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He had searched the rooms, the gift shop and the lobby. He had checked the hotel restaurant, to no avail. When Ricky stepped out onto the pool deck, it was with no real expectation that he'd have better luck here. He was about to leave in frustration and search the grounds, when something caught his eye.
There he was. But what was he doing standing in the corner, head tipped back, looking at the rain gutter with a goofy grin on his face?
Ricky walked over. "Nevin."
"The equipment is loaded and everyone is on the bus, waiting. What are you—"
Nevin motioned for silence. "You'll scare her."
Ricky looked where Nevin indicated. Behind the rain gutter, he could make out bits of twig and grass, and a few pale feathers. "You're holding up the tour over a bird?"
"It's not just any bird. It's a dove. And she has a nest."
"All birds have nests," Ricky said. "It's what they do."
Nevin turned around. "Don't you see? She made it here, in a dangerous place. The gutter could break and the rain could destroy her eggs. A maintenance person could remove her nest and throw it away. Children playing at the pool could come over and find it, and think it's some kind of game or toy." He turned back to the bird with a sigh of pleasure. "She has faith in the world, Ricky. Isn't that lovely?"
Ricky kicked a pebble in annoyance. Birds didn't have faith, only instincts. And even if this particular bird had faith, what of it? "We don't have time for doves, trusting ones or otherwise. We have a gig to get to."
"Oh, Ricky." Nevin looked at him again, but this time with sadness in his eyes. "Where's your sense of wonder?" Without waiting for an answer, he walked away.
Ricky stood for a moment, looking after him, then glanced up again at the bird. She had shifted on her nest and was now eyeing him calmly, as if she knew she was being talked about and that she was safe.
Amazing, really. How did she know Ricky wouldn't hurt her?
"Good luck to you," he said softly. He walked away smiling.