Roger Smith selected one of the hourglasses atop his desk, turned it over, and watched as the sand inside it spilled to the bottom. After a few moments Roger leaned back in his chair, ran his fingers through his hair, and sighed. He had been reviewing the list of inquiring clients, and revising the report of the last completed negotiation since this morning. Usually Roger would explain his behavior as dedication to his role as Paradigm City's top negotiator, but truthfully he was nervous because he was taking R. Dorothy Wayneright out to dinner.
Roger continued to stare at the hourglass as his mind drifted away to the murder of Ellen Weight, a client he never had the chance to meet. Soon other young citizens were found murdered with Big O's activation phrase "CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD. YE NOT GUILTY" written beside them in red lipstick. Roger investigated and discovered an incomplete book entitled "Metropolis" that covered some of Paradigm City's history, along with a list that included the murder victims and the initials R-D. Within a short time Roger was struck with memories of a great megadeus war, the destruction of Paradigm City, and strange medical experiments conducted by Gordon Rosewater.
The course of his investigation lead Roger to an abandoned subway tunnel, where he was confronted by R-D, a girl in a red cloak and wielding a gun. Roger was wounded and unable to call Big O or escape on his own. As she moved in for the kill, Roger saw her face, and to his horror it was Dorothy. He didn't run, move, or ask why as she took aim.
And that's when the ground burst open.
A large shadow rocketed upwards, taking Dorothy with it and crushing her against the ceiling. The smoke cleared and sunlight filled the tunnel. Revealing Big O and his temporary pilot.
R. Dorothy Wayneright.
Roger's relief was short-lived. Norman called and informed him of the approaching megadeuses. Roger climbed into Big O's cockpit and with Dorothy's help, marched out to battle.
And then the memories returned. Throwing him into a dream where Paradigm City had no domes and where Roger Smith had never existed. He was a slovenly wanderer, unrecognizable to no one except a strikingly human Dorothy, and the mysterious Angel, this time wearing a military uniform and calling him "major". He slowly began to accept this dream, until Dorothy confronted him and removed all his doubt. Roger awakened and with one strike, destroyed the three megadeuses.
Moments after the battle Roger explained his dream to Dorothy, feeling lightheaded as he did so. He had forgotten about his wound until he felt a sudden pressure on his left arm. Looking down he saw that Dorothy had made a makeshift tourniquet out of his necktie.
For a moment Roger gazed at the android girl. Slowly he reached out and softly brushed his hand across her cheek. His injured arm wrapped around her waist as she stood on her toes.
A stab of pain ran through Roger's arm, instantly making him hold Dorothy closer and deepen the kiss. Roger's heart raced. Not from the pain, but from Dorothy kissing back with enthusiasm.
As much as Roger enjoyed that kiss it had also troubled him. It was ungentlemanly to kiss a lady without first asking her permission, even if she was an android. Soon Roger's mind began to think of a way to apologize and a dinner offer seemed to be the best option. The only question was if the stoic Dorothy would accept.
Yesterday afternoon Roger found Dorothy dusting this very office. He watched her silently at first, working up the courage to ask her to dinner. Finally Roger stepped inside the room and Dorothy stopped her work and stared at him.
"Ah...hello, Dorothy," Roger muttered.
"Hello, Roger." Dorothy said in her impassive tone.
"I see that you're busy dusting."
"Cleaning this mansion is the only way I can repay the negotiating service that you rendered."
"Ah...yes. But it must bother you being stuck inside all day."
"I don't always stay inside," Dorothy said as she walked over to a bookshelf. "I often shop for groceries and oil. I also go outside to help with your negotiations. Most especially with your last one."
Roger blushed, grateful that Dorothy couldn't see him. "Yes, but I was wondering if you would like to go out to dinner tomorrow night."
Dorothy spun around, but she still had that stoic expression.
"It wouldn't be a bother if that's what you're concerned with," Roger explained. "Norman wouldn't mind a night out of the kitchen, and I could use a night out myself."
"If I accept your offer, must I wear this dress? I know your house rule about wearing black, but does it also apply to our date?"
"R. Dorothy Wayneright!" Roger shouted. "This is not a date!"
"When you first spoke to me, you muttered. Then beads of sweat formed on your brow. Now you've asked me to go with you to dinner tomorrow, and when you believed I would refuse you tried to convince me otherwise. I'm an android, Roger, but I know that you've asked me out on a date."
Roger stammered with his attempts of protest, and he threw up a hand in defeat as he turned and began to walk out of the room. "Fine. Call it what you like."
"Roger." Dorothy said.
He stopped and looked at her.
