Authors: Jaimie Roberts
To my husband, Vaughan,
who helped with the ending to DEVIANT.
You’re still the man to whom I run.
My love, my laughter, my only one.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Jaimie Roberts
All rights reserved.
The George Pub, London, England, 2006
“I’ve got a good one for you!” Mary’s squealing voice prompted our attention. “What is your darkest sexual fantasy? And I mean darkest. Don’t hold back. Betsy, let’s start with you.”
Everyone turned their attention to Betsy, to the right of Mary. She looked embarrassed. It certainly was an embarrassing question. Although it would be interesting to see if anyone would be honest with their answers.
“Um, I guess I’ve always wanted to be tied up.”
Betsy blushed and Justin shouted, “Fuck, this is going to be interesting tonight!” Everyone giggled.
When it was Justin’s turn, he looked at Betsy with a raised brow. “I would say I’ve always wanted to tie someone up.” Everyone chuckled.
“What about you, Ben?” Mary asked.
Scratching his head, Ben looked extremely uncomfortable. “I guess I’ve always fantasised about a girl forcing herself on me.”
“You are fucking kidding me, right?” Justin screeched. “You’d need to pay someone to force their arse on you.” Justin shook his head in dismay. “As if a woman could ever force themselves on anyone.”
“It does happen,” I protested. All eyes turned toward me.
“Nah, can’t believe that.” Justin’s tone was belligerent.
“You’re telling me a man can’t be raped?”
“It’s a physical impossibility.” Justin was laughing at how preposterous he thought this all was.
“If you don’t believe me, look it up. I’m sure you’ll find some cases.”
“Okay, clever clogs, how come you know so much about it?” Justin looked at me with an amused smile. Enjoying the banter, everyone listened attentively.
“I did an article in one of my classes about rape, and how it not only pertains to women. I’m telling you, it happens.” Taking a sip of my drink, I stared Justin down.
“Okay, tell me. What’s your darkest sexual fantasy, Tyler?” Mary said, trying to get them back on track.
I bit my lip, unprepared for the question to come to me so quickly. I didn’t know whether I wanted to share my darkest fantasy. I had never told anyone before.
I had twenty pair of eyes now on me, waiting for my answer. Do I tell them? Or do I try and make something up?
Fuck it, why shouldn’t I? It’s not as though it will ever happen in my lifetime. My fantasy is just too unreal to ever happen.
“I’ve always wanted to have sex with a stranger.” I bit my lip again, wondering what the others may think of me.
My best friend, Ian, frowned. “You mean meet someone in a club, or wherever, and have a one-night stand?”
I shook my head. “No. I mean someone I have never met. A faceless man who comes to me in the dead of night.”
Justin shrieked with laughter. “Shit, Tyler! Are you saying you want to be raped?”
I threw him a dirty look. “Of course not, Justin. Don’t be crude. I mean a sexy stranger who I know nothing about. Someone I have no clue as to who he is.”
Betsy’s eyes widened. “Oh, my god, Tyler. That really is dark. But I must admit—sexy!”
I smiled. “Just like I thought.”
Justin, not wanting to give up, states, “So you want a faceless man to come to you in the dead of night and have sex with you? With your permission, of course.”
I nodded. “I believe that’s what I said.”
Justin chuckled. “What’s your address again?”
The room erupted in laughter. Glaring at Justin, I realised this was going to be a long night.
I started back at school today. I hated school. The only person who made school fun was my friend Ian, but because he was nearly two years older than me, I only ever got to see him at play times. I was standing by my normal spot at the bike shed. That’s where Ian and I always knew where to find each other, no matter what.
“Tyler, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.”
Ian had his school uniform on, but he always managed to wear it untidily. Every time I saw him, he made me giggle. His hair was lighter now that the summer was over. Even my hair looked white compared to my normal light blonde. Ian and I had spent most of the summer playing in our hometown of Buckinghamshire, but we spent some of that time at my parents’ home in Tuscany. We owned a villa in the rolling hills there, surrounded by lots of sunflowers. I loved sunflowers. My daddy always picked one for me every time we went. I was six-and-a-half now, and my daddy said I got bigger every time he saw me. Considering he got to see me every day, I found it hard to believe.
As Ian came closer, I noticed there was a boy right behind him. I wasn’t sure what happened to me, but the minute I saw him, my stomach started feeling funny. He looked really nice with black spiky hair and light blue eyes. He had his school tie on, but it was loose and kind of scruffy-looking. He was dressed just like Ian, but this boy made it look better somehow. When he saw me, he smiled and my cheeks started burning a little.
“Tyler,” Ian said, waving his hand in front of me. “This is Dean. He’s just moved here with his parents. He’s in my class now.”
I smiled at Ian, then turned back to Dean. For some reason, I just wanted to stare at him. I didn’t know why I did, but he just seemed so…nice.
“Hello,” Dean said, giving me a funny grin.
