Abram's newfound acceptance brings calmness to his life. He no longer feels guilty over his secret love affair. He can stare at Korina's pics for many minutes without remorse. He physically gets a small endorphin kick while viewing a Veevo of Korina chatting with a fan. The way she genuinely is pleased to interact with her fans, really impresses him.
Korina openly admits the silly shows or characters that she is a huge fan of. On her personal social media, she will talk at length of how she admires other actresses and her fellow Mimic-ko models. All of this furthers his affection for her.
Abram happily leaves the station on this Thursday afternoon, having been in protocol training for most of the day. Annually, the department meets with the Fire Department and other Emergency medical staff for updates in procedures. The training can be long and arduous, especially this time because Abram wasn't able to make his now daily trips.
Abram hops on his bike-Lc and speeds away, he has a busy night scheduled. He has not seen Anna in days; missing their Wednesday soy-burger chili dinner. But before he goes to her house, he must make a stop. Yesterday's training left him too tired to venture to Oceanview road to check on Korina.
Tonight, he will just get a peek before going to see Anna. He turns up the familiar hill at nightfall, parking in the same spot he parks his patrol-Lc.
He has never been here, this late. He scans the area, wondering if anyone could see him. He shudders at the thought of being spotted or someone asking, 'what is he doing on this street at night'. Usually, he is in uniform, so he could make up a plausible reason, but not now, not wearing dusty jeans and a brown jacket.
"I just want to... check on her, to see if she's okay..." he utters getting off his bike and walking towards her house.
In this part of Oceanview road, there aren't any houses on the left side, only a grassy mound. The last four houses on this dead end road sit all to themselves. House number one fifty three is the last on the road, a drab single story home. One fifty two is where Korina is staying. Abram is next door near one fifty one. A barking dog in the distance startles him a little, making his better judgment kick in.
'This is stupid. What are you doing here? You're not some psycho stalker,' he mumbles, releasing the handlebars of his bike-Lc. He scratches his head feeling idiotic; he has never done anything like this.
'Stop it Abram... it's not like I'm a go knock on her door... not to mention Peyton... I don't wanna run into them,' he concludes turning around. It's high time he leaves.
As he walks past the left side of one fifty one, he spots a trail. In between the two houses, there is a sandy walkway, most likely leading to the beach. His curiosity again gets the better of him.
'I wonder if I can see the back porch of her house from the beach?'
He pulls his bike to the trail, the hover pads gently moving the sandy dirt below. He then hears the faint trickle of the Oceanview's Lake as he gets closer. At the end of the trail is an impressive view of the lake water, sparkling beneath the transparent night ceiling.
The 'Mae Jemison' Lake used to be a big attraction, with its arti-fresh water and synth-aqua life. However, that was before the grav-generators stopped functioning properly a couple of years back. Even still, some people come out here on the weekends, usually to slowly sail along the ten square mile lake. Even tonight, the view of Saturn's moon Rhea, is breathtaking. Not to Abram though, Korina's house is calling to him like a beacon.
The backyard of the houses on Oceanview road surprise him. They are two story homes, where he thought they were only one. The back area of one fifty one dips a little near the water, but the house is seemingly built into a sandy hill. Half of the lower level is submerged in the hill while the rest is openly exposed. Bikes, an old couch, and other common clutter lay alongside the three large wooden beams that support the top levels porch deck.
Abram tilts his head observing the odd home, then notices one fifty two.
Korina's house is similarly built, but it sits lower than one fifty one. From here, he can see a couple of lights that are on from inside. He nears the bottom of one fifty one, by its wooden beams to get a better view. He leans next to the beam, eventually sitting on an overturn bucket. He gets lost in his thoughts, staring at her house's rear deck and a door that seems to lead into the kitchen.
In a way, he is excited and nervous to have made it this far unnoticed. He feels as if he has sneaked into a bank vault, or as if he is in the middle of some secret mission. It is surreal to be here, sneaking around at night with the sand beneath his shoes.
'I can't believe I am here...' knowing how extremely illegal this is.
