Avon paused outside of Cally's cabin. He was on the threshold of making a decision but he was suddenly gripped with irrational fear. It froze his limbs and made it hard to breathe. He felt the sharpness from wounds that were still healing.
I’m not ready for this. I'm not ready for her to see… The ugly wounds that marred his body and his soul.
The door slid open unexpectedly, revealing Cally in a muted white nightgown. Her voice was soft and musical. He had never noticed that before.
Cally said, "It's still a door but it's open this time."
Her words brought back memories of the last time that he had stood here. The occasion that started a chain of events that led to this moment.
"I should come back."
A light bubble of laughter erupted in Avon's mind. It matched the look of amusement on Cally’s face. * I couldn’t sleep either. *
Avon’s eyes narrowed slightly. “How did you know?”
“I have always known you, Avon.” Her eyes were gentle and understanding.
Even though Cally couldn’t read his mind, Avon found it disconcerting that she could sense anything from him at all. His normal mental and emotional discipline never seemed enough around her. It put him at a great disadvantage. It was hard to hide himself from someone who could see past the mask that he used to protect himself.
The first time he discovered this had made him wary of her. She wasn’t only an alien; she had become a dangerous one. But she had never used her knowledge of him to harm or manipulate him in any way. He had learned to trust her, more than anyone since Anna. It was then that he realized how she felt about him. It was why he was certain that she would be able to fight the alien. She would never let it harm him.
Avon often caught himself staring at her for no functional reason. They were…
* We are connected. *
Avon said with light accusation, “You read my mind.”
Cally shook her head slightly. This was always an issue that came up periodically among humans. They were paranoid around people with psi abilities, even though she repeatedly reassured them that she couldn’t read their minds. “No, Avon. You felt the threads that joined us. That is what I sensed.”
Cally touched his forehead, lightly drawing a line with her fingers. “I cannot read you here.” She brought her hand down and rested it gently on his chest. “But I can sense what is here.” The heat of his body warmed her open palm and radiated up her arm.
“I presume that you’re speaking in a metaphorical sense,” Avon said lightly. Cally wasn’t the only one to have senses that were affected by what was happening. The heat of her hand on his chest, an intimate gesture that reached past his guard in more ways than one.
“Do you want to come in?”
A choice. Their eyes locked on each other. They both knew what the real question was. If he stepped into her cabin, would he let her in tonight? Would he explore their unspoken connection to its natural conclusion?
Anna had always been in the way before, but not anymore. He was determined to believe it. Keep regret a small part. Until that callous idiot had opened the wounds up again on the flight deck. A predator sensing weakness and going in for the kill.
Sentiment is a weakness, let it get hold of you and you are dead. He had more than enough evidence of that the last couple of weeks. Too much in his life. It was nothing more than a vulnerability that others exploited.
Then why was he still here? His limbs were paralyzed before, preventing him from going inside. Now they were not letting him go.
Avon didn’t want to leave even though his mind told him to save himself. He could not afford another weakness; his last one nearly killed him. He could still feel the sting of the wounds and the pain of loving a woman who had betrayed him.
Cally repeated in his mind, * Avon, do you want to come in? * Her eyes were like pools of starlight, drawing him into its mystery. The logical part of his mind insisted on telling him that it was nothing more than the reflection of corridor lights. But it was no longer his rational mind that was in control.
Avon took a step inside and crushed Cally’s body to his. His mouth covered hers in a deep, passionate kiss; long held off desires ignited by the heat of each others bodies.