Edna Ferber: Fanny Herself

14. CHAPTER FOURTEEN (continued)

Fascinating Facts, the guileless, pink-cheeked youth who had driven her home the night of her first visit to the Fengers, shortly after her coming to Haynes-Cooper's, had proved her faithful slave, and she had not abused his devotion. Indeed, she hardly considered it that. The sex side of her was being repressed with the artist side. Most men found her curt, brisk, businesslike manner a little repellent, though interesting. They never made love to her, in spite of her undeniable attractiveness. Fascinating Facts drove her about in his smart little roadster and one night he established himself in her memory forever as the first man who had ever asked her to marry him. He did it haltingly, painfully, almost grudgingly. Fanny was frankly amazed. She had enjoyed going about with him. He rested and soothed her. He, in turn, had been stimulated by her energy, her humor, her electric force. Nothing was said for a minute after his awkward declaration.

"But," he persisted, "you like me, don't you?"

"Of course I do. Immensely."

"Then why?"

"When a woman of my sort marries it's a miracle. I'm twenty-six, and intelligent and very successful. A frightful combination. Unmarried women of my type aren't content just to feel. They must analyze their feelings. And analysis is death to romance."

"Great Scott! You expect to marry somebody sometime, don't you, Fanny?"

"No one I know now. When I do marry, if I do, it will be with the idea of making a definite gain. I don't mean necessarily worldly gain, though that would be a factor, too." Fascinating Facts had been staring straight ahead, his hands gripping the wheel with unnecessary rigidity. He relaxed a little now, and even laughed, though not very successfully. Then he said something very wise, for him.

"Listen to me, girl. You'll never get away with that vampire stuff. Talons are things you have to be born with. You'll never learn to grab with these." He reached over, and picked up her left hand lying inertly in her lap, and brought it up to his lips, and kissed it, glove and all. "They're built on the open-face pattern--for giving. You can't fool me. I know."

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