Nathaniel was stung by her reaction — that she would not recognize basic gentlemanly behaviour from him if it were right in front of her face. Worse, that she wouldn’t be remotely upset by the lack of it. He had made her expectations for him low on purpose. Because he didn’t need to feel obligated to this person from his past who came swooping into town every few months with the express purpose of making him feel bad about himself. But the danger of her wanting nothing from him struck him harder than the danger of her wanting everything.
–Sloane Crosley, from The Clasp (p. 314)