Artificial Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 28, 2018

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Submitted: February 28, 2018

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I logged onto my computer that night with my entire body feeling deflated. Worthless. Gazing at the time, and knowing I’d just returned from a blind date my sister had set me up on; after she’d told me that I needed to get out of my apartment more often. That I needed to go out and meet women, instead of becoming hermit for the rest of my life.

But I didn’t think I was necessarily a hermit. Or so I believed. It was just my job that required me to become more of an introvert that anything.

Regardless, I had decided to, after weeks of constant nagging from her, meet a woman whom my sister had praised as “the perfect match” for me.

It was the fifth set-up date so far this year (my fingers weren’t crossed).

The girl seemed nice, though.

Well. Nice enough.

A cute brunette with big corporate career interests. And very opinionated. These types of attributes don’t tend to mesh well with my own though, mostly because - well - I myself am very opinionated as well.

And so what usually happens on these dates is a quick transition from the casual ‘What are your interests?’ questions, to ‘How could you possibly believe in such nonsense?”.

So things got a heated between us.

And not in a good way.

She fled the scene after twenty minutes, leaving me with a crimson face and a five hundred dollar check (my shamelessly asking the waiter to put her unfinished filet mignon into a doggie bag).

My mind deflating on the drive home, I only thought about my leftover food, and how the dater’s routine was getting more and more stale by the minute.

When I arrived back to my own little self-named “Alfred Attic”, I plopped myself back down at my desk of my apartment. Flipping on my computer screen. I could still even smell the hint of her perfume mesh with the hint of cheap cologne I was wearing.

I sighed at the thought.

This, I thought, was only a situation that could only be fixed through one distraction in my life.

Work.

I clicked open my e-mail inbox, began reading through the dozens of messages that awaited me while I tried enjoying my night out.

I breathed, heavy with regret.

This is where I belong. Stuck in front of my laptop and becoming a work-a-holic for the rest of my life (it sounded a lot less pathic at that time).

It was only about two hours into my work when I breezed straight through and responded to everyone’s lengthy e-mails - about how I could make their own jobs easier (isn’t that how corporate America works, anyway?). I cracked my knuckles after I pressed send on the my last response. I read the words that spread across the top of my inbox. No new e-mails.

This didn’t surprise me. It was already well past twelve o’clock at night.

But by morningtime, though, I could be rest assured that people’s problems would eventually become my own problems.

Knowingly, I took a rewarding sip from my cold glass of ice water next to me, and thought about how the year 2040 was turning out to be exactly like 2035 for me -- Sans the student loan debt, and the thirty year old wrinkles settling around the parentheses of my nose.

I rubbed the bags that’d settled underneath my eyes, before painting them on the envelopes that seemed to litter my desk. The stack growing with invitations to weddings of friends and family.

I breaths growing heavy. Noticing one invitation was from a cousin of mine.

My face cringing at the thought of ticking off the RSVP box, adding that I wasn’t being a “Plus One”.

And then sitting at the ‘couple’s table’ during the reception. Answering the questions I’d heard in my childhood. Like, Why I enjoyed being alone so much? And Why do you never seem to click with anyone?

Which wasn’t entirely true.

“Allison,” I said to my artificially intelligent home-device.

“Yes, Mister Waters?” Her voice echoed in my modern apartment. It was a soothingly calm and relaxing tone that I programmed her to have.

“Can you read outloud the day’s headlines for me?”

“Certainly, Mister Waters. Is there a particular section of the news that would interest you? Or would you prefer the usual erotic section?”

I blushed. “No, Allison.” I thought I’d wiped clear my search history in her memory. “And please don’t ever bring up any of my previous search histories in the past that has to do with any adult content.”

I heard her calm and soothing voice needlessly agree. “Certainly, Mister Waters. All related searches involving adult erotica have been erased. Would you like me stop recording any future searches in this category?”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes. Absolutely yes.”

“Not a problem, Mister Waters. This feature has now been added. Would you still like for me to read a particular section of the news for you?”

