Binding Moonlight

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

Chapter 24 (v.1) - Chapter 24

Submitted: January 19, 2019

Reads: 9

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Submitted: January 19, 2019

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Tobi's attempt at calming Nrekeeka hadn't gotten very far. After an hour of searching, he couldn't find her. He was worried, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt in hopes she would come to him. In the meantime, he opted to clean the equipment they would be using tomorrow. He had a pistol sitting disassembled on his workbench and was just about to begin cleaning it when he heard the click of high heels on the concrete floor.

“You have a bad habit of disappearing and showing up at random intervals,” Tobi told the animorph as she approached.

“Such is the life of an alley cat, my dear,” Ninaria replied, waving her hand dismissively. Curling her tails over her thighs as she perched on the corner of his bench, she pretended to examine her claws for dirt.

“What do you want?” he asked, continuing his work.

Ninaria leaned forward, her breasts spilling out of her tight leather bustier. “Do you speak to all of your friends this way, sweetie?” she purred, curling a lock of his hair around her finger.

“We're not friends, sweetie.”

The animorph stuck her bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout. “You hurt my feelings.”

“Deal with it. Why are you here?” Tobi set the weapon piece aside and gave her his full attention.

Letting Tobi's hair slide from her finger, Ninaria sat back and shrugged, hands wide. “I'm here as long as my Theo wants me. I am his kitty after all.”

“Cut the crap.”

Ninaria rolled her eyes, clicking her tongue. “You people have no sense of humor. I'm doing my job, Sweet-pea. You know, the thing Tristan Seldon hired me to do?”

“You mean protect 'Keeka and Shelsea? Yeah, great job you've been doing so far,” he answered with a tight smile.

Ninaria resumed examining her claws. “Clearly you don't remember when I saved all of your butts not too long ago. You know, I don't really understand why you hate me so much.”

“Because I find you clingy, shallow, and irritating,” Tobi replied flatly.

Ninaria made a sound in her throat. “Well, you may like me a little more when I tell you what your girlfriend has been up to.”

“You've been following her?”

“It is what her daddy paid me to do, silly. Besides, she seemed really mad when she left and since no one else was going after her, I decided to take it upon myself to keep an eye on her.”

Tobi scowled. “You do know Tristan is dead, right? Why didn't you stop?”

“Because believe it or not, I do my job. Once I'm paid, I'll see it through to the end. Now, do you want to know where Blondie went or not?”

“Where?”

“Home.”

Tobi blinked at the woman. “Home? But this is her home.”

“Think about it, pretty boy.” Ninaria crossed her arms, tails twitching.

Slumping low in his chair, Tobi groaned. “No. Why would she go back there?”

Ninaria did a palms-up shrug. “I don't know, but when she came out, she had an old box with her. She's back, by the way.”

“Did she go anywhere or do anything else?” Tobi asked.

“Pretty sure I would have mentioned it if she had. You're welcome.” Ninaria stuck her nose in the air, her cat ears flat against her head.

Tobi grumbled low in his throat before pushing himself away from the workbench. He was halfway to the door before returning to his bench to reassemble and lock up the weapon he had been cleaning. Once he was sure everything was secure, he ushered Ninaria out of the room and locked the door. Better safe than sorry.

On his way upstairs, he glanced at his watch and decided to make a stop at the kitchen.

“Oh! Hey, Tobi. I hope you didn't stop in for a snack before dinner,” Theo said, smiling as he added a pile of diced onions to a big pot.

Returning the friendly expression, Tobi shook his head. “Nah, wouldn't want to ruin my appetite.”

“You're damn right.”

Chuckling, Tobi crossed the kitchen to peek into the pot, inhaling the alluring aroma. “Smells great. Bet it tastes even better. Can't guarantee anyone will be very hungry though, considering what's happening.”

Theo nodded. “I'm making something light.”

“Good idea. I actually came in to suggest you cook up something special for your cat.”

Theo's brow twitched, and a scowl curved his lips. “I don't exactly have a cat.”

“Not according to her.”

“Oh.” Theo's pale cheeks took on a hint of color. “Why does she need a special meal?”

“Just a thank you for keeping an eye on Keeka today. But don't tell her it was my idea.”

The side of Theo's mouth curved upward. “You're such a softie.”

