Abbie and the alien offi.., p.7
Abbie and the Alien Official (Intergalactic Brides 14), page 7
Larimar eased out of bed so he wouldn’t disturb Abbie and pulled on a pair of loose pants before going to his office. He had a smaller Vid-comm in there, along with a unit similar to Earth’s computers, where he stored all of his notes from the council meetings. The council calendar was kept there as well. He reviewed his schedule, surprised to see that his presence wasn’t required at the next few council meetings. Borgoz had mentioned giving him some extra time, but he hadn’t realized how much. Had it been a mistake?
Pulling up Borgoz’s number on the Vid-comm, he dialed the Chief Councilor and hoped he wouldn’t wake everyone else in the household. When Borgoz answered, he was shirtless and looked rumpled from sleep.
“I apologize for disturbing you at such an early hour,” Larimar said.
“I was awake. Arabella isn’t feeling well and she was up and down all night. I’ve already notified the council to either convene without me or postpone everything for a day or two.”
“I noticed I was taken off the meetings,” Larimar said. “Is there a reason?”
“I have a job for you. Well, for you and Abbie. I want you to take her to Earth. Using the portable Vid-comm, record some of the things she’d like to bring to our world so that when she submits her survey, we can include some clips for those females not from Earth so they will better understand what she hopes to bring here.”
“When should we leave?” Larimar asked.
“Today would be good, but she’ll need a physical to make sure she’s still in good health. Arabella seemed fine yesterday, but whatever this is hit her fast and hard. I’m waiting on Vyrex to get here. I didn’t want to carry her to the clinic with as poorly as she feels.”
“Understood. I’ll take Abbie to get checked out today. And I hope Arabella is feeling better soon.”
Borgoz nodded. “Me too. I’m not sure what’s worse. Being jolted awake by her screaming, or being unable to help her. I called Vyrex hours ago, but both he and Bancheck went to the outer provinces to help those communities. I’ll have to speak to them about leaving our main city without healthcare in the future.”
“I’m sure it was an oversight.”
“Get Abbie to the clinic as soon as you can this morning, and then you can take the evening shuttle. You should land at the Terran Station in Virginia in time for dinner. Accommodations will be made for the two of you. I’m assuming you’ll be sharing a suite? Are you prepared to claim her yet?” Borgoz asked.
“I want to claim her, but I want the timing to be right. Maybe I can study the human customs of marriage and see how they handle it.”
“I believe it’s called a proposal,” Borgoz said, “and involves a flashy ring and making a fool of yourself.”
Larimar laughed. “That sounds easy enough.”
“Good luck, Larimar. I’ve already discussed your possible mating with the other council members. Whenever she accepts, just get word to me and I’ll file the papers. You’re as good as mated as far as I’m concerned.”
Larimar signed off and did a little research on Virginia before going to wake up Abbie. She was already in the shower when he went back to the bedroom, a pretty dress laid across the bed with some silky underthings. He couldn’t wait to see her in it, but worried if they were going to Earth that she might not be warm enough. From what he’d just read, it was cold there this time of year and he didn’t want her to get chilled and become ill. A bit of shopping might be in order when they reached the Terran Station.
“Abbie,” he said, stepping into the bathroom. “When you’re done, we need to discuss something.”
The water shut off and she peeked around the shower door. “What kind of something?”
“Borgoz would like for us to take a trip. To your home in Virginia.”
She stepped out and dried off. “Why?”
“He wants me to record images on my portable Vid-comm of the things you’d like to have here on my world. Like dancing, I would imagine.” Although, he had a feeling there was more to their trip than that. They had plenty of images of Earth already.
Her brow furrowed. “Larimar, most of my ideas can’t really be recorded. The dancing is one thing, but maybe just pictures of some of the rest? We could get a disposable camera and have the pictures developed before we came home.”
“There’s one more thing. You have to go to the clinic before they’ll clear you to leave. There’s apparently a virus or something going around and Borgoz wants to make sure you’re healthy before getting on the shuttle.”
“I have no problem going to the clinic.”
“Then we should dress and I’ll take you straight there. A shuttle leaves tonight and I’d like to make sure you’re cleared in plenty of time for us to pack. I would imagine we’ll be on Earth a few days.”
While Abbie dressed, he showered quickly and pulled on his black leather pants and vest. He eyed the contents of his closet and wondered if Abbie would like for him to dress more “human” on occasion. A lot of the males, like Dryden, who had spent a good portion of their time on Earth, had a tendency to wear the denim pants humans seemed to like so much. Larimar had to admit they looked more comfortable than his leather.
Once they were dressed and had eaten breakfast, he took Abbie by the hand and led her to the clinic. A few people were waiting ahead of them, but a Vid-comm unit on the wall played a movie to keep everyone occupied. The time passed quickly and soon Bancheck was calling her back.
The doctor stopped him at the hall doorway. “Are you mated?”
“No,” Abbie said before he could respond. She was always so quick to say they weren’t mated. A lesser male might have worried over it.
