Chapter 7: Deliverance – part 4
The videophone’s chime startled Shane awake. He bolted upright, disoriented. A glance showed that he’d been sprawled on the couch in his quarters. The artificial lights were mid-day bright. His dress shirt and slacks were rumpled, and his shoes were still on.
The digitized chime sounded again. “What?” Shane snapped.
“‘What?'” Addison’s voice echoed. The screen on the far wall near the desk remained dormant. “You asked me to call you at 11:00. It’s 11:00.”
Shane scrubbed his face with his hands. A day’s worth of beard scratched against his palms. “Right. Thanks.” He stood and moved toward the videophone screen. “Did you get some sleep?” He didn’t need to ask about Jacob. Even though his son had come into the world only two days ago, checking on him mentally was second nature. The baby was sound asleep.
“In the usual three-hour increments, yes,” Addison replied. “Jacob has quite the appetite.”
Shane dropped into his desk chair and switched the phone’s screen on. Addison’s weary visage stared back. Eleven hours of interrupted sleep had done nothing for the bags under her eyes. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and no makeup. Although she certainly didn’t look sexy, Shane still found her appealing. She had the glow of a new mother. “You look better,” she smiled. “Still terrible, but better.”
Shane chuckled wearily. “Thanks. I needed the sleep. I don’t know how you do it.”
Addison shrugged. Her breasts bounced under her loose-fitting shirt. As much as Shane appreciated the sight, his body was too damned tired to react. “You just do,” she replied. Her gaze drifted off-screen, presumably to Jacob’s bassinet, and she smiled. A moment later she turned back to Shane. “Are we on for tonight?”
Shane’s stomach somersaulted. He couldn’t put this off any longer. “Yes. I need– want to meet them.”
Addison gave him a wry grin, but didn’t comment on his verbal slip. “Svetlana’s professional and very nice, and I’ve already spoken with Ashlynn.”
Shane willed himself to not fidget. It was ridiculous to be nervous about meeting a four year-old and her nanny! Still, he asked, “I’m not ‘the bad man’?”
“Yes and no.” Addison’s smile softened the answer. “She knows that your… introduction was a misunderstanding, that you love Jacob, and about us. Just be yourself.”
Shane grimaced. He could count on one hand the number of kids he’d encountered since coming to Triptych. Being himself seemed ill-advised. “Okay,” he half-heartedly agreed. Addison’s pulse of affection and encouragement helped. He returned it as best he could without the aid of his prism. “I’d better get cleaned up. I’m sure the lab’s doing fine, but–”
“–you miss it.”
Shane blinked. Addison was dead-on, despite the fact that they hadn’t talked about work. Most of their conversations had been about Jacob. Was he that transparent? “Yeah, some.”
“It’s okay. Get your work fix,” Addison grinned. “I’ll come get you at seven?”
“Yes,” Shane grinned back. Although Addison had teleported him several times over the past week, her ability still left him awed. “See you then.”
After ending the call Shane headed straight for the shower. The sooner he got to the lab, the sooner his staff could catch him up on projects. He really had missed his work.