I slap the fuck out of Ryder. I would punch him but he deserved worse. He deserved a slap. The slap clearly stings his face because he sits there and lets out a deep exhale. I reach back to do another but he stops me.
"You are scaring the Cancers," he says, "They don't like violence. Come with me."
Ryder walks me back into the house. I see the Zodiac Killer following us the entire time. Ryder seems so comfortable around this killer. He's so comfortable around everything. The Cancers' house is empty when we walk in. Ryder pushes me down on the couch. He's aggressive probably still annoyed from the slap.
Simeon seems amused honestly he crosses his arms, "I didn't think Libras fought. Learn something new every day I guess. How does it feel Ryder? Manhandled by a Libra."
"You aren't helping," Ryder states.
"This was your idea," the Zodiac Killer responds, "Look. He's trying to run. Better get him!"
I was halfway out of the room when Ryder grabs me and pulls me back. The Zodiac Killer watches Ryder struggling with me but he doesn't help. He seems amused by it all. It's annoying is what it is. This isn't exactly how things were supposed to work.
"Let me just explain my side of the story," Ryder pleads, "If you still hate me and you want to run go ahead. Even if you want to go to your cop boyfriend go ahead."
"Wait? Cop boyfriend? His boyfriend is an Aquarius?" Simeon asks.
"Chief of Police," I let Simeon know.
Simeon isn't smiling anymore. All of a sudden he seems very serious. He gives Ryder the same look that I'm giving him. We are both trying to figure out what the fuck Ryder is thinking. Ryder is trying to main peace. He moves past Simeon and walks over to me. He pulls up the end table and sits on it. He leans over to me so that he's close to the dusty couch and looking directly in my eyes.
"You've been lied to," is how Ryder tells me, "The system is broken. It is designed on the hierarchy. Libras on the top then Aquarius, Gemini, Taurus, Capricorn, Leos, Sags, Pisces, Cancers and then at the bottom are the Aries."
"You didn't include Virgos and Scorpios," I respond.
"It's because they aren't in the system. They are tools of the system."
"What are you talking about? Virgos are tools maybe but what do you mean by Scorpios. Scorpios are Zodiac Killers."
"That's what they tell you," Ryder explains.
"That's what I know."
Simeon shakes his head, "There is no such thing as a goddam a real Zodiac Killer kid. It's something they made up for their program."
"Think about the Virgos. Put things into perspective. Do you think Virgos would really fuck with their bodies in order to be bodyguards? Who would willingly do that?" Ryder asks.
I think about Whistler. I guess that is the problem. I've never really thought about Whistler before. She did her job. I never cared about her background. She was half machine for all I knew. She didn't even have a consciousness or if she did it was buried a long time ago. I just assumed it was the Virgo culture to put that machinery in their bodies.
I stumble in thinking about it.
"Are you saying this was done to them?" I ask.
The two boys nod at that moment.
"By the system," Ryder explains, "Virgos were tools to protect and Scorpios are tools used to harm."
"By the same system," Ryder explains, "Simeon tell him."
Simeon crosses his arms, "We are taken at the age of 5. We are trained to be terrorists. We don't have a choice in the matter. If we refuse, we are killed. Our orders come from the system. We are given a list. Every year once Scorpio is chosen. If you complete your list you are given a fast painful death. If you don't complete your list you die slow."
Ryder was right. My world was turned all the way upside down. I think that maybe Simeon is lying. I hope that he is lying. What this would mean if he wasn't lying was scarier than what it would mean if I was actually sitting next to a cold stone killer. I stare at the wall. I take a deep breath. Ryder might know I'm going through it because he comes and sits right next to me. He begins to rub my back at that moment. He's slow. He takes his time.
"It's OK," he tells me, "Breathe normal. That's it. Take your time. I'm here for you."
Simeon just shakes his head, "We don't have a choice. This year I am going to die. I am going to kill as many people on my list as possible before I die. I don't have a choice. Then again none of us in this stupid ass system has a choice. Scorpios just got screwed the worst. Maybe it's because we rebelled against the system in the beginning. Just know that I find no joy in killing. I am going to kill you Mr. Law, but I won't enjoy it."
