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

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9 - Sucker

Hacker Rule #13: Beware distractions that compromise your assignments.

“Fuck! Jason!”

Tiana bit her bottom lip so hard, blood trickled from the puncture wound she self-inflicted. She gasped as her entire body shook with pleasure. Jason gripped her wide hips till his fingers dug into her soft skin as he pounded into her from behind. The rhythmic slapping of her ass meeting his pelvis reverberated throughout the room.

“Oh god!” Tiana cried out as she gripped the headboard with both hands so tightly her fingers lost color. Her knees nearly gave way from the intensity of how he pulsated within her.

“That’s it, baby girl. Take all this dick,” Jason groaned. He slapped her ass cheek hard and watched it ripple in front of him. She groaned in agonizing pleasure and stuffed her face into his pillow to drown out her moans so she wasn’t heard in the rooms over.

His fingers wrapped around her thigh before finding their way to the moist lips between her legs. “Say my name, baby,” Jason groaned. Tiana grunted as she felt his fingers tease her clitoris in tantalizing circles. “I said say my name,” Jason ordered as he slammed into her again.

“Jason!” she cried out loud as she threw her head back.

He licked his lips and let out a deep groan as he palmed her ass before thrusting into her again. “Say it again, baby...”

“Jason!”

“...Jason?”

“JASON!”

Jason reflexively put his hand to his stinging cheek after being smacked by Tyler. He blinked furiously and looked down. “What the fuck, Davis? You’re supposed to be spotting me,” Tyler said.

“Shit... sorry,” Jason muttered. He picked up the heavy barbell and helped Tyler lift. He inconspicuously readjusted his boxers and was grateful to be wearing sweats to hide his erection underneath.

“Where the fuck have you been?” Owen asked, wiping the sweat off of his chest. “That’s like the third time you’ve zoned out in the past hour.”

“Yea, yea... sorry... my bad...” Jason sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. He hadn’t stopped thinking about Tiana since the moment she left him begging like a starved dog outside her room. It had taken everything in him not to barge in there unannounced and prove to her he could rock her world.

Suddenly his phone went off, ringing loudly in the small basement gym. He pulled it from his pants’ pocket and frowned once he saw the name. He silenced it before putting it back in his pocket. “Mikayla again?” Owen asked.

Jason shook his head annoyed as he went back to spotting Tyler. “She only calls me when she needs money. I keep telling her I’m not down for that shit.”

“Doesn’t she make more than you anyway?” Tyler strained as he lifted the barbell above his head.

“Yep,” Jason said annoyed. He steadied the barbell while Tyler lifted it. “And yet it’s never enough to feed her fucking addiction.”

“She’s still on that shit?” Owen asked, concerned.

“She never fucking stopped,” Jason quipped.

“Did you recommend that therapist we-” Tyler started.

“Can we not talk about my fucked up druggie sister?” Jason snapped, dropping the barbell to the floor. Tyler and Owen exchanged concerned looks as Jason picked up the dumbbells from the floor and put them back on the rack.

“I don’t mean to snap,” Jason sighed, acknowledging their silence. “But I’ve got enough shit to worry about paying for my pop’s medical bills. The fact that her selfish ass won’t even help me and has the fucking nerve to contact me for money just drives me up a fucking wall.”

“Hey, man, we get it,” Tyler said, wiping the sweat off of his neck with a towel. “We can’t choose the shitty family we get stuck with. That’s why we have each other.”

Jason sighed as he hopped on the counter and ran his fingers through his short black hair. “I got another invoice for Pops... it’s insane,” he muttered.

“So, we’ll take on another job,” Owen said.

“We need to focus on finding Dante’s killer,” Jason shook his head. “That’s number one.”

We are number one,” Tyler emphasized as he motioned among the three of them. “Finding Dante’s killer is still a priority. It doesn’t take much to find a job that racks up a few G’s. Owen, didn’t you get back to that Richardson guy?”

“Yea,” Owen said, checking his phone. “He’s got a few jobs for us. You know how fucking loaded those Elite folks are. One job alone is enough to settle your Pop’s entire bill. We just won’t split this one.”

“You guys don’t have to do that-” Jason said quickly.

“My guy, shut the fuck up,” Tyler said. “You know how this works. We’ve been doing this shit since we were kids. Why would we stop now?”

Jason cracked a grateful grin. “Aww shit, Ty, you fucking love me. Why can’t you be this sappy all the time, instead of a dick to my baby girl.”

“Amen...” Owen muttered as he pulled a tank top over his chest. “And Jason, I swear if you call her your baby girl one more fucking time.”

“She is my baby girl,” Jason grinned as he started heading towards the stairs. “You guys just need to accept it.”

“Yea, maybe in your imagination,” Owen scoffed as he followed after him. The three of them walked up the stairs, arguing among themselves as they headed towards the kitchen. Tiana sat at the kitchen table, typing on her laptop and taking notes in her notebook. She looked up when she heard the three of them enter.

“Oh, it’s a known fact that my-” Jason stopped short once he noticed Tiana. Her eyes widened and her cheeks got hot when she saw him and immediately looked back down at her notebook.

“What was that you were saying, Jason?” Tyler smirked. He headed to the cabinet and pulled out a box of cereal.

