To the Life

Justin buried his face in his hand. "No, Ari. Dammit. We've discussed this."

Ari tapped her stylus on the desk. "Sweet, you're getting a bit old to look after a child."

"I'm aware of that, and I don't want one."

"Justin," she said softly, psyching him for all she was worth, but it had that dual resonance, the little girl lost. "What would I do without you?"

It was unlike her to be maudlin; the impact of her words took a moment to hit. "God, no. No."

She glanced away from him as if she was unconcerned, as if she was not watching his every twitch. "We do have your geneset on file."

There was the razor blade, right on cue. Justin slammed his fist on the desk. "Go to hell."

"It was only an observation."

"You wouldn't." The thought of a relation of his, however perfected, taking tape she had written, docile to the deepsets "Dammit, Ari," he said again, but it was weaker.

"We could start it tomorrow."

Justin looked up at that. "You've been planning this, then."

"Of course."

"You didn't know I would say yes."

Ariane reached up and patted his cheek. "I know you, sweet."

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