“I love you, man.”
Porter had been drinking. At least, Arundel hoped he’d been drinking – there’d been a dance. There were lots of things at Addergoole and more things at Addergoole dances that could make someone slur and wobble like that.
“I know you do.” Sylvia was already back in the suite; Arundel had gone looking for his friend.
“That girl, she said I should love her, but I said, don’t be silly. I’m not into… you know.”
“I know, buddy.” Yep, something other than booze. He’d have to tell Sylvia the succubi were trying again.
“But you’re my best friend.”
“Always will be. Here, open a Door?”
Later, he thought perhaps that hadn’t been the best thing to ask a soused and besotted Porter.
“It’s the Bond, you know.”
“I know.” She was humoring him, he was sure of it. He didn’t remember her doing that when they were younger. “The Bond re-writes your brain pathways and rewards and punishes behavior based on a very limited set of parameters. It can imitate love rather effectively.”
“I’m not in love with you. I want to fuck you, always have. I want to see what it takes to make you scream.”
“But you don’t love me.” She shrugged, and turned, finally, from her project to look at him directly. “This information is important to me why?”
Fifty years ago, he would have thought it was an exasperating side effect of her charming naivete. Now… now she was smirking at him. She knew he was full of shit.
“I wouldn’t want you to get your hopes up.” He wouldn’t want to get his own hopes up, either, would he?
Girey swung the toddler up in the air and back down to the ground like he’d been handling small children his whole life. “And wheeeeee! There goes the little child-one, there she goes.” He’d thickened his accent to a nearly incomprehensible mix of Bitrani grammar with Callenian vocabulary, and the children loved it, and him.
Rin scooped up one too small to know what was going on, and studied her captive, hiding her smile behind the baby. He was wonderful with children. He was, when he made the effort, generally wonderful with people.
Now if only she could get him to be wonderful with her.
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