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Книга The Godfather. Страница 95

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“I never meant to do that,” Kay said. “It’s just that nobody told me how badly they hurt you.”

Michael laughed and touched the broken side of his face. “You mean this? That’s nothing. Just gives me sinus trouble. Now that I’m home I’ll probably get it fixed. I couldn’t write you or anything,” Michael said. “You have to understand that before anything else.”

“OK,” she said.

“I’ve got a place in the city,” Michael said. “Is it all right if we go there or should it be dinner and drinks at a restaurant?”

“I’m not hungry,” Kay said.

They drove toward New York in silence for a while. “Did you get your degree?” Michael asked.

“Yes,” Kay said. “I’m teaching grade school in my hometown now. Did they find the man who really killed the policeman, is that why you were able to come home?”

For a moment Michael didn’t answer. “Yes, they did,” he said. “It was in all the New York papers. Didn’t you read about it?”

Kay laughed with the relief of him denying he was a murderer. “We only get The New York Times up in our town,” she said. “I guess it was buried back in page eighty-nine. If I’d read about it I’d have called your mother sooner.” She paused and then said, “It’s funny, the way your mother used to talk, I almost believed you had done it. And just before you came, while we were drinking coffee, she told me about that crazy man who confessed.”

Michael said, “Maybe my mother did believe it at first.”

“Your own mother?” Kay asked.

Michael grinned. “Mothers are like cops. They always believe the worst.”

Michael parked the car in a garage on Mulberry Street where the owner seemed to know him. He took Kay around the corner to what looked like a fairly decrepit brownstone house which fitted into the rundown neighborhood. Michael had a key to the front door and when they went inside Kay saw that it was as expensively and comfortably furnished as a millionaire’s town house. Michael led her to the upstairs apartment which consisted of an enormous living room, a huge kitchen and door that led to the bedroom. In one corner of the living room was a bar and Michael mixed them both a drink. They sat on a sofa together and Michael said quietly, “We might as well go into the bedroom.” Kay took a long pull from her drink and smiled at him. “Yes,” she said.

For Kay the lovemaking was almost like it had been before except that Michael was rougher, more direct, not as tender as he had been. As if he were on guard against her. But she didn’t want to complain. It would wear off. In a funny way, men were more sensitive in a situation like this, she thought. She had found making love to Michael after a two-year absence the most natural thing in the world. It was as if he had never been away.

“You could have written me, you could have trusted me,” she said, nestling against his body. “I would have practiced the New England omerta. Yankees are pretty closemouthed too, you know.”

Michael laughed softly in the darkness. “I never figured you to be waiting,” he said. “I never figured you to wait after what happened.”

Kay said quickly, “I never believed you killed those two men. Except maybe when your mother seemed to think so. But I never believed it in my heart. I know you too well.”

She could hear Michael give a sigh. “It doesn’t matter whether I did or not,” he said. “You have to understand that.”

Kay was a little stunned by the coldness in his voice. She said, “So just tell me now, did you or didn’t you?”

Michael sat up on his pillow and in the darkness a light flared as he got a cigarette going. “If I asked you to marry me, would I have to answer that question first before you’d give me an answer to mine?”

Kay said, “I don’t care, I love you, I don’t care. If you loved me you wouldn’t be afraid to tell me the truth. You wouldn’t be afraid I might tell the police. That’s it, isn’t it? You’re really a gangster then, isn’t that so? But I really don’t care. What I care about is that you obviously don’t love me. You didn’t even call me up when you got back home.”

Michael was puffing on his cigarette and some burning ashes fell on Kay’s bare back. She flinched a little and said jokingly, “Stop torturing me, I won’t talk.”

Michael didn’t laugh. His voice sounded absentminded. “You know, when I came home I wasn’t that glad when I saw my family, my father, my mother, my sister Connie, and Tom. It was nice but I didn’t really give a damn. Then I came home tonight and saw you in the kitchen and I was glad. Is that what you mean by love?”

“That’s close enough for me,” Kay said.

