When I Go Back
It’s been a lonely year since Cienna divorced Grant. She wanted a home filled with family laughter. He wanted to brag to his colleagues on getting his wife to do things other couples regard as gratuitous. Since leaving, Cienna’s found the motions—getting to know others, finding commonalities—tedious. She doesn’t want vulnerability and pays her way around this with a guarantee and a shortcut: a Sympath.
She’s put off buying the device for seven months since it was released from BETA—waiting to know it’s safe. No one knows. People are addicted but Cienna no longer cares. Her solitude, and rumors the device will be criminalized, purchased the chip—ushering her to try things that caught her eye on the Sympath’s review page like a fishhook.
In her apartment, Cienna looks over the packaging. It’s cylinder-shaped like the emptying Paxil bottle behind her medicine-cabinet mirror. Almost everything good she’s ever owned came in a small package. Her phone. The key to her new apartment. The diamond on her left finger she tells herself is still there to stop men before they start. The ring seldom works.
The glossy consumer warning reads: “user behavior modulates the environment; simulation characters change according to user needs with a reinforced learning algorithm; monitor time in simulation; take vitamins for serotonin production.” There are words printed on the insertion chip’s stylized picture.
They tell her to, “Enjoy a whole new world inside.”
Hope it’s better than this one, Cienna thinks, placing the chip against the back of her neck.
When Cienna connects the Sympath, an unexpected pinch of heat tells her the device is working. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she dozes into her love seat. Her dress suit ruffles. She’s forgotten last night’s leftovers: the cold Dim Sum, now circling the microwave that will grow cold again. Her fluffy Pekingese, Cookie, looks up at her from her high heels with longing eyes. The chip in her neck takes her away from days spent in meetings, sending emails. A trillion synaptic nerves light up at once burning out memories of her signature next to Grant’s over divorce papers.
Once booted, her vision pixelates like a fizzy drink. When her sight clears, she’s taking in a gorgeous view of a city skyline. Inexplicably, she knows with one step she’ll travel miles. She takes the step. And she does. Smiling, she walks forward, taking in The City—skyscrapers, and parks. There’s no honking. No steam rising from gutters. No ring on her left finger.
The streets are filled with cars drifting elegantly from lanes through intersections. The crowd of bodies seems to dance out of her way. She asks a pregnant woman in a sundress a question.
“Are you real?”
The woman holds her hand against a swollen belly. “Is this real?”
She’s coated in the woman’s bright appraisal, an electric smile that polishes Cienna’s coriander skin, reminded of how Grant never wanted children.
“Go explore, hon,” the woman says. “This city’s got something for everyone.”
In a bakery off 47th, Cienna eats ube-filled daifuku so delicious her eyes lilt. She eats and savors, waiting to feel full, but the sensation never arrives. To her hundredth taste, she is content, then goes to find what else The City offers. She wanders into an Uptown music venue. French carpets and laced gold-worked balconies lead up a four-tiered balcony to a shining empire chandelier. Here, she watches Nina Simone at a Steinway, singing songs filled with painful tenderness. The music raises Cienna’s skin in joyful bristles. Nina speaks to her, eyes like a feral cat who's just found a home. Nina sings Don’t Smoke in Bed like her voice can fend off end times. In a gymnasium in Little Montego, Cienna places a fencing jacket over her ribs and a braided mask over her face. In her hand is an èpèe, the largest dueling sword. When her opponent steps across the red frilled carpet, Cienna knows Italian system swordsmanship like she knows how many paid sick days are still left in her HR bank. Imagining Grant, she feints and parries and thrusts into her opponent’s chest. It’s not easy. Her heart raises. Sweat glistens on her brow. In a disengage, Cienna rolls the èpèe around her opponent’s sword and flicks its weight from his hands. The sword’s rattle on the wooden ground tells her she’s won. She feels the pride of childhood soccer.
Downtown, Cienna pauses in front of a nightclub. It’s a building she would’ve normally walked past. Buzzing red neon reads The Ferris Wheel. Grant would’ve pressured her inside. Now, she’ll walk in on her own accord, understanding this the way she’s understood everything here so clearly.
Cienna pulls the door’s smooth handle. Inside, her chest fills with a pulsing beat—dark and frenetic—that sounds like no House music she’s ever heard. In the air is the smell of leather, reminding her of Saint Laurent purses and S-Class seats.
