"Give me the keys."
Mason stood in my doorway, shoulders pressed against the frame. His arms crossed his chest and his brow narrowed at me. We had the same eyes- crystal blue in the sunlight but grey as cold steel when we were angry. His, then, were smoky but pale. Not angry, not yet.
"No," I said.
"I told Taylor I'd take her to dinner."
"So you'll be back tonight?"
"Yeah." He lied- I could feel it with more surety than any tick. People say that you can tell a lie by the way a liar twitches when they speak, or the way their eyes shift when the words are spilling forth. I knew my brother, despite his control. We'd spent years learning to hide ourselves from others; the only people we couldn't fool now were each other.
And I knew what he wanted. We'd talked about it often. We dreamed of escaping this world that had been built around us, and hiding out for years. We could be who we wanted, without our parents spooning shame down our throats. We wanted a life where we could say our secrets aloud instead of cowered under blankets.
"You should wait," I told him then, and I told him now. "Wait until we are done with college."
"I told you, the day I turn eighteen I am leaving." He strode forward, to stand beside my chair. I was at my desk, working on a project for my summer course. "Come with us Avery."
"Taylor is coming."
So that is the girl he chose. A grin tickled my lips, despite my rage at him for leaving so soon. Images rushed through my mind, of all the things that poor girl would endure under my twin brother's care.
Mason's expression echoed my own. "I know you want to go."
"Of course I do. Just not yet-- you will run out of money, and won't have a way to get a decent job. We should set ourselves up first."
"We can live off the land. We don't need money."
He struck me. I heard the slap before I felt it, a loud strike followed by a sharp burn. My face felt aflame, like he'd lit a match too close to my flesh. "This is our dream," he said, eyes darkening as he glared down at me. "Why are you throwing it away? What is wrong with you?"
"Jesus Mason-" I touched a hand to my cheek, as if to make it real. Did he really hit me? It still burned, even under my fingers I felt the heat of it.
"I will hit you again. Give me the keys."
He grasped a fistful of my hair and dragged me out of the chair. My hands came up as defense, my fingers digging into his arms as he yanked me across the room. My scalp felt like it was tearing off- I stumbled after him, trying to regain enough balance to stand. "You are me," he said, and used one of his legs to swipe mine from under me. I fell to my knees, a cry escaping my lips. "And I am you."
We'd said the words a million times, growing up. Never with such anger, but we'd repeated them over and over until it became our mantra. It got us through everything.
Now he threw the words in my face. Mason knelt behind me, one hand still tightening around my hair. His other hand ran across my belly, sliding into the pockets of my jeans. "I will not leave a part of me behind."
He tugged the keys out of my pocket and tossed them onto the bed. His hand kept moving across my body, slipping under my jeans. I felt his warm fingers on my skin, felt him reach my clit. He squeezed, and I shuddered against him.
"You are me," he said again, this time a whisper that tickled my ear and had me moaning into his shoulder.
My hands wrapped around his wrist but he was stronger. His fingers were wet now, gliding back to my heated pussy and forth again to my clit. "I know what you like, because it is what I like. We are leaving this place, today, for the life we have always talked about. It will be amazing, my sweet sister. You'll see."
"I'm not going," I murmured.
He took his hand out of my jeans and reached for the shoe box under my bed. My S+M stuff, from when I was dating Justin. Mason flipped the lid off and reached for the bright nylon rope. "Then I will drag you all the way there."