“You’ll need to wait out here. New policy,” Bancheck said.
“I’m aware of the policy and why it was created. I’m not stalking Abbie and didn’t bring her here against her will. She’s been staying with me.”
Bancheck frowned. “She’s living with you, but you aren’t mated? Are you her guardian like Borgoz was for Charlotte?”
Larimar growled. “Because I’m older I’m her guardian?”
The doctor paled and took a step back. “My mistake.”
“I don’t mind if he comes back,” Abbie said. “It’s not like I have anything to hide. I passed the physical on Earth just a few days ago. I doubt anything has changed since then.”
“Very well,” Bancheck said. “Since you give your consent, he may come back.”
Larimar didn’t care much for the revised policy if it kept him away from Abbie. When they stepped into the exam room, he helped Abbie onto the table, then stood back out of the way. Bancheck did some bloodwork then ran some scans. The doctor frowned and did another scan before looking at Larimar with a hard stare.
“What?” he asked.
“In the hall, please,” Bancheck said, looking furious.
Larimar went into the hall and Bancheck closed the door behind them.
“She’s good enough to take to your bed, but not good enough to mate?” the doctor asked harshly.
“What are you talking about? A bio scan can show we’re having sex?”
“She’s pregnant, Larimar! I don’t know what game you’re playing with her, but you either mate her, or I’m taking the matter to the council. The council is supposed to be above reproach and you’ve done the one thing we always caution our males against. Casual sex.”
“It wasn’t casual,” Larimar muttered, reeling a bit from the news that his Abbie was pregnant. Pride and joy filled him, and then a hint of worry. Having agreed to join the bride program, she’d have known that children were required, but she might not have wanted one so soon.
“I have to tell her,” Bancheck said. “You should wait here.”
Larimar leaned against the wall, wanting to go to Abbie and hold her. He wanted to confess everything he was feeling and beg her to be his mate, but maybe Bancheck was right. Maybe it was best if the doctor gave her the news and gave her a moment to accept the f
The door opened and a pale Abbie came closer, her lower lip trembling. As she looked up at him, a tear slipped down her cheek. His heart clenched, thinking she was upset about the baby.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly.
“Sorry for what?”
“I didn’t get pregnant on purpose.”
He gathered her close and kissed the top of her head. “I never thought you did. Does the idea of having a baby make you sad? I’d always thought babies were supposed to make people smile.”
“But now you’re going to feel obligated to ask me to be your mate.” She blinked up at him, wiping the moisture from her eyes. “I never wanted that. I wanted you to be with me because it’s what you wanted, not because you felt like you had to.”
Bancheck was glaring at him over the top of her head and Larimar decided the clinic wasn’t the best place for their much-needed conversation. With his arm around Abbie, he ushered her out of the clinic. As much as Borgoz had wanted them on the shuttle tonight, Larimar was thinking it might be best to postpone the trip. He paused outside the clinic door.
“Abbie, can you wait here for just a moment? I need to ask the doctor something.”
She nodded, looking miserable.
Larimar hurried back inside and found Bancheck. The doctor still looked pissed at him, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. Besides, it wasn’t Bancheck’s business whether or not he asked Abbie to be his mate.
“Is it safe for her to travel back to Earth tonight?” Larimar asked.
“You’re kicking her off our world knowing she’s carrying your child?” Bancheck asked with ice in his voice.
“No! Of course not. But Borgoz wanted me to take her to Earth tonight for a special assignment. I need to know if she’s able to go or if she should remain here.”
“What she should have done was found a male who would honor her and do right by her. Instead, she ended up with you. How could you move her into your home and not claim her? She was so damn scared that you would be angry about the baby.”
Larimar winced. “It wasn’t my intention to make her think I didn’t want her. I was just waiting for the right time.”
“I think the right time came and went. As for travel, she’s perfectly healthy. Just pregnant.”
“I think we’ve established she’s carrying my child,” Larimar said. “You don’t have to keep saying it.”
“You need to fix this and you need to do it quickly. Stress isn’t good for her. Abbie may be perfectly healthy, but it’s her first pregnancy. I don’t know if she’ll carry the baby easily or if she’ll have a rough time. If being around you upsets her, then she’ll need to go back to the apartment or stay with another male,” Bancheck said.
Larimar snarled at him. “And I’m guessing you’d be happy to be that male.”
“I would offer the comfort of my home to any female in need. But if you want her, and not just because she’s pregnant, you need to tell her. Abbie thinks you just want something casual with her. I don’t know how you could have screwed up this much in such a short amount of time.”
Bancheck threw his hands in the air and stormed off down the hall. The doctor should have never spoken to a councilman that way, but Larimar had to admit that he deserved a bit of fury. He just hadn’t expected the doctor to side with Abbie so fiercely. Larimar wasn’t certain if that made Bancheck a more than competent doctor, worried for his patient, or if it made him competition. Bancheck had yet to take a mate.
