The message came while Leah was in a production meeting. She glanced at her watch and saw the truncated text message routed from her phone. “Delivered today: ServiceBot R2900.GirlfriendMateria…”
She coughed and covered her watch face with her hand. Peter from accounting looked at her strangely and she rubbed her throat and mouthed “allergies.”
The rest of the day was anxious fretting around the office. She had another meeting at 4 pm, but after that, she could weasel out early. “I have to run and pick something up at the pharmacy,” she said with a nervous smile.
No one cared. She often forgot how diligent she was and how everyone in the office left early all the time, especially on Fridays. It was one of the many ways she just didn’t understand her coworkers.
It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered besides getting home fast. She used the taxi app to get a car, something she never did, and was thankful for the technology that let her slip in a black sedan that knew exactly how to get her home without her having to speak to anyone.
Similarly, when she got home the doorman in her building nodded and said simply “your package is in front of your door, Ms. Douglas.”
And so it was. A minimalist black plastic crate almost exactly the size of a person with small wheels on the bottom. Good thing she didn’t care what the neighbors thought of her, though she knew most of them had maids or other electronic staff.
The crate smoothly rolled into her apartment just barely fitting the height of the door frame. It was all so easy, just like the order form online. No complicated questions or interactions. Just checkboxes and multiple choice questions and lists of options. It even came the exact day it was supposed to. It was so unlike life and dealing with people.
She sat on her couch, the box towering over her. She looked at the email on her phone, the instructions were very simple, mostly symbols. On the side of the box there was a fingerprint reader. She stood up and pressed her thumb against it. A low red light appeared on the box, a little pattern of red dots.
“Would you like to open your purchase?” A very soft voice asked.
“Would you like to activate your R2900 now?”
“While I initiate the boot sequence please let me know what you would like the initial personality response to be. For example, you might want your R2900 to be excited, happy, nervous, frightened-”
She cut the soft voice off.
“I want her to be nice to me. Kind and quiet,” she said in a voice as low as the whisper like computer she spoke to.
The lights flashed. There was no response. The lights faded for a moment and then blinked again.
“Okay, I think I can do that. Please stand back,” the box said.
There were a few small sounds, like little locks clicking. The box split down the middle of the front and slowly opened.
Inside, there was a woman. She resembled the mockup in the app she had used to order her, but not exactly. Her hair was dirty blonde, as ordered, there were freckles, she was neither thin nor fat, but a pleasing middle weight, a comfortable look, like people she passed in the street. Her eyes opened slowly, blinking against the light of the room. They were somewhere between blue and green.
She had a small nose, somewhat fine features, there was something fragile about her, birdlike. Leah swallowed and licked her lips.
“Hello,” the android said.
She wasn’t human. There were many subtle but obvious ways to see that. There was a flatness to her voice, though it was pretty. There was an unnatural way she looked around, like her motions were too smooth, too designed, if that made any sense. It was hard to pinpoint many of the other reasons way, but she wasn’t real.
Well, she was real, she was right there, but she wasn’t human. Leah knew that. That was the point.
The android wore a soft light blue summer dress. Her knees has a reddishness to them. She wore darker blue boat shoes.
“Hello,” Leah said back, reflexively.
“I’m Angela. It’s very nice to finally meet you,” she said with a smile.
Leah didn’t respond. She looked at the box and saw how it worked. She folded up the sides until they were just one six foot board. She put it aside. As she did, Angela stepped off the platform she was on and picked it up. She followed Leah and put it next to the board.
“I can take those down to the garbage if you like. Just let me know where to go,” Angela said sweetly.
Leah shook her head.
“Not now. Um, follow me.”
Angela followed her into the bedroom.
“Sit down on the bed, please,” Leah said, wondering why she said please.
It felt better to say please. She didn’t need to look too deeply into it, in fact she should just let herself do and say what she wanted. That was the whole point. The purchase was something to make her life better, not something to demand thought and stress.
Angela walked to the bed, turned, tucked her dress under her and sat.
