Chapter 123: Jaya
I owe it all to the mistake he made back then
I owe it all to my girl's ex-boyfriend
Having a cy’Linden hermaphrodite for a significant other and Keeper was, Jaya mused, weird. Not that she had a lot to compare it to, but even Ty’s exes seemed to think being Owned by him was a little odd.
They’d talked a bit. That was a relief, strangely, to be bringing things out in the open and talking about them, and at the same time it was a bit awkward; Ty had a hard time working with ideas like “we should both be faithful” and “throwing orders at your date makes everything more uncomfortable.”
Slowly but surely, they were getting somewhere. Jaya hadn’t stopped spending time with Melchior - Ty hadn’t told her to, and hadn’t even asked her to stop, though she was still waiting for that shoe to drop. But she was spending more time with Ty, too; they were slated to spend the evening together, alone.
Of course, when she got back from Tlacatl class with Dr. Caitrin, Ty was nowhere to be found. After looking futilely in their room and in the suite living room, she flopped down on the couch, miffed.
Niki looked up from the other end of the couch.
“Hey. How’s it hanging? Or not at the moment, I guess.”
She wrinkled her nose, her sullen mood making the attempt at humor fall flat. “Okay, I suppose. Ty was supposed to be here.”
“He ran out for something, probably won’t be too long. Big plans tonight?”
She shrugged, not really comfortable talking about it with Ty’s ex-boyfriend. “Sorta?”
“How’s that going for you? I heard you two were having some problems. In this suite, it’s hard not to hear things like that.”
She shrugged again. “You know how it is, with Ty,” she tried.
“That I do, yes,” Niki sighed.
“So… yeah. I guess there’s problems. Maybe I shouldn’t complain. I mean, lots of people have it worse than I do.”
Niki grinned as he shook his head. “That’s no reason not to complain.”
Jaya couldn’t help an answering grin back. “I notice it never stops you, at least.”
“So what are you going to do? He cares what you want, or he’d just order you like you see some people do.”
Jaya thought it was possible she heard some jealousy in Niki’s voice; she didn’t delve too deeply there. “I don’t know. Do you think he’s capable of being faithful?”
“Like, actually faithful, completely? I really don’t know. He’s never lived like that.”
She winced. “That had to be hard.”
Nikita was saved from answering by Magnolia’s entrance.
“What kind of bitter pills are we tossing back here?” she asked, taking in the looks on both of their faces.
“Ty,” Jaya explained shortly.
“What trouble’s he causin’ now?”
“The usual,” Niki offered dryly.
Jaya nodded, sighing a little bit more. “‘Be faithful, but don’t expect me to be.’ Add in all the hermaphrodite shit…”
“Tell ‘im what you want,” she advised, settling herself in one of the big chairs. “Worst he can say is no, right?”
“The worst he can say is ‘shut up, you’re a miserable horrible boyfriend, leave me alone and go to your room,’ really,” Niki interjected, sounding, from the way he was trying not to wince, as if he knew.
Jaya winced, nodding slowly. “Yeah. I don’t want to make him mad.”
“Well,” Magnolia drawled slowly, “sometimes you gotta, or he’s gonna make you miserable all year long.”
“Bad now or worse later, is that really it?”
“Honey, you didn’t expect dating to be a bed of roses, did you?”
“I didn’t expect dating at all,” she muttered.
“That’s always an option, though it might not be a fun one,” Niki put in.
Magnolia coughed. “Breaking up with Tya worked so well for you, did it?”
“That was different,” he replied defensively.
“Mm-hrmm. You might be different - but is Ty?”
“He can make Jaya go through the motions, but he can’t make her want to, is all I’m saying.”
Jaya winced. “That doesn’t sound like fun. I think getting along with him would probably be better.”
“You might be right, but don’t keep on dating him just because he’s Keeping you. Even at its very best, that’s asking for heartbreak in June.” Niki’s voice had lost most of its usual lightness.
“What else would I do?” she asked quietly. “He says Regine wouldn’t let us get away without having a kid together.”
