Copyright © 2016 by Sara Page
All rights reserved. The text or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I’m trying, I project in frustration, but I keep drifting away.
Drifting into the void…
…just particles scattering into endless space.
“You are not trying, Ameia. You are succumbing. Stop giving in.”
I could almost laugh at the irony of his words– if I wasn’t engulfed in total darkness, weightless, bodiless, and floating away…
“Damnit, where do you think you’re going? Come back here, you.”
I feel a sharp tug, and as I’m yanked back colors bleed at the corners of my eyes.
“Focus,” Striker says sharply.
And I try. Stars, do I try.
But the dark swallows me.
The dark is inside me.
Something inside me shivers, fearing that I may never again glimpse light.
“Feel,” Striker purrs. “What do you feel?”
There is nothing.
I am nothing.
“Dammit, Ameia. Get back here.”
I’m yanked back. I think I cry out but how do I do it? I have no voice.
“I’m touching you. Do you feel me touching you?”
Striker is real. I hear his voice. He exists. Logic tells me that if I can hear his voice then I must I have ears. As if just remembering them brings them back into existence I can feel them–two ears… nothing else but it’s a start.
Where would Striker touch me?
Something soft brushes against my thigh.
I have thighs!
“Yes, good girl. You have thighs. Lovely, succulent thighs. What am I doing to them?”
You’re stroking them.
“Yes, I’m stroking them. You’re so soft, so silky.”
I feel something stroke up and up. His hands? His fingers? I’m not sure yet. All I know is that I have thighs. I am thighs. I spread my thighs for him, waiting, expecting.
“Do you like this?”
My thighs are squeezed, fingers digging into me.
Yes, I like it.
Up, up the stroking continues. Then something warm, something wet touches my inner thigh and my muscles jerk.
I am more than thighs. I feel a center, and a faint throbbing.
“What do you want, Ameia?”
I squirm. I still can’t see but I can feel, as if from his touch alone I am solidifying. I was nothing, but his touch brings me to life.
“More of what?” he asks, and it’s so bloody frustrating.
More of what you were doing.
“What was I doing?” he asks calmly, and I can no longer sense him touching me.
He is lost to me. The warmth is gone and I am chilled.
I feel a flare of anger because I know I should be able to easily answer him yet I can’t. There’s something there, some kind of block inside my consciousness stopping me. I know the answer, I do, I just can’t access the damn thing.
“Do you need help, my princess?”
“What will you give me for my aid?”
Striker chuckles. “Anything?”
Yes, you are my everything.
Have I drifted away?
It wouldn’t be the first time. Thanks to the two little miracles growing inside my belly I need an anchor–either Striker or Beast–with me at all times to catch me when I fall into the shadows.
Striker growls, “The things you do to me.”
I feel a hard yank, and then I’m slamming against something warm and solid.
You are my everything, I repeat.
Striker groans, and then I become aware of pressure. There’s a firm pressure pressing against my lips.
I have lips.
Striker is kissing me. I can taste him, he tastes like spice and honey.
My lips tingle, I can control them. I can open them. Now I have a head, and hopefully a brain. I’m slanting my head as my tongue meets his tongue… dueling, tangling, kissing him back.
Lately, it’s been harder and harder to play Striker’s games, to give him the resistance he craves. We’ve been on the Harpy’s Talon for two weeks now while we wait for the Harpy–the ship that will actually transport us to Blackspire–to arrive. And during these long days, the love I have for him inside me has been growing and growing.
Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s the babies. But Beast and Striker have both become my everything. I’ve given up my home for them. I’ve relinquished my title. I’ve walked away from the future that was so carefully prepared for me and I’ve accepted them both with every fiber of my being.
And in return they have done nothing but love me and protect me.
“I love you.”
That’s my voice, those are my words breaking through oblivion.
“I love you too, Ameia,” Striker growls, his lips pulling from my lips between each word as if he could kiss his love into me. “Fuck, how I love you.”
Love. This love. I never thought, I never dreamed it would feel like this. Heck, I never dared to imagine I could love not one but two men, and especially at the same time. But I love them both, I do. And it’s a love that isn’t static, it has no limits. Even now, especially now, it evolves and it’s ever-changing.
