Hackers with(out) Remorse - (Book 4 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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13 - My Name Is Human

Hacker Rule #9: Never let your guard down. Even with those you love.

“Mr. Evans? Mr. Evans!”

Owen looked up from the spot on the floor to the school counselor, Ms. Grace, sitting at her desk in front of him. “Mr. Evans, have you been listening to anything I’ve said?” she asked, with a tinge of irritation in her voice. Owen looked from her to the large bulky man standing next to her with his arms folded across his chest. The scowl on his face intent to make Owen feel as uncomfortable as possible. “Mr. Evans,” she repeated.

“Same shit, different broad...” Owen muttered.

“You fuckin-” the man started before the woman put up her hand.

“Coach Tucker, please,” she said. “I asked you here for support, not to antagonize.” Owen scoffed as he rubbed away the bit of blood dripping from his busted lip. “Would you like a tissue, Mr. Evans?” she asked. “I highly suggest you see our school nurse to help with those injuries.”

“I’m fine,” Owen said curtly.

The school counselor readjusted in her seat as she looked at her clipboard before looking back up at the bruised teenage boy sitting in front of her. “Mr. Evans,” she said. “Do you know why you’re here today?”

“Because you assholes won’t leave me the fuck alone?” Owen said with heavy snark in his voice.

“Because you were in another fight,” she said. “The fourth one this week.”

“He’s a huge fucking problem for my team,” Coach Tucker growled.

“Coach Tucker, as an adult, I’m going to have to ask you to mind your language,” Ms. Grace said, glaring up at him.

Coach Tucker grumbled to himself. “I’m sick of him and his brother causing issues. I don’t know what kind of rehabilitative crap you thought they could get out of playing, but it’s not working. His gay ass is always flirting with the damn players, and he brings this bullshit upon himself. Every fight he gets into is his own damn fault!”

“I don’t do shit!” Owen snapped. “It’s not my fault your team is just as homophobic as you!”

“That’s enough!” Ms. Grace said, interjecting. She looked at Owen with a sigh. “Mr. Evans... Owen... I know that your situation hasn’t been... ideal. I understand that you and your brother have neither of your parents, and it can be tough to navigate life without any parental support. I can only imagine how difficult it was growing up in the foster care system. But, that’s no reason to act out,” she started.

Owen rolled his eyes as he looked out of the window, trying to tune her out. “And I’m sure you’re very disappointed that your mother’s retrial has been delayed... again. But, these are circumstances that are beyond you, Mr. Evans,” she continued. “There’s nothing you can do about them. You need to focus on yourself and your development. You need to do better... to... assimilate into this school, and that perhaps will make your life a bit easier.”

Owen let out a pitiful chuckle as he shook his head in blatant disdain. “This sad excuse of a school hasn’t done a damn thing to make my life or the life of my brother ‘easier’. All you’ve done is recruit us like some fucking cattle for your pathetic teams because all of your players are shit,” Owen said.

“You’re right,” Ms. Grace said, putting her hand up before the Coach could intervene. “We can do better. We need to do better to support you and your brother. Coach Tucker? Any ideas on how you can better support Owen?”

The coach rubbed his chin as he looked at Owen. “Have you tried... not being gay?” he shrugged.

“Coach Tucker!” Ms. Grace blurted.

“Have you tried not sleeping with your underage female students?” Owen said, cocking his head to the side.

Ms. Grace’s eyes bulged as the coach’s face turned beet red. “You son of a bitch!” the Coach snarled. “He’s fucking lying!”

Owen chuckled condescendingly. “It’s pretty common knowledge that you’ve been sleeping around with a few of the girls in my class. You were even caught groping up one of the soccer players in the locker room. But hey... with a homophobic and evidently pedophiliac piece of shit like you... I’m really not that surprised.”

The coach snarled as he immediately lunged at Owen. “I swear I’ll kill you! You and your damn brother, you fuckin’ fagg-” he started. But Owen shot up from his chair and grabbed the coach’s arm. He twisted it behind his back and slammed him down face-first onto the school counselor’s desk. The coach cried out in agony as Owen tightened his grip. He raised the coach’s arm high behind his back as he kept his other hand on the coach’s face smushed into the desk.

“Mr. Evans!” Ms. Grace shrieked.

Owen leaned down and whispered menacingly into the coach’s ear. “I am not a defenseless child anymore. I’m not taking any more of your fucking abuse. Come at me again and I swear I will ruin your fucking life,” Owen sneered before he let up.

The coach stumbled to the floor as Owen stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets. He looked at the shocked school counselor and the coach panting on the floor. “You wanna know how you can help me and my brother? Leave us the fuck alone,” he said to them. Owen glared at the coach. “Threaten us again... I dare you.”

Owen did a 180 and looked down at his hand. He held the coach’s cellphone that he had swiped from his pocket when he slammed him on the desk. He walked out of the office without saying another word.

“And then, I screenshot all the explicit text messages he had with his students and sent it to their parents,” Owen said nonchalantly, leaning against the dresser in Tiana’s room. “By the end of the week, his ass was locked up.” Tiana stared at Owen, blinking in a daze. “What?” he asked.

“What the hell kind of story was that?!” she blurted.

“I’m telling you about when I first started learning how to pickpocket,” Owen said. “So you get some context before we start training.”

“Owen, that entire story was depressing as shit,” Tiana said. “Your coach seriously abused you? For 3 years?!”

“It sounds worse when you say it out loud,” Owen said.

“It sounds worse, either way, Owen! And your mom! You never told me that she-”

“T,” Owen said, cutting her off. “Please don’t.”

Tiana looked up at him with concern dancing in her eyes. “You never talk to me about your parents, Owen,” she said. “Your mom... your dad...” Owen looked at her before he averted his gaze. “Owen?” she persisted.

