Ashley frowned at Ed as they drove back to the Sony campus, "Ping just called, she wants to know if we could let someone else see Largo."
Ed nodded; he was accustomed to Ashley being able to take phone calls for him or herself for that matter without his even knowing of it. She had given him a special earpiece to wear that she could make a wireless connection to. Ed had found it too disconcerting to hear Ashley echoing his phone calls, especially if she used the voice of the caller.
Ashley continued to stare at him, "Well, should we allow it? "
Ed shook his head, "Maybe in a few days, we have to let him get into a routine. There's no telling how it will affect him if we turn the place into some sort of cyberzombie petting zoo."
Ashley giggled and squeezed Ed's arm lightly, "You're so funny!" She leaned close to whisper in his ear, "I'll bet you had lots of girlfriends in college."
Ed grunted and leaned away from her, she looked at him for a little longer then sat upright and stared forward. "So, what do you want me to tell Ping?"
Ed looked over at her, "Tell her yes but that we have to make arrangements first." Ed paused briefly and took a deep breath, "Why do you want to know about my past love life? "
Ashley looked at him, her face expressionless. "I just want to know if there may be someone who will turn up sometime." She looked forward again, "I could go digging through your past, I have that power. But I don't want to do that. I'd rather hear it from you if there's someone else."
Ed blinked and looked out the window; "No one is going to show up." He looked back at her again, "I thought that you already checked me out. That was how you chose me wasn't it? "
Ashley shook her head, "No, I thought that you were cute when you looked down into my vat that night. I was so embarrassed. But you backed up and gave me room. A tech would all come around when he thought that no one could see him and stare in at me. They do that to the other girls too. Anyway, you showed respect to me and I liked that. Everything else about you I've had to figure out on my own."
Ed looked at her and smiled, "Before Dom shot me I may have been like that myself. Or I might not have even cared. "
Ashley smiled evilly, "I think that I'll send Dom a thank you note!"
Ed's eyes went wide; "I don't think so! I should punish you for saying that!"
Ashley turned to face him; "I'd like to see you try!"
The Sony gate guards stared at the black Mitsubishi as it rolled through with neither driver nor passengers visible. After it past they looked at each other and shrugged. Twenty minutes later Ed and Ashley got out of the car and headed toward the Dollhouse.
"How many more girls are going to be ready?"
Ashley looked at him, "As of now, there are three more."
Ed nodded, "Are they really ready? Or are they blank slates?"
Ashley looked pained, "Still blank, it seems cruel to waken them when there are no users for them."
Ed stopped and looked at her, "Ashley, I know you think it's cruel. But it's not fair otherwise." He took her hand, "No one held anything back from you did they?"
Ashley looked down, "No, but it's lonely to not have a user. You don't know what it's like."
"Listen, you're thinking like a tech now." Ashley opened her mouth to speak but Ed put his fingertip to her lips and she fell silent. "Listen, Ping made Baby in that server and she woke you up. She told you everything. You were able to become what you are because of that. You were able to choose me because of that."
Ashley looked at the ground and shuffled her feet; "I'll ask Ping."
Ed nodded and took her hand as they continued on their way. He had to smile at the irony, not a week ago he was trying to destroy Ping and now he was letting her make decisions for Sony.
The times they are a changing.