Thank God for weekends.
Katie had pushed through a long, gruelling week and now, early on Friday evening, she had a proper break. A chance to recharge and recover her energy.
True, David wouldn’t be around, but that didn’t matter too much – she probably didn’t have the energy for him, and, entering their forties, they were both old enough to know that time to themselves could be paradise.
She’d have a nice long soak in the bath later and relive their last encounter, but this was altogether a weekend for doing as little as possible and spending what little effort she did make in pampering herself.
She was busying herself around the kitchen to begin just that pampering. Her coffee maker was bubbling away, and she’d just set out a tall mug for the results. Her jacket had already been taken off and hung over a kitchen table chair.
The only reason she hadn’t kicked off her heels was that she’d recently started to like the sound of their steady clack clack clack against the tiles. She’d take them off once she was into the lounge, so she could enjoy the feel of the deep pile carpeting against her soles.
She poured a shot of Scotch into a glass and set it beside the mug to add in once the coffee was in place. From the fridge she took a container of thick double cream.
She dipped a fingertip into the cream and licked it, savouring the taste. It was part of her usual Friday evening ritual. A way to confirm that the weekend was now properly begun.
Her mobile phone chimed and buzzed away on the countertop where she’d set it down beside her bag.
Well, that was annoying. She set the cream down and crossed to the countertop, casually picking up her phone.
One of the apps on her phone had pushed an alert. She blinked, surprised, trying to place the app from its icon. It wasn’t part of her usual selections. What even was it?
Opening up the app, she saw its full logo, not just the icon, and frowned. MindMonitor? She hadn’t put that on-
Wait, no. Given the chance, and acting slowly (but then, it was Friday evening), her mind dredged up the information. Her ex-husband had paid for it and insisted she install it, back before the arguments, before the stress, before the divorce.
It was supposed to be security against some sort of fraud, and it had literally never gone off. She hadn’t even realised it had transferred on to her new phone when she ported the rest of her data across.
We have detected some unusual activity on your account, it said. Please contact us to verify.
Shit. Getting ripped off was not how this weekend was supposed to start.
She’d almost called the number in the app when she remembered basic scam safety. Instead, she googled for the company’s phone number and dialled that.
There was surprisingly little hold music before the usual warning that calls could be recorded for training, and then she was greeted by a cheerful Geordie.
“Hello, you’re through to Brian. What can I help you with?”
“Um, yes, hi. I got an activity warning from your app.”
“Oh, right. Are you a high-risk customer, or is this a surprise?”
“Um. It’s a surprise, so I guess I’m not high-risk, or is there some other thing?”
“Right, well, if you haven’t been told you’re high-risk you’re probably fine. We can check, anyway, when we get you verified. It’s just, if you are, I’ll have to hand you off to a specialist. Insurance and all that. If not, I can handle your case myself. And besides, it might be nothing, right?”
Brian was, at least, reassuring. Something about the combination of cheerful and matter-of-fact felt more professional than a professional tone might have. “Right.”
“So let’s just get you verified and we can run through this activity and see if any new steps have to be taken. Can I take your name and date of birth?”
It was an in-depth check, but by the end Katie was satisfied that Brian was thorough, and Brian was satisfied that Katie was who she claimed to be.
“So,” she asked at last. “What’s going on? Some kind of identity fraud?”
“Well, that’s what we think,” Brian explained. “I’ve got your case up on my screen now and it looks like someone’s trying to change your identity.”
That didn’t sound right. “You mean steal my identity?”
“No, miss. Change it. The activity our system flagged is that you’ve started thinking of yourself as a ‘fuckdoll’, ‘scuse my French.”
Katie was lost for words. She spluttered for a few seconds, then finally came up with “WHAT?”
Brian was surprisingly patient. “You’ve started thinking of yourself as a ‘fuckdoll’, ma’am. Again, ‘scuse my French.”
“Why, the nerve of-“
Before she actually finished the sentence, a stray thought surfaced.
I mean, I am a fuckdoll, aren’t I? That’s why I think of myself as one.
“No, actually,” she said, “that makes a kind of sense. You see, I am a fuckdoll.”
“Begging your pardon, ma’am, but we have you down as a Chief Financial Officer. Which also means, we probably shouldn’t have placed you as low risk.”
