Material Girl

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“You broke another one?” Jules exclaimed to her husband who was carrying a broken form from his bedroom, “Must you be so rough with them? They aren’t free, you know?”

Miles shrugged as he walked passed, blew her a kiss and dumped the broken sexbot by their disposal unit. The cleaning-bots would dispose of it when they were fast asleep tonight. The doll’s soft neck was raw–the artificial skin there bruised and torn–its limbs looked broken, deep cuts around its wrists, and it looked thoroughly used up.

What does he get up to with them, she wondered to herself but instead said, “Got it all out, babe? Good. I’m going to bed now. See you tomorrow.”

He smiled and nodded, as he grabbed a beer from the fridge and headed toward the couch.

She loved him but he obviously had a violent sexual streak to him. In previous primitive ages, as his wife, she would have been subject to having to satisfy him and his dark urges.

Thank god we have evolved from there, she thought, a shudder running down her spine.

“Night, my love,” he said, kissing her gently on her cheek. That was the closest they ever came. Sometimes they held hands on special occasions but mostly they didn’t. She had never even seen him naked, nor him her. Theirs was a post-sex marriage, perfectly sculpted for their day and age and augmented by the technology available to them.

These thoughts all floated in her peripheral mind as she wandered to her room. Her private room where her own sex-bots waited silently for her commands. She was a lot more gentle with them than he was, or, at least, they were gentle with her. She especially liked the oriental-modeled girl-bots.

***

“Oh-my-god, Jules,” one of her friends exclaimed, “That’s so you! I love it! I think it’ll be gorgeous.”

The girls were over for a girls’ night and they were pouring over the cloning options with her. Quiet butler-bots fluttered back and forth filling up wine glasses, removing empty plates and bringing out fresh snacks and new bottles of wine. Jules had the apartment all to her and her girls’ while Miles was out with the boys.

“Yes, we think that a joint-clone–part me and Miles–would be more loved by us–as it would literally be half of each of us–rather than some random biologic offspring,” she said, smiling, looking at the medical options hovering over their holographic table as face and hair options flashed passed them, “It doesn’t hurt that I keep my figure too.”

The girls all laughed. They understood the pressure all too well.

“But Jules,” the one girl, who herself had opted for a biological over a clone option, “They can genetically alter anything now. A natural child can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Its really not that random and they can grow it in an external egg, so no sacrifice of your body or anything.”

Jules smiled, her mind was made up. Miles and she had already discussed it.

“You are absolutely right, Susan,” she cooed condescendingly, her girls nodding along with her, “But a clone with half–the best half–of each of our DNA will just be a far more predictable outcome. And we clone it into any age we want it, so we can skip the whole messy baby-phase and start straight at cute child phase. No one really wants screaming, pooping babies, after all. Am I right, girls?”

***

“I’m sorry, babe!” Miles kept repeating outside her door, “I’m really sorry! It didn’t mean anything. It was just an accident. You know I love you, right? I am so sorry, babe, I really am…”

He kept repeating versions of these phrases outside her bedroom door.

She wiped her eyes. Her makeup had smudged and one or her bots was fluttering around her trying to fix it. She waved it away and blew her nose.

How could he do that, she thought to herself, How could he ruin everything that we have built up together?

Against the repetitive chorus of his apologies outside her room, these thoughts triggered another wave of tears that shook her fragile frame. Her shoulders heaved up and down. She was partly crying at his betrayal and partly at her embarrassment.

What would the girls think of her now? It was so embarrassing.

Should I be divorcing him, she wondered, amidst the tears and pain she felt at his betrayal, Surely this would be grounds for divorce? Should I be leaving him? How would I live? Where? Should I kick him out?

At least their child–the clone–had not converted into legal status yet. It was still in the cooling-off period and she could terminate the clone with no repercussions. At least then there would be no child to look after if they got divorced?

God, she thought, at least I didn’t go biological. There is no termination allowed for those! Was a mess a divorce must be with those in it!

“I’m really, really sorry, babe!” Miles kept going, his voice starting to crack, “It was just an accident. These things happen. George’s wife did that a year ago and they are still together. I am really sorry, babe, please forgive me?”

“Just go away,” she screamed, suddenly angry and jumping off her bed to bang on the door, “Just go away and leave me alone! You’ve ruined everything, Miles, everything! How can I trust you anymore? Just leave me alone!”

The tone of her voice scared her. It must have scared Miles too, as there was silence on the other side of the door before a quite ‘sorry‘ was mumbled and she heard footsteps walking away. The front door opened and closed, and she was alone in the apartment again.

She sighed, wiped her tears and walked back to her bed.

What now, she sighed, what do I do? Was it really all that bad?

“Play me the footage of Miles again,” she commanded the bot that sat near her on the bed.

“Yes, Jules,” the beautiful, oriental-styled bot responded, a hologram projecting from its one eye, “Here is the clip received at 18:47 from Susan Cummings, forwarded from Gavin Cummings.”

Standing before her was a small image of Miles leaning on a bar. He was talking to another woman. She was beautiful but in the flawed human-way that could never compete with the perfect, design-crafted sexbots. Still, the woman had a striking air about her. Miles said something, the woman replied and Miles laughed and reached forward.

He touched her hand! It was brief and fleeting, and the woman quickly pulled her hand back before excusing herself and leaving, but Miles did it. He touched her.

The intimacy of it was shocking. Actual contact: skin on skin! Even in their marriage, Miles and her barely ever touched!

She burst out crying again as the betrayal cut deep.

No, Jules grief-stricken mind resolved, No, I am not over-reacting. I will terminate the clone and Miles can find somewhere else to live. There is no coming back from this betrayal. Our marriage is over.

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