Creed, p.24
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       Creed, p.24

           Kristen Ashley
 

  “Good,” he muttered.

  Whatever.

  “Will you get off me so I can sleep?” I requested.

  “Sure,” he agreed, his voice lighter, the smooth back in it. He tipped his head and touched his mouth to mine before he moved off me.

  I was tucked close before I made my effort to save face after giving in.

  “You know, you’re a pain in the ass.”

  “Yeah, I know,” he informed me. “My kids tell me that shit all the time, though they use different words. And they say it when I make decisions based on the fact that I love them and I want them to live the best life they can even if that row is hard to hoe. Don’t give a shit when they gripe. Won’t give a shit when you do either.”

  Again.

  Whatever.

  “You can stop talking now,” I invited.

  “Wasn’t me who broke the silence by tellin’ you that you’re a pain in my ass.”

  I decided to take his anorexically veiled meaning and try silence.

  Creed wasn’t done.

  “Though, just sayin’, you’re also a pain in my ass.”

  “You’re still talking,” I pointed out.

  He stopped talking but his body started moving and I knew he was silently chuckling.

  A-freaking-gain.

  Whatever!

  I was too annoyed to notice that even after the dream, Creed had led me so far from its residue, I fell right to sleep.

  * * * * *

  “Chelle picks them up at three. Come to the house at three thirty so we can head to the airport.”

  We were standing at Creed’s front door and he was giving me directions I already had, something I was realizing I’d have to learn to live with because, apparently, badasses were bossy even when they didn’t need to be.

  And repetitive.

  “Right,” I muttered.

  “You get lost, don’t like Cave Creek, call me. You can hit Cooper’stown for lunch then head back out here.”

  Creed had given me some ideas of what to check out during my time alone in Phoenix and I’d picked two top contenders. One was Cave Creek, which was a town just out of the city and with its desert location, history and copious bars and restaurants, it sounded like the place for me. The other choice was Alice Cooper’s restaurant, Cooper’stown which was downtown and sounded like it had great food with seriously cool swag.

  “I won’t get lost,” I told him but this was a lie. I probably would. I got lost all the time even with sat-nav because I routinely made the decision to distrust sat-nav and went my own way and got lost which was why I got sat-nav to begin with. It didn’t make sense but then again, a lot of things about me didn’t make sense. I’d learned to roll with it.

  Creed stared at me a beat then repeated, “Take the one-oh-one to Cave Creek Road, baby. It’s not hard. If you make it hard and get lost, call me.”

  I stared at him but I did it with narrowed eyes and repeated, “I won’t get lost.”

  “You will.”

  “It’s easy to get there, Creed.”

  “You forget, I followed your ass, frequently, for a month. My count, while I was followin’ you, you got lost five times. Take the one-oh-one to Cave Creek Road, you get lost, call me. You with me?”

  Annoying!

  “Just asking, we established your kids like me, will they stop liking me if I wake them up on a Sunday morning by kicking your ass in the dining room?”

  He grinned. “No, probably not seeing as you got absolutely no prayer in hell at kickin’ my ass and they’ll find it amusing to watch you try.”

  I cocked my head to the side. “That a challenge?”

  His grin got bigger. “Yep.”

  “I accept.”

  His grin changed and I felt the change spasm through me as he dipped his head close to mine and whispered, “I take you, I fuck your ass after I make it so you beg me to do it. You take me, you get to tie me to the bed and do whatever you want to me.”

  Holy shit!

  I was so totally winning this. All that was Creed at my mercy?

  Yeah. So. Totally. Winning. This.

  “You’re on,” I whispered back.

  “Don’t tire yourself out, baby. We play out the challenge tonight.”

  Oh yeah.

  I smiled slow. “I’ll be ready.”

  His face dipped closer. “Yeah you will. After I pin you, I’ll make sure of it, beautiful.”

  Another spasm shot through me before I asked, “You gonna make me have a spontaneous orgasm at the front door or are you gonna let me go get lost in Phoenix?”

