The first thing Vivianna noticed after she stopped taking her dose was that John was attractive. Of course she had known before that John was considered to be an attractive man by the standards of Libria but it was one way to know it and another to feel it. She learned that every day

John was handsome. She liked his well-toned body, his broad hands, his soft dark hair and his expressive brown eyes. She wanted to touch him, touch her children, touch everything around her at every moment. .br

She wanted to kiss John in the mornings when she woke up next to him and he was still soft and warm and pliable from sleep. .br

She wanted to ruffle his impeccable hair when they sat at the breakfast table and she put milk and cornflakes in front of him. She wanted him to grab her around the waist for that and she wanted to laugh and she wanted to hear the laughter of their children. .br

She wanted to curl up to him on the couch and feel his arm around her shoulders when he hugged her closer. .br

She wanted to have sex. Real sex, long and luxurious, full of ecstasy and pleasure, not just the quick, mutual satisfaction of a need like food or sleep. .br

She wanted John to want her and to want those things but she knew it would never happen. He wasn't like her. He wasn't like Errol or Mary or Jürgen. .br

The prozium just dulled their characters, not erase it. They were humans after all, not machines. .br

John was intuitive and had an unusual perception for someone who did take his dose, but he didn't posses her curiousness or Mary's passion. He had neither Errol's sensitivity nor Jürgen's trust. .br

John had his belief, his belief in the system, in the laws and values of Libria. She doubted that he would be different if he wasn't taken prozium. .br

Sometimes she didn't even want him to change. She loved him now, the way he was now, loved him because he was John Preston. .br

On other days she hated him, despised him for being such a faithful little lapdog to the people who had taken all these wonderful emotions from them, who had stripped them of the one thing that made them truly human. She hated him because she knew that he would arrest her and let them kill her and feel nothing. Maybe he would even forget her and that was what she really feared. She didn't want to be forget. She wanted John to remember all those little things she had overlooked in the past but saw now with new eyes. .br

The first time they met. Of course they had met like nearly every other couple in Libria: by the Marriage Bureau. Nearly every Librian had a file there. It was frowned upon not to marry and have children that were still needed to restore humanity after the last war. .br

Her file had matched John's file and they had met in an office where they had talked about their lives to see if they really fit together. .br

She didn't remember anymore what she thought about John back then. But then the whole life she had led before she broke off the prozium seems like a bad dream. Now that she felt not to feel felt unreal. However, if she really tried she might, yes, she had considered him attractive, back then on their first meeting. She had considered him attractive by the standards of Libria of course. He was a healthy, young man doing a honourable job that made him earn a respectable salary and his career prospects were speaking in his favour. There had been no reason for her not to marry him. .br

Now, she sometimes wished that her profile matched Errol's instead or maybe Jürgen's or someone else's from the Underground. Not only because she wanted John to love her, to desire her, although that was part of it especially when she saw how Errol looked at Mary, but mostly because of her children. Most of her had accepted that John would never follow her path, would never know how it was like to feel. A tiny part in her, however, kept hoping for something that would change him even with the possibility that he, even if he felt, would never love her back. .br

Her children were another matter. She saw a film where children were running over a meadow, laughing. It made her heart ache every time she thought about it. Lisa sometimes smiled but Robbie was always quiet and serious, like a miniature of John and to think that she had once acknowledged Robbie as a success but frowned at Lisa's unnecessary smiles made her nauseous now that she'd seen how children should live like). .br

She had never heard a child in Libria laugh or anyone else for that matter. She had seen people cry because tears were a way the human body expressed physical pain, but the first laugh she had heard in the Underground. .br

The first time she had laughed herself had been during the film with the laughing children. She was so relived, so happy that something like that existed that she had made a sound and only understood later that it had been a laugh. Her first laugh. .br

Maybe she should make John watch that film. Maybe it would make him understand that Father was wrong, that emotions could be something good, something beautiful. Something that was important no matter which other price they may pay for having them. .br

And maybe if he understood that they could take Robbie and Lisa and Errol and Mary and maybe some others(not Jürgen though, no matter what Jürgen would never abandoned his mission, his dream of freedom for everyone) and leave Libria. Leave it for a place somewhere in this world where the sun shone and green grass was growing. A place where their children would laugh, where Mary could wear her beloved colourful dresses and Errol would read poetry as long as he wanted to, where Vivianna could love John and where John loved her in return. .br