Then the words caught us like thin steel fishing hooks:
"Ew, androids and humans mixing. How disgusting."
"We should complain to management. This is unacceptable."
She cast her eyes down, and reached over and touched her hand. She slipped it away to her lap.
"Ignore them," I said.
"It's like they don't think I have any feelings."
"They don't matter," I said, and she smiled weakly, but I knew she wasn't comforted. She glanced in the direction of the kitchen and watched the others lodge their complaint.
"They're really doing it," she said.
"They won't throw us out."
"They'll throw me out."
"Where you go, I'll go," I said.
She turned back to me and smiled, then touched her front teeth with her thumbnail.
"You're so good to me, all the time," she said. "I don't deserve it."
"I'm not like them. I have a functioning heart."
We heard the footsteps. The manager came by.
"I'm sorry sir, but she has to leave the premises. We've had a complaint," said the manager.
The couple stood behind him with sour faces.
"We're not causing any harm," I said.
"Let's just go," she whispered.
"It's vulgar," said one of the couple.
"Look," said the manager, "normally I'd just let stay, but if a customer complains I have to do something, otherwise I could get my operating license revoked. Do you understand?"
She stood up and took up her purse and stared at me with wide eyes.
"No, we're not leaving--"
"Let's not ruin the evening, okay?" she said, tugging at my hand.
I was angry, but I acquiesced, and we left, holding hands, weaving through the tables and fending off indignant stares.
"Not a kind heart among them," I said.
"They don't know any better," she said.
"They do. They just don't remember."
Her hand, warm and soft, squeezed mine, and I returned it, and felt somehow that the coldness of my hand, the lack of suppleness was not nearly comfort enough.