The next day was so busy that there were times when Mike forgot about Patience, at least for a moment or two. That was saying something, because it had been an eventful night. They had talked for a while, Patience quizzing him on his likes and dislikes, though in retrospect it seemed scant enough information for any kind of detailed profile. Then she had given him a massage and they had gone to bed. The sex had been pretty incredible. It wasn’t like he thought it would be. She didn’t feel cold or plastic, though some places were warmer and some were cooler. She felt squishy in all the right spots—firm in the right spots too. She seemed to know what he wanted before he knew that he wanted it. Afterwards, he had fallen asleep, waking up once during the night to find her looking through his closet.
In the morning, she had served him breakfast in bed—cereal and milk, toast and grape jelly, and orange juice, which was about all the breakfast food he had in the house. When he had taken a shower, she had been there waiting as he had come out with a clean, dry towel. Though he usually didn’t allow for any extra time in the morning, and eating breakfast had taken up enough time that he actually had to hurry, he still took a moment to notice that she had been cleaning during the night. She had picked up all the dirty clothes off the bedroom floor and the bathroom had been cleaned. Who knows what else she had done that he hadn’t noticed.
“Turn your texTees to Our World page 1056,” Mike told the class. “The ten review questions on this page will be the first ten questions of your final exam the day after tomorrow. Look up the answers you don’t know at this time.”
Two hands went up.
“What is it, Curtis?”
“I don’t have my texTee.”
“Is that your problem too Mabel? You don’t have your texTee?
The dark haired girl two seats behind Curtis nodded her head.
“Why even bother to show up without your texTee? You know it’s review day. Why are you even here?”
“My mother makes me come,” said Mabel.
“It’s not my fault,” said Curtis. “I left it at my dad’s girlfriend’s house.”
“I would be willing to bet that you have your phone with you though,” said Mike. “Get one of the classroom texTees out of the cabinet.”
“Whatever.” said Mabel.
As the two students retrieved the reading devices, these particular ones covered across the top with bright red reflective tape, there was a knock at the outside door. The classroom had an inside door which led to the hallway and the rest of the school and an outside door which faced a small lawn and the back of the adjacent power plant. Peering in through the metal mesh that covered the tiny window in the outside door was Patience.
“I brought you lunch Mike,” she said when he opened the door a few inches. Patience was wearing the black and white polka dotted dress.
“I usually eat in the lunch room.”
“Here.” She pushed a soft-sided grey lunch box with the word Thermos on the side toward him.
“Where did you get this?”
“It was in the cabinet.”
She nodded. Then she turned and walked back across the lawn. Mike could see the blackened soles of her bare feet as she walked away.
“Who was that?” asked several students as he closed the door.
“Was that your daughter?” asked Mabel.
“Um, no. Let’s get focused on our review questions.”
At lunch time Mike unpacked the lunchbox. There was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple cut into slices and bagged, a small container of a white semi-gelatinous substance that turned out to be vanilla pudding, a single large sugar cookie, and a diet Pepsi with a chemical cold-pack wrapped around it.
“That’s a nice lunch,” said Miss Treewise from across the table.
“Mm-hmm,” Mike nodded.
“Somebody must like you,” said Mrs. Cartwright.
When he got home, Mike found Patience waiting at the door. She looked pretty and pleasant and on impulse, he leaned over and kissed her on the mouth.
“That was a nice kiss, Mike. Is that the kind of kiss you would like me to greet you with often?”
“Wow. I almost forgot for a moment that you were a robot.” He looked down. “Hey, you’re wearing shoes.”
Patience lifted one up behind her, taking a kind of Betty Boop pose. On her feet were black shoes with large white bows just above the open toe. They had a half-inch thick platform sole in the front and a four inch square heel in the back.
“Do you like them? They’re called Peeptoe Platforms.”
“Yes, they’re fine. But where did you get them?”
“After I dropped lunch off to you I went to the store.”
“You walked to the store? That’s too far, especially in bare feet. And the ground is hot.”
“I did not mind,” she smiled. “Would you like a shoulder rub, Mike?”
She guided him to a chair that she had apparently brought in from the dining room and set along the west wall of the living room in front of the window. Once he had sat down, she stepped behind him and began rubbing his shoulders.
“How did you pay for them… the shoes, I mean?” he asked.
“I took the cash card out of your wallet this morning before you left for school.”
“They’re not supposed to let you use that unless it’s yours. And besides, you should have asked first.”
“The stores never check, and I did ask. You said that I should select and purchase my own wardrobe.”
“Yes, but I’m not sure I can afford that right now. I don’t get paid until the tenth. I’m not sure how much money I have in my accounts right now.”
“We have $2261.43 in account 116211130782-2 checking, $31021.69 in account 116211130782-1 savings, and $42.11 in the payNEtime account.”
“Wow. That’s more than I thought I had… I mean we had.”
She turned him back around and began rubbing his shoulders again. “I have ordered my own cash card, in any case.”
“You did? Wait. How did you know all that?”
“Last night I accessed all your financial data.”
“You what?” He turned back around to look at her.
“It is part of the secondary setup procedure.”
“What else did you do?” he wondered.
“I accessed your vueTee and browser files, read all of the books and magazines on your texTee, and all of your paper books too. I looked through your photo albums, ran your credit report, and googled you.”
“Is that all part of the secondary setup procedure?” he frowned.
She nodded with an innocent look on her face and turned him back around to continue with the shoulder rub. When she was done he moved to his recliner and flipped on the vueTee, while Patience brought him a diet Pepsi. Although he usually drank them from the can, she had poured it into a tall glass over ice.
“Did you buy ice at the store too?”
“No, Mike. I made it in the freezer.”
“You can do that?”
She nodded. “Did you want to talk about your day at work, Mike?”
“Not really,” he said. “If you don’t mind, I’d just like to watch vueTee for a while.”
“That’s fine, Mike. The Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is on channel twenty-seven.”
“Is that the one where Frank Gorshin is black on the left side and white on the right side?”
“He is black on the right side,” said Patience. “All of his people are black on the right side.”
Mike smiled as he flipped to channel twenty-seven. He watched the last forty minutes of the science fiction classic. Then he watched part of Seaquest DSV, which wasn’t so much of a classic. Mercifully, he fell asleep in his chair somewhere near the middle. He often fell asleep of an afternoon in his recliner to wake up to a dark and lonely room. This time when he woke up, both lamps were on. Patience passed by, walking through the room from the kitchen, continuing through the living room and on to the foyer. As she did so she switched the vueTee to the evening news.
“What are you doing?” Mike called after her.
“Chores,” she said, poking her head back around the stairwell corner.
The news was filled with politics. Winston Barlow was accusing Evelyn Mendoza of being an elitist and he was accusing Stephanie Wakovia of being a free-spender. Evelyn Mendoza was accusing Barlow of being uncaring and accusing Wakovia of being too closely tied to Busby’s Antarctica war. Mendoza was accusing Barlow of being out of touch with the young people of America and accusing Wakovia of being uninterested in helping the poor. The remaining news was filled with a story about the construction of the stadium for the upcoming Olympic Games in Surat, one about a pair of large tornadoes in Texas which did minimal damage, and the usual war news. Sixty four more American soldiers were killed today along with an estimated six hundred Russians.
“Dinner is served,” said Patience, poking her head into the living room just as the news ended.
Mike got up and walked to the dining room. Both this room and the adjoining kitchen had been cleaned spic and span. The table had been set for two, and in the center rested a dish of lasagna and a bowl of tossed salad. The old table had been spruced up with a floral-patterned table cloth. He pulled out a chair and sat down. Patience scooped a large portion of lasagna and then dressed the salad, placing a small pile next to the meat and pasta dish. She put the plate in front of him. Then she sat down across from him smiling and watching him as he ate.
“You’re not going to eat?”
She shook her head.
“Oh, yeah. I forgot for a moment. Hydrogen fuel cell?”
She nodded again.
“You’ve been doing quite a bit of cleaning.”
“Yes, Mike. Is this the way that you would like me to keep the house?”
She nodded yet again.
“Yes, the house looks great. You’ve just about got it all cleaned up.”
“I will have by this time tomorrow.”
Mike finished dinner and went back to the family room to watch vueTee while Patience cleared the table, packed up the left-overs, and put the dishes in the dishwasher. After Brain Quest, there wasn’t much on vueTee. Tuesday was a lousy vueTee night. Patience disappeared into the bedroom and returned wearing nothing but one of her lacy thongs. Mike had imagined that at his age two nights of sexual activity in a row was excessive, but seeing her standing there, the very picture of perfection, disabused him of this notion. They had sex on and off the couch, and when they were done Mike was completely exhausted though it was not even eight thirty.
“It is because you are in terrible physical shape,” said Patience.
“Yes, and I’m old too. I look way too old and fat to be seen with you. You look like what… like you’re twenty?”
“My apparent age is twenty-two to thirty-two. And fifty is not old.”
“Yes, well… What are you going to do tomorrow?”
“I have several projects in mind,” she said. “I think you should walk to work tomorrow.”
“It’s way too hot to walk.”
“It won’t be over one hundred nine tomorrow.”
