I felt like shit.
It had been almost a week since I met Digitalis. I drove off the only nice plant thing that happily shared all my interests. I hadn't messaged her and in the interim, she only sent me a few messages that were mostly apologies for overwhelming me.
I went from feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed and some other feeling I hadn't sorted out to just ashamed, sad. She didn’t deserve that. I messed up everything. Sure, Digitalis brought up an uncomfortable topic, but I was starting to kinda-sorta-almost-maybe like the evil plant woman. I fucked up. I couldn't just message her like I hadn't snapped when I was having trouble processing stuff.
Instead, I practiced and studied, but it didn't feel the same as it had before. I kept looking at the fancy plant-tech system and thinking about her. I ended up sulking when I would normally be obsessively studying affini tech.
I also indulged a bit in just browsing implants and body mods. Focusing on myself was good. Just worry about me and fuck everyone and everything in the universe. Mostly I was looking at brain-computer communication interfaces, retractable fangs, bioluminescent circuit tattoos, a robot limb of some sort. Transhumanism was cool and if I could be some fancy cyborg, I was gonna do it… maybe. That'd involve leaving my home.
On Cyathea and my inevitable return to self-sufficiency, we ran into a snag. She tried to slowly tone back how much she showed up, and started having me do things by myself like my laundry and… I started skipping meals again. Every time I remembered and managed to do a chore, another one or two got left by the wayside. My downer mood wasn't helping, and I just really had little drive to do things.
I was sitting in my living room across from the fern thing. "I just forget, or if I remember, I just don't feel like doing it. I don't know what you want me to do."
Cyathea looked to be in deep thought. "Perhaps you need to be trained to do it."
"You already showed me how to do it all. How would doing that again solve anything?" I slumped back and poked my growing chest. At least I could enjoy those.
"Flower, I meant training you in a more conditioning sense. We'll set up chimes and I'll train you to get up and do the task we tie to each chime. That or we can always find you an affini to look after you permanently." She was still on about that crap. No matter how many times I told her I didn’t want to be a pet, she kept bringing it up.
I folded my arms over my chest and groaned loudly. "I want to be alone. No domestication. We can like try the chime thing if you think it'll work, but I don't see how. Why would I listen to a stupid sound?" I mean, getting trained to obey a noise sounded a bit mind control-esque and maybe a little hot. She didn't need to know that, and I wasn't looking for her to inject me with a class-H.
"Eating will be simple as food is its own motivator. For the rest, a combination of praise and physical affection should work with intermediate reinforcement." The affini was just saying words. Whatever, if she thought it'd work without fucking with my head or turning me into a pet, then sure I'll try it.
We picked out some pleasant chime notifications I wouldn't mind hearing for the rest of my life. Maybe, I might get frustrated. Who knows? Anyway, there were chimes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I'd remember my meal times. A chime after breakfast for my supplements. A chime after dinner for my meds. There was a chime for brushing my teeth, and one for doing laundry. One for showering and one for sleep.
For my meals, the chime would sound and she'd use an ever changing way of reminding me to come eat. I asked her why she mixed it up and it was because she didn't want me conditioned for her telling me to, but for only the chimes. It didn't take long for her to no longer need to show up for lunch. My other meals coincided with things other than eating, so she still showed up for those.
I'd just heard the lunch chime, and I didn't even think about getting up or whether I had the motivation or hunger to go eat. I heard sound, I went and ate. It was weird, but it was easy. I actually got interested in it and changed up the timings to be a little earlier or later than normal and I'd still just get up and eat. By that point, I had to actively try to not obey the noise if I wanted to not eat.
For the non-eating things, she'd praise me and pat me on the head afterwards, but it turned out the intermediate reinforcement part meant she'd only do it sometimes. I really loved her calling me “Good girl”. Both that and the head pats were oddly addicting. Still, the non-eating things took a lot longer to get down. Especially the non-daily ones. The ones that followed breakfast and dinner were the ones that I got down first. By the end of the first week, she was doing far less check-ups and basically only working on cleaning and laundry conditioning.
I was spending a lot of time alone and that didn't help my post Digitalis funk at all. It was dumb. I spent years alone and now these stupid plants that weren't even real people had me desiring company. The line in my mind between scary human people and weird xeno plants was weird. I clung to the distinction. The xenos were jerks and bitches, but they didn’t terrify me the same way humans did. So obviously it had to mean they weren't people, right?
I was spying on people and affini in public places. It was definitely different out there from before. People were happy. Thrilled even. Like society got a face-lift to look bright and cheerful. It hadn't even been a full month yet and most were content with the plants being in charge. Not everyone was on board. I found people who hated the evil xenos. Really hated them. Some recordings I got were… fuck, they were basically terrorists in the making.
Spying on the disgruntled humans was actually rather easy. They preferred terran tech like their phones that were stupid, easy to just waltz into. They were so dumb, believing that human made technology was better. I, of all people, knew just how ass backwards that assumption was. Affini built their tech astoundingly well, and the stuff they didn't want me in… well, I hadn’t gotten into those yet.
I toyed with wannabe terrorists. Intercept a call here. Alter a text message there. It was fun. Also, they were kinda all jerks, which made it funny sometimes. I tricked one into walking into a domestication center, which was priceless. The free terranist got so butt hurt when the affini started asking them about their interest in being a floret.
The only downside about messing with them was the trivial nature of hacking terran tech versus the fun of breaking into affini systems. Digitalis said that they set the vulnerabilities up for people like me to have fun and… She wasn't wrong. It was fun. They came up with genuinely interesting puzzles to solve. It also helped me get better at being sneaky because, when I got too obvious, some affini admin would give me a teasing slap on the wrist and I'd be in time out for a minute. The feedback was oddly nice. I used to dread getting detected, but now… it was a game. A really fun game.
I drowned myself in playing the affini's games because otherwise I'd have to face all those pesky feelings of loneliness that kept building up.
To stave off the loneliness, I turned to body modding. I asked Cyathea on my, at that point, weekly check-up if she could make those surgery appointments and maybe do the ‘knock me out and let me wake up at home’ thing. It took a while to convince her to do it. Also, I made it clear I didn't want any humans seeing me while I was unconscious.
She took me a few times. I got my retractable vampire fangs and glowing circuit tattoos. I held off on replacing limbs because I was still mulling it over. The brain-computer interfaces kinda pissed me off because they basically all required the Haustoric Implant. It was a pets’ only bit of bio-ware. I wasn't a pet, damn it. They needed to make more cool brain implants for independent sophonts. I saw the button to discuss with an implant specialist, but I refused to chat with strangers.
Digitalis reached out to me periodically. I kept ignoring her. I wanted to talk to her again, but I couldn't. Looking at the messages she sent me hurt, so I stopped doing it after the first two. How could I message her now after ghosting her for weeks? She needed to forget about me.
I sulked and sank a little deeper into depression.
Cyathea stopped her regular visits after the second month post meeting Digitalis, when she determined I was properly taking care of myself enough to no longer need her constant check-ups. She finished conditioning me, and I was doing things to the sound of automated chimes. It was totally great. I was finally free of the ugly fern bitch who kept coming into my home uninvited. I never once invited her in. She broke in every single time I'd ever seen her.
So why did my mental health plummet worse once she stopped showing up? It was what I wanted. I wanted to be alone. I got my wish. I was a fully independent sophont who was no longer under probationary care. The fern lady even showed me the paperwork that said so. She even used her dumb paper to do it.
It took two months before I started collapsing inwards. Even the chimes I was so reliant on started failing under the weight of just not caring. I'd miss lunch one day or just not do my laundry one week. I got lazy on decompiling my dishes. I-I skipped a night of taking my class-Z and couldn't sleep. After getting up, I went back to my computer.
