Life in a big city should be easier than this, but when everyone knows who you are, getting into trouble can be difficult. I huffed out a breath as I leaped across a gap between buildings, my arms pumped as I ran for the next edge then I was hurtling through space to land in a crouch, dust rising up around my boots. I paused there for a minute, breathing, listening, waiting, then I stood up and walked to the edge of the roof to look down at the city.
“You pick the strangest places.”
I closed my eyes at the sound of his voice but didn’t turn around. This was our game. I ran, he found me, we spoke but didn’t see each other’s faces.
“To be alone? Seems perfect to be,” I said snidely.
“Oh? I can go if you like,” he said lazily, his voice full of humour.
I shrugged as I looked out at the lights in the buildings below us. “Suit yourself,” I muttered as I sank down to the ground. I bent my knees up and wrapped my arms around them, kept my eyes on the horizon as he came to sit beside me but a little behind so if I turned my head I wouldn’t see his face, just the long lines of his body, his graceful hands, his scuffed boots.
“I’d think you had better places to be than here,” he teased.
“Maybe I do,” I snapped and rocked up onto my toes.
I stifled a groan as he grabbed my ponytail and tugged me back down.
“Don’t!” I jerked my head away and reached back to adjust my hair only to find my hands touching his as he held on. “Don’t,” I said in a softer voice and I didn’t know if I meant ‘don’t touch’ or ‘don’t let go’.
“Calm down Princess,” he muttered as his hand slid away, brushing against my shoulder on the way.
“Fuck you Stormtrooper,” I replied with a sigh, falling into our familiar banter despite myself.
He laughed, low and deep. “You’re in a good mood. What’s wrong? Your boyfriend couldn’t get it up?”
I snorted and looked over to see his fingers beating a rapid tattoo against his leg.
“Hmmm, no, it wouldn’t be that. Who wouldn’t want to fuck you after all? Luka is a lucky man.”
See that? The game was just that, a game. For him at least. I had no idea who he was but he knew who I was. When your family is as notorious as mine, it’s hard to hide. Even on the roof of a skyscraper.
When your parents were responsible for massive changes in your society, anyone in that society knew them and by association you. Which was one clue to his identity, he was part of my world. Another clue was the fact that I didn’t know him and I pretty much knew everyone, again thanks to my parents. One more was the way he could find me, no matter where I went, and he was never far behind either, so he was fast. I had my special abilities and a lot of years of parkour with my dads that meant I could run and jump. Then paintball sessions had taught me to hide and evade. Yet he found me every time. Either he was that good, or I wasn’t trying to hide from him very hard.
Whatever the reason, I should have tried harder tonight because I really had wanted to be alone.
“Princess? Cass?” His voice was gentle, caring, and the last thing I wanted right then.
“Why are you here? What do you want from me?” I asked desperately. I knew what everyone else wanted. My family wanted me to be happy. Luka wanted me to be his wife. The Powers That Be wanted me to be pregnant. At twenty-five? The fact that I wasn’t was thanks to my parents and the changes they had made. But the pressure was still there.
“Nothing.” The word whispered against my ear as his body eased against me. His legs bracketing mine, his chest hard and warm at my back. “Nothing Cass,” he said as his jaw scraped mine.
It was like he’d read my mind and offered me my fondest wish. “Stormtrooper?” I gripped the hand he’d rested on my knee.
“I hate it when you lie to me,” I said as I lifted his hand away and let it go. Before he could react I was on my feet and leaping off the edge of the building.
His voice chased me as I landed on the next building over but I didn’t stop running. Not this time…