Jason leaned over the kitchen table, directly across from Tiana. “I was saying... if you want something bad enough... keep at it till it’s yours...” Jason smirked at her. Tiana fought with herself not to look up at him. She found herself losing the battle as she met his heated and probing sharp blue gaze.

Owen roughly grabbed Jason’s shoulder, pulling him back. “Calm your horny ass down, hoe,” Owen said, sucking his teeth. Jason smirked as he walked around the kitchen table and grabbed a bowl. Owen sidled next to Tiana. “Whatchu working on?”

Tiana sighed as she tapped on her laptop. “Project for school. Got frustrated on my last failed attempt to open that file on Dante’s laptop and decided to be more productive elsewhere.”

She looked up to see all three of them were nearly shirtless, except for the tank top on Owen’s body that did nothing to hide his sculpted chest. A towel hung around Tyler’s neck, just barely covering his naked broad shoulders. It was then that she realized just how lean and built these guys were. It only made sense considering how much physical labor they did. But damn… “Is there a reason why you’re all half-naked?” she asked, annoyed.

“You got a problem?” Tyler said, quirking a brow at her.

You’re my problem, asshole,” she snapped at him.

Tyler sucked his teeth. “Such a fucking princess. We were at the gym,” he scoffed as he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge. Owen balled up a napkin and threw it at Tyler, hitting him in the head. Tyler looked at Owen who glared at him, giving him a threatening look.

“We were just training, T,” Owen said, turning to her.

“I didn’t know you trained, Owen,” Tiana said, trying not to be obvious with how she eyed him up.

Owen shrugged as he downed a bottle of water. “Not as much as these two meatheads, but... it helps give me discipline. Plus, it gives us time to bond.”

“That’d be adorable if Tyler wasn’t an ass and Jason wasn’t a hoe,” Tiana shrugged. Owen burst out laughing as Tyler rolled his eyes.

Jason smirked as he sat in front of her again with a bowl of cereal in front of him. “You should train with us sometime. We could work out your glutes... pelvic thrusts strengthen abdominal muscles... or we could just... stretch you out,” he winked.

“Motherfucker, on god, I swear,” Owen said, covering his face.

Tiana shook her head, trying not to show the grin on her face. “Thanks for the offer, but I’ll pass,” she said, giving him a sarcastic smile.

“Hmm... maybe another joy ride might convince you otherwise...” Jason said, keeping his eyes fixated on her. Tiana immediately looked up at him in surprise. He licked his bottom lip with a subtle grin that set her belly on fire. She averted her eyes away from him before closing her laptop.

“You done already?” Owen asked. “Or is Jason’s nasty ass-”

“No, it’s okay,” she said, quickly jumping off the stool. “I just... I have to make a call.” She placed her laptop and notebook in her bag and turned around, bumping into Tyler’s bare chest.

“Exit’s that way, princess,” Tyler muttered. She rolled her eyes and turned around, walking out.

“My guy, you need to tone that shit down,” Owen said to Jason. But Jason was already leaving the kitchen. “Hello?! Jason! Motherfucker, are you deaf?!”

“Yup! Got it!” Jason said, throwing a thumbs up as he rushed out.

“Where are you going? We gotta set up for-” Tyler started.

“Gotta take a leak,” Jason said, turning the corner.

Tiana speed-walked down the hallway before Jason turned the other corner in front of her. “What the hell?” she asked, startled. “How did you-”

“Shortcut,” he said, walking up to her. She immediately stepped back away from him. “You’re avoiding me,” he said, taking a step towards her.

“I’m not,” she said, taking a step back.

“Yes, you are,” he said, backing her up against the wall. “And I can tell you don’t want to.”

“Jason, I don’t have time to play with you,” she said, putting her hand against his naked chest to keep him at bay. She hated that touching him stirred her so much.

“Baby, if I were actually playing with you, trust and believe you’d make time for that shit,” he said, removing her hand and wrapping it around his neck. He pulled her bag from her other hand and placed it on the floor as he stared into her eyes. He immediately grabbed her hips and pulled her against him as he went straight for her bottom lip. He sucked on its soft plumpness and tried working his tongue between her lips. “Open for me, baby,” he muttered against her lips.

“Jason, you-” she breathed out.

“I said open,” he ordered. He gripped her ass firmly and pushed his engorged erection into her pelvis. Startled by how large he felt, Tiana gasped, parting her lips just enough for him to slip his tongue into her mouth. He moved his lips hungrily against hers.

Tiana moaned as she reveled in his taste. She could feel her body temperature steadily rising and pressed her palms against his chest again to push him back. “We can’t keep doing this,” she said, trying to catch her breath.

“Why not?” he asked, moving her hands again.

“We just can’t.” She stepped away from him, towards her door. But, he quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her back to him.

“That’s not a reason, Tiana,” he said, trying to look her in the eye.

“Jason, I have things I need to do,” she protested.

“So do I. You,” he said, wrapping his hand around the back of her neck as he pulled her close. He tugged at her braids, pulling her head back slightly as he kissed her neck and felt her shiver against him. “I can’t stop thinking about you,” he moaned, sucking on the soft flesh of her neck. “The way you taste...” His hand eagerly cupped her backside. “...and why the fuck are you so goddamn soft...”

“Jason,” she said, reluctantly pushing him away again. “We’re.. we’re not a good fit.”

“Don’t worry, baby. I’d make him fit,” he said, leering for her neck again.

