You'd already seen him a few times, at various house parties: he's a friend of Sarah, and Ivor, and the two Petes. He's sort of handsome, tall but doesn't seem it, is shy, has a smile that makes him seem immediately less attractive. You spoke to him once at, was it, that weird Thanksgiving party where no-one was American? Maybe. You made a joke about your host's tray of tit-shaped ice cubes, and he laughed.
Today you found yourselves out at a club together - you with colleagues, when post-work drinks became raucous and your boss shanghaied you into joining a hunt for further booze after closing time; he with a bunch of dead-looking people, on a stag do that he blushed to mention when you approached him at the bar.
"The music here is terrible," you said.
"Yes, it's awful, I want to die," he said.
"And have you seen those two white people with dreadlocks on the dance floor? Headbanging?"
"Oh god, don't," he said. "One of them was dancing near me just now and I think one of its hair bits touched my arm."
You talked together in a corner of the club for a bit. He touched you for emphasis once, and then again soon afterwards, this time not for emphasis. You and he had somehow moved closer, and he was leaning over you now. A song by Taylor Swift came on over the sound system.
"Fuck this shit, would you like to go somewhere else instead?" you said.
He smiled. "My place is nearby, if you'd like a nightcap."
You kissed outside the club, to make certain there was no misunderstanding, and because you felt like it. You kissed him again outside his house, as he was fumbling for his keys. You both laughed. You were on a good footing: your shared knowledge of what would soon be happening gave you a skittishness of gesture; your intimacy was laced with laughter, with glances darted at one another.
In his bedroom, a few minutes later, he says:
"Hi, I'm Michael by the way," and extends his right arm for a comically formal handshake. "It's just you haven't said my name all evening, and I thought you might be uncertain."
"Hi, Michael," you say. You don't say your own name back. You both laugh.
In bed later, you're kissing. The kissing is good, so you carry on with that for slightly longer perhaps than you usually do before moving on to other stuff. Then you move on to other stuff; this develops. He's slightly rougher of gesture now - pleasingly so - and his breathing has become heavier. He lifts your face up to him, kisses your neck, a little slurpingly, not entirely enjoyably but not horribly either. He's holding you to him, and is now stroking your backside with one hand. He is thrusting his groin against you, meaningfully. You grind back against his thrust to signify permission, approval.
"You want to...?" he asks.
"Sure!" you say.
You kiss again, hungrily.
"Safe, right?" he says.
"OK, hang on one second."
He leaves you kneeling there, a little self-consciously. He stretches his whole body across the mattress, reaching into a little table on the other side of the bed. You take in his body as he rattles his hand around inside a drawer in the table.
"OK, here we are", he says finally, turning towards you while putting on a cardboard mask of George Osborne.
You stare at him, sitting there on his haunches - his chest a little hairy and not totally muscular; his erection straining towards you; his face an exact replica of the face of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Weirdly, his hair aligns perfectly with George Osborne's hipster haircut, whose choppy fringe sits on the uppermost edge of the mask.
There is an aperture in the mask at mouth level, through which he has poked his lips, forcing them into a kind of duck's bill shape, a wet and roseate flapping thing which now says to you:
"Suck my dick?"
"I'm sorry?" you say, looking in undisguised horror now at that face which so closely resembles a freshly droned primary school. Everything in the unsmiling visage is gray. George Osborne's face regards you coldly, as if you were a thief caught in flagrante delicto making yourself a sandwich at the fridge while burgling his house.
George Osborne's face says again: "Go on, suck my dick a bit. Get me back in the mood. I got a bit distracted."
Your lover's voice is warm and gentle, unlike the voice of George Osborne, the chief strategist of the Conservative Party. But looking through the eye holes in the mask, you can only see the pupils of your lover's own eyes, not his green and twinkling irises. Here the blacks of his eyes are small, blending seamlessly into George Osborne's eyes, which are like two freeze-dried raisins lying at the bottom of a ravine.
"Sorry," you say, "it's just that you..."
"...look like George Osborne?" His penis is wilting a little now. He scratches under an armpit.
"Yeah. Sorry, it's putting me off."
"Yeah, but you know they're issuing everyone with these masks, right?" He shuffles on his knees towards you, and pensively strokes you between your legs.
"Yeah," you say, as a cold shudder courses all the way from your anus to your nape. "I read about it on BuzzFeed or something, that you could send off for a Gideon sex mask, and the Department for Health would mail you one?"
"Yeah." He pecks hopefully at your ear lobe with his puckered mouth shape. From the corner of your eye you can see George Osborne, with his painted eyebrow raised in apparent fury against you, breathing hotly near your neck.
"It's just... it's just I've never fucked anyone who looks exactly like George Osborne before."
"No-one has," he says, removing the mask at last. He sighs. "I suppose that's the point."
You snuggle up to him now, in relief, laying your head in his lap. He has put the mask down on the bed, whence it lifelessly considers you. You flip it over, so that the elastic-and-plain-cardboard face is now turned to you instead.
"I... sorry, I'm just not feeling it," you say.
"That's fine," he says. "Shall we say numbers to each other until we fall asleep?"
"OK," you say, as you lie down with him, nestling your head on his shoulder. "Nineteen."
"Forty-seven thousand," he says.
"Minus one point two."
"Ninety-two thousand five hundred and nine"
You yawn. Your eyes are closing. "A trillion," you say.
He yawns too, and kisses your forehead. "Twelve hundred," he says, and turns off his bedside light.