This week’s excerpt comes from some where in the middle of the story. Let’s see . . . Benedict has kidnapped Lexi and is taking her to meet the drug lord who’s obsessed with her. He’s feeling really guilty about this, not only because he’s a nice guy, but because he has strong feelings for Lexi. So, he’s decided to drown his sorrows.
He was startled when the door to the lounge slid open for Lexi. She stood framed on the threshold, looking around a little uncertainly before stepping through. Her beautiful hazel eyes were wide and haunted. He’d put that look there and he hated himself for it.
He held the bottle out in silent invitation. She hesitated only a moment before approaching. Sitting in the chair opposite him, she took the bottle and took a swig.
“How long before we get to where we’re going?” she asked, passing the bottle back.
“Another fifteen days.” It was his turn to hesitate. “I know you probably hate the very sight of me right now, and I don’t blame you, so if you’d rather pass the rest of the journey in stasis, I understand.”
“In stasis, what do you mean?”
He took another swig from the bottle and passed it back to her. “I mean, you don’t have to put up with my company for the rest of the trip. You can spend it in a stasis pod instead. Just close your eyes and poof, we’re there.” When he said the word poof, he gestured with his hand and just about fell out of his chair.
Lexi checked the level of the bottle before taking another drink. “Just how much of this stuff have you had?”
“It was a brand new bottle,” he confessed.
The bottle was about two thirds empty now.
“Benedict, are you drunk?”
“Not nearly drunk enough.”
“I’m in no hurry to get there,” she told him. The thought of a stasis pod did not appeal to her in the least. “Why didn’t you just put me in one when I was unconscious?”
“Nope.” He shook his head carefully. “Couldn’t do that to you. What we shared was beautiful. Couldn’t go from that to having you wake up in Victor’s hands.”
“Why have any contact with me at all? Why didn’t you just kidnap me in the first place?”
He winced as the cerebral chip sent a signal to pain centre. “Orders. Can’t disobey orders from Victor. Good old Victor, plague of the universe.” He grabbed the bottle away from Lexi and took a healthy swig before she was able to get it back again.
“If you hate Victor so much, why are you working for him?”
“Got no choice,” he said mournfully, shaking his head. “Bastard killed Rash and Anna. Must have found out Rash was under cover.”
“Under cover,” Lexi repeated. “Like some kind of law enforcement? Are you under cover as well?”
“Shhh.” Benedict held his finger to his lips. “It’s a secret,” he said in a very loud whisper. “You can’t tell anybody or I’ll be dead, just like good ole Rash.”
Lexi sat back in her chair. If what he was saying was true, this changed everything.
“Course can’t blame you if you turn me in, serves me right. We shared something beautiful and now I’m taking you to a bad, bad man. Can’t help you, can’t even help myself. Can’t even tell you why I can’t help you.” He sighed heavily and took another swig from the bottle.
“C’mon, sad sack,” Lexi said. “I think you’ve had enough of this.” She took the bottle away from him and plunked it down on the table. “I think you need to sleep it off.”
She got up and pulled him to his feet. He swayed in place, and as she pulled him towards the door he set each foot down with exaggerated care, still managing to stumble going through the door. The air left her lungs in a whoosh as he fell forward, plastering her to the wall. He looked down at her with a foolish grin on his face.
“You feel good. You’re all soft and warm.”
“And you’re drunk as a skunk.”
He straightened up, as much as he was able to. “I do not get drunk,” he told her, enunciating each word, “because . . . because . . . I do not drink,” he finished triumphantly.
“So what was that you were doing in there?” she asked, nodding towards the lounge.
“I was saluting my old friend Rash with a sip of his favourite whiskey.”
“Uh huh,” she said. She put one arm around his waist to steady him. “Well I think it’s time you saluted from a more prone position. Which way to your room?”
“I’m right across the hall from your room. Makes it so much easier if you want to visit me.” He peered at her hopefully. “Would you like to visit me? No,” he shook his head sadly. “I forgot. You don’t want to visit me. You hate me now.”
“I don’t hate you,” Lexi said with an exasperated sigh. They reached his quarters and she had trouble getting him over the threshold. “C’mon, Benedict, just a little further.”
“I like the way you say my name. I really liked the way you screamed it when you had an orgasm.”
She pushed him down onto the bed. “Here you go, time to say good night.”
“Whoa, everything’s spinning. I think the inertial dampening field is off line. Computer, check inertial dampeners.”
“Inertial dampeners are functioning normally.”
“I think it’s only your inertial dampeners that are malfunctioning,” Lexi told him. “Too much whiskey will do that to a person. Now lie down like a good boy and close your eyes.”
“But I’m not a good boy,” he told her, a wicked glint in his eye. He pulled her down on top of him. “I wish . . . I wish . . .”
“What do you wish Benedict?” she asked softly.
There was no answer. She looked down at him and his eyes were closed. With a sigh she extricated herself from under his arm and wriggled off the bed. She unlaced his boots and pulled them off him, then covered him with a blanket.