"You aren't helping Simeon," Ryder explains.
"It's the first time someone has ever told that kid the truth. It's about time he realizes what's going on."
Ryder shakes his head.
"Nothing is going to happen to you Law."
"The hell it isn't. He's on my list," Simeon says.
Simeon is obsessed with the list. He keeps looking at me. I wonder if he wants to kill me right now and get it over with. I wonder if he wants to just end it. Maybe he is enjoying the final year of his life by doing this. I don't get him. I don't understand him.
Ryder is the only comfort I'm getting right now. It comes from a strange place.
He raises my eyes until we meet.
"No one is going to kill you. OK? You trust me?"
"How do you know that?" I ask him, "Like you said. Simeon doesn't have a choice."
"He doesn't have a choice in the system. You're right. But that's why I married you. That's why I got close to you," Ryder states and gives me a smile, "You and I are going to blow up their fucking system once and for all."
Just as he says that Corey the Cancer runs into the room. He has a desperate look on his face.
"Virgo," he states almost as though a warning.
I don't know what that means but I watch as the Cancers come in the house.
"What's happening?" I ask Ryder.
I watch at that moment as the floor opens. A few of the Cancers help Simeon into the floor. They put a floor mat over him and move the couch over the floor mat. This was orchestrated. They were hiding Simeon. The Cancers were helping Simeon for some reason. I wonder why they helped him. Regardless of if he wanted to kill people or not Simeon was still a killer. He was still a murderer. Why would they be helping him?
There was so much I didn't know. So much of the story sounded so backwards and suspicious.
Ryder answers me, "Whistler has found you."
"How?" I ask.
"She isn't your bodyguard. She's a spy from the High Liberty. You are at the end of Simeon's list for a reason. If Whistler reports back that you are loyal you will be removed from the list. If she reports back that you have been corrupted then you'll be killed. They'll blame the death on Simeon."
"They use him?"
He nods, "There is a reason that the system stays in place. Everyone who opposes the system ends up on the list of the Zodiac Killer. They blame it on the Scorpios and they come out as the good guys."
I remember now what the High Liberty stated.
He said that everyone had a place. Scorpios had to be bad so that Libras could be good. Is this it? They were using personal assassins to kill off their enemies while they walks away looking like heroes.
Is this our system?
Whistler walks into the house. She doesn't knock. She is silent. Deadly. For the first time in forever I feel like she isn't protecting me. For the first time I realize that Whistler is actually my enemy. I can almost see it in her eyes as she scans the room.
Corey walks over to her, "Good evening. You are just in time for barbeque!"
Whistler ignores Corey. She makes her way over to me.
Her eyes are suspicious as fuck as why I'm here.
"Sorry I took him away. Got carried away. Wanted some alone time with my husband," Ryder covers for me.
Whistler stares at me for a minute.
"Are you ok?"
I think about responding. I think about if I should tell Whistler everything I know. Ryder himself said that I'd be safe if I remained loyal. It makes sense now why the other heirs of the High Liberty all died. They were all on the list. They all didn't make it through. Now I was on that list by default and I had to prove myself to get off that list. I had to prove myself with loyalty.
Or there was another option.
I turn to my right to see Ryder. He put his trust in me. He swore there was another option. There was an option for Simeon and me. I didn't know what his plan was yet. I didn't know how he wanted to do it but for some reason I think Ryder is trusting in me.
So maybe I can trust in him.
I look at the floorboards.
"I'm fine," I tell Whistler, "Let's go home."
Work the next day is weird. Looking at the world after seeing everything that I know just seems a little weird. I'm having the worst day possible. I have a case that I am judging the next day. Some Gemini is charged with stealing money and fraudulent activity. It is a white collar crime that a lot of Geminis go to jail for. A lot of the times they get off as well. Before I would have never thought twice about it, but now I'm suspicious of everyone. Geminis had money. They had power.