“Another time, T,” he said, grabbing her hand to pull her off of the bed. “We have work to do.” Tiana stumbled into his arms and smacked into his chest. “A lot of work...” he grinned at her.

“You’re the one who yanked me off the bed,” she snapped at him.

Owen smirked as he wrapped both arms around her waist and pulled her body flushed against his. “You’re right... my bad... think I prefer you on the bed...” he said, leaning into her. Tiana looked up at him with wide eyes as she felt his hand slide down her hips. “What do you say...” he said, whispering against her ear. “Face down... ass up?”

“Are... are you quoting 2-Live Crew?” she stammered nervously.

Owen grinned. “Mantra that I live by, baby girl.”

Tiana’s words got caught in her throat as the look in Owen’s gaze took her completely by surprise. “O...Owen..?” she said confused.

Owen teasingly looked down at her lips before looking back into her eyes and stepped back from her. “In those two minutes, I managed to pull your wallet, your phone,” he said, holding up her things. “And your keys.”

Tiana gawked at him as she quickly searched her body. “How the hell?!” she blurted.

“All I had to do was make you sweat a little,” he grinned. “Or make you wet a little... whichever one is most relevant with women.”

Tiana immediately flushed over. “That’s not funny, Owen.”

“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” he said, handing her back her things. “That’s the level of prowess you need to have to survive where we’re going.”

Tiana furrowed her brow as she stuck her phone back into her pocket. “I really don’t think I can ever get to that level.”

“Why not?” he asked. “You’ve got the body, the voice. You just need to learn how to use it. Men, in general, are weak. Especially heterosexual men, and especially when it comes to women they’re attracted to. Your sex appeal hits their vulnerability.”

Tiana shook her head as she fell backward on her bed in exasperation. “I don’t have sex appeal, Owen.”

Owen grinned as his eyes quickly raked over her body. “You don’t give yourself enough credit, T...”

She sat up on the bed and looked at him. “Is that what you’re trying to teach me?” she asked. “To use my non-existent sex appeal to distract men while I finesse them?”

“Pretty much,” he smirked, reaching out his hand to her. “Come here.” She stood to her feet again and looked at him. “Try to take my wallet off of me without me realizing,” he said.

She rolled her eyes. “But you already know-”

“It’s just technique, T,” he said. “Now, try.”

She looked up at him and stepped forward. Pressing her palms against his abdomen as she pushed him back against the wall, she felt goosebumps form on her skin. She kept eye contact with him as she shifted her hands underneath his shirt. She felt his hard abs and nearly lost complete focus.

Owen swallowed down his want as Tiana’s fingers against his skin sent his whole body ablaze with desire. “Talk dirty to me, T,” he said, looking down at her. “Distract me from your true intentions.”

Tiana’s mouth parted as one of her hands moved down his torso to the front of his pants. Though she was aiming for his pocket, she accidentally felt his member instead. Her eyes bugged. “Shit, I’m so sorry, I-” she started. But Owen gripped her hips and flushed her body against his.

“Keep going...” he said lowly.

She blinked at him, trying to stay focused and ignored the throbbing going on between her thighs. “I... uh...”

Owen leaned forward and nuzzled the side of her face as his hands glided over the curve of her backside. “You what...” he said heatedly against her ear. “You what, baby...”

Tiana felt her knees go weak and could no longer tell if he was being serious or not. All she could think about was how even his most subtle touch woke up every nerve in her body with how badly she wanted to kiss him. She snapped out of it when she felt Owen push her back slightly as his blue eyes locked with hers.

“Where’d you go?” he asked her. “It’s like you forgot what we were doing.”

“You kind of threw me off,” she said a bit flustered. “I nearly had it until you-” Her eyes widened when he held up her wallet and phone again. “How the- ugh!” she groaned.

“You just need practice,” he grinned.

~*~

Tyler punched the heavy bag dangling from the ceiling of their small gym. He blew his hair out of his eyes and punched the bag again as it swung backward.

“Mrs. Sarah Evans, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.”

Tyler shook his head to block out the noise of the flashbacks that had been plaguing his mind. He punched the heavy bag again.

“Please! Wait! My boys!” Sarah panicked. She reached for her two sons trembling in the corner of the blood-stained kitchen. “I can’t leave my boys!”

“Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to remain still,” the officer said, holding her hands behind her back.

“Mom! No! Leave her alone! Stop!” A young Owen and Tyler shuffled across the bloody kitchen and clutched onto their mother.

“Grab the kids, dammit!” the officer snapped, trying to pull their mother away.

“WAIT! PLEASE! JUST WAIT!” Sarah cried as she tried to wiggle free from the officer’s grasp.

“MOM! PLEASE LEAVE HER ALONE! PLEASE STOP!” Owen cried, trying to fight the officer off of his mother. Another officer wrapped his arms around Owen’s waist, trying to tug him off.

“LET HER GO! SHE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!” Tyler screamed as another officer hauled him off the floor. His arms and legs thrashed wildly.

Tyler growled as he shoved his fist into the heavy bag, hitting it again and again as his anger boiled up inside of him. He smacked his gloved fists together, turning on the bag and dealt blow after blow.

“Please, let me just calm them down first! I beg of you!” Sarah pleaded.

The officer sighed as he gave her arm some slack. “Two minutes.”

She ran towards her two boys and pulled them into her arms. “Mom, please don’t go!” Owen cried into her shoulder. “Please!”

“Shh, Owen,” Sarah sobbed as she held his head against her shoulder. “It’s going to be okay. I’ll be back, I promise. I just need you to be strong for me, okay?”

“This isn’t right,” Tyler said, shaking his head furiously. “They can’t do this. They can’t take you away from us! It’s not your fault, Mom, tell them it’s not-”

“Tyler!” his mom said sternly.

“One minute,” the officer said, tapping his foot. Tyler glared angrily at the impatient officer before his mother tugged at him again.

