Her voice bade him enter immediately, and he went in.
She was lying on her bed, but the blind was up and the windows wide. She held out her arms to him.
“Ever yours to command!” said Nick. He went to her, stooping while the arms wound round his neck.
She held him tightly. “Nick,” she whispered, “is Noel still here?”
“No, darling. Do you want him?”
She drew a sharp breath. “I—I’m afraid I—dodged him a little while ago. I simply couldn’t meet him just then. Has he been looking for me? Did he wonder where I was?”
“Don’t think so,” said Nick. “He was playing with the kids. He is spending a couple of nights with the Musgraves, and he brought Peggy over.”
“And he has gone again?” Faint wonder sounded in her voice.
“Only temporarily. He wanted to send a message to someone from the post-office; but he is coming back—presumably—for Peggy.”
“I see.” She was silent for a few moments, and Nick sat down on the edge of the bed. “Nick,” she said at length, speaking with obvious effort, “will he—will he be very hurt, do you think, if—if I don’t see him to-day?”
“Shouldn’t say so, darling,” said Nick.
She slipped her hand into his. “I’ve got to do a lot of thinking, Nick,” she said rather piteously.
“Can I help?” said Nick.
She shook her head with a quivering smile. “No, dear. It’s a—it’s a one-man job. But, if you don’t mind, tell Noel I’m rather tired, but I’ll come over to Weir in the morning. I’m going to tell him everything,” she ended, squeezing his hand very tightly.
“Quite right, dear,” said Nick.
“Yes, but—before I tell him—I want to—to write to Max.” Olga’s voice was very low. “I must put things right with him first. I must ask him to forgive me.”
“Forgive you, sweetheart!”
“Yes, for—for being very unkind to him.” Olga’s lips quivered again, and suddenly her eyes were full of tears. “I feel as if—as if I’ve been running into things in the dark, and doing a lot of harm,” she said. “Of course everything is quite over—quite over—between us. He will understand that. But I want—I want to be friends with him—if—he—will let me. Nick dear, that’s all. Hadn’t you better go and have your tea?”
“And leave you to weep?” said Nick, with his face screwed up. “No, I don’t think so.”
“I’m not going to,” she assured him. “I’m going to be—awfully sensible. Really I am. Kiss me, Nick darling, and go!”
He bent over her. “You mustn’t cry,” he urged pathetically.
She clasped him close. “No, I won’t! I won’t! Nick—dearest, you’re the very sweetest man in the world. I always have thought so, and I always shall. There!”
“Ah, well, it’s a comparatively harmless illusion,” said Nick, with his quizzical grimace. “I’ll endeavour to live up to it. Sure you want me to go?”