"I accept your offer. Thank you."
Roger's eyes widened. He had been so concerned over what to say that he never thought Dorothy would accept, but he thanked her and left the room.
Roger separated himself from these memories just in time to see the last grains of sand slip into the bottom of the hourglass. Opening his day planner he checked to see that his eight o'clock was penned for the Four Seasons Restaurant. Even though Roger made the reservation the minute Dorothy accepted his offer, it would've been difficult for a wealthy citizen to secure one at such short notice, but being Paradigm City's top negotiator wasn't without its privileges.
Roger glanced at his watch. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. In a few hours he'd be taking Dorothy out. His mouth suddenly felt dry and he began to perspire again. Roger wiped his brow with a handkerchief and rose to get a drink from his liquor cabinet upstairs. He grinned when he reminded himself to take only one drink. Dorothy wouldn't want to be seen in public with a drunk. A louse would be acceptable, but a drunk would be where she drew the line.
By 7:00 Roger stood in front of his bedroom mirror in a fresh suit of his trademark black clothes. Taking an expensive bottle of cologne he sprayed a small amount on his neck, then he buttoned his shirt collar and knotted his distinctive necktie. Roger clasped on his wristwatch and wiped the watch face with a sheet of Kleenex. 'I don't suppose you can stay quiet for one night?' he muttered before pulling his cuff over the wristwatch. After buttoning his coat and combing his hair, Roger walked into the living room.
His dedicated butler, Norman Burg, greeted him with a simple bow. But Roger knew that Norman was enjoying watching him squirm like a child who had lost track of his lies.
"Good evening, sir. I see that you're ready for your special night."
Roger grumbled and slipped on his black leather gloves. "Norman, is Dorothy ready?"
"I haven't seen Ms. Dorothy since she went into her room, but I'm certain that she's not ready to leave just yet. You know how much time ladies take to prepare when they're going on a date with a young gentleman."
Roger grumbled again and considered making Norman overhaul Big O tomorrow.
A lithe figure entered the living room. "Roger, I'm ready for our date."
Roger looked at Dorothy and gasped. She was wearing the red dress, stockings, and headband that she wore to the Nightingale all those months ago. A pink rose was pinned to the dress' collar, black opera gloves covered her arms, and black pearls encircled her neck. But what caught Roger's eyes was Dorothy's beautiful face with a touch of rouge on her cheeks. It made her look like a life sized porcelain doll.
"So I see," Roger said quietly.
Roger opened the closet, took out Dorothy's red overcoat and held it open for her to slip into. Roger then put on his black overcoat and they both stepped into the elevator.
Norman waved as the elevator's gate closed. "Goodbye, Sir. Ms. Dorothy. I trust you both will have a pleasant evening."
Roger grumbled again as the elevator descended to the garage.
The Griffon pulled into a garage. Roger sealed his extraordinary automobile and he and Dorothy proceeded to walk the short distance to the Four Seasons Restaurant. As they stepped onto the crowded street Dorothy slipped her arm around Roger's. He was startled at first but smiled. Roger found he was enjoying these rare moments of having Dorothy so close, and the sudden thought that she felt likewise made him study her.
Dorothy simply stared ahead, her expression unchanging. Roger decided to stop guessing Dorothy's possible emotions and enjoy having her against him once again.
After checking in their overcoats, Roger and Dorothy stood in the lobby of the Four Seasons. Roger was familiar with the establishment, but he doubted the eccentric Timothy Wayneright ever took his natural daughter here. Meaning that the android Dorothy would have no memory of it.
"Well, Dorothy. What do you think of the Four Seasons?"
Dorothy was silent for a moment. "It's charming. But truthfully, it's no different from the other restaurants in Paradigm City."
Roger huffed. "That's a harsh thing to say. This is the most renowned restaurant in the city."
"Take away its acclaim, and you're left with only a restaurant," Dorothy said. "Perhaps it matters when you're human."
The maitre d looked up from his reservation book and smiled at Roger. "Good evening, sir. May I help you?"
"Yes. Roger Smith. Reservation for two."
Roger and Dorothy were led into the Pool Room, a popular dining area with a marble pool in the center. Lush trees that represented summer appeared to be canopies inside the dimly lit room. To their left was a floor length window that offered a view of Paradigm City and several of its illuminated domes. Orchestral music was playing over the P.A. system. Uniformed waiters brought trays laden with various dishes from the kitchen to the wealthy and influential patrons.