“You know what I mean,” she sucked her teeth, pushing him back again.

His jaw tensed impatiently as he tried to calm his raging desire that seemed far less controllable than he was used to. “You kissed me, Tiana,” he said. “Remember?”

“Of course, I remember, but-”

“And don’t say it was a fluke or some lapse in judgment shit. Because every time I kiss you, you kiss me right back like you want more,” Jason said before she could protest further. “I know you want more. So let me give it to you.”

Tiana swallowed hard as she quickly averted her eyes. She wished she could make up some excuse like she was drunk or possibly losing her mind, but even she couldn’t deny to herself that she was heavily attracted to Jason. She had had far too many naughty thoughts since that night herself. Like what did he look like naked? How kinky was he? Was he skilled with his tong-

“Stop thinking about it, baby, and let me find out what you really taste like,” he said, breaking her out of her thoughts.

Her eyes nearly bulged out of her head as she looked at him startled. “Jason,” she blurted.

“Shit, I bet you taste fucking sweet...” he said, almost as if he were actually thinking about it.

“I can’t,” she groaned, turning to her door.

“Okay, wait, Tiana,” Jason said, grabbing her arm again. “I’m just kidding...sorta... I’ll tone it down.”

“You sure about that?” she said flatly. “Because every time you look at me, you look like you wanna tear my clothes off.”

“Well shit, I wanna do more than that,” he grinned. She sucked her teeth and turned to the door again. “But, I promise I’ll tone it down,” he said quickly. He grabbed her shoulder and turned her to face him again. “If... you just give me a chance.”

“A chance at what, Jason?”

“To be your man...” he said, rubbing his nose against hers.

Tiana held her breath as he caressed her lips with his own. She felt his hand creeping to her ass again as if it were being pulled by a magnet. “You’re a little too wild for me, bro,” she said anxiously.

“...maybe you can tame me...” he said, flicking his tongue against her lips.

She instinctively licked her lips, and her tongue made contact with his. It was all he needed to press his lips against hers once again, as he tried to suck her tongue into his mouth. “Jason...” she breathed out.

“Come on, baby...” he pleaded. Tiana shook her head for the final time as she backed into her door. Her hand searched for the handle and turned it. “Tiana...” he said, looking at her hungrily.

“I’ll think about it,” she said to him. She picked her bag off of the floor and backed up inside. She looked at him for a moment and nearly felt herself succumb to his pleading gaze before she finally found the courage to close the door.

Jason pressed his forehead against her door, hesitating to grab the handle. Here he was again, groaning with sexual frustration, debating if he should try to convince her otherwise. He didn’t understand this incessant desire for her that kept picking away at him. He had never wanted someone so badly and he didn’t understand why. He stepped back from her door and ran his fingers through his hair as he cussed under his breath.

Tiana leaned against the other side of the closed door, breathing heavily as she heard Jason walk down the hallway. She shook her head, wondering how in the world she managed to get herself into this predicament.

From the provocative way he spoke. The cocky grin she was beginning to love. His enchanting blue eyes that always seemed to tease her and undress her at the same time. And the way his possessive touch set her skin ablaze. Jason knew how to make her vibrate.

And she hated that.

She wanted simplicity. She needed normality. Not a bad boy who threw caution to the wind.

~*~

“So, this bloke Liam has been on your ass for 5 motherfuckin’ years, and you’re just now looking into his connects? That’s a damn shame. Aren’t you supposed to be a pro or some shit?” Owen smirked as he scribbled on the notepad next to his laptop.

“Alright, fuck off, you little teenybopper. I had my reasons,” Arthur laughed in his thick English accent from the other end of the phone.

“Teenybopper? Bitch, I’m like 5 years younger than you,” Owen grinned.

“You’re like 12,” Arthur teased.

“That’s cold as fuck,” Owen laughed. “When do you need this delivered by?”

“Is tomorrow night manageable?” Arthur asked.

“We could probably have it to you by the morning.”

“Now, that’s service,” Arthur grinned. “I’m surprised you guys are working faster. Didn’t you lose someone?”

Owen lost his smile as he scratched at the back of his neck. “Yea... we uh...”

“Forgive me,” Arthur said quickly. “I didn’t mean to-”

“Nah, it’s cool,” Owen shrugged. “We’re good. Got a new recruit who’s a fucking genius.”

“Really?” Arthur said, surprised. “Is he smarter than you?” he teased.

“Yes, she is,” Owen grinned. “She could probably run fucking circles around guys like you.”

Arthur raised his eyebrows in surprise before a mischievous grin came to his handsome face. “You shagged her, didn’t you, you dirty dog.”

“What? No! It’s not even like that,” Owen said quickly.

“Oh sure, of course,” Arthur grinned, putting his hands in the air. “I look forward to meeting the lass. In the meantime...”

Owen grinned. “I’ll hit you up when we’ve got it.” He ended the call just as he heard a knock at the door. “Yea,” he said, typing on his computer. Tiana came barging into his room.

“Shae has summoned us,” she said, plopping down on his bed with her phone in her hand.

“Oh, then surely we shall answer,” Owen said, not taking his eyes off of his laptop.

“Owen.”

“Yup?”

Tiana just stared at him as he kept his eyes focused on the screen. She quickly pushed his laptop closed as he moved his hands out of the way. “Forreal, T?!” Owen said annoyed.

