© Simon Totten
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Rebecca Van Outhwaite had never been lucky in love. Fairy tales and romantic novels had happy-ever-afters, she didn't.
It didn’t seem to matter if it was delirious passion or plutonic friendship, the end result was always the same. The stabbing pain of heartbreak, followed by the long and lonely road to emptiness.
Maybe she had one of those faces? Pretty but not stunning. Perhaps she was bubbly and likeable but unlovable. Whatever, she had all but given up on finding Mr Right.
But the moment she first laid eyes on Richard Van Outhwaite, all that changed. On their first date, she had christened him ‘Rock’ because that was exactly what he was - a physical and emotional colossus of a man on whom she knew she could depend. Ever since that day, six months ago, life had been a dream she never wanted to wake up from.
‘This place is amazing,’ she whispered lying back, gazing through the skylight. Her entire field of vision was filled with a myriad of stars and the Earth, hung like a blue orb in space. ‘It’s perfect, thank you….’
‘I’m so glad you like it,’ replied Rock, kissing her gently on the forehead.
‘Come … lie here with me,’ she said, spreading her arms wide to welcome him.
Rock lifted the white satin sheets on the king size double bed of their capsule. Rose petals, glistening with droplets of moisture, fell to the ground as he climbed in beside her.
‘This is a dream come true. When I’m with you I feel like anything’s possible. Like I could float up there and touch the stars.’
‘Me too Bec. You make me so happy, you complete me. Don’t know where I’d be without you.’
Rebecca knew that her new husband was a hopeless romantic but she didn’t mind. In fact, she had waited so long for someone who lavished her with compliments and attended to her every need, she lapped it up.
‘Here, listen to this,’ she said, handing him her earphones to listen to Mendelsohn.
‘No…no, thank you darling. Not really my thing,’ said Rock, turning up his nose.
Rebecca loved classical music and abstract art. Trips to the cinema and theatre. She could lose herself in a novel for hours. She was a sensitive soul who loved nothing more than to stoke the fires of her fantasies.
‘I’ll just finish doing these figures and I’ll be right with you.’ said Rock, a wealthy accountant with a number crunching brain.
‘Oh, if you must,’ sighed Rebecca, slightly frustrated by her husband’s dutiful desire to provide for her. It didn’t bother her though. All that really mattered was that he would do anything for her. For once in her life she was sure his love was safe, dependable and trustworthy.
‘It doesn’t feel like we’re very far out though does it? I mean it only took an hour to get here, it hasn’t sunk in yet. Now we’re actually here, it feels unreal.’
She rolled over, snuggled up to him and hungrily placed her lips on his. Now that she had finally found the perfect ying to her yang, she would often pinch herself to make sure it was really happening. The nagging doubt that he was almost too perfect, that something, somewhere would inevitably go wrong had been banished to the back of her mind.
‘Premium Classic Automated Service will arrive in precisely one minute,’ announced the capsule’s PA system calmly.
‘Oh…. that’ll be the champagne, I ordered. You hungry? Like something to eat as well princess?’ said Rock.
‘Yeah… you kidding? I could eat a dinosaur…’
Rock smiled. ‘You can order whatever you like on this,’ he said, flicking the remote for the screen on the wall. ‘Only takes three minutes.’
A menu, showing glossy pictures of every food and drink imaginable, flashed up with slick precision.
‘I think I’ll have the oysters. The perfect aphrodisiac for red blooded males like me,’ laughed Rock.
‘That’s a bit presumptuous don’t you think Mr Outhwaite?’ she joked. ‘Didn’t your mother ever tell you, women prefer romance to sex? For all you know, I might just want to lie here and fantasise. Anyway…. what makes you think oysters make you horny?’
‘It’s a well known fact… they’re rich in rare amino acids. Giacomo Girolamo Casanova had 50 for breakfast every morning. If they were good enough for him they’re good enough for me. Want to try some?’
Even though he was practical man, Rock was far from dull. He never ceased to amaze her with his computer-like memory for facts and statistics.
‘No, not me, I don’t need an aphrodisiac to make me horny, thank you very much,’ she said reaching between his legs. Rock moaned as she rubbed his growing erection.
