Beckett pretended not to watch me, peeking up from his holo-tab from time to time. I hadn’t done anything interesting in the hours that passed and I took great satisfaction in knowing he needed to occupy himself with the electronic tethers of technology while I sat content with the freedom of the day.
In the afternoon, music filled the uncomfortable space between us. I scanned through hundreds of songs on his holo-tab, eventually selecting a list of amazing tunes from times gone by. We found common ground in our love for Green Age sounds made with instruments as opposed to the digital contortion known as music in the modern world.
“How did you find this music? I thought only eccentric old citizens longing for the Green Age still listened to this,” I teased him, his preference for the Green Age clear in everything in his home from the pillows to the color on the walls. Actually, the fact that he had any color on the walls at all was unusual for a home in the Collective. Citizens preferred modern, industrial materials and utilitarian design. No stylization, no personality, and certainly no fluffy green pillows and golden-hued walls.
“Everything is available in digi-file; you just have to know where to look for it.” He smirked, hinting at some secret digital knowledge.
“You also need one of these special issue tablets from the Affinity, but, you know, no big deal.” I laughed at my own sarcasm and stuck my tongue out at him. Beckett tried to look annoyed but his face resembled that of an adult trying not to entertain the smart remarks of a petulant child.
I lounged on the sofa while he fitted himself into the far corner where his mattress met the wall. Music floated all around us, bouncing off the walls and making the air heavy with beautiful color and emotion. One of the songs on the list featured a gorgeous falsetto male voice layered on top of thunderous drums and a driving bass guitar. I closed my eyes and let the music completely sweep me away.
Beckett noticed my abandon and increased the volume so loud I couldn’t hear myself think. Music came blaring through the speakers expertly placed throughout the cabin. I’d never been immersed in sound like that before. Even in my youth, I hadn’t experienced the consumption of my mind and body within melody. Everything outside of this room, these four walls, everything waiting for me over the mountain and deep in the forest, it all disappeared. All that I could think or feel was the rhythm in the music. My heart followed the sultry pace of the bass and my chest constricted with the painful lyrics bleeding out of the soulful singer.
The song ended and I shot up from my prone position, finding Beckett smiling at me from across the room as the beginning notes of the same decadent music filled the cabin again. I returned a grateful smile and sank back into the overstuffed cushions beneath me. As I lay, swept away in the power of the song, I felt Beckett watching me. I opened my eyes and met his in a gratuitous appraisal of my body, stretched out as if it were on display for him. Our exchange felt right, not dirty or salacious at all, just one person enjoying the vision of another person in complete physical and emotional rapture. We were happy there together, in that moment.
As the last note sounded, I immediately wished I could hear it again. If I could have bottled the feeling of that song, of our shared experience of pure bliss, I would have in a second. The remainder of the day, Beckett and I let the bleat of the horns, the sigh of the strings, and the pounding of the percussion fill up all the empty space around us.
Will Cassie and Beckett give into the smoldering passion that is sizzling between them? Can they afford to since they are on different sides of the battle over personal rights? If you love a thought-provoking, passionate science fiction story, you are going to love Frozen Heart!