Chapter 9: Détente – part 9
Between Jake’s ebullience and the curves beneath Harris’ oversized shirt, Shane’s emotionless calm shuddered. Getting his crystal back was paramount, so he focused and made the void hold.
“Was there something that you wanted?” The woman was clearly less than pleased to see him.
“Yes,” Shane replied. Harris blinked from the flatness of his voice. Safe in the void, Shane didn’t care one way or the other. I need the encryption key to get my prism back.
Harris donned a saccharine-sweet smile. You missed your chance. The other day you said “We’re done here.”
I was referring to sex, he explained. A pair of giggling teenage girls walked past, obviously not looking at them while giving Shane a wide berth. He nodded at Harris’ quarters. “It would be better if we continued this in there.”
Harris pursed her lips, sighing. “Very well.” She retreated a few steps, keeping her eyes on Shane as he entered. The door seemed to shut on its own accord behind him.
I know that you don’t care if I get my crystal back or not, Shane said. However, by withholding the encryption key, you’re delaying when Jake will receive his own crystal. If I work on what was going to be Jake’s prism every day for three hours, it will take six years to complete. Harris’ eyes widened. Shane was pleased that this line of reasoning was working. The aid of my prism reduces the time required by 75%.
Harris’ eyes narrowed and her expression darkened. Glowering, she closed the distance between them, stopping just inside his personal space. Movement over her shoulder caught Shane’s eye: Ashlynn’s and Jake’s heads poking around the corner from the dining area. Their giggles gave them away, too.
Say it, Shane, Addison purred. Puzzled, he returned his gaze to Harris. Her angry countenance had turned expectant. What did she want him to say?
Shane waited for further instructions, but none came. Harris silently studied him with her arms folded beneath her breasts, head tilted, and eyebrows raised. Not knowing what else to say, he tried, Please.
Harris shook her head and chuckled. While it’s nice to see that you seem to have some manners, that’s not what I meant. She drifted closer. Her proximity and scent pushed Shane’s concentration to its limit. Standing on her tip toes, Addison placed her hands on his shoulders, leaned in, and whispered, “Say that you’re sorry. Say that you want me. And say it like you mean it.”
With Harris practically draped on him and his son and Ashlynn watching the void nearly burst. Shane managed to cling to his emotionless calm. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. “I want you.”
Harris threw back her head and laughed. “I could program a computer to speak more genuinely than that.”
Shane barely heard her words. Her dark hair had fallen back, revealing the lines of her neck. With his eyes he traced her soft, dark skin down the graceful curve to her shoulder. That, her scent, and the heat of her body melted the void away. His body reacted as lust, anger, and humiliation rushed in.
Shane slapped his shields up as he took a step back. Clenching his teeth he said, Of course I want you. You know that you’re fucking gorgeous and you use it as a weapon. So, yes, I want to fuck you into the ground. But I’m not sorry. You got what you deserved by taking advantage. Now are you ready to give me the goddamned key, or do our kids have to watch us fight some more?
Addison’s initial satisfaction evaporated when Myers’ words registered. He said our kids! Somehow his presumptuous claim on Ashlynn prompted conflicting emotions. Addison tightened her shields as she struggled to ground herself. Taking advantage? Are you such a self-centered control freak that it never occurred you to that it was supposed to be a pleasant surprise? Hating the weakness that statement revealed, she added, I didn’t have to take advantage. I was already in your bleedin’ bed! Suddenly sick and tired of the whole scenario, Addison dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “Fine. I’ll get it. Wait here. Sit down. Or don’t. Please.”
Before she could ramble any further, Addison turned on her heel and strode to the hallway. She didn’t miss Ashlynn’s and Jake’s wide-eyed faces ducking into the dining area. She’d known they were there, but didn’t have the energy to scold them for eavesdropping, especially when she had taken advantage of their behavior.
Her silent march led to the jewelry box in her bedroom. Addison opened the bottom drawer, revealing the microchip in its plastic case among gold and silver bracelets and brooches.
Mum, are you mad at us? Lynn ventured.
Jake asked, Are you mad at Daddy?
Addison palmed the microchip and slid the drawer shut. No, she answered honestly, not anymore. Mummy is just very, very tired. She turned to the full-length mirror and shook her head at her reflection. This is it, she told herself. I’m done with Shane Myers. I can’t do this anymore.
She returned to the living room, unsurprised to find that Myers hadn’t moved an inch. Addison extended her hand palm up, offering the microchip. This will unencrypt the other one. The password is 03dEc09.
After a moment’s hesitation Myers took the chip. “Thank you,” he said, his voice flat. The coward was hiding in his alien side again. Addison managed a brief smile in reply and gestured at the door.
Myers hesitated again. His eyes focused on something behind Addison–likely her nosy children. “Good night, Jake, Ashlynn.”
“Good night, Shane.”
With his hand closed around the microchip, Myers let himself out.
Addison nodded in approval. Good riddance.