Exactly three minutes later, the sliding doors of the capsule opened and in slid a robot, the latest, sleek and slender F113 customer service model, carrying a tray with a bottle of uncorked bubbly and piping hot food. Quickly, it laid it down on the bedside table. The lights on its head flashed and beeped and in seconds it was gone.
‘Ah ha,’ laughed Rebecca. ‘Service with a smile eh?’
‘Hey… don’t mock. You can say what you like about those guys but you’ve got to hand it to them. What they lack in human warmth, they make up for in ruthless efficiency and punctuality,’ said Rock.
‘Wait… who’s that?’ she asked, as her tablet buzzed and vibrated.
‘There’s a call coming through.’
‘No don’t… leave it… this is our special time together… our honeymoon. Don’t spoil it.’
‘But it could be important… I better take it.’
Rebecca pressed the Comm button. A hologram projection image of her Dad Heinrich appeared suddenly beside her.
Heinrich was a world renowned, robotics professor in LA, famous for creating the most human-like androids ever built. If, as expected, all went according to plan with the ‘official governing body of technological and technical advancement,’ he would go down in history as the scientist who solved the planet’s relationship problems. The perfect marriage would become a reality.
‘Hi my love…’ said Heinrich.
For once Rebecca was pleased to see her Dad, but it had not always been that way. She had the utmost respect for his work. After all, he was now one of the most famous scientists in the world, one of the best in the business, but he had never been shy of showing his disappointment with her.
She had never quite lived up to his high expectations of academic excellence and her career as an Art Historian had never really gone anywhere. These days she spent most of her time in galleries and libraries giving prosaic tours to tourists but she didn’t care. She was far more interested in marriage and motherhood anyway. And now that she had found Mr Right, they could finally relax and got on much better.
'How’s the happy couple?’ That was such a glorious day wasn’t it?’
‘Yes… fantastic,’ she replied, dreamily. ‘I couldn’t be happier.’
‘It couldn’t have gone much better really, I thought.. a lovely service followed by an even better reception.’
‘Yes…’ she said, with a tear in her eye.
‘I miss you already, though,’ said Heinrich.
‘Miss you too.’
‘How’s the honeymoon?’
‘We just arrived… everything’s great you should see this place Dad… it’s out of this world!’
‘Ha ha… very funny.’
Perhaps the one thing they shared with regular affection was their dry sense of humour.
‘How’s work Dad? Mum said you’d been over doing things a bit.’
‘Oh…. you know what your mother’s like? I’m fine. We’ve been finalising the new line in humanoid robots. They were approved ages ago but they’ve only just got the go ahead for mass production. I have to get everything just right, so it’s all go at the moment.’
‘Surely… you remember?’
‘Only kidding Dad… I know, they’re your life’s work. That’s great news, you must be very pleased?’
‘Yeah… of course, relieved more than anything. You know it’s funny, I’ve been working on it for so long I can’t believe it’s actually happening. My dream is about to come true.’
‘I’m thrilled… so excited for you…I really am.’
‘Thank you my love. Goodnight and I hope you both have a lovely break. You deserve it.’
The millions of tiny silicon pillars of Heinrich’s hologram, each up to 500 times thinner than a human hair, disintegrated and vanished.
After eating their fill of oysters and emptying half of the bottle of champagne, Rebecca’s eyes lit up.
‘Ok,’ she said, stepping out of her silk dragon kimono and standing completely naked in front of Rock with the bottle of bubbly in her hand. ‘Let’s take this party to the bathroom’
Rebecca stepped into the hammock shaped bath, full of steaming water, pre-heated to optimum temperature with one touch of the remote.
‘Oh….’ crooned Rebecca, sinking into a Honeysuckle and Magnolia crème bath. ‘This is heaven.’
‘More champagne my love?’
‘No…I don’t think so..’ she said, shaking her head. ‘If I have any more it’ll go to my head. Besides, I’ve got all I want here thanks.’
Rock smiled and stood in front of her, slowly undressing, then joined her in the bath. She moved closer to him and kissed his mouth. Her breasts brushed against his chest, covered in bubbles, nipples erect.
