tagRomanceDynamics of a Human Heart Ch. 04

Dynamics of a Human Heart Ch. 04


This will never end
'Cause I want more
More, give me more
Give me more

If I had a heart I could love you
If I had a voice I would sing
After the night when I wake up
I'll see what tomorrow brings

-Fever Ray "If I had a heart."

Bint: n woman, in the loosest sense of the word. One step short of a prostitute, a bint is a bird with less class, less selectivity, more makeup and even more skin. Blokes don't talk to bints unless they've had at least eight pints of beer, which is why bints turn up in free-for-students nightclubs at 2:45 a.m. with their faked student ID and dance around their Moschino rucksacks. The word derives from the Arabic for "woman." Well, I say "derives from" -- it is the Arabic for "woman."

"Ketsunoana," Miranda cursed under her breath as she continued to read her cell phone. The term translated into "asshole" and was one she felt was completely warranted at this moment.

Poppet: n A small child, a doll, a puppet.
"She's such a darling, little poppet."

"I'll show him who's a 'small child' and 'a doll," she muttered. She was still in bed with Sam, flat on her back and fixated on her phone's glowing screen in the otherwise dark room. She'd manage to get a couple of hours of sleep, but was still feeling too tense for anything more ambitious. So she started surfing the net, but was doing her best not to disturb her lover.

Yo-yo Knickers n A promiscuous woman, a sexually loose woman from the frequency of her underwear going up and down. Considered derogatory.

"Why that vile, loathsome, little son-of-a-abazure—"


Miranda yelped and dropped the phone as Sam pushed herself up onto her elbows, looking none the worse for wear for someone dealing with a hangover.

"Now," Sam began, "exactly who are we calling a 'son of a whore"?" Sam had insisted that Miranda teach her some good Japanese curses for those times that she was too drunk to use English.

"Take one guess," Miranda muttered.

"I don't think I need to guess, sweetie," Sam gestured to the open phone, its monitor shining brightly in the dark room, "What'cha looking at?"

"Pornography?" Miranda put forth.

"Nice try."



"Pornography and Lolcatz?"

"Ugh, thanks for that imagery, Miri," Sam held out her hand expectantly, "Strike three, you're out. Gimme."

"Don't wanna," Miranda sulked.

"Tough, fork it over."

Miranda gritted her teeth and handed the phone over to the other girl.

"'Cockney Rhyming Slang,' Sam read aloud, "'learn it, speak it, share it'," she gave Miranda a sideways look.

"It's not what it looks like," the dark-haired girl stated, "I just hate not knowing what he's talking about half the time and looking like an idiot because of it."

"Since when do you care whether or not he thinks you're an idiot?"

Miranda opened her mouth, then closed it again, then opened it again.

"I don't, but I still want to know when I'm being insulted," she retorted.

"Sweetie, I think every time his mouth is open and pointed in your general direction, chances are you're being insulted."

"You don't really want to walk that badly, do you Sam?" Miranda asked in a plaintive tone, "We really don't need to keep him around, right?"

Samantha took the other girl's hands in her own and gazed deeply into her violet eyes, "Honey, I have two words for you."


"Elephant. Semen."

Miranda retched and pulled the blankets off her, "Oh God, I need to go puke now," she jerked the door open and stumbled down the hallway, Samantha's cackling trailing her all the way there.

Upon exiting, she heard an odd noise coming from further down the hall: it was a thumping noise: one-two, and then a muffled whump. Curious she headed into the living room.

Grey was there. He was sitting braced up against the door frame. In his left hand, he was reading a book and holding his cigarette. In the right, he was bouncing a baseball. The ball struck the floor, ricocheted and struck the wall, bounced again and Grey caught it, his eyes never leaving the book.

Miranda would have thought it looked pretty cool, if she didn't hate his guts.

"What are you doing?" Miranda asked testily.

"Watching footy," he replied without missing a beat, Man U is beating Chelsea 3-0. What does it sodding look like I'm doing?"

Miranda felt her cheeks burn: less than five seconds in his presence and she was ready to kill him.

"Yeah, well, cut it out, it's irritating."


Grey caught the ball and casually threw it in Miranda's general direction, not bothering to look. Miranda yelped and ducked as it whizzed over her head and crashed into a bookcase.



"What the hell is your...," Miranda struggled to keep some semblance of composure around the man, "...problem?"

