Rating: PG-13 for implied sex. (I promise it will never get worse than this. I do NOT write explicit bedroom scenes.)

Summary: Samantha Bevins' murder from her point of view. This first chapter only sets the scene, explaining how/why she met Joe. I'm afraid it's a bit slow-going.

Disclaimer: I do not own A.I. or any of its characters. The only original character in this story is Samantha's best friend 'Lyssa.

*******Chapter 1*******

I walked along, looking. I got more than a few odd looks. After all, what was a young, beautiful, obviously rich woman like me doing down in the red light district of a dump like Haddonfield? Answer: looking for the most good-looking guy she can find who's willing to sell himself. Orga or mecha, I didn't care.

Sound desperate for company, don't I?

I guess I am in a way, but most definitely NOT in that way. I would never, ever lower myself to hired "love". I can definitely do better than that, there are enough guys asking me up to their bedrooms, and I do take them up on it, sometimes. No, what I wanted was somebody I could use to make that stupid husband of mine jealous.

I mean, come on, it's been a week, a whole week, since he's paid any real attention to me. Home late every single day this week, so then it's "oh sorry, dear, I'm too tired to do anything tonight, I think I'll go straight to bed." Too tired - yeah, right. Read "uninterested". If it wasn't that he's the only guy I know with decently large amounts of cash - that he's too stupid to spend on himself, the skinflint! - I'd toss him and go out with someone who didn't have grey hairs and who listened to real music, not that classical junk. For that matter, I wouldn't have married him in the first place if ti wasn't for his cash - that, and his lovely habit of keeping his undivided attention on me. Attention that had recently started to wander. It wouldn't be all that hard to get it back though, due to another nice character trait of his - he is soooo easy to manipulate.

So anyway, I'd been walking and looking for maybe fifteen, twenty minutes when from this rent-by-the-hour hotel steps this absolutely drop-dead gorgeous guy. One percent body fat, early twenties, killer green eyes, sleek black clothes - in other words, the works in what I consider attractive. Except for his hair, which was unfortunately a black as you can get it, and I've always had a thing for blondes myself. Oh well. This was the best looking guy I was gonna come across on this side of reality, and he was gonna be mine!

He had already started off down the street in the opposite direction, so I ran after him.

"Hey you!" I called as I caught up to him. About five people turned around, but he was one of them, luckily. "Yeah, you, the good-looking one," I said to clear the others off. They gave me looks and cleared. My guy just planted himself more firmly in the road, a smirk on his face.

I circled around him, getting a look close up. I liked close-up even better than far away. He stood perfectly still. Guys never stand perfectly still. Not that perfectly.

"Are you a mecha?" I asked him.

"Yes." He had some sort of accent. I could never place accents. It sounded classy, though. "Does that bother you?"

"Nah. You any good at making husbands jealous?"

A slight bow. "If you so desire."

"Good. Which place has the most gossipy desk-clerk?"

"This way, my lady," he said, offering me an arm. I took it.

We walked a few streets. I remembered something I'd overheard once. "I hear some of you can change your hair colour. That true?"

"What colour would you like?"


He stopped and held up his left hand, which now had a mirror in its palm, then shook his head, which caused his hair to lighten right up into platinum blonde. He cocked his head at me. "Like so?"


We'd reached the edge of the red-light area, and he led me into one of the hotels there - the Shangri-La it was called.

The desk-clerk was reading some magazine, but he put it down at the sound of the door. "Hey, Joe, whaddya know?" he greeted the mecha. "Room 102's empty, here," and he tossed over a key. "Oh, and Joe, if you find business slow tonight, there's a girl been coming here and hanging out in the bar until midnight for three nights running. Good looking redhead. I think she's looking for some company."

"Thanks, Mr Williamson."

"See you, Joe, see you...?"

"Samantha Bevins," I answered the unspoken question. This was going better than I'd hoped. Gossipy and curious, as well as obviously pathetically lonely - meaning he's gossip to anybody, not just people he knew.

"Bevins? As in the medical genius who found the cure to - what was it again? AIDS, skin cancer, and diabetes, wasn't it? You related?"

"Yes," I said, giving him my most dazzling smile. No way was he going to forget me now. Guaranteed I was going to be the topic of conversation for the next ten people to walk in, maybe more depending on just how dull they were.

We walked to the room. The mecha locked the door behind us again.

I went over to the phone and dialled my best friend's number.

She picked up after the first ring. "Hey, `Lyssa here, whatcha want?!"

"Hey, it's Samantha. Could you meet me in the lobby of the Shangri-La hotel in, say, fifteen minutes?"

"Sure thing! This about the husband problem?"


"I did say it was a bad idea to actually marry him. Oh well! Bye-bye, then!"

"Bye." Click. I hung up and turned around.

The mecha was lounging on the bed, watching me with that unblinking stare those things have. Now, I have nothing against mechas, but the way those don't blink is creepy. On the other hand, my best friend's non-stop cheerfulness is even creepier. Life just isn't that great.

"What was that about?" he asked. He was smiling very slightly.

I shrugged. "I was just getting my best friend up here, to be gossiped to. By this time tomorrow, I'm going to a permanent shadow."

"Your husband?"


"And what shall we do while we wait?"

"Just wait, I guess."

An eyebrow rose on that perfect face, but his smile never wavered. I swear, that smile could give Mona Lisa's a run for its money. "Just wait? You can not think of something more...entertaining to fill the minutes?"

I caught his drift. "No. I don't need sex. I know at least five guys I can get into bed with without having to pay for it. You're just here because you're someone my husband can get jealous over easily."

"But you are paying me for my time already, in any case. Why not enjoy yourself? There is no point to our sitting here doing nothing."

He had a point there. I was paying anyway, and just sitting around would be incredibly boring. I might as well get my money's worth.

"Move over," I said, and went and sat down next to him on the bed.


A.N.: Right, so that was the first chapter. It ended up longer than I meant it to. Hopefully I'll get chapter 2 out by next week, but it's slow going as I've never written this kind of story before, I normally do straight adventure stuff. Ahem... Having had it pounded into my head at acting classes to NEVER apologize for yourself beforehand...I shall apologize now! I'm sorry to all the Joe fans out there for my lousy Joe dialogue, my most profound apologies for that to Matrix Refugee in particular as she writes Joe dialogue perfectly.