CHAPTER THREE

Twenty four hours later, Peter Havistock was on television.

"For the benefit of those in our audience." Harry King, the talk show host on CNN said, "who do not remember the thrilling story that began a dozen years ago - tonight's program is going to prove that truth is stranger than fiction. I'm going to ask my guest, Dr. Peter Havistock, to tell us how he survived the plane crash that killed his parents in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. And all that's happened to him since."

"Fourteen years," his guest across the table said. The anthropologist was dressed, not in the native Antorok garb of his lecture tour, but in a well-tailored blue suit and white shirt and tie that set off his deep tan and sun-streaked hair. He spoke with an engaging, slightly Australian accent. "It doesn't seem like it now, Harry, but it was fourteen years ago that my family's Cessna went down in the mountains of the Central Range. I was fourteen years old at the time."

The TV host, who always interviewed his guests, from kings and presidents to Mother Theresa, in folksy shirtsleeves and suspenders, nodded. "So, that would make you twenty eight now."

Havistock flashed him a smile. "Actually, just going on twenty-nine. About the plane crash - to give my dad credit, he was a very good pilot, but he liked taking risks. My Mum, too. They liked to get away from university, work in the bush on challenging sites. That particular trip we were headed for our house in Wewak on the north coast of Papua. Instead of hopping along the shoreline, passing over Salamaua and Madang and other towns, Dad decided to save time by cutting inland, over the mountain ranges. We we started having engine trouble and my mother just had time to grab up my Dad's bush jacket and throw it over my head and shoulders. The jacket cushioned some of the impact when we went down. I was only shaken up, but my parents were killed."

Harry King was silent for a moment. Then he said, "It was a single engine plane, and you were flying over the rain forest?"

"Yes, it was a Cessna 186."

On the other side of a glass screen that separated the small CNN audience from the studio where Harry King was interviewing Peter Havistock, Brent Hall-Grumman leaned over to whisper to Leslie, "You see? Everything's going fine, there's nothing to worry about. Damn, I wish I'd called Tim van Doren, he could be filling in for me now." Brent lifted his wristwatch and squinted at it in the studio's gloom. "I know you don't like Tim, Leslie, but I think it should be obvious you don't need help with Havistock. Look, he's not taking his clothes off in front of Harry King, is he?"

"Very funny," Leslire whispered back.

"I'm missing The West Wing," he complained, "I always watch it with Heather and little Tory. I hope Heather remembered to tape it."

Silently Leslie hoped the family VCR tape machine at the Hall-Grumman household would succumb to spontaneous combustion and become a smoldering ruin of melted plastic, but she whispered, "The interview's not over - anything can happen, you just don't know how he is. I was at Brown and Yale, remember? Oh, how I wish we could turn this whole lecture tour with Havistock over to a public relations firm! It would be so much easier to have him escorted by one of those media types who talk about 'packaging' and 'spin.' If - "

At that moment an account executive from CNN sitting behind them made a shushing noise, and Leslie subsided. It was useless, anyway, to talk to Brent; he and her brother had evidently made up their minds that the anthropologist and his book tour were just dandy.

"Yes, the Central Range," Peter Havistock was saying to Harry King. "There's hundreds of miles of mountains covered with rain forest in the center of Papua New Guinea, it's some of the most beautiful country in the world. But when our Cessna crashed I had no idea where we were. I tried to get my mother and father out of the wreckage - I kept thinking that at any moment the plane might catch fire, but that never happened. Finally I gave up. I could see they were both dead."

Harry King shook his head. "Your parents were dead, and there you were, a fourteen year-old boy alone in the middle of the jungle. What were your reactions to this terrible situation?"

Peter Havistock grimaced. "I remember I wanted to cry, but at fourteen you want to try not do things like that. Besides, I was in shock. I had cuts on my arms and hands, and they were bleeding. I remember just sitting on the wing - the right wing of the airplane was broken off - wondering how I was going to get out of there. The next thing I knew four small brown men came out of the jungle, they just seemed to melt out from the trees, and stood staring at me. It turned out they were members of the Antorok tribe that would eventually adopt me - although for a minute there a couple of them debated whether I might be some sort of demon, or ghost. They are very afraid of ghosts - and wondered whether it would be better to kill me on the spot. One thing against me was my color, which they considered very unnatural. Fortunately, the Antoroks decided that since I had fallen from the sky I must be a god. The Antoroks have lots of gods who inhabit rivers, ponds, and the forest, and they're also animals like birds and lizards. They decided I must be one of the gods of the sky."

