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Pick Me Up, Knock Me Down

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*Chirp*

A new IM has come your way. Your browser tabs flash yellow behind the text document your typing feverishly on. Your brow furrows and you plough on, hoping that it wasn’t who you think it is. A few minutes your muscles begin to untense a bit as you continue to type.

*Chirp*

Fuck. Maybe its a different person, just maybe. An entirely different message. You keep typing, hunched over your desk with your face stuck as close to the screen as you dare. People move past and you flinch a little every time. Your boss might be by any minute and this damn report is nearly done.

*Chirp!*

Is that stupid sound getting louder? Its like the whole floor might be able to hear it. Oh what you wouldn’t give just be able to scream in that blowhard’s face;

“WHAT?!” But that would cause you to lose your job and never ever find another one, ever. At least not a decent, respectable office job. It’d be back to demeaning customer service for the rest of your years. And besides, you know what he’s on about. Really a more apt outburst would be;“WAIT!”

*Chirp, Chirp*

You cringe and your fingers curl into something more akin to talons.You claw the keys rather than pecking them. You should check it and answer, you shouldn’t keep him waiting. At this point he’s probably tapping into security cams to see that you’re at your desk. You know he does this even though he denies it up and down. But if your immediate boss catches you IM’ing rather than typing up that damn report, she’ll have you fired.

And if you don’t answer these stupid messages, you might end up fired later that week. You’re biting the bullet no matter what, so you pray for luck and switch tabs. The four messages flash on your screen, from username PHT.

I have a bit of a lull between meetings, could you come up for lunch?

… Its been awhile since we had sit down time together.

… Are you there?

… Excuse me...I don’t appreciate being ignored, I hope that’s not what you’re doing.

You heave a sigh internally and begin typing back.

... I’m not ignoring you sir, you know I wouldn’t do that. My boss has me under her thumb right now, I have less than 20 minutes to get a report done and I’m nearly there, I’m just focused. …

*Chirp* Understandable. You have been mentioning how surly and pushy she’s been of late. But my invitation still stands.

I may not be able to get away that long. I hand this to her I know I’m going to slapped with another project.

You bite your lip and hope he let’s you off the hook.

… *Chirp* She may, but there’s still no way for her to stop you taking lunch. It’s against company policy after all.

No. Such. Luck.

Alright, I’ll be up soon.

… *Chirp* 10 minutes. Work fast, walk faster.

You can’t help but grind your teeth. It must sound like you’re murdering you keyboard as you mash out the last finicky bits. You stalk to your bosses tiny office and thank the good golden gods she’s not in. The report gets slapped down on her inbox and you make your march to the elevators. Not the normal ones, the executive ones, only they go where you need to.

The halls of Hyperion headquarters look almost like a hospital, all polished white and giant streaks of yellow running along the floors. Lots of people milling about in lab coats, even more in expensive suits. The few who wear more normal, beat down office attire stand out. It screams ‘lacky’ and ‘stooge’ in these halls. In your case it screams ‘squeeze’. You are someone faceless and powerless.

Then occasionally one more type to come through. Someone in casual gear, dirty, well worn stuff that screams ‘rugged’ and ‘wild’, and also ‘dangerous’ in the bad way. That kind of person is usually a hired gun of some sort. In Hyperion halls the executives and doctors get clung too, no one is ever more than an arm’s reach from them. The underlings like you get shunned, or shoved. Those people are the only ones who get a wide berth. You want that. A nice fat bubble of personal space and a whole hallway full important people afraid to look you in the eye.

You get to the elevators with three minutes to spare. They open for you without pause and you head up the top levels without pushing a button. When the doors open you suppress a shudder. The executive offices are not bright like the hallways. You call the low lights and mostly dark space dingy. The president calls it dramatic. He says it accentuates the light from outside and the spectacular view the top office boasts. It makes you feel like you’re walking into a monster’s cave. You approach his secretary who nods to you recognition. The looks she gives you are something close to pity. She’s been in this boat from time to time too.

“Hi Sheila.” you say, with more faked happiness than you thought you could muster.

“Hey...he says it’ll be a few.” You roll your eyes. Just like that asshole.

But whatever, you could use the buffer time to cool down. You flop onto a nearby couch and just stare off at the wall, thinking about dinner. Not because of hunger, but because planning dinner is one of the few innocuous things than can getting your mind of the trash heap your life has evolved into. Its not long before those frosted glass doors slide open. You wrench your eyes towards it, but what you see turns out to be a sight for sore ones.

Oh boy...a warm shudder rolls down your back as Jack steps out of the office. Jack in his tight jeans and kick ass boots, the dark brown leather and even darker hair; the face that Michelangelo couldn’t have dreamed up and the eyes...ye gods his eyes. Could the deities just not decide what color to give him? Sea ice blue and palm tree green; arctic and tropic. You’re staring shamelessly and Sheila’s staring discreetly. Jack looks up as he walks to the elevators and flashes you a wink from his green eye. There’s a buzz from the intercom in Shirley’s desk as he enters the elevator.

“He’s ready for you now.”

