Redeeming Zorus Page 22

“I tend to believe you since I sure don’t have anything you’d want.” She gave him a sad smile. “I’m flat broke and all I have left are my boots and bra. You wouldn’t fit into either of them.”

“You do have something I want.”

“What’s that?”

“I want you, Charlie. Your sense of humor, your body, your touch, and the way you make me feel.”

She had to blink back tears. “That’s so sweet. Okay. I know we need to leave for this council meeting. Whatever they say, don’t worry about me, okay? We’re good. You told me the most important thing I need to know about you. The rest doesn’t matter.”

He hesitated again. “I pushed to make humans property.”

“I knew that.”

“If it hadn’t been for my insistence, that law wouldn’t have passed. I suffered great bitterness for all humans, had never known one such as you, and truly believed they held no compassion. I never saw any of them treat a cyborg as anything other than a thing. I wanted humans to learn what had been done to us firsthand. I wanted them to suffer, knowing they weren’t counted as part of society but instead as just tools to be used as we wished.”

“I get it.” She wrapped her arm around his neck and used his shoulder to pillow her head in a way that she could continue to see his face. “I even understand how you’d feel that way.”

“I also battled to have males share females. That may come up as well.”


“Our population needed to increase. We were so few when we reached Garden, and the survival of our race depends on our ability to breed. A female with different lovers has a higher chance at procreation. My son knows that I also couldn’t stand his mother. The idea of sending her to another male helped me argue for the breeding pact as it has been designed. I wasn’t able to impregnate her with more children. I stated that I did it to make it possible for her to have other children.” He sighed.

“You wanted her to be someone else’s problem.”

“Yes.” He blushed just a little, his skin turning a dusky gray. “I didn’t want to hurt her ego but the idea of passing her off to other males to live with made me argue with zest for that law.”

“Any more secrets?”

He sighed. “None that I believe will make you dislike me enough to ask to live somewhere else.”

“Okay. We’re good.”

She eased her arm from around his neck, lifted up to plant a kiss on his cheek, and winked at him. “I’m not a saint either, hon. I just never had the ability to pass laws. I can think of some ass**les I wouldn’t have allowed to keep their nuts attached to their bodies. Ever heard that saying ‘stupid people shouldn’t breed’? Yeah. That would have been a law I’d have pushed hard to get passed.” She climbed off his lap. “Let’s get this over with.”

Zorus stood and held out his hand to her. “My people will stare at us. No one will harm you.”

“Too bad this time they have a reason to gawk.” She glanced down her body. “I can’t wait to have clothes that fit. Do I look as bad as I think I do? I feel as though I’m playing dress-up.”

“You are…” He grinned. “Adorable.”

“Right. My bullshit meter is over the line.”

He laughed, tugged her toward the door, and she followed. Her chin lifted and she straightened her shoulders. She’d faced a lot of things in her life that she dreaded but this time she really didn’t know what to expect. She trusted Zorus. He appeared relaxed now, unconcerned, and at ease.

The ride down the elevator seemed too short and then they left the building. Cyborgs paused to check Charlie out but none approached or said a word. Zorus kept her against his side, her hand held in his, and they reached a building she knew housed the council. Two large, mean-looking cyborgs blocked their way.

“Councilman Zorus.” A blond one spoke. “We must check the human for weapons.”

Irritation flashed but Zorus released her hand. “He will pat you down, Charlie. Spread your arms and legs please.”

She did it but sent him a frown when the stranger crouched to run his big, gloved hands over her body. She blushed when he touched her in a few places but didn’t protest. Zorus held out his hand the second the guard rose to his feet to back away.

“She’s unarmed. They are waiting for you. Session has begun. The other members arrived early and your son is present.”

“I didn’t doubt he would show up.”

The council room reminded her of a courtroom. Eleven seats were filled but one remained vacant behind the tall desk-like counter that formed a slightly curved table, like a judge’s bench. She guessed that empty seat belonged to Zorus. Eight males and three females dressed in matching white shirts studied them silently.

Zorus led Charlie to two seats, like those used on Earth, usually designated for the defense. There weren’t tables in this room set up for briefcases or papers. She sat on the chair, folded her hands in her lap to hide their trembling, and turned her head to watch more cyborgs quietly enter the room and fill the seats behind them. Obviously this would be a packed event.

“It will be fine,” Zorus assured her softly under his breath, just loud enough for her to hear. “Remain quiet.”

She nodded tensely. A side door opened, drawing her attention. Darius strode into the room with a dark-haired cyborg. Both men took seats where the prosecutors usually sat in Earth courtrooms. Approximately eight feet separated her from her attacker. She forced her gaze away to glance at anything but him.

The back doors closed along with the side door and guards stood in front of them. A woman on the council cleared her throat. “Begin.”

A dark-haired cyborg spoke next. “We are the council of,” a smirk twisted his lips, “twelve, minus one currently. I am Councilman Coval.” The guy glanced at Darius but then gave his full attention to Zorus. “You’ve been accused of treason and your human female of being an Earth spy. What the hell is going on?”