Ahead is a hallway filled with windows, each opening to small rooms where different tastes are happening. In one, there is a couple in latex, holes where needed. In another, there is a group having sex in the draping branches of a wisteria tree, covered in the purple bloom. There are contortionists and animal masks, riding crops, and cigarettes. As she walks, looking into each room, she feels comforted knowing all this is hers.
“See anything you like?” A voice, even and safe, that was not there a moment ago. Cienna turns to see a man with green eyes and thick, curly hair. He reaches out to shake her hand; there is something intelligent in his movements.
“Yes,” Cienna says, looking back at the impossibly handsome man in the dark hallway. He’s not looking at her breasts or inspecting her the way most men would—he’s seeing her. “I want to try something I saw at an art show once with my ex-husband—fascinated him—it was called Shibari?”
“The Japanese art of Kinbaku,” he says. “Translates literally to the beauty of tight bonding.”
“I know,” Cienna says, though she doesn’t.
His pleasant smile never waivers. “I’m Adrian. The Wheel’s best concierge. I’ll get you acquainted, be your host. Do you want to be a rigger or a bunny?”
“Good,” he says. “If you want, you can take my hand.” When she does, Cienna feels electricity pass between them—the kind she felt years ago when she first held a boy’s hand.
Adrian leads her to a blue door, and they walk into a small auditorium, smelling of cognac and cigars. There is a spotlighted stage and a bamboo pole above with brass rings suspended by a rope that disappears into a vague ceiling. In a circle beneath the pole are six rope coils: a bondage ring. In the stage’s corner, a woman in lingerie with six-inch acrylics has a saw and violin bow. As Adrian leads Cienna up the stage’s steps, the woman moves the bow against the saw—bending the blade—resonantly drawing beautiful, haunting music.
“I can bond you,” Adrian says, in the ring facing Cienna. “Soft skin against rough rope. If you trust me, I won’t let you fall.”
The stage’s spotlight shines down. Cienna notices the muscle contours in her arm, and imagines the rope across her back and thighs, flushing her brown skin—her limbs tied—unable to brace a fall and protect her head.
“Do you know what subspace is, Cienna?” She looks into Adrian’s green eyes. She’s never heard of subspace. “It’s the point of full submission,” he says, his voiceless smooth than before. “You’ll feel calm, knowing your life is in my hands. Your pleasure, or pain, at my will. Do you trust me?”
Something inside Cienna craves this and she tells him so, though she’s noticing he’s less courtly and likes the change.
She’s instructed to sit with her knees against the ground. Adrian, also on his knees, ties her wrists together. His fingers are gentle, and when they move over her skin, his touch feels thoughtful next to the rope’s harsh bite. From the knots cuffing her wrists, he coils a Tortoise Shell Tie wrapping her midsection, breathing on her neck as the rope constricts. Her legs come next, bound together. Then Adrian links her wrists and ankles in a Reverse Ebi, her body the shape of a crescent moon. Cienna looks up at Adrian, wanting a kiss from him. He knows and hesitates. His reluctance makes the kiss more satisfying.
“I have a wife.”
“No, you don’t,” she laughs. You’re a program.
The body knots finished, he cradles her head on his thigh and begins connecting the knots across her back to the pole’s suspension rings, hoisting with a pulley system he’s tied together. The spotlight shines on Cienna’s suspended body, rotating like a disco ball. Adrian walks around her, looking up as if Cienna is a certain Magritte painting. She loves the way his green eyes appraise her, finding the value she’s forgotten.
“Do you want to be seen?” he asks over the saw’s resonant cry.
She nods. The auditorium’s velour seats fill with spectators, eyes like headlights. Adrian bends to his knees, about to tell Cienna how beautiful she is—
“Shut up,” she says with a lascivious smile. “I already was down there.”
Adrian beams and stands to his full height. His face inches from hers, she thinks he’ll kiss her again, but he teases. “Would you like to get Tandoori?”
“Yes, but I’m paying. And I’m not sharing my Roti,” she teases back.
Adrian lowers Cienna, then delicately unties her. They leave the Ferris Wheel, heading uptown for Sita & Rama’s, and by the time the dishes come steaming to their table, Cienna barely remembers how they got there. When she looks at her curry, her cheeks feel stiff; she’s been smiling.
