Unwilling, unable, to pull away from him in spite of her simmering anger, she watched. "It's very energetic." No NewsNet reporter would ever gesticulate as wildly, much less use such emotive language.
"Hmm." Reaching over, Dev stole some of her trail mix, popping it into his mouth in a smooth gesture that hijacked her interest from a report on what appeared to be some kind of political turmoil in Sri Lanka.
Drawing in a deep breath, she tried to focus. But the scent of Dev - rich and wild, with an edge that tasted of steel - settled over her senses, holding her in thrall. He glanced over at that very moment and for the space of a single frozen second, everything stopped. Dev broke the electric contact by putting his arm around her.
She resisted. Because in that fleeting instant, she'd glimpsed a thousand shadows in his eyes. "What's going to happen when we get back to New York?"
Shaking her head, she turned to push at his chest. "The pretense ended last night." With the painful honesty of that kiss.
He closed his hand over hers, holding her palm against those pectorals she ached to have the right to stroke. "A few more hours," he said, his expression stark with things unsaid. "Do you want this to end so soon?"
No, she thought, no. Even if their relationship was a fragile construct formed of hopes that would never survive in the harsh light of day, she wanted to cling to it with all the strength in her. Giving in, she settled herself back by his side, curling her fingers lightly into his chest, her knees scraping against his thigh as she sat with her legs bent, feet pointing away from him.
His chin brushed her hair as he said, "Watch this."
It took her emotion-torn mind several seconds to realize the import of what the reporter was saying about trouble in Sri Lanka's legislative capital. "She's talking about Psy." Her mouth fell open. "The reporter's saying Psy attacked a government building!"
Dev's free hand came to rest on her knee. "Only four people," he murmured, "but that's four more than should exist under Silence."
"That's Shoshanna Scott!" Blasted by memory, by reams of connected knowledge, she would've jerked upright had Dev not been holding her.
On-screen, the slim brunette waited until the reporters had quieted to make her statement, her pale blue eyes striking against the darkness of her hair, the creamy white of her skin. Shoshanna Scott was the Council's public face for a reason - she had an appearance of such delicate beauty that people forgot the Psy ruled with their minds, not their bodies.
"This was," she began in a clear voice, "an incident provoked by Jax."
Katya couldn't believe it - her memories, shaky as they were, told her the Council liked to consign the Psy drug problem to the darkest of corners.
"The psychological weakness," Councilor Scott continued, "inherent in those who succumb to Jax is unfortunately not a genetic abnormality we can screen against."
"Councilor!" A short man with stiff black hair stood up, his eyes that of a rottweiler. "There are rumors this incident was caused by Psy who've given in to their emotions. What's your answer to that?"
"It's a ridiculous assertion. Normal Psy do not feel."
"Clever," Dev muttered, stroking his hand down her calf in a caress that shattered her concentration. "She's sidelining those four, effectively making them non-Psy."
Another reporter stood up even as Katya realized he was tugging her feet out from under her, placing them on his lap. "Dev - "
"Shh." His eyes were on the screen, but his fingers continued to stroke lightly over her calf. "Listen."
She forced her attention back to the screen, hearing only the last part of the newest question.
" - Jax is a problem for Psy?"
"For the weak among us, yes," Shoshanna said. "Some individuals are intrinsically flawed."
The report cut off at that moment, with the anchor doing a short analysis. "She took the less damaging blow," Katya said, skin stretching tighter with Dev's every languid stroke, "acknowledging the Jax problem rather than admitting Psy are beginning to break Silence."
"Yeah, that's my take, too." His hand closed over her ankle in a grip that screamed possession. "It's not really admitting anything, is it? Everyone knows some Psy do Jax. The junkies are hard to miss." The lazy stroke of his thumb over her anklebone.
Her thighs pressed together in an instinctive response she barely understood. Dragging in a breath, she tried to find her train of thought. "But it's the deeper issue that's really interesting - the public nature of the breakdowns."
"These four aren't the first," he said, his breath mingling with hers as their faces came ever closer. "There was a rash of similar incidents not that many months back. They'll be in the CTX archives."
It should've been a startling piece of information, but - "I worked with Ashaya for years. I always knew there was something imperfect about her Silence." And if there was one, why not more?
Only then did she realize she'd been petting him through the thin cotton of his T-shirt. "I - "
His hand curled into her hair, tugging back her head and cutting off her words. She found herself looking up into a face that could have as easily belonged to some dark age of war and conquest. Devraj Santos, she thought, made a good show of being civilized, but peel that away, and this was who he was at the core. Hard. Ruthless. Quite possibly without mercy.
"Such big eyes," he murmured. "Don't you know you shouldn't play with what you can't handle?"