You and Jack lock eyes for a brief instant as the doors close. You determine to savor that moment, along with his wink as you endure your lunch date. Inside the equally dark and imposing office sits your ‘date’, and your ultimate boss.

Harold Tassiter is in his late 50’s, and weighs less than you do. He never really stops scowling and he takes constant pains to hide everything about himself. But the thicker he tries to make his veneer the more it flakes away. The tar he must drag through his hair every morning to keep it black (and oily) only makes you think it must be near bone white in reality. The carefully tailored suit didn’t do anything to hide his skin and bone physique even before you saw him naked. He bears himself in a controlled and cool manner; but you never had a problem seeing the needy, whiny, demanding mama’s boy beneath.

The corners of his mouth twist up just slightly as you enter. You’ve let your eyes go to soft focus over his face, you’re thinking about Jack still. He doesn’t notice.

“Glad you could make it.” he says, sounding almost genuine. The fact that he twisted your arm into it breaks that illusion.

“We haven’t seen much of each other lately.” he stands and motions towards a table over to the side of the room, closer to the window than his desk.

Better light, so you can both see your damn food. At least the man can afford a good spread. Some pasta salad and tasty looking roast beef sandwiches; along with a glass of iced tea for you. There’s a bottle of white wine as well, he’ll be trying that alone. You long since learned not to drink with the man. It makes the truth slip out and he doesn’t like hearing the truth from you. En vino veritas after all.

You nod to him as you sit down thankful to have a nice lunch at least. Tassiter quickly starts asking you what you’ve been up to aside from work lately. You shrug and talk about the short stories you’ve been toying with (he wants to look those over this weekend); and about how you still want a pet (he reminds you you’re allergic to dander); and you mention you’re thinking of taking some time off to see your mother and grandmother.

You’re both about halfway through your meal when you get to that. Tassiter stops for just a moment and the barest hint of a smile seems to appear on his face. It’s unsettling but then its gone. He doesn’t say anything else but gives you a pointed look, like he’s waiting for you to say something.

“Is something wrong? You’re making me worried.” you say. Not untrue.

“Oh, sorry. I just...well.” he dabs his mouth with his napkin and then leans in a little. “How long have we been seeing each other now?”

he asks, again that smile hint bubbling up. You suppress a shudder at the thought.

“I dunno, maybe 5 months.” Tassiter nods.

“I know you don’t like to make a big fuss about us, and I truly appreciate that. I agree with it wholeheartedly. But its different when it comes to family; isn’t it?”

You feel a lump forming in your throat. A big swig of iced tea does little to wash it away as he continues.

“I think I should stop insinuating things and just have it out. If you do find time to visit them, let me know and I’ll clear my schedule too.”

Your throat clenches now and your stomach drops.

“You want to meet my mom and grandma?” you say slowly, trying like hell to keep your voice even. He nods enthusiastically.

“Yes. I think it’d be wonderful. You’ve told me so much about them, I think we’d get along well. Don’t you think it’s time I met them? I mean, you’d have long since met my mother were she still around.”

He reaches for your hand at that point, cool bony fingers clenching around your own stone cold ones. He gives it a few squeezes and holds your gaze; waiting for the invitation. Dear great golden gravy gods. You had hoped this was a fling, even as it dragged on. You had hoped he’d get bored. Now it was obvious, painfully obvious. He really wants to be your boyfriend; he thinks he is your boyfriend. He wants to meet the family, he wants to be the biggest more important part of your life. He wants it so bad he’s shoehorning himself in with every chance he gets. Without really thinking, you say.

“I agree. Come along. I’ll let them know once I find the time.”

He smiled, just a bit more. He kissed you after that and wanted more but you insisted on getting back to work. Its about the only excuse he’ll take. He values work ethic in his employees after all. You didn’t really think about the answer because there wasn’t much to think about. Say no or make an excuse and he’ll take it on your workload, your hours, your overtime, your paycheck. So as you walk back to your cubicle your mind decides to show you the horrible chain of events.

The long trip out to your rural home town. The awkward meeting as mom and grandma play nice but see right through him. Or worse yet what happens if they don’t and like him. Worse still if they think you’re using him. But no matter how that plays out it gets ingrained in his mind that you are a real couple. He married twice before, he’ll do it again. Won’t be long till you’re faced with a giant rock and a boss with his heart on his sleeve.

Fuck, that’s why. He knows he’s got leverage. His last two wives kicked him around and tried to clean him out in the divorces. You’re weak willed, an utter stooge. You’ll be the malleable home body he wants to cook his food, clean his house and warm his bed. Rage builds fast and you feel like a furnace has come roaring to life inside you. OOOOoooooh, what you would give to punch him. No, kick him in the balls. No,no, no, bring to to grandma’s, yes, tell her everything and she’ll spike the apple brown betty before you can say ‘Lioness mode’.