I was slowly unraveling but hey at least the class-G was finishing up its work. I kinda underestimated how heavy such a large chest would be, but damn if it wasn't fun to have big tits. Except the back pain, but I was basically laying or sitting down all the time. I was also definitely shorter. I never specified a height, but I ended up like 5'4". Exactly 5 foot 4 inches because I managed to work up the motivation to compile a measuring tape.
As for my eyes… Wow, they really glowed. My fancy glasses thankfully never reflected the light back. Like they weren't super bright, but more than I thought they could do without the implants. The body mods must give like flashlight eyes or something. They looked cool; they matched my tattoos and that one fancy outfit I hadn't put on since Digitalis came over.
Not that the dress would fit my current proportions. I was half a foot smaller, bustier, my torso was less broad, my hips were wider, etc. I looked like some really cool hacker chick who did not know how to be happy. I got everything I wanted, a fancy impossibly good computer, a perfect transition, things to do, a 3D printer that could print anything, things to hack, no more worries about missing an on-call thing and losing my job and home, and just being truly alone. Why was I unhappy?
I was lonely. Cyathea and Digitalis broke into my life and now that they weren't around… heck Digitalis was around, but I was just too much of a coward to interact with her. Now that they weren't in my life I was miserable but I couldn't ask them to come back. I couldn't let myself.
Instead of asking for the only two people-adjacent things I cared for to come back, I went onto the overnet because surely the post-scarcity society of the affini had another solution. All I found was online meet-ups, dating, and like people looking for others to cuddle or have sex with.
Obviously, I couldn't take someone else up on their offer, so I put up my own notice after five days of working up the nerve to do it. It was just a simple ad for someone to cuddle with me in bed, no sex, no guys. I was worried Digitalis was still watching my online stuff, so I also marked it as human only.
I got an immediate response. Not from Digitalis.
GhostExMachina: Hey! I saw your cuddle post, and I'd love to!
I read through her profile. She was a digitized person with a pilotable synthetic body that was very femme. GhostExMachina seemed rather outgoing, which I wasn't sure about. She was also a floret, but I didn't care about that. Lastly, not being a flesh and blood person was bonus points as was being a friendly, cute woman.
SystemLurkerQueen: I don't really want to talk much… If you're fine with that, then sure. You seem cool.
GhostExMachina: great! What time did you want to meet up, and how long?
SystemLurkerQueen: Anytime, and idk how long.
GhostExMachina: I'll be over ASAP!
She had my address through the meet-up app. So she'd likely be able to find her way here. I closed the posting since I already had someone. If it goes poorly, then well…
I was freaking out. Any minute, a human being was going to show up and ask to come into my home. Not an affini, but like a real person. What was I thinking?! I had been pacing in front of my front door until I collapsed and started shaking. I can't people! Not even a digital people. Even online I can't people. If someone was mean to me, I'd basically implode into an emotional wreck. The idea of someone seeing me, with the possibility of being judgmental or rude, made me terrified of human contact.
Humans were useless cruel evil awful judgmental assholes, and interacting with them was out of the question. I can't handle mean tones. My old boss once gave me an incredibly mild scolding, and I collapsed into a puddle of tears for like three hours. It was over email.
Ding-Dong. “Hey cutie~! You have a visitor!”
Fuck fuck fuck. I broke down crying and slumped against the wall next to the door in a fetal position. The door voice thing kept going off, and I curled up as a crying mess. Why did I do this to myself?! I knew the answer. I was lonely, but people were a mistake. This was a mistake.
The door thing kept going off until it cut out and a new voice spoke. "Hey, are you alright?" A voice, a human voice. The first one I had heard speaking to me in half a year. Through tear-stained eyes, I glimpsed a human sized robot woman with shoulder length purple hair, and a cosplay maid outfit on.
I swatted at her and my hand clipped through. My brain hitched. "Wha…"
"Silly, I'm still outside your door. You invited me here for cuddles. I know you said you didn't want to talk, but if you want to, I'd love to lend an ear. Otherwise, I can like just cuddle you in silence if that's what you need. I just need you to open the door, okay?" She sounded mixed between happy, concerned, and sympathetic.
