Sunday morning, Kya found herself back at work. Thankfully, most of the staff didn’t have to work weekends, and it reminded her of the overnight shifts that she had lost. With her hair a little less cared for, and her more comfortable clothing, everything felt more relaxed than she had recently been used to. The day moved quickly as no one needed specific drives, so she was mostly on autopilot, making sure the server backups ran as required. Kya continued to research the various options available to her for Supers and felt her excitement rising as she imagined her life with them. It felt like she had been waiting her whole life to join a special club that was finally going to allow her membership.
Checking her bank account, one more time, she noted that she still had over two thousand dollars saved. While she wasn’t going to be able to afford a full set of five Supers like Amelia, she didn’t want to wait any longer to get her first ones.
She texted Amelia, her fingers stumbling over her phone’s keyboard as she nervously typed.
>I think I am ready to get two BMS’s from your friend.
Kya felt phantom phone vibrations in her pocket as she went about her day. She checked it religiously, and awaited a message from Amelia, but by the time she was packing up for home, none had come. Kya arrived home, ate a small dinner, and turned in early. She tried not to get mentally hung up on her friend’s lack of communication, but she perseverated on it for several hours before finally passing out.
In the morning, Kya woke up and immediately checked her phone again. Resending the message from the previous day, she felt as though her dreams of a new life were slipping through her fingers. Feeling a tinge of worry, she grumbled and spoke softly to the universe as she prepared for another day at work, “I hope you haven’t forgotten about me, Amelia.”
As soon as Kya arrived at work, she wished she could turn around and leave. Leonard was at his new cubicle, dressed in his fancy attire, beaming about his Super procedure.
“I chose Electricity, just like Greg Stone. I figured since Starlife Technologies has been so great to me, why not model myself off of the President of our wonderful company?” Leonard spoke to a small group of people gathered near his cubicle, but he made sure to speak loud enough for the whole department to hear. “I can’t wait for it to manifest. I’ll be able to turn off all the power in the building just by thinking about it, and I’ll never have to worry about a dead cell phone battery. The best part, if someone messes with me, I’ll electrocute them like a human taser.” He grinned.
Leonard’s voice irritated Kya as she took her seat without much notice and checked the logbook.
“Hey, Backups girl.” A slightly shrill voice crawled over the walls of the cubicle and climbed into Kya’s ear, causing her to convulse slightly. “You know if he’s single?”
“Sorry?” Kya said, standing up to more easily see her neighbour. There was a nameplate on her desk: JADE LIU, the woman who had taken Elliot’s seat. Her appearance was almost unchanged from the first time Kya saw her, not a hair out of place, nor a blemish to be seen. But today she wore a tight fitting, royal blue silk blouse over a low cut, black lace camisole, her A-line skirt hit about mid thigh, and with her legs crossed, Kya could see the top of her thigh-high stockings. Blue stilettos completed her outfit.
Jade nodded her head towards Leonard’s cubicle. “You used to work with him, right? Leonard, is he single?” She popped open the top button of her blouse, and Kya, as well as anyone else that was taller or stood above her, could now easily see down her shirt.
Kya’s thoughts changed from frustration to disgust and her body tensed up. Swallowing hard to dissuade herself from heaving, Kya replied in as polite a tone as she could muster, “I’m not sure. I’ve never taken much interest in him, or his love life.”
Sitting back into her task chair, Kya hoped the conversation was over. She placed her elbows on her desk, and rested her head in her hands, sighing deeply.
“That’s understandable. He is out of your league.”
Kya slammed her eyes shut, and tried to focus on her breathing in hopes of calming herself down, but instead of tranquility, she saw an image of herself pulling a chunk of straight black hair from the head of the annoying woman that she was learning to detest in ever greater amounts.
“Do you happen to know what happened to the person that was sitting there before you?” Kya asked, hoping that Elliot would return any moment.
“Yeah, I heard he quit.”
Kya leapt from her chair, and leaned over the cubicle wall. “What? Who told you that?” She spat out in confusion.
“I don’t know. I didn’t really care.”
“It’s just…” Kya stumbled over how to phrase her words, and sat back down. “Why wouldn’t he have told me?”
“Why would he tell you?” She could almost hear Jade rolling her eyes as she spoke.
Kya ignored the question, and spoke more to herself than to her co-worker. “He was trying to save up for retirement. Why would he quit? It just doesn’t fit. Plus, I thought we were friends…” She shook her head and stared at her screen. Thoughts of their lunches together hit her like a tidal wave, and she instantly had a hard time holding back tears.
“Whatever. He was old.” Jade said, and it surprised Kya that she still thought they were conversing. “Old people rarely make sense. If you’ll excuse me.” Jade pushed her chair back, stood with no difficulty in her massive heels and strutted towards Leonard’s cubicle.
“You’re excused.” Kya mumbled to her screen. Her stomach turned in knots of worry for Elliot, and she checked some old backups for any information on Elliot’s resignation.
“Leah!” Don Georgetown hollered as he threw open his office door.
Kya rolled her eyes and pushed her chair away from her desk to better see her boss. “Yes?” She asked, ignoring the fact that he got her name wrong again.
“We have been looking for a way to cut back our Computer Operations department.” He said as he walked to the edge of Kya’s cubicle.
She groaned involuntarily as she noticed that attention was being drawn from Leonard’s group towards her conversation.
“I know, I know, it’s sad to see anyone go.” He said with obvious mock sympathy. “But today is your lucky day!” He grinned.
Kya raised her eyebrows. “Oh?”
“You see, Tom has decided to move on to-” He took a deep breath, “other opportunities.” He smiled, but it failed to meet his cold eyes. “So you are fortunate enough to keep your job.” He tapped the edge of her desk, and spoke in an only slightly lower voice, “you know, if it weren’t for this little bit of luck, it would have been you out the door.” Then he began walking towards Leonard. “And how is our Golden Boy! Having a shockingly good day?”
Laughter erupted around Leonard and Kya turned her attention to the blinking orange lights with a sigh. She swapped the backups like the robotic arm she knew could someday replace her.