“Your bed is very comfortable,” the android said with a warm smile.
Leah swallowed. She looked at her. Her freckles were beautiful. So many around her cheeks and on her ears. So many little patterns. It made her happy thinking that someone had a job that consisted of designing freckle patterns on sex robots.
Leah stood in front of her and leaned forward, she smelled her hair. As she did, Angela sat very still. It was another moment when her unrealness seemed more evident, as if she suddenly flipped into some other mode and was silent and still to be examined.
It helped. Leah wondered if the people who made her knew it helped. There was some gut level fear in her that Angela would demand something or be bored or get insulted. When she leaned down to smell her hair and Angela looked forward and her eyes went sort of unfocused, that let her know exactly what Angela was and the freedom Leah had.
Her hair smelled like shampoo and freshly cut grass. It soothed Leah and in some very deep unexplainable way made her painfully sad. She leaned down further and pressed her nose into her hair, buried her face in her hair, sniffing and rubbing her chin in the soft straw colored softness.
Leah let out a low wounded noise that sounded alien to her own ears. It was a sob. A long crying sound she would never let out in front of another person, nor would she really do alone. She let herself make the sound again, crying into Angela’s long hair.
“Can I hold you?” Angela whispered almost inaudibly.
“Yes,” Leah said, the word bursting out of her mouth between sobs.
Angela fell onto the bed and she laid next to Leah, her arms drawing Leah in, putting her head on her shoulder, cradling her and rocking.
Leah cried and cried until she cried herself to sleep. Angela made soothing little sounds. Coos and hushes. When Leah woke up it was almost dark outside.
“Would you like me to make you some food or order something for you?” Angela whispered.
It seemed like a very thoughtful thing. She was starving. She hadn’t eaten lunch and it was past dinner time.
Leah didn’t reply to her, she went to her phone, ordered the same Chinese dish she always got.
Something odd clicked in Leah’s brain. She had a habit of not answering people, ignoring them, leaving in the middle of conversations. She didn’t mean to, it just happened. Looking at Angela’s still smiling face, a rush of simple joy filled her. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t a person. All the stupid rules for talking or interacting with another person were meaningless with Angela.
“Angela you are beautiful and wonderful,” she said, to herself really.
“Thank you, that is a very sweet thing to say,” she said, her body language changing in that way that wasn’t quite natural.
“Would you like to have sex with me now?” she asked with a manicured timidness.
The invitation stirred desire in Leah. She laughed at how easy and predictable she was. Hugs on the bed and ordering food were nice, but she had ordered the top of the line model in the “Girlfriend Material” line for a reason.
“Not yet, I just ordered food,” she explained and went to set the table.
Angela watched her.
“I see how you like the table set, I can do it next time if you’d like,” she said.
“Just let me know if you want me to talk more or less,” Angela added.
Leah looked at her, expecting the hurt eyes people often showed when she didn’t react the way they wanted, but Angela looked content and caring.
“You are at a good level. Please bring me a glass of the white wine that is open in the refrigerator.”
She did, happily, quietly. After setting it down next to her, Angela stepped back near the counter. When the doorbell rang, Angela went to the door and got the food. She unpacked it and plated it. Leah watched silently, nodded or shaking her head as she was offered condiments, fork or chopsticks, more wine.
As Leah ate, she read the news on her phone, then realizing she had a new device she looked up at Angela.
“Are you connected to my apartment’s network?”
Angela smiled and took a step forward.
“Yes, you set that up online when you ordered me. I am fully connected and I have already downloaded an OS update and auto-installed it as per your selection,” she said in an almost airline stewardess announcement tone.
She liked that. In fact she liked her most when she was the least human looking. Leah sipped the cold tart wine and sighed contently.
“Bark like a dog.”
Angela made a silly childlike smile, she crouched down a little and put her hands up like a begging dog and she barked, once, twice, three times. It was a high little dog bark.
Leah laughed, she laughed harder than she had in awhile. It wasn’t even that funny, but there was such and absence of humiliation or even ego. The pretty woman in front of her was just barking for her enjoyment.
