Chapter 9: Détente – part 8
The weekend after Shane had had his way with Harris was his most productive since Jake was born. His son, Lynn, and the Brit bitch went on a mini-vacation. Even though he was supposed to have Jake for the weekend, Shane had agreed because Jake wanted to go. “We’re gonna see the Galapagrows!” he’d crowed, jumping up and down.
Shane couldn’t say no to that sort of enthusiasm. “Okay, short stuff. If that’s what you want.”
“Yes!” Jake exclaimed, pumping his tiny fist. Then some of his happiness evaporated. “I wish you could come too, Daddy.”
Shane carefully shielded his bitterness as he replied. “It’s okay, Jake. You’ll tell me all about it, right?”
Jake’s curls bounced wildly from his nod. “Yep!”
With Jake away splashing in the ocean, Shane dove headfirst into his work. That and a few hours at the dojo were the only things that could keep his mind off of how he’d have to grovel at the bitch’s feet to get the encryption key.
During dinner on Monday night Jake told Shane all about the hermit crabs he’d managed to dig up, seeing blue-footed boobies and live conch, eating octopus sushi in Tokyo, and grossing out Ashlynn by sticking one of the octopus’ suckers on her face. The kid’s happy banter cheered Shane as always.
That good mood had faded by the time Shane and Jake stopped at the door to Harris’ quarters. Although his shields prevented Jake from sensing his unease, the boy tugged on his hand. Peering up with dark eyes, Jake whispered, “You’re not going to fight, are you?”
I don’t want to, Shane replied honestly. He opened his shields long enough to send his son a pulse of love. I’m going to go away for a little while.
Jake gulped. Into the void?
Shane nodded. I know it seems scary, but it’s not. You’ll understand better in a few years. It’s part of who we are, and it’s useful. I’ll be back soon, I promise, and I’ll talk to you right away. Okay?
Jake nodded, and Shane slipped into his emotionless alien side. For the first time in days worries about getting the encryption key from Harris were gone. It was simply one more step to be taken to get his prism back.
Shane pushed the door chime button and waited patiently for the mother of his son and the keeper of his prism to answer.
Getting away from Triptych for the weekend boosted Addison’s flagging spirits. She’d managed to avoid Myers, receiving word via Lynn and Jake that he’d consented to Jake joining them on their holiday. Once that was settled, Addison relaxed. She’d worried that Myers might try to use the children’s excitement as leverage.
Jake and Ashlynn thoroughly enjoyed Galapagos Islands, from seeing the exotic fauna to simple swimming and sunning. The jaunt to Tokyo for dinner had been a nice counterpoint, even after the octopus sucker incident.
Addison extended her holiday into Monday, calling off for personal time and leaving Koral in charge of the current project. Rose picked up Jake and delivered him to his father, and Addison asked Lynn if she wanted to play hookey. The answer was an unabashed yes. Mother and daughter baked cookies, watched Disney movies, made jewelry, and painted each other’s finger and toe nails.
When the door chime sounded, Addison reached out mentally and recoiled in shock. It was Jake and Myers, the latter in his weird there-but-not-there state of mind. She looked down at her loose-fitting T-shirt and faded jeans and considered changing. A moment later sanity returned. He’s so not worth it, Addison told herself as she padded barefoot to the door.
Mommy, be nice, please? Jake pleaded.
Addison schooled her expression into something neutral. I’ll do my best. Apparently that was good enough because satisfaction surged from her son. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door. Seeing Jake brought a genuine smile to her face.
Her son leaped forward, shouting “Mommy!” Addison bent down to catch him, but was knocked off balance. She landed on her bum, much to Jake’s amusement. “Gotcha!” he giggled.
“Yes, you did.” Addison laughed, hugging the boy.
“Happy to see me?”
“Always and forever. Even happier to eat you!” Locking her arms around her son, Addison covered him in kisses as he wiggled and laughed and squirmed.
“Jakey!” Ashlynn’s voice made Jake squirm more, so she let him break free. He scrambled into the living room toward Lynn, who met him halfway with a hug of her own. They dashed off hand-in-hand, adults forgotten.
Addison watched them with a smile as she got to her feet. Then she turned to Myers and her smile disappeared. “Was there something that you wanted?” Keeping her tone neutral was difficult, but she managed.