Three weeks later.
Jurina was pacing back and forth in her living room, only stopping now and then to take a nervous look around. Tonight, Rena was visiting her place for the first time, and she wanted to be sure everything was perfect. Lately, they both had been very busy with their work. Rena often had late meetings or business trips, whereas Jurina stayed late at the office to progress on the plans of the time machine.
They had been seeing each other a few times after work, but never the opportunity to invite Rena at her place had truly presented itself until now. After almost one month of dating, Jurina believed it was the right time. All that she needed was to find a date that both fitted their busy schedules – clearly not an easy task – and they ended both agreeing on this Saturday evening.
Jurina checked the time on her watch for the umpteenth time, realizing the other girl should now arrive at any moment. Just as she was about to check one last time that everything was well in order for her arrival – you could never be too cautious – the small voice of her humanoid robot distracted her.
“Mistress, you’re behaving strangely this evening,” Alfred affirmed as he came to stand in front of her and gazed at her curiously. “Are you sick? Do you need medicine?”
Jurina looked down to him, too engrossed in her thoughts until now to even realize his presence. She frowned at him in confusion. “No, I’m perfectly fine. Why are you saying that?”
“It’s now the third time you’re checking everything is right in place,” the robot reminded her. “If you’re not sick, then does it mean you don’t trust Alfred?”
“Of course, I trust you,” Jurina reassured him quickly, now realizing the wrong impression she had given her trusted little robot. Alfred had been a great help these last two hours – helping tidying the apartment and preparing many things for her dinner with Rena – and obviously believed he had been doing something wrong as she had scrupulously double-checked everything behind him.
It was not that she doubted her robot’s work – far from it – but as she wished everything to go without a hitch for this special evening, she was being extra cautious. “You were perfect, Alfred,” Jurina continued when it was clear by her robot’s worried look that she had failed to convince him. “You have nothing to worry about. It’s just that I want everything to go well tonight.”
“Why wouldn’t it go well?” Alfred tilted his head slightly to the side as he always did when he didn’t comprehend something, his big blue eyes never leaving hers. “Mistress likes Rena-san, and Rena-san likes mistress. Nothing can go wrong.”
“You’re right,” Jurina conceded with a small nod. Deciding she had done enough pacing for the evening she walked towards the sofa to take a well-deserved seat, her little robot following her closely by. She looked up to gaze at her faithful companion standing in front of her again, knowing deep down his logic made perfect sense. Still, the apprehension refused to leave her completely, and she knew she simply couldn’t do anything about it. Some emotions simply couldn’t be controlled. “But you see, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious when you invite for the first time to your place someone who means a lot to you.”
Jurina hoped her explanation would satisfy her robot’s curiosity, but knew she failed miserably when he was still staring at her with a questioning look a few seconds later. She searched in her head a better way to explain things, but ended up letting out a despondent sigh when nothing came to mind. Alfred may be a very intelligent and evolved robot, there were still many things that escaped his understanding. The complicated nature of human relationships was definitely one of them.
The sound of someone ringing at the door suddenly distracted her and she stood up in alert, understanding her guest had just arrived. Anticipation built up at the pit of her stomach, and she went to open the door. Her mouth tugged into a broad smile when she locked gaze with the 26 years old woman standing on her doorstep: Rena Matsui. The person she could now proudly say was her girlfriend.
Their lips met as soon as Jurina closed the door behind them and she pulled her closer eagerly, Rena’s arms slipping naturally around her neck. They hadn’t seen each other all day, and Jurina couldn’t ignore that she had missed deeply the soft sensation of Rena’s enticing lips against hers. Jurina certainly didn’t consider herself as a clingy girlfriend, but her employer had such a magnetic effect on her that if was sometimes very hard to stay away from her.
Their lips never parted as they renewed their affection with gentle kisses, neither of them showing any sign of wanting to break apart quite yet. Jurina relished the contact of their lips brushing slowly against each other, as well as the feeling of Rena’s warm body carefully secured in her arms. Jurina fluttered her eyes open at the sound of Rena whispering her name softly, and warmth spread through her chest when the older girl ran her fingers through her black shoulder-length hair affectionately.