So of course everyone found the Gemini innocent.
The whole system was corrupt. I am thinking about that when I stand outside for some fresh air and realize that Whistler is right behind me.
"Fuck? Do you mind? CAN I GET A FUCKING MINUTE! PLEASE!"
I've never gone off on Whistler like that. She doesn't move an inch though. She just stands there. She's just watching. She's just waiting. I can't take it anymore. She's driving me crazy. I am losing my mind being watched all the time by her. In a matter of minutes I realize I'm causing a little bit of a scene because Lloyd comes out to check on me.
"Everything OK with you?" Lloyd asks me.
We got out of the trial not too long ago. I just needed a fresh air because I know for sure that I was forced to let a guilty man walk free. I couldn't go against what everyone wanted. I couldn't go against the High Liberty. That trial was bullshit. Everything isn't OK. I keep thinking about everything that Ryder revealed to me. The High Liberty would kill me if I wasn't completely compliant. If I became a problem he'd have Simeon kill me. In the end everyone that Simeon killed would be blamed on some Zodiac Killer bullshit that wasn't even real. The real threat was the High Liberty.
"Just got a lot on my mind."
Lloyd squints at me, "You know you can tell me anything right? I know we haven't been on the best terms but you're my best friend. I love you and I got your back. You do know that right?"
A part of me wants to tell Lloyd everything. Ryder wouldn't like that. Ryder would hate that actually. The more I think about it though the more it worries me. Lloyd was a good guy. I really felt that way but right about now we were still having some issues. That issue surrounded none other than his husband Apollo.
"Hey...how's it going?"
Just at that moment Apollo's car pulls up. He is driving a police car. When he jumps out of the car I can see him in his uniform. I have to admit that Apollo looks sexy. He seems to know it too as he struts over towards us. He looks like someone who just follows the law. He's probably never questioned it. I guess deep inside I never questioned the system too. Now Ryder is in my life and everything is upside down.
"How's everything going Law?" he asks.
"Apollo," I state looking over at my best friend, "What are you doing here?"
It's awkward. The awkward tension between us starts building at that moment. With Lloyd standing there I don't even want to have a conversation with Apollo. I don't want to end up losing Lloyd's trust again. That means the most to me.
Surprisingly Lloyd nods and gives me a smile, "I'll wait in the car."
I think I'm hearing him wrong but sure enough Lloyd walks away and goes to wait for Apollo in the car. I'm assuming Apollo pulled up to the Justice Hall to pick up his husband after work. Seeing that Lloyd was comfortable enough to leave me alone with Apollo blows my mind a little bit. Apollo watches him leave and then looks at me. He has the same eyes he's always had towards me. Nothing has changed but Lloyd's reaction to them.
"You look beautiful," he tells me, "In your justice robes. You look so important."
He leans over.
I step back.
"Your husband is right over there."
"I was just giving you a hug," Apollo responds, "Besides. I talked to Lloyd. I told him I just want to be friends with you. I told him the two of us agreed to just be friends and that I didn't have any feelings for you."
I'm shocked he would say something like that.
"That's a lie."
Apollo laughs a little bit, "I know. Lloyd is gullible as hell. But at least there won't be any drama until our divorces go through. I submitted my paperwork. Someone is going to contact him before the weekends to know I filed for divorce. Did you file yours?"
I pause. Truthfully a divorce is the last thing that I had on my mind. After everything that Ryder had told me I was worried about my life.
"Listen. I think I kind of want to hold off on that."
"Just going through a lot," I respond.
Apollo stares at me long and hard, "It's him. Isn't it? That Aries husband of yours?"
"No, why would you say that?" I ask.
Apollo nods, "Well. Listen. There is a movie playing tonight. How about we go on a double date?"
"That's not a good idea," I respond.
Apollo shrugs, "It's not my idea. It's Lloyd's. He wants things to be less awkward between all of us. He thinks a double date would help make things normal again."
