Tad was lying. Again.

Not that anything gave him away. His grey eyes did not waver. His lips did not twitch, only pushed forward into the half-pout he’d studied, rehearsed, perfected over hours before the mirror. He could dissemble with all the finesse of a double agent.

“I would’ve called, Bae, but you know how it is. Derek kept me and the others back, talking motivation. Actor stuff.”

He curled butter onto a knife, scraped it to every corner of his sourdough toast. It was like an act of worship, the way he smoothed the expensive marmalade with such precision. It nauseated me.

Tad could have been a “ten”. He had pale, smooth skin over high, sharp cheekbones, raffish dark hair, painstakingly unkempt, and a physique at once delicate and masculine. Even dressed down, in khaki slacks and a cream polo shirt, he was impeccable, with creases taut and collars erect. He could have been perfect, but was held back by an air of smug self-satisfaction that kept each practised smile from ever touching his eyes…

Duplicity was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 2017.

Read the full story for free in Issue 11 of Dimension6.