Creed, p.15
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       Creed, p.15

           Kristen Ashley
 

  I looked at him. “Can we work that out for you?”

  Creed looked at me. “No. That’s my penance and I deserve it.”

  “Life happens, Creed, and shit happens with it. We all can’t live buried under the shit.”

  His brows shot up. “Seriously?”

  “Well… yeah.”

  He grinned. “Baby, just days ago you were determined to live under your pile of shit. Are you free of it that easy?”

  “We’re not talking about me.”

  “We weren’t. We are now.”

  I narrowed my eyes at him. “Stop being smart and logical. It’s annoying.”

  He threw his head back and burst out laughing.

  I turned away and sucked back beer.

  “Sylvie,” he called when he finished laughing.

  “What?” I answered the window.

  “Look at me.”

  I looked at him.

  His eyes moved over my face then his hand came up to rest against the side of my head and his thumb moved over my face as he watched it. Then his hand slid down my neck, my chest to press flat where my heart was beating.

  “Some people get to live life. Some people survive it. We’re survivors. We can carve out our pieces of happy, and, I swear to God, baby, right now, you got my vow, for you and for me, the rest of our lives, I’ll bust my ass to carve our piece of happy. But we’re foolin’ ourselves if we think we can set aside the shit that happened to us, the shit done to us, the shit we’ve done, and move on. It’ll be with us forever. We just gotta learn to live with it. We bury it, deny it or pretend it isn’t there, we’re fucked. It’ll surface and tear us to shreds. We acknowledge it and keep on keepin’ the fuck on, we’ll be good.”

  “You hurt a good woman,” I noted cautiously.

  “Not then but now, I’m glad it happened and it’s done. Because, if I was still tied to her when I got up here and found you, I’d get untied. Doesn’t say much about me but I’ve come to terms with the asshole I am. What it does say, is what you mean to me. So, it’s good it happened and it’s over. I’ll hang onto that as I carry that weight.”

  That was as beautiful as it was horrible.

  Life.

  Or life as Creed and I knew it to be.

  My eyes went to his throat and I whispered, “I killed a man.”

  “You saved a life.”

  My eyes went back to his. “What?”

  “In my business, I’ve killed two. Both of them, I remember. Both of them stick with me. It is not for me to judge if they deserved to live or die but, in the situations we were in, it was them or me. I saved me. You saved you. I did not deliberately hurt Chelle but I did it all the same. That’ll stick with me. You killing that animal, that’ll stick with you. You may not be grateful that it’s with you but I am because it means, right now, you’re with me.”

  I stared into his eyes and said quietly, “He deserved it.”

  “Your call. You lived his shit. Way you tell it, I absolutely fuckin’ agree.”

  I bent my neck and rested my forehead against his jaw.

  Creed’s arm tightened around me.

  My eyes to his throat, I asked, “So, what are your plans for our piece of happy?”

  “One day at a time. That day starts with me wakin’ up beside you in bed, that’s my piece of happy. I’ll find yours and make sure you get your piece.”

  What he said worked for me.

  I pulled in a breath.

  Creed lifted his bottle to his lips and sucked down beer.

  Then I gave him everything.

  “I’m terrified out of my mind.”

  “Sucks, baby,” he whispered. “But I get that and I’ll help you work through it. For me, we had this one day, that was it, I walked out your front door tomorrow and got shot dead, I’d die happy. And I’d die happy because, even for a day, I had you back with me. Seems I lived a dozen fuckin’ lifetimes knowin’ that would never be. Havin’ it means everything to me. So, I’m not scared. Two things in my whole life I wanted. My Dad back and you. Now, you’re tucked close to me, so that works for me.”

  My sun’s rays warmed me straight through.

  I shifted my head to press my face in his neck.

  Creed held on tighter.

  * * * * *

  He was chained to the floor, lying in the corner, the dried blood on his face, matting his hair.

  Daddy was standing in the room with him and a bottle of water was on the floor between them, just out of his reach.

  His lips were dry, crusted, chapped, split.

  Daddy moved, toeing the water an inch closer, still out of reach.

  “Give her up,” Daddy demanded.

  He lifted his head. His sky blue eyes vague with hunger, thirst and pain, he still directed them at Daddy.

  The word was weak and it cracked in the middle.

  But he said it.

  “Never.”

  Daddy kicked the bottle of water and it flew across the room, liquid splashing everywhere but none of it where it needed to be.

  * * * * *

  My body jerked then shot up to sitting in the bed. My knees came up, my hands went back into the mattress and I fell heavily into them.

  “Sylvie?”

  Creed’s arm was heavy along my waist. The last thing I remembered before the dream was us whispering in bed, me tucked close mostly under Creed like he held me the night before when I was sobbing.

  Clearly, we fell asleep cuddled close.

  I felt the bed shift with him coming up on his forearm.

  “Sylvie,” his voice was firmer.

  I didn’t reply.

  The dream still had a hold on me.

  I threw back the covers and knifed out of bed. My movements frantic, I dashed to the dresser, yanked out panties and tugged them on awkwardly. I left that drawer open even as I opened another one and tagged a babydoll tee. I pulled it over my head as I raced out of the room, down the hall, through the living room, the entry, the dining room to the kitchen sink.

  I snatched a glass from the cupboard, turned on the water, filled it, put it to my lips and sucked it back. Water dribbled down the sides of my mouth, down my neck, wetting my tee.

  When it was empty, I filled it again and repeat.

  As I was drinking, I felt a warm body press against my back, hands on the edge of the sink in front of me. That body arched and I felt a face buried in my neck.

  I emptied the glass, filled it again and repeat.

  Creed didn’t move.

  I emptied the glass and dropped it into the sink with a crash.

  “They could have killed you,” I whispered.

  “They didn’t,” he murmured against my neck.

  “They could have killed you,” I repeated.

  One hand left the edge of the sink and snaked across my belly but his face didn’t leave my neck. “Baby, they didn’t.”

  “I read somewhere that it takes only three days to die of dehydration.”

  Creed didn’t respond.

  I told him something he knew better than me.

  “They had you a month.”

  His lips went to my ear. “They’re dead, Sylvie. We’re here. We’re together. We’re breathin’ and they are fuckin’ dead.” I listened to him pull in a breath before he finished, “We win.”

  We win.

  I dropped my head.

  Creed’s other hand left the edge of the sink and wrapped around my chest.

  He held me that way a long time. Then he moved from me but took my hand, guided me gently from the sink and out of the kitchen, through the dining room into the living room where he took me to the couch. Positioning me with his hand in mine, he let me go but put both his hands to my shoulders and pressed lightly.

  I sat on the couch.

  He leaned into me and framed my face with both hands, so close, his shadowed, scarred for me beauty was all I could see.

  “Wait here. I’ll be back,” he whispered.

  I nodded, movi
ng his hands with my head.

  His hands tipped my head forward, he kissed the hair at the top then he let me go. I watched his shadowed form leave the room.

  He came back in less than a minute and I noted vaguely he was wearing jeans. He also was carrying a bag.

  He came to the couch, upended it and a bunch of small, mismatched jewelry boxes fell out on the couch beside me.

  “Knight gave me your name, I wasted no time findin’ you. Saw you then I flew home and got these,” he murmured.

  He tossed the bag to my coffee table and pawed through the boxes in the dark. He found the one he wanted, flipped it open and with a tug, yanked out a necklace.

  I stopped breathing.

  The gold glinted in the moonlight. I saw the gemstone pendant hanging. I couldn’t see the color in the shadows but I knew.

  I knew.

  He held it toward me.

  “That was the one I didn’t get to give to you by the lake on your eighteenth birthday.”

  I started shivering. My hand lifting up like it had a mind of its own, Creed draped the necklace over it, gem to my palm before he went back to pawing through the boxes.

  He found one, opened it, yanked out another necklace.

