Creed, p.9
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       Creed, p.9

           Kristen Ashley
 

  “You hold onto that, Creed, you’re gonna get fucked.”

  “Jesus, I hope so.”

  I clamped my mouth shut.

  Then I unclamped it to declare, “I feel the need to get drunk. We’ll pick this up tomorrow.”

  “You need a ride home from the bar, you just call me,” he invited.

  “Handsome, you’ll never hear from me. To get down to your name in my phone, I’ve got two whole letters.”

  It was his turn to clamp his mouth shut.

  I took that as my cue to go.

  So I did.

  I stopped in order to glare at Gun who was curled up in the seat of a dining room chair fast asleep. My glare was for her being in the mood to nap and thus deserting me in my hour of need. However, since she was snoozing, she missed my glare. Still, it made me feel better.

  I also stopped to yank on another pair of socks and boots and grab my keys.

  But me, my jeans, tank, boots and socks, commando and braless, walked right out the door and, like we had many, many times before, we took on the night.

  Chapter Six

  The Best Birthday Ever

  A sunny, summer by a lake in Kentucky, twenty-seven years earlier, Creed is twelve, Sylvie is seven. It’s her birthday…

  I peddled my bike quick over the trail in the trees to get to the lake.

  I didn’t want to miss him.

  We didn’t get to do this a lot. It was hard to get away from Daddy but when he was at work, my stepmom was usually drinking that clear stuff straight from the bottle, so it wasn’t hard to get away from her. I just had to be careful and Tuck told me we couldn’t be greedy. Greedy was stupid. The more chances we took, the more chances we took on getting caught.

  So we only did it special.

  Like today.

  My birthday.

  This didn’t count the nights. Tuck said I could come anytime at night, I just had to be careful.

  So I did.

  Whenever the words came, me and Bootsie would sneak out of the house and go to Tuck’s. I’d knock on the window and, always, my knuckles would barely hit the glass before it flew up. Sometimes, he’d stick his head out and tell me he’d meet me in the woods. If his Mom was gone, he’d stick the whole top of his body out the window, grab me under my arms and pull me in. Then he’d go back out, hanging almost all the way out so every time he did it I was scared he’d fall but he never did, and he did this so he could grab Bootsie and bring her in with us.

  In the woods or in his bedroom, we’d talk and even though he was a whole lot older than me, we always had tons of stuff to talk about. What we liked to eat. TV programs we liked to watch. Movies we’d seen. Folks in town. He’d talk about his Dad. I’d talk about my Mom and my visits with her when she’d come get me and take me to Lexington for her weekends with me.

  If we spent time in the woods or in his bedroom, no matter what, he’d walk me home to the back gate of the fence around my backyard.

  The lake came into view and I saw him, his tanned bare back to me, sitting on the end of the pier and just like always, seeing him made my belly feel funny. The kind of funny it felt right before you got on a ride at the carnival or amusement park. That kind of funny.

  I stopped my bike by his, jumped off, grabbed the stuff in my basket and laid my bike on its side in the grass.

  Then I raced down the path to the pier, jumped up on it and raced down the wood planks.

  Tuck turned and watched me, his lips curled up.

  I stopped at the end and my, “Hi!” sounded breathy.

  “Hi,” Tuck replied.

  I shoved the frozen Snickers bars at him. “Brought ‘em!” I cried and then flipped off my shoes and sat down beside him at the end of the pier.

  His legs were dangling down, so long, his feet were covered in water up past his ankles. My legs were so short I had to point my toes for the water to skim the tips.

  He took a Snickers bar and started to rip it open.

  I ripped open mine and bit hard into the frozen caramel and nougat.

  “I couldn’t make a picnic. She was in the kitchen,” I told him through Snickers bar.

  “That’s okay, Sylvie,” he told me through a mouth full of his.

  “But she’s, you know…” I didn’t tell him what he knew and kept talking. “So she’s out of it. We can swim and do it for a long time. Daddy’s away on business and she’ll probably be sleeping when I get home so we can spend all day here if we want.”

  “Your Dad’s gone on your birthday?”

  They way he said that made me turn my head and look up at him.

  “Yeah.”

  He stared at me then looked back at the water, lifted his Snickers bar to his mouth and bit off a huge chunk.

  I felt bad since he didn’t have a Dad and I knew, with the way he talked about him, that what he would want most in the whole world was his Dad being there for his birthday. I didn’t really care if Daddy was at mine. In fact, he always made me wear dresses that were too fancy on my birthday so it felt mean, but I was kinda glad he wasn’t.

  We sat together and sifted our feet through the water, staring at it and chewing on our Snickers bars and we did this until Tuck finished his. He shoved the wrapper in his cutoff jeans shorts pocket. Then he dug in his other one and I watched him come out with a little, white cardboard box.

  He handed it to me.

  “Happy birthday, Sylvie.”

  I stared down at the box then I looked up at him. “Wow.”

  He grinned at me.

  I liked presents and I liked it more that he gave me one but that grin would have been enough for me.