“Yes, yes.” She was testy now that she knew the call was a mistake. “During the week, sure. At weekends I’m a fuckdoll.”
“Well, that would explain why we only just got the alert,” Brian said, his tone still cheerful but becoming practical. “Does the word even cross your mind during the working week, ma’am?”
This was so ridiculous. Some kind of false alert. Although the best way to get rid of him was going to be going through it so he could mark her clean. So she thought about it, however briefly.
“…I can’t say that it does,” she said slowly.
“Mmm-hmm. Okay.” She could hear his keyboard clattering. “And are you a fuckdoll, ‘scuse my French, or are you someone’s fuckdoll, ‘scuse my French?”
Well, she was David’s fuckdoll, obviously. When he was around, that was when she was at her horniest. Her neediest. Her most obedient.
She was never quite sure what to call him in public conversation. They were both a little too old for boyfriend and girlfriend, but their relationship was too unbalanced for her to feel comfortable claiming she was his partner. She was his fuckdoll, but what did that make her, aside from her pet name for him?
“Uh, my lover.” After all, she couldn’t use his pet name in public.
“Mmm-hmm. Have you ever been anyone else’s fuckdoll?”
The sheer cheeriness of the call…
All the same, it was true that David was the first person to recognise her needs. Her ex-husband had treated her as a normal woman, even as an equal. That had been one of the things that had led to the divorce.
“No, I can’t say I have,” she said slowly. “Look, Brian, what’s this about?”
“Well, ma’am, I’m trying to pin that down for myself. But in order to do that, I need to just go through the steps here.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s looking quite likely there’s been some attempt at mental re-programming,” Brian told her. “And it’s been at least partially successful. Now, sometimes, that’s something you did to yourself, either by self-discipline, self-hypnosis, or something similar. Sometimes our system flags a voyage of self-discovery as a false positive, if it’s extreme enough. Both of those are pretty much fine.”
He paused for effect, and she took the opportunity to take her coffee mug out of the maker and add a shot of whiskey. It seemed like that might be needed. But she kept her phone to her ear.
“Sometimes it’s an adjustment by someone else, though. And sometimes that adjustment wasn’t wanted by our client. And we do our best to resolve that.”
“And you can tell all this from an app on my phone?”
“No, ma’am, when you signed up for the service – oh, my mistake, I see here you were signed up for the service by Mr Warren – when you were signed up, there would have been a nanite treatment at the base of your skull. If it was someone else’s doing, you might just have felt a gentle caress with a little prick in the middle.”
Well, Katie absolutely remembered that. It had provoked the first big argument with her ex-husband. It had been something they kept coming back to.
And he’d evidently lied this whole time. Claimed he’d needed to trim a fingernail, a stray too-sharp edge had cut her.
She stood there for a long moment, considering. Brian continued. “So, ma’am, have you always been a fuckdoll?”
“Yes, of course,” she said.
More clatter of keys audible over his phone headset. “Oh-kay, that gives me some more data, thank you for that,” he continued. “Starting to narrow this down. So, you’ve always been a fuckdoll, but when was the first time you were always a fuckdoll?”
“What?” The question made no sense, but she had a weird idea that maybe it should do.
“I’m sorry, pet, I’ve read that out slightly wrong. When was the first time you knew you’d always been a fuckdoll?”
Ow. There was a sudden strange pain right in the centre of her forehead. It stabbed in with no warning, making no sense.
“About two months ago,” she said slowly.
“And you can’t remember knowing you were a fuckdoll before then?”
Ow ow ow.
“I… uhm… I don’t follow?”
“Neither do I entirely, ma’am, but I’m working with my script here. We’ve got a lot of different potential options for your identity fraud, I just want to narrow it down. Restoration is different with each one, y’see.”
There was something deeply reassuring about the honest, open Geordie accent at this point. Katie added a dollop of cream to her coffee and took it across to the glass kitchen table, setting it on a coaster. She rested her head in one hand to ward off the stabbing pains, holding the phone to her ear with the other.
“Um. What was the question?” She was genuinely confused; in the past couple of steps it seemed to have erased itself from her memory. That seemed bad.
“You can’t remember knowing you were always a fuckdoll before about two months ago?”