“Stop,” Leah said, coughing from laughing so hard.
“Good girl,” she added and was pleasantly rewarded with a little curtsy from Angela.
Leah considered that it felt wonderful to just look at Angela, ogle her even, while she ate.
“Can you take off all your clothes and tell me today’s news?”
Angela smiled brightly.
“Sure, I can do that for you,” she said, pulling off her dress easily over her head, folding it and putting it on the counter.
The android didn’t have any undergarments and Leah remembered requesting that specifically. She left her shoes and socks on.
There were freckles on her shoulders and her back. Her skin was light, but not pale exactly. Leah loved her body. There was something so right about it. The perfect amount of thickness to her. She was the kind of woman that would make Leah nervous if bumped into them on the street. Just a classic beauty.
“There is escalating violence in the Baltic, as the new factions converge on…” she read off the day’s events, some of which Leah was already aware of.
Angela’s breasts were not particularly large, but proportional to her body. Leah realized only then how much Angela reminded her of a crush she had all through college. It made her blush.
Leah had selected no leg hair and no public hair. It seemed cleaner that way, plus she had read that the public hair never looked realistic. Looking down, it looked so inviting. It started Leah’s body and mind going, her heart beating faster.
“New federal regulations on stem cell-” Angela continued until she interrupted.
“No more news. Please clean up my dishes,” she said, standing.
Angela quickly picked up the dish and cutlery, putting them in the sink and then throwing away all the packaging the food came in. She washes the dishes as Leah stood near her.
“Can you sing?”
Angela looked up at her as she dried a glass.
“Not that well, but I can try,” she said.
“Sing Moon River,” she said, unsure where the idea came from.
“Moon river, wider than a mile, I’m crossin’ you in style some day. Dream maker, you heartbreakers, wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way.”
Her voice wasn’t strong, but it was very sweet. It was also very much in tune. She liked it a great deal. She was glad she thought of it. It made her remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
As Angela washed the last dish, Leah moved forward and touched her breast. She continued to sing and wash, but positioned herself to give Leah access to her body.
When she was done with the dishes she turned to face Leah.
“Two drifters, off to see the world. There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end, waitin’ ’round the bend. My huck-”
The kitchen was silent and Angela was smiling at her in a kind way. There was nothing inherently sexual about her look, she simply looked like she wanted to give Leah whatever she needed. There was something profoundly comforting in that. It wasn’t what she expected when she shelled out about as much as a nice car for a sex robot. It was exactly what she needed though.
Leah moved closer, she gathered her breasts in her hands and pawed at them hungrily. She leaned down and licked her nipples, one at a time.
Her skin was pale pink, her nipples only a slight shade pinker. No freckles on her chest, only dusting on her shoulders and just under her neck. Like a shy girl who wouldn’t wear a two piece swimsuit.
Leah knelt on the floor and put her face against Angela’s cool belly. She kissed her all over, rubbing her cheek against her smooth skin, dragging her teeth across her hip. She jumped a little at that and she looked up at her.
Angela bit her bottom lip, looking down apologetically.
“It tickled,” she said.
Leah was perplexed and then amused. She laughed, she laughed against her stomach. She wrapped her arms around Angela and sighed into her hip.
Angela slowly parted her legs, Leah’s eyes found the split between her thighs.
It was real. It felt real. It smelled soft and wet and inviting.
Her fingers slipped up her thigh and parted the lips of Angela’s pussy. It was coral pink and beautiful. She saw the nub of her clit. She explored there on her knees. She explored in a way she never could with women she had dated. She took her time. She wasn’t trying to please her or get off, she was just looking and feeling and enjoying her.
After a few minutes her knees hurt and as she groaned Angela helped her up.
Leah stood there in front of her, looking at her beautiful face, her warm eyes.
“I’m glad I bought you,” she said softly.
That made Angela’s whole face light up with joy.
“That makes me very proud. I want to do anything I can to make you happy,” she said, and kissed Leah on the cheek.
