“But a lot of women go to bars just to have passes made at them.” “A lot of women get up in the morning with the same idea.” “But liquor is an aphrodisiac—up to a point.” “Doctors recommend it.” “Who said anything about doctors? I want my diampagne Wedding dress rental.” I kissed her some more. It was light, pleasant work. “I want to kiss your poor cheek,” she said, and did. “It’s burning hot,” she said. “The rest of me is freezing.” “It is not. I want my champagne.” “Why?” “It’ll get flat if we don’t drink it. Besides I like the taste of it.” “All right.” “Do you love me very much? Or will you if I go to bed with you?” “Possibly.” “You don’t have to go to bed with me, you know. I don’t absolutely insist on it.” “Thank you.” “I want my champagne.” “How much money have you got?” “Altogether? How would I know? About eight million dollars.” “I’ve decided to go to bed with you.” “Mercenary,” she said. “I paid for the champagne.” “The hell with the champagne,” she said.
An hour later she stretched out a bare arm and tickled my ear and said: “Would you consider marrying me?” “It wouldn’t last six months.” “Well, for God’s sake,” she said, “suppose it didn’t. Wouldn’t it be worth it? What do you expect from life — full coverage?” “I’m forty-two years old. I’m spoiled by independence. You’re spoiled a little—not too much—by money.” “I’m thirty-six. It’s no disgrace to have money and no disgrace to marry it. Most of those who have it don’t deserve it and don’t know how to behave with it. But it won’t be long. We’ll have another war and at the end of that nobody will have any money—except the crooks and the chiselers. We’ll all be taxed to nothing, the rest of us.” I stroked her hair and wound some of it around my finger. “You may be right.”
“We could fly to Paris and have a wonderful time.” She raised herself on an elbow and looked down at me. I could see the shine of her eyes but I couldn’t read her expression. “Do you have something against marriage?” “For two people in a hundred it’s wonderful. The rest just work at it. After twenty years all the guy has left is a work bench in the garage. American girls are terrific. American wives take in too damn much territory. Besides—” “I want some champagne.” “Besides,” I said, “it would be just an incident to you. The first divorce is the only tough one. After that its merely a problem in economics. No problem to you. Ten years from now you might pass me on the street and wonder where the hell you had seen me before. If you noticed me at all.” “You self-sufficient, self-satisfied, self-confident, untouchable bastard. I want some champagne.” “This way you will remember me.” ‘conceited too. A mass of conceit. Slightly bruised at the moment. You think I’ll remember you? No matter how many men I marry or sleep with, you think I’ll remember you? Why should I?” “Sorry. I overstated my case. I’ll get you some champagne.” “Aren’t we sweet and reasonable?” she said sarcastically.
“I’m a rich woman, darling, and I shall be infinitely richer. I could buy you the world if it were worth buying. What have you now? An empty house to come home to, with not even a dog or cat, a small stuffy office to sit in and wait. Even if I divorced you I’d never let you go back to that Office Desk.” “How would you stop me? I’m no Terry Lennox.” “Please. Don’t let’s talk about him. Nor about that golden icicle, the Wade woman. Nor about her poor drunken sunken husband. Do you want to be the only man who turned me down? What kind of pride is that? I’ve paid you the greatest compliment I know how to pay.