Chapter 5: First Contact – part 6

Editor’s note: This post is much longer than usual, and bounces between Addison’s and Shane’s POVs several times. Does this work for you? Is it confusing? Annoying? Please let us know with a comment. Thanks!


Addison’s eyes widened as she tried to formulate a reply. There is no bleeding way that he’s going to be in the same sodding room with me while I give birth!

“No,” Addison snapped. “You can see him as soon as possible after he’s born. First he’ll need to be cleaned up, weighed, tested, and nursed. Then you can see him. But you’re not going to be present during delivery, Myers.” The thought of Myers seeing her with her guard down, out of control, crying, and in pain was beyond embarrassing. “That’s personal and private, and you haven’t earned that right.”

***

I should never have made that sperm donation, Shane thought for the umpteenth time. This whole mess was Harris’ fault. If she hadn’t done her shock-and-awe “Surprise! You’re a father!” thing he wouldn’t be in this predicament. He wouldn’t care about her unborn child or her. But now he was stuck with at least a marginal interest in her well being because his—their—son depended on her and would for years to come. Worse, the bitch could keep him away from his child. Harris had the advantage during this crucial negotiation.

As much as Shane wanted to simply state that he’d be there during delivery whether Harris liked it or not, he knew that would be foolish. Keeping his demeanor calm and professional, he conceded. “Fine. I’ll wait outside of the delivery room.” Then, holding back a smug grin, he decided to play a different card. “You may or may not know this from our initial introduction, but I can heal other people as well as myself. If labor becomes difficult I could help. For our son’s sake.”

***

Suspicion immediately overcame Addison. What’s he playing at? Is this his way of worming his way into the delivery room and trying to get to my son first?

She studied Myers, deliberately crossing her legs and hiking her skirt up a bit while she thought. The prat’s gaze drifted to her legs momentarily. Addison held back a smirk. She wasn’t above using her body as a distraction.

The possibilities of what could go wrong during labor and delivery loomed large in Addison’s mind. She didn’t doubt Dr. Frasier’s competence, and she knew that an obstetrician would be on hand for her son’s birth. Despite all that, Myers’ information was worth consideration. Assuming that he wouldn’t just let me bleed out on the table if something goes wrong and the baby’s been delivered.

Although she wouldn’t dare admit it aloud, Addison was curious about Myers’ abilities. She’d heard the rumors. Unfortunately her first scan of him hadn’t gleaned enough information before he’d blocked her. Later Daniel had told her that Myers’s mind was off-limits. Not that Myers knew that. The wanker wouldn’t squirm so much if he did.

Then her bloody traitorous mind replayed their encounter in the hall a few weeks ago. Addison’s temperature rose a few degrees at the memory, and heat settled between her legs. She summoned her willpower to sit still and not lick her lips. After all, Finn’s quarters weren’t far.

“What exactly are you offering, Myers?” Addison asked, arching an eyebrow. “What guarantee do I have that you’ll do as you propose if things go pear-shaped? Especially if our son isn’t the one in medical danger?”

***

The woman was the devil. Harris had deliberately crossed her long, toned legs, and Shane’s eyes betrayed him by following the movement. If Harris hadn’t been carrying his child and been capable of frying his brain he’d have coerced her into sex. It probably wouldn’t take much coercion, either. She wanted him. The damned stubborn woman didn’t want to admit it.

Two could play at this game, though. Women typically thought they had the upper hand, but they were wrong when it came to him. Shane knew that despite being in good shape he was average-looking at best. Humans, however, reacted to more stimuli than physical appearance. With that in mind Shane deliberately raised his body temperature a few degrees, causing his skin to warm and sweat slightly. The perspiration evaporated, carrying pheromones into the air. Harris would react shortly.

“What exactly are you offering, Myers?” Harris asked. “What guarantee do I have that you’ll do as you propose if things go pear-shaped? Especially if our son isn’t the one in medical danger?”

Shane arched an eyebrow in return. Did she think he was that stupid? He didn’t want her dead. That would be bad for his son, and he’d be saddled with all of the parenting unless he relinquished the child to Triptych. But Shane refused to let his annoyance show. He simply replied, “The only guarantee you have is my word.” Harris’ expression showed how little that meant to her. “I want my son to be happy and healthy. While two parents aren’t necessary, research indicates that involvement of the mother and father greatly improve a child’s quality of life. Therefore it would be foolish for me to harm you.”

