Creed, p.13
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       Creed, p.13

           Kristen Ashley
 

  “Look at my goddamned hand, Sylvie,” he bit out, calm a fleeting memory.

  “Fuck you!”

  He moved. My eyes moved to where he moved and I saw his fingers tug at the end of the scarf, a slight yank and my wrist was instantly released.

  I froze and stared.

  Then I wasn’t frozen anymore but not because I moved. Because Creed’s hand wrapped around the back of my neck, he pulled me to him and both his arms closed around me, plastering me to his body.

  “That’s how you do it,” he growled in my face. “You do it so, you get tweaked, you still got control and you can get yourself loose any fuckin’ time you want. You do it and you have a safe word so, it goes places you don’t like, you say it and it… fuckin’… stops. The guy who did that shit to you, Sylvie, he was a goddamned animal, takin’ from you what you didn’t want to give. Not all men are. In fact, most men aren’t. And I’m a man who’s not.”

  “Let go of me,” I snapped.

  “I gave it time. Your mouth on my tat, I’m done with givin’ it time. You’re not gonna dig deep, I’m diggin’ in there for you.”

  “That is not gonna happen.”

  “It is. You don’t wanna talk. I will. He promised me, Sylvie.”

  My body went solid before I tried to jerk away but his arms only tightened so tight I could barely breathe.

  His face got close and his voice got low. “He promised me. I would never, ever fuckin’ leave you to him unless he promised me.”

  I glared into his eyes.

  “He lied,” he whispered.

  “We’re done,” I hissed. “You’re out. We partner but you’re gone. Outta my life. Outta my house. Outta my bed. Outta everything but the job.”

  “No fuckin’ way and you know what?”

  “I don’t care what,” I clipped.

  He ignored me. “The way I know it’s no fuckin’ way is because you won’t be able to let me go. I can leave. I can be gone. You can try to make it just about the job but you won’t be able to do it. I know that because you didn’t kick my ass out, Sylvie, not completely. You’re keepin’ it about the job and that shit is not about Knight. It’s about finding a way to stay connected to me. You’re foolin’ yourself, baby, but you sure as hell aren’t foolin’ me. I been dead for sixteen fuckin’ years, suckin’ in air and not gettin’ any oxygen until I sat down with Knight Sebring and he told me the names of his team. Then, finally, fuckin’ finally I was breathin’ again. And you know, don’t fuckin’ bullshit me, you know you been dead until you woke up that morning, rolled off your bed and aimed your gun at me. Try to deny it, Sylvie, but your tongue traced your name on our pier on my skin because you needed that. You need me. You won’t stay away and you won’t let me go because, baby, you can’t breathe without me.”

  Then he let me go. I fell to my hand in the bed and watched as he moved through the room, bending and tagging his shit before he walked right out.

  I reached low and yanked the sheet up.

  Shit. Fuck. Shit!

  Okay, get my head together. Okay, see to Charlene and the kids. Get to Knight. Explain. Get to the airport. Get the fuck out of here.

  My body jolted when Creed stormed back into the room wearing nothing but his jeans.

  He stopped, planted his hands on his hips and demanded to know, “You know where he is?”

  I stared at him, not keeping up before I asked, “Who?”

  “Dixon,” he bit off.

  My head jerked. “Who?”

  He leaned forward, his face suffused with hard fury, “Jason fucking Dixon. The animal who did that to you.”

  Cold washed through me. Ice cold.

  Oh no. I didn’t like this.

  I did not fucking like this.

  And I didn’t like it because I had no freaking clue what he was talking about but he seemed to know.

  Just whatever he knew was not right.

  “What?” I whispered.

  Creed ignored my question and asked his own. “He still in Kentucky? Or did you just get the fuck out and don’t know?”

  “Jason Dixon married Peggy Linklater six months after you took off. By the time I left, they had two kids and she was pregnant with the third.”

  It was the truth but it was the wrong thing to say. I knew this because it seemed every muscle in his body stood out in deep relief, such was the effort he was making not to move.

