Poughkeepsie, p.17
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       Poughkeepsie, p.17

           Debra Anastasia
 

  Beckett watched Livia look up at Blake and realized she was just as lost in him. He decided right then to set the two of them with a beautiful life together. Blake would have to agree. He’d want his woman to have the best, and Beckett could give them that—maybe somewhere far away so none of Beckett’s shitload of evil would ever touch them. In his head Beckett put the two of them in a big snow globe with glitter that he could shake when he wanted them to fucking sparkle together. Perfect in their condo with a dog and a kid and glitter.

  Blake turned to lead Livia back to their chairs, which Beckett had noticed were clogged up now with other people’s asses. Beckett nodded to Mouse who carefully put down his fucking knitting, grabbed two poor bastards by the backs of their shirts, and tossed them to the floor. Blake shook his head at Beckett’s lack of manners but held the chair out for Livia. She sat and smiled at Beckett like he was a guest at her freaking wedding. She’s so damn happy.

  Blake accepted the two water bottles from a server with a nod of gratitude. He opened his first and handed it to Livia, taking her unopened one as his own. She bit her lip and smiled.

  Simple shit makes this chick crap bubbles and rainbows. Beckett shook his head, rattling his mental snow globe again as his phone buzzed. He looked at his phone to find a text from Eve:

  I’m here

  She was a woman of few words. Beckett gave the club another scan, and Kyle’s continued frantic dancing caught his attention. Fairy Princessfuckingrella is kicking her slutting up a notch.

  He saw Livia tense out of the corner of his eye. Shit. Kyle’s going to ruin their night together.

  Fairy Princess was flexing like a yoga instructor with an IV drip full of Red Bull and lion piss. There was a circle about two dudes deep around her, all with their cocks pointed like they were water sticks and she was Niagara Falls. Beckett had to put an end to this shit. He stood.

  He heard Livia’s voice as he waded through the assholes and headed for the gyrating nightmare. “Blake, what’s he going to do?”

  He faintly heard his brother’s reply. “Beckett won’t hurt her. Don’t worry.”

  Faith. Blake had all the faith in the world in him. All these new, different people to protect were starting to scare him. How many fucking people will I have to beat the shit out of to keep them all happy and safe?

  Beckett hit the dance floor just as a brain-melting new song came on. He let out a perfect imitation of a circa-1992 Michael Jackson scream. The people bouncing on the dance floor turned around, even the wall of men surrounding Kyle.

  A slow grin spread across his face, and he danced like he was born to do it. He embodied the beat, and the people who had turned for his scream now stayed for the show.

  He stopped in the center of the dancefloor and slowly rotated his hips. He pointed at Kyle and called her out. “Dance with me, baby!”

  The dancer in Kyle couldn’t turn him down, and she sauntered over. He grabbed her by the waist, and Beckett and Kyle made dancing an Olympic sport. She would give and he would take; he would give and she would take. Kyle turned up the heat by adding some ballet leaps, daring Beckett to match her. His smile grew broader as he caught her smoothly, again and again, begging Kyle’s body to do the impossible. Whirling as if partners for life, they complemented and contrasted each other like vodka and tonic.

  Beckett pounded his chest in a heartbeat rhythm, and Kyle countered with a backbreaking, top-testing stretch. Beckett closed the distance and whispered to her as she threw her arms around his neck. “Hey, Fairy Princess, how fucking wasted are you?”

  Kyle’s coordination hadn’t suffered, but her speech was slurred. “Enough to be numb.” She used her hips to rock herself to the floor, then climbed sexily back up Beckett’s leg.

  Beckett wrapped a huge arm around Kyle’s waist and slammed her body into his. “Sometimes when girls advertise, they get what they’re asking for.”

  Kyle twisted so her back was to his chest. “Are you threatening or promising, big daddy?”

  Beckett spun her around and held her face to his so their lips almost touched. The crowd went wild with perceived sexual tension.

  “If I was threatening you, you’d already be beggin’ for your real daddy,” Beckett whispered.

  Beckett felt Kyle shiver as he held her close, forcing her to stay pressed against him. Then she seemed to power through her fear and ran her hands down his face.

