HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 228

Frederica kept her eyes fixed on the floor. So did Tommy. Angela and Harry exchanged a sheepish glance.

“Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but kiddo has a dentist appointment,” Harry said. “It was nice meeting you, uh, Fred.”

Frederica nodded weakly. Tommy shoved his hands into his pockets and brushed past her. Harry laughed and followed after him. Angela and Frederica stepped into the elevator.

“Well, that was awkward,” Angela said.

“Sorry,” Frederica replied.

“No, I meant Tommy,” Angela said. “He’s not usually that bashful. At least, not around me. I think I’m a little jealous.”

She nudged her sister in the shoulder. Frederica blushed. The elevator opened onto the seventh floor, and Angela led Frederica down the hall.

“Genesis is at work right now,” Angela said, “so we’ll have the place to ourselves until she gets home.”

“You… you live together?” Frederica asked.

“For a couple months now, yeah,” Angela replied. “Are you uncomfortable with that?”

“No way,” Frederica said. “I’m just… surprised.”

Angela chuckled.

“So am I, sometimes,” she said. “When I think back to what my life was like just last year, it’s hard to believe just how much has changed.”

“And you really think I can change, too?” Frederica asked.

“Oh, definitely,” Angela replied, opening the door to her apartment. “The only reason I didn’t figure any of this stuff out sooner is because I was too afraid to try. I just needed someone to give me a push.”

“When can we start?” Frederica asked.

“Whenever you’re ready,” Angela said.

Frederica dropped her suitcase on the floor.

“I’m ready.”

“Okay then,” Angela said. “I don’t really have a lesson plan, per se, but I had an idea. Sometimes when I look into someone’s eyes, I can absorb their skills, their talents, even their languages. So I thought you could try that with me.”