Sprawling with casual grace
‘We could take an office in town and get a small staff. Run your publishing as a front.’
Why did he want me? Did he really want me at all? I was wondering about this – watching Piers and trying to get behind the tight blandness of his face – when Olivia pushed the door open.
In this room she had been at home and at ease. I could remember how often I myself had entered to see her sprawling with casual grace along the great scarlet oblong of the divan, or in her preferred arm-chair underneath the window. Three months? It seemed longer. I did not associate Piers’s earlier women with the room to a like extent because my own acquaintance with him had only really begun to ripen in that same recent period. Now I watched Olivia come into the room, cautiously and defensively, like a stranger. Piers watched too, smiling tightly at her from her usual arm-chair. She paused for a moment, irresolute in the centre of the carpet, and then moved decisively, flinging herself down beside me on the divan. Her hair fell, more blonde against the sultry red, like fine, soft straw.