I never wanted children, not even a little. I never batted an eyelash at the thought, even when I was in my twenties and saw all my closest friends were popping them out one after another. I don’t recall a Sunday the year I was 27 that I wasn’t attending a friend’s baby shower. Even when Edward and I married, neither one of us cared much for the idea. We enjoyed our lives together, and he was in the military, so he was away a lot. The hours and days we spent together were precious, and at the time, I couldn’t even fathom spending time changing diapers or cleaning up after another in that capacity. I’d often watch my friends with their babies and think how lucky I was that I didn’t have to worry about any of that. No babysitters required was the lifestyle I lived and enjoyed it. Edward felt the same, and because he was away for months on end, his most recent stint being in Afghanistan. It was hard being away from him, and adding the stress of children on top of all of that was more than I could handle.

Then it happened, the phone call every military wife dreads. Edward was riding in a truck with two other men when they hit a tripwire, and the vehicle he was in exploded, blowing him and his comrades to bits. There wasn’t even enough of him for a funeral.

It’s funny how one moment we are alive, and then we are just pieces of flesh strung about like feathers in the wind. It gets you thinking about how precious life is and how short. After he died, I went through a long grieving process. I had to take leave from my sales job to learn how to live my life without him forever. When he was stationed somewhere, it was easy because I always knew he would be back but knowing he would never return sharp like a knife in your heart.

A few years passed, and I began dating again, but it was never fun for me. I subconsciously compared every man to Edward. It wasn’t on purpose by any means. It was just that they were too tall, too thin, too stupid, too un-Edward. I took a break from dating, and three years after Edward died, I woke up in a panic at 3 am in the morning. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, looking at myself. I still had the dark hair and hazel eyes that had drawn Edward to me in the first place.

“You have an aura of mystery, and it was hard to escape you.” He once said to me.

I looked at the pale ghost in front of the mirror and wondered where the pretty girl from that tiny town in England had gone. She had hopes and dreams and would spend her weekends in London visiting museums with punk rock hair shaved on one side. Now she was a sad sack staring at herself in the mirror, popping another pill just to get some chemically induced rest. What had I to show for my life? What had Edward to show for it? What would be my legacy here on this planet?

That is when I realized with a crushing blow to my ego that I desired children. The wanting need became hard to break free from once I knew it was what I wanted. I had just turned 36 on my last birthday. I was older for sure, but why now? What hadn’t the desire hit me when Edward was still here, and I was in my roaring twenties?

Tears fell from my face as I thought about it. My time to conceive would be limited due to my age, so if I were to wait around much longer, my chances would be next to zero.

I made my decision to go about conception the traditional way. I started to date again, only this time, I used my marketing skills to market myself in a way that would attract as many suitors as possible. I started with online dating instead of getting introduced to mutual acquaintances my friends knew. The first man that took me on a date was Nigel. He was a funny man with a small business near Lowestoft. I was attracted to him immediately and felt that he and I could get serious relatively fast.

We went on two more dates following our first encounter, but on the third date, just as we were just finishing up our dinner, where you think you will be making eggs and serving them naked with mimosas, he says the most awful thing.

“You know, before we go any further, I want you to know that I am a sexual offender. It isn’t what it sounds like. I was 26, and she was 15 at the time. I thought she was older. She certainly looked it, but she lied to me because she was lying to her roommate. She was working at a bar and had run away from home. We were dating for a while, but then her mum saw her on the street with me, and next thing I know, she’s living at home again with her parents, and I’m in jail trying to put together the pieces.”

You had to be joking, I thought to myself. I bid him goodnight and promptly deleted his telephone number from my contact list and blocked him for good measure.

The bad online dating didn’t stop there, and more ridiculous encounters followed suit until I just gave up and decided to go the non-traditional method and try artificial insemination. It wasn’t ideal, but a man or no man, I wanted a child.

Once I completed a series of tests such as blood, fertility, and tissue samples, I was given the green-light to move forward.

I made my appointment on a Tuesday at a clinic, and as I sat in front of the doctor, he eyed me up and down before finally speaking.

“You don’t smoke?”


“You are under 40?”


The doctor seemed very serious as he looked over his charts and then began to go over the test results once again. After about three separate IVF trials, I was provided a pregnancy test and learned that I was not pregnant. I was disappointed, and now is the third time, I was now going to be responsible for paying for additional treatments not already part of my medical plan.

