AN~ Another of those 'this character didn't have any stories in which he/she (or both, in this case) was the main character' stories. Because I felt the need to get SOMETHING out there for you all, in my mega writer's blocked state.

Disclaimer: If you sue me, I will cry. I need all my money to get through college.

"Sometimes Tony just seems so stifling, you know?" Bess asked Oz. "Well, of course you don't. I mean, you're not dating him..."

"I do understand what you mean, though," Oz said distractedly. He was busy tinkering with one of his robots, and didn't look up at Bess as she talked.

Bess didn't mind. She liked talking with Oz, and she was used to his tinkering. He was always working with his hands, always building something. It was interesting to watch. The two were in his office, talking over 'lunch,' the way they did every Friday afternoon.

"Sometimes I wish we weren't dating," Bess continued thoughtfully.

"So break up with him," Oz suggested.

"I can't," Bess said.

"Why not?" Oz looked up, a rare occurrence that meant something was wrong. "Is he abusing you?"

"No, no, nothing like that," Bess said hurriedly. "It's just... well, he protects me. I mean, sometimes he gets stifling, but he's sweet when he tries. He just needs someone understanding."

"Most women who fall for a man they think needs 'fixing' end up unhappy," Oz pointed out, returning to his robot.

"I know," Bess said, "but this is different."

"They all say that," Oz said doubtfully.

Bess rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Oz, you're worrying about nothing! I'll be fine. We're happy... Most of the time."

"Are you in love?" Oz asked.

Bess smiled. "What do I know about love? I'm a cow."

"You're more human than animal," Oz said, "I'd wager you always have been."

"So maybe I've always been mechanical minded." Bess shrugged. "It's why I get along with you so well."

"You haven't answered the question, Bess," Oz pointed out with a chuckle.

"What is love, anyway?" Bess asked. "How do you know you're in love? Is it like, a specific 'bang! You're in love'? Or sparks when you kiss, or what?"

"I wouldn't know, never having been in love," Oz pointed out. "I've been told that you simply know, though I doubt it. Feelings are too changeable to work that way. It's why I prefer machines."

"Well, then I don't think I am in love," Bess said. "I like Tony, really I do, but... it's just... I don't know if he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with."

"Then why are you still with him?" Oz asked, pressing a button. "It works!"

"Because I haven't met anyone better," Bess shrugged, "Nobody worth the trouble it would be if I broke up with Tony. So what's it supposed to do?" She got up and went to look at the remote.

Oz smiled, and pulled the remote away. "Ah, ah, ah, don't touch, my dear. It's a universal remote. Controls all of my robots."

"Can't I see?" Bess teased, but she sat back down. "Or can you at least show me?"

Oz pointed the remote at a series of TV screens, which were on now, though they hadn't been a moment ago. "Watch the screens, they show a lot of my robots." He pressed a series of buttons, and one of the screens went haywire.

"Is it supposed to do that?" Bess asked.

"Not exactly," Oz said, messing with the remote again.

"So what is it supposed to do?"

Oz pushed another button and said, satisfied, "That."

The screens stopped going crazy, returning to their normal pictures, and one of them suddenly showed an image of the basement, in which a large robot was stacking boxes.

"That wasn't doing that before, in case you didn't know," Oz said, looking a little anxiously at Bess.

"I figured." Bess smiled. "Show me another."

Oz complied, and for the next quarter of an hour, he and Bess amused themselves with the displays.

After a while, Bess sat back with a sigh. "Oh, I love robots."

"Me too," Oz said, "They're the future of the world."

"Much more dependable than magic," Bess said approvingly. "And less addictive."

"Well, I have to go," Oz said, looking at the clock. "Do you mind?"

"No, no no," Bess said, standing. "Don't let me keep you. What exactly are you going to do?" she asked as he headed for the door.

"I've got an interview with a... potential employer." Oz said.

"Oh," Bess said with a smile. "What kind?"

"One that could give me a real leg up in society," Oz said, "Instead of this dead-end job."

Bess smiled again. "Well, I hope it goes well for you."

"Thank you," Oz said, "And... I hope you settle it with Tony."

The two walked their separate ways, one for the biggest change of his life, and the other for the place she'd stagnate for the next three years.