I hesitate. The more I think about it though the more I realize that Lloyd probably has the best of intentions asking us to go on a double date. Maybe it wouldn't hurt. I nod in reply to Apollo but don't answer in words. That's enough for him though. He smiles deeply and starts walking away. He looks back as he walks away probably attempting to catch me staring at his ass or something like I always used to do back when we were younger.
I get home. I'm eating dinner with Ryder. With Whistler around I know I can't talk freely with him. Every time I even want to ask him something Ryder just looks over at Whistler. She's standing by the door. She's watching us like a hawk.
How had I not noticed before? She wasn't my bodyguard. She was a goddam spy for the High Liberty. There was nothing I could do to send her away either. Everywhere I went she was there. It was getting worse since I ended up going to slums. Maybe she's suspicious because I got away from her for a length of period. Right now Whistler is watching like some sort of hawk.
"How's the pasta?" Ryder asks.
"Good. Good," I respond.
It's awkward. It's not because of me and Ryder however. It's because we both really know this isn't what we want to talk about. We want to talk about what happened yesterday. His eyes stare at Whistler again. She hasn't moved. She hasn't even pivoted away from us. Her eyes haven't even blinked.
"How was work?" he asks me taking a bite.
I take a deep breath. I feel like a prisoner in my own house or something, "It was...OK. We were invited on a double date by Apollo and Lloyd. They want to go to the movies."
Ryder nods, "I'm down with that."
I'm a little shocked. I didn't think Ryder would be nearly as cool with it as he is now especially after what happened the last time he was around my friends. He is however. He even smiles at me afterwards.
"Yeah. If you can do something for me?"
"Take a shower with me."
I almost choke on the pasta. I'm not expecting it at all.
That's when Ryder walks over to me. He grabs my hand. He starts taking me to the bathroom. We get to the bathroom door at that moment. I realize we are being trailed. By the time we get to the bathroom door and he is about to close it I see that Whistler is standing right there. Whistler just stares at us at the bathroom door.
"Excuse us. I'm about to do some nasty freaky things to my husband in the shower," Ryder tells her, "I don't think it's appropriate for you to be around."
Whistler doesn't move so Ryder slams the door in her face. I hear him mouth the words "we need to talk". It makes all the sense what he's doing. He's attempting to keep Whistler from overhearing our conversation. Ryder is smart. He's more calculating than I thought an Aries could be growing up. I watch as he turns the shower on. That's when he does something that I don't really don't expect. Ryder starts undressing.
He gets BUTT naked in front of me. His long dick is swinging and it has a little weight on it. I can't deny that I'm staring at it at that moment. His chest has hair on it. His muscular abdomen is perky and bright. I'm turned on by him at that moment. I have to admit it.
"You coming?" he asks me.
I'm shocked he really wanted to go actually take a shower together and not talk. I hesitate but I decide that I need to talk to him. I've been thinking about this all day. I take my clothes off and get in the shower with him. The shower is loud. The water cascades down his body. I am checking him out but I can't say that he isn't doing the same thing to me. I catch him swallowing a few times as well. We are close in the shower but not touching.
"We're finally alone," he tells me, "You should moan a little bit. So she doesn't get suspicious."
"I can't fake moan."
Ryder walks up to me. He kisses me on my neck. I'm shocked when he does it but it feels so fucking good. His tongue swirls around my neck for a few minutes. My dick gets hard. He presses up against my dick. Ryder bites down on my neck. Soon I let out a deep moan. It's loud as fuck.
Ryder smiles as though a little pleased with himself, "That was good. Almost believable. Ok. Let's start talking. I think she's might believe we're having sex in here. So, how are you doing?"
"I had to work with a man who has me on his kill list today," I explain, "Also I have a cyborg in my living room who is spying on me. My best friend's husband is trying threatening to divorce him so he can marry me. Besides all of those things I guess I'm having a great day."
Ryder smiles, "Well look at the bright side. Our marriage isn't on the rocks anymore. You don't seem like you hate me at least anymore."
I sit there and think about it. Ryder gave me a lot of information about what was really behind the Zodiac Killings. I don't know if I am willing to completely trust him or not yet.
