“What were you thinking?” Sam turned to face Kya and leaned his hands on the kitchen counter behind him. Steam rose from the full coffee cup beside his right hand. “If you were even thinking at all.” He paused and stared at Kya. The colour of his face shifted ever more red.
“Sam, I don’t know what I did to you. I really don’t understand what’s going on.” Kya said. Her heart pounded in her chest and she fought the urge to run back into her room. She quickly considered her previous evening, searching for something that might have made Sam angry, but came back to the current moment without an answer.
“You disappeared yesterday after your friends left!”
“What do you mean? Where did I go? Did I black out?”
Sam laughed, but it was a cold, hard, empty laugh.
“Look, Sam, it is not fair that you can throw this much hostility at me when I have no idea why. I am going through so much right now, and I need a friend. Someone that can help me. Amelia is dead.” Kya felt heat in her cheeks, and her body buzzed with an energy that she had never felt before. Her mind reeled slightly at her verbal admission of her friend’s death. Somehow, by saying it aloud, it felt more real.
Sam nodded and cleared his throat. He wordlessly picked up his coffee cup and walked to the living room.
Kya took a seat opposite Sam on the couch. She sighed deeply and heard Sam do the same.
The apartment was chilled, like normal, as the mid-morning sun shone directly through the window. It was rare for Kya to be sitting in the livingroom during the day, and as they sat in silence, she noticed little details that she never really paid attention to before.
The small framed pictures next to the television were of Sam and a large group of children. It was likely from the first class he taught in. She looked at the fake plant in the corner, and its long, wide leaves were a dark green with yellow highlights and, as with the rest of the apartment, it looked clean and dust free.
Sam opened his mouth as if to speak then closed it and let a deep breath out through his nose. After a moment, he began again. “I’m talking about Supers, Kya.” He looked her straight in the eyes, his gray eyes seemed to pierce into Kya’s soul. “I’m talking about how your Invisibility Super manifested yesterday.”
A small involuntary smile twitched the right corner of Kya’s mouth as one thought filled her head I’m not crazy! “That explains what happened at the-” She cut herself off.
A fresh blade of grief sliced her heart. She couldn’t let her mind wander to the previous day for even a moment. She swallowed hard then opened her mouth to speak, but Sam chimed in first.
“Look, I get the draw of Supers, but you know I’m against them.”
“Because of your mom.”
Sam flinched and she wished she could take the words back as soon as they had left her mouth.
“It is more than that.” Sam paused. “I mean, that does contribute to it, but I also believe that Supers are wrong on a bunch of different levels. They’re unnatural to the extreme. I feel like they ruin society. They harm people. We’ve just replaced one type of class warfare for another, and I don’t want to be part of such a broken system.”
Sam’s passion hit Kya like a slap in the face. This was the most engaged she had ever seen him, and it was all surrounding a point of contention that was no longer something she could fix. She tried to take in what he was saying, but Kya knew that she still lacked complete understanding regarding Sam’s hatred for Supers. “I didn’t get mine from any of those companies, if that’s what you mean.”
“Kya, genetic engineering is wrong. It changes people. It gave the world something beyond money to strive for, and though it was the stuff of dreams, it killed inspiration and hard work. It divided us all. How is that a good thing?”
“I’ve never thought of it that way.”
“Well, it’s hard to think rationally about something that is marketed to the world more than energy drinks, medication or loans.” Sam shifted in his seat, and his posture became more relaxed. “To understand, I’d have to tell you a bit about my life, especially how it changed after my mom died.”
“Okay.” Kya said. She couldn’t help but feel nervous about what she was going to hear. She worried that he was going to be able to convince her Supers were bad, and wondered what consequences such a conclusion might hold for her.
Sam grabbed his coffee and took a long, slow sip. As he took it away from his face, Kya recognized his contemplative look. “You know how my mom died, right?”
“And why she was important?”
“Yes. I finally got curious and did research.” Kya felt her cheeks turn red.
“Alright, so, after mom died, my dad got a little crazy. He felt like we needed to save face with the world, and show that we were still worthy of public adoration. He wanted to make sure his investments continued to do well.” Sam picked up his coffee and took another drink.
“Right.” Kya interjected to fill the quiet.
“He was too afraid of getting the Supers injections himself. He was part of their creation, and he never told me what happened, but he was adamant that I get them as soon as I turned eighteen to show how safe they were.”
“Did you end up doing it?”
Sam coughed slightly, and putting on his teacher voice, he continued. “I’ll never get through this story if you keep interrupting Kya.”
“Sorry.” She said, feeling the heat in her cheeks return.
“I told him that I didn’t want Supers. And who could blame me after what had happened to my mom?” Sam paused, taking another sip of his coffee.
Kya could see that Sam was trying to swallow his emotions while he drank the dark, bitter drink down. He returned the now empty cup to the table.
“More coffee?” She asked gently as she reached out to take his cup. It slid into her open hand and Kya blinked in shock. She looked at Sam, who seemed not to have noticed. She refilled the cup and returned to the room.
Sam continued speaking. “It didn’t help that in dad’s social circle everyone was signing up and getting Supers, despite the accident. My father quickly felt like the elite class were going to remove him from their ranks if he didn’t have someone to act as a bridge for him. Even though he was still too afraid to undergo the procedure himself, just before my eighteenth birthday he pushed once again for me to have them. He told me that if I didn’t get Supers, he’d cut me off.”
Things were coming into focus, and Kya began to connect the dots. She remember the news articles she had seen, and knew that Sam was still incredibly wealthy. “It all turned out though, right? You didn’t get Supers, and your dad couldn’t cut you off from the family money?”