Judith Kerrigan Ribbens

In Crocodile Waters

Second Book in the Anna Kinnealy Series


Green Bay

 “If I wanted to, I could kill someone. Yes. I could kill.”

The boy’s eyelids narrowed to slits. Hate hardened his face. Rage poured from his body into the hot air around him.     
“I could pick up a gun and shoot them, or stab them with a knife, or
pound someone to death with my fists or kick them until they died. I
wouldn’t care. It would be so easy. Then I’d kill myself. I would never
go to prison. Never.     

“Except maybe, if that happened and they caught me and I went to prison, I might get to see him, my first lover. My only real lover so far. He’s not in prison yet. I don’t know where he lives but I’ll find out.”     

Liam sat on the lowest step of the back stairs leading to Alex’s room, his slight body bent forward, arms grabbing his knees, and head hanging down. His voice, half child, half teen, was a sibilant whisper as he muttered to himself.     

“They all think it was awful. They all think I was so abused. It did hurt at
first but he explained that to me. He showed me everything. He prepared
me and after a few times, it didn’t hurt anymore. It felt really good,
his stroking, his holding me, his saying that he loved me. He did. He loved me. They don’t understand.     

“I pretended I felt bad when they questioned me. That’s what Ma wanted to see. But I’m not afraid. I’m not. I want more. He always told me not to be afraid.     

“They won’t let me see him but I will. I will.     
“I’ve found another one like me. Cory is just like me. He wants it just like me. I can make him love me. I will make him love me. He turns away now when I give him my special look, the look Clayton taught me. But he’ll see. He’ll find out how good it feels. I can make him like it.”     
Liam Fitzgerald pushed himself two steps higher, closer to the sound of the voice within. In the wet muggy heat that permeated the top floor of The House, sweat beading on his skin, he crouched outside the door at the top of the stairs that led to the attic room, waiting, waiting. Very
slowly he reached up and turned the handle only to find the door locked.     

A wave of rage swept through him and he shook with frustration. He raised his fist to pound on the door but stopped himself just in time. Behind the door he could hear the murmur as Cory Kinnealy spoke to someone on his cell phone.     

"Another boy. He’s got a boyfriend.”     
Jealousy followed impotent rage into his muscles, to his bones, eating away what little self-esteem he had. Hopelessness ripped at him with
sharpened teeth and he nearly collapsed in tears. Only the fear of being heard stopped him from dissolving into sobbing. Obsession gnawed at his mind, driving out all reason, all sanity, and tearing apart his fragile façade.    

  “He’ll never love me, never really love me. I’m too short and too small and don’t even look like I’m fourteen, much less like the other boys he knows. How will I ever get him to look at me?”     

He sat and waited while self-pity ate him alive. 

Inside the attic room Cory Kinnealy lay sprawled across his brother Alex’s bed, shirt off, in shorts, scarcely noticing his sweat as it soaked into the sheet under him.     

“I’m hiding out in my own home, and I’m pissed as hell,” he told Alex, who was on the phone with him.     
“He creeps me out, man! He’s always staring at me when he thinks I’m not looking. I don’t know what he wants but I think he’s sort of trying
to flirt with me. It’s crazy! He’s crazy! I feel like I’m a prisoner in my own house. Right now he’s on the back stairs, waiting to pounce, like
some stalking animal. Alex, I’ve got to get Mom to come home. It’s June. When is she coming back? I know she’s recuperating but it’s been
almost a month and I can’t talk to Liam’s mom, who, by the way, wants meto call her Cait. Yeah! Right! Like after all these years of having to
call her Mrs. Fitzgerald I’m really going to do that.     

“And that’s another thing. She’s still working in Mom’s office and I know it’s ok with Mom, but she’s still living here too. With Liam. And Andrew. And Seamus. They were supposed to be out of here a week ago, just after you left for camp, but the renewal work on their house isn’t
done yet, and she’s screwing that detective, Klarkowski, in Mom’s bedroom and I know it’s just until their house is fixed up but shit, how
long does that take? How would I tell Mrs. F. what Liam is doing? She’d never believe me. She thinks he’s getting cured because he’s in

One hundred miles to the northwest, Alex paced back and forth in the summer camp crafts room.     
“I hear you. He’s always been kind of weird, different, but I never would have thought he’d be like this. I can fix it up for you to come here for a week, maybe more. We lost one counselor already and could use the help. I think Mr. B, our head counselor, would go for it.”     
“I’d do it in a minute if the band didn’t have gigs set up all summer. I have to be here. We’re practicing three times a week now. That’s the
one good thing going for me right now.”     