"I haven't made up my mind about that," I reply honestly.
Ryder nods, "Fair enough. Listen. I'd be concerned if I were you too, but we don't have a lot of time. Simeon is going to start his killings. You are on that list."
"You said the High Liberty will take me off if he trusts me."
"What's the chances of him trusting you?" Ryder asks me, "Do you know how many heirs that guy has killed in the years. I believe he has a very high threshold of what it takes to earn his trust. If you want to live you have to help me. Period."
I think about it. If Ryder did have a plan to destroy this system and save myself in the process then maybe it was worth hearing. I didn't trust Ryder completely but I knew that I didn't trust the High Liberty even more. Since the first day I met that man I knew there was something off about him. There was something not fair and balanced about that guy.
I hesitate but after a few seconds I give in, "OK."
"We are going to have to find a way to shut off Whistler or at least control her a little bit."
Ryder shakes his head, "No it's not. There is a building that the Taurus use to build their contraptions. I can have someone sneak in there and steal a device that will let us control her a little bit more. At least be able to shut her down so we can talk freely. But I'll need something. Apollo carries around with him a pass. Only top level cops have it. It lets them enter the building I'm talking about."
"That's why you want to go out with him. You want me to steal it?" I ask.
Ryder nods, "Yeah."
I take a deep breath. I hate the idea of stealing. I hate the idea of living this life. I feel like I'm some secret agent or something. However if I get caught there won't be any combat moves and shit to save me. I'd be killed just like Silas for treason. I was playing a dangerous game and I knew it.
I nod, "I'll do it."
Ryder shakes his head and looks at me, "You're strong. You know that right. I knew you were different from the first day I met you. I didn't know what it was. Just something about you..."
Ryder is leaning in. He's going in for the kiss. I take a step back. I move away. I bump into the wall and let out a scream when I hit my back a little bit. Ryder stares at me confused as to why I'm walking away from him.
He even raises his eyebrow a little bit, "Wow? I assumed you'd be open to actually kissing me...I guess I was really wrong about that."
"This marriage isn't real," I respond, "You rigged the matchmaking."
"So it isn't real?" he asks me, "I wanted to kiss you just now. Not because we were matched but because I wanted to kiss you. I risked my life to rig that matchmaking because I got a vibe from you. I felt an attraction to you. That is real. Who gives a fuck about sign compatibility? Whatever we have right now between us is probably more real than most of these marriages out here."
"You use those same lines on Simeon?"
There is silence.
"I saw you two kissing," I respond, "I'm not going to divorce you, not yet at least, but let's not bullshit each other into thinking this is real."
"Let me explain. It's not what you think."
"No. I'll find a way to steal the card tonight on the double date. From now on let's just keep things professional," I respond.
I get out of the shower. He's watching my body as I walk away. We both have hard dicks right now. I think my body is hating me for walking away from sexy ass Ryder but I have some self-respect.
The double date is at the movie theaters. The movie theaters are amazing in the Zodiac City. There is a huge screen that goes all the way to the roof. It surrounds you at all sides. You can see all parts of the movie from your left, right and even above you. It feels like you are really inside of the movie.
"This 4D is amazing," Ryder says.
"You guys didn't have 4D in the huts your people were raised in I assume?" Apollo states.
I am about to give Apollo a sharp elbow for what he just said to Ryder but I realize that Lloyd on the other side of Apollo beats me to the bunch. I hear him whisper a few words to Apollo. It's something like "Be Nice" or something like that. Apollo nods in agreement. It's awkward seeing Lloyd really take that role on.
Ryder seems patient. He's actually being surprisingly civilized when responding to Apollo, "No. We used to just watch sheep mate all day for entertainment."
"Sounds fun," Lloyd laughs, "Better than this movie at least."
"I nod. Yeah. This is a little dry. Who chose this?" I ask.
Lloyd doesn't answer but he looks over at Apollo. I can tell Apollo would pick something like this. The movie has no spice to it. It's straight forward. It's kind of dull to tell the truth. I guess a part of me would have enjoyed this movie before. This was my old life. Everything was dull. Everything was fair and balanced. I turn to my right now and I see Ryder.
