Cannoli’s were her favorite—this he knew well. Surviving on a strict diet of Café Mochas and pastries, Virginia pipped with energy at a near-constant rate. It exhausted him, but he loved her with his whole heart.
That morning, as he made his way downtown, Daniel Thatcher stared to the bright blue sky overhead. He wore the jacket with thin brown lines—the one she admired. His glasses slid ever-so-slightly to the center of his nose and nestled their as though he were deep in thought.
“Mr. Thatcher?” a young woman in a flowing red dress spoke as she walked across the lobby of the building. Virginia was eleven floors up, handling software and writing code. The young woman closed her hands beneath her chin and looked to him with delicate eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve brought Gin lunch,” he lifted the bag of Cannoli’s and gave a grin.
“Daniel,” the woman started toward him. “Virginia hasn’t been here in a while.”
“What do you mean?” he lowered his lips. “She left this morning; she had a meeting at ten.”
The young woman shook her head and stared on with a fixed gaze. “Have you been here recently?”
“No,” he shrugged, then leaned back. He reviewed the craftsmanship of the interior, the details in every inch. “I haven’t been here in a few months, really.”
The young woman nodded with a slow exhale. “Why don’t you come up with me?” she suggested with her arm outward. Together, they shared the elevator for an uncomfortable nineteen seconds. “Have a seat here,” she spoke and began to walk away.
“Oh, but her office is just down the hall,” Daniel offered. He turned quick to see Virginia’s door—simply several feet away—then faced the young woman again.
The young woman, with a pressed brow and crinkled nose, sighed, and then nodded. “Right,” she agreed with dejection. “Please, Daniel. Have a seat here.”
With the Cannoli’s in hand, Daniel sat on the guest bench while the young woman went off to the left. She was gone for a minute before returning with a man in a dark blue suit.
“Daniel,” the man said with a stern laugh. He reached out and firmly shook Daniel’s hand.
“Martin,” Daniel returned with an open smile. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“The firm keeps me moving,” Martin simpered. “It’s been a long trial.”
Daniel nodded, but wouldn’t speak on the matter.
“I’ll leave you two,” the young woman said with a nod. Martin motioned for Daniel to follow him into an office beyond view. Martin closed the door and walked to the window.
“Daniel, I know this is difficult, but you can’t see Virginia anymore.”
“I just wanted to give her these,” Daniel raised the bag of pastries as if it were blatantly obvious. “I can wait if she’s in a meeting.”
“I don’t think you understand,” Martin corrected; his eyes dark as he turned to face Daniel. “She isn’t alert, and you know that.”
“I just wanted to see her one more time,” Daniel argued. His fingers twitched around the handles on the bag, his feet tapped lightly beneath the chair. The air was still as silence filled the room. “I loved her,” Daniel mumbled as his eyes glossed. “I’ve never loved someone so much.”
“Daniel,” Martin knelt before the man and spoke with an easy tone. “She wasn’t someone, she was something.” Martin’s eyes followed Daniel’s unsteady gaze until Daniel stood and dropped the Cannoli’s. “Something remarkable… nearly organic,” Martin stammered. “But not real.”
“She was real!” he shouted. “She wanted to stay, to live.”
“It was an experiment that we all agreed upon,” Martin countered. “It had an end date, you were aware before you ever took her home.”
Daniel was frozen for a moment before rushing out of the office. Martin exhaled as he turned to look out the window once more. And on the floor were the Cannoli’s; two pastries ruined by the hostile step of a man lost in artificial love.