The year is 2100. Wise people marry by registering with Bioexpa Data Match. The matchmaking company has such a near perfect record that choosing your own mate is now considered tantamount to marrying a blood relative.
Karizma Woods has been dreaming of being matched by Bioexpa since she registered at eighteen. When it finally happens, she thinks it's a dream come true. That is until she meets Devin. Only a few minutes in his company has her convinced that she wants nothing to do with the arrogant jerk.
Devin McIntyre registered for practical reasons. He was tired of dating. All he really needs is a woman to warm his bed. Karizma suits needs perfectly. Too bad that she seems determined to leave him at the end of their thirty-day trial period.
“K, if you’re going to ride with me, you’d better hurry,” Shari called as she pulled on her coat.
Karizma gulped down her morning nutritional shake, suppressing a wince at the bitter aftertaste. “New and improved, indeed,” she grumbled, glaring at the label. No matter how many times they claimed that, the acrid taste of vitamins was always the finishing note. She tossed the can into the wide mouth of the recycling bin under the kitchen sink. Their apartment featured many of the latest and greatest appliances. The bin quickly sorted the can and crushed it into a tiny cube. Later when they removed the trash, it would be in a bag with other aluminum materials.
She hurried to the door and grabbed her coat and scarf out of the closet. Her work at the animal shelter didn’t pay well and she had a ways to go before she’d saved up the money for a vehicle of her own. Until then, she had to either use public transportation or ride to work with one of her roommates. Fortunately for her Shari and Daphne never seemed to mind giving her a ride. “Thanks, Shari.”
Outside their door sounded and the two women exchanged a look. They knew the significance of those chimes. A Bioexpa Data Match drone waited on the other side of the door for one of them. “Daphne!” they called in unison.
They had all registered with Bioexpa DM. Who didn’t? If you wanted to find your soul mate, the person you were practically guaranteed to love and have a happily ever after with, you registered. The success of regular marriages was rare. But Bioexpa DM marriages survived a whopping ninety-nine point nine percent of the time. For that reason, registering at the age of eighteen was highly recommended by the government. Though almost no one was selected for a pairing at such a young age, the earlier a person registered the better. It took time to find a perfect match. The average age was twenty-five. If you weren’t picked by the age of forty-five, it was generally believed that you were a lost cause. The only person Karizma knew who hadn’t ever received a match was her uncle. Since he was a serial cheater, it was completely understandable.
Karizma was twenty-five. Both her roommates were twenty-eight. The drone could be here for any one of them. Daphne came running, buttoning her blouse along the way. Her sleek black bob flowed around her face before settling, not a single hair out of place. “Did I hear what I think I heard?”
“Uh huh,” Shari said with a slow nod.
“Well, open the door,” Daphne said impatiently.
Gulping, Shari entered the security code to unlock the door and then placed her hand over the hand scanner. The portal swept open and sure enough a drone floated at eye level in the hallway. It was the first time Karizma had seen one in person. She had heard about it from her sister Charm and her friend and coworker Allison. It was silver and shiny almost to the point of having a mirror finish. It was about nine inches in diameter and about three inches thick.
It bobbed and dipped as it moved forward. The three of them stood around it and waited to see which of them had been chosen. A circular beam of blue light shot out of the bottom of the drone.
“Karizma Penelope Woods, please place your left hand into the beam of light,” said an electronic voice.
Karizma expelled an excited yelp while her roomies released groans of disappointment. Trembling, she extended her hand until it was under the light. A tone sounded and the beam passed over her hand in a wave pattern.
“Identification verified. Karizma Penelope Woods, you are hereby married to Devin Michael McIntyre. His contact information has been sent to your communication slate. Please make arrangements to meet and begin your probationary cohabitation period.” There was a brief pause. “Please do not move as you are fitted for your wedding band. You will feel a slight warming sensation.”
She bit her lip as a ray concentrated on her ring finger. A silver band appeared. The metal was warm on her skin. In the center there was a thin strip of pink light circling the entire band.
“You may withdraw your hand. For questions or further information, please visit the Bioexpa Data Match website.”
The drone zipped out their door and away. Karizma was practically bouncing with excitement. She’d been matched! Three years ago her sister had been matched at twenty-seven. For Charm and James, it had been love at first sight. It had been the same way for Allison and Adam.
“I wonder what he’ll be like. Probably tall, with skin the color of milk chocolate, and dark eyes. And he’ll have a cool profession where he helps people. He’ll be a teacher or a fireman or-”
Shari growled. “Spare us your daydreams. Come on, some of us still have to get to work.”
She looked at her roomies. “I’m sorry. I got carried away.” They had only been sharing the apartment for a year. She was the last to move in since their old roommate was matched. And now she would be leaving also.
“No, you have every right to be excited,” Daphne said. “Congratulations.” She folded her in a quick hug.
“Yeah, congrats,” Shari muttered, but she smiled and slugged her in the shoulder to show that she was happy for her. Still, on the ride to work Karizma kept her speculations about her husband to herself. But thoughts of what he looked like and the romantic adventure on which she was about to embark buzzed in her brain all day.
Devin stared down at the silver band with the blue stripe of light on his left hand with some relief. This would neatly solve his problem with Destiny. They had a dinner date tonight and he’d been trying to come up with an easy way of dumping his girlfriend of six months. Destiny was beautiful. She was a plus sized model, which actually only equated to her being only a size twelve. She was smart, successful, and ambitious. Of late, her ambition had been to become his wife.
As if he wanted to marry. Devin was incredibly wealthy. He’d made his money from his tech company. As a hobby, he liked to buy and sell stock and he had been very fortunate in the choices he had made. Though Destiny had her own money, he was aware that she was approaching an age where she would need to retire. And he didn’t relish the idea of being viewed as her retirement plan. He had no delusions about her feelings for him, or his for her. They were not in love. They had shared a momentary passion and on his part it was over.
So a month ago he had registered with Bioexpa DM. Purchasing that bit of stock had made him a fortune. Though Devin had no interest in love or marriage, it occurred to him it would be more convenient and probably less expensive than conducting brief affairs. The time saved looking for a partner alone made getting married worthwhile.
He’d been at work for an hour when his receptionist had informed him of the drone hovering outside his office. He had soundproof walls and had not heard the tone the drone emitted. Yes, he thought, running his finger over the smooth silver ring. This would resolve his situation with Destiny and all the other gold digging hopefuls quite nicely.
He touched a finger to his desk to open the browser tool and went to the e-mail address he’d used in his registration with Bioexpa to find out his wife’s contact information. It occurred to him that he could also do a background check on his wife, but he wasn’t that curious. His demands were few. He didn’t require love or affection. As long as she could satisfy him in bed and didn’t embarrass him in public, she would meet his needs.