I expected nothing
He closed the door to the vault. She stood, waiting for him to lead the way back up the steps. Instead he put his hands on her shoulders. She felt his strength, as he pulled her towards him, with a shock of unruly pleasure, but she turned her face away. He kissed her cheek. She remained quite still, and he released her.
She asked: ‘Why did you do that?’
‘Because I wanted to do it. You are a lovely woman, of much charm, and it is as reasonable to want to kiss you as it is to admire you.’
‘I’m also a married woman.’
‘Of course. If such a kiss is thought innocent, then it makes no difference that you are married. If not innocent, surely it can do no less harm than to an inexperienced girl.’
Shock began to turn to anger. She said in a hard voice: ‘Did you expect me to respond?’
‘Believe me, gracious lady, I expected nothing. Expectation is another part of illusion, and I have none left. I wanted to kiss you – that is all. Shall we go up, into the sunlight?’