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Chapter 54

      The door buzzed. "Come in," Jeremy said, finishing reading the report before looking up. Repairs were coming along. The ship wouldn't be back to how it was before the ambush, but at least it would run better.

      At least the atmospherics were back online.

      "Erik," Jeremy said, surprise to see the human. He worked in Engineer, Alix was teaching him. "What can I do for you?"

      Erik looked from Jeremy to Korfas, "Can, can we speak in private?"

      Before Jeremy could say anything Korfas shutdown his screens and grabbed his pad. "I need to go talk with procurement." He stood. "They're suppose to have done checks on the vegetation on the planet, to see if we can eat any of it." He left the room.

      "Have a seat," Jeremy offered.

      Erik sat down, looked at the floor for a moment. "I think It's going to be best if I leave the crew, and settle on the planet."

      "That's entirely your right, you know they'll be happy to take you in, and I already said anyone who wants to stay, can. You didn't need to come see me for that."

      Erik stood and started pacing. "It's Alix, I don't know what to do about him."

      "Is he being unreasonable in what he expects you to do?"

      "No, no. It's just . . . He keeps looking at me. Sometime he gets this, I don't know, hungry look on him." He sat down.

      "He makes you uncomfortable."

      Erik nodded.

      "Have you told him to stop?"

      Erik looked at him, eyes wide. "No! I don't want him to stop! That's the problem." He put his head in his hands. "God, I think I'm falling in love with him."

      "That's good."

      "Good? How can that be good? He has a wife and a kid. I don't want to be a home wrecker." He took a deep breath. "That's why I need to leave."

      Jeremy had to work very hard at keeping his face still. He couldn't believe that some humans were still stuck in such a narrow mindset after being on his ship for a few years. Granted, these last month, over crowed with humans from earth probably had something to do with his humans regressing.

      Once he know he could open his mouth without laughing, he punched the com. "Alix. My office. Now!" With the order given, he stood and opened the cabinet in the corner of the room. He poured a finger of the drink in the black bottle, and handed Erik the glass.

      "What is it?" he asked.

      "A ridoshi drink. The closest thing to scotch I've been able to fine. You look like you need to calm your nerves"

      Erik down it, and then gasped. "My god, that stuff's horrible."

      "It's an acquired taste," Jeremy confirmed, sitting. Alix might be a while, he and the other repair crews were the only ones on the ship. Everyone else was enjoying their time groundside. Jeremy would get back there himself, once he was done with his work.

      The door opened and Alix stood in the doorway, panting. "Reporting, captain. What's the problem?" He looked at the human. "Erik, what are you doing here?" He looked at Jeremy, "Captain, if he's done anything wrong, I can take care of it. He's a good engineer, he's just still learning." His ears folded back, then forward, sideways. Jeremy had never seen Alix be that nervous.

      Jeremy canted his head to the side. "Tell me, Alix, when did you become so timid?"

      Alix stared at him. "What?"

      "Erik's been telling me how you look at him, sometime hungrily." Alix's ears turned red. "How come you haven't made any advances on him?"

      Erik stared at Jeremy.

      "He's human, I. I didn't want to make him uncomfortable."

      "You screwed up. You've been making him uncomfortable enough that he wants to leave the crew."

      "What?" Alix went to Erik. "You can't do that. Please, you've got to stay. I've been looking for you for too long, you can't leave now."

      Erik leaned back away form Alix, and looked at Jeremy. "What doed he mean, he's been looking for me?"

      Jeremy just nodded toward Alix, who was now on his knees. "I'm sorry I've made you uncomfortable, it really wasn't my intention." He took Erik's hand in his. "I've been hun . . . looking for my Heart since I've been a cub. I went to space still looking. You're him, Erik. You are my Heart. Please don't leave. I love you."

      Erik stared at him. "You can't love me! You have a wife!"

      Alix looked at Jeremy, confusion on his face.

      "Your mate."

      Alix nodded and looked back to Erik. "I can still love you."

      "No you can't! You're committed to her! I'm not going to have you leave her for me!" Erik tried to stand, but Alix forced him back down.

      "No. Erik, I am not letting you go that easily. I'm not human. I don't follow your rules. I am not limited to loving just one person. Please look at me." He said, and slowly Erik looked at him. "This is why I didn't do anything. I was trying to find a way to make sure you understood that we did things differently. I remember how Jeremy was those first few years. It took him time to come to terms with our customs. I'm not going to ask you to move in with us, all I ask is that you stay. Please stay, give me time to show you we can make this work."

      Erik looked at Jeremy. "What should I do?"

      "What do you want to do? Not what you think you should, what do you want?"

      Erik looked at Alix again. "I want to stay," he whispered.

      Alix hugged him tightly, which made Erik tense. He pulled away. "I'm sorry, too fast, I know. I'll keep my distances. I'll see you back at work."

      Now, Jeremy couldn't hide the smile, as Alix rushed out.

      "What's funny," Erik said, still stunned.

      "Sorry, I've never seen Alix act like a cub in love for the first time before."

      Erik was silent for a moment. "Am I making a mistake?"

      "If you're referring to breaking them up. It won't happen. As I've explained before, we don't limit ourselves to loving just one person. Don't force yourself into something you aren't comfortable with, Alix won't force you to either. Just follow your Heart, it will lead you true.

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