The Grey Edge: Chapter Nineteen
Taylor opened his eyes. She was still there, still naked and pressed up against his body. His naked body. Her naked, soft body. He could hear her breathing, and feel it, the small rises and falls of her sleeping chest under his hand. She was completely vulnerable. Completely unaware that he was watching her. She was-
Her scent went up his nose. Familiar, no different to any time when he’d bent over her sweating body during a training session, or during a spar. Different, so different, because she was naked. Because she was his. Everything was different. Too different. Too fast.
He pulled his hand away from her, off her chest, away from her breasts. He looked at her, reading all of her vitals, taking note of the healing wounds, the disappearing bruises and the disappearing scars.
It would be so simple to kill her.
Snap her neck. Slit her throat. Require a gun, press it to her scented her and pull the trigger. A hundred opportunities presented themselves, and none would give her enough time or warning to even wake up.
So simple to kill her. So many reasons to kill her. So many reasons to close his eyes and start another sleep cycle.
Killing her would let him keep the other recruits, or the majority at least. It would take away the complications. It would take away the feelings. It would take away the fear of weakness. It would take away thoughts of the future. It would let him go back to normal. There was no reason to go back to normal. There was every reason to go back to normal.
She moved, stretching out an arm, and turning over to face him, her face brushing against his chest.
He revised his options, and most of the ways of killing her were still viable with her new position.
She kissed him, an unconscious movement, her lips making contact with his chest.
It felt good.
He slid a hand up against her neck, his thumb against her throat. One simple movement would render her nothing more than some simple paperwork and a sharp reprimand. One movement would reset everything, let him go back to being…safe. Back inside parameters. Back where he belonged. Back where he was alone. Back where he should be. Back where he didn’t have a naked woman in his bed.
She opened her eyes and black eyes focused on him. ‘Did I wake you, sir?’
He shook his head, and moved his hand to tilt her face toward his. He kissed her, and buried thoughts of kill her. It could be a back-up plan. It could be a never-used plan. He could do it if he- He kissed her again. He liked it. He liked her.
‘My sleep cycle’s finished,’ he said.
She rubbed a slim hand across her face. ‘Of course sir, I can go back to my own room if you want to get some-’
He pressed a hand to her mouth. Leaving seemed to be against the concept of “staying the night” if it was only staying for a couple of hours. It was obviously an idea for people who needed to sleep the whole night, or who could sleep by choice. Sleeping by choice wasn’t easy. A regimented, controlled, timed sleep cycle was so much better.
He could try. Trying seemed like an idea. It seemed like a path that wouldn’t have Grigori lambasting him for getting it wrong. He fought a sigh.
‘No, stay,’ he said, and removed his hand.
‘What time is it?’
She smiled. ‘Is that all?’
‘I’m still…new at this, Magnolia, I didn’t expect perfection out of you when I recruited you, so don’t expect-’ He shut his mouth as the he processed the new sensation. Magnolia’s hand was wrapped around…his requirement, moving, stimulating, sparking pleasure.
‘I only expect what you’re willing to give, sir,’ she said, laying a light kiss on his upper lip.
‘You’re…’ he began, unsure of what the rest of the sentence had been.
She smiled, changed hands, and slid lower, the sheet disappearing as she did so. At a touch, he spread his legs so that she could kneel between them. It wasn’t hard to extrapolate what was coming. All signs pointed to one likely outcome.
Her tongue flicked across the top, a strange, brief sensation. Her hand continued to move, working in tandem with her tongue. He tried to keep track of everything happening. Mouth. Hand. Tongue. Sensations rose and fell, and every contact made him more sensitive.
Every movement was maddening. Her tongue running up the length. Moving around the head. Every touch a step closer to madness. A step closer to Madchester. He wasn’t sure he cared.
He didn’t want her to stop.
Her hand moved away, but before he could mourn the loss, her mouth covered him, and he felt himself grip the mattress, his fingers digging into the foam, ripping through the fabric as she sucked on him. Sensation. Too much sensation.
And then there was release.
He heard himself panting as rational thought and coherency returned to his mind. He heard her spit, before she looked up and smiled at him. He leaned forward, grabbed her, and pulled her up to lie beside him, his arms wrapped around her, her soft body pressed against his.
Words. He was probably supposed to be speaking. Saying something.
‘Are you all right, sir?’
‘Yes, Magnolia,’ he said, ‘I am.’
‘I’m not tired,’ she said, ‘we can get some work done if you want.’
‘It’s too late for paperwork.’
‘When do you think I normally do it, sir? I get a lot done this time of night, presuming I’m not on a mission, on patrol, or sorting out some petty dispute, and if you’re dismissing the entire department, there’s a lot of paperwork to do, we can’t get all of done during an exit interview.’
‘If you want.’
She smiled. ‘It’s my duty sir, and I’m not about to slack on my duty.’
He considered Grigori’s words. ‘Why do you do your duty?’
‘For you, sir,’ she said. ‘My duty isn’t to the system, it’s to you. I probably…I would have been dead, or worse, if I didn’t have my duty, sir. You know what I was like when you recruited me. I’m better than that now, and I you to thank for making me stronger, so doing my duty is my gratitude for that.’
‘I was going to execute you,’ he said, telling her information she already knew. ‘The first day. The first week. The first month. The first year.’
She nodded. ‘I would have deserved it.’ She pressed her body closer to his. ‘Do I now?’
‘You already know the answer to that.’
She smiled at sat up, wrapping her legs beneath her, clearing a space on the bed. A list of the other recruits in the department appeared. ‘There’s twenty-seven of them. Some of which I have strong opinions about-’
She gave a nod. ‘But I don’t think we have to dismiss the entire department. I think we can salvage something. One thing first, sir. Hewitt – he wants to transfer up to be with the scholars, opinion?’
‘Let him go,’ he said. ‘We can always transfer him back.’
She made a note. ‘Unless his field rating goes down from spending too much time up there.’
Fifty-two minutes later, they had a preliminary work-up for the exit interviews – lists of who to keep, who to throw to the mundane world, and who to transfer to the weaker departments. ‘What now, sir?’ Magnolia asked, head on his chest, paperwork abandoned to the floor.
‘I want to train.’
She nodded. ‘We could run a blind test, sir, I’m not up to a spar, but at least this way I’m of some assistance.’
‘I’m not scheduled-’
‘To run one of those for another fortnight, sir, I know,’ she said as she looked up at him. ‘It was only a suggestion.’
‘It’s acceptable,’ he said.
She stood, clothes appearing on her naked body, and he felt…disappointed. ‘We can start with-’ she said, pausing to cough. ‘A standard run-’ She coughed again, then required a glass of water and drank half of it. ‘But then-’
She coughed again, then collapsed to the floor screaming.