Authors: N.S. Moore
My life is split into two realities. Before Code. And after him.
Much of what happened before Code has faded into a blur—a dark string of shaky images and disconnected sensations. But after Code is all brilliant, star-fire-bright clarity. Day after day, hour after hour, minute and minute—each nanosecond becoming deeply
I still remember the first moment I saw him walk into my father’s bank. He had that strut of a man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it, but at the same time there was something haunted in his eyes—so blue and deep and stormy they could have been the sea. His body was perfectly crafted, the tight muscles rippling even through his old t-shirt.
I was standing in the lobby, waiting for my father to come down from his office and take me out for my obligatory birthday lunch. It was really just a gesture toward a family feeling that had never existed.
Then I saw Code, and I wanted him. I
There was no reason to want him. He was as sexy as hell with his broad shoulders and dark five-o’clock shadow, but nothing else about him stood out. He wore jeans. He needed a haircut, and he had tattoos running down the length of one arm. He carried a black canvas bag on his shoulder.
And he scanned the lobby like he’d never been scared a moment in his life.
I had been scared. So many times. I used to huddle under the covers and hope my nightmare wouldn’t come that night, that the sweaty heaviness wouldn’t trap me, hurt me, rip me apart. I lived my whole life scared.
Maybe that was it. I saw in him a fearlessness that I desperately wanted, needed, craved as much as my next breath.
My eyes never left him as he stopped next to the front desk and checked his watch.
His back was to me now, and I stared at the breadth of his shoulders, the way his shirt fit snugly over lines and strong plans of his back, tapering down toward the tightest, finest ass I’d ever laid eyes on.
Because I was watching him, I saw immediately when he pulled out a gun, raised it to aim at the ceiling, and fired three shots.
And that is the way I mark my life—before that moment and after it. Before, when I tried to be agreeable, tried to be admired, tried to be pretty, tried to make sure everyone liked me. Tried to shake myself of shame. And after, when all of that fell away. When I just didn’t care anymore.
Before Code. And after him.
I didn’t know then what he would be to me. I didn’t know how he would transform the fabric of my existence. I didn’t know he would move me, reshape me, mold me into someone else, someone I wanted to be.
Afterwards, he would become my lover, my savior, my hope, and my strength.
But, before that, he was my hostage taker.
So this is what it takes to break free.
They say that you’ve only got one life to live, but that’s bullshit. I’m easily on my third. The first was the privileged, prep-school upbringing that was choking the life out of me. The next was the black period before Wren, and now I’m looking at life on my terms…with Wren.
In a million years I never thought I’d be like this. Never thought I’d get to know real freedom. For years I had people dictating my every fucking move. I finally had to look to a fistful of Vicodin and a bottle of Jack to escape it.
I survived it.
People say I was never the same after I woke up that day, and they were right. Gone was the quiet boy who let others dictate my life. Cody had been pumped out of me just as much as the booze and the pills.
That’s when Code came out to play.
It wasn’t even hard. I woke up, checked myself out of the hospital, and walked away from the life I used to have. First stop was the bank to empty my account. I tried to persuade the bank manager to let me have access to my trust fund, but I’m still four years shy of that happening. I just hope I live that long. Next came a tattoo parlor.
I love my ink.
And so do the women.
After that, there’s a space of time that I don’t remember. It’s a blur, a hazy memory at best. I don’t care. Obviously I came out on the other side.
And got to this bank.
How the hell did I even get here?
Is this what I really want? Is this the price of freedom?
The black duffel bag on my shoulder feels heavy—even though it’s empty except for a gun. I have to do this. This one thing, and I’ll be free. Free to move on and say fuck you to everyone and everything. I’ll have done it all. And all that will be left is to go out in a blaze of fucking glory.
On my terms.
I’m just going to do this thing and be gone.
But then I see her.
She’s everything that I walked away from. From her long, perfectly straightened hair, to the pearls she wears around her neck. No doubt her outfit costs more than most people make in a month.
My first instinct is to think “
”, but the thought never actually shapes in my mind. As much as I want to hate her, despise her, I also wanted to touch her. It might be nice to mess up someone so pretty, perfect, pristine.
Could be fun.
I bet she’d never let someone like me come within ten feet of her, though.
There’s something else there, though, beyond the small, gorgeous, feminine figure she makes. Something that makes me want to dive into her—in more ways than one.
Later. Think about that later
. I have this one job to do, and then I’m in the clear. No one will ever have a hold on me again. I’ve made sure of it. Once this is over, everything will be different.
Taking a deep breath, I pull the gun out, point it in the air and squeeze the trigger three times. People scream and drop to the floor.
Everyone goes down.
Except Miss Prim and Proper. What the fuck is wrong with her? Doesn’t she realize what’s going on here? Doesn’t she realize that, if pushed, I could put a bullet right through her? Without hesitation. I wouldn’t even care.
Our eyes meet, and in that moment I know. Just fucking know.
I would care.
She isn’t part of the plan.
But suddenly she is.
So now I can add another title to my endless list of crimes.
I’m not any good at saying “no.”
I’ve never been good at it. Things just happen to me, whether I want them to or not. I feel helpless, like I can’t stop them. I know it’s not right and not rational, but that’s just the way I am. I talk to my therapist about it, and he always tries to get me to think through the reasons.
I don’t know why. Or maybe I do. The reason doesn’t always matter, though. Even if I don’t want something, I can’t bring myself to stop it from happening.
I don’t want Philip to be touching me now, but he is.