  “This one I bought for your next birthday,” he muttered and draped it, gem to my palm, over my still raised hand.

  The tears hit my eyes.

  Creed went back to pawing, found a box and tugged out another necklace.

  “This one was when you turned twenty,” he whispered.

  Wet slid down my cheeks.

  Back to the boxes again, again, until the necklaces draped over my hand numbered fifteen.

  When he was done, his hand curled around mine, palm to palm, his fingers curved around the chains and he leaned deep, his lips at my ear.

  “You were gone but I had more than the tat, Sylvie. I didn’t get it then but I get it now. They never fuckin’ took you away from me.”

  My breath hitched and my voice trembled as I told him, “I have the others.”

  “I know.”

  “They took you away from me.”

  His hand squeezed mine, the pendants and chains digging into my skin.

  “I’m back, baby.”

  At his words and all they meant to me, nearly sixteen years of wanting just that, despairing I’d never have it, I lurched out of the couch, my free arm hooking around his neck. I barely got it positioned before I fell right back, pulling him down on me and into the couch.

  Boxes went flying. His fingers scraped through the chains, gathering them. He lifted up and tossed them across our bodies toward the coffee table and he came back to me.

  His mouth coming down, mine going up, we collided, lips opening, tongues out tangling. We kissed as his fingers curled into my panties at the sides. He tugged them down then tore his mouth from mine and moved away, yanking them off. His hands came to my hips, jerking them sideways, he got on his knees on the floor, pressed open my legs, his hands shoved under, fingers digging in my ass, he pulled me up as he went down and his mouth was on me.

  My neck arched, my fingers slid into his hair, I pushed down as he pulled up and feasted on me.

  Breathing hard, it came fast, it was going to consume me so I lifted my head and urgently whispered, “Creed.”

  His head came up and he muttered, “Two seconds, Sylvie, condoms in the other room.”

  I pulled myself up, my hands reaching for his fly. “Fuck it.”

  “Sylvie.”

  My head dipped back as I undid buttons and my eyes found his. “I need you, baby.”

  He shoved my hands aside and took over for me. I tugged his jeans down over his hips even as he got up and put a knee into the couch. I spread my legs, he fell forward on his forearms beside me and thrust deep.

  My mouth opened on a silent moan and I shoved it in his neck, my tongue coming out, tasting him there. I circled him and held tight with everything I had available to me.

  “Baby, mouth.”

  That was Creed. I dropped my head back, Creed’s mouth came to mine and he drove deep with his cock and his tongue.

  My arms moved from around him, found his, trailed down and pulled hard so his weight hit me.

  His head came up.

  I laced my fingers in his and pulled both our arms over my head, twisting our hands so mine were to the cushions.

  He ground deep with his cock and growled, “Fuck, baby.”

  “Take me.”

  “Fuck. Baby.”

  It was guttural.

  It was beautiful.

  Creed pressed my hands into the cushions, his forearms pressed too, beside mine. He took his weight off me, angling his body up, his hips still driving deep. I watched his shadowed head drop and he looked down the length of our bodies in order to watch as he fucked me.

  My legs left him, I brought my knees high and his pounding went deep.

  My moan sounded more like a cry and his eyes shot to my face.

  “I love you, Sylvie,” he grunted, driving hard, fast.

  “Baby,” I gasped. It was coming over me.

  He dropped down, holding me still pinned to the couch, his lips sliding along my cheek to my ear.

  “Born to love you, Sylvie.”

  I rocked my hips back to meet each thrust and panted, my fingers squeezing his holding mine down to the cushions.

  “Born to love you, baby,” he repeated. “Die lovin’ you, my Sylvie.”

  My neck arched, my pussy clenched, my clit spasmed, my thighs pressed tight to his sides, his mouth went to my throat and I cried out his name as I came with Tucker Creed still drilling deep inside me.

  Oh yeah.

  Fuck yeah.

  He was right.

  We win.

