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  • You've been to Australia, haven't you?

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  • She shook her head to clear it.

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  • My daughter is coming for me to take me there.

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  • Her heart was starting to flutter.

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  • They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can.

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  • I'm going to bed early.

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  • I wish to meet our Sorcerer.

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  • That's easy for you to say.

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  • Two children, brother and sister, were on their way to school.

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  • She has refused to evacuate Malta.

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  • But what about a reasoned belief based on a balanced look at both history and current reality that leads you to be optimistic?

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  • Next to Washington he was the greatest American.

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  • Do you want to see it?

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  • I go up in a balloon, usually, to draw the crowds to the circus.

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  • He instantly gave in to chase her down the hall.

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  • Alex was romantic enough to understand the sentimental significance of the home she had inherited.

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  • I would like to.

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  • In addition to the assistance from the renters, the money finally gave her an income of her own, and the token independence that went with it.

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  • Hey, someone has to discover penicillin—it might as well be me.

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  • He didn't seem to be prompting her.

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  • Analysts declared each successive generation might be "the first to have a lower standard of living than their parents."

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  • He has no time to be anything but a machine.

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  • No one wanted to feel forced into anything.

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  • I have much to work with!

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  • You're supposed to go down to be measured in the morning.

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  • The memory brought goose bumps to her arms.

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  • Then all preferred listening to speaking.

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  • If there are, they are liable to be glass oats!

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  • With one hand the little boy clung to his sister's arm, and with the other he held his primer.

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  • She came to the airport with him.

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  • They even agreed to take care of the animals while Alex and Carmen took their first vacation.

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  • If you need anything at all, be sure to let us know.

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  • Carmen turned and tipped her head back to look at the face of the man who towered over her.

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  • Somehow talking to him was easy.

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  • We wouldn't want them to think we were doing anything immoral.

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  • I think she was merely directing the comment at you because she thought you might want to know.

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  • We've been away for a long time, you know, and so we're anxious to get home again.

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  • We all knew about his family, but the way he acted, it was as if he wanted to hide them from us.

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  • That was when Mary decided to relieve her mind of a troubling thought.

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  • All were surprised to find that he was not with them.

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  • If you have an unwavering commitment to an idea that all things will be good all the time, then that is irrational.

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  • What time are we going to leave tomorrow?

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  • Their mouths were open for the food they were expecting their mother to give them.

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  • He married Lucy Helen Everett, who belonged to the same family of Everetts as Edward Everett and Dr. Edward Everett Hale.

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  • The deeper the feeling, the more he attempted to cover it.

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  • Carmen scooted closer to him, wondering if he heard Felipa.

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  • His expression was reflective as he continued to regard her.

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  • Alex was supposed to be sterile, but they had been wrong about that.

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  • She wasn't vain enough to think that turned him to drinking, though.

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  • I can't imagine what he was thinking to hide a thing like that from you.

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  • Do you want to tell me about it?

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  • She cuddled close to him and lifted her face for his affection.

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  • Sorry to have troubled you; but it couldn't be helped.

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  • The voice and words belonged to Josh, and yet he had been dead for more than two years.

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  • Apparently his greatest concern was the fact that his mother was married to his adoptive father at the time he was conceived.

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  • He had a right to a few quirks.

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  • With his return to work, things at the house shifted to a faster pace.

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  • There was shopping and packing to be done before they left on vacation.

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  • After they retrieved their luggage, Señor Medena instructed a man to carry it to a white limousine.

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  • He wanted to protect her and preserve her innocence.

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  • It wasn't like him to be petty.

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  • His empty gaze shifted momentarily from the window to her face.

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  • He tossed the shirt on the bed and walked silently to her.

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  • There's nothing much to tell.

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  • We are back to that?

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  • He paused at the door to wait for her.

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  • In the morning she opened her eyes to find Destiny's face only inches away from hers.

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  • No, not too far, but the party is tonight, so we need to stay close.

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  • Why do you want to cover yourself so much?

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  • Come. It's time for you to join the others.

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  • Felipa led Carmen to the top of the stairs.

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  • A live band started playing a waltz and he dropped a hand to her waist.

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  • For a minute there I thought you were going to bolt and run.

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  • For a minute there, I was ready to do just that.

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  • A tall young man tapped his shoulder and Alex surrendered her to the second dance of the evening.

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  • She was beginning to see why Alex wasn't impressed with Señor Medena.

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  • Dancing with someone that tall was going to be... interesting.

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  • She rested one hand on his upper arm and surrendered her other to a hand that engulfed hers.

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  • He nodded, his pale eyes darkening enough to twinkle.

