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LUDLUM, Robert

The Bourne Identity

Bourne leaned across the table, said in a low voice,"Listen to me, Moira, because I'm going to tell you something very few people know. The Bourne identity continues to haunt me. Marie used to worry that the decisions I was forced to make, the actions I had to take as Jason Bourne would eventually drain me of all feeling, that one day I'd come back to her and David Webb would be gone for good. I can't let that happen.""Jason, you and I have spent quite a bit of time with each other since we met to scatter Martin's ashes. I've never seen a hint that you've lost any part of your humanity."

Both sat back, silent as the waiter set the drinks in front of them, handed them menus. As soon as he left, Bourne said, "That's reassuring, believe me. In the short time I've known you I've come to value your opinions. You're not like anyone else I've ever met."

Moira took a sip of her drink, set it down, all without taking her eyes from his. "Thank you. Coming from you that's quite a compliment, particularly because I know how special Marie was to you."

Bourne stared down at his drink.

Moira reached across the starched white linen for his hand. "I'm sorry, now you're drifting away."

He glanced at her hand over his but didn't pull away. When he looked up, he said, "I relied on her for many things. But I find now that those things are slipping away from me."

"Is that a bad thing, or a good thing?"

"That's just it," he said. "I don't know."

Moira saw the anguish in his face, and her heart went out to him. It was only months ago that she'd seen him standing by the parapet in the Cloisters. He was clutching the bronze urn holding Martin's ashes as if he never wanted to let it go. She'd known then, even if Martin hadn't told her, what they'd meant to each other.

"Martin was your friend," she said now. "You put yourself in terrible jeopardy to save him. Don't tell me you didn't feel anything for him. Besides, by your own admission, you're not Jason Bourne now. You're David Webb."