"Let's sit down," Beulah said softly.
I took her hand and let her down gently on
the bank, back among the ferns. I sat down and she lifted a hand and
touched my forehead, looking at me, then whispered.
"I don't even know you and I feel I've
known you all my life--"
She slipped her hand behind my neck, gently
pulling me to her, and I leaned down at last to drink the blue flower's
"Phil! You out there?"
It was as if a hundred years had passed.
I touched her hair. Like the river, it reflected starlight.
"We better go," Beulah said.
"I guess," I said, but I drew her closer among
the dark ferns.
Glad's voice sounded closer, echoing through
the arch of aspen. I sat up, cradling Beulah's head. The river
moved with a loud hush over round stones, over the darkened alabaster
"Web Sloan Bull Lucinda Pete--"
He was calling from the path through the ferns
and then Beulah and I were dressed and hurrying hand-in-hand toward
the cabin where tall Pete Willis stood by the chrome bumper of his
taller 4 x 4--
In the orange porchlight Glad wore his gun
and held my holstered revolver in his outstretched hand--
"Jim Sloan's on his way to Olson's."
"You got the keys?" I hesitated halfway to
the car where Glad stood by the open passenger door.
"Phil, you be careful!"
"I'll be back, Beulah. Wait," I said, gazing
into her eyes