Z: Orion, please explain why you insisted on this as the title for the blog post.
Orion: I’m a scientist… a researcher. I live by the scientific method.
Z: (not sure where he’s going but I’m willing to go for the ride) Which is?
Orion: Observe. Question. Research. Hypothesize. Experiment. Test hypothesize. Draw conclusions. Report.
Z: Okay. So, you’ve never observed love therefore it doesn’t exist?
Orion: I didn’t say that! Z., if you knew my mother you’d never assume I don’t know love. I know love… and my best friend Xander…
Z: (hands up) Apologizes, but I don’t get what you’re saying.
Orion: Maybe we should share the snippet. It’s in Marcus Satir’s point of view but the readers will get it. By the way this is the first night I’ve spent any time with Marcus and Hunter. They were club members so of course I knew of them, but never… here’s the clip.
“So, Orion, you’ve given up BDSM. Have you also thrown in the towel on finding love?”
Hunter sighed, and Marcus could almost hear Hunter’s brain ticking through plans to make Orion’s life safer and happier.
Maybe that was a sappy question, but for some reason, he wanted to know the answer.
Orion leaned back. “Love? That’s simply a chemical process altered by geographic availability, proximity, and sexual attractiveness.”
Hunter thumped his elbows on the table and frowned.
Marcus decided to chase this bunny down the rabbit hole, and not just because Orion had a cute tail… though he did, from what Marc could tell… a really cute tail. “Meaning?”
Orion tapped his fingers on the table. “Okay, first off, I do believe love exists, though I’ll give some credibility to Sternberg’s triangular theory of love.”
“Say who now?” Marcus couldn’t stop the joke. “See, Hunt, I told you we needed a triangle to be completely happy.”
Hunter grimaced and gestured for Orion to explain.
Orion gave Marcus a ghost of a smile, which made his insides go warm and his dick start to get hard. “All types of love are made up of intimacy, commitment, and passion. The specific kind of relationship makes the levels of each vary.”
“Meaning friendships would have different levels of passion than love toward lover,” Marcus summarized.
“Different levels of passion as well as commitment. Though, a later study suggested intimacy was strong in all types of relationships.”
“Okay?” Marcus encouraged. How could anyone boil love down like this? It was insane to narrow the most beautiful thing one could experience in life down to a chemical process.
“The person who raises your dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenyl ethylamine equates to you believing you’re in love.” Orion looked back and forth between them to make sure Marcus and Hunt followed him.
“So, you think elevated chemicals cause feelings of love.” Marcus nodded to reassure Orion they understood, but hoped his tone conveyed they didn’t necessarily agree with him.
“Right, but to have the chemical reaction, the person needs to be in your social realm.” Orion sounded pleased.
Marcus encouraged him. “Geographic desirability?”
“Exactly. Geographic availability is key. You need to meet a person who can do this to you.” With eager excitement he went on, “Although your neuro pathways allowing you to assess others are diminished.”
“Huh?” Hunter tilted his head.
Marcus bit his lip. He’d not give in to the laughter that bubbled just under the surface from Hunter’s reactions.
Orion didn’t seem to recognize Hunter’s cue of disbelief, so he continued and tried to build on his teaching moment. “Serotonin levels of people in love are lowered… usually to the same levels found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders.”
Damn, watching Orion’s pink lips move made Marcus need a BJ. That was the perfect mouth for giving head, and—
“Wait! You’re likening people in love with folks who have a medical condition?” Hunter folded his arms in front of him.
Orion leaned away from Hunter, but he nodded.
Marcus waved Hunt off but couldn’t stop his own frown from deepening. While obsessing over how active Orion’s tongue would be on his cock, he’d picked up the juicy tidbit of the conversation.
“I guess you think that explains why people obsess over the ones they love.”
How could someone who looked like an adult version of cupid not believe in love? Until Hunt, maybe Marcus might have agreed, but currently he’d do anything for the man he loved, including finding someone Hunt could dominate.
Hunt grimaced. “Or in Orion’s words, the one—”
“Or ones,” Marcus added with a big smile.
Ah, it never hurt to get one’s agenda out in the forefront.
Hopefully, Hunter would be in a giving mood later on, because the combination of Orion and Hunter’s reaction to him was firing up Marcus’s usually quiet libido.
Hunter narrowed his eyes at Marcus for just a few seconds and then continued, “The one or ones who raises your chemical levels.”
“Exactly!” Orion was bright but clearly missed Hunter’s sarcasm.
Hunter’s head wobbled. Maybe that would help the information seep in. “I guess what this means is you don’t believe in love.”
“Oh no. I believe in love. I just don’t believe in romantic love.”
“That’s terrible.” Hunter’s face twisted into an “I’m in complete disagreement with you” expression. The last time Marcus had seen that face was when he convinced Hunter to try Ethiopian food. When Marcus had said the sour, spongy bread wasn’t bad, Hunt gave the same look, but this one was more horrified.
“I guess you don’t want to hear about Hannah Fry’s Mathematics of Love. She uses statistics to figure out the optimal strategy for finding a partner.” Orion shrugged.
Poor Hunt grimaced. “Well, I probably wouldn’t agree with it.”
Marcus rubbed knees with Hunter and gave a smile he hoped would be charming enough to statistically put getting a blowjob at a higher probability, because being left to his own hand tonight wasn’t appealing.
“You guys met when you were in your thirties?” Orion asked.
Marcus nodded. He and Hunter had met right here at Entwined. Hunter was so… everything. “I had just turned thirty. He’s four months older. Proof life does not end at the big three-oh.”
Orion frowned and sighed. “If you followed her strategy, you’d have already settled on a different partner.”
“Thankfully we didn’t.” Marcus smiled at Hunt. He couldn’t imagine not being with Hunter.
His lover growled, “Love is more than chemicals and statistical strategies.”
Ah, there was a thread, and Marcus couldn’t help himself from pulling at it. “So, Orion, you’ve never been in love?”
“I love Xander, my parents, my pets—”
Marcus pushed to clarify. “But you’ve never had a partner you’ve been in love with… ever?”
Orion shook his head. “No.”
“Are you…?” Marcus dug around his brain for the word.
Hunter filled in the blank. “Aromantic?”
Orion stared at Marcus and then Hunter. “I’ve thought a lot about this. I guess it’s not that I don’t experience an emotional need to be in a romantic relationship. It’s more….”
Marcus tried to help him out. “Maybe as a scientist you don’t trust any romantic attachment beyond the chemical?”
“You can’t believe in anything beyond the cold science of it?” Marcus supplied.
Orion swirled his orange juice around the glass. “Unbalanced chemicals can be rebalanced—”
“And then where does that leave you?” Hunter cleared his throat.
“Exactly.” Orion nodded with an urgency that broke Marcus’s heart.
Orion: I hadn’t realized how Marcus or for that matter Hunter was taking my thoughts on the subject. I guess I sometimes miss the point.
Z: Well, most people believe in and want love.
Orion: Not everyone… certainly not aromantic people.
Z: True, though I still don’t understand… anyway there’s more information about Secured and Free.
Orion: And if anyone wants more information on Sternberg’s triangular theory of love check it out on this link. ((http://www.psych2go.net/according-sternbergs-love-theory-three-components-love-commitment-passion-intimacy)). But first, check out Z.’s Secured and Free.