  The sexy swept clean free of his face, his hands came up to frame mine and his face stayed close when he answered quietly, “I’ll never let you go but I’ll let you leave… for now.”

  Seriously, he had to quit saying shit like that. He was killing me.

  “FYI, babe, I’m not a woman prone to liking fervent avowals of adoration,” I told him in an effort to get him to stop making me feel squishy happy like a big girl.

  His hands framing my face pulled me closer. “Bullshit, Sylvie. I say that shit, light hits your eyes. You love that shit, you feed off it and I’m gonna give it to you until you’re addicted to it and can’t live without it.” His thumbs swept my cheekbones and his voice went velvet rough. “But don’t worry. I swear, I won’t make you have to.”

  He was wrong.

  Not about my bullshit. He was totally right about that.

  He was wrong about having to give it to me until I was addicted to it.

  I already was.

  “Let me go, hot stuff,” I whispered, lifting my hands to curl my fingers around his wrists. “It’s getting late.”

  Frustration flashed briefly in his eyes before he nodded and pulled me closer while lifting up his head so I felt his lips on my forehead. Then he tipped my head back and I felt his lips touch mine. Finally, he let me go and stepped away but grabbed my hand while his other opened the door and he walked me out to his front step.

  He squeezed my hand and I looked up at him.

  “Later, Sylvie.”

  “Later, babe.”

  I got up on tiptoe, he bent for me and I touched my mouth to his.

  When I pulled back, his eyes were looking deep into mine and I could see the light in them, happiness and hope in his rugged, scarred features, the feeling I felt in my soul reflected in his face, a look he just told me I gave back.

  Yeah, I was addicted.

  Totally.

  And so was Creed.

  Then again, that was always the way.

  And, hope to God, it always would be.

  Chapter Eighteen

  My Whole World

  A cold winter evening in Kentucky, seventeen years earlier, Creed is twenty-two, Sylvie is seventeen…

  Once I heard him get her down, I stole out of Creed’s bedroom, down the hall and cautiously looked around the corner into the empty living room. I didn’t enter it until I saw Creed walk in and, at the look on his face, I took a deep breath and moved into the room.

  His angry eyes came to me.

  I bit my lip, let it go and asked, “How is she?”

  “Drunk and fuckin’ passed out. The usual. How do you think she’d fuckin’ be?”

  I bit my lip again and took a deep breath before I moved to him.

  Our evening had been interrupted by a call from the Sheriff telling Creed to come and get his Momma. She was smashed, as usual, making a ruckus, as usual and, before the Sheriff was forced to arrest her, Creed had to do something about it. So he hauled himself out to his truck and did something about it.

  As usual.

  This happened at least once a week.

  Luckily, my father was working a lot, out of town on business, the stepmonster mostly didn’t know I existed and Winona usually started drinking early so I could be there often and stay late for Creed.

  I was walking toward him when Creed, his eyes still angry, his tall body still tense, stated, “Saw Dixon.”
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  I didn’t know what this meant, I only knew the way he said it didn’t mean good things so I stopped.

  “Jason?” I asked, with his eyes on me like that, I felt stupid and also like I sounded stupid.

  “Yeah, Jason,” he spit out Jason’s name. “Not old enough to drink there but anywhere in the county they’ll serve a Dixon just like they’d serve a Bissenette.”

  Oh boy.

  Not this again.

  We were making plans. When I turned eighteen, we were going to leave. That day, my birthday. Gone.

  But Creed had problems with what I would give up when we were gone. He was putting away money, saving it as best he could on his salary while having to take care of his Mom. Even so, he knew and I knew that what we would have when we started out wouldn’t be what I had now.

  I didn’t care, not even a little bit. I just wanted a dog as soon as we could afford to have one. The rest, just having Creed, I knew I would have all I would need.

  Creed didn’t believe me. He was sure I’d miss my car, my pool, the horses, the allowance Daddy gave me. He kept telling me it wouldn’t be months, it would be years before he could give anything like that to me. He promised… no, vowed I’d have it back one day but it would take a while before he could give it to me.