“Yes,” I replied. My mind still racing over all the embarrassing situations I had just avoided. “Let’s just stick with the business section for tonight.”

“Very good, Mister Waters. The business Section it is. The first popular headline comes from the Wall Street Journal, and it reads: Healthcare companies in shambles after first person successfully transfers mind onto computer.

“Skip,” I said. I’d already read much to do about that nonsense. Who would even want to live forever?

“Alright,” Allison said. “The next headline comes from YouSense, and it reads: Space tourism taking off after first theme park begins construction on the Moon.

“Skip,” I said. “I’ve already read these today, Allison. How about we search for headlines that aren’t more than five hours old.”

“It would be my pleasure, Mister Waters. Alright, I’ve found a trending headline from The Business Journal, and it reads: Company seeks to revolutionize how you date.”

Hmmm. My eyes squinted. The headline already seemed a little ridiculous to even consider giving it a listen to. I mean, it wasn’t as if there hadn’t been hundreds of companies already out there that proved exactly what Allison had just stated. All those online platforms that used virtual artificial intelligence to find you the perfect girl who lived right on your screen.

But I couldn’t have been so self-righteous to say that I hadn’t tried something similar in the past.

You know, the ones that sent you a virtual reality headset through the mail, and then you put over your head, and voila! Your perfect soulmate is right in front of you, ready to agree to do anything you so pleased. The relationship with the virtual girl works out fantastic, for about a week. And then it just feels pathetic and a waste of time once you realize that you’ve spent half of your days in a virtual world that doesn’t exist, while the rest of the real world is busy leaving you behind.

I twiddled my fingers at my desk in that thought.

What the hell, why not?

I was borderline bored anyway.

“Okay, go ahead Allison. Read me the article.”

Allison began reading to me about a company that claimed to have created a robot so sophisticated and artificially intelligent, no human would be able to distinguish the robot from any other human interaction. And what separated this robot from all of the other customized artificially dating companies is that the robot can change its personality, depending on the situation, and how the customer ‘feels’. It was intriguing, to say the least.

When she finished, I asked Allison, “Can you search for customer feedback on this product?”

“Certainly,” she said. “Okay. I’ve found two thousand reviews. The average rating for their top product is five stars out of five stars.”

“Really?” My lips pursed. Interesting. “And what’s their top product?”

“It’s categorized as a blind date, Mister Waters. From the product description, it reads: Improve your dating experiences. Meet our beautiful men and woman for a dating experience you won’t soon forget!”

My eyes squinted again. The words obviously sounded ‘sales-pitchy’, and the description gave me less than any great information about what to expect. “Is this, like, robot prostitution or something?” I asked Allison.

“From what I’m reading now, the company states that the robots are not programmed to accept any form of sexual favors before, during, or after interactions.”

“Nothing?” I was surprised. “Not even, like, a kiss?”

“That’s what’s stated underneath the list of ‘sexuality’.”

“Hmmm,” I said.

“The tone in your voice is leading me to believe that you’re interested, Mister Waters. Would you like for me to order you this service?”

I laughed. “You do know me a little too well, Allison.” And I didn’t really want to admit it, but I guess she did have a point. But no sex? No kiss?

What were we going to do the whole time? Just talk?

“Are you sure that this is the product that received five stars?” I asked Allison.

“Yes, Mister Waters. Would you like me to report this to the Better Business Bureau for a request to open an investigation?”

“No, no,” I chuckled again. “That’s fine.”

“Alright, very well, sir. And would you like for me to schedule you this service with the company?”

Hmmm, I thought. My fingers already rubbing the ‘O’ shape of my mouth.

What do I really have to lose?

I’d been on a grand total of five blind dates this year alone, and every single one of them ended in an early bedtime for myself. Was I just not programmed to be matched with humans? It was a ridiculous thought to think, if you were born in the twenty-first century, but I guess that humans change, right along with technology these days.

And to top everything off, I’d just returned from a date that I’d only classify as a space-wreck.

“What the hell…” I finally conceded. “Do it, Allison. Make it a date.”