  Chapter Twelve

  Wishing Away the Years

  A late, cool, autumn night in Kentucky, eighteen years earlier, Creed is twenty-one, Sylvie is sixteen…

  The house was silent as I walked through it in the dark. Daddy was away on business. The stepmonster was visiting her sister in Atlanta.

  I was coming home from a date.

  I opened the door to my bedroom and the minute I did, the light came on.

  I let out a little scream and, when my eyes adjusted, I stared.

  Creed was lounging on my bed, back to the headboard, long legs straight, booted feet crossed at the ankles.

  “Missed your curfew,” he said low and I blinked.

  This had never happened before. As in ever. Not for ten whole years.

  Still, it was Creed and always with Creed and me, anything went and as always I was happy to see him.

  “Hey,” I greeted, walking in and closing the door behind me, grinning at him. “What’re you doing here?”

  “Missed your curfew, Sylvie, by two fuckin’ hours.”

  I stopped and stared at him. “What?”

  “It’s past midnight.”

  I tilted my head to the side. “So?”

  He didn’t answer my question, he asked one instead, “You out with Dixon?”

  “Yeah. Why?”

  “He’s an asshole.”

  I shook my head. “No he’s not, Creed. That’s mean.” I studied him, not liking the look on his face or the feel he was giving the room so I asked, “What is this? Why are you here and being weird?”

  He lifted his feet, twisted his lower body and came off my bed, standing tall and, even though I wasn’t close, I still had to tilt my head back to look at him.

  “You’re not that girl,” he announced.

  I put my hands on my hips. “What girl?”

  “The easy girl.”

  My chest squeezed.

  “What?” I breathed.

  “Dixon is a dick,” he stated.

  “Stop saying stuff like that!” I snapped.

  He took two steps to me and then rocked to a halt. “He’s too old for you.”

  “He’s eighteen.”

  “Too old,” he decreed.

  “Thi
s is crazy!” I hissed. “What’s your problem?”

  “That guy, Sylvie,” he shook his head, “not a good guy. Only man richer in the county than his Daddy is your Daddy. He says everywhere he won’t have to work a day in his life and still be rich. And you know what? He’s right. And you know what else? Makes him an asshole dick that he’s down with that.”

  I moved away from him, tossed my purse on a chair in the corner and whirled back to him. “I’m not marrying him, Creed, we’ve only had one date.”

  “Don’t let there be another one.”

  I planted my hands on my hips again and shot back, “Not for you to say.”

  “Every girl he dates is easy, hopin’ for access to the pool and the horse stables and the rides in his sports car. You already got that shit, Sylvie, you don’t need him to give it to you.”

  “I’m not dating him because he’s rich, Creed. I’m dating him because he’s cute.”

  “And you datin’ him says somethin’ about you, not him, and it’s not good. So stop doin’ it.”

  I threw out a hand asking, “You know what?” Then I didn’t wait for him to answer and went on, “You’re being a dick. This is none of your business!”

  “You’re my business, Sylvie.”

  “No, I’m not. Or at least this part of me isn’t,” I retorted and he leaned into me, his handsome face twisting in a strange way.

  “Yeah, you are. All of you. You’re my Sylvie.”

  I sucked in a breath and held it even as I felt every inch of my skin tingle.

  He leaned back, scowling at me then he looked away.

  Tearing a hand through his hair, he muttered, “Jacked. Even sick. Totally fuckin’ illegal.”

  “What?” I whispered and his eyes cut back to me.

  “Do not go on another date with Jason Dixon.”

  “Why?” I asked.

  “Because it means something to me.”

  I pulled in another breath and looked away.

  “Sylvie,” he called and I looked back. “Promise me.”

  I clenched my teeth. Then I nodded.

  “Is that a promise?” he pushed.

  “Yeah,” I bit out.

  He stared at me and I stared back.

  We did this a long time.

  He broke the silence.

  “Dad would be pissed.”

  “About what?” I asked.

  His striking blue eyes moved the length of me and my skin started tingling again.

 
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