Ryder wasn't fair and balanced. He wasn't dull. Ever since I met him my entire life had been exciting.
Every time I want to give in with Ryder I think about him and Simeon...kissing.
It bugs the hell out of me.
"I should go to the bathroom," I state.
As I get up Apollo doesn't hesitate to get up with me, "Yeah I have to pee too."
He follows me to the bathroom in a matter of minutes. Whistler stands outside of the men's bathroom to watch guard. The only time I'm away from her is when she is like this. I know this looks so suspicious but I have to get that card from him. I notice where it's located. It's on a keychain in his back pocket. I've seen it before. I'd have to get real close to get that to him. By the time I get in the bathroom I'm wondering how the fuck I'm going to make this happen. I don't have to wait long though because as soon as I walk in the bathroom he walks up behind me.
Apollo presses his body up against me. He smells me. He sniffs deeply, "I missed you. I can't fucking take another day with your friend. He's just a bootleg version of you."
"Whoa now. Lloyd is still my friend."
Lloyd has always been a little immature. He was never as smart or as talented as I was. He always had a clearer heart though in my opinion. He was truthful. He wouldn't have kissed my husband when I had kissed Apollo. He wouldn't have done a lot of things that I did. Lloyd was a better person than I was.
"He's second rate. I need you in my life," Apollo states before pausing, "And admit it. You need me in you as well."
I don't expect Apollo to push me up against the bathroom sink at that moment. I try to push back and stand on myself but he pushes me harder! Apollo keeps me there and mounts me, dry humping me with his clothes on. I'm shocked at what the fuck he's doing right now. Was this guy fucking serious? Did he have a death wish or something?
"Get off of me, Apollo," I respond to him, "What the hell are you doing?"
"Why what's the big deal? You are going to be my husband soon and I'm going to fuck you soon anyway."
"Apollo get off of me. I'm married to Ryder. I'm not divorcing him..."
"Are you for real?"
"I'm serious. Get off of me. Stop pinning me down man. You're hurting me.'
I swing my elbow at Apollo. He is fast though. He must get it all the time while on the force because he knows how to block my elbow. He keeps it there and pins me.
"I love you," Apollo tells me, "You don't get how much I love you and you're just going to do this? We belong together. I don't get why you won't give me what I want."
"For the first time in your life you aren't getting what you want," I respond, "Cry me a fucking river man."
Apollo was blessed. He was spoiled. He was handsome as fuck. He was rich. He was popular. He was born an Aquarius. He was tall. He was strong. He had everything he ever wanted growing up. Had he even seen how the Cancers were living in the slums? Did he even care?
Right now Apollo was making me sick to my stomach.
"Oh is that what you think?" he asks me, "You think I won't get what I want when I want it? I'll show you, you dumb piece of shit."
I can't believe Apollo is talking to me like this. He seems almost like a whole different person. Something has snapped and he's speaking to me like I'm his enemy.
His zipper comes down. His dick comes out. He's forcing my pants down. He's being aggressive. It's turning a little crazy. Within the next few minutes he's pouncing on me holding me there and making sure that I don't move at all. I'm struggling to find my bearings. I'm not trying to find my bearings physically but also mentally.
Was this really happening right now?
"I'm going to fuck you."
I take a deep breath. I'm in shock. This couldn't be real.
"Apollo I said to get me."
"You keep fucking playing with me," Apollo says, "I'll show you. I'll show you I get what I want when I want it."
I don't see it coming. I don't see Apollo grab my head and slam it hard into the mirror until it happens. I feel my temple smash open at that point. I'm shocked.
I try to fight him off. He restrains me. It must be his cop training. He keeps me pressed up against the sink. I realize at this moment that Apollo has stopped listening to me. As the blood is pouring from my forehead it becomes clear that Apollo isn't going to take no for an answer.
Within a matter of seconds he begins and I struggle as hard as I can but I'm overpowered.
Apollo is raping me...
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