“Coval,” the woman next to him hissed. “This is an official council session. Refrain from your colorful usage of words.”

“My apologies.” He sighed. “I hate wasting time when I have better things to do. Address the charges, Zorus. Your title has been revoked during the proceedings. You stand accused of a very serious crime against Garden and all cyborgs. Your son, Darius, stated that you have been influenced by a human. Your loyalty has been brought into question.”

Zorus shot an annoyed look at his son before he addressed the council. “This is a family matter that never should have been brought before the council. Darius entered my home last evening, attacked my human, and didn’t agree with my intention to form a family unit with her in the future. I threatened him with bodily harm if he ever attempted to harm her again. He accused me of treason for protecting her.”

By Charlie’s count, at least six council members registered pure shock. Coval looked highly irritated as did the blond to his immediate right. One of the women on the council glowered at Darius. She leaned forward.

“Attacked? No mention was made of that before now. How did he attack your human, Zorus?”

Anger deepened his voice. “I walked into my bedroom to find he’d torn the clothing from her body, bruised her up, and he intended to rape her. He’d terrorized her, unprovoked. He’d bound her to prevent her from being able to fight him off.”

Dark, dull gray wasn’t a pretty color on the woman’s features when she rose to her feet to almost bend over the table to grip the edge of it. Anger emanated from her when she focused on Darius.

“Is that true?”

Charlie slid a glance at Darius. His skin had paled a sickly ash gray.

“She’s property. It’s not as if she is a cyborg female.”

The woman threw her body back hard enough to make the chair creak. Her green eyes glittered with rage. “I see you toed that line very carefully, didn’t you?”

“Jazel,” he croaked.

“Silence,” she hissed while her hand jerked up, palm out. It then slammed flat into the table to make a loud noise. “We’ll speak of this later, in private, after the meeting.”

A soft chuckle escaped Zorus. Amusement glinted in his eyes when he met her gaze for an instant. He knew something she didn’t but she could guess. Darius and the woman obviously knew each other since he’d called her by her first name, the fact that he’d tried to rape Charlie infuriated the woman, and Darius sported that “I’m in deep shit” look.

She leaned over enough to brush Zorus with her shoulder. “His wife?” she mouthed.

Zorus’ grin widened. He stood instead of answering her and he wiped all emotion from his features. “The accusations are false. There isn’t a question of my true loyalty to our people. I would ask the charges be dropped.”

“She’s a spy from Earth and has somehow twisted you inside,” Darius ground out harshly. “I demand a physical examination be performed on my father to make sure he hasn’t been drugged or tortured.”

“She rescued me,” Zorus stated coldly. “She planned to move to Saturn until I talked her in to coming here with me. She is not a spy from Earth.” He glanced at each of the cyborg council. “She held the status of a grunt on Earth. She came from the working class, her classification almost the same ours. The government allowed the females of her family to die when the black flu hit. They gave her a male name to prevent her from being taken away to do as they saw fit when she survived her birth.”

The dark-haired cyborg, Coval, leaned forward. “I am very interested in learning how a human became important to you.”

The blond at his side grinned. “I am as well. Explain it in detail, Zorus. Humans are our enemy and not to be trusted. How did the female convince you otherwise?”

A deep growl came from Zorus. “You just want details, Rais.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you enjoying this?”

The blond chuckled. “Yes and you are on trial still. You must answer our questions.”

A few of the council members chuckled. Charlie had a sinking sensation inside her gut that she was about to witness payback. A pale, blonde woman laughed aloud.

“Yes, Zorus. Do explain your sudden reversal on this matter. We have listened to years of your rants about how no human is trustworthy, they will ruin our society, and how dangerous they are.” The woman pointed at Charlie. “No chains? She looks shifty.”

“I do not,” Charlie gasped before she could halt the words. Her mouth slammed closed.

Zorus gave her an irritated look before he faced the council. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you? All of you?”

“Yes,” a cyborg chuckled. “Explain it to us so we don’t find you in contempt.”

“Fine.” Zorus dropped his hands to his sides, fisted them, and took a deep breath. “She makes me feel emotions. She makes me happy for once in my entire existence. I have discovered love.” His words came out harshly, his anger clear. “So laugh if you will. I’ve fallen for the thing I hated most. I didn’t mean for it to happen but she is unique. She risked her life countless times to save mine. She gave up her freedom for the belief that mine may have been in question. She once held a weapon on me,” he turned his head again to meet Charlie’s eyes. His features softened. “I noticed you adjusted the aim of it to make it impossible to kill me though you believed my intentions were deadly toward you.” He faced the council again. “She’s taught me not all humans are evil, intent on doing us harm, and made me finally understand what one of our males could see in a human female.” He addressed Coval and Rais. “I apologize for every insult I’ve given to you both for choosing one of them over our own females.”

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