Chapter 7: Deliverance – part 19
Addison completed her third circuit of her cell, the tiles leeching the warmth from her feet. Aside from burning nervous energy, she’d used the exercise to measure the room: 20 paces by 15 paces. Roughly 3 meters by 2.5 meters. She wasn’t sure what good the information would do her, but it was better than pacing for her audience. Between the ceiling-mounted camera in one corner and the one-way mirror, Addison undoubtedly had watchers.
She wasn’t sure how long she’d been awake. At least a half hour before her head had cleared enough to sit up. Ten minutes to get to her feet and make her first circuit around the room. Another few for a second trip to see if she could escape the security camera’s view. (Of course not.) And now she knew the size of the prison keeping her from her children. That, and the drugs crippling her psionics.
Addison perched on edge of the bed, willing herself to sit still and ignore the soreness of her milk-heavy breasts. Being caged she could have handled. The silence in her head was driving her to distraction. She tried to sense for Ashlynn and Jacob, but her mental fingers wouldn’t cooperate. She couldn’t even sense the observers she was sure were on the other side of the mirror. She should know; she’d been the observer on a few occasions.
Needing to do something, Addison marched up to the mirror. Her rumpled, dark-circled reflection stared back. On impulse she placed both hands on the glass and gazed into the silvered surface. Watching the incarcerated stare out was unsettling. Why deny her observers the pleasure? Imagining their reactions made her smirk. “How much of the anti-psionic cocktail was in her bloodstream?” they’d wonder. “Would the containment field be strong enough?”
The game soon bored Addison. Again she reached mentally for her children. Her abilities, although dulled, were coming back online. “I’m done with this,” she told the observers behind the mirror. “Get me Dr. Gibson. Now.”
The door’s lock clicked less than a minute later. Addison kept her eyes on the mirror. With it she could see the door and keep her back to the wanker. Daniel entered, carrying a suitcase. He set it beside the fiberglass visitor’s chair. “Where are they?” Addison demanded. “Where’s Jake? I need to get out of here and I need to pump.”
Daniel’s reflection frowned at her. “Ashlynn and Jake are in my quarters with Svetlana. They’re both as fine as can be under the circumstances–”
Addison rounded on him. “The circumstances that have their mother drugged so she can’t contact them? Or the ones that involve locking me away in the fucking sanitarium?” Inwardly Addison winced. This wasn’t the conversation she’d planned. A row with His Royal Highness wouldn’t get her what she wanted.
“Addison,” Daniel sighed. “You know this is one of the few places where you could safely wind down. I’m sorry it came to this, but I had no choice.”
“You’re sorry? If anything, you’ve likely been gloating for hours.”
For a moment Daniel’s jaw tightened. “If you’re going to be insolent, I’ll walk out that door. I’m here for you, Addison. I’m here to help you. I’m not the one you’re pissed at.”
He sounded honest. Although Daniel was hardly an ally, he wasn’t the one who’d ripped her heart out. She’d never forget the smirk on Shane’s face when his little slag crawled from beneath his desk. Lying, cheating bastard. He deserved everything he got!
Addison looked away. A few steadying breaths helped her regain some composure. “I want to see them. When do I get out of here?”
“Soon.” It wasn’t really an answer and they both knew it. Daniel gestured at the suitcase. “I brought you some things. Why don’t you clean up? Then we can talk.”
Addison sniffed. “You mean lecture.” She folded her arms beneath her now-leaking breasts. “Why don’t you just say ‘I told you so,’ and get it over with? Remind me again how you told me to stay away from the sodding–”
“Glad to hear that you remember,” Daniel snapped. “Does that mean that you were listening for a change?” His eyes raked over Addison, lingering on her breasts. She glared at him, resisting the urge to cover herself. Daniel shook his head. “I’ll wait outside. And I’ll send in a pump.”
Addison turned away as Daniel left. She hugged herself, worrying her lower lip with her teeth. With the damned drugs dulling her psionics, she was well and truly alone. She wouldn’t let Daniel or the prats behind the mirror see how much it bothered her.
Cleaning up and getting dressed was a welcome distraction. The contents of the suitcase made her smile. Included was Addison’s melon-pear face soap, her favorite plum lipstick, and a selection of clothes and shoes. As she selected one of the nursing dresses, Addison gave a small, silent thank you for Svetlana’s services. She was just as grateful for the breast pump an orderly delivered, and the thin curtain that afforded a some privacy in the lavatory corner of the room.
Daniel returned to find Addison sitting on the edge of the bed reading the half-finished mystery novel Svetlana had packed. Between her flattering nursing dress, heels, and hair and makeup done, she looked ready for a day in the office. I may be all but powerless, but I don’t have to look it.
“Feeling better?” Daniel asked, settling into the visitor’s chair.
“Somewhat.” Addison set the book aside, then waved at the security camera. “Turn it off. And tell the gits behind the mirror to leave.”
Daniel nodded at the mirror. “Done.”
