Chapter 1. Author's note: My first official attempt at science fiction. Yikes. But that means that I might severely edit it or even take it down at some point. Also, if you're confused, don't worry. Things will become clear. And you can always read the summary on the side. Comment, vote (and maybe even fan) please!
Update: art on the side by the illustrious Poetical_Friday. It's lovely, isn't it?
Nightingale was lying on the floor in her bedroom, trying to sleep, when she overheard a conversation in the hall. Not just any conversation - one about business. Nightingale rolled onto her side and put her pillow over her head. Unfortunately, her sharp hearing did not allow her to block out the voices from the hall.
"Listen, Hank, I'm not sure if I can afford another one. They're not cheap to house, you know," said a voice. Nightingale recognized the voice as Bobby's.
"One more. Come on. She's a pretty thing, too," cajoled Hank. Nightingale recognized his voice, too. He was Bobby's salesman from the Corporation.
"I don't know. I just don't. I'm doing really well right now and I don't want to push it," said Bobby. But Nightingale could tell that Hank had swayed him.
"Come on," Hank continued. "She's great. About five foot six, once she's done growing - which will be tomorrow - with red hair and blue eyes. She's gorgeous."
"Of course she is. They're all bombshells. The Corp's legit," said Bobby. "Not like the others. Did you see the ones Starkwood was trying to sell me? They were all deformed. How is an Inamorata with webbed feet supposed to be sexy to a client?"
Nightingale shivered. She was lucky - if any Inamorata was - that she'd been created by the Corporation. It was the most legitimate of the labs in the Inamorata business. Genetic engineering could go wrong so much of the time, resulting in horrific deformities for the poor Inamoratas created by hacks like Starkwood.
"That's why you deal with us," said Hank. Nightingale could hear the pride in his voice. "We only produce the highest-quality Inamoratas."
"And that's why you charge me an arm and a leg for them," laughed Bobby. Nightingale clenched her teeth in anger at the sound. "But fine. I guess I could always use another one."
Nightingale shuddered at the thought.
"Excellent. I assume you'll pay as you always do?" asked Hank.
"Of course. Oh, and make sure to inform Dr. Stone that I'll be bringing someone with me," said Bobby. "As usual."
Nightingale's blood ran cold. She closed her eyes and prayed to whatever God would answer a sub-human like herself that Bobby would not choose her.
"You'll be bringing an Inamorata with you, right?" said Hank.
"Yes. It often makes the new one more comfortable," mused Bobby. "And seeing an obedient, subservient Inamorata will teach this one how to behave."
Hank laughed. "Yours really do behave well," he said admiringly.
"They learn at an early age what happens if they don't," said Bobby threateningly. Nightingale felt her limbs tremble with fear but her stomach twist with bile in anger. Though she had no scars on her body from Bobby's teaching - it would have put off clients - she remembered the pain of those early lessons. The punishment for disobedience or unhappy clients.
"So who's to be this role model?" asked Hank.
"I think I know the perfect one," said Bobby. Nightingale knew the leer that would accompany his words.
Her eyes opened as her room flooded with light. Bobby had opened the doors of her room and the light from the hall was filling the room. But her keen eyes adjusted to the light quickly and she sat up. She sat quietly, pretending as though she had not heard their conversation.
"Nightingale, you're going for a little trip with me tomorrow," said Bobby.
Knowing what would happen if she didn't, Nightingale smiled, though her insides seemed to have turned to lead. It was a slinky, seductive smile that had been bred into her by the Corporation's scientists. "Thanks, Bobby, darling," she said, standing. She went over to him and kissed his mouth.
Bobby chuckled. "See what I mean, Hank? Look at how good she is. Your boys at the Corp can't breed that into them. Only I can train it in," he added, his bragging tone making Nightingale want to throttle him.
"Yeah, she's obedient," said Hank, his eyes roving over Nightingale's perfect body. Then they moved to where she'd made her bed on the ground. "Hey, Bobby, why is she sleeping on the floor? She's got a bed, hasn't she?"