While Harris chewed on that Shane upped the sexual taunting ante with a little telekinesis. He gently brushed one of her nipples, then the other. The touch was so light it could have been a gust of air from the vents. With an inward smirk Shane watched for her reaction.

***

Addison licked her lips. She felt warmer, and the air that teased her nipples through her thin blouse fanned her arousal. She shifted in her seat, uncrossing and crossing her legs.

Myers’ attention drifted back to her legs, which only made her feel needier. Addison liked his eyes on her body, especially when she felt that her clearly pregnant bump detracted from her attractiveness. Plus, knowing that a man who otherwise loathed her wanted her body was something of an illicit thrill.

Addison smoothed her skirt and blouse over her stomach. “Fine. I’ll allow you to be at the delivery.” The ache between her legs prompted Addison to lean forward, better exposing her cleavage. She murmured, “Anything else?”

***

Shane’s strategy was working a little too well. Harris was clearly turned on, yet restraining herself. Watching her shift in her seat and lick her full lips had gotten his hormones going. Nevertheless he had to tread lightly. He’d just won a major victory.

Harris surprised Shane by leaning forward, giving him a slightly better view of her breasts. “Anything else?”

After a moment’s hesitation Shane allowed his body to react to Harris’. Let her think she’s in control, he told himself. Harris’ eyes darted to his crotch then back to his face. Shane leaned closer, matching the woman’s lascivious grin. “I don’t know. Is there?”

***

Addison barely restrained a whimper. The urge to launch herself at Myers and taste him was strong. It would be so easy to let nature take its course. Not this time, Addison decided. Once of making a complete fool of herself and throwing herself at the prat was enough.

Addison lowered her mental shields just enough to let a hint of her ardor wash over Myers. Her fingers toyed with the button holding her blouse closed over her chest. A telekinetic nudge pried it loose. The plastic disk tumbled to the couch cushion between them.

“No, I think we’re done,” Addison stated. She sat back, which drew her skirt higher and exposed the top of her stockings and garter. “You’ve gotten what you wanted, haven’t you?”

***

Shane almost regretted starting this game in the first place. Harris was damned good at it. She should be throwing herself at him. After their encounter in the hallway he didn’t think she had this much self-control. Her act of unbuttoning her blouse and hiking her skirt up was pushing his to the limit. He had a bit more strength left, though.

To shift the odds in his favor Shane raised his body temperature another degree. Harris would likely attribute his flush to arousal, which was fine by him. He wanted to see if she could stave off the effects of more pheromones.

“I’ve achieved my initial objective, yes,” Shane said, pitching his voice the way that drove Ingrid, one of his on-again-off-again lovers, to distraction. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. After caressing Harris with his eyes—and noticing how much she enjoyed it—Shane nodded at the stray button. “You dropped something.”

Harris smiled coquettishly. Before she had a chance to react further, Shane floated the button to eye level in the space between them. Harris frowned, but said nothing.

“I don’t know about social scientists,” Shane crooned with his driving-Ingrid-to-distraction voice, “but physical scientists get a bad rap for interpersonal skills.” He telekinetically directed the button to the bare skin of Harris’ arm as he spoke. “What those people don’t realize is that a scientist’s strengths—observation, diligence, precision, manual dexterity—” He touched the button to the inside of Harris’ arm, slowly drawing it up the delicate skin. Shane smiled slightly from the resulting goosebumps. “—have other applications. A good scientist sees cross-discipline opportunities.”

Shane leaned closer; close enough to feel Harris’ breath on his face and inhale her scent. Her eyes were dilated, as were his, and her breaths came rapidly. Although he yearned to touch and taste her dark skin, Shane willed himself to hold still. Instead he floated the button to Harris’ collarbone and began sliding it up her neck.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: ,

35 Responses to “Chapter 5: First Contact – part 6”

  1. Paige June 16, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    When you did this once before, I didn’t mind it. This time, I found it very distracting and interrupted the flow.

    • nancy June 16, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback. After reading your and others’ comments I need to go back and find a way to make the POV changes more fluid. I’ll see what I can do!

