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Stephen Paul


book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either
the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales
is entirely coincidental.


Perfect Game

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Copyright © 2014 Stephen Paul
. All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No
part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled,
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by Telemachus Press, LLC


the author website:


978-1-940745-54-1 (eBook)








He scanned the text message again.

C u soon ;)

Kyle Vine took a
deep breath and slipped the smartphone back into his pocket as he stepped out
of the taxi, still not sure what he was going to do. It was wrong. There was no
question about it. And not just because he was more than two decades older than

he was her
professor. It simply wasn’t right on any level. Yet he didn’t turn around,
didn’t leave. He kept walking toward the Lower East Side bar where she texted
she’d be waiting at one fifteen.

He checked his
watch as he walked, the dew of the damp June night collecting against his skin.
He felt nervous, the pit of his stomach a mess of good and bad, but mostly
good, excited. The type of excited he hadn’t felt in years.

He looked across
the street through the misty haze and saw her step out of the bar right on cue.

Allie Shelton.

She was wearing a
skimpy red skirt and a low-cut tight white tank, her chest barely contained,
her long shapely legs seeming to go on forever. She turned to him and flashed a
smile, brushing a few long strands of blond hair away from her green eyes. But
instead of walking toward him, she went the other way. Away from the bar.
Either trying to get away from anyone who might see them together, or playfully
teasing him by making him work for it. He didn’t know. It’d been a while since
he’d engaged in such a dance. A long while. He watched her tap away at her
iPhone as she walked and felt his BlackBerry vibrate in his pocket. He pulled
it out.

Glad u came :)

He smiled. He
couldn’t help it. No matter how much he wished he didn’t want her, he did.

Me 2
, he wrote back, thinking using the
number “2” instead of spelling out the word somehow made him seem younger, more
in sync, more “hip.”

They’d never
kissed. Never did anything but flirt. A game that had escalated once she asked
for his cell number a few weeks earlier. The texts since then had been nonstop.
She wasn’t bashful, especially not when texting. But her text from earlier that
night, asking him to meet her out, had taken it to another level.

As did his reply
agreeing to meet.

She texted
Been waiting weeks 4 this
turned into an alley about a block away so they’d be alone. A gesture he
appreciated, not wanting to engage in a public display of affection for their
first kiss, already uncomfortable enough just being there. The last thing he
needed was to put on a show.

As she disappeared
from view, he stopped and looked back at the smattering of smokers hanging
outside the string of bars. All young. Not much older than his
thirteen-year-old daughter.

His daughter …
What the hell am I doing?

But he could
question himself all he wanted and the answer would continue to be the same. He
what he was doing. He was
taking advantage of someone who trusted him, looked up to him. But he couldn’t
stop. The feeling growing inside wouldn’t let him. It told him to keep going,
to just cut loose for once and enjoy. He was entitled to it. Besides, she
young. She was old
enough. She’d just turned twenty.

He started walking
again toward the alley she’d ducked into, still not sure what he was going to

slide his hands
all the way up her long bare legs and pull her close as they kissed, or tell
her he had to leave, that he couldn’t do it. But as he turned the corner into
the alley’s dark shadows, he realized the question would forever remain
unanswered as every single yearning temptation he had was chased away in one
fell swoop.

Allie wasn’t
leaning against the wall waiting for him to take her. Far from it. She was
sprawled out on the ground amidst the grime and litter not moving at all, her
eyes shut tight, her arms awkwardly stretched out over her head, one leg snaked
around the other. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of someone
at the other end of the alley, a man ducking out into the next block.

Kyle rushed over
to Allie, bending down and grabbing her wrist, feeling for a pulse. There was a
heartbeat, thank God
A strong one.

He scanned her up
and down for any sign of trauma, any wound, but didn’t see any. He tried
shaking her awake, but her eyes remained closed, her body completely
unresponsive. She needed medical attention, quickly. He pulled out his phone
and dialed 911, giving the operator the location and situation.

As he answered the
follow-up questions, he spotted Allie’s iPhone a few feet away. Probably fell
when she did. He picked it up and tapped the screen. Their entire string of
racy messages popped up and stared back at him. One long chain going back to
when they first started flirting. It was exactly what the police and Allie’s
family would see. It’s also what the school would eventually see. He’d be
fired. There was no doubt about it. Hell, he’d probably just resign first to
make it easier on everyone.
what the hell am I going to tell

The light
smartphone suddenly felt heavy in his hand. He couldn’t believe he was in this
predicament. Nor could he believe what he was contemplating.

Delete them. Just get rid of the entire
string and tell the police I was passing by.

