Thursday, December 4, 2014
April 4, later (part 3)
I was the last to be interviewed by Oses. I know he arranged that on purpose, but it was okay. It gave me time to calm down and frame how I would tell my story.
I kind of dreaded talking to him even as I looked forward to being with my big, bad Nobek. Betra’s reaction to my ghost story was still very much on my mind. Would Oses think I was slipping back into trauma too?
At last it was my turn to be questioned. I went into Oses’ office when he called for me. The door shut behind me, leaving us in privacy.
My Nobek lover looked grim as he sat on his desk before the chair I took. I saw the worry in his eyes. “Tell me,” he said.
So I did. Not just what happened in our would-be club, but from the beginning when Candy first saw something odd. I told Oses all of it, from start to finish. I watched him carefully as I did so, waiting to see any hint that he thought I’d gone off my rocker. Oses’ intense gaze was aimed at the wall behind me as I talked, his expression of concern never wavering.
I ended my tale with, “I’m not crazy, Oses. I know I’ve seen something.”
His eyes finally moved to my face. To my relief, I saw nothing that suggested he thought I was due for a straitjacket.
Instead he said, “You never told me about the entity you saw in your room.”
“I didn’t get to it,” I confessed. “After the way Betra acted, I was scared you’d think I was having another breakdown.”
“Shalia, you know me better than that,” Oses said, his tone filling with disappointment. I cringed to hear that note in his voice. “This was nothing like your prior hallucinations. Plus, we have others corroborating your tale, even before today’s event.”
“You believe we saw a ghost?” I said, scarcely hoping the big, bad Nobek was willing to be that openminded.
He held his hands up. “I didn’t say that. I think you saw something all right, but I’m not one to believe the dead come back to frighten innocent Mataras.”
I swallowed. “I thought perhaps it was focused on me ... and I am not so innocent, you know.”
Oses’ brow raised. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I killed Glidas,” I reminded him. “And that Earther man Finiuld gave me to torment—”
“I carried out those acts upon the man,” Oses said, his expression turning dark. “If his angry spirit was to come after anyone, it would be me.”
Not necessarily, I thought. However, I could tell Oses had made up his mind on that score.
“So if that thing is not a ghost, what would it have been?” I asked my friend.
“Someone still among the living,” Oses said. “Everyone’s description of this entity in the club sounded very much like a Kalquorian running at full speed. It was the right size, and according to what you and Heather have both seen, the right shape.”
“But how is it disappearing at will?” I asked. “No Kalquorian can do that. Plus it somehow got in Candy and my rooms without triggering the announce. I know the door never opened to let it escape!”
“That is the mystery that needs to be solved,” Oses admitted. “I will have to go over security vids carefully to see if I can figure it out.”
I wasn’t convinced. Kalquorians do not walk through walls, like Megan had seen happen a few days ago. Still, Oses wasn’t staring at me like I’d grown two heads. He believed I’d seen something.
Speaking of the unbelievers, it was then that Betra showed up. The door announce went off, and his voice rang in the room. “Commander, it’s Betra.”
“Enter.” Oses’ expression was guarded as my liaison stepped into the room.
Betra blew out a breath to see me there. “Katrina just told me a group of you were threatened as you looked over your options for a club. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine.” Considering how worried the Imdiko obviously was, my tone was probably too clipped. But damn it, he’d hurt me.
Betra heard it and flinched a touch. His gaze went to Oses. “What was it?”
“Unknown at this time. You should have reported the break-in of Shalia’s room, Imdiko.” Oses was severe.
Betra flinched again. “I thought – the nightmares and everything – damn it, she said the person disappeared into thin air.”
“Yeah well, it turned out I was right,” I said frostily.
My liaison looked shamed. “I fucked up. I’m sorry.”
I didn’t want to stay mad at Betra, not when he looked that contrite. Truth be told, I had flaked out pretty bad after being taken away by Finiuld. I suppose Betra had good reason to doubt my story of dark scary shadows that came and went with no evidence to back me up.
“Fine,” I sighed. “Apology accepted.”
“Not so fast,” Oses said. “I think you are due some discipline for failing to report, Betra.”
The Imdiko’s eyes widened. “You – you do?”
“It’s an egregious lapse of security for any Matara, particularly one who is pregnant.”
Betra’s shoulders slumped. “You’re right. Shall I wait for you to write up your report so I can sign it?”
Oses was eyeing him contemplatively. “I suppose we could do the official reprimand, if you like. However, I am willing to not file a report and have it show up on your record.”
Betra blinked. “That’s very kind of you, Commander.”
“You will still be punished. Privately.”
Anger moved onto the Imdiko’s expression. “I am not fucking you—”
“No, you will fuck Shalia.”
Betra now looked as confused as I felt. I scowled at the Nobek. “Since when is fucking me a punishment, you big goon?” I asked.
Oses’ mouth quirked in a brief smile. “Since Betra can’t have control. Do you remember being in charge of me when we were prisoners, Shalia?”
Boy, did I. I’d been forced to dominate and have sex with Oses for an audience. The sex part was good, but I hadn’t enjoyed being in charge.
I told Oses as much. “I’m not an on-top kind of girl,” I said.
“No, and Betra is certainly not an on-bottom kind of man from what you’ve told me.” The weapons commander gazed at the worried-looking Imdiko. “Shalia says you are every bit as controlling as I am.”
Betra nodded uncertainly. “I prefer to be in charge of my sexual partners.”
“Not this time. I will be in charge of you both. You get to play with Shalia, but I call the shots. And I will decide if you get to climax or not.”
Betra’s eyes went as wide as mine. “Wait a damned minute—”
Oses shrugged. “The choice is yours. I can write you up and you’ll have to face disciplinary measures as well as a permanent mark on your record, or we can resolve this quietly here and now.” He grinned, looking more shark than man. “What’s the big deal, Imdiko? You said you enjoy being watched.”
“Yes, but – but I don’t like—” Betra looked from Oses to me. “You told him!”
I was confused. “I told him what?”
“That I was interested in hearing about when you topped him during your captivity. You knew I was planning something.”
“Betra, I have no idea what you are talking about. I remember you and I discussing that and you did seem interested, but beyond that, you’ve lost me.” It was true. I was clueless.
Oses was not. His grin got bigger. “So, you wanted to do the same thing, except you would be in control of me. Imdiko, did you really think you could get the upper hand on a man such as myself?”
Betra’s face turned red – whether in anger or humiliation, I couldn’t tell. “I wanted to give Shalia something I knew she’d enjoy. Both of us at the same time. I thought you’d like it too, even if you and I weren’t touching.”
The Nobek fairly purred. “Oh, I like it, all right. I appreciate that you would be willing to give me such a gift. But I’ll be the one giving orders, not you.”
Betra stood there, his expression ranging from fury to anxiety ... and when he looked at me, there was want as well. For my part I waited silently, wondering where this crazy situation would end up. I had hopes that it would be with my legs in the air, but that goes without saying.
After a few moments of emotional struggle, Betra’s shoulders sagged. “You won’t touch me?”
Oses looked him over like an awarded trophy. “Not one finger. I’ll busy myself with Shalia.”
Betra hunched even more. It was like watching a turtle trying to back his head into his shell. “Lock the damned door. I swear that if anyone finds out about this, I’ll mangle you.”
With the pleased tone of a man closing a lucrative deal, Oses said, “Door, lock.”
It beeped obediently. I folded my arms over my chest and called up a severe look to glare at the Nobek with. “I don’t recall you checking with me to see if I’m up for this. Or am I being punished too?”
Oses smirked at me. “To paraphrase your earlier questions, since when is sex with Betra or me punishment?”
He had me there. Oh well. Let the chastisement of the Imdiko begin.