  “I have things I need to forget tonight,” she told him. “This is how I forget, you big, fucking pimp.”

  Kyle fluttered her hands like two swirling birds as she slipped into a deep backbend over Beckett’s arm. He let her sway upside down from one of his hips to the other as he scanned the room. He saw plenty of ladies who’d realized, deep down in their panties, that he’d be an amazing fuck, but he was looking for someone in particular. He found her in the corner, dressed like a man.

  Shit. If Eve was a man, I would gay it up. Hardcore.

  He wanted her to see him like this—powerfully sexual and capable. He pulled Kyle up and found Eve over the top of Fairy Princess’s hair. He saw Eve smirk as she watched him move with another woman.

  Got her. She’s jealous.

  Eve looked away for a moment, then locked her ridiculous baby blues on him. She whipped a knife out of God knows where and held it in front of her face.

  Oh, crap. She’s gonna try to kill Cole’s girl.

  Eve held his eyes and confidently licked the length of the razor-sharp blade with the tip of her tongue. Red blood beaded up on her tongue, and she licked her lips, giving them a fresh coat of color. Eve used the knife to blow a kiss in Beckett’s direction and disappeared into the crowd. Beckett forgot to keep dancing. He stood stock still with Kyle still twirling around him.

  Eve had just fucked his mind so hard, he wanted to smoke a cigarette and cuddle like some soap-watching woman.

  18

  I Do Not Want This

  THROUGH HER WILD MOVEMENTS, Kyle saw the sexy blonde in man-drag lick her knife like she was Marilyn Monroe and Freddie Kruger’s love child. She felt an immediate reaction in Beckett’s pants, and for a moment he stopped dancing completely.

  Figures. The minute I think I’m the belle of the ball, he only wants someone else.

  When Beckett snapped out of it and grabbed her again, Kyle tried to push him away. She stopped rocking her body to the music.

  He looked in her eyes. “You feeling okay?”

  Kyle nodded, her knowing now complete. She would not get the release she needed from him. “I need to take a piss. I broke the seal.” Kyle pushed harder, and Beckett made his arm a steel barrier around her waist.

  He scanned the room again and finally put his mouth close to her ear. “Kyle, I have a lot to do here tonight. I need you to take care of yourself. Don’t make me kill anyone.”

  Kyle felt revulsion roll through her, and she took a deep breath. Hairy Buffalo mixed with the knowledge that he would actually off someone almost ended her night. I need another drink.

  Beckett pulled his phone out and smiled the most villainous smile Kyle had ever seen. “I have to go,” he murmured. “Don’t get your wings wet, Fairy Princess. It will be too hard to fly.”

  Beckett dipped her one last time and twirled her to release his hold. Kyle did her favorite stripper toe-drag walk over to the guys bolstering their courage after Beckett’s departure.

  Channeling her best Southern belle, Kyle batted her eyelashes and declared, “Holy shit! I feel so thirsty. I wish I had a drink.”

  In an instant, Kyle had her choice of three different glasses held by spellbound men. She poured the two shots into the beer and chugged the concoction with as few swallows as possible.

  She heard a garbled, “See, I told you Kyle swallows,” but ignored all it implied. She proceeded to give the men a show so arousing they should have had to pay for it.

  As she danced along the bar, Kyle craned her neck and caught glimpses of her sister, who sat almost nose to nose with Mr. Blake Pe
rfection. She tried to shake off the familiar look on his face as he traced Livia’s jaw with his finger. Cole.

  Someone handed Kyle another drink, which she pounded. The liquor in it tasted like gasoline, and she felt the burn in her nose as she handed the glass back. There. Perfect. Everyone’s blurry. Anyone could be him. Everyone will be him tonight.

  Kyle willed herself to believe she was too numb to feel the liberties her multiple dance partners now took with her body. I don’t feel it. I won’t feel it. Over and over she flashed her smile at the nearest guys, letting them grind into her. They were too drunk to be careful, and she knew she’d be bruised in the morning.

  Across the room Blake rose and stood behind Livia. Kyle could see him move her hair and plant a kiss on her sister’s neck. Livia’s happiness rose like smoke from within her.

