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reservations, he added, watching Pauline s face beam.  I ll pick you up at your room at five-thirty.
 But that only gives me an hour to dress, she moaned.
 You d look beautiful in a pillowcase, and you know it, he chided.  Go on.
 Okay. Pauline walked off to her own room without a word to the girls or Kasie.
Gil opened the door, noting that the bellboy was coming down the hall toward them with the
luggage on a rolling carrier. He motioned Kasie and the girls inside.
 The bedrooms both have two double beds, he told Kasie stiffly.  And there s a balcony off the
sitting room, if you want to sit outside and watch the surf after the girls get to sleep, he added,
indicating the French doors that led onto a small balcony with two padded chairs.
 We ll be fine, she told him.
 Don t let them stay up past eight, no matter what they say, he told her.  And don t you stay up
too late, either.
 I won t.
He hesitated at the door to his own room and looked at Kasie for a long moment, until her heart
began to race.  You didn t tell me that you lost your family in an air crash. Why?
 The subject didn t come up, she said gruffly.
 If it had, he replied curtly,  you wouldn t have been sitting alone, despite Pauline s little
machinations with the seat assignments.
She was taken aback by the anger in his tone.  Oh.
 You make me feel like a gold-plated heel from time to time, Kasie, he said irritably.  I don t
like it.
 I was all right, she assured him nervously.  Zeke took care of me.
That set him off again.  You re getting paid to take care of my children, not to holiday with
some refugee from a press room, he pointed out, his voice arctic.
She stiffened.  I hadn t forgotten that, Mr. Callister, she added deliberately, aware that the girls
had stopped playing and were staring up at the adults with growing disquiet. She turned away.  Come
on, babies, she said with a forced smile.  Let s go change into our bathing suits, then we can go play
on the beach!
 All of you stay out of the water, Gil said shortly.  And I want you back up here before I leave
with Pauline.
 Yes, sir, Kasie said, just because she knew it made him angry.
He said something under his breath and slammed the door to his own room behind him. Kasie
had a premonition that it wasn t going to be much of a holiday.
She and the girls played in the sand near the ocean. On the way outside, Kasie had bought them
small plastic buckets and shovels from one of the stores in the arcade. They were happily dumping
sand on each other while, around them, other sun-worshipers lay on towel-covered beach chaise
lounges or splashed in the water. The hotel was near the harbor, as well, and they watched a huge
white ocean liner dock. It was an exciting place to visit.
Kasie, who d only ever seen the worst part of foreign countries, was like a child herself as she
gazed with fascination at rows of other luxury hotels on the beach, as well as sailboats and cruise
ships in port. Nassau was the brightest, most beautiful place she d ever been. The sand was like sugar
under her feet, although hot enough to scorch them, and the color of the water was almost too vivid to
believe. Smiling, she drank in the warmth of the sun with her eyes closed.
But it was already time to go back up to the room. She hated telling the girls, who begged to stay
on the beach.
 We can t, babies, she said gently.  Your dad said we have to be in the room when he leaves.
There s a television, she added.  They might have cartoons.
They still looked disappointed.  You could read us stories, Bess said.
Kasie smiled and hugged her.  Yes, I could. And I will. Come on, now, clean out your pails and
shovels, and let s go.
 Oh, all right, Kasie, but it s very sad we have to leave, Bess replied.
 Don t want to go. Jenny pouted.
Kasie picked her up and kissed her sandy cheek.  We ll come out early in the morning, and look
for shells on the beach!
Jenny s eyes lit up. She loved seashells.  Truly, Kasie?
 Honest and truly.
 Whoopee! Bess yelled.  I ll get Jenny s pail, too. Can we have fish for supper?
 Anything you like, Kasie told her as she put Jenny down and refastened her swimsuit strap that
had come loose.
Above them, at the window of his room, Gil watched the byplay, unseen. He sighed with
irritation as he watched the girls respond so wholeheartedly to Kasie. They loved her. How were they
going to react if she decided to quit? She was very young; too young to think of making a lifelong
baby-sitter. Pauline said she d been very adamant about sending the girls away to school, but that was
hard to believe, watching her with them. She was tender with them, as Darlene had been.
He rammed his hands hard into the pockets of his dress slacks. It hurt remembering how happy
the two of them had been, especially after the birth of their second little girl. In the Callister family,
girls were special, because there hadn t been a girl in the lineage for over a hundred years. Gil loved
having daughters. A son would have been nice, he supposed, but he wouldn t have traded either of his
little jewels down there for anything else.
It wounded him to remember how cold he d been to Kasie before and after the plane trip. He
hadn t known about her family dying in a plane crash. He could only imagine how difficult it had
been for her to get aboard with those memories. And he d been sitting with Pauline, talking about
Broadway shows. Pauline had said that Kasie wanted to sit by herself, so he hadn t protested.
Then, of course, there was this handsome stranger who d comforted her on the flight to keep her
from being afraid. He could have done that. He could have held her hand tight in his and kissed her
eyes shut while he whispered to her&
He groaned out loud and turned away from the window. She was worming her way not only into
his life and his girls lives, but into his heart as well. He hadn t been able to even think about Pauline
in any romantic way since Kasie had walked into his living room for the job interview. Up until then,
he d found the gorgeous blonde wonderful company. Now, she was almost an afterthought. He
couldn t imagine why. Kasie wasn t really pretty. Although, she had a nice figure and a very kissable
mouth and those exquisitely tender eyes&
He jerked up the phone and dialed Pauline s extension.  Are you ready to go? he asked.
 Darling, I haven t finished my makeup. You did say five-thirty, she reminded him.
 It is five-thirty, he muttered.
 Give me ten more minutes, she said.  I m going to make you notice me tonight, lover, she
teased.  I m wearing something very risqu!
 Fine, he replied, unimpressed.  I ll see you in ten minutes.
He hung up on her faint gasp of irritation. He didn t care if she wore postage stamps, it wasn t
going to cure him of the hunger for Kasie that was tormenting him.
He heard the suite door open and the sound of his children laughing. Strange how often they [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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