“It’s my fault, isn’t it?” Justin stays silent, not bothering to look me in the eyes. “Justin, say something.” I keep my voice from cracking.
“I don’t know, Katie.” Justin mutters.
“What do you mean? You should know.” I lower my voice. “You should know,” I whisper.
“Does it look like I do?”
I don’t reply this time.
“Kat, look at me.” The anger is building up in Justin’s voice. “Does it look like I do, Katie! Hm? You tell me. I obviously don’t know!” He grabs me by the shoulders, making me look at him.
I press my lips together. “This is the part where you apologize, Justin,” I say after a minute of silence.
He hesitates for a second, “Sorry. Sorry, Kats.” Justin envelopes me into his arms. “I… I don’t know how this happened.”
“We have to hide Kia from the world, don’t we?” I whisper into his chest.
He pauses for a second, “For now. We’ll wait until she learns to hide her powers.”
“Are you sure that’ll work?”
“I,” He falters. “Yes. Are you sure you want this?”
There’s nothing else we can do, is there? “Yes. I’m sure.” I close my eyes and feel a tear trail down my cheek.
Justin wipes it away, “Then I am too.”
- - -
“Mommy?” Kia’s cute voice carries out from the back seat.
“Why don’t the other kids like me?”
The car screeches to a stop in the middle of the road, followed by dozens of honks. I breathe in and out quickly.
Don’t jump to conclusions here, Katie.
I drive into a nearby gas station, parking there.
“Who said the other kids didn’t like you, Kia?” I pull her onto my lap, my heart beating faster with every passing second.
“They won’t talk to me. I know you said it’s because we live far away from them, but a new kid that also lives far away joined the team and they all liked her and they still don’t like me Mommy. Why don't they like-” Kia sobs, heaving breaths in and out.
I comb my hands through her hair, letting Kia let it all out. “Kia… Did you teleport on the field?” I ask her.
She stares back at me dumbfounded. “The flashy thing, Kia. You move from one place to another without walking?”
“Yeah, I did. Coach made me sit on the bench until class ended. Coach-” Kia’s voice cracks again. “Coach said… She said she wanted the new girl to have a chance at trying things out.”
I sit there in stunned silence. “Do you want to see your sister?” I ask, knowing it’ll make her cheer up.
She cries into my shoulder, not saying anything. I run my hands up and down her back while I drive to Astra’s school to pick her up early.
- - -
“She got kicked out?” Justin whispers to me as we watch the girls color.
“And why did she quit? Kia loves soccer,” Justin follows me into our bedroom.
“Your plan backfired,” I growl. Justin frowns. “You said it would work.”
“What pl-” The look of realization that washes over his face would’ve made me laugh if it weren’t such a serious topic. “Oh. Oh. That plan.”
“Do you remember? The one you said would not make our daughter into an outcast? The plan that wouldn’t make her look like another Trix.”
Trix was awful. She tried to make the world a better place with her powers, but made it even worse. No one needed to see her suicide note to know why she killed herself.
No one could get over her. Really, we’re lucky that they didn’t jail the other teleporters. Only nine, anyway.
Ten, including Kia.
She was just a big mistake. I try to love her the same. But really, can we love a technical criminal the same as an ordinary person?
“We have to help her to hide it.” Justin whispers.
“How do you help someone do something if you don’t know how to do it yourself?” Another tear tickles down my cheek. I wipe it away before Justin can see it.
“Don’t cry, my cute little Kit Kat.” Guess my effort was in vain. “I know someone,” Justin mumbles into my hair.
- - -
“Why can’t I quit school too?” Astra groans.
“Shh,” I shush Astra. “Kia’s sleeping.”
“Kia is seven! She shouldn’t even have a naptime,” Astra grumbles something else.
“And you’re ten. You shouldn’t be taking college courses,” I shoot back. “You know what? I’ll make it up to you. We’ll go camping this weekend. Just you and me.”
These moments are what I would’ve died for when I was younger. Seeing someone’s whole face light up because of me.
It makes me wonder what I did wrong back then.
It makes me wonder what I did right now.
“No, we won’t go.” I roll my eyes, loving playing with Astra. “I was just kidding, don’t be sad,” My heart breaks seeing Astra’s face.
“Mom! Don’t do that,” She pouts. “Capricorn is going to be out on Saturday right?”
“Yes, actually it is. I’ll see if my friend can take care of Kia for Saturday.”
Sunday is when Justin’s… acquaintance is coming over to teach Kia. Teach her how to control her powers.
Teach her how to hide it.
“You know what? You can skip school on Friday, and we’ll camp ‘til Saturday afternoon,” I reconsider.
“Yay! Thanks Mom!” She grins. “Can I go out?”
“Where?” I ask, not so sure she’s meeting her friends. I don’t even think she has any.
A moment of silence passes between us. Astra speaks up, “To get something for the lab.”
“Don’t tell me it's about…” I glance at Kia’s bedroom.
“It’s not,” Astra says a little too quickly. “It’s not going to hurt her, anyway,” She mutters after I let her go.
God, I hope that kid turns out like her father.
I hope our kids are both more than a big mistake.