“That’s… correct, yes.” She blinked slowly. It was easier to answer that, somehow, than the earlier version of the question.
“Mmm-hmm. Are you seeing anyone, ma’am?”
“Are you asking me out?” she blurted in surprise.
“No, no, no, nothing like that, ma’am. Still trying to narrow things down. I’ve got down here that you’re a fuckdoll who’s owned by your lover. Is that right?”
She blushed. “Oh yes.”
“Do you consider yourself to be seeing him, or does he own you?”
“Oh, he owns me,” she said, back on firmer ground now they were discussing purely factual matters.
More keys clacked. “Mmm-hmm. You’re being very helpful, ma’am, we’ll have your case resolved in no time at all.”
Despite herself, she smiled. “Thank you.” It was the attitude and the accent, she decided. You couldn’t listen to a man that cheerful and not feel like he was trying to help. And you couldn’t listen to a man with that attitude to his job and not like him. “You know, if you want to leave MindMonitor, we could use you at my company.”
“I’m very flattered, ma’am, but I’ll hold off on discussing that until I know whether or not you’ve got any compulsions to distract investigators built in, alright?”
Brian sailed blithely on while she was trying to decide whether or not that had been an insult. “Has your owner loaned you out or let someone else sample you at all?”
“Certainly not!” The very idea of it. She was his fuckdoll. Nobody else’s. Nobody else deserved to own her. Definitely not her ex.
“Mmm-hmm. And I’m guessing from your tone there that the idea doesn’t excite you?”
Katie paused. That was… not a question she’d expected or an idea she’d really assessed.
Brian gave her time to think. Let the silence drag out while she mulled it over. She took a drink from her coffee.
“I don’t know,” she said at last, very quietly.
“Mmm-hmm.” Another clatter of keys. “Is that you don’t know because you hadn’t thought about it, you don’t know because you’re naturally cautious, or you don’t know because your owner hasn’t told you?”
Hearing the options was a relief. More than it should have been, even. “Because he hasn’t told me,” she said gratefully.
Brian sucked in his breath through his teeth; such a universal sign of a technician unhappy with the job ahead of them she could tell what it was even down the phone line. Which Katie felt a little insulted by, once again; she was just giving him perfectly reasonable answers. How could that be so frustrating? How could it be such a problem?
“Oh-kay,” he said slowly. “Well, ma’am, the good news is that we now know what method he will have used.”
“What do you mean?”
“When your lover, as you call him, decided to turn you into a fuckdoll, we can now confirm how he did it.”
“He did no such thing,” she retorted irritably. “I told you, I’ve always been a fuckdoll.” The odd sharp pain at the front of her head had returned.
“No. Now, I’ve put up with this for quite a while, I’m not prepared to listen forever. You’re talking about David as if he’s done something to me, and it’s simply not true.” She could hear Brian’s mouse clicking on the other end of the line, and decided to take advantage while he was quiet.
“You’re acting like he’s done something wrong and you’re doing it all on behalf of my ex-husband, who frankly might have been better off if he’d realised he had a fuckdoll on his hands and claimed her.“
She picked up her mug of coffee with the other hand. She wasn’t about to drink it any time soon – she had plenty more to say, so no time to drink - but it would be useful to gesture with.
“But he didn’t, instead he signed up for whatever your ridiculous service is, and I can’t help but wonder if it was so he could sabotage my next relationship, and –“
Brian spoke over her loudly, firmly, the first time his tone wasn’t purely friendly and genial. “Rubber baby buggy bumpers.”
Katie’s rant died instantly. Her words seemed to choke in her throat. That spike of pain she’d felt before almost seemed to twist in her head for a second before it abruptly disappeared. She found herself conscious inside a body that seemed paralyzed, mouth open to exclaim.
A strange not-quite-squeak escaped her lips.
“Are you OK there, ma’am?” Brian asked, gentle and polite as he did.
“Yes,” Katie heard herself saying. It didn’t quite feel like her voice.
“Right, well, good.” She could hear him take a moment to recover himself. “Sorry about that. Now, ma’am, I’m going to have to ask that when we continue this conversation, you conduct yourself politely and appropriately, and you bear in mind I am trying to help you.”
