Joshua sadly turned around, so that he faced the wall. The shaven headed executive went into the kitchen and pulled a tub of pasta and ham salad from the fridge, then sat down to eat in front of the TV, flipping through channels as he picked at his snack. He was woken up sometime later by the chime on his door sounding. Forgetting about Joshua still standing quietly in the corner he buzzed his visitor in.
Joey walked in through the door, stopping suddenly at the sight of a stranger staring at the wall. Justin choked and said loudly, “Joshua, don’t worry about the stain, I can’t see it really . Why don’t you go into my room and get changed. There must be something in my closet that will fit you.”
Confused the android opted not to question his owner, choosing instead to do as he had been asked.
Joey’s mouth dropped open as Joshua gave him a small smile as he walked past and disappeared into the bedroom. “Who is that?”
“Joshua, he’s staying with me for a bit.” Justin inclined his head towards the kitchen, beckoning Joey to follow.
“Lancers said he was a dish, but I didn’t believe him. So are you and he?” Joey made a rude sign with his fingers, miming the act of fucking.
“Do you mind if him and me?” He made the same crude gesture again.
“YES. Keep your hands off him ok.” Justin tossed his friend a beer, cracking one open for himself. “Anyway what you doing here? I thought the get together was at Lance’s tonight.”
“Yeah well the blond bombshell wanted me to make sure you brought Josh with you. He seems pretty smitten. I can see why.”
“And what does Chris say about Lance’s new obsession?”
Joey chuckled, “he’s totally intrigued. You know what Chris is like, he still fancies himself as some sort of psychologist. He’s dying to meet Josh and see just what it is that has his boyfriend so captivated.”
“Well he’s going to be disappointed because Joshua isn’t coming.”
Joey frowned “why the hell not?”
“He doesn’t want to.”
Just then Joshua came into the kitchen. He had changed into a pair of red leather, low-slung pants and a black wifebeater. Both Justin and Joey forgot how to breathe.
“Is this okay?” he asked as he turned slowly letting both men drink in his appearance.
“You … you look …” Joey stammered over his words and took a step closer, intending to stand as close to the beautiful man as he could.
“Joshua, come here honey.” The android immediately stepped into the circle of Justin’s open arms and nuzzled into him.
Joey frowned and seemed ready to say something but Justin cut him off. “ Joshua is staying with me Joe, I’m thinking of applying for a licence for us.”
A slow smile spread over Joey’s face. “I knew you were lying to me, you and him are fucking!”
Joshua lifted his head and faced the big man. “Not yet but hopefully soon.”
Joey whooped and slapped Justin on the back, knocking the breath out of him. “You got to persuade him to come now. I can’t wait to see the guys faces when they find out.”
Justin groaned knowing that there was no way out. “Okay Joshua will come.”
He couldn’t stop the sigh that escaped his lips as Joshua nuzzled back into his neck and whispered. “I bet you come first.”
Joey and Lance weren’t the only ones that found Joshua attractive. Chris almost fell off his chair in his hurry to stand up when Justin walked his android into the room.
“Hello.” Joshua said shyly.
“Hi, I’m Chris.” the short brunette stared appreciatively until Lance slapped him across the back of the head.
“Glad you could make it Josh. Can I get you a drink?” Lance walked over to the bottle of scotch that was sitting on the side and poured a large drink for everyone.
“Not for me thank you. I don’t drink.”
Three sets of raised eyebrows looked at Justin. “Lets go through to the dining room,” Chris suggested leading the way.
No one mentioned the fact that Joshua’s meal sat untouched before him. Choosing instead to respect his privacy and figuring he had his reasons.
“So Joey tells me that you and Justin are applying for a licence.”
Justin shot an evil look at Joey. Wishing that he hadn’t had his little fit of jealousy and told the little white lie.
“It’s early days. I don’t think Justin is ready for a relationship with me yet.” Joshua met the dark blue eyes of his owner, breaking the contact quickly as his programming told him to take it slowly.
“Chris and me want a licence but we’d never be given one. Chris is nine years older than me.” Lance clasped his lover’s hand possessively as he spoke sadly.
Joshua accessed his files. “Have you thought about doing service? It guarantees you a licence when you want one.”
The table went silent. Joey stood up, his chair clattering to the tiled floor as he strode out of the room, his big shoulders shaking.
“Don’t talk about things you know nothing about.” Joshua shrank in his seat as Justin verbally attacked him.
“I’m sorry. I just meant that it was a good way of getting …”
“I said shut up Joshua.” Justin’s eyes blazed with fury. “Joey knows all about service and what it does for you. It rips out your heart and leaves you broken into a million pieces.”
The android replayed the conversation in his head, not knowing what he had done or said that had ruined the evening for everyone. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly, he felt a tingling in his optics, and made a note to check them out when he got home. He lowered his head and twisted his napkin between his fingers knowing that Justin was still glaring at him angrily.
“Don’t shout at him.” Chris’ voice of reason soothed the androids shattered confidence. “He didn’t know Joey’s history.” The brunette took hold of Joshua’s hand, stroking the back of his hand with his thumb. “Joey did three years service, it tore him apart . He has five children that he’s not allowed to see; and when he became so depressed that he tried to kill himself, they made him do another two years.”
Joshua looked to the door where Joey had disappeared through. “I should say I’m sorry to him.” He stood up, pausing, his head hung in sorrow. “I’m sorry I upset you all. Sorry Justin, I didn’t mean to make you mad.”
“Stay away from him Joshua,” Justin warned.
“But I should say …”
“I said stay away from him.” The tingling in the androids optics burned even more. Joshua’s lip trembled and he ducked his head lower and ran out of the kitchen and into the garden.
