Michaela had no idea what she was about to say, because the knowledge of what had happened in the garden hit her full force. She slapped her hands over her face, hiding from the clan.
“Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit. Shit!”
Raxstad’s deep chuckle rumbled delightfully through her ears, but Michaela couldn’t bear to look at him. However Govi wouldn’t let her avoid them for long. He tugged at her wrists.
“It’s all right, Michaela. Look at me so you can see it’s all right.”
She mumbled against her palms, “You saw me. You saw everything.”
Korkla said, “Yes, we did. We saw just how exquisite you are.”
Michaela peeked at him between her fingers. “Who are you trying to kid? I know what I look like. I’m a freak.”
Anger shadowed Korkla and Raxstad’s expressions. Govi’s mood turned sad.
Korkla said, “I believe I have asked you not to use that word when referring to yourself. Now I will insist on it.”
Govi added, “You are not a freak, Michaela, no matter what you’ve been taught to believe.”
“You’re perfect. Too perfect to be limited to male or female. That’s why you’re both,” Raxstad insisted.
His clanmates looked at him, their expressions surprised. A smile lit Korkla’s face.
The Dramok told Michaela, “When someone as straightforward as Raxstad gets philosophical, you need to listen, my lovely Michaela.” He sighed. “I am so sorry we took you out there where you had no control. I apologize that things happened you were not ready for yet. Please forgive us.”
Michaela finally lowered her hands, blinking at him in surprise. Korkla was apologizing for her going nymphomaniac on them?
“It wasn’t your fault. Jeez, what a mess,” she said.
She looked at them. They looked at her. Everyone was watchful and tense. No one seemed quite sure what to say at that point.
The pregnant silence weighed on her. Michaela asked, “So. Now what?”
Raxstad’s tone was hopeful. “Lunch?”
Everyone looked at him. The Nobek returned their startled stares. “What? I’m getting hungry.”
Michaela’s tension eased. She fled into the humor of Raxstad’s answer, a smile spreading over her face. “I do appreciate a simple solution.”
Govi and Korkla chuckled, relieving more of the strained tenor of the moment. Govi asked, “Shall I call the kitchen and find out what they have?”
Korkla nodded, still snickering. “Please. And order the Nobek a double serving. If he’s thinking with his stomach at a time like this, then we should take it very seriously.”
No release date set.