This could get expensive, and as I sat on the train headed home from the city, I looked out the window, thinking of Edward and how much I missed him right now.

Just then, as fate would have it, I just happened to be scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when a Clinical research advertisement popped up.


I nearly jumped up out of my seat, and when I got off the train, I went straight home and called the number.

I spoke to a nice woman who set me up an appointment to meet with a research assistant at Dulce Laboratories. I had never heard of it, but I arrived on time, and I sat in the small waiting room. It was a posh little office with white floors and glass walls. On the secretary’s desk was an enormous purple orchid. She was beautiful and dressed in very nice clothing. I could tell they must have been Gucci because I owned the knock-off version of the very same blouse.

I was nervous and could feel my hands sweating as I fumbled around and bit my nails. The secretary got a phone call on her tiny headset and then smiled at me. “Dr. Renee will see you now.”

She took me to an office at the far end of a long hallway that smelled like bleach, and then when I went in, I faced a short friendly woman with a large smile on her round face.

“Hi, I am Dr. Renee Randall, and please won’t you sit down. It is a pleasure to meet you, Jacqueline.”

“Likewise,” I said, smiling at the short, dark-haired doctor who could be my savior.

“Tell me about yourself, Jacqueline.”

“Well, I’m 36, widowed, going on three years now. I have been through IVF therapies in the past, and they did not work.”

“What made you decide to contact us?”

“Hope, I guess. I was hoping you could help me. After all, what do I have to lose?”

She smiled, nodding, and then handed me a form to fill out.

“Everything will be kept anonymous because this is a trial, so your name will not be listed in the research, only the results of the trial. We will need to complete a background check, blood, tissue tests, and fertility testing. One other thing we need you to consent to is that psychiatric evaluations will also be required throughout. We will require a letter of recommendation from someone close to you. We will also require you to sign a non-disclosure and provide at least three additional references. Once all these requirements have been met, we will take your information to our board and decide whether you will be one of our participants. We also screen the donors to ensure they are disease-free.”

I held the form in my hand, feeling suddenly very overwhelmed by all of this. I wondered what sort of trial this would be, considering all the extra testing and references required. I agreed to all the additional work. Once I had completed all the tests, provided the authorities and the letter of recommendations made by my good friend, Laura, I was a nervous wreck waiting on them to decide whether I would be a participant.

I was at the park the day I got the call I had been waiting on with my best friend Laura, who was sitting on the blanket in front of me while her two young sons played in the mud.

“Why on earth would anyone purposely do this?” she laughed at her sons as they seemed to get dirtier by the second.

“Oh, I don’t know. I think you have a pretty nice gig here.” I said, smiling at her.

“You know motherhood is amazing, but it has its downside. There are days I want to hang myself from the rafters in my attic.”

I shook my head, laughing at her. “You don’t mean that.”

Just then, her youngest son came over and tackled her putting mud all over her neck and white blouse. “Hey!”

“Look, mommy, at my finger prints. Now you have them on you!” he laughed.

“Do you see what I mean?” she looked at me. “Boys, why don’t you go play on the swings now.”

Her sons ran away, completely ignoring her as they went toward where they had just come and begun throwing mud at each other.

I chuckled at Laura as she tried to get the mud off her shirt. “My children aren’t human; I’m convinced of it. I blame their father’s gene pool.”

We laughed, and as we sat there, I got a call on my cellular.

“I think it is the research clinic,” I said, staring at Laura in a panic.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Answer the damn thing! Your future of being a mother to little monsters awaits you!” she said with a silly look on her face.


“Jacqueline Dunkirk?”

“Yes, speaking.”

“Dr. Renee Randall here. I just wanted to let you know that you have been selected to participate in the fertility trial.”

“Oh my god! That is wonderful news!”

Laura looked at me and put her arm around me, joining in my excitement.

“Congratulations, Jacqueline. There will be a package delivered in three to seven days with the fertility device inside and instructions on what to do with it. You will be given 12 weeks to complete the trial, which is three different ovulation periods. Please if you have any questions at all please phone our office. However, Everything should be self-explanatory.”

I got off the telephone with Dr. Randall and looked at Laura as tears fell down my face. I was so excited, and Laura matched my excitement with hers as she hugged me.

The package took longer than expected to arrive when I was ready to contact Dr. Randall and ask her if they had changed their minds. Laura was over having tea with me the afternoon the delivery came. There was no warning, just a loud knock at my door that startled me, and it caused me almost to drop my cup of tea I was holding.

