Move Me at Samothrace

He was a work of art, staring at the Winged Victory of Samothrace where she stood at the top of the stairs. His dark curls hanging in his face just enough to bring out the youth of it as large, grey eyes looked up, mesmerized by the softness of the stone, the movement in the carved fabric. In this space, Renoir was like an ancient patron of Nike, herself.

Gethin came behind him, hands snaking around Renoir’s sharp hips as they pulled the smaller man against him. Ren’s love of art, his fascination with the motion such stillness could create, made Gethin’s heart flutter. To see someone become so completely enraptured when faced with something they loved… It was a beautiful thing. As beautiful as Ren was in that moment. Gethin nuzzled his nose into lush curls and placed a kiss just behind Ren’s ear with a smile. The both of them each had a Bluetooth earbud in, classical music playing so they could feel like they were in their own little world as they walked through the gallery, steps paced with the violins in their ears.

Ren was leaning back against Gethin’s chest, humming softly along with the music and swaying slightly. It gave Gethin an idea, the perfect idea, and it consumed him instantly. Reaching into Ren’s pock to take out his phone, Gethin thumbed through the various playlists until he found what he was looking for. The gentle beat of the drums filled their ears and, as the lyrics began, Renoir turned in Gethin’s arms, a puzzled look on his fine-featured face.

“Dance with me,” Gethin whispered, taking Ren’s hand in one of his own, the other remaining on Ren’s hip.

Renoir’s lips twitched at the sides, a smile before he started the song over again and set his hand on Gethin’s shoulder. As the lyrics began once again, they moved slowly, side to side at first like high school students at prom, before their steps developed into something more akin to choreography. Gethin guided Ren into careful spins, arms extended to set him back before a controlled tensing of the muscles in his shoulder brought Ren safely back into his chest. Neither of them were dancers, just two people who found a guilty pleasure in talent competitions, but that was hardly relevant to two young men in love at the Louvre. They simply allowed the song, the flow of words and drums and the gentle passion of the music’s makeup, to dictate their steps, their hands, their look-but-don’t-touch grace as their faces came close enough to kiss, but neither leaned in to do so. It wasn’t time. Not yet.

If people were watching, neither noticed nor cared. As far as they were concerned, all that existed between Gethin and Renoir was each other and the Irish singer in their ears encouraging them to move.

A proper smile came to Renoir’s lips as the song built, their dance growing faster. A passion took over, a need that brought heat to every point of contact, each step hitting harder as the music came to a climax before growing quiet once again and coming to a tender end. As Renoir crashed into Gethin’s chest for the final time, breathing a little heavier and cheeks a little bit flushed, Gethin placed a kiss to his forehead just between his eyebrows. A small rough of applause pulled them from themselves and the young men smiled as they offered a polite wave to the tourists before continuing, hand-in-hand, through the gallery.

“I think I’m ready to leave,” Ren said, his usually quiet voice sounding smaller in the vast space.

“Okay,” Gethin replied. “Do you want to go home?”

Renoir squeezed Gethin’s hand slightly, leaning against him as they walked. “Not yet.”

“How does getting some lemonade and making out in the courtyard sound?”

“Perfect,” Ren answered, a smile on his lips as he placed a kiss to Gethin’s jawline. “That sounds perfect.”


This story is dedicated to the future Mr. Welsh who will tolerate my undying love of art galleries, and to Hozier, whose song “Movement” was the main inspiration.

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REVIEW: All Systems Red & The Future of Work (Murderbot Diaries 1 & 0.5)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a serious sci-fi book that wasn’t Star Wars so when I kept seeing these Murderbot Diaries books everywhere I turned, I just had to pick up the first book from the library.

All Systems Red starts off with Murderbot telling us how it would rather watch television dramas than be a murderer and how boring it is to be a security unit. It’s so done with everything around it until all systems go haywire and the story goes from a silly narrative from a bored robot to a self-hacked robot trying to save everyone from their own system that has gone Hal 3000 on them (for those who don’t get it, that was a 2001 Space Odyssey reference where the ship tries to kill everyone).

I loved this story from cover to cover. Murderbot was hilarious and relatable as hell and despite not having a ton of information on the rest of the team, I really enjoyed the whole cast. Fast paced, action packed, and entertaining, this is probably one of the best original sci-fi stories I’ve ever read. An excellent start to a series I can’t wait to devour and something I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to get into science fiction without worrying about intimidatingly long books or overly complex world building.


BONUS

In seeing the reading order of the next books, I discovered that Wired Magazine actually published a prequel short story about Murderbot being stationed on a mining station. The short story gives us a little more insight into how and why Murderbot comes to care about the people it is assigned to protect and while I definitely recommend reading after the first novella, it is a great example of what Martha Wells’s writing style is like in terms of this incredible series that I highly recommend reading immediately.

You can read the story here on the Wired Magazine website.