My back arches. My coat slides gently down my bare arms, forgotten behind me with a barely-audible flump. My eyes raise...

My spirits don't. He's staring at the door, wrapped around his bookbag. His hat seems floppier than before. He hasn't noticed me. A quick review of my optic records proves that he hasn't looked at me since the cake shop. I have to break the sound barrier.

The volume dial proves too compliant under my fingers, physical not fitting with emotional. He reacts immediately. He sees me now... no, he's talking about her again. Tiny speakers in my right earblade provide music only I can hear.

I've been meaning to tell you
I've got this feelin' that won't subside
I look at you and I fantasize
You're mine tonight
Now I've got you in my sights


With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I


Suddenly he realises. He's shocked. Reluctant. That's what my programming expects. I have to be gentle. A animal in a trap will attack someone who tries to free it. I don't want to get bitten. I don't want to get rejected. But I don't want him to gnaw his own leg off, either.

I plead. I inch. I guide. He subsides. He doesn't understand, trying to ask questions. I mustn't let him! For now, he must listen.

That will be a novel experience for him...

I tell him about my programming. How I can help him. How I can take the pain away. That he can trust me. How I'll be his rubber ducky until he's ready to go to sea again.

(I don't comprehend that one, but it's in my programming, so it must be important.)

I wanna hold you so hear me out
I wanna show you what love's all about
Darlin' tonight
Now I've got you in my sights

With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I
I've got hungry eyes
Now I've got you in my sights
With those hungry eyes
Now did I take you by surprise

I need you to see
This love was meant to be


He's calm. I lean forward, closing my eyes, relying only on proximity sensors. Artificial neurons spike as our lips meet, but it's nothing to the activity when he responds.

It only lasts a couple of seconds. But to an android, that's an eternity. All too soon, it's over.

He gently pushes me away. Doesn't meet my eyes. I know what's coming. I feel the burning.

"Please put the radio back on."

I do. But, after I do, I can't turn back to him. I try, oh how I try! My servo-motors refuse to respond.

I've got hungry eyes
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I
I've got hungry eyes
Now I've got you in my sights
With those hungry eyes
Now did I take you by surprise
With my hungry eyes
I need...
Hungry eyes
Now I've got you in my sights
With my hungry eyes


"I... I'm sorry, Ping-chan."

Silence. Or it would be, if not for that damn radio. My eyes burn.

"I want my coat." But I don't wait for it. I can't wait for it. My eyes need water. His voice fades behind me.

"Er... it's not here. Um... Ping-chan? Do you remember this huge cushion being here when we came in?"

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