  “We don’t have wrapping paper and I used all my allowance on that so I couldn’t buy any,” he told me.

  “That’s okay!” I chirped, threw off the top of the box and looked down at the gold necklace with the tiny twinkling green jewel hanging off the chain, this attached to a little sheet of plastic.

  “They said that’s a peridot. Your birthstone,” Tuck’s voice came at me.

  I tipped my head back to look at him. “I like it. Green’s my favorite color.”

  He grinned at me again.

  “I’m gonna wear it always, Tuck,” I whispered and was about to pull it out so I could put it on but his face went funny and he shook his head.

  “It’s cheap, Sylvie,” he said quiet. “The girl I bought it from said you can’t get it wet. It’ll make your skin turn green.”

  “I don’t care,” I told him.

  “Your Dad will,” he told me.

  He would.

  Darn.

  I looked back down at the necklace and said soft, “I’ll wear it all the other times when I’m not in the water.”

  “Okay,” he replied.

  I looked up at him and smiled.

  Then I jumped up to my feet, ran back to my bike, put the necklace in the basket with my Snickers wrapper because Tuck said his Dad said that littering was bad and you should never do it. So we never did.

  I ran back down the pier pulling off my t-shirt and stopping to tug off my shorts. I had my bathing suit underneath.

  “Cannonball!” I yelled and dashed down the rest of the pier. I jumped straight off the end as high in the air as I could get. I curled my arms around my tucked legs and hit the warm water.

  I barely surfaced before I heard and saw Tuck hit the water beside me.

  I smiled.

  He surfaced, took one stroke and made it to me then he ducked me.

  I came up laughing.

  We did cannonballs and dives and had ducking contests and floated and had swimming contests that Tuck let me win because it was my birthday and we did it for hours.

  When I got home, my stepmom was asleep so I didn’t get caught being gone and spending the day with Tuck at the lake.

  It was the best birthday ever.

  Ever.

  Chapter Seven

  I’m What You Need

  Present day…

  My ey
es opened and I stared at the alarm clock amongst the junk on my nightstand.

  Fuck.

  Last night I picked bourbon. I should have picked tequila.

  I pulled myself out of bed then I lugged myself down the hall to the bathroom. I used the facilities, washed my face, brushed my teeth, downed numerous gulps of water cupped in my hand and was walking out when I heard the front door open and close.

  Right. Well then. There it was.

  God did not answer my prayers and made yesterday a bad dream like that whole season of Dallas where Bobby was dead and then, poof, the next season he’s in the shower.

  It would appear that, yesterday, Tucker Creed actually did come back into my life, I agreed to partner up with him then ended the evening eating his food and fucking him.

  Shit.

  Great.

  I wandered into the living room, through the entry and rounded the wall into the dining room.

  There I saw a bakery box on the counter and a hot guy behind it with a small raised bruise on his cheekbone, an angry bite mark on his neck, a white, paper coffee cup in one hand, and, to my expert donut discerning eye, a Boston cream in the other.

  His assessing eyes came to me. “Mornin’.”

  “Guh,” I mumbled and ignored his quick grin by looking down at my cat, who had her face in her food bowl.

  I stopped and stared. Hard.

  Gun felt it and looked up at me.

  “Meow,” she defended herself and she had a right. She was a cat. Food was food whoever gave it to you.

  Still, I returned, “Traitor.”

  I heard a chuckle, my eyes cut to Creed then down to the big box and I continued wandering his way, asking, “Did you buy donuts for the whole block in an effort to get your partner close in order to have dozens more reasons to keep me not dead?”

  “No, I bought enough donuts to make Charlene and her kids happy for a morning.”

  Shit, they were going to love that. These days, donuts did it for them. Then again, they were the kind of family, simple pleasures always did. Save Dan, the Douchebag, of course.

  I stopped opposite the counter and looked back up at him. “Have I told you you’re an asshole today?”

  “You just got up, so no.”

  “You’re an asshole.”

  He grinned again.

  I threw open the baker’s box and plucked out a glazed. I usually went for the fancy, complicated donuts. It was feeling like a glazed day.

  I bit into it and looked back at Creed, saying through sugar and fried dough, “Coffee?”

  He scooted a white paper cup across the counter toward me.

  I picked it up, sipped and closed my eyes.

  Ah, good.

  “What was that about me bein’ an asshole?” Creed asked.

  I opened my eyes but only to narrow them on him.

  He burst out laughing and I glared at him while he did but I multitasked, glaring while taking another bite of donut and sucking back another sip of coffee.

  He stopped laughing and trained his eyes on me. “Have a good night?”

  “No. I lost two hundred dollars playing pool.”

  “Meet your match?”

  “No. I suck at pool. Fuck drunk texting. Drunk pool betting is where your shit will get burned.”

  That got me a full blown smile before he asked, “Where’s your ‘Vette?”

  “A parking lot outside The X, hopefully resting easy under the benevolent eye of the Kickass Car God.”

  “I’m sure she’ll be fine,” he reassured me.