He’ll pass out, you and mom will dig an open grave beneath the porch, cover him in lye and in a week when he wakes up; he’ll be dissolving. You march right past your desk as you laugh maniacally in your head, not even trying to hide your crazed smile. After doing an about face to get back, you plop down in your chair and crack your knuckles. Those murderous fantasies made you feel a little better...for the moment. You go over your emails before getting back to work. Your boss wants you to go over another set of papers for her. Some co workers are trying to get together for drinks.Updates on the statistics you asked for. As you’re looking one pops up from Tassiter.

Hello sweetie, I was thinking that we didn’t get nearly enough time together today, and with the new plans we made I’d like to come over tonight. I have a window of opportunity next month when we could get out to your home town. I have to say I’m looking forward to it. No need to get back to me now, we’ll talk more tonight. -H. Tassiter

You stare at the screen for a long time. Too long. But you can’t be bothered to care. He invited himself over again. Another night with him. You need pills, headache pills. You need to rethink dinner because the simple, heavy, homely stuff you make is too low brow for him. You need to get those hard to find condoms and hope that the one store that has them didn’t run out again. And you need a new citrus candle to huff to get the smell of his unholy hair product out of your nose. The man is expensive to see for all the wrong reasons.

Voices buzz around you and you ignore them till one in particular breaks through.

“Thanks kiddo, but I usually like to do a little more looking around first.” Wow, that sounded weird out of context.

You peek up and spot Jack again, flashing smiles at all the other women and working his way up to the end of the room. Every blue moon he comes through to discuss something with the bevvy of programmers that work in your particular office. He’s still a refreshing sight. But you decide not to stare and turn back around and bring up your spreadsheets again. Work, just work you tell yourself. Then you feel a presence not far behind you.

“Hey.” You turn and see the odd eyed dream leaning over your cubicle.

“I’ve seen you up in Tassiter’s office a couple of times now.” He enters and sits himself down in your spare chair.

You try not to glance at his damn near proffered crotch and keep your face blank.

“What’s the old taint smear want with you?” The...colorful insult makes one corner of your mouth crack up in a smile. But you feel that an insult against you might be lurking in that sentence as well.

“He...we...dah.” how the hell do you tell him the truth? You can’t. “I guess you could say we see each other.” you say lowly, almost whispering.

Jack cocks an eyebrow. He gets hotter by a dozen points doing so.

“What, not happy to be the big bad boss’s squeeze?” he mocks. You throw your head back for a moment, then come back to him.

“What’s all this to you?” He shrugs; looks away, fiddles with a bit of his dark brown hair. He’s fishing for something.

“Not much honey. I figured you two were boinking a while back.” he pauses seeming to gauge your reactions to his choice of words.

You still keep your face as blank as possible but internally your feel a flutter of heat at the word honey along with a shudder at boinking.

“But you don’t like him do you? Money honey?” he asks with a smirk.

Now you grimace. “You really wanna know what’s going on?” He puts his hands up and gives an exaggerated shrug. “Why not?”

You rub your temples and begin to wonder just where the hell to even start. ‘Make it short and sweet’ a little voice says.

“Tassiter’s been hounding my ass for months.” you finally blurt, “I dunno when he first noticed me. But he made a point to run into me at our department's potluck. I know he had no damn business being there. He stuck to me like shit on velcro that night. Then the emails started. I warned him then that I might go to HR. Then my boss starts slamming me with every awful task she can find, while cutting my overtime hours. Even threatens firing me for ‘making her life harder’. So I throw the old, old dog a bone. A few dates, what could that hurt?”

You throw your arms up and voice raises nearly to a shout as you talk. Your aware of it suddenly, quickly putting arms back to your sides and listening for a second. You don’t hear any change in the rhythm of chatter or the clicking of keys, and go on in a softer voice.

“That first ‘date’ was five months ago. Five months of this behavior and now he’s weaseling his way into meeting my family.”

Jack’s amused look hadn’t changed till now. His brow furrowed and his upper lip gave a small disgusted snarl.

“What the hell? Why?” he asks in genuine confusion.

“I can only think he’s paving the way for a new marriage. Either that or he’s fishing for someone more his age in my family.”

Jack’s disgust visibly grew.

“I can’t decide what’s worse, calling him honey, or calling him dad; or grandad.”

Jack closed his eyes for a second then gave a big shiver. “Ick.”

“Yeah.”

“I sympathize, I do.” he drawls.

He locks eyes with you for a second, the room seeming to grow warmer under his blue green stare, then he breaks it to glance around. You do the same, wondering what got his attention but see nothing out of the ordinary. Then he leans in.

“Tassiter has a lot of favorites.” he whispers.

“Not surprised.” you say.

“But you have the bad luck of being number 1, apparently. Well, among chicks at least.” he leans back again.

Oh no, he’s couldn’t be saying what you think he is.

“So he plays both sides of the fence, and you…” Jack nods.

“Another favorite. I don’t like it, but he doesn’t much like me, and I have to get favors from him somehow.”

“What favors?” ‘What could be worth that?’ you think.

“Oh, the best computers, fancy toys, my own satellite, you know the usual fun stuff.” he flashes another heart stopping smile.

“But what favors do you get?”

You put your head in your hand. “I dunno, the honor of his presence?”

Jacks chuckles. “You could push for more you know.”

