A Smoke Screen
Was a mystery to him that anyone could ever want a job as a Companion. Couldn't be pleasant work when you considered other jobs. More physical, it was, and while they claimed it a high standing job, he didn't think there was much standing done at all, 'less the client's into that kind of thing.
Even the little tea parties they'd hold before anything more physical happened wasn't really a good cover – because that's what it was, a smoke screen. It was there to give the illusion of being civilised when the rest of the act was not civil in the slightest.
Mal couldn't understand it. He didn't want to. But then, there was Inara. Why had she chosen to be a Companion? Why didn't she quit when she was ahead, take her savings and get a clean and virtuous life sorted for herself? She was more than capable of doing so.
She was a mystery to him. He wanted to protect her from what made her who she was, too, and how did that make him look?
He supposed it didn't matter. What was, was, and what will be, will be, and sometimes your whole life is determined by one decision you make.
She had her choices laid out before her just as he had his, and however it came to be, that's what got them to their current state. They had only to make the best of the situation.