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  • But then, Alex hadn't mentioned his family to her, either.

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  • I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable.

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  • If Alex felt the need to protect her from Gerald, maybe she shouldn't be dancing with him.

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  • Carmen smiled to herself.

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  • Of course, she knew Alex well enough now to know he didn't like people to hand out information about him.

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  • Other than the one time he had lost his temper with her, she had never known him to be anything but gentle.

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  • His gaze dropped to her waist and an eyebrow shot up.

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  • Carmen started to laugh.

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  • That was the first time she had said it to anyone.

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  • He always wanted to be a veterinarian.

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  • It was a pleasure to meet you.

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  • She looked too proper to be considered beautiful, and her expression was lofty.

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  • When Carmen's gaze returned to Dulce, the woman had a smug smile on her lips.

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  • I think maybe Alex married you to get away from his family.

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  • I would introduce you to Tessa, yes?

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  • If his family had lived in the United States for centuries, why didn't they learn to speak proper English?

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  • Even as she thought it, she knew her anger had nothing to do with their heritage.

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  • Finally she spotted him talking to his father.

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  • Focusing on his profile, she willed him to look her way.

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  • Then he turned back to his father, who was watching him with interest.

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  • Carmen shrugged, not knowing what to say.

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  • Gerald and Felipa were standing beside the door talking to each other.

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  • She turned to find Alex smiling down at her.

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  • Are you going to tell me who he is?

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  • She didn't come here to talk to me.

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  • He said he used to work with you.

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  • I'm not ever going to know them if I never meet them, am I?

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  • You don't have to go to the trouble.

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  • When the band took a break, Carmen was looking for something cool to drink.

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  • That way you don't have to taste it.

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  • The kitchen was open all the time, but Alex didn't drink - or never had to her knowledge.

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  • She pushed him back, speaking as firmly as she could without talking loud enough for the children to hear.

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  • Carmen rushed to him, but found that he was either asleep or passed out.

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  • Changing into her night gown, she decided to sleep on the love seat.

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  • Being groped by him again wasn't something she was looking forward to.

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  • Who had handed it to her?

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  • It was something Alex didn't need to know.

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  • I'm going to bed.

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  • They crawled into bed and she rolled on her side with her back to him.

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  • She rolled over to face him, sliding eagerly into his embrace.

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  • Not that one had anything to do with the other, but the technology of surrogacy would have been inconceivable back then.

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  • Perhaps it was a foolish thing to do.

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  • If I didn't want to do what he said I'd tell him so - and he would listen to my reasons.

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  • He doesn't force me to do what he wants.

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  • I simply want to follow his lead.

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  • Carmen found Alex relaxing in a chair next to the bed in their room.

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  • I think everyone was guilty of staring at her at least once - if for no other reason, wondering if she was going to fall out of her dress.

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  • You just happened to get caught on camera.

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  • I've been getting the feeling she is trying to break us up.

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  • Why would she want to do that?

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  • She obviously wants you to stay.

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  • Your father even offered you land if you would come down here to stay.

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  • His gaze shifted reflectively to nothing in particular.

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  • What else has happened to make you think she is trying to break us up?

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  • She had probably resurrected his memory of how Lori had tried to break them up.

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  • More like Dulce has been talking to me.

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  • He stood and walked over to the window, staring out it absently.

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  • I don't want to put the girls out of a home.

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  • Even a bird is smart enough to push the fledgling out of the nest when it fails to fly on its own.

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  • All the girls have the opportunity of going to college while the money is still there.

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  • If he wants to keep this estate in the family, he'll have to leave it to his daughters.

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  • Otherwise, he'll have to live with the idea that it will no longer be in the family after he passes.

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  • Carmen remained quiet for a few minutes, allowing him to think about it.

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  • I don't want you to give it up because of me.

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  • It was a good thing they didn't change after church, because everyone at the table was dressed as if going to church.

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  • Was it another attempt to humiliate them - her?

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  • Alondra was still a big question mark, but her gut said no to that idea too.

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  • These babies might not be in her womb, but they did belong to Alex.

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  • She had assumed Alex was, but... she needed to look at his files.

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  • She shoved the photo back into the envelope and closed the lip, willing herself not to think about the previous pregnancy and its tragic end.

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  • She bit her lips to keep them from quivering and blinked her eyes to get rid of the blur.

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  • If he had simply ignored her, she might have been able to get her emotions under control, but now a sob threatened so convincingly that she was afraid to breathe.

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  • I should have shown it to you in private - prepared you for it.

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  • She had to regain control.

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  • In a quiet room with no one looking on, she managed to get her emotions under control by focusing on Destiny.

