New Species series
Day 159 after the first New Species were freed
Joy tried to relax in the chair but worry over her client made her fidget. She glanced at the clock, noting he was late again. Minutes ticked by while her anger grew. It was the fourth session in a row that 466 had blown off. He did it on purpose. She knew he was going to be irate over what she’d done in retaliation but he’d left her with no choice.
The loud sound of a menacing growl startled her. Her gaze flew to the door a second before it was thrown open. 466 hovered in the hallway, his rich brown hair messed up as if he’d dried it upside down with a blow dryer to give it that fullness. Rage showed in his narrowed, dark gaze. She guessed he’d been the source of the noise.
He was pushed forward as one of the guards entered the office behind her client. “Here he is. He wasn’t happy but we got him.” The man shot a dirty look at 466. “Four of his men convinced him to come along or we would have had to drag his butt inside in shackles. He wanted to fight me.”
She winced. “Please sit, 466.”
“It seems I don’t have a choice.” He sauntered over to the chair in front of her desk and dropped his big body down hard enough to make the piece of furniture groan. “So much for saying we are free.”
“The therapy was agreed upon by your people and mine. This is to help you.”
He crossed his massive arms over his thick chest, a bored look on his good-looking features while he stared at her. “If you say so, but I don’t wish to be here. You talk, I’ll listen, but end it fast.”
“The point of therapy is for you to talk to me. Getting your feelings out into the open will make this experience successful.”
He regarded her with those mocha-brown eyes of his. They were beautiful, strange, yet drew her in every time. And he had such long eyelashes. She shifted in her chair and crossed her own arms. “I don’t want to have a staring contest with you again. We both know you’ll win. You always do.” She sighed. “I’m sorry I had to order you here but you have to come to these sessions.”
He continued to silently watch her. He was a master at making her feel uncomfortable. 466 had a way of looking at her as if he could read her mind. Out of all the survivors she had counseled, he was her biggest concern. She had no idea of his emotional state, how he was adjusting to his new surroundings, or if he even attempted to fit in.
“I heard you aren’t learning any sports.”
“You’re spending way too much time alone and you’ve been ditching the guards and wandering away from the motel. You have to know how dangerous that is.”
He said nothing.
“They are here to protect you. They can’t do their jobs if you won’t stay put. This is a secure location. You have to stay where it’s safe. What if someone sees you? Reporters would descend on the area searching for your people.”
He yawned and continued to observe her. Joy’s frustration rose. She only had so much patience and 466 was always pushing her. He could make a saint snap and, unfortunately, she wasn’t nearly that perfect. It had been an emotionally draining decision to take the job in the middle of the desert at this secret location. She’d had to move away from everyone she knew and dealing with someone who didn’t appreciate her sacrifices had begun to downright piss her off.
She leaned forward and put her hands flat on the desk. “Fine. Obviously four sessions a week with me isn’t doing you much good.”
His full lips curved upward and she was pretty sure that was happiness that shone in his eyes, the first she’d ever seen. That made her temper flare so hot that she could visualize her blood boiling.
“We finally agree. No more sessions.” He uncrossed his arms and appeared ready to leave. His ass left the chair as she spoke.
“Not so fast.”
He eased back down but the smile died as his gaze hardened.
“I’m upping the number of sessions to seven days a week.” That got a reaction—rage. She enjoyed seeing it a little since he seemed to take pleasure in making her life hellish. It was her turn to smile.
“You’re going to talk to me, 466. I’m trying to do my job and I’m going to help you, whether you like it or not. We’ll spend more time together until you feel comfortable opening up to me. I want to know why you’re antisocial with your own people, what you have against learning to play sports, and how you’re adjusting to life outside the test facility. I can’t clear you by giving a clean bill of adjustment until we cover all those basics.” She leaned back. “It’s not as if all those additional sessions will cut into your social life. You don’t have one.”
“You wouldn’t really force more sessions. I make you miserable and you don’t like me.”
His assumption surprised her. “I don’t dislike you. I don’t know you that well because you won’t talk to me. Besides, that is irrelevant.”
He turned his head to glower at the guard stationed by the door. “Make him leave.”
The guard snorted. “It’s not happening. You know procedure.”
466 stared at her and relaxed in his chair. “Do you think I’m going to kill you?”
She wondered at times if he hated her. It was obvious he resented the required therapy but she didn’t believe he’d attack a woman. She hadn’t seen any indications that he possessed a cruel streak and he didn’t exhibit bully tendencies. “No.”
“You want me to talk?”
“That would be a nice change. Yes.”
“Make the guard leave. I’m not opening up to anyone but you. I read about patient confidentiality. I want that.”
Her eyebrows arched in surprise. “All the guards are sworn to keep our sessions private. He’s not allowed to repeat anything he hears. He’s present because I’m a woman. It’s for our mutual protection.”
“You believe I’m going to kill you.” He frowned. “Or do you think I’ll pick you up, tear off your clothes and mount you against the wall?” He smirked as his gaze lowered down her body. “A fishing reference I learned on last month’s mandatory trip comes to mind—I’d toss you back for being too small. It wouldn’t be any fun for me. You’d break if I fucked something so fragile.”