Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 16 (v.1) - Chapter 16

Submitted: January 14, 2019

Reads: 12

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Submitted: January 14, 2019

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Theo was the first one up the next day. It was already well after noon, but none of them had gotten to bed until early this morning. He must have slept hard, because when he woke up, Nissy was curled up at the foot of his bed. He scooped her up and headed downstairs to make a late lunch for everyone. He put the cat on a chair and got to work.

With a stretch, the cat transformed into her human state. She hopped off the chair without a sound and approached Theo. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she licked his cheek.

“Ah! What—?” Theo stammered, rubbing the back of his hand over his face.

“Just showing I love you,” the woman purred.

“I'm sure there's a much less creepy way to do so,” squeaked Theo, wrinkling his nose.

The woman made a face and hopped onto the counter. “I'm ever so sorry Master!” she moaned, crossing her legs. She sat there, her twin tails twitching irritably as the others filed into the kitchen. Nrekeeka and Tobi weren't among them.

“Have a seat, guys. I'm just finishing up,” Theo said, gesturing over his shoulder at the table. He was relieved to see they had stayed and didn't betray the trust he had put in them.

Max, Gabe, and Ekie sat on one side of the table, and Adonis took a seat on the opposite end. Theo put plates and bowls before each of them before bringing over a large pot with leftover soup and a platter of sandwiches. He sat down next to Adonis, and Nissy took the chair on his other side. They were silent while they ate, focusing a little too much on their food in an attempt to ignore the thick, tense atmosphere.

Leaning back in her chair and rolling her eyes, Nissy slid her empty bowl away. “Who died? Seriously, guys, it wouldn't kill you to talk to one another. Might even be beneficial.”

“Thanks for the food, kid,” Gabe said when he finished eating.

“You're welcome,” Theo replied automatically, pushing himself to his feet. He started to clear away the dishes, but Gabe put a hand on his arm, standing as well.

“Here, I'll get those,” he said, taking the dishes from Theo.

“Uh...okay. Thanks.” Theo sat back down, confusion creasing his brow. “Well, I think we've procrastinated long enough. Nissy, what's going on?”

“First things first, my name is actually Ninaria. Nina for short. But you can call me whatever you want, darling,” she said, winking at Theo as she crossed one leg over the other.

“What did you do to Robyn?” Max asked.

“Not sure why you care, but I didn't kill him if that's what you're thinking. We had a nice long chat, and then I gave him some of my paralyzer,” the animorph explained as she examined her claw-like fingernails.

“Paralyzer? Tobi was actually telling the truth?” Theo asked with wide eyes.

Ninaria's tails twitched and her ears flattened against her head. “In my defense, that was an accident. He almost blew my cover.”

“Your cover?” Adonis quirked a brow.

“Yeah, I'm actually here for a reason, Sweetheart,” Ninaria replied, thrusting her chest out as she held Adonis' gaze.

Gabe sat down after putting the dishes in the sink. “Are ya gonna tell us what it is, or just keep evading questions and flirting?”

“You guys are no fun,” Ninaria huffed. She crossed her arms, her breasts spilling over the plunging neckline of her shirt. “This entire mess started a lot longer ago than you know. Before Robyn could even walk, let alone create viral strains from virtually nothing. Nrekeeka and her sister were still itty bitty. Their father, Tristan, hired me to keep an eye on the girls. Not like a babysitter though, like an invisible bodyguard. I was only allowed to show myself if things got bad.”

“How old are you, exactly?” Theo questioned, narrowing his eyes at her.

Ninaria's gaze softened as she eyed Theo from beneath her lashes. She reached out, poking the end of his nose. “Oh Sweetie, I'm not going to tell you something so personal,” she purred with a smirk. “Anyhoo, before Shi'tamo, their mom, married Tristan, she had another family. She lived with a man named Keiran. They had a son together. The boy wasn't even three months old when Shi'tamo left Keiran for Tristan. Long story short, it was a love triangle. Tristan and Keiran were buds through university. Never asked why she left one for the other, nor did I care.”

“I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the boy was Robyn?” Max said.

“Hey, don't kill the suspense, girlie. Sheesh. As I was saying, I was hired to protect the girls. Tristan told me the boy may be a potential danger. Even though he had been such good friends with Keiran at one point, he was still worried. Tristan kept tabs on them and knew how intelligent the boy was, so I was kept on standby, just in case. I figured he was paranoid, but I needed the cash.

“Anyway, I lost track of Nrekeeka when she didn't come home. It was pure luck I saw her at the bar with Tobi when they were meeting with Mr. Tall, Albino, and Surly. Then it took a little stalking on my part to find out Adonis has a serious soft spot for strays. As a pretty little kitty, I sucked up to him and got him to bring me home. Now I had Nrekeeka close by and I could do my job again. It's easy to eavesdrop when you're an animal. I learned she was picking a fight with the very guy I was supposed to be protecting her from,” Ninaria finished, leaning back in her chair.