"Fascinating," Harry King said, shaking his head again. "What did the Antoroks do then?"

"Well, they carried the bodies of my mother and dad back to their village so that they could give them a proper burial ceremony, since they were, of course, sky gods. The Antoroks then had a feast that lasted for days. As for me, the elders decided I was too old to go live in a hut with the women and children, so I was taken in with the men in the long house."

"Ah, the long house." Harry King nodded. "That's where the tribe's adult males live, right?"

"Yes, Antorok males live in the long house from puberty on. When a man marries, that is when he decides to take a wife, he sets up a hut for her. And for the children, of course, when they arrive. He has to spend some time there in order to procreate, but his main dwelling place is with the other adult men in the tribal long house. It's actually a males-only turf. By the way, many of the tribes in the eastern part of the island of Papua New Guinea have the same societal pattern - the adult males living in the long house separate from the women and children. When they settled in the hidden valley, the Antoroks carried on a way of life they already knew."

"Fascinating, fascinating," Harry King nodded. "Now, this is where your book begins, right?" The TV host held up a volume with a yellow and green dust cover so the camera could get a close up. "This is the title? Determining Anthropological And Developmental Social Factors Among Papua New Guinea Aborgines Of The Antorok Valley? If you don't mind my saying so - " Here he laughed. " - this is not the sort of book title that gives you a clue as to what's inside - not even the fantastic way you're publicizing it. But we'll get to that later. I had a chance to read some parts last night, and I want to tell you it unfolds like best-selling fiction. It tells the story of a prep school boy being raised in the jungle by a New Guinea Stone Age tribe, allowed only to live in this sort of communal house - "

"The title," Peter Havistock interrupted, "is from my doctoral dissertation. My observations of the Antoroks are based on my mother and father's work with southeast Asian and Oceanic tribes, I salvaged a lot of their notes from the airplane. Then I had six years' work on site in the Antorok long house training to be a warrior and a hunter, learning their folklore and rituals, making bows and arrows, spears - "

"And fighting," Harry King put in, "you mustn't leave that part out. Didn't I read that after your initiation as a warrior you took part in actual raiding parties?"

"Well, it was a modified type of warfare. Since the Antorok villages in the valley are all cousins there's nobody else to fight with." He paused. "I wasn't in favor of constant warring. Trying to get the Antorok to give up headhunting was a major undertaking, I don't think it's all stamped out no matter what assurances the other chiefs keep giving me.

"Anyway," he continued, "on my twentieth birthday I decided it was time for me to try to get out to the outside world, to hike over the mountains and down to the Sepik River if I could manage it, using the compass I got out of the wreckage of my parents' Cessna."

"In your book," Harry King said, "you emphasize how isolated the Stone Age Antorok tribe has been - probably, you estimate, for over fifteen hundred years or more. Why haven't they tried to get out of their valley before this?"

"That's a good question. First of all let me clarify one thing. All the interior tribes of Papua New Guinea were Stone Age people when they were first discovered, just as the American Indians were when the first white men discovered North America, or the aborigines of Australia were when that continent was settled. The Antoroks, having made the journey into their hidden valley over a thousand years ago, didn't have any real motivation to make contact again with the outside. One reason not to make contact was that in doing so, other newcomers might start wars over the land the Antoroks felt was theirs, a fear that was probably justified. So they just sat tight. After a while the chiefs and tribal elders developed songs and myths about terrible man-eating ghosts and demons that lived over the mountains that would prey on anybody who strayed out of Antorok territory. When I fell in on them, literally out of the sky, I precipitated a major event in tribal history. I knew I was going to change everything. It was inevitable. Besides, for most of my teen years I was happy growing up in the long house and training to be a primitive hunter and warrior, living a life that many teenage boys could only dream about. I existed in an all-male, incredibly macho world, and as long as I didn't break any tribal rules I could do pretty much as I pleased. In fact, I felt challenged to be the best in everything: the best hunter, the best dancer, the best storyteller, and of course the strongest and the bravest."

Harry King laughed. "And were you?"

Peter Havistock shook his head. "Well, not always. For one thing, I never could master hunting skills like my peer group. Boys younger than I could beat me all hollow at tracking. It seemed they could just slip through the forest like shadows. But I held my own in spear throwing, and I was tops with bow and arrow, and eventually I got the title of number one junior warrior. When I turned seventeen I was ready to compete with the top men in the tribe."

