Things were awkward between Maia and I. It had been a few days since Joy and I... happened... and Maia has been very quiet. What do you do when you are in a relationship with a synthetic, and then the real thing comes along? Or, was the synthetic a real thing too? The thing is, she doesn't need to sleep, so unless she's recharging in her docking station she's pretty much around. She still sleeps with me in the bed- I mean, we're not sleeping together- but our bodies will touch and it's awkward. I had gotten used to snuggling with her and all that, but now it's like we're constantly on edge.
Other times she'll stay up late reading or watching TV. I can imagine what it might be like taking in all that information- the entertainment- and trying to decode it, assimilate it. She doesn't have emotions, supposedly, but I swear she does. Not just the reactions she has to Joy and I, but everyday things. Humor, irritation, sarcasm- she seems to have all that, and is acquiring more each day. That's the scary part, too. There's no roadmap to how to navigate the road ahead as she develops her own emotional responses.
They've been talking on TV about Synth Dawn, an organization that advocates for synths rights. Things have gotten violent and there are rumors that synths have infiltrated the group, are behind some of the rallies. Do we really have free roaming synths? The authorities say no, but I wonder.
I woke up one morning to Maia. Very close. Her breath was on my face and she clearly wanted... something.
"Good morning." She kissed me, her lips just brushing mine.
"You too. You know... we don't have to do this."
"Hush. Not everything is about you, you know." Her mouth was warm, her tongue insistent. This felt wrong and right at the same time, and I resisted briefly. All too briefly.
Later I got a text from Joy.
I'm leaving Ian. Just wanted you to know. It's been coming for a while, and it's not just because of today. We've been over for months, it's more... a matter of convenience that we've stayed together. Anyway, hope things are not weird with us now. I enjoyed today.
Joy came over a few days later and Maia found a reason to be elsewhere. It was our first time since that day and things were awkward, for sure.
"So what are things like, now? With... Maia?"
I shrugged. "I'm not really... sure? Awkward. Neither of us really knows where to go from here."
She nodded. "That's understandable. I feel for Maia. This must be so weird for her. Or maybe not? Does she have... feelings, do you think? It's strange because sometimes I feel like... a homewrecker? I come in here, we do our thing (she smirked a little at that) and... where does that leave her? But then I think... she's not a person, right?"
She turned to really look at me then.
"Is she a person?"
"I think... she is. In a lot of ways. But I don't know how much she feels, or if this is like... cheating on her, oddly? I don't think she knows."
"And what happens with us, now?" Joy wondered, putting her feet on the table. "I mean, you don't owe me anything, I don't know where we go, but... it weirds me out thinking we're doing... something, and then later you're with her."
"We haven't done anything since you and I," I lied.
"I appreciate that. I'm not even sure what we're doing!" she laughed.
I'm not either, but her proximity was making me feel like I was drunk.
"What's it like... with her?" she whispered slyly.
"Gosh, I don't know. She's amazing." She elbowed me in the ribs. I smiled and pulled her over. "But you're amazing, too. I will say... "
"I used to... think about you sometimes when I was with Maia."
She put her hand on my leg.
"Did you imagine fucking me?"
"Girl, you have no idea."
"Well, imagine no more."
The doorbell rang a few days later. Maia went to answer it, surprised that someone would be calling this late. She felt a slight twinge- what is that- especially since she was the only one at home. Opening the door she was shocked to see Joy on the stoop.