“Tyler, sweetie, look at me,” Sarah said as her tears mingled with the blood on her bruised and battered face. “I need you to take care of your brother, okay? Take care of Owen. Promise me you’ll look after one another. Promise me no matter what, you’ll be there for each other.”

Tyler growled as he hit the bag so hard it split open. Sand started to pour out onto the ground.

Tyler trembled with anger and fear as the officers dragged his mother away. Owen’s sobs reverberated throughout the kitchen as Tyler held him in his arms. He looked up at a man wearing a brown leather jacket and a woman with a long black coat.

“Hi there,” the woman said, bending down to meet him eye-to-eye. “My name is Detective Nicole and this is my partner Detective Dave. You’ll be spending the evening with us, okay?”

“Where are you taking our mom?” Tyler asked tensely.

“We’re just gonna ask her a few questions,” Detective Nicole said.

“Detective.”

Detective Nicole looked behind her to see her partner motioning her over. “Yea?” she asked, walking up to him.

“They found the body... and the murder weapon...” Detective Dave said lowly. “Other than the fact that it’s still stained with blood, it’s got her husband’s DNA all over it... and hers...” Nicole looked at the two boys standing in the corner of the destroyed kitchen.

“She beat him to death,” Detective Dave continued. “Beat him until his skull cracked open, and then beat him until his brain matter mixed with his bone fragments. He’s unrecognizable. Half of his head is in a Ziploc bag.”

“Well, he abused her and his children,” Detective Nicole said, gesturing to Owen’s black eye and Tyler’s busted lip. “Any chances to plead self-defense?”

“We’ll have to look at the evidence,” Detective Dave said. “But right now... we need to focus on these boys. They’re without both parents now. No family to contact so far. Which means...”

“Foster care...” Detective Nicole sighed. “Maybe another family will adopt them.”

Detective Dave looked at the cold glare in Tyler’s eyes as Owen continued to sob in his brother’s arms. “They watched their mother murder their father,” Detective Dave said. “Nobody wants damaged kids like that.”

Tyler fell to the ground on his knees as tears rolled down his cheeks. He pulled off his boxing gloves and tossed them. His fingers trembled as he ran them through his hair over and over again, trying to calm himself down. He beat his fist against his chest just to feel any other physical pain than the torment he felt at that moment.

“Ty?”

Tyler glanced up at the door to see Tiana and Owen. “Hey,” he said, quickly wiping his face as he stood to his feet.

Owen eyed the broken heavy bag with sand leaking out of it before he looked back at his brother trying to pull himself together. “T, can you give us a minute?” Owen asked, turning to her.

Tiana furrowed her brow watching Tyler in a state that she had never seen him in. She had no idea what was going on with him, but she couldn’t deny it tugged at her heart. “...Sure...” she said. “I’ll be upstairs. Text me when you’re ready.”

Owen watched Tiana walk back up the stairs when he set his eyes back on his brother sitting on the ground with his back against the wall. He took a few long strides across the floor before plopping down next to his brother. “You saw her again?” Owen asked quietly.

Tyler’s jaw tensed as his fingers played with each other. “I saw her... the whole thing... playing out like a damn movie in my head,” Tyler muttered.

Owen sighed as he rested his head back against the wall. “Does it help?”

“What?”

“Boxing.”

Tyler shrugged. “A little...”

Owen glanced at the torn heavy bag and grinned. “Then, I guess we’ll need to get another heavy bag quick.”

Tyler smirked as he rubbed the back of his neck. “My bad...”

“You need more than this, Ty,” Owen said. Tyler looked at his brother in confusion. “I mean... it can’t just be boxing. You need human interaction... human affection-”

“You’re sounding like Jason,” Tyler rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me I need to get laid.”

Owen chuckled. “Well, it’s true. You do need to get laid. But, that’s not what I mean. I mean... I think we should go visit her.”

Tyler looked at Owen surprised before he shook his head. “I can’t. Every time I see her in there I get so fucking pissed. I just-”

“She misses us,” Owen said. “We haven’t seen her in months because we’ve been focusing on finding Dante’s murderer and all these assignments, but... I think it’s time we go see her again.”

Tyler took a deep breath as he stared ahead of him. “I can’t stand seeing her in there, Owen...”

“I know...” Owen said remorsefully. “We’ll get her out. I swear on my life, we’ll get her out.” Tyler felt a lump form in his throat. He felt that he and Owen were constantly having this repetitive conversation in which they swore they would find a way to get their mother’s freedom. Tyler only knew of one way but Owen refused.

“Why’d you bring her down here?” Tyler asked abruptly.

Owen rolled his eyes. “Just say her name, Ty.”

“I don’t need more distractions from my work.”

Owen groaned. “You need to go over the system breakdown with her.”

“I don’t need her.”

“Yes, you do. We all do. Stop being a stubborn asshole, already,” Owen lectured. He pulled out his phone and texted Tiana to come down.

Tyler sucked his teeth as he stood to his feet. “It’s a bad idea having her involved. Especially on an assignment as dangerous as this one. She’s too junior.”

“She’ll learn. Like we did.”

“She won’t be forced to learn like we were, Owen. It’s not the same,” Tyler said. “She’s not learning out of basic survival. This shit is too big for her.”

Owen deeply exhaled as he stood to his feet. “You should give her a chance, Ty. In my eyes, she’s already more than proven herself. And I think if you take a minute to stop being angry, you’ll see not only how important she is, but how incredible of a woman she is as well. She’s perfect.”

Tyler raised a curious brow. “‘Incredible’? ‘Perfect’? You sound like you’re in love with her?”

Owen hesitated for a moment before he shrugged. “I do love her.”

“That’s not what I said,” Tyler corrected him.

Owen went to speak when they both glanced at the door to see Tiana walking down the stairs. “Am I interrupting?” she asked.

“No, come in,” Owen gestured. Tiana followed Owen and Tyler into the garage before she found herself in a small lab room. There were computer mainframes everywhere and a long counter covered with laptops.

“Is that an Xcisor X-47?!” she blurted, eyeing a slim silver computer on the table.

“Yea...” Tyler said with a quirked brow. She shoved past the two of them and grabbed the computer, eyeing it from every angle.

“Holy crap! They haven’t even officially announced this release yet! And it’s just sitting on your freaking counter like an unwrapped cookie waiting to be devoured!” she said excitedly. “Can I?”

“I guess?” Tyler said, confused before she was already opening up the laptop.

“Isn’t she cute,” Owen grinned. Tyler rolled his eyes. “T, I’ll be back down for you in a few hours,” he said.

Tiana immediately spun around and looked at Owen with deep concern before dragging him to the corner. “What did I say about leaving me alone with your rude ass brother?” she said tensely. Owen burst into laughter. “Owen, this isn’t funny!” she said, tugging on his shirt. “We don’t like each other. Please, just stay.”

“T, I have to run errands,” Owen said. “Besides, everything will be okay.”

“No, it won’t,” she said, shaking her head. “I hate him. He hates me. We’re like fuckin’... Batman and the Joker! Superman and Darkseid. Goku and Frieza. Optimus Prime and Megatron.”

“Is Ty the bad guy in all of these?” Owen teased.

“OBVIOUSLY!” Tiana blurted as Owen laughed again. “We will kill each other. You can’t leave us alone together.”

“It’s only a few hours, T.”

“ONLY?!”

Owen chuckled. “Relax... If it gets really bad, just walk away, take a breather, and text me, okay?” Tiana’s jaw clenched as she released Owen’s shirt. She turned to look at Tyler who looked beyond fed up.

“You done talking shit about me behind my back, princess?” Tyler said snidely.

“Boy, I’ll talk shit about you in front of your damn face,” she snapped back at him.

“Alright, here’s the deal,” Owen said, standing between them. “From here on out, neither of you are allowed to say anything mean or disrespectful to each other. The first person who does... has to muck up all the oil from the mainframe engine. Got it?” The two of them looked at Owen before averting their eyes. “Alright then,” Owen smiled. “I’ll see you, two kids, later.”

~

Tiana watched Tyler lie down on his back as he connected several wires to the underbelly of a large mainframe computer. His shirt was raised slightly, showing his ripped abs underneath, and it frustrated her that someone so evil could look so damn good.

“I’m going to restart the dejection system, but you need to be able to recognize the code for system vulnerabilities and weaknesses,” Tyler said.

“Okay,” she said calmly.

He crawled out from underneath the large computer. “3 reds, 6 blues, and 2 whites show stabilization. Anything more than 3 reds and/or less than 6 blues is a vulnerability,” he said, looking at her. “I want you to go underneath and see what it looks like, now that it’s been rebooted. Analyze which state it’s in so you can get familiar with it. I know you’ve worked with alloy regeneration before. But before we can regenerate, we need to break down. And to break down we need to find weaknesses. Got it?”

She didn’t like his tone, but she simply nodded and averted her eyes.

“Get on your knees,” he demanded. Tiana looked at him startled, and they both locked eyes with each other as if surprised by his own words. Tyler regretted telling her to get on her knees as the words pulled a completely different feeling out of him. “Or on your back... you can get on your back,” he said quickly, realizing that those words weren’t any better.

Tiana shook her head. “It’s fine. I get it.” She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves as she once again ignored his suggestive and demanding tone. She got down on her knees to crawl under the mainframe. Crawling on her hands and knees, she looked at the wiring board he was working on and analyzed the lights as they started to pick up.

Tyler swallowed hard as he eyed Tiana’s ass wide in his face. Her jeans strained against the stretch. The small of her back was exposed, teasing him as she arched to get a better look. “What... what do you see?” he asked, clearing his throat.

“3 reds, 6 blues so far,” she said from underneath. “Oh wait... there are 2 greens.”

“That’s fine,” he said, trying to readjust his tightened jeans. His fingers twitched, wanting to touch her as her ass poked out even further. The thoughts that ran through his mind of what he wanted to do to that ass made him flush over.

“Now, there’s 4 reds and 5 blues,” she said. “Can we start the breakdown?”

“Yea,” he said, moving away from her. “Just um... give me a second...” Tiana crawled out from underneath just in time to see Tyler briskly walk away.

Tyler hid in the small bathroom and leaned on the sink, trying to control his breathing. He cringed as his large erection pushed up against the sink, poking through his jeans. The strain was beyond painful. “Goddammit,” he groaned. “How the fuck does she do this to me??”

He quickly released his erection from his jeans, just to give himself some sort of relief. He couldn’t remember the last time he had an erection prior to meeting Tiana and figured that was why the sensation had become so unbearable. He wrapped his hand around his throbbing member and shook slightly at the touch. “Shit...” he muttered.

“Tyler?” came Tiana’s voice from outside. “Do you want me to just start? Or..?”

“No, just... just wait,” he said out loud. “I’ll be out in a minute.” Tiana furrowed her brow and walked back over to the computer.

Tyler deeply sighed as he started to stroke his length. An action he hadn’t done in a while. He bit his lip as the image of Tiana’s backside returned to his memory. He gripped his shaft more firmly as his stroke got more intense. “Oh fuck...” he groaned. It frustrated him how many images of her had been stored in his memory. Her face, her body, the look of scorn she had every time she cussed him out. Several dirty thoughts flashed in his mind, and for a moment he wondered what her moans sounded like before he heard her call his name again.

“...Tyler? Are you okay?”

“...yea, baby...” he groaned lowly as he closed his eyes shut and worked his hand around his shaft.

Tiana furrowed her brow in confusion from the other side of the door, unable to hear him, and checked her watch. “Tyler, maybe I should just start?” she shouted again.

