Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 12
Waves of unease from the other side of her office door broke Addison’s concentration. Sighing, she looked up from the satellite imagery glowing on her computer monitor as Koral rapped on the door. “Come.”
Koral, cool and composed, opened the door enough to fit her slim frame. “A Ms. Flores would like to speak with you.”
Addison’s eyebrows rose with surprise. She sensed ahead. It was Jake’s nanny, wracked with nerves. Addison minimized the imagery window. The ruins on the second planet in the Epsilon Eridani system could wait. “Thank you, Koral. Send her in.”
Koral stepped back, allowing Rose Flores inside. The forty-something Latina forced a smile as the door shut behind her. “Thank you for seeing me, Dr. Harris. I’m sorry to bother you.”
Addison rose from her chair, sending reassurance to the other woman. “It’s no bother, Rose.” She gestured at the upholstered chair near the desk. “Please, have a seat.”
Rose did so, setting her purse to one side and smoothing her skirt. “I, um, don’t know how else to say this, so… There’s something wrong with Dr. Myers.”
So many things, Addison thought. Aloud she managed a neutral “Oh?”
Rose’s bob swayed as she nodded. “Yes. For a while now. Weeks. At first I thought he’d caught the bug that’s been going around–”
“Jake said something about him being sick.” Now that Rose mentioned it, Addison recalled that Jake had said so on a few occasions.
“It’s not that, ma’am. It comes and goes, and his hours are erratic.” Her hand had a stranglehold on the strap of her purse. “I think he has an addiction, and I’m concerned for Jacob.”
Addison’s jaw clenched. Ignoring the worry twisting her stomach, she focused on the irresponsibility of the man. He had a son–her son–for Christ’s sake! On instinct she mentally reached for Jacob. He was in her quarters playing with Svetlana. That knowledge helped Addison calm down.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Dr. Harris,” Rose added. “In my experience confronting addicts, especially concerning their children, is ill-advised. To the best of my knowledge Dr. Myers has been fine with Jake… so far.”
“So far,” Addison repeated, keeping her temper in check. Then she nodded. “You’ve done the right thing, Rose. I’ll speak with Dr. Myers. Your name needn’t come up.”
“Thank you, Dr. Harris. Please know that I didn’t do this lightly. Dr. Myers is a fine client, and Jake is a lovely boy.”
“He’s an addict. Myers,” Addison stated. “We may as well say it. It’s the first step toward making him well.”
Rose nodded reluctantly. “What’s going to happen now? Will I keep taking care of Jake?”
“Of course.” Addison leaned forward, projecting gratitude. “Jake needs you even more now. Dr. Myers will need time to recover, and that will be difficult for Jake. Your presence will be a comfort.” Addison stood. She needed time to work out the details. “I’ll be in touch, Rose.”
The nanny rose from the chair. “Very well, Dr. Harris.”
Twelve hours later Addison brooded in a leather armchair in Myers’ darkened living room. She could count on one hand the times she’d visited since he’d so spectacularly betrayed her. Each visit to pick up or drop off Jake resulted in a shouting match. Better to avoid the git altogether.
With Jake’s belongings already packed and moved to her quarters, Addison waited for Myers’ return. He certainly was taking his sweet time. She’d teleported over when she’d sensed him leaving his lab. In the meantime she reminded herself why she couldn’t scramble the wanker’s brains just a bit: Jake needed him.
When the door slid open, Addison crossed her legs and braced herself for anything Myers might throw at her. She watched his silhouette step inside and smack the switch near the door. The lights came up, and Addison held back a gasp. The man looked like hell. His shoulders slumped, his face was sallow, and dark circles smudged the skin under his eyes. Myers trudged into the kitchen, oblivious.
Addison shoved aside a pang of concern. “Myers.”
The man jumped, whirling around to face her. “Harris! How–” His face darkened. “What gives you the right–”
“You did when you agreed to joint custody of our son.” For a moment she considered dipping into his mind, but dismissed the notion. She had no interest in feeling whatever he felt at the moment. She stood and was disappoined that his eyes didn’t make their usual head-to-toe circuit of her body. Annoyance with herself added to her ire. “I’m here because whatever you’ve done to yourself is affecting our son. Your behavior is increasingly erratic. I will not leave Jake in this environment.” She moved closer, her voice cold and calm. “If it weren’t for Jake I wouldn’t care if you killed yourself, but my son needs his father. Clean yourself up.”
Although anger creased Myers’ face, equal amounts of weariness and frustration rolled off him. He scowled in the direction of Jake’s bedroom, then at Addison. “You took Jake.”
“That’s right. He’s not here. Nor Rose. Don’t bother to look for them. You won’t find them,” Addison smirked. “I’m far stronger and better at some things than you.”
Myers’ lips pressed into a thin line. Addison waited for more of a response, but there was none. She fought to hide her surprise. He really is fucked up. Aloud she said, “Clean yourself up and you can see Jake again.”
Shane nodded, of all things! “I will.” The spark of fire in his eyes was a slight reassurance.
“Good.” Dismayed and worried, Addison teleported away.