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For more information on this story and a full list of chapters and extras, click here. Please note that Morphic is rated R (M if you prefer Fiction Ratings) for strong language, violence and other sensitive subject matter.
Extra: Dave and Mia Discuss Sex
“Have you had sex?” she said, completely out of the blue.
“What?” Dave automatically looked at Mia for a split second before forcing his eyes back towards the road. “Of course. Why?”
She shrugged. “You don’t have any biological children.”
“Well, no, but that’s thanks to contraceptives, not –” He gave her a glance again. “They’re not teaching you abstinence-only at school, are they?”
She shook her head.
“Well, that’s good. Then you know that contraceptives can do wonderful things.”
“How old were you?”
“The first time.”
He gave her a doubtful look. “Uh. Fifteen, but…” He stopped at a red light. “What’s with the sudden interest?”
She shrugged. “We had sex ed today. It sounds interesting. I think I’d like to try it sometime.”
She was looking at him the way she did when she wanted advice. He raised his eyebrows. “Eh. That’s a bit of a complicated subject, but, uh…” He scratched at the back of his neck awkwardly; the light went green, and he tried to think while accelerating. “First of all, the point of sex is to have it with somebody else. Do you… do you like men or women?”
There was a momentary pause. “Men.”
“Well, okay. Then you find some guy you like, and… are you looking for commitment or just a…”
“I like you.”
He looked sharply in her direction; she was wearing the exact same neutral expression as usual. “…What? No, Mia, that’s – no, that’s not how it works. Christ. You find somebody your own age – mental age – like one of the guys in your class at school, or something.”
“I don’t like them.”
There was silence. “Well, you shouldn’t be having sex now anyway,” he said after a moment. “Technically you’re ten years old. It’s illegal.”
She nodded contemplatively.
“Also, it’s a different kind of like. Guys you like sexually are not the same as people you just generally like. It’s a different feeling. You don’t like me that way. Or at least I hope not.”
She cocked her head. “Why?”
“Oh, Jesus, Mia.” He scratched at his neck again. “Because that would be fucking creepy, that’s why.”
Mia shrugged, looking casually out the other window. Several seconds passed. Then, “I don’t get it.”
“What part of ‘fucking creepy’ do you not –”
“The different kind of like.”
“Oh, that.” He paused. “Uh. Well, it’s when you can’t stop thinking about someone. Or you look at someone and… you just want to keep looking at them. Or you want to touch them, or do things to…” He shook his head. “Jesus Christ, why are we having this conversation? You should ask your mom.”
She looked at him for a while. “You like her that way,” she then said, conversationally.
He gave her a sharp glance; his fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “Why would you think that?”
“You keep asking about her when you come over,” Mia said. “You look at her a lot, differently than you look at other people. Just now you thought of her when you were talking about liking people.”
He ruffled his hair. “Oh, Jesus, Mia,” he muttered, “you’re something else, you know that?”
She looked at him for a second. “You had sex. With her.”
He jerked his head towards her; the car veered and he only barely managed to pull it back on track. “What the fuck. How do you even… what?” She opened her mouth. “No, on second thought, don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to know. What the ever-loving fuck.”
A second passed as he stared determinedly at the road ahead. “You did,” she insisted.
He decided not to dignify that with an answer. She didn’t seem to mind; she just looked out the window, apparently unaware she’d said anything particularly significant.
“Hey, uh,” he began after a moment, “don’t be mentioning this crazy theory of yours to your dad, all right?”
She shrugged. “Okay.”
A minute passed in silence.
“I don’t think I like anyone like that,” Mia said eventually.
“That’s fine too. Maybe there’ll be someone later. Or you’re asexual. Wouldn’t surprise me.”
She paused. “Asexual is when you don’t have sex with anyone?”
“Because you’re not attracted to anyone, yeah.”
“What if I wasn’t attracted to anyone but wanted to have sex anyway?”
“Well, then you’d do that and stop trying to apply labels to yourself – but not now, because you’re ten years old and any sex you have right now is legally statutory rape.”
“I can’t get pregnant,” she observed after a moment.
“You’re infertile, yeah. But you could probably get STDs, so for the love of God use condoms. Or rather, use condoms there far in the future when you’re not ten fucking years old.”
There was a lengthy pause. “When is it legal?” she asked.
“The age of consent is sixteen over here. Other countries are different.”
“You said you were fifteen.”
“Uh.” He drove on a moment. “Nobody takes these things that seriously. Point is, ten’s creepy no matter who you ask, your mileage may vary on whether looking and acting older actually helps with that, the law tends to be firmly on the ‘no’ side, and though I wouldn’t personally report a guy you had consensual sex with there are definitely people who would.”
She contemplated that. “There’s plenty of time,” she said eventually. “I’d just like to try it sometime.”
“That’s the spirit. No need to rush it.”
He stopped the car in front of the Kerrigans’ house. “One more thing,” he said as Mia unfastened her seatbelt and opened the door. “Most people are going to be a wee bit freaked out if you suddenly start asking them odd questions about their sex life. Don’t walk in there asking your parents when they lost their virginities. It’ll be awkward.”
“Okay,” Mia replied before she stepped out of the car. She hesitated for a moment there and then said, “Thank you.”
Mia really, really didn’t say ‘Thank you’ often.
He didn’t get a chance to reply before she’d slammed the door and headed off to the house, but as he drove off he felt oddly proud.
Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT