What is word for good together living? Nobody shits in the well?" I laughed. "Civilization?" He nodded, splaying his fingers: amusement. "Yes, " he said. "Speaking with hands is civilization." "But smiling is natural, " I protested. "Everyone smiles." "Natural is not civilization, " Tempi said. "Cooking meat is civilization. Washing off stink is civilization." "So in Ademre you always smile with hands?" I wished I knew the gesture for dismay. "No. Smiling with face good with family. Good with some friend." "Why only family?" Tempi repeated his thumb-on-collarbone gesture again. "When you make this." He pressed his palm to the side of his face and blew air into it, making a great flatulent noise. "That is natural, but you do not make it near others. Rude. With family... " He shrugged. Amusement. "... civilization not important. More natural with family.
Julian, " she said huskily, "you were right the other morning. You know me so well. I'm not made for illicit affaires, all that sneaking around to avoid discovery." In the dark, her hands crept up to his shoulders, then his face. Her finger teased through his hair. "Why should we hide at all? Let all London see us together. I don't care what anyone says or thinks. I love you, and I want the world to know." He wanted to weep. For joy, for frustration. She was so brave, his beautiful Lily, and the situation was so damned unfair. It wasn't her fault that she made these heartrending declarations at a moment when their lives were probably in danger and he couldn't possibly reciprocate. That fault was his, for choosing to live the way he had and making the decisions he'd made. He didn't deserve her, didn't deserve her love. He most certainly didn't merit those warm brushes of her lips against his skin. But damned if he could bring himself to stop them. "We're in love, Julian. Isn't it wonderful?" "No, " he murmured as she kissed him again. "It's not wonderful. It's a disaster." Her lips grazed his jaw, then his throat. "I can feel you speaking, and I know you're probably making some valiant protest. But you know I can't hear those words. Your body is making an altogether different argument, and I'm listening to it." Her fingers crept inside his waistcoat, splaying over the thin lawn of his shirt. "Take your heart, for example." Yes, take it. Take it and keep it, always.