“Excellent, sir. She’s a lucky gal, I’m sure. When would you prefer I schedule your date?”

“Let’s shoot for tomorrow,” I said.

“Good choice, Mister Waters. It’s a work night, but I’m sure that she doesn’t have to wake up early the following morning.”

“Yea,” I laughed. “Very true, Allison.”

“I’m glad you find me funny, Mister Waters. Alright, I’ve made the arrangements with the company, and you are set to arrive at the restaurant named La Maison tomorrow evening at seven thirty.”

“Very good,” I said, before getting myself up and ready for bed.

I finished work early the next day. There were one hundred and fifty e-mails, three meetings, and four informal personal chats with co-workers that I managed to survive through (thank god for mental stimulants).

I closed my laptop at the time of six thirty. Time to fall in love with an artificially intelligent robot.

I showered, dressed myself according to the instructions of Allison.

“You look very handsome, Mister Waters,” she said.

“Thank you, Allison. And I’m sure that if I installed facial recognition software into your memory, you’d still believe your own words.”

“Absolutely, sir. Without a doubt.”

I left my apartment promptly thereafter, arriving at La Maison at precisely seven twenty seven.

“It’s always good to arrive before a lady,” Allison said from the inside of my autonomous car.  “Well done, sir.”

“Thank you, Allison.” I said, as I left from the back seat.

“I shall await your call to come pick you up.”

“Very good.”

She drove off, likely parking herself in the autonomous car lot that the restaurant had provided. It was a nice place to dine, even for a commoner like myself.

The lady at the front desk took my coat. “Welcome, Mister Waters. Your table is all ready for you. If you’ll please follow me.”

She sat me down at a section that was far away enough from the kitchen, but still compacted into the conversations of the people around us. Couples immersed in thoughts of wine and cocktail dresses. Love being the obvious theme every night for a place like this. A human heart tugging on another’s.

The word human immediately painted itself in the front of my mind.

And then it happened so quickly.

I felt a little embarrassed in that moment all of the sudden. I was going on a date with a robot. Could other people likely notice this? How embarrassing would this be for me?

I sat down, nervous with the thought. I hadn’t even known what this woman would look like. Allison had given all of my personal details to the robotics company -- My likes, dislikes, preferences in women. Would they even have a robot to fit my type of preferences?

Countless thoughts and apprehensions then flooded my mind all of the sudden.

What did I just get myself into?

I’d suffered from social anxiety in the past. But I thought this was only due to human interactions. And now this fake person was already making my forehead sweat, and my heart began racing dramatically.

This was an obvious mistake.

People would likely know a robot when they saw one. And what if a client of mine, or someone I knew at the restaurant caught me chatting up and flirting with some machine?

Way to go, Alfred, I thought. This just seemed pathetic to me, and I thought that I knew the definition of pathetic. I got myself out of the chair, ready to find the nearest waitress and explain that I had an emergency to attend to. I began my way towards the exit, maybe a few dozen steps away.

“Alfred?” I heard from behind me.

Oh, no.

The voice sounded familiar. Somebody I knew had probably caught me here. And I’d have some explaining to do if this robot decided to call me out in the middle of an awkward conversation.

I turned around, ready to put on my ‘Oh my god, it’s so good to see you!’ face.

But what I saw I could only classify as jaw-dropping. Here, standing less than ten feet in front of me was the most stunning, gorgeous, mesmerizing woman I’d ever seen in my life. Sapphire green eyes that stared right at me, with luscious brunette hair flowing beautifully over her left shoulder. She wore a stunning little black dress, which matched the expensive high-heels that accommodated her.

I couldn’t even believe my own eyes.

“Alfred?” She spoke, “I’m sorry, but are you Alfred Waters?”

“I… Uh.. Umm.” I gulped. I couldn’t even hardly remember my own name, let alone marvel at this piece of art that was gracefully strolling its way towards me. “I’m Alfred. Yes, I’m Alfred. Hey. Hi. How are you?” I gushed out. Like a toddler talking to his first crush.

