Art by Liah Hail. Follow her on Instagram!
(From the short story collection Ascendescenscion)
by E. S. Fein
Copyright © 2020
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Luscious curls meticulously straightened to straw-like strands; stiletto heels and the damn dangly belly button ring; her lipstick, the pink one called Modest (which Dan had once referred to as the hot color) liberally applied. Something about too much lipstick always used to turn him on.
She strode into the den, breathing heavily to work her skin into a soft blush. The lingerie felt uncomfortably tight–a foreign relic of their youth. The holoscreen flooded Dan’s eyes with younger, prettier, better women wearing heaps of lipstick and tailored to Dan’s fantasies and probably his deeply hidden fetishes when Jessica wasn’t home.
“Danny?” Jessica purred. But her soft, sultry voice couldn’t contend with the boob-bouncing action of Dan’s favorite custom show: Blade Babes.
Dan barely lifted an arm to shoo her away. “Not now, babe. Judy’s fighting Monica, Goddess of the barbarianesses.”
“Daniel Colley!” Jessica shrieked, shaking and unable to contain herself.
He finally gave her a full two seconds attention, glancing at her thighs and breasts as if to assess them relative to his precious bikini babes.
“What?” Dan asked simply, then turned back to the breast-jiggling.
“Nothing, Dan. It’s nothing.”
Okay. That’s all Dan could muster despite Jessica literally fawning. It’d been three years since they last had sex. So maybe she was flabbier than the bikini babes. It’s not like Dan was a prize anymore either. Plus, after thirty years together, things were bound to get stale. But this was just ridiculous. He made her feel like a mere part of the environment…and not for the first time.
“I’m not a fucking bookshelf, Dan!”
“Okay, honey,” Dan issued with a half-hearted shoo.
Jessica dressed herself, removed the make up, then left for the lab without saying goodbye.
“Fuck him,” Jessica assured herself as Q-lab’s access terminal scanned her retina. The laboratory doors opened to an array of humming machinery that Jessica had built herself. That’s exactly why she had no qualms using it, despite it technically being government property. You’re a quantum physicist, Jessica told herself. One of the few in the world. And Dan’s a fucking car mechanic.
Jessica donned the neural headset. She wished she wasn’t still attracted to him. She could probably have anyone from any universe at any time if she really wanted. Yet somehow, even when she was a young PhD student, all she could ever think about was Dan.
She let out a long sigh, cursing herself for caring about him. But people can’t choose their attractions.
“I wish Dan loved me for who I am…No! I wish Dan saw me as a queen…NO! A goddess–the goddess of every universe and multiverse.”
The machinery moaned, processing her words and rewriting the multiversal continuum…
The rest of the story can be read by purchasing E. S. Fein’s short story collection, Ascendescenscion. Click here to purchase the book.