“Well, I could,” said Mike. “Probably… But why?”
“Walking is good exercise, Mike. And that way I can use the car.”
“You know how to drive?”
“But what if you are stopped. You don’t have a license.”
“Robots do not need a license to drive, Mike.”
Mike indulged in a hot shower before bed, and then climbed between two clean sheets. Patience was there to tuck him in. He read a bit of the daily paper from his texTee, but set it aside after a few minutes and drifted off into sleep. He half-dreamily noticed that Patience came into the room to turn off the light, and then she was off again doing whatever it was that she did.
When he opened his eyes in the morning, Patience was sitting on the edge of the bed. She had on the second of her two dresses—the black and white polka dotted one, and Mike felt a tug of regret that he hadn’t bought her more of a selection.
“You need to get up seventeen minutes earlier since you are walking,” said Patience, handing him a bagel and a glass of orange juice.
“Only seventeen minutes? I’m not going to run to work you know.”
“It is not really that far.”
It wasn’t really that far. He ate his breakfast, shaved and showered, then headed out the door with a lunch that Patience handed him as he left. He walked briskly to the end of the block under the awning that covered all the city’s sidewalks, but the rest of the way, five more blocks, went more slowly as it was up a slight incline. He rounded the power station and started across the lawn to the door of his classroom. Looking at the clock inside, he saw that he was arriving at almost the exact same time that he always did.
This was another review day, the day before final exams, so it was busy as Mike tried to push the last bits of geographic information into the heads of his eighth grade students. Not surprisingly, his mind kept returning to Patience standing there in her little thong in the center of the family room. He still couldn’t believe that she was here. He couldn’t believe that he had actually placed the order for a robot and he couldn’t believe how perfect she was. She was in fact, about as perfect as she could be. He wondered what her measurements were. When he had designed her, he hadn’t been thinking in terms of numbers. He had done so based on the visual representation on the screen. He would have to find out if he was going to buy clothes for her though. Thinking back to the posted measurements of all the centerfolds he had seen, he thought she had to be about 34-22-34. She could probably have been a fashion model, though with those breasts he was sure she would make a centerfold for Playboy or Penthouse.
She was of course waiting for him. The walk home, which was essentially all downhill, had proven more tiring than Mike had anticipated. He was breathing hard when he reached out to open the front door, but it opened for him and Patience was waiting on the other side with a glass of iced diet Pepsi. He took the offered glass, trudged back to the family room, and plopped down into his recliner.
“Welcome home, Mike,” said Patience. “You should know that the secondary setup procedure has successfully completed.”
“That’s good,” replied Mike, pulling the lever to lift his legs up. “Is there a third setup?”
Patience shook her head. She was wearing a little black dress which reached down to her mid-thigh. It was held on with half inch straps and had a plunging neckline. She had on a pair of cute little sandals with four inch wedge heels. Mike noticed how small her feet were.
“I don’t see why women’s shoes are so expensive,” she said. “These shoes cost almost five times as much as this dress.”
“Exactly how much money did you spend on clothes today?”
“Wow!” Mike pushed the lever and rocked forward.
“Don’t worry. We will get more before we run out.”
“Are we robbing a bank?”
“I have our finances all figured out,” she smiled. Then she knelt down in front of him and for the next twelve minutes or so made him forget about anything as unimportant as money. Afterwards, she put on a fashion show for him, showing off the clothes that she had bought that day. She told him what each piece of clothing was as she spun around: a blue banded bottom jersey dress, a peach sleeveless knit mini-dress, a red over the shoulder dress with gored skirt, a black cami lace trim top with black nylon leggings and grey plaid miniskirt, a teal silky halter-style evening dress. She had also purchased a pair of five inch chunky heel platform sandals and a pair of metallic-colored t-strap four and a half inch heels. The last part of the show was the lingerie: several pairs of frilled panties that despite the name “boy-leg” seemed to have no leg at all, and left her cute ass cheeks hanging out, several pairs of mesh thongs, and a push up bra with one cup pink and the other sky blue.
“You should have showed me this part when I first came home,” said Mike, amazed that he was already feeling amorous again. “This makes me want to buy you even more clothes, though it’s a sad commentary when seventeen hundred bucks only buys you five outfits, two pairs of shoes, and a couple of pairs of underwear.”
“I also spent $661.57 on groceries.”
“Oh well, I’m sure we needed it, but that doesn’t sound like much food.”
“It will be more than enough for now,” said Patience. “Would you like an afternoon snack?”
Patience brought out a small plate with slices of fruit and cheese. Mike ate it all.
“Is there more?”
“Save room for dinner,” Patience called from the kitchen. “You shouldn’t be too full anyway. I don’t want you to get a stomach ache today at the gym.”
