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You will never make a young girl bloom

Weaselface

Joke
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“My grandfather was on the Republican national committee,” Robert Jordan said. That impressed even Maria.

“And is thy father still active in the Republic?” Pilar asked.

“No. He is dead.”

“Can one ask how he died?”

“He shot himself.”

“To avoid being tortured?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” Robert Jordan said. “To avoid being tortured.”

Maria looked at him with tears in her eyes. “My father,” she said, “could not obtain a weapon. Oh, I am very glad that your father had the good fortune to obtain a weapon.”

“Yes. It was pretty lucky,” Robert Jordan said. “Should we talk about something else?”

“Then you and me we are the same,” Maria said. She put her hand on his arm and looked in his face. He looked at her brown face and at the eyes that, since he had seen them, had never been as young as the rest of her face but that now were suddenly hungry and young and wanting.

“You could be brother and sister by the look,” the woman said. “But I believe it is fortunate that you are not.”

“Now I know why I have felt as I have,” Maria said. “Now it is clear.”

“Qué va,” Robert Jordan said and reaching over, he ran his hand over the top of her head. He had been wanting to do that all day and now he did it, he could feel his throat swelling. She moved her head under his hand and smiled up at him and he felt the thick but silky roughness of the cropped head rippling between his fingers. Then his hand was on her neck and then he dropped it.

“Do it again,” she said. “I wanted you to do that all day.”

“Later,” Robert Jordan said and his voice was thick.

“And me,” the woman of Pablo said in her booming voice. “I am expected to watch all this? I am expected not to be moved? One cannot. For fault of anything better; that Pablo should come back.”

Maria took no notice of her now, nor of the others playing cards at the table by the candlelight.

“Do you want another cup of wine, Roberto?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. “Why not?”

[...]

“Leave us for a moment,” Robert Jordan said to the girl and put his hand on her shoulder.

“Why?”

“I wish to speak to Pilar.”

“Must I go?”

“Yes.”

I never became a man.
 
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