are folks who think you need only to want a thing enough to get it.”