“I’m sorry, but I don’t really feel like going to the dance,” she said.
“That’s alright. Neither do I. Maybe we could just hang out and watch a movie.”
“Well, you kids suit yourselves,” said Dr. Maxxim. “Mr. Toulson is here, so I know you’ll be fine.
Fifteen minutes later the Maxxims had gone. Astrid had changed into a clean shirt, jeans, and sandals and had joined Toby in the family room.
“I suppose everyone else is at the dance,” said Astrid. “I mean, except Austin.”
“Denise is going with Christopher,” replied Toby. “Bud Collins asked Valerie and I think she said yes.”
“What about Robot Valerie?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think anybody asked her. Maybe they’re afraid of her laser beam eyes.”
“Now I feel doubly bad,” said Astrid. “I feel bad for Austin because he’s in the hospital and I feel bad for Robot Valerie because nobody asked her to the Spring Fling.”
“Why don’t we invite her over here?” said Toby. “We could watch a movie.”
“Alright,” replied Astrid, taking out her phone.
She called and invited Robot Valerie over. Valerie promised to come and within twenty minutes, Mr. Diaz had dropped her off at the front door. Valerie’s’ skin and hair was the same shiny metallic as always, but she wore a grey sweater and a cute black and yellow striped skirt.
“Thanks for inviting me,” she said. “I was feeling kind of lonely. How come the two of you aren’t at the dance?”
Astrid and Toby took turns telling her of the day’s events.
“That’s terrible,” she said, upon hearing of Austin’s injury. “I hope he’s alright.”
“Me too,” said Astrid. “So anyway, that’s why we didn’t feel like going to the dance.”
“I didn’t really expect anyone to ask me,” said Valerie. “I was kind of surprised when Bud asked me… the other me… I mean, Regular Valerie.”
“Come on in the family room,” said Astrid. “We’re going to watch a movie. What do you guys want to watch?”
“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” voted Toby.
“I was going to say Toy Story,” said Valerie.
“Okay,” said Astrid. “We’ll compromise and watch Princess Mononoke.”
“How is that a compromise?” asked Toby.
“It’s animated like Toy Story,” explained Astrid. “It’s also got fighting and mystical stuff like Raiders.”
“I suppose it doesn’t hurt that it’s your favorite movie,” said Valerie.
“Well, yeah. But that’s not why I suggested it.”
They all sat down on the big sofa and Astrid searched through the entertainment menu for Princess Mononoke.
“You don’t mind if I plug in while I’m here, do you?” asked Valerie.
“No, go right ahead.”
The robot girl opened the panel in her arm, pulled out the power cable, and plugged it into the wall near where she was sitting.
“What does that feel like?” asked Toby.
“It feels kind of good,” she said. “I get a warm feeling in my tummy, like I just ate some of Mama’s tamales.”
“I was going to suggest making some popcorn and having some soda,” said Toby. “I didn’t want to be rude though, since you don’t eat or drink.”
“Oh, go ahead,” said Valerie. “It won’t bother me.”
“May I use your kitchen then, to whip us up a movie snack?” Toby asked Astrid.
“Sure. The sodas are in the fridge, and the popcorn is in the cabinet right above the microwave.”
Toby stepped into the other room.
“He did at least ask you to the dance, didn’t he?” wondered Valerie.
“Yes he did,” replied Astrid. “He was really sweet. He even asked me what color my dress was so that he could get me a corsage.”
“Well, there’s always the Junior Prom for you to look forward to,” said Valerie. “I don’t guess I’ll ever get asked to a dance. I don’t think there’s any boy who wants a robot girlfriend.”
“I bet you there are…. Oh, here we go—Princess Mononoke.”