He looks long into her eyes, probably for the first time. He has focused, from the bottom up, on every part of her nude form, spending minutes, hours, on the impossibly smooth contours of her toes, her hips, her breasts, her shoulders, but this, he thinks, must be the first time he’s really looked into her eyes.
“Don’t worry, my dear, it will be all right.” He cocked his head. “You did promise.”
Mr. Thayer moved to touch Lydia’s shoulder, but she pulled back, wrapping the thick robe tighter. Mr. Thayer – she would never have thought to call him Gregory – stood back from her. Lydia could not interpret his expression. He might have been showing a twist of amusement or contempt around his bearded lips, but mostly she felt that he was studying her as if she were an animal or a specimen. That was what he did, after all, studied and painted.
And she had promised him. She found herself blushing. At the same time, she felt in control, in some way.
Some decades ago the bishop of Evona discovered himself to be the victim of what in his opinion was a monstrous deception.