There was an empty table across the room and Roger helped Dorothy into a chair. Sitting opposite her, Roger realized he was studying the android girl instead of reading the menu. The dim lighting made her ivory skin glow. Auburn hair perfectly framed her beautiful, rouge-tinted face. A trace of lipstick glossed her thin lips. Dark eyes gave the impression of gentleness. Roger returned to his menu, never noticing that Dorothy was now studying him.
"Good evening, sir. Ma'am. Are you both ready to order?"
Roger closed his menu and placed it beside the wine list. "Yes. We'll have a bottle of Bordeaux wine. For an appetizer I'll have the Tuna Sashimi Ravioli, and for dinner the Dover Sole."
The waiter scribbled Roger's order onto his notepad. "Very good, sir. And you, ma'am?
Dorothy closed her menu. "I'll have the same order, please."
The waiter left and Roger shook his head. "Dorothy, you're supposed to order whatever meal you want. It's not like the dining schedule at home."
"I understand, Roger. But I'd rather have the same meal you ordered so our dining tradition remains unbroken."
"And since when did you become so adamant about maintaining tradition?"
"Since you explained to me the difference between tradition and rules. They shouldn't dictate our actions, but we are more faithful to traditions than we are to rules. That's because traditions are pleasing whereas rule are repugnant."
Roger suppressed the urge to protest and rearranged the placement of the table condiments. He knew Dorothy was mocking his rules again, but he decided to ignore it and let her win this round. A moment later Roger rearranged the table condiments a second time when he remembered his many losses.
The waiter returned with the Bordeaux wine. Roger uncorked it and poured two glasses.
"I'd like to propose a toast," Roger said with a glass raised.
"To whom or to what?" Dorothy asked.
"To Timothy Wayneright. A very skilled craftsman."
They chimed glasses.
Early into dinner Roger glanced up from his plate to watch Dorothy dine gracefully. It was a departure from the imitating approach she used ever since entering his household. The first time Roger saw Dorothy acting so expressively was with her father at the Nightingale. She had been happy that night, smiling, laughing, and even looking bashful when he asked her to sing. Then there was her brief time with the kitten, Pero. Dorothy had become more expressive around the mansion and protective of the mysterious animal. Roger took a sip of wine and wondered if Dorothy was happy now. It was likely her cheerfulness at the Nightingale was reserved for her father, and her contact with Pero awakened some memories of the human Dorothy. After they died Roger believed she'd never act so expressively again, but now he wondered if Dorothy could show these emotions whenever she wanted. Emotions, unlike memories, can never be forgotten.
"I want you to be happy," Roger whispered unwittingly.
"I know, Roger." Dorothy said.
Roger went pale. "I beg your pardon?"
"You said that you want me to be happy. I've known that ever since I asked for your protection. And although I'm an android, unable to pay your fee, you completed your negotiations. You're a louse, but you're also a gentleman, Roger Smith."
Roger smiled. "Thank you, Dorothy."
"You're welcome, Roger."
"So, are you happy?"
"I am tonight. You've taken me on a date to what you say is the best restaurant in Paradigm City. I wouldn't know if that's true, but you've always learned all you could about a subject before you acted. You wanted tonight to be special for me, Roger. And for that I'm happy."
Roger returned to his dinner and chewed on a morsel. "Well, I do want you to be happy, but truthfully that's not the reason why I asked you to dinner."
Dorothy nonchalantly sipped her glass of wine. "What else could be the reason?"
"I've been thinking a lot about the kiss I gave you. As a gentleman it was wrong for me to do that without asking your permission. Dorothy, you're not just a member of my household, you're also a lady. I shouldn't of taken advantage of you. I hoped that by inviting you to dinner, I could apologize for that breach of civility."
Dorothy stared at Roger for a moment.
"Roger, that's the same as saying you wanted me to be happy."
Roger placed his utensils on the table and waved his hands. "Wait. Wait. I do want you to be happy, but I wanted to apologize!"
"You have nothing to apologize for, Roger. I enjoyed that kiss."
Roger froze. "You...you did?"
Dorothy remained stoic. "Have you forgotten that I let you draw me into your embrace? That I kissed you back? It was an odd, but pleasurable experience."
Roger chuckled nervously. "Well, why didn't you tell me? I've been a nervous wreck."
"Would you have preferred that I swooned? Don't ruin our date by changing back into a louse, Roger Smith."
Roger smiled. "I promise to be a gentleman for the rest of the night."
At the end of dinner Roger paid the bill and left a generous tip. He and Dorothy claimed their overcoats and left the Four Seasons. It was now 9:40 and the streets were nearly vacant. Roger was putting on his black leather gloves when Dorothy slipped her arm around his again. They stared at each other for a moment before walking towards the garage.
