I want you, Hank. I’m much more of an animal than you think. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you – and the only thing I’m ashamed of is that I did not know it. I did not know why, for two years, the brightest moments I found were the ones in your office, where I could lift my head to look up at you. I did not know the nature of what I felt in your presence, nor the reason. I know it now. That is all I want, Hank. I want you in my bed – and you are free of me for all the rest of your time. There’s nothing you’ll have to pretend – don’t think of me, don’t feel; don’t care – I do not want your mind, your will, your being or your soul, so long as it’s to me you will come for that lowest one of your desires. I am an animal who wants nothing but the sensation of pleasure which you despise – but I want it from you. You’d give up any height of virtue for it , while I – I haven’t any to give up. There’s none I seek or wish to reach. I am so low that I would exchange the greatest sight of beauty in the world for the sight of your figure in the cab of a railroad engine. And seeing it, I would not be able to see it indifferently. You don’t have to fear that you’re now dependent on me. It’s I who will depend on any whim of yours. You’ll have me any time you wish, anywhere, on any terms. Did you call it the obscenity of my talent? It’s such that it gives you a safer hold on me than on any other property you own. You may dispose of me as you please – I’m not afraid to admit it – I have nothing to protect from you and nothing to reserve. You think that this is a threat to your achievement, but it is not to mine. I will sit at my desk, and work, and when the things around me get hard to bear, I will think that for my reward I will be in your bed that night. Did you call it depravity? I am much more depraved than you are: you hold it as your guilt, and I – as my pride. I’m more proud of it than anything I’ve done, more proud than of building the Line. If I’m asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say: I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had earned it.
Haven’t I? – he thought. Haven’t I thought of it since the first time I saw you? Haven’t I thought of nothing else for two years? …He sat motionless, looking at her. He heard the words he had never allowed himself to form, the words he had felt, known, yet had not faced, had hoped to destroy by never letting them be said within his own mind. Now it was as sudden and shocking as if he were saying it to her …Since the first time I saw you …Nothing but your body, that mouth of yours, and the way your eyes would look at me, if …Through every sentence I ever said to you, through every conference you thought so safe, through the importance of all the issues we discussed …You trusted me, didn’t you? To recognize your greatness? To think of you as you deserved – as if you were a man? …Don’t you suppose I know how much I’ve betrayed? The only bright encounter of my life – the only person I respected – the best business man I know – my ally – my partner in a desperate battle …The lowest of all desires – as my answer to the highest I’ve met …Do you know what I am? I thought of it, because it should have been unthinkable. For that degrading need, which would never touch you, I have never wanted anyone but you …I hadn’t known what it was like, to want it, until I saw you for the first time. I had thought : Not I, I couldn’t be broken by it …Since then …For two years …With not a moments respite …Do you know what it’s like, to want it? Would you wish to hear what I thought when I looked at you …When I lay awake at night …When I hear your voice over a telephone wire …When I worked, but could not drive it away? …To bring you down to things you cant conceive – and to know that it’s I who have done it. To reduce you to a body, to teach you an animal’s pleasure, to see you need it, to see you asking me for it, to see your wonderful spirit dependent on the upon the obscenity of your need. To watch you as you are, as you face the world with your clean, proud strength – then to see you, in my bed, submitting to any infamous whim I may devise, to any act which I’ll preform for the sole purpose of watching your dishonor and to which you’ll submit for the sake of an unspeakable sensation …I want you – and may I be damned for it!
You are beautiful like demolition. Just the thought of you draws my knuckles white. I don’t need a god. I have you and your beautiful mouth, your hands holding onto me, the nails leaving unfelt wounds, your hot breath on my neck. The taste of your saliva. The darkness is ours. The nights belong to us. Everything we do is secret. Nothing we do will ever be understood; we will be feared and kept well away from. It will be the stuff of legend, endless discussion and limitless inspiration for the brave of heart. It’s you and me in this room, on this floor. Beyond life, beyond morality. We are gleaming animals painted in moonlit sweat glow. Our eyes turn to jewels and everything we do is an example of spontaneous perfection. I have been waiting all my life to be with you. My heart slams against my ribs when I think of the slaughtered nights I spent all over the world waiting to feel your touch. The time I annihilated while I waited like a man doing a life sentence. Now you’re here and everything we touch explodes, bursts into bloom or burns to ash. History atomizes and negates itself with our every shared breath. I need you like life needs life. I want you bad like a natural disaster. You are all I see. You are the only one I want to know.