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the possible hazards of involvement with a telepath. Hell, you couldn't get away with anything, right? Romance with Lyta Alexander? What was he thinking?

Well, that was the question, of course. What was he thinking?

He checked his watch. Exactly fifteen seconds had passed. Seemed like fifteen days. At this rate, if they were in there for five minutes, he'd die of old age.

This was ridiculous. This was just ridiculous. They were adults. She was a gorgeous woman, and he was a reasonably good-looking guy. Breath smelled okay. Long hard day, but the pits were holding up. So what's your freaking problem, Allan, he asked himself.

He looked at his watch once more. Two more seconds.

Screw it.

"Well, as long as we're not going anywhere," he told her, "I wanted to, y'know, I wanted to ask you ... do you want to go out sometime? I dunno, get some dinner, maybe catch a vid?"

She didn't answer immediately. He still didn't notice that she was talking, apparently to herself, her mouth moving but no words coming out.

He took a deep breath and pushed into the heart of what he wanted to say. "Bottom line is, I like you. I've liked you ever since you got here."

She didn't react immediately. In fact, she didn't seem to react at all. He'd half expected her to look at him in an appalled or surprised or even amused or contemptuous manner. But she was still looking straight ahead. Clearly she wanted him to say more.

"I know things have been tough for you lately, and I know I could do right by you."

He didn't like how that had sounded. It had seemed egotistical, self-aggrandizing, as if she were waiting around for some big hero like him to come along and save her from her difficulties. He backpedaled, his words picking up speed as he continued to speak until they
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