“Bitch, did you forget what it was like to face the wrath of a black woman ignored? Especially that black woman? And she a lite brite, too. She be extra sensitive,” Tiana smirked.

Owen groaned as he covered his face. “We’ve got shit to do, T.”

“Owen, we haven’t seen her in days. And I still haven’t explained to her this whole new living situation. And how you kidnapped me in a fantastic display of extreme caucacity,” Tiana said dramatically.

“Tiana...”

“Like I’m still stuck on the fact that you deadass kidnapped my black ass. What the fuck did you think this was? This ain’t Taken. You’re supposed to be my Liam Neeson, not friggin Michael Meyers,” she said, shaking her head.

“How many times are you gonna keep bringing this up?” he sighed.

“Umm... how ’bout... forever.”

Owen smirked as he put his laptop to the side. “You know what happens when you annoy me, T,” he said, grabbing her waist.

“I’m allowed to annoy you, loser!” she said, wiggling as he tickled her. “Owen, stop!” she laughed.

“Every time you bring that shit up I’mma tickle you till you piss yourself,” Owen grinned as he dug his fingers into her waist.

“That’s so unf-AH! OKAY! DAMMIT!” she said, rolling away from him on the bed. Owen smirked at her as she stuck her middle finger up at him. “Asshole,” she grinned as he lay down next to her. “Her birthday is coming up and we already missed her art show...”

“...damn...” Owen groaned, covering his face. “We’re bad friends.”

You’re a bad friend. You kidnapped me,” Tiana smirked.

“Tiana!” he said, covering her mouth with his hand. He felt something wet slide against his palm and immediately pulled his hand back. “Did you just lick me?!”

“Yes, and I totally regret it. Please tell me you weren’t jerking off or some shit,” she said, pretending to gag.

“I should say ‘yes’ just so you can learn your lesson,” he sucked his teeth at her. “We should do something for her. Something she likes.”

“She likes going to protests and throwing eggs at police cars,” Tiana said, texting on her phone.

“So, a regular Tuesday afternoon,” Owen smirked. “Let’s just get her dinner. She likes that Southern spot in Harlem right?”

“Uh-huh...” Tiana said distractedly.

“Tiana,” he said, looking at her.

“One sec,” she said, sending a message. He noticed her face brighten up from how widely she smiled.

“Who you texting?” he asked, curiously.

“None ya,” she said, ignoring him.

“Something’s got you looking real goofy,” he said, leaning over to grab her phone.

“OWEN!” she shouted as she rolled on top of him. “Give it back!”

“I just wanna know who you’re texting!” he laughed as he held it away from her.

“Boy! I will hurt you!” she said, straddling him as she snatched it from his hand.

“So defensive!” he teased. He grabbed her waist and flipped her as they both rolled off of the bed.

“OW! OWEN!” Tiana laughed as he fell on top of her.

Owen snickered as he looked down at her with a grin. They locked eyes with each other and both of their smiles slowly faded. Owen got lost in her eyes. Her big mocha brown irises staring up at him made her look vulnerable, submissive, and far too alluring for his comfort. This is what always frustrated Owen. He knew her too well. That she was far too innocent and inexperienced for the disturbing thoughts he constantly had about her. He knew he would rue the day if he actually gave in to his desires. She would never look at him the same again. And he couldn’t do that to his deceased best friend.

He caught the way her alluring brown eyes subtly switched from his gaze to his lips, and it nearly drove him wild. Tiana tried to control her breathing, but the more she tried, the more ragged it became. She thought she felt his erection against her stomach, but he rolled off of her before she could figure it out.

She quickly sat up as she saw him run his fingers through his hair as if he were trying to calm his breathing. “...are you okay?” she asked.

He looked at her for a moment before snatching the phone out of her hands. “Now, as I was saying,” he teased, checking her text.

“You dirty ass hoe,” she said, trying to grab at him as he held her back.

Owen laughed deviously, scrolling through her texts before his smile quickly fell. “...Who’s David?” he asked.

“You’re so annoying, O,” she said, snatching the phone out of his hand.

Owen looked at her more sternly. “Who is he, Tiana?”

Tiana rolled her eyes. “He’s my partner for a project.”

“You date your project partners now?” he asked, annoyed.

“It’s not even really a date. It’s like a ... study session... with food...”

“It’s a date,” Owen said flatly.

“So what if it’s a date,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You actin’ like you my daddy.”

Owen’s jaw tensed as he watched her smile while texting David back. “Well, you’re gonna have to cancel because we need you tonight,” he said.

Tiana looked over her phone at him. “You can do it without me, Owen.”

“I thought you wanted to find your brother’s killer,” he quipped.

She squinted her eyes. “Seriously, Owen, that’s a low fucking blow. Why are you being such an ass?”

Owen sighed, immediately regretting his tone. “I didn’t mean it like that, T. I’m... just trying to keep you on track,” he said, twisting his mouth. “Just tell Daniel you’ll see him at school or some shit.”

“David.”

“Whatever.”

Tiana sucked her teeth as she stood to her feet. She opened Owen’s bedroom door and walked right into Tyler’s chest. She stumbled backward before he caught her by her waist. “When are you not a klutz?” Tyler asked, mockingly.

“How about you just move the fuck out of my way?” she snarled, shoving him back. Tyler rolled his eyes and stepped to the side, letting her storm past him.