“How bad is the cyber-bullying?”     
“I don’t even go on the internet, don’t even read my Facebook page or even Twitter. If I didn’t have the guys in the band, I’d have no friends
left. All the publicity about what Dad—damn, I hate even calling him that—what he did makes it impossible to go anywhere. There are reporters at every gig we have.     

“That guarantees us an audience, but even Harry, my eternally-present bodyguard, thinks it stinks. How’s your tail doing? Boring him to death with accounting and sports facts? I drown Harry in music and art and even got him dancing once.     
“Geez, Alex, when is this going to let up? What if this is still going on when school starts again? How will I get through my senior year with a
bodyguard dragging at my heels and everyone thinking I’m some drug lord? Will it ever be any fun again? How come Mom isn’t coming home

Alex knew the answer he wouldn’t give to his brother right now. Mom was also screwing a man, Ramon Aguilar. Well, maybe screwing wasn’t the right term for that relationship. Ramon was pretty much in love with her. AJ had told him that, but still…     

“Look, Cory. You have to call her and let her know about the bullying and the paparazzi. Maybe she’s ready to come home now. Her arm must be healed from the shooting. I talked to Jake and Jim Bradley just before I calledyou and their dad said he’s going to call her because she has to do something about all the investments like, well, yesterday. Mrs. Bradley said she’s needed for consulting about C & C Decorating too.     
“You call and then I’ll call,” Alex said after a brief pause. “I’ll tell her I need her to help me get ready to go to Belize. Just tell Liam to f… off. They’ll be back in their own home soon and he can’t creep around our house then.     

“Listen! You can always go stay with Marthe to get away. She loves Harry, your guard dog. Too bad he isn’t a real dog. He’d be more fun I bet. Dancing, huh. That must have been great. I wish I could get mine to loosen up. He’s gonna die young of hypertension if he stays on alert like he is now.”     

There was a short pause and the sound of derision in the background.     
“Pete just flipped me the finger. Look, I gotta go. Call Mom. Go get Marthe to feed you both and stay there overnight. Schedule extra practices with the band. I’ll call again tomorrow after I get hold of Mom.”     

Liam sat up and glued his ear to the door.     
“He’s off the phone. He’s quiet now. I wonder who the other boy was he was talking to. I could rip that boy’s little balls off!”     

When Cory finally unlocked and yanked open the door, Liam was gone. Cory sighed with relief, ran down to his room on the second floor, called
Marthe, brought Harry up to date, and they packed bags for three days and left.     

Liam, watching from behind the door to his mother’s bedroom, crumpled to the floor.     

“He hates me,” he whispered to himself.  

The tears came as he stood up and ran into Cory’s room and threw himself on Cory’s bed, his pocketknife in hand, stabbing at the pillow.




I’m nervous. Tension is growing. Some threat hangs in the air.  

It was just after lunch today when Jorge Aguilar burst in. He began pacing the length of my living room like a jaguar, a fierce and determined pacing, his handsome brown face reddened by his anger and frustration.    

“They were in the swamp.”   

He spoke in Spanish. Another indication he was angry. When he was being courteous to me, he used English. Now his anger spilled into his staccato words.   
“They have found a way in around los cocodrilos that wait there. Julio saw and heard them. Why they did not come all the way from the sea to
the house I do not know. Perhaps they were not equipped to scale the steep side of the hill. It is just like a cliff. They were there and they are not our friends.”    

“We could not pursue them?”   
Ramon’s question hung in the air, sounding almost like an accusation, an unstated criticism of his brother’s security precautions.    

Jorge turned on him, eyes steely, giving off dark sparks.    
“Do you think I have not done enough? Could you do more? What would you do? What is to be done? We are not enough yet and our men are
frightened. They believe the cartel will kill their families like they did to Arturo and Simon. Why do not you join us? Why do you hold back?”      He turned his glare on me and then quickly turned his head away.     
I know why he is so angry with me. Our relationship is keeping Ramon from participation in defending their people. Jorge has formed a group
to fight the cartels. He wants Ramon to join them.     