“I think he keeps me around cause I don’t. And besides, if I start pushing now I’m sure he’ll push me out of a job.”

“You need this job that badly?” he says flippantly.

“Jack, this is Pandora remember? This complex is just a microcosm of normalcy, it either a corporate desk lacky job or being clan wife to some set of bandit raiders if I’m lucky.”

“Oh I know that sweetcheeks. I never forget that. I feel you there. I’d rather give my gun a blowjob then end up out there with them.” He winks at you again.

Your mind quickly translates it as ‘I give amazing head by the way. Seriously, you wouldn’t know what hit you.’ You smile at the thought and that mind of yours goes to darker, dirtier places quickly. An attractive man sitting here, talking to you, nearly flirting. What a cool breeze, what a breath of fresh air, what a tall cool glass of water. Just what you’ve been needing. Jack stands, slowly it feels almost like a strip tease about to begin.

He peers down at you and you think you see him chew his lip just a bit.

“Want some coffee?” You don’t drink coffee, it does bad things, it tastes like shit water. You want it now though.

“Sure.” Everyone sees you strolling along with Jack. The women hate you for it, and not a small amount of the men too. You get that coffee and choke it down as the two of you keep talking. To anyone else the conversation seems innocuous but you slip in innuendos. Mostly about Tassiter.

It feels good to berate him with someone else. The flirting gets a little more overt on his end, and you reciprocate. It feels great, naughty, flattering. His attentions stoke flames and bring back a slick wet heat you’ve not felt for awhile. But even this fun moment has to end. And soon enough you're back at your desk with a half drunk but never to be finished mug of coffee. You feel...a little better.

There’s less weight on your chest, and a tiny bit of confidence is dribbling back. Your boss cuts out early later so you decide to do the same. Lot of things to round up tonight. Tassiter never argues with steaks so you mange to find some decent ones, along with some veggies to roast. While you're shopping you notice some chorizo sausage on sale. Your mouth waters a bit at the thought of the ‘Kitchen Sink’ chili you could make with that. You haven’t made chili in a while because Tassiter’s been over a lot and he complained bitterly about the smell last time. Fuck him, you finally decide. You can think of an excuse to keep him from spending the night and make it after he leaves. With no small amount of suppressed; excited joy you gather up all the ingredients for your chili and head to the check out. You run the groceries home first then head back out for the rest of your necessary items.

You weave your way through the dusty back streets climbing up and down staircases of tamped down earth till you find the little kink shop with the stuff you need. The older lady who runs it knows you by now, she smiles and tosses you a bawdy wink as you leave. You smile back, glad that for all her grizzled and mean looks she’s very sweet, as long as you treat her nice. Closer to home you pick up those pills. The nearer to Hyperion campus you are the cleaner and wider the streets get. They’re trying to clean the place up but what money they’re willing to spare doesn’t go far.

Finally you get home the second time, close and lock the door and heave a sigh, checking your watch. 10 to 5, he’ll be by at 7 on the dot. Enough time to shower and change, then get dinner ready. And hide the chili ingredients. You dress the part; a dark red silk dress and a nice lacy set of lingerie. Tassiter bought you that set, its a little too small and after a few washings its started itching. Not like him to get something cheap but you guess he doesn’t know all that much about female undies. You get dinner underway at 6:15 and just as predicted, you hear a key card slide through the lock at 7.

Tassiter enters, again smiling at you. He changed into an even nicer suit between now and work. He greets you and wraps his thin arms around your waist as you’re finishing dinner. He does play the part of a boyfriend somewhat well. You space out a lot during dinner. You’re thinking about everything your were at work but now you just feel tired as you go over the scenarios again. It might also be his droning voice as he describes similar things. After dinner is finished you pile the dishes by the sink and prepare to wash them off and you feel thin fingers in your hair. You jump a little and he frowns.

“Did I surprise you?” You nod and openly yawn. A least you don’t have to fake it.

“Tired, I assume? You did seem a bit distracted.”

“I guess today took more out of me than I thought.” you say slowly.

“Hmm…” He keeps running his hands through your hair for a minute as you begin washing dishes. You don’t fight the tiredness and your eyelids droop a bit. He notices all this and heaves a sigh.

“I guess I’ll sleep in my house tonight; if you’re that tired.”

“You don’t have to do that.” you offer. He would stay if you didn’t.

“I think I should. Besides,” he leans in and pecks your forehead. “I can come back tomorrow night.”

“I’ll see you then.” you crack a half smile. His fingers linger in your hair for a moment then he heads to the door.

Tassiter is nothing if not economical even with his time. If you won’t be sleeping together, he won’t linger. The room gets lighter when he leaves. You wait a beat and then lock the door behind him. Your energy comes back for a moment as you clean up and then un-stash your chili fixings. The dress and lace is thrown into the hamper unceremoniously and replaced with warm, soft, comfy jackobs sweats. Your comfort food is soon bubbling happily away and you take a moment to consider what to do with the rest of your Tassiter free evening.