She laughed in her response, brushing her hair behind one ear in flattered embarrassment. “My name’s Tiffany. I believe we were matched together for a date, right?” She extended her hand with a perfected and goddess-like smile.

My goodness she was absolutely stunning. And what’s more, she was human.

She had to be human, I thought. There wasn’t any indication in my mind to believe so otherwise. Her movements were flawless, and her mannerisms seemed to put all of human evolution to complete shame.

Pull yourself together, Alfred. I blinked repeatedly, twitching my eyes to see her more clearly. This is a robot.

I reached out my hand to shake hers. “It’s nice to meet you,” I moused, as I felt the inner workings of her touch. Her hand felt warm and slightly moist. Like she’d just taken off her mittens from the arctic cold air outside. I thought I could hold them forever -- er at least long enough to make things awkward between us.

“Well it’s nice to meet you as well,” she smiled while glancing down at our still-shaking hands. Time to let go of me, Alfred.

“Oh,” I released her. “Sorry about that.”

“Not a problem at all,” she giggled. “I like your hands, by the way. Very soft. Do you moisturize or something?”

I laughed, maybe a little bit too hard. Funny girl!

She seemed to take my utter dorkiness in stride, though.

“Shall we?” She placed her arm into mine. And I couldn’t find a reason in the world to ever leave her that night.

We sat ourselves back down at my table, as I studied her flawless movements, as she draped her silk scarf overtop of the chair, sitting gracefully opposite to me.

“I’m really glad you were able to come tonight,” she smiled. “Especially since it’s so late on a school-night.”

School night. This robot was really selling herself well.

“Yea,” I smirked. “I was about to say the same to you.”

“Aw, that’s nice of you.”

The waiter came to our table. A frenchman with a pencil-thin mustache who probably knew more about wine than Jesus did. “Welcome to La Maison. My name is Pierre and it is my absolute pleasure to serve you tonight.”

He then went on a tangent about all the ingredients served, sparing us no break whatsoever.

I paid him little attention though. I couldn’t stop staring at this robot’s intricate workings in front of me. She was polite, nodding appropriately towards the endless explanations that the waiter was spewing out.

“That sounds delicious,” she turned to smile at me. Right?

“That does sound good,” I agreed while looking right into her fake eyes. Those things had life in them, for sure. I was so positive of it.

I decided to have some fun with her. “Are you hungry?” I asked with a smirk.

“Famished,” she gushed. “Everything here looks so good. I just wish they served a mini sampler with every menu item on it, just so I could taste it all.”

I nodded towards her politely. Man she was selling this whole human thing so well. Taste? She said she wanted to taste it all. Could she even taste anything? What would be the point of that? I decided not to pry too soon, though. The designers had made this girl the utmost human-like for a reason, and I was paying to enjoy this girl as a human.

And she was performing marvelously.

“What do you fancy getting?” She smiled back towards me, once the server exhausted his explanations. And I’m sure the waiter rolled the eyes in his head when I released, “I’m fine with the chef’s special for tonight.”

“Very good, sir,” he said. “And for the lady this evening?”

“The same,” she nodded right towards me. “Please.”

“Two chef’s specials for the lovely… Two of you. Could I also interest you in a drink this evening? Our wine selection boasts the finest-”

“Two chardonnays, please,” I interrupted. “I mean, if that’s what the lady prefers.”

“Chardonnay is my absolute favorite,” she sighed in delight. “You like it as well?”

“Of course,” I said, “it’s my favorite type of wine.” I wasn’t surprised that we shared this trait in common though. Allison likely added this onto the list of personal information that was forwarded to the company.

The server left us promptly, allowing the two of us to finally become completely alone in conversation with each other.

I wonder what else this company included into her programming, I thought. Did they make sure to add in some interesting aspects about her that I would find desirable, maybe something that I wouldn’t know about myself? Thousands of people had given these robots a perfect rating for a reason, and I doubt it was because they agreed and gushed over every word that was said to them.

