He sees from the quickening in the rise and fall of her chest that her breath comes in shorter increments. The pink dress fabric strains forward and he feels his cock swell. He looks away, out through the window, across the pine-coated dunes, as he’s done only minutes before. Anything to forget the surge that has gripped him. He knows that she only has to brush against his groin and he would be lost, but then she eases the pressure on his hand and the rush begins to ebb.

“I have a boyfriend,” she says. “His name is Henry, but I do like to meet other men.”

Posner wants to hear none of this. Not the fact that there is a boyfriend who must surely suck on her painted toes. He had a second cousin named Henry, a gangling acne-faced teenager when he last saw him more than forty years ago. The name merges with his memory’s image of his cousin.

“Henry gave me this.” She absently fingers a gold chain necklace from which hangs a small capital letter “H”. “To remember that both our names start with “H”.

“And what does Henry do?” he asks as if he might find some positive trait in the man sufficient to move her down the stairs and farther away from the bedroom.

“He’s a resident in Radiology. Also at Mt. Sinai.”

Posner has regained his composure and has a sarcastic urge to say that Henry’s balls were already probably burned away by radiation and that his sexual future was at best iffy, which is probably why she is here, but he says nothing. He feels her fingers slip away from his hand as she turns toward the steps.

He hopes that perhaps she now realizes she shouldn’t be here, and that her seduction was misplaced. It’s time to go. He pats the pocket with his keys, and then his eyes abruptly look