Numbers Page 28

He shrugged. ’’We were grateful. We have a home and don\ have to live in the human world. I was told that was a fear when Species were first released. It would have put us in great danger if we\d been separated. The humans took the original survivors to remote motel locations to protect them and divided them up. They were given counseling and knowledge of the world outside of Mercile. Justice represented us, and negotiated with the president for Homeland. Let\s go inside and look at our home. I\ll come back for the bags and food in a minute.’’

She noticed his use of the word our, but didn\ comment on it. ’’Is it okay to just leave this stuff here?’’ She glanced around, not seeing anyone on the sidewalks or street. ’’You left the keys in the ignition.’’

’’Species don\ steal from each other. We have no crime.’’ Mourn took her hand and they walked to the front door. He opened it and allowed her to enter first.

Dana openly appreciated the new furnishings. It was tastefully done in desert colors of soft browns, creams and light-red hues. The living room was large with vaulted ceilings. A dining room was tucked to the left side, and she could spot the kitchen through a wide archway.

’’Do you like it?’’

’’I do.’’

He seemed to relax finally. ’’Good. Let\s view the rest of it.’’

She liked that he still held her hand as they entered the kitchen. He paused. She did too, taking it in. ’’Nice.’’

’’There will be food in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Supply will have also stocked the bathrooms with everything we\ll need, and put fresh linens on the beds.’’

’’They do that?’’

He nodded. ’’Every home comes furnished and ready to live in. We can\ shop the way you can. We text a list of things we need to Supply and they can either drop it off the next day, or we can go pick it up ourselves.’’

’’No grocery shopping?’’

He shook his head. ’’We have no grocery store. We have Supply. They get daily deliveries from the out world.’’

’’It\s nice that they set up homes for people to live in.’’

’’It\s more efficient. We like that.’’

’’Who doesn\ ?’’ She grinned.

They strolled down a hallway and checked out both bedrooms. He took her into the large master bedroom and stopped, holding her gaze. ’’This will be our bedroom if you will consent to live with me.’’

’’No pressure, remember?’’

’’Is it nice enough? I had a lot of time to think today. You said your male bought you your dream home. We\d have to live at Homeland if you move in with me.’’

The sad look on his face made her regret telling him that. ’’It\s very nice, and I could live here if we become that serious.’’

’’I want to be able to care for you as well as your mate did.’’

He made her ache a little because he was so concerned about her. ’’I\ll tell you a secret.’’

’’Please do.’’

’’We didn\ really enjoy that house much. Tommy\s dad had a massive heart attack and died right after we graduated high school. Tommy had planned to go to college. We both had. Instead we took over the company and had to learn everything really fast. He needed my help, and that\s why I\m so good with office work. We had a quickie wedding and bought the house, but we weren\ home much those first few years. When he reached the point that he could handle it all on his own, I started nursing school. We led very busy lives until Tommy was diagnosed with cancer. He sold the business before he had surgery and the chemo started for the second time. He had a really rough time of it. It was an aggressive cancer so the treatments were too. It was tough,’’ she admitted.

Mourn released her hand and put his arm around her, leading her to the bed. They sat. ’’I\m sorry.’’

’’I\m just telling you this because not all of my memories there are great ones. Our dreams died with Tommy.’’

Mourn surprised her when he suddenly lifted her up and placed her on his lap. She only hesitated for a moment before she wrapped her arms around his neck. They gazed at each other.

’’I don\ catch colds. We have really good immune systems. Species don\ have any hereditary diseases. Mercile was able to delete them when they created our No Species has ever had cancer.’’

Mourn regretted saying that as soon as he saw the tears in her eyes. ’’I\m sorry. I didn\ mean to cause you pain. I don\ want you to ever worry about that. I won\ get sick the way your mate did.’’

’’I\m glad you said that. I never want to go through something that horrible again.’’

He held her tighter. ’’You won\ .’’ He wanted to distract her. ’’I\m stronger than a human. I growl and purr. I can roar if I\m highly angry or upset.’’ He considered their differences. ’’You\ve probably noticed my fangs, and the tips of my fingers and my nails.’’ He showed her his hand. ’’My feet are the same.’’

She lowered her arms and examined one of his hands. ’’I didn\ notice. I just thought you had calluses when you were touching me.’’ She ran her soft fingertip across one of the pads. He liked her exploring him.

’’I\m faster and I can leap, unlike a human.’’


’’Felines are good jumpers. I could leap onto the roof if I needed to.’’

She appeared a little stunned by that. ’’That\s kind of cool. You won\ need a ladder to clean out the gutters and drains.’’

He was glad that she accepted it with humor. ’’There\s something else I need to tell you. I don\ want any lies between us, Dana. No secrets. You\ e not my mate, but I want you to be. It\s classified information, but I trust you will keep the secret. I might be able to get you pregnant.’’

Her lips parted, and her surprise was clear. She said nothing.

’’Justice said your people wouldn\ react well if they found out we have children. I think he\s right. Species can\ breed together, but some of the mated pairs with human females have had babies.’’

She seemed to recover. ’’Now it makes sense.’’

’’What does?’’

’’Paul ordered me to use condoms if we have se*. He was really upset after he found out we hadn\ used any last night. He asked. Why wouldn\ Paul just tell me that?’’

’’He\s loyal to the NSO and promised he wouldn\ . I\m not even supposed to tell you this until we\ e mated, but I want you to know that we could have a family if we\ e mated. It\s possible. I\m worried that you\ll reject me because you think we can\ have babies.’’ He paused. ’’Are you angry? I should have mentioned that last night but it didn\ cross my mind.’’

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