Try out that new mmo shooter people have been raving about, maybe go surf around your favorite alt lit sites and see if there’s any new bits making the rounds, or just waste the night streaming and listening to chatter on the ECHO net. Before you can make up your mind there’s a rap on the door. “Shit.” you spit under your breath. You go up to the door console and turn on the outside camera.

“Hey pumpkin.” Jack looks wildly distorted under the fish-eye lens. “I know its a little creepy just to show up. But I figured ‘What the hell, I’ll try.’ Can I come in?”

“You followed Tassiter?” you ask wryly.

“In a way. Every Hyperion vehicle has GPS after all.”

Why would he go to that kind of trouble to find you? He’s right, this is creepy. You don’t like it, but in a way you do. You know he did this because something pulls him to it. In some way he’s intrigued. And you are too. You unlock the door and Jack saunters in.

“That was a long pause pumpkin, you had me worried for a sec.” He takes a deep whiff of the air and sighs appreciatively.

“Awe, you shouldn’t have! And I thought you didn’t know I was coming.” Now you crack a real smile and head over to the pot still bubbling merrily.

You remove the lid with a bit of a flourish and a cloud of steam rises, saturating your apartment in the spicy, meaty scent even more.

“Tassiter hates this stuff. So I made it when he left.” Jack gets some half evil half possessive look on his face as he steps closer. He looks the same but every time you see him he gets hotter. He gets close, far beyond friend zones.

“Sticking to to him anyway you can huh?” Gods the man’s tall.

Other guys are taller but its been an age since you felt the difference. To meet those odd eyes you have to nearly crane your neck. In the low evening light its like they’re glowing. You gulp and nod, your own smile growing the more he stares at you. You notice that despite the mismatch, those two colors bleed into each other. The blue one is partly green and the green one has several spots of blue. The gods really couldn’t make up their freakin minds could they?

There’s not a word from the usually chatty man as you soak each other in. You absent mindedly hope he’s finding something about to be just as fascinated about. Just as the tension climbs to a breaking point he backs away.

“Well, what do you wanna do? Night’s ours babe.” What is this weird, shaky feeling that passes through you as he says that? Attraction, excitement?

“I think I like you.” you blurt as you replace the lid and turn down the burner. “And its strange.”

He cocks an eyebrow and you feel a throb in your abdomen.

“Maybe because I haven’t liked anyone in while. Yeah, that must be it.” you wrinkle your nose as you think about Tassiter again.

“One reason why I’m here kitten.” he reaches out and cups your chin, appraising you and giving a slight pucker.

“Oh, playing the part of the white knight are we?” you snicker. Somehow that role doesn’t quite suit him. But he grins.

“That’s who I am babe, that’s who I am.” Now he moves close enough to touch, to hold.

He wraps his arms around you and his mouth crashes down onto yours. He is not timid, first mashing your lips then licking them. You open your mouth like he asked and are quickly lost to the world taking in the sensual feel of his tongue against yours and listening to his heavy breathes and moans. That shaky throbbing grows and now it feels familiar. Arousal, attraction, pure animal lust. The more you recognize it the more you need it back. Like Tassiter stole everything fun from your life and your body and Jack is offering it back on a silver platter.

Gods above even his name is hot. Jack...what a manly name. One syllable rolling off the tongue, a name you can moan or spit. Its a demanding name. It calls attention to itself. You tangle you fingers in the back of his hair and pull it just a bit. He breaks the kiss and leans back but you can feel him fighting it a little. His eyes are hazed with lust and a wicked grin is growing in those luscious, wet, swollen lips.

“Jack,” just as you’d been thinking about, you moan his name, “Jack...god damn Jack.” The grin morphs into a sneer.

“God damn right!”

You tug him towards the bedroom, but once he knows what direction he’s headed in he does the rest of the tugging. By the time you're in that dark room he’s already got hands under your shirt and down the seat of your pants. He’s not going to be a gentle lover, you wince as he drags his nails across your skin and squeezes your breast has hard as he can.

“Gotta hand one thing to the old windbag.” he growls as he yanks the neckline of your shirt back and runs his teeth over your shoulder, “He’s got great taste in women.”

He sucks the crook of your neck and nips, then bites. He keeps that up while pulling the rest of your clothes down your hips. This frenzied pace has you breathless, your hands paw at him for something to hold onto. But that changes into straight groping as you find out how fit his is, and as your stray further south you discover an important source of his abounding ego. So many jokes at work about Jack overcompensating. Jack doesn’t need to compensate for anything. He knows he’s huge, he knows he’s smart, he knows he’s the best looking thing on the god damned planet. When he finally lets go of your neck a full, angry purple bruise has blossomed. In the sharp light from outside you can see him lick his lips.

“Good look for you kitten.” You start stripping him out of his jacket and eyes his neck as he shrugs it off.

“Wanna give me some?” he pulls his Hyperion shirt over his head and hold out his arms.

You grin and smack into him, kissing up and down his neck and shoulder, looking for the perfect spot. You find it just above his clavicle and latch on just as hard as he did. He hisses and drags fingernails over your ass, leaving long red marks. Before you get to finish with your hickey you're knocked back onto the bed and your shirt is pulled away. Jack climbs up and straddles your hips; fondling your breasts and drawing in a hitching breath.