The gesture prompted Jurina to press her further against hers, and she smiled into the kiss when she heard the other girl giggling softly in reaction. She gave Rena one last lingering kiss before pulling away, just enough to sweep over her form in appreciation. The 26 years old girl was wearing her familiar black trench coat, along with matching long leather boots. Ah yes, the weather forecast had indeed announced rain for today, Jurina now recalled. However, she was a little startled to discover that her appearance was not as neat as usual.
Her long, black hair was still perfectly dry, but her coat showed sign of having met the rain at a few places. An amused smile moved to her lips at the incredible view, and she couldn’t help but tease her a little. “You got a little wet.”
“I did,” Rena conceded and Jurina’s smile broadened at her slightly embarrassed look. “Lately, it happened more than I would have expected.”
Delight was still dancing on Jurina’s lips when she took a step back to let the other girl remove her coat, but soon noticed that her eyes were not set on her anymore. Indeed, something seemed to be monopolizing Rena’s attention behind her back, and she turned around to discover what it was. A few feet behind her was standing silently the one and only Alfred.
“Rena,” Jurina shot her robot an amused look when she saw how curiously he was looking at their new guest. “Let me present you my humanoid robot, Alfred.”
“Hello Alfred,” Rena approached and kneeled in front of him, giving him a kind smile as she shook his small white hand carefully. “Nice to meet you.”
Jurina arched an eyebrow when her robot surprisingly didn’t reply to the friendly greeting. Alfred had always been a polite and well-behaved robot, so his silence made no sense whatsoever. He had never acted this way before. Could there be a problem with his hearing? Because his sight surely seemed to work quite fine, considering how intensely he was now staring at their guest.
Just as Jurina was about to address him to check if everything was alright, Alfred unexpectedly spoke up. “Mistress Rena…”
Jurina couldn’t believe her ears at the dreamy tone in his metallic voice. That was definitely something she had never heard before since she acquired him three years ago. Now, Jurina was positively sure of it. Her robot was not being himself at all. And it strongly appeared that it was the presence of their new guest that had managed to trigger all those unusual reactions in him.
“Please don’t hesitate if you need anything,” Her robot continued, his big blue eyes never leaving those of Rena’s as he held her hand back tightly. “I’m at your entire service.”
Jurina met Rena’s hesitant look as she tilted her head towards her, and she could tell she was taken aback by her robot’s sudden strong will to be totally devoted to her. Rena had no idea how to react, her mouth opening and closing a few times without managing to reply anything as her eyes flickered back and forth between Jurina and the robot.
The small robot still refused to let go of her hand, and Jurina couldn’t help but smile at the amusing scene she was witnessing. Well, it seemed Alfred had completely fallen under the charm of their new guest. To be honest, she did wonder how Alfred was going to react when meeting her employer for the first time. In the end, it appeared she had nothing to fear.
“Alfred,” Jurina intervened and patted gently the top of his head when he showed no sign of wanting to separate with Rena. “Can you go and prepare the food?”
The pair of blue eyes that had been captivated by the woman kneeled in front of him finally paid attention to her. For an instant, Jurina wondered if he was going to obey, considering he didn’t move an inch. It would definitely be the first time her robot wouldn’t follow one of her orders but after witnessing his unexpected behavior tonight, anything was possible. Thankfully, Jurina didn’t have to repeat herself as he produced a small sound in agreement soon after and his little mechanical fingers let go progressively of Rena’s hand.
Finally released from his hold Rena raised herself to her feet, her eyes following the robot that was drawing away and walking hurriedly towards the direction of the kitchen. “Your robot is quite special,” Rena murmured pensively. “Why did he call me ‘mistress’?”
“Ah, that…” Jurina really wished she had not caught up on this. Even though it had surprised her to hear him utter such words – she was the only person he had ever called in such a way – she was starting to get an idea of what was probably going inside her robot’s head. Somehow, she wondered if Alfred was not persuaded that their guest was not just a passing visitor but on the contrary, would soon become a permanent resident.
