A QUANTUM DATE

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The first rule was "don't be seen." Kelly knocked on the apartment door and considered she was not following the first rule. Who was he? A New York finance guy with a Minor in music. Good looking. The perfect candidate. They'd met online a few days ago. But the Soho high rise used security cameras for its tenants. There was one in the foyer. It was irritating.
The door opened. The man whose OkayCupid profile listed his hobbies as "piano and cute women" was smiling and gesturing with a free hand like a traffic cop. "Kelly? Whoah! You're even more gorgeous in person. Come in."
This one was too eager. She should have worn jeans instead of the miniskirt. Kelly closed her coat protectively. "Ahh."
"I've made you uncomfortable," he said. "Sorry. I didn't mean to. I'm a nice guy. Promise." Get him outside.
"I was thinking maybe we could go somewhere? There's a tapas place a few blocks away that makes great cocktails."
He shrugged. "Sure. Let me get a jacket."
He disappeared and returned in a black coat, then stuck out a hand. "Let's start again. I'm Mark."
"Kelly."
"Nice gloves."
"Thanks. They're calfskin. My hands are always cold."
"I can think of a few ways to warm them up."
Ooh, so original. But she laughed. "Drink first. I want to get to know you."
"Of course. You have a beautiful voice, by the way. Almost musical."
"Aww, thanks. But I'm a terrible singer." She suppressed a laugh.

***
The second rule was "don't let them see your hands." Not until the connection was made. A drink, a kiss, connect, then cut and run. No witnesses. That one was critical. The Antique Garage was the perfect spot. The outdoor seating area meant it was always glove weather, and there were lots of alleys nearby. Kelly ordered a blue lagoon. A little in-joke. Mark got himself a dirty martini. Dear god, these men were so predictable. She took her drink to a table on the sidewalk. He sat down opposite her.
"Come here often?" she said.
"Hey, that's my line." He smiled and sipped on his martini. "So, how long have you been in New York?"
"My whole life. I was born on this little island. You?"
"I came after grad school. But I have relatives here. Damn, you're beautiful, lady called Kelly."
"Steady on, finance boy, or I'll be forced to have my way with you in a nearby alley."
"Sounds good to me."
She raised an eyebrow. "Let's finish our drinks first."
"You're in charge."
The conversation drifted to talk of Mark's work. He did something with stocks. "I help people," he said. "And that feels good." Kelly tried not to roll her eyes. "What about you?" he asked finally.
There it was. Her voice shifted and became almost lyrical. A story about New York. Something funny she'd seen. He laughed at the punchline. They all did. She told another story. Was it getting easier to do this? Maybe. All of a sudden her phone beeped. How had she stopped paying attention? She'd enjoyed herself too much with this one. Now she only had fifteen minutes.
"What's the timer for?" he said.
"A reminder for me. Wanna take a walk?"
"Sure."
"This way."
The alley was dark and empty. The first kiss was rough. He stank of vodka. "Help me take off my gloves?" she said.
His hands pulled at the little slips of leather. He frowned. "They're on tight." He pulled more. "Lucky I have strong hands." Another minute and they slipped off. Her hands began to glow red.
"What the hell!?" he said.
Kelly smiled. She gripped his hands in hers and began the connect. "Shh," she said. "It's going to feel good. Keep listening to my voice." Her eyes sparkled.
Mark's breathing grew rougher and his heart began to race. "What are you?"
There was no point pretending now. "There's a story this world has, Mark, about women whose voices lure sailors to their deaths. It's a little unfair to be honest. Nobody ever bothered to ask how the sirens felt. Alone, stuck on some stupid island, nobody to talk to. Nobody to love." His hands were still caught in her grip. She felt his pulse increase. The first little particle jumped across. "Maybe we didn't want to be sirens, you know?" Another particle jumped. There, it was working. His pulse got higher. "Maybe we just wanted to be connected to someone. And to have something of another person be a part of us. It wasn't our fault the men sailed poorly." He smiled dumbly now, red faced and shaking as another particle jumped.
"I mean, take this for instance. You were only thinking of yourself tonight. What you might get. But what about me? Shouldn't I get something too? It's only fair. I only want something small. Tiny, in fact." Another minute. Another particle, and then he groaned and one of his jumped back. Ahh. That felt good. A few more jumped back and it was done. She stepped into him, sparks flying as the two merged into a single shining being, the quantum superposition achieved. Then the wave function collapsed. Kelly's hands stopped glowing. She pulled out a little mirror and checked her face. Not too different with this one. She walked away, the fingering to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata running through her head.
Nobody missed Mark Devon for a few days. The cameras in his building showed him walking out with a beautiful woman, but she was never found. People at the Antique Garage said he seemed happy enough the night he disappeared. In a small loft on the Upper West side, Calliope oiled her calfskin gloves. She'd always wanted to learn piano. She set up another OkayCupid profile and began searching for someone who knew how to fly a plane.