“Nice necklace!” Dakota nodded towards the row of pearls, chuckling and irritating the life out of him for third time since he arrived at work an hour ago. She looked sad and happy and he decided he couldn’t be bothered with her moods right now while his own was down in muck.
“You have that glow on you again!” his friend murmured, hardly looking up from the liqueur list for the next order. “You think too much with your pants! Here you have nowhere to run if things don’t work out…” Suddenly his head jumped up, when he didn’t comment on the matter and his eyes focused on his before traveling on his neck and the choker necklace of black beads running around it. He felt his hands on his neck instead and stared his friend down to remove his fingers.
“You slept with the chief!”
Kyle struggled against the wish to touch it. This was happening way too fast for his taste and he frowned, quickly scanning the small room for any possible nosy people. No point of denying it now. Although, what got him wearing it wasn’t the satisfaction he’d got a week ago, but a fucking simple kiss. Maybe not as simple as it should have been for a lesson, but, still – a kiss!
“Must be something, ’cause you never wore any at home. Always said others would have something to grab you from, remember?”
Oh yes he did, but the idea of taking it off and leaving it standing on the shelf didn’t sit with him well.
“Well! Say something!” Swick demanded.
Instead, he slammed the towel on the counter and walked in the storage room like a teenager. He did not want to talk about it. He did not want him to poke around in it either. Should have said it straight, he knew, but he couldn’t bring himself to even mention it. Yet he had no problem spreading his legs for the chief. While the guy was having another one for a side dish! God, this was messed up!
His hand moved to the necklace. It burned against his skin despite it being cold. He should have left it home. But after his head had nearly shut down and automatically gone after what he wanted, despite his conscious mind warning him Tyton belonged to Dakota, he’d marched back to his room, taken the choker and set it around his neck, pressing it against his skin hard each time he felt like running back for more.
He couldn’t do it to Tyton. Especially now that he knew about his wife. An idea she had got from humans. He wasn’t gonna be the one, who got between him and Dakota now. At least not after the small problem of Dakota’s y-chromosome was solved.
He returned to front, still grumpy as hell, but he was determined not to let it disturb his work tonight. Neither the deep hole he felt in his heart for abrupt end to a kiss nor the deafening jealousy he suddenly felt when he saw Dakota’s perky ass hovering over a couple, who had just ordered their first drinks of the night.
“Does Dakota know?”
Swick wasn’t beating around the bush when it meant him and right now he couldn’t decide if that was the part of their friendship he liked or hated.
“No, it’s not that kind of relationship.”
“Oh, it’s a relationship now? How many times has it happened exactly?”
“Do I look like telling?”
“Are you serious? He’s the Chief of Security! Just weeks ago you nearly cut each other’s throats and now you’re best pals? You did time – what do you think his reaction will be like, when he finds out?”
“He already knows! Don’t worry, it was one time deal. It wasn’t serious.”
“Doesn’t look like it to me!”
“The necklace! You wouldn’t keep a memento like that unless you were serious!” Kyle frowned, seriously considering shoving him to back off. He turned, just to tell him that, but Swick pulled away, surprised. “You look like you’re mourning!”
He furrowed his eyebrows more, blinking away the sudden rush of emotions that needed exit and wrapped up the towel. He cleared his throat before heading to the washer for new set of clean glasses.
Yeah, he was.
When he returned with the tray, Swick kept away. He kept Jocelyn away too, despite her tries to come and talk to him. No talking today, they agreed. He could manage clients and their needs, but he sure as hell didn’t need anyone come poking.
He headed towards the new face he saw sitting on Tyton’s usual place. He hadn’t seen him around the station before, but then again, station was vast. He wasn’t from around, visiting then? The youth was dressed differently from the rest of the aliens, his clothes carrying different patterns and looked less worn down. Why the hell did he have a feeling he should know, who that boy was?
“Brandy, please.” The boy grunted, glaring at him with fiery eyes only a teenager would poses, so his response was automatic.
“How old are you?”
“This is a bar, right? Then please,” that politeness was curling his toes, “serve me!”
“Depends on your ID.” he said, accepting his challenge of glares. He measured him up against his own strength just in case and felt relieved that he was smaller, leaner than most of the males he’d come across. He couldn’t brush off the feeling he was dealing with a kid.
Piece of plastic slammed on the table and he took a quick glance on the picture and birth date, calculating in his head that this meant the kid was 35. His age. In knudhy’s case, nearly at age to have his first tastes. For the aliens, they were allowed since they were 34, which equaled human 19. After that it depended on them going through their initiation rites.
“Alright,” he gave in and served the kid his drink. While the kid was busy assessing drinkability of the spirit, he quietly prepared the usual water glass with mint before he was called over to serve a human couple.
His shoulders reminded him of Tyton. The small irritating fact had him turn his head more than once and staring at the guest as if he was trying to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. The shape of his forehead had a same curve too. His deep red stripes were yet to develop though, making him suddenly cautious if he wasn’t dealing with a false ID. He wished he could smell his neck. The thought alone was nauseating. What was he doing? Sniffing around like a dog for info?
Swick bumped into him, stopping only a step later and turning back. “What’s wrong?” To his questioning glance, he shrugged. “You look perkier?”
He nodded towards the strange youth sitting across them behind the bar. “False ID?”
“I don’t think so…” he murmured, chewing on his lip.
“Kyle! Two margaritas and whiskey!” Jocelyn called out.
He prepared the drinks, one eye constantly on the meddling in the corner.
“He is new?” Dakota asked, back with her tray.
“Hey, are you sure you’re OK with me and Tyton? You’re awfully quiet, when he comes around.”