She didn’t believe to have said anything to give him such an impression, but at times her robot almost seemed even more eager than her when it came to her relationship with Rena. Besides, it was the only reasonable explanation Jurina could come up with to explain the use of this word in particular. Domestic robots were programmed to call their masters – and only them - by this specific term. Jurina didn’t feel particularly at ease sharing her robot’s disillusion with Rena so she decided to play it safe, even if it meant telling a small lie.
“I have no idea why he said that, but Alfred is a little robot full of surprises,” she replied, making sure her words sounded assured enough to conceal the truth. Judging by Rena’s reaction, it appeared her explanation had satisfied her enough. Indeed, she didn’t detect an ounce of doubt in Rena’s small brown orbs when she turned to give her a smile.
Jurina was tossing and turning on the sofa, unable to sleep. A small groan left her lips in frustration and she shot her eyes open, taking a peek at the clock on the wall. It was past midnight. Way past her usual bedtime. So why on earth couldn’t she find sleep? Ah, that’s right. She couldn’t sleep because her head was filled with thoughts of the girl who she had invited over tonight, and who was currently sleeping in her bedroom.
Jurina closed her eyes again in the desperate intent of falling asleep, but soon realized it was much in vain. Not only she couldn’t stop thinking about her beautiful employer, she didn’t feel sleepy in the slightest. Pushing the bedcover aside she took a seat on the sofa, wondering if she shouldn’t try and find an occupation, in the hope that the activity would tire her enough to put her to sleep after a little while.
While thinking of a potential activity that could do the trick, Jurina’s keen hearing progressively perceived the sound of little feet moving on the floor. She looked up in astonishment when she discovered her dear Alfred now standing in front of her. Despite the fact that the apartment was plunged in darkness, she could see him very well thanks to his glowing large, blue eyes.
“Can’t sleep, mistress?” The little robot asked in concern, raising his left arm and presenting to her the content inside his hand. “You can take this sleeping pill if you wish. You’ll fall asleep instantly.”
Jurina smiled at her robot’s thoughtful attention but shook her head, despite recognizing indeed the efficacy of the blue pill he was showing her. With that powerful pill – great invention of the last decade - you could fall asleep in less than ten seconds, without any side effects. Under other circumstances, she would have seriously considered his offer. In fact, she had already used that miraculous pill dozens of times in the past.
Tonight, she decided to pass. Somehow, she hoped for sleep to naturally claim her. “Thank you, Alfred, but I don’t want to use it. I just need to find another way to occupy my mind.”
At those decided words Alfred nodded and closed his small mechanical hand, but didn’t leave her side for all that. Instead, he addressed her again tentatively. “Can I ask you a question, mistress?”
Jurina frowned a little, wondering what her robot could possibly want to ask her. Alfred had always been a very curious robot and she enjoyed this aspect of his program, but it was already past midnight. A time very unusual for a series of questions. Now, Jurina noticed something even more strange: Alfred was still on. Alfred always disconnected every day at 11.30 PM sharp in order to recharge his batteries. Why had he not done so yet? Jurina had no idea why her robot was breaking his usual pattern, but she had to admit the distraction was appreciated for once as she couldn’t find sleep anyway. She gave him her full attention. “Yes, what is it?”
“Why are you not sleeping in your bed?” Alfred asked. “I’ve been trying to understand since 10.22 PM what logical reason you could have for offering Rena-san your bed and choosing yourself to sleep here, but I could not find an answer in any of my programs.”
Slightly caught off guard by his question, Jurina leaned back in the sofa and pondered over what to reply. Until now, Jurina never minded her robot’s curiosity. After all, there were so many things he couldn’t possibly know, nevermind how advanced his program was. However, it seemed that Alfred really liked asking impossible questions lately. At least, it definitely felt this way to her as she found it more and more difficult to answer.
“Rena is my guest,” Jurina replied in a low voice, not willing to take the risk of waking up unintentionally the girl sleeping in the other room with their improvised conversation. “It’s common curtesy to offer your guest to sleep in the best accommodation possible. It wouldn’t be considered proper to have her sleep here, on the sofa.”
Jurina left purposely out the fact that she also didn’t believe she would be capable of keeping her hands to herself very long if she shared a bed with the other girl. Alfred knew many things about herself – after all, he had shared her everyday life for the past three years – but that was definitely not something she was ready to share with him.