I was curious about her more than anything else. And this was likely the reason why I would enjoy talking with her so much.

“So what is it that you do, Tiffany?” I began, my eyes still pasted awkwardly onto hers for the longest of times.

“Ah, and so the dating questions begin,” she laughed. “But that’s what’s expected of us on first dates I guess. Right?”

I shrugged in my response. “We don’t have to ask each other those boring and generic questions all night if you want.”

“Have you been on a lot of boring dates recently?”

“Psssh,” I chuckled. “Yea. Plenty. Believe me.”

“I know, right?” She widened her eyes. “And do you feel like during the entire night that you’re the one who’s carrying the entire conversation?”

“Oh, for sure,” I said.

“And then at the very end, he decides to call it quits.” She grunted, throwing her hands up in the air. “And then afterwards I’m like, thank god I don’t have to come up with an excuse not to see this person again.”

“Ha!” I laughed. “That’s exactly right.” Geez she knew the dating scene well. And what’s more, she knew my biggest pet-peeves when it came to bad dates. Was she programmed to pick up on that kind of stuff?

How was that even possible?

I’d heard of artificial intelligence making incredible leaps and bounds over the past decade, but my goodness… She was seemingly more human than a human could ever be. I even watched her flirt those sapphire green eyes in my direction over our moment of laughter. And I thought that only I knew how much this always drove me crazy around a woman.

I watched her then pick up her glass of ice water, gracefully allowing the edge to touch her lips and fall into the back of her “throat”.

I’d never thought that I’d ever judge a person’s ability to drink water before, but she deserved the ten out of ten score. Absolutely.

She finished quickly, releasing a complimentary and satisfactory Ahhhhh. “So what else bothers you about blind dates?” She asked me.

“Oh, just the usual bullshit-” I caught myself. Whoops. “Sorry for the language.”

“Oh, boy,” she rolled her eyes in annoyance. “A man who curses around a lady. Great. Another one.” Her head shaking and glancing away. “It’s like men don’t even know how to behave around a fucking woman anymore.”

“Ha!” I laughed. Loud. “Geez. You had me going there for a second.” Boy oh boy did this girl have my type of humor.

Her smile and laugh matched mine. “Three years of Juilliard, thank you very much.”

“You’re an actress?” I tilted. I’d never gone out with an actress before.

“Struggling actress.” Her hand extended in front of me. “Believe me,” she giggled, “there’s a big difference.”

I grew interested immediately. “Is there anything that I might have seen you in? I could totally see you in movies by the way.”

“Aw, thanks. But no, unless you’re up late at night watching TV on your goggles in bed, I doubt you’ve seen my ‘amazing’” - she actually used air quotes - “Commercial performances.”

“I’d love to take a look at them sometime,” I gushed.

“You’re sweet,” she said. The two of us locked eyes again, and she did that same flirtatious blinking that she probably knew drove me absolutely bonkers.

I want to have sex with this… robot, I thought to myself.

And I didn’t know how wrong or horribly messed-up I was for conjuring up these thoughts. I wondered so much about how other robots must have teased and lured men into falling endlessly for these beautiful machines. Would these men try kidnapping them at the end of the night? Had my own robot ever been kidnapped? Raped?

My goodness, it was infuriating to even think of such a scenario unfolding. And the more I thought about how I’d kill her attacker, the more I realized that I was actually betraying my own human race.

This is only just a machine.

“You seem like you have something on your mind.” Tiffany gave a gentle grin. “Are you having a good time?”

“Yes, absolutely,” I tried shaking off my past thoughts in the moment. “Sorry, it’s just that I tend to drift off in my mind from time to time. It comes with the job title.”

“What is it that you do?”

“I’m a writer,” I said.

“Ohhhh.” She seemed impressed. “Fancy. What type of writing do you do? Anything that I might have read?”
“Oh. No it’s not that type of writing,” I blushed. “I don’t write sexy alien novels, or contribute to galactic journalism or anything special like that. I only just write advice for people who are going through career problems in their life.”

“Like an adult guidance counselor?” she nodded.

