Candlelight

It was the familiar smile that caught his attention.

He had never seen her before but she told him the commonalities between them with the openness of her face.

“Is that seat taken?”

“No.  Go ahead.  As you can see, chairs are at a premium tonight.”

They both laughed as they glanced around the room, chairs empty, every one but them on the dance floor.

He wanted to ask her to dance but chose to sit next to her and drink a beer.

Conversation and observation are important.

“You must be…”

“Yes, I am.”

“I thought so.  I couldn’t help but see the way you looked at me.”

They smiled at each other again, taking in their faces designed to display and evoke emotions.

They spoke simultaneously. “I…”

“Go ahead.”

“No, you go ahead.”

“I’ve read a lot about you.”

“Me, too.”

“Is that what you were going to say?”

“No.”

“What were you going to say?”

“That, without equivocation, I love you, I mean, the way your glasses look on your face.”

“Oh…well, thanks.”

“Is it possible to love someone for the words they write?”

“Well, we love each other and until now only had the words and pictures we’ve posted.”

“But that word, ‘love’…”

“Yeah, weird, huh?”

“What do you suppose it means?”

She lifted her arms and spread her hands out. “This.”

They looked from each other to the rest of the metal industrial building in which they sat, one half dedicated to a beer joint and the other to open floor space, currently in use for West Coast Swing dance lessons.

He nodded his head.  “Yep. So where do we go from here?”

She lowered an eyebrow in mock surprise.  “Dance, of course.”

He drank his beer and followed her onto the dance floor.

= = = = =

Anika and Lee sat in the lab and watched their clones dancing.

“Lee, I think this is what you meant when you said you wanted to multiply time.”

“Looks that way.  Hey, if my clone falls head over heels in love with your clone, what do we do if they break up?”

“What makes you think they will break up?”

“MTBF statistics…”

“MT what?”

“Mean Time Between Failures.  These first clone models of us are liable to break down at any time.”

“But the clones of you and Guin were built to last hundreds of years.”

“I know.  I had to trade a lot of labour and investment credits to get the exotic minerals for those clones.  Until our goodwill and profitability factor increase significantly, we’re going to have to use more common minerals for these next few generations of clones.  Gives us more iterations for improvement, though.”

“So you don’t think they’re going to break up emotionally?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, you just asked…”

“I did?”

“Yes, you asked if they fell in love, what happens to us if they break up?”

“I did?  Oh, yeah.  I meant, what happens to us and our love for each other if one of our favourite clones dies?”

“I’m your favourite clone, you’re saying?”

“Unless you’re pulling a fast one on me, you’re not a clone.”

“Then I’m not your favourite?”

“Are you saying you’re a clone?”

“Are you saying I am or am not your favourite?”

“You’re playing with me, aren’t you?”

She smiled.  “But what if we share the same favourite clone?”

“We do.”

They looked back at the instrumentation displays.  Their clones were busy dancing.  They had work to do on the algorithms and would save dancing together for another sol.

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