Before she left the Southerner— or the Westerner, for sometimes she classified him as one, sometimes as the other— she asked him one hesitant question.
“Were you thinking of going out again tonight?”
“I did think of taking a turn out to see if I could find Fraser. Anything I can do for you?”
“Yes. Please don’t go. I don’t want to have to worry about you. I have had enough trouble for the present.”
“Would you worry about me?” he asked quietly, his eyes steadily on her.
“I lie awake about the most unaccountable things sometimes.”
He smiled in his slow Southern fashion. “Very well. I’ll stay indoors. I reckon Steve ain’t lost, anyhow. You’re too tired to have to lie awake about me to-night. There’s going to be lots of other nights for you to think of me.”
She glanced at him with a quick curiosity. “Well, of all the conceit I ever heard!”
“I’m the limit, ain’t I?” he grinned as he took himself off.
Down the Jackrabbit shaft.
Next morning Larry got up so late that he had to Order a special breakfast for himself, the dining-room being closed. He found one guest there, however, just beginning her oatmeal, and he invited himself to eat at her table.
“Good mawnin’, Miss Kinney. You don’t look like you had been lying awake worrying about me,” he began by way of opening the conversation.
Nor did she. Youth recuperates quickly, and after a night’s sound sleep she was glowing with health and sweet vitality. He could see a flush beat into the fresh softness of her flesh, but she lifted her dark lashes promptly to meet him, and came to the sex duel gaily.
“I suppose you think I had to take a sleeping-powder to keep me from it?” she flashed back.
“Oh, well, a person can dream,” he suggested.
“How did you know? But you are right. I did dream of you.”
To the waiter he gave his order before answering her. “Some oatmeal and bacon and eggs. Yes, coffee. And some hot cakes, Charlie. Did you honest dream about me?” This last not to the Chinese waiter who had padded soft-footed to the kitchen.
She smiled shyly at him with sweet innocence, and he drew his chair a trifle closer
“I don’t like to.”
“But you must. Go on.”
“Well,” very reluctantly. “I dreamed I was visiting the penitentiary and you were there in stripes. You were in for stealing a sheep, I think. Yes, that was it, for stealing a sheep.”
“Couldn’t you make it something more classy if you’re bound to have me in?” he begged, enjoying immensely the rise she was taking out of him.
“I have to tell it the way it was,” she insisted, her eyes bubbling with fun. “And it seems you were the prison cook. First thing I knew you were standing in front of a wall and two hundred of the prisoners were shooting at you. They were using your biscuits as bullets.”