Livye said, "And devil's smile."
"And pure heart," Sara added. I pretended to retch.
"He said he's not serious about May," Eleanor said. "Also, he intends to phone you."
"He already has."
"But you haven't said yes yet."
"I'm booked up 'til fall," I said, and it was true; between the college boys who'd so far avoided military service and the flood of officers come to train at Montgomery's new military installations, I had more male attention than I knew what to do with.
Sara took my hand. "If you like him, you shouldn't wait. They might ship out any day, you know."
"Yes," Eleanor agreed. "It might be now or never."
I pulled my hand from Sara's and lifted another pile of fabric from the basket behind us. "There's a war, in case you haven't heard. It might end up being now and then never. So what's the use?"
Eleanor said, "That hasn't stopped you from seeing a military man before. He's awfully handsome. "
"He is that. When he phones again, maybe I'll"
"Chatter later, ladies," Mrs. Baker scolded as she strolled by, hands clasped behind her back, bosom straining forward like a warship's prow. "Important though your affairs may be, our brave young men would appreciate your giving their welfare more speed and attention."
When Mrs. Baker was past, I tilted my head and put my forearm to my eyes, mouthing, "Oh! The shame of it!" as if I were Mary Pickford herself.
Excerpted from Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler. Copyright © 2013 by Therese Fowler. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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