Plugs

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

When Love Goes Wrong

by Luc Reid

“There you are,” Nessa said when Guy walked into the apartment. “I was worried you’d have trouble finding it.” He took off the coat and looked around the place, his eyes skimming over some things, resting perplexedly on others. She hung his coat on the rack and wrapped her arms around him.

“Home,” he said tentatively. Then he kissed her behind the ear and buried his face in her hair. He breathed in deeply and said it again, with more confidence. “Home.”

She took him by the hand and led him to the kitchen, where she had set out scallops and other ingredients. He immediately began to cook, visibly brightening as he did so. There had been very few of Guy who didn’t love to cook. “Is it much different in this universe than the one you’re from?” she said.

He made a face. “Let’s not compare notes again. We always do that. Some things are the same, some things are different. Although I think the government’s better in this one than in mine. It got very dark there by the time I started traveling.”

Despite what he’d said, this launched them into a conversation that carried them all through cooking, dinner, and cleanup, right onto the couch after dinner, where they sat drinking little glasses of sherry, a taste she had developed specifically because it wasn’t natural to her. Guy always seemed to enjoy when she was a little different. She leaned back against his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her.

“I love the beginning,” she said.

“As if we ever have anything else,” Guy said, smiling.

“I’ll miss you when you go on to the next me, though.”

“Me too.”

They sipped sherry.

“I hope I never see the first you again, though,” she said. “Three years with that bastard …”

“I know. The first you was awful after a year or so.”

“Somewhere, I bet he’s saying that about me,” Nessa pointed out.

Guy nodded, but neither of them was really unhappy about it. When you love someone, they both felt, you find a way to stay together regardless.

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