Rory never interacts much with the other tenants. Every time she walks through the lobby of the Victorian she keeps her head and eyes angled toward the ground. She and Peter decided to go for a walk that morning. Rory knew about the water crisis, of course, but she wasn’t worried. She always keeps cases of water stacked next to her cot as a makeshift nightstand. Even more cases were stored by the fridge.
Rory and Peter walked to Howell Park. She figured since it was early in the day she wouldn’t run into many people. Especially ones from the Victorian. She knew they’d attempt to carry on a conversation. On their way home, Rory spotted a trail of clothes lining Simone Boulevard. She and Peter collected the clothing. When Rory looked up grabbing a shirt, she realized she knew the man up ahead dropping his clothes. She’d noticed him a few times in the lobby but didn’t know his name. Rory weighed the consequences of taking him his clothes. A conversation. Despite her introversion, she decided to chase down the man, Peter running alongside with a sock hanging out his mouth.
As she expected, she and the man ended up having a conversation and she even offered to walk back to the Victorian together.
“What was I thinking?” Rory whispered to Peter.
“Huh,” Baker said.
Rory was a bit startled, almost forgetting that another person had been walking with her. She just told him that she was reassuring Peter that they’d be home soon. He bought it.
“So, why don’t I see you around the building often?” Baker asked as they approached the entrance of the Victorian.
Rory hadn’t been looking at man. Eye contact freaked her out. But today was the day she actually initiated a conversation with someone and offered to walk home with them. Rory looked up and responded.
“Peter and I usually keep to ourselves. In a town like this, you never know who someone truly is.”
Rory hadn’t planned to say that last line. She only thought it until it was out of her mouth for Baker to hear. She couldn’t decide whether she meant it as not knowing the people around her or really not knowing herself. Baker nodded at the statement and waited to make sure Rory had finished sorting out some internal conflict. He could tell by the look on her face.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you and Peter around. Thanks again for my clothes.”
Baker patted Peter on the head and turned to the elevator. Rory knew she’d see him again, just not if she would speak. Baker, on the other hand, made it his goal to figure Rory out.