“You know, Anders, for all of your grandeur in the Lab, this truck is kinda dingy.” The fingers of Miranda’s right hand rested on the edge of his car window, having rolled it down a few minutes ago in silence. Among the winding turns down the public access road and onto the highway to travel to the residential district, he’d taken a mental catalog of all the things that he’d been wrong about when envisioning the trip to his future home- the snow on top of the trees was half-melted instead of pristine, the roads were clear instead of slick, and Anders was garbed in a wine-red overcoat instead of his hoodie that was in need of a good washing.
“It’s not conspicuous,” he answered, tapping the dashboard buttons and dispelling the teenage screeches that came from the radio. “Hopefully it’ll get the job done, and we won’t be on the road for much longer.”
“You can’t keep hiding from everybody forever, Anders.” A stray strand of wind kissed Miranda’s cheek, ruffling his hair, and he wiped a sweaty hand on the leather jacket that Anders had lent to him to wear. “Do any of us even exist?”
The car took the exit a little too sharp, almost cutting into the car next to them as they entered the cluster of shops that preceded the webbing neighborhoods. “I’m not trying to hide from anybody, Miranda. The government knows that I’m alive. Do you really think that I would be buying us a house if I was at large for some stupid crime?”
“Are you going to slap me now?”
“I’d prefer not to. It’d make the bathroom mirrors shudder.” Various ice cream shops and clothing stores passed by, and the sides of their view cleared to open hills with apartment building projects underway and vacant. “Please don’t try to provoke me.”
Miranda sagged in his seat, tugging at his seatbelt as he sighed. “Fine. How far away is it, anyways?”
“Not that much longer.” A few roundabouts- as Soona Bris wasn’t complete without roundabouts dotting the landscape- later, and the car turned and parked in front of a dismal-looking house. The blue paint was peeling off a little bit, and the two chairs on the deck needed to be replaced. That didn’t stop Anders, however, from turning off the ignition and opening Miranda’s door to escort him across the pale and crunchy grass and pavement path to inside with his arm across Miranda’s shoulders.
The front door, an outdated white one from 2006 with cracks in the white finishing, immediately opened up to a stairwell going both up and down. Miranda immediately took off his jacket and hung it on the hook embedded in the wall, following Anders upstairs after a moment’s hesitation. He immediately gazed upon a moderate-sized living room the size of their old suite with the kitchen walled off in the far right corner and taking up a good third of the room. Behind him was a hallway with more bedrooms and another bathroom.
“Are we spending the night here, Anders?” Miranda entered the kitchen, intruding on Anders examining the empty refrigerator. “I mean, you’ll obviously have to go get Giles to help you bring some of the furniture here, and food would be nice for in the morning…”
“Not tonight, beautiful.” Anders pulled his head out of the refrigerator and closed it with a dull smack. “I was thinking that you could get familiar with the place. We’ll start moving tomorrow if you prefer.” Anders stepped off and proceeded to lay down on the living room floor, burying his face in the carpet and leaving Miranda to wander down the carpeted stairs into the basement. An empty room stared back at him with gray carpeting a few shades darker than the sky and three doors- two leading to bedrooms and the other going to a tiled bathroom.
Am I really ready for domestic life? The bathroom was in the same condition as the one upstairs- the toilet was slightly chipped on the rim, the sink still had a few strands of hair stuck to the faucet, and the shower was void of any curtains. I couldn’t make it out of the city if I tried, let alone to the nearest park. How am I supposed to raise a child? To care for it when it’s in my body? How would that work, anyways?