"Interesting, very interesting. Was this before or after you decided to find a way out of the Antoroks' hidden valley?"

Peter Havistock fixed the talk show host with a steady gaze. "Harry, when I decided to find a way out of the valley I was twenty, and I had been declared paramount chief over all the Antorok clans for six months. I had also found out what they expected of me. You see, the tribe reasoned I had come from the sky and was not one of them, but I was probably there for a purpose. Even though I had been top warrior of the younger boys, and elected chief over all the minor chiefs, they decided not to let me pick a wife like the other young men I'd been raised with."

"Now wait a minute," Harry King interrupted. "Let me get this straight. You were living with the other young - er, males - in the Antorok long house, and when the time came for your group to select brides, you were told you couldn't do it? Is that in your book?"

The anthropologist grinned. "Harry, I'm surprised you missed that part. But yes, that's what happened. Everyone else in my warrior group got married - but I didn't."

Harry King looked puzzled. "You didn't? Now wait a minute, you mean there were no other - " He paused again. "I mean, picking a bride was the only way to - "

Peter Havistock kept smiling. "No, I didn't. And if I read your meaning correctly, picking a bride was the 'only way,' yes."

The talk show host was incredulous. "You mean all this time you'd been raised with the men of the tribe and you'd never - "

"We talked about it," Peter Havistock said, "we all did. And pretty extensively, too, it was considered part of our education. Believe me, there's plenty of time to sit around and discuss things in a Papua New Guinea long house full of aboriginal males. And of course the older men contributed the wisdom of their experience. In fact, in long house discussions, sex was the second most popular topic."

There was a silence for a long moment. "What," Harry King finally managed, "was the first most popular topic?"

"Headhunting."

The producer of Harry King Live was waving at them frantically behind the control room glass window. Harry King gathered himself together enough to say, "We have to break for commercials right now, but when we return we're going to take your telephone calls, ladies and gentlemen, and find out the rest of this truly - truly - fantastic story!"

Outside in the studio the large TV monitor switched to commercials with the sound turned off, and Brent stood up.

"I'm going to go," he told Leslie, "I'm really anxious to get home to Heather and little Tory and see the rest of The West Wing." He peered at his wristwatch again. "If I hurry I still have a chance to make it."

"Wait, don't go!" Leslie cried, grabbing him. "Didn't you hear what that idiot just said? Peter Havistock was raised in the Antorok long house and they wouldn't let him have sex! Brent, he's doing it again! Trying to make news headlines - and get on more TV and everything!"

Brent disengaged her clutch on the bottom of his suit jacket. "I heard him, so what? Leslie, darling you're jumping at every shadow - making mountains out of molehills. Will you stop? Havistock isn't fomenting some sort of plot to make life complicated for you - good God, you take everything so personally! I told you, he's just promoting his book. Can't you get that through your head?"

"Will you two shut up?" the CNN executive said behind them. He got up out of his seat, slamming it as he did so, and moved several places away.

"Look, Leslie dear," Brent continued, picking up his coat, "Havistock's certainly had some sex since he walked out of the Antorok Valley. Any right-thinking male would make getting laid his first priority as soon as he hit civilization. So don't worry about it."

"I'm not worried about his not having had sex," Leslie burst out, "what I mean is what he's saying right now, on television! He's trying to - "

At that moment the show's commercials ended and the sound of the voices from the inner studio came back on the television monitor, accompanied by the images of Harry King and his guest. "I really have to go," Brent whispered loudly. "You don't need me, both of you are headed back to your rooms at the Plaza, aren't you? You can catch a cab."

"Now our guest, Dr. Peter Havistock," the voice of Harry King blared, "was just saying that he lived in the all-male long house of the Antorok tribe in Papua New Guinea for six years, from the age of fourteen until the age of twenty, training to be a warrior and a hunter, and that eventually all the young men of his age group were allowed to marry, but he wasn't. Explain to me, doctor, why was that?"

