Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 1, chapter 3
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month.
Rae felt a little better as she climbed the stairs to her apartment. But her good mood dissipated when she saw Zoe pacing nervously in the hallway.
“Rae!” her friend said with relief, rushing forward to embrace her. “You’re all right!”
“Um… yes? Why wouldn’t I be?”
“We’ve been trying to get in touch with you! We thought something had happened. Where have you been?”
“Nowhere. Er. I mean, nothing happened. Nothing bad, anyway. I was at work. My phone was dead because I forgot to charge it. We had to work late to catch up because…”
She remembered her meeting with Senator Stern. “Ooh! I’ve got news! Wait until you hear about this!”
Zoe grinned. “I’ve got news too. And mine is bigger. But we didn’t want to make the announcement until we got everyone together. Come on!”
She took Rae by the hand and led her along. She opened the door to her apartment, calling, “She’s okay! I found her!”
Zoe and Michael’s apartment was immaculately clean. The table was set for four, and there were covered dishes on the stove. Michael rose to greet her as she came in. To Rae’s surprise, Owen was also there.
“Hey, babe,” Owen said nonchalantly.
“What’s going on? Was there supposed to be a dinner tonight? I didn’t make anything… I didn’t know. I’m so sorry!”
“No problem. This is a special dinner; tonight we’re hosting,” Michael said, ushering her into a chair. He poured a glass of homemade iced tea from a pitcher and slid it over to her.
“So what’s this about?” she asked as Zoe joined them at the table.
“You’ll see. Eat first,” Zoe said. “Explanation later, after everyone’s fed.”
They brought out the food, and Rae’s eyebrows rose. Besides the iced tea, there was French onion soup with molten cheese, homemade bread hot from the oven and spread with real butter, a salad of fresh vegetables rather than the limp and watery imitations they were used to, and…
“Sushi rolls?” she said.
“With tilapia and avocado,” Michael agreed.
“Wow. What’s the occasion?”
The two of them smiled secretively…