The back seat of Mattea and Rory’s car was warm and soft and it hugged Kya as she climbed in on the passenger side.
“There you go. Just keep taking deep breaths and we will be out of here in a minute.” Mattea said as she shut the door and walked around behind the car. Mattea hopped in the back as well, on the driver’s side.
Rory sat in the driver’s seat, started the electric engine and they drove away from the cabin. None of them looked back to see the still flashing lights of the emergency vehicles that were reflecting on the windows and mirrors of the car.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Mattea asked after an extended silence.
“I’d rather just listen.” Kya groaned, staring out the window at the trees, as they rushed past in a blur.
“What would you like me to talk about?”
Kya shrugged. The cool breeze from the car’s air conditioner calmed her nerves, and helped dry the sweat from her body. She felt less uncomfortable, and a little less sick to her stomach.
Rory craned his neck and looked back at the pair of women. “Mattie, please, don’t stress yourself.”
“Rory, do you really think that talking is going to jeopardize the safety of the baby?” Her high pitch, defensive tone echoed through the cabin of the car.
Rory exhaled loudly, but said nothing.
“It’s like he thinks I’m made of something weaker than glass these days.” Mattea changed her tone to one more light and calming, but Kya could still hear an undertone of something like annoyance or resentment. “Granted, I am technically supposed to be on bed rest… It is a high risk pregnancy, but so are ninety percent of the pregnancies out there.” Mattea said projecting her voice at her husband as she finished her retort.
A deep voice quickly exclaimed from the driver’s seat, “But those other ninety percent aren’t my wife.”
“It’s this whole Fertility Crisis.” Mattea continued, ignoring Rory’s comment. “Genetic engineering and rigorous hormone therapies to get pregnant, and now I’m on more hormones to keep me that way. One large needle, three times a day.”
“Everyday.” Rory said, driving his point home.
Mattea nudged Kya. Slowly Kya turned to look, at her friend.
A slight grin widened along Mattea’s face. “He’s just annoyed because he has to give them to me. I’d rather do it myself, but the sight of the needle is enough to make me vomit these days.”
Kya tried to twist her mouth into a smile.
Mattea’s expression softened into an unmistakable look of pity. “You look so tired.” Mattea slowly brushed a piece of hair out of Kya’s face and back behind her ear.
Unable to reciprocate, or appreciate the attention, Kya returned to staring out the window. She felt odd, but tried to stay focused on the moment. She wanted to let her friend know that what she was doing was appreciated, but Kya felt she needed to lock down all emotions, good and bad, to be able to stay sane.
When they arrived at Kya’s apartment, both Mattea and Rory got out of the car to escort Kya upstairs. Every step that Kya took felt heavy with exhaustion. Walking down the corridor to her apartment, it felt like she hadn’t been there in years. The hallway seemed longer and darker than ever before. The floor felt unyielding and an odd, unfamiliar smell permeated the air. An invisible weight pulled on her eyelids, but she refused to close them, afraid of the images her mind would force her to see.
Mattea used Kya’s key to unlock the door, and Kya walked onto the apartment to see Sam sitting on the couch. The only light in the apartment coming from Sam’s displays. Kya felt a minuscule moment of normality as Mattea blindly searched for a light switch to illuminate the front hall.
“Hey, Kya.” Sam said smiling before turning to stare at the trio. His smile quickly dropped and his brow knitted in obvious confusion. “What’s up?”
Mattea moved swiftly to Sam, who was now standing by his couch, and she began filling him in on recent events. Kya stood still at the front entrance. Her body limp, it was only Rory and the wall that were holding her up. Kya heard distant sobbing and with a great deal of effort, she turned her head to try to pinpoint the source before realizing that it was her.
After hearing only a piece of the whole story, Sam rushed over and wrapped Kya in a hug, pushing Rory out of the way slightly in doing so.
Kya’s legs dropped out from under her, and she was being supported completely by Sam’s embrace. After a few moments of being squeezed by him, the warmth and familiar scent helped her find the comfort to lift herself up.
With her footing regained, he pulled away but still keeping an arm around her to support her, Sam led her to the couch and she stood in front of it, staring blankly out the balcony window.
“Man, I’m sorry to drop all this on you,” Rory said, “but I have to get Mattie home. She’s supposed to take it easy with the baby, and today has obviously not been easy.”
“Mmm hmm.” Sam’s lips were pursed so tightly that they were white. He did not take his eyes off Kya for a moment.
“I’m so sorry, Sam.” Mattea said. “I’d stay if I could.”
“Mmm hmm.” Sam repeated.
Kya heard the door close and then black fingers crawled across her vision from the outside corners, and the world slipped away from her.
Kya woke up in her bed. The morning sun was shining through her window and birds were singing. She was fully clothed, including her shoes, and her head pounded. She sat up as slowly as she could, her every motion brought new ripples of pain through her head. Unable to remember how she got in bed, energy shot through her body. As she rotated her hips, her feet dangled above the floor and she slipped off her shoes. One at a time, they hit the small area rug with a dull thud.
She stretched her arms upwards, relieving some of the tension in her shoulders and neck before sliding off of her bed. Her body once again revolted, and her stomach flipped and churned. Kya could barely think straight as she stumbled towards her bedroom door. She opened it and with no grace, stomped slowly towards the kitchen.
“So, you’re awake.” Sam said. His voice was curt, and he didn’t meet her gaze as she approached.
She felt the bite to his words, but couldn’t think of what she had done to deserve it. Still feeling like her emotions were being effectively bottled up, she tilted her head slightly in confusion. “Sorry?” She said.
A scowl took over Sam’s normally kind face. He turned away from Kya, took a sip of his coffee, before hanging his head. “I know you are going through some horrible stuff right now, but that doesn’t make you any less of an idiot.”
“Pardon me?” Kya spat out.