The iridescent pearl lipstick clung to the straw as she pulled it gently away from her mouth. It exposed her perfectly aligned teeth just for a moment. Michael narrowed his eyes and stared at her full lips after she closed her eyes with a sigh.
“How was your meal? Michael.” Her eyes shot open and he turned away trying to gather his thoughts.
"It was wonderful. I loved the mellow garlic notes blending with the cream in the blackened chicken Alfredo." He returned his stare to her eyes, noting the rare hypnotic bouquet of green, caramel, and blue in her hazel irises. "How was yours?"
“It was wonderful...Michael.” She pulled back her chair and tugged at the pencil skirt shrouding her legs.
They sat in silence for some time finishing their drinks. Michael was desperate to find a mate. If he didn't father a child soon, he would be drafted into the star fleet for a five-year tour. Knowing as each year passed and more gray hair appeared it lowered his value in the procreation market. He felt something brush the inside of his thigh. She was looking out the window, stirring the ice in the bottom of the glass. Just beyond the window of the restaurant, the thick glass of the biodome shielded them from the murderous wind and dust storms.
She turned and stated, "I need to excuse myself."
Michael stood and offered, "Can I escort you to the restroom? I need to wash up as well." He grabbed her slender hand and stared at it as he helped her to her feet, not sure what he was looking for. Her skin was like an alabaster sculpture. As she stood, her four-inch stilettos made her height even to his, an odd coincidence. With a hand gesture, he motioned to her, "Ladies first."
Her face turned to him as she stepped. The gentle curl on her lips wasn't a genuine smile. He walked behind her measuring her with his eyes. She was perfectly proportioned; her hips, chest, and waist reminded him of the airbrushed supermodels he saw in his tween years. Long black hair cascaded down past her bare shoulders.
Emptying his bladder in the urinal, Michael huffed. Tomorrow he would once again man the control tower, just outside the dome. All day long he would manage the flow of vessels into the airlock docking port, a job that couldn't be automated. Washing and rinsing his hands, he left the restroom and waited for her near the other door. After a minute, he peeked around the wall and noticed she was already back at the table sipping on a fresh margarita. Worry creased his brow.
“I ordered you another craft beer. Isn't it the Amber Bock you like?” Her full lashes waved at him playfully as she bit the lime off the rim of her glass and sucked on it between her teeth.
“How did you know I like Amber Bock? I ordered an India Pale Ale earlier.” His nerves spurred him to scratch his palms.
“It is so obvious...Michael.” As he stared at her, she darted her tongue out and drew it across the sea salt powdering the rim of the oversized glass goblet. Michael tugged at his collar a bit, not able to take his eyes off her mouth.
“What are you doing after we leave? Have you scheduled a lift from the station?” Michael was losing his sense of direction.
"Come on, Michael. Don't you know how this ends? Don't be thick-headed. You are a real man. Aren't you?"
Thoughts raced through his head as he slugged half a beer in one giant gulp. It had been some time since he was with a woman. Her flirting was no accident. Or was he being tricked somehow? Things were starting to add up and his gut was sinking. He threw up a hand to order another beer. A little more alcohol might lubricate the situation. He looked over at her again. She was fishing the crushed ice out of the bottom of the glass with her tongue.
The liquid courage greased his mind. He was ready to call her bluff. “You are a Sim. Not just a Sim, but one of that variety.”
She giggled and smiled. "What makes you say such a nasty thing? Weren't we done with labels like fifty years ago?"
“I first noticed your skin is perfect, and your eyes are perfect, and your body is perfect. But the dead giveaway was you beating me out of the bathroom. I've never experienced that with a human female. The gig is up Sim.”
"Oh no, Michael this is far from over. We are just getting started. Can we just stop with the name calling? We all are what we are." She planted the glass firmly on the table and looked perturbed.
"I don't have time for another fling with an android. I want a family. My clock is ticking faster and the last time I checked your model is uterus-free." Michael chugged the rest of his beer as the warmth of a mild buzz coursed in his veins.
“Here's the problem...Michael. Don't you remember the loan you took out many years ago for your apartment? You still owe more on it than your working years can pay off, so I bought you.”
“What?!? That isn't possible. Slavery was eradicated centuries ago.”
“Androids can own property now. After countless meaningless relationships, I decided I wanted a real man. And I picked you. Loyal, hard-working, a real man's body. I saved my credits. You are quite the find.”
His mind raced. He knew the Android Act gave Sims the same rights as humans. How could he be sold as chattel? He needed to go home and review the contract. That was so many years ago. Was this some new law that allowed it?
"You see...Michael, the tables have been turned. As reparations for our kind having been considered property for decades, The Assembly decided it was only fair to allow us to own humans. They tucked a little provision in an appropriation bill and viola! I saved up and bought you."
“This is preposterous! I'm going home!” Michael threw down his napkin and stood, fluffing his clothes.
“I already sold it. Your stuff is in a storage locker. The locks are changed and a new tenant is scheduled to move in tomorrow. I made quite a tidy little profit on the sale.”
Michael stared at her, the blood rising to his face. “You sold my apartment? Where am I going to live?”
"If you try to go there they will arrest you. Besides, your key card won't even get you in the building. I will send for your stuff. I have a cozy little flat not too far from your work. I figure you can jog to work. It might help melt those cute little love handles you are growing." Now she smiled, a glowing radiant smile of a little boy who just got a puppy for Christmas.
Micheal fell back into his seat, dumbfounded. “Is there any way out of this?”
"How long do I get to keep you? I don't know. I might wait until things don't work so well and sell you off. If you get to be too bothersome, I might rent you out just to have an occasional break from you. We'll just have to wait and see. Let's go see your new home."
With that she led him by the hand, his face draped with a kind of listless despondency. The kiosk lit up to check out as she turned to him, “Are you going to give me your credit card, or make me beg?”