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"You are a different kind of helper."

"In what way? Hari, say it. If you hear yourself say it, you will realize how crazy it is."

Seldon looked long at her and then said in a low voice, "I will not say it because . . . I don't care. "

"You really don't? You wish to take me as I am?"

"I will take you as I must. You are Dors and, whatever else you are, in all the world I want nothing else."

 

Dors said softly, "Hari, I want what is good for you because of what I am, but I feel that if I wasn't what I am, I would still want what is good for you. And I don't think I am good for you."

"Good for me or bad, I don't care." Here Hari looked down as he paced a few steps, weighing what he would say next. "Dors, have you ever been kissed?"

"Of course, Hari. It's a social part of life and I live socially."

"No no! I mean, have you ever really kissed a man? You know, passionately?"

"Well yes, Hari, I have."

"Did you enjoy it?"

Dors hesitated. She said, "When I've kissed in that way, I enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed disappointing a young man I liked, someone whose friendship meant something to me." At this point, Dors blushed and she turned her face away. "Please, Hari, this is difficult for me to explain."

But Hari, more determined now than ever, pressed further. "So you kissed for the wrong reasons, then, to avoid hurt feelings."

"Perhaps everyone does, in a sense."

Seldon mulled this over, then said suddenly, "Did you ever ask to be kissed?"

Dors paused, as though looking back on her life. "No."

"Or wish to be kissed again, once you had?"

"No."

"Have you ever slept with a man?" he asked softly, desperately.

"Of course. I told you. These things are a part of life."

Hari gripped her shoulders as if he was going to shake her. "But have you ever felt the desire, a need for that kind of closeness with just one special person? Dors, have you ever felt love."

Dors looked up slowly, almost sadly, and locked eyes with Seldon. "I'm sorry, Hari, but no."

Seldon released her, letting his arms fall dejectedly to his sides.

Then Dors placed her hand gently on his arm and said, "So you see, Hari. I'm not really what you want."

Seldon's head drooped and he stared at the floor. He weighed the matter and tried to think rationally. Then he gave up. He wanted what he wanted and he wanted it beyond thought and beyond rationality.

He looked up. "Dors, dear, even so, I don't care."

Seldon put his arms around her and brought his head close to hers slowly, as though waiting for her to pull away, all the while drawing her nearer.

Dors made no move and he kissed her-slowly, lingeringly, and then passionately--and her arms suddenly tightened around him.

When he stopped at last, she looked at him with eyes that mirrored her smile and she said: "Kiss me again, Hari, -Please."

-- End --





CHAPTER DISCUSSION