Taking charge, the way she’s never done before, she raises her wine glass. “To all the women you’ve tied up and taken out after,” she says, forgetting exactly where she is—
Adrian raises his glass, almost looking hurt. “To only you, Cienna,” he says, clinking.
Cienna fights the urge to feel truth in his line, wanting to cringe, but can’t. There’s no lie across the table so she sips her wine and feels pleasant. “This,” she says, reaching across the table, and flicking the ring on Adrian’s left finger. “Is the reason it’s hard to believe I’m the only one you’ve done this with—”
“I told you,” he says. “I have a wife. But you don’t want to hear about her.”
“I don’t,” Cienna says. “I was a wife once but not anymore.”
“Yes,” she says. “He’s a bastard.” She doesn’t realize she hasn’t told Adrian about Grant. “Had the personality of a golf swing—big shot investment broker. For a while, he was kind. That changed after the first year.” Adrian nods, asking her to continue.
“He started growing cold, barely touched me, closed his eyes during sex. I couldn’t help but imagine him picturing someone else. Sometimes I don’t even think he came, he pretended. There was another. I tried to catfish him when he was at a work conference. Made a fake account from a model I followed—gave her a life. Jobs. Friends. Vacations. I used a modest profile picture, but if he scrolled, he’d see her in expensive lingerie.”
“Lola Dré or Journelle, maybe? Did your catfish have good taste?”
“I have good taste,” she says flirtatiously, liking that he knows the brands. “He didn’t go for it. Too smart. I started feeling guilty and shut it down. Still, I had to confront him. When I did, he told me about her. Said he was terrified of being with only one person for the rest of his life.”
“I’d think you wouldn’t be with such a coward,” Adrian says.
“That’s exactly what my father told me after we divorced,” Cienna says flustered, and a little intrigued. “I asked him about marriage counseling—if I could wear something, try kinky stuff. I felt stupid. And ugly.” For a moment, Cienna feels tears, but when she looks back across the table, the feeling’s gone.
“It’s time you stopped thinking you’re stupid or ugly,” Adrian says. “You’re beautiful and intelligent. I can see this in the way you’ve carried yourself.”
When she finally ends the simulation, she’s on her love seat in her living room. Her stomach rumbles but before she can eat, she’ll have to clean up what Cookie left for her on the floor. She removes the Sympath chip and places it in a kitchen drawer. The microchip sits next to a half deck of playing cards, a lighter, and a dried-up fountain pen.
She takes the ring from her left finger and places it in the same drawer.
Months after the first boot, Cienna’s office clock ticks the same rate it always has, though, her days bore onward with the painful slowness of watching bubbles form at the bottom of a giant pot over a low flame. She bolts when the meetings are over, the emails sent—eager to be with Adrian.
In her apartment, she collapses into her love seat—Sympath pinching her neck, eyes rolled backward—until sunrise’s first light blues fall over dirty clothing piles, towels on the floor. Then she’ll end the simulation, counting the minutes until she can go back.
Once in The City, Adrian meets her at The Ferris Wheel’s entranceway. She never waits. Together they browse the windows, finding what makes her tick. With time, Adrian becomes more perfect. Cienna loves his embarrassed blushes or when he can’t think of the word he needs—tiny idiosyncrasies, mistakes that make him feel human.
Depending on her mood, they’ll leave—share a Halal meal uptown or bridge jump over the river. Today they stay at The Ferris Wheel, in the Reflection Chamber, a vast room with no definitive end— every surface reflective. The walls and ceilings jut out in angles like shiny polygons tried escaping from the other side. The mirrors are warm and soft and never fog up.
“There’s no one else, right?” she can’t help but ask. What about the millions of others who spend their nights with a chip implanted on their neck? “Only me, right?”
“Tell me about your life,” Cienna asks him. They are dancing a slow Waltz; Cienna gives the rigid box step some spin, enjoying the way her hips multiply in the mirrors. “Do you have children?” she asks, forgetting he doesn’t. “Grant never wanted them, but I’ve always wanted two rowdy little boys—soccer players that still help me pin their school crafts to a Christmas tree.”
As they move through the figure-eight, Adrian dips her, a hand on the small of her back. “My son’s seven,” he says. “Korben. Little man’s diagnosed with ASD. He paints the most beautiful abstracts in the world. We’re working on telling jokes. Want to hear one?”