Alfred seemed to meditate her reply as he didn’t say anything for a little while, but somehow Jurina could guess he was not over with his questioning. A prediction that got confirmed when his small metallic voice sounded again in the quiet living room. “Don’t you want to sleep with Rena-san?”
“Of course, I want to sleep with her,” The answer left her lips naturally, before widening her eyes when she realized how it sounded. Jurina knew very well that her innocent robot only meant it in the literal sense, but she still thought it best to reformulate. “I mean… of course I want to share a bed with her,” she corrected, relieved when it seemed by Alfred’s unfazed look that he truly didn’t catch the double meaning. “But it’s something quite… intimate. Both parties need to agree and feel comfortable enough about it.”
“Mistress has never shared a bed with Rena-san before,” Alfred stated, which Jurina confirmed with a nod. “But I’m sure Rena-san wouldn’t mind if you joined her. After all, mistress and Rena-san have engaged in a lot of intimate activities after dinner. I even fear mistress missed most of the movie, which is a real shame as Alfred happened to find it very instructive.”
Her robot’s tone was nothing but genuine, but Jurina suddenly felt like a deer caught in the headlights. Now, she realized she had been far too distracted by her guest’s presence to pay real attention to her robot’s whereabouts. In fact, Jurina was pretty sure until now she had not seen Alfred around when she suggested a movie to Rena. She even remembered seeing him disappearing once dinner was over, when she informed him she wouldn’t need his assistance for the rest of the evening. Somehow, it appeared her humanoid robot had not gone very far, after all.
Even though she hadn’t done more than sharing kisses with Rena, the thought that her robot had seen the whole thing was somewhat a bit disturbing. Jurina was still processing the news when she caught the sound of the bedroom’s door opening slowly. She barely had time to realize what was happening that her robot’s big blue eyes grew larger, and he glanced over her shoulder in alert. Without warning he turned around hurriedly, and disappeared from her sight as fast as his little feet could carry him.
Jurina followed his flee in amusement as he went to hide between two cupboards, the light of his glowing blue eyes fading progressively to hinder his presence completely. The green light located on the right side of his neck suddenly turned red, clear indication that the robot had disactivated himself.
Jurina forgot all about her loyal servant when she heard bare foot on the floor, and she gazed at Rena when she saw her suddenly appearing beside the sofa. Jurina had not a clue what prompted her to leave the bedroom at that time of the night, but she was certainly pleased by the unexpected visit.
“I can’t sleep,” Rena confessed.
The declaration caught Jurina by surprise, and she immediately shot her a concerned look. “Is something wrong? Do you need an extra blanket?”
“No, that’s not it…” Rena smiled faintly.
Jurina waited expectantly for her to develop her thoughts, but frowned when she remained evasive. Rena’s fingers were tapping lightly against the side of the sofa, but her eyes were set firmly on her the whole time. Her behavior looked somewhat odd to her. Why did she say that she couldn’t sleep? Was something troubling her?
Jurina didn’t have time to question her further that she saw the older girl approaching, and she scooted further away on the sofa when she detected her intention to take a seat next to her. Rena found a way to her hand and slipped hers inside, Jurina giving it a light squeeze when she laced their fingers together. Jurina simply couldn’t help it; she took advantage of the welcomed proximity to press her lips against hers.
Albeit the fact the older girl was clearly responding to the kiss, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not quite right. Rena seemed unusually tense, and she pulled away slightly to try and understand the reason. Rena was a confident woman who knew what she wanted, and never hesitated very long before making decisions. In fact, it was part of this aspect of her personality that got Jurina attracted to her in the first place. But right now, her body language was speaking louder than words. She was being bothered by something.
“This doesn’t feel right,” Rena uttered. “You shouldn’t be sleeping here.”
Jurina processed the piece of information, now starting to get a better grasp of the situation. Earlier on, Rena had not protested when she offered her to sleep in the bedroom, but her slight hesitant look had not gone unnoticed. Jurina had not thought too much of it at the time, and kindly made sure she was well settled in for the night when she turned the lights off.
Just as Jurina was about to try and explain why she had opted for this arrangement, she felt a pair of lips on hers. Closing her eyes, she felt the older girl nibbling softly on her lower lip, and she granted her wish by parting her lips. The kiss deepened at once.