  I got up on my knees holding the sheet to me. “Creed –”

  “He wanted you,” he growled and that cold crept deep.

  “I know,” I whispered.

  “Dixon had a thing for you,” he told me.

  “I know.”

  “We fought about him,” he reminded me.

  “I know,” I repeated.

  “You told me it was only me.”

  Oh God. Oh shit. What the fuck was this?

  “It was only you.”

  “You bled for me.”

  Oh God. Oh shit. What the fuck was this?

  “Creed –”

  “Did he lie or was it you?”

  I shook my head. “This is… we’re not going over this. This shit is history.”

  “Can’t fake blood,” he told me. “You gave me your virginity.”

  “Yes,” I snapped. “What is this shit? Of course I did. You know that. Jason Dixon? What the fuck are you talking about?”

  He didn’t answer. He asked, “Who did it to you?”

  “You know. You told me you knew,” I reminded him.

  “He told me it was Dixon.”

  “It wasn’t Jason Dixon.”

  “He told me it was Dixon,” he repeated.

  Jesus, God, what was this?

  “It wasn’t Jason Dixon.”

  “Then who was it?” he demanded.

  “We’re not doing this, Creed,” I fired back.

  He leaned forward and roared, “Who did it to you, Sylvie?”

  “Richard Scott did it to me!”

  He stared at me a beat, two, three then he turned and I watched in fascination as the muscles worked in his back while he threw a powerhouse punch to the wall, his fist going clean through the paneling, the drywall, everything.

  He pulled it out and twisted back to me as I deep breathed.

  “Do not make me waste my fuckin’ time diggin’ for it,” he growled.

  “It’s mine, not yours. You were gone. You left me to that.”

  “I did fuckin’ not and you know it. How in the fuck did you go from me to Richard fuckin’ Scott? The only drug dealing pimp in the goddamned county.”

  “You know.”

  “I don’t fuckin’ know.”

  “Maybe not then but you know now. I know you do. You looked into me.”

  “Sylvie, I didn’t have time to dig that deep. I thought you hooked up with Dixon. I didn’t fuckin’ know about Scott so,” he leaned toward me again and thundered, “tell me!”

  I shook my head. “Don’t bullshit me. You know. You know what I do for Knight and why. It’s about the girls.”

  “Yeah, Sylvie, I know that because you’re you and watchin’ you for a month I know, as much as you shovel the bullshit, that hasn’t changed. You got a heart of gold. You always had a heart of gold. Somethin’ matters to you, you’ll do anything. Only difference now is, you do it with a gun clipped to your belt. Now, tell me how you got hooked up with fuckin’ Scott!” he shouted the last.

  “Daddy owed him money, Creed,” I hissed. “That’s how.”

  A muscle in his cheek jerked then he asked, “He pimp you?”

  I shook my head. “He liked me all to himself.”

  “How’d you get away?”

  “I stuck him with a knife. His knife, incidentally. Luckily, they declared it self-defense because, before I did, he beat the fucking shit out of me. I survived, Creed. Richard didn’t.”

  His chest heaved with his breathing. Mine did too. I felt it moving under my hand clutching the sheet to me.

  “You’re talkin’, S
ylvie, you ready to listen to me?” he asked tightly.

  “No,” I answered firmly. “No. You wanna talk, you listen but I’m not gonna fucking listen, Creed. He sold me. Daddy sold me. You left me to that shit and I don’t give one fuck why you did it. You did it. I was a captive for six fucking years. I had a car. A home. But no freedom. He bought my clothes, made me wear them, I had no choice. He told me what I could eat. He fucked me. He held me down. He tied me down. He took my ass. He slapped me while he pounded inside me, all of it dry because he did nothing for me and that… shit… stings. And he beat me. Repeatedly. To get away, I had to kill him before he killed me. I can still feel his blood warm on my hands. God, so much blood. I had no idea a body had that much blood. It was all over the bed. All over him. All over me. He owned me until I took his life to get mine back. That’s why no one else gets me. I killed a man to get me back and I’m keeping me.”

