Creed, p.36
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       Creed, p.36

           Kristen Ashley
 

  “I know. You’re leavin’, you’re not gonna be around. That means you gotta get ‘em in before you go,” Live returned.

  “That makes no sense, Live,” I informed him.

  “Makes perfect sense to me,” Tiny put in.

  I glared at Tiny then declared, “I’m not even drinking so I’m definitely not buying another round.”

  “You’re supposed to stop drinking after you know you’re knocked up,” Live educated me. “Not when you think you are.”

  “Man, were you not there when I explained my history with Creed? I’m not pushing my luck,” I shot back.

  He swung his beer around, slurring, “Mishin’ out.”

  He was wrong. I’d so take a healthy baby over a drunken night out with the guys. Absolutely.

  “Go home.”

  This came from behind me and I turned, looked up and saw Rhash standing there.

  “What?”

  “You got a long drive tomorrow, it’s after midnight, you aren’t drinkin’ and these guys are three sheets so, in about ten minutes, they won’t even know where they are much less why they’re here. So go home,” Rhash answered.

  “Do I have to give out hugs?” I asked.

  “Fuck, no. You hugged me, I might puke,” Live answered the question I asked Rhash and I turned back to him.

  Tiny grinned stupidly at me. “You can hug me.”

  “I’m not hugging anyone,” I declared.

  “Aw, come on, Pip. Give me a hug,” Tiny encouraged, lumbering toward me.

  “Tiny, stand down,” I ordered, retreating.

  “A little one?” Tiny asked.

  “Fuck off,” I snapped.

  He lifted his hand with his thumb and forefinger an inch apart. “A teeny, eeny, one?”

  Jesus.

  I put my hands to the massive wall of his chest and pushed. “Fuck off, Tiny, or I’ll shoot you.”

  His hand shot out, curled around my neck and his face was suddenly all I could see. “I’ll miss you, girl.”

  As fast as it happened, he turned and lumbered away.

  Live caught my eyes and tipped up his chin before he looked away, swallowed and jerked his chin up again at the bartender to order another beer.

  My eyes slid through the guys and I got more looks, chin lifts and then they turned away.

  They were all going to miss me.

  I felt a lump form in my throat.

  “Go home,” Rhash said quietly from beside me and I looked up with him.

  “Right.”

  He held my eyes.

  I lifted a hand and placed it on his chest.

  “Quality, Pip,” Rhash was still talking quietly, “you are pure quality.”

  I pressed my lips together, pressed my hand in his chest and jerked up my chin.

  Then, before I lost it, I said not a word, turned on my boot and left.

  As I was walking to my girl in the parking lot, I saw it.

  A shiny, black Aston Martin.

  My lungs started burning.

  For over a week, Knight hadn’t returned my calls. At first, this was unsurprising. It happened often, he was a busy guy. Then it got kind of annoying.

  Then it hurt.

  He knew Creed took off a few days ago to get back to life in Phoenix and prepare for me to join him there.

  He knew I didn’t like to be separated from Creed.

  He knew that tomorrow, I was climbing in my ‘Vette and driving away from Denver and everything that meant whole worlds to me.

  Including him.

  Now he was standing in the dark, hips against his superior, high performance vehicle and I knew his eyes were on me.

  I started to move toward him but saw his head in the streetlamp shake once and I stopped dead.

  We stood there staring at each other through the lights illuminating the parking lot and we did this for some time.

  Finally, Knight pushed away from his car, turned and opened the door.

  He was beginning to fold his long body inside when I shouted, “Bottom of my soul!”

  I heard his door slam, the car purred to life and then he shot around in a tight circle, stopped with the driver’s door beside me, his window down.

  He looked out and said softly, “Bottom of mine, Sylvie.”

  Then the window whirled up and he purred away.

  Total badass.

  Total cool.

  Totally fucking sweet.

  I went to my girl, opened her up, slid in and rested my forehead on the steering wheel.

  Creed had wanted to come up, be with me while I said my good-byes, ride with me on the way down. I told him he needed to get back to his life, his kids and I wouldn’t be far behind but I would be okay without him.

  I was wrong.

  I sucked in breath, lifted my head, started her up and headed to Charlene’s were I was sleeping on the couch because my house was empty.

  * * * * *

  The next day, early…

  I stood in the back room of my house, Adam leaned heavily into my side.

  I hated my house.

  I loved this room.

  I had Creed for the second time in this room (and a few other times too).

  I saw his tat for the first time in this room.

  And right then, I was standing with a little boy I loved so much it hurt leaning into my side in this room.

  I put my hand on his head and slid it down his hair to curl around the back of his neck.

  “Is Gunny okay?” he asked the room.

  “Yeah, baby. Tucker said she made the trip just fine in his truck,” I replied.

  He looked up at me. “Mom says you’re gonna come to visit us at Grandma’s.”

  I nodded. “I absolutely am.”

  “Will you make me Cocoa Puffs?” he asked.

  “Yep,” I answered.

  “Will Tucker bring donuts?” he asked.

  “Absolutely,” I answered.

  He grinned. “Good.”

  “Good,” I whispered, sliding my hand to his cheek.

  He tipped his head to the side and asked, weirdly, “Sylvie, do you know what love is?”

  I stared into his face and answered softly, “I do, Adam. I absolutely do.”

  He stared into mine and replied just as softly. “I do, too.”

  That was when I knew.

  I knew.

  I had to lose Creed and endure Richard so I could have Adam.

  And Knight.

  And Charlene, Leslie, Theo, Ron, Rhash, Live and everybody.

  So that was also when I knew…

  It so totally sucked.

  But it was worth it.

  * * * * *

  Sixteen hours later…

  I barely got one wheel over the curb in my turn into Creed’s drive before I saw his garage door go up.

  The Expedition was to one side in the garage. The sedan was parked out in the drive. Creed was walking out the door that led to the kitchen.

  My heart skipped.

  I rolled my baby in, turned her off and exited, a stray candy bar wrapper falling to the cement of Creed’s garage floor.

  I’d pick it up later (maybe).

  That was my last thought before my feet left the ground, an arm around my waist holding me close, a hand shoved into the back of my hair pulling my face down and Creed kissed me.

  I slid my arms around his shoulders and kissed him back.

  We did this a while.

  When we stopped, I opened my eyes and looked into his blue ones just as he said gently, “Welcome home, beautiful.”

  Home.

  I smiled.

  * * * * *

  Two minutes later…

  Hand in hand, Creed walked me through the dark house into his bedroom.

  One light was on at Creed’s nightstand and, at what it illuminated, I stopped dead.

  Holy shit.

  Holy shit!

  “How’s that for hearts and flowers?” Creed murmured and I tore my eyes away from
his huge bed that looked entirely covered in deep red, velvety soft rose petals to tip my head back and look at Creed.

  I opened my mouth.

  I closed it.

  I opened it again.

  I closed it.

  “Fuck me, she’s speechless,” he kept murmuring as he grinned down at me.

  “I… holy shit,” I muttered and his grin turned into a smile.

  I pulled my hand from his and walked to the bed. “Jesus, babe, how many flowers did you have to pluck to do this or can you buy just the –?”

  I stopped talking abruptly when I saw it.

  In the middle of the bed, a black velvet box, opened, and in black satin sat a humongous, princess cut diamond ring, set in what looked like platinum, inlaid with more diamond baguettes around the band.

  It was stunning.

  It was exquisite.

  It was huge.

  “Holy shit,” I breathed.

  Creed’s arms wrapped around my chest from behind and I felt him arch so his lips could be at my ear.

  “Gonna do it, go big,” he whispered.

  I agreed. I so totally agreed.

  That rock was completely ostentatious. It had to cost a mini-fortune.

  I fucking loved it.

