From the day I was born, up to the day that he died, my father, Dr. William James Norwington, had never told me the reason why. He merely said "You're different and I'm doing all this for you." whenever I would ask him why he would always sit in his study and not come out. And when he did, it was either for meals or a meeting. Without giving me any further explanation, he would return to his work while I was left to do what I want. Ultimately, that had led to his untimely death with reasons unknown. My mother, Aubrey De Sonta passed away shortly after giving birth to me.
At the age of twenty, three years after the passing of William James Norwington, did I learn that I had contracted a disease ever since the day that I was born and every year, I had to do a medical check-up every year at a medical facility called ‘The Sphere’ ever since birth but would not recall anything about it apart from the medication which they had me on. A very rare disease, was all they told me, that would slowly cause my body parts and organs to deteriorate and stop functioning, the older I grew. This disease has yet to find a cure due to its rarity. Only now, did I understand what my father had meant all those years ago, what he was trying to do. In an attempt to save me he had dedicated his entire life’s work, doing tons of research and working on a treatment for me.
"Mary Jane Norwington! Pay attention when I am talking to you, young lady. You do know the seriousness of this, do you not? I will just make it clear for you. If you do not get a job to pay off that rent soon enough, we will be forced to take actions against you to settle the payment." Mrs. Norris of the housing rental said as she sat behind a desk in her office. She spoke with an accent which I did not recognized with much formality and the glasses resting slightly on the tip of her nose reminds me somewhat of my mother who would put on her glasses in the same way whenever she would read something. I had been summoned earlier that day into her office to resolve the outstanding amount that had been accumulated over the past few months.
"Just... give me some more time." I pleaded with her.
"You have one week. That's the most I can give you. After that, I will not be able to delay them any further." Mrs. Norris answered. "Mary." she called out to me just as I was about to stepped through the doorway. "No. Its nothing. Remember, one week." she said before she returned to her workload piled on her desk.
I exited her office with the sun shining directly onto my face, thinking about how I was going to get so much cash in such a short period of time. I had only been in there for half an hour but whenever I was in there, it felt like I was in there for hours. Without looking where I was going, I bumped into him (or more likely that it was him whom had bumped into me), Leo Di'mitri, and that was the first time when we met. He was on a bike that had nearly crashed headlong into me. He hurriedly got off the bike, apologizing to me all the while as he tried to help me up. I ignored him as I picked the last of my things from the ground before I struggled to my feet. I stumbled around for a few steps before I landed back onto the ground. He held out his hand towards me but I hit it away with my left underhand as I was not thinking clearly and angered that he wasn’t looking at where he was going although I too, was partly at fault as well. He however, remained persistent with his hand outstretch towards me.
“Here, let me help you get a doctor.” he said while giving me an honest smile. He had large green eyes with double eyelids and a rosy cheek to match that pink mouth of his. With a middle built and a little on the masculine side adding a slight tan to him, it created a look that makes him astoundingly gorgeous.
“You have done quite enough.” I told him coldly without even considering the sincere help which he was offering. I had to look for another way to get more cash faster and not waste any more time with this person. That was the only thought that I had on my mind at that time as I struggled to my feet without accepting any help from him, at the same time, my head produced a slight throbbing pain which I ignored.
“How long do you think you can go on like that, with that sprain in your ankle?” he asked.
“Who do you think you are? A doctor? Why don’t you just leave me alone?” I tried to tell him off and when he continued to hover behind, following me (stalking more like it), I scowled.
“No, but I know of one who is so good, she can patch you up easily real fast. Her name is Nikki Sandreas. I will feel better if you at least let her take a look at your injury. Then and only then, will I leave you alone.” he answered. I continued on, ignoring him as I felt a feeling of dizziness swept over me. I steadied myself before walking again. “Let me help you. I will even send you there with my bike.” he doesn’t seem like he was about to give up.
“Fine! If that is the only way I can get rid of you.” I answered him. That was when the throbbing pain and dizziness in my head finally got to me and I passed out. The doctor, Nikki Sandreas, was the one attending to me when I awoke and it was she whom had advised me to stay in there for a couple of days so that they are able to monitor my condition. “How long have I been out?” I asked frantically, looking around for any signs to tell the time. When I couldn’t find any, I looked out the window to see the sun in midday position.
“A couple of hours. Luckily, Leo was able to bring you here in the nick of time. Any later and you would have been in a much more critical situation by now.” she told me.
“Leo? Who is that?” I asked.
“He’s waiting outside. I will tell him that you are awake now.” she said reaching the door of the room.
“But I don’t have any money to pay for all this.” I told her but she just smiled and told me not to worry about that as the bill has already been settled. He came in about ten minutes after the doctor has left, the same person who had been following me before I passed out. “You again? Didn’t you tell me that you will leave me alone once I see a doctor?” I questioned.
“Whoa! Still angry about the accident? You sure know how to hold a grudge, Miss Grudgy, and to think I brought you something nice.” he said with a grin as he reach for my hand and placed a kiss on it. Astonished by what was happening, I quickly withdrew my hand from him forcefully as he revealed a cylindrical styrofoam box from behind his back. There were many thoughts going through my mind at that time but I managed to calm myself down. “The food here ain’t that great so I took the liberty to sneak this in for you.” he went on explaining, putting the box down directly in front of me. “Go ahead. There’s no poison in it.” He told me as he removed the lid where a chocolate brownie remained seated inside, totally intact.
“It’s not like you have not tried to kill me before.” I answered. “It’s a joke.” I told him when he remained silent. “Thank you, Leo.” I said with much gratitude.
“You’re welcome although, I don’t recall mentioning my name to you.”
“But you did mention it to the nurse, didn’t you?”
“Oh yeah, I guess I did. Ha.” he gave a short laugh. “All right then, Miss Grudgy.”
“Eww. That’s a horrible name. Don’t call me that.” I told him as I gave him a disgusted look. “My name is Mary.” He just laughed. “Why are you being so nice to me? I mean we hardly even know each other.” I asked after he had stopped laughing.
“I caused your injury so I am responsible for you until you are fully recovered.” he answered with a smile, one that was rather genuine. I returned his smile and started on the chocolate brownie. I had never eaten anything this fancy before (Hell, I even had a problem with the rent and my family wasn’t exactly well to do. How could I ever afford this?). The soft texture of the brownie was nice and fluffy but what awaited me within the brownie was a soothing flow of sweet warm chocolate. There were no words I could use to explain this moment except that it was simply magnificent. “How is it?” he asked.
“I don’t think words are enough to describe this. Where did you buy it from?”
“That bad, huh?” he half-said it with disappointment.
“No, no. I meant it in a good way.” I told him. “So where did you get this from?”
“I made it.” he replied with more confidence then before. A knock at the door caused us to stiffen up. It was three consecutive knocks at one time. “I have to go now but I will be back tomorrow to visit you again.” he assured me as he placed a kiss on my hand again, like how he had done so when he first entered the room, before he left. Though this time, I did not pull back my hand. Instead, I held on to his.
After he had left, I felt so alone in the room. It was the first time I had experienced this kind of feeling even though I had been alone ever since he (you should know who I am referring to by now) passed away. But back then, I had things to worry about such as the rent and "Crap. How am I going to pay for the rent now?" I cried out to myself. As I thought about how to deal with the rent, sleep slowly took over and before I knew it, the sun had rose.
As the first sign of dawn breaks the sky, I climbed out of bed, only to be sprawled onto the floor. I looked at my legs, unable to comprehend why they weren’t responding to my will before I recalled about it (darn illness). I had to get back to ‘The Sphere’ quickly before more of my body parts stop functioning, I thought to myself as I dragged my body across the floor towards where the door was. Just as I reached the door, the door flung open and standing in the doorway were two men in suits. Upon seeing me, they grabbed me, pulling me up to my feet. I struggled against them, fighting them off as they tried to pull me away from my room.
“What do you think you are doing?” I know it was Leo although I wasn’t able to see him.
“Do not fight against us. We are here on orders to take you to ‘The Sphere’ for your yearly check-up.” one of them whispered into my ear as the other placed something over the top of my head, covering my entire face. Once I heard the word ‘Sphere’, I relaxed myself as I allowed them to take me away.
“Mary!” Leo shouted. “What are you doing? Fight them!” his shouts sounded far away. I remained still as I listened to the intense atmosphere that surrounded me. There were angry shouts everywhere and as it heated up, it broke out into a fight. It took a while before the fight subsided. I wasn’t sure how long as I had a bag over my head but as soon as it was over, someone came over to me and slowly begun to undo the bag that was over my head. Its breathing was heavy. As the bag was removed from my head, I was staring into a very shocked, wide-eyed Leo. He wasn’t as delighted as I had hoped he would be upon seeing me. Instead, he stumbled back with what I could only understand as fear. “Who are you? What are you?” he stammered, not taking his eyes off me as if I would devour him at any moment if he did. “What have you done with Mary? Where is she?” he demanded.
“But I am Mary.” I answered him, rather confused especially at the way that he was treating me (unlike how he had treated me the day before), uncertain of what was happening or had happen. He climbed to his feet before he pulled me up to follow him back into the room and into the bathroom. I was shocked at what I was looking at. Instead of my own reflection, a face quite identical to mine was looking back at me however, it was only half. The other half was a metal structure of a skull with wires crisscrossing all over it. No, no, no. This can’t be happening. I thought to myself as tears begun forming in my eyes. Who am I? What am I? Was I even human to begin with? Tears were flowing from my eyes, down my cheeks and onto the floor. And it did not stop there. The tears just kept on coming.
“You’re human. Don't ever doubt yourself. Robots are unable to shed tears.” Leo said as though he could tell what I was thinking but at this point, it wasn’t really that difficult. I could still tell that he was frightened even when he tried so desperately to hid it and not let his emotions show but he remained by my side and to me, that was more than enough as he wrapped his strong arms around me tightly with such warmth while he hummed away at a tune to try and sooth me. We lay on the bed and that moment in itself felt like it could last forever but of course, nothing lasts forever. I learned that the hard way. For, by the time I had woken up again, he was already gone. Learning that I had become what I am, was a lot to take in. Right then and there, I decided that I had to search for Leo (What? He can’t leave without explaining himself to me and he did not even bother to leave me a note.), find out who I was, where I had come from and about the things that had been done to me while I was at ‘The Sphere’ which had probably caused many of my unexplained memory lapses.