It smelled like oranges. The slender par …

It smelled like oranges. The slender part of her wrist, the purest skin on her body. Dan kissed her there, but briefly; it was a mark she couldn’t resist. For fifteen years, she breathed and bled the scent just for him.

Though they went out, they ate their dinner in perfect silence. The only concession they made to one another was an empty table. No phones. Instead, her hyperactive Blackberry sat between her thighs, buzzing uselessly against her leg and then at her crotch as she pushed it upwards.

Dan kept his phone in his shirt pocket. Sometimes it glowed, straining against the thin material of his shirt. She ordered gnocchi — perfect for stabbing once with a fork before bringing it to her mouth. He ordered papardelle con porcini, which he ate without creating a single stain on his impeccable shirt.

No hello, how are you, nothing. No hint of his love for her satsuma scent, something she achieved by placing the orange on her skin, rubbing it there for hours. She wanted to smell edible for him.

They say that the desire to eat one’s love is the most visceral and genuine response possible. It transcends language, forces the mouth to bend to some other purpose.

When they were finished eating, they left slowly. Like liquid statues, they put their jackets on. Not helping each other, not even noticing the other. The mere existence of others was crass. Even their whispers were shrieks that clawed at them.

Her first words to him were, Did you like that?

And the silence made her pant hard, as if she’d just had sex. The slight, chemical shaking of the blackberry left echoes in her skin.

Sure, he said.

She was too short to see his face as he turned away from her to call for a taxi. His voice sounded so robust when he yelled, a single, sharp cut in the wind.

They reached home in mere minutes. Not touching, not speaking. He led her up the stairs and they started kissing as soon as the door was shut, her skull banging up against the door, her hair brushing her shoulders, scratchy and greasy at intervals. Dan had his fingers thrust under the waist of her skirt; he was going to pull it down, and then she smelled it again.

The oranges.

She pushed him away.

Dan titled his head but did not ask. He tried to kiss her again; this time, more gently, though they did not move away from the door, and her skull hurt. She pulled away again. He brought her wrists up to his lips and began to suck the scent from them. Transcending language; it was all he was capable of, anyway.

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