A serious woman
Irina’s voice said: ‘I’ll be with you in a moment.’ There was an undeniable erotic effect, Hibson knew, in being alone with a woman in a place deserted by all the others who would usually be there. This was enhanced by the first contact between them being an audible, not a visual one. Her voice stressed the emptiness of the office, the privacy of their re-encounter. When she came out into the waiting-room, he saw that she was conscious of it, too.
He kissed her. She had a sweet, musky scent on, pleasant from a distance, exciting at close quarters. She was uncertain for a moment whether to treat the embrace as a casual salute. Then she pushed him away. ‘Why did you do that?’ she asked.
It was the usual absurd question, but it came freshly from her. He looked at her, while he thought of an answer. She was wearing a white, lace-trimmed blouse and a tight skirt, a yellow shade of green, of one of the new synthetic fabrics. She watched him seriously, and he saw it was that, not the slightly bent nose, the chin just a fraction too sharp, which prevented her from being pretty. The seriousness was part of her; it would always lie close to the surface, and it would always dull her features.