We just got out of a class on the history of the Civil War, and he’s walking me back to my car with his hand on my lower back, sometimes drifting down to my butt. We’ve known each other the whole semester, but we went out for the first time last Saturday night. He took me to a movie, and then we sat in his car eating ice-cream.
He kissed me for a while—clumsy and wet and not very good—and then he pushed my head down into his lap so I’d give him a blow-job. Philip is one of those guys who’s really loud when he comes, so he grunted and twitched as my mouth built him up and then he bellowed with his climax.
I don’t actually like going down on guys, but I do it anyway. That’s the thing with me. I can’t seem to say “no.”
Today, he’s been telling me about baseball practice the previous day until we reach my Mercedes. The car is a present from my dad, and it’s parked in a reserved parking space—which my dad also pays for.
“He’s a fucking son-of-a-bitch,” Philip says, complaining about his coach, which is pretty much standard operating procedure for him. “One day I’m just gonna deck him.”
I give him an appreciative smile and sway closer to him. “If it comes to that, I’m sure you could take him out, no problem. You’re a lot stronger than him.”
See? That’s what I do. I can’t seem to help it.
He likes what I do—making him feel all manly and appreciated—so he takes my bag off my shoulder, drops it on the pavement, and pushes me against the side of my shiny blue car.
And now he’s all over me—his tongue slathering my mouth, his hands groping my breasts, my butt, between my thighs. He smells like chips and gym socks, and my shoulder blades are being poked painfully into the hard metal behind me.
I don’t like it. Any of it. But I don’t say “no.”
Philip isn’t a bad guy. He’s good-looking and smart and an athlete and everyone likes him. He’s not nearly as jerkish as some guys I’ve gone out with in the past. It will be a
for me if we start dating.
I don’t want him to be angry. I don’t want him to be disappointed. I don’t want him to think I’m not hot.
I want people to like me, admire me, think I’m normal.
No one needs to know that sex just isn’t something I ever feel like doing.
Since I don’t stop him, we end up in my back seat. I’m wearing a little pink skirt, which is soon pushed up around my hips.
The soft leather sticks to the bare skin of my bottom as he takes me hard and fast.
I do make him wear a condom. I’m always careful about that.
The door is shut, so I don’t think anyone can see us unless they walk right past the car. But still, we’re in public. It’s kind of embarrassing. I don’t want anyone to walk by and see me with my skirt up to my waist, my bare legs wrapped around his hips, his jeans pushed down, his naked butt pumping rigorously as he fucks me.
The car might be shaking a little, but not too much. Philip’s cock is a little uncomfortable inside me, but it isn’t painful.
I call that good sex.
He’s grunting louder and louder now, and his eyes are squeezed shut. I turn my head away, as I always do, and try to think of something I can do to make the sex hotter.
I end up reaching around his ass and finding and squeezing his balls.
He gives a loud roar right in my ear as he comes.
Well, that turns out better than I expect. It’s good for him, and it ends quicker for me.
He looks very pleased with himself as he sits up and tucks his cock back in place and zips up. “That was awesome, babe.”
“You’re the one who’s awesome. I can’t remember anyone taking me so good before.”
I told you. That’s me. It’s my
Anyway, he eventually gets out of the car and heads back to his next class. I get into the driver’s seat feeling sore and like I might smell like Philip.
I don’t have time to go home and clean up, though. I have to meet my father for my birthday lunch at one.
It’s my birthday today. I’m turning nineteen. Just thought I’d mention it.
I have a few “Happy Birthday” texts from friends on my phone. As I’m scrolling through, Shelly sends me a picture of her and Greg, grinning and wearing birthday cone hats—the kind with elastic that snaps under your chin. The message says, “Happy birthday from both of us.”
Shelly was my best friend all through high school. I went out with Greg for six months last year until Shelly made a play for him. I didn’t fight back. I didn’t care enough about him to cause a fuss.
Ever since she and Greg got together, Shelly likes to cattily remind me that he’s with her and not with me.
I’m about to put down my phone and head to the restaurant to meet my dad when the phone rings with a call.
It’s my father’s assistant, so I pick it up.
“Hi, Wren,” the woman says. “Your father is running a little late. Can you come over to the bank instead? He’ll meet you down in the lobby.”
“Sure. I’ll be there in about fifteen.”
I’m used to my dad being late for appointments with me. This isn’t a surprise.
So here’s the story of me, if anyone cares. I’m an only child. My dad is the head honcho of a prestigious bank and has been rolling in money since I was born.
He and my mom divorced when I was five, and I spent most of the time living with my mom and then with a stepfather. I saw my dad one weekend a month and then a month or two during the summers, until I was fourteen. That was when my mom was killed, and I went to live with my dad.
I still live in his house, since he doesn’t think the dorms at college are safe enough. He’s protective of me. He’s not an affectionate man, but I think that’s a sign that he cares about me.
He’s business through and through. He has no idea how to bond with a teenage daughter.
It’s not really his fault.
I check my makeup in the rearview mirror. My face is a little dewy, but I still look okay. I think I’m pretty enough. I’m really tiny, and my eyes are brown. My nose is too small and my mouth is too big, but my hair is good—smooth, brown, shiny, and hanging all the way down to my waist. And I have pretty good tits for being so tiny, although they don’t come close to most of my friends who have had help from plastic surgeons.
I figure I look good enough for a birthday lunch as I start my car. Just hopefully I don’t smell like Philip.
I head over to the bank instead of the restaurant, and I have no idea that this slight alteration of plans is going to change the whole course of my life.