I sat there, tears still coming down with soft sobs. "D-Don't look at me."
"But you're so pretty!" She saw that didn't get her desired reaction and followed up with. "Fine. I disabled the optical information flow and switched to acoustical analysis. I can't see you. Echolocation doesn't count. I'll disable my body's optics too if that'd make you feel more comfortable."
She kept being so nice to me. I couldn't stand it. She was as bad as the plant people. She reminded me of them. Of Digitalis. I couldn't place why, but I missed her. I missed them both. Cowardice prevented me from talking to or seeing them, but I could talk to this person. Someone willing to blind herself to make me feel comfortable.
"P-Please." I mumbled.
"Done! I can access your door control and let myself in, then I can princess carry you over to your bed if you really want!" The chipper digitized person who seemed oddly human told me.
I just nodded, and my door opened. The blind android navigated in and gently scooped me up in a princess-carry. Her synth body felt warm and soft and appeared identical to the projection. The beautiful strong maid then laid me down on my bed before joining me.
We shifted cuddling positions until we both seemed comfortable. We cuddled, which turned more into us spooning with her being big spoon. Her artificial body felt warm, like a flesh person's body. It was comfortable. I liked it. She didn't talk or ask questions. She supposedly couldn't even see me. I was held by a warm, comfortable presence that wanted nothing of me, had no expectations of me, and just cared enough to force her way into my place like an affini.
I drifted off to a restful sleep I hadn't had in days.
I almost freaked out when I woke up. I was being held. Luckily, I remembered I was spooning the artificial body of a digitized blinded person. One that I invited here and was very ridiculously kind to me. I had shifted a bit out of her hold overnight.
As soon as I moved a bit, she pulled me back in. "Morning sleepy head."
"M-Morning." I practically whispered.
She nuzzled my neck before asking. "Want to talk about anything? Maybe get up and get some breakfast?"
I really didn't enjoy talking about emotions and crap. That stuff was for enduring and suppressing. So I instead chose the other option. "Breakfast."
"Gotcha!" She uh kissed me on the neck, handed me my glasses, and got out of bed. I watched her dust off her maid uniform and walk over to my compiler. "Donuts good?"
"Y-Yea…" I was still red faced from the kiss.
She turned, and I caught a big smile. "Thought so." Apparently, she ran the compiler before she even made it over there. The woman returned and handed me one while holding some more. "One donut for the sleepy princess." Not once did her eyes look at me like she could see me. She must still have been running off other senses.
I ate it, and then another. I was pretty hungry as I ate quite a few. After I finished, she asked. "You got any meds or supplements to take?" Meds were for evening, and I stopped taking the hair things, but I still needed to take the vitamins and other pill thingies. I hadn't done so in uh, maybe a week or two. The only thing I had kept on was my class-G, but it was basically done.
"Supplements." I pointed at a thingy on the counter which she grabbed with a thing of water. I downed them and she set the glass on the nightstand.
"So, my beautiful princess with amazingly long hair, we can speak, snuggle, or shower. Pick one."
"S-Snuggle." One word was all it took to get her back in bed with me. We laid there just as we had. It was comfortable. I wanted to stay like that forever. Just with someone. Not alone. This oddly perfect maid cosplayer happened to be an amazing person, and I was bringing her down by having her care for me.
Lunch was a repeat of breakfast, minus the vitamin stuff. She asked what I wanted, and we spooned more. Dinner came around and I took the class-G even though I didn't have to and the class-A. I didn't mention the class-Z.
As it was nighttime and I had spent a full day in bed cuddling with this mysterious stranger who I didn't even know the actual name of, I finally broke down and asked. "Why?"
She shifted to whisper in my ear. "Because, my silly little princess, you needed help, and I was here to give it to you." T-that was an awful reason. She was supposed to be a bad awful mean person who’d make me want to curl up and die just so I never have to experience her animosity. The maid wasn't supposed to be nice and patient and super accommodating like an affini. She was supposed to be a flawed person, not the perfect plant people who I convinced myself I hated instead of needed.