"Stupid questions bring out the worst in me," he explained as he finally looked up at her, "Stupid people more so."

Miranda opened her mouth to retort when she heard Sam rolling down the hallway.

"Morning cripple," Grey called out.

"Morning prick," Sam replied cheerfully. She was dressed in boxer shorts and a white tank-top and gave the pair a jaunty wave before entering the bathroom.

Miranda scowled at Grey, "What the hell was that about?"

Grey took a long drag off his cigarette and removed a pen from behind his ear, making a notation in the book, before setting the book down (face down, cracking the spine, Miranda noted testily.)

"We bonded last night; it was right sentimental it was, made me want to blub," he replied holding up his index finger and thumb a millimeter apart to illustrate his point. "Honestly, we were this close to tears and becoming 'bestest' mates."

"For God's sake," Miranda yelled at him, "Why are you like this? What gives you the right to treat people like this?"

"None of your goddamned business."

Miranda was close to tears or violence, "Do you hate us?"

Grey scoffed, "Poppet, you'll never have what it takes for me to hate you," he picked up his book and resumed reading.

"Then what is it? Is it because I'm Bi and she's gay?"

Grey snorted, "Kid, I was in London during the seventies, we practically invented gay over on our side of the pond, so don't think that you and your bird doing a bit of chat logging is going to ruffle my feathers," he continued to flip through the book, making notations.

Miranda vowed to file that little term of endearment under 'things to research later', and continued her assault."

"Is it because we're young? Are you that old and bitter that you hate us because we're young?"

Grey nearly swallowed his cigarette as he barked out a joyless laugh, "Such a cliché, and no: I don't hate you because you're young," he turned from his book to look up at her, "Youth is overrated," he finished another page and turned to the next one.

Miranda was ready to have a meltdown; this man was the most infuriating form of life she'd ever been subjected to. Even her mother couldn't get her this worked up and that was saying something. The girl furrowed her brow in thought, trying to find some clue, some hint as to what would give her the upper hand.

As Grey returned to his book, Miranda revisited that spot within herself where Grey resided like a stone in her shoe, that same spot that she'd gone to when she'd had to sway him to help her and Sam back at the party.

Grey licked a fingertip and moved to turn to the next page as Miranda opened her mouth,

"Is it because we're in love?"

The finger hesitated for just a moment. But it was enough.

More than enough.

"You hate us because we're in love?" she asked in shock, "Why?"

With a sigh, Grey closed his book and tossed it and the pen at Miranda's feet.

"I don't hate you two," he answered after a long beat, "I hate what you remind me of."

"And what's that?"

"That's my business."

Miranda sighed; it was like pulling teeth with this guy: Three steps forward, two steps back. She reached down and picked up the hardcover book Grey had been annotating as Grey lit up a new cigarette.

"'Multivariable Calculus and Non-Linear Equations," she read, "By Edward Wolf." She brandished the book in his face, "This was a gift to Sam from me for our anniversary."

"Get your bread back, bird, it's utter rubbish," he pointed at the book with his cigarette for emphasis. "Those fields of study got no business being together. This isn't a 'you got your chocolate in my peanut butter' scenario," he took a drag from his cigarette. "One does not go about just mixing your Bray and your Stewart with some Ortega and Rheinboldt and expect a slice of fried gold," he took another long drag. "Stewart agreed with me during a symposium up the street a few years back," he looked at the book again and shook his head. "Bloody brute force mathematics, sloppy."

Miranda could not bite back a bark of laughter of her own, "You know James Stewart? The mathematician?" she scoffed, "Get real."

And she knew right then, she'd fucked up.

Miranda felt the air in the room become heavy and dreadful. She looked at Grey's face as her laughter died: she had just crossed a line.

"I did not say I knew him," Grey whispered, "I said he agreed with me on something."

"You're serious."

Grey clamored to his feet, "I have to go," looking like she'd just set him on fire.

Miranda was nearly bowled over as Grey pushed past her and out the door.

"No, wait, it's—"but he stormed out into the predawn gloom and the door crashed close behind him.

"—okay," she finished dejectedly

She exhaled hard in frustration, whatever she'd said or done, it'd spooked him enough to flee from the house. Even her touching him hadn't been enough to cause him to actually flee her presence.