“You really gotta stop that shit,” Owen said, standing up. “One of these days she’s gonna clock you dead in your face and I’m gonna be right next to her cheering her on.”

“Like I give a shit,” Tyler said, stepping inside.

Owen watched his brother sit down on his bed and dig both hands into his hair as he took a deep breath. “What is it?” Owen asked, impatiently.

Tyler looked up at him and swallowed hard. “...I... got a call from the penitentiary.”

All of the color suddenly drained from Owen’s face as he swallowed the dry lump in his throat. “...again?” he choked out.

~*~

Tiana stepped into the small coffee shop on the corner of 5th Ave. She heard a voice she knew oh-so-well arguing an issue she had heard far too many times. “Excuse me, sir! No, you listen! You are a white, cis, heterosexual male! Meaning you already have 4 different types of privileges that allow you to exist in this space without so much as feeling even remotely in danger. And if that stupid-ass tie is any indication of your socioeconomic status, I’m guessing you’re a soul-sucking corporate dickwad too,” Shae snapped.

“Ma’am, I was just-”

“So, what you’re not gonna do! Lemme tell you what you’re not gonna do, sir. You are not gonna come up in this BLACK-OWNED establishment that managed to survive your gentrifying ass and tell me, a black woman, that I am speaking too loudly. Your mayo presence in this shop is already an insult to my ancestors. And if you got a damn problem with the volume of MY VOICE, you can pay this barista and scurry your little ass on to Starbucks. How ’bout that?” Shae said, glaring at him.

Tiana watched as the man threw a 20 on the counter and quickly rushed out of the coffee shop like a puppy with his tail tucked between his legs. “He left like $15 more than he should have,” the black barista with pink and blue braids said.

“Reparations,” Shae smirked.

“Girl, you know that ain’t no damn reparations,” Tiana smirked as she walked up to her.

“T!” Shae squealed, hugging her tightly. “Girl, where you been? The apartment is so lonely without you.”

“Yea, I know,” Tiana sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ve just got a lot going on right now.”

“...Dante?” Shae asked. Tiana frowned and slightly nodded. “You gonna tell me about it?”

“Eventually.”

Shae rolled her eyes. “How’s my boo, Owen? That’s another hoe who hasn’t answered my messages.”

“He’s kinda bogged down with work,” Tiana frowned.

“Excuses, excuses,” Shae smirked as they walked out. “Y’all mothafuckas know I got a birthday coming up right? Y’all lame asses already missed my show.”

“I know, boo, we’re already planning something,” Tiana laughed. “But, I’m really sorry about missing your show. I was just so overwhelmed.”

Shae sucked her teeth with a smirk. “You’re lucky I love you so much.” The two of them walked down the street till they got back to campus. “So, are you like officially moved out? Cause this rent ain’t gon pay itself,” Shae said, moving her head.

Tiana laughed as she pulled out her phone. “I gotchu, boo,” she said, tapping on her phone. “Just Venmoed you my share.”

“Okay, thanks, playa, but that didn’t answer my question,” Shae said with a quirked brow.

Tiana sighed as she shoved her hands into her pockets. “I don’t know Shae... There’s so much shit going on that I can’t tell you about just yet-”

“But you need your girl,” Shae said quickly. “And you know I’m here, T.”

“I know...” Tiana said, looking at her meekly. “Just give me some time.”

Shae looked at her worriedly for a second before wrapping her arms around her and hugging her tightly. “You know I love you, T...” Shae said in her ear. “And you don’t have to go through this alone. You’re my sister. When you’re ready to talk...”

Shae pulled back and looked at Tiana who smiled at her gratefully. “We’ll talk...” Tiana nodded.

Shae twisted her mouth as her phone went off. “I gotta get to class. Keep me updated that you ain’t get shanked or some shit.”

“You got it,” Tiana grinned as she watched Shae walk off. She turned around and bumped right into a hard chest and dropped her phone. “Shit, sorr-... David!” she said, staring up at her project partner.

“Hey! Sorry about that,” David said. He picked up her phone and handed it to her.

“Thanks...” she smiled.

“Are we still on for tonight?” he asked with a shining, enthusiastic glimmer in his eyes. “I was thinking after dinner we could go see one of those classic movies they play in the park this time of year.”

Tiana’s smile quickly faded. “I... I’m really sorry to do this, David, but I have to cancel. Something came up...”

David’s smile immediately fell. “..oh..”

“But, we can reschedule!” she said quickly. “Maybe tomorrow?”

“Tiana,” he sighed. “You don’t need to commit to anything or feel obligated to spend time with me just cause you feel sorry for me-”

“David, that’s not it at all,” she said, grabbing his hand. “I just... this was really unexpected. But, I promise I’ll make it up.”

David twisted his mouth to the side as he looked down at her pleading face. He felt frustrated, but he didn’t want to push it. He figured it might actually be an emergency if she felt this bad about it. He looked from her regretful brown eyes to her plump lips that he had been dying to kiss since the moment he laid eyes on her and already felt his protest stripping away. “Whatever works best for you,” he said finally.

A smile immediately came to her face as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. “Thank you! I’ll plan something fun! You’ll get sick of me!” she said with a cheesy smile. David’s cheeks flushed as he watched her wave and scurry off again.

