“All done. I bet your body feels much better now that I've given it a good cleaning, huh?” the self-proclaimed ‘gorgeous girl genius’ asked as she lifted her goggles and began to stow her candy-pink tool set.
“Yes, thank you. I feel quite refreshed now. You are definitely my go-to person for maintenance.” Her android companion sat up on the table before stretching his arms, taking a moment to get a careful look at his dearest friend. “Thank you for taking such good care of me...these past three years.”
“Hah-hahaha! Damn right! It's about time you showed me some appreciation!”
K1-B0 shifted his gaze to the frigid scene outside. Though he loved the winter with all of its wonderful human festivities, something was nagging at the back of his brain—harddrive. “I do appreciate you. That's why I'm sad I won't be able to ask you for your services anymore.”
The inventor’s stomach clenched as panic began to set in. “Huh? Why the hell not? You sayin' there's someone out there better than me!?”
“N-No, that's not it... It's just...we're all graduating soon.”
Panic turned to frustration. “Fuck graduation! Are you sayin' you don't want me to service you anymore!?”
“I mean...I would love it if someone as skilled as you could perform maintenance on me.” He frowned. Though he didn’t have the words at the time, he knew his feelings for his friend extended beyond the platonic fondness he felt towards many of his other classmates.
Miu raised a finger half-covered by her fingerless gloves. “Then why don't you move in with me!?”
“I mean, I'll help you, but I'm not gonna bust my ass comin' to you to do it, y'know?”
The android stopped to admire the deep, open-mouth smile on the girl’s face. Her smile was among his favorite things in the world. “Yes, of course. I am the one who requires your services, after all.”
“Good! If I'm gettin' my hands dirty, then you gotta make damn sure you know your place!” She produced a hearty, whole-body laugh.
“Then...is it alright of me to ask you to continue servicing me?”
Iruma’s countenance became stern. “You think I'd reject you? I'm the one who likes to be toyed with and rejected, after all!”
Though her tone was harsh, he was deeply touched by her response. “Miu... Thank you so much. I look forward to your care and service in the years to come.”
The ramifications of her offer suddenly dawned on the gorgeous girl genius as she turned bright red. “Y-Yeah, thanks...I'm lookin' forward to it, too.”
She began to panic as she exited the room and headed down the hall. She had just invited her best friend—and not-so-secret crush—to live with her. Not only that, but she had offered a place that didn’t exist! Though she had a bedroom now, her parents were rather non-traditional and subscribed to the philosophy of ‘kick the baby bird out of the nest and hope it flies’. Thus, on her nineteenth birthday they demanded she find her own residence once she finished school.
Her thoughts drifted to that day in November. After a morning of fighting with her parents over having to leave home, she spent most of the day in bitter silence, opening her mouth only to utter a near-silent “Thanks.” to her classmate Kaede who had made her a birthday cupcake. She skipped out on her last class—physical education—and opted instead to stew in her emotions out by one of the many fountains in the courtyard. While sitting there, arms crossed and pouting at the ground, she spotted a familiar metallic figure waltzing over in her direction.
“Good afternoon, Miu! I understand that you wish to be left alone, but Kaede encouraged me to offer you this birthday gift I purchased for you. I can leave it with you and head back inside should you prefer to be without company for now.”
Wordlessly, Miu tore into the laser-precise folded pastel wrapping paper and opened the lid of the cardboard box within. She withdrew a maroon cloth garment of enormous size and gazed at it, tears welling in her eyes.
“It’s a blanket you can wear! Kokichi tells me this is called a ‘Snuggie’ in certain parts of the world. I just observed how you often get cold during these months and I—”
Miu embraced the android with all her might, tears rolling down her face. “You dweeb.”
“My apologies if you do not like the gift. I included the receipt should you—”
“No, you dork! I fuckin’ love it!” she yelled, wiping her eyes with a gloved hand before wrapping it around Keebo once again. He returned the hug in kind and turned on his warming function, hoping to keep her insulated from the little flurries that were just then beginning to fall.
The waving of hands in her face jolted Miu back to reality.
“Earth to perv girl! Anyone there? You’re blocking the stairwell!”
Miu’s eyes darted downward to find the formerly-pint-sized menace that was Hiyoko Saionji standing before her. Slowly reigning in her train of thought, Miu began to prepare an insult towards the girl, but lost interest. She instead pushed the girl aside she spoke, “Sorry, short stuff, I’ve got bigger fish to fry!” With Hiyoko glaring daggers, Miu darted peppily down the stairs.
“I hit my growth spurt last year, you bitch!”
Miu Iruma sat strewn about her ‘inventor’s chair’—a specially-modified office chair with four mechanical arms extending from the sides. At that moment, the two lower arms each carried pints of ice cream—one caramel and one cotton candy. The upper set held spoons and took turns shoveling ice cream into their creator’s mouth. In her lap sat a small tablet, its screen overflowing with tabs of apartment hunting websites. Reruns of old cartoons played idly on several small screens in the back of the room.
“Ah, fuck!” Miu shrieked as she threw her face into her hands. Still haven’t figured out the right rhythm to avoid brain freeze. Pushing away the ice cream-bearing hands, she sat up properly in the chair—a rarity for miss Iruma. Her thoughts began to race. Apartment hunting is bullshit! Everything is either too damn small or costs a fuckin’ arm and a tit! How the hell am I supposed to find something in time?!
As if fate itself had heard her words, Miu’s email tone chimed from at least five devices. Huh ? She sat up and checked the message.
Our board has thoroughly reviewed your patents for the Sleep N’ Serve and Sit N’ Rally devices and we wish to purchase the rights! In this email, we have enclosed our offer for the patents. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Worldwide Ping Pong Corp.”
Miu eagerly tapped the ‘attached file’ link. Her eyes stretched painfully wide as she counted the zeroes on the number offered.
Hot damn! I’m the fuckin’ greatest!
She reviewed the offer once more and realized it wasn’t quite enough to fulfill her fantasy of swimming in a pool full of gold coins—a fantasy courtesy of her repeated viewings of Duck Tales—but she reasoned it was still enough for about a year’s rent in a spacious apartment in the city.
Oh ho ho, Keebs, looks like we won’t be sharing a cardboard box after all!
Reinvigorated, she cracked her knuckles and leaned forward towards her desktop computer.