“Kind of like that, yea. My official title is a Career Consultant.”

“Mmmm,” she licked her lips subtly and playfully. “Sexy.”

I laughed while dropping my embarrassed face.

This robot was already so worth the money in my mind. No wonder so many people gave flawless reviews to a product that guaranteed us zero chance of anything sexual forming at any point in the night. She was beyond a sexy machine in my mind, she actually knew what made my own little mechanisms in my head tick. She could have suggested that we do anything in that moment, and I probably would have agreed, without any further questions asked. She was an absolute addiction to me, and I couldn’t wait to order another night with her in the future.

“I know it’s early in the night,” I told her. “But I just want to let you know that I’m having a really good time with you so far.”

She raised her lip lightly towards me, signaling a heartfelt kindness in her artificial heart. “I’m having a really nice time, too, Alfred.”

The waiter came back with our meals, explaining basically every minute detail about everything that I couldn’t care less about.

“It looks fabulous,” Tiffany gushed.

The waiter smiled gratefully, then exited to leave us alone again.

I couldn’t help myself from blatantly staring right at her as she effortlessly used a knife and fork to cut through the chicken, lifting the meat genuinely straight into her mouth. “Mmmm.” She closed her eyes. “Tasty. How’s yours?”

I quickly broke off a piece with my clumsy utensils. My chewing wasn’t anywhere nearly as perfected and gracious as what I’d just witnessed in front of me. “I’d choose this chicken over KFC any day of the week,” I joked.

“Glad to hear it,” she laughed into her glass of chardonnay.

We both enjoyed our meals in relative quietness for a while. I’d never much liked to talk while eating, mostly because many of my meals I ate were by myself. I’d probably figured that Tiffany either picked up on that fact, or Allison tipped off the programmers when she dumped the hoards of personal data about me.

When we finished, Pierre arrived quickly to remove our empty plates from sight. “I hope everything was to your liking?” He inquired.

“Oh, yes,” Tiffany gushed while kissing the tips of her fingers. “J’adore.”

“Ah,” he grinned. “Je suis heureux que vous avez apprécié.”

Huh? I tilted towards him. Was that French?

Tiffany sure seemed to think so. She didn’t even bat an eyelash before responding, “votre vin apaise mon âme.” Fluently and beautifully I might add.

They both nodded towards each other with a smile, while the entire time I was thinking, this French guy is trying to move in on my girl!

Damn the French.

I was feeling jealous I guess.

But why?

She wasn’t real. Or, at least, I had already known that she wasn’t real. But the French guy obviously didn’t know this fact. He was totally giving her the ‘I’m foreign so that makes me more attractive’ eyes. And what’s worse was that it was clear that Tiffany and I were clearly not just friends having dinner together.

Bold, my little French friend. Very bold.

I decided to give a loud-ish cough into my hand, signaling my distaste over what the hell was even going on in front of me.

“Well I am delighted the young lady and her… enjoyed the meal tonight,” Mister French home-wrecker said, nodding away from us again.

He was only maybe five steps away from us when I began. “You speak French?” I asked Tiffany. Kind of shocked about it. Was this a part of the programming? I thought. Was this some curveball that the programmers implemented into her that they thought would turn me on?

“Eh.” She wavered her hand. “I studied it in college, but I’m a little rusty.” She laughed when she also added, “As you can probably tell.”

I couldn’t. Obviously. I hadn’t spoken a word of French in my life, and I actually found it a little rude for her to engage in a flirtatious conversation with a waiter while I stared aimlessly without a clue as to what they were even saying. Were they making plans to see each other later? Who even knew? I had to hold myself back from inquiring further into how and why she was programmed to do such a thing in front of me. I’m a customer, dammit!

Pull yourself together, I reminded myself. You’re being a jealous asshole right now. This is a machine. DO NOT FORGET THIS.

“Do you speak any other languages?” Tiffany turned soft all of the sudden, likely already sensing my disdain over what had just occurred. I could even feel my face becone red again, and I’d already known that artificially intelligent devices could detect when a human’s heartbeat was picking up in pace.