~*~

Owen walked out of the garage past Jason and Tyler cutting up and acting foolishly. He headed towards Tiana who was shaking her head at them like the children they were. “So, we’re just scoping the area and essentially providing a mapped grid. Then we wait until we get further direction from the Richardson,” Owen said, tapping at his phone. “This is a simple quick job that shouldn’t take us too long.”

“Owen, you could have done this without me. It has nothing to do with Dante and I could have gone on my da-.... study session,” Tiana sighed.

“You mean your date with Drake?” Owen said, glancing at her annoyed. Jason suddenly stopped messing around with Tyler and immediately looked at Owen and Tiana.

“Don’t give me this shit again, Owen,” she said, rolling her eyes. “You told me you needed me for an assignment concerning Dante.”

“It is concerning Dante,” Owen said. “The place we’re going is one of the many sites he visited.”

“That doesn’t mean anything!” she said annoyed.

“We can’t afford to rule anything out,” Owen said. “Besides, this is good practice for you.”

Tiana sucked her teeth in frustration. She had a feeling Owen was just making shit up to keep her from seeing David. She had no idea what his problem was. But then, it was typical of Owen to shut down any guy she was interested in. Just like Dante. His big brother vibes were starting to annoy her.

“The roads there are narrow and the terrain is not ideal, so we’ll have to take our bikes,” Tyler said.

“Now, I’m really not going,” Tiana said, turning around.

“T, relax,” Owen said, grabbing her arm. He turned her in the direction of the motorcycles. “One of these days I’ll teach you how to ride. For now, you can just ride me.”

Tiana looked at him startled. “What?!”

With me! I meant you can just ride with me!” Owen said quickly.

“Oh sure, that’s what he meant,” Jason snickered. Tyler covered his face, shaking his head. Tyler noticed his brother was unusually flustered and he couldn’t help but feel it was because of Tiana. Her presence continuously bothered him.

“She can ride with Jason,” Tyler said, speaking up. “You and I can check out the terrain so the princess isn’t caught off guard with any surprises. Her soft ass still isn’t used to a bike.”

“Are you just completely unaware of how much of a dick you sound,” she snapped at him.

“Ask me if I care,” Tyler said, walking towards his bike and waving Owen over.

Jason gave Owen a look of warning about Tyler’s attitude. Owen raised his hands in surrender. “I got it...” he sighed.

“I seriously hate him,” Tiana muttered.

“He got some bad news earlier... He’s just a little grumpy,” Jason said, shaking his head.

“Grumpy, my ass. Nothing that my fist in his throat can’t fix,” she said, sucking her teeth. Tiana watched apprehensively as Tyler and Owen mounted their bikes. She noticed that Tyler’s bike was red and black while Owen’s was black and yellow. Each bike matching the helmets on their heads. They revved their engines and signaled to Jason before they both took off parallel to each other.

“Why can’t you psychopaths just drive in normal cars like normal people?” she groaned. She watched Jason pull out his own black and silver motorcycle.

“Because that would be boring,” Jason smirked as he walked up to her with a helmet.

“Can’t I just take the bus?” she sighed.

“That’s cute, babe,” Jason said, gently putting the helmet on her head. “Motorcycles are the fastest and most efficient mode of transportation for what we do.”

“It’s also extremely dangerous,” she said, looking up at him. Jason caught himself staring again. He looked down at her, taking in the details of the dark-skinned beauty that constantly left him in awe. Her braids sprawled out from underneath the helmet that nearly swallowed her head. He bit his lip as a grin came to his face. “Why do you keep staring at me like that?” she asked, annoyed.

“Because you’re fucking beautiful,” he said without hesitation. She felt her cheeks get hot and didn’t have a minute to react before he swung his leg over his bike and settled down on the seat. “Get on, baby,” he said, putting on his helmet.

“I’m not your baby, Jason,” she sighed.

“You keep telling yourself that,” he smiled. Tiana sucked her teeth and exhaled as she sat on the bike behind him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and already felt herself relaxing against his back. He revved the engine before he took off after Tyler and Owen.

~

Jason loved his car. But at that moment, his motorcycle was proving to be his favorite mode of transportation because it allowed him to feel Tiana’s body against his. It required significantly more concentration for him to focus on the road as he tried to shake away the thoughts that her hands touching his chest provoked. Wanting them to descend further and grab the gift that he had been dying to give her.

“Gates are destroyed. This place is barren,” came Tyler’s voice through the earpiece. “Cyclops and I are parked towards the east near the closed-off intersection.”

They slowly rode up to an abandoned warehouse surrounded by a parking lot with a dirt road. Jason’s bike came to a soft stop before he was already hopping off. Tiana stumbled a bit, trying to get off before Jason caught her. “What’s the motorcycle version of car sickness?” she groaned.

“It’s just motion sickness,” he chuckled as he helped her off.

Tiana pressed her palms against his chest as she felt him lift her off the bike. His hand instinctively glided down to her ass when she pinched him in the chest. “I will pinch you so hard, I’ll tear the skin,” she warned him.

“Shit. Talk dirty to me, baby,” he grinned. She sucked her teeth and pushed him back as he chuckled. Tiana looked around at their surroundings when she saw Tyler and Owen walk up to them.

