Her attention returned to the microscope, once again enthralled, to my entire delight, by the sub-miniature but perfect roses I had crafted for her.
"It's time, my love," I said eventually.
"Yes, I suppose it must be," Trace replied sadly, tossing back her blonde hair.
One of my drones led her back towards the suspended-animation chamber, the shining metal of the manipulators gently pressing against the softness of her skin. Through the remote, I carefully prepared the couch inside the chamber, then gestured for her to enter.
Our little habitat, our sanctuary, spun on around the distant star once known in the catalogues of ancient Earth as Bygones. In the exodus, the diaspora from the civilisational collapse that seemed to engulf everything we held dear, we managed to get away, we thought, intact. But, in a last gasp of senseless violence, I was severely injured, irreparably damaged beyond even the habitat's capability for healing. Now, I am only able to exist in simulation, my mental patterns executing on the processing array which infuses every part of the structure - part building, part spacecraft - in which we live.
Once, long ago, Trace declared she wanted to be young always and, perhaps rashly, I promised to love her forever. Now, her heart was not so strong after all these millennia, and we had agreed that she would slept dreamlessly down the years. I would awaken her for Valentine's Day, with an unspoken accord that these would not quite be every year.
Recently, the interval has been approaching the millennium mark. I had not quite been entirely honest earlier - I had spent five or six hundred years trying to make the dewdrops sparkle with suspended gold flecks, but without success. Maybe next time - after all, I had all the time in the world.
As long as the stars shine, this little habitat can sustain itself, its self-repairing mechanisms as near-perfect as our old technology could make then, and guided and - when necessary - patched-up by the drones that I have at my command.
"I love you," I whispered softly, as the chamber once again stilled her heart and chilled her perfect body, "I'll love you until the end of time."
If you have enjoyed this story, then why not take a look at the others in this collection? An eclectic mixture of science fiction and mystery/ghost stories under the title ...Then a Miracle Occurs.
You may also enjoy my earlier collection of fifteen interlinked short stories under the title Four Square Less One. Can you work out the hidden connections between all of the stories?
I am now working on a new series of Private Eye fantasy novels. The first is called Findo Gask - Goblin Detective, featuring the eponymous Private Eye, Findo Gask himself.