  2. Katy June 16, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    /sarcasm: Oh, dear – you mean you are writing this like an actual book? With occasional shifting point-of-view? And expecting the people on the intarweb to keep track of such things? Oh, the horror!!! The infinite horror!! No, people on the intarweb aren’t the type of people who read books! How dare you suggest that someone have the level of concentration required to keep track of simple shifts in point-of-view, readily demarcated by breaks shown by extra space and three asterisks? I mean, geez, that’s just way TOO difficult!! /sarcasm off

    Sorry. But I think that it works just fine. Then again, I read BOOKS and often in BOOKS the point of view shifts much more fluidly than this, even, without any sort of warning at all. Some authors, like Thomas Harris (who is that, you may ask? He wrote several books – you might find more familiar the movies made from the books, such as “Silence of the Lambs”), will switch point of view, tense and person in the middle of a paragraph – sometimes in the middle of a sentence. So, yeah, keeping track of this minor back and forth is very easy and I think it works nicely – you get to see how they are playing off of each other, and their reasons for doing this. I just discovered this site on Sunday and have finished through this. How often do you update? I’ll be checking back for more chapters!

    • nancy June 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Katy! I’m glad to hear that you’ll be checking back for new chapters. We update on Tuesday and Friday. The update schedule is now in the top post. (It’s also on other pages, but should have been there, too.)

      I didn’t know that so many authors shift POV so much. In my experience–not that I’m exceedingly well-read–writers stick with one character for at least a scene. Maybe this is a bit less of an experiment than Vanessa and I thought. :)

  3. Eonknight June 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    I, too, just discovered the site and finished reading the published chapters. So far, it works well for me, and I can’t wait for the next chapters. The only thing that bothers me a little is that we jump from the prologue, which only hints that Shane might have killed another child when he was young, right into the middle of the action, it seems. But that could be a storytelling device, so I’ll reserve my judgement for later.

  4. Alexandra June 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    First of all, two things I found:

    (2nd para) “First he’ll need to cleaned up” (I suspect you meant for a “be” or “get” to go between to and cleaned.

    (toward the end) After caressing Harris with her eyes (did you mean with “his” eyes?)

    Jumping perspectives this rapidly is tolerable, but not the most effective. I think it’s because of WHERE the breaks happened. I didn’t like having to read dialog over again in the other perspective–if the switches could be modified a little to avoid that, it would be even better.

    On the whole—-still lovin’ the progression of the story. Can’t wait til they just JUMP each other, damn it!

    • nancy June 16, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

      *facepalm* Thanks for pointing out the typos. More proof that you shouldn’t line edit your stuff… and especially at 11:45 p.m.

      I’ll think some more about how to effectively change perspective. I’m learning as I go, and appreciate your patience and feedback.

      Don’t worry. There will be jumping soon. :)

  5. Eonknight June 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    First, reading my previous post, I just realized it sounds harsh, which was not intended (English is not my mother tongue). So I’m sorry about that, the comment was meant as a compliment. :-)

    I did notice these small typos, and others, but they did not distract me too much from the story, and as this is a work in progress, I did not think of pointing them out.

    As for the placement of the breaks, I am not sure where I stand. Relating two perspectives of the same events, including “action”, dialog and thought, is very difficult without breaking the pace, and I think that, in this case, using the dialog as a “time marker” works better than using the “Meanwhile…” approach (i.e. completely breaking pace and switching to the other protagonist’s perspective, as was (successfully) done in earlier chapters).

    Another thing that would be nice would be a physical description of the main characters… beyond Shanes “Anglo” face and Addison’s “dark skin” (is she Black or just tan?, etc.), it’s that much harder to have sympathy for one character or the other. For example, the first time Shane meets Ashlynn, he could make a very detailed physical description of her, which, incidentally, we would expect from this brilliant, meticulous and calculating “man”. So far, I would like at least summary, if not detailed, physical descriptions of Addison, Shane, Ashlynn, Daniel, Patel and Ri, as characters that seem like they will be important to the plot.

    • Eonknight June 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

      All in all, it’s a great story that’s addictive and I’m very curious to see where this is going to take me…

      Keep it up! :-)

    • Eonknight June 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

      – Edit to long post –

      The post is not how I wrote it (fingers must have stumbled… :-)). The fourth paragraph should read like this:

      ” (…) beyond Shane’s “Anglo” face and Addison’s “dark skin” (is she Black or just tan?) AND “HOTNESS”, WE DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE AND it’s that much harder to have sympathy for one character or the other.”

      Sorry about that.

      • nancy June 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

        No worries, Eonknight, and thanks for your comments! Vanessa and I are glad you’re enjoying the story, warts and all. :) If you’re so inclined, please point out typos. I try to catch them… emphasis on “try.”

        You’re right about the lack of physical descriptions. I need to go back and add them. I’d tried previously, but found it awkward since the story is written in limited third person. It’s time to give it another go.

        Thanks for your feedback about the POV shifts. I’m going to review previous chapters and determine what worked best. Your and others’ comments are a big help.