They made love again for a while. Michael was more tender this time. And then he went out to get them both a drink. When he came back he sat on an armchair facing the bed. “Let’s get serious,” he said. “How do you feel about marrying me?” Kay smiled at him and motioned him into the bed. Michael smiled back at her. “Be serious,” he said. “I can’t tell you about anything that happened. I’m working for my father now. I’m being trained to take over the family olive oil business. But you know my family has enemies, my father has enemies. You might be a very young widow, there’s a chance, not much of one, but it could happen. And I won’t be telling you what happened at the office every day. I won’t be telling you anything about my business. You’ll be my wife but you won’t be my partner in life, as I think they say. Not an equal partner. That can’t be.”

Kay sat up in bed. She switched on a huge lamp standing on the night table and then she lit a cigarette. She leaned back on the pillows and said quietly, “You’re telling me you’re a gangster, isn’t that it? You’re telling me that you’re responsible for people being killed and other sundry crimes related to murder. And that I’m not ever to ask about that part of your life, not even to think about it. Just like in the horror movies when the monster asks the beautiful girl to marry him.” Michael grinned, the cracked part of his face turned toward her, and Kay said in contrition, “Oh, Mike, I don’t even notice that stupid thing, I swear I don’t.”

“I know,” Michael said laughing. “I like having it now except that it makes the snot drip out of my nose.”

“You said be serious,” Kay went on. “If we get married what kind of a life am I supposed to lead? Like your mother, like an Italian housewife with just the kids and home to take care of? And what about if something happens? I suppose you could wind up in jail someday.”

“No, that’s not possible,” Michael said. “Killed, yes; jail, no.”

Kay laughed at this confidence, it was a laugh that had a funny mixture of pride with its amusement. “But how can you say that?” she said. “Really.”

Michael sighed. “These are all the things I can’t talk to you about, I don’t want to talk to you about.”

Kay was silent for a long time. “Why do you want me to marry you after never calling me all these months? Am I so good in bed?”

Michael nodded gravely. “Sure,” he said. “But I’m getting it for nothing so why should I marry you for that? Look, I don’t want an answer now. We’re going to keep seeing each other. You can talk it over with your parents. I hear your father is a real tough guy in his own way. Listen to his advice.”

“You haven’t answered why, why you want to marry me,” Kay said.

Michael took a white handkerchief from the drawer of the night table and held it to his nose. He blew into it and then wiped. “There’s the best reason for not marrying me,” he said. “How would that be having a guy around who always has to blow his nose?”

Kay said impatiently, “Come on, be serious, I asked you a question.”

Michael held the handkerchief in his hand. “OK,” he said, “this one time. You are the only person I felt any affection for, that I care about. I didn’t call you because it never occurred to me that you’d still be interested in me after everything that’s happened. Sure, I could have chased you, I could have conned you, but I didn’t want to do that. Now here’s something I’ll trust you with and I don’t want you to repeat it even to your father. If everything goes right, the Corleone Family will be completely legitimate in about five years. Some very tricky things have to be done to make that possible. That’s when you may become a wealthy widow. Now what do I want you for? Well, because I want you and I want a family. I want kids; it’s time. And I don’t want those kids to be influenced by me the way I was influenced by my father. I don’t mean my father deliberately influenced me. He never did. He never even wanted me in the family business. He wanted me to become a professor or a doctor, something like that. But things went bad and I had to fight for my Family. I had to fight because l love and admire my father. I never knew a man more worthy of respect. He was a good husband and a good father and a good friend to people who were not so fortunate in life. There’s another side to him, but that’s not relevant to me as his son. Anyway I don’t want that to happen to our kids. I want them to be influenced by you. I want them to grow up to be All-American kids, real All-American, the whole works. Maybe they or their grandchildren will go into politics.” Michael grinned. “Maybe one of them will be President of the United States. Why the hell not? In my history course at Dartmouth we did some background on all the Presidents and they had fathers and grandfathers who were lucky they didn’t get hanged. But I’ll settle for my kids being doctors or musicians or teachers. They’ll never be in the Family business. By the time they are that old I’ll be retired anyway. And you and I will be part of some country club crowd, the good simple life of well-to-do Americans. How dote that strike you for a proposition?”

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