“Yes,” she said, rejoining him in the family room and curling up to sit on the floor by his feet. “We will go right after the news.”
They sat and watched first the local and then the national news. Patience rested her head on his knee and he ran his fingers through her thick black hair. It felt like real hair—like real human hair. She wrapped her left arm around his calves. Going to the gym was probably a good idea, he decided. If he was going to keep up with her, he really needed to get into shape.
At six o’clock, Patience left the room. She returned a few minutes later wearing sandals and her little jersey dress. She brought Mike a pair of shorts that he hadn’t seen in so long he almost didn’t recognize them, along with a sweatshirt. He changed into them, and then they climbed into the car and drove four miles to the Club One Fitness Center.
“I don’t have a membership,” said Mike.
“I signed you up on vueTee. The first month is free.”
“I think we need hydrogen.” he said, looking at the fuel gauge.
“Are you trying to prevent our trip to the gym?”
“No, of course not. We just need, you know…some hydrogen.”
“We aren’t going very far,” said Patience. “We have more than enough to last until tomorrow.”
“What if you get hungry?”
Patience shot him a look.
“We still have enough money to buy hydrogen, don’t we?” Mike asked.
“We should use your Praxair-Aramco credit account.”
“Is that account still good? I haven’t used it in a long time.”
At the fitness club a blond girl, with the right side of her hair dyed black, stood chewing gum. Mike gave her his name and she pulled out a dedicated texTee for him. It was set up with forms for him to fill out, as well as spaces for him to keep track of his workouts and progress. As he took it from her, she looked at him.
“Didn’t you used to teach at Midland?”
“Yes,” Mike replied, not adding that he still did.
“I think I was in your class,” the girl said. “That was a long, long time ago.”
Mike just nodded his head.
“Is this your daughter?” asked the cashier, indicating Patience.
“No…” said Mike. “She’s a friend.”
The counter girl’s mouth made a little O. “She’s a robot, eh? You can hardly tell.”
Mike just took the texTee to a nearby chair and began to enter the information with the keypad. Patience sat down next to him.
“Well that’s it,” said Mike. “It’s always going to be like that. It’s always going to be weird.”
Patience looked at him uncomprehendingly.
“Nobody will ever believe that a fat old man like me could ever meet a woman like you. They’ll immediately realize what you are and say “oh well, there you go, he had to buy himself a robot, cause no one else would have him.” Patience stuck out her lip.
“I’m sorry. I know you’re more than a robot. You’re a Daffodil.”
“It’s not that,” she replied. “I don’t want to hear you talk about yourself in a negative way. I wouldn’t allow it from anyone else, and I don’t want to hear it from you.”
“Yeah, okay. Whatever. I need to find a trainer.” Mike changed the subject.
“No. I will be your trainer.”
Patience proved that she was as adept as a physical fitness trainer as she was at anything else. She put him to work doing a minimal number of machine exercises and had him spend most of his time walking around and around on the oval track. She walked right along with him, encouraging him to keep up the pace. Though she wasn’t really dressed for the track, she did look like a young woman out to have a little fun. She bounced along with the gate of a teenager, giving him a grin whenever she noticed him looking at her.
When they returned home, Mike was exhausted and took a nap. When he got up he took a long hot shower. By the time he returned down stairs, dressed, Patience had set the dining room table for him. The Caesar salad, lightly breaded orange roughy, and garlic new potatoes were all perfect. For desert, she made a satin chocolate tart. Mike had eaten many good meals, but he had to admit he was impressed. He didn’t think he had ever had anything that good outside of a cruise ship or a fine restaurant. When he said so, Patience smiled sweetly. Afterwards, Mike watched vueTee, while Patience cleaned up the dinner dishes.
Mike thought he would be too tired for sex that night, but the exercise actually added to his vigor. He felt as though he performed like a twenty year old. When he commented as much, Patience agreed with him, though this ended up irking him, as the more he thought about it, the more he was sure that it wasn’t true.
“Are you going to get up and do housework all night?” he asked her as she lay next to him.
“What would you like me to do?”
“Why don’t you spend the night with me? I know you don’t need to sleep, but I think it would be great.”
Patience smiled at him. “All right.”
Mike woke up several times during the night though. He wasn’t used to sleeping with someone else in his bed and the center part of Patience’s body was warmer than he expected. She was also always awake, as Mike had known she would be, and since she didn’t need to be there and it wasn’t all that comfortable for him, the whole thing just seemed a waste.
“You can go ahead and get up if you want to,” he said, at last.
“Thank you, Mike. I would like to begin cleaning the garage.”