Chapter 9: Détente – part 7
Addison teleported directly to the bathroom in her quarters. Tossing her bundle of clothes aside, she turned the hot water in the shower full blast, stepped under the spray, and let her tears flow. It didn’t make any bloody sense. Why was she upset? She was better than this. Stronger. She detested Myers. His words and actions shouldn’t affect her so.
They didn’t. He didn’t, Addison told herself. If Myers’ actions meant anything to her, then the man himself must mean something to her. It would mean that some part of her, however small, clung to the memories of that false relationship. “No,” she growled. Never again. No matter how much her body might want him, that bastard would never touch her again.
Addison jumped at the sound of her daughter’s voice. Guilt followed on its heels. She’d been so busy wrestling her demons that her shields had slipped and she hadn’t felt Ashlynn’s approach. Addison scrubbed at her cheeks. Yes, moppet?
Ashlynn didn’t reply. After a few moments of silence Addison turned off the shower. Do you need to use the toilet? Did you have a bad dream?
Addison pulled open the shower curtain and reached for her bathrobe. Her daughter stood just in front of the closed door, her melancholy expression clashing with her cheery Hello Kitty pajamas. In her arms was Miss Primy–a sure sign she was upset. “Then what’s wrong, lovey?”
Addison shrugged into her robe while Ashlynn chewed her lip and picked fuzz from Primy’s tutu. “I miss Jakey.”
“Aww, Lynn.” Addison sat on the edge of the tub, calling her daughter over with open arms. Ashlynn burrowed into her mother’s embrace with Primy pressed between them. Sending her daughter a pulse of affection, she kissed her forehead. I know you miss Jakey. I miss him, too. But he’s spending time with his father–
At least his daddy spends time with him.
Ashlynn’s stray thought brought Addison up short. They’d had this conversation before and they’d undoubtedly have it again. Before going down that road, Addison double-checked her mental shields. Her daughter didn’t need to know how much she regretted allowing Daniel to tie himself to Ashlynn.
Look at me, Ashlynn Marie. The girl didn’t budge. Addison gently lifted her chin until she looked into her daughter’s honey brown eyes. Your father cares about you. He just isn’t good at showing it. She paused and ran her fingers through her daughter’s ringlets. Instead of taking the same route, Addison decided on a different tact. I have an idea. Why don’t you and Jake and I go someplace special this weekend?
Wherever you want. Just our little family off on a special fun holiday.
Jakey’s supposed to spend the weekend with Shane, too.
Well, I’m willing to bet that if the absolute sweetest and prettiest girl in the whole world–
“Mum!” Ashlynn protested with an eye roll that was better suited to a twelve year-old than a six year-old.
“I’m your mother. I’m allowed to be biased.” Addison hugged her daughter close. As I was saying, maybe if you asked Shane– She managed not to choke on his name. –nicely, he’d be willing to part with Jake for this weekend.
“He made you sad.”
Addison blinked, surprised. “What do you mean?”
“Shane. He made you sad.”
“No, he didn’t.”
Ashlynn nodded, her face and eyes solemn. One small hand traced the path down Addison’s cheek that her tears made earlier. “He did. That’s why you were crying in the shower. You always cry in the shower when you’re sad.”
Addison wouldn’t admit that weakness, even to her daughter. “Jake’s father made me angry. Sometimes people cry when they’re angry.”
“That’s really sad,” Ashlynn stated. “You and Shane make each other angry a lot and that makes Jakey sad and when Jakey’s sad, it makes me sad. It’s really not fair to him that you hurt each other so much when all he wants is for you to like each other. I’d like that too. It wouldn’t be as stressful for everyone and it might be nice. Shane’s not so bad, really.” Although Addison tried to keep her expression neutral, her daughter frowned. He isn’t.
“I think that it’s time to get you back into bed,” Addison said, standing up. She pulled Ashlynn along with her, using telekinesis to give the girl extra boost while being held. You know, if I wasn’t telekinetic, you’d be far too heavy to be carried.
Ashlynn looped her arms around Addison’s neck and hugged her. When I get bigger I’ll carry you and return the favor.
Addison laughed. “So where would you like to go?”
To the Galapagos? Please?
I don’t see why not.
Yes! Ashlynn cheered as Addison tucked her into bed. The girl yawned hugely as Addison pulled the blanket over Ashlynn and Primy. Already half-asleep, her thoughts were sleep-slurred. He will, you know, Mum.
Addison kissed her daughter’s forehead. “Who will what, moppet?”
Shane. He’ll touch you again. You’ll let him. ‘Cause you like him.
A chill crept down Addison’s spine. She lightly brushed her daughter’s mind. Are you awake at all? Do you even know what you’re talking about?
You’re addicted to each other. Ashlynn’s thought trailed off as she drifted off.
Addison did not fall asleep as easily.