Ian finished plating dinner by putting the steaming lobster into a communal bowl and drizzling a light sauce over it. He handed Sonora two mugs of ice water, and after gathering up the dishes, he walked back to the dining room.
Expecting me to follow him like an obedient captive, I suppose, but what else am I supposed to do? I'm hungry, and I'm stuck, who knows how far below the surface of the ocean. It's been hours since I ate. I need to keep up my strength!
Sonora stopped behind him when he reached the table. She watched as he laid out the bowls of salad and the lobster, letting her gaze roam from his feet to the top of his head. He was definitely a tall guy, even taller than he'd seemed when they were in the water. Sonora was on the tall side for a woman at 5' 7" He stood a foot taller than her. It was intimidating.
Ian turned and indicated that she should set the mugs down while he went back into the kitchen for utensils. The ice clinked against the side of the decorated ceramic cups as she placed one by each of the bowls.
Once Ian was back, he pulled out a chair then went to another and stood behind it. He was clearly waiting for her to do something but Sonora was unsure what. She moved to sit but then returned to standing a couple of times before Ian gestured toward the chair erasing her indecision. It was only after she was settled that he sat.
His manners, which one could call gentlemanly, surprised her, especially given how she got here. She wondered where those manners had been out there, in the sea, when he had literally dragged her away from her home? And she still had no answer as to why had he done that. She glanced around the room as if it would give her the answers.
Her gaze came back to him. Polite, charming, and well, hot. If she'd met him somewhere else, in some different way, he was a man she would've wanted to get to know better. But now she couldn't. Sonora couldn't take away the considerably unnerving thought that he had brought her here against her will. And the question of what he would do if she tried to make a run for it. No matter how mannerly he was now, he had a lot to answer for. Still, against her own better judgment, she was finding that while she continued to be on guard, she was finding herself less and less frightened of him.
Remember what happened! He creeped on you. Then he brought you here when he didn't have to, he could have been that cute guy that saved your butt and walked away into the sunset. But he didn't do that, and he isn't telling you why. So you don't trust him. He is scary, and that's the way it's going to stay.
Sonora sat up a little straighter after her internal pep talk. She felt the chair's silky material under her legs reminding her that she still only wore her swimsuit. Frowning, she suddenly felt very uncomfortable and put an arm across her bare belly. She couldn't believe that even with everything going on, she had forgotten she was only half-dressed, at least for the dinner table.
"What is wrong?" Ian asked.
Sonora startled at his deep voice unsure she wanted to tell him. But as he was her only source of, well, anything. It was him she had to ask, even if it was just for a towel. "I feel- I need some clothes. I hadn't remembered that I just had on my swimsuit."
"Oh yes, of course. I forgot you humans like more clothing than we do." Ian stood, completely comfortable at dinner in his swimming trunks. It made Sonora wonder if she was making too much out of this. "Excuse me for a moment."
Sonora almost caught herself in a smile. His manners sometimes seemed as antique as the furniture he had collected, and the buildings of this city. She wondered if it was the way with all Atlantians. The whole place was becoming more and more intriguing to her.
Wondering if it would be considered poor manners, as she watched Ian step away from the table and into the living, she took a quick bite of the lobster. It seemed to melt in her mouth, and she couldn't resist a low, "umm."
Unable to hold off, she took another forkful, stuffing her mouth with the tasty meal as she watched Ian. He tapped his cheek then spoke in a language that sounded rhythmic and musical, one she didn't understand. Two things came to her in that moment. One, the reminder that, of course, English was not his native language. Two, the strangeness of what he was doing.
As he started back toward the table, Sonora finished her mouthful, jumped up from her chair and quickly walked to him. Entirely forgetting her pep talk, her curiosity got the better of her. She grabbed his hand pulling it down and turning as she looked at it. Then she lightly pushed his jaw to examine it, running her fingers lightly over his cheek and jaw. "What did you do? What did you do there?"
"I did nothing--" Confusion covered Ian's face.
"What," she repeated. Not finding anything on his cheek, she retook his hand, turning it in hers. "did you do?"
Comprehension dawned on him. "Ah, I talked to my father."
She could hear the laughter in his voice. "Stop laughing at me and explain. Explain how."
Though his gaze continued to dance with amusement, he sobered. "Yes, ma'am. It is an implant, something like, say a... cell phone."
"No, no way!" Her pulse raced in her excitement. "I didn't think those were out yet. Just, you know, in the movies."
"I don't know where they are in your world, but in mine, we have had them for a long time. Our technology is far more advanced than humans."
Sonora ignored the fact that every time he said the word humans a look of distaste came over his face and concentrated on the technology part. "How far advanced?" A sudden look of acknowledgment come into her eyes. "Is this also how you talk underwater?"
"Yes." A knock at a door Sonora hadn't seen before stopped the conversation.
As Ian moved to open the door, Sonora followed him. Curiosity already at an all-time high, she wanted to see another Atlantian. Maybe they would help her.
Ian opened the door to a man that bore some similarity to him, perhaps an older brother or cousin. But to Sonora's surprise, Ian introduced him as his father, Jorah.
"Your father? Wow, you Atlantians must hold your age well!" She smiled and held her hand out to him, but he didn't take it.
"Your name?" Jorah asked. His manner was somewhat stiff as if he was uncomfortable with her.
Realizing she had committed a social blunder, a flush came to Sonora's cheeks as she said, "Sonora. It's Sonora but my nickname's Sunny."
"Sunny," Ian said, a smile lighting his face. "That is perfect."
Jorah gave his son a look that Sonora didn't understand. He then said in somehow the most polite and insulting way, "Sonora, excuse me. I must speak with my son."
Not letting Jorah's demeanor stop her, she threw at look at Ian. "Speaking of your son, I'm here against my will."
Jorah looked from her to Ian and back again. "I believe you are right where you need to be, no matter how any of us feels about it. Now I apologize, but this is urgent." He put his arm around Ian and turned him away from Sonora. Jorah said a few sentences to Ian in Atlantian, shoved a container into his son's arms and strode away.
What? Wow! I guess I should be happy it wasn't dear old Dad who kidnapped me. Compared to him, Ian is a teddy bear.
But when Ian turned back to her, his face was like thunder. Her heart battered at her ribs, and when he came toward her, she backed away. "I'm sorry. I had to try! You know I had to try!"
"What?" His was voice gruff and angry.
Her voice trembled as she reminded herself that she was at this man's mercy. "I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry."
Ian gave his head a little shake, and his face softened. "Sunny, do not worry, it's not you I am angry with." He handed her the container. "Here, my father brought you these clothes from my sisters."
Sonora looked down at the floral-covered box. "Something's wrong. Someone did something, what is it?"
He spit the word out. "Humans." This time there was more than distaste, this time there was hatred.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the chapter offering a little bit more of Ian's world! If you enjoyed the chapter, please press the little star. Thanks! :)
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Sea Bound (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Science Fiction
#159 on Scifi Hot List. A Golden Pen, Pen and Ink, and Rose Award Winner. In this sci-fi fantasy, Sonora yearns for more than life has given her until the day a shadow becomes a guide to a world she could never have imagined. A new world that offers...