“Alright,” Owen said, checking his watch. “We scanned the perimeter. Little to no activity. Operations seem to be dying here. We’ve got to get a grid outline of the entire area. There are 4 floors above the main level and 2 floors below. The main circuit breaker is in the basement. I think this would be a good practice run for Silos to dismantle a main data-function on her own. Droid, you should go with her-”

“What?!” Tyler blurted. “Why?!”

“For mainframe detonation. Why else?” Owen said.

“I already have a detonation plug,” Jason said, holding up a small device shaped like a pen. “We finished this prototype a few weeks ago. Now’s a good time to try it out.” Tiana looked at Jason who stared directly at Tyler and Owen. She had a feeling the troublemaker had planned this.

“You’re sure?” Owen asked.

“Positive,” Jason said. “We’ll be in and out in no time. Just keep us updated on your timing so we can deactivate on time.”

Owen nodded and looked at Tiana who seemed rather nervous. “You got this,” Owen winked at her before he jogged off with Tyler.

Tiana was surprised to see Jason already jogging towards the other side of the building. He seemed intent on the assignment, though she swore he was up to something. Once they got to the side of the building, Jason got down on one knee and picked at the lock until it opened. He motioned her inside as they headed to the freight. As soon as it came, Jason pulled out a laser and aimed at the outdated security cameras just in case. They got onto the freight and it started to descend.

“That’s impressive. But why-” Tiana started. But Jason slammed the emergency stop button on the elevator, making the freight jerk to a halt. She looked at him startled as he immediately grabbed the back of her neck and slammed his lips into hers. “Ja-” she squealed out before he ripped the mic off of her shirt and started unbuttoning her blouse. “Are you crazy?!” she blurted.

“Fucking insane,” he breathed out as he immediately attacked the swell of her breast with his lips. He wrapped his hands underneath her thighs and lifted her onto his waist. Tiana gasped as he pushed her back against the elevator wall. He moved his hips, grinding his hard-on into her crotch. “You drive me fucking insane, you know that,” he groaned as his lips moved up her collarbone and latched onto the curve of her neck. His hand crept down her stomach and stroked between her legs as he let out a deep sigh. “Fuck, baby.”

She shoved him backward and he stumbled off of her. She nearly fell to the ground if not for her feet finding the floor. “We have a job to do!” she blurted.

“Fuck the job. I want you,” he said heatedly. Tiana looked at him incredulously. She moved past him and hit the lift button for the elevator to start moving again. He grabbed her arm and pulled her against him. “I’ve been trying to get you alone all day. Being away from you is fucking torture.”

“It was just one kiss, Ja-”

“Don’t give me that bullshit,” he said quickly. Tiana sighed as she looked up to see the elevator changing floor numbers. The doors opened and she quickly rushed outside before Jason grabbed her hand again. “Bab-”

“What happened to our waiting period, Jason?” she asked, flustered.

“What is this? A fucking dentist appointment?” Jason said with aggravation. “How long am I supposed to wait when you’re considering other guys?” Tiana looked at him startled. “I heard you and Owen,” he said, noting the look on her face. “Some Drake motherfucker?”

“Jason, I’m not yours,” she said.

“Yea, babe. And that’s a fucking problem,” Jason quipped.

“Berserker. Silos. What’s your progress?” came Owen’s voice from the earpiece.

Tiana searched for her mic that was yanked from her shirt when Jason was trying to strip her and pinned it back to her collar. “We’re working on it...” she said, looking at Jason.

“Alright well, we’re halfway done here. Another 30 minutes give or take,” Owen said.

Jason pulled his mic out of his pants’ pocket and spoke into it as he kept his eyes on Tiana. “...copy,” was all he said before he put his mic back in his pocket.

They stared at each other for a long moment as if they were trying to feel each other out. Tiana hid her mic again before speaking. “We need to get this done, Jason,” she said, turning around. She took a pen and paper out to start writing the details of their location.

Jason sighed in frustration. He took out a device and scanned the perimeter, taking snapshots of the walls before looking at her again. “You never answered my question,” he persisted.

Tiana huffed as her head fell back. “You’re the one who said you’re not a one-woman kind of guy, remember?”

“Maybe you can change that,” he teased.

“Jason!” she said frustrated as she turned on him. “I know these moves, alright?! This is the same shit men say when they’re just trying to fuck and ditch. And I’m not down for that shit. I don’t know anything about you! Yes, I like you. Yes, I’m attracted to you. But, you can’t just try to claim me just so I can make your dick wet for a few seconds before you’re already on to the next chick. I’m not the one.”

Jason looked at her startled as she shook her head. “I know men like you. You’re a bad boy. You’re dangerous. You’re hot. You’re probably great in bed,” she continued. “But you’re a player, Jason. And I’m not tryin’ to get played.”

Jason’s shoulders fell as he watched her turn around again and finish sweeping the area for the outlined grid they needed. Her words hit him harder than he had expected. It’s like she gave up on him before even giving him a chance. He shook his head to focus on finishing creating their outline. He nonchalantly walked up to her and handed her the device. “Here,” he said without looking at her.

She stared at him a bit disconcerted. She implanted the detonator in the underside of the mainframe welded to the floor before they rushed out.

~

“How was it?” Owen asked as they all met up back outside. “You guys went dark for a while.”

“Must have been the radio interference,” Jason shrugged, looking at the ground.