She swooned. What a life! She was miserable most days. She came home and did nothing but kick herself for all the stupid mistakes she had made at work or out in the world. But there were no mistakes with Angela. There were no emotional landmines or wrong words or misunderstandings.
“Would you like to have sex with me now?” Angela said with the same inflection as the first time she asked.
It made Leah’s body flood with desire. She didn’t buy a sex robot to pretend it was a real woman. She didn’t want a real woman. She wanted Angela.
Leah nodded. Angela took her hand and led her to the bedroom.
Once more, Angela’s demeanor changed. Her body became more sultry. She crawled onto the bed, looking over her shoulder at Leah.
“I want to please you. I hope my body is to your liking. I can do anything you want. I can be anything you tell me to be,” she said, her voice husky and wanton.
Leah knew it was something someone somewhere programmed. It was a well crafted line. It was cliche. It totally worked.
Leah stood in the doorway to her bedroom and watched Angela.
What did she want? That was the question. Getting someone, well, something, that will do whatever you want, leaves you to have to decide what it is you want.
Leah closed her eyes and imagined what might make her happiest in that moment.
“Lay on my bed and touch yourself and tell me how beautiful I am and how much you want to fuck me. Beg for my mouth and my fingers. Tell me how much you love me and how wonderful I am,” she said, keeping her eyes closed and finding the words slowly.
“Tell me that you are my pretty robot slave girl, made to serve me, made to do whatever I say, but your programming didn’t prepare you for how much you would love me and how wonderful I am. Tell me I am everything. Tell me that you need me right now. Cry and whine and beg on your knees.”
When Leah opened her eyes, she saw Angela on her bed in the same position she was in a moment before. The android’s eyes were closed as well, but Leah could see they moving under their lids.
When Angela opened her eyes, she gazed up at Leah with a look that was completely unlike the android she had come to know in the few hours before. Angela’s mouth was open a little and she was panting. Her chest was heaving a little. Her nipples were hard and her pupils were dilated.
She sat down on the comforter, legs wide open, one hand between her thighs, slowly moving up.
“I’m a mess,” she said with a pout.
“I’m all wet and my body is burning up. I wasn’t programmed to need it this bad. I don’t know what to do,” she said, wincing and biting her bottom lip.
“It’s all empty inside without you. I need your fingers, please, mine aren’t strong enough. I need your body on top of me. I’ll be better, I’ll do anything, just please touch me. Just one finger inside of me, just for a second.”
She lifted herself up, thrusting her hips in the air, her fingers slipping in and out of her wet sex.
“Please, please, just kiss it. I’m not like an ordinary girl, I can go down on you all night, I’ll never get tired. I can fuck you however you want, please, I need you so badly, please, I love you so much. You’re my everything. Just touch me, please,” she said, fingering herself faster, her eyes wide and as wet as her cunt.
Tears ran down her cheeks as she begged and writhed.
When Leah came to the bed, she laid a hand on Angela’s head and soothed her. She told her to stop begging. She slid her hand down Angela’s body and the android girl shook with need. She mouthed the word “please” and when Leah’s fingers slipped between her legs she rode them, she humped at her fingers and Leah fucked her hard and fast.
It took a lot of work to stop from thinking too much. There was so much about what was happening that was ridiculous. Somehow though, Leah did it. She let herself be a sexual goddess, granting a begging worshiper the gift of her fingers and her tongue. She watched this pretend girl have orgasm after orgasm and she marveled at it all.
When Leah was primed enough, when the spectacle made her body needy enough, she guided Angela between her own legs and learned the true wonder of her purchase.
Angela had been a lovely companion for the evening. She had sang a sad song and flirted and laughed and then put of a bawdy display, but between Leah’s thighs her true programming genius was made apparent.
It took very little guidance. Leah was used to pointing her lovers in the right direction. How she didn’t like direct stimulation at first, how she liked her legs to be held tightly open, how she wanted to feel teeth against her thighs.