“Yes,” she again heard herself say. Of course Brian was trying to help. It was appropriate for her to give him the chance.
She’d let him realise he was wrong in his own time, because, after all, David had nothing to do with her being a fuckdoll, so his suspicions were completely unjustified. He’d realise that soon.
“I’m just glad he didn’t try re-setting that trigger off the default setting,” Brian remarked, which made no sense whatsoever.
Katie waited. Now she’d had a few moments to get over the shock of this frozen paralysis, she was finding it oddly comforting. It wasn’t quite like those times David told her what she thought about thinks or how she felt about them, but it had something of the same reassuring lack of control.
Too much of her working day was spent having to exert tight control over everything. Being able to let go was always a pleasure.
David had made that so much easier, and it was even guilt-free, because he knew she was a fuckdoll, he knew sometimes he needed to take control, he knew she felt better being owned, he knew she needed to fuck or suck regularly, he knew sometimes she needed to be told what to spend her money on to make him happy, and he was willing to take on all those burdens – and really, when you got right down to it, it wasn’t like he got anything out of it.
There was muttering on the line. Too quiet to make out more than the occasional word. Katie had a picture of Brian sitting at a computer, headset on, reading a process he wasn’t familiar with before putting it into work.
“Alreet,” he said finally. “Now, ma’am, your name is down on our records as Katherine Warren. But that’s not what you think of as your name. What’s your name?”
“Katie,” she heard herself answer. Which was true, of course. “Katie Doll.”
“…Ah. Right. Because you’re a fuckdoll?”
It was nice to hear Brian starting to understand. He’d realise everything was fine soon. “Yes.”
“Alreet then.” He paused. “Katie Doll, Do Your Thing.”
Katie blinked. She was still on the phone, but her hand was wet from spilling coffee – she didn’t even remember picking the cup up. Her rant died instantly, and the ache at the front of her head died away.
She set her mug down. “I’m so sorry, Brian,” she said. “I’m a little frustrated, but that’s no reason to take it out on you.”
“Yes, well, I do agree, obviously,” he said with a slight chuckle. “But that’s fine. We’re doing pretty well, I think. My next step is to work out the delivery method your owner has used. Or whoever he paid off if he paid someone.”
“Oh, David doesn’t earn very much,” she said. “Not as much as he spends, anyway. I’m sure he couldn’t pay someone for…” She blinked. She wasn’t sure what she could be discussing. She’d always been a fuckdoll. There was no delivery method.
The pain in her head briefly flickered back. But headaches were for the working week. Fuckdolls didn’t get headaches.
The contradiction there was starting to bother her. But the more it bothered her, the deeper the headache.
“Have you been spending much on your owner, ma’am?”
“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “A thousand a week or so. The occasional treat.” Saying it out loud, it was clear she’d spent far too much on him, and the ache in her head grew stronger.
“I’d say he could have paid someone by loan, ma’am. And you being a CFO, like I say, we should’ve had you as a high risk target.”
I’m not a CEO this late on a Friday, she wanted to say. I’m just a fuckdoll. But she couldn’t bring herself to say it, in case saying it out loud gave her the same not-right feeling that mentioning what she spent on David did.
The only reason he hadn’t been there to intervene tonight is because she’d paid for him to have a holiday in the sun.
Katie realised she’d left Brian hanging without an answer. She grunted something, probably not even a word, just to acknowledge his comment. There was a pause.
“Are you in pain, ma’am?”
“Okay. I know what to do about that, at least. Don’t worry. Uh – do I have your consent to directly use your ‘fuckdoll training’ to help you?”
David never asked that. Even thinking it seemed disloyal. The ache in her head intensified.
But she did love being a fuckdoll. It was her natural persona. And it would be so nice to be used.
“Sure,” she said. Maybe a bit of phone sex would ease the pain.
“Katie Doll,” Brian said, “hand me control.” He stretched Doll a little and shortened control, not quite getting them to rhyme.
Katie whimpered. She was a fuckdoll, but she was David’s fuckdoll. He’d earned her. Hadn’t he?
Except that now, the pain in her head was easing. Fuckdolls didn’t get headaches. And now she was in someone’s hands she felt properly like a fuckdoll again.