Tyler could hear Tiana’s voice, but he couldn’t decipher what she was saying. Her voice turned him on so much that he felt his release stirring his groin and heating his shaft. He felt he had no control over himself whatsoever. A raging desire to get rid of this aching that wouldn’t let up until it was satisfied. His precum dripped down his fingers as he worked his hand more furiously.

Tiana heard grunting noises coming from the other side of the door and scrounged her nose up. She decided to just let him be. “Should try some Pepto Bismol or... Tums...” she muttered. She walked back to the computer to start working on it herself.

Tyler panted heavily as his entire body flooded with goosebumps from the intensity of his orgasm. He hadn’t climaxed that hard in years. He looked down at his hand wrapped around his thick member completely coated in far too much semen. “Can’t believe she has this fucking effect on me,” he muttered. Shaking his head, he quickly turned on the water and grabbed the soap to clean off his hand.

Tyler eventually walked out of the bathroom to see Tiana deconstructing the system. “What the fuck are you doing?!” he barked.

Tiana frantically sat up startled and hit her head on the underbelly with a loud thump. “Ow!” she groaned, rubbing her forehead. “The hell, Tyler?!”

“I told you to wait!” he snapped at her.

“Well, you were taking a while, and I thought time was short,” she said, getting up. “Besides, I can totally handle this. I already know what I’m doing.”

“You thinking you know what you’re doing and you actually knowing what you’re doing are two completely different things!” he said angrily.

Tiana rolled her eyes. “Fine, Dick Grayson. See for your damn self.”

Tyler sucked his teeth as he leaned forward and analyzed her work. “You mixed up two wires,” he said.

“NO, I DID NOT!” she blurted.

“Yes, you totally fucking did,” he pointed. “White on yellow, green on blue. Not vice versa.”

“I swear you just made that shit up,” she glared at him.

“Next time, when I tell you to wait, fucking wait,” he snapped at her. “It’s this kind of reckless behavior that proves you’re not ready.”

“Ready for what, exactly, Tyler?” she said, shoving him in the chest. “Ready for this damn assignment or for you to stop acting like a total ass to me?”

“I don’t give a shit how you feel, princess.”

“Yea, clearly!” she said, shoving him again. “What’s your damn problem?!”

You and your cocky ass attitude are my fucking problem!” he said, grabbing her wrists before she could shove him again. She stumbled into his chest and looked up at him ready to cuss him out. But she was startled by the sudden shift in his gaze. “Shit...” he said, eyeing the lump on her forehead from when she bumped her head. “You need some ice on this.”

She looked at him shocked. “Are you just completely bipolar?!” she blurted.

Tyler looked down at her as if trying to read the look in her eyes. Her hand was itching to slap him. But then, his eyes landed on her lips. Tyler felt her breathing quicken and quickly let her go. “It’s not my fault you’re a fucking klutz. You need to be more careful,” he snapped.

Tiana watched him walk towards a small fridge and grab an ice pack before he walked back towards her. He reached for her head and she instinctively flinched, pulling back from him. “What, you think I’m going to hurt you?” he said sarcastically.

“No, but I’m seriously going to hurt you,” she threatened him.

Tyler smirked at her. “I’d like to see you try, princess,” he said, pushing the ice pack against her forehead as she winced.

~*~

Jason’s car pulled up to the parking lot of a large building. He sat back in the driver’s seat and looked up at the building as his thumb stroked the bottom of his chin. He got lost in his thoughts for just a moment before opening the door and hopping out of the car.

“Jason!” a nurse from the front desk said with a bright smile. “It’s such a pleasant surprise to see you today! You look really good. Still working out?” she asked, flirtatiously.

Jason grinned. “Hey, Ira... I keep busy.”

She bit her lip as she took in his firm chest beneath the lightweight black muscle shirt he was wearing and shifted from one leg to another. “Are you um... free later? I get off in a few hours,” she winked.

Jason smirked as he shook his head. “I don’t mean to be rude, Ira, but... I’m just here to pay a bill and see my pops for today.”

Ira pouted. “I understand... Maybe next time? Honestly, since meeting you, I’ve never been able to look at a hospital bed the same way again,” she teased.

Jason chuckled as he pulled out his wallet. “I um... yeah, I don’t know...”

“Oh, come on, Jason, you never say ‘no’.” She looked around subtly before lowering her voice. “I’ve been practicing that move you taught me last time... I have never experienced pleasure that intense before. You are just so-”

“Nurse Ira.”

Ira jumped startled to see an older nurse walking towards them. “Jason! Hey! Long time no see!” the older nurse said, hugging him.

“Hey, Geraldine,” Jason smiled as he hugged her back.

“Here to see your father?” Geraldine asked.

“Yea... How is he?” Jason asked.

“He’ll be much happier once he sees you,” Geraldine smiled as she motioned him down the hall. Ira pouted in disappointment as Geraldine escorted Jason to his father’s room.

“This should cover him for the next three months, right?” Jason asked the nurse on the other side of the help desk.

The nurse looked up at Geraldine and Jason standing on the other side of the counter and smiled. “Yup! This is enough to cover Mr. Davis’s new respiratory treatment for the next three months and his new medication,” the nurse said.

Jason furrowed his brow in confusion. “New medication?”

Geraldine nodded to the nurse before turning Jason down the hall again. “He um... We found more porous tissue in his liver... There was some internal bleeding...” Jason’s jaw tensed with angst and apprehension as he looked down the hall. “But the doctors kept it under control. He’s on another medication that will strengthen the tissue,” Geraldine said quickly.

Jason took a deep breath and looked at her gratefully. “Thanks...” He looked at the doorknob to his father’s private room for just a second before grabbing it and slowly turning it open. Jason stepped into the white room that was filled with the sunlight, pouring in from the windows.

“Mr. Davis,” Geraldine said, walking in after Jason to go check the monitors. “Your son is here.”

