Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

Brian held me and patted my back, then said, ‘Stop that infernal blubbering. Can't stand a woman's tears. Makes me horny. '

I stopped crying and snuggled up close to him. Then my eyes widened. ‘Goodness! A real Sunday special. ' Brian maintained that the only effect church had on him was to arouse his passion, because he never listened to the service; he just thought about Mother Eve, who (he says) had red hair.

(I did not need to tell him that church had a similar effect on me. Every Sunday after church a ‘special' was likely to happen, once we got the children down for their naps. )

‘Now, now, my lady. Don't you want to look around your house first? '

‘I wasn't suggesting anything, Briney. I wouldn't dare do it here. Somebody might walk in. '

‘Nobody will. Didn't you notice that I bolted the front door? Maureen. .. I do believe that you didn't believe me when I said that I was giving this house to you. '

I took a deep breath, held it, let it out slowly. ‘My husband, if you tell me that the sun rises in the west, I will believe you. But I may not understand. And this time I do not understand. '

‘Let me explain. I can't really give this house to you, because it's already yours; you've paid for it. But, as a legality, title still rests in me. Sometime this coming week we'll change that, vest title in you. It is legal for a married woman to own real property in her own name in this state as long as the deed describes you as a married woman and I waive claim. .. and even that last is no ‘more than a precaution. Now as to how you bought it -‘

I bought it flat on my back, I did, ‘ringing the cash register'. The down payment was money Brian had saved while in the Army, plus money from a third mortgage his parents had accepted from him. This let him make a sizeable, down payment, with a first mortgage at the usual six per cent and a second mortgage at eight and a half per cent. The house was rented when he bought it; Brian kept the tenants, invested the rent to help pay off the mortgages.

The Howard bonus for Nancy cleared that too-expensive second mortgage; Carol's birth paid off Brian's parents. The Foundation's payment for Brian, Junior, let Brian, Senior, refinance the first mortgage down to the point where the rental income let him at last clear the property in May 1906, only six and a half years after he had assumed this huge pyramid of debt.

Briney is a gambler; I told him so.

‘Not really, ' he answered, ‘as I was betting on you, darling. And you delivered. Like clockwork. Oh, Brian junior was a little later than I expected but the plan had some flexibility in it. While I had insisted on the privilege of paying off the first mortgage ahead of time, I didn't actually have to pay it earlier than June first, 1910. But you came through like the champion you are. '

A year ago he had discussed his projected programme with his tenants; a date was agreed on; they had moved out quite amicably just the Friday past. ‘So it's yours, darling. I did not renew our lease this time; Hennessy O'Scrooge knows we are leaving. We can move out tomorrow and move in here, if this house pleases you. Or shall we sell it? '

‘Don't talk about selling our housel Briney, if this truly is your wedding present to me, then at last I can make my bride's present to you. Your kitten. '

He grinned. ‘Our kitten, you mean. Yes, I had figured that out. '

We had postponed getting a kitten because there were dogs on both sides of the little house on 26th - and one of them was a cat killer. By moving around the corner we had not gotten away from that menace.

Brian showed me around the place. It was a wonderful house: upstairs a big bathroom and a smaller one, a little bathroom downstairs adjacent to a maid's room, four bedrooms and a sleeping porch, a living-room, a parlour, a proper dining-room with a built-in china closet and a plate rail, a gas log in the parlour in what could be a fireplace for logs if the gas log was removed, a wonderful big kitchen, a formal front staircase and a convenient back staircase leading from the kitchen, privately oh, just everything and anything that a family with children could want, including a fenced back yard just right for children and pets. .. and for croquet and picnic dinners and a vegetable garden and a sand pile. I started to cry again.

‘Stop it, ' ordered Briney. ‘This one is the master bedroom. Unless you prefer another room. '

It was a fine, big, airy room, with that sleeping porch off it. The house was empty and reasonably clean (I looked forward to scrubbing every inch), but some items not worth hauling away had been left here and there.

‘Briney, that old porch swing out there has a pad on it. Would you please bring that pad in? '

‘If you wish. Why? '

‘Let's ring the cash register! '

‘Right away, Madam! Honey, I wondered how long it would take you to decide to baptise your new home. '

That pad didn't look too clean and wasn't very big, but I didn't care about trifles; it would keep my spine from being ground into the bane boards. As Briney was fetching it in and placing it on the floor, I was getting out of the last of my clothes.

He called out, ‘Hey! Leave your stockings on. '

‘Yes, sir. Right away, Mister. Aintchu gonna buy a drink first, dearie? ' Drunk with excitement, I took a deep breath and got down on my back. ‘What's your name, Mister? ' I said huskily. ‘Mine's Myrtle; I'm fertile. '

‘I'll bet you are. ' Briney finished getting out of his clothes, hung his coat on a hook behind the bathroom door and started to mount me. I reached for him. He stopped me, paused to kiss me. ‘Madam, I love you. '

‘I love you, sir. '

‘I'm pleased to hear it. Brace yourself. ' Then he said, ‘Unh! Ease off a notch. '

I relaxed a little. ‘Better? '

‘Just dandy. You're wonderful, lady mine. '

‘So are you, Briney. Now? Please! '

I started to peak almost at once, then the skyrockets took off and I was screaming and just barely conscious when I felt him let go, and I fainted.

I'm not a fainter. But I did that time.