“Are you sure? You really want this?” I looked down over my wife’s shoulder, voice unsteady with anxiety and trepidation.
“Absolutely. More than anything in my life.” She looked back up at me after signing yet another endless form, and the look I saw in her eyes was an intensity I hadn’t seen since she told me she was going to transition all those years ago. “I want to be useful. More than that…I want to be yours.”
“You already are, Ash.” A hand over hers, our fingers interweaving and lightly touching in a way only lovers’ do. “And I’m yours.”
“I know, Sam. I know, but I want to be more. I’ve wanted this my entire life. Since before we even met. Please. Let me have this.”
I never was one to say no to her like this…
I gave her the bravest nod I could muster and leaned into the back of her neck. Her hair smells wonderful today, as always. Gods, I fucking hope I don’t lose her. I can’t lose her. Signing one last form with a relieved sigh, Ash closed the folder. Bold, embossed letters spelled out the fate she’d just signed herself to. Stratum Engineering, Doll Division – Conversion Application.
Two years later, I sat holding my wife’s hands as she sat on the gurney, nurses taking last-minute vitals before wheeling her off to the OR. “Come back to me. Please.” She mumbled a reply and squeezed my hands. The anesthetic was already starting to kick in, and the nurse urged me to wait in her room and get some sleep while I could. In eight hours’ time, Ashley would be more than just my wife. She’d be my doll.
Still, even with some of the best engineering and doctors in the region, I couldn’t sleep. Not even remotely. So, I waited. And waited. I must’ve fallen asleep eventually, because a nurse gently shook me awake. My voice barely sounded my own, groggy as I was. “I-is she…?”
“She’s just fine, Mrs. Williams. She’s not awake yet, but you can join her in recovery now.”
The nurse was still telling me what room she was in, but my mind had already given itself over to the relief. A weight lifted, as they say. “Thank fu-…thank you.” I gathered our things and haphazardly rushed my way to the recovery wing. Didn’t even feel embarrassed having to ask where my own wife was.
Opening the door to her room, I was absolutely awed at how human she still looked. I’d seen dolls before, even worked with them, but those were older or industrial model synthetics. Never a human conversion. Her exposed skin still looked human – and her hand felt just as soft as ever. Don’t get me wrong, there was obvious evidence she had undergone surgery – scars, a frankly terrifying number of tubes coming off of her, and definitely not least: the conduit of cable attached to the base of her neck, plugged in to the wall nearby.
But only the smallest features betrayed my wife had forsaken her humanity. Small seams in her arms, shining titanium peeking out from behind her left ear, and that unsettlingly large cable in her neck. A really fancy data cable, if I had to guess. There was probably – almost certainly – more, but I had neither the training nor the energy to do a more thorough investigation in that moment. All I knew is that my wife had survived, and I just needed to wait for her to wake up.
I, on the other hand…I drifted off again, nestling my head against her arm. Still soft, still warm.