We did have more dates. I didn’t see you walking around anymore, but you always seemed to know when to catch me on my way home. I always invited you up and you always said yes. We were growing closer. We were laughing and joking around at my place when I swept all those thick auburn locks to the side. That’s when I saw the barcode on your neck and found out your name. “TT3711,” it read.
“You’re a tron,” I said, heart beating like a hummingbird trapped in my chest.
I stared at you; the bow of your lips, the arch of your eyebrows and the strong sweep of your jawline. I couldn’t even tell. Or maybe I could, and I was just lying to myself. I needed you to be real. To finally be able to connect with a real person.
“You’re disappointed,” you said.
“Because I thought you were human. Because I thought you were real.”
“I am real.”
I looked away and you took my hand. You pressed it up against your cheek. I cupped your face, covered in flesh as soft and warm as my own. I felt the tears burn at my eyes. You pressed me to your chest and I cried in your arms. You told me everything was alright and I began to chuckle. You were the one that was outed, not me. Why couldn’t I comfort you for once?
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked.
“How could I? You’re human.”
“I don’t hate trons. And you’re my friend.”
You smiled for me as you held me against your body and I felt a weight lift from my chest so my heart could resume its frantic beating again–only this time, it wasn’t trying to choke me.
“What should I call you?”
“Eleven,” you told me.
Only trons had numbered names. It’s why you didn’t tell me at first.
“You’re not just a number to me.”
“Then how about, Eli?”
And you liked it. We didn’t stop being friends, we became more than that. I looked up into the double ring of irises in your eyes then pressed my lips to yours. Your hands were steady and strong, your lips were soft and yielding. And we sat there in the safety of my apartment, lips pressed in that warm delight.