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20130629

Secret Society Part Last

Miranda pirouetted in the spacious, unfurnished living room, pale walls and carpet. Her hair gathered at the base of her neck, a pretty, white summer-dress like gossamer. Open-concept, steps leading up to the kitchen and the corridor leading to the bedrooms. The north wall was glass, overlooking the lush green crowd of conifers that sloped down and away into the ravine. A  New Modern villa, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright without being derivative. 
"It's gorgeous," Miranda says. Something about it felt fresh. 
"You're gorgeous," Genevieve replied from the landing near the front door where she was inputting the new security codes through a small, imbedded panel. Gen was in black jeans and a navy tank-top. 
Miranda smiled shyly, playfully. "You're a sweetheart, Gen. I'm not the girl for you, though." 
Genevieve moved smoothly towards the glass wall, eyes scanning the rich blue sky. "Not while they've got me in this Nun identity at least. I'm not due for reassignment for..." She trailed off, silently doing the calculations. 
Miranda giggled, flattered. "Your polysonae must be leaking if you're feeling horny. I wonder when I'll get fitted with one. Maybe now that I've been relocated. This sure beats that bachelor apartment I was in." She spun around again, slower, taking in the house, its spartan luxury. 
"It's our duty to enjoy the benefits of our position." Gen smiles. "We've got to be inspirational." 
"But it must cost-" 
"Miranda." 
"I know, I know." 
Genevieve brushed her fingertips along the glass, turned to face Miranda. "You know you won't have any furniture?" Miranda's eyebrows raised. "You'll sleep in tents in the bedroom." 
"Tents?" Catching the plural. 
"You and Kimberly. She's your new roommate." 
Miranda's posture slumped slightly. "She's a little creepy, don't you think?" 
"Kim's first-generation. That's why she seems more alien." 
"But so's Garner and he-" 
"Just wait. After a while you'll evolve into something that makes Kim look normal." 
Miranda grinned mischievously, eagerly. "That's why I'm here." Then, "Wow. Me and Kim. Why's she leaving the house?" 
A soft chime sounded from the front door, proximity signal, non-threatening. Genevieve's demeanor shifted, she became official, the consecrated hue of her current Nun aura intensifying. Miranda responded to the cue, smoothing her skirt, straightening her spine and her breathing. She described herself to herself as naked, an acolyte. A brief glimmer in Gen's eyes signaled her appreciation of Miranda's technique. 
"Miranda, we're going to escalate things." And she walked to the door, sensors in the handle recognizing her skin and disengaging the lock. She opened the door and a young man entered, a friendly smile, short blond spiky hair, dressed in baggy grey pants and a fitted black t-shirt. His eyes met Miranda's; they were overtly warm but she felt a deep shadow of complexity clouding in them like a storm, almost strong enough to tangle the rhythm of her breath. Miranda, following Genevieve, remained formal despite the sensation that she recognized him, had seen him before. 
The door closed behind him. Genevieve said, "Miranda, this is Max." 
He smiled at her and, hearing his name, she felt a rush that kicked her out of Genevieve's lead, like a chemical uptake. The thrill of the strange, and she rode it outside first-contact protocols - never give, always take - into her own reaction. Identity acrobatics. 
She grinned. "Am I supposed to say 'I thought you were dead'?"  
A subsection of her mind urged her to check Genevieve's reaction to her reaction, the certainty that she was being assessed, but her attention was on him. 
Max looked into her eyes. "'I was.'" 
Miranda smiled and ran forward to embrace him. 
 In his arms she could feel his fatigue, his bruises and his perseverance. He felt different than Brae and Garner and Colleen and Genevieve. Perhaps different in the same way she felt different. Hugging him, being hugged by him felt private. She could hear the opening music so clearly, almost as if it was coming from invisible speakers in the room. This is when her and Garner left. 
Then Max whispered quietly in her ear. "I'm sorry I couldn't get here sooner." 
Miranda suddenly realized that she was crying. A release. "It's okay. It's okay," she murmured, her face against his neck. After years of waiting. The scent of the city, his deodorant, gunpowder and flowers. 
They relaxed out of the embrace. She rubbed her eyes dry, a ripple of awkwardness like residue. His voice low, only to her. The subsection was analyzing his voice for the sound of script, of ritual. Of artifice or agenda. "I can't stay, but..." She heard only uncertainty and honesty. 
"I know." Her stomach was fluttering as two futures oscillated rapidly before her and through her. That she would never see him again or that this was only, finally, the beginning. 
After he turned away and left the building Genevieve became present again. She moved to Miranda, touching her on the arm, said, "Nice work." 
It was an assessment, as good a one as Miranda wanted and hoped to receive, but the words sounded strangely irrelevant.