Addison scowled. She had no way of knowing if his underlings had followed orders. And there was nothing she could do about it. Frustrated, she crossed her legs. “I suppose you’re going to say ‘I told you so.’ ”
Daniel glowered. Addison braced herself for a patented Gibson tirade. “Is there any need after today? Addison, how could you put yourself in that position? What were you thinking?” He barked a laugh. “Clearly you weren’t thinking. You don’t think. You react.”
“I’m not done.” The ice in Daniel’s voice silenced Addison. “I told you to stay away from him. I did everything but have you sign a contract, and you still defied me. You’re lucky that Ri called security or you might have left two orphans behind. Did you think of that–”
“He asked for it!” Addison blurted. “I caught him with his trousers down. He was cheating on me with that–” Addison snapped her mouth shut. She’d said too much. Myers had shaken her more than she’d thought for her to make such a mistake.
“Cheating? You thought you could play house with Myers? The only thing you two have in common is Jacob, and that’s because of the breeding program!”
Daniel’s words were a punch in the stomach. Addison looked away, the scene in Myers’ office looping in her head.
The mattress dipped, startling Addison. She blinked at Daniel, who sat beside her. She truly was off-kilter if she hadn’t noticed the man moving into her personal space.
“Addison, listen to me.” His voice had softened, the coldness gone from his eyes. Both were comforting yet disconcerting. “Did you ever stop to wonder why I asked you to stay away from Myers? Because he’s… volatile. He’s brilliant, and his contributions to Triptych are amazing. But he’s not social, or the type to form bonds.” Daniel pulled a small data pad from his back pocket and set it on her lap. A glance showed Myers’ picture, name, date of birth, and employee number. “That’s his personality profile. Read it for yourself.”
Addison’s stomach rolled. She would have teleported away if she could. Instead she thrust the pad back at Daniel. “I don’t need to look at that.”
Daniel laid his hand on her arm. “He lured you in, Addison. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last. He plays with emotions. It might be a power kick for him. I shouldn’t blame you for getting caught up in it. Your emotions aren’t reliable right now.”
“What?” Addison glared at him, shaking off his hand in the process. “Not reliable? What the bleeding hell does that mean?”
“It means that you’re in a state where you… seek odd things and form unusual attachments.”
Addison turned away from the prat. “Is this your idea of a pep talk? I thought you had better people skills. I seek ‘odd attachments’? That’s the most–”
“What happened when you were pregnant with Ashlynn? You kept running back to London. You made it some sort of magical safe haven. Once your hormones leveled off, you stayed put.”
Addison fumed, but couldn’t argue. She’d returned to her roots during and after Ashlynn’s birth. It had been a confusing time, and not just because of the pregnancy. She’d needed to escape Daniel’s “protective” presence.
“Shane Myers is not the man for you,” Daniel continued. “The data proves you’re not compatible. That should be abundantly clear now.”
“You have no idea who I’m compatible with,” Addison retorted, facing him again.
If her outburst bothered Daniel, he didn’t show it. He laid his hand over hers. “I know that it’s not Myers.” Addison stretched her awareness but felt nothing beyond his skin against hers. Although she was loathe to admit it, the touch was pleasant. “I wasn’t being spiteful when I asked you to stay away from him. I was trying to prevent what happened today. This won’t be a problem in the future?”
Addison pulled her hand back and crossed her arms. “If I never lay eyes on that prick again, it’ll be too soon,” she answered honestly. “Jake isn’t with him?”
“No. Jake is with Svetlana.”
Addison nodded. “I want to keep it that way. He’s my son. I want full custody.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “You don’t really think that’s possible, do you?”
“Why the bloody hell not? Sh– Myers wasn’t supposed to know about him–”
“Until you screwed up.”
Addison glowered. “He’s my son!”
“And according to what you put on his birth certificate, he’s Myers’ son as well.” Daniel canted his head. “Do I need to remind you that you weren’t supposed to have custody of him either? You were an incubator, Addison. You broke the contract and I had to put my neck out to save your stubborn, spoiled ass. Again. You don’t get to dictate custodial arrangements for Jacob. It’s out of your hands.”
Addison stared, speechless. He always found a way to throw her failings back in her face. She wanted to slap him, or scream, or cry, but any of those would play into his hands. Instead she bunched her skirt in a fist, willing herself to stay calm. “You’re punishing me, is that it? For not heeding your directives?”
Daniel chuckled mirthlessly. “I wish I were. If this is all it takes to get you to toe the line, my life would be a hell of a lot easier.” He stood, tugging down his shirt cuffs. “This comes from the Chairmen. Due to Jacob’s unique nature they decided that he’d benefit from contact with his biological father. You can appeal to the Chairmen, but I don’t advise it. You’re an asset to Triptych, and to me, but that doesn’t mean that you’re irreplaceable. Or that you can’t be an asset in Antarctica.”
“You’re threatening me?” Addison exclaimed.
The bastard smirked. “Consider it a piece of friendly advice.” He extended his hand. “Shall we go see the children now?”
Addison itched to slap the grin from his face, but refrained. The only way she’d see her children was by playing along.
She accepted the hand up, her smile no more genuine than his. “Yes.” For now she’d play Daniel’s game. Eventually she’d find a way to beat him at it.
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