An elevator rose in the shaft of a small apartment. The doors opened on the fourth floor, and Gabe stepped out. Tired, he walked down the hall counting room numbers. At Room 411, he knocked.
Shortly after, the door opened a crack, secured by a golden chain.
He blurted, nervously, "It's Gabe. I need a place to crash, my Dad kicked me out. Can I come in?"
A young woman's dark, smiling lips appeared in the crack of the door. White teeth flashed in silent happiness. And the smell of incense met his nostrils - or was it marijuana?
She let him in, and he put his pack down on a chair. And turning to get a good look at her one-room apartment, Gabe gaped.
There were music posters, old family photographs, school assignments and amateur paintings covering the walls in a disorganized manner. A photograph cut in the shape of a heart caught his eye - them on a school trip and he was at the centre of the photo.
"I'm sorry, the place is a little messy."
The bedside table had a coil of incense burning. The bed, though neatly made, had a spread of schoolwork on one side. And there was a large open window, looking right down a main street. Not quite a full view of the city skyline.
"It'll do," he said, "I'm used to much worse. Where do I sleep?"
His classmate glanced down at her bed with an awkward smile. And Gabe knew it would be time to act - with his thoughts. He needed to contemplate fast, get a grasp of the situation. He had his morals. He had his limits. And he had his tender affections too.
"It's all I've got," she admitted. "And we can finish that project for class, too. Maybe even drop by the studio - Mitch, Donya and I reserved some time tomorrow with some savings. Heck, we could record one of those sermons of yours."
This, he thought, coming from a girl who - as smart as she is - carries a condom on her key-chain. A sinner. And here I am, the virtue. In the face of temptation. Surely, I will falter. But I must not fall completely.