“Lean down, close,” she said; “closer. There’s more than the rifles intact, dear.”
“Not your poor bruised body!”
“My self-respect,” she whispered, the pink colour stealing into her cheeks. “I’ve won it back. Do you understand? I’ve gone after my other self and got her back. I’m mistress of myself, Duane; I’m in full control, first in command. Do you know what that means?”
“Does it mean—me?”
“When you will.”
He leaned above her, looking down into her eyes. Their fearless sweetness set him trembling.
On the floor below Kathleen, at the piano, was playing the Menuet d’Exaudet. When she ended, Scott, cheerily busy with his infant Rose-beetles, went about his affairs whistling the air.
“Our betrothal dance; do you remember?” murmured Geraldine. “Do you love me, Duane? Tell me so; I need it.”
“I love you,” he said.
She lay looking at him a moment, her head cradled in her dark hair. Then, moving slowly, and smiling at the pain it gave her, she put both bare arms around his neck, and lifted her lips to his.
It was the end of the prologue; the curtain trembled on the rise; the story of Fate was beginning. But they had no eyes except for each other, paid no heed save to each other.
And, unobserved by them, the vast curtain rose in silence, beginning the strange drama which neither time nor death, perhaps, has power to end.