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  • Carmen wiped Destiny's face and eyes with the cool rag and used a tissue to wipe her nose.

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  • The cool damp cloth did wonders to get her own face back to normal and she finally regained control.

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  • Her sadness had nothing to do with not appreciating their fortune.

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  • No matter how sorry Alex was for what happened, or how many times he apologized or tried to make up for it, he couldn't remove the hurt.

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  • For the most part, the facial expressions of those sitting around the table were sympathetic, but Dulce looked as if she was ready to break into tears.

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  • Well, he was probably embarrassed by her outburst and felt the need to explain.

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  • She was so fortunate to have such a wonderful family.

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  • Presently he woke up, rose to a sitting position and rubbed his eyes briskly.

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  • Have you come to take me to Hugson's Ranch?

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  • Zeb shook the reins and urged him to go, but Jim was stubborn.

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  • He was not going very fast, but on his flanks specks of foam began to appear and at times he would tremble like a leaf.

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  • The worst thing was their terror of reaching the bottom of this great crack in the earth, and the natural fear that sudden death was about to overtake them at any moment.

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  • With this thought in mind the girl took heart and leaned her head over the side of the buggy to see where the strange light was coming from.

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  • Dorothy was too dazed to say much, but she watched one of Jim's big ears turn to violet and the other to rose, and wondered that his tail should be yellow and his body striped with blue and orange like the stripes of a zebra.

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  • But they continued to fall, all together, and the boy and girl had no difficulty in remaining upon the seat, just as they were before.

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  • Then they turned bottom side up, and continued to roll slowly over until they were right side up again.

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  • All this was so terrible and unreal that he could not understand it at all, and so had good reason to be afraid.

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  • Swiftly they drew near to the flaming colored suns, and passed close beside them.

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  • They seemed to be falling right into the middle of a big city which had many tall buildings with glass domes and sharp-pointed spires.

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  • These spires were like great spear-points, and if they tumbled upon one of them they were likely to suffer serious injury.

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  • Dorothy was surprised to find how patient the people were, for her own little heart was beating rapidly with excitement.

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  • A balloon meant to her some other arrival from the surface of the earth, and she hoped it would be some one able to assist her and Zeb out of their difficulties.

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  • Then a little man jumped out of the basket, took off his tall hat, and bowed very gracefully to the crowd of Mangaboos around him.

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  • I am delighted to find humbugs inside the earth, just the same as on top of it.

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  • I belong to Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows--three rings in one tent and a menagerie on the side.

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  • But I've just had the bad luck to come out of the sky, skip the solid earth, and land lower down than I intended.

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  • It isn't everybody who gets a chance to see your Land of the Gabazoos.

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  • At a place where two roads crossed, they saw a tall gentleman coming to meet them.

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  • But I hope you will at least believe it to be possible.

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  • As the nation grew, so did what came to be called the American Dream.

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  • You may come to America and be poor, but if you work hard, your children will have a better life and a better opportunity.

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  • Scarcity was the new watchword as the focus turned to all the problems of the future, not all the possibilities.

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  • There, too, after a fit of temper, I went to find comfort and to hide my hot face in the cool leaves and grass.

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  • They used to hang in long festoons from our porch, filling the whole air with their fragrance, untainted by any earthy smell; and in the early morning, washed in the dew, they felt so soft, so pure, I could not help wondering if they did not resemble the asphodels of God's garden.

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  • There was the usual amount of discussion as to a name for me.

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  • But in the excitement of carrying me to church my father lost the name on the way, very naturally, since it was one in which he had declined to have a part.

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  • In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference.

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  • I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.

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  • Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt?

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  • How can he remember well his ignorance--which his growth requires--who has so often to use his knowledge?

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  • But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist--I really believe he is Antichrist--I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my 'faithful slave,' as you call yourself!

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  • With these words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man of high rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her reception.

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  • They have decided that Buonaparte has burnt his boats, and I believe that we are ready to burn ours.

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  • She wanted to find, and still seeks, some secret motive in our actions.

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  • What if the Smolensk people have offahd to waise militia for the Empewah?

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  • It was true, and it brought color to his neck, but he didn't comment.

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  • She sighed and walked over to the window seat.

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  • Still, she said, returning her attention to the old house.

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  • She pushed the thought from her mind and turned to him.

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  • I meant... do I have time to fix you a hot lunch?

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  • He was going to call the doctor.

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  • What are you going to hide from me that I haven't already seen?

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  • He bent over, picked up her clothes and tossed them to her.

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  • I'm going to make myself a sandwich and get back to work.

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  • Are you opposed to a break now and then?