The bathroom door slammed open then and Samantha hurriedly wheeled in, her toothbrush in her mouth; she was dribbling foam all over her shorts.

"What the hell happened?" she demanded somewhat unintelligibly.

"He's gone," Miranda sighed throwing her hands up in the air, "He just took off."

Samantha grabbed an empty glass that was within easy reach and spat in it.

"Bullshit!" she replied, "What the fuck did you do?"

"Nothing!" Miranda cried, "We were just talking."


"You'll think I'm insane."

"Try me."

Miranda took a deep breath, "We were discussing the validity of publishing a document that contained both theories in Multivariable Calculus as well as Non-Linear equations."

Sam blinked, "Huh. Dense shit. I imagine the conversation was pretty one sided?"

"Yeah it was, except he did all the talking. When he wasn't busy making doodles in your books"

"What the fuck?" Sam wheeled over to Miranda and the pile of books on the floor where Grey had been sitting. "My first editions!" she cried out as she picked one up, "Oh he's dead meat!"

Miranda picked up another book and started flipping through it, "Uh...Sammy?"

"Don't call me 'Sammy' and what?"

Miranda showed her the book along with Grey's annotations.

"What the hell does this say? It's a little too math-y for me."

Sam took the book from her and peered at the pages, "Motherfucking fuck!" she whispered.

"Translation, please."

Samantha held up the book, "They're corrections."

"They're what?!"

"Well, not corrections, not literally, but more like, improvements: Different ways of proving a given theory or solving an equation; more efficient ways."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Okay, you know how, when you're a kid and you've got a grid or a row or whatever of sixty-four, how do you usually count it?"

"When I didn't know any better? One at a time."

"And when you did know better?"

"Multiply x by y: eight by eight becomes sixty-four, so?"

"Right," Sam pointed at Grey's notes, "Same fucking principal: ways of solving some seriously hairy equations and skipping a lot of steps in the process."

"What?" Miranda exclaimed, taking the book back from Sam and frowning at it, flipping through the pages.

"And it looks like he didn't just stop at the math stuff either," Sam continued, "He got into your physics library."

Miranda was rendered mute in sudden panic and instead grabbed a book and began frantically going through it.

Sam tilted her head to read the title, "'String Theory' by Witten."

"This can't be right," Miranda whispered as she clawed at the book with such fervor that the pages were beginning to tear.

"Slow down Miri, you're going to stroke ou—"

"Give me that one there!" Miranda demanded, pointing at another book.

Sam sighed and reached down, checking out the title "'Loop Quantum Gravity' by Lorentz?"

"Yes, give it to me please."

Sam handed it over and Miranda tore through it with a vengeance.

"This," she hissed as she went through the book, "Isn't. Possible."

"You all right there lover? You're starting to sound a little tense."

Miranda dropped the book and gestured, "Those two, give them to me."

"Beg your pardon?"

Miranda gritted her teeth, "Give them to me, please."

Sam cautiously handed them over, "Miri, you're going to give yourself apoplexy."

Miranda ignored her and began tearing through both books. She went pale after a few minutes.

"No, no, no, no, this can't be right," she bemoaned, "There's got to be some flaw in his equations, an error in his formulas, something!"

Miranda shoved the two books away from her; Sam caught them and checked the titles,

"'Causal Dynamical Triangulation,' by Loll," she checked the other title, "and 'Canonical Quantum Gravity,' by Dirac."

"This can't be happening," Miranda nearly yelled. "No one could do this," she gestured to another book, "Let me see that one please, Sam."

"Last one," Sam replied sternly, "Your head's going to burst if you do this much longer."

Miranda nodded and Sam checked the title of the book, "'Superfluid Vacuum Theory' by Sudarshan."

Miranda took the book from her and began to go through it. Sam was shocked to see tears starting to form in her eyes.

"So, what's the big deal--?"

Miranda then screamed at the top of her lungs and threw the book against the wall with all her might.

Sam nearly jumped out of her chair, "Holy shit!"

"It isn't fair!," she howled, "Why, why give such a gifted mind to a worthless drunken asshole!?"

"Easy there Salieri," Samantha attempted to soothe her lover; she'd never seen Miri lose it like this.

"No! This isn't right! It isn't fair!" Miranda continued to yell, "Do you know how hard I worked? How many tests I took to prove that I was a child prodigy? How many grades I skipped or awards I've won?" She then gestured at the door, "And then to be one-upped by that....that...burnt-out loser!"

