She swore that she felt his breath on the back of her neck. He was a dragon ready to scorch; to do anything to reclaim his hoard.
She kept on walking, because she didn’t want her sobs to disrupt Terra. She walked slowly– partly because every fibre of her being didn’t want to leave its lover, partly because her body was still recovering from childbirth. Just as she reached the doorframe, a hand grasped onto the back of her dress and pulled her back. The ties that kept it together ripped, making her top flop down.
“Please, Vrox. I don't want to wake her," she pushed gently, her heavy breasts leaking milk all over his bare chest.
“I will not let you take away a part of me.” Thick fingers wrapped around the back of her neck– gentle, but firm. He connected their foreheads. “You will not take from me.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked, her voice ready to pierce with emotion. “I wouldn’t take Terra from you.”
“I do not speak of the child.”
He moved his hand from her bicep to her waist. Milk continued to drip between them, reminding her that that they were glued together in more ways than one. One woman, one man, stuck in the quicksand that was love.
“You are a part of me,” Vrox grated. His voice was low, but rumbling with power.
She hated this warm, soft jail. She hated the chest making love to her nipples, and biceps embracing her. This padded prison beckoned that she stayed inside forever. It was inescapable, because she gave Vrox so much that her soul identified him as its new owner.
“How can you ask that I give away a part of myself?”
He gave her a soft shake, and she wished he shook more violently so she could snap out of her haze.
“Trust, baby. The only thing I ask for is trust. We had it. Where did it go?” She gently pushed, but her jailor was selfish. He wouldn’t let go.
“This is unfair to me. Have I not shown you love? Have I not convinced you that I would die for you?” His forehead pressed deeper against her own, like he was trying to take what little she had left. He had devoured her heart and body, and her mind was the only part remaining.
She was melting. Tears fell from her eyes, milk from her breasts, and her blood was boiling. This dragon was melting her.
“We were happy,” Vrox whispered, laying a soft kiss on her nose while the hand on her neck and the arm around her waist remained possessive. She fought harder, but only managed to turn in his arms so her back was pressed to his front.
“Terra is just one month old. We have been so happy. Why must you do this now?” His hand moved to her stomach, palming the first home of their daughter.
“That’s not true,” she countered. “You know it’s not. This has been coming for months. Things have been tense between us long before we had Terra and we need to stop trying to burry the tenseness with caresses and kisses."
“I have only been hoping to move past it. You ask that I choose between you and my people. Do you not see how this tears me apart?”
“I’m not asking that. Why don’t you see that? Asking you to listen to my voice does not mean others will lose theirs.”
She had to go, because although she loved him, but she had to love herself too.
“I cannot!” his voice rose in volume, and Terra whimpered in her crib.
Vrox released her instantly. She stumbled forward and rushed to tie her dress back in place. Without looking over her shoulder, she crossed the door frame. She could barely see through her blurry sight, so when she heard an alarmed Ak call for her, she jumped for him.
“Take me to Nebula, please.”
“You are distressed. Do you need Vrox?”
“No! He has given me enough.”
Love, laughter, knowledge, growth, a beautiful daughter, and this newfound grief.
“Very well,” Ak hesitated.
She clutched his arm. She knew Ezronians weren’t fans of physical touch, but she felt like she would tumble down a flight of stairs if he didn’t sustain her.
“Oh, my god!” Nebula gasped, dropping whatever she was working on and appearing by her side. “What the fuck happened? Are you okay? Is Terra okay? Vrox?”
Kira could only cry into her shoulder. In a few hours, she would be strong for Terra. She would return to her baby girl’s side, feed her, kiss her, and remind her that she was her world. But for now, Kira would nurture her mourning.
Nebula rubbed her back until her tears stopped coming and all she could do was stare at a wall. She didn’t speak a word of what happened, because she feared that she would break down again if she opened up.
A baby’s cry flooded her with energy. She pushed off the bed, and wiped her cheeks. “I should go to her,” she cleared her throat. “Sorry about the intrusion.”
“Hey,” Nebula said, reaching for her hand. “It’s okay to cry. Even leaders need a break sometimes.”
That’s the problem. I’m nobody here. Not Vrox's equal, not his friend, not his wife. I'm just a pussy that came from Earth that he impregnated. I am a mute.
Instead of saying that, she wiped her tears. Her baby needed her.
She walked out, and Ak led her to her room. She felt a phantom kick in her stomach when she found Vrox on the bed, trying to calm down Terra. She could only hope that he kept his arms to himself. She would join Terra in her crying if he touched her again.
She sat on the bed and felt Vrox’s eyes scream words at her when she grabbed Terra. She turned his back to him and began to breastfeed. Silence took over, occasionally interrupted by Terra’s baby noises. Kira stroked her downy soft hair with a single finger and rocked her gently.
She wished she could just forget about Vrox. But how could she, when he was in the room? How could she, when she was staring at her hybrid baby, who had black scleras and golden irises just like her father?
Vrox was everywhere. His prison was forever.
– • –
The next two weeks were was cold. She and Vrox barely exchanged words. When they did, the conversation always involved Terra. They slept in the same bed, their backs to one another. If it weren’t for Terra’s warmth, Kira wouldn’t know what to do with herself.
“Terra.” Rokan crooked his head as he looked at the baby. “Where is your neck? It looks like your head is attached to your shoulders.”
Kira chuckled. These men asked the most ridiculous things.
“Such a short neck. It is so useless.”
“Leave her alone before she strangles your own neck,” Nebula warned.
“How would she? She does not have any coordination. Look at her silly hands waving around. She looks like she ate too many joy berries.”
“Don’t you remember what babies were like?”
“No. I have not seen one since I was a child myself.” He reached out and poked Terra’s fist. “I did not think they would be so ineffective, and… oh, look! She smiles at me!”
Terra was indeed flashing her gums. Rokan began to coo nonsense as if he hadn’t been judging her existence seconds ago. He made quite a sight. An enormous alien hunched over a child and trying to speak in a high-pitched voice.
“Kira, she likes me!”
She threw her head back and laughed.
Vrox’s snarl interrupted her laugher. She looked at the entrance and found him glaring.
“Do you not have work to do? Stop playing like a child.”
The commander was jealous, because he hadn’t made Kira laugh like that in a long time.
“Yes, I should get back to work,” Rokan grumbled. “I will see you later, stinky.” Rokan fist-bumped with Terra and then left the three girls behind.