Oh good. Now Mae's got the angsting out of the way he learns the joys of fetishising his object of desire. And Danny quotes a good old rock cliche.
He’s sitting on the sofa pretending to read when I get back. Legs up, wearing a baggy old suit with a contrary cut that hangs from his bony shoulders. He looks so relieved to see me walk through he door I know it’s been hours since he paid the book any attention. He smiles all over his face. He takes in my new braids. I spin round so he can see them from all angles.
“You look very smart, lover.”
“You don’t.” I reply.
“It takes a lot of money to look this cheap, darlin’.”
“Cheap?” I laugh. “You look like Charlie Chaplin.”
He throws a cushion at me and I go to sit beside him on the floor, so he can wrap his arms over my shoulders and nuzzle my hair. He brushes his lips along my hairline, taking in my scent like a coyote. I’m too peaceful to get properly turned on. I relax instead; under his touch I become as still and sultry as the evening outside.
It feels sublime.
His finger snags on the blue plaster.
“What’s this lover?” Did I mention I find his accent beautiful? It’s a very soft American with just a hint of New York to give it edge. He almost sounds as if he’s parodying himself when that hard “w” creeps in to his Cawfee. Father would despair of me.
There’s something underneath it too. A faint resonance, a hushed intonation in certain words. He told me he studied the Torah when he was younger and learnt a little liturgical Hebrew. That must be it then, the last echo of the desert princes hidden beneath his shy Educated East Coast generic voice.
“Oh. What’s wrong?” Faint concern. Only a fraction, he already has difficulty seeing me as anything but unbreakable; that’s the picture of me he has in his head. He lives his life by these pictures of people and has difficulty processing any information not contained within their heavy gilt frames. I’ve lived with him two weeks and I already know that.
“Nothing’s wrong.” I say. “I’m helping a doctor write a research paper.”
“On Acupuncture?” He says, a little wary. We steering close to the edges of the frame now, to the parts of my world where he isn’t. He doesn’t like these places; they make him uncomfortable. I realised this when I realised he really didn’t want to know what happened to my hand.
“Kind of.” I say. I turn my face to him and reappear fully in his world once more. “You should try it. It’s very relaxing.”
More than relaxing. I don’t think I’d ever had a session where I didn’t have to snap back into work mode strait afterwards. Deedee always said this wasn’t ideal. Something to do with one’s Chi. Do elves have chi? Deedee says it’s one of the functions of the Fea. It’s certainly making itself felt at the moment.
“Mmmm.” He says. He kisses me.
“I don’t need anything else.” He says.
“Let’s go out onto the balcony,” I say.
He makes a peevish noise of complaint and weakly attempts to pull me on top of him. But I am really not in the mood for such antics, not yet.
“Come on,” I say tugging at his arm. “Really, when did you last see daylight?”
He murmurs something about being a creature of the twilight. I laugh.
“Come and watch the sunset with me, then. I’d like that.”
We stand on the balcony with our arms around each other’s waists. Danny fidgets a little suggestively against me and I shush him. Below us, the birds are singing their evening chorus in Central Park and the taillights of the cars are becoming red pinpricks in the darkening street.
“Shush,” I say. “Listen.”
He stills in my arms. We hear the rushing of the traffic and a little music floating on the balmy air. We’re so high up they’re like the ghosts of sounds.
“You need fresh air.” I whisper into his ear. “Really, your body needs it.”
He just burrows a little deeper into my chest. The dusk floats around us carrying heat and distant cherry blossom and I think yes Danny, you are just like a Yujo. Just like those expensive superstar women of Miyaku’s licensed quarters who lived their gilded lives behind ancient walls. Their worth was uncountable and yet they would be ripped to pieces by the mob were they to try walking down an ordinary shopping street.
You are my Desert Prince and this is the Harem the world has built for you. You cannot see the sun except through the thick silk of your tent. You must be hidden away for special occasions in case your flesh goes rotten in the daylight.
I wonder if all cultures lock up their living treasures like this. Then I realise I’m in grave danger of freezing Daniel into a painting myself. Well, more of an exotic silk-screen monochrome with languorous brush strokes. No wonder societies wall in their sexpots. It’s damned erotic when one thinks of it.
“Oh, who cares about my body?” Says Mr Live-Fast-Die-Young.
“I do.” I say softly.
He pushes himself against me and moans.