“Oh, man, he does not seem to like this,” Demeter whispered to Persephone.

The frown on Trip’s face was epic. “You’re gonna get worry lines if you stay like that for another five minutes,” she said to him.

Trip opened his mouth, blinked slowly, then shut it again. He turned away to look through the window. It wasn’t a real window, rather a high-resolution monitor that showed the view from the top floor, like a periscope. The ‘window’ was illuminating the apartment with a warm reddish glow from the sunset sky, but had no direct line-of-sight with it.

Demeter tapped her foot and waited, feeling anxious. She looked around the place. “I like your apartment, it’s nice.” It was a small box downtown, and the rent was astronomic.

Trip turned to her, and said, “Thanks,” still frowning.

“Can I get you some water? Let me get you some water,” Demeter said and found the kitchen on her own, rummaged around the cupboards for a glass and brought him some water.

He accepted it with a ‘thanks’ and drank slowly.

Demeter decided to let him have his time to process it. She distracted herself by taking in the apartment. It was nice, modern. Clean, which was important, but she could tell it was a bachelor living there. Her gaze fell on the bed. It was unmade, a single bed with dark red sheets, a speaker tape next to it, and a small reading LED light. Demeter found herself smiling. She did think about having sex with Trip. Every time she imagined it the surroundings were either hazy, or taken from her previous experiences. Now they would be grounded in dark red sheets. She sat on it and ran her fingers along them, grabbing a handful. Just like she would when she would reach her climax underneath him.

“It wont’ be mine,” Trip said, and Demeter snapped her attention back to him. It wasn’t a question, more like a realisation.

“I’m sorry?” Demeter asked.

“The kid. It won’t be mine.”

“No,” Demeter said and let her mouth open in an ‘o.’

“But it will look like me, as if it was my own. And Persephone’s, with Mendel’s pairings and whatnot.” He was still frowning, but he didn’t seem that shocked now. He was sitting on the corner of his desk, facing her with his body, but not his eyes. Those were persistently locked on some point on the floor.

Demeter sighed. “Trip… Look, it’s a solution. It’s not the one you’d like, no. I agree. But what other choice is there? You cannot physically be together, that’s a given. And this is just us abusing technology, giving us some wiggle room.”

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He raised his face towards her and smiled bitterly. “It was your idea, wasn’t it?”

Demeter’s instinct was to deny that. She was worried that it would break some of the trust they had managed to build, and that trust was fragile. This whole deal wouldn’t work without it. But trust is built when things are out in the open. When you’re telling the truth, and expect the other person to do the same. She sighed, raised her chin. “Yes, it was.” She pressed her lips.

“Fucking bitch!” Trip snarled and slammed his fist on the desk.

Demeter flinched, and her eyes darted towards the exit, making sure she had a clear line. Yes, she trusted the man, but how long had she known him really?

With him turning his back on her and his chest heaving, and her sitting on the bed but ready to dash out of there, the air was thick with tension.

And then Persephone spoke. “I know you, Trip. Don’t you dare blame Demeter for this. Yes, she came up with the idea. Which is brilliant, as a matter of fact, and if you can’t see that, fuck you. My friend is awesome like that. And she didn’t force it on me, it was my choice. I went to see Echo. She agreed to do it. All we need is for you to do a standard DNA test and send the file up to me. She’ll take care of the rest.”

Trip turned to meet Demeter’s eyes. His were watery, and hers were sad. There was silence.

“Oh, and by the way, if you don’t agree to this, I’m gonna go find the first sperm popsicle they have available and shove it up my pussy, then I’m gonna block you forever and live my life alone. Me, my sister and the baby.”

Trip shook his head and smiled wide. He was still angry, that much was obvious, but the fact that Persephone knew what to say and how to work him made him have a laugh about it. “Sperm popsicle,” he snorted.

“Sperm popsicle,” Demeter snorted back in agreement. “She really is something else, that woman.” She stood up and stepped close to Trip, then held his hand inside hers.

Trip looked down at her, his gaze forceful. “I’m sorry, it’s-“

“It’s okay,” Demeter whispered and ran her fingers along his neckline.

He let his head hang, and she moved in closer, hugging him tight.

Trip sobbed with a sudden shudder that moved her entire body.

Demeter shushed him softly, kissed him on the ear and pulled his head on her breasts.

“This is too much!” his cry came muffled.

“Shh… It’s alright. Let it out,” Demeter said softly, caressing his head on her chest.

Trip cried out loud, and Demeter held him close.

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