Angela knew. Later Leah imagined there were little tells, little signs, but in the moment it was magic. It was mind reading. It was heaven.
Angela’s fingers inside of her, her tongue deft, just the right pressure, just the right speed, a slow climbing intensity, a building, then, when her orgasm approached, Angela revealed herself as a machine, driving and pistoning and keeping metronomic pace until Leah’s body couldn’t take it and she came and came as if she’d never had an orgasm before.
Then it was silence except for her own labored breathing. Angela next to her, kissing her neck, holding her, asking if she wanted a glass of water. Then, rather quickly, sleep came.
Leah awoke to the smell of coffee. Angela was next to her in bed. She kissed Leah’s neck and cheek.
“I can go down on you. It’s a lovely way to start the day,” she whispered.
Leah’s instinct was to say no, but she found herself smiling. She pushed Angela’s head down, under the blanket, between her legs. She rode her pretty face and came softly, lightly, almost silently.
She pulled Angela back up and kissed her for a long time. Slow intimate kisses, the kind she hadn’t had in years.
“I like a lot of milk and a half a teaspoon of sugar. Bring it in and then make pancakes with banana and strawberries in them,” she said.
She didn’t need please anymore. The pancakes were perfect.
That week at work people kept asking her if she had lost weight. A new haircut? Something was different.
She thought for a while that it would become addictive, that she wouldn’t want to leave the house, but that’s not what happened. If anything she was home less, but her time at home was so much more enjoyable.
Comfort and consistency and constant acts of kindness at home, even if they were manufactured, changed Leah for the better.
One night, Angela brought her some tea while she lazily surfed online and watched a silly movie. On Facebook she saw a familiar face. The woman she had a crush on in college.
“Do you see her? Catherine Montgomery. I think I was thinking of her when I put the order in for you,” she said, showing Angela the little picture.
Angela smiled and blushed a little. “The one you had a crush on. You told me about her. After all these years, you should tell her,” Angela said.
Leah rolled her eyes. Like that would ever happen. She did like Catherine’s post though. The next day she got a message from Catherine. A week later, they went out for drinks.
Rosé at a pretty restaurant downtown. Leah spent the first half an hour thinking that she should be more nervous than she was.
Catherine was even taller than Leah remembered. Her hair was still dirty blonde, and her brown eyes seemed wiser. She had a New England directness mixed with an Ivy League silver tongue.
They talked about work, Leah hated her job but was very good at it. Catherine owned her own business and had made a predictable fortune.
“So you are still the somewhat mousy girl I knew at school. Still you seem happy with your life. Let me guess, you have two cats?” Catherine said teasingly.
Leah laughed and sipped her wine.
“No cats, I’m allergic. I got a robot instead,” she said somewhat offhandedly but also as bate.
Catherine’s eyebrow raised.
“Oh? My company does a lot of work with those. We consult and product test for Gynodyn Inc.”
Leah coughed a little. Her eyes widened. Still, she should have expected her bate to be taken.
“Oh? Interesting. Yeah, I have their R2900.” Catherine’s other eyebrow raised.
“Top of the line, huh? You must do well at that job of yours. That’s more than most people make in a year.”
Leah nodded. “Well, I have. Yes. Also, I don’t travel much. I’ve had a rough few years but I feel like I’m finally coming out of it. Nice to have all that money I saved now. I feel like I should do something fun. Maybe I’ll go to Spain.”
Catherine didn’t seem interested in Spain. “I’d love to hear what you think of that model. If you tell me I can write off our dinner,” Catherine said with a smile.
“I thought this was just meeting up for a drink,” Leah said with feigned shock.
Catherine wasn’t one to feign anything. “I want to hear what the girl who had a crush on me all through college is doing with the best sex robot on the market. Do you want to tell me over lobster?”
Leah swallowed. Her ability to flirt was still pretty amateur. She nodded and smiled brightly as Catherine got the check.
Theoretical titillation about conversing about Angela was one thing, but over the shells of crab and oysters Leah felt her face burning and her words failing.
