Love is a funny thing. It’s a choice, Dao thinks. And what a big mistake they made with choosing.
Niic’s bed--soft sheets, a litany of pillows--fits half of the floor; nothing but the biggest and best he said. Niic and Dao lie side by side on the bed, looking up at the blank ceiling in silence. Over the years of knowing each other – evolving from Niic requesting Dao’s services, to becoming something similar to friends – Dao has grown more comfortable with Niic and the days where they simply exist in each other’s presence has increased. Silence never was a big deal between them. All Dao needs from Niic is his presence, and they know it is the same for him.
“What would you think if I painted the ceiling with stars?” Niic asks, hands outstretched toward the blank canvas. He turns to Dao, waiting.
“And why stars? We both know you can afford an apartment high enough to reach the dome.” Dao asks.
“Because I want to paint them with you. You’re more beautiful than the stars and I think they could benefit from your touch.”
Dao laughs and turns to face Niic. They move a little closer into the warmth of his body. “You flatter me too easily. Don’t let your other escorts hear you.”
“You know I have no other escorts,” Niic replies, staring at Dao. He dropped his hands from where they were outstretched, and opens his mouth and closes it. “And if I could, I would monopolize all of your time.”
Niic moves so he’s lying on his side, now easily face-to-face with Dao. He gently places a hand on Dao’s cheek, gently strokingwith his thumb.
“Why won’t you be mine?”
“Niic…” Dao replies softly. “You know why.”
“No, no I don’t. Why do you have so many secrets?”
Dao places their hand around the one Niic has on their cheek and laughs again. “You ask too many questions.”
Niic goes silent, thinking.
“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever know who you are.”
“But you do . I am Dao, your friend.”
Niic gives Dao a a small smile. His facial expression morphs into something weary. He doesn’t reply to Dao and instead closes his eyes, slipping into a half sleeping state.
His hand remains on Dao’s cheek with Dao’s own hand holding it in place.
Dao stares at Niic’s sleeping face and grasps his hand tighter. “Rest well,” they whisper.
Dao thinks about their father’s words and Dao’s promise to him. As they kiss Niic, Dao remembers that revolutions cannot come without sacrifice.