“H-Hello,” I said, feeling my cheeks burn again.
“Have you been running or something?” Ian asked. “Are you sick? Your face is really red.”
I turned away, feeling really silly. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me all of a sudden. “I’m fine,” I said, trying to turn my head even further away, but Dean came up to me.
Placing a hand on my cheek, he frowned. “You do feel a little hot. Do you want to go and sit down?”
I suddenly couldn’t move my legs because I was worried if I did, Dean would move his hand away. I was about to agree, but then I heard giggling, making me jump.
Turning my head, I saw Tim with a couple of other boys. I hated him. He was always chasing me in the playground and pulling my hair.
“You got a new boyfriend, Tyler?!” he shouted with a giggle. “It didn’t take you long, did it?”
If I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the boy next to him started shouting, as well, “Yeah. You better watch Ian doesn’t get jealous.”
I felt the tears well up in my eyes, but I was determined not to let them see me cry. “Shut up, Tim!” I shouted back.
“Or what?” he asked with a snort. “Are you going to set your new boyfriend on me?”
All the boys started laughing. Suddenly, Dean went up to the boy and punched him in the face. Everyone in the playground screamed and Tim bent over, holding his bloody nose.
“Don’t you ever talk to her like that again, do you hear?!” Dean screamed, yanking at his shirt collar.
Tim’s eyes went wide. He was afraid of Dean? I had never seen Tim afraid of anybody. It made me like this new boy even more.
Tim nodded, but before he could speak, a teacher came over and took Dean and Tim away. Dean followed the teacher, but he looked back one last time with a smile and a wink.
I smiled right back at him.
It happened again today. I got back from work late and decided I should pick up another burger on my way home. This deadline my editor was imposing on me was going to kill me.
Walking into my apartment, I immediately noticed it. My pen. I left it on the dining room table, and now it had been moved back to my desk. It sat there as bold as brass. He may well have hung an “I’m here!” sign on my wall.
This had been going on for quite some time now. It was just little things like pens out of place, or clothes, which were hanging over my wardrobe door, were now miraculously folded back up inside my wardrobe. It was subtle little things, but things nonetheless.
When this all started three years ago, I was wondering whether I was going out of my mind. It wasn’t until I deliberately put a blanket on my sofa, then later found it right back where I retrieved it from that I knew I wasn’t going crazy. Someone was going through my house and moving my things. Why? I really couldn’t tell you. I just thought it would be good to document everything that happened, just in case this person suddenly came in the flat and thought it would be a good time to murder me.
Why hadn’t I gone to the police? Well, it may sound strange, but I didn’t feel scared. Call me stupid, but I didn’t feel this person wanted to hurt me in any way. I wasn’t sure if it was the beautiful, masculine musky smell he left behind, or the way I found his silly hiding games so comical. For some reason, he just wanted me to know he was here.
I was also being followed on a regular basis. I could sense that, too, but I didn’t feel intimated or frightened by it. I’d even started referring to this guy as “My Stranger”.
Now, this might sound absolutely crazy, but the thing that really bugged me about this guy was that he had a fetish for toilet paper being placed on the underside of the hook in the toilet. What annoyed me about it was I hate—and I mean hate it—when people did that. Don’t ask me why it bugged me so much, but it did. Toilet paper should be upside on the hook, not underside!
The following day, I was spending my lunch hour with Ian. We were still best friends who relied on each other, and had been with each other through thick and thin. We’d practically known each other since we were babies. Our parents met before I was even born and Ian was almost two. It was strange why he hung around me, considering there was a two year difference. It all started at the age of five when I started school. Ian had already been there two years and felt the need to protect me. We became a lot closer after that. He was the golden boy, as far as my parents were concerned. He could never do anything wrong. They knew I liked Dean, but always pushed me towards Ian. I guess Dean punching someone on his first day of school didn’t help the impression they had of him. And this was what was wrong with today. The only person missing from our unit was Dean.
“You know, it’s his thirty-first birthday today.”
Looking up at Ian, I saw his sombre face. Ian was always a good-looking boy with golden hair and bright brown eyes. His hair was a wavy mess, which had never changed. He only grew to five foot ten, but that was still taller than my five foot five. “Whatever happened to him, Ian?” It still pained me whenever I thought about him.
Frowning, Ian looked off into the distance. “I don’t know. He just up and disappeared on us. I’ve never heard from him again. I don’t know whether to blame him or his parents. We were all good friends until he pissed off.”
Feeling the guilt surface, I sighed. “He was young, Ian. We all were.”
Ian saw the expression and frowned. “You know, I will never forgive him for leaving you like that. I’m not stupid. I know you two were close, and I know he said he would come back for you. The little shitbag never did and it hurts me to see you still like this, even after all these years.” Ian looked down at the floor and shook his head.
“Ian, it was thirteen years ago. A lot has changed since then.” I didn’t know who I was trying to convince…him or me.