  He felt it would be a devastating loss for me, I knew he did because he talked about it all the time. He wanted to make sure I was sure. He wanted to make sure I wouldn’t think, one day, I’d made a mistake.

  But there was more.

  Since his Dad died, he’d lived a long time being Winona’s son. It was crazy but he didn’t think he was good enough for me and me giving up all I had would make me realize it too.

  Nothing I said made him understand that was totally crazy. So I had decided just to show him. He’d get it eventually.

  I hoped.

  “Creed –”

  Creed cut me off, “Doesn’t know you’re mine. No one knows you’re mine. Was closin’ in on hammered, braggin’ about doin’ you. Braggin’ about a Dixon finally nailin’ a Bissenette. Braggin’ a lot and doin’ it loud.”

  I felt my neck get tight and my shoulders straighten as I asked quietly, “Are you joking?”

  “Do I look like I’m jokin’?”

  No, he absolutely did not.

  “Why would he do that?” I asked.

  “Don’t know. Maybe because he’s a dick. Or maybe because he nailed you,” Creed answered.

  At that, my neck got so tight, I felt the muscles would snap at the same time I felt my stomach tie itself in a knot.

  “Now, please, tell me you’re joking,” I whispered my plea.

  He didn’t answer my plea. He asked crudely, “He do you, Sylvie?”

  I shook my head and was still whispering when I replied, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t ask that.”

  “Don’t, beautiful, not until you answer me.”

  I kept shaking my head, the hurt beginning to dig deep. “Don’t call me that when you’re angry.”

  “Don’t avoid the question and fuckin’ answer me,” he retorted.

  I stared at Creed and he stared right back.

  When I felt the tears prick my eyes, I turned to go back to his room to get my coat and purse and I did this muttering, “I’m leaving.”

  I didn’t make it. In the hall, Creed caught my arm and pulled me around to face him.

  “Why are you avoiding the question, Sylvie?” he asked low, his voice angry.

  I tried to twist my arm away but his fingers tightened so I stopped trying, leaned in and asked back, “Why are you asking the question, Creed?”

  “You dated him,” he reminded me.

  “Yeah,” I leaned in further, “once.”

  “You sure it was only once?” he pressed.

  I twisted and yanked my arm from his hold but stayed leaned into him. “Uh... yeah, Creed. It was only a year ago. I think I remember a year ago.”

  “He’s into you, still. Everyone knows it mostly because the dickhead won’t shut up about it.”

  “Okay but I’m not into him,” I returned then threw my hands out to indicate the hall and us in it, making my point even as I said it out loud. “I’m into you.”

  Creed ignored this and asked, “That night you came home late, that one date you said you had, was it then? Did he do you then?”

  I shook my head again, my heart pumping, the tears still stinging my eyes and it was taking everything to keep them from falling. “He didn’t do me at all and, by the way, it doesn’t feel really good that you keep asking when I already answered this question, Creed.”

  “Dixon gets what he wants.”

  Why were we still talking about this? Why didn’t he believe me? He always believed me. I’d never lied to him and he knew it. Why this? Why now?

  “Well, he didn’t get me!” I snapped.

  “How do I know that?” he pushed. My heart started pumping even harder, I felt the wet hit my eyes but now it was taking everything to stop from screaming. Creed didn’t notice, he kept going, “You told me that night you’d stop seein’ him. How do I know you did? How do I know even if you did, you didn’t give him somethin’ that night that should be all for me?”

  “Maybe because I’m Sylvia Bissenette and not Winona Creed?” I asked sarcastically.

  It came right out of my mouth before I could stop it. I knew it was mean, a cheap shot and I was so angry, so hurt, I didn’t care.

  Except that night, my first and only date with Jason, when I came home to Creed in my bedroom, I’d never seen anything like this come from Creed. Even back then, he’d been nicer to me. Angry at me being late, frustrated that I was too young and he had to wait for me, I knew this now because he’d told me but he wasn’t mean.