Larimar went back outside to find Abbie standing just outside the door where he’d left her. She looked so small and uncertain as she watched people pass by. He took her hand, giving it a comforting squeeze, before leading her back to his place. They needed to talk and get a few things straight. He’d wanted to wait for the perfect opportunity to ask her to be his, but now his time had run out. He needed to make sure she knew that she meant something to him, that she wasn’t a casual affair. It sickened him that she felt that way about what they’d shared, but he knew he only had himself to blame.
When they reached his home, he lifted Abbie into his arms and carried her upstairs. He eased her onto the bed and removed her shoes before lying down next to her. Her eyes were red-rimmed and she was still sniffling as she fought back more tears. His fingers lightly caressed her cheek as he tried to soothe her.
“I don’t have experience with finding a mate,” Larimar said. “I’ve never really tried. But when I saw you, I knew that you were special. I brought you here, and kept you in my home, because it’s where I wanted you. Where I needed you.”
“If you wanted me as a mate, you’d have said something by now. The only reason you’re going to ask me today is because of the baby. If the doctor hadn’t told you I was pregnant, you wouldn’t be lying here trying to make me feel like you want me.”
He tipped her chin up. “Have you ever doubted that I want you?”
“No, but wanting me in your bed and wanting me in your life are two different things, Larimar. We’re good in bed together, but I thought we were good together outside of the bedroom too. I kept waiting for you to see it.”
“Abbie,” he said softly. “I did see it. I was waiting for the right time to ask you to be mine. I didn’t want to ask when we were in bed together because I didn’t want you to believe I only wanted you for sex. And I didn’t want to blurt it out over a meal.”
“How can I believe you were ever going to ask?” Abbie said.
“You’re going to have to trust me, Abbie. If you feel anything for me, you’ll give me a chance to make things right.”
She snorted. “See. You just want to make it all better because I’m pregnant.”
“No, I want to make things right because I gave you cause to doubt the way I feel about you. I want to make things right because you should have known from the beginning that I wanted to keep you, even if I did try to convince myself you’d be better off with someone else.”
“I want to believe you. I want so much to believe that you truly want me and not just the baby. Do you know what I thought when I first saw you?” she asked.
“I thought I’d found the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. You were handsome and obviously took your job seriously if you sought me out to make yet another apology. And then we talked the rest of the day and I saw how kind you were, how sincere.”
“Abbie.” He softly brushed his lips against hers. “I’m sorry I gave you cause to doubt me. But if you’ll agree to be my mate, I’ll spend the rest of my life making it up to you.”
“I need to think, Larimar. You’re saying all the right things, but I don’t know if they’re just words or if you really mean them.”
He sighed and leaned back. “We’ll go to Earth tonight as planned, and while we’re there, I’m going to do everything I can to prove to you that you’re who I want by my side.”
She blinked away more tears as she snuggled against his chest. She might not know if she could believe what he was telling her, but she obviously still wanted him to hold her. He’d take whatever he could get at the moment. And hopefully by the time they returned from Earth, she’d be his in every way.
Abbie looked around the spacious hotel suite, then stared at the shopping bags near the sofa. “What are those?”
“Your new clothes. I called ahead to request they pick up a few things for you. I knew it would be cold here and everything you bought on my world is for warmer weather.” He pointed at two sacks set off to the side. “Except those. Those are mine.”
She chewed on her bottom lip. Hesitantly, she opened the sacks and looked at the contents. He must have told them her preferences for either soft dresses or denim because the bags were filled with both. A purple angora sweater caught her attention and she lifted it from the bag. It was the s
He claimed to want her in his life permanently, but he hadn’t seemed determined to make her his until they’d found out she was pregnant. If her past had taught her anything, it was that men couldn’t necessarily be trusted. She’d been burned one too many times. Abbie had thought Larimar was different, would have even bet on him being the one to prove her wrong, but now… How could she believe that he truly wanted her for her and not because of the baby?
“You’re probably hungry,” Larimar said. “Why don’t we shower and change and then head out for dinner?”
Her stomach chose that moment to rumble, making her cheeks warm. They’d left before the evening meal on Zelthrane-3 and then taken an eight-hour shuttle ride to Earth, but because of the time difference, it was still dinnertime. She gathered her sacks and then stood, uncertain. Did he still intend for them to share the same bedroom, or had he requested two rooms so she’d have her own?
Larimar picked up his sacks, then pushed open the bedroom door on the left. He paused in the doorway, watching her.
“Abbie, I still want you with me, but only if you want to be in my bed. There are two bedrooms if you’d prefer to sleep alone. I won’t like it, but I’ll understand.”
She saw the sincerity in his eyes, and knew she’d sleep better with his arms around her. Making a decision she hoped she wouldn’t regret, she followed him into the bedroom and set her bags down. Larimar pulled out a few soft-looking sweaters and some jeans out of one of his sacks, surprising her. She’d never seen him in anything but leather or the loose pants he wore around his home. She smiled a little as she realized all of the sweaters were either black or some shade of gray. It seemed even if he was going to wear human clothes, it didn’t extend to bright colors.
by Jessica Coulter Smith / Romance / Young Adult / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes