Loving Deviant Page 43

rude, Father.” Deviant didn’t want Venice to think she wasn’t trusted.

“That wasn’t my intention. I didn’t want to frighten her. She’s been through enough after Stag discovered her presence aboard. Your mother will find out about the girl and cause trouble. I wanted you to be prepared for it.”

“Venice isn’t a girl, and Mother will have to accept her in my life.”

“This is your mother we’re speaking of. She is determined to find a female cyborg willing to accept you into a family unit. You agreed to allow her to make those arrangements.”

“I didn’t foresee Venice.”

“I understand. You approved of your mother’s plans because you didn’t wish to be alone anymore, regardless of who she found to accept you. Now you’re not alone. But your mother won’t see Venice as a viable option. She’s similar to Stag on her stance of Earthers.”

“She allowed you to adopt Cyan.”

“Cyan is revered by cyborgs. She helped us escape Earth’s tyranny. For your mother to say no would have been seen as offensive by our race. And your mother aspires to one day gain a seat with the council. She evaluated my request and felt her generosity to allow the adoption would make her appear a favorable candidate to the populace.”

Deviant didn’t try to hide his surprise. “I didn’t know she hoped to join the council.”

“The female holds grudges. She only wants the position to make their lives difficult.”

That hurt. His father didn’t say it, but they both knew why she would hold a grudge against the council. They’d ruled against her wishes and forced her to become pregnant with a child she hadn’t wanted. Deviant. “You believe she’ll see Venice as a threat to her accomplishing her goal?”

“Yes.”

“Some of the council members have joined into family units with Earthers. They hold no ill will toward them. She will see reason. I’ll reminder her.”

“Good. I just don’t want her to disappoint you.”

Again. They were both probably thinking it. “Thank you for the warning. I’m aware of my mother’s flaws.”

“I’m so sorry, Deviant.”

“Her actions and words have always been her own.”

“I am aware, but I still wish she had been a kinder female.”

“Why did you choose her? May I ask?”

His father broke eye contact and glanced around the room.

“She chose you,” Deviant guessed. “Do you know why?”

“I had earned respect for my part in our escape. At one of the Anniversary of Freedom celebrations, the council singled me out during a speech. They thanked me and shared stories of my contributions. It was a high honor, and she offered to contract with me. I agreed. I felt fortunate to be asked.”

“She chose you to gain favor with the populace as well.”

Mavo nodded. “The reason didn’t seem important at the time. I believed she’d get to know me and learn to value my contributions to our family unit.”

Deviant reached out and pressed his hand to his father’s chest, knowing that had never happened. “I value you. You are and have always been an excellent father.”

“Thank you. Are you and Venice hungry? I’ll go get you food.”

“That would be appreciated.”

Mavo backed away and left, leaving Deviant to go to the cleansing unit, where he opened the door. Venice leaned against a wall looking bored.

“I apologize.”

“Space is limited in your quarters.” She smiled. “It’s okay.”

He offered her his hand, gently leading her out and to the bed. They sat. “I don’t want you to believe I don’t trust you. My father just wanted to speak to me about my mother. She’s difficult, and might object to my bringing you home.”

“You’re a grown man. Can she do anything?”

“No.” He was amused by her terminology. “I am an adult and have my own living quarters on Garden. It will be fine.”

She released his hand and leaned in close, then reached up and cupped his face. “I’m nothing but trouble for you, am I? I’m sorry.”

“Don’t ever apologize. I’m glad that you came into my life. My mother rarely requires my attention. I believe my father is more worried than he should be. That’s what he does. He worries about me.”

“He seems like a really great father.”

“He is. Don’t give my mother a second thought.”

Venice smiled and his mood lightened. He hadn’t lied to her. His mother would probably be relieved the pressure was off her to find females willing to test him for a family unit.

“My father is bringing us food. Once he leaves, I believe we should indulge in our delayed celebration.”

“I agree. I’m for any reason we can

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