“You know, I’m here with you now, and yet… I miss you. How can I miss you when you’re right here?” Edward’s words fall on Julian’s ears like the noise of traffic coming through the window. He’s looking out at the overcast cityscape. He feels nothing. He begins to button his shirt, which is all that he is wearing.
Edward lies naked, clutching the sheet, pulling it over himself as he has never felt more exposed. “Do you love me?”
“No.” He doesn’t turn as he says this. He remains stoic, looking out of his prison. How long has it been? Time seems irrelevant. It only passes when he acts on his instincts as a great destroyer.
Edward sits up, curls up, his hands trembling as he pulls the sheet further up. “How long?”
“That can’t be true…”
Edward thinks of their relationship. The arrangement was so difficult, but it seemed worth it. They understood each other. They stood for the same things. These carefully planned trips from Moscow to London were so dangerous for him, but he was in love. Julian had tried to arrange for him to stay at the embassy with him initially, but Edward had gotten in too deep with the Russians. Surely, Julian could not have put him through this for nothing.
“You stood up for me in the beginning.” He’s desperate now. Can he remind Julian that he truly did care about him?
“Of course I did.” Julian still maintains his gaze anywhere but Edward’s eyes. “You were a force of destruction. You upset everything around you. You were an ally. Provided, your idealism was something I could not empathize with, but the balance of your nation was upset by your mere presence. You were a person I needed to accompany me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t.” It is time to deliver these final blows. Julian knows this.
“You didn’t start sleeping with me because of what I did in America.”
“No, I simply brought you into my circle for what you did in America. I started sleeping with you after you made Russian allies.”
“What? What do the Russians have to do with anything?” Edward begins trembling all over. What is Julian’s game?
Julian finally turns his head toward Edward, “You are so fucking naive, it sickens me.”
Terror begins to envelop Edward. Is he going to become violent? He can’t… not like last time…
“You prissy little shit. You don’t fucking understand anything. You try to tell the whole world your government is corrupt and against its own people, and you put your faith in fucking Russia?!”
Edward begins stammering, “I- I- I had nowhere- I mean, I needed a place to go and-”
“Shut the fuck up.” Julian stares at Edward menacingly. “You really thought Russia just wanted to be your friend? You didn’t think they wanted the contents of your fucking hard drive?! You bragged to journalists that your encryption couldn’t be cracked. You’re not a hacker. You’re a fucking system administrator.”
“I thought my data was safe!” Edward begins sobbing. Why is Julian doing this? He was so affectionate earlier this evening.
“When the UK had to pull spies out of hostile territory because of your mistake, I fucking laughed.” Julian wipes the sweat from his brow, points his gaze back out the window. “You trusted the Russians without questioning their motives. You trusted me without questioning my motives. All you learned about distrust in America somehow evaporated the second you left. How did you open your eyes and turn into such a child so quickly? How was that all undone?”
“When you make love to me, I know it’s real!” Edward shouts, snot dripping from his nose, he hasn’t been this anguished since childhood.
Julian points his gaze back to Edward. “Every time I penetrate you, I take a part of you. I have watched you lose more and more control as the months have gone on. This is the only way I feel anything. I don’t feel love. I don’t love anyone or anything. The only joy I know is suffering. I have dedicated my life’s work to making people suffer. The dumb fuck public think I do it for common knowledge or some sort of fucking altruistic need to save them from tyranny.” He laughs, briefly. He looks back out the window to not see Edward’s breakdown become worse. He hears it. Hearing is better than seeing. “You know, Edward, I have done this to you entirely on purpose. I want to drain the life from you. I want to drain the joy from you. I want to take all that makes you a vibrant, hopeful person, and tear it down. Hope is the great destroyer of all men. You must surrender to the frozen embrace of our world. I dragged this relationship out because I want you to be an empty husk. I want none of this naivety left in you. I want you to succumb to the same joyless existence as myself. Then, I will feel you. Then, I will understand you. Ultimately, then, I will leave you.”
Edward is in shock, briefly. What can he do? What should he do? Julian begins to put his pants back on. Julian remains silent, Edward remains still. This moment drags out for an eternity. The cold air coming through the window feels colder every second.
Julian stands, fully clothed. “You should get dressed and leave.”
“Why don’t you leave?”
“Because I’m in sanctuary in this embassy, you fucking idiot.”
Edward steps off the side of the bed. He stares at his clothes on the floor. Is this really ending? He can’t hold it in. He runs across the room, throws his arms around Julian’s neck. “Don’t leave me.”
“I’m sorry, but this is really happening.”
“I know you love me.”
Edward’s entire body is trembling, but he holds on. He presses his lips against Julian’s cheek. He does not move. He does not acknowledge. This act of affection is neither accepted nor an offense. It is an idle moment that he is enduring as he waits for this situation to complete. “Why won’t you let me in? I could try to understand you. I could try to know why you’re this way. That’s what you do when you love someone. You show them patience. You show them kindness. This has always been more than sex for me. I want to really know you. I want us to support each other when we finally get out of this. We’ve done great things-”
“No, we haven’t, and no, we’re not going forward together.”
“We’re garbage taking out other garbage. None of this matters. Did you feel important? Did you feel excited when you blew that imaginary whistle? You did it for yourself. Not the Americans. You did it for yourself. You’re garbage. I’m garbage. It’s time for you to go. I have no affection to offer you.”
Edward releases Julian from his embrace. He walks away, head down. He begins dressing himself. He struggles because of the way his hands are trembling. He makes his way to the door. He opens it. He looks back. “Julian…I love you.”