His mobi humms yet again, bringing him to reality. He checks it to see that Anna has repeatedly texted and called him. He checks the time; he was supposed to be at Anna's house over an hour ago. He leans back against the beam feeling guilty. He fully intended to spend time with Anna.
He stands up to leave, but then thinks how it will take him at least half an hour to travel to her house. He doesn't even know what to tell her when he arrives; Anna will have a lot of questions, question he doesn't want to answer.
The rhythmic clapping of the Lake's waves lull him into a trance. Time passes during his mental debate, so much so that his legs gets stiff from standing in one position. He sits back down with his mind still thinking of Korina. He ponders over what he would talk to her about. In a way, he knows they would not have much in common besides being born in this dusty colony. He feels she is too good for him; after all, he isn't a celebrity or a star athlete. That train of thought momentarily snaps him back to the present.
He looks at his mobi, checking the time. He has been out here, in the pitch black for a couple of hours. It is now late night. His stomach growls in hunger pains, while fatigue starts to creep in. He intends to get up, but gets lost in another fantasy.
He imagines what she is like late at night, her sleeping next to him, her smell. She carelessly stretches then nestles close to him. He caresses her hair, holds her, and kisses her. He is happy and fulfilled.
Abram's head careens of the pole jolting him awake. He squints his eyes slowly waking up, his neck and back sore. His body shivers in the morning cold. The sky-dome becomes opaque, fading into a dawn sky scene. He is surprised that he has been out there all night. He stands with a stretch, not feeling so proud of himself. Abram finally decides to leave and get back to reality. Then a sound of a door creak makes him freeze in fear.
Abram cringes not wanting to look up, thinking the homeowner of one fifty one will spot him. However, the sound is coming from next door, Korina's house. From this point, he can see a person exit the back door and on to the deck. The person has a small frame and is wearing a baggy hooded sweatshirt. At first, Abram thinks, it is Peyton McHale, but then realizes it is Korina herself.
He watches in awe as she steps out on the deck looking at the lake. Korina sits in a small chair pulling a hood over her head. She pulls her bare legs upwards, seemingly hugging her knees as she takes a sip from a small cup. She calmly sits enjoying the early morning air, not knowing she has a visitor. Then, she pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one.
Abram is slightly let down. It seems every time he sees Korina, she is not what he imagined. His fantasy image of her is strikingly different than what she is in real life. She is plain, short hair, almost boyish looking. He is aware that no one is swimsuit model looking first thing in the morning. He knows he is being unfair, but she isn't what he'd imagined, what he had dreamed.
In between puffs, she runs a hand up and down her leg. Neither her smoking nor her appearance repulse him. The fact is that he is still fascinated by her. She intrigues him so much. In this moment, he doesn't like Korina any less, in fact the opposite effect has happened. The way she appears in the pictures, in her outfits is attractive, but the way she is today seems better. He likes her more this way. She is more real, human, with imperfections, and flaws. He is not seeing her as Korina anymore but as Alex.
She flicks the ash from her cigarette, ignorant that she is a living piece of artwork to Abram. As she slowly rocks, he can hear her hum an unknown song. She then softly sings, seemingly content with her life.
The serene moment last for a while, until Korina starts to tremble. She buries her face, giving way to a fit of tears. It takes a moment for Abram to realize that she is crying, but when he does he steps forward. He is troubled and deeply concerned.
'Why is she crying?' He takes another step that causes a faint crunch from the sand below. The noise is just loud enough for her to notice and look around. She smears her cheeks dry looking around for the source of the noise. Abram is again frozen in fear, praying that she will not find him.
After a moment Korina gives up her search. She gets up, trying to shake off the morning cold and enters the house leaving her secret visitor.
Abram is left dumbfounded, seeing Korina crying like that makes him wild with questions.
'Is she okay? Is she hurt? Is she depressed? What would she ever have to be sad about? She is perfect. Why was she crying?' He thinks, as he sneaks away from house one fifty one.
He is beyond concerned for her. He also feels powerless, unable to be there for her, to console her in her time of need. At times he feels so close to her but that isn't the truth. He couldn't be further from her. The harsh truth hits him like a brick, smashing his fantasy created bond between them.