have killed, like any good warrior. I have fought the good fight, and I lost. I regret nothing. I would change nothing in my power to change, I would-"
His tongue stumbled. As he spoke, he had been sweeping his gaze over the crowd, and from camera to camera. He wanted every single person watching to know he was speaking to them, personally. To let them know they all shared the blame.
And there, six rows back, toward the center...
Louise, staring at him with those eyes he knew so well, a faint wrinkle in that forehead he had kissed. Her hair-he could almost smell it, feel it between his fingers.
I regret nothing. She rebuked him, by her mere presence, made him the liar. For in her eyes, there was nothing about him. No recognition, no love, only faint puzzlement, perhaps a hint of revulsion. Nothing.
If he hadn't cut her up, she would love him still, and her eyes would be an anchor, her words a safe harbor, even in the midst of all of this.
He suddenly felt very old, and very tired, and very, very alone. He had killed-the one person in the universe who might have spoken for him. For that, if for no other crime, he deserved whatever came.
"Mr. Bester? Are you through?"
Louise realized he was looking at her, and her brow creased angrily. Even if she didn't remember him, she knew what he had done to her. Even if he could start over, she wouldn't love him again.
"I've said everything I'm going to say," he murmured. "You'll do what you want anyway. I'm through. I'm through."
In his dreams he heard the singing mind of Paris. Sometimes Geneva, sometimes Rome, or Olympus Mons or Brasilia-but mostly, usually, Paris. In his dreams, he sat watching the sky wrap up in watercolor shrouds as it died for the evening. He