Gynoid: Part 2

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Everything did not turn out alright.

Toby was on his way home, rain making it difficult to see where he was going despite his windshield wipers moving at their fastest speed. Eventually he put the Hover on autopilot and leaned back against his seat, hands over his face. Why couldn't he talk to her? Why did things go so abominably wrong? Why, for the first time when it really mattered in his life, could he not be scarlet?

A few minutes later, the car turned into his driveway and stopped. Taking over the controls, Toby signaled the garage door to open. Nothing happened. Toby blinked, sent the signal again and waited. Still nothing happened. He groaned. Today just keeps getting better, he thought miserably. Toby opened the door, ran outside, and tried manually inputting the garage door code. The holographic screen flashed ERROR! PLEASE CONTACT VENDOR FOR ASSISTANCE! at him. With a cry of rage Toby hit the holographic panel with his fist and the screen winked out of existence.

Angry, dejected, and now soaking wet, Toby turned off and locked the Hover before trudging into the house. When he got in, he stood there in the entryway, ignoring Ronald's greetings. He ignored everything around him until he heard footsteps and saw Ariel in front of him, wearing an apron over a button-down shirt and ankle-length skirt. "Toby, you are soaking wet." she said. "Shall I fetch you dry clothes—"

Toby hugged her, burying his face in her hair. At first she stood perfectly still, as if she was taking a moment to process what was going on. Then she hugged him back, her arms crossing along his spine. "Toby," she said. Still buried deep in her hair, Toby noticed how much her speech patterns sounded like a normal person's now, none of that stressed-unstressed stuff she'd done when they'd first met. At least he was good at something, even if was doing mods to a gynoid. "What is wrong?"

"I had a bad date." Toby replied. He refused to say anymore.

They stood there for a while, neither moving, before Ariel let go of him and cupped his face in her hands, lifting it up gently so that he was looking straight into her eyes. Through the strands of wet hair over his eyes, Toby could see concern on her face. Without a word, she took his hand and led him upstairs to the bathroom. Toby went, too tired to really care. Once in the bathroom she plugged the tub drain, turned on the hot water, and when the water in the tub was high enough, helped him into it. Toby slid down into the bath, already feeling much better than before.

Ariel stepped out of the bathroom with his wet clothes, leaving Toby to soak. He dipped his head underneath, held it there until his lungs screamed for air, and then brought it up, sucking in a huge gasp of air before laying his head against the side of the tub and shutting his eyes. Only when Ariel returned with a towel and bathrobe did he open his eyes and get out, letting himself be wrapped in the white, fuzzy fabric. When he was dry, she led him downstairs to the living room, where a mug of hot synth-chocolate was waiting for him on the coffee table. He sat down on the couch and took a deep sip, enjoying the sweet aroma.

For a while, nothing was said. Finally Ariel asked him the question he'd been expecting from her. "Toby, what happened on the date?"

Toby didn't want to speak about it, didn't even want to think about it. Tomorrow his botched attempts at romance would be all over the school. It'd be all anyone could talk about. He'd have it follow him everywhere he went. Couldn't he just avoid it now?

He glanced at her concerned face. The words spilled out.

"I got there to the restaurant." he said. "And Lapis was waiting there. She was really pretty, wearing this shiny blue dress. She had all these markings on her face, those color-changing fake tattoos that all the celebs are wearing these days. Anyway, she's so stunning people are staring at her. Even the guys with pretty girls on their arms are checking her out. And I'm...standing there feeling like I'm totally out of my league." He grimaced, running his hands through his freshly-dried hair.

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