Jurina snaked an arm around her waist, her fingers caressing gently Rena’s back through the thin fabric of her tee-shirt. Rena’s kisses were becoming more demanding; Jurina certainly didn’t mind. If truth be told, she always liked it when the older girl decided to take the lead: something that seemed to happen more and more recently. Was it her imagination, or the older girl was even being bolder than usual tonight?
Jurina was somewhat grateful when the older girl broke their heated kiss after a little while, enabling her to not only catch her breath, but also take a better hold of her emotions and think more clearly. A flicker of doubt made its way to her mind, wondering for an instant if it was not wiser to stop things now before it was too late. Somehow, she wasn’t entirely sure that the older girl was entirely comfortable bringing their relationship to the next level quite yet.
Jurina wouldn’t deny it; she had had a few lovers in the past. One girl in particular mattered quite a lot to her in college, so much that after two years together, she ended up imagining a possible future with her. Unfortunately, fate had decided otherwise. The girl she trusted the most in the world ended up preferring the comfort of another pair of arms, breaking her heart in the most terrible way.
Jurina knew Rena’s feelings for her to be genuine, but she couldn’t ignore the fact that she was experimenting all those emotions for the first time. The CEO had recently told her more about her past, and confessed that this was her very first relationship. The news certainly came as a surprise to her, but she didn’t mind her inexperience. She had already fallen far too deep for her to care any less.
Jurina jolted out of her thoughts when the older girl extracted herself from her embrace and stood up slowly from the sofa. She gave her a curious look when Rena extended her hand the moment after. “Come. I refuse to let you sleep here.”
“Rena…” Jurina whispered, torn about her next move. A part of her wanted to raise to her feet and accept the invitation, but another was not completely sure they were on the same page. Refusing to let any form of misunderstanding come between them, she decided it was best to be completely honest with her.
“I really want to follow you,” Jurina admitted, the pull to take that offered hand becoming harder to resist as the seconds went by. “But I’m not sure we are both ready for the same thing.”
Silence enveloped them, and Jurina felt a small pang in her chest when she saw the older girl retracting her hand. To her, it was an evident sign that she had understood her intentions, and was rejecting them. Despite it, she still forced a smile, not wishing to be alarmed by it. After all, it had only been one month. It probably only meant she needed to be a little more patient. Where was the rush, anyway?
“I’m sorry,” Rena murmured.
Jurina shook her head firmly at her, refusing one second to let her feel guilty about it. “Don’t be sorry. It’s completely fine.”
“No, that’s not why I’m apologizing,” Rena smiled a little. “I’m apologizing because I shouldn’t have let you sleep here in the first place.”
Jurina didn’t have time to process her words that the other girl was taking her hand, and giving it a light, but decided tug. The invitation was renewed and this time Jurina followed her willingly, intertwining their fingers as the older girl led her slowly to the bedroom.
As soon as the door closed behind them their lips connected, and they took time to remove each other’s clothes. Once no more piece of clothing was separating them anymore, they slid progressively under the sheets. Jurina didn’t miss Rena’s body trembling slightly under her touch as she made her way on top of her and she smiled a little, moved by the unusual vulnerability displayed.
It didn’t matter how confident Rena proved to be on a daily basis, especially when she assumed the role of CEO of one of the leading companies in the country. Right now, she was in unknown territory; Jurina guessed it had to be somewhat unsettling to her. Jurina cupped her cheek, her fingertips caressing her skin delicately. She was more than conscious that nothing she would do or say would manage to erase her apprehension entirely; the moment was too anticipated to achieve such a miracle.
However, it didn’t mean she wasn’t going to do everything in her power to make sure she kept the most pleasant memories of this important moment of her life. It was the first time Rena was completely giving herself to someone else; and she had chosen her. Jurina was well aware that this relationship was still very new, but she refused to ignore her instinct. She had truly found her person in the presence of Rena Matsui.
“You can trust me, Rena,” Jurina whispered, reading easily the emotion shimmering in those beautiful small brown eyes staring at her. “I will always be faithful to you.”
TO BE CONTINUED