Touch (Sage Collins)
DL recorded every word Kristie said into his memory banks without really listening to her. His enhancements would process the information in the background while he slept in this chair, having given Kristie the single bed in the cheap motel room they occupied. He would examine her words for any useful pieces of information she might have provided, but in the past week of protecting her, he had determined that most of what Kristie said to him was not related to the mission.
A nearby movement startled him. His hand shot out and caught Kristie’s.
“Some invisible cyborg bodyguard you are. I’ve been talking to you forever, and you didn’t know I was here ’til now?” She sat on the bed’s edge, facing him, though not really looking at him since she couldn’t see him. Her legs were crossed, her foot moving up and down. It distracted him, and he made a note to download information about disorders that would cause foot spasms when he was less exhausted. “I can’t go back to sleep,” she said.
“I see that.”
“Lucky you.” She folded her hands in front of her mouth, looking pensive. “What do you look like?”
“I am a Caucasian male with a height of five feet, eleven inches and a weight of one-hundred, ninety-three pounds. I have dark brown hair, and my blue eyes appear green due to my ocular enhancements.”
“But…if I drew that, I could do it any number of ways. I’m sitting right across from you, but I can’t imagine what you look like. Can’t you compare yourself to someone I’ve seen?”
“I do not believe so.”
She reached her hand towards his head.
Again he caught it. “What are you doing?”
She smiled and took his hand between hers. One hand traced his fingers while the other pressed against it, palm to palm. “See, I have an idea what your hand looks like. Your fingers are longer than mine, the entire thing is wider.” She touched the inside of his wrist. “Where do you connect to the computer?”
At the side of his wrist, he worked her fingers under the flap of skin hiding the cable he used for direct connections to computers. She fingered the thin universal interface at the end of the cable.
“Yes, I can feel it. It’s well hidden, though.” Her hand wrapped around his wrist, the thumb on top of his veins. “Your blood’s really pumping,” she said.
“It’s simu-blood. Blood would impair my enhancements.”
“Whatever it is, it’s flowing fast.” She slowly ran her hand up his arm, her fingers leaving a tingling trail as if transmitting a message from his wrist to his brain.
She got to his biceps and smiled. “Good. I was worried you were stacked like a bodybuilder. This is better.”
His brain barely processed the compliment, so focused was he on her attempt to ascertain his appearance. Her other hand touched his opposite shoulder, mirroring the first. She brought them forward, across his pectorals—he wondered how his vest affected her mental image—then up to his neck. He tensed, and she paused.
“Relax.” Her voice was quiet, mellow. “I’m not going to strangle you.”
He closed his eyes and forced his shoulders to relax. Only after the slight drop of his chin, allowing her access to his head, did her fingers continue, exerting light pressure as they progressed up his neck. She ran them along the edges of his ears and into his hair. “It’s longer than I expected.”
He silently waited for her to move her hands through his hair, and her thumbs crossed his temples, meeting at the center of his forehead. She brought them to the top of his nose, then over his eyebrows. Very lightly, she ran them across his eyelids to his nose, which she traced to the end with a single finger.
She traced his cheekbones down to his chin and brought two trembling fingers to his mouth. She brushed them against his lips, lingering at the center just a moment before removing them. He let out the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding and opened his eyes. Her face was centimeters away.
“I think I can picture you now,” she whispered.