After dinner they moved, as always, to the bed. They were lying languidly when Nia said Darling – Why do you never call me that?
Darling. Or anything like it –
Well, I’m not much given to fancy phrases... But such cloddish denial was too much even for him. Embarrassed, he stole a glance at her. Luckily, she was looking away.
You may not love me now – she said but you will one day –
Just because I don’t say I love you doesn’t mean that I don’t.
Yes it does.
He was silent, annoyed with her for creating an issue when everything had been going so well. He wished she’d calm down and let them be as they were. Yet he had to admit that from the time she was his, he’d resisted further commitment. But what a change; she was asking him for love!
He moved closer and gently embraced her. What does it matter he said whether or not I love you if you love me...
She tore herself from his arms. No, I know that knife – she cried. I don’t want it – ! Then she sat up and wept uncontrollably.
He was astonished at the force of her feeling. But it irritated him. Why was she making such a drama of it. Besides, he was anxious about the sound of her sobbing. Nia, sh-h-h he said. It’ll be all right...
No – she gasped. I’ve done it again! I’ve made another horrible mistake – And she clutched at the futility of her life, in which almost every time she had given herself, like an unconditional gift, it had been squandered.