And from what I’d seen of Tiffany’s capabilities, she likely already knew this as well. She’d probably been programmed to distinguish any wayward non-verbal signals from her programmers.

I conceded to her nonetheless. “Only English for me,” I said, “I guess I just never saw the point of learning two different ways to say the same thing.”

“Oh,” she said.

“Yea,” I said, an awkward laugh was attached as I added, “I know. Typical American, right? Always looking for the easiest path of least resistance.”

“No that actually makes a lot of sense.”

“It does?” My head jutted backwards. A woman had never agreed with me on this topic in the past.

“Sure.” She released an adorable chuckle. “Can you imagine what great leaps we as a human race could have achieved thousands of years ago if we all spoke the same language?” She shook her head in awe over her words. “I think it’s a real shame that we all didn’t swallow our pride and create a brand new universal language for everyone to use.” Her eyes then lifted back up to mine, and I couldn’t even believe that behind all this beauty, all this emotion, all this subjective intelligence, was just a bunch of hardware - just a bunch of zeroes and ones telling computer chips how to exactly move this machine.

I thought that even she seemed more human than my own self.

“I guess I never thought about it that way,” I moused in awe of this girl. There was silence developing between us. This kind of tension.

Tiffany realized it right away. “Sorry,” she smirked, “I tend to get all philosophical on life sometimes.”

“No, no. It’s fine,” I said. “I tend to space out a lot, too. I totally get it.”

“Thanks,” she smiled gently towards me again.

There was definite chemistry brewing between us. I could almost feel it all around me, propping up the hairs on my skin.

The night was ending all too quickly for me, and Pierre was soon back with two plates of chocolate mousse for us to devour.

“This is the finest chocolate to ever leave the borders of France,” he gushed. “And I insist that you try.”

Tiffany let out a playful giggle. “Well if he insists…”

We both tasted the tiny brown squares on two massive white plates. “Mmmm,” Tiffany nodded. And I couldn’t help but agree, even though I totally wanted to rain on Pierre’s little cock-blocking parade he had going on for me.

“It delights me that your palates can sense the bold and bitter tastes of art,” he said, and I was immediately rolling my eyes in my mind. We get it, you’re a sophisticated prick. He ended his spiel soon after, asking us, “Is there anything else I can offer for you this evening?”

Tiffany’s eyes shot up to mine. “I’m actually well-pleased at the moment.”

“So am I,” I smiled back.

“Very well,” Pierre nodded. “And it is my pleasure to inform you that your meal has been generously already paid for by a third party this evening.”

I nodded my head towards Pierre while pursing my lips. It made sense. Allison probably had my credit card on file with the company -- which I had always preferred. Nobody likes to see how much money they just ate away.

And leaving a tip on the table always scared me for some reason (it’s so subjective!).

I told Pierre, “Thank you,” and he left with a bow.

“Interesting,” Tiffany interrupted.

“What is?” I tilted. She seemed mystified all of the sudden.

“The check,” she said. “Do you know somebody who is here tonight? Is there somebody else I need to thank for dinner?”

My body language slanted even more towards her. I thought she might have been joking around with me again. “It was all taken care of by the service,” I shrugged, me already subconsciously thinking about how I could possibly leave this machine without at least kissing her goodbye.

“Service?” Her eyes dropped to the side, as if there was something she had forgotten about. “What service?” She moused.

“The…” I began. But my words stopped themselves all of the sudden. Did this machine not know what was really going on here? Did her programmers maybe not program her to be self-aware of the situation? She’d been completely unaware of any playful comments I’d made throughout the dinner about this whole situation; but was this scenario actually possible?

No way, I thought. The service would have known that our situation would have come up in conversation eventually. Even if it hadn’t come up until just now, it definitely would have come up in past conversations with customers. I still remembered the five star reviews pouring into my head. These mistakes wouldn’t happen for such a fantastic product.

