Kai pulled me ahead, but still remained in the shadows. We weren’t dressed for the event, though that didn’t seem to matter. Just as we got to the event’s main entrance, a roar went through the crowd and almost as one, they turned around to look where we’d come from.
Kai tugged me back, continuing to twist, maneuver through the crowd. I realized he was doing it on purpose. His head was down, his shoulders hunched forward. He had put on a somewhat meek air, so no one paid attention. That amazed me, given who he was, but it was working. For now.
Once we got to a better spot, almost at the very edge of the pier and tucked behind a small booth that was closed up for the night, Kai let me look back.
I did, and the world stopped.
Time stood still. Everything in me paused because walking down the middle of the pier, as if he were king of the fucking universe, was my father. On his arm, my cousin. It was an odd thing, seeing her. A smugness on her lips, her eyes gleaming and greedy as she sauntered beside him. She wore a gold, sequined gown, strapless, and her breasts were almost popping out.
It should’ve sickened me, seeing them together. She was my mother’s niece. There was no blood relation between the two, but he was my father, and she was my look-alike. Except she wasn’t. There was something in her that looked nothing like me.
And they looked like they belonged together.
She was bad, just as much as him. I didn’t know why, what she’d done, but I could tell she belonged there. On his arm seemed the perfect place for her.
I must’ve made a sound because a couple in front of us turned around, and Kai pulled me farther back.
“Can you handle this?”
I whispered through gritted teeth, “I want to murder both of them.”
A low chuckle was my reward. He smoothed a hand down my back, resting over my ass before moving around to the front of my hip. He moved my back to his chest, and I could feel his lips grazing the side of my throat. He pushed my shirt aside, nibbling on my shoulder as his hand began exploring. He ran it across to my stomach, his fingers slipping inside my pants, and I almost fell back, leaning nearly my whole weight on him. My head rested against his as he kissed me.
He moved us farther and farther back until no one could see us. We were separated from the crowd, and with a few movements, he untied the tent opening for the booth.
He pulled me in, tying one string back in place, and then he was on me.
“What are we doing?” I asked between kisses.
“Damned if I know.” His hand moved inside my pants, and I had a second’s warning before his finger was inside of me.
This was insane.
My father was outside, talking. He looked like he was about to put a show on for this crowd, and we were in here. Kai kissed down my throat, his other hand holding my ass as he pumped his hand in and out of me.
My knees buckled.
He pulled out, but only to turn me around. Moving his leg up between mine, he held me in place. His fingers moved back into me, but more gently this time, sensual. He pushed in, in, so far in, and his mouth began tasting my throat. He kissed and caressed me as he moved his fingers back out, going deliciously slowly.
I panted, my need mounting. My entire fucking body burned now. My head fell back to his shoulder and I moaned.
“Ssshhhhh.” He turned his head, his mouth catching mine.
“Is someone in there?”
I almost groaned again. Goddamn. We were going to be caught.
But then, “No, ma’am. Please move along.” A guard stood outside. Of course.
“Move along, ma’am. Please.”
Kai’s hand swept up under my shirt, moving my bra aside and wrapping around my tit. His thumb rubbed over it. “We’re protected,” he breathed. His hand slid to the other tit, cupping me, scorching me. “You make me lose control. My God. I can’t—I should be out there, watching your father, and instead, one touch from you and I can’t—I have to have you.” His fingers picked up their pace. In. Out. In. Out. I felt him almost all the way to my stomach, and I rode him, moving my hips over his hand.
I grasped his arm, holding him still, and I moved faster. Harder.
Until a rush exploded in me.
I came quietly, but it left me boneless, and I couldn’t move. My entire body twitched from the after effects. I could barely raise my head.
A low moan slipped out, and Kai’s arms tightened around me. He pressed a kiss to my mouth, then my jaw, my chin, my neck before he just held me.
I could feel his cock under my thighs.
I reached for him, but he tensed. “No.” But he sounded reluctant. He moved me off of him, slowly. His hands lingered, running down my arms, and when I could stand, he stepped in behind to hug me. His lips found the curve between my neck and shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around me.
I knew neither of us wanted to go back out there.
I wanted to stay in this tent. It felt good in here. I wanted this Kai with me at all times—loving, caring, tender. The man who could make me lose my bearings and bring me so much pleasure I almost saw fucking stars, but out there was a different Kai. He would have to be cold, detached, ruthless.
A shiver went down my spine.
That was my Kai too, but he scared me.
He sighed, nuzzling my cheek before lifting his head. “We have to go. I have to go. We have some time. You can stay in here, if you want. For a few more minutes.”
“When are you taking him?”
I didn’t know how it was going to go down, and as Kai slipped out after squeezing my hand, everything in me yearned to pull him back in.
I yearned to keep him with me in this pocket of time, because when I left, there was no going back.
I’d come with the intention of hurting my father. I’d made my decision earlier. I was going to stick with it, but almost a lifetime could separate me from deciding that and now doing it. I was on the precipice. And if I failed, Kai would be there. Hell. Kai would do it anyway. He was half doing it for me; I knew that. And I wouldn’t really have to participate, but I was here.
In my old life, you had a moral decision in times like this.
If you see what’s going to happen and stand aside, you’re just as guilty. To be innocent, you must step in, you must try to help stop it. I was not going to do that this time. So I was a part of it all.
I was guilty. It didn’t matter if I pulled the trigger or not. His blood would be on me. But there was more going on. Here I was with Kai. If I went with this, I was choosing him.
But that decision had already been made too.
We still hadn’t finished our argument. I’d said those words to him, calling him on loving me and not knowing how to handle it. His answer had been to leave.
He left. Then I left. Then he made me climax so fucking hard I couldn’t stand afterward. So I still had some things to sort out.
Grabbing a chair, I sank down onto it.
That’s when I heard him. My father’s voice from outside.
He was laughing, boasting. It was funny how it hadn’t changed, even since I was twelve. That sound still made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He made my stomach roll over in disgust just as he always had.
When I’d heard him bark orders in the house. When something made him furious at a meal—if there wasn’t enough salt or he suddenly decided we needed ketchup even though he’d banned it, saying it was “beneath his palate.” The way he’d sounded when he had colleagues over, how he spoke to my mother in a way that forced her to be nice, be polite, and not say a damn word. She’d better fucking smile or she wouldn’t be able to walk the next day.
From his beating.
His laugh rolled over me, and I felt nausea moving up my throat. It was the same laugh he’d used when I’d heard him bring a woman to the house. He’d taken her to the basement, and I knew there were others. My mom knew too.
I’d been nine, but I knew what he was doing with her.
I hadn’t seen her in so long. It was three years ago that I saw her for the States’ Thanksgiving Day. It was one holiday we both enjoyed, and that day was special to me. She had met someone a year after leaving my father. It’d seemed quick to me, because that’s when I’d left too, but I had no place for any emotions other than happiness that we were both alive. Safe.
She had someone who loved her, protected her, and while he didn’t know about her past, I also knew what else she was trying to tell me.
She was going to start over. I never told anyone, but that’s why I became a Hider.
I agreed to the separation from her because I wanted her to start over. I didn’t want my face to be a reminder of her past, of the torture he had put her through, and I found a new purpose in life.
I was better. I was alive. She was alive.
She’d had two more children, a boy and girl. I’d seen their pictures. Blade kept track of them for me. Both were in sports, getting top scores in their years. I was happy for them.
I was proud.
They were close to the age I’d been when I went to Hillcrest. Somehow, knowing I was about to face my father, that hit me hard. It sat with me, giving me a sense of life’s brevity.