Behind Your Back by Chelsea M. Cameron




  Back To Back

  Copyright © 2015 Chelsea M. Cameron

  All Rights Reserved.

  Editing by Jen Hendricks

  Cover by Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations

  Formatter: Elle Chardou at Midnight Engel Press, LLC

  Back To Back is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are use fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.


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  Sylas’ face is a kaleidoscope of emotion. As soon as one expression takes hold, another shifts in and changes everything. I watch him for a while, looking for the one emotion I know will definitely make an appearance.


  I’ve been waiting for this moment since Dad first gave me this assignment. Waiting for the moment when he would tell me it was time to bring Sylas in.

  Sylas. The name suits him so much better than Quinn ever did. It was difficult to remember to call him by his alias, especially in bed. When our bodies merged, something took over and made me forget what I was supposed to be doing. What I was supposed to be saying.

  The first time he took off his clothes and showed me his skin, covered in ink, I didn’t know what to say. Of course I knew he had tattoos, but I didn’t know how much it would affect me to see them. To touch them.

  He wore his past on his skin and I wanted to spend hours just trying to decipher the story behind each one. But that wasn’t my job. My job was to get him to do exactly what he had done, and to get him here, in this room.

  I swallow my emotions and make my face impassive.

  “Nothing to say?” I ask, my voice slippery and satisfied in my ears. I’ve trained my whole life to be someone I’m not. It’s as easy as putting on a layer of lipstick.

  “What’s going on?” His voice is wary. Careful. Even though the shock is written in his eyes, he won’t give himself completely over to it. We’re both trained, which is why we made such good adversaries.

  I give him a satisfied smile and take a few steps toward him, enjoying that he can’t help but watch my body as I move. It makes me feel better because I can’t take my eyes off him either.

  “You think you’re so clever, Sylas,” I say, using his name out loud, to his face, for the first time. It tastes both sharp and sweet on my tongue. His name tastes of burning touches in the dark and secrets and smoke.

  “I have to give you credit, you did a pretty good job up until now. Until you decided to mess with the wrong man,” I continue, walking closer. My black boots click on the floor. Sylas flexes his muscles, just enough that he thinks I won’t notice, but I do. He’s trying to keep me talking so he can try to escape and gain the upper hand.

  As much as I’m conflicted about my feelings for him, I do enjoy seeing him like this, just a little bit. He’s always so cocky, it’s nice to see him knocked off his axis for once.

  “What do you want from me?” he says, his voice raspy. He must have more questions than just the one. I know I would, in his position.

  I finish crossing the distance between us and lean down, putting my hands on his thighs. I’ve done this before, but under very different circumstances. I hope he doesn’t notice that my fingers twitch just a little.

  He wants an answer, but I have a question I need to ask him. Have needed to ask him ever since…

  “Did you really love me?” I ask, trying to make my voice steady, and sound like I don’t care. Like his answer doesn’t matter one way or the other.

  It does. It really does.

  But before he can answer, my dad opens the door. I knew I was only going to get a few minutes with him and my time is up. It’s time to fill Sylas in on what he’s doing here and what we need from him. Who we need from him.

  “Saige, that’s enough,” Dad says, giving me a glare. I stand up and try to look bored. Dad doesn’t know everything. I feel guilty for lying to him, but I didn’t have a choice. I just couldn’t tell him everything about my time with Sylas. And not just the parts about sex.

  I sigh as if I’m irritated and leave, because I know that’s what he wants me to do. But I wait just outside the door and press my ear to the crack between it and the wall.

  I’ve never been opposed to eavesdropping. I learned how to do it well at an early age. Some of my earliest memories are of me and my dad, and him teaching me how to lie. I could beat a lie detector in my sleep, if I had to. Dad has one and he likes to periodically test all of us with it.

  Now Dad’s laughing, but I don’t know at what. I do hear the sound of Sylas getting to his feet and two sets of footsteps making their way to the door. It’s time for me to head to the car, so I walk as fast and as quietly as I can down the tunnel and back out into the sunshine. It’s afternoon now, and I wish I had my sunglasses. The black SUV is parked and waiting for us.

  Soon we’ll find out what Sylas thinks of our proposition. I bite my lip. I wish I could pretend I don’t care about what he says, but I do. It matters.

  I lean against the car and wait for the door to open and it finally does. Dad comes out with Sylas. Even though he’s tired and a little bedraggled, he still looks… powerful. In control. Arresting.

  Staring at him makes my skin shiver and remember how those hands felt, holding me tight. Gripping my hips. How his voice felt in my ear, his lips and tongue tasting me everywhere.

  I really can’t think about that right now. What is it about him that makes those thoughts nearly impossible to set aside? I’m a professional. This is my job. It’s more than that.

  I hold the back door open for him. I’ll be riding up front and Dad is driving.

  “Get in,” Dad says to Sylas. His jaw twitches, once. He cares, too, but he’s much better at hiding it than I am. Then again, he’s had more years of lying than I have.

