The Wrong Type of Redemption

2 The Past… Five Years Earlier


2: The Past… Five Years Earlier

Five years ago

Jerry’s thick fingers typed over the keys of the keyboard as he sat in the quiet of his favorite alcove on the third floor. He liked that the library wasn’t popular. This way he didn’t have to deal with people. He could sit in silence and enjoy the solitude.

As a computer science student, he had to write programs, learn coding, and do a shitload of math. He liked computers. It allowed him to remain in his shell and never come out if he could help it. His therapist said he should make friends, get out and try to give society a chance.

Even if being anti-social was frowned upon, society didn’t have anything to offer him. The one thing he wanted he could never have again…

Feeling the longing and loss wash over him all over again, Jerry hunched over his laptop and stared at the line of code he typed. That was over five years ago, and Jerry should’ve gotten over it. But how do you survive losing your soul?

“What are you working on?”

Jerry woke from the past and stared up at the gold pair of eyes that watched him while taking a seat at the table. Those eyes had been watching him a lot lately. He wasn’t surprised at Tyler’s interest in him. They guy was protective of his brother like Jerry’s twin, Gerald, had been of Jerry.

“Assignment.” Jerry finally answered, when he noticed the brother wouldn’t leave no matter how silent he remained.

“Need help?” Tyler took a seat across from him, pulling out his own laptop.


“I appreciate your help. You do good work.”

Jerry had to narrow his eyes at that. Tyler rarely approached him and never carried on a conversation like this. He was up to something. Jerry wasn’t stupid. He saw Tyler for what he was — too much like Gerald. Too, too much.

Ever since he noticed Tyler and Bailey’s unusual relationship, the younger brother had been keeping an eye on Jerry.

The curly brown haired, golden eyed brothers both arrived on the same day at the university over the summer. Bailey came for summer football camp. Tyler, the genius, enrolled early at the age of sixteen and came for summer courses. At first, it appeared that the two brothers were just protective of each other, especially if one knew their history. 

The official story? The brothers had been kicked out of their family home by their father because Bailey was dating a girl that their father didn’t approve of. And worse, Bailey dragged his family name through the mud when he dated a girl who was crazy enough to get Bailey shot. So the ultra conservative father refused to deal with his three sons again because of the actions of his eldest.

If someone looked at it closely, it made no sense for the father to throw out all three sons just because of the actions of one.

Jerry had another theory. The brothers were probably kicked out because their father found out about the things they did in the dark. Jerry never saw them in the act, but he noticed how the brothers interacted. The looks they gave each other sometimes was…suspicious. Watching them, it didn’t take long to learn the nature of their relationship since Jerry himself knew what to look for. It was obvious to him because not only had he practiced for years to read body language and lips, but he saw the same love in them for each other that he himself and Gerald had shared. The difference between Bailey’s situation and Jerry’s was that Bailey had a beautiful girlfriend who was in on it with them, protecting them. No one, however, protected Gerald and Jerry.

The other thing Jerry had learned about Tyler? The guy was a hacker.

Jerry had always been adept at computers. His family used to call him Glitch because he was the oddball nerd in the family. Though his father would have preferred that Jerry helped out on the ranch more, like his brothers, he seemed to understand his son’s passion and bought Jerry his own laptop so that his other brothers didn’t have to fight over the family computer. Since most of his brothers were athletic, enjoyed the outdoors, and hanging with friends, they rarely used any computer. So, Jerry was free to take his laptop everywhere. And because his parents never monitored what he did on the device, he learned things. Things some considered illegal — hacking…cracking…software manipulation…virus creation. Jerry knew that some of it was harmful to other people’s livelihoods so he tried to tame his urges. However, that need to push himself to outdo himself and other hackers…made him want to see how good he could get. The thrill of not getting caught was exhilarating. He’d come across other hackers before who were better than him, but that just made him want to do better, get better, sneakier.

Tyler didn’t know he was a hacker at first. 

Jerry happened to be in the library one day working on his “part time job” where he often hacked into university records and altered students grades for a small fee. That added up to big bucks when students from around the world gave him money to hack into their university system. Of course, none of them knew his real identity, just his codename and his humble email address.

That day in the library, Tyler had snuck up behind Jerry. Feeling the hair on the back of his neck rise, Jerry had closed his laptop and turned to find Tyler just close enough to have read his screen. Jerry said nothing and just watched the other guy watch him with that smug expression.

“I always wondered why I could never hack into your computer like I can hack into everyone elses,” was all Tyler had said before walking away.

Afterward, Jerry changed the encryption on his computer and stopped taking “university jobs”. He laid low and stayed away from Tyler.

