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Dangerous Days

Chapter 18
Audrey was frightened. She did not care a penny's worth what her little world
thought. Indeed, she knew that she had given it a new thrill and so had won its
enthusiastic approval. She was afraid of what Clayton would think.
She was absurdly quiet and virtuous all the next day, gathered out her stockings
and mended them; began a personal expenditure account for the New-year,
heading it carefully with "darning silk, 50 cents"; wrote a long letter to Chris, and -
listened for the telephone. If only he would call her, so she could explain. Still,
what could she explain? She had done it. It was water over the dam - and it is no
fault of Audrey's that she would probably have spelled it "damn."
By noon she was fairly abject. She did not analyze her own anxiety, or why the
recollection of her escapade, which would a short time before have filled her with
a sort of unholy joy, now turned her sick and trembling.
Then, in the middle of the afternoon, Clay called her up. She gasped a little when
she heard his voice.
"I wanted to tell you, Audrey," he said, "that we can probably use the girl you
spoke about, rather soon."
"Very well. Thank you. Is - wasn't there something else, too?"
"Something else?"
"You are angry, aren't you?"
He hesitated.
"Surprised. Not angry. I haven't any possible right to be angry."
"Will you come up and let me tell you about it, Clay?"
"I don't see how that will help any."
"It will help me."
He laughed at that; her new humility was so unlike her.
"Why, of course I'll come, Audrey," he said, and as he rang off he was happier
than he had been all day.
He was coming. Audrey moved around the little room, adjusting chairs,
rearranging the flowers that had poured in on New-year's day, brushing the
hearth. And as she worked she whistled. He would be getting into the car now.
He would be so far on his way. He would be almost there. She ran into her
bedroom and powdered her nose, with her lips puckered, still whistling, and her
heart singing.
But he scolded her thoroughly at first.
"Why on earth did you do it," he finished. "I still can't understand. I see you one
day, gravity itself, a serious young woman - as you are to-day. And then I hear - it
isn't like you, Audrey."
"Oh yes, it is. It's exactly like me. Like one me. There are others, of course."
She told him then, making pitiful confession of her own pride and her anxiety to
spare Chris's name.
 
 
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