Wayne wondered how long he could continue like this. Looking into Sandrine’s pale olive eyes, he didn’t know how he could stop.
As he lit the candle on the cafe table between them, he paused to admire her features in the match’s firelight. One hundred years before she would’ve been lovely.
In 2092, an age of cosmetic nano-reconstruction and remotely controlled drone bodies, Sandrine was plain. Forty years before, nanotechnology made body modification cheap and painless. The perfect body was attainable by anyone. Antlers and feathers followed, replacing tattoos as fashion statements. Drone bodies made the situation worse. They were indistinguishable from real humans, all senses perfectly transmitted to the controller in minute detail. People could enjoy an active sex life from home without the dangers of it. These were the most perfect bodies of all.
Wayne didn’t care about all that. Sandrine was perfect in his eyes.
They’d been meeting at Ankara Cafe for months. Situated beside the bay, the sounds of the surf soothed the soul and the smells of fresh Turkish food inspired the palette. As wonderful as these things were, their favorite feature of the location was the Boardwalk. The elite of the City liked to meander there. Wayne and Sandrine liked to observe and talk about them.
“Check her out,” said Sandrine, nodding to a woman in yellow. Literal faerie wings sprouted from her back. Tiny implanted muscles allowed her to control them. “She got those in ’77.”
“Uh uh. They appeared in 2075,” countered Wayne.
“Nah. Look at the the rotational control. Not happening until ’77.”
“Good point. Hey check him out.”
“Long neck and nictitating eyes? That’s old.”
“That guy is freaky.”
“Yeah, antlers and hooves? Meh. That’s a drone. It’s cheating. The controller is probably in a couch on the other side of the City.”
“I know. Then there’s her,” noted Wayne.
“Tufted feather ears?” She snorted.
“Late eighties!” they said together.
Sandrine sighed. “Rest of her is perfection though. Hips, waist, bust all in perfect proportion. Impossible to achieve naturally.”
“I suppose she’s okay,” said Wayne tentatively.
“Stop.” Sandrine rolled her eyes. “I don’t care if you look. She’s scientifically designed to push all your attraction buttons. ”
“Well, yeah, but attraction is more than animal magnetism. And her extreme good looks are a point against her, don’t you think?. It’s too much. When nano-mods are free and drones nearly free then everybody is beautiful. Beauty ceases to be, beauty.”
Sandrine offered a thankful smile. “That explains me, I guess. I never went for body mods because it seems so…pedestrian. Common. If beauty isn’t earned then is it still beauty?” She sipped at her coffee. “Anyway, I hope my physical flaws don’t put you off too much.”
“Smooth talker,” she accused.
“What about me?” Wayne gestured at himself. He knew his flaws precisely: No muscle definition, protruding belly, too much body hair, and a nose not quite straight.
“That’s your beauty, Sweetie. You’re a natural like me. That’s something rare and precious these days.”
They strolled back to her apartment and made love in their casual, playful fashion. Their comfort in each other’s arms couldn’t last, though. Both worked at demanding jobs, and both distracted the other one too much when they were together. Wistfully, Wayne pulled himself away from her wonderful eyes with a last kiss.
At his flat, he removed his clothes and patted his bulbous belly.
He sat in a chair next to a body ensconced in foam.
Discs embedded in the chair glowed blue as the charging cycle began, and Wayne slumped like a stringless marionette.
The body rose up from the padded controller and the eyes opened. Wayne looked out from his natural eyes once again. He looked in the mirror at his own body, sculpted to perfection with nano-mods. He looked down at the drone in its charging station. “It’s the only way she would accept me,” he explained to the unresponsive drone. “For Sandrine, I knew the only perfection is imperfection. That’s why I needed you.”
“I’m gonna tell her,” he told his reflection in the mirror. “She’ll understand. I’m sure she loves me for me, not the body. I’ll admit it all to her tomorrow…maybe next week. Well, soon anyway.”
Sandrine sighed at the drone charging up in her closet. “I’m convinced. Wayne loves me, not just You. I know I said I’d tell him everything last month. This time I will. I promise.”
Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-70/