*Tap tap tap*.
Kya opened her eyes, and stretched. “Hmmm?” was all that managed to come out in response to the very gentle knock on her open door.
“Hey,” Sam said in not much more than a whisper, “you told me to wake you if you were sleeping before eight.”
“True.” She groaned. Kya rolled slowly off her bed and looked at Sam. “I’m hungry.”
As was fairly common, they took off to a shawarma restaurant, just down the street from their building. On the way back to the apartment, Kya’s phone buzzed as a reminder and she excused herself, quickly popped into the convenience store and emerged moments later with peanut butter cups. Sam raised his eyebrows with a questioning glance.
A grin plastered on her face, Kya handed him the chocolate. “For always being so awesome.” she explained.
“You know, I’m not.” Sam said with a chuckle as he took the treat.
Laughing lightly, they walked back to the apartment without needing to say another word. When they got in, the chill of the air conditioner hit Kya. It was refreshing, and she knew that as much as Sam wasn’t ready for it to be running, he was always trying to make her feel welcome and at home. It also gave Sam an excuse to dress in layers, something he seemed to enjoy. The hardwood floor gleamed as Kya took off her shoes and kicked them inside the front hall closet. Sam dropped his keys into the painted glass dish on the small table by the front door. Nearly everything in the common areas of the apartment were Sam’s, and his sense of style, while not what Kya would choose, was both modern and expensive looking. Kya watched as Sam sauntered into the living room to grab his tablet computer from the coffee table.
“So, what’s new in the world?” Kya asked.
Gesturing all over the small screen, as he did almost every time he returned home, Sam sighed. “Just checking in with my usual dose of celeb gossip.”
“I still don’t get your fascination with that stuff.”
“Myles Redwood’s Super hasn’t manifested yet.” He nodded with a hint of relief on his face. “Not surprising, it should take three or four more days.”
Sam’s brow furrowed, though he kept his voice casual and conversational. “It looks like he has set an appointment for a second though.”
Kya shrugged. “That’s a little fast.” She said and started moving to her room. “I think I’m going to go chill with some tunes on.”
“That’s cool.” Sam said with his eyes glued to his screen. “Too much money and power given too freely.” He mumbled.
In her room, Kya switched on her music, then pulled out her own tablet to check her e-mail. Her social media accounts automatically logged her in when the tablet came to life, and a split second later she got a message notification. The avatar of a plump blonde woman grinning in her wedding gown let Kya know that it was Mattie.
>Kya, How’s life?
>Not bad, just grabbed food with Sam.
You do realize that your avatar picture is over a year old, right?
Kya’s own picture changed every time she changed her hairstyle. Currently, it was of her with pigtails to show off the purple streaks, her face scrunched up and tongue sticking out.
>Yeah, I know… but I look so awesome in that pic. I just can’t bring myself to change it.
So, what’s up?
>Just kind of needing a friend.
Rory and I had a fight.
>That sucks. You ok?
>I will be…
We found out that we can’t have kids the “normal” way.
>That’s more and more common…
Kya sighed. She knew that she was out of her league in this conversation. Relationships had never been her strong point. She had long since known that she was part of the population who couldn’t have kids the “normal” way and that knowledge hadn’t yet phased her in the least.
>Yeah, Mattie continued.
But Rory and I have been saving up… you know… for something big.
Kya felt jealousy rise up within her. It wasn’t often that she was envious of her friends, but at this moment it was tangible.
>Wow. She typed with shaky fingers.
>Not so “wow”
Rory and I are at odds. We were planning on using the money to get Supers so we could offer our kids a better life… But we won’t be able to have kids unless we spend that money on fertility treatments.
>Why not have kids and then get Supers, I mean you’ve saved the money once already…
> It wasn’t that easy. A lot of the money was gifted for our wedding. Plus, kids are expensive… Even after they are born. Diapers, food, clothing, education. If we didn’t use this money on Supers, We won’t be able to save this much again. You know how hard it is.
Kya knew that Mattie didn’t intend the last bit as a jab, but the reality of it still stung. It was next to impossible for most Normals to make the leap to Supers.
>Ok, how about just getting the Supers now and waiting a few years before having kids?
>I’m not convinced that it’s safe to have kids once you’ve had Supers. You’ve heard about the First-Gens…
Kya vaguely remembered learning about the process of developing Supers in school, and how there were complications with children born to the first groups of people to develop Supers, but she didn’t know many, if any, details.
>I never gave it much thought.
>Well, anyways, even without that, the price for fertility treatments are doubling every few months. It’s already more than we have set aside… The longer we wait, the further it is from our grasp.
I told Rory we should take out a loan and do the fertility.
>Have you checked out the interest rates on loans?
>Yeah… He thinks we just shouldn’t have kids.
>I don’t know what to tell you…
>I know. I just needed to vent.
>I know how much you’ve always wanted a family. That’s really tough.
Kya waited for a few minutes but her closest friend said nothing else. She stared at her screen blankly trying to remember what she was about to do before talking to Mattie. “E-mail.” Kya said to herself with a snap of her fingers.
Sure enough there were some e-mails about changes and tests going on at work that week, and one with Internal Promotions Update as the subject line. With interest, Kya opened that one first.
To All Staff of SLT – Starlife Technologies
We have had another amazing quarter and due to our success we will be opening up new positions as we expand our company. We will be looking to promote from within first, so if you are interested, please contact your Human Resources representative.
Attached was a list of job promotions available. Each job had the potential to double Kya’s annual income, but each job also had a minimum of one Super listed as a prerequisite. She knew that more than education, having a Super was quickly becoming a required part of getting a higher paying job. Kya huffed and closed the app without looking at the rest of her emails.
Speaking her frustrations aloud, Kya ranted to the walls around her, “How can I get a job that makes a good money if it costs more than I make to get that job?”
Kya opened her bank account summary, hoping her frugal month would result in good news, but she was in the red, her statement showing a negative balance of $205.68.
Kya put her tablet on her bedside table, laid down in bed with the comforter pulled up to her neck and closing her eyes repeated without pause, “It’s not that bad. It will get better,” until she fell asleep.