Armed and Dangerous (The IMA) (7 page)

BOOK: Armed and Dangerous (The IMA)
10.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

To think I had poured my heart out to the admissions people in that stupid personal statement. All that garbage about “healing journeys” and “finding myself.” I kind of wanted to march down there and redact everything I'd said.

“Crap,” I muttered, “Crap, crap, crap.” I couldn't just take
. I wouldn't be insured if I wasn't a full-time student with at least twelve units. Feeling increasingly frantic, I quickly skimmed through the general ed. requirements for undergraduates and selected a handful of courses that fulfilled some of my prerequisites for graduation. On a memo pad, I mapped out a sample schedule. Two of the courses had time conflicts and one of them was taught by an asshole, so those got scratched out.

All of the classes left on my sheet sounded equally bland and unappealing. Which made sense; if they were interesting, they'd be full, too. Supposedly if I kept my grades up and stayed in good academic standing my priority number would get ratcheted up next semester. Until then, I was essentially paying them to teach me nothing in the good faith that they would later teach me something.

For now, there was nothing I could do except pay for the classes I had and hope I'd get some better ones later. That didn't mean I was happy about this decision. I wasn't, not at all. I didn't like feeling helpless. Coming to Coswell was supposed to help me
. So why did I keep getting forced to remember?

I closed the registration window and finished off the last of the pizza. The pineapple and ham did hula hoops of unease in the pit of my stomach. I took an anti-anxiety pill
to settle my stomach and went grocery shopping.

I also bought a knife.

A nice one, with a retractable blade.

If I got caught with it on campus having the knife in my possession would not be as likely to protect me from trouble as put me right into the middle of it, but seeing it in my purse made me feel better.

Were the IMA watching me right now? Laughing at my pitiful attempt to arm myself against them? I was living on borrowed time. Every waking moment, I wondered, “Is today the day that they will come for me?”

I knew I would never see it coming. Not unless they wanted me to. Not until it was already too late.



The black corset could barely contain her breasts. They wobbled attractively as she straddled my lap, hands cupping my jaw as she leaned in for a kiss. She was wearing stockings. Garters. A whisper of a thong.

Few things in life are as satisfying as the knowledge that sex is imminent — except, of course, for the actual sex.

I rolled my head back, giving her access to my neck. Her nails scratched down my torso, rasping against my chest hair. I sucked in a breath as she teased the skin just beneath my waistband. So close — and so fucking far — from where I needed her to touch me.


I bucked my hips. Growled when she removed her hand. It seemed like my entire nervous system had been reduced to a two-way transmission between brain stem and cock.  She brushed her lips against mine, draping her arms around my neck with such casual possession that said cock strained against my jeans. “So impatient.”

“I'm so fucking hard, I could take you right now. Tear your clothes right off, and fuck you through that mattress until neither of us done know what time it is.”

Not yet.”

You're going to be the death of me.”

Her lips curved.

“I swear.”

Yes, you do.” Her tongue flicked against my ear as her breasts weighed down on my chest. “And your favorite one…is fuck.”

With what breath I could salvage, I said, “You
better lose that top real soon.”

You don't like it?”

I'll like it just fine on the floor.”

She smiled again. A shy, sweet smile, self-conscious and all the more seductive because of it. I watched, my breaths coming shorter and closer together, as she began to work the laces. Her patience annoyed the hell out of me. If my hands weren't tied, I'd have ripped out the cords.

“Better?” The garment fell into her lap.

I stared at her firm, small breasts, with the dark nipples already hardening into little exclamation points of arousal. Begging for my touch, for me to take them into my mouth. God. She was beautiful — and fucking sadistic. I wet my lips and managed to say, “Not even slightly.”

She gave me a shove that had me pressed flush against the mattress. She tossed the corset aside and leaned over me. Her garters were chafing my abs, sending tight spikes of pleasure shooting through my dick. I wanted to dig my hands into her soft, fleshy thighs and grind her into me. I wanted to be inside her so badly that it hurt.

You're hard to please,” she said.

You want to please me? My pants. Take them off.”

She ran her thumb along my lower lip. “Ask me nicely.”

I bit at her fingers.

No biting.” She smacked my cheek.

When I get out of this, I'm going to bite every inch of you, and you're not going to be able to do a damn thing about it,” I warned her.

But until then, what do you say?”


She climbed off me, then, giving me a pleasant view of her ass. I watched her drop to the floor, kneeling up and over the mattress until she was right between my knees. I could feel her warm breath through the damp crotch of my jeans and it was driving me crazy.

“Yes,” I sighed, leaning back, immediately bolting upright when I felt the fleeting pressure of her tongue against my shaft as she jerked the button of my fly with her mouth. She looked up at me, her blue eyes deceptively innocent, took the zipper delicately between her white, even teeth, and pulled — hard.

Jesus fucking Christ. I nearly came right then.

“Do you want me?” she whispered.

I drew in a shuddering breath. “Yeah, I want you. I want you to strip buck naked for me, and ride me to the finish line like I'm a goddamn racehorse.”

She cocked her head. “Do you love me?” She looked sad, suddenly, as if she might burst into tears.

I stared at her without comprehension as lust tangled up with other puzzling sensations that didn't quite fit in with the raging feelings of want boiling in my blood.

you?” she persisted, leaning forward. Dark tendrils of hair tickled my thigh. I could feel the burn of her breath on the head of my cock like a brand.