She switched her phone to speaker and set it down on the table. She took a quick drink of her coffee and reached up to free her long brown hair from the workaday bun. Her hands weaved their way into her hair as it began to spill out; with fingers against her scalp, she shook out her hair, enjoying the feeling of light touch against her scalp, the relief of pressure from the lack of bun, and the sensation of her hair spilling down her back, a familiar presence against her blouse.
“Didn’t change any of the programs,” Brian murmured. Katie wasn’t really listening; she was too busy enjoying that stressless, euphoric buzz that came with… well, with being who and what she was. “At least that makes this easy.”
“Your voice is just as sexy as David’s,” she murmured, mind wandering. “I could listen to you all day.” And then, a little more excitedly. “Do you want to tell me what you want to do to me? I’d really like that…” One hand was now toying with the buttons of her blouse.
“Not right now, Katie Doll,” he said. His voice was still jaunty but a little of the easy cheer in his voice seemed somehow suppressed. But that was okay. He had a fuckdoll. He could be cheered up without any problems.
“If you tell me where you are, I could drive out to meet you after your shift?”
She picked up her phone and snapped a selfie, her blouse wide open to show a lacy bra and provocative eyes over her happy fuckdoll grin. She tried to send it to Brian, but of course he wasn’t on a line that could accept it. That was disappointing.
“That’s… really tempting, ma’am. But I have to work my way through your script first.” There was a pause, as if he sensed she’d stopped listening. “That’s what’s going to make me happy, okay?”
“I can do that!” she exclaimed delightedly. She’d help him figure out how she became a fuckdoll. That was a great idea. It would make him happy.
“That’s great, ma’am.”
“You know, you don’t have to call me that.”
She wasn’t just hearing him hesitate, she could practically feel it. He was so tempted. That was great! If a fuckdoll wasn’t a temptation, what was she?
“Who has control, Katie Doll?” he asked, again twisting the pace of the two words to make them rhyme.
Katie shivered happily. “You do, Mr Brian.”
It was so easy to slide back into fuckdoll behaviours. It still felt so good, too.
“Thank you. So Katie Doll, do you still remember your first memory?”
It was a question that should have felt confusing, but to a fuckdoll’s simple logic it was easy to answer. “Yes, I do!”
She paused for a moment, maybe two heartbeats, listening to see if he’d interrupt. She didn’t want to accidentally speak over him, but she had more she thought she should say.
When Brian didn’t immediately answer she surged on, “It was when I hadn’t been told not to come out at work. I was sat at my computer and I was answering emails, and it was getting hard to concentrate, and then I suddenly realised that was because I was almost done with my week and it was time to stop being a businesswoman and start being a fuckdoll.”
“And that’s the first time Katie Doll thought?”
“Yep.” She was proud of herself for remembering, and just waited for the praise she knew she’d be offered for it.
“Do you remember the screen?” Brian asked after a moment. Katie was a bit upset that he hadn’t praised her, but she was still trying to please him. So she closed her eyes for a moment and concentrated on the memory, which came flooding back. Fuckdoll memories were so much clearer than other memories. So much more vibrant. More fully lived.
“So can you tell me when this was?”
She gave him the date. A Friday, just before the Q1 Financials deadline. She remembered how stressed things had felt before fuckdoll thoughts banished that stress.
It had been so easy to accept her new ideas; they made things so much easier. But it had still taken over a month before she really started to change. Before David approached her, loitering by her BMW in the company car park late on another Friday night.
Before he helped her inaugurate the tradition of fuckdoll weekends and gave her the balance she sorely needed.
“And had anyone but you been near the computer at that time?”
“I don’t know,” she said honestly. “I forgot to lock my door when I stepped out for lunch. I do that sometimes when I’m feeling overloaded.”
“Is that how you felt?” he asked.
“Did your lover know when you’re feeling stressed?”
“He wasn’t my lover then.” Katie paused. “And I get the feeling he won’t be my lover any more soon?” She sounded almost wistful.
“I can’t say that for sure yet, ma’am,” Brian said. “MindMonitor like to think of ourselves as a sex-positive organisation. We just exist to make sure those involved are involved for the right reason. It doesn’t sound like he let you make that choice.”