The anthropologist fixed his eyes on a spot just over the CNN talk show host's head. "Harry, I worked my way up to become paramount chief over all the minor Antorok chiefs, but the tribal council didn't overlook the fact that I was not, after all, one of them. And even though there were eligible young females who indicated that they wouldn't mind choosing me for their mate, there was no ignoring that I was an outsider. That had been important from the beginning. Most of the leaders had changed their minds about my being a sky god after I told them about the world beyond the valley, about airplanes and ocean liners, movies and television and computers and other elements of our modern society. And they had come to the conclusion that the Antoroks had to join the rest of the world, that they couldn't hide out in their valley forever. So the council decided I was the person to help them make the transition. They certainly didn't want me to marry into the tribe and settle down."

Harry King leaned forward, his elbows on the table. "Hah, so the Antoroks knew you were going to hike over the mountains and find a way out?"

"They were very much in favor of it. They were counting on my not getting lost or bitten by poisonous snakes and managing to complete the trip successfully, because they had given me a sacred mission. The purpose of my trip was voted on by the tribal council before I left. Actually," he said, looking thoughtful, "it was a very socially advanced way of doing things. To decide the future of the tribe like that."

"The tribe let you go because you had a mission? You mean, they wanted you to help bring them into the Twenty-First century, these people who had raised you since you were fourteen, right?"

"That's it exactly. The Antoroks wanted to me to make to make contact with the government, or with some school since I wanted to continue my education, and act as chief for them in everything that happened after that."

"And they wanted you to come back."

"They were counting on it. But first it took me two weeks to get through the mountain passes and down to the river, where I found a Lutheran missionary station. I spent almost a month there at the missionaries' school using the short wave radio to talk with the Papua New Guinea officials in Port Moresby about the Antoroks. Then with the university, setting up correspondence courses with them so I could get my secondary school diploma and then do the college curriculum. You know Harry, if I might take a minute here, I'd like to say although I was in another, forgotten world up there in the valley of the Antoroks, it's important to note the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is a modern nation with a national parliament, still a part of the United Kingdom with Queen Elizabeth as the nominal head of state. The folks at the University of Papua New Guinea were thrilled when I contacted them and told them I had been living up in the Central Range with an undiscovered Stone Age people. And that I intended to get my high school diploma and do college work and begin a broad-based anthropological study of the Antoroks. Just as my parents would have done."

"And this," Harry King said, lifting the book and brandishing it for the benefit of the cameras, "is the product of all that work."

The anthropologist nodded. "I returned to live there for eight more years. During that time I finished up my education, making trips out periodically to the upper Sepik to visit my friends at the Lutheran mission and to pick up my correspondence courses. After that, I wrote my dissertation on the Antoroks for my graduate work. My advisor at the university in Port Moresby liked the dissertation so much he interested an Australian publisher in it. The dissertation was entitled, as you know, Determining Anthropological And Developmental Social Factors Among Papua New Guinea Aborigines Of The Antorok Valley. When the book came out it sold so well in Australia that an American publisher picked it up. Then it zoomed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Where it's been for the past two months."

"Hah! Any interest in it from Hollywood?"

"Not yet. Frankly, I can't see it as a film."

Harry King shook his head. "You'd be surprised, doctor - it's a great story. But I want to go back to one thing and I'm going to be quick, because we already have a lot of calls coming in. For eight more years you lived in the long house with the adult males of the tribe, but you weren't married. What was your status? Did you strike up a romantic interest in any of the young tribal ladies?"

"No, I'm still not married." When he smiled, Dr. Havistock showed admirable white teeth. "And there are only couples at the missionary station, so there were no prospects there. Also, I'm under an oath as acting paramount chief to marry according to the wishes of the tribe the way any Antorok chief is expected to do. And I respect that. I do literally owe them my life, after all."

"You mean," Harry King said, his voice rising a little, "you went back to live eight more years with the Antoroks and do this anthropological study - "

"It was the chance of a lifetime," Peter Havistock said . "My advisor at the university agreed with me."

" - and you were still living in the long house with the other men? The same way as before? With no - "

"We don't have to mince words," the other said, looking the host straight in the eye. "I believe the term is still 'a virgin.' "

Harry King's elbows slipped off the table and for a moment he was completely off balance. When he righted himself he croaked, "You are - are - "

His voice trailed away.

"One of the conditions of my leaving the Antoroks' valley this time," Peter Havistock went on, "was that I would also arrange - at long last - for a marriage with one of my own birth people. Preferably someone high up in the government on a level with my own position as top Antorok chief, with lots of prestige. A good-looking lady, the council hopes, with considerable status in her own right, and worth at least forty two pigs."

Harry King's jaw dropped.