  Kyle turned her back on the lovers and swayed her hips into another sweating man. She wished Beckett would come back. He wasn’t sweating and had smelled so good. He would hold her steady. She felt so unsteady. Kyle disentangled herself and stumbled on her sharp, elaborate heels. One shoe’s laces had come undone and trailed behind her like a deflated scream. Bathroom.

  With a worried eye, Beckett watched as Kyle headed for the bathroom, but when his phone buzzed he looked down and lost sight of her. One of Beckett’s douchebags had texted him. As he read the screen, Beckett felt the joy from the tips of his toes to the top of his head.

  Boss, we have a bunch of cars and trucks arriving in the lot.

  The sender of the Twitter hit on Blake and Livia must finally have received the Beckett-planted tip to come to the Blazing Crotch Cotton. A different douchebag lit up his phone as Beckett went to meet up with Mouse.

  Cole side door. Let him in?

  Beckett hit a quick reply: Y

  Perfect timing, Cole can sop up the mess Fairy Princess is becoming. Beckett liked that all his people were in the club now, and the potential problem was outside it. When Beckett found him, Mouse was knitting an elaborate tube, using at least four damn double pointed needles.

  “Mouse, quit finger-fucking that porcupine,” Beckett ordered. “I need you on Blake and Whitebread.”

  Mouse’s fingers were like a surgeon’s; he brought the piece to a resting point in the pattern with practiced efficiency. He twirled his work of art into a sack and gave his boss a nod. Beckett knew Mouse would be on high alert now. The exemplary planning and foresight that made him a stellar knitter also made him an exquisite bodyguard. Mouse went to make sure Livia and Blake were behind him.

  Beckett hit the front doors of the club. His Hummer had caused a ginormous clusterfuck of fake gangstas. Their Volvos, assorted sedans, and pussy little hybrids formed a fateful line behind a ridiculous F-250 truck. Beckett found Eve, whose lips were still stained red with blood. Beckett found it hard to focus as he wondered if he was part vampire—he wanted to taste that blood so badly.

  The bathrooms at The Launch Pad were actually locker rooms, complete with showers. They were endlessly large, but deceptively limited in the number of people they could accommodate. There were two toilets in the ladies’ room, side by side with no wall between them. Kyle always felt it was a little taste of prison when she went within arm’s reach of a fellow female pisser. When she arrived this time, the line for the women’s room was atrocious.

  It would take extra time Kyle didn’t have to wait in that line. The men’s room taunted her with its empty doorway. She headed straight for it and turned her mind to the next challenge. These leather pants are like a CapriSun—impossible to open. Just as she was about to enter, two guys stopped her.

  “Hey, sexy lady, where’d ya go?”

  Both reached out to touch her. She’d given up all rights to her body on the dancefloor. These men were older than she was used to, and they were rougher as well. She couldn’t actually place them from the dancing, but they breathed down her neck and layered compliments on her.

  “Sweetheart, I love you,” the taller one wheedled. “Come on, don’t give me blue balls.”

  “Say that again.” Kyle’s voice was slurred and barely above a whisper.

  The tall one steadied her. His copious chest hair mesmerized her—wild and curly like an old crotch. He smelled like sweat socks and beer.

  He tried to focus on her face and spit with his words. “Don’t give me blue balls.”

  Kyle laughed with her eyes almost closed. “No, fool, the other part.”

  He was stumped. “Uhhh…” Then he obviously remembered the best way to get in a drunken girl’s pants. “I love you,” he said proudly.

  “You keep saying that, and you can do whatever you want to me.” Kyle’s eyes filled with tears, but her drunken suitors looked only at the smile she forced for them.

  “Anything?” The tall one took a risk. “How ’bout the both of us?”

  “Yeah. That sounds about right.” Kyle let them lead her into the men’s locker room.

  The layout was a little different from the ladies’, which turned Kyle’s internal compass around. The men actually had walls around their toilets, of course.

  “Let me pee first, for fuck’s sake.”