“Kudos kiddo, kudos. Maybe Tassiter just wants to thank your momma for giving you all this.” he licks the other side of your neck and you squirm, reaching up and raking his back.

He groans and leans back up, for a minute just sits on top of you, rubbing himself through his bulging jeans. He looks like a piece of pop art, bare chested and sharply defined in blue night light. You’re throbbing just looking at him, heat rushing through your veins; making you feel like your heart pumps magma now. Its a slow burn lust, you’re not out of control yet but the moment he touches you again it’ll flare quickly. You want his big, rough hands on you again. You want to feel him grope you, lust over you, you want to feel those manly fingers play with you. You want to see stars tonight.

He doesn’t reach for you quick enough so your lift your hands to his. The moment your finger brush his hands he takes them away, grabs yours and places them right on his erection. His jeans are hot and nearly damp and you give him a squeeze, then run your fingers over the zipper up to his belt. Jack bites his lip as he watches you unbuckle and then open his jeans.

“Not shy are we?” he gives a slight hiss as his member springs free, you chew your own lip at the first sight of him.

Long, thick, and flushed dark with hot blood it twitches as you run your fingers over it and then grip it firmly, giving a few pumps. Suddenly Jack leans forward and plants his hands in the mattress, forcing you to lie back down.

“Tell me how bad you want this.” his voice is low and dangerous.

You might think he was about to hurt you, but still keeping a firm grip on his cock let’s you feel no small amount of power. You lick your lips as a good answer comes to mind.

“Want implies I can live without it.” your voice warbles a bit as you speak.

“I need you tonight. Now.” Jack clicks his tongue and runs a hand down your neck.

“Pushy pushy.”

“Please. I’ll do anything.” For just one moment he pauses, like that phrase turned him off, but in the next he’s thrown his weight down on you and slammed his mouth back into yours. The next few minutes is a fevered frenzy of kissing, groping, nipping, biting and slapping as he pries your rear up just enough to smack it while you suck at his ear. You win that little tug of war as he loses any thoughts while your tongue traces every contour of his ear, then draws the lobe into your mouth to suckle at. Finally he growls and pushes you back down.

“Do that down south babe.” he growls, then climbs off you to rip his jeans and boots off.

He stands on the end of the bed and yanks you forward, you bound up to him and press your lips to his flat, firm abdomen. He skin is soft, taunt and still glistens with health and youth. ‘Such a nice change’ you think as you quickly follow the trail of dark hairs to his cock. There’s no pause or anticipation when you reach it. Tassiter likes you to be able to give good head quickly, he taught you some good tricks you’ll give him that.

You part your lips and take Jack’s cock into your mouth with ease, he exhales at that first wet touch and buries his fingers in your hair. The taste of him is musky and salty but not overpowering and he pushes your head further down his shaft. You swallow him down and relish the sounds that start escaping him, they're just little whines at first but as you suck him up to the tip and swallow him again and again they evolve into whorish moans.The man makes delicious, amazing noises just listening to him is making you dampen the sheets beneath you. You keep sucking him for several minutes, continuing at your steady, patient pace even as he starts bucking his hips up into your mouth.

“Goddamn...AH..is...is..that.” You think he’s going to say ‘Is that all you’ve got?’.

Your mouth twitches up in a grin, or as close to one as you can get with his cock in it and you take him as deep as you can stand then suck again till you think your lips might fall off.

“OHhhh-ffffuck!” is all he can mange till you ease up. Once you do he tugs your hair and pulls you off his dick. He’s panting hard and sweat covers his whole body, his knees are visibly shaking.

“So...that’s whaa...what its...like…; that’s…” he says through pants, till giving up on talking.

“Tassiter train you too?” He gets an ugly look when you mention you’re mutual boss.

“Don’t mention...him...again. At all.”

“No such beast.” you say, before being pushed back on the bed.

“Turn over.” he demands, and you comply. He delivers a sharp, merciless smack to your ass. You gasp and feel the pins and needles ripple over your skin. You fully expect more but none come, instead you feel his calloused fingers running up and down your thighs. You shiver, it feels nice but it reminds you too much of the other man, too gentle, and for Jack, very fake.

“What happened?” you say. He answers with nails raking down your back, not hard enough to draw blood but they leave good, red marks.

“Reading you. I like what I see.” He pulls you legs apart and bids you lift your hips, then tucks a pillow beneath them.

“Tired of boring screws? OK honey, tonight will be anything but boring.”

You feel the weight shift in the mattress and his hot skin as he kneels between you spread legs. His fingers rub through your slit and tease at you clit, making you seize up, he hums appreciatively as moisture drips onto his hand. He doesn’t remove his hand as you feel the swollen head of his cock meet your flesh. That sweet friction, the satisfying feeling of being slowly filled, invaded makes you grunt through clenched teeth.