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  • Bill was family because he was married to Alex's sister.

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  • To be fair, his father hadn't made things any better by offering money to Alex and not his sister.

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  • Carmen had already spoken to Mums about it.

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  • That idea was troublesome to Carmen as well.

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  • Almost everyone else had already left, so Katie and Mary volunteered to help.

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  • Mary added another plate to the stack.

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  • I don't know if he is actually trying to hide things, or simply doesn't know how to initiate the subject.

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  • Alex got a relief when the conversation turned to something else and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

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  • He was getting to be quite a handsome young man.

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  • Then there was the money he left to Carmen.

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  • It was one thing to tell herself everything was resolved, but quite another to thoroughly accept something she had always considered wrong.

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  • There isn't much to tell.

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  • Are you guys ready to eat and go outside?

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  • He pulled her close in an embrace, his lips warm against hers in response to her silent query.

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  • For a few minutes they held on to each other, kissing as if they hadn't seen each other in a week.

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  • In business transactions Alex was frugal with his money, but when it came to his family, he was generous.

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  • As busy as she was, time had to be set aside for play with Destiny.

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  • Carmen glanced quickly outside to see if the threatening snow had arrived.

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  • Assured that it had not, she turned back to him.

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  • I just thought it would be fun for the man to tell the wife this for once.

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  • For one terrifying moment the enormity of what they had done brought her close to panic.

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  • You said to go ahead.

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  • We're going to have a baby, not a sin.

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  • He thought it would be fun for the man to tell the woman.

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  • But then, he had reason - in his head - to believe it wasn't his.

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  • They had to move forward, and leave the past behind them.

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  • She turned to Alex.

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  • It will be so much fun to work on it with Jonathan and Destiny.

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  • Aside from packing, there was also decorating to be done.

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  • She had to move a few things to make room, but that wasn't too hard.

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  • She retrieved them from her purse and handed them to him.

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  • He lifted the paper and started to read again.

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  • He was going to like the clothes she bought for the trip.

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  • Besides, it was time to replace some of the things she'd been wearing since before they were married.

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  • It always comes down to this, doesn't it?

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  • So why should we listen to what they call normal?

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  • They still had something mysterious and exciting to explore.

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  • It was going to be nice having nothing to do but enjoy their little family for the next two weeks.

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  • But you need to pamper yourself a little.

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  • You're always the last one to get anything new.

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  • I don't want you to start feeling neglected.

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  • I thought you needed to sleep longer because you were working so hard getting ready.

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  • He didn't want to go, so maybe this was his expression of resistance.

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  • Carmen, don't bother to cook.

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  • Felipa looked to be in her early twenties and had a sunshine smile that made Carmen feel welcome.

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  • Carmen tried to focus on Felipa, but her mind was full of questions.

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  • I doubt if she'll go to you.

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  • Alex was cordial to his father and formal to his sister.

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  • Felipa didn't seem to notice anything unusual in his attitude, so maybe he had always treated them that way.

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  • If their meeting today was any indication, this visit was going to be interesting - if not uncomfortable.

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  • Carmen tried to hide her surprise.

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  • His cool gaze shifted idly from Felipa to Señor Medena.

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  • The fact that there was nothing to protect her from was irrelevant.

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  • Well, he did say he would go because she and Jonathan wanted to.

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  • She turned to Felipa.

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  • I have a mare; and we have a five-year-old mare with a colt, a four year-old filly, and a two-year-old filly... oh, and my mare is going to foal again in January.

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  • Surely he didn't intend to be verbally invisible the entire visit.

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  • She turned to him.

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  • I'd like to, but if it's too much trouble...

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  • Alex had directed the little he said to her only.

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  • It simply wasn't like him to be rude like that.

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  • He asked her to go back to Houston with him, enticing her with rides on the beach - and love all night.

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  • His hand dropped to her shoulder and he squeezed it.

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  • When her attention returned to the others, she caught Señor Medena and Felipa watching them.

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  • It was impossible to know what was going on in Señor Medena's mind by observing his expression.

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  • Alex shifted a faintly amused gaze to Carmen.

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  • For the remainder of the trip to the ranch, Alex remained in a good mood.

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  • More than likely the correction was to prevent her from being embarrassed.

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  • The three-story building looked big enough to cover a city block.

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  • Carmen met his gaze for a moment - long enough to reunite, and then they both turned back to the others.

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  • I hope to have a love like yours some day.

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  • Actually, she hadn't thought how it looked to others - and there had never been any doubt in her mind that she was fortunate to have Alex.

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  • Why had he hidden them - and why had he decided to reveal them?

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  • It's nice to meet you both.

