He smiles menacingly, his stupid sexy rocker hair hanging in his face as he hovers over her.
“Listen, I’m happy to keep the mystery going,” he concedes, as regards her withholding her name. “Just give me the first letter.”
Frustrated, he lunges in, kisses her hard.
“I left my wife for you,” he growls. “Tell me.”
He has a phenomenal, bassy voice. Makes her spine arch involuntarily.
But he didn’t leave his wife for her.
He didn’t even know her when he left his wife.
To his current way of thinking, his divorce was spawned by something she now represents to him. Happened because he conquered marriage, conquered family, and then spent ten years wondering, “Is this all, then?”
Turns out, there was a bit more.
Like a crazy woman breaking into his house. Straddling him in his sleep. Somehow getting him to fall in love with her.
“The false identity you used to register your phone,” he tries next. “Is it an anagram?”
She chesires, almost obscenely pleased with herself, in his opinion.
“I was one step ahead of you on that one,” she flaunts.
He has the weird thought of wanting to devour her whole.
“Forget it,” he concludes. “I’m fine with the ambiguity.”
Fine with the ambiguity, perhaps, but he keeps very close tabs on her when she is not with him. Devious; witty; seductive; near-constant: texts.
Which she both likes and doesn’t.
On the one hand, it’s the kind of behavior that could later result in her saying, “Wow. Yeah, I totally should have seen that coming.”
But on the other, there’s just something cute about a hulking man that wants to dominate her.
And besides, this one is smart. Like, really smart.
Which makes it all oh-so-much-more fun.
The world—her world—is an enormous place.
If there are limits, she has yet to find them.
Every year she grows tougher, faster, more impenetrable.
More selective, her needs more intricate.
And arguably, the most important of all: more delighted in her ability to bend reality to her interest.
The hacker is tall.
Unbroken stories high.
Has broad shoulders that feel like crossing an entire continent.
The studded belt she stole from him indicates XL.
She’s fond of those letters, the cute Romanness of them in relation to him.
She wraps his wide belt around her naked waist when she sleeps. It rides low, encompasses her hips.
When they wrestle in his enormous bed, he completely takes her. It’s not even a challenge.
But then, hands pinned over her head, she spills out an elaborate commentary that has him losing.
He stares at her, incredulous.
“You actually thought you could defeat me,” she grins.
He takes both of her wrists in one massive hand and grabs her face with the other.
“Stop being so fucking fascinating,” he condemns.
“This I do for my country,” she says, ridiculously, through clenched cheeks, and now she’s speaking with an accent. “This I do for Belarus!”
He laughs, despite himself. And out of nowhere she bucks and then launches her legs high in the air, almost toppling him over the side of the bed.
She’s feisty, unpredictable, and somehow slippery.
She’s very slippery, in fact.
Right now it’s just a game. And he’s having fun. Kind of.
Right now, he doesn’t know where she lives, what she does, or when she’ll next appear.
“I have no idea what we have or how long it’s going to last. My gut says that’s more up to you than me,” he texts her. “But just to be clear: right now you are mine.”
Three weeks ago he published something that amused her. A semi-reckless analogy involving a rape fantasy in which he subverted the expectation.
She tracked him down, wrote to him from a hastily-created phony account that included pictures, which she immediately took down when he followed up by asking for her phone number.
“I want to meet you,” he told her. Times three.
Then one night, asleep on his couch, she slipped over his balcony and in his patio door.
He woke to her kissing him.
In his addled state, something about her reminded him of Black Widow.
The tight leather smell of her.
“Do you write fanfic?” he asked, sleepily trying to understand anything.
And she burst out laughing with a robustness surprising for her frame.
In so many ways, it’s as if he’s still dreaming.
At the very least, and as an understatement, it’s unlike any other part of his life. Ever.
Deliciously weird, and yet something in him has trouble with it.
“You want this to be completely anonymous, I’m cool with that,” he texts her. “I’m a guy. You’re hot. It’s even a little kinky.”
“Hi,” she texts back.
“So I don’t need to know your name, but I do need to know you. Otherwise, it’s all just surface level.”
“It doesn’t feel surface level to me at all,” she texts back.
This sets him somewhat at ease.
“What then?” he asks.
“It’s subterranean,” she tells him.
For days afterwards, he keeps going back to the word.
It makes his whole body ache.