On Sunday morning, Garrett did not wake up. He did, however, unplug himself from the charging station. He flexed his fingers one by one while examining the power indicator on his palm. There was a slight delay to the action, but nothing to be especially concerned about. Plus he had enough power to last at least a good four days. Some of his skin was starting to fray, he was going to have to get that looked at.
Freddie was sat at the breakfast bar, reading a paper and circling his finger around the lip of a ceramic mug full of coffee. The mug was sky blue, and had the phrase ‘#1 Dadboss!’ painted on both sides in bright red, surprisingly neatly.
“What are you doing?” asked Garrett, as he walked into the kitchen, perching himself on the counter.
“Nothin’ important,” Freddie said, folding up the paper and rubbing the sleep from his eyes, “What about you?”
Garrett shrugged, “I was going to head to the library at some point. But that’s it.” He shrugged again as if that helped emphasise his lack of point.
“Actually then, if you’re heading out, do you mind picking up my suit from the dry cleaners? We’ve got a party to go to in a week or so.”
“Really? What for?”
“Some silly socialite having a celebration about how great they are and why I should give them money or something. But, appearances and all that,” he said, rubbing his temple absentmindedly. A lock of greying hair fell in front of his eye, but he ignored it.
“Do you need me to come? Like, really need me?”
“Well, no, I don’t need you. But it’d be nice. You did say you wanted to get better at the whole uh…social calendar thing, right?”
“Did I say that? I don’t think I said that.”
“And also at lying. You really need to get better at lying.” Garrett pulled a face, broad and exaggerated. “And subtlety.”
“Message received, Freddie,” said Garrett.
Garrett no longer had to obey direct orders but he liked to, given half the chance. He wondered how much of that was out of compulsion and how much was out of choice. He hoped it was mostly the latter. Freddie had a way of speaking that made you feel intensely guilty for not doing what he needed. This was probably how he’d made most of his money. That, and making sure he knew everyone else’s business, even before they knew it. It was hard to resent him for it though.
The dry cleaners was quite a walk away, taking the best part of half an hour. But Garrett enjoyed the walk. He liked to look at people and imagine what they were thinking. Empathy didn’t come naturally to him, but he was working on it. He just liked to keep his distance. There was a logic to that. He was in and out of the shop itself in minutes. Freddie’s name tended to open doors like that.
In fact he’d-
It was at this point that Garrett tripped. This was not usual. He took a second, while lying on the floor, to reflect on his life choices.
“Oh my god, are you alright?!”
Oh no. People.
“Yeah, I’m fine, don’t make a fuss, please. I’m alright.”
He felt someone grasping under his arms and hoisting him to his feet. He made an attempt at some kind of apology, but he couldn’t find the processing power, so it came out as a useless stammer.
“There you- oh. Oh!”
Garrett turned his head to look at his rescuer. It was a young woman, with bright eyes, clad in a minty green dress. She was carrying a heavy looking, striped pastel-coloured box which had a swatch of fabric peeking out from the side. She blinked at him, taking him in.
Garrett did not look like a human, thus it was hard to mistake him for anything but a synthetic. But he had just enough in common with them to make most people feel a little uncomfortable. The fact that he had civilian clothes and was usually seen walking around unaccompanied made even more people uncomfortable. He’d long ago stopped counting the times he’d been threatened with scrapping, or worse. And then the overly friendly ones were worse. They always seemed like they were angling for something, which made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. There were more than a few people who were intensely curious about synthetics. It made his skin crawl, in as much as that was possible.
Usually, it was best to act as inoffensively as possible. He looked at the floor, folding his arms behind his back. The woman looked at him for a few moments more, before kneeling down and picking up the dry cleaning bag.
“Here, you dropped this,” she said as she passed the bag over. Garrett took it from her, forgetting to act inoffensive for a second and stared at her like she’d passed him a lit explosive. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
“It’s not damaged or anything is it? I think I might have bumped you with this,” she indicated the box she was carrying.
“No, it’s not. Thank you.”
“DAHLIA! HURRY UP!”
Someone else was at the end of the corridor, waving frantically. Dahlia looked to the source of the noise and sighed.
“Alright then. You have a nice day now, yeah?” And with that she set off at a light jog. “I’m coming, alright?!”
Garrett stared after her for a minute, before turning on his heels and heading back to home. Freddie was going to want to hear about this.