“Sure,” Cienna raises a reflected brow. They lay down on the mirror floor. “Make it a good one.”
“I saw a guy today with soot on his face, carrying a large pickax, wearing a royal blue hardhat that matched his overalls.” Adrian cracks his neck, and his collar bone twists. “But those are just minor details.”
“That was dumb,” she says swatting his chest. Though she barely touched him, his skin turns the shade of azalea. “If we’re doing dumb ones, I’ve got one for that dumb, pretty head of yours. What tastes better than it smells?” Adrian’s eyes widen. Cienna loves his anticipation. “Stick your tongue out.”
When he does, she nibbles his tongue lightly.
“Not teaching my son that one,” he laughs. “Korben’s learning how to read faces. It’s tough but he’s getting better.”
“You’re a good father,” Cienna says. She thinks of what their child might look like, keeping the feeling hidden.
“I’m lucky to have him,” he says. “Korben teaches me patience, how to remind myself there are things in life so much bigger—something we’ll never understand controls it all. Raising a kid is like finding the best parts of yourself and teaching them to a smaller version of you.”
“Oh God, I’d love that,” Cienna says. “Teaching my sons to be good men, helping them with their homework—that would make me happy.”
“Who says you’re not already happy?”
“Shut up.” She swats him again. “Women wanting to be mothers is so cliche but at least it’s a cliche we own. Men thrust and grunt. If you’re lucky they stick around. Guys in the real world aren’t like you. They don’t help their kids with homework.”
Adrian ignores what he can’t process. “With Korben, homework is the easy part. With his diagnosis, he’s smart, but can’t understand expressions.”
“Have him do portraits,” she says, forgetting that Korben is only back story for Adrian to have flesh. “A face and color for each emotion.”
Adrian sits up, excited. “That can work,” he says. “He’d love drawing portraits. Cienna, that’s why—”
“I love you too,” she says to him and climbs on top, watching her body reproduced a hundred times over in the mirrors. “You don’t have to say it back. I’m not that kinda woman.”
“I won’t say what’s not true,” he says, holding her hips, studying her with adulation Grant had never shown. “I can’t.”
Cienna whispered in his ear. “If you’re real, you’ll give me a child.”
“You think you want that—but, trust me, you don’t.”
This is new. Adrian always agrees with her but lately, he’s been challenging. At first, it’s irritating, but when Cienna reflects, she knows his reaction is in her best interest. Still, she focuses her will, focuses on their child. The programming Adrian’s governed by gives Cienna what she thinks she wants. Underneath thousands of mirrors, Cienna feels life in her womb.
She hasn’t considered what kind of life will grow inside her.
Her calendar rolls onward, myopically. In the simulation, her belly is swollen. Without Adrian, she’s the same. At home, Cienna feeds Cookie, walks her, and checks the intersections before crossing. She must do that here. Two blocks away, she notices construction seems to have stopped overnight. There is a building that rose so fast but stopped so suddenly, unfinished. The construction workers have Sympaths, she thinks.
When she returns, she goes to her medicine cabinet, retrieves the Paxil bottle, and eyes the pink pills. She forgot to take the anti-depressant this morning; she’s supposed to take two each day. There are seven left. She takes two and closes the medicine cabinet. She orders Oxtail Stew and sits on her love seat, Cookie in her lap, wondering just how many Adrians exist as she turns on the television.
The evening news reports headlines she’s already seen: China criminalizes Sympath use; citizens’ brain hemorrhaging from bootleg devices; investigation into serotonin deficiency.
Old news. So, what if people wore adult diapers to spend more time in The City? She wasn’t. She replaces Cookie with her laptop, suddenly needing to know if others are in love with Adrian. She searches for a discussion forum. The other posts are encumbered with BDSM experiences. Nothing about the concierge. As she scrolls, she finds an intriguing post. An OP, ‘BigDoinksinAmish,’ is introducing characters to paradoxes:
“Do this quick before the U.S. criminalizes them! Tell the butcher in the meatpacking district you only visit his place because he believes in the value of ‘animal well-being, that no animal should be harmed.’ Then ask him for his best porterhouse! Takes a few dozen times, switch up your lines, but his head’ll eventually swivel. Cognitive dissonance baby! Fucking idiot algorithms. Once you bust ‘em, you gotta reset. Then the whole city’s back to square one. Worth it!”