Jason’s anxious eyes wandered over his father’s frail and pale form lying in the hospital bed. His skin was significantly more yellow and wrinkled than when he last saw him. His hair had grayed slightly and his eyes were barely open. “Chuck,” Geraldine smiled down at the man. “Your son came to visit.”

Jason’s father slowly opened his eyes until his pale, light blue eyes set on his morose son standing in front of him. “Jason?” he said weakly as a smile came to his sunken face. “Boy, is that you?”

“Yea, it’s me, Pops,” Jason smiled as he stepped forward.

Chuck raised a shaky hand, and Jason quickly took it into his own. His father’s hand felt so fragile in his grasp that Jason was afraid he might break him. He tried to keep back the tears threatening to escape his eyes. The sight of his once healthy father always broke his heart. “You look good, boy,” Chuck smiled at him.

“Thanks,” Jason said. “You look...”

“I look like shit,” his father chuckled. “You ain’t gotta lie to me.” Jason gave a sympathetic smile as he sat down in the chair next to his father’s bed.

“I heard you had some internal bleeding,” Jason said, still holding his hand. “How are you feeling? Are you in pain?”

Chuck waved his hand dismissively. “Was nothing. I’m fine. Don’t you worry about your old man. It’s part of getting old.”

“And drinking yourself to shit,” Jason added.

His father laughed amused. “Yea... yea that too...” Jason frowned as he took in his father’s deteriorating form. “How are those brothers?” Chuck asked. “Tyler and Owen. I haven’t seen them in forever. How are they?”

“They’re good, Pops,” Jason said. “We’re looking after each other.”

“Good,” Chuck said. “Tell me about your life. Catch me up.”

Jason sat back in his chair. “There’s not much to say. Things are the same as always.” A frown came to his face. “I did lose a friend recently... a really good one.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, son...”

Jason sighed. “But... I also gained another.”

“Oh, yea? He a troublemaker like you?” Chuck teased.

She is not nearly as bad as me,” Jason smirked.

She?!” Chuck blurted. “You got a girlfriend?”

“Well, she’s not my girlfriend,” Jason laughed. “But, I do like her... a lot.” Chuck glanced at his son who seemed to be lost in his thoughts as a small smile came to his face. “She’s beautiful, Pops. Like... really fucking beautiful. A killer smile. A rocking body. A voice that makes me wanna melt. A bit of a dork and funny too. And she’s so goddamn smart. I mean her mind just... amazes me.”

Chuck raised a surprised brow. “I have never heard you talk about a woman like that before. My son? The player? Who is this amazing woman who’s got my horn dog of a son hooked on her like an addict.”

“That’s not funny, Pops,” Jason said, looking at him.

“So what. I’m an addict. I can make these jokes,” Chuck laughed. “Besides, from the look of you, can’t say I’m too far off, am I? You really like this girl? Enough to commit to?”

Jason smiled. “...maybe...”

“Well shit, now I gotta meet her!” Chuck laughed. “I gotta see if my future daughter-in-law knows what she’s getting into with a knucklehead like you.”

“Pops!” Jason laughed with his dad. Suddenly, his father’s laughs turned into coughing before his body started to convulse. “Pops? POPS!” Jason said frantically as he shot up from his chair. “NURSE! GERALDINE! SOMEBODY COME QUICK!”

Geraldine and another nurse rushed into the room to tend to his seizing father. Jason ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation as he helplessly watched the nurses stick a syringe in his father’s arm to calm him. “He’ll be okay,” Geraldine said, looking into Chuck’s pupils. “He just needs some rest.” Geraldine looked up at Jason who looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack. “Jason...”

“IS HE EVEN GETTING BETTER?!” Jason blurted.

“It’s going to take some time, Jason,” Geraldine said, trying to calm him.

“You’ve been saying that shit for years!” Jason snapped. “HOW MUCH TIME?!”

Geraldine walked over to him and grabbed his shoulders. “I know this is hard... But I promise you we’re doing our best. Go home. Let your father rest. We’ll contact you with an update, okay?”

Jason looked at his father passed out on the bed as he swallowed the dry lump in his throat. “Yea... yea, okay,” Jason said, moving out of her grasp. He shook his head and walked out.

~

Jason stepped outside of the building and leaned back against the brick wall. He squeezed his eyes shut just to keep his face dry from the tears trying to escape.

“Jason?”

His eyes popped open and looked to the side to see a young woman with long black hair tied in two pigtails and sharp blue eyes. Her pink freckles were prominent on her pale face. She wore thigh-high boots, a black leather skirt, and a matching leather jacket over a crop top. His mouth parted in shock. “Mikayla?!”

“Hey, brother,” Mikayla smiled at him. He looked at her still in shock as she walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. “I missed you,” she said into his chest.

Jason hesitated as he grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back. “What are you doing here? Did you come to see Pops?” he asked.

“No, I came to see you,” she said, smiling up at him. “I had a feeling you’d be here. You know... that twin thing we have sure comes in handy.”

Jason furrowed his brow as he looked at her. “Why are you really here, Mikayla?”

“I told you, I missed you.”

“You’re lying.”

Mikayla rolled her eyes with a huff. “I swear. You’re supposed to be my family and you treat me like I’m a fucking stranger or some shit.”

“That’s because you only contact me when you need something,” he snapped at her.

“You know what? Fuck you, Jason!” she said, flipping him off. She turned around to leave.

“Wait, Mikayla, wait!” he said, running after her. He grabbed her arm and gently turned her around. “I’m sorry, okay? Tell me what’s wrong? Are you alright?”

“Yes,” she said annoyed. “Is it so hard to believe I came to see you because I missed you?”

“At the hospital where our Pops is when you won’t even go in to see him? Yea...” Jason said.

