fen days later Leda returned
from her business trip. Such a
successful trip it had been. She
told Sherry about it in consider
able detail before she had been
home an hour. And then she asked.
..?ncj what’s been going on here
dear, while 1 was away?’
It was the moment, 'he question
that Sherry had been dreading
Mot too happily, since suide fuge
d'dn’t come naturally to hit
Sherry related to her rr-oHier tne
version of events that Val's ex
pressed wish had impjsad upon
"Food poisoning?” Ledi repeat
er) frowning when she had fin
ished. "But that’s dreadfui. Was
Vgl very ill?”
Sherry nodded. “Yes, she was.
He were awfully worried, Wade
‘ But she’s all right now?”
“Yes. They left Tuesday lor
California. Wade thought a cruise
would be good for her. i.'liey re
soiling for Honolulu tomorrow.
Leda said, “Well, 1 suppose
Wade knows what he’s doing But
it seems so soon. Are you sure
she was well enough?”
“The doctor said so. He thougnt
a change would be good for her.
Maybe, Sherry thought, lying on
some sun-washed beach with
Wade, sailing through tropical
waters Va] would be able to work
things out. Maybe she and WaGe
tould put the pieces of their mai
riage back together and make
them stick. Val was in a mood to
try, Sherry knew. And Wade had
never stopped loving her. At least,
new scenes, new faces, should
make the unhappy memory of the
days just past grow blurred in
Val’s mind. And maybe Kevin
Blake’s image, the still more re
mote memory of Rick Col
in , would fade as well. . .
She became aware that
her mother had asked a question,
something to do with Steve. Sher
ry regarded her inquiringly.
“I asked whether you’d been out
to see Steve.”
Sherry shook her head. "No.
They’re quite busy at the farm in
the spring. And—I've been rather
Leda smiled approvingly. "I
think you’re very wise, dear. Truly
I do. There are so many more
amusing things to do than spend
your time out there.”
She was thinking And it’s much
better if you forget about Lex
Sherry knew her mother was
thinking that. Leda might even be
right. The sensible thing probably
would be to put Lex out of her
life once and for all. Her mind ad
mitted that. But in her heart she
knew she never could forget him.
It was during Leda's trip east
that Roger Bedloe’s wife, Marga
ret, slipped so easily out ol her
long illness into death that scarce
ly a ripple was left behind. Leda
learned of her passing when she
came back to the office. Sh« ex
pressed her condolences to Roger
as she would have expressed them
to any other business associate un
der similar circumstances. Leda
had been trying, ever since that
night when Roger had hinted at
his hopes for the future, to keep
their friendship on an impersonal
plane. But the habit of years is
not easily altered. And Leda
wasn’t sure that Roger had even
bean aware of her tactful attempts
to discourage him. Naturally, she
hoped to avoid an open break, or
even any unpleasantness. After all.
aside from the fact that she liked
and respected him, he was a vice
president of Craven’s.
Leda realized that there was
considerable conjecture along the
store grapevine, linking her name
and Roger’s. But she had been ig
noring that sort of thing for
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years. It was the time when she
must make her position unequiv
ocally clear to Roger himself that
she dreaded. And that time came
on the occasion of their first en
gagement following Margaret Bed
loe’s death. Several weeks had
elapsed with no contacts between
them save those necessitated by
their business association at the
-tore. And Leda appreciated Rog
er s discretion his considera
fior for her. So on the warm even
ing in May when he stopped by
her office and suggested dinner,
Leds accepted, though not without
They dined leisurely ana with
mutual enjoyment at an exclusive
French restaurant which had long
been a favorite of theirs. The food
was delicious and the little place
had a great deal oi authentic at
mosphere and charm. By the time
they had reached the demi-tasse.
Roger was in an expansive mood.
He told Leda, ‘‘There’s a restau
rant very similar to this in Paris. ‘
He broke off, remembering, ‘Ot
there was. Sometime later on,
when they’ve had time to smooth
over the scars a bit, we must go
to Paris. There are so many things
I’d like to show you.”
There it was, more open now
hir assumption of a future to be
shared by them. Leda couldn't let
him go on, taking for granted that
she would marry him, when she
hadn’t the slightest intention of
doing so. She said, frowning a lit
tle, “Roger, 1 think it’s time we
had a talk. There are things that
we must settle.’’
He nodded, his glance warm on
her face. "I’ve felt the same way,
Leda. Only you’ve given me no in
dication you were ready for such
a talk. And I didn’t want you to
feel I was speaking too soon for
He was smiling, confident. Leda
curbed a feeling of impatience.
She said. “This is scarcely the
place for a private conversation.
When we get home. . .’’
At her apartment they sat as
they had sat so many times be
fore, in deep chairs opposite each
other. Helga brought in brandy on
a silver tray and went out again,
quietly unobtrustive. Leda used to
enjoy sitting thus with Roger, easy
t>nd relaxed in their pleasant un
demanding friendship. But that
had been before she realized that
Roger considered their friendship
merely a stepping stone toward a
more intimate relationship. How
much more strongly he must feel
that now, with his wife deao.
And yet Leda didn’t know how
to begin. The right words, that
would set Roger straight without
offending him, were so hard to
find. For Roger was easily of
fended, as Leda was well aware.
She had known him to develop an"
implacable grudge against some
one, for reasons that seemed to
hei almost trivial.
And so she sat there, rather
quiet & maturely beautiful woman
in a soft blue dress, with a brandy
goblet in her fingers and a slight
frown between her brows. And
Roger Bedloe sat opposite her,
sipping his drink and looking at
her with candid admiration.
His feeling for Leda was easy to
understand. He had been, for all
the long, lonely years of his wife’s
illness, neither married in any true
sense, nor unmarried. " Leda’s
friendship had been something to
clin,!- to, a fire at which to warm
himself. Naturally, he had let his
dt'Pms form about her, fostering
■a yearning for a still closer and
more satisfactory relationship.
Ever Leda’s failure to respond on
the one occasion he had permitted
himself to put that yearning into
words hadn’t made Roger realize
how different were her feelings for
him. He had assumed her reluc
tance was due merely to the fact
that she found any discussion of
marriage distateful while his wife
Now all was changed. Leda her
self had broached the subject of a
serious talk. No doubt she craved
just as he did, to have the situa
tion between them clarified and
set on a solid basis.
Roger put his empty glass on
the coffee table and leaned for
ward a little, his elbows on his
knees. “Leda. I know it’s a bit
premature, but I’m very anxious
for us to have a definite un
derstanding. Later on, when a suit
able time has elapsed, will you
be my wife?’’
(To Be Continued)
Tornadoes always spin counter
clockwise in the northern hemi
sphere, and clockwise south of the
It has been my pleasure to serve as
your Councilman for the past two years.
Again I solicit your vole and your sup
port. If elected I again promise to serve
you to the best of my ability.
W. E. lopp
Paid Political Advertisement
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