The elevator's gate opened and Roger and Dorothy stepped into the dimly lit penthouse. Roger turned the main lights on while Dorothy walked into the living room.
"Norman isn't here to welcome us home," Dorothy said.
"He probably went to bed," Roger said as he removed his overcoat.
Dorothy stared at Roger. "Or he thought we'd want some privacy when we returned from our date."
Roger nearly dropped his overcoat as he was hanging it inside the closet. "Ah...that's possible. But Norman probably went to bed early because he was tired from repairing Big O."
Dorothy said nothing and unbuttoned her red overcoat. Roger walked towards her and helped her out of it.
"Are you happy, Roger?" Dorothy asked.
The red overcoat dropped from Roger's hands. Dorothy turned around and stared at him.
"Of course I'm happy," Roger said defensively. "What makes you think otherwise?"
"You refuse every opportunity to be happy."
"Roger, when you're not negotiating you stay inside your office with your hourglasses, reports, and journals. You have few friends, and the friends you do have are kept at a distance. But what's most troubling is that you deny our relationship."
"I've heard enough of your accusations, Dorothy!" Roger shouted. "I've never denied our relationship!"
"Then what, in your own words, Roger, is our relationship?"
"It's my responsibility to protect you from those who'd wish to destroy you."
"Then our relationship is just like your rules? There's no chance of it becoming something more?"
"No!" Roger shouted. He then became silent, realizing what he had just said.
"Is that true, Roger?" Dorothy asked. "Do you want us to be more than just a gentleman and his charge?"
Roger sighed and took hold of Dorothy's hand. "I...I don't know. But I'm happy that you insisted on repaying your debt."
Dorothy's free hand came to rest atop Roger's. "Thank you, Roger. For tonight and for those words."
Roger smiled. "Your welcome, Dorothy."
They were silent for a moment, gazing into each other's eyes like they occasionally did on their date.
Roger," Dorothy said. "If you'd like to kiss me...you may."
Roger wrapped his arms around Dorothy's waist and drew her close. Dorothy, with lidded eyes, wrapped her arms around Roger's neck. The instant their lips touched they embraced tightly.
To Roger, the kiss was ever sweet. It felt more passionate than their first kiss. Probably because this time it wasn't an impulsive act on Roger's part but something that both of them wanted.
The kiss was broken and they separated. Dorothy was smiling.
"I've enjoyed our date, Roger."
Roger smiled. "I'm glad that you have, Dorothy. Good night."
"Good night, Roger."
Roger watched as Dorothy walked down the dark hallway towards her room and heard the slight sound of a door open and close. Roger picked up Dorothy's red overcoat, hung it in the closet, turned the main lights off, and walked towards his room.
Roger, still awake despite lying in bed for hours, picked up his watch from the nightstand. It was now two o'clock in the morning. He groaned and fell back with frustration. He needed sleep but he kept thinking of Dorothy and her desire to have a closer relationship.
"Is it possible," Roger thought. "That R. Dorothy Wayneright, an android built by an eccentric scientist to replace his dead daughter...is in love with me?"
After a few minutes of mentally debating the question, Roger placed his right forearm across his brow as if in surrender.
"No. That can't be right. Dorothy was given the memories of a dead girl, so she'd also have the girl's emotional range. The emotions she has for me are simply girlish affection."
Roger sighed and continued to stare at the ceiling, still not finding sleep.
Suddenly a new question sprang into Roger's mind: "Do you love her?"
Roger tossed around in bed as he tried to ignore the question and fall asleep, but it only rang louder inside his mind. Dorothy also reappeared: She removing her blindfold and staring at Roger after negotiating with her kidnappers. Waiting for him inside his mansion to hire him as her protector. Singing at the Nightingale in her resplendent red dress. Awakening as he freed her from the circuits of her big sister, Dorothy 1. Announcing that she would be joining his household because she had a debt to repay. Playing the piano to wake him or to just occupy her time. Returning the kiss he gave her after explaining his dream of a pristine Paradigm City.
Now memories from tonight appeared: Walking through the streets with Dorothy by his side. Their mostly quiet dinner. Dorothy wanting to have a closer relationship. And most especially their second, passionate kiss.
A moment later Roger's mind was clear and he was smiling.
Roger could no longer deny his true feelings for Dorothy. As far back as he could remember with certainty he lived the lonely, shallow life of a millionaire whose only happiness came from piloting Big O in the defense of Paradigm City.
Now here was this android girl who always challenged and corrected him.
"Yes," Roger whispered. "I love R. Dorothy Wayneright."
And with that Roger Smith fell into a deep, comforting sleep.