“You never loved him.”
She hesitated. Her eyes fell on Jordan and me with a sort of appeal, as though she realized at last what she was doing — and as though she had never, all along, intended doing anything at all. But it was done now. It was too late.
“I never loved him,” she said, with perceptible reluctance.
“Not at Kapiolani?” demanded Tom suddenly.
From the ballroom beneath, muffled and suffocating chords were drifting up on hot waves of air.
“Not that day I carried you down from the Punch Bowl to keep your shoes dry?” There was a husky tenderness in his tone… . “Daisy?”
“Please don’t.” Her voice was cold, but the rancor was gone from it. She looked at Gatsby. “There, Jay,” she said — but her hand as she tried to light a cigarette was trembling. Suddenly she threw the cigarette and the burning match on the carpet.
“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now — isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once — but I loved you too.”
Gatsby’s eyes opened and closed.
“You loved me TOO?” he repeated.
“Even that’s a lie,” said Tom savagely. “She didn’t know you were alive. Why — there’re things between Daisy and me that you’ll never know, things that neither of us can ever forget.”
The words seemed to bite physically into Gatsby.
“I want to speak to Daisy alone,” he insisted. “She’s all excited now ——”
“Even alone I can’t say I never loved Tom,” she admitted in a pitiful voice. “It wouldn’t be true.”
“Of course it wouldn’t,” agreed Tom.
She turned to her husband.
“As if it mattered to you,” she said.
“Of course it matters. I’m going to take better care of you from now on.”
“You don’t understand,” said Gatsby, with a touch of panic. “You’re not going to take care of her any more.”
“I’m not?” Tom opened his eyes wide and laughed. He could afford to control himself now. “Why’s that?”
“Daisy’s leaving you.”
“I am, though,” she said with a visible effort.