  Sylas’ eyes tighten and he glares at me. There it is. Hatred.

  “If you’re going to kill me, why don’t you just get it over with?” Of course he thinks we’re going to kill him. That’s far more logical than the reality. The reality is hard for me to believe, even though I’ve lived with it for weeks now.

  Dad gives me a look over Sylas’ shoulder.

  “Oh, handsome, that’s not what we have in mind. Just get in the damn car,” I say with a sweet smile. Sylas’ eyes narrow even further, until they’re just slits.

  “Saige,” Dad says, another warning.

  “Just get in the goddamn car,” I say, pretending to lose patience. What I really wish I could do is grab his arm, take him back inside the base
ment of the warehouse and tell him. Tell him the truth and tell him how many times I wanted to spill everything.

  Tell him… so many things.

  But he breathes once through his nose and gets in the car. I shut the door behind him and get in the front seat. I turn my head and look at him over my shoulder.

  “Put your seatbelt on,” I say as he crosses his arms over his chest.

  “Fuck. You,” he says, biting each word. Even his anger is a beautiful thing. It makes me want to crawl into the backseat and bite his bottom lip, drawing blood and making him growl. Of course, since my father is here, that would definitely be… frowned upon would be an understatement. It would ruin everything. There are more important things than my libido at stake.

  “I’m so glad I got to meet you, Sylas,” I say. Every now and then I let some truth slip though, camouflaged as a lie. He doesn’t know the difference now, which is fine by me. Dad clears his throat and I turn back around, but not before I hear him say something that I think is directed toward Dad.

  “Fuck you too.”

  I keep facing forward as Dad starts the car and we head back toward my parents’ house. I’m sure Sylas wants to know where we’re going, but he won’t know until we get there. Or he recognizes the route. Whichever comes first.

  Just to annoy him, I start humming “Take Me to Church”. I know he’ll recognize the tune. It feels like a sort of anthem of our relationship. If that’s what this is anymore. I don’t think there really is a word for what we are now. He thought he was conning me, I conned him right back.

  I suppose I’d check the box that says, “it’s complicated” on my social media page, if I were asked to pick one.

  Sylas is definitely complicated.

  There’s a clicking coming from the backseat and I know he’s cracking his knuckles. He’s nervous and trying to hide it.

  I know the exact moment Sylas has figured out where we’re going. There’s a sharp intake of breath and he shifts on his seat. Preparing to defend himself. I don’t blame him. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t suspicious.

  We pull into the circular driveway and Dad stops the car. He gets out without another word. I fight the urge to look at Sylas as I get out, and it’s not easy. I’m just so aware of him. He’s always in my peripheral vision and turning my head to see what he’s doing, what he’s thinking, is a reflex.

  I have to walk behind him to get him into the house. He’s not visibly fighting, but I know if anyone makes a sudden move, he’s going into attack mode. I’ve watched him wail on the punching bag in his apartment, nearly destroying the thing, his body dripping with ribbons of sweat.

  Not the point.

  He almost puts the brakes on, and then he sees her.

  His sister. Lizzy. The moment she turns and sees him from her vantage point in the den, she’s on her feet and flying toward him.

  “Brother!” she yells, laughing as she hurls herself on him. He catches her and holds her, even though he’s in shock.

  “Lizzy? What are you doing here?”

  He sets her gently on her feet, but doesn’t look away from her face.

  “The man brought me,” she says, looking back at Dad. My stomach twists and I know that after the truth comes out, there’s no going back.

  “What man?” Sylas asks, his face gaining a hard edge. Dad clears his throat.

  “That would be me,” he says. He’s dropping his “Mr. Beaumont” face and is back to being my dad. I’m used to the switch. It’s all I’ve ever known.

  “Don’t you fucking touch her,” Sylas says, turning his body so he’s protecting Lizzy. Her wide blue eyes look up at him as if he hung the moon. He might as well have. I’d believe it.

  “Bad words, Brother,” Lizzy says, touching his lips. “No bad words.”

  Sylas looks down at her and his face loses all hardness. Only love and tenderness shine out of his eyes when he looks at her.

  “Sorry, Lizzy. But what are you doing with her?” His eyes flick back up and change so fast. Just like Dad. They’re more alike than they could ever imagine.

  Here it is. The moment. Dad looks at me and lets out a breath before dropping the bomb on Sylas that’s going to shatter his entire world.

  “She’s my daughter.”

  Dad’s declaration is met with silence from Sylas. It seems as if Lizzy hasn’t even heard him because she’s busy touching Sylas’ face and shushing him like you would a fussy child.

  Once Sylas gets over his initial moment of shock, the next automatic emotion is disbelief.

  “No she’s not,” he says, completely confident that this is just another con. Another snow job. Another lie. “Why don’t we talk about this privately?” he says through gritted teeth. Clearly he wants to get her out of here in case this gets violent. His body’s humming like a just-struck tuning fork. I’ve never seen him this dangerous.