I wanted to speak but could think of nothing to ease the situation. I knew if word of their secret group got out, there would be even more violence from the cartel. They would also become targets of the local police, perhaps even of the Federales, of the many officials who have been bought by the cartels. I am terrified at that prospect. We hear news of killings every day now, of cartels burning people to death, of a cartel that uses tanks, even of cartel members who have turned this into a form of religiosity complete with ceremonies. Horror does not even describe it.     

Ramon looked at me, his eyes worried, sad, and loving all at the same time.    
We can never look at each other now and be separate. We are always one.
I’ve never known anything like this. I’m in a strange territory of the heart and body. When I walk, he walks: when he moves, I move. When he
thinks, I hear it. When I feel, his feelings are there too.    

“Were there any other signs of intrusion? What about in the gardens or out on the road leading here?” Ramon asked.    
“I sent men north and south and had the rest of the grounds searched. Nothing, so far. No signs. But if they can get through that swamp, they
can breach here at any time with the right equipment.”    

He swallowed, looking reluctant but still determined.    

“It must be said. She brings us into greater danger.”    

He was unable to look at me as he said this.    
Ramon became very still. His fists were clenched, knuckles pale white against his brown hands. I could feel the effort he made to control the
anger that piled up inside. He took several deep breaths as the room filled with even more tension.    

I found my voice.    

“Stop, both of you! You must not argue, not over me, not over any of this. You have to be united or your family will suffer terribly. This is not the first intrusion they have made here.”   

Both men looked at me, Ramon surprised, Jorge defensive.    

I spoke with hesitation, unsure of the Spanish words and then, trying to make myself understood, switched to English.    
“I think someone has come in when we were gone. I have sensed it, a darkness, a change in the feeling in the house.

Jorge, even with the guards you have set, someone has been here. They wait until Adelina and I go to Puerto Juarez, or to the hacienda, until Ramon is at work, and when you are not here to supervise.”    

Jorge looked skeptical and began to protest.    

I interrupted him.    
“No, wait! Not at first did I feel this. Not for most of this month. It was last week that I sensed something wrong. When Adelina and I got
back from the school three days ago I felt it again. I thought it was myimagination but just now, hearing what you discovered, I don’t think

I turned to Ramon.    

“You know my sensitivity to color. The colors in the house change when it happens. They become,” I searched for a word to describe what I had seen, “dirtier, a dirty gray film hangs over everything here in the downstairs and in my office upstairs too. I saw it.”    

“Why did you not say anything to me?” Jorge said, his voice an accusation.    
“Because I came in tired and sometimes the same thing happens when I’m tired. I can’t control it. It just happens. Those times, I could not
have told you if it was from inside me or from outside, but now—now I think it was not inside me.”    

My housekeeper, Adelina, had been in the kitchen. I felt her come in. I don’t have to turn to know she is in a room.    
She wears her long black hair pulled severely into a bun at the back of her neck. In contrast, she wears the colorful skirt and blouse of Mayan
women. She is so short, so tiny, yet her energy flows into the air around us with a subtle but powerful force. Her energy announces her

When she speaks, it is with firm authority. Now she supported me.    
“She is speaking truth. That day we were both very tired. We had long meetings to interview teachers for the school, and many decisions to
make. We had to buy food supplies and then wait for evening when Ramon was free from the tour he was guiding. The time was after ten when we got here. There was a change. I felt it too.”     

Adelina motioned for us all to sit down with firm authority. I know by now that means she has something she will say that none of us want to hear.    
Melissa, my bodyguard, paced back and forth along the wall of windows. Ramon and I sat close to each other on the long couch. Jorge paced
briefly and then sat on one of the straight chairs.    

I knew what was coming. Adelina didn’t hold back and I realized suddenly that it’s ecause she has an urgent sense that we must now act.     “Anna, you are healed. You must go home.”     Ramon looked shocked and I knew he wanted to protest but I stopped him. I put my hand on his arm.   

  “Mi amor,” I said in Spanish, “she is right. I must go. We have known this must come and it is time.”    
I tried to say those words lightly but I couldn’t. I will have to tear myself away from him. It will feel like I am tearing myself in half.   

Ramon’s face melted into anguish. I know the source of that pain. Again, a woman he loves will be torn from him. His wife, hopelessly
mentally deranged, can give him no love, no companionship, no passion. Now I, too, must leave him. 

I’ve pushed this away all this time, reveling in our love-making, drowning in it, giving myself to him in ways I never believed possible a woman could give to a man or man to woman, for I have gotten as much as I gave. 