And what’s more was that I wasn’t even sure if she even knew that she was a robot. There hadn’t been any indication for her to believe otherwise. And so was I going to be the guy who dropped this bomb right on her lap, in the middle of a restaurant? How would she even react?

I grew nervous over the thought. I should have done more research before I agreed to this.

I decided to move on from this quickly. “It’s probably just my artificial intelligence assistant Allison,” I shrugged. “She has my credit card on file all over the city.”

“Ohhhhh,” Tiffany reacted well. “Yea, that makes sense.” She moved on quickly from the topic. “Do you like artificially intelligent machines?”

I released a helpless and ironic smirk her way. “I think I was skeptical at first, but now I don’t know how I lived without them.”

“Interesting,” she nodded. “Maybe I should look into getting one.”

“I fully recommend it.”

We met our eyes again, the both of us nodding in unison over this ironic banter that I found funny for some reason.

“Well.” Tiffany pulled out her chair, began to gracefully compose herself while standing back up. “I have to say that this was definitely one of the more pleasurable blind dates I’ve ever been on.”

“Yea, me too.”

We both gave each other another smile. Tiffany placed her arm into mine as we made our way to the exit.

“Did you drive here?” Tiffany asked me at the coat check-in counter.

“Allison drove me,” I said. “She should be here any second to pick me up. Can I give you a ride home?”

“Oh no, I wouldn’t want you to have to go through the trouble. I can take one the autonomous cabs waiting outside.”

I felt a little deflated in that moment, usually good dates don’t tend to end at dinner. But this situation was obviously different. She’d been programmed to deny any sexual advances or any scenarios where sexual misconduct could occur. I kept needing to remind myself of this constantly. She’s not a human. This is a robot.

A beautiful, intelligent, funny, adorable robot. One that smelled a scent that I wouldn’t forget until the next time I saw her.

I sighed as we made our way outside again. Allison was already waiting for me just a few yards away, while a line of autonomous cabs were waiting for someone like Tiffany to hop inside and disappear into the night.

“Well it looks like this is me,” Tiffany breathed a slight disappointment. “I guess I really am being a good girl and going to bed early.” She chuckled next to me, as we both emerged beside the cab door, which I opened for her.

Silence then developed between us again, and I hadn’t a clue as to how to leave this girl without any form of a kiss or a hug or…. Something sexual. And what’s worse was that she hadn’t yet decided to collapse herself into the car seat or wave me goodbye. She only just stood there, nodding her head, almost as if she was giving me the signal.

Kiss me, you fool!

I dared not to, though. Who even knew what the penalties would have been for breaking the rules of the service? It wasn’t worth the risk in my mind.

“Well this is where I’ll leave you then, I guess,” I said.

“Yea, I guess so,” she nodded, then took out her phone from her pocket. “Call me, okay?” Her hand gently placed the phone to the side of my pocket, allowing our contact information to stream between devices.

It was an odd thing to do, especially since the only way I knew I’d see her again was through this service. But maybe this was all a part of the show, I thought. It always feels good to get a girl’s number at the end of a night out, no matter if it was just an act or not.

I felt the goosebumps immediately. “I’ll definitely call you,” I said.

“Great,” she smiled.

It was then that she decided to lean into me. Slowly. Like she was willing to make the first move and kiss me.

Whoa.

Her lips were soon pressed up against mine, and we were both embracing each other in our arms.

Her body was warm, steaming. And her mouth was wet with the same saliva as my own. Her tongue felt more real, controlled, more than any other tongue I had felt on a woman. And what’s more was that we had chemistry together. Our bodies were in perfect unison with every breath and passionate kiss.

Oh my god.

It was all over so quickly. She stopped herself at the exact moment when I thought about how real this had all felt.

“Goodnight, Alfred,” she whispered into my ear. Leaving me standing alone and in complete shock over what just occurred. I couldn’t even find the wherewithal inside myself to make the ten step journey back to my own car.

I only just stood there and thought for what seemed like an eternity.

Was Tiffany not a robot?  

 


© Copyright 2019 Michelle Audet. All rights reserved.

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