Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: mm sci-fi
He reached his room in time to be corralled by Park. He left the book on his bedside table as he hurriedly dressed. One look at Park’s no-nonsense expression and Gregor knew he better be fast.
The obvious anger wouldn’t have effected him so much if Park would say something, but he was stony faced and silent. It made Gregor feel like some kind of criminal just because he’d wanted a few minutes on his own.
Gregor had never been very good when faced with disapproval. Some part of him would urge him to appease the person angry at him, even when he wasn’t the one at fault. He’d always blamed it on his nature as a Third, though perhaps it was one of his own personality flaws.
He struggled into the clothes he’d been given, not wanting to take too long and make Park even angrier. He didn’t even have time to pick through his cache of jewelry, just grabbed a few rings and a necklace and hurried out to the living area where Park was waiting.
“I’m sorry!” he couldn’t help blurting out. “I just went to the library. I wasn’t thinking about leaving the building or anything.”
Park looked at him for a long moment, casually arranged on the couch like a deadly Angosian Snow Tiger. His dark eyes passed over Gregor and it felt like being stripped out of his skin, the absence of warm affection searing.
“I’m not angry,” Park said, rising to his feet. He smoothed his suit with a quick flick of his hand. “I’m disappointed that you would be so careless with your safety after we have spent so much time discussing it. If something had happened to you, there would have been nothing I could do to stop it.”
Gregor bowed his head, hating the sudden sting in his eyes. Damned hormones were making him appear weak when he wanted most to show that he was strong. “Nothing happened. I was only gone a few minutes and I just went to get a book. I won’t do it again. I won’t go anywhere without you.” That last was dragged out of him against his will, his need to appease the angry First stronger than he would have expected.
“You don’t need to make promises you don’t mean,” Park said. “You need to realize that your safety is important and risking yourself should not be something you do. Especially as I’m here to protect you.”
Something seemed to relax in his expression and Gregor felt as though he could breathe again. That oppressive sense of disapproval began to dissipate and Gregor could relax.
“I just needed to get out of here for a few minutes, that’s all. I’m sorry,” Gregor said.
“Come, we need to go or we’re going to be late.” Park walked toward the door with the expectation that Gregor was going to follow.
Part of Gregor wanted to resent Park for assuming that he was so easily controlled, except he found himself standing close to Park, ready to be led to wherever they were supposed to be going. He thought about asking, but the words dried up in his throat just thinking that Park would give him that Look again.
What is wrong with me? he thought, but he knew. His body was flooding with hormones and adjusting itself for his upcoming Heat, and part of that was attracting appropriate mates.
Though he was a strong person able to take care of himself, instinct wanted him to seek out a man that would be strong enough to protect him and his baby. Someone that would care for him while he was weakened by pregnancy, after which he would be able to handle himself. Until then though…
Any man that was dominant to him would appeal to his instincts, and until Park proved himself unworthy, Gregor would find himself deferring to the man. It was infuriating, but there wasn’t a whole lot he could do against his own biological imperatives. It was one of the main reasons why he had fought so hard against his nature as a Third.
He’d never liked being told what to do.