Lance sat chewing his lip, his fingers entwined tightly with his illicit boyfriends. “That was really harsh Jup.”
Justin marched over to where Chris’ brandy bottle sat on the kitchen worktop and poured himself a large shot, swallowing it down before slamming his glass down in temper. “Just drop it okay.” He had made up his mind he was taking the android back to Mantronics first thing in the morning.
Joshua sat on the old wooden swing, rocking back and forth, his head leaning against the rope.
“Are you okay Josh?” The android jumped not hearing Joey come up behind him. He jumped off the swing and started to go back to the house but was stopped by Joey’s firm grip.
“Justin said I had to stay away from you. I’m sorry I upset you.” He pulled at his arm but the big man held on tight.
“Do you know what they do to you in service?”
Joshua accessed his files. “Yes.”
“Then you should know that it’s the worse thing that can happen to you.”
“I don’t understand, Justin said you have five children. Don’t you get happiness from them?”
Joey laughed out loud. “If I knew them maybe I would. But they were ripped from my arms the second they were born.”
“Why didn’t you claim them?”
“Yeah like they’d let me,” Joey said bitterly.
“Of course they would let you. They are your children. They only take them from you till you leave service so that you won’t be worn out by caring for them.”
Joey ‘s hand tightened around Joshua’s wrist. “What? You don’t know that, you are lying.”
“Why would I lie Joe?” Joshua said softly. He accessed his files deeper searching for Joey’s rights as a citizen. “If you voluntarily do service for more than one year all children that you produce may be claimed at the end of your tour of duty. Even the children you had during your second tour may be claimed by you because you were already a fully contributing citizen.” Joshua paused letting the big man absorb this new information for a moment. “You also have the right to your licence Joe. Not just a genetically compatible licence either. You can have an open licence. Non revocable. You have the right to have any man you want and the government can’t stop you.”
Joey sunk to his knees, his face hidden in his massive hands. “Is it true?” he looked up at the android, his eyes filled with tears. “Can I take my children back?”
Joshua nodded. “If you have a computer terminal I can access I can prove it.”
His hand was snatched up and suddenly he was running, dragged along by Joey. As they burst into the living room Justin leaped to his feet, grabbing Joshua roughly by his shoulder, his face black with anger. “I told you to stay away from him!”
“Get off him Justin. If what he just told me is true.” Joey pulled Joshua over to the computer, pushing him down in the chair. “The password is sexified.”
The brunette android started typing his nimble fingers flying over the key board, his eyes fixed on the screen in front of him. He turned the screen so that Joey could read it more easily and then started chewing his nails, hoping that he hadn’t upset him further.
Joey started to cry, his fist stuffed into his mouth to stop himself from crying aloud. “Where are they Josh?”
The androids fingers moved rapidly across the keys once more. A gasp escaped from the big mans lips. “They are just two miles away! Justin my kids are just down the road.”
Joshua patted the big hand that was squeezing his shoulder hard. “Shall I make the call or do you want to do it?”
“I can do it.”
“Do you know what to say?”
Joey nodded. “Why didn’t they tell me. I could have saved all these years of heartache.”
Joshua scanned his files. “Its on the contract. It’s up to you to read it.”
“What’s going on?” Justin hissed.
Joey picked up the phone, tears streaming down his face. “Joshua just got me back my boys.”
“Wanna explain what that was all about?” Justin snapped as he manhandled Joshua through the door to his apartment.
“I … I just. Don’t be mad with me Justin please. I just wanted to help.”
He closed his eyes as Justin fisted his shirt, pulling him close, shuddering when Justin’s hand stroked softly over his cheek. “Thank you.” He trailed his thumb over Joshua’s bottom lip. “What is it about you?” Joshua leaned forward resting his forehead against that of his owners looking up into his eyes a gentle smile on his lips. Justin’s breathing increased as they stood holding hands. “Why do you have to be so beautiful Josh? His eyes drifted closed as their lips touched, barely a feathers touch to start, making the young executive groan deep inside his chest. Unable to resist a moment longer he crushed his lips to the androids, pushing his tongue inside the willing mouth moving against his. Joshua’s aroma filled his nostrils. “What is that smell about you? It’s so … erotic. What is it?”
“It’s me, just me. Pheromones.”
“I’m what used to be called a Sexbot Justin. I excrete pheromones so that I will be more attractive to my owner.”
Justin pulled away.
“I just ruined it didn’t I?” Joshua walked away sadly and leaned his forehead against the cool glass of the window. He leaned back instinctively as Justin’s arms enveloped him. He sighed softly as Justin’s lips and teeth scraped his neck.
“You didn’t ruin it darling. It’s me that’s being the fool. You are what you are Josh. You can’t help but be what your program dictates to you.”
“But you hate what I am.”
“I hate that I want you. I hate that other men want you. That you would give yourself to them over me if they asked you to.”
Joshua never spoke straight away, he tried to access his program for the answer to why he couldn’t say no to anyone else. “There are gaps.” He craned his neck and looked worriedly at the man holding him tightly. “Do you think I am faulty?” he asked. “Maybe my program has been damaged. There are holes. Big holes. Why didn’t I notice this before?”
“I knew my sweet. Richardson told me about the missing data. Its not important.”
“What if its what I need to make you love me?” Joshua’s eyes brimmed with artificial tears and Justin’s heart melted.
“You don’t need the missing data to make me love you.” He turned the android in his arms till they stood chest to chest. ”I want to make love to you Joshua. Come to my bed?”
Justin caught his breath as a tear rolled down the androids face. He caught it with his finger and licked it. It tasted of salt just like a real tear. “How real are you Joshua?”
He whimpered as the android licked over his lips. “As real as you want me to be,” he whispered softly.