She shuts the laptop, walks to the kitchen, and raps her nails against the marbled island table. If they make them illegal, ‘how can I be with him?’ she thinks, looking down at her childless stomach. Cienna’s always thought perspective is what makes reality. Now, she’s unsure. She’ll need to know if she can continue trusting her heart.
Cookie is lying with her head in her paws, staring up at Cienna, asking a question they both know the answer to—
At The Ferris Wheel, Adrian greets her with his usual, handsome smile.
“What today? St. Andrew’s Cross? Jacob’s Ladder? Or,” he pauses in his funny, conspiratorial way. “Do you want to try something new?”
“I don’t know,” Cienna says.
She doesn’t know what she wants; so, Adrian must pause. “Let’s take a walk,” he says, a hint of defeat Cienna would’ve had to search for in his voice.
When they open the door to The Ferris Wheel, the street’s gone. A breeze filled with cedar bark and gin-like eastern juniper rolls through her hair. A mild sun adores from above. Before she wants his hand, Adrian’s grip leads her up a rocky slope where yellow flowers sprout along an ephemeral stream.
“Beautiful,” she says, but can’t help but feel the old paranoia. He’s a program, she scolds herself. There are no others. Not even his wife.
They walk in silence. Adrian respects her need for quiet, calmly radiating the energy she needs. When he knows she’s ready he says, “Cienna, you know you’re the only one I’ve played Homunculus with—I’ve never even been in the Parthenon Frieze. Being so small, made of limestone and marble—all new to me too.”
“That was fun,” Cienna’s mood lightens against her will. A breeze moves over the meadow like the ground is shivering. “Since the baby’s coming, I’ve wanted to ask you something.”
“Please,” he says, withdrawing his hand so she knows how serious he’s taking this: “What is it?”
“Does your wife know about us?”
Adrian sighs. “I knew you’d ask that. No. She doesn’t. But I know that doesn’t bother you. It can’t.”
“How can you know that?”
“I just do.”
A goldfinch eyes them from a branch and decides to leave.
“Would your wife care?”
“Well,” Adrian shifts. “I tell her I’m an HR Rep. That’s what you want, right? A mis—” Adrian swallows and is quiet.
“I don’t want to be your mistress.” Cienna knows this change in the storyline makes no sense. Inside, she wants one thing but tells him something else. “I want her to know.” Cienna steps toward him. She’s never had to do this before; his gaze was always on her. “Leave her.”
Adrian backs away, looking into the sky as if the clouds can spell an answer. “You’re conflicted,” he says. “Wait. No, no. You’re kind. If my wife knew, that would ruin everything for you.”
“I want her to know.” Cienna advances. “She’ll be upset—but she has the right to know.”
“You don’t know what you want.” Adrian’s left eye goes lazy and droops. “You don’t want—” He repeats his last word several times, stuttering. A pause. “Let’s go back to The Wheel.” A smile. His face, handsome and bold again, meets Cienna’s. “You don’t want to talk right now. I know what you want. There’s a room for that—”
Cienna sighs. “Ignorance is bliss,” she says not talking to Adrian.
“You do want to talk,” he says. “I’m sorry. Let’s talk.”
“It’s okay. Don’t tell your wife.”
A pause. “I love you."
“I love you too.” She means it, wishing she could take it with her when her eyes aren’t rolled into her head.
Two days later, Cienna is looking at her exhausted face, her flat belly in the apartment mirror. Except for Cookie, she is utterly alone. Tomorrow before work, she’ll cover the dark circles with concealer, and have an espresso quad stack before a performance review. After all, she can have the caffeine; she’s not pregnant here. In meetings, she forces herself from holding a hand over her barren stomach—the reality of her new lifestyle sticking its finger in her face.
She takes the last Paxil and gives Cookie a chew toy before leaving. Examining the Sympath, she notices it’s dulled over the year—finger oils on a silicon wafer. Telling herself this is the last time; her eyes roll backward. There is a familiar pinch of heat.
It’s quiet in the auditorium. She’s seated with Adrian in the suspension ring, the spotlight shining down on them as she fiddles with a length of rope. Cienna sees Adrian noting her frown. “Don’t worry about your belly,” he says. “You’re primed and strong. Your knots won’t fail.”
“I’m not worried about that,” Cienna says, pulling the rope taut.
“Somethings on your mind,” Adrian says. “Please. Tell me.”