He answers with a moan and quickly hilts himself, laying his full weight over you. You give him a well practiced squeeze and he shudders, wrapping his arms underneath yours and gripping your shoulders before grinding into you. ‘Oh gods, it's really happening’ you think briefly as if you forgot. Its as close to thought as you can get from that point on. His thrusting is slowly getting faster and more erratic, the feeling of him taking you fills you with pleasure laden heat, your skin tingles and your insides melt. His moaning gets louder, along with grunts as he thrusts harder, his finger are digging into your shoulders and they’ll surely bruise.

“God-fucking-damn.” you hear him hiss.

“So good.” you crone to him, he answers by rutting into you like a wild animal. Then without warning he stops, pulls out to flip you over and thrusts back in so quickly you have to brace your hands on the headboard to keep from smacking you skull into it. He starts his rut again and its insanely hotter to watch him over you, holding your gaze with his burning, lust addled eyes while he fucks you senseless.

A few minutes go but they feel like years to you, there’s nothing but aching for more, overwhelming pleasure and prickling pain from his slaps and scratches. You feel something grind against your clit again and can’t help but buck your hips up, letting him slide even deeper. He gives that shameless, slutty moan again and you feel a hot pulse from him. That little feeling combines with everything else to bring you to your orgasm, it blots out your vision and makes you feel nothing but the sparking spasms of pleasure. Too quickly you come down, panting hard and covered in sweat, with Jack draped over you in a similar state. After a few minutes he rolls off to your side and sighs.

“Fuck.” he breathes out. You nod, not quite recovered enough to speak.

“Just did, didn’t we?” you finally whisper. He chuckles weakly.

“One time thing?” you ask. Can’t say you really mind if it is.

“Nah.” he replies.

You’ve just one more question for him. “Need a place to stay tonight?”

“I’d be happy to crash here.”

 

A year and a half later…

Your affair with Jack was hot, it was fun, it liberated you. You didn’t really fall in love with him not the way you do with most of your real boyfriends. But he was like a drug and one taste was never enough. He liked leaving marks on you, hickeys, scratches, bruises, welts, and you wore them with as much pride as he wore yours. You fucked each other as much for fun as to irk Tassiter.

He looked genuinely devastated when he saw the evidence of your first night with Jack a few days later. He wanted an office quickie and was at first delighted you were so willing to oblige, but he looked like he was chewing bile when he saw what you were hiding beneath those clothes. Jack told you he had a similar experience the day before when Tassiter noticed his own hickey. When it came to men, especially to Jack Tassiter could not have been more in denial.

The old goat was probably bothered more by the fact that he was so jealous. Didn’t take him long to figure out that his little male squeeze and his pick for next wife were fucking each other. And he didn’t take it too well. He made damn sure that it was near impossible for you and Jack to hook up. Which made it all the more sexy and hilarious when you could. You finally gave him what for when he tried to issue you an ultimatum. That made you snap.

You at last let all the nasty things you had only thought before let rip. Tassiter could only cower in his executive chair as you assassinated everything about him, from his looks, to his habits to his hygiene and especially his nonexistent bedroom performance. You even had the courage to threaten lawsuit if he tried to take revenge on you for it. Knowing you had several new hickies from Jack decorating your body that day gave you a little extra boost that you may have needed. You were well free of Tassiter at that point. But Jack wasn’t.

You didn’t see him after that, the last bit of contact from him was an ECHO recording.

“Heya babe, heard about your little battle royale with the asshole, very nice! Glad he didn’t manage to slap a ring on ya...cause seriously that just, ugh, gross. I mean even the thought of you two havin-oh jeez I’m just going to stop that thought, right there. Anywho I just thought I should let you know I won’t really be around much anymore. And by much I mean not at all. Not by choice, sorry honey duty calls. I’ve quite the hunch and its going to take some serious elbow grease to follow through on this one. So, long story short, lots of work ahead of me, lots of big plans, and lots of toasts to you sweetcheeks. Gonna miss you, really. Catch ya on the flip side.”

You kept the recording, not because it was callous or broke your heart. But every now and then listening to Jack’s upbeat, off the cuff tone could perk you up just a bit. In his own odd way he supported you when you needed it. You’ve carried on pretty well since then. Work smoothed out when you went to another department, a good yearly review got you a decent raise.

Everything for you was going just fine. Not so much for your former lover, though, one could say. You didn’t have any idea till you saw him again a year after he sent that goodbye recording. You didn’t even run into each other in Hyperion, it was in a bar outside of the campus. He was kicking back shots just like he always used to, flirting with everything that moved and for the most part just being himself. Two big things were different though.

The first was the mask, and the hinges bolted to his face. What the hell happened that he needed to bolt a mask to his face? Old Jack didn’t hide anything. New Jack was hiding everything, and it showed. He was...darker, edgier, it felt like he could switch from cracking jokes one second to cracking heads the next. Something felt very twisted about him. You didn’t have much time to observe this before he spotted you and moved right over. Those cautious feelings got quickly buried as Jack greeted you warmly. He said you looked like you felt great, sat close and asked you how things had been.