“That’s not necessarily true. He’s got his already, and more than he needs even.” And Niki would know, wouldn’t he, the father of Tya’s third child. “You’ve got plenty of time.”
She winced. “You think he lied to me?” her voice came out smaller than she meant it to.
“Probably not on purpose? And guessing the Director’s motivations is a crapshoot at best.”
“Maybe Kai could ask her?” It sounded silly - but it was important.
“Maybe? I don’t know what she’d actually tell her.”
“About what?” Ty stood in the doorway, studying the three of them.
“Babies,” Jaya said quickly, with the advantage of it being essentially true. “They’re on a lot of peoples’ minds right now.”
“They always are,” Ty said, with a faint overtone of distaste. “Melchior hasn’t been getting on you about that, has he?”
“Oh, no, no, nothing like that! Melchior hasn’t been getting on me. Um, about babies. We should talk,” she blurted out, before she could stick her foot any farther down her throat.
“We probably should,” Ty agreed. He was frowning faintly at her. “My room?”
“Your room. Yes, okay, good.” She rose from the couch, smoothing her skirts nervously.
Ty gave her a strange look and walked into their room, waiting for her before closing the door with a thump behind them.
Jaya followed along and sat down on the bed. She should start this, she should say something, she should... wait for him to speak.
“You make a good girl,” he murmured, flopping into the chair.
“I... Thank you,” she said, flushing.
“It sucks,” he sulked, leaning on the back of the chair, not looking at her.
“You don’t want me to be a girl?” he asked, changing even as he spoke.
“You’re always going to be better at being a girl than I am. Or a guy. And you wander around being a girl for anyone but me.”
“Better at... huh? What are you talking about?”
Ty glared at him. “Like that. You’re a guy all the way down right now.”
“I don’t get it,” he sighed, exasperated. “I thought we were going to talk about us.”
“Us? Do you even want there to be an ‘us,’ or are you getting dating tips from Niki?”
“I do... and I tried, but he wasn’t very helpful,” Jamian admitted.
“So, if you want there to be an us, why is there a you-and-Melchior?”
“Because... well, why is there a you-and-Ivette? Or you-and-Mea? Or you-and-whoever-else-comes-along?” Jaya could tell she was getting worked up, shifting with her conversation like this.
“That’s just the way it’s always been!” Ty glared at her. “Shiva never had a problem with it. Anise never had a problem!”
“Well, I’m not Shiva, and I’m certainly not Anise!”
“Well, why do you have such a problem with it?”
“I never expected to have a boyfriend. Hell, I never expected pretty much any of this, since I showed up here. But I’d like to think that, if I have a boyfriend, I’m enough for him.”
“Me, too,” he snapped. “But obviously I’m not enough for you.”
“You’re not anything for me! You’re so busy chasing other skirts, I... I didn’t want my first time to not even be your first that day.”
Ty reeled back as if he’d been slapped, and stared at her, as if she had suddenly turned into a frog.
“And Melchior really cares about me,” she continued relentlessly. “He’s sweet, and gentle, and I can feel it in the way he holds me when we make love. I’m not just a sex object to him.”
Ty gaped a little more, but managed to find words. “What makes you think that’s all you are to me?”
“Aren’t I?” she challenged him. “Can you honestly say you’re looking for more than that? Can you promise me?”
“I…” He looked down at the floor for a moment. “Yes?”
She folded her arms, waiting. Was she being too hard on him? He looked sad; maybe she should apologize. She didn’t want to make him unhappy.
He took a long breath. “I want more than just sex from you,” he said, so softly she could barely hear him, “I promise that.” The air shimmered with the promise, but he wasn’t done yet. “I’m just lousy at it.”
“I’m not exactly an expert either,” she said, biting her lip a little. “But we can work on it? Together?”
He finally stood, and held out an arm to her, stepping to meet her halfway. “Yeah,” he nodded. “We can try working on it together.”
“Okay then,” she said softly, extending her arm in return.
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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