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  • Their welcome to Alex appeared to be genuine.

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  • Each of them hugged him and talked briefly to Destiny.

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    0
  • Alex introduced Jonathan and their welcome to him was equally warm.

    1
    0
  • He probably didn't realize that his hostility toward Señor Medena was being transferred to Jonathan as anxiety.

    1
    0
  • Does that mean I'm supposed to change, or that what I'm wearing is considered casual?

    1
    0
  • What you have on is fine, but if you want to freshen up and wear something else, go ahead.

    1
    0
  • Are you going to change?

    3
    2
  • As he started toward the doorway to their room, she called after him.

    1
    0
  • I don't want her to wake up in a strange room and not be able to find us.

    2
    1
  • Alex walked in and closed the door to the other bedroom.

    1
    0
  • Her wandering gaze came up to his face and warmth shot painfully up her neck.

    4
    3
  • For a moment she surrendered to his warm lips and secure embrace, clinging to him as her heart stepped up pace.

    2
    1
  • The man sitting at the other end of the table was introduced to them as Morino el capataz - their foreman, Morino.

    1
    0
  • Alfonso looked to be a year or so older than Jonathan.

    1
    0
  • Carmen wanted to shrivel out of sight.

    1
    0
  • She turned her head to watch him.

    2
    1
  • Alex captured her hand and forced her to drop the potatoes.

    2
    1
  • I didn't mean to scare you.

    2
    1
  • Carmen glanced around the table, but everyone seemed to be more amused than disturbed... everyone but Señor Medena.

    1
    0
  • Without comment, he shifted his attention back to his plate.

    1
    0
  • Later, as they walked back to their room, Jonathan looked up at Carmen.

    1
    0
  • Why is it good when you adopt a baby that isn't yours, but bad if it's yours and you don't give birth to it?

    1
    0
  • I guess it's just something different - something we aren't used to yet.

    2
    1
  • There was no way to defend her moral objections without seeding doubt in his mind.

    2
    1
  • What did you want me to say?

    2
    1
  • How long is this going to be your dirty little secret?

    2
    1
  • And yet, she was reluctant to say anything to church members - even family members.

    2
    1
  • She sank to the bed.

    2
    1
  • It isn't going to get any easier, so I'd better shape up.

    1
    0
  • She'll be closer to her age.

    1
    0
  • You do realize that if it's a girl, we're going to be unevenly matched.

    2
    1
  • Relief brought a smile to her lips.

    2
    1
  • Are you sure you don't want me to take her?

    1
    0
  • She urged her mount a safe distance away, motioning for Jonathan to follow.

    1
    0
  • The shock of what happened gave way to fury as Felipa turned back to them.

    1
    0
  • Her anxious gaze went from Carmen to Alex and back again.

    2
    1
  • What was that supposed to mean?

    2
    1
  • Señor Medena asked Carmen and Alex to come to his office with him.

    1
    0
  • I'm not asking you to punish the men.

    1
    0
  • Señor Medena motioned to the door.

    1
    0
  • Getting no response from Alex, he shrugged and turned to his desk.

    1
    0
  • I'm sorry, but you weren't going to speak in your behalf.

    1
    0
  • He took Carmen by the hand and leaned close to her ear.

    1
    0
  • If only Alex could talk to his father that way.

    1
    0
  • With nothing more to do, she wandered in to watch him shave.

    2
    1
  • I want to, but...

    2
    1
  • Let's get the kids ready to go.

    1
    0
  • I don't want to spoil them - or anyone else to spoil them.

    1
    0
  • For the first time it mattered to her.

    2
    1
  • The last time he made a business trip to Columbia, he had said they needed the money.

    2
    1
  • The shopping trip was exciting because it was so close to Christmas, but otherwise uneventful.

    1
    0
  • It was time to shove those old inhibitions out of their bedroom.

    1
    0
  • Alex tried to pay, but she wouldn't let him.

    2
    1
  • It was probably the first money, other than the air fares, Señor Medena had been able to spend on Alex - and even then he had to do it through Felipa.

    1
    0
  • There had to be more.

    5
    4
  • That evening all the women got together to wrap gifts.

    1
    0
  • If she was invited, it was as a guest of Alex, so he would tell her when and if he decided to go.

    2
    1
  • Felipa tipped her head to the side, as if she was considering that information.

    1
    0
  • Both were watching her as if she had something earth-shattering to say.

    2
    1
  • Maybe they all needed to know.

    2
    1
  • Finally her sober gaze came back to Carmen.

    1
    0
  • Carmen went back to wrapping her present.

    1
    0
  • This is not enough for Alex to support?

    1