I sniffled, and that was all the excuse she needed to grab me tight and nuzzle the back of my neck. My class-A was unfair. It made this insanely satisfying. I even let out a pleasure drenched gasp.
"Is the princess on a class-A?" Her hands started rubbing my exposed belly. I was in my slobby sports bra and gym shorts. Getting dressed was hard.
"N-No…" She kissed the back of my neck and I moaned.
She backed off after a moment. "No?"
"No s-sex." I finished. It wasn't bad being touched. I was actually really good, but I couldn't help but worry she'd go further than I was comfortable with.
"I remember, sorry about the playfulness. It's just so fun when people are on class-As and Js." Oh yea, she just did this with people for fun. "Makes hugs feel better, doesn't it?"
"Mmmhmm." Yea, it really did. I-I should have asked for this sooner, but then it wouldn't have been her… Gah! I was getting attached. Why did I get attached to everyone who showed me kindness and took care of me? I was supposed to be the cool, lonesome hacker who didn't need anybody, not some mess in a roughly humanoid shape.
She held me for a while and I drifted off to sleep again, only to once more awaken in her arms. Didn't she have places to be? Wait, she was a floret, like a pet. Why wasn't she with her owner? She ran a hand through my hair and I shivered in delight. "Morning sleeping beauty."
"M-morning… Why are you still here? Don't you have someone to be with?"
"You are absolutely right! I have someone to be with right here in my arms! She's kinda a sleepy cuddly princess, and I, as a loyal maid, would never leave her unattended." Oh, she was like roleplaying. That was weird, and it sidestepped my question.
I shifted out of her hold and sat up on the bed with her following suit. "Like aren't you a pet? Don't you have like normal stuff to do? " Aren't you just going to eventually leave? I couldn't bear to say that last one aloud.
She shifted and got all prim and proper. "Well milady, I should get around to some of these chores, but you keep ordering me to cuddle." She giggled and was met with my frown. "Okay, for a serious answer. I have been sneaking out a bit to talk with Mistress and do other things. I'm digitized. This body isn't where I am."
"Oh…" Right, yea. I knew that. I guess… It was just a really weird thing to wrap my mind around.
"So, it seems you're finally in a talking mood. Want to tell me what's up?" Her eyes were still unfocused despite the fact she looked so concerned. She was still using her fancy echolocation thing for me. She deserved answers for my weirdness, even if I didn't really know what to say.
I just pulled my legs up and hugged them. Her hand gently stroked my back that threatened to make me melt out of this self-hold. "I-I was lonely… and uh, I'm scared of-of people." There I admitted it. Those things I realized over the last few months. I was a lonely bitch and anxious fear prevented me from asking for company.
She hugged me again. "You know there's a lot of fixes for that, right? Like if you're anxious or afraid, there are xenodrugs for that. If you're lonely… well, my silly little princess, you managed to put up that post. That must have been really hard for you, and I'm sorry if I made any of it worse."
"Y-You did fine. Good. Better than I deserved. Gah! Where did all of my confidence go? I used to be so much better than this…" I really did! I was the best hacker ever, and I was going to beat the affini system and show Digitalis who was boss… but then I met her in person, found out she was actually just trying to be friendly, and then ghosted her. I used to stand up to Cyathea all the time, and I only did it because I somehow convinced myself she didn't count as a person to be scared of.
I was kinda an arrogant shit head… fuck. Why did they even put up with me? Why does anyone put up with me? I guess technically, as far as Digitalis knew, I wasn't ever very mean to her. Wow, she like barely saw me be a brat like Cyathea did. I guess my fern lady only put up with me because it was her job… in a world that didn't seem to require jobs.
"Well, in the words of my Mistress, who I may have just asked for a cool line from, sometimes people pretend to be confident to cover up how insecure they feel. You seem like the kinda girl who has a hard time admitting what you want, which, funnily enough, there's a xenodrug for."
I knew that one. "The class-D right?"