  She locked herself in the stall, wrestled with her pants, and did what she needed to. She readjusted her outfit and stumbled out, narrowly avoiding falling onto the floor. Many drunken men in the past had not put forth the effort to aim. The tiles were dingy and sticky, with yellow urine puddled all around. The outer door was metal with a window like a ship’s porthole. The solid-looking bolt was unlocked but made Kyle wonder what exactly usually happened in this bathroom. She wandered back into the center of the two men’s ardor.

  Kyle held still as the tall one mumbled, “I love you I love you I love you,” until it became merely “ofyouofyouofyou.”

  He doesn’t even know my name.

  His short friend came around to test his luck on her breasts. Her top slid easily down. He added his “I love yous” to the mix like the phrase was the “Abracadabra” of sex. He watched her hands and remained ready to flee as he grabbed handfuls of her. Kyle felt the tears slip from her eyes and looked at her shoes.

  She’d never been with two men before. She’d never been naked in a men’s room before. She’d never had a man tell her he loved her before.

  She could see herself in one smudged mirror, and the ones on either side were cracked into patterns like spider webs. Her reflection showed her the truth. She wasn’t some beautiful siren being seduced by two men at once. She was a stupid girl getting pawed at by two balding idiots who didn’t even know her name. She almost said nothing. I’ve agreed to this, haven’t I? I am this, aren’t I?

  But then something glittering on the taller one caught her attention. Buried in his thick, graying chest hair was a gold cross. Cross. I do not want this. Cole. I do not want this!

  Her head said it a few more times before her mouth had the courage to utter the words out loud. The shorter one had latched onto her right breast with his mouth like a leech. The taller one had untied her other heel and started working on her impossible pants.

  Her voice was quiet at first. “I don’t want this.”

  Their lack of response poured urgency in her words.

  “I’m sorry. Stop. I don’t want this!” Kyle began to shake when they still showed no sign of hearing her.

  Then the taller one went from his “ofyou” mantra directly into a snarl. “Listen, sweetheart. This was your idea. This roller coaster has left the station, so just hang on for the ride.”

  He then stepped on one high heel’s laces while the shorter one stepped on the other’s, which bound her feet to the floor. She knew then that they’d planned this, at least a little. With her legs now immobile, each one grabbed an arm. Kyle had her voice left to fight with, but her shame gagged her quiet. The taller one finally figured out the two hook-and-eye closures on her pants, and she felt them loosen.

  “I do not want this,” she repeated. She sobbed now, and couldn’t speak nearly as loudly a
s she wanted to.

  Then all three looked up at the sound of the lock on the thick bathroom door clicking into place. Kyle looked in the mirror for a glimpse of her next attacker. There are three of them now.

  But it was Cole’s face she saw. For a moment she thought her heart was projecting his image into the mirror in sheer hope. But he was there, dressed like a dad in khaki pants and a plaid shirt.

  Cole had no swagger. Cole had no menacing words. Cole didn’t even wind up when he punched so viciously that the last unbroken mirror shattered with the impact of the taller man’s head.

  Beckett shook his head to clear it of his obsession with Eve’s bloodstained lips. All business, she reported to him what she’d learned so far.

  “The tags on that truck belong to a Chris Simmer. He’s the one who Tweeted looking for Livia and Blake.”

  Beckett contemplated how to proceed. Nothing rash. Chris Simmer would die, of course, but Beckett’s plans were too third-world interrogation room to implement in a parking lot with a crapload of eyeballs watching.

  Beckett watched the lineup of cars sitting in the traffic jam. Though they were surely frustrated, the drivers refused to leave the safety of the painted lines that marked the pretend road in the lot. Neat, orderly motherfuckers. After a simple hand gesture from Beckett, two of his douchebags used their cars to block the front and back of the line of vehicles like beads on a necklace.

  Beckett and Eve stood in companionable silence for a bit.

  “What to do? What do you think, you sweet, sexy bitch?” Beckett stared into the headlights of the F-250.

  “Now’s not your moment, but you should scare him enough to stay away from Blake,” Eve said.

  Beckett nodded and headed for the truck. He jumped easily onto the running board and smiled like he was delivering Chris Simmer a big check and a bunch of balloons. Chris rolled down the window.

  Beckett leaned in to look around the cab while he spoke. “Hey, dude! Are you here for some fun times and partying?”

 
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