Bithot has regrets.
Bithot sat with Ekurb in Pleasure Centre 44 listening to the band playing. Their partners, Axonia and Arnia, were in the band and were two of the most popular performers on the planet.
Buffer walked over to join them. “Do you want some liquid?” he asked.
“No, we are fine thank you,” Bithot replied. “I see you have recently returned from the planet Earth. Did you check up on Marvin for me while you were there, as I asked you?”
“I did,” Buffer replied. “I saw him killed on a beach in France.”
“What. Why the blog did you not save him?”
“They called it D-Day and there were many deaths. I had already made a male selection by then and was only looking for a female.”
“You knew that he was special to me, the son of Martha.”
“Special.” Buffer said. “ He was so special that you gave up on him and volunteered to take over the Anolaids.”
Ekurb gave Bithot a puzzled look. “But you said.”
“Never mind that, Ekurb. I made a mistake that is all.”
“Bithot admitting to a mistake, now that is a rare thing,” Ekurb said.
"Anyway, as I said, it was too late to save your special human. We had already selected a rescue from the sea so it would not be right to abandon him again."
“Did you find out anything about him before the D-Day event?”
“Only what you know. He was a soldier. Oh, and he had strong thoughts for a female that he was fond of before he died. She was not far away so I checked her for you. See I'm not all bad.”
"I have no interest in her," Bithot said.
"No, well what about the daughter of Marvin that is growing inside of her?"
“A daughter. If Marvin is to have a daughter, then I must find her. I owe it to Martha after letting her down with Marvin. Buffer, you must go to see Jarlut and tell him that we want to change back.”
Buffer shook his head. “I don’t think I will. You wanted to desert the Earth Humans for the smelly Anolaids. There is no way that I am going to go back to them. This conversation ends here.” Buffer stood up and walked off.
Axonia and Arnia walked over after the band had played their last tune of the session. Axonia looked at Bithot. “You look unhappy, Bithot. Not bad news I hope.”
“No, just strain and stress from our tasks.”
“You need some relaxation and more leisure.”
“Come on then, Axonia. Perhaps you are right. Let us go to a pleasure booth.”
Axonia was pleased, welcoming this move forward in their relationship. They had used the booths before on rare occasions but usually prompted by Axonia. This was the first time that Bithot had suggested it.
They entered the booth and sealed themselves in. As they cuddled close a pleasant floral aroma filled the air and the pleasure gas filled the booth. Bithot and Axonia became consumed with intense ecstasy for five minutes until the gas dispersed. They left the booth emotionally and sensually satisfied and made their way back to their friends.
“You both look totally refreshed and glowing,” Ekurb said. “Now you should go to the birth breeder complex.”
“Another time,” Bithot said much to Axonia’s disappointment. “For now, I will just take some liquid.”
Ekurb stood up. “Come on Arnia I feel in the mood as well now. Let us go to a booth.”
Arnia was happy to oblige. “You are getting greedy Ekurb," she said. "This will be the third time today."
When Ekurb and Arnia got back to the table Bithot and Axonia had gone.
“Do you think they have gone to the birth breeder centre after all?” Ekurb said.
“It is about time if they have,” Arnia replied.
Bithot and Axonia arrived at the complex and were guided to the conception hall. They sat at a unit with a bench between them On the bench was a fixed tube and they placed their right hands into the tube and gripped each other. The tube filled with a gel and their hands became fused together. The pair trembled and then began shaking heavily for seconds. The whole process was over in half a minute and the gel dispersed freeing their hands.
“That is it then,” Axonia said. “We will now soon have the first of our offspring.”
“The first of many,” Bithot said. “I am quite happy with it.”
“I feel the same. Let us go and find our friends and give them the news.”
Ekurb and Arnia had guessed that Bithot and Axonia had been to the conception hall and were overjoyed when they learned that they had guessed right.
“Congratulations,” Ekurb said when they returned.
“It was a nice experience and enjoyable,” Bithot said. But it was not at all full of sensual pleasure.”
“It is not supposed to be about sensual pleasure,” Arnia said. “That is the reason for the pleasure booths in here.”
Back on Earth, the war had ended and at the psychiatric hospital, Eleanor was allowed to keep the child as she was certified cured, fit and well, when she gave birth. The recommendations from her sister in Northampton also helped with the decision. But once at home with her other daughters, Eleanor began to resent Anne, the daughter of a man who left her, and an embarrassment to the family. Anne Rigsby grew up in a hostile environment. Rigsby is the surname of her mother, who often reminded her that she didn’t know the surname of her father. As she grew up she felt as if she didn’t fit in; feeling a bit like a Cinderella character.
Her eldest sister, Janet, left home when Anne was six. She vaguely remembered Janet arguing with her mother after telling her that she was going to have a baby. Her mother went wild and started slapping and punching Janet in a mad frenzy while calling names that Anne could only imagine were not nice. It frightened Anne and she ran up to her bedroom and crawled under the bed, fearful that her mother could now start on her. She heard Janet dashing up the stairs to her bedroom, and she heard her sobbing for a long time. The mother began shouting at the other two sisters and Anne decided to get into bed early, feeling afraid to go back downstairs.
As Anne grew up her other two sisters, Joyce and Jaqui, picked on her and she was made to do most of the chores around the house. She also had to run errands to the shop for them and take messages to their friends. If she refused or took too long they would slap her. She only complained to her mother once, when she was twelve. Her mother went into a rage and called her a snivelling, illegitimate, bastard, then hit her and grabbed her hair pulling so hard it made her scream and when the woman let go she hit Anne again for screaming. It was then Anne thought that her mother was not right and there was something seriously wrong in her head. As Anne grew up her mother would slap her for the slightest error. It was as if she were a bird in the wrong nest and she felt as if she didn’t belong.
Anne left school and got a job in a large bakery when she was sixteen. Six months later and just after Christmas, a young lad, George, started work there. Right from the start, Anne began to develop a bit of a crush on him. He smiled at her sometimes and it made her feel good, excited almost. She took every opportunity to speak to him and had an overwhelming desire to kiss him. Besotted, yes you could say she was besotted. He walked up to her as she was leaving work one afternoon.
“All right, Anne,” he said.
All right, she thought. Of course, I am, every time you speak to me. But she didn't get the chance to answer him.
"I hear you are going off to Spain for a holiday soon," he continued.
“I am yeah. My mother won the holiday in a competition. I’m really excited about it." But not as excited as I am talking to you, she thought.
"I bet you are, most people holiday in Margate, Ramsgate, and places like that. Spain, wow. Listen, the fair is in the park at the weekend, do you fancy going on the rides with me?”
Anne thought that she mustn’t sound too excited that he had asked her, even though she was. “I suppose so, yeah. I don't mind going to the fair.”
That was the first of many dates to the pictures or the youth club. Anne had to be very careful not to let her mother or sisters know she was seeing George. She had to tell her mother she was going with some of her old girlfriends from school because her mother had forbidden her to go out with boys.
Three weeks passed like a dream for her. When he kissed it felt so wonderful and she thought that they were truly in love. She did have to stop his wandering hands a few times, of course, but all boys try it on, or so she was told.
They were supposed to go to the pictures and Anne was eager to see him again. When she saw him waiting she hurried over in expectation of a kiss from him and she was not disappointed as she received a short welcoming embrace.
"I love you so much, Anne," he said. "I've never felt like this with anyone before."
I love you, these three words meant so much to her. She felt as if nobody had ever loved her before. "I love you too, George. I think I have since the first time I saw you at the bakery."
George grinned vainly and took hold of her hand. "Come on let's get off."
“What time does the film start?” Anne said.
“We’re not going to the pictures. My parents have gone out and I thought we could sit it and watch a bit of TV together. It will be fantastic for us to be alone together in private.”
She liked the sound of that and looked forward to a romantic kissing session with him. “Okay,” she said, nonchalantly.
All went well at first with both of them having no interest in the TV. Anne was getting highly emotional as their kissing intensified. But then he tried to put his hand up her skirt. She pushed his hand away but he put it back again and she pushed it away again.“Stop it, George,” she said.
“Come on, Anne. We have been going out for weeks. It’s time we were doing it, I am getting all frustrated.”
“I am not doing it. Not yet, with you or anyone else.”
He shoved his hand up under her skirt again, only this time he was very aggressive and reached up to her crotch. It shocked her as this was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. He had annoyed her and after she pulled his hand away she slapped him in a sort of reflex. He hit her back, very hard, and a lot harder than she had hit him and it made her eyes water.
“Are we gonna have sex, or what?”
She held her hand to her stinging face. “No,“ she said, abruptly. "We are not.”
“Well get out then. We're finished.”
“Don't be so stupid. You can’t finish with me just because...”
“I said get out. You're nothing but a prick-teasing slag.”
“How dare you?” She said. "How dare you say that to me." She picked up her coat and dashed from the house. She was fuming. Was that all he wanted? All that, "I love you", bullshit just to get me to have sex with him.
At work, George would not speak to her and gave her dirty looks, and she responded in kind. How could I have been so wrong about him? She thought. She saw him laughing with a few of the men and they kept glancing over at her. Maybe they were not talking about her, but it looked to her that they were.
It was earlier in the year when her mother had won the seven-day holiday in a weekly magazine. A day before they were due to go to Spain Anne got home from work and as soon as she walked in got a stern look from her mother.
Think you’re clever, do you?” she said.
“What?” Anne replied.
“Your sister Joyce has been talking to a boy called George from the bakery. He told her that you have been having regular sexual intercourse with him."
“That’s a lie, that’s a bare-faced lie,” Anne said.
“Why would he say that then, eh? Just like Janet you are becoming a dirty whore. An embarrassment.”
“Honestly, please believe me we have not been doing anything like that. He tried but I stopped him.”
So you admit you have been going out with a boy and lying about it, and after all you have been told? Now you have been ruined.”
Anne wanted to argue the point but knew that if she did try it would make her mother angrier than she already was.
“Tomorrow we are going to Spain for our holiday, but as punishment, you are going to Northampton to stay with your aunt.“
"Please, please, Mum let me go on holiday. He’s lying. He's lying just to get me into trouble.”
"Someone's lying." She began screaming at Anne. “Get out of my sight. Get out of my sight and up to your room.”
Anne knew she must go up to her room right away because she knew if she didn’t, she would get a beating from her mother.
Anne had never had a proper holiday. She had even got a passport ready for the trip. She was almost sure her mother would let her go on the holiday. The next day, however, she was sent to her aunt’s in Northampton and they went to Spain without her. Anne was greatly disappointed at not going to Spain, but she enjoyed the week with her aunt who had always treated her well. When the time came for her to return home she arrived back in London but had decided to leave home. That night they were boasting about what a wonderful time they had in Spain. Anne went up to her room and packed some things into a carrier bag and hid it under her bed.
The next morning, Anne got up to leave early but Joyce was already up. Anne walked along the passage to the front door unaware that her sister was following behind her.
"And where do you think you're going?" Joyce said.
Anne turned around and punched Joyce in the face. Joyce fell back onto the floor screaming. It must have shocked her at how hard Anne had hit her, but it shocked Anne even more. She had never hit anyone like that before. She dashed from the house aware that Joyce’s scream's would bring the rest of the family down. She got to the bus stop and caught the first bus that came along. She didn’t care where the bus was going, she just wanted to get away before her mother came after her.