  “It was Scott,” he whispered.

  “Yeah, it was Scott,” I confirmed.

  “No, Sylvie,” he shook his head then lifted his hand and pointed to the scar on his face before he scored his finger through his hair along the streak of white. “It was Scott’s men, not your father’s, who did this to me and drove me away from you. Your Dad just was in on it.”

  Oh my fucking God.

  What was he talking about?

  “You’re ready,” he went on, “you’ll get the story. Warning, it lasted a fuckuva lot less time but it was no less ugly.”

  After he delivered that, he turned on his bare foot and prowled out.

  I sat in my bed and shivered.

  That was, I sat in bed and shivered until I heard the front door slam.

  Then me and my sheet went to the kitchen and we got the bourbon. Then me and my sheet went to the back room and we got my cigs.

  Then me and my sheet went back to bed.

  * * * * *

  “Sylvie.”

  “Fuggov,” I slurred.

  “Sylvie, babe, look at me.”

  “Fug… ov!” I shouted, lurching toward the voice then collapsing in bed.

  “He do this to you?” I heard growled as I blinked.

  “Who?”

  “Creed.”

  “Scott.”

  “What?”

  “Richard Scott didid to me. Daddeh didid to me. Creed jus’ lef’ me.”

  “Fuck,” I heard whispered then I felt my hair pulled gently away from my face and lips at my ear. “I knew this would shred you.”

  “Go ‘way, Knide,” I mumbled into my pillow.

  Knight didn’t go away. “Five days, you’re shredded.”

  “Ah’ll be okay,” I muttered. “Ah always am.”

  “You haven’t been okay for sixteen years.”

  Fuck, that was the truth.

  “Ah havin been okay for forever.”

  I blinked and my hazy vision vanished.

  This was because I passed out.

  * * * * *

  I put the cigarette to my lips, took a deep drag and blew out the smoke, my eyes trained out the window of my back room to the dark night.

  I knew someone was there well before I heard Anya call from the door to the kitchen, “Sylvie?”

  “Here,” I muttered.

  Quiet.

  Then, softly, “Knight sent me to check on you. He gave me the key.”

  “That’s cool.”

  “You okay?”

  No, I fucking was not.

  “Yup.”

  She walked through the dark and I watched her shadow move and fold into the other chair across from me.

  “How’s Kat?” I asked about their daughter.

  “She’s good. Knight’s folks are here from Hawaii. They’re babysitting so I could have a rare night at Slade.”

  “Have fun?” I asked.

  “Yeah. Good night. Great night, actually.”

  “Good,” I muttered.

  She was silent.

  Then she asked, “You still drinking?”

  “I think drunk off my fucking ass, passed out by noon, missing helping out Charlene for the first time since Dan the Douchebag took off on her and seriously hanging by three is enough. I’m laying off the sauce.”

  At least for the night.

  “Charlene got worried. Came over. You were passed out. She had to get back to work so it was her that called Knight,” Anya told me.

  I nodded to the window and took another drag from my cigarette, blowing the smoke out the screen.

  “Sylvie, please talk to me,” she whispered.

  I could trust her and it was time. I did it more because I could trust her and less because it was time. All I knew was, I had to unload this shit on somebody, she was available and, lucky me, I could trust her.

  Therefore, I asked, “Knight tell you about me?”

  “Will you be angry at Knight if I say yes?”

  “No.”

  “Then yes.”

  I nodded, took another drag then reached to my side and crushed out the cigarette. “So he told you about Creed.”

  “I’ll admit, I got the recent update.” Then quieter, “He was worried about you, Sylvie, and apparently, there was a reason for him to worry.”

  “There’s about one thing Knight Sebring could do that would piss me off and that’s fucking you over so don’t worry about me being mad at him because you two talk. I’m not. That’s cool.”

  She was silent.

  I was, too.