"Yup. I've heard they're fun, but I never needed one. I mostly am on class-As and class-C, and occasionally a class-J." She seemed so thrilled listing those off. I guess it's a floret thing to just be weirdly happy and thrilled all the time.
"Wait, you're digitized. How are you on xenodrugs?" That didn't even make sense!
"Simulated drugs for a simulated person. Getting them to work with my synth body took a little bit of tinkering from Mistress but once it did…" Her eyes fluttered and she had a very dreamy expression. "Feel free to touch me as much as you like."
Oh wow. I uh. The idea that I was just allowed to touch someone else… I poked her arm.
She ruffled my bedhead. "No need to be shy about it. I don't bite… unless of course, you want me to."
Oh, she was challenging me. Well fuck her, I can do great at touching. How dare she challenge me! I upped the ante by poking her in the belly. There, I touched her in a softer, more sensitive spot. Her and her soft warm fake skin.
"You are such a cute, silly princess. We've been cuddling for like two days. How are you still so nervous to touch your cute loyal maid bot?" She was slipping back into the roleplay… M-Maybe I could play along…
I reached out to like grab her boob and my hand just froze mid-way before I made contact. She then grabbed my hand and finished the journey. She didn't go overboard on them like I had. It was just a nice soft handful of robo boob.
My face lit up after a moment of fondling her, especially with that moan that she gave. She was still wearing her maid uniform too, so I didn't even directly feel her… I pulled back. This was a lot of weird uncomfortable contact. Like it was nice, but just doing that with another person was weird. I was supposed to be alone, not like fondling someone playing robot maid.
Oddly enough, she seemed… disappointed; I think? I was never the best judge of people's expressions. I tried. For years I tried to figure it out, especially through my spying on people. I'd just try and guess… I never got feedback, but I tried.
Uh dang, I didn't want her to be disappointed in me, but also I think I reached my limit on the touching her thing. I guess I could just lean into her roleplay? Maybe? "Uh, m-maid go uh, get me like breakfast? P-Please." Oh god, I really said that. She was going to hate me… I started curling back into myself.
The words lit her expression up again. "Yes Milady!" She hopped out of bed and rushed to follow my order. She got more donuts and brought my pills. I ate and took them as she watched. "So milady, what should we do today?" She sounded super into the role, but at the end of that she gave me a wink.
I thought about it. "Uh m-maybe a shower…"
"As you wish, milady. Shall I carry you?" Oh crap, she looked serious. I mean, I wanted that. I was kinda struggling with the words, so I just nodded. Her soft thin arms were surprisingly strong. I was a little bit smaller than her, but I still should have weighed too much for her if that body weren't synthetic.
I got set down in the shower. She was really careful with my tripping hazard of hair. Or at least it was a tripping hazard while being carried. The part that took me by surprise was when she started taking my clothes off. Not that I had any. She took it a step further and started stripping.
"W-What are you doing?" I asked nervously, while looking away from her nude body.
She sounded very sincere as she said. "I didn't want to ruin my uniform when helping you wash up." Oh, OH! She wanted to like shower with me.
"Uh, t-time out on the whole roleplay thing. I-I don't know if I can like do this." She kept turning me into a blushy stammering mess. The worst part was I didn't hate it and I really didn't want to freak out and snap at her. I didn't know what I'd do with myself if I drove her away too.
"I'm sorry. Like I can let you do your own thing if you want. I just thought you could use some help, and maybe it'd be kinda fun. If it helps, I still have my visual sensors off, and I'll avoid touching you much. I can't imagine that washing hair as long as yours is easy." She was too nice. Way too nice. An affini, disguised as a digitized person. Except she didn't have that affini arrogance and that attitude that everything I did was somehow cute and adorable.
