Fred is either the most unfortunate young man in the world, or the luckiest one that you will ever meet. When his fairytale marriage to his equally rich and socially prominent childhood sweetheart was cruelly smashed to pieces in front of him on their honeymoon because she met a real prince and figured that she could trade-up in the matrimony game, Fred could only slink back home to lick his wounds in seclusion. What he never counted on were his mother's friends, and their fembot gifts to help him through his darkest hours. While it would prove to be a learning experience at first with some missteps along the way, it is a post-modern fairytale showing how redemption can occur where we most want to see it happen.
Warnings: This story contains M/F sex with multiple robots, the ultimate sex toys.
Word Count: 28,085
Chapter 1—Once Upon A Time
Fred and Darlene were the golden couple. They'd discovered each other in junior high school, when budding sexuality shows its first tentative growth. And to call their neighborhood upscale would be like calling the Mona Lisa a nice little doodle. Old money lived here—on large estates.
Fred and Darlene were steady sweethearts throughout high school, pledging to keep themselves pure until marriage.
They survived the temptations of college life, and their wedding took place two weeks after graduation. It was the social event of the early summer, with a guest list in the hundreds.
Their honeymoon was a modest two-month jaunt around the world, and their starter home was a cozy country cottage with large windows and wide overhanging eves, built for them and their planned two children on a secluded, tree-shaded corner of Fred's family's grounds.
Three weeks into the trip in an exotic eastern country, the local prince—a charming rogue named Terrance—took a fancy to them and insisted that they dine and stay at his local palace. It was an offer they could not refuse.
Fred though his drink tasted a bit funny that night. He spent the next three days puking his guts out.
Weak and shaking, he finally managed to crawl out of bed, only to have a local official present him with his divorce papers from Darlene dated two days earlier. Even as he stared at the signature he was sure he hadn’t signed, he was informed that Terrance and Darlene had wed the day before.
Although still weakened, Fred made such a fuss that he was finally granted a brief audience with Her Future Royal Highness, the new princess of the realm.
Forced to bow flat to the floor before Darlene by the strong hand on the back of his neck, Fred listened to her cold and distant voice as she told him in no uncertain terms that their life together was over. She appreciated that he had brought her here to meet her true love along with her proper destiny. And he would remain safe under her protection—provided he got out of the country as quickly as possible and never returned.
"This audience is now over," Princess Darlene announced in a haughty voice dripping with cold finality.
With that, the two large men who'd brought Fred in, picked him up, bundled him and his baggage into a car and drove him at a breakneck pace to the edge of the country. His passport was stamped Persona Non Grata, and he was not so gently shoved across the border.
Without a Plan B for his life, Fred tried to continue the trip alone —to have time to think. He fell apart within the week. With nothing else to motivate him, he had finally slunk home to his cold and empty new house.
He was so quiet on his arrival late at night that it was three days before even his mother knew he had returned.
When she came over to see what was going on, he told her the story through his tears. She left him alone to work through his hurt, but looked in on him at high noon every day to be sure he had food and clean clothes, and was still eating. She never left home for a moment otherwise, in case he needed her.
Several weeks passed.
* * * *
One bright morning at ten, Carla showed up unannounced at Fred's front door.
Fred's Mother had a circle of five especially close friends, including Fred's now ex-mother-in-law—who was not Carla. To expect the fact of his lone return to have been kept from any of them for was inconceivable. Only excellent breeding and manners had caused them to give Fred his space to grieve until now, but of course they were all concerned.
Carla was his mother's oldest friend and Fred had known her his entire life. If anyone was going to come, it would be Carla. Behind Carla stood a young female figure, Fred's view of her was mostly blocked by Carla's motherly bulk.
"Hello, Fred," Carla said to his haggard face as he dragged open the door. "Don't trouble yourself feeling you need to explain anything to me. I've either already heard it from your mother, or don't need to know it," Carla continued, not expecting Fred to reply—which was fine, since he really had no replies in him anyway.
"Keep the wedding gifts," Carla rambled on in their one-sided conversation. "A fine young man like you will have a use for them someday for sure."
And then she dropped a bombshell. Stepping aside, Fred got good his first good look at the demure, Japanese-featured, young woman standing with her hands folded behind Carla.
"And here. Take Sylvie to help you out for as long as you need her."
Carla gestured to the young woman, who walked forward past Fred into his house.
Fred was feeling he should be protesting this somehow. Carla was a wonderful friend, but he shouldn't be letting her do this for him. But the words just wouldn't come out.
And they still wouldn't come out.
And a while later, they still wouldn't come out.
They wouldn't come out until Carla, who really didn't want to impose, was gone while Sylvie remained. Finally Fred closed the door and turned to look at the woman standing quietly there.
* * * *
Sylvie stood a little shorter than average height, with hair so black and luxurious that it seemed to have a blue sheen to it. She was dressed in a long-sleeved top and slacks, with a pleasant face that showed little emotion. Fred couldn't help but notice a small control box hanging around her neck on a slender chain.
Sylvie was a fembot. One of the most advanced models from Japan, where all the cutting edge work in this area was being done at the moment. He remembered his mother commenting a few months ago that Carla was getting herself one to assist with chores around the house and he'd actually briefly seen Sylvie helping out during the wedding and reception. The good models were immensely expensive, with brains approaching a healthy fraction of the complexity of a human mind. The word was that the best ones could follow general human directions without needing step-by-step instructions. These best ones were especially rare. Fred knew all this, although he'd never actually been close enough to one to touch one—until now.
Fred looked over to Sylvie, whose hands remained folded, her eyes downcast.
"Hello, Sylvie," he finally croaked out on the third attempt.
Sylvie didn't respond.
Fred tried speaking to her a couple more times, without receiving any response back from her.
Finally he noticed a small amber light blinking on the box around her neck.
He lifted the box and chain up over her head, getting it momentarily caught in her long hair, to inspect it more closely. The tiny light was winking next to the upper of two wide buttons, which was labeled: (DE)ACTIVATE. Making the obvious assumption, he pressed the button. After the requisite four seconds the light turned a solid green and Sylvie raised her head to look directly at him while saying in an emotionless, even voice, "Ownership transfer complete. I am Sylvie."
She then returned to her previous motionless, quiet state.
Fred spoke to her again, without receiving any indication that she'd heard him. He finally looked down at the control box to the other button labeled: COMMAND.
Operating Sylvie seemed intuitive.
Fred aimed the control at her—it would be a while before he learned that aiming wasn't necessary—and pressed COMMAND saying, "Hello, Sylvie."
"Hello, Master," she replied in a much nicer, slightly lilting voice than her first words. These words had life in them.
This book was added to our catalog on Wednesday 27 July, 2011.