clouds he learned that she had gone to Wellesley and was working as a secretary in one of the insurance companies.

A second glance at the smart sharkskin suit and its accessories told him she must be a first-class secretary and it gave him an odd sense of satisfaction to note that she wore no ring. He noted, too, that in certain lights there was a coppery sheen to her hair, that in profile her lashes would need no mascara, and that her red mouth was softly humorous. Because she was so easy to talk to he found himself telling her he had gone to Cornell and Harvard Business School and that except for two years in Korea he had always worked in the family business, during the summers as a youngster and then, after graduation, moving in to learn the business. He did not add that he was one of the three vice presidents, at twenty-nine, nor that, now that his father was dead, he would some day be president, provided George Tyler of the Tyler-Texas Corporation failed in his present concerted effort to get control of the company.

This was something he had been thinking about most of his waking hours during the past days, and now he deliberately put the matter from his mind. For the moment it was enough that he had a pretty companion, and he enjoyed their effortless conversation until he noticed the sun was beginning to settle in the west. This told him it was nearly time for a drink.

^What would you like?' he asked.

^ 'Oh, dear, I don't know.' She glanced at her wristwatch. 'Could I have a raincheck? Could I wait until we get to Miami? As a matter of fact I was going to suggest it then anyway. . . . But you go ahead if you like.'

He grinned at her and said he could wait He said there was a^ place in the terminal and maybe that was a good idea, 'I hadn't realized we were nearly there,' he said, and

then, as if to corroborate the statement, one of the stewardesses claimed their attention over the loudspeaker.

They would be landing in twenty minutes, she said, and she wished to remind them to take all personal belongings with them when they left the aircraft.

'Passengers continuing on to Cura§ao and Caracas will have a wait of approximately an hour/* she added. 'The flight will be announced over the loudspeaker system but please stay within the terminal building so the announcement can be heard. Thank you.'

The International Airport was a busy place at that hour, A plane was loading as Jeff accompanied the girl toward the incoming gate, another was taxiing for take-off. Two were gliding in for landings, the more distant one making its final turn toward the assigned runway. A dozen more silent aircraft stood in a row, their noses slanting obliquely toward the terminal building; refueling crews were busy, and baggage trucks crisscrossed on the concrete behind their midget tractors.

The humid breeze made his winter suit feel heavy, and once inside the building Jeff headed toward the bar and restaurant near the street side. About halfway there he felt the girl's hand on his arm and when he turned she gestured at the two blue-canvas flight bags he was carrying,

'If you'll give me mine/* she said, 'and five minutes while I fix my face, 1*11 meet you by the entrance/*

Jeff said all right and released her bag. When she started off he hesitated a moment and then headed for the men's room. Here he hung up his trench coat, slipped out of his jacket, and rolled up his sleeves. He washed his hands and face, rubbed wet hands over his dark hair, which was cut rather short and did not need much combing. As he stood drying his hands he was a moderately tall man with a lanky look, and his flat-muscled body moved with an easy co-ordination which might have come from hours of drudg-

ery pulling the number-seven oar on a junior-varsity shell during his college days. His brows were straight above dark-brown eyes which somehow reflected a sense o? humor, as did the full easy mouth. His face was too bony to be called handsome, but he had more than average good looks, and now, thinking of Karen Holmes and the journey yet to come, a smile worked at the comers of his mouth and Ids eyes had the look of a man well pleased with himself.

When he realized he was daydreaming, he threw the towel into the wire basket, donned his jacket, and went back into the waiting-room. A glance at the glass doors of the restaurant told him he was early, and as he started toward them his eyes searched the room to his right. For a moment he thought he saw the dark-red hat flanked by two men who were earnestly talking to its owner. Then a chattering family group moved in front of him, blocking his view. He was standing beside the door when he saw her coming, moving quickly on slender, well-shaped legs.

Not really looking at him, she muttered something about hoping she had not kept him waiting, and then they were inside, finding a small table opposite the bar.

'Scotch, I think/* she said when he had asked what she would like. 'I might even have a double if I can have it in a large glass. . . , Do you think theyll feed us on the plane?'

Jeff realized that the light had begun to fade and saw that it was nearly seven o'clock. He said: 'They'll have to teed us,' and gave the waitress the order, wondering now if there had been some change in the girl's manner or whether it was Us imagination. She had not yet looked Wm directly in the eyes and her hands were never still as they opened and closed her bag, adjusted the paper doily me waitress had left, and moved the ashtray to one side. Twice she touched the tumed-up ends of her hair, and now her glance moved restlessly about the room, as if some


inner tension was working on her that had been totaly absent on the plane. The arrival of the drinks claimed his attention and he glanced at the check and put a bill on it. Then he saw that she was fumbling in her bag again and asked if she wanted a cigarette.

'I have some, thanks,' she said, and now she brought forth some silver. 'But I wonder if you would get me a couple of packs from the machine. I understand they're expensive in Caracas.*

'Sure,' Jeff said. 'Let me get them'

'No, really,' she said and pressed the coins into his hand. 'Chesterfield regulars, please.'

He pushed back his chair and went to the vending machine near the door, stopping to read the card and see how much was needed. He had enough change for four packs and he gave three of them to her when he sat down again.

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