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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2242640
assignment 4 for building sensuality.
Teo rode the elevator up to Annette’s office. He knew he could have teleported. This was just a casual visit. He didn’t prepare for all the eyes in the office on him, shortly after leaving the elevator. He had been a regular in the office on and off for months. Surely his arrival wasn’t anything new. He waved at everyone. As if his noticing them staring was their cue, everyone turned back to their work. Carl wasn’t in his usual place at his desk.

Searching Carl out, Teo placed the man in Annette’s office. At almost the same moment, Annette lowered the shades and raised the shields around the room. At first Teo was unconcerned, but as the minutes passed, he wondered what was going on in there. Teo sat on the edge of Carl’s desk and waited. He crossed his arms across his chest. They were surely taking some time. He had never had to wait this long to talk to Annette.

Thoughts of what went on in there swam through his head, starting with paperwork tumbling trustlessly into x-rated territory. Teo hadn’t considered Carl a rival. Carl had been a resource in preparing the proposal. Too good a resource, Teo’s gut shouted. What man knew that much about a woman he didn’t desire physically. No, Annette had been too innocent, too pure when they had consummated their love.

The shades rose, and the shields fell. Carl had his hand on the doorknob. Did he look disheveled? Carl ran his free hand through his hair and seemed to force a chuckle at something Annette said. Then he turned the doorknob and came out into the outer office. Carl’s smile froze and died when he set eyes on Teo. That twisted up the knob on Teo’s suspicion. “She’s all yours,” Carl frowned, “But you only have five minutes. She has a meeting with some dignitaries in seven.”

Teo entered the office, and Annette smiled at him. Their bodies came together like magnets. Teo kissed her as passionately as he had the night he proposed. Annette kissed back, with less enthusiasm. Their lips parted, and he realized she held a tablet behind him and read from it during the kiss. Teo backed away. Teo’s stomach turned to concrete and his mouth felt dry. Annette’s focus turned to Carl. She gave him the thumbs up gesture.

Teo felt his teeth grinding. Just how close to Carl was she? “What do you need, Teo?” Annette asked absently as she searched through piles of paper and computer tablets.

“I just wanted to see if you wanted to go to dinner.”

“I can’t I have to work late,” Annette frowned. Teo followed her line of sight and saw Carl was her focus. She held up a tablet and Carl smiled at her nodding. Annette chuckled back in his direction, even though he surely couldn’t hear it.

Teo felt warm, his chest ached. He had once joked that Carl should have been the one to propose to Annette. Now the thought wasn’t as funny. “You could cheat time.”

“What honey?”

“You could cheat time, go to dinner with me and come back after to work, maybe even after breakfast?” Teo suggested.

“Teo, I have already cheated time twice today, I don’t want to do it again.”

Carl ducked his head in the office, “The council members are early! We got there five minutes ago.”

“Coming Carl!” She pecked Teo on the cheek, “See you later, honey. Prima lock up after Teo.” Annette pushed past him and headed to the elevator shoulder to shoulder with Carl. Teo watched and felt a fire in his stomach. They looked too good together.

“Sir, do you know how long you are going to be?” Prima, Annette’s AI assistant asked through a speaker near the door.

“I was just leaving,” Teo growled and teleported to Max’s office.

He knocked twice and entered as soon as the door opened. Max didn’t even have time to greet him before Teo began venting, “Do you think Carl Miller is a little too friendly with Annette? They spend a lot of time together…”

Max laughed out loud, “Teo, that is your hormones talking. I felt that way about every man who walked within five feet of Yllera during the first year of our bond.”

“No, I don’t think it is. He makes her smile!”

“Teo, they’ve been friends for years. They have history, but if they were going to end up together, it would have been long before you met her. You have nothing to be jealous over…”

Teo let out a low growl.

“Back that snarl up! I am not on his side. I am on yours, but you aren’t thinking straight man!”

Teo kicked the leg of Max’s desk. “Ouch!” a voice came out of a speaker embedded in the desk.

Teo raised an eyebrow at that.

“Not funny Spanner,” Max slapped the desk.

A laugh bubbled out from the speaker, “I remember not that long ago that you whined to me about Yllera talking to other men…”

Max blushed, “I admit it. It can still be hard, but I know she loves me. And Teo, Annette loves you.”

Teo scrubbed his face harshly, “I know, but…”

“Teo, leave out the ‘but.’ There is no 'but.’” Max sighed, “I’d be more worried about being the Chief’s husband than about someone stealing my wife if I were in your shoes. “

“So what, she’s chief…”

“And you are her husband. People are going to come to you trying to get access to her. Talk to Daniel Mann. He was the first chief’s husband. He might tell you what to expect.” Teo frowned and crossed his arms. “He is also Briaunti, he knows what a pairbond does to a man.”
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