He caught up with you that night but you still had no idea what happened to him. When you left the bar you parted paths with him there, but you promised each other you would ECHO from now on. He was not shy in saying he wanted to start your old fling anew. You weren’t shy in saying you were interested in that, despite trepidations (which you didn’t add). Maybe Tassiter was watching security footage from the street and saw you give Jack a very unchaste goodbye kiss. Maybe it was just a big fucking coincidence but whatever it was, things came to a head when you got an email from Tassiter again.

Hello, I know you’re not keen on hearing from me, and honestly I’m not keen on reaching out to you. But I need to talk to you. I truly cannot stop thinking about you and how we parted. You said so many hurtful things, and I’m half sure I deserved them but I want to hash things out on even ground this time. Please come. -H. Tassiter

You purse your lips to keep from snarling as you read. The keyboard gets slammed as you type your simple and to the point response.

The end is the end, goodbye is goodbye. Hell fucking no.

You feel quite satisfied sending that to him. But he surprises you even now.

I don’t want to to force you into this, but we need to talk. I mean that. Maybe you’re happy leaving things the way they are but I’m not. I was better for you than you realize. You need to understand and appreciate that. You can sue if you like, it won’t get you anywhere. Come up to my office and see me, tonight after hours. I’ll make an ECHO recording of everything since you insisted on accusing me of rape. I expect to see you there. -H. Tassiter

Livid, angry, rage filled? Those words aren’t strong enough. If you try to leave the building without seeing him he could very well have security drag you back at gunpoint. Once again you’re left with no recourse, no options. Into the jaws of the beast once again. And one more ‘coincidence’. Jack is in the building, he runs into you as you stomp towards the executive elevators.

He wants to see Tassiter but since he fired Jack he’s been dodging him. You hadn’t even heard that Jack was fired. That should have gotten around the office and his throng of fans like wildfire. He laughs when you say that. He asks you to help him get into the office.

“Sure.” you say.

You made sure that the security camera couldn’t see him when you entered. You both waited till Sheila got up from her desk before you approached Tassiter’s door. You head in first, and Tassiter glances up from his huge desk.

“There you are. You know I was beginning to think that y…”

His words choke him as Jack steps up from behind you.

“John?” he asks incredulously.

You wrinkle your nose at the name, but it rolls off Jack like nothing.

“I assume from that mask your little foray on Elpis did not go well.” Tassiter regained his composure quickly, putting up a nonchalant front.

Jack gave a fake chuckle and stalked up to the desk.

“You sir,” he waved his finger at him, “have not been returning my calls, and we have so much to discuss.”

Tassiter sniffed disdainfully.

“I don’t call blackmail a discussion John.” That named came out barbed now.

Tassiter defaulted to it like an old whip to keep his unruly former employee in line.

“Ah tut tut tut, blackmail is such a dirty word.” Jack sat himself down on the desk gingerly and brought his hand dangerously close to Tassiter’s lips.

“Actually, come to think of it, its not a dirty word at all! Its kinda awesome. Blackmail! Say it with me...bbbblllack…”

“Oh go to hell John.” Tassiter jerked his head away from Jack’s hand, “Just because you got lucky with your Pandora hunch doesn’t mean-”

“Because I was right, is what you mean.” Jack was sounding venomous now. You could feel him getting fed up already. “And call me Jack idiot.”

His words were laced with unfettered anger. He was not the same man from a few years ago. Tassiter could tell, you can tell, and its scaring both of you. Jack is feeding off it. He leans into the table as he spits the ‘idiot’ into Tassiter’s face and like when you blew up at him all he can do is try to lean back.

“You may have been able to scare the other directors into giving up their shares but I know you!” The cool facade crumbled, “I know that beneath that ridiculous mask you’re still a hideous, pathetic little nobody!”

Jack grinned at the insults. If a snake could grin before a dog gives it the excuse to bite, it would look like that.

“Mr. Tassiter maybe you can settle up something for me...do you know the difference between choking and strangulation?”

Tassiter was caught off guard by that for just a second. One second of looking like a fish just pulled up out of the water and then Jack swung his legs over the desk and kicked the CEO to the ground. Tassiter hit with a thud and a yell, he tried to get up but Jack was already over him and already pulling his pocket watch chain through his hands. Tassiter reached up over the the desk, maybe fumbling for a weapon, maybe trying to pull himself out from under Jack.

A click of chain and you hear the first retching gasps as Jack begins throttling the life from him. Before it falls away Tassiter’s hand smacks the intercom. Sheila’s voice comes over it, you can only imagine the confusion and horror she must feel hearing these sounds, actually probably close to what you’re feeling.

“Mr. Tassiter? Mr. Tassiter are you there?”

For a moment Jack only glances at it, but his victim’s kicks and trashing gets weaker and he deigns to answer.

“Mr. Tassiter’s been replaced sweetcheeks. Starting today; you’re working for me.”

Tassiter stops moving altogether and Jack pulls harder on the chain.

“Who is...John is that you?”

“Call me Jack honey.”

You wince and grab your neck at the final sickening crack of Tassiter’s neck. Jack stands up and brushes his coat, giving a little exhausted huff. He smoothed back his hair struck a heroic pose.

“Handsome Jack.”