“Seriously?” Theo groaned. “Robyn is her half-brother? Who writes this trash?”

“That's the way the world works sometimes, Sweetie,” Ninaria told him, returning her attention to her nails.

“Judging by the name, I'm guessing the mother was a full-blooded Deldin? Robyn has no idea...” Max shook her head.

“Since ya mentioned it, I do kinda see a resemblance, y'know?” Gabe said, looking between Max and Ekie.

“Tobi needs to know,” said Adonis.

Sighing, Theo pushed his chair back from his table. “I'll tell him. I need to bring him up some lunch anyway,” he sighed as he stood. Adonis narrowed his eyes a touch and stared, making instant guilt grip Theo's chest for leaving him in the awkward atmosphere. He would say sorry later for making him babysit the others.

Theo held the lunch tray steady as he went upstairs to Nrekeeka's bedroom. Balancing the food with one hand, he knocked on the door and waited. When Tobi answered, Theo plastered a big, false grin on his face and pushed his way past the man.

“I brought food!” he declared. “Figured you might be pretty hungry by now.” Theo set the tray on Nrekeeka's dresser and faced Tobi.

“Theo, I'm really not in the mood to eat,” groaned Tobi, pushing his bangs off of his face.

Theo's smile faltered. “I know, but you should anyway. Did you get any sleep at all last night?” he asked, reaching up and cupping Tobi's cheeks. He tilted the man's face down, scowling at his friend's bloodshot eyes and heavy eyelids.

“No, I stayed up to keep an eye on her,” Tobi answered, his gaze flicking toward Nrekeeka. “I'm fine though. I'll sleep after she wakes up, okay?”

Theo dropped his hands to his sides. “I suppose it's the best I can hope for, isn't it?” he asked, shoulders falling.

“'Fraid so, bud. I appreciate your concern. And I will try and eat some of this,” said Tobi, sitting heavily on the end of Nrekeeka's bed.

Theo perched next to Tobi. He sucked his bottom lip between his teeth, scowling. “I, uh, spoke to Nissy, er, Ninaria I guess, a few minutes ago.”

“Did she kill Robyn?” he asked, hope coloring his voice.

Theo shook his head. “No, but she did tell me something I think you need to know.”

Tobi watched Theo expectantly.

“Uh, well...did Nrekeeka ever tell you stories about her parents?”

“No. Most of the good ones I heard straight from Mr. and Mrs. Seldon. Why?” Tobi's brow creased as he crossed his arms and shifted impatiently.

“Did they ever tell you anything about before they got married?”

“Theo!”

The medic cringed. “Okay! Robyn is Nrekeeka's half-brother.”

Any color Tobi had left in his skin drained away and his jaw went slack.

“You okay?”

“Hm? Uh, yeah. Thanks for telling me,” Tobi eventually answered, staring across the room with unfocused eyes.

Licking his lips, Theo gave Tobi's shoulder a squeeze. “I thought Nrekeeka ought to hear it from you.”

Dipping his head in a small nod, Tobi remained silent. Theo sat beside him for a moment longer before leaving Tobi alone with his thoughts. Tobi let out a groan, scrubbing his hand over his face.

“Tobi...”

Tobi almost fell off the end of the bed at the sound of Nrekeeka's voice. Getting up, he moved to the side of the bed and knelt on the floor beside her. Taking her hand, he gave it a gentle squeeze. “Hey, welcome back.”

“What happened?” she asked, the question coming out as a groan.

“You got shot. I thought I was gonna lose you. If Theo hadn't been there...” Tobi trailed off, swiping the back of his hand over his eyes.

“My chest hurts.”

Tobi nodded. “Yeah. Theo said the pain should go away in a few days. How do you feel otherwise?”

“Like I've been hit by a truck, but I guess it's to be expected,” she answered, wincing when she inhaled deeply. “What about you, Tobi?” Nrekeeka looked down at him, her bright, nearly fluorescent, blue eyes searching his face.

His smile was far from convincing. “What do you mean?”

The woman stared at him.

“Fine! Fine. I'm better now. I made an ass of myself when I was freaking out over you, but I'm better.”

Nrekeeka struggled to roll onto her side to face him. Her shoulders trembled with each breath. “Did we get it?” she asked.

Tobi brushed a lock of hair off of Nrekeeka's face. “Yeah. Adonis got it for us.”

“I'll get to talk to my sister again?” she now asked, eyebrows quivering and eyes glittering. Fear stripped the volume from her voice.

Tobi could only manage a small nod. Words deserted him. He wasn't even sure the cure would work. Robyn may have sabotaged it somehow, and she wasn't ready to deal with such a possibility just yet. And she definitely wasn't ready to hear the news Theo just dropped on him. She would be angry when he eventually did tell her, but he could deal with anger. He wasn't about to do anything to kill the hope in her eyes.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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