Tobi waved his hand dismissively. “Yeah, yeah.” Shaking his head, he left to find Nrekeeka. He suspected she was up in her room, putting away whatever she brought home. He took the stairs two at a time and caught himself before jogging down the hall. She'd get annoyed if he was too eager to ask about what she had been doing. Knocking on the door, he stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets.

The door slid into the wall and Nrekeeka rushed into the corridor, quickly slapping the panel to make the door close. She didn't say a thing as she looked up at with him wide eyes.

Tobi opened his mouth, but Nrekeeka wrapped her arms around his waist, hugging him before he could get any words out. He squeezed the woman back. “I'm getting hugs all over the place today!”

“Sorry for earlier,” she told him. “I wasn't mad at you.”

Unable to help himself, Tobi ruffled her hair as he released her. “I know. I talked to Shelsea after you left. I really hope she apologized to you.”

The woman nodded. “Yeah, she did. After crying profusely. I forgot how exhausting she can be some days.” Sighing heavily, she closed her eyes and rest her forehead against Tobi's chest.

“I don't hate it, but you're being uncommonly touchy-feely today. What's up?” Tobi took her face in his hands, gently tilting her head up so their eyes met. He curled her hair behind her ear before sliding his hands down her arms and entwining their fingers.

“Nothing special. I'm worried about tomorrow. I still haven't come up with much of a plan, and I'm afraid my inability to think under pressure will lead to someone getting hurt or killed,” she admitted to Tobi, studying their hands.

“I understand, but you don't need to worry. I'm not going to let anything happen to you or Shelsea.”

“It's not me I'm concerned about. It's everyone else. Theo can barely hold a gun, Max is probably no better. And what if those three end up turning on us? What if it was part of Robyn's plan to have them tell us what he was going to do? Not to mention we're all still kids.” Nrekeeka released Tobi's hands and raked her fingers through her hair. She squeezed her eyes shut and silently counted to ten. When she opened them again, Tobi was watching her with his head cocked.

“Sweetie, you might not know it, but you are capable of doing the impossible. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. He is one person. We are seven. I can only reassure you so many times.” He shrugged one shoulder, putting his hands back in his pockets.

Nodding, Nrekeeka reached up to twirl her earrings. “You're right.”

Raising one eyebrow, Tobi smirked. “I'm gonna remember you said that.”

The woman's shoulders slumped, and she shook her head. She glanced down the hall and when she turned back to him, she was smiling. “I think we'll be okay,” she told him.

“Of course we will. You worry too much.”

“So I've been told. Personally, I don't think anyone else worries enough.”

Tobi tried not to chuckle at the adorable pout Nrekeeka wore. To conceal his expression, he grabbed her arm and dragged her up against his chest. He gave her a tight squeeze, muttering her name. “Why are you so cute?”

The woman stiffened in his embrace. “Can we not do this right now?”

His smile slipped from his face. “Sorry.”

Extracting herself from his arms, Nrekeeka's mouth slipped into a brief grimace.

“I guess before this gets too awkward, I suppose I should ask you where you disappeared to this afternoon?” Leaning one shoulder against the wall, Tobi crossed his arms and kept his eyes trained on the other end of the hall.

Tobi's lack of eye contact was almost as bad to Nrekeeka as the staring thing was to Shelsea. He knew something he wasn't saying, but she didn't cave as easily as her sister.

Nrekeeka shrugged. “I went for a walk to clear my head.”

Nodding, Tobi still didn't meet her eyes. “Seems like it helped.”

“Yeah, it did.”

Clicking his tongue, Tobi pushed himself off the wall and took a few deliberate, lazy steps. He put his hand on Nrekeeka's shoulder, letting it rest there for a moment before walking away.

Nrekeeka licked her lips and swallowed hard, staring at the back wall while listening to Tobi's retreating steps. She let out a breath she didn't realize she was holding. Tobi meant well, but he could be overbearing at times. Squeezing her eyes shut, Nrekeeka forced herself not to run after the man. She wanted to hide her face against his chest and feel his arms around her, protecting her until this whole mess was over.

Retreating back into her room, Nrekeeka curled her hands into fists, her nails biting into the flesh of her palms. It was going to be a long evening and an even longer night.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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