“I don’t belong here, my Lord,” Quinn said stiffly.
“You belonged before, nothing has changed,” Ald said evenly.
has changed, my Lord, and pretending otherwise does nothing to resolve matters.”
Ald sighed. “Do we really
have to have this conversation right now
“It’s the only time I seem to have your undivided attention.”
“It’s pretty divided right now.”
“Perhaps, but you’re focusing at least.”
“This really is not the best time for this.”
“As I said, it’s the only time you’re fully listening to the sound of my voice.”
“But – ah – I can’t think
“Then listen.” Quinn waited for Ald to raise a protest before continuing. “I don’t know what you said to Vette, if anything, or if she finally realized that ignoring you to get at me was having a terrible effect on you and visibly having no effect on me. Whatever the cause, there is still the underlying issue of her hating me. Saving her from an explosive can only go so far.”
“I haven’t said anything to her. I figured she would – mmf – come around in time.”
“Not a safe bet to make, all things considered.”
“Can we not
talk about this right now? I swear we can talk about this after
“Will you listen?”
“Did you really have to ask in such a manner?” Ald grumped quietly as he fluffed his pillow and watched Quinn dress.
“Given your predilection for ignoring the issue at hand, yes, yes I did,” Quinn replied quietly.
“I wish you would stay.”
“We shouldn’t have even – you’re changing the subject.”
“You said we would talk about this.”
“I don’t want to anymore,” Ald said lightly.
Quinn sighed and ran a hand down his face. “Fine. Keep avoiding the issue. It will keep biting you on the arse until you deal with it, Ald. And I daresay I won’t. Not until we’ve talked about this.”
“Are you putting an embargo on –”
“Yes,” Quinn said sternly. “Should have in the first place. I’ll be in my quarters if you wish to talk about the ongoing situation regarding your relationship with Vette and the consequences of my return.”
Quinn stood at attention and turned to leave.
“Wait,” Ald said quickly. Quinn stopped. “Come sit down and we’ll talk.”
Quinn turned to one side. “Changed your mind again?”
“Don’t take that tone with me; I’m not in the mood.”
“I’d argue you should be, but I can tell when something is bothering you,” Quinn said with a hint of amusement in his tone. He slipped off his boots then sat on the bed, his back to the headboard and his legs stretched in front of him and crossed at the ankles. “As I was saying, Vette talked to me over dinner two weeks ago which is rather unusual as of late. The only logical conclusion I could draw was that she was talking to you again and had finally given up on her plot to upset the balance and drive me off.”
“She and I haven’t talked, actually,” Ald said quietly. “Was she really trying to drive you off?”
“Her plan was to stop talking to you. This would bother you greatly which would cause me distress. I would then leave, this time permanently, in the hopes of you returning to some blissful state that included Vette,” Quinn explained quietly.
“I see. Perhaps I should speak with her.”
“I should think so, my Lord.”
“If I promise to speak with her tomorrow, will you stay?” Ald asked softly.
“No, my Lord,” Quinn said stiffly. He shook his head slowly. “Until this matter is at least being discussed and the wounds scabbing over, I don’t think we should continue down this path.”
“If that is your wish, I won’t force you to.”
“I should hope not, my Lord. It would make matters worse.”
“That it would.” Ald leaned over and pecked Quinn on the cheek. “Good night, Captain.”
A blush spread across Quinn's cheekbones. “Good night, my Lord,” he murmured.
Quickly and quietly, Quinn gathered his boots and left the room. He went straight to his quarters, changed for bed, and tried to sleep.