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By Belva Plain

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They had to rebuild his face. It was fascinating to me, a marvel of science and art, what they did. " He spoke precisely, as he did everything with precision, whether slicing an apple, folding a sweater, or as now, laying the knife at the top of the plate, parallel to the edge of the table. " And when Gerald nodded, she added, "There are none around here. " They were sparring over Hy's head. Of course Fran- cine is glad that he will have to leave here, she thought. Why does he never talk to me about it?

It was known to all but never mentioned that Francine and Granny had little love for each other. A fragrance of sugar and cinnamon filled the hall when the front door was opened. Hy sniffed the air. "Baking already? " "Apple pies," Granny said, "for that shut-in couple down the street. I try to bring them something on weekends. Come on in. Or do you want the porch? " "The porch is fine. "Then wait till I get my sewing. " You never saw her with empty hands. Maybe it was some Puritan heritage that compelled her to keep moving, or maybe it was just nervous energy.

Call it love at first sight. Oh, come here. " After their brief sleep and the familiar peace that follows completion, they lay watching the rain slanting across the gray window. "How it rained the day we met," Hy murmured. His neck was soft to her lips. She wanted to lie like this, never to move, to be here for all time, to be one with him forever. A tremulous swell of emotion filled her breast; a gladness and a tenderness that she had never known before. She felt her heart's strong rhythm. In the hall, loud voices rang and a door was rudely slammed.

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After the Fire by Belva Plain

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