Mikayla’s face fell as she wrapped her arms around herself. “Yeah, well... I don’t wanna see him like that. Weak and shit. I just can’t, Jason. He looks like death. I just can’t-”

Jason shushed her as he pulled her into his arms and held her tight. He pulled back and looked at her to stare into her light blue eyes identical to his own. They were slightly reddened from her tears. “Do you wanna get dinner?” he asked. “We can catch up. I really miss you.”

Mikayla looked around before looking back at him. “I’d really like that, Jason, but... I don’t really have the time.”

“...okay...?” he said, looking at her confused. “I thought you wanted to see me.”

She bit her lip. “I um... I have somewhere to be for my next gig, and I... I just need some money until my next check clears.”

Jason’s jaw tensed. “I can buy you dinner, Mikayla. I can-”

“I don’t need food, Jason.”

He read the intent in her eyes and cussed out loud. “Why the fuck do you do this shit?!” he growled.

“It’s just a few dollars, Jason. I’ll pay you back,” she tried to reason.

“I’m not helping you feed your fucking addiction!” he snapped at her. “Why the fuck do you do this to yourself?!”

“Oh, don’t act so high and mighty!” she snarled at him.

“Mikayla! I’m trying to fucking help you! Help you get better, not help you kill yourself!” Jason growled.

“Oh my god! Here we go!” Mikayla said, fed up. “You’re so fucking pretentious, Jason. We’re fucking twins! We’re supposed to be there for each other! We’re all we have! I thought you loved me, but instead, you’re doing this shit again!”

“It’s because I love you that I’m trying to help you!”

“Bullshit!” she snapped at him. “I knew this was a mistake! You don’t give a shit about me! I thought you were the one person I could rely on!”

“Mikayla!” he said, grabbing her again. “Just come with me. Please. I can get you help.”

“Fuck you, Jason! I fucking hate you!” she screamed at him as she shoved him off of her. He watched his sister run to her car before she screeched out of the parking lot and pulled off.

His mind was a tornado of emotions that he couldn’t control. He clenched his fist and shoved it into the closest thing, which just happened to be his car window that shattered into pieces. “Dammit...” he muttered as his shoulders fell. He opened his car door and pushed the broken glass pieces out of the car before hopping in and driving off.

~*~

“And then walk, walk, walk, walk, turn... and pose,” Anna said, flipping her hair. “Did you get that?” Anna looked across the room to see Tiana sitting next to a dazed Darren who practically had heart emojis in his eyes.

“Girl, all I got was break your ankle, snap your neck and bust your hip cause ain’t nobody tryna die attempting to walk in those damn heels,” Tiana said.

“They’re not even that high,” Anna said, looking at her heels. “Plus, they’re Christian Louboutin.”

“You say that like I’m supposed to know who that is. I don’t care if they’re SpongeBob’s shoes. I’m not finna die in some thousand dollar stilettos,” Tiana snapped.

Anna rolled her eyes. “At least try, Tiana. You were already doing so well with the other tricks I showed you. You nab those things down, and you’ll have men eating out of the palm of your hands.”

“Yea, one problem there, chica,” Tiana said, standing to her feet. “I’m a black woman! Our very presence is seen as a threat. Just cause these methods work for you doesn’t mean they’ll work for me. A white Latina can be as sexual and cute as she wants without the backlash. Try having a dark-skinned black woman like me doing these same moves and they gone think I’m a damn prostitute.”

Anna raised a perfect brow. “A man is a man is a man, Tiana. If you work it the right way, you won’t have to worry about that.”

“Spoken like a woman who’s never been told ‘you’re pretty for a black girl.’ But sure, okay, let’s try your method,” Tiana said. “All I know is your rich little behind better bail my ass outta jail when they lock me up for EWB, Existing While Black, in that white ass club.”

Anna couldn’t help but chuckle. “You are definitely Dante’s sister.”

~*~

Tiana took a break from working with Anna and found herself heading to the garage once she heard Jason’s car pull up. She was hoping he’d be alone and immediately perked up when she saw him sitting in his car with the door wide open.

“Jason!” She rushed up to him but stopped short when she noticed the broken window.

Jason looked at her and a wide smile came to his face as his blue eyes lit up. “Hey, beautiful... Did you miss me as much as I missed you?”

Tiana cautiously walked to his car and grabbed the door. “What... happened?”

“Bit of an accident,” he shrugged nonchalantly. Tiana glanced at his hand to see a bunch of cuts still wet with blood. She rushed over to the counter to grab a wet towel. “Tiana,” Jason said, attempting to stop her.

“Hush,” she said, crouching down next to him. She took his hand and wiped away some of the blood until his hand was clean. After searching for a few band-aids, she covered the bigger gashes.

“So gentle,” he smirked at her. “How can I ever repay you for your services?” Tiana squealed startled as Jason pulled her into the car and onto his lap. “God, I missed kissing you...” he moaned, squeezing her waist. He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her forward as he pressed his lips against hers. His tongue eagerly sought out her own.

Tiana felt like Jason was trying to suck the life out of her with the intensity of his kiss. Something felt off about him. She moaned into his mouth before she pressed her hands against his chest and pushed him back. “What happened, Jason?” she asked, trying to catch her breath. “How did you hurt yourself?”

Jason sighed reluctantly as he looked to the side. “Went to see my Pops. Ran into my twin sister. Got into an argument. Accidentally punched a window. It was just a reflex.”

Tiana frowned as she held his hand and ran her thumb over his cuts. “What is wrong with you guys not knowing how to properly manage your anger?”

Jason quirked an amused brow as he moved her legs on either side of him. “You got something better for me?” he smirked. Tiana settled onto Jason’s lap, her thighs resting on each side as he firmly gripped her hips. She let out a surprised gasp as he bucked his hips forward so she could feel his rock hard erection underneath her.

“...see what you do to me..” he muttered. His fingers teased the hem of her shirt just to feel more of her skin. “You make me wanna fuck you senseless...”

Tiana rested her hands on his broad shoulders and looked down at him. “...And will you..?” she asked him.

