I leave the mess hall hearing, as I often do, them talking about me. Laughing. They don’t see me as anything more than a kid. Nothing I do seems to change how they see me.
I sigh and head for the only place I feel like an adult, the only place I feel accepted not tolerated.
She meets me as she always does at the hotel’s bar.
Her tight red dress clings to her flawless skin, shimmering under the lights. Her striking ruby red lips curve up as she sees me.
She doesn’t speak. She just walks over, swaying her hips, smiling.
I smile back and take her arm.
Once we are in the room she wraps her arms around my neck, kissing me hard. I hook my arms around her waist, pulling her close to me. After a while she pulls back and tugs off my jacket, unbuttoning my shirt.
In turn I undo the sash at the top of dress and watch as slips down her. She smiles again, facing me as she walks backwards, falling back on the bed. I follow and gently undo the clasp of her lace bra.
She moans as I kiss her neck.
Afterwards we lie together, curled around each other, my arm draped over her stomach. I watch her chest rise and fall.
Here I don’t feel like a kid. I’m not the like an annoying younger brother that they put up with. Here I’m not a timid little Mouse; I’m a man, a lover. They don’t understand when I talk about her. They mistake it for overactive hormones and a dirty mind but it’s so much more. Not love, she’s a program after all, but acceptance and strength.
She turns to face me as her eyes slowly open. I stroke her cheek with my fingers, grinning.
She sees a side of me no-one else sees, no-one imagines exists.
Eventually I get up and dress but she doesn’t move, just lies on her front, legs twirled together, head propped up by hers arms. Watching me silently.
I put my glasses on and go over to re-tie the sash of her dress. She looks as beautiful as when I created her.
Her fingers run down my arm and squeeze my hand. Still she doesn’t speak.
I walk her down to the bar and order her a drink. A martini, as always.
Her fingers caress the stem of the glass and smiles up at me.
“Until next time” She whispers.
“Until then” I agree and lean down to capture her lips one last time.
I awake and once unplugged head straight for the mess hall.
Once again I’m just Mouse. Timid, dirty, little Mouse.
I sit down and imagine I’m still with her as I gulp down goop.
Neo looks down at his bowl in disgust.
I offer him the chance to meet her, to feel how I feel when I’m with her.
I ignore the accusations of being a digital pimp. They don’t understand.
He does though; I see it in his eyes. He knows the feeling but not from a program, from a real woman. He gaze travels to Trinity. Even if it’s one-sided it gives him the strength.
I just smile and say nothing.