“I said turn left,” Chelsey snapped, rolling her eyes at Sloot. “I thought androids were supposed to be smart, but you don’t even know your left from your right?”
“I’m sorry,” Sloot apologized “I have trouble hearing you over the music. It’s rather loud.”
She scowled. “The customers like the music we play.”
“Of course. Pleasing humans is the most important thing,” Sloot said cheerfully.
I moved closer. “I like that shirt on you. Not everyone can wear yellow, but it suits you, Sloot.”
He beamed. “Yeah?” He smoothed his hands down the front of the button down shirt. “It feels very nice against my skin too.”
“Pfft.” Chelsey laughed. “Skin? You don’t have skin.”
Sloot hesitated. “True.” He flicked his worried gaze to mine. “I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, Eric. I know that I’m not human and that I don’t have skin.”
“I’m not offended.” I gritted my teeth. I really wanted to chastise Chelsey, but felt uncomfortable taking an android’s side against a human. After all, she wasn’t doing anything too horrible. She was just being a bit rude.
Sloot went back into the dressing room and I pulled Chelsey aside. “Thank you for all your help today,” I said.
She smiled. “Of course, it’s my pleasure.”
I cleared my throat. “I was wondering, do you think perhaps you could be a little bit more polite to Sloot? I know he’s an android and all, but he’s very nice and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”
She laughed. “Feelings?”
“Well…” I grimaced, “He notices when people aren’t nice to him.”
She wrinkled her brow. “So what? He’s a machine.”
I opened my mouth to argue, but she was right. Technically, Sloot didn’t have feelings that could be hurt. “You’re not wrong, it would simply make my shopping experience more pleasant if you were nice to him. I’ll probably spend more if I’m having a great time.” I forced a smile, hoping the promise of her getting a bigger commission might encourage her to change her tune toward Sloot.
Pink touched her cheeks and irritation shifted through her vapid gaze, but she plastered on a polite smile. “Of course. Naturally I want you to have a wonderful experience here at Jordan’s Fashion.”
“I appreciate your cooperation. I just got him yesterday, and I want things to go smoothly between us.”
“I realize he’s just a machine, but he really is a very pleasant companion so far.”
“I understand, sir. I’ll try harder.” She stiffened as Sloot came out of the dressing room wearing another shirt. She seemed to brace herself, and then she said cheerfully, “Now that looks amazing. Wow, you can really pull off just about any color, can’t you?”
Sloot hesitated as if he noticed the change in her. He glanced around as if he thought perhaps she was talking to someone else. But then he gave a tentative smile and looked at himself in the mirror. “My factory coloring does seem to complement many different color palettes. I suppose that’s because an XP30 must be aesthetically pleasing to its owner.”
Chelsey’s laugh was a bit forced. “It seems your… creator thought of everything.”
“Oh, yes, he was a very wise man.” Sloot’s tone was reverent.
“Er… yes.” Chelsey gave a strained smile.
Whether she resented my request or not, from that point on, Chelsey was much nicer to Sloot. I was so relieved at her change, I ended up spending far more than I’d intended. But Sloot looked so damn happy, it was impossible not to feel joy just watching him.
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