,” I said, and I wasn't sure what I was affirming.

But it seemed good enough for her, despite the tears now falling from her eyes and spattering my skin. She parted her lips and I sucked in a breath, bracing myself — and promptly woke up with a choking gasp in my hotel room. Alone. With a raging hard-on.

Goddammit. Not again.

I stumbled into the bathroom, hissing a little when the light flicked on. I leaned against the wall and waited for my vision to adjust. Fucking dreams. I sat down on the toilet lid and finished myself off with
a little help from
Victoria's Secret
. One of the merry-widows looked suspiciously similar to the one which had hugged Christina Parker's lithe, curvy body in that fucking dream. Or lack thereof. She had been so close. So close to fucking me with her gorgeous, full-lipped mouth.

I quickened my pace. My orgasm was as quick and as savage as a punch to the gut. Leaning back against the toilet tank, depleted, I felt like a fucking thirteen-year-old. I threw the magazine aside in disgust. It hit the wall and landed, open, on the bathmat. Taunting me.

I needed to get laid.

No — no, I had tried that. It hadn't been satisfying in the least. I could have done a better job with my hand, and for free, too. There was only one thing that worked all the time, every time, satisfaction guaranteed.

Stop thinking with your dick

Not just my dick. My life would be much simpler if all I wanted from that girl was a quick tumble between the sheets. It was far more complicated than that.

Most women, they have an idea about me, a fantasy, and act disappointed when I don't play the part. I'm nothing but a role for them. Christina saw me for who I was. She looked behind the curtains, saw the horrors behind them — and still saved my worthless hide at her own expense.

I liked that. And I didn't want to see her get hurt, not because of me. I'd done my share of that hurting, and so there was no fucking way this was ever going to work. Not unless I somehow managed to get a fucking time machine.

She probably hated me now, anyway. How could she not after that note I had left her, thanking her on the sly as if she were a drunken one-night stand? I'd burned that bridge between us. For her own good — and for mine.

The IMA were sending me to England tomorrow. I needed to pack. Plan. Draw up some maps and phone up old contacts. I relaxed as the blood swirled back into the slightly less stupid head. Cold, dependable logic. A familiar world. A sterile one.

There was no room for Christina Parker here.



Chapter Seven



Even though classes hadn't started yet I thought I'd get a heads-up on where they were so I could plan out my modes of transportation accordingly. I needed to purchase my textbooks, too.

I had thought that with a week to spare the campus would be deserted — pun intended — but it wasn't. Clumps of upperclassmen checked out the girls rushing the sororities. Lost freshmen huddled with their parents, wielding rolling backpacks and oversized maps and looking comically lost. People were trying to locate their classrooms, to buy new books. They desperately wanted to see and be seen. To establish ties. To make new friends.

It was like something out of a back-to-school special.

I walked past a sign advertising student ID pictures. They were taking them on the second floor of the Student Union. Right now mine had a blank square that said NO PIC. Did I look good enough to have my picture taken? I hadn't signed up for that when I got dressed this morning. I was wearing the lightest, summeriest dress I owned and
still the heat weighed down upon me from all sides, crushing me into a glowing cube of hyperthermia. I figured I looked as good as I was going to get. With this heat, it wasn't as if I could curl my hair and makeup was completely out of the question.

I studied the discreet map in my planner and decided I'd work my way over to the SU gradually, since it was all the way across campus. I liked looking around. The school grounds had a quiet beauty. Rock gardens, adobe, tasteful arrangements of cacti. Here and there were verdant patches where someone had managed to coax some wilting grass. If not for the suffocating heat, it would be very peaceful.

That — and also the fact that my schedule was

I had a 7am freshman seminar on Mondays, Wednesdays,
Fridays. It was a writing workshop, a unit-filler, and would not fulfill any of my graduation requirements. More useful than the bonsai-growing class, or the class on macrame, though probably not as fun.

At 3:30 p.m., I had Communist Theory. It fulfilled my Sociology prerequisite, but sounded so boring.
“A critical analysis of the Communist Manifesto”
—really? When I looked up the professor's ratings, the comments made him out to be a neurotic weirdo with a fear of authority figures.

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., I had Medieval Literature. That one I was actually looking forward to because one of the books in the curriculum was
Don Quixote
, one of my favorites. Unfortunately, they were using a translation different from mine, which meant I had to buy this one, too, and there were eight required books for this class, in addition to four optional, supplementary readings. In total this class was costing me about $500.

At 6 p.m., I had Introductory Psychology. Boom — Social Sciences requirements complete.

I was a declared Computer Sciences major, and yet absolutely none of the classes in my schedule were pertinent to my studies. This was completely ridiculous. Classes hadn't even started yet and already I was a jaded college student who desperately wanted to graduate.

College had once been my greatest aspiration; it stood for everything my mother did not — intellectualism, feminism, freedom. But being kidnapped had given me plenty of time to think, and somewhere between all that fear and dread, I'd realized that was the wrong reason to go to college. That the potential for those things had been
inside me all along, only I'd never realized because I hadn't believed myself strong enough to break free without an intermediary.

While in Seattle, I'd seen entire constellations of possibility I'd never previously been aware of, I'd been so blinded by the bright, glaring stars of expectation. Freedom, I was beginning to think, had less to do with
you were, and more about
you were trying to be.

BOOK: Armed and Dangerous (The IMA)
10.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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