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This is a work of fiction intended for adults only, as it contains explicit scenes not appropriate for minors. By continuing to read, you are acknowledging you are of legal age to do so. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2012 by AJ Rose

Chapter 1

“Ty?” Grady called from the kitchen, head half buried in the fridge. “Did you drink my last Guinness?” He pulled out a boring light beer, mildly surprised how few of even those were left, and went back to the living room to flop beside Ty on the couch, kicking his ankle up on his knee, taking a pull from the bottle.

“No. You know I don’t drink beer I have to chew.” Ty lightly rested a hand on Grady’s thigh, leaning into him and getting comfortable, eyes on the movie flickering across the TV where Sharon Stone dared a cop to charge her for smoking, then uncrossed her skirt-clad legs to reveal her lack of panties for the pleasure of the drooling cops interrogating her.

“I bet when this was in theaters, half the men in the country went home hiding come stains on their pants.” Ty grinned, resting his head on Grady’s shoulder.

“I guess, if you like that obvious whore aura. There’s no mystery there. She’s giving it away for free. The only mystery about her is whether she’s complicit in Boz’s death. And as heavy handed as the characterization is so far, my guess is no.” Grady settled an arm around Ty’s shoulders, absently planting a kiss in his hair.

Ty looked up at Grady. “You haven’t seen this before?”

Grady shook his head. “It’s been a long time. I do remember something about the shrink, being surprised that she was the stalker type. It just didn’t fit. Again, characterization was off. I know they went for shock value, making the somewhat shy professional behavior guru into the jealous former lover, but to me, a stalker is much more unstable, not able to hide their mental deficiency behind a career helping people with their emotional problems.”

Shaking his head, Ty sat up, turning to face Grady. “I don’t think that’s true. Stalkers are cunning, able to hide themselves behind a normal façade. It’s what protects them so well from discovery. Unless they outright tell someone about their obsession, the only way to find them out is to catch them in the act. Stalkers, at least the smart ones, make that nearly impossible. It’s the off-the-cliff ones that you hear about, the ones that shoot the John Lennons of the world, because they can’t contain their crazy. I’d bet there are any number of stalkers out there who will never be caught because their nature is secretive, and the object of their obsession never knows where to look or whom they can trust. If they’re good at it, stalkers come at their object from different angles, never revealing enough about themselves to leave a trail. Someone trained in mental health would be especially dangerous, not only for being in a position to influence other mentally unstable people, but because they’d know just how to behave in order to avoid detection.”

Grady’s lips tightened. “Ty, have you ever been stalked?”

“No, thank God.”

“I have. The instability of the stalker is their downfall. They can’t maintain their level of obsession forever; it always escalates. Luckily, my stalker was unstable enough to make a mistake before becoming dangerous and the problem was resolved. They got help. The stalking stopped.”

Ty’s eyes widened. “What did they do?”

Grady shrugged. “It was mostly letters, professions of love and threatening to kill himself if I didn’t respond to him the way he wanted me to. He got caught trying to break into my house. Alarm went off and he was arrested. It all came out then. I wasn’t home at the time.”

A shiver traveled up Ty’s spine, and he tamped down his imagination. “But see, you’re proving my point. You didn’t know who the guy was until he was caught. Probably no one any idea what he was up to. I’m betting when his relatives and friends found out, they were shocked at what he’d done.”

Grady shook his head. “I don’t know. I didn’t dig any further into what kind of person he was. I turned the letters over to the police and let them handle it. The guy pled guilty in exchange for being sent to a psychiatric hospital instead of jail so I never had to go to court. Never saw him.”

Uneasy, Ty settled back into Grady’s side, eyes on the TV, but he couldn’t get back into the movie. Grady’s words echoed in his head. He got caught trying to break into my house. The trouble with an active imagination was the trickle of thought that broke open into a pool of images, starting with Grady having been home and his alarm not set, sitting at his computer while an intruder sneaked up behind him. Actually shaking his head to clear it, Ty refocused on the screen, glaring at it as if the movie had offended him by removing the cover on a well of fear over the possibility of losing Grady in that way, or any way for that matter.

After fifteen minutes of restless shifting, crossing and uncrossing his legs, sitting up and then leaning back, Grady finally leaned forward and grabbed the remote, pausing the movie, Sharon Stone’s frozen face looking at her ocean view.

“Are you with me, Sailor?” Grady asked, putting a hand on Ty’s arm and turning to face him. “You’re jumpier than a drunk driver at a DUI checkpoint.”

Ty looked down at his hands, curled like sleeping spiders in his lap. “I’m here, just can’t get my brain to shut the fuck up. Curse of the bright and theatrical.” Ty let his face be tilted up by Grady’s finger under his chin, meeting his eyes to find Grady’s warm brown ones appraising him.

“It’s over. No harm done. Now forget about it and be here, in this moment with me.” Grady leaned forward, his lips softly pushing against Ty’s, reassuring and solid, and Ty immediately responded, needing the contact, the closeness. He fisted his hands in Grady’s shirt and climbed into his lap. Grady responded with a sigh, his hands coming to rest on Ty’s hips, massaging lightly as their kiss deepened, swelled, and broke over them both, washing away everything but the two of them.

***

I’d bet there are any number of stalkers out there who will never be caught because their nature is secretive, and the object of their obsession never knows where to look or whom they can trust. If they’re good at it, stalkers come at their object from different angles, never revealing enough about themselves to leave a trail.”

The expensive headphones were proving to be one of her better acquisitions. They were snug against her head, and her confidence was high that no sound leaked from the padded cups suctioned to her ears. Ty’s voice rang out, tickling her eardrums, looped over and over as she watched them on the couch. They would never see her, never know she was there. That she controlled what they knew of her was a heady sensation that raised goosebumps on her arms. Almost unaware, she fingered the soft t-shirt in her hands, sliding the hem over her knuckles. As she watched Ty rise to pull his shirt over his head, then sink back down, the fingers in the shirt in her hands clenched, then relaxed, caressing the fabric as if she were the one caressing his back instead of that insignificant one. Her fingers on him, not those spidery long ones that had no business… She breathed softly, eyes riveted to the scene before her, in no danger of being seen, either by neighbors or Ty himself, his voice massaging her insides as if he were speaking to her, softly. The actual tone of the words morphed from matter-of-fact in her ears to respectful and awed within her head.

“…any number of stalkers out there who will never be caught because their nature is secretive,… the object of their obsession never knows where to look or whom they can trust … stalkers come at their object from different angles.”

Unaware she was whispering, a sheen of sweat standing out on her forehead, she spoke, “I’ll come at you from so many angles your head will spin. You’ll be so impressed you won’t be able to resist me.”

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Disclaimer so I don’t get sued: Any resemblance in this work to people living or dead is entirely coincidental and locations are used fictitiously. Registered trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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