“But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.”
“Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.”
Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.
“He wants to know,” continued Jordan, “if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.”
The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths — so that he could “come over.” some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.
“Did I have to know all this before he could ask such a little thing?”
“He’s afraid, he’s waited so long. He thought you might be offended. You see, he’s a regular tough underneath it all.”
Something worried me.
“Why didn’t he ask you to arrange a meeting?”
“He wants her to see his house,” she explained. “And your house is right next door.”
“I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” went on Jordan, “but she never did. Then he began asking people casually if they knew her, and I was the first one he found. It was that night he sent for me at his dance, and you should have heard the elaborate way he worked up to it. Of course, I immediately suggested a luncheon in New York — and I thought he’d go mad:
“‘I don’t want to do anything out of the way!’ he kept saying. ‘I want to see her right next door.’
“When I said you were a particular friend of Tom’s, he started to abandon the whole idea. He doesn’t know very much about Tom, though he says he’s read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy’s name.”
It was dark now, and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more, but of this clean, hard, limited person, who dealt in universal scepticism, and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
“And Daisy ought to have something in her life,” murmured Jordan to me.
“Does she want to see Gatsby?”