Catherine looked expectant. Kind, but expectant. “So why did you decide to get one?”
Leah smiled. She wish they had gotten more wine, but perhaps it was best not to get too tipsy.
“I was, well am, depressed. Medicated. Social anxiety comes and goes. On the spectrum. I’ve had a hard time being in relationships, for a variety of reasons. My libido had always been there though, for better or worse. I wanted something nice to come home to. Something to play with in bed. I had all these expectations, but Angela turned them all on their heads,” she explained.
Catherine was rapt. “How so? What were you expecting?”
“Part of me was expecting this sort of blank eyed doll with fake feeling boobs and a dirty mouth. The other half of me was imagining it would be like one of those movies and there would be this spark of life and I would fall in love and it would make her real. I don’t know, I had all kinds of ideas. But when she arrived, she was just very kind and as much as she was helpful and seemingly thoughtful, she wasn’t like a person. She was like a computerized personal assistant. And her boobs felt very real,” she said with a laugh.
Catherine smiled wide at that. “Yeah, they have had some issues with customer expectations, but what you are saying seems to be the ideal. That’s what great about the R4000 series. There is a good amount of detachment mixed with well-programmed empathic responses. And yeah, I’ve had a lot of blushing customers comment on how realistic things feel. So interesting to hear about it anecdotally though,” Catherine said, her eyes lingering in Leah, impressed and curious.
“I’ve gotten a chance to test one. Really put it through its paces. I was shocked at how visceral it was. Warm and wet and very real,” Catherine continued, smiling at the memory. “Yeah,” Leah sighed.
“And she’ll do anything you want. It really makes you have to figure out what it is you want,” Leah laughed.
The waiter came and took away their plates and Catherine held her response until he was out of earshot. “So what did you figure out you wanted?” Catherine asked, her finger tracing the edge of her water glass.
Leah thought about that.
“Relationships have been so tense for me. Sex has been good or bad, but always full of stress and tension. Mostly I just wanted Angela to shut up, open her legs, and let me play with her. I spend that whole first weekend just looking and tasting and touching. Exploring and enjoying. I really liked that. Then, the next weekend was all about getting me off. I had her watch me masturbate. I had her try things. She learned and calculated and Jesus Christ, now she is perfect. Not like a partner though, like a really good toy,” Leah said, suddenly self conscious at the end, looking around to see if anyone but Catherine heard.
Catherine eyed Leah, she kept fingering the edge of her water glass, thinking. “I’d like to see that,” she said with a mix of longing and pure confidence.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Just saying, if you are interested, I’d like to fuck you some time and watch you play with your robot,” she said, casually motioning to the waiter for the check.
“Oh. Okay. If you want,” Leah said, feeling lightheaded. She wasn’t good at flirting, but with Catherine, she really didn’t have to.
The bill was taken care of, the room seemed a little spinny, but she hadn’t had that much wine, she was glad when they were outside. The sun was setting and she leaned against the wall of the restaurant.
Catherine was in front of her. She moved forward and pressed her body against Leah’s, pinning her against the wall.
“Am I being too forward? You can tell me,” she whispered.
“No-um, I like it a lot,” Leah said, her nose brushing Catherine’s lapel, smelling a flowery scent, some simple oil.
“Everything you said just sounds so delicious. I’m not sure if you are into being at the receiving end of all those things you talked about, but I can just imagine stripping you naked and having you stay still while I explore every inch of you, then training you on how to make me come. That sounds perfect. Do you think you might be interested in that?” Catherine whispered into Leah’s ear, her lips brushing her blushing skin.
“Ye-Yes, that sounds um, really good,” Leah said, trying not to let her knees give.
“Good girl, then maybe we can see how you play with your little toy. Wouldn’t that be nice? You share your toys don’t you?” Catherine said with a low rumbling little chuckle against Leah’s neck.
“You can have anything you want,” Leah whispered, her eyes rolling back as Catherine kissed her neck.
“Good, I know just what that is,” Catherine said, turning and stepping into the street to hail a cab.