Adam quickly fell into a routine. Mornings he went down to the river to fish.
After breakfast, he would spend time visiting his neighbors and others who were interested in meeting the new Liason. He spent most of his time listening and keeping his eyes open on what everyone wasn’t saying. Looking for opportunities.
Some people he met on his daily walks, trying to get acclimated. He tried to make himself as available as he could to anyone and everyone. His pile of notes grew. He spent the nights trying to make sense of everything. When he was too tired to continue, he napped. When he slept he dreamed of post-it notes. That would make organizing all the data he was collecting easier to see. He didn’t dare dream of computers.
Most of the sims in Glassbolt, were concerned with their daily lives. They were concerned about their children being healthy, concerned about the irradiant rains, and preoccupied with making sure there was enough of the table. Food spoiled fast and there weren’t many plants that could survive the harsh weather.
Everyone lived in near bunkers like himself with patched and faded goods. If someone was particularly good at weaving they might have bright curtains and blankets. A carpenter would have better shelves and tables. But most people patched what they had and hoped for the best.
Adam started jogging in the evenings once the sun went down. Before he knew it, a year had passed.
“Hello, Roxanne, how are you doing today?” Adam waved at Ms Ferreira.
“And Molly is doing better?” Ms. Ferreria’s daughter Dani had slipped the previous week and broken her leg. There was no Mr. Ferreria and Roxanne had relied on her daughter.
“Did you catch anything?”
“Yup, drop by later and I’ll give some to you and Dani.”
Adam looked up at the familiar voice. He smiled. “Hey Mae.” She was holding some fabric and held it out towards him.
“It’s a tablecloth.” Mae explained.
You made this?”
“Adam!” A shout startled Adam, he blinked against the bright light. He looked up to see Brendan approaching with a smile. He stood up quickly, pushing back the residual exhaustion.
“Hello, Brendan. Any news? Has Beatrix given birth yet.”
“Any day now.” Brendan smile. They were expecting their fifth child. Adam had noticed most families were quite large. He suspected it was a pioneer mentality. The more children, the more help around the house.
“Don’t you think you’re working too hard, Adam?”
Abraham had found him in the supply barn, he was tallying the reserves. Most of it was non-perishables. Half broken tables, floppy mattresses, and countless plumbing parts. For everything they had to make do with, at least they would never run out of pipes and widgets. He sighed and then remembered Abraham’s question. The older man was still waiting for an answer.
Adam shrugged. “There’s a lot that needs to be done.”
“What good will it be if you collapse from exhaustion?”
“I won’t collapse.”
“You always make the best fish.”
“I have a secret.” Adam grinned as they dug into the trout he’d caught. Or the native fish that looked an awful lot like trout. It wasn’t, but close enough it didn’t really matter. Plus it’s not like there were actual trouts here. So what if they called it trout?
“You think I visit just for your fish?”
“Don’t you?” Adam teased.
“Humph.” Mae turned her head and stuck her nose in the air, pretending to be upset.
“I brought some spices from home,” he admitted, looking at the jar on the counter. There was no way it was going to make it five years. Hopefully Michel would remember to bring more.
“Oh, you cheat.” She stuck her tongue out playfully.
Adam nodded. “Of course.”
They finished the meal in silence and then retired to the couch.
“Ah. Eve? She’s my near twin.”
“Hardly,” he laughed. “She’s determined, but more…balanced than I am. She really stepped up when mom dad and helped keep our family together when it was hard.”
“You miss her.”
“I miss them all, but yeah. Probably Eve the most. Until I came here we were always near each other. She was always watching and pestering me to play with her.”
Adam remembered when he was young and had spent the night working on the experiments. There was a big test the day and he had been studying the different element. Melacoo and Firim produced a yellowish odor and raspberry smoke when mixed together.
“Adam!” Eve called out followed by a giggle. Adam turned in time to be hit in the face with a water balloon.
“Eve,” he spluttered. “What?”
She just giggled and skipped forward. “I’m bored.”
“You already know everything.”
She had a point, but what if he forgot something last minute and got a problem wrong. Would they take away his wonder child status? His family relied on the checks from the government that they received.
“Play chess with me.” She said. She knew he loved chess. “That will give the information time to sink in.”
“I’ll spot you three pawns.”
“Two. I’ve been practicing.”
“Yeah?” He was trying to figure remember the maneuver he’d read about. He liked to test new techniques on Eve. It was supposed to have the knight backed by the bishop advance but how? Why couldn’t he remember it?
“Adam, wake up.”
“I’m not sleeping, Eve.” He looked up at his sister concerned. Wait – why was she older? They should be the same age.
“Adam.” The voice said again, it wasn’t Eve.
“You fell asleep in mid-sentence, are you okay.”
Adam sat up quickly. “Oh, yes. Sorry. I must be more tired than I thought.”
“I should go.”
“Oh, you don’t have to.” Adam protested. “I’m better now.”
“Silly. You’re asleep on your feet.” She rose and stretched. “Thanks again for the meal.”
“It was my pleasure.” Adam rose quickly and walked her to his door.
Outside the cooler air helped wake Adam up. He was embarrassed that he fell asleep in front of Mae. How pathetic was that?
Adam turned and Mae was suddenly in front of him, on tiptoes. Her lips found his. Her hand pulled down on his arms. Adam froze and then melted. His lips parted and he pulled her close.
“I don’t have to go home,” she whispered when they broke apart.