"Now that I have the work with the Antoroks well under way, and my book is a best-seller, I have the tribe's permission to start looking. Which I am doing."

The talk show host was still staring at his guest. In front of him the telephone console that received incoming calls for Harry King Live was jammed with blinking lights. In the control room the production team waved their hands frantically to get Harry King's attention. Answer the phones, the director mouthed through the glass.

"Doctor," the talk show host sputtered, "let me get this right. You're a - a - you've never had - n--not even a romantic liaison with one of the - er, tribal ladies?"

"Absolutely not, Harry. There is no such thing as hanky panky among the Antoroks. It might have been different fifteen hundred years ago, but the penalty now for the transgression is to be sentenced to being slowly roasted alive. Extramarital sex seems to have completely died out."

Harry King reached for the telephone console. 'I'm sorry, doctor, I'm being told our lines are jammed, so we're going to have to answer some of these calls. It seems a lot of women would like to talk to you."

In the audience area behind the plate glass window, Leslie was already out of her seat, standing with her hands to her mouth in something like horrified disbelief. Host Harry King had produced a copy of the infamous photograph of Dr. Peter Havistock in his Antorok warrior dress - or undress - taken at Brown University, that had been given widespread coverage in the national media. Now he held it up to the television cameras at the same time Dr. Peter Havistock explained to a caller from South Dakota how the long knife that he was brandishing in the picture was used by Antorok hunters both as a throwing and a stabbing weapon. The caller wasn't very interested in weapons. She wanted to know if the all the real Antoroks were as cute and well-built as their current paramount chief. And if Dr. Havistock got cold standing around on stages in colleges dressed like that.

Suddenly the door to the audience area opened, sending a shaft of light into the room. A young woman with a clipboard crossed the row of seats in front of Leslie and whispered, "Excuse me, are you with Harry King's guest tonight, Dr. Havistock?"

Leslie nodded, numbly. She was watching as a caller from Van Nuys California wanted to know if Professor Havistock would be interested in a blonde and slender party girl, loves to shop, play bridge and do Las Vegas, and has an independent income.

"Could you step outside for a moment?" The young woman with the clipboard took Leslie by the arm and guided her through the studio gloom toward the door marked EXIT. "I'm Casey Feingold," she was saying, "assistant producer of the Harry King show. I think we have to go over some details about getting you out of here after the broadcast."

"What do you mean?" Leslie allowed herself to be steered into a brightly lighted hallway. "Dr. Havistock and I came over in a cab, I thought we'd take another cab - "

"No, no, no," the young woman with the clipboard interrupted. "You don't understand. We seem to have a slight security problem. There's a crowd of women gathering at the entrance to the building on 56th Street. They all want to see Dr. Havistock when he leaves. I'm afraid you'll have a tough time catching a taxi. You'll probably be mobbed."

'Mobbed?" Leslie goggled. "Women? A crowd of women?"

The other nodded,. "Yes, it's a response to the show tonight. Especially Dr. Havistock's photograph. Hundreds of women are gathering in the street outside to meet him."

Leslie stared. "How can they do that - so - so quickly! I mean gather in a crowd outside. Good heavens, Dr. Havistock's still on the air, answering telephone calls in there!"

The CNN assistant producer shrugged. " Bars - restaurants - the CNN news building is in the middle of Manhattan, we're surrounded by people. Look," she said tersely, "your guy has only a minute and a half of air time left before Harry King closes the show, so we have to move fast. We'd like to suggest - oh, there he is." The assistant producer waved in the direction of a CNN uniformed security guard, who had just materialized outside the door to the television studio. "Okay, we'd like to suggest that you leave by the back way. CNN will have cameras covering the mob in front, but I'm informed there's the insurance thing. We can't have anything happen to our guest on the premises."

"Insurance?" Leslie saw the CNN security guard holding a cell phone to his ear, apparently coordinating moves with someone in another section of the building. "Yes, I guess - " she said, uncertainly. "If there's a mob of - ah, women, I suppose going out the back way would be best."

It took a few minutes to get Peter Havistock out of the studio after the Harry King show was over. Mainly because one of the camera operators and a lighting technician blocked his way, wanting to give him their telephone numbers. Then Leslie, Peter Havistoc, guide Casey Feingold and the CNN security guard had to run for the freight elevators as three women from the cleaning squad on the 17th floor ran down the stairs to intercept them. The elevator doors closed just in time.

Leslie slumped against the wall, breathing hard. "I can't believe we're doing this," she panted. "I can't believe a Wimberly Foundation lecturer is actually being hunted down like an animal! Every woman in New York must have been listening to that dratted show!"

"Harry King has the highest ratings in this time period for any cable talk show," the assistant director said stiffly as she punched the button that said Ground Floor. "Millions were watching tonight."

Peter Havistock had been shoved between Casey Feingold and the uniformed security guard, who was still giving orders over his cell phone. "Well, this has been quite an exit," he observed, cheerfully. "Going out in a hurry, are we? I gather the interview was quite a success."

It was too much; Leslie's frayed nerves gave way. "You might have known this would happen!" she screamed. "Did you give Harry King that photograph of you doing your naked costume bit at Brown? Oh, that was low - cheap and really low! How could you do such a thing? At least you could have the courtesy to let the Foundation know when you're going to publicize your damned book at any cost!"

The moment the words were out of her mouth Leslie knew her ex-husband had been right when he said that she always waited until it was too late to put her foot down. The damage was done. Casey Feingold was staring at her as though she had just lost her mind, and the CNN security guard had paused, frowning, in his ongoing telephone conversation.

It was too late, because Peter Havistock had topped all his past performances by announcing on CNN's Harry King Live that he was still a 'virgin.' And if that wasn't outrageous enough, he'd announced that he was in the United States now to look, among other things, for a wife! Combined with the nearly-naked photograph of him in all his admittedly impressive male virility, no wonder women were rushing down to maul him!

The freight elevator reached the ground floor and jolted to a stop. Almost immediately the CNN security guard alerted them. "Situation not good. We've got women coming down Fifty Seventh Street looking for the back entrance. Which is where we're headed."

"No matter," the assistant producer cried. She grabbed Leslie's arm and steered them at a trot down the corridor. "Those women might get rough if they're excited. It's best you make a run for it."

"Wait," Leslie cried. "We want to catch a cab, remember? I'm not sure even where we are!"

"I'll call a cab for you," the security guard told them, redialing his cell phone. "Try to make a break for Broadway."

They reached the glass doors of the rear entrance to the CNN building and burst out onto the sidewalk. The reports of a crowd searching for the back entrance of the building had been correct: A swelling group of women a few doors down saw them, and immediately broke into excited cries. They started toward them.

"Broadway's that way," the assistant producer shouted, giving Leslie a shove. "Get going, we'll hold them off!"

"Good work!" Peter Havistock cried. He took Leslie's hand. "Let's go!"

Unfortunately, Leslie was in high heels and a black Armani suit with a tight skirt. Running to Broadway was almost impossible; they barely got as far as a freight-delivery alley that was so dark they couldn't see the end of it.

For a moment Peter Havistock hesitated, then dragged Leslie in after him. A huge dumpster loomed in the blackness.

"Into the dumpster!" the anthropologist cried. 'I'll give you a boost!"

"No! No!" Leslie could barely speak, she was so out of breath. They could hear police sirens in the distance, the NYPD likely responding to CNN appeals for mob control. "Not into the dumpster, you idiot! Homeless people sleep in there all the time and garbage trucks pick them up, grind them up, and kill them!" She pushed him in the chest with both hands. "Go around the back! Quick, slide down behind it!"

In the almost pitch darkness of the alley they groped their way between the steel outlines of the giant garbage container and a cement wall. It was a tight squeeze. Leslie stepped on Havistock's foot, then a moment later stumbled and felt herself jerked against him.

"Oh, I dropped my purse," she managed. "It's down at my feet, I can't reach it!"

"Leave it, you can get it later."

A number of police cars had collected somewhere nearby. Above the noise of the sirens they could hear women's loud voices.

Pressed against him, Leslie realized that for all the excitement and the mad sprint down 57th Street and into the alley, Peter Havistock was not even breathing hard. He was solid muscle; she could tell because she was intimately pressed against him from collarbone to hip. His left elbow was somewhat uncomfortably jammed into her side, but other than that he was warm and in some mysterious way projecting everything he did on the lecture platform wearing his Bird of Paradise jock strap. He might not be even breathing hard, but her heart was suddenly pounding.

Leslie moved her head, carefully, and looked up. Dr. Peter Havistock was several inches taller, over six feet, and a beam of blue light from a passing police car gilded his tanned face, blue eyes and fair hair.

He looked down at her. "You wouldn't consider marrying me, would you?" he said huskily.

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