I wonder if I could have a glass of milk?
Hilda started to go upstairs with Patrick; on the turn, halfway up, she stopped and looked down to where I stood in the hall.
She said: ‘I wonder if I could have a glass of milk?’
‘We should be able to find one in the kitchen.’
‘Well, good night,’ Patrick said.
‘Good night, Rick.’
I found the milk and poured a glass for her. She stood holding it so that the glass’s rim rested against her lips. Then she raised the glass and nodded to me.
‘Here’s to everything, David.’
She put the glass down as I moved towards her, and let me take her in my arms. She was yielding, but not relaxed. She took my kisses with no reluctance, but did not return them. After a few minutes she released herself. Her eyes were searching my face.
‘Good night,’ she said. ‘Good night, David.’
‘Good night, darling.’
‘Darling,’ she repeated. Her look was still serious. ‘Why do you say darling?’
‘I don’t know. I suppose, because it’s usual.’
‘Don’t be usual. We mustn’t be usual. How long are you going to be stationed at Richmond?’
‘For the rest of the war, I hope.’
‘One never knows. For a few months, perhaps. I may run into you.’
I spoke teasingly. She nodded, smiling.
‘Possible. Good night, David.’
I tried to kiss her again, but she avoided me. She ran up the stairs. At the top she looked down.
‘Darling!’ she said scornfully.