Sneak Peek!

(Excerpt from Ctrl Z, Chapter 4)


A block from the subway station entrance, the sound of a vehicle approaching caught Indigo’s attention. The horn tapped once and she stepped skittishly sideways, peeking over her shoulder. It was a small, red sportscar. Jude Alden sat in the passenger seat, a guy she didn’t know driving. The car had barely stopped when Jude jumped out.


“I’ll catch up later, Marq,” Jude called out to his friend. “Give me a call once you drop off the project.”


The man inside shouted, “later then!” and the car sped away, wheels squealing. Jude jogged to where she stood.


“Indigo,” he breathed.


“Hey Jude,” she said, then rolled her eyes. She hated that fucking song. Jude apparently did too. He groaned.


“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that before,” he laughed, faint ghosts of white appearing with each word. “I was hoping it was you. Couldn’t tell for sure from behind.” He zipped his jacket higher, tucking his hands into his pockets. “It’s great to see you again.”


Indigo nodded, wondering why the hell she felt so giddy all of a sudden. She should be pissed at him for dropping off the face of the Earth, but she couldn’t help but smile back.


“It’s good to see you too,” she muttered.


“You walking home?”


“No,” she said, nodding toward the entrance. “Taking the subway. Too cold.”


“Can I walk to the station with you?”


She shrugged indifferently, starting down the street, leaving Jude to follow.


“So what’ve you been up to?” he asked.


“School work. Work work,” Indigo muttered. “Same old, same old.” She glanced up, finding him watching. “You?”


“Been working on a project with Marq,” he answered. “Goddamned thing was supposed to take a day or two at most, but it ate up two entire weeks.” He chuckled. “Kept wanting to drop by the computer lab to see you, but never had the time.”


“Huh. Never noticed,” she said archly. “You done now?”


He grinned. “Finished up yesterday. And I thought maybe, since I had a little time off…”


He reached out, brushing her arm and she shivered, either from cold or anticipation. Indigo wouldn’t think of which. She stopped walking, moving under the overhang of an abandoned building, the dark stairwell to the subway still half a block away.


“You thought what, Jude?” Indigo prompted. She was going to make him say it. Make him ask.


He stared down at her, his eyes impossibly bright despite the drabness of the day. They weren’t just green, they were hazel. The pupils were ringed with gold, the outside of the iris so dark it was almost brown, two completely different colours blended as one.


“I thought maybe I could take you out for dinner.”


She bit the inside of her cheeks to keep from smiling. Instead of answering, she forced herself to wait, watching as his face lost the surety of seconds earlier.


“Hmmm,” Indigo said, raising an eyebrow. “I haven’t decided yet.”


Jude’s smile wobbled.


“Oh, okay?”


She laughed, his uncertainty leaving her inexplicably happy. Indigo stepped nearer, her fingers pressing against the front of his jacket, eyes narrowed. He stumbled back, taking them into the doorway of what had once been a shop, but was now just a boarded up cubicle, closed on three sides.


“Wha..?”


Before he could finish, she kissed him. It was brief and violent, lips smashing together in a brutal embrace. She wanted to know if he tasted like she remembered, and if her body would respond the way it had months earlier, or if it’d been the alcohol and grief, nothing else. Her hands tightened on his collar, pulling him against her, tongue pushing into his mouth. The second Jude reacted, his hands rising to her waist, she broke the kiss.


 “What was that for?” he breathed.


“Just wanted to see if I remembered right.”


His eyes widened.


“And?”


She reached out, straightening his collar. “You’re not a bad kisser… for a frat boy.”


He laughed, the sound warm and easy, and her gaze jumped up to his face. They were still in the overhang of the building, nearly out on the street, but now it felt like they were alone.


“That didn’t count,” he growled.


A thrill of excitement ran up her spine.


“And how d’you figure that.”


You kissed me, not the other way around,” he said. His words were low, and darker than they’d been before. He reached out, his hand gripping her elbow. “That kiss doesn’t count.”


Indigo smirked. Manipulative. She hadn’t expected that from him. She liked that. It scuffed up his squeaky clean surface. Made Jude interesting in ways she hadn’t expected.


“Well,” she scoffed. “I’m not sure you deserve a second ch—”


She never had time to finish.


This time he was the one who started it; he reached out, cupping her face and pulled her forward into a rough kiss. One hand slid into her hair, the other wrapping around her back as he pushed her against the plywood sheet that covered the windows. His lips were rough and insistent, his tongue pushing into her mouth rather than waiting for permission. In seconds, he had her pinned in place, one foot between her two, his hips angling against her as if they were alone, not exposed to the bright light of midday. Indigo moaned, the sound catching her by surprise. Her hands slid up his chest to wrap his neck, legs weak.


This was what she remembered.


He broke away from her, though one hand stayed against the back of her head, buffering her from the wood, the other still looped around her waist.


“Wow,” she panted.


“I take it I passed?”


“Yeah,” she replied shakily. “I s’pose you did.”







Photography above used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.