“Do you ever listen to your friends?” He turned his attention on his barmaid. “Besides, keep it down, this kid over there – I think they’re related.”
“I’d hate to sooth under his skin to keep him quiet.”
“Why would you need to smooth my future boyfriend?” She offered jokingly, taking a quick one over of the alien.
She was only interested in keeping her own together, without even thinking what it would be like if Tyton had to deal with this among everything else. A liar, who comes from the family, where the father is bound by traditions while mother cheated behind his back.
“For a teacher, you’re pretty dumb, aren’t you?” He said louder. The moody jealousy hit the bells in his stomach, when he realized that Tyton had chosen her over him.
“Child of the society?” she shrugged and nearly earned a slap.
“We have kept you safe until now, but if you are not interested in it yourself, there is very little any of us can do! Think of your sister for once and stop messing around as if it was your right!” He was near hissing. She was staring at him with big innocent eyes and he had to pull back a little to calm down. She didn’t know, he assured himself, she doesn’t know why you are so upset.
What was wrong with him today? He was violent and angry, frustrated to no end and with no escape in site. He could reason with himself that he was not that kind of man, but today, as if his own hormones had played a bad trick, getting him high on Tyton before sending him in withdrawal alley.
“Two beers, near the door.” he sighed, placed two bottles on the tray and sent her off. “Sorry.” he whispered after her.
The youth flinched, backing away from the glass, pushing it away from his reach. That was his cue. He walked over and raised the glass of water in front of him while he was coughing the remnants of the sweet drink.
“You’re wearing my father’s necklace.” He said bluntly the moment his glare returned.
He pressed the water closer to his hand. “Drink this, it will ease your taste buds.”
He had deja vu watching the kid gulp down the cold water while giving him a chance of calming down the swearing marathon he was having in his head. What was his name? Oh yes, the brat had covered up his name on the ID.
But he didn’t pretend he hadn’t heard the question or walk away. Quick glance around told him Swick was handling it perfectly and he had some time to spend on this one here. Tyton had mentioned it, hadn’t he? Damn, he couldn’t remember.
“Your entire species wears those necklaces.” he said, calmly. Which was true, even the kid himself had the same necklace around his neck. “I bought it.”
“We don’t sell them.”
Now would be a good point to ask, who his father was, wasn’t it? He scolded himself in his head for not clarifying that. Even if he knew, he belonged to Tyton, he should at least play dumb until the boy said so himself.
“How do you know it’s your father’s? He had his on this morning.” Actually, he hadn’t seen him this morning nor rest of the day and in the evening he had his.
“He requested one from home.” He gulped down some of the water and cleared the runoff away with his sleeve. “Interesting how you’d notice though?”
“If he was wearing one?”
Humans are good at that, he wanted to point out, noticing the details, but he didn’t, clenching his teeth together instead.
“Are you my father’s sleeping partner?” The young knudhy asked directly.
It stabbed, making his heart ache, but he couldn’t keep the sadness out of his voice. “No, I’m not. It’s not your father’s, kid.”
“I’m no longer a kid, I have secured my partner in life and she’s expecting our first child.”
“It is his, because he wasn’t wearing it when I arrived. I brought the new one with me. Yet he was telling me about a human female he’s taken interest in…”
His lips twitched into a half smile, when all he wanted to do was grab that youth’s neck and strangle him up. What was his name?
“God, how many partners does he have? Is he trying to pay back what mother did? That’s so -”
He nearly laughed, realizing suddenly how similar they really were. No matter how complex the society, the little daily nuisances still were the same. Poor kid.
“Has he already cheated on the female? Before it was even official? “
“Your father only has one partner.” Strangely he didn’t doubt it. “You’ve got a lot of nerve to show up here like this, kid.”
“I’m right, aren’t I? He did carry your scent on him.” That’s not even possible, Kyle thought he was going crazy. If he weren’t Tyton’s he’d… “Or is it that you are wearing the scent of his lover?”
He huffed. “Like father, like son, huh?” The knudhy didn’t get the suggestion, but he wasn’t clearing it out either. “Both so eager to accuse. If you want to shed some of that anger of yours, find someone else to went it on.” he finished, took the brandy out of his way and went to deal with whatever had to be done so he could pretend the kid never existed.
“What do you mean?” The youth came around the tables to where he was standing and tried to grab him over the table.
“Sit down on your spot, kid. His shift ends soon and he’ll join you.” He guessed Tyton had asked him to meet him here.
“How come you have the necklace?”
He wasn’t giving up at all. Hell no, he wasn’t telling. If it were human, he could come up with all sorts of excuses, but suddenly he felt nauseated to the core by the idea that he would be lying to Tyton’s kin. He was his kin, and you didn’t lie to your kin. His kin, he corrected in his head. Not my kin, his! Still, he couldn’t do it.
“I found it, ok?” which wasn’t all wrong as he hadn’t expected it on his table when he woke up. The sadness was back in his voice.
“I’m nothing like my father!” he retorted, shouting over the bar so loud Kyle sent around a quick sorrowful look to calm others down.
“I sincerely hope you are. Now calm down and go sit in your spot.”
For a moment he thought the boy would walk out, but instead he gave in and took his seat once more. Minute later he went to refill his glass.
“What’s your name?” The youth asked, watching his hands pour the drink.
“No one has told me your name yet.”
“Mister Darves, who initiated it, you or him?”
He groaned inwardly to his question.
“Did you manage to trick him into your hands?”
“Kid, drop it!” he slammed the glass on the table and walked away, avoiding him hundred percent from that moment on. Even when he got his glass empty, he nudged Jocelyn to go and deal with it.