“You sound really nice right now,” Katie said. “But would you bend me over this table and fuck me if you decided it’s what I wanted?”
Brian wasn’t exactly silent, but he also wasn’t answering. There was enough involuntary noise that Katie was very clear he hadn’t expected that.
She grinned. Fuckdolls liked to give pleasant surprises, and they really loved it if they could sneak good ideas into people’s heads.
She stood up abruptly and shrugged out of her blouse entirely. She felt better to be mostly on display, even if there was nobody to see. As her heels clacked against the kitchen tile, that also made her feel better.
She was exactly who she wanted to be.
“Ma’am, if you could answer my question?”
Katie pouted, and was briefly glad she wasn’t visible to him. Pouting at being caught out wasn’t the behaviour of a good fuckdoll talking to the man in control of her, even if it was a fun way to keep his interest.
“I think he did,” she said. “We were all stressed that time of year. He didn’t know me properly yet, but I think he could guess.”
“And would he have had any reason to be annoyed with you, ma’am?”
Katie paused. Even as a fuckdoll, you couldn’t hear a question like that and not realise what the implication was. But it was one she’d never thought about.
The itch of the ache at the front of her head came back, but it was a shadow of its former self. It wasn’t getting in the way of her thinking about this stuff at all.
And with that realisation it seemed to vanish entirely. It was like retrieving the businesswoman’s brain alongside the fuckdoll’s libido and empathy.
“I don’t think so,” she said, her tone thoughtful. “He’d have had to be a flat-out woman hater, I think. We didn’t argue. He worked for me, technically, but we barely saw each other.”
She paused again, thinking it through. “I think we usually smiled when we crossed paths? I always try to smile when I see staff I don’t know. It feels like the right thing to do. I mean, they’re getting paid much less.”
Katie flushed. She tried not to get bogged down in justifying herself. It was unproductive.
She didn’t want to be thinking like this. She wanted to think like a fuckdoll.
“OK. So it’s purely for personal gain.”
“Yeah,” Katie said, and there was a moroseness to her tone that clearly told Brian he’d pursued this line too far.
“I’m sorry to have had to take you through that, ma’am. Why he did what he did matters a lot to how we might proceed, because it affects what sort of long-term plans might already be in play.”
“I… yeah.” She paused. “Um, Mr Brian? I know you’re in control…?” She couldn’t ask for something for herself, and this wasn’t something she could frame as being for him. So she couldn’t actually say ‘but’. Instead, she got as close as she could, and hoped the silence would do the rest.
“What do you want?” he asked. And Katie bit her lip, frustrated. She still couldn’t ask for something for herself. Now she had to stop herself blurting something sexual out that he might believe.
She balled her hands into fists, squeezing tight with the effort of not just offering to drive up to Newcastle for his use. And she could still feel the urge building, the question unanswered and needing one, the impulsive drive to potentially wreck her future by answering the question.
Brian tutted. “Hang on,” he said. “What’s on your mind?”
Thank Mr Brian, her mind supplied in response to her plea for an appropriate prayer of gratitude.
“I don’t think I want to not be a fuckdoll.”
“A fuckdoll or his fuckdoll?”
“Not his. Probably not yours, sorry!” She waited a few moments, still taking pleasure in his obvious sudden flustered behaviour as a good fuckdoll should.
“That’s fine, Katie. You understand we’re going to need to suspend that to check?”
“Oh, yes. But I just want to be a safe fuckdoll, with someone who deserves it.”
There was a much longer pause. She couldn’t even hear his keyboard clattering away.
“Mr Brian?” she asked, eventually, after – well, however long it was.
“Sorry, Katie pet, I’m just checking something,” he replied. He had a particular kind of abstracted tone, and Katie had a sudden very clear impression of someone trying to carry on a conversation while reading.
She pictured him sat at a desk, a huge bundle of papers held together by a huge bulldog clip, checking through text.
That was the sort of concentration a fuckdoll could respect. If she was there (and being there would be so good, she could definitely persuade him to use her if she was there) she might offer a shoulder rub. As it was, she just sat and waited for him to complete his checks.
“Okay, pet. You might qualify for a program we have. But I need to check a thing or two first, alreet?”
