He was in love with the sound of her singultus. By extension with her, but it was the hiccups which had initially drawn his attention to her every movement and mannerism. Sugar’s diaphragm was susceptible to the slightest provocation. From the first time he had heard her hiccup onwards, he had been charmed by the almost apologetic tone and timbre of her each and every involuntary emission. Sitting at a neighbouring desk, he soon took it upon himself to make sure that throughout the working day, she was watered with sparkling rather than still. A graceful creature, her hiccups were delicate flutters and birdlike chirps, relatively speaking. Sugar guessed that her desk neighbour was soft on her. Secretly pleased to have an admirer who seemed not to mind her hiccupping (in fact quite the opposite), she did nothing to discourage him. Under the cover of his desk, he found himself aroused, and it was always a satisfaction – hiccup – when the next one came. He would steal a sideways glance to see in profile her breast rise and fall and her Adam’s apple bob. Then – it made his heart lurch – she would put her slender fingers to her lips, as if to steady herself against the reflex action’s gentle onslaught.
One day he had the idea to record the sound of her hiccuping on his phone. Surreptitiously, of course. Lying in bed that night with headphones on, he played back his recording, allowing it to loop. He listened to the cycle endlessly: the explosion of her hic, the fall of her cup, the fluting laughter which often followed, her valiant attempts to swallow successive hiccups down. He fell into step with her, and had never felt more intensely alive than when he managed to match his long-delayed ejaculation to hers.