Mitza Lizalor, First Minister of the Commonwealth of Comporellon, was not a woman who often found herself at a loss for words. However, the sight of Golan Trevize on one knee before her and proposing marriage did the trick. She stared at him as if he had just declared himself Emperor of the Galaxy.
After a moment’s silence, he added, “This is the part where you either tell me yes or no.”
Lizalor said neither. Instead, she said, “Are you insane? I can’t marry you.”
“Why not?” her Minister of Defense asked, apparently in all sincerity. “You’re a single woman. I’m a single man. Under the laws of Comporellon that satisfies all the legal requirements.”
“I’m the First Minister,” she pointed out, as if to a child. “You are one of my subordinates.”
“First Ministers have married before,” Trevize insisted. “Admittedly, never to another member of the Presidium, but then, the Presidium is only a few centuries old, and this is probably the first time the circumstances have allowed one member to marry another.”
The shock of the unexpected was receding from Lizalor’s mind, allowing her to begin thinking again. Was the idea of marrying Trevize an unreasonable one? As he pointed out, there were four instances in modern Comporellian history of First Ministers marrying, though never, as he also pointed out, to another government Minister. Jorn Marek had come closest, marrying the daughter of his Underminister of Weights and Measures, and no public censure had resulted.
In fact, upon further reflection, there was much to be said for the match. Trevize had become a popular figure on Comporellon since his dramatic defection from the Foundation. It had flattered the vanity of the Comporellian-in-the-street to have a Councilman from the high-and-mighty Foundation announce that he preferred to live in the Commonwealth. The politician within her knew all too well that she was rather less popular with the public, due largely to the fact of her being a woman in a traditionally male profession. The people might well look more kindly upon her if she were part of a husband-and-wife team with the more popular Trevize.
There was also the fact of her illicit affair with Trevize, and the likelihood that Minister of State Security Banasek was aware of the affair. As a practical matter, marrying Trevize would free the two of them from the danger that Banasek might choose to make their relationship public.
And finally, there was the undeniable fact that she found Trevize to be the most fascinating and desirable man she had ever met. Even now, it was all she could do to keep from tearing off his clothes and satisfying her lust for him. And he had made it clear, in every way a man could, that he found her equally desirable. Since his return to Comporellon, in fact, it seemed to her that she was gaining the ability to actually feel the love he felt for her. Which was ridiculous, and probably just a symptom of her own growing love, but there it was.
So Mitza Lizalor, First Minister of the Commonwealth of Comporellon, raised Golan Trevize to his feet, gave him a long, long kiss, and said, “Yes, my love. I will marry you.”