Laura and I both looked at one another, and I went to the front door to see who it was. I opened the door to a young man wearing black sunglasses so you could barely catch his face. “Ma’am, are you Jacqueline Dunkirk?”


“Please sign here.”

I signed for the package, and then the man who had the large crate on a dolly wheeled it past both myself and Laura. We looked at one another as the man bid us goodbye and walked out my front door, and got into a large black delivery truck with tinted windows so you could not see inside.

I shut the door and then looked at the large crate, which was a bit taller than my icebox.

“Is that your package?” asked Laura

I went over to the box, and on the side, it had a red marking that said Product of Dulce Laboratories World Wide. “Yes, it looks like,” I said, confused.

“Jesus, whatever is in that thing is as big as my two in one laundry unit.” She smirked at me.

I shot Laura a look, rolling my eyes. I tried to open the crate, but there was no latch to pull. “I think I am going to need a crowbar.”

“Oh! I think Reggie has one in his toolbox he keeps in the back of my trunk!”

I nodded, and she ran to her car to get it. When she came back, we used the crowbar to tug at the door for what seemed ages, and then we got the door off it. We both stood back in amazement.

“Holy shit, Jackie.”

“Is this for real?”

Laura busted out laughing then. “They sent you a sex doll then?”

I scowled at the Thought as I looked at it. Inside the tall crate was a tall, muscular, tan, dark hair and eyes. His skin was very human-like, not like a plastic doll at all. He looked soft to the touch, but I dare not touch it. I was a bit creeped out by his lifelike appearance. He wore only white boxers, and the front of his body was covered in a very sheer plastic wrapping, and I slowly removed it to find that he was stored in a gel-like substance the consistency of one of those air fresheners. Around his large neck was a set of instructions. I took them in my hand, and then Laura and I both looked at them.

Laura grabbed them from me and read them aloud. “Hello, my name is George. To activate me, you will need to press the button at the small of my back. Only you will be able to activate me with the use of your fingerprint.”

“Oh no!” I said to Laura grabbing the instructions from her. “This is too much. I’m calling that doctor right now to give her a piece of my mind.”

Laura looked at me, concerned. “Are you sure? You mean you don’t want to see what it is all about even a little bit?”

Tears began to stream down my face, and Laura nodded, taking it as her cue to leave me alone. After Laura left my house, I pulled out my phone to call Dr. Randall using the direct line she provided.

“Doctor Renee Randall here.”

“Hello, Doctor, this is Jackie Dunkirk phoning you. Your package arrived about fifteen minutes ago. I honestly don’t know what to say. Is this a joke?”

“NO! Not at all. Have you activated George yet?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Jackie, please don’t be alarmed. This is the trial. He is a robot that specializes in acting like a real partner. He has a pre-programmed simulation to be a gentle and loving partner through the reproductive process. He is one of our prototypes based on our research done in numerous controlled environments and through the use of psychological testing. He is designed to be an IVF device that is more personal. Through our research, we have found that most women don’t conceive in an unloving environment. Nor do they often conceive in the impersonal IVF procedures most clinics currently use. You see, most mothers need a loving environment and a support system, and through doing this trial, you will help others exactly like you.”

“This is madness! How does it even work?”

“He will learn your routines and help you that way; he will be the man that you need. He is your perfect mate during this process.”

“Oh my god!” I said, trying to grasp the concept of what was going on.

“You see, most of our research that has been done in prisons worldwide have proven that human beings need love from before conception till after. Just keep George for a few days, and if it isn’t working, we can deactivate him from our central office, and one of our men will come and pick him up. Isn’t this what you wanted Jackie is a child to call your very own? What if George can offer that to you?”

I looked at the man in the box with the closed eyes, and after a long pause, I made up my mind to try.

I followed the instructions and pressed my index finger to the tiny box feature on the small of his lower back. Within seconds I heard a beeping sound, and then this thing took a deep breath and opened its eyes.

I backed away from it, and he stared at me intently for a second, blinked twice, and then smiled a friendly little smile at me. “Hello, Jackie. I am George. It is very nice to meet you.” his voice was deep but soft and unthreatening.

I stood watching him waiting for him to do something, and then he moved to bend over and detach a wire that was wrapped around his ankle. He stepped out of the tall crate, walked over to me, and held out his large hand.

I just looked up at him and couldn’t say anything. I just stood in shock.

