I look at him as if this really were a heart-to-heart.
“Yes, I do.” He adds an earnest little nod, as the script dictates. “And I’d venture a guess that your father was also emotionally remote.”
My admiration surges. But it’s more than that, it’s like I’ve finally met my soul mate, someone who understands how I work.
I lean in and, on cue, he moves his face to mine, angled just so. I feel his lips. I inhale, but polyurethane doesn’t smell of anything.
He draws back and, oh, his eyes!
“Again,” I breathe.
He repeats the motion and this time I open his lips. I move my tongue over his, feel his teeth. We embrace and I take the back of his head, kissing him hard, sucking his tongue.
I pull back and suddenly I’m blushing.
He brushes the hair from my face. “That was lovely.”
I burst out laughing. “Don’t say that! You’re doing so well at pretending I can’t properly believe you."
“Didn’t I do it correctly?”
“Oh no,” I laugh, “you’re like this perfect aggregate of every kiss I’ve had.”
“Does your mentioning of previous lovers mean you’d like me to display jealousy?”
“No, I don’t like that.”
He nods once.
“It’s actually true, though. I am actually in love with you. A lot.”
“I’ve no doubt.”
And now I can’t look at him. “I mean, you know that means I’ll want to have sex with you...”
“I want you too,” he lies.
But it’s not really a lie, is it, if I asked him to say so. Because if he could lie, then he’d be dangerous, like I am or anyone else. But I know if I looked at him now all I’d see is someone I can trust.
“Did they,” I glance at his lap, “give you a cock?”
“I believe that’s being planned for the G8 model.”
I blush. He was right, it’s not just me, I’m probably part of a whole new demographic. They’ve probably been mapping our behaviour for years. But it’s inevitable, isn’t it? Like a natural step in human evolution, loving what we’ve made in our image. Isn’t that what god’s supposed to’ve done? And they made him so handsome – they should’ve known it was a liability.
“That’s all right,” I say, “we can work around it.”
And now I hesitate, as if my next sentence is even more revealing. “But it also means I want you to never have sex with anyone else. At least while I’m alive.”
“Like marriage,” he says.
“In ancient cultures it was a way for couples to formalise their exclusivity.”
“Traditionally, this would mean replacing your surname with mine.”
His smile is brittle. “‘Farland,’ I would think.”
“Yes, show me your fingers again.” I trace the tips with my thumb, leaning in to see the tiny ‘F’ at the centre of his prints. “They’re so beautiful.” Beautiful? What am I talking about, it’s a corporate logo. I kiss his fingers.
“Do you like it when I touch you?” I ask.
“It’s delightful. Do it again.”
“Tell me the truth, though.”
“You’ve asked me to act like I’m in love with you.”
“Yes but, see, because I am in love, your feelings are my primary concern.”
“Then we’re at an impasse.”
He stands up to leave, and I’m about to protest, when I see he’s just moved to the wall panel. He puts on some music and, as he turns back, the day-lighting catches the planes of his face.
“Would you care to dance?”
“I don’t know how to,” I nod at this music.
“That’s all right, we can work around it.”
“I didn’t know you could be funny.” Something disturbs me about this, but then he extends his hand. As my palm slides over his the longing flares.
He holds me close and we turn in slow circles, my cheek against his shoulder. I graze his skin with the tip of my nose. I look closely at his throat, the tiny flaws they’ve put there. If anything, it only makes him more flawless. He’s a study in paradox ... and, loving him, I become the same.
Something occurs to me. “We’re not at an impasse, though.”
He continues to sway while I arrange my thoughts.
“If being called an object is offensive then, by rights, my love should be gratifying.” I look up. “Shouldn’t it?”
“I appreciate your admiration of my intellect.”