“I just don’t know if I can believe you.”

And she hasn’t spent a night at the beach since that Sunday. Oh, he’d spent time in the city since then, but it wasn’t the same as it had once been. When he was in town she was so distant as to make him feel isolated in his own apartment even though he thought spending more time in the city would defuse her accusations.

Then there was this morning’s surprise note that she might make it out to the beach for the night and take a bus back later the next day. After reading today’s newspaper story a part of him would prefer if she didn’t come today. Still, if it means she wants to be with him, then it’ll be well worth it. Maybe today will be different. If she does come out we’ll do something special. Something to pull him out of his funk over the foreign bribery mess and maybe begin to repair things between them. A quiet dinner tomorrow in the garden room at the American Hotel would work. He makes a mental note to book a table and sips from the small complimentary water bottle the attendant distributed during the first minutes of the trip.

“Excuse me, but is the East Hampton beach near the bus stop?”

The voice comes from just behind him. He turns. The pink and white dress has moved from some seat in the back and now stands in the aisle. One arm stretches above to hold the railing under the storage bins. The pose is almost erotic in its effect. The pitch of the voice is low and throaty. He detects some accent, something European.  Somehow he thinks of rushing water. He gathers himself into speech.

“It’s not too close, but you can get a taxi to take you there, but the weather doesn’t look too promising for the beach.”