“Please don’t be afraid. I can tell your pulse is raised, and your brow is sweating. Perhaps you could use a drink?” He eyes the room, and without having ever been to my home before, he walked towards my liquor cabinet and opened it. He poured me a drink in a glass and added ice to it from my freezer. He handed it to me, smiling, and I began to laugh uncontrollably.

“You are in shock. Here drink up.”

I took a sip, and my hand shook, and then I chugged the remaining whiskey. He took the glass from me and laughed. He actually laughed as though she were a human being.

I looked up at him, and I had to admit to even myself he was gorgeous. He was tall and protective looking, but there was something about his dark brown eyes. They were warm, almost lifelike that I couldn’t explain. They glistened with a reddish hue and appeared thoughtful.

I found myself slowly relaxing around him and found that he caught on very quickly to my routine. When I went to work, he had my coffee ready at precisely the time I needed it. My clothes were pressed and hung, and my house was spotless. He was my very own robot maid service.

Days passed, and nothing happened between us that would make you ever think that his entire purpose of being created was to help create human life. We played chess, and I got used to him. It was nice to have someone around after being alone for the last three years.

Then one evening I had just came home from work when it happened. George was waiting by the front door, watching me intently as he opened it for me.

“Hello, George. You’re looking a bit serious.” I joked, considering he was a robot.

“It is time.”

“Time for what?” I was genuinely confused.

“For me to help you conceive a child. Your body told me this morning you were nearing ovulation. Your Temperature is raised as well, and we only have a short window of opportunity. Won’t you join me in the bedroom?”

I felt like I was going to faint. “George, I think perhaps I need to prepare for this fully.”

“I understand, but it has already been two weeks, and you only get three trials with me.”

I was genuinely nervous and found myself stumbling over my words. “I need a moment to think.”

“Perhaps you could use a drink.” He smiled at me.

“That too,” I said, looking at him.

“Why don’t you just relax. Do you like music?”

“Love it.”

Just then, my Alexa began to play soft jazz music on a volume not too loud or too soft. He had a drink in his hand faster than I could comprehend him preparing it.

“Would you like to dance? Perhaps we could move to the music a bit so you can get used to touching me.”

I took a swig of my drink and a deep breath. He moved the hair from my face tucking it behind my ears, and then gently placed his left hand around my hips, and in his right hand, he took my hand and began to dance slowly. This was odd even for me, but the alcohol had started to take effect, and before I knew it, this robot was kissing me gently on the lips.

Somewhere between dancing and he’s kissing me, it happened. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t good it was outstanding. The way he moved was unlike any human man I had ever been with. He was sweet, attentive, and romantic. The way he looked at me was like I was the most beautiful woman in the entire universe. The next morning, I awoke to feel awkward in my nakedness. I sat up in bed because I found that George was staring at me with a sort of gentle smile on his face.

“You look embarrassed. Please don’t be. Jackie, you are beautiful.”

Ah, there he said it damn him. It was like he could read my mind.

“How did you know when to arrive?” I asked him awkwardly.

“I’m prepared to hold off until you arrive, and then I do.”

“Yes, but you arrived and already had – you know sperm ready for me. How does it work?”

“Temperature controlled. It is stored in me for up to three months, frozen for the most part until you begin to ovulate then it begins to thaw. I hope I’m not making light of what is a wonderful thing, creating life.”

“No. I was just curious. It is all so bizarre to me.”

“Yes, I can see how you would think so. Would you like me to run you a bath?”

I nodded, and then he prepared my bathwater. It wasn’t too hot, not too cold, just perfect like Everything else he did for me. It was, in a sense, too good to be true.

Laura called later that day to see how I was holding up.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” I told her.

“He sounds like every woman’s fantasy. Want to do lunch later today?”

I agreed, and Laura met me in the late afternoon. When she got to the door, George opened it before I could, and he stood there looking at her. I can’t describe the look on his face, but it was as though he were reading her.

“Hello, I’m George.”

“Yeah, and I’m the queen,” Laura said, dismissive of him, and walked over to me. “He is creepy, isn’t he?”

I rolled my eyes at her, and I noticed George was eyeing only Laura. “Are you sure you should go now? I detect you will be ovulating again in a few hours.”

Laura looked at me and looked back at George. “Bugger off she is going with me.”

