The first rule of the job was, don’t get attached. But.

It was one-way glass, of course. He knew that, and knew that not only was she unaware of his existence, every hour she spent in the white room removed her awareness of her world, her past, her self.

Her eyes were so green, polished emeralds made supernatural by the flourescent light.

He was just there to monitor. A set of eyes to watch the gauges, a set of hands to fill out the reports. They could probably replace him with a computer, it came right down to it. Every quarter-end he braced himself for an email from Management, asking him to reaffirm his NDA and leave the building immediately.

The shimmer on her perfect lips—when he couldn’t sleep he’d touch himself, thinking of nothing but how soft they were—the programmers kept her made-up, it would help her believe she was a doll instead of a person, but somehow that sticky gloss only made it easier for him to imagine the feel of her breath, warm and quiet, passing over those lips into his ear.

By Week Three he wasn’t even running the test suite, anymore. He just watched her, as dawn crawled towards the night shift, and then submitted the report. He’d written a macro that adjusted the numbers by a random factor based on the average performance metrics of previous subjects. No one had noticed, and it might have been overkill, anyway; he wasn’t convinced anyone read the reports.

As long as a line of brainwashed playthings marched in lock-step out of the white room every month, Management probably didn’t care, anymore.

It was Week Five and she’d been looking over her shoulder “at” him for hours, with that expression, as though caught by surprise. And he knew she’d been told to hold that pose, that it was just part of the Mannequin Segment, but he was the one caught. He kept unconsciously reaching for her, to cup her cheek. To comfort her. To pull her close and say, it’s going to be alright.

The window was smeared with fingerprints, the marks his lips made in their struggle to touch hers. He’d started hiding Windex in his locker.

When he went home and shut the blackout curtains on the sun just cresting the horizon, she shimmered to life, a ghost white and flawless, so close he imagined he could smell her. She stayed and stared until his alarm woke him up. His hiring package had included a document on avoiding attachment to the test subjects. He was required to submit an attestation that he’d read it again every quarter, which he always emailed on time. Bits of the document were still in his shredder basket.

In Week Eight she started the fuckdoll training, moving and speaking and moaning to the empty room as the recordings instructed. By then he’d figured out how to bypass the redundant lock systems. Unlike procedurally-generated progress reports, this would probably be noticed. He didn’t care. Every shift now he could see her in the little dark room with him, her slender body backlit by the white rectangle behind her, rocking up and down on him as he lay as far back as the task chair reclined. Her nipples were usually hard, these days. He was sure he knew what they must taste like.

In Week Nine he watched her lie on the floor facing the window and arch her back, legs spread wide. Spreading herself wide. Opening herself. To him. “Come to me,” her glossy lips whispered in his ear. In breach of his employment contract, he opened the door to the white room. At risk of criminal prosecution, he walked into the white room, kneeling down between her legs. She didn’t respond to his presence, staring at the ceiling and playing with her clit as the instruction loop commanded. “You don’t think,” it reminded her. “You only fuck.”

He bent his forehead to her belly and licked. Soon she was moaning out of time with the recording, her legs folded around his back. Far away, an alarm was pulsing. Her embrace felt just like he’d imagined. Erratic bootsteps were echoing in the corridor outside the white room’s open door. He melted into her eyes and lips and skin and was gone.