拈華微笑 (Heart-to-Heart Communication): TWO HEARTS

She lay on her side, facing me, curled in upon herself with her knees drawn up to her waist, one shoulder rising and falling in time with each breath she took. Her arms, hanging limply across her body, pushed against her breasts, squeezing them together so they were outlined quite neatly in the satiny folds of her rose-colored nightshirt. Not the method of display I would have chosen, but we hadn't really reached the point where I felt that she would be comfortable if I asked her to wear something more revealing, let alone remove her clothing altogether.

I wasn't in any particular hurry to reach that point, either; it wasn't what I was there for. If I wanted a girl who'd show herself off as part of the general procedure, I had two back at home already who would have been more than happy to satisfy me to that end, and any number available through the Net. But when I was in that weird mood that craved something shy, thoughtful, and endearingly awkward… that was when I opened up a secure channel and contacted Madam Prime Minister to ask if she wouldn't mind my company for the evening.

She hadn't yet said no, but I figured it was just common politeness to call ahead.

A shudder raced through her body, causing her hand to tighten involuntarily in the sheets. She bit down on her lip, brow furrowed in frustration – the feedback from her cyberbrain was becoming more desperate and less coherent. If she was any other woman, she probably would have been quite vocal by this point, but one of her many peculiarities was remaining completely silent, no matter how intently I applied my talents toward coaxing even the smallest amount of noise out of her. I teased her about it, but again, if I wanted someone loud, I wouldn't have gone to her in the first place.

The thin cable that connected us seethed with inviting warmth, practically begging me. I smiled and closed my eyes.

Like beads of water on a windowpane, we rolled together, melting into one. A sudden rush of pleasure, entirely beyond simple physical gratification, surged through me, and I felt her spasm as I pressed further and further into her consciousness, filling the little gaps and empty spaces I found in her cyberbrain. We were linked so completely that my own artificial heart seemed to pulse in time with her organic one, and yet she still wanted me deeper, even though she knew that the further we went, the more difficult it would be to separate later on…

She had only ever shared her body with her lovers; sharing her consciousness was still something different and exciting to her.

I had the opposite problem. I'd been linking up with my girlfriends for so long that the idea of feeling the prime minister's pulse against my skin as opposed to inside it fascinated me.

Perhaps at some point I'd be able to ask her to indulge my curiosity.

Not that the connection itself wasn't deeply satisfying.

I had wondered at first if her inability to separate emotion from sensation was merely the result of her limited familiarity with the functions of her cyberbrain; my other female companions were very picky about what they were willing to let me see and touch within their minds, but with my Yoko, almost nothing was off limits. I was polite, of course; I always gave her space to close things off if she liked, and even suggested it to her from time to time, but she insisted that I'd yet to do anything that made her uncomfortable, and that she'd let me know when I did.

She was lonely. She'd gone on for years without anyone to whom she could connect and share things, and the sense of satisfaction and relief that came from opening herself so completely was beyond her abilities to describe in language.

This was what her ghost whispered to me with every beat of her heart in my breast. Her contentment wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket, and I curled up inside it, aching to know what it might be like to be linked with her on this level while experiencing her body physically.

Her pulse had accelerated fiercely, and I opened my eyes; she was panting hard, her entire body shivering as if from cold.

Her body had reached its limit. Time to pull back.

I withdrew into my own cyberbrain, the sensation of her heartbeat still lingering inside me as her breathing slowed and her trembling body stilled. Gently, I laid my hand on her cheek, and she brought her own up to cover it as she opened her eyes.

I smiled at her, and after a moment of confused hesitation, she smiled back.

This was all she wanted; someone to be together with, to distract her from the frantic mess of her life for just a little while.

To see her smile like that, and to feel the cozy warmth of her satisfaction still bleeding through the link, throbbing with the phantom pulse that remained in my chest, gave me more pleasure than I had ever thought it would.

For her, I was willing to put aside what I wanted, at least for another night. Eventually I would let my ghost whisper to hers as our hearts beat together, delicately outlining what I thought about when we linked, waiting for her reaction, but not tonight.

She had given me more than enough already.