Bromfield used bad language.
IN CENTRAL PARK
Johnnie burst into the kitchen beaming. “We’re gonna p’int for the hills, Kitty. Clay he’s had a letter callin’ him home.”
“When are you going?”
“Thursday. Ain’t that great?”
She nodded, absently. Her mind was on another tack already. “Johnnie, I’m going to ask Miss Whitford here for dinner to-night.”
“Say, you ce’tainly get the best notions, honeybug,” he shouted.
“Do you think she’ll come?”
“Sure she’ll come.”
“I’ll fix up the bestest dinner ever was, and maybe—”
Her conclusion wandered off into the realm of unvoiced hopes, but her husband knew what it was as well as it she had phrased it.
When Clay came home that evening he stopped abruptly at the door. The lady of his dreams was setting the table in the dining-room and chatting gayly with an invisible Kitty in the kitchen. Johnnie was hovering about her explaining some snapshots of Clay he had gathered.
“Tha’s the ol’ horn-toad winnin’ the ropin’ championship at Tucson. He sure stepped some that day,” the Runt boasted.
The delicate fragrance of the girl’s personality went to Clay’s head like wine as he stepped forward and shook hands. To see her engaged in this intimate household task at his own table quickened his pulse and sent a glow through him.
“You didn’t know you had invited me to dinner, did you?” she said, little flags a-flutter in her cheeks.
They had a gay dinner, and afterward a pleasant hour before Clay took her home.
Neither of them was in a hurry. They walked through Central Park in the kindly darkness, each acutely sensitive to the other’s presence.
Her gayety and piquancy had given place to a gentle shyness. Clay let the burden of conversation fall upon her. He knew that he had come to his hour of hours and his soul was wrapped in gravity.
She had never before known a man like him, a personality so pungent, so dynamic. He was master of himself. He ran a clean race. None of his energy was wasted in futile dissipation. One could not escape from his strength, and she had already discovered that she did not want to escape it. If she gave herself to him, it might be for her happiness or it might not. She must take her chance of that. But it had come to her that a woman’s joy is to follow her heart—and her heart answered “Here” when he called.
She too sensed what was coming, and the sex instinct in her was on tiptoe in flight. She was throbbing with excitement. Her whole being longed to hear what he had to tell her. Yet she dodged for a way of escape. Silences were too significant, too full-pulsed. She made herself talk. It did not much matter about what.
“Why didn’t you tell us that it was Mr. Bromfield who struck down that man Collins? Why did you let us think you did it?” she queried.