Home > All the Rage(7)

All the Rage(7)
T.M. Frazier

Cody’s regret was written all over his face before my last words had even left my mouth. “I’m sorry, but…” He growled and pulled on his hair. “What about your parents?” Cody asked, grabbing both of my shoulders, digging his fingers into my skin. His anger forgotten. Desperation in its place.

I shook my head. “I’ve already taken care of everything.”

Cody looked toward the parking lot. He shielded his eyes from the single beam of blinding white light that beckoned to me like the warmth of the sun, thawing me from a long cold winter.

I reached out and touched the side of Cody’s face. I smiled a rare genuine smile. “You know I don’t want anyone else, right?” I asked. I needed him to understand it wasn’t him I was running from, but me I was running for.

“Yeah, Rage, but you don’t want me either,” he stated flatly, using my nickname for the second time. Rage was a name Cody came up with but as we’d gotten older he stopped using it and more and more started using Hope again. I knew why. It’s because he wanted me to be Hope. Hope was a girl you dated and took to the movies. Hope was a girl you made future plans with and lost your virginity to in the backseat of your Honda after prom.

I wasn’t her.

I tried to be her. To make her real, but that night the truth was clearer then ever.

Nothing I tried had worked…because Hope Michaels didn’t exist.

“No, I don’t want you. But you have to know that if it was ever going to be anyone, I wished it could’ve been you,” I said. Cody nodded, closing his eyes and leaning his cheek into my palm.

“What will I do without you?” he asked, his words whispering across the palm of my hand. A tear formed in the inside corner of his eye, spilling down the bridge of his nose. He sniffled.

Cody was a straight A student who was destined for the Ivy Leagues. He was a math wiz and a star on our high school’s baseball team. Without me to drag him down, he had nowhere to go but to the top of whatever mountain he wanted to climb.

The bike engine revved and vibrated deep within me, letting me know it was time.

“Do you really wanna know what you’re going to do without me?” I asked. I dropped my hand from Cody’s face and turned, running as fast as I could with my ridiculous tulle skirt bunched up in my fists. “You live!” I shouted back over my shoulder. “And you can keep the list. I don’t need it anymore!” Dried leaves and pine needles stung and stabbed at the bottoms of my bare feet, but I didn’t care.

I never looked back. Not at Cody. Not at my old life.

I ran toward more than just a bike. I ran toward the freedom to be myself. Toward a new life. Toward the real me.

Freedom.

Where I was going, Hope Michaels wouldn’t be coming with me. In her place would be the girl I’d shoved aside for as long as I could remember. The one who mainstream society, my teachers, my doctors, my parents, and even Cody spent a lot of time trying to change into someone else.

When I reached the shell parking lot I hiked up my dress high around my waist and straddled the bike behind the driver, holding on tight to the wall of leather and muscle in front of me.

I couldn’t see Cody, but I could feel his eyes on me as the bike shot forward into the blackness of the night. Into the unknown.

Cody could have Hope, because I wasn’t taking her with me.

With the wind whipping through my hair and my pink ball gown floating all around me, Hope was officially gone.

All that was left in her place…was Rage.

CHAPTER THREE

Rage

My bag vibrated for the millionth time within a span of three minutes. Since that phone was specifically reserved for calls from only two people, and since very rarely did one call without the other on the line, I knew exactly who was trying over and over again to reach me. I couldn’t ignore it forever, especially since they wouldn’t stop calling until I either answered or the battery died, but I was still running wire. A task that required my full attention.

I’d spent every second of the last three years working and training with Smoke. I was strong both physically and in craft. I turned my need to destroy into a business that, over the past year, had started to thrive as my reputation for getting the job done spread.

Only a small handful of my employers knew what I looked like, including Smoke, and I was hell bent on keeping it that way. Anonymity was key. Not just to avoiding blowback, but it was also the key to my success. I could get a lot closer to a target than a leather-clad biker could. Blonde hair, ponytails, and pink T-shirts didn’t exactly raise the same kinds of red flags.

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