“I just,” she debates it for a second and continues. “We don’t know what’ll happen when I have our child.”
“My wife doesn’t need to know—”
“No, it’s not that,” she says. “Your wife’s not even real.” Adrian looks stung but his sympathy doesn’t waver; her words aren’t registering. “I’m scared about having the baby here.” Cienna continues. “What’s going to come out of me?”
“Do you want to know the gender they’ll assign?”
“How can you know that?”
“I just do.”
Cienna reaches out for Adrian’s hands. His palm fits in her grasp perfectly like it was made to fit there. “You’ve never thought about how you know everything before I tell you? Exactly what to say? How to act? Even when you’re not suave or charming, you’re still acting the way I want you. A character. Think about it, Adrian. How can you know these things?”
“Why are you making this so hard? You can tie me up, bond me—enjoy what we have—then when you have our child, we can all live together. I’ll tell my wife I’m at a conference. She’ll believe it.”
Cienna knows that’ll work. In The City, Adrian’s lie about a work conference never told to a wife that doesn’t exist, could stretch out over a lifetime. “What about your son? Won’t he miss you?”
Adrian blinks rapidly. His head twists and snaps back. “Korben, I can have him—I’ll have to go back, help with his homework but I can promise you, Cienna, that won’t interfere with us. I’ll always be here.”
It’s quiet again. Cienna wants it that way. She’s still playing with the rope, pulling and giving slack. When she pulls again, the rope fibers tear like putty. Then she tells Adrian he’s make-believe.
Adrian rolls his eyes because Cienna wants him to fight it, though it only makes this harder. “I’m as real as you are.” He’s said this before.
“No,” she says. Her face is wet. “You’re not. You’re a program in a simulation.” Finality in her words. “I’m sorry. I love you, but none of this is real. When I leave, I go back to the real world where I’m all alone. Then I come back, and we’re together. I don’t know what happens to you when I’m gone but I know it doesn’t really happen.” Cienna explains the Sympath to him—how people have lost their jobs, their sanity—how any day now, they’ll make the devices illegal. “The Sympath’s only been out for two years. Now, everything’s paused. The stock exchange. Construction projects. All stopped. I’m sorry, I can’t keep living in this world with you. It’s not real.”
“Why are you making this all up? If this is a game, I don’t understand the rules.” Adrian’s voice is unsteady; his face is contorting. “I love you but— This is crazy. Stop talking crazy.”
“You’re not real,” Cienna tells him again. “When I’m here, that’s when you exist.” When he begins looking around the auditorium in a sad panic, she places his head on her shoulder, softly rubbing his back.
“When I go back home to my wife and Korben,” Adrian says, fear in his once steady voice. “When I sit down and help him with his homework, when I tell my wife about my made-up day—none of that’s real? When Korben asks for a new video game, my wife makes mashed potatoes, that doesn’t happen?
“No,” Cienna says softly. “None of it.”
“When I go back—My wife? Korben?” Adrian’s jaw unhinges and swells. “My memories? When—Cienna?” He looks up at her.
“I’m sorry. Adrian, I’m so fucking sorry.” Her tears blur a face that’s breaking.
Adrian’s rut is ugly—his head swivels in a ‘no,’ repeating questions on dozens of fake memories written into his back story. His skin blisters, his eyes turn gray, then shut. Cienna holds him as his body convulses, answering each question resolutely, her mind firm that this is how it must end. She’s sobbing but her grip holds his body calmly through the seizure. Soon his words lose meaning and the twitches stop, his unmoving head falls to her lap.
Cienna whispers her love for him a last time and ends the simulation, resetting to factory settings. Instead of throwing the chip away, she holds it in her hand and lays in her bed for the first time in months, not in her love seat. She closes her eyes. And weeps.
A full week goes by, then more. She takes her Paxil religiously and eats foods high in Fatty Acids for serotonin—feeling about as numb as she did before she ever bought the device. She never sees Grant or Adrian in her dreams. Only heavy darkness. But she’ll go back. She can’t help it, she must know for sure if he’s gone.
When she does, Cienna goes again to the Ferris Wheel, enters the hallway, and looks through the windows. She hears a voice behind her and her heart races. “See anything you like?”
She turns and looks into his eyes for any trace; a shade in the green that says he remembers.
“I’m Adrian. The Wheels best concierge.”