I mulled it over for a second, trying to avoid looking at her nude. I then slipped off my glasses to sidestep accidentally ogling her. Showering with the blurry nude person next to me didn't sound awful and maybe she had a point about the hair. "Uh, m-maybe? It is a little hard to um w-wash my hair…"
"As you wish Milady." She continued stripping everything off as I got into the rather large shower. True to her word, she kept her touch light, and I faced away from her for most of it as she tended to my hair. I had a shower cap, so I didn't have to wash it all every time I showered, but it had been a while since I took one.
I avoided talking the whole time, even after getting out. The robot woman… Gah, I didn't even know her name! She gave small comments and compliments as she helped me brush and blow dry my hair.
I worked up the nerve to ask. "Um, what's your name… and pronouns?"
"Milady, I'm Nora Lutea, First Floret she/her. I apologize, but I believe I failed to receive yours as well." Yea I guess we only used our usernames on that site.
"Aster she/her." I left out my last name, as I just never really liked it.
She hummed. "You have a beautiful name, Lady Aster." Gah! I swear, being with her was going to give me a permanent blush.
"Thanks, I uh picked it myself."
She giggled. "Me too, at least the first name." Wait, was she also? I mean, I can’t just ask. That's like rude… I think. I don't people enough, but lurking in some online spaces told me that was a rude thing to ask someone.
We finished up, and she gave me options. "Well lady Aster, I can clean up here while you have fun on your computers upstairs. Or we can cuddle more." She was just offering to clean up my mess. I couldn't do that to her. She then broke kayfabe again. "I'd love to clean up for you, but like it'd be extra fun if you like ordered me to."
Okay, so this was like a weird kink thing… I mean, I get it. I kinda wish I had the energy and motivation to be the maid, but like a hypnotized maid that… Aster, bad. Stop thinking about kinky roleplay.
Okay, my place needed to be cleaned up, and she was going to get off on doing it. I just needed to command her like the arrogant brat I was before… I could do this, just get in the headspace. I'm great. I'm the best hacker that can totally run circles around the affini. I deserve nice things like big tiddies and a robot maid to clean my hab unit up. "Maid, clean up this mess and let me know when you're done. How dare you let things get this out of hand."
"Yes, lady Aster! Apologies, lady Aster!" She started working fast, decompiling my dirty dishes, picking up discarded items. She compiled a feather duster for some reason. It was kinda fun to watch, but I could do that from my computer room window overlooking the open space of my living/dining/bedroom. Like the kitchen was the most separated thing. I had a server room under my computer room, but I didn't really need to go in there. There was also the bathroom and my closet. It was just so open, like a scaled-up version of my big main room back in the apartment where I had little room to separate my spaces.
I went up and started messing with a few affini hacking puzzles. There was another notification on my chat app, but I ignored it. I just hung out focusing on my stuff while Nora cleaned up. Things were good, for now, and I needed to use the moment of peace to just relax before thoughts of Nora leaving creeped in and ruined everything. I didn't even really let myself think about the fact I started looking through tons of cameras like I was trying to find someone. It's not like I had done that a bunch or anything.
I got sloppy and one of the network monitors caught me before temporarily cutting my overnet connection with a message. Hello my darling intelligent little flower! You slipped up there, little one. I do hope you're feeling better. I've been worried about you Aster. Please look at my messages. Love, Digitalis Lutea, Third Bloom 💖💖💖🌹🌹🌹
I started tearing up until I noticed the last name… That was Nora's last name. Digitalis had a digitized floret. I scooted over to the window and looked at the cosplayer who cuddled me for two days and then started cleaning my hab unit. Did she know? She had to know. She said she was like talking to her Mistress while we cuddled. Maybe she might have not known at first, but she had to at this point. Why didn't she say anything? Was this just a ploy from Digitalis?
It was another one of her evil sinister affini schemes to uh, help me… I was so stupid. How did I keep overlooking this crap? I didn't even think I was mad about it. Like sure, I probably would have rejected Nora if I had known at first, but now I was terrified to drive her away too. Would talking to her about it cause problems? I didn't know if I could trust myself to not overreact depending on what she said. Maybe I could pretend like I didn't know…
I didn't have long to figure it out. She was really good at her cleaning thing.