"Okay, let's put aside right now the fact that you are, indeed, being a complete bitch," Sam began, "And get to the 'how did he one-up you?' portion of the quiz."

"Look!" the other girl hissed, picking up one of the books and gestured at Grey's notes, "This formula illustrates the ways in which elementary particles arise from different quantum states. It's one of the first steps towards replacing particle physics with String, and it serves as one of the core tenants of the String Theory as a whole."

Sam shrugged, "So?"

"So?!" Miranda sputtered, "So, this took decades to create and unravel. Minds like Polchinski and Zwiebach poured over a tremendous amount of data and in doing so created Bosonic String Theory which ultimately became String Theory.

"Again, so?"

"It took geniuses over four decades to break it down into something that could be easily adapted to real-world data applications," she held up the book, "With Grey's modifications, I could teach it to a monkey who could, in turn, be teaching advanced physics to freshmen by the end of the week."

Sam whistled low, "That's intense," Sam leaned in to peer at it, "So, what, he improved their work or did he come up with something entirely new?"

Miranda took another look at the book, "More like he deconstructed it; he found a way to integrate several different variables while at the same time keeping the overall formulae intact."

"In dummy-girlfriend talk please?"

"His equations show that some of the most complex systems in all of physics could be broken down into key core components and then used as building blocks to create new theories or to serve as a teaching aid."

"Holy shit."

"Yeah," Miranda growled, "asshole."

"Why are you so upset about this? So he had a few good ideas."

"This isn't 'a few good ideas', Sammy!" she cried, "This is genius, pure genius it was given to someone like him—"

"—instead of someone like you?" Samantha interjected smoothly.

The other girl opened her mouth to deny it, and then closed it.

"I have an IQ of over a hundred and sixty, I've been called 'gifted' since before I could talk," she threw the book to the floor, "And now I've just been made to look like an idiot child."


"I don't create things, Sammy! I just study the things other people created! That's all I do!"

"Well yes, but he didn't create any new formulas or theories himself."

"No, but he did create brand new and more efficient ways of computing and comprehending some of the most complex ideas in all of physics, which is almost as good."


Miranda slumped in her chair in defeat, "Yeah, 'Oh'," she glared at the other girl, "How are you, not pissed?"

Sam shrugged, "Why should I be pissed?"

"Because he took it upon himself, to lend his 'expertise' to your field of study as well."

Sam picked one up and flipped through it, "Oh yeah, cool."


Sam shrugged, "Yeah, it's pretty solid work, some good ideas here, though I'd have to actually crunch the data to see if they held water," she took another look at Grey's flowing copperplate script, "But yeah, it's cool."

"But," the other girl sputtered, "You worked so hard! You're so smart! You were a contender for the Field's metal."

"And none of that has changed, sweetie."

"But he's better at math than you! Doesn't that make you angry? That's he's smarter than you?"

"Okay, time to explain a few things," Sam leaned forward to take her lover's hands in her own, "One, these little formulas and equations he's got here? Yeah, they hint at some savagely fierce intellect, but that doesn't make him smarter than me or you. It just makes him able to see things differently, uniquely."


"Not finished, lover," Sam gave the girl's hands a squeeze, "Two, so what? If he manages to somehow come up with some new data, that is, for whatever reason, considered 'better' than mine, so what?" She reached out to caress the other girl's face, "I love what I do, Miri, and I love you. And no one, not even some kind of chain-smoking, freaky-geeky Cockney savant is going to change that, okay?"

Miranda blew out a long breath and nodded, "Okay."

"We can take all this stuff to our favorite geek couple."

Miranda frowned, "Aren't Luke and Isabel teaching today?"

"Nope, they're on a semi-sabbatical ever since they got back from Switzerland," Sam gestured at the books, "If the heads of the physics and mathematics department can't makes sense of this, nobody can."

Miranda nodded, she liked Luke and Isabel, not only were they inspiring and engaging teachers, but they managed to remain very down to earth despite their great intelligence. It was Isabel who had introduced Samantha to Miranda during a banquet: Sam had been Isabel's protégé in all things mathematical whilst Miranda was the latest prodigy in the physics department, headed by Luke.

"Okay, sounds like a plan, we bring these to them tonight and they can tell us if this is the real deal or not."

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