I took a deep breath and set out all I knew.    
“I’ve ignored for the last week the growing knowledge that my own children, even though nearly adult, are in trouble they can’t handle. I
can feel it. Cory is scared, angry and hurting, Alex worried, Marnie withdrawn again, and AJ has thrown himself into his medical work and
wants, with great impatience, to begin to set up his clinic.    

“My accountant and friend, Robinson Bradley, concerned about my inattention to all the money I have inherited, has left several phone messages which I have ignored. Caroline, his wife and my so-very-close friend, wants me to pay attention to our home renewal and decorating business.    
“Caitlin Fitzgerald, my childhood friend, called earlier this month and is worried sick about Liam, her son, who was sexually abused by the man
who was part of the group up north, the group who were, and are, dealing drugs.    

“Greg Klarkowski, a Green Bay police officer, has told Cait the drug runners are escalating their activity again. Someone has reorganized the group who ran it and he and I know who we think is doing it. I must go. I must.    

“In addition, there is still the trial of the man who tried to murder me. I will have to be there to testify at his trial.”    

I looked at them all.    
“I’ve known, we’ve all known that the time must come when I have to leave. I don’t believe I’m the only cause of the intrusion into this house, but I may be part of that. Ramon, you and Jorge have opposed members of at least one cartel and you may be the targets, but you will never know if they are after you or me until I leave.”    

Adelina nodded in agreement again. She and I have grown closer and I discovered there is far more to her than I had imagined. She is much more than my housekeeper and cousin to Ramon and Jorge. She has an ancient wisdom and almost supernatural knowledge of what is to happen, or should happen, or…I don’t know what “or”.   

  I returned a nod to her, just a very slight inclination of my head. She slowly blinked, her sign she saw it.    
“The sense of my children needing me is almost overwhelming, especially Cory’s need. He won’t admit how scared he is, even to himself. I must go. I’ve asked Melissa to book us a flight from Cancun to leave in three or four days.”    

I saw Melissa nod vigorously.  

  “She feels I would be safer back in Wisconsin. She knows that territory better, feels more competent there, knows we can rely on police there. Here, we just can’t know who owns the police or any government officials.”
 Ramon sat with his head in his hands. Jorge looked away, but I saw his face. The longing on his face was as strong as that on Ramon’s.    
That’s the other reason I have to go. Very early this morning, when the light was breaking over the house, when Ramon and I had finished making love on the roof which looks out over the garden and down to the far sea, I stood naked at the railing which edges the outdoor room. In the soft dawn light, I saw the bright red shirt Jorge is wearing now, saw him standing on the far raised platform a hundred yards away overlooking the swamp, half-bent over. I saw the passionate colors whirling around him and felt his deep hunger to be inside me, as his brother had just done.    

I’ve made up my mind. I will not come between these brothers. I’ll return to my northern coolness where maybe, just maybe, the passion I can scarcely control here will ease, where I can think straighter and with more rationality than I can in this hot sensuous climate and this erotic house that Conrad left to me, this house where he must have met his own lovers.   

But not tonight. Tonight, one more time, I know I’ll dissolve into the deep love and passion that binds me to Ramon.

As if to emphasize Adelina’s decree and my decision, more phone calls came all next day.     

Alex was insistent.     
“Mom, you’ve got to come home. It’s getting bad. The cyber-bullying is fierce for me and Cory. I got us new cell phones and different numbers
and that’s ok so far. Harry and Pete had us take down our Facebook pages today and I think someone has even tried to hack into our computers. Pete’s running checks on that. It’s from all the publicity about what my late father did.”     

I could hear anger and cynicism in his voice as he spoke of Art, and felt my own anger rise again, anger I keep telling myself is long gone, and then even more anger at what’s happening to my family now.      

“Are you well enough, Mom? Can you come, please?”    
“I am. No more nightmares and all wounds healed. Will you be safe there at camp? Are you being harassed there? How do the camp leaders feel?”     
“It’s ok. No one has gotten to me here and I haven’t even told the camp director. Pete fits right in. He’s really good with the kids and they
think he’s just another counselor. No one knows. But Cory’s not so lucky. He’s going to call you today. He and Harry left the house last night and are staying with Marthe. He won’t go back until Liam’s gone. And holy crap! That’s a whole other thing. Can you talk to Mrs. F? When will you be coming?”     

“Adelina and I have the school just about set up and she can take over. I’ve a flight out of Cancun in three days. Melissa will be going to set up security there. I need to get all the art out of the house first and have it hidden. We’re already crating it up and it will be gone in two days. Not to alarm you, but someone has been in this house when we’re gone, in spite of the security.”     

Alex made sounds of worry but I reassured him. “We’re fine. Jorge has extra men on guard. I’ll call Cait today.”     

I took down the boys’ new phone numbers, programmed my cell phone and dialed Cory.     
“Mom, I was going to call you. I’m at Marthe’s and I’m staying here. I want to tell you about Liam but not over the phone. Mom, he’s become
creepy. I don’t know how to deal with him.”     

“You’re right. Don’t discuss it here. Wait for me to get home. Right now, I’m much more concerned about the bullying and the attempted hacking. Where is your bodyguard?”     

“He’s here and he’s on it. His firm is setting up monitoring of all our computers. So that’ll be taken care of. Our band has a gig in Oshkosh and the press follows us a bit but it’s not too bad. The guys think the extra attention is cool and they amp it up a lot and I have to tone them down at times but so far, that’s not too bad either.     

“Mom, I’m worried about returning to school. The band has my back but some of my classmates are coming out to our gigs and getting nasty, shouting about us selling drugs, and stuff like that. Detective Klarkowski has them watched when we’re in Green Bay, and there’s security, but it’s embarrassing. What if this happens in school?”    

  “Cory, don’t do what ifs. We’ll deal with that when I get there. Meet me at the airport in three days. In the meantime, be safe. Tell Marthe thanks for taking care of you.”     

I gave him my arrival time and flight number.     

“I’ll call Cait right now.”     
I didn’t have to call her. I took a break to go to the bathroom and she called as I was coming back. She was extremely upset and I just let her
vent it out.    

  “Annie, I need you here. Now. I got a problem I really don’t know how to handle, and you know I can handle most anything. It’s Liam. He’s not any better for counseling. He’s worse. I never thought I’d see the day when my own kid creeped me out but he does. He is absolutely obsessed with Cory, follows him around, sneaks up on him when told to stop, and it’s sexual. Annie, it’s awful. I’m embarrassed even telling you this but I just gotta do something and I don’t know what. He’s fourteen now and he has the right to confidentiality so I can’t even find out what his counselor is or isn’t doing or if he’s doing anything. All the guy says is that he thinks Liam’s making progress. This is not progress.     

“Yesterday Cory left. I’m so sorry. I don’t want your kid chased out of his own home. We’re just days from moving back into our house. It’s almost done and is great and I’ll be so glad to be there, but that won’t make Liam’s obsession go away. Every time I see him I get so damn mad at Clayton Foster I can hardly see straight and knowing that asshole is still on a bracelet and not even in prison yet just pisses me off.”     

She took a quick breath.     
“And the business. We need to meet. We’re at the next phase for expansion and we need your input. Caroline is her usual unflappable self but you can tell I’m not.”     

She paused for a longer breath and I broke in.     
“I got a call from Cory. I know about Liam. I’ll be home in three days. Don’t move out of there until then. I want someone there at all times.
Please, Cait, I mean it. Alex and Cory are being cyber-bullied, and the band is getting heckled about drug pushing by a few of Cory’s classmates. I need you there in case they need a fortress to live in. Marthe shouldn’t have to deal with this at her age.     

“Here’s what you can do for me right now. One, thank Greg for his help with security for the band. Two, I’m very aware we need to start arranging for the buying trip to Ireland in August. Can you call a travel agency and get them on it? Three, tell Caroline to tell Rob to set up a meeting on finances for next week and a trip to the bank in Switzerland for me right after the Ireland trip. Does that help you a bit?”      

“Oh, yeah! Whew! Sorry. I didn’t even ask how you are. Still having a great time in the sack, I hope.”     
“To echo your phrase, oh, yeah. I really hate to leave but it’s time. I’ll tell you more when I get there. Just so you know, there’s some threat here too. We don’t know if it’s aimed at me or the Aguilars or both and we’ll never know if I don’t leave. I’m fine. No nightmares. No aches and pains. Cory will meet me at the airport.”     

“Great. I’m going to try having a talk with Liam but he’s become secretive and I’m damn worried. Greg just walked in and he wants to talk with you. I’m  done, so here he is.”     

“Hi, Anna. Glad you’re coming home. When?”     

