Then there was a sequence of changing partners and I could not answer him. Even while dancing with another, he did not take his eyes from me, and the expression in them was dangerous, warning. When finally we met again he held me closely against him. “Well?”
“I have never been repulsed by you, sir,” I said honestly.
“I find that difficult to believe,” he said, spinning me around and pulling me back into his arms.
“I would not lie to you.”
He lowered his head and his gaze dropped to my lips for an instant before he met my eyes, and I could not stop my heart pounding at the way he looked at me. “Despite your vehement refusal,” he said, his voice now husky and low, “I find I cannot clear your face from my mind, nor your voice, nor any part of you; so despite your hatred of me, I hope you will forgive that I sought a last dance with you before I leave you to your life.”
Something about the way he said it, the resignation in his voice and the sudden change of subject, made me lose my senses for a moment, and had the music not stopped at that moment, I do not know what I would have done, whether I might have kissed him. But the music did stop, and I pulled away from him wordlessly, and turned and left. I hurried outside and leaned against the wall, trying to calm my breathing. All I could see were his eyes…
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Painting: Study for Last Dance by Stuart Gilbert