“There you are! The job will be paid from the first a great deal better than what you’ve got here. And the costuming end of it, if you succeed, would run to real money. Well, how about it?”
“But,” said Rose a little breathlessly—“but don’t I have to stay here with The Girl Up-stairs? I couldn’t just leave, could I?”
“Oh, I shan’t be ready for you just yet anyway,” he said. “I’ll write when I am and by that time you’ll be perfectly free to give them your two weeks’ notice. By the way, haven’t you some other address than care of the theater—a permanent address somewhere?”
“Care of Miss Portia Stanton,” she told him, and as he got out his card and wrote it down, she added the California address. It recalled to his mind that she had told him her name was Rose Stanton on the day he had given her a job, and the memory diverted him for a moment. Then he pulled himself back.
“They’ll be annoyed, of course—Goldsmith and Block. But, after all, you’ve given them more than their money’s worth already. Well—will you come if I write?”
“It seems to be too wonderful to be true,” she said. “Yes, I’ll come, of course.”
He sat there gazing at her in a sort of fascination. Because she was fairly lambent with the wonder of it. Her eyes were starry, her lips a little parted, and she was so still she seemed not even to be breathing. But the eyes weren’t looking at him. Another vision filled them. The vision—oh, he was sure of it now!—of that “only one,” whoever he was, that mattered.
He thrust back his chair with an abruptness that startled her out of her reverie, and the action, rough as it was, wasn’t violent enough to satisfy the sudden exasperation that seized him. If he could have smashed the caraffe or something ...
“I won’t keep you any longer,” he said. “I’ll have them get a taxi and send you home.”
She said she didn’t want a taxi. If he’d just walk over with her to a Clark Street car ... And she thanked him for everything, including the supper. But all the time he could see her trying, with a perplexity almost pathetic, to discover what she had done to change his manner again like that.
He was thoroughly contrite about it, and he did his best to recover an appearance of friendly good will. He didn’t demur to her wish to be put on a car, and at the crossing where they waited for it, after an almost silent walk, he did manage to shake hands and wish her luck and tell her she’d hear from him soon, in a way that he felt reassured her.