  I saw his head jerk slightly to the side at my nasty words but I was done with this conversation, so done, and I was leaving.

  Therefore, I whirled and dashed to his room but by the time I grabbed my coat and purse, he was standing in the doorway.

  I stomped right to within two feet of him and stopped.

  “Out of my way, Creed,” I demanded. “I’m going home.”

  “He suits you, not me.”

  I went still and stared at his face, feeling his quiet, strangely husky words burn all over my skin like acid.

  Then I lifted a hand, planted it in his chest and shoved him before I got close, tipping my head way back and glaring up at him, hissing, “Tucker Creed, for a smart guy you are so… very… stupid.”

  His hand came up, fingers curling around my wrist, holding it to his chest and he whispered back, “You know it. I know it. Everyone in the county knows it.”

  “I know no such thing,” I bit out.

  “Bissenettes and Dixons, you two get together, it’d be the wedding of the century.”

  Was he crazy?

  I ripped my hand from his, stepped back, twisted my torso and threw my coat and purse on his bed before twisting back and semi-shouting, “You’ve gone totally insane!”

  “Winona Creed’s son with anyone, not the wedding of fuckin’ anything.”

  He had. He’d gone totally insane.

  “You’re crazy,” I snapped.

  “Am I wrong?” he asked.

  I put my hands on my hips and returned sharply, “No, you aren’t wrong. Absolutely not. If a Bissenette married a Dixon in this county, it would be the wedding of the century.”

  I watched his jaw get hard and it hurt to see pain slash through his features but I kept talking.

  “But it’ll have to be some other Bissenette, Creed. Not me. I belong to you. You belong to me. If I married Jason, it might be the wedding of the century but it would go against all that was meant to be. Even back then when I was dating him, I hoped, heck, I prayed no girl would catch your eye before I got old enough to make you see me and how much I wanted you for mine and the first time you kissed me I thought finally, finally everything was as it was meant to be.” I threw up my hands. “The earth might stop r
otating around the sun if I left you or you left me and I did something crazy and got together with Jason. So if I felt like that then, and, head’s up, Creed, I felt like that a year ago and two years ago and ten years ago, why would I ever give something that important to a guy like Jason Dixon when, from the minute I understood it was mine to give, I knew it was you I wanted to have it?”

  “It’s mine to have?” he whispered.

  Oh my God!

  Why wasn’t he listening to me?

  I planted my hands on my hips again and felt my brows draw together. “Yes, it always was and always will be… until you take it, of course. Which, by the way, if it was up,” I leaned in, “to me,” I pointed behind me to the bed, “you could take it right now.” I leaned back and threw my arms out to the sides. “But nooooo, you say we wait until it’s legal. So that’s on you,” I pointed at him, “not me.”

  “Baby, don’t tempt me like that.” Creed was still whispering, his eyes intense, burning through me. It didn’t feel like acid this time but a whole lot different.

  But I was sick of waiting. I was sick of necking and feeling his hands over my clothes and not on me. Feeling his heat and his hard muscle through his clothes and him not allowing me to dip in, get skin and not feeling Creed. Feeling all he made me feel, sitting at his kitchenette eating his spaghetti or on his couch watching TV and just doing that, knowing I had most of what I wanted, what I needed, what I’d longed for what seemed like all my life but wanting everything.

  I was sick of it. Sick to death of waiting.

  “Warning, Creed, from here until my eighteenth birthday there’s going to be a lot of tempting,” I shot back. His body moved like he was going to take a step toward me but he halted, his big frame rocking and I watched his hands ball into fists.

  “It burns,” he said low and the way he did, I held my breath. “Every time. Every time I walk you to your car and watch you drive away from me, it burns.”

  I let out my breath in a whoosh and whispered, “Creed.”

  “It burns, knowing you’re goin’ back to a Daddy who doesn’t give a shit. Goin’ back to your stepmom who’s a worse drunk than the woman sleepin’ across this house, she’s just better at hiding it. Goin’ back to listenin’ to him take his hands to her, still, fuckin’ still.”

 
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