I told him. He continued.     
“We’re still deep in our investigation of this murder-drug thing. I want to bring you up to date. You remember Clayton said there was a group involved in running this and someone would take over leadership if the current leader was taken out? Well, he has, or she has, depending
on who took over. We still have no trace of Ardith, which is very weird and frustrating. Of course, we have her fingerprints from their office
but she’s not in any system. How can anyone just disappear like that? We can’t even follow her money. She apparently cashed in everything
immediately and that’s it. $750,000 and no trace. How can that happen? That’s a rhetorical question. No answer needed.”     

“I can’t imagine. I would have thought cashing that amount of money must take time and leave a big trail. Is she even the one? When Clayton was oating and bragging to me, he said it was other men.”     

“We just don’t know. We do know there are more drugs on the street again. In case she might be the one who took over, I need you here to go over every memory you have of her, any interaction with her all the years you knew her. More picking your brain apart again, I’m afraid, but we need to do it.     

“One more thing. Anna, I strongly recommend more security around your boys. At least two on each boy, more for the band’s gigs. Marthe too, and Cait and her boys. It’s important you take no chances. Not to wish anyone harm but I’m almost hoping something does happen and we catch them. Maybe it will give us leads we aren’t getting now.”     

Pictures of Ardith Seacrest ran through my mind as I replied to him.     
“I can’t think what more I’d know about Ardith you don’t already know. I have been thinking about her though. One thing strikes me and that is,
she was in the perfect position for a very long time to build her own control over a lot of people and to know a lot of people’s secrets. She
certainly had opportunity, and quite possibly means, but what her motives would be I can’t imagine. She is definitely very smart.     
“I’ll call my security firm and authorize more help and make sure they give you full cooperation. I also know there are police who do off-duty
security. If you need to go that way, do it. I’ll see there’s money available. Give Cait a hug for me and I’ll see you soon.”     

Rob called with tentative meeting dates. Marthe called concerned about Cory. AJ called concerned about plans for the clinic. Caroline called
concerned about me, just me. That was refreshing.     

Aunt Carrie called from Chicago, concerned about Marnie.     
“She won’t listen to me anymore at all. She’s become an arrogant brat. Modeling has gone to her head. I don’t think she’s using drugs or
alcohol. I haven’t seen it but then I don’t go out with her to clubs and she sure does go to clubs. A lot. Mostly with other young girls as far
as I can tell. I’m too old for this, Anna. I’ll stick with her through Paris fashion week but I can’t do more than that.”     

“That’s more than I ever thought you should do, Carrie. She’s a grownup. If she’s messing up her life, she’ll have to face her own consequences and we can’t rescue her. I’ll make a try at reaching her when we get to Paris. If I can’t, well, then, we’ll both just have to let go. An Alanon motto: 'Let go and let god.'     

“Carrie, I want you to come with me to Switzerland. I need some coaching in being rich. I haven’t the faintest idea how to move in those circles and you at least have some experience. Want to come?”     

“Oh, I’d love that! I want to see that chalet on Lake Como in Italy. I’m taking you shopping in Paris too.”     
“Italy? Lake Como’s in Italy? I never even thought of that, or even looked it up. Oh dear! I have so much to learn. I’d better call the travel agency for us instead of having Cait do it. If I don’t do anything else, I want to find out more about Conrad’s life there. It’s my greatest regret that I didn’t do that while he was alive.”     
“You didn’t know Lake Como’s in Italy? Oh, dear god! You must take me. You are so unsophisticated. And yes, I bet there’s a very fascinating
story to be found behind that oh-so-cool exterior Conrad always used.”     
Carrie sounded almost as if she was purring. I could just picture her
patting her perfectly arranged white hair and plotting out a French-Swiss-Italian sweep through Europe.     

As I finished that call, Ramon entered my office, which I had created out of one of the upstairs bedrooms.     

“So we have two nights left together.”  He barely whispered that as he faced out the window that overlooked the north side of the garden. In four days at most, I would be thousands of mile north in a land he could not even picture, that he had never seen.     

I rose and walked behind him and put my arms around him.     
“No, what we have will be for all our lives. I could not ever forget this love we have, never forget what it is like to live inside you and have you live inside me. I have seen people who love each other deeply but I have never seen any couple who even appear to have this. Maybe there are such lovers, but…”     

He turned and put his arms around me too.     

“Es verdad. Es verdad. Our love is a very great love. We cannot be separated. Come. We will waste no time.”     

We went to the room of mirrors and undressed each other, and sank into each other’s ecstasy again and again