Loving Deviant Page 53

this matter is settled. Deviant is cleared of the charges and found not guilty by reason of…” Zorus paused. “Our flawed laws. Raise your hand if you oppose my decision.”

Only Lizza lifted her hand.

“It’s been decided.” Zorus stood and looked at Deviant. “My female would love to meet your Venice. Please forward the request. Perhaps we could have dinner together one evening soon.”

Deviant let out a deep breath and relaxed. “Thank you. I would consider that an honor, Councilman Zorus.”

“Session adjourned.”

Deviant’s father smiled. “I knew it would be fine.”

“Thank you.” Deviant stood, him and Mavo both leaving the council chambers fast, before Lizza could speak to them if she was displeased.

They stopped outside of the building and Deviant faced his father. “That is a relief.”

“Go home to your Venice.”

“I will.”

But he had one more meeting to attend first…

Deviant wasn’t in a mood to deal with his mother, but her assistant had been waiting for him in the lobby when he’d reached his home building, there to personally escort him to her office. He entered the room, the assistant disappearing into another part of the office. His mother waited by her desk, her body tense where she stood.

Bazelle stared at Deviant intently, a look he knew too well. His mother had piercing blue eyes that never missed much. His childhood had been full of moments where she studied him in that exact manner, sizing him up.

“What is it, Bazelle? I missed breakfast and had planned to eat.” She hated to be called mother.

“I was told your duty aboard the Varnish wasn’t ideal.”

That was her polite way to she had a spy that worked closely with the council. Stag had indeed filed a complaint against him. Deviant said nothing, waiting for her to reveal whatever she’d learned.

“Something is different about you.”

It irritated him more when she changed the subject. She was trying to catch him off guard. He hated the mental games she seemed to enjoy playing. “My hair has grown nearly an inch.”

“That’s not it.” She strode closer and paused, examining his features. “I would tell you to cut it shorter but we’ve had this discussion. You refuse to hear me.”

“I always listen to you.” He did, but he didn’t always agree with her advice.

She rounded him. He held still, allowing her the close inspection. She paused in front of him again. “You have changed. There’s a confidence about you that wasn’t there before.”

“Thank you.”

“It wasn’t a compliment.” She twisted her mouth into a frown. “I heard about your Earther female. It’s appalling but understandable.”

His spine stiffened. Pleasantries were over and the verbal attack had begun. “What do you mean by that?”

“You’re lonely enough that even one of those would seem a welcome addition into your household. It just makes my job more difficult. You will give her to someone else.”

“No.” He refused to even consider it. Venice belonged to him.

“You picked her up off one of those Earth stations as if she were a stray animal in need of rescue. You must realize none of my friends considering making you an addition to their family unit will allow you to keep her? It would be offensive, and that Earther’s existence in your life lowers their opinion of you. Give her to one of your friends.”

Anger surged. “Don’t speak of Venice that way, Mother.” He stressed the last word. “I believe it lowers your opinion of me, so you should just state that clearly.”

A muscle in her cheek twitched. “She’s beneath you. I didn’t realize you were that desperate for companionship. I’ll make you an appointment to test your compatibility with Dorania this evening.”

“Don’t.” He had no interest in his mother’s longtime friend, or becoming the fourth male to join her family unit.

“I realize she might not be an ideal match but she owes me a few favors.”

“No.” Deviant tired of her game.

Her eyes widened. “Don’t tell me you’ve become attached to that Earther? I was told it’s only been a matter of days that you’ve been subjected to her.”

He gauged how his mother would react to hearing the truth but decided he didn’t care. Warmth spread through his chest at just the thought of Venice, and he decided to be blunt. “She isn’t what you’d expect.”

“She’s from Earth. Nothing good could come of it. I know some of the males you associate with have created family units with them, but it’s an outrage! You may carry genetic flaws but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a substandard female

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