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.