  Thinking someone needs to do something before Sylas pulls the pin out of this potential grenade, I turn to Lizzy.

  “Hey, you want to see my room?” It’s going to be a little awkward being alone with her, but at least I can take her out of the line of fire.

  Her eyes light up and she claps her hands, completely unaware of the animosity between her brother and her… father.

  I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that Lizzy is my half-sister. But I take her arm and lead her out of the room, throwing looks over my shoulder at both Dad and Sylas. They’re getting ready to face off and just before we’re out of earshot, Sylas speaks.

  “What the fuck are you trying to pull? Lizzy is not your daughter.”

  Lizzy just skips ahead of me, singing to herself.

  “It’s upstairs,” I say and she bounds ahead of me. Her energy is almost contagious. She’s light and bright and makes me think of cotton candy and sunshine and smiles.

  I open the door and she runs inside. It’s very different from the last time I was here with Sylas. That was a very different situation altogether.

  Lizzy hops on the bed and lays back, looking up at the canopy. I have no idea what possessed my mother to decorate the room like this. It’s so far from my style, it’s not even on the same planet. I’m never going to be frills and lace and pure white. That is fine for some other girl, but not me.

  “Your room is awesome,” Lizzy says, sitting up and looking around again.

  “Thanks,” I say. I’m trying to figure out how to proceed with this situation when Lizzy just starts talking.

  “My brother is mad, isn’t he?”

  “Oh, I think it’s going to be fine,” I say, moving to sit on the bed next to her. Looking at the two of us, you probably wouldn’t know that we are even somewhat related. We share no similar features, but I can see little bits of Dad in her face here and there. Softened, of course, but still there.

  “Are you sure?” Her wide blue eyes grow concerned and I pat her on the arm.

  “Absolutely. Do you, um, want to watch a movie or something?” At least then I won’t have to talk. I mean, I do want to know about Lizzy, but I’m not really ready yet. Dad just told me about her a few weeks ago. I didn’t speak to him for a few days because of it. I mean, who does that? Who keeps a secret like that for my whole life? Lizzy and I are only a year and a half apart. How different my life might have been if I had known she existed sooner.

  “Uh-huh,” she says and I go to the cabinet that holds my old television and show her where the DVD boxes are. I don’t care what she picks, but she surprises me by choosing Pretty in Pink. I had a hardcore John Hughes obsession a few years ago and bought anything and everything that he was even somehow involved in.

  “Have you seen this before?” I ask her as we pull some of the squishy tufted chairs in front of the television so we can sit on them.

  “Lotsa times,” she says, nodding and getting cozy in one of the chairs, pulling her feet up and cuddling into a ball.

  “Cool, me too,” I say, sitting down beside her. The movie starts and I keep the volume low and
my ear trained down the hall and into the room where Sylas and Dad are. I’ve angled the chair so if I have to jump up and head for the door to pull them off each other, I won’t trip over something if I have to rush.

  A few times I get up and peek my head out the door, but I don’t hear anything from downstairs. That means they’re either talking it out in civil tones, or one or both of them is dead. I really hope it’s the former and not the latter. It would be a lot of work to get blood out of the carpet.

  Lizzy is fully engrossed in the movie, except for one instance where she turns to me and smiles.

  “You’re my favorite new sister.” Hopefully I’m her only new sister, but it’s still nice to hear. I have the feeling Lizzy likes everyone, but still.

  “That’s a nice thing to say.”

  I wonder what Dad is telling Sylas. If he’s telling him that his mother, Marina, and my dad were lovers. Childhood sweethearts, but proof that love just isn’t enough and can’t conquer all. They both married other people, but carried a torch for each other for years.

  Maybe he’ll tell Sylas that one night his mother called my father. Asked him to come over. And that Lizzy is a direct result of that night.

  I was angry with him at first. I’m not now. I can’t begrudge him his little pinpricks of happiness. My mother has made him so unhappy. Made both of us so unhappy with her bitter poison. I always asked myself why he stayed with her. It wasn’t just for me. It definitely wasn’t because he loved her. I’m not sure he even knows or could explain.

  Dying of curiosity, I get up and creep out of the room. Lizzy is too engrossed in the movie to notice as I slip out and down the stairs. I’ve mastered the art of walking softly and quickly. That’s another skill Dad taught me.

  I make my way to the door and hear Dad say, “No. I’m not a criminal. But I’m a pretty good actor, aren’t I?” and then Sylas saying, “I can’t breathe.”

  Forgetting about being stealthy, I rush forward, throwing myself in front of Sylas. Grabbing his face in my hands, I stare deep into his dark blue eyes.

  “Breathe with me, Sylas. In and out,” I say, keeping my voice steady as my dad backs quietly out of the room. Sylas blinks at me a few times and then finally takes a deep breath. I think this is a panic attack and not something more serious that could kill him.

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