He was a tinkerer really. Though some called him a nerd, he felt he did not really belong in that category . He knew he was good looking, with his broad shoulders and smooth brown hair. It was always falling into his eyes because he was too lazy to go in each month for a trim. The thing of it was though, the thing of it was…was that he was far too shy. He lived alone in the large home his parents left him. It wasn’t certain they were dead, but they were gone just the same. They had taken most of their vast wealth and bought their way onto the exploratory deep space vessel, Maritania-11, which was headed for sector 549. Contact ended last year after they had been gone for five years.
“I don’t suppose it helps to dwell on it.” Edwin said to his housekeeper.
She turned her smooth face and gentle gaze towards him. “I believe you said that last week.” She busied herself with the kitchen counters. Meticulously, like clockwork, she scoured every inch and crevice of the kitchen on Mondays. She had a schedule and kept to it.
Edwin ate in the kitchen, since the dining room felt far too vast for his solitary person,
True, he had a butler to keep him company; indeed they spent hours tinkering on machines together. They were great friends even if Al was a few years older. At twenty-five Edwin felt it was time for him to get a life. His mother was ever nagging him about dating. It was all she mentioned when she was here his last year of high school and his first years of college. Even from space her conference calls were about his social life. Father agreed, but also said Mother should give it up.
So Edwin admired the maid’s form as she worked. She didn’t seem to mind. He had been doing it the last few years, trailing her about as she cleaned.
She smiled at him now, her perfect green eyes catching the light overhead. “You seem to have nothing to do today. Did you have any special needs?’
Edwin grinned back. His technique was improving, “Not really. Don’t you get tired of the same routine day in and day out?”
Her kitchen work was done and so she placed the cleaning cloths in the hamper just off the kitchen. Edwin admired the way her hips swayed. She wore Capris and a cropped top. Still, it was crisp white and black, like a uniform, just more attractive. The outfit was at Edwin’s request. He never liked the black dress and white apron Mother had always insisted on.
Returning, she replied, “Really, Edwin, your questions are making less sense. This is my job and I enjoy it.”
“Is that so, Helena? Wouldn’t you like to just … I don’t know be spontaneous? Go for a walk in the park? Go shopping, anything not on your schedule?”
Edwin stood up, his emotional outburst having gotten the better of him. Helena gaped at him, her eyes wide. She looked him up and down and then replied, “As a matter of fact, I do feel an urge to do some shopping, though that is usually done on Tuesdays.”
Edwin smiled and offered to drive. “I gave Al the day off,” he explained.
Edwin couldn’t keep the smile off his face. This was the first time a female, who was not related to him, had ever been in the car with him. Really it was pitiful, but he chose not to think on the pathetic lameness, nor the fact that she was the maid. He simply enjoyed the here and now.
They really were not in need of much, since most items were delivered. Edwin ate the same foods weekly so the same items were sent by special delivery. He felt his chest swell as he saw the appreciative glances coming their way. Helena really was one of a kind. Her strawberry hair cascaded like a fountain from the high ponytail she wore it in. Her grace was remarkable. Just watching the way she picked an item off the shelf was breathtaking. At least Edwin felt his breath catch. As if she heard, she glanced at him and smirked.
Once home, and feeling reckless and bold, Edwin asked Helena out to dinner. He stood, holding his breath as she demurred.
“I am your servant, as you well know.”
“You can keep your job, really I would be devastated were you to leave! I just thought it would be nice. I haven’t been out to dinner since my parents left.” That was not entirely true. He had been to a pizza place a few times with Al, but Edwin felt no need to clarify.
She ran her hands down her clothes, drawing his eyes to her shape. “I do not have anything to wear and I have to be home by midnight. Unless…”
Edwin interrupted, “Come with me.” He took her delicate hand and nearly ran to his mother’s large walk-in closet. She had left countless gowns, some she had never even worn. Helena simply stood looking at them.
“Well, pick one,” Edwin urged.
She looked about her, scanning in her systematic way. Once she had made a complete circuit, she drew forth the pale green dancing dress. It had a skirt that flared out ever so slightly. Edwin approved. It was actually a dress Mother had bought for her last night home. But at the last minute she had not worn it, because Father had chosen to wear grey and she wanted to wear purple to match better.
Yet, Mother had worn several dresses in that same style when teaching Edwin to dance. She had begun teaching him the social graces at the age of twelve and the art of inviting people over for dinner. He danced well, but never managed the small talk required to keep the interest of the girls.
Edwin brushed those thoughts aside. Helena seemed to really care about him, and she did not mind that he followed her about the house as she cleaned. They talked comfortably, but long silences were easy as well.
Edwin chose a fine black suit with a pale green shirt and slim black tie. Helena was needed for tying the tie since Al normally did that for him. Her gentle hands efficiently tied the tie and softly brushed against his neck before she smoothed his shirt and jacket while looking into his eyes.
He so wanted to kiss her right then, but he felt constrained to postpone the pleasure he was sure would be his.
So instead he thanked her and helped her into his sports car. Dinner was superb. They each had chicken scampi. Edwin delighted in her delight, since it was her first time tasting such fare.
An old school mate happened by as they were finishing dessert. “Hey Edwin, how ya doin’ mate?” He surveyed Helena a moment while Edwin responded. Then he added, “I almost didn’t recognize her, Georgia, right? She’s got the eyes.”
Edwin grinned, “No sorry mate, this is Helena. Helena, this is Charles Dupree. We went to school together.”
She stood and greeted Charles warmly. Edwin was filled with pride as Charles nodded appreciatively.
“Nice. Nice to meet you Helena. This is Janine.” Janine was lovely, but slightly unsteady.
Charles appeared to be trying to keep her upright.
Edward smiled broadly at Janine and then Charles. “Janine, indeed. Well good luck buddy and I hope to be seeing you next month at the exposition. You did intend to attend, didn’t you?”
Charles looked abashed, but then smiled crookedly, “Yes I’ll be there. I may have to do a few upgrades, but I’ll give you a run for the money.”
Edwin was stoked. He could hardly keep the grin off his face as they drove back to his place.
Helena asked, “Why so jovial?”
Laughing, Edwin replied, “That Charles was always so cocksure that he was better than me. Did you see Janine? Hah, you are above and beyond her caliber! Ah, sorry that is no way to be speaking to you. Helena, forgive me.”
She placed her hand on his and replied, “There is nothing to forgive.”
With joy he brought her in, and she readied his bed, folding down the covers, fluffing the pillows, getting fresh water for his nightstand. All while he changed into his pajamas.
His desires conflicted as he knew not what he wanted. Taking her hand, he led her to his laboratory. She had been there daily and went to her closet. He watched as she entered and shut down her program. His hand wavered over the two prepared micro chips. He wandered down the wall going to the very first. Anna was inside. He opened it and there she stood, his first automaton. Her eyes were missing, as he had loved how perfect they were. Helena wore them now, as had each of the rest before her, B-G. Some closets he skipped over completely, knowing that the remains had been cannibalized for the following models. He looked to Georgia, her eyes also missing. She had been great, he mused. She was actually much like Janine, since she stumbled a bit. She cleaned house well, but could not go shopping on her own. Yes, Helena was perfect. But he was not ready yet. Pulling the eyes from Helena, he placed them into Georgia and inserted the micro chip.
Her animation was slow, but within a minute she was stepping out and asking Edwin if he had brushed his teeth.
“Yes, mummy,” he replied as she took his hand and guided him to bed.
Once tucked in she snuggled to his side and sang him a lullaby while he played with her silky hair, his thumb in his mouth. Gently he was lulled to sleep where dreams of greatness at the expo greeted him.
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