But that didn’t stop the guy. Two weeks had passed before Jerry got an email on his school email account from a student he’d never talked to before. In it was instructions to mass email a picture of one of the school cheerleaders kissing Bailey on the cheek. Jerry didn’t know the students so he did research. What he found was a campus girl who had a crush on Tyler — a devoted follower. Jerry knew she took the pic on Tyler’s request. And knowing that Tyler had dirt on him, he did as the instructions said using the library computer and a dummy account instead of his own. The only reason Jerry could figure that the girl who sent him the picture wanted it to go public was to cause trouble for Bailey, out of jealousy, or because Tyler wanted to keep Bailey away from the cheerleader.

But then where was Tyler?

The guy hadn’t been seen for days. Just disappeared. And while Bailey pretended everything was alright, the guy was clearly worried, anxious, and sad. At the time, Jerry wondered if it really had been Tyler who instructed the girl to do it or was she operating on her own. Until now.

Here the schemer himself sat across from him wanting to…thank him?

When Jerry never replied Tyler said, “I hate to admit when someone is better than me at anything, but-“

Jerry ignored the other man, shut his laptop, and began to pack up.

“That’s rude. I’m a client after all.”

Jerry didn’t respond because that was too much like implicating his crime. Tyler knew it was him because he hired Jerry, so what was he after? Why was he playing this game? No, no, he didn’t want to know.

“Why don’t you ever answer your emails from you father? He might have something interesting to say.”

Standing to his feet, Jerry remained silent. He wondered how long it would take Tyler to dig up his past. The man was too brilliant to let anything go, just like Gerald had been. And the only way Tyler could’ve learned that his father had contacted him was through the university email system which had shitty cyber security.

“We had a deal, so why did you approach Bailey?” Tyler asked. “That wasn’t part of it.”

“We didn’t have a deal.” The deal had been with Tyler’s female flunky. Jerry and Tyler never did business face to face.

“Regardless, why did you- “

“You disappeared.” Jerry interrupted the guy. He had known better than to be worried about the other guy, getting any deeper would only bring trouble. But Jerry had been worried when Tyler had suddenly disappeared and not checked up on Bailey like usual. Jerry’s own past caused him to fear that Tyler and Bailey might’ve suffer that same fate he had because of their secret.

After the cheerleader incident and Tyler never showed up to claim his brother, Jerry asked Bailey, wanting to know if Tyler was okay. Evidently, the dude in question wasn’t happy about that. Jerry wasn’t surprised. He saw in Tyler the same dangerous nature that had been mirrored in his twin — protective, possessive, and obsessive.

“Worried that I’d become like your twin?” Tyler asked, clearly wanting to hurt Jerry where it counted most.

And it did, a punch to the gut. Jerry gritted out. “Fuck you. Don’t contact me anymore.”

They glared at each other for a long time. Then Tyler’s eyes changed from hard to alluring. Jerry felt his cock heat from those eyes seducing him. If he didn’t know better, the guy was undressing him with his gold stare. He always did find Tyler sexy in a dangerous bad boy way. But he fell in love with a bad body before and the motherfucker left him behind. He wanted nothing to do with love or anything related to it again. Plus, Tyler didn’t want him, he wanted a puppet, someone he could manipulate.

“You should really get in contact with your father.” Tyler’s demeanor turned into a sultriness that made Jerry’s cock throb harder.

Without another word, Jerry turned to leave.

“I always pay my debts, Jerry.” Were the last words he heard from Tyler as Jerry exited the stacks.

Jerry didn’t want Tyler’s money. He wanted to be left alone. He especially didn’t want to be around those two. Being near Tyler or his brother Bailey painfully reminded him of what he’d lost and would never have again.

Jerry and Gerald. They had been the joke of elementary and middle school. Some called them Jer 2.0 — identical twins who stuck together like glue, they shared everything. Laughed at the same things. 

Gerald had been the strong one — bold, determined, brave enough to try anything. Gerald had been the one to kiss him first. The one who always took the first steps in everything. So, it shocked the hell out of Jerry that his best friend, the love of his life, would kill himself. It felt like he ran away. How could he just leave Jerry behind?

Unlike Gerald, Jerry wasn’t brave enough to follow. He’d never been brave enough for anything so profound and final.

For a long time after his brother died, everyone called him Gerald, thinking he was his brother. No one could ever tell them apart. Not even their mother. No, that was wrong. Eric could tell. Eric always knew the difference between them.

He also had been the one to catch them that night… Even now, nearly six years later, Jerry remembered those days like it was yesterday, but wished he could forget them. Forget it all and bury it. And yet the one thing he couldn’t bury, the one thing he never wanted to forget, was the one person in all the world he could never, ever…never hold again.


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