Monday, March 17, 2014
Wow, talk about people with troubled childhoods. All I can say is, poor Betra.
I went to see him to apologize for being so mean the other day and refusing to answer his messages or the door when he came knocking. When I walked in his office this morning, he gave me a look that was a mix of hurt and cringing. I guess he thought I was going to yell at him.
I immediately started with, “I am so sorry I’ve been a jerk to you, Betra. I’ve been upset over this portal jump thing that’s about to happen. Saying goodbye to my dads and not being able to reach Clan Dusa has made me all ugly in my head, and I took it out on you. Please don’t be mad.”
Relief filled his features, and he immediately came around his desk to give me a hug. “I’m not angry, Shalia. I thought you were furious with me for what happened with Oses.”
Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that tantrum he’d thrown when I’d nearly gotten to play with both men at once.
I hugged him back. “That wasn’t even on my radar, you big nut. Although if I was a decent person, I would have come to see you sooner and made sure you were okay.” I drew back and sighed, shaking my head at myself. “I get so caught up in my stupid dramas that I forget to act like I care about the people I care about. Now I have something else to apologize for.”
Betra laughed and gave me a kiss that warmed me up nice and proper. “Shalia, my issues are not yours to worry about. I’m just happy we’re not fighting.”
“Me too.” I shoved my more selfish self back to put someone else on center stage for a change. “How are you? Are you okay?”
He waved me off. “I’m fine.”
I arched a brow. “I think not. Going ape shit when a guy strokes your hair is a bit extreme, even if you’re not into playing hide-the-wiener.”
“Hide the what?”
“Never mind,” I said. “What is the real problem, Betra? Come on, talk to me. It’s not often I manage to remember the universe doesn’t revolve around me, even though it should.”
He grinned and shook his head. “You are a mess, little one.” Betra pulled me into his arms and thought for a moment, obviously composing what he wanted to tell me.
Finally he said, “To be fair, Oses is not really my problem. In all honesty, I like him. I like his strength, his intelligence, and his friendship. He is a wonderful man.”
“But you don’t like him that way.”
Betra shook his head. “I’ve tried to, because I do enjoy being around him. At least I do when he’s not trying to get me to fuck him. However, I’ve never felt that kind of attraction to men. It just doesn’t feel right to me.”
I smoothed his hair back. “That still doesn’t explain how extreme your reaction was when Oses touched you.”
The Imdiko sighed. “I know. Clever Shalia, you see there is more to what happened the other day than me not wanting men.”
Betra bit his lips together, considering again. It was then that I saw pain in his eyes. Real pain and terror. Something bad had happened at some point.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and pressed close. Not in a sexual way, but to give him the support I felt he was in need of. “Betra, what happened? Who hurt you?”
He swallowed. “My Nobek father’s brother. It was only once, but it was awful.”
I drew a shuddering breath. “How old were you?”
“Thirteen. I already knew I didn’t like to be intimate with men, and then when that happened—” He broke off and shook his head.
I could have wept for Betra. He might be a grown man, but there was still something young and vulnerable in his expression at that moment, something that showed me the frightened child he’d been when it happened. No wonder he’d freaked out with Oses.
“Did you ever tell anyone?” I asked.
Betra shook his head. “My uncle went off to patrol the border soon after and was killed in an altercation with Tragooms. He was considered a hero by the family, and I couldn’t bear to tell them otherwise. It would have devastated my Nobek father.”
“That’s awful, Betra. I’m sorry you went through that.” I really was. I knew what it was like to be violated and not able to turn to someone else.
I said as much and then added, “You should tell Oses. I know he’d back off if he realized what happened to you.”
Betra scowled. “It took everything I had just now to tell you. Oses would probably think I was being uptight.”
I shook my head. “I think you sell him short. He’s a tough bastard, but he strikes me as a lot more understanding than you’re giving him credit for. He’s careful where he has to be.” I waved my hands to quiet Betra before he could say anything else. “Look, you’re in no shape to think about any of that right now anyway. Just know I completely get where you’re coming from. I won’t encourage anything that will put you in such a position again.”
Betra smiled at me. “Thank you, Shalia. I’m sorry you went through hard times too.”
I shrugged. “I survived more or less intact, same as you.”
“Yeah, but you don’t get crazy when a man touches you.”
“Not Kalquorian men, anyway.” I laughed. “I never thought about it before now, but the only good sex I’ve ever had has been with your race. The thought of fucking Earthers leaves me cold, just like you don’t want to be with Kalquorian men. Maybe you should try out Earther guys and see if the opposite works for you.”
Betra rolled his eyes. “As I’ve heard a few of you women say – ‘yuck’. I’ll stick with females.”
I laughed. “And I’ll appreciate that, trust me. When can we get together again?”
He grinned, full of deviltry at the thought. “I’ve got tonight free. I’d be glad to distract you from some of your grief over this afternoon’s portal jump.”
Knowing how I get, a distraction sounded pretty damned good to Miss Moody Monroe. No doubt I’d be all sad and boo-hoo-ey over suddenly finding myself two days removed from talking to my dads. Screwing Betra would perhaps keep it at bay. “You’re on.”
So here I am, looking at the next few hours with a mix of trepidation and anticipation. Portal jump. Sex with Betra. Portal jump. Sex with Betra. Bad and good, all rolled into one. Guess which option I’m concentrating on?