  I spent my silence fighting the urge to grab another cigarette. I was not a heavy smoker unless I was drinking. Casual. I should quit. But she wasn’t one. She’d even made Knight quit. So it was uncool for me to smoke around her even in my own house. She walked in on me having one, that was one thing. Another to chain smoke when she was four feet away.

  When she remained silent, I took my mind off my need for another smoke and stopped being that way.

  “He wants to talk. Tell me why he left me all those years ago,” I shared.

  “Okay,” she whispered.

  “Doesn’t turn back the years,” I told her.

  “You’re right.”

  “Doesn’t erase what happened to me,” I carried on.

  “You’re right about that, too.”

  I pulled in breath through my nose and stared at my dark yard.

  Gun came into the room and I knew that because she jumped up on my chair. Then she shoved her way into the space between my thighs and my torso, which was snug since I had my body twisted sideways in the chair and my feet in the seat. Still, when she wanted something, she was determined and she got it. So she got it, curled up and started purring.

  I started stroking.

  Then I started talking again.

  “He has a scar on his cheekbone, a streak of white through his hair where the knife went through. He said they were going for his brain through his eye and he moved. He also said when he got it, it had something to do with him leaving me.”

  “Why don’t you find out?” she asked cautiously.

  “They could have tortured me back then and I’d never leave him. Obviously, they did something like that and he left me.”

  “You’re guessing. My advice, honey, you shouldn’t guess. You should know.”

  “Doesn’t turn back the years,” I muttered.

  “You’re right, it doesn’t.”

  “Doesn’t erase what happened to me.”

  “You’re right, Sylvie,” she whispered.

  I fell silent.

  Then I again broke the silence.

  “He named his kids with another woman the names we chose for ours.” I heard her sharply indrawn breath. “Yeah,” I agreed. “That’s about what I thought before I attacked him and tried to beat the shit out of him. That didn’t work.”

  “Why would he do that?” she asked. “Did he explain?”

  “Yup,” I answered. “Said it was because he thought he’d never see me again. Said it was because he wanted to call the kids he loved the names we chose so
he could remember me every time he did it. Fucking whacked and mean. His wife found out, divorced his ass and, seriously, I do not blame her.”

  She fell silent for long moments before she broke it.

  “That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.”

  My head turned to stare at her shadow.

  “What?” I breathed.

  I watched her shadow lean toward me.

  “Okay, maybe you won’t like me after I tell you this but if something happened to Knight and he was taken from me, I love our daughter enough to go on with life even though, in all honesty, huge important parts of mine would be over. Going on with life maybe would include having someone else in it but I know this. There is no one for me but Knight. I’d be honest and if the guy didn’t get it, he’d have to move on, but that’s the way it would be. I’d do everything in my power in some way to keep Knight alive, not only for Kat but for me. I’d need it so I’d do it. This would mean there probably wouldn’t be anyone else for me. But what happened to you happened a long time ago, Sylvie, you were young, he was young. He was just trying to keep living at the same time keep you alive and with him in some way and, well, that’s beautiful. You’re right. It’s also whacked and mean. But anything can be a lot of things and it might be whacked and mean, but it’s beautiful, too.”

  I looked back to the night.

  “This doesn’t matter,” I said softly. “I can know what happened for him to leave me. Hell, maybe I could even understand. But it wouldn’t matter. I am who I am now. No going back.”

  “There’s never any going back. But you’re not talking about that. You’re talking about not moving forward.”

  I shook my head.

  “You are, Sylvie,” Anya stated firmly. “You’re digging in and staying there. This isn’t about history. This is about what could be.”

  “Even if he could explain shit, it’ll always be between us.”

  “Only if you let it be.”

  I laughed without humor.

  “You’re scared,” she whispered and I turned my head back to her shadow.

  “Fuck yeah,” I whispered back.

  “He left and your life unraveled.”

  “Yup.”

  “You can’t do that again.”

  “Nope.”

  She sat back and again fell silent.

  I looked back to the night.

 
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