Ron sighed loudly and glanced at his seemingly sleeping wife. She was lying with her back to him, dismissively, or so it seemed to Ron. How long had it been since they'd last had sex? Four weeks? Five? Surely it couldn't have been six? Now that he thought about it, it was probably even more. It wasn't right. Surely a married man was entitled to a little -
He grabbed his laptop and decided to surf a bit before going to sleep. An ad covering the web browser caught his attention, before he'd had time to click it away. What was that? A sex robot? He had no idea those things even existed. Robots, sure. In industry. His friend Andy had told him about the ones they used where he worked. They looked more or less like garbage cans with a sort of arm that did the work. Ron wasn't too sure about what it looked like. This - was something entirely different. For his stag night, his friends Paul and Greg had bought one of those inflatable dolls. But that was over ten years ago. Apparently, things had moved along in that department.
This robot was called Tori the Sex Goddess and it seemed to Ron that it was a rather fitting name. Those boobs were - and those legs - Suddenly, it occurred to him that this might be just what he and Gina needed to spice up their faltering sex life. Now it occurred to him that that guy at work - what was his name again - Tony - Benny or whatever - had told him about some thing he'd used to start over his sex life with his wife Linda, after he'd had an affair with Tracey at reception. Maybe it was a sex robot? Ron hadn't really listened, because it was just that guy, who was always telling him all kinds of stories about his wild sex escapades and Ron hadn't wanted to listen. Not with his own sex life the way it was. To be honest, he'd been envious. And Linda had apparently not minded at all that Lenny or whatever his name was, had brought a sex doll into his home and the marital bed. If it was true. Ron thought he'd heard Tracey say that Linda had moved out after the affair. Maybe Tom or whatever his name was had been lying about that. But why was he wasting time thinking about those boring people at work? He clicked the link and was brought to a web page that promised untold pleasures with their sex robots. Tori and Jonah. Ron frowned. So they had male robots too? Weird. Did women get turned on by sex robots? Or - ugh - maybe it was gays who did. Oh, well. It was Tori he wanted. He could hardly remember the last time he and Gina had had wild, uninhibited sex. With his hot body it was amazing other women didn't mob him when he was away at the conferences. He had to tell Gina all about it.
Glancing uncertainly over at his wife's shape under the covers, he hesitated. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
"Gina? Are you sleeping?"
There. Of course she wasn't.
"I just want to show you something."
For a moment, he thought she wasn't going to reply again, then slowly, she turned over and studied him coldly.
He handed over his laptop and waited.
Gina perused the page in silence, then snorted and handed back the laptop.
"Now will you let me sleep? I have a yoga class in the morning."
So that was that. Maybe he'd be able to get her to come round when he got back. He'd only be gone for three days.
In the morning, when the alarm went off, he remembered that he'd forgotten to tell Gina about his business trip.
"I'm going away for a few days. I did tell you about that, didn't I?"
Gina put down her coffee cup and stared at him as if she hadn't really looked at him for a long time.
"No, you didn't. We're going to the Haydens on Thursday. When will you be back?"
"Friday night. I'm sorry. I was sure I'd told you about it."
"But you hadn't. I'll have to call the Haydens and cancel. It's the third time this year. They'll be thinking we don't want to see them at all."
Which would be true, Ron thought. He'd rarely met anyone as boring as those two. Christine was into knitting or something like that and Adam was one of those DIY guys, with a garage full of tools. Boring. Clearly it wouldn't be easy to sell Gina the idea of getting the sex robot just yet. But soon, hopefully. And Tracey from reception was going on the trip. If he bought her a couple of drinks before Craig did, maybe they could -
When the door closed behind Ron, Gina put her coffee cup in the sink and went over to the window to watch Ron get into his car and leave. Why on earth had she ever married that loser? It was because her dad hadn't liked him, she now remembered. She had insisted on marrying him anyway, just to show her dad how wrong he was. To begin with it had been so great to live in this house, and back then Ron had been making at lot more than he did now. The crisis had forced everyone to accept a lower pay. She'd lost her own job and now she just hung around the house, bored out of her mind. On top of that, Ron had put on at least ten pounds since their wedding. And had he really been that hairy when they first met? Worst of all, he was balding. No, actually, the worst part was that they had absolutely nothing in common. At least they hadn't had any children. She was sure it was his fault. She was in great shape. That revolting suggestion about the sex robot had really opened her eyes. It was over. That creep could play around with his sex robots as much as he wanted. By the time he got back, she'd be gone.
When she got back from her yoga class, she began packing. No time to waste. When they married, Ron had insisted that she sell her own place and move into this new house, so she didn't really have much that she wanted to keep. It didn't take her long to finish packing. After one last look around their shared bedroom, Ron's laptop caught her eye. He had left it on. What was that URL again? Oh, the browser still showed the same web page. Disgusting. Except that male robot was kind of hot. Amazing. He looked a little like Brad Pitt. Hm. That got her thinking. If Ron really wanted a sex robot, maybe he ought to have one. It could keep him company now that she was leaving.