Looking me in the eye, Ian sighed. “And you’ve never gotten over him, have you?” He saw me look away, so he gently grabbed my hand. “You can’t lie to me, Tyler. I’ve known you for too long. I can see in your eyes just how much you miss him.”
Snatching my hand away, I gave a deep sigh and smiled. “You can’t change the past, Ian. What happened, happened. Life has to move on. I won’t deny I still think about him, but what’s the point? I think thirteen years is long enough to let me know he’s not ever coming back.”
Sitting back in his chair, Ian gave me a cheeky grin. “You know, there’s always me. We don’t have long to go until that time, Tyler.” Ian winked at me, referring to the running joke we have that once I hit thirty, and we still hadn’t found anyone, we would get married to each other.
“We’d kill each other within the first year. I can guarantee it.” I winked back.
Ian shook his head in dismay. “You know, I’m a little disappointed in you, Tyler. I would have thought you had a bit more faith in our relationship after all this time.”
I started laughing. “You and I both know it’s true.”
Playing with his lighter, Ian sat up and grabbed a cigarette. “That’s the third one you’ve had in the last fifteen minutes,” I stated.
Putting it in his mouth, he lit it up. “I know. My nerves are shot to fucking hell today. I’ve got to write this article on the youths of today, and I can’t seem to focus. I’m expected to have it ready by three o’clock this afternoon.”
I looked at my watch. “You do realise it’s already one-thirty, don’t you?”
Rising out of his seat suddenly, his eyes bulged. “Fucking hell! I gotta go.”
Laughing loudly, I shook my head. “Go, go! I’ll pay up here.”
“Thanks, babes. I can always count on you.”
Rising from my seat, I smiled at him. “You’ll just owe me.”
“Sure, sure,” he said, running out the door.
Once I paid for our lunch, I took a leisurely stroll back to my office. For some reason, my editor-in-chief wasn’t breathing down my neck today, and once I got back to the office, I found out why. Louisa, one of my colleagues and close friends, came running towards me.
“Boss wants to see you.” Louisa frowned, showing me the little crinkle at the top of her forehead. Louisa had the most beautiful auburn hair I had ever seen. She had green eyes, just like me, but she looked like a runway model. She was tall and skinny, I was smaller and curvier. She had curly hair, I had straight blonde hair. She was also younger. It was only by a year, but that was one more year away from hitting thirty. I really didn’t want to think about that right now.
Placing my bag under my desk, I looked up to meet Louisa’s eyes. “Terry? What does he want?”
Shaking her head, she looked serious. “Not Terry. Andrew Walker.”
My eyes widened. “What did I do?”
Louisa stared towards his office and flicked her luscious auburn locks from her face. “I can’t see that you’ve done anything. You’ve been meeting deadlines and working your arse off. I would say more often than most here.” Louisa looked at a couple of people and scowled. She hated laziness.
“Okay… I suppose I better go and see what he wants.”
Placing my coat around my chair, I timidly proceeded towards his office. I never had many dealings with Andrew Walker. He was top dog for the newspaper I worked for and, normally, you only got called into his office when a reprimand was needed. To say I was shitting in my pants right now was an understatement.
Feeling everybody’s eyes upon me, I knocked on the door. “Come in!” I heard as I carefully turned the door handle.
There he was…Mr. Walker, bold as brass in his chair. He was very tall with what looked like an average build, but it was kind of hard to tell with the bulky clothes he kept on wearing. I think he was a little bit older than me, but he looked much older with his beard and glasses. He looked like he belonged as a headmaster in a school, rather than a publisher of the Daily London newspaper. One thing I did notice about him was that he did have nice light blue eyes, but that was about it for him.
“Ah, Tyler. Please sit down,” he said with his gruff voice. He even sounded older. He saw my timid approach and smiled. “Don’t worry. I won’t bite.”
Smiling and breathing a huge sigh of relief, I took a seat opposite his desk.
“Tyler, I know I don’t do this very often, but it has come to my attention that you’ve been working very hard these last couple of months. You’ve often come in early and stayed here late. I just wanted to thank you for your efforts.”
Oh shit, there it was. I giggled. Of course I did!
“What’s so funny?” Andrew asked, leaning forward on his desk, his hands clasped together.
“Sorry. Nothing, Mr. Walker. I just wasn’t expecting it, I suppose.”
He suddenly looked affronted. “Are you saying I’m such a hard-ass that I couldn’t possibly give praise where praise is due?”
I’m panicking! I’m panicking!
“No, of course not, sir. It’s just that I’ve never been called in here unless it’s about a big story, or a meeting that needs to be addressed.” Swallowing hard, I felt the need to say more. “I appreciate everything you’ve said, Mr. Walker. I love my job. I always have. Journalism was something I wanted to get into since I was a little girl. I love writing, and I love meeting new people and telling their stories. It just makes me happy, I guess.”