Sure, it’d
look suspicious, but the evidence, the
texts, would all be gone.

He thought of
Bree, thought of what would happen if she found out why he was there and how it
would completely shatter the image she still held of him. He couldn’t do it,
not to her, and not to himself. He’d already done enough damage there.

He drew a deep
breath as he pressed “edit,” then watched the words “clear all” pop up and sear
into his conscience. He paused again before pressing anything else, his
emotions tugging him apart, one side flashing images of being grilled by the
police, the other urging him to just prepare himself to lie and delete them,
convincing himself that there was no need for anyone to see their private messages.
That they had nothing to do with Allie’s collapse.

He looked down at
Allie and saw her chest moving. She wasn’t having any trouble breathing. There
were no marks on her, no signs of an assault. Maybe she’d even get up before
anyone came.

But maybe not.

And if she didn’t,
the texts would destroy him. Something he wasn’t prepared to let happen. So he
flushed away any further hesitation and pressed the button, then watched as the
entire conversation, every single racy message, disappeared. He thought about
pocketing the phone rather than leaving it, but quickly dismissed the idea and
dropped it, afraid someone would track it back to him using the GPS.

As he watched the
pink case land next to Allie’s still arm, the enormous weight of his actions
bore down on his conscience like a bag of wet cement.

He’d crossed the
line. And there was no turning back.




He felt good.
Damn good.

Hell, compared to
where he’d been he was flying now. The difference was like night and day and
the high had him buzzing. But still, he knew it wasn’t as good as it should’ve
been. He wasn’t able to get that last bit. The girl hadn’t been the total
pushover he’d expected. It’d been harder this time. Much harder than any of his
other hits. Then he heard the guy coming around the corner before he was able
to give it that final push and finish things. So he stopped. He had to. And
that meant he fell short of what he usually got. Short of the total fix he

But it should
still be enough, he thought as he crossed over Delancey Street, turning back as
he neared his car to see if the guy had decided to follow him.

There was no one.
He took out his remote and unlocked the driver’s side door, then slid inside.
He pushed the fob into the ignition and the engine turned over. He glanced up
at the rearview mirror, giving one more look down the street.

No one.

He pulled out and
made his way south on Delancey, heading toward the FDR. The way things had gone
down wasn’t sitting well with him. And it wasn’t just that he didn’t get all he
wanted. It was more than that. He’d been sloppy. He should’ve made sure the
coast was completely clear. Not be so impulsive. He should’ve been more
patient, waited first to see why she had ducked in the alley before immediately
attacking. Better yet, he should’ve targeted a guy. Guys were more likely to be
alone. At that time of night, girls were almost always with someone, especially
the hot ones.

But he’d been
there for an hour, and it’d been a slow night. There hadn’t been many matches
for some reason, and those who fit the bill hadn’t been alone. He’d also been
tired. And jittery. And worn. He’d needed the fix. Needed it bad. Things had
been getting worse, and his body was crying out to him to jump at whatever
opportunity came along.

So he had. Recklessly.

He took stock of
himself, wondering if what he’d taken would be enough and last until the next
night or if he should take some more.

He lifted his hand
from the wheel and balled it into a fist, then released it and held it hovering
over the armrest. Steady as a rock. He peered out the windshield, through the
mist. Everything was clear. Colors jumped out at him even in the damp, dark
night. His body tinged with electricity now, sparked with vibrancy.

Yeah, he thought,
it should be enough. But it was tough to tell. Everything was so new.

And it was better
not to risk it. Hell, Corin would already be pissed at him for being so
careless that he’d let someone see him. But the guy who showed up in the alley
couldn’t have gotten a good look at him. He wouldn’t be able to ID him.

But still, maybe
he should’ve done something. Stayed around. Taken care of the guy and tied up
loose ends. Just to make sure.

Shouldn’t matter,
though. Not in a big picture way. Yeah, it’ll get Corin nervous. But Corin was
nervous. And this blip on the
radar didn’t deserve it. The guy in the alley wouldn’t be a problem. And even
if he was and things started to escalate a bit too much, Corin would be able to
put out the fire. He was good at that.

But he was getting
ahead of himself. No one knew or even suspected anything about what he was
doing. Everything was still fine. Corin had confirmed it a couple of times
already, assuring him that their clients were quiet. Hadn’t piped up a word
since he’d started. So they didn’t even know. And if they did know, they
apparently didn’t care. Besides, he knew how valuable he was to them. It was
the ace in the hole he was always ready to play.

So he let the
concern slide to the backdrop and instead focused on what mattered, the next
night and the stellar performance he expected would follow.

As long as he’d
taken enough.

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