And the year is zooming by. A quarter done, and after this month, a third, lol. Which means it’s time for another promptly penned. Very cool one this month. Here’s the prompt…
You’ve been able to read people’s thoughts since you were a child. But no one has ever talked back. Until now.
This probably won’t appear exactly in these words, but… the thought will be there. So, sit down, and let’s do this…
Look at her. Dressed like that. All that silky material hugging her body and those shoes… I bet she wants them pressed into my back as I fucking ride her.
Maddison stopped, fingers clenched around her purse, heat burning beneath her skin. She turned to glare at the asshole leaning against a pillar, dressed in a cheap Armani knockoff. The one with beady eyes and greasy hair. Bastard looked every inch the slimy predator he was. The guy narrowed his eyes, staring back for several moments before clearing his throat then disappearing into the crowd. Maddy made a mental note to ID his ass later—after the reception. After her brother had left on his honeymoon. And after she’d faced the same, unending questions. Why wasn’t she married? What had she become a cop? Why didn’t she ever come home?
It wasn’t because she wasn’t willing to answer them. She just knew no one would like the answer. Belay that—no one would believe the answer. Believe that the reason she remained alone, why she never came home—why she’d chosen to join the force—all boiled down to one, unimaginable truth. The voices made her do it.
She snorted. She sounded like the countless psychos she locked up. Except in her case, it was true. But not in a disconnected, batshit crazy sort of way. She actually heard voices. Had heard them for as long as she could remember. Originally, she’d thought everyone had people talking inside their heads. Until she’d realized the voices were other people’s thoughts. Like the creepy asshole thinking her evening gown was her way of asking to be harassed. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly when she’d finally figured it out, only that she went to great lengths to hide it. Saying you had people mumbling away inside your head when you were five was considered cute. An active imagination. Saying you heard people talking when you were fifteen—yeah, it got you a weekend under psychiatric observation at the local hospital.
That minor mishap had been the by-product of experimenting with tequila…never, again. But it had definitely emphasized the need for secrecy. To isolate herself. She’d worked hard to learn how to block others… not that it was perfect. Creepy guy had slipped past her defenses. Though, the stress of being in a room with so many people—of being home and having to face the disappointment of her family—that was enough to tax even her skills.
Maddy drew a deep breath, grabbed a flute of champagne, then headed for the balcony. The sheer exhaustion of trying to remain sane in a sea of unending internal conversations was overwhelming. It was part of the reason she loved working the night shift at the precinct. Only a handful of people around her. And if her ability helped narrow down suspects—it made the curse she’d been living with a bit more bearable.
The cool night air beaded her skin as she stepped onto the small terrace. The sun had set hours ago, but the moon was just starting to rise, casting a warm glow across the yard. Crickets sang in the background, easing some of the tension bunching her shoulders. And for a few precious minutes, she could pretend she was like everyone else. That she was normal.
Normal’s overrated, sweetheart.
Maddison gasped then spun, searching the shadows for the gravelly male voice. Nothing.
She gave herself a shake. Obviously, the strain was getting to her. She’d just finished a huge case. Hadn’t really slept in over a week. And now, having to shield herself from a few hundred wedding guests had pushed her past her limits. Had her hearing voices that weren’t even there.
Is that what you think? That I’m a figment of stress?
Who is this?
You don’t know? I thought you were a detective, Maddison?
She froze. She’d spent the past thirty years dealing with her ability, but in all those years, no one had ever talked back—until now.
The guy laughed, and she had to remind herself he wasn’t there. That no one else heard him before she started speaking out loud. Demanding answers. Before they took her away for more than a weekend, this time.
You’re not crazy. You’re different. Like me.
Who are you?
Look over your left shoulder.
Maddison swallowed past the tight feeling in her throat then slowly turned. A man stood in the centre of the yard, his shadow stretching out in a long, finger-like shadow behind him. He took a step forward, illuminating half his face in the moonlight.
She dropped the glass, barely registering the high-pitched trill as it shattered into tiny pieces, scattering bits of glass across the cement. Some of the shards sparkled in the light, reflecting tiny rainbows of color.
The man took a few hurried steps forward. Maddison? Are you okay?
She jumped at the sound of her voice, looking around before focusing back on the man who’d been her best friend growing up. The boy next door, in every sense of the word. The one she’d been in love with until she’d realized she’d never have that kind of life. How could she when every tiny flaw she had would be pointed out to her. Not in words but in thoughts. In a way far more damning.
A shiver wove down her spine. Oh god, was she really going crazy? Had she imagined the whole thing?
A hand landed on her shoulder and she reacted before she had a chance to think—grabbing the man’s wrist then locking it as she spun behind him, bending him over the railing.
“Really, sweetheart. If you want a bit of rough foreplay, all you have to do is ask.”
He glanced at her over his shoulder. “Hello, Maddison. It’s been—a while.”
She released him, taking a few quick steps back. She opened her mouth, but all that made it past her throat was a raspy gasp.
Parker smiled as he turned and leaned against the rail, raising her hand when she tried to talk, again. “How about I make you a deal?”
She nodded, knowing anything she said would come out as another pathetic gasp.
“Good. The deal is this—you agree to come home with me, and I’ll answer every question rattling around inside your head.” His smile widened. “And there are a lot of questions in there. I should know. I can hear every one of them.”
She managed to shake off some of the shock. “That’s it? Come over to your place and you’ll answer my questions?”
“Oh, did I forget to mention the part where I don’t plan on us getting any sleep? And yes, that’s code for sex. But before you get out your handcuffs and read me my rights, I’ll remind you that I’ve been able to hear your thoughts since we were kids. So…”
“You mean, all this time, you knew?”
“That sounds like a question. Which brings me back to my offer. Spend the night with me, and I promise you’ll get far more than you bargained for. Unless…you’re afraid to know the truth. To be more than a one-off. That is how you live your life, right? You use this…ability as an excuse. To hide behind.” He straightened, m walked past her then paused at the entrance. “Your choice, Maddison. I’m offering you more than a life spent living in the shadows. Are you brave enough to see what that might be like?”
He held out his hand, and waited.
Maddison stared at his palm, finally raising her gaze to his. She sighed, then placed her hand in his. “Fine. We’ll start with tonight, and see if you can make me want more. But know this. I’ve spent years fantasizing what this would be like. You’d better live up to the expectations.”
“I do like a challenge.”
Then you’re in for a hell of a ride.
He chuckled, tightened his grip, then led her out.
That’s it for me. Go visit the other lovelies playing along…