Thursday, September 24, 2015
July 15, part 1
After freaking out Clan Seot and my dads yesterday, I decided against more drama before I spoke live to my second set of beaus, Clan Aslada. An hour before I was to talk to them today, I sent a pre-recorded message. I got dressed up again, hair and makeup, all that jazz. It did little to help my drawn looks after yesterday’s emotional storms, but it was the best I could manage.
I told them the story of the It, the early birth of Anrel, the prognosis that we would both recover. “What you see of me now is not forever,” I teased. “So don’t run screaming quite yet. I’ll give you other reasons for that in due time. Oh, what the heck. Let me give you a reason now.”
At that point, I relayed what was going on with Nang and the possibility he might show up to cause trouble later down the road. I decided if Clan Aslada made our scheduled com appointment after all that, they were either extraordinary men or masochists of the highest order.
They answered my live com when I rang them from Anrel’s room later. Maybe they’re extraordinary masochists.
I was greeted by three gorgeous specimens of manhood who bowed to me the instant they appeared. Dramok Aslada seemed broodier (Is that a word? It fits him.) than before, though he mitigated some of that with a gentle smile.
“Matara Shalia, thank you for the opportunity to talk live to you. We are honored. And is this the lovely Anrel?” His politician politeness crumbled as he looked at the baby in my arms. She was back in her pink dress, since it was still pinned to almost fit her. Aslada’s grin stretched over his face. Someone give me back my ability to breathe. That Dramok is beyond stunning when he smiles.
“Oh, she is beautiful,” Imdiko Meyso enthused. He didn’t gush as Cifa did, but his delight was genuine. He beamed wholeheartedly at my little Anrel, who was doing her favorite trick of chewing on her fist. “What a wonder she is! I would give anything to hold her right now.”
Nobek Jaon bowed to Anrel, his gaze riveted on her face. “Greetings, little Matara. I know you can’t understand a word I say, but I feel fortunate to meet you.” His eyes flicked to meet mine. “And Matara Shalia, may I express my regrets that I am not with the two of you to keep you from harm.”
That he wanted to keep me from harm ... maybe just so he could rip someone’s head off for fun ... was my first impression. Jaon is all muscle, all ferocious intent. I had a vision of him and Oses beating the shit out of each other and then laughing about it later over drinks. Some Nobeks live for the opportunity to hit stuff. I thought Jaon probably fit that description.
Aslada’s expression turned concerned after Jaon’s declaration. “You have been through a terrible time. I confess, I was stunned to see your state when you sent us the earlier message. However after hearing your story, I am amazed you fared as well as you did.”
“Strong lady,” Jaon agreed. “I am most impressed, Matara Shalia. You put many Nobeks to shame.”
I didn’t share his opinion, but I blushed a little at the praise. “Thank you all.”
“Would you mind if I asked your Dr. Tep for a copy of your brain scans during and after the infection?” Meyso asked. “As a brain surgeon, I am fascinated with how it tried to acclimate to you as an Earther. Plus I want to make sure there is no scarring or evidence of impairment.”
I shrugged. My case was already a matter of record for researchers and bio-weapons experts. Besides, Meyso would catch any problems a general medic like Tep may have missed. “Copy away.”
I got a big entrancing smile that made me feel warm all over. “Thank you. While we’re talking shop, I hope you don’t mind me asking a few questions about your mother, Matara Eve. I have all the reports from Dr. Nayun and Tep, but I’d like to get a few observations from someone who has a long-term history.”
We spent about five minutes on Meyso’s questions, during which time Aslada and Jaon waited patiently. They studied me and Anrel. I was glad to see their expressions warming over those few minutes. I supposed they grew accustomed to my wan state. As for my baby, her every little motion and chirp was greeted with smiles. Even Jaon couldn’t help but flash a wide grin from time to time.
Once Meyso finished quizzing me about Mom, the imposing Nobek gave me his complete attention. “I have begun inquiries into all available channels to do with this Dramok Nang. Hunting down men is my specialty, and I will exhaust every possible trail he may decide to take. I have connections throughout the known galaxies. He will be seen at some point ... and he will be stopped.”
The hair on the back of my neck rose at the unspoken threat in Jaon’s tone. I had the feeling his definition of stopping Nang didn’t necessarily mean slapping cuffs on his wrists and bringing him before a judge. I thought maybe Jaon showed little mercy to those miscreants he was sent out to catch.
Me being me, I found such power exciting as well as scary. I have to laugh at myself and my wanton urges.
We discussed far more pleasant subjects, such as my former career as a vid producer. “I can foresee many opportunities for you here on Kalquor,” Aslada enthused. “I am always looking for the best way to promote important legislation.”
“And yourself during the election cycle,” Meyso said with a wink.
“Of course, of course. With her woman’s intuition and feeling, Shalia will be able to bring across the emotions of many issues instead of just boring facts and figures. We can get beyond the practical and into the true guts of my causes.”
I liked the idea of flexing my creative muscles again. Sitting around playing hausfrau was not my idea of happily-ever-after. I missed the work I’d done on Earth. “As long as I agree with what you’re up to, I’d be thrilled to be a part of it.”
The Dramok grinned as his clanmates chuckled. “There is nothing wrong with having to convince someone of my worth in order to win her support. I look forward to finding out where we agree and on what matters we will debate.”
We talked for about an hour before I felt myself starting to flag. Mindful of my condition for a change, I arranged to speak to Clan Aslada again before the transport left wormhole access behind.
They are without a doubt a steady, self-assured clan. Maybe they are more reserved than Clan Seot, but I sensed underlying warmth there. I like that Aslada sees me as a potential partner in his work. Meyso would certainly take outstanding care of me and Anrel. And Nang would be a billion times an utter fool to fuck with Jaon no matter how obsessed he is. A girl could do a hell of a lot worse.
I’m looking at two very viable options to spend my life with. It’s giving me a spark of happiness. I look forward to discovering how this all shakes out in the end.