Chapter 20

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"I need a few minutes alone."

That was all Vincent said before he stalked off to his mahogany office. I knew why he'd chosen his office rather than the bedroom. His liquor was in there, although in the three months I'd known him, he rarely used alcohol to deal with his emotions and he always drank in moderation. The control Vincent held over his behavior bordered on the obsessive, and it made me wonder how easily he could pop-off if he didn't keep himself in check.

As I prepared our dinner of fried rice and lettuce wraps with hummus, I thought about the reasons Vincent might need a stiff drink rather than a meditation session. The first and most obvious was his worries about our baby. After Dr. Hardwick confirmed that everything was peaches and sunshine with our little bean, he seemed to get worse rather than better. Had he seen something the rest of us hadn't? Was he trying to find the best way to break it to me?

I separated the lettuce leaves and held them under the tap as I pondered reason number two. Was the reality hitting that his child had demon lineage, and he didn't know how to process it? It hurt me to think that might be the cause, and, deep down, I didn't think that was it. But something he saw on the screen triggered his extreme reaction, and the more time he spent ensconced inside his office, the more anxious I grew.

When dinner was ready and waiting, I ventured down the hall and knocked on his door. "Dinner's ready, Vincent."

Silence answered me on the other side, but I heard the gentle tap of a lowball glass on polished mahogany This was followed by the groan of a chair then solid footfalls as my goliath husband walked to the door. He hesitated on the other side, and I imagined his hand on the doorknob when I heard it creak against his weight. I felt the pain of his tortured soul even without seeing him. This was something serious.

The door opened, and my heart started beating again, but seeing his face didn't help a bit. Angst was written clearly in his tired eyes and slack jaw, and the sting of hard liquor hit me in the face as he stood over me.

"You look like hell," I said, trying for anything to lighten the mood.

"I'm in hell, so that's a fair assessment." He walked away, and I was forced to talk to his back.

"What's that supposed to mean? We left Doctor Hardwick's office with great news, and you're acting like you've been condemned."

"It wasn't all great news," he grumbled as he pulled up a barstool and sat in front of his plate.

Damn. Was I right about Vincent noticing something the rest of us missed? I only saw a perfect little bean. I took my seat and swiveled to look at him. "Alright, Vincent. Now you have me really worried. Tell me what news wasn't great."

Vincent finally acknowledged me, pulling me into his swirling gray waters. "The date of conception, Reese. You were in the hive on that date. We hadn't been together yet."

"Wait a minute... What?"

"November sixth. Christoph took you to the hive that night. The night I lost you. Maybe I really did."

I stared at him with my mouth deliberately gaping. I needed him to see how stunned I was by his accusation. "And we got together twenty-four hours later. Do you really want to base a serious accusation like that on twenty-four fucking hours?"

"That depends on who's doing the fucking." The light in his eyes switched from gray to silver, and I watched his restraint slacken. Not only was he intoxicated, he was drunk with jealousy.

"Think carefully about what you're saying," I warned, knowing I was treading dangerous waters. But I wasn't backing down on this.

"I have been thinking carefully, and it's gotten me nowhere. The only thing left to do is ask if you..." Vincent fisted his hand on the counter, and I watched him tighten the restraint again. "Did you have sex with anyone at the hive?"

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