        What’s your native language? Just curious.

  6. Eonknight June 16, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    I’m French-Canadian. Yes, I’m a Frog!:-P

    About the “warts”, you should know that although I have working knowledge of English (being a translator helps), I do not consider myself an authority on grammar. Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to help if I can.

    About the physical descriptions, to expand on my previous post, I would try using secondary, and possibly even tertiary, characters to describe the main characters, and vice-versa; like Shane describing Joon Ri, Joon Ri describing Naveen Paten, Addison describing Daniel or Shane (perhaps in a moment of introspection, trying to gauge her true feelings towards them?), etc… And FYI, as a last resort, I have read self-descriptions by primary characters that worked very well, thank you. I think you can pull off something like this with self-centered, borderline (or outright) narcissic or extremely intellectual characters. All three of your protagonists seem to have those traits, to varying degrees.

    Finally, about the POV shift, I think the “Meanwhile…” method works best for relatively slow-paced scenes (like Chapter 5, parts 1 and 2 (Ashlynn’s and Shane’S POV), whereas in faster scenes like Part 6, what you did worked fine. However, I wouldn’t do every fast scene this way. If you only need to highlight some POV differences during a fast scene, you can use other means, like mental recaps by the “second” protagonist, pondering what went wrong (or how well it went). In that regards, having very articulate and intelligent characters gives you a lot of freedom to play with.

    Anyway, just my two cents (judging by the lenght of my posts, it might as well be my 50 bucks! Sheesh! I need to leave a little space for other people to comment!) :-)

    • nancy June 18, 2009 at 8:06 am #

      No worries about your $50 comments. :) I appreciate your enthusiasm.

      Also, your English is better than many Americans’. Go Frogs!

      • Eonknight June 23, 2009 at 11:42 am #

        Thanks. :-)

  7. Mujaki June 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    At least we’re only switching between TWO points of view in this scene. It’s when you’ve got three or four POVs all playing musical-chairs that things get messy.

    • nancy June 18, 2009 at 8:07 am #

      Gotcha. Thanks for your feedback!

  8. Gary June 17, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Kewl!
    The Heat & Intrigue are turned up a notch or two!
    Bravo!
    I am really enjoying this tale!
    Thank you.

    Gary

    • nancy June 18, 2009 at 8:08 am #

      Wonderful! Thanks for your kind words. :)

  9. daymon June 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Well someone is turning the heat up. Now which one of them breaks first, or does playing the button count as breaking first?

    • Paige June 19, 2009 at 10:36 am #

      Personally, I think the button counts as breaking first. :)

      • nancy June 20, 2009 at 9:24 am #

        Me too. :)

      • Eonknight June 23, 2009 at 11:42 am #

        Considering Shane did not have the advantage of the “introductory brain-diving” and that his psychic powers seem to be a little less potent than Addison’s (though he more than makes up for it with his other abilities…), I think he deserves an honorable mention just for taking the game to that level!

      • nancy June 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

        Yeah, give the alien hybrid a little credit! 😉

  10. laprincessatx June 28, 2009 at 3:40 am #

    It worked great! You got me a little too “excited” though. YOWZA.

    Please, don’t. Stop. Don’t. Stop.

    • nancy June 29, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

      LOL! Don’t worry. There’s plenty of “exciting” bits in later chapters. :)

  11. Lycos July 9, 2009 at 5:07 am #

    Y’know, english is not my mother tongue (I’m italian), even if I’m quite good at it, so I should have been the one having more troubles with the POV switching…

    I just have read a good page, and I had no troubles following all the POV switches.

    Keep on like this, it’s a good story, and well written.
    If you really want to write something absolutely nobody will find difficult to follow, the only solution is to avoid writing.

    I’ll keep reading, you keep writing.

    Bye

    • nancy July 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks for your praise and comments, Lycos! I’m glad the POV shifts work for you. Vanessa and I think they’re a lot of fun. :)

  12. Karen August 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi Nancy and Vanessa,

    I am reviewing this story for e-fiction book club, and I have to tell you that I am really enjoying this story. I love “love/hate” relationships and you have this encapsulated so well!

    Some typos I picked up-
    Second paragraph – umteeth – I presume should be umpteenth

    Let her think she’s in contro – control

    It would be so easy to let nature to take its course – remove the second to

    Other than that, the POV was great, and the way it overlapped helped to place it in the timeline.

    Best I keep reading!

    • nancy August 20, 2009 at 8:00 am #

      Hey Karen,

      Thanks so much for the feedback! We’re glad you’re enjoying the love/hate-ness. It’s a blast to write.

      Thanks also for catching typos. I didn’t realize “umpteenth” is an actual word. I thought it was slang, so that’s why the spellchecker didn’t catch it. That and being blind to typos after the umpteenth read of my own stuff. :)

      As for “conto”, there’s actually an “l” there. I’m not sure why it’s not legible on your monitor.

      • Karen August 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

        Thanks Nancy,

        I have to admit I am having trouble reading it, so I actually highlight it, makes it a hell of a lot easier to see!

        As a writer myself, I know how hard it can be to pick up typos, especially your own, your brain reads it differently from your eyes!

        Keep having fun!

      • nancy August 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

        Karen, yours is the second comment about the site being hard to read. (Actually the other was that the white text on the dark background is hard on the eyes.) I’m going to install a plug-in so you can adjust the font size. Let me know if it helps, okay?

  13. Michael unValentine October 4, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    I’m not very good at getting my point across without examples so please bare with my opinion on POV switches…

    I think that up until– and including now; the POV switches have been handled admirably well by the both of you. Including the one overlap of a particular moment seen/told through each characters’ view that I’ve spotted.

    I tend to see no problem with occasional overlaps as a reader, as long as it is specifically designed to draw attention to a rather dramatic/tense moment “shared”.
    ie: POV1= Driver, POV2= Lady. Story-streamline= Driver is late for work and Lady spotted My 2 cents in the crosswalk which and the street light is still in Amber *shrugs*
    POV1 and 2 have been seperated leading up to them before locking eyes…

    “A lady steps into the street and is scared by a car screeching to a hault as the loud clunk/thunk of her hands slamming the hood echoes throughout the early morning traffic, as she braced herself in the “just barely” avoided collision.
    — the lady and the driver, both have an adrenaline rush followed by a moment of “Whoa… that was close!”– could be made more tense with them saying it at same time, with only the windshield between them to mute what they say aloud, but lip-read as eyes locked upon the other to mutter the shared statement of relief.

    Then switch to POV3=Me, who’d have been mentioned in POV2’s as the, I don’t know?– the lady’s deaf younger brother that dropped his lucky two cents? Signed to his sister to get it for him, which she does, and POV3 describes their shared wordless moment, whom the irony isn’t lost upon, Driver and sis can’t hear each other, nevertheless understood the other plain as one of his good days.– etc etc…

    That works with a suprised entry of a third POV as an overlap avoidance.

    tbc…

    • Michael unValentine October 4, 2009 at 10:03 am #

      Though if kept strictly to a 2 POV stream, and used sporadically in the entire story, could have been POV1+2=POV3 says “Whoa… that was close!” (end chapter) leaving it up to the reader to decide who said it or to decide to remain ambiguous of which POV said it.

      Or have…
      POV1: slamming the breaks locking eyes “Whoa…”
      POV2: hands slamming the hood of the car locking eye “… that was close!”
      etc etc

      Again sorry for the examples.

      What I meant by using overlaps sporadically is…
      ie: Chapter – Agent 86 (aka Get Smart) a POV overlap is used near the beginning, and in another chapter 99?, is used near the end.
      etc.

      Obviously the contents of each chapter are different from each other already, and used sparingly and differently placed in following chapters (Ch12 middle, Ch30 beginning, Ch33 end of the chapter), I think helps to stay away from over using a set story pattern to help “freshen” and renew keep the readers interest piqued.

      Anyways, I’m enjoying the story so far and I love the “We’ve just gotten divorced but still battling for child custody and for appearences sake, we do so ever try to remain civil with each over but our emotions are toxicly mixed with an ‘I hate you with every grey matter that matters, but I still somehow remember a past we’ve never had when we were young and in lust/love– *sigh, and shakes their head in self disbelief*’ vibe… specifically since 1) Never been married, 2) No love, 3) No previous lust, and 4)– especially 4) Never had sex with each other.

  14. allan (BFuniv) January 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    That’s what I call negotiation.

    POV is not a problem so far, although I notice many “authors of Books” only change at chapter breaks. Your handling of this relationship has worked for me. The POV switches are almost like handing off dialog, very smooth for the most part.

    • nancy January 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

      Allan, thanks for you comments throughout this chapter! And I’m glad that the POV switches work for you. You’ll see that I ratcheted them back in later chapters. Gotta find that happy medium.

Leave a Reply