"Now for some spunk!" he said, under his breath.
Plainly he meant his merry whistle and his buoyant step to interrupt this first languorous stage of the siesta which the girls always took during the hot hours. Nell had acquired the habit long before Mercedes came to show how fixed a thing it was in the life of the tropics. But neither girl heard him. Mercedes lay under the palo verde, her beautiful head dark and still upon a cushion. Nell was asleep in the hammock. There was an abandonment in her deep repose, and a faint smile upon her face. Her sweet, red lips, with the soft, perfect curve, had always fascinated Dick, and now drew him irresistibly. He had always been consumed with a desire to kiss her, and now he was overwhelmed with his opportunity. It would be a terrible thing to do, but if she did not awaken at once-- No, he would fight the temptation. That would be more than spunk. It would-- Suddenly an ugly green fly sailed low over Nell, appeared about to alight on her. Noiselessly Dick stepped close to the hammock bent under the tree, and with a sweep of his hand chased the intruding fly away. But he found himself powerless to straighten up. He was close to her--bending over her face--near the sweet lips. The insolent, dreaming smile just parted them. Then he thought he was lost. But she stirred--he feared she would awaken.
He had stepped back erect when she opened her eyes. They were sleepy, yet surprised until she saw him. Then she was wide awake in a second, bewildered, uncertain.
"Why--you here?" she asked, slowly.
"Large as life!" replied Dick, with unusual gayety.
"Just got here this fraction of a second," he replied, lying shamelessly.
It was evident that she did not know whether or not to believe him, and as she studied him a slow blush dyed her cheek.
"You are absolutely truthful when you say you just stepped there?"