Loving Deviant Page 54

to share your time with.”

The insult infuriated him. “She’s not substandard.”

His mother advanced until she had to tilt her head to keep meeting his gaze. “You aren’t considering breeding offspring with this Earther, are you? It would be irresponsible and incomprehensible to burden your children with not only your flaws, but hers as well!”

He identified the familiar stabbing sensation inside his chest as bitterness. “Do you regret birthing me? Would you have terminated the pregnancy if you’d known the drug you took to help you conceive would affect my appearance?”

The seconds she took to answer were revealing to Deviant. He clenched his teeth, the pain an old wound.

“Those are your words,” she stated calmly, backing away.

“That doesn’t make them any less true. I apologize for being a disappointment.” He didn’t bother hiding the snide tone. “It must be so difficult for you.”

She spun and crossed the room to her desk, taking a seat. “I don’t have time for your insolence. Get rid of the Earther and be at Dorania’s residence at six this evening. She’ll be expecting you. I’ll transmit the address.”

“Don’t bother. I won’t go.”

Her blue gaze lifted to shoot him an infuriated look. “You will make that meeting and be on your best behavior to complement our family name! Don’t disgrace me, Deviant.”

“You mean more than I already have by not appearing more to your liking?”

She rose up. “Don’t speak to me in that tone again. My patience with you wears thin!”

“We have something in common. Don’t order me to give Venice away or ask me to pretend interest in one of your friends when none is present.”

“You should be appreciative Dorania would even consider you for her fourth. And stop mentioning that Earther! I am trying to forget her existence altogether. It was an embarrassment being told my son burdened our society with another one of them.”

“Venice isn’t a burden.”

“Dorania will expect you at six sharp. Don’t be late.”

“Why should I have to pretend I’m grateful for joining a family unit with one of your friends when that isn’t what I want? Dorania is contracted with three males already. The only gratitude I feel is because the female who shares my bed only wants me.”

Bazelle sat down hard. “You are having intercourse with her. I suspected as much.”

“It’s more than that. Your term implies a lack of intimacy or feeling.”

“I’m contacting Mavo.”

“Leave my father out of this.”

She ignored his demand and touched the pad on her desk. She glared at him during the silent transmission, until whatever she’d relayed ended and she shifted her hand away from the device. “He’s on his way.”

“Why bother? He can’t talk me into making that meeting either.”

“You’ll do as you’re ordered, Deviant! You need to assimilate into proper cyborg society at some point. That’s fitting for your station in life as my son.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t have labeled me with my name if that’s what you expected.”

Her expression revealed her growing anger. “I’m going to request you no longer leave Garden on those space missions. I believe the males you associate with are compromising your integrity. And I’ll demand the Earther be immediately removed from your household. She is a bad influence. I’m contacting security to go there. They’ll find a use for her. Perhaps she could work with the cleaning staff.”

“I’m no longer a child. Don’t interfere with my life.” He advanced, curling his hands into fists. “I won’t abide your threats. Venice stays where she is, and I’ll be assigned to any duties I wish.” He halted on the other side of her desk. “I would not recommend you placing your palm on that communications device and speaking her name in any context. Do you understand? Venice belongs to me, and neither you nor anyone else has the right to take her from my household. It would be a grave mistake for anyone who attempted it. I’d fight them with deadly force.”

Her mouth parted and her eyes widened. “Deviant, do you hear your words?”

“I mean every one of them. Venice stays with me, and I don’t give a fuck if you are embarrassed by that or not. You’ll learn the real definition of shame by my actions if you continue to make your threats. I spoke to the council this morning. She belongs to me. They were fine with our verbal contract. You have no right to interfere.”

“The council has already spoken to you?” She paled.

“Yes.”

“They called you into chambers over your Earther already?” She reached up and touched her

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