  “How you feel about marrying me?” he asked in my ear.

  “How I feel is, Vegas is a six hour drive away so that’s not outside checking off our to do list for tomorrow. That and stopping by the grocery store so I have Cocoa Puffs.”

  Creed’s arms squeezed me reflexively.

  Then he burst out laughing.

  Then he picked me up and threw me on the bed and, as I bounced, he put a knee in and joined me. He tagged the ring case, pulled out the ring, threw the case aside, shoved the ring on my finger and, eyes on mine, he kissed it.

  My heart swelled.

  Then he used his hand around mine to yank me to him.

  Other things swelled.

  Then he made love to me on a bed of rose petals.

  Seriously.

  My man.

  Was.

  Genius.

  * * * * *

  Three weeks later…

  I was pacing the bathroom, phone to my ear, white stick in my hand.

  “Nothing’s happening,” I told Charlene.

  “Honey, you just peed on it. I heard you. And, by the way, I love you but I never want to hear you peeing again.”

  “Charlene, you’ve heard me peeing in bathroom stalls in bars. This is no different,” I replied.

  “Oh, right,” she mumbled then, “Adam’s here. You want to talk to him?”

  “No!” I hissed. “I’m waiting for a plus sign, Charlene. I love him but I can’t talk to Adam while waiting for a plus sign on a pregnancy test. Jeez.”

  “Oh, right,” she mumbled then I heard her cover the phone but not well because I also heard her say, “You can talk to Sylvie next time she calls, okay, honey?”

  “Okay, Mom,” I heard Adam say then a shouted, “Hi Sylvie!”

  God I loved that kid.

  I couldn’t think of that now. I was busy staring at a plastic stick.

  Charlene came back to me. “Anything?”

  “No,” I answered.

  “Give it time.”

  Fuck. The suspense was killing me.

  “Should I shake it?” I asked.

  “I don’t know. What does the box say?”

  I snatched up the box and it didn’t say anything so I dropped the box and snatched up the instructions and read them.

  “It doesn’t say anything about shaking. It just says one to three minutes. How long has it been?” I asked.

  “Well, definitely over one minute but not over three.”

  Shit.

  I dropped the leaflet and stared at the stick.

  A plus sign showed.

  Holy shit.

  I was pregnant.

  Holy shit!

  I was pregnant!

  “I’m pregnant,” I whispered.

  Silence then more silence then a soft sob.

  “Charlene,” I said gently, “I need to go tell Creed.”

  “Go. Go make a good man happy,” she replied quietly.

  Right on.

  A fabulous way to start the day. Making a good man happy.

  Better, he was my man.

  “Love you, babe,” I told Charlene.

  “Love you too, Sylvie,” she told me.

  I beeped off my phone, put it on the bathroom counter and wandered into the bedroom, down the hall and to the kitchen.

  Creed’s back was to me, bare, his tat on display, his hips and legs encased in faded jeans.

  God, he was hot.

  He obviously heard me coming because he asked the inside of the fridge, “Cocoa Puffs or are you gonna join me in eggs and bacon?”

  “You should always be ready,” I told him.

  He closed the door instantly and turned.

  I tossed the stick across the kitchen and he caught it.

  I watched him look at it.

  I watched his body still.

  And finally, I watched his head come up and his eyes lock on me.

  “Dreamweaver,” he whispered.

  “You bet your ass,” I replied, smiling huge and not even close to whispering.

  He dropped the stick on the counter and started stalking toward me.

  I started backing up, sharing, “Creed, I peed on that.”

  “Later, I’ll get the Windex out.”

  Good call.

  He kept stalking.

  I kept backing up.

  Finally, he lunged and I turned and ran.

  He caught me two feet from the bed, tackling me and we both went down on the mattress.

  This time, there were no rose petals.

  Still, it was awesome.

  Then again, it always was.

  * * * * *

  One month later…

  “Partner, this sitting in the getaway car is for the birds,” I said, my voice going straight to Creed’s earpiece.

  “Shut up, Sylvie, I’m breaking and entering,” Creed said back, his deep, smooth yet rough voice filling the cab of the Expedition.

  “I’m just saying, next B&E job, I get to do the B&E,” I declared.

  “You can do the next B&E that happens when you aren’t pregnant or nursing,” he replied and I blinked.

  Then I snapped, “I’m not nursing! Nothing latches onto one of my breasts except your lips.”

  “Now she’s making me hard while I’m breaking and entering,” Creed griped.

  “We’re talking about breast feeding, Creed,” I returned.

  “We’re talking about my lips and your tits, Sylvie,” he shot back.

  He had a point.

  I shut up.

  Then I waited, staring at the building Creed was breaking into waiting for an alarm or a siren or anything while scanning to make sure he continued to have privacy, no cars or passersby.

  There was nothing.

  Ten minutes later, I saw his shadow jogging toward the Expedition.

  Not surprisingly, it jogged to the driver’s side.

  He pulled open my door and ordered, “Scoot. I drive.”

  “Other side, Creed. You got to break in. I get to drive.”

  “Baby, scoot,” he clipped.

  “I’m not moving.”

  “It’s one o’clock in the morning and I just nabbed a hard drive with stolen formulas that are patent pending and worth seven hundred million dollars and now I’m standing by a truck arguing with my woman. Seriously?” he asked.

  “Other side, Creed,” I answered then he moved, swiftly, and I found my seatbelt was unfastened and my cowboy booted feet on the ground.

  I glared up at him.

  He angled into the truck and looked down at me.

  “Other side, Sylvie.”

  “You’re a pain in my ass,” I hissed.

  “Right back at ‘cha, baby.”

  I narrowed my eyes.
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  Then I stomped to the other side and dragged myself in.

  “Let’s roll,” I snapped.

  Creed rolled.

  I scowled as the landscape passed by.

  Then I announced, “I’m putting out my own shingle. You’re too bossy.”

  “You’re welcome to do that, Sylvie, when you’re not pregnant or nursing.”

  “I’m not nursing!” I bit out.

  “We’ll see,” he muttered.

  I rolled my eyes.

  Creed turned on the radio then switched it to news.

  I immediately leaned forward and switched it to country.

  “Pain in my ass,” he murmured.

  “Bite me,” I replied.

  Silence.

  Then Creed burst out laughing.

  I was in a bad mood but, still, I liked that sound so much, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.

  But I did it with my head turned to the side window so Creed couldn’t see.

  * * * * *

  Five months later…

  The lady behind Bashas’ bakery counter handed Creed the bag of donuts.

  I snatched it out of his hand, opened it, pulled out the chocolate covered, chocolate buttercream filled donut, opened my mouth huge, shoved in as much donut as I could get, bit down and chewed.

  Creed stared down at me.

  I stared up at him and chewed.

  Creed looked to the bakery lady.

  “She’s eating for two,” he shared.

  Her eyes went down to my enormous belly then they went back to Creed.

  “This was not lost on me,” she replied.

  I swallowed and shoved more donut in.

  “Give us another of those, would you?” Creed asked.

  “On it,” she muttered.

  My Creed.

  Totally genius.

  I shoved more donut in and Creed looked back at me.

  Through donut, I announced, “While we’re here, we need to pick up some Snickers.”

  Creed blinked.

  Then he tagged me behind the head, forced me to do a face plant in his chest and burst out laughing.

  * * * * *

  Four months later…

  “I feel the hot coming through my shoes,” Kara and Brand’s cousin whined.

  My eyes swept to Kara and Brand.

  Kara was looking at me, lips twitching.

  Brand was pressing his together, probably so he wouldn’t say anything.

  He lost this fight and opened his mouth but not a word came out before…

  “Brand,” Creed warned low and I looked at him to see him tuck our son, Jesse, tighter to his chest.

 
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