“You are so lucky, Pete,” Brian groaned. He rubbed his sticky hands across his face, slid off his bed, and sat heavily on his brother’s bottom bunk.
“Sorry, Bro,” Peter replied from his desk.
“I can’t stand her…”
“Well, at least she’s pretty.”
“Pretty dreadful, “Brian said. The brothers shared a look and burst into laughter, but it was short lived for Brian. He ran his hands across his face again, blue pooled in the dimple on his right cheek and smeared across his forehead, “I really don’t know if I can do this. It’s the rest of my life, and every time I hear her voice,” his eyelids fluttered, “I want to explode.”
“Have you talked to Counselor Reed?”
“She made an appointment for me with Dr. Williams. That was a lot of help…”
“Did he give you something? Marco said they have some sort of bonding drug.”
“Yeah, he did.”
“It’s shit… Didn’t work. I was so excited about it when I first got it. I had made plans to take Rachel to a nice dinner and then spend some time in the gardens. I followed the instruction, and nothing changed.”
“Maybe you didn’t do it right.”
“No, Pete. I did it right. She must have some sort of super powers that make her exceptionally revolting. You’re so freaking lucky you’re thirteen…”
“Two more years…”
“Two more years. What I wouldn’t give for two more years,” Brian said as he sulked into the bathroom to wash the mess from his face and hands.
The elevator outside of Brian’s living quarters was under maintenance, so with a heavy sigh, he pushed open the door to the stairwell. He had already spent his required hour and half between the pool and fitness arena, so he wasn’t too eager to climb up the twenty-two flights to Level 12.
Brian sat down to catch his breath. Regret was eating at him, but he wasn’t going to climb back down only to change his mind and make the trek back up again.
Café Max seeped through the door and begged him out of hiding. As much as he wanted to stop and enjoy his favorite cup, Brian pushed on past the shops toward Low End, the slightly sunken and mostly condemned area furthest from the elevators.
He crossed the rope that marked off the area, stepped over a large crack in the foundation, and followed the “no entry” signs down toward the heart of Low End.
As Brian approached a group of people, he noticed an older classmate, Avery Miller, talking to a boy next to a large Eden Corporation poster. Avery noticed him and waved him over, but continued his conversation with the wild-eyed youth.
The boy’s gaze followed Avery’s hand toward a girl dressed in tattered clothing leaned up again the wall near a trash bin. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and her breathing was strange. She ran her hands up and down her body lingering on her exposed flesh. Two boys sat down in front of her, and gave her their full attention. She didn’t seem to notice. “What’s wrong with her?” the boy asked.
Avery laughed, “Nothing is wrong with her.” The boy looked again and the girl was on her hands and knees kissing one of the boys in her audience while the other played with her hair.
“What else do you have?” The boy glanced over at the girl again. This time she was kissing the other boy.
“Well...” Avery laughed again as the boy stared at the scene open mouthed, “Does that bother you?”
“She looks young…“
“She’s married.” The boy’s jaw dropped. “That’s her husband right there.” Avery pointed to another boy sitting on a bench watching the girl move from one boy to the next, smiling. “Think on it a few. I am going to talk to my friend here.” Avery said as he grabbed Brian’s arm and pulled him aside.
“Hey,” Brian said.
“Hey, Oldham,” Avery smiled, “I have something for you.”
“What is it?”
“Does it really matter…”
“Brian… Brian,” Rachel nudged him with her foot. He was lying on his back in the basking room waiting for her, enjoying the warmth of the lamps.
“Hey… you,” he smiled, opened his eyes, and propped up on his elbows.
“Oh my gosh! Where have you been all day? We have an appointment tomorrow to go over…”
“You look… pretty.” He sat up.
“and wedding schedules. My mother thinks it would be a good idea if we planned our wedding in a little over a month so…”
“Your hair is… nice.”Brian watched as Rachel’s mouth continued to move. “I really can’t stand you,” he sighed.
“The adoption process takes a few weeks to finalize our blood work. I have a copy of the catalog, so we can determine which traits we would like our child to have...”
“Well...I am glad I got that out in the open,” Brian said as he watched her continue on.
“I know we are supposed to have one child, but I really would like three. I really love having a sister, and…”
“I really wish you would shut up.”
“Really it’s whatever you think,” Rachel said as she sat down next to Brian on the grassy floor.
“Wow,” Brian mouthed.
“What?” she leaned toward him as Brian leaned in, brushed the blonde hair out of her face, and kissed her softly on the mouth. Rachel’s face turned a bright shade of red, and she tried to make herself look busy shuffling pamphlets.
Brian leaned back onto the warm grass and smiled.