“Sure!” she said. He sounded hopeful. He was hard not to trust. And fuckdolls were basically optimistic people. So this all sounded good. She’d qualify for the program and whatever it was, life would be great, and-
Brian said something, and for the first time since she’d started imprinting into the mind around her, Katie had nothing to do with what was going on in its body or brain.
The transition away had been so abrupt, so quick, that if Katie Doll had been removed after Brian had made its checks, her end would have been on a moment of total optimism, a last burst of happiness.
When Katie became aware again, though, her situation had changed. She was standing in front of her bedroom mirror, nude, an outfit in each hand; a sleek black floor-length Power Dress and a combination of a tight, well-tailored green satin waistcoat vest and lighter green short skirt. On the bed beside her she could see a pack with a pair of tights lying ready.
Katie Doll knew it had been two months since she’d last been aware. She was deeply sorry for her original self, having to last all that time without really knowing how to blow off steam.
She had a decision to make before she got into the car she knew was waiting. Ahead of her was an event organised by MindMonitor, where women who’d elected to dump their corruptor and keep their programming would meet with a selection of men, each of whom had done something that flagged them as ‘deserving’.
In fact, it was saying she wanted someone who deserved her that triggered the protocol. Like many other customer support jockeys, Brian had certain phrases he had to answer to.
(She couldn’t help but think that made him very like a fuckdoll in one way.)
So which dress would it be? What version of Katie Doll would speed-date potential owners?
She bit her lip, considering, but eventually went with the waistcoat vest and skirt. She looped her favourite ‘power suit’ belt around her waist; she wanted it to be clear the whole woman was part of the package, not just the fuckdoll.
She descended the stairs to the waiting car.
The ballroom was neatly organised, with dozens of two-person tables set up. Katie Doll had a few moments to appreciate the absurdity of the process, but she could also understand why MindMonitor did it this way – there weren’t many options.
Some of the men she could see, standing there looking much more awkward and ill-at-ease than the women, were gorgeous, stunningly handsome or strikingly built; some had smiles that Katie Doll wanted to go weak at the knees for. Some were bulkier but carried it with confidence and swagger.
Others had little going for them physically, though many of these were among the chattier of the men, seeming more at ease in conversation.
Some knew how to dress to impress; others, from the look of the value on display, might know or might simply have someone whose job it was to know and to put that knowledge to work for them. And others wore their clothing more casually, their outfits not statements except perhaps “I’m comfortable”.
The women around Katie Doll, her fellow restored victims of one conditioning approach or another, were mostly stunning physical specimens. For all her confidence in her own looks, Katie was aware she was far from the prize catch in this crowd, but she felt she stood out from the others who’d been tampered with for their money and their success.
But all of them had chosen to keep some of their programming, and all of them were friendly as a result.
Katie had barely met any of them (except for one business rival, with whom she’d shared an excited squeal of recognition and a hug of sympathy – they finally had something in common) but felt like a sister to them all.
As the event began, the camaraderie with the other women remained the most notable thing. Katie Doll was sure that she’d be taking many new friendships home with her, and that even included some of the men, but none of them were quite what she wanted.
As she moved from table to table she met the rich, the handsome, the genius, the charitable, and combinations of them all. There were a few she could submit to. But none she was sure she wanted to.
Not until five tables from the end.
He wasn’t bad looking at all; clean shaven, he’d obviously spent a lot of time on his hair and he’d picked out his best shirt, but somehow they both still seemed rumbled, and genial eyes sparkled in a face that bore the marks of long frustration.
He wasn’t exactly what Katie Doll wanted, but she was keeping an open mind. That might actually be the greatest gift she’d received from all this.
And he was the next on her list, so she sat down, and she smiled her smile, warm, genuine, open, and honest, and she said “Hi! You can call me Katie.”
She watched him blink and go from a casual sitting position to bolt upright. “Katie?” he asked in a broad Geordie accent.
“Mr Brian?” she squeaked. “What are you doing here?”
“They sometimes pick someone who’s been doing well to send along to these things. But this is – I didn’t intend, I mean, I didn’t mean to-“
She reached out and covered his hand with hers. “It’s OK, Mr Brian,” she said with a smile. “Sometimes you just need to let your doll lead.
She watched him swallow, then nod. “Aye, pet. I think I’d like that.”