She marvelled at the price, but Ron could afford it. Considering how little he was spending on vacations, he must have enough.
Quickly, before she had time to change her mind, she clicked the link and put one Jonah the Sex God in the shopping basket. Fortunately, she knew Ron's account number and password. Wow. The order would be delivered within twenty-four hours in a descreet package. Good. At least the neighbours wouldn't be embarrassed. After the purchase went through, she closed the browser window and turned down the lid of the computer. Then she wrote a farewell note and called a taxi.
Three hours later, she was standing outside the home for the elderly, where her grandmother lived.
The woman at the reception desk flashed her a practiced smile.
"Hello. What can I do for you, ma'am?"
"Hello. I'm Gina Morton. I would like to see my grandmother, mrs Wells."
"Oh, how nice. Do you know the way to her room?"
"Yes. Thank you."
Gina tried not to breathe too much through her mouth. This place smelled disgusting. Her married name stuck in her mouth. Hopefully, it wouldn't be long until the divorce was finalized and she could finally leave Ron's name behind. Why hadn't she found the energy to finish their joke of a marriage years ago?
"Hi, gran. How are you?"
"Oh, Gina. I'm so glad to see you. This place is a morgue. Only last week, two people died. And the day before yesterday May Williams had a heart attack. I don't think she'll be back."
"I'm sorry, gran. Would you like to go out for a cup of tea?"
"I'd love to. Just make sure Brenda at reception doesn't see me. She doesn't think I can handle too much excitement. I'm in excellent health, unlike most of the people here. Moving here was a mistake. I should never have left the house."
They continued chatting as they left by the back door.
Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting in a cosy cafe, drinking tea and having sandwiches.
"Gran, do you think I could stay at your house for a while?"
"Of course. It's just standing around empty. Your cousin Jo keeps an eye on it. So, are you leaving that Don now?"
"Ron. And yes, I am."
"I knew it. At last. I never did see what you saw in that man."
"You're right, gran. I was wrong about him. But better late than never."
"Good for you. You can have the house. On one condition. Take me with you. We can leave right away. I don't have much at that awful place. Most of my things are in storage or back at the house."
Gina studied her grandmother thoughtfully. She really was in excellent health and she'd never understood how her active grandmother had come to move into one of those awful places. Of course she'd had that scare with the flu but that was two years ago. She was fine now, and even if she hadn't been, it was her grandmother. They'd manage.
"Great. But let's take your things. If you like you can stay here and I'll go get them."
An hour later, they were on their way out to the house. She'd missed the old place. They didn't build houses like that anymore. She was going to love it there.
When Ron got back from his business trip, he noticed that the house was empty. He didn't think much of it at first, since Gina was always out shopping or doing yoga or visiting friends. Then he caught sight of the note. It was taped to the fridge, otherwise he might have missed it.
She was leaving him? Fine. She could suit herself. He wouldn't beg her to come back. Maybe this was for the best.
He didn't have time to think about her for long anyway, because just as he was sitting down to have a beer and a sandwich, the doorbell rang.
He went to get the door and found a strange man standing outside.
"Ron Morton? Express delivery for you. Sign here, please."
Puzzled, Ron did as he was asked, then watched the guy dump a huge package on his doorstep. He had no idea what it was. The label didn't give much away. So he tugged the huge box into his living room and began to unpack it. The leaflet said - oh, it was that sex robot company. Had Gina ordered that sex robot for him after all? As a sort of going away present? Cool. He'd better get - what was her name again - Tori, yes, that was it - out of the box. It wouldn't be polite to keep the lady waiting.
When the remains of the packaging was lying around him on the living room floor, Ron stared in dismay at his new sex toy. Had there been a mixup? Some gay had ordered Jonah and got Tori instead? Ron couldn't help grinning at that image. What a disappointment for that guy. He wouldn't know what to do with the lovely Tori. Haha. In the morning, he'd have to pack the thing up again, but right now he couldn't be bothered. He'd have that beer and his sandwich and maybe watch something before going to bed.
After zapping between channels he found something rather hot to watch and settled down to enjoy a movie of a kind Gina didn't approve of. Tough. From now on, he was going to watch what he wanted and eat and drink what he wanted. And he'd hang out with anyone he damned well pleased. Gina had never liked his friends. He'd play poker and get drunk and come home in the small hours. Good riddance.
When the movie was over he began to glance curiously at the sex robot. Despite everything, he couldn't help wondering how that thing worked. It had to be pretty much the same way as Tori, right?
If the thing was fully charged he could just - After browsing through the leaflet, he realized it was all extremely easy. Just push the ON button and then use voice commands. Ron grinned at those. Maybe he should - After all, no one needed to know what he got up to in the privacy of his own home.