  I took another huge bite of donut, chewed twice and said through partially chewed dough, “I hope so.” More chewing then, “She isn’t, I’ll curl up in the closet and I swear, I won’t come out for a week.” More chewing, I swallowed then, “And, just saying, I’ll take my gun with me and if you open the door for any purpose other than to toss in food and beer, I’ll shoot you.”

  Through another grin, he muttered, “I’ll take that under advisement.”

  “Don’t think I’m joking.”

  He kept grinning.

  Then his grin faded before he asked, “How’d you get home?”

  “Don’t know. Ride for a blowjob. I think he was blond though.”

  His anger instantly started slithering through the room.

  “Don’t play with me,” he whispered. “You think my ass didn’t wait for yours to get home?” he asked and before I could answer, he went on. “She was a redhead, way too much makeup and you both giggled your way all the way up to the door. Though she was giggling like a lunatic, she walked straight back to her car so she wasn’t loaded, like you.”

  “She wasn’t a she, she was a he.”

  “She had way more tits and ass than you.”

  “Foam rubber, Creed. The X is a gay bar. She’s a drag queen. Her name is Uqueesha.”

  The Creed anger snake retreated and his brows shot up.

  “That bitch was a dude?”

  I nodded. “That bitch was a dude.”

  “Fuck, didn’t call that,” he muttered.

  “Maybe Grandpa needs his eyes checked,” I muttered back and those eyes that I insinuated needed checked narrowed on me.

  I took another bite of donut and grinned big through dough.

  He took a bite of his and chased it with coffee.

  Then before I could stop it, right after I swallowed, I asked, “You waited for me to get home?”

  He said nothing, just looked at me.

  Suddenly, standing at the bar to my kitchen, it felt weirdly like the sun was shining warm down on me.

  Creed twisted his neck and looked at the microwave before his eyes came back to me and he said quietly, “Got ten minutes to go time for next door, baby.”

  Those rays of invisible sun heated my skin, taking the warm straight through me.

  I shoved the last bite of donut in my mouth, put my coffee down on the counter, rounded it chewing then swallowing as I headed straight to him. He turned to me, his chin dipped, his eyes never leaving me even when my hands went to his neck, one sliding up and back, I went up on my toes, pressed deep and pulled him down to me.

  I kissed him hard, my tongue sliding in his mouth and glazed mixed with Boston cream.

  It was divine.

  I pushed him back, back, kissing him, holding on and he slammed into the side counter.

  His arms closed around me, pulling me up off my toes, off my fucking feet and he pivoted, crossing the kitchen until my back slammed against the refrigerator.

  I used his shoulders as leverage, clutching hard, pulling up, my hand in his hair holding his head to me as the kiss went wild and deep. I lifted my legs and wrapped them around his hips, used my back to push away from the fridge, leaned in hard and he moved back until he crashed into the counter facing the dining room.

  I tore my mouth from his, lifting my head to find both my arms wrapped around his. My breath was coming fast and shallow, my chest heaving with the effort, just like Creed.

  Hair had fallen over his forehead and was mixing with the brow and lashes of one of his bright, blue eyes. It was strangely cute on a man who was not even a modicum of cute but hard, rugged and all male.

  It was also hot.

  And it was all kinds of sexy.

  Shit.

  “I gotta get dressed and get over to Charlene’s,” I whispered, not moving an inch, not letting go.

  “I’m coming with,” he whispered back.

  “Suit yourself.”

  “That’s what’ll suit me.”

  I shrugged but held his eyes and said quietly, “You get that family hooked on you, you disappear, I’ll hunt you down, Creed. I’ll hunt you down and find an uncomfortable way to make you pay. Do you get me?”

  “I get you,” he replied just as quietly. “I also get that she may be rougher around the edges but wrapped around me right now is all the Sylvie who used to be.”

  I reared back but he was prepared, his arm angled across my back and held me c
lose.

  “Put me down,” I demanded.

  He didn’t move a muscle even as he stated, “Anything for you, baby. Any fucking thing. Now do you get me?”

  “You don’t have anything I want except my desire for you to put me down.”

  “I’m not what you want, Sylvie, I get that because it’s the same for you as it is for me. I’m not what you want ‘cause I’m what you need.”

  My gut squeezed.

  “Put me down,” I whispered.

  He dropped me to my feet.

  I reached around him, whirled the donut box and grabbed another glazed. Then I moved around the counter, snatched up my cup and started through the living room. Unfortunately, Gun was waddling her fat, furry ass in front of me and taking her time, there wasn’t room to get around her so I was forced to go slow.

  This meant Creed could get another shot in.

  He didn’t waste the opportunity.

  “You kiss me like that just for waiting up for you, partner, lookin’ forward to payback when I do something that actually means something.”

  I turned at the opening to the entry. “You win back my two hundred bucks playing pool, I’ll give you a blowjob that will make you think you entered a new dimension.”

  He grinned. “Seems we’re goin’ out tonight.”

  “Can’t wait.”

  His face changed, his eyes changed, the way he held his body changed and all of this reached across the room and burned straight through me.

  “I can’t either.”

  I decