Next time you point a finger,
I'll point you to the mirror.
This is the last second chance!
Shiva and Niki approached Ty’s position on the couch as if they’d choreographed their moves, which, knowing Shiva, they very well might have; Shiva took his right and Niki his left, bracketing him.
“-or just moping?” Nikita finished Shiva’s question.
“Neither,” Ty answered, aware he sounded petulant and not really caring. “I’m watching TV.”
“Uh-hunh,” Shiva answered, making it abundantly clear how much she didn’t believe his story. “Your slouching miserable posture, your pouty face, and the fact that there’s football on the TV don’t mean you're sulking. They’re just indicators of a normal Fall day.”
“I like football!” It was ridiculous, but she had him on the defensive. Again.
“Uh-hunh,” she repeated. “Who’s playing?”
He didn’t bother trying to answer; he wasn’t entirely sure there was even football on the TV. He’d only turned it on to have some noise in the place. “All right,” he conceded ungraciously. “I’m sulking. Now will you leave me alone?”
“Nope,” Shiva said cheerfully. “Not until you stop being a moron.”
He glared at her. She’d dated him for a year, and somehow felt that gave her the right to bully him. “I am not being a moron.”
“Yes, you are,” Niki inserted.
“Et tu?” Ty frowned. Niki had been bratty before, but, even at his angriest, he had never directly contradicted Ty. The bond, of course, had ensured that, but now… now Shiva was encouraging his misbehavior.
He turned his ire back to her. “Aren’t you supposed to be keeping him in line?”
It was a bad idea, and he knew it the moment the words were out of his mouth. All it did was give her an opening.
“That is, I suppose, one way of looking at the Keeper-Kept relationship,” she said, reasonably enough that, for a moment, Ty thought he was off the hook. Then her smile grew sharp, as only a feline could manage. “How’s that working out for you?”
“It worked out fine with you and…” he trailed off, knowing that he couldn’t pretend it had been okay with Nikita. Nothing had blown up, true, but that the two of them could still talk, awkwardly, and with other people around, was about the best that could be said to have come from that relationship.
That, and Siriana.
“Not fine enough that you can blame this current mess on Jamian, no,” Shiva said, more gently than he expected.
Of course not. Of course it was his fault. He was in charge, after all.
“Then what do you think I should do?” he grumbled. Maybe if he let them lecture him, they’d leave him alone.
“Give him some room,” Niki said. Ty bit his tongue; Shiva would not be fun to deal with if he yelled at Niki. Instead, he answered acerbically,
“That worked out so well with you, didn’t it?”
“Considering the other option was to go insane, yes,” Niki shot back.
“You wouldn’t have gone insane,” Ty snapped. “I’m not some sort of brain-sucking monster!”
Shiva giggled, and he whipped around. “What’s so freaking funny?” he demanded.
“Brain-sucking monster,” she teased. “Tya-mia, you come on fast and strong, and you don’t give your targets a chance to catch their breath. That would be fine if you were, you know, hunting prey, like Phelen or Aggie do. But you get them dazed, confused, and trapped, and then go looking for a romance. And Jamian’s… well, younger than Nikita or I were.”
“Not chronologically.” By now, he was being stubborn just to be stubborn; he knew what she meant. Jamian was sweet, and a little naïve, and so very virginal, all things that neither of the two sharing the couch with him had been when he Owned them.
He sighed, relenting. Maybe he was doing things wrong with Jamian. He had to admit he’d made a mess of things with Nikita, and now Shiva was telling him things hadn’t been great with her, either – who knew?
“So… give him space. What else?”
Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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