Mike was already dressed when Patience arrived back in their room. He looked quite handsome in his white shirt and tan slacks. They met Wanda and Ryan out in the hall and all walked down to the Incubus Steakhouse together. After sitting down, the men planned out their orders. Mike chose the iceberg wedge, peppercorn New York steak with red onion compote, ginger sweet potatoes, and chocolate mouse cake. Ryan ordered the warm asparagus salad with hollandaise and truffle vinaigrette, braised beef short ribs with m’hamsa couscous, French horn mushrooms, and bacon; and crème brulee.
Patience was quiet, a fact that Wanda was quick to point out.
“Is it the murder?” she asked.
“You know about that, do you?” asked Mike.
“Everyone knows about it,” said Ryan. “And of course, Wanda knows that they asked Patience to help them solve it. Did you figure it out?”
“Yes,” said Patience. “I might as well tell you, since it will be widely known shortly.”
“We knew them,” Mike told Ryan. “Well, we met them. We had lunch with them.”
“The girl who was murdered and her robot?”
“So who killed her?” Ryan asked, turning to Patience.
“Delia killed Bella,” said Patience.
“Who is Delia?”
“Delia was her Daffodil. She killed Bella and she killed herself.”
“That cannot be right,” said Wanda, “but I see that it is.”
“Why?” asked Mike. “Why did she kill her?”
“Bella met a man. Delia loved Bella and was afraid that she would lose her to him.”
“That is really frightening,” said Ryan.
“It’s really human, is what it is,” said Mike. “It’s just the kind of thing that humans do to each other all the time. You just don’t expect it from a robot… and yes, I know she wasn’t just a robot—she was a Daffodil.”
“It is too horrible,” said Wanda. “She was for Bella. She should have wanted whatever was best for Bella, even if it meant giving her up.”
“See Ryan,” said Mike. “You have a special little robot there.”
“I realize that.”
The salads arrived and they began eating.
“You feel the same way, don’t you, Patience?” asked Wanda. “You feel the same way about Mike that I do about Ryan, don’t you?”
Patience flashed her a nonverbal blip of annoyance but answered. “I love Mike and I want him to be happy of course. Over the past few years however, I have programmed myself to want him… to need him. I have been running it over in my mind for the past several hours. More and more I understand how Delia was feeling. I don’t know how I would react if I thought I was losing Mike.”
Ryan choked on a bit of lettuce and took a quick drink of water, giving Mike a nervous look.
“It’s my fault,” said Mike. “I’m just too damn charming. The women and robots—they just go crazy for me.”
Patience smiled and put her hand on his. The main courses arrived and the conversation took a much lighter tone through the rest of their meal. After dessert, they left the steakhouse and walked downstairs to the movie theater.
“What shall we see,” asked Ryan.
“Okay,” said Mike. “We have a sappy chick flic, two mindless action movies, and Shakespeare.”
“So… Motor California?”
“Much Ado About Nothing.”
“I was afraid you were going to say that,” said Ryan. “Well, I suppose we don’t have to see the same movie.”
“Try a little culture for once. Maybe you’ll like it.”
“All right. I’ll try it, but I don’t think I’ll like it.”
One hundred nine minutes later the four of them stepped back out of the theater entrance.
“That wasn’t that bad,” said Ryan.
“See, I knew you’d like it,” said Mike.
“It didn’t hurt that Margarite Pine was in it.”
“Which one was she?”
“The one with the boobs.”
“Oh, the one who played Beatrice. Yes, she is a healthy young woman.”
“She’s in Motor California, too,” said Wanda. “Ryan has it in his queue. He finds her sexually appealing.”
“Oh, I don’t mind. I think I look a little bit like her.”