Jason raised his brows in amusement as a grin came to his face. “...Do you want me to?” Tiana bit her lip as she looked down at him, and his grin only widened. “Oh, I know you do. And you know I will. I plan on fucking the shit out of you, beautiful. Just not right now...”

Tiana let out another surprised gasp as he firmly gripped her backside and grind his erection into her core. “Right now... I just want you to feel me...” he gripped the back of her hair and pulled her forward until her chest was squashed against his. “But goddamn I can’t wait,” he groaned into her ear as he controlled the movement of her hips.

Tiana breathed heavily as Jason worked two fingers inside of her jeans before she felt them thrust deep inside of her tight cunt. Her eyes closed and she panted helplessly as his digits relentlessly probed her. “I can’t wait to stretch this pussy out...” he guttered against her ear as he fucked her with his fingers. “Baby, I’m gonna make you scream my name. Fuck you so good, and make that ass-”

“Jason!” Tiana gasped as she started coming before she could prepare herself. She gripped the back of his neck hard and moaned into his shoulder as her orgasm hit her like a speeding truck. She panted breathlessly and felt him chuckle as he pulled his head back to look at her.

“I think that’s the quickest I’ve made you come,” he smiled. “Shit, you sound so fucking sexy when you’re coming, you know that?” Tiana watched him slowly and sensually suck his slippery, messy fingers into his mouth to taste her. He kept his gaze locked with hers as his tongue slid around his fingers. She knew her panties were soaked. This man constantly left her speechless.

Jason loved how much easier it was becoming for him to make her fall apart. How quickly he could subdue her to his will. “You’re looking at me like you wanna be fucked, babe...” he grinned at her as he slowly pulled his wet fingers out of his mouth. “I was trying to be a ‘gentleman’ and give you some time, but..” He leaned forward to possess her lips with his own. Slipping his hands into her jeans, he grabbed two handfuls of her ass. “Maybe I should just take this ass right now...” he groaned, taking her bottom lip between his teeth.

“JASON!” came Owen’s voice from upstairs. “Is Tiana down there with you? Come on, bro, we got shit to do.”

Jason sighed as he leaned back against the seat and looked up at her flushed face. “Next time then...” he smirked as he playfully tapped her ass.

~*~

Owen stopped talking to Tyler when he saw Tiana walk up the stairs and into the main area with Jason. “What were you guys doing?” Owen asked.

“We were fucking,” Jason smirked.

Tyler choked, and Owen’s mouth parted in shock as he blurted. “What?!”

Tiana’s eyes bulged. She turned around and slapped a laughing Jason in the chest. “No, we weren’t,” she said quickly. “We were just talking.”

She glared at Jason who chuckled mischievously. “The looks on their faces. Priceless,” Jason teased.

Owen sucked his teeth as he grabbed Tiana’s hand and pulled her forward. “Anna’s picked out some clothes for you. She’s in your room. Go try them on,” Owen said. Tiana nodded and headed towards her room.

“You play too much,” Tyler said annoyed.

“She’s really fun to play with,” Jason smirked.

“Jason,” Owen sighed.

~*~

Owen tapped his foot impatiently as he looked at his watch. “Owen!” He glanced down the hallway to see Anna motioning to him and quickly got up. “She’s ready, but she wants your final opinion,” Anna said. “I think I did a pretty good job honestly. But, hey... you are her best friend.” Owen smirked as Anna tossed her hair and strutted back down the hallway.

He turned towards Tiana’s door and stepped inside. “What do you think?” Tiana asked.

Owen stepped into the room to see Tiana standing in front of a floor-to-ceiling mirror. He swallowed hard as he eyed the way the dress opened up around her cleavage and fell delicately around her waist. It accentuated the curve of her hips and backside. The slit in her dress teased a sliver of her thigh.

“That bad?” she asked nervously when Owen didn’t say anything. “Come on, O. Hit me with the hard truth. Make it work, cause boy, I just don’t know.”

Owen walked up behind her and glazed over her body in the mirror for a moment before he placed his hands at the small of her back. “Straighten your posture,” he said, working his thumbs into her spine. His hands roamed up the smoothness of her arms before resting on her shoulders. “Shoulders back,” he said, pulling them back.

Tiana held her breath as Owen’s hands worked around her torso until they landed just underneath her breasts. He gently cupped the underside of her breasts, helping her to poke her chest out. “Show off your assets...” he said, looking at her in the mirror.

Tiana felt like she was frozen in time as Owen’s hands seemed glued to her breasts. She knew he wasn’t attracted to her, but at that moment, with the way he looked at her and touched her, she couldn’t help but second guess. She took a quick breath and bit her lip as she straightened her back out.

Owen’s fingers itched to squeeze her, feel her nipples against his thumbs. But he knew he had already crossed a line and wondered why Tiana hadn’t freaked out on him yet. “You look good,” he said, quickly removing his arms from around her. “You’re ready.”

~*~

“Make sure you’re linked up,” Tyler said, eyeing his watch. “Are you sure you’re okay doing a scan on your own?”

“Yea, it’s all good,” Jason said. “Just have Tiana-” But he stopped short as he looked down the hall. Tyler followed his gaze and felt his whole body light on fire. Tiana nervously stepped out of the hallway, holding onto Owen for balance. “Holy fucking shit...” Jason muttered.

“What do you think? Not too bad, right?” Anna smiled.

“Alright girl, calm your ass down,” Tiana said. She nearly stumbled in her heels before Owen grabbed her.

“Gotta get you wearing heels more often,” Owen teased.

“Over my dead body,” Tiana glared at him.

Tyler cleared his throat as he walked towards them. His eyes wandered over her form before he caught her gaze. “You can say she looks nice, Tyler,” Anna chided.

Tyler’s jaw tensed as he averted his gaze. “Let’s just get this shit over with.”

~*~

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