I’m changing. They’re changing me.
Striker breaks the kiss, pulling away. I ache at the loss of him.
“Open your eyes.”
I have thighs, a head, and lips, but I don’t have eyes yet.
“Yes,” he insists. “You’re afraid to see.”
“What is that cliché? Seeing is believing… You don’t want to believe.”
I bristle at that observation.
“If you believed then you could see,” Striker says sharply. He’s losing patience with me. “Open your eyes, Ameia.”
There is only darkness. How can one see if there is no light?
“Open your eyes, Ameia,” he demands more forcibly.
I feel myself pulling away.
“Are you running away from me?”
Oh shit, I think I am.
Something is pulling me.
“You can’t get away from me,” Striker’s voice caresses my ear, husky and deep.
I’m not trying to, honestly.
“Good. You’re mine. Mine.”
I reach out, searching for him…
Striker, please pull me back.
I’m spinning as I reach, frantically hoping my fingers will touch something.
“Open your eyes.”
“I believe in you Ameia. You can.”
Fuck, I can’t. I open my eyes and there’s only black. Black upon black. Maybe if I had glowing red eyes I could see.
“You still don’t trust me.”
It’s on the tip of my tongue–and of course I have a tongue, I was just talking a moment ago–to deny the accusation but that would be a lie. Partly.
It’s not that I don’t trust that I’ll be able to see if I actually try to see, it’s more that I really don’t want to see. I don’t. Some deeply ingrained instinct inside me fights it. Fights against peering into the darkness. It’s pure self-preservation.
Because I know there are monsters are in the dark, and when I look at them they look back at me.
I can feel a great expanse yawning between us. He’s just letting me float away.
“If you’d open your eyes you could walk back to me.”
If I had eyes I’d be crying.
“Dammit, Ameia, you can. Trust me. Open your eyes and come to me.”
If only it were that easy.
Don’t leave me. Don’t lose me.
“I will never lose you,” he says vehemently. “I will always come for you. You cannot get away from me.”
It’s so dark… I feel so lost…
“I’m right here, Ameia. If only you would open your eyes.”
I can’t. It might see me…
“What might see you?”
“The dark cannot see.”
I want to believe him so I choose not to argue with him.
Am I ceasing to exist?
Do I only exist when I am with him? With Beast?
Without them am I nothing?
“You are safe here with me.”
His voice is jarring, shocking me back into awareness.
“Have faith in me.”
Where are you?
“I am close. I am right beside you.”
I feel hands grabbing me by the face. I tip my chin up eagerly, expecting a kiss. The hands squeeze, his fingers sinking into me.
His lips cover mine and I feel solid, alive. There is comfort in the simple reinforcement of my existence.
I reach for him and this time my fingers connect. Smooth, warm skin. The skin vibrates as I stroke his chest. He’s purring for me, purring into my mouth as I push myself against him.
Tingle by tingle, the pieces of me awaken as if they were only slumbering, awaiting my acknowledgement of them. Waiting for him to awaken me.
“Ameia,” Striker growls as my teeth nip at his bottom lip. “Open your eyes and stop trying to distract me.”
“I’m not trying to distract you. I need to explore you to find me.”
My fingers stroke down, tracing all the grooves and ridges of his chest, then his stomach. As I reach his waist and follow the deep lines that point like a roadmap to his groin, he stiffens beneath me.
My fingers pause and I ask, “Do you wish me to stop?”
Striker huffs out a harsh breath. “If it aids you… you may continue to touch me.”
I feel myself smiling and push my fingers down. My fingers brush against his velvety skin before dancing away. He’s stiff and ready for me.
“You are too good to me,” I sigh appreciatively.
“I am too easy on you,” Striker grumbles unhappily.
I know he’s displeased with me. I want to give Striker what he wants. I want to be able to fall into the other side and protect myself and our babies. But it’s too much like losing unconsciousness to me. My brain refuses to acknowledge that I’m actually still awake, and no matter how much I want to master this, wanting just isn’t enough. If only I knew what more it would take…
I wrap my fingers around his thickness and smirk. “You feel hard to me.”
Striker sucks in a sharp breath and I stroke my hand slowly towards the crown of his shaft. “Can you see yet?”
“Not yet,” I sigh and lean forward. “Maybe if I…”
I let my voice trail off as I take him into my mouth. Striker curses and I feel him twitch in my hand.
“You think sucking me off will make up for failing my lesson?” he asks.
I answer by moaning and pushing forward, pressing my tongue firmly against him as I take him deeper into my throat.
“Fucking hell,” Striker curses as my lips bump into my fingers. “Your eyes aren’t even open.”
I lean back, wiggling my tongue as he slides out. Then I open my eyes. Pure, impenetrable darkness.
“Can you see?”
I shake my head and lick my lips, tasting him. “No, I can’t see a thing.”
“Your way isn’t working,” he says harshly.
I feel him grabbing at my fingers, prying them off of his throbbing cock.
“I’ve only been at it for a moment, if you’d just be patient…”
“No, you’ve had your turn. Now it’s mine.”
I hold my breath in anticipation, clinging to his hand and wondering what he’s going to do to me.
“Tell me everything you feel. Tell me everything I’m doing.”
Long moments pass. I wait, and wait. If I wasn’t still clinging to his hand, I’d fear I may have started to drift off again, and then quite suddenly I feel his hand upon me.
“What am I doing, Ameia?” he asks, his voice thick and husky.
I moan, arching my back. I feel his hand covering my right breast. His fingers squeeze, molding around me. “You’re groping me.”
Striker chuckles and his hot breath puffs against my skin. “What am I groping?”
“My breast,” I sigh, and feel myself relaxing beneath his kneading hand.
Then something hot and wet covers my other breast.
I reach down and my fingers touch the top of his head. My nails scrape against his scalp and then I grab at his short hair, holding on to him. I feel a pull as he sucks my nipple into his mouth, and my back arches.
“You’re sucking on me.”
His teeth scrape at me and I clarify, “You’re sucking on my breast.”
He murmurs, sounding pleased, and continues to suckle on me hungrily while his other hand works me, kneading me. Soon, my fingers are tugging and yanking at his hair in the same rhythm. I feel myself rocking my hips as each pull, each tug on my hardened nipple shoots jolts of electrical sensation directly to my clit.
“Striker, why are you doing this to me?” I groan as I feel a delicious ache growing inside of my belly. He switches breasts. His hand slips to the wet left breast while his mouth covers and hungrily laps at the right. “How will this help me see?”
Is this to help me, or is he simply taking advantage of my vulnerability?
“Relax, Ameia,” he purrs, pausing just long enough to say, “Stop trying to think, and just focus on me.”
I can’t do anything but focus on him. Focus on his mouth and his hands. Focus on how good it feels to be touched by him, how good it feels to be licked by him. He laps, nips, and squeezes me until my knees feel weak. Am I standing? I must be because it feels like my legs are buckling and Striker is the only thing keeping me upright.
I feel his strong fingers wrapping around my hip and then his mouth begins to kiss a wet trail down my tummy. I suck in a harsh breath and hold it. My nipples ache, puckered and wet from the kisses. His hand gives my breast one last squeeze then it drifts down, brushing across my hip before reaching around to grab a handful of my ass.
“What do you feel? Tell me.”
“I feel you kissing me and grabbing me.”
“What am I grabbing?” His hand roughly squeezes my cheek.
“Do you feel anything else?”
I hesitate, focusing on him. “No.”
“Are you sure?”
I sigh, “No.”
Striker laughs, his breath warm against my bellybutton.
“Keep trying. Tell me when you do feel something.”
His tongue suddenly dips into my bellybutton and I jerk back with a yelp. He chuckles, and that’s when I realize his other hand has disappeared from my hip. I reach out with my senses, searching for it. Eventually I realize that hand is lightly touching my knee, slowly sliding up to my thigh.
“You moved your hand from my hip. You’re touching my leg now.”
“Mmm, yes,” he murmurs and rubs his cheek against my tummy. “Did I ever tell you how much I love your legs?”
“Spread them for me.”
I spread my feet. Well, at least I think that’s what I’m doing. “Like this?” I ask.
“Yes,” he groans as his fingers glide up and his hand cups around my thigh. “Hold yourself just like that. And make sure your eyes are open.”
I nod my head and feel myself tensing, wondering what he’s going to do to me. I know what I’d like for him to do to me. I’d like for him to bury his face between my legs and lick me until I scream, but I’m not sure we’re on the same page.
“As soon as you see something, anything, inform me.”
“Will do,” I sigh, ready for him to get on with it. I don’t even care anymore about seeing anything. As long as he’s holding me, I just want to feel him touching me and loving me. Everything else can wait.
I concentrate hard, honing all of my senses on him and his movements.
A puff of hot air hits my clit. Is he going to lick me? Oh stars, I hope he’s going to lick me. My entire body tenses in anticipation.
The tip of his tongue drags against my clit.
I cry out and my hips jerk.
He drags his tongue across me again but this time his tongue is vibrating. It’s like every nerve in my body lights up at once. Colors flash, but it’s so quick I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination.
“Ameia,” Striker purrs, and laps at me. “Do you see anything yet?”
“No,” I groan and shake my head. It’s taking every ounce of concentration I have just to keep my legs from giving out so I don’t fall on my ass. “Not yet.”
Striker makes a growly sound and says harshly, “Focus on me.” Then he begins to attack my clit with his mouth while one of his thick fingers thrusts inside me.
This time my entire world lights up in a white flash and I know it wasn’t my imagination.
“I see something,” I gasp.
“What do you see?”
The white fades back to black. “It was just a flash…”
Striker’s finger pumps deep inside me and his mouth attacks my clit with fierce determination.
The world lights up again.
“It’s white, I can see white,” I moan.
“Keep focusing,” he encourages me as his tongue vibrates harder, and his fingers pump faster, deeper. “That’s it, Ameia.”
Colors flash. My knees begin to buckle. His fingers dig into my hip, his strength the only thing keeping me from falling.
It’s so warm, my blood boils and everything between my legs is throbbing with pressure.
“See, Ameia,” Striker demands of me. “See me.”
I look down, needing him, my eyes searching for him. I don’t want to do this in the darkness, alone. I need somebody with me.
Just as the first quiver of my release spasms through my body, I catch a glimpse of red. Striker’s mouth and fingers withdraw from me, but before I even have the chance to cry out in protest, I’m suddenly filled with him. Striker thrusts himself hard and fast, impaling his cock deep inside my body.
His eyes find my eyes as everything explodes into color. I clench around him and then feel him swelling, growing. My eyes close as my orgasm rolls through me, lost in the sensation. I ride out the waves until Striker rises above me and demands once more that I look at him.
My eyes snap open and I see him. I see his red eyes searching my eyes and a slow smile curving its way along his lips.
“There you are,” he says with such tenderness that I just have to lift up and kiss him.
“What happened? Was that some kind of super magical orgasm or something?” I ask against his lips.
He chuckles. “Something like that.”
“That magical orgasm just strengthened our connection.”
I frown and he wraps me in his arms, hugging me to his chest. “Can you see, Ameia?”
I look past his shoulder. “A little.” It’s like peering into a dark fog. I can see the outlines of objects, but not much else.
“Is it?” Even though I can see, I still feel like a failure for not getting it right away.
“Yes,” Striker reassures me. “It takes time. The more time you spend here, the more you will… acclimate to it. Unfortunately, we do not have time.”
“It can be difficult for the mind to adjust and accept a new reality.”
“How much time does it usually take?” I ask, relaxing in his arms.
I quickly realize all of my skin is touching his skin. I look down, and yep, we’re both completely naked.
“It can take months.”
“Months?” Months of falling into the darkness, helpless, before I can save myself…
“Yes, but you’re doing wonderfully. You should be able to completely adjust in a few days.”
I look past his shoulder again. Striker looks completely clear, like he’s being broadcast in crystal clear, high definition. Everything else though is all shadowy and hazy.
“I really don’t like it here.”
Striker sighs and lifts me off my feet, carrying me. “I know.”
Once I see, will I ever unsee?
“Can we go back to my reality?”
“Not yet,” he smirks and bends forward, laying me down on something soft and fluffy.
My lips form a pout but he comes down on top of me.
“Just a little longer, my love.” His hand strokes back my hair. “Stay with me.”
“What are you doing?!” Beast roars, scaring me awake.
Two big purple hands grab onto my arms and yank me out of the darkness.
“What?” I gasp as Beast shoves me behind his body. Just a moment ago I was dozing peacefully in Striker’s arms. I was so comfortable; I was even starting to enjoy the quiet calmness of the darkness. Now my eyes sting and water as they adjust to the bright light in Striker’s small quarters. Everything looks too bright now, too sharp and too focused.
What the hell is Beast’s problem?
“I’m preparing her,” Striker says defensively as he fades into view, facing off with Beast— completely naked. It would be hilarious, naked Striker versus a fully clothed Beast, if they both didn’t look as if they wanted to tear each other to pieces.
And just when I thought we were all getting along so well…
Beast takes a threatening step forward, his red eyes glaring murder at Striker. “Preparing her? How? In what way?”
Striker’s lips curl up in that cocky smirk. Is he purposely antagonizing Beast? “I was helping her adjust. I was helping her see.”
“You reckless fool!” Beast roars, taking another step towards Striker.
I feel like I’m about to watch history repeat itself. Beast is going to give Striker a beat down, but this time I’m not sure Striker deserves it.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, reaching out and tugging on Beast’s black shirt. “Why are you so upset?”
Beast’s fists clench at his sides as he stares off with Striker but my tug gets his attention. He casts a quick glance over his shoulder at me and then I hear him growl. He looks beyond pissed.
“Did I do something wrong?” I ask with trepidation and resist the urge to take a step back. The violence is crackling around him, the little hairs on my arms stand on end.
I don’t know what’s got him so upset but it’s freaking me out. The way he snorts through his nostrils, the way his chest rises and falls with every deep breath, he looks like his fury is barely contained in his purple skin.
Beast gives Striker a look of disgust as if Striker is vermin he’d like to stomp out of existence. “You didn’t even warn her about the side effects, did you?”
“Side effects?” I ask shrilly, drawing both of their attention. “What side effects?”
Striker shrugs his shoulders dismissively. “I felt it wasn’t necessary. She likes to worry, and it isn’t good for our babies. I thought to save her the stress.”
“What the hell is going on?” I ask now and step around Beast, just now realizing I too am still completely naked.
I cross my arms over my breasts, however, and glare between them. “Stop talking like I’m not here and start explaining.”
Beast and Striker just continue to glare at each other, neither one of them willing to give me the answer. My stomach sinks. It must be something bad.
“Oh, shit. What is it? Is it that bad?” I ask and my hands drop protectively to my stomach.
Beast growls and Striker curses under his breath.
“It’s not that bad,” Striker tries but fails to reassure me.
I shake my head. “The look on Beast’s face tells me it is.”
Beast tears his red gaze away from Striker to frown at me. “Ameia,” he rumbles, reaching for me.
I let him grab me. I let him pull me into his arms and hug me closely, just glad to feel him calming. He buries his face in my curls and takes in a deep breath. His hands roam down to touch my belly as I lean into him.
It’s Striker’s turn to growl now. “Dammit. We were only there for a few hours.”
“And hours before that when we were on Terrea,” Beast corrects him.
“I’m doing this out of necessity,” Striker angrily insists.
“Out of necessity? It’s too dangerous.”
“Leaving her helpless is too dangerous. It’s worth the risk. We are days from Blackspire. She needs to be able to protect herself.”
“No,” Beast says adamantly and I feel him tense up. “She does not need to protect herself, that’s our duty. We protect her. We are there for her.”
“We can’t always be…”
I push at Beast’s chest and whirl back around, seriously pissed. “Stop talking about me like I’m not here! Stop making decisions and arguing over stuff like I don’t get a say in any of it!”
“Ameia,” Beast rumbles and I feel him gently grabbing me from behind. I try to shake him off, so not in the mood to be touched by him now. “Ameia,” he sighs in defeat as I continue to resist him and his hands drop away. “Look in the mirror.”
“Why?” I ask, the blood in my veins chilling. I swear if I somehow have purple skin or grown another head…
“You’re stressing her out,” Striker frowns. “Ameia relax. It’s only minor, there is nothing to be afraid of.”
I run over to the wall and push a button for the mirror. Do I look different? What did being on the other side do to me? It didn’t do anything to me last time.
I peer into the mirror but all I see is me, naked. I drop my arms to my sides and inspect my body, turning side to side and spinning in a slow circle. I’m so worried that somehow I’ve been deformed that I don’t care how ridiculous I look.
“What am I supposed to be seeing?” Am I just not seeing it?
“Look at your eyes,” Striker answers. “They’ve changed a little.”
I stop staring at my backside, I was thinking perhaps it’s a little jigglier now, and stare hard at my eyes in the mirror. I don’t see it at first, but the longer I stare the more I notice the tiniest of red specks glittering in the blue swirls of my irises.
“Are my eyes turning red?!”
“No, not completely,” Beast answers. “But the longer you’re on the other side, the more it changes you.”
I whirl around and point my finger accusingly at Striker. “You didn’t tell me it would change me. Oh crap, will it turn my skin purple too? Will I start to look like you?”
Purple skin, dark hair and red eyes look completely sexy on them, but I’m not sure I could pull it off myself.
“The other side corrupts,” Beast frowns.
“You asshole,” I shriek at Striker and look around for something to throw at him. “I can’t believe you pushed me into doing all of that and you didn’t tell me anything about it!”
“It’s minor,” Striker says defensively and then has to shield his head with his hands as I toss a shoe at him. “And it only makes you more beautiful.” He grunts as the next shoe hits his hip, narrowly missing his exposed dangly bits. “Besides, I explained the other side to you back on Terrea.”
“You didn’t explain that it would change me!”
He bats the next shoe off and takes a menacing step towards me. “It’s for your protection.”
“That’s not the damn point!”
“That’s the point of everything!” he roars back. “You and your safety is the point of everything, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure no harm comes to you or our children. Whether you agree with it or not!”
Damn. I love that he loves me and wants to protect me. But, “I get a say! I get a say in what happens to me.”
Both Beast and Striker are ominously silent after that declaration.
I look between the two of them in complete disbelief. “No, you can’t be serious. You don’t think I get a say in what happens to me? That I don’t get to make decisions when it comes to myself? Neither of you?”
I look to Beast but his lips only thin.
“Are you serious?”
They both just stare at me. They don’t have to say it; I can read the writing in their eyes. My heart pounds hard and my stomach lurches with the realization. I have to swallow back excess spit. What have I done? Everything was so wonderful. Now, just like that, everything has gone to shit. Have I been deluding myself? Have I been living in my own little bubble of ignorant bliss, completely oblivious?
“You think I’m that pathetic, don’t you?”
“No,” they both deny and reach for me.
I shake my head and dance back, avoiding them. “Yes, you do. You both think you know what’s best for me. And now that you’ve got me here, stuck on your ship and stuck with you, what can I do about it?”
“It’s not like that, Ameia,” Beast argues defensively.
“I do know what’s best for you,” Striker glares at the same time.
I put my hands on my hips, lift my chin into the air and glare back. “If it’s not like that then do I get a say?”
Beast’s jaw clenches and Striker snorts.
I have to look up at the ceiling to keep the tears at bay. I thought by accepting them, by acknowledging my sexy purple space demons, I was finally embracing freedom. I convinced myself I was embracing responsibility for my own destiny. In truth now I’m discovering I’ve only traded the shackles of my father for the shackles of my lovers.
My voice quivers as I look back down and say, “This is not going to work.”
“My princess, you’ve had a long day,” Beast says softly as he takes a hesitant step towards me. “Let’s speak of these things when you’ve had more rest.”
My shoulders slump with defeat. “What more is there to even say? You’ve made it very clear. Both of you.”
Striker rubs his hand down his face. “Dammit, Ameia. It’s not because we think less of you. It’s because we know the danger, and you do not.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to take away my choices. I should get a say in what happens to me.”
Striker groans and shakes his head.
“I don’t think we’re going to resolve this tonight,” Beast says.
I nod. “I agree.”
“Then let’s call it a night and reconvene tomorrow. You should return to my quarters with me,” Beast suggests but I shake my head, immediately shooting him down.
“I want to be alone.” I need time to think. I need to figure out how I’m going to either deal with the two of them being overprotective buttheads or somehow convince them I’m not completely too stupid to make my own decisions.
“You can’t be alone, Ameia. It’s too dangerous,” Striker smirks and I glare daggers at him.
“I can see better now, thank you. I’ll be fine.”
“Ameia,” Beast sighs but I spin on my heel and walk away from the two of them.
Just as I reach the door the two babies growing inside me betray me and I fall feet first into a pit of darkness.
I scream as the world fades away.
I can see a bit better. I can see dark, swirling fog misting around me but it doesn’t stop me from falling.
There’s nothing to grab onto.
Thankfully, a couple of moments later two hands lock on my arms and yank me back.
“You were saying?” Striker’s eyes gleam wickedly at me, and he obviously has no qualms about taking advantage of the situation. He holds me unnecessarily close, most of my naked parts touching his.
Dammit. I guess I have to stay attached to their hips.
But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
It’s been two long, hellish days but the Harpy has finally arrived to carry us to our final destination. Beast and Striker have continued to keep me close, protecting me, but we’ve failed to come to an understanding. They both stubbornly insist it is their right to protect me, and I don’t get a say in how they do it. They can and will continue to make decisions in my best interest and on my behalf.
Beast at least has tried to soothe my bruised ego by clarifying he will take my opinion and feelings into consideration. Striker, however, has become even more overbearing and domineering. It’s such a strange switch from when we were on Terrea. Then, Beast was all about keeping me in the dark while Striker thought I should be armed with knowledge. Now, it’s like they’ve flipped. I suspect me being pregnant may have something to do with it.
I know they’re both on edge, and their hearts are in the right places, but I can’t help but resent them a little bit. I suppose I should be happy that they’re being so upfront about it. They’re not at all trying to manipulate me, or deceive me. I just wish… they thought better of me, and the fact that they don’t is both depressing me and frightening me.
Maybe I am too dumb to take care of myself.
I’m about to be a mother. Maybe I’m too dumb to take care of my own children. That thought literally makes me sick to my stomach.
“Are you ready?” Beast asks stepping into Striker’s new and more spacious quarters aboard the Harpy.
Not only is the Harpy twice as big— and according to Beast and Striker twice as deadly— but it’s communication systems are much more sophisticated. We are now able to video com directly with Blackspire.
I’ve spent the first half of the day with Striker so now it’s Beast’s watch. There’s always a feeling of reluctance on their part when I’m exchanging hands, as if they don’t want to hand me over and would keep me if I would permit it. I feel a need for equality though, and I try hard not to show either of them preferential treatment. I love and care for them both deeply and equally, and I would hate for them to think I preferred one over the other, regardless if I’m currently mad at them.
“Are you sure you don’t want me with you?” Striker asks, and I know I’ve hurt his feelings by asking him to remain behind as I video com with my great aunt Lorune for the first time.
“I’m sure,” I nod at him and pull away. I walk quickly towards Beast, anxious to meet my aunt, and hopeful I’ll get some more answers.
I can feel Striker’s scowl behind me, I don’t even have to see it. It’s not personal, regardless of how they’re treating me. It’s that I fear if both Beast and Striker are present it will greatly affect the direction of the conversation. If I had my way, neither of them would be there during the conference. As it is Beast has to accompany me, but he’s promised to do his best to give my aunt and me privacy. He’ll be in the same room, some distance away, able to see me but out of earshot.
I place my hand on Beast’s offered arm and allow him to lead me to the Harpy’s main communication room.
This communication room isn’t much different than the one aboard the Harpy’s Talon. Like the rest of the ship, the décor may not be exactly the same but it’s very similar. Same boring gray walls, and same black rubber flooring, just more of it. Why do Ravagers seem to hate color so much? It’s all red, purple, black, or gray. Would it kill them to add some pink, green, or yellow into the mix? It might liven them up a bit.
Beast takes his place across the room, in the very back corner, but given the size of the screen there’s no way he’ll be able to ignore our conversation. The screen runs from floor to ceiling, ten feet by my count, and spreads twice as wide. I’ll be surprised if half the ship doesn’t hear us.
“Ready?” Beast asks from his spot.
I nod my head and position myself directly in front of the screen. Beast barks an order into his personal com and someone in the control room connects us.
The screen flickers and I brace myself as the projection of my great aunt Lorune comes into focus…