“I know what is at stake if you decide to reside with me.” David replies

“And what would this entail?” Gwen’s utters, with her crossed arms, folded legs, and closed mouth.

“It is this: the end of all possible romance; the end to all sexual perhaps,” he sighs. “We would simply be friends. I offer now, my home as a friend.”

“Only Friends?” she replies somewhat suspiciously.

“To offer you my home, now, and expect anything else would lessen how I feel about you. It would cheapen these long months of enjoyment I have experienced in your company, and as a person of substance. I could not devalue my lodgings from a sanctuary for friendship to that of harem, though perhaps this is an incorrect metaphor.” Small droplets of perspiration bead on David’s upper lip collected by a stray tongue unmoved by hope.

“Perhaps I love you. But what comes first is concern derived from friendship and understanding. I love you. But in which respect? Do I love you as an object to be used by my lust? To satisfy my desires? To roll over at mornings’ first light and say ‘again’? No. You are satisfaction. You are comfort draped in satin, wrapped around weary bones. The physical  here is not an issue.”

“Do not deceive me!” Gwen delivers these words with a force that surprises her small frame.

“I do not deceive you.”

“Yet you proclaim love.”

“Love of a friendship let us say. Perhaps over time my love will seep into you past your guarded defenses, absorbed by the gilded skin that adorns your delicate body, maybe even become expected by your long arms and tired head.”

“And should this not occur?”

“I accept any rejection as a term denied by faulty permits.”

Gwen takes a deep breath, slowly exhaling the salty air still lodged in her lungs from an afternoon lying on warm sand.

“You do realize that this conversation is saturating my being. I am content with my lot and seek no earthly change. Why then do you demand answers from questions I cannot possibly reply to?”

“I ask no questions of you. I simply have delivered an invitation to you as one might receive from a close cousin offering afternoon tea.”

David lapses into a slight trance, temporarily dazed by the heat given off by the synthetic firelog burning in the 1930’s era fire pit.

“I ask nothing of you, my dear.” Eyes closed against rejection. “I deter hope for something more profound.”

“And what might this be?” Gwen replies under a stain of remorse.

“The possibility of contentment.”

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