‘This is the life…just think we’ve got the rest of our lives together.
Come on,’ she said, excitedly. She dragged Rock out of the bath and handed him a dry towel.
‘That was a quick one,’ he said.
‘Well… we’ll take the next bit nice and slow shall we? ’ she said, drying herself down.
‘We’ve only got eighteen hours, thirty two minutes. Do you think that's long enough to make a baby?’ she asked, dropping her towel to the ground.
She dried Rock’s muscular tanned frame, cajoled him into the bedroom and led him to the bed, where they slid under the sheets, together.
She reached for his chest, running her warm hands over his broad shoulders. Then she straddled him, running her tongue everywhere, licking and nibbling. They began kissing and caressing each other for a good half an hour until she could no longer resist.
She lowered herself onto his cock, the ‘orgasmic joy stick’ as she called it, that never failed to satisfy her.
She sank her nails into the skin on his back, thrusting herself onto him, riding him, sliding up and down at a frantic pace and at the height of her orgasm she grabbed the hair on the back of his head and pulled, letting out a scream that made stars in the sky burst like fireworks.
When it was over she fell backwards with Rock onto the pillows and lay completely spent, panting beside him.
‘I don’t know how you do it. Hits the spot every time….’ she gushed, sweaty and exhausted.
‘Rock?’ she said, looking across her pillow at him. He was fast asleep, out cold, dead to the world.
That had never happened before. Normally, he’d be sitting up, ready to go again. Maybe age was catching up with him and she’d exhausted him. She nudged him again but he didn’t respond. Perhaps he’d developed narcolepsy or something?
‘Fuck’s sake, wake up?’ she cried, nudging him more vigorously. She’d read somewhere that men his age were more prone to heart attacks. In a panic, she slapped him about the face.
She looked down at her hand, expecting to see a clump of his hair but there were two wires instead. One red, one white. She reached over and turned his head to one side. At the back was a small hole. She probed inside the skin of her lover’s hot neck with her fingers.
The more she pulled at it the more wires she found, hanging from a shiny metal board full of tiny holes. Rebecca stared wide eyed. Her mouth fell open. She hyperventilated. ‘Rock? Wake up please you can’t be…’ she pleaded.
She could barely contemplate it but as the truth slowly dawned on her, she picked up the tablet and pushed the Comm button.
‘Hello… my love. Back so soon? Did you forget something?’ asked Heinrich.
‘Dad?’ she whispered in a low, venomous tone. ‘You sick twisted fuck. How could you?’ she spat, tears streaming down her face. ‘It was you wasn’t it? You introduced us at that party didn’t you?’
The moment Heinrich realised that Rebecca knew the love of her life was nothing more than one of his humanoid experiments, his face turned grey.
‘How could you do that to your own daughter? Your own flesh and blood?’
‘I’m so sorry…' he said. 'I wanted to tell you but you were so happy I didn’t want to spoil it. I only wanted what was best for my little girl. You deserve to be happy, I had to do something.'
‘Stupid me, I should have known that someone wanting me for who I am was all too good to be true. Ever since I was little you were never around for me… always working.’
‘But wait… wait listen to me, I did it for you. Please?’
‘I don’t want to hear it Dad. You’ve only ever really wanted one thing in your life haven’t you? Achieving your goal, your obsession. Well, it finally worked. Now you’ve got what you wanted, I hope you’re proud of yourself. I hope you’re happy now?’
‘You’ve gone too far this time. I’ll never ever trust you again … you hear me?’
‘I’m sorry… please I beg you… give me another...’
Rebecca pressed Comm. Heinrich vanished. The screen went blank. Tears flowed down her face. She walked across the floor. Rock, the love of her life, was flat out on the bed, gone forever, The bright light of her future cast into darkness. The sky, that just half an hour earlier had been filled with endless stars, hopes and dreams, was now the emptiest, loneliest, most desolate place in the universe.
She’d lost everything. Her whole life had been a lie, her family a sham. She was devastated, beyond anything she believed possible.
She pressed a button on the wall. As the skylight hatch slid slowly open, air rushed in. Gravity floated her to the ceiling then sucked her out into the infinite galaxy of stars.