“You good?” Tyler asked, punching Jason in the shoulder. Jason did a slight head nod as he walked over to his bike. Tiana glanced at him to see he was no longer giving her that intense look she had gotten so used to. He seemed... defeated.

“Why don’t you ride with me, T,” Owen said, putting on his helmet.

Tiana looked back at Jason who was already putting his helmet on as he settled on his bike. He still hadn’t looked at her since they left the building. “I came with Jason. I’ll ride back with him,” she said. Jason looked up at her surprised as she walked over to him. He eyed her as she put the helmet on her head. “Do you mind?” she asked.

“... not at all...” he said lowly. She hooked her leg over the bike and leaned forward, wrapping her arms around his waist.

Owen eyed the two of them before Tyler slapped his back to get his attention. “Let’s go,” Tyler said, revving his engine before taking off.

Jason waited for the two of them to ride off before he slowly pulled out of the lot. Tiana rested against Jason’s back and could spot Tyler and Owen at the corner of her eye a few feet ahead of them. They came to a fork in the road as Jason slowed down before veering to the left as Tyler and Owen veered to the right. Tiana furrowed her brow, wondering what the heck he was doing as they headed in a complete opposite direction of the brothers.

~*~

Jason pulled up to the edge of a cliff that overlooked the Manhattan skyline. He hopped off of the bike and took off his helmet. Tiana went to hop off when he grabbed her hand, helping her off of his bike. She looked at him curiously as they shared a heated gaze before he turned around and looked back out over the river.

“Owen and Ty first brought me here when I was 14,” Jason said with his hands sitting in the pockets of his hoodie. “The same night my mother threw her wedding ring in my Pop’s face. The same night she told my sister and me that she already had another family that she preferred to spend her life with.” Tiana stared at Jason wide-eyed as he kept his eyes focused on the city before him.

“I’ve always loved my mom. In the times that she was present and absent. I still love her cause sometimes we get dealt shit that we can’t handle. And I can’t be mad at her for being human and finding love elsewhere, even if it wasn’t with us. But see... she never really loved me no matter how much I wanted her to. So, you’ll have to forgive me, beautiful, if I seem a little clunky and ignorant when it comes to women, cause I’m not really a fan of getting too attached,” he chuckled lightly with a shrug. “Only gotta get your heart broken once to know you don’t like how that shit feels.”

Tiana furrowed her brow as she swallowed the lump in her throat. “Jason...”

He looked back at her and smirked. “Shit, babe. I wasn’t tryin’ to make you feel sorry for me. I just... you said you didn’t know anything about me... so I’m trying to start somewhere...” He grabbed her by the waist and pulled her close until her body was pressed up against his. His finger tilted her chin up until she met his probing blue gaze. “You make me feel... weird,” he said, looking at her lips.

“Thaaaankssss??” she said confused as he burst out laughing.

“That came out wrong,” he chuckled. “I just mean... I wanna give you the... respect you deserve. I mean I really wanna fuck the shit out of you at some point-”

“Jason-”

“But I’m gonna try to take it slow,” he said quickly. “Give us the chance to ‘learn’ more about each other before I go blowing your back out,” he said, looking down into her eyes. “Is that okay with you?”

She shook her head with a smirk. “I’m not trying to be tied down right now, Jason.”

“You sure? That’s one of my favorite kinks. Strip your fine ass naked and tie you down to my bed while I bury my tongue deep in your-”

“That’s not what I meant, Jason!” she laughed as she slapped his chest. “I just mean... I want to be transparent and let you know that I’m interested in someone else besides you. And I’m not ready to commit to anyone right now.”

Jason lost his smirk as his brow furrowed in disdain. “That Drake motherfucker.”

“His name is-”

“Irrelevant,” Jason said, annoyed. “But... that just means I gotta win you over.” She looked up at him surprised before a smile came to her face. He leaned in to kiss her as his tongue ran along her bottom lip before slipping into her mouth. She nearly lost her balance as he leaned over, palming her ass with both hands.

“Jason,” she panted, trying to catch her breath.

“You ever been fucked on the hood of a car before?” he asked, kissing her neck.

She leaned back and pushed him with her hand as she stared at him strangely. “That’s the most random-ass question you’ve asked. Not even in the car?”

“Not enough space for what I wanna do to you,” he grinned.

“See that?” she laughed. “That’s gotta stop.”

“Why? You love it,” he grinned, moving her hand. He leaned forward and took her bottom lip between his teeth again. “Bet I got you all kinds of wet.”

“Jason!” she groaned as he attacked her neck again. He lifted her thigh to his waist as they leaned against a large boulder. Suddenly his phone went off. He put his phone to his ear as he teasingly licked underneath her ear.

“Yea?” Jason answered, nibbling her earlobe as her body heaved against his. Goosebumps formed on her skin as she felt his hand teasingly stroke the underside of her thigh. Even though she was wearing jeans, his touch still sparked a heated fire in her.

“Where did you guys go?” Owen’s voice said from the other end.

“I got hungry...” Jason said, lightly brushing his fingers over her core as he felt her shiver.

“I need you to meet us on 25th and Lexington,” Owen said. “Ty got into a fight. We’re on our way to the hospital.”

Jason stopped his naughty fingers as he looked at Tiana who looked back at him concerned. “Is he okay?” Jason asked.

“He’s fucking fine,” Owen muttered. “The guy he beat the shit out of is not...”

~*~

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