I looked at George as Laura pulled me with her out the door. George looked at me like a puppy dog, but I noticed something in his eyes when he looked at Laura. Could it be jealousy? Surely not. He was merely protective of the way Dr. Randall had said he was supposed to be.

The lunch I had with Laura went on longer than I thought, and then it turned into dinner and a few glasses of wine. I knew I shouldn’t, but I needed a break from all the baby-making business. When I arrived home, all the lights were off in my house, and at first, I began to feel frightened that something was wrong. However, when I opened the door, George had lit candles and was standing in the kitchen with a plate of shrimp cocktail and a sweet smile on his face.

“Thought maybe you would be hungry. Did you eat with Laura while you were out?”

I sighed and shook my head. “The shrimp looks delicious. How did you learn to cook and prepare drinks and meals?”

“I’m programmed to know a little bit of everything.”

I smiled, and he came over to me and kissed my cheek. Once again, I found myself in his strong arms, pretending I was unaware he was only a computer on two legs.

The weeks rolled by, and while the first trial did not go the way I had hoped, there was still Hope after our last encounter. I was sitting in my kitchen having a glass of water and some toast when George came in wearing a sweet smile. “I have amazing news. The trial is over. You are pregnant.”

I looked at him puzzled for a moment, and then he walked over to me and pricked my finger. “I have been able to detect the chemical change in your body, and with this tiny blood sample, I will test it to be sure, but you are exactly three weeks along.”

I stood up with tears in my eyes. “Are you sure?”

“I am required to send over the tests to Dr. Randall for her review, but I am positive.”

I was overcome with joy I had never experienced before. The last few weeks seemed to fly by as George, per requirement, remained to help me until he was required to go. It was the last week he would be with me when I noticed a change in George. He seemed a bit sad, and to be honest; I was feeling rather miserable at losing him.

“I don’t want to go, Jackie.”

“I don’t want you to go either, George. I rather like having you here.”

“Perhaps we could see if I can stay on longer.”

I thought about it for a moment, and I welcomed the idea. Being alone when you have a child is bad enough, but if George could stay on and help during the first few months, that would be even better.

I went to see Dr. Randall the next day so that I could ask for an extension.

“No. I am afraid that isn’t possible.”

“Why does he have to go so soon?”

“Twelve weeks is all he was programmed for, Jackie. He must be sent back the way he came, not a moment before or a moment after. Someone will be round next Tuesday to pick him up.” Dr. Randall was stern about it, and her decision was unwavering.

I didn’t want George to go. I broke the news to George when I arrived home, but he was not very happy about it.

“I don’t have to go. Not if you don’t answer the door.”

I looked at George and smiled empathetically. “She said you are only programmed for twelve weeks.”

“But I learn from you, Jackie.”

I nodded in agreement, and he put his arms around me, then holding onto me. It was hard to forget he wasn’t a human being in moments like this. He was so soft, so real!

Tuesday cam and just like Dr. Randall said, someone, came to my house and expected George to be in a nice box just the way he came. To be honest, it felt wrong keeping poor George in a box. We stood by the door, watching to ensure the man left. The man hesitated and then walked away, and off he drove in his all black delivery truck.

George high-fived me, and we had a good laugh. That night George danced with me, and we held each other while I fell asleep on his chest.

The next morning, I awoke expecting George to be in the room next to me. I got out of bed and walked into the kitchen, but there was no sign of George. When I looked around the house, that is when I saw it. Laura was lying in my back yard blood covered my lawn, and the look on George’s face was like nothing I had ever seen. I knew with every fiber of my being she was dead. I wanted to run to her to help her save her, but then he looked up at me. He noticed I was there, and he saw the terror on my face and smiled at me as though he were trying to comfort me.

“Jackie, she came here this morning, and she wasn’t very nice to me when I told her I was staying. She called me a stupid robot, and I tried to tell her I love her. She wouldn’t listen to reason. So, I showed her; I showed her and her smart mouth good, didn’t I?”

I ran from George then and grabbed my phone. I hid in the bathroom, locking the door behind me. My hands shook as I tried to dial the number to Dr. Randall’s office.

I got her voicemail, so I dialed the telephone number provided to me if there was a malfunction with George.

“Hello! Thank you for calling Dulce Laboratories. We are here to help the world become a better place one day at a time.”

“Damn you!” I screamed into the phone, pressing all the options until an operator came on.

“Dulce laboratories, Jenny Speaking.” A pleasant voice said to me.

“I need help. I need it now!”

“What seems to be the issue?”

“My robot is trying to kill me.” I cried into the phone.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, I couldn’t make out what you were saying. Do you have an item number so I can look up your device?”

“Please help me!” I screamed hysterically into the phone.

There was a loud banging on my bathroom door. Then I saw it the hinges on the doors were coming undone.

“Jackie, I did it to help you. To help us.” I heard the door handle jiggle, and then I heard what sounded like an electric drill going in the screws on the door. The bastard was taking off the door one screw after another. I was sure he was going to kill me if he got his hands on me.

My hands shook as I dialed the police. My hands shook as I pressed buttons nine, 9, then before I could hit the last control, I heard a loud explosion. I didn’t know if it were a gun or a bomb going off in my house. I was too frightened to move.

The door opened to my bathroom, and I screamed before I could see who it was.

Two men in black stood over me, and one of them was standing over George. I looked down at the monster and saw he was bleeding. George had blood coming out of him, and it was running into my hallway, and I watched the crimson liquid slowly move towards where I was crouched on my bathroom floor.

I looked up at the men, one of which was on the phone. “Yes, we got him, but there was a casualty. Yes, just like the other one.” He was saying as he walked away.

The other man was eyeing me empathetically and helped me up off the floor. The police never came because Dulce Laboratories came and cleaned up the mess. They cleaned my house, and they even tried their best with Laura. Luckily for both Laura and me, she was not dead. She had suffered a terrible beating but was recovering in the hospital. Dulce made it look like a car accident.

I had so many questions for Dr. Randall I refused to let them go. Finally, after weeks of pressing her office to answer what happened with George, I was granted a meeting.

“First, I need you to sign this non-disclosure form before I tell you the truth. We have to be sure that no one will ever find out about what happened.”

She held out the form, and I signed my name quickly and then shoved it back into her face.

“Let me apologize for what happened with George.”

“I don’t understand. I thought you said he was to be protective, comforting, helpful.”

“George was programmed for exactly a twelve-week trial. He was made for women like yourself who were of a certain age, single, in need of a kind soul to make them feel good about themselves. Past twelve weeks, we didn’t have a finished script. When you didn’t return George, we didn’t come in guns blazing to take him back. We wanted to see what would happen. Unfortunately, there are still some kinks to work out.”

“He was bleeding. How is that even possible?”

Dr. Randall looked guiltily at me, and then she stood up as though she were trying to find the right words. “That is because he used to be human like you.”

I looked at her, stunned, taking in short breaths to keep myself from freaking out.

“You mean he was human, and that is why he looked so lifelike?”

“In the United States, there are men on death row. Instead of dying and forever being useless, we have allowed some of them to donate their bodies for science. Instead of a formal execution, we rebuilt them and reprogramed their brains using state of the art technology. A computer is living inside of a human being with mechanical parts.”

“You mean George was a criminal?”

“Yes, you the third person to have an encounter with him. So far, you were the lucky ones. All the others had worse incidents with George.”

I sat looking at Dr. Randall in disgust.

“George did seem to have an attachment to you that went far beyond what happened with the others.”

“What was his crime when he was alive?”

“I’d rather not get into specifics.”

“Just tell me!”

“He murdered his wife because she left him. After a restraining order, he stalked her until he found her, and then he stabbed her 83 times.”

“And the other trial patients?”

“I am not at liberty to discuss that with you.”

“My baby?”

“What about it?”

“Should I worry about it? What did you do with George?”

“He was sent back for more intensive reprogramming.”

I stood and walked out of Dr. Randall’s office. I never spoke of what happened to anyone because of legal ramifications.

My daughter was born healthy, and I was happy about that. Laura went on to live an everyday life and never remembered how George nearly beat her to death.

Then it happened. I was in the park with my young daughter and a friend from work when I saw a man with a young woman. He was holding her hand, and then when he stood up, he turned to look at me, still smiling. I sat feeling terrorized as the young man approached my friend and me. The young woman was oblivious as I had once been.

There stood George standing over me, looking at my daughter. “She is quite lovely, isn’t she?” he asked the young woman with him, and she nodded.

“How old?” asked the young woman smiling.

“Six months,” I said, barely able to get it out.

They walked away, and I hoped that he had indeed forgotten me. I stood up to go, and my friend and I had to pass them on the way out of the park. George looked at me, smiling as we went.

“It was really great seeing you again, Jackie.”

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