Chapter 5: First Contact – part 3
Despite his inhuman calm Shane reeled from Harris’ every word. It took all of his concentration to hold the woman at bay psychically and not empty his stomach. In the process he’d lost contact with his son.
What Harris said finally caught up to Shane. Daughter? That was her four year-old daughter? Shane shivered as he returned his dormant crystal to his pocket. Ashley would be at least as strong as her mother psychically, presuming she lived to maturity. That was only part of the reason for the shiver, though. It was also because he’d attacked a child—specifically his son’s half-sister who’d been trying to protect her brother.
Shane scrubbed his hands over his face. He’d made a colossal mistake and his son hadn’t even been born yet! His mind raced to find a way to salvage the situation.
After ten minutes of plotting and brooding Shane resigned himself to the one course of action that stood a chance of success but he least wanted to follow. Nevertheless, maintaining contact with his son was worth it.
Shane swiveled his chair to face the desktop videophone and reluctantly released his emotionless calm. Uncertainty, apprehension, and a touch of fear replaced it. I’m going to get my brain fried for a fetus, he chastised himself. Brilliant.
He took several deep, calming breaths until his emotions were under control, then entered Harris’ ID into the keypad. A few seconds later Harris’ clipped voice sounded from the speakers. “What?” The screen remained dark.
Shane was mildly surprised that she accepted the call at all. He went straight to the point. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was your daughter. I thought you were trying to keep me from my… our son.” The word “our” was strangled, but he’d managed it. Holding his breath, Shane waited for Harris’ reaction.
When Myers retreated, Addison concentrated on calming Ashlynn and her unborn son. The baby was a bundle of anxiety, pelting her with kicks and punches. Curled up beside her on the bed, Ashlynn continued to tremble.
Addison made herself relax, relaying calm to her children. Eventually her son stilled and drifted to sleep. Although Ashlynn was still upset, her shivering stopped. Addison hugged the girl close. “It’s all right now. Mummy won’t let anything happen to you. You know that, right?”
Ashlynn peered up through her eyelashes, her lip quivering. “He said that he’d hurt you.” None of the girl’s lingering fear crept into her voice.
“He won’t hurt me.” That much was certain.
“Who is he?”
Addison opened her mouth, then closed it to spare her daughter a vitriolic rant. Instead she tested possible replies in her mind. Your brother’s sperm donor. The man I almost shagged. Half-alien freak. All true, but none appropriate for a little girl.
The videophone chimed. A glance at the flat-panel screen on the wall showed Myers’ ID. Addison blinked in surprise. Surely the man cannot be that stupid.
The phone chimed again. Addison glared at it, then answered it with a thought, leaving the video off. She had no interest in seeing the bastard. “What?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was your daughter. I—”
Addison nearly laughed at Myers’ excuse for an apology. His “I thought I was attacking you. Sorry, my bad,” was more like a bad joke.
“—thought you were trying to keep me from my… our son.”
Addison froze. The baby had never been couched in those terms before. He wasn’t hers alone. If she’d wanted the child to be hers, she should never have told Myers about him.
Ashlynn sat up beside Addison. She whispered, “Mummy, is that the bad man?”
Her daughter’s question halved Addison’s ire. Addison switched on the phone’s video mode and met Myers’s surprised gaze. “I don’t know, Princess. Why don’t you ask him?”
Ashlynn slid off of the bed to the floor, peering at Myers’ image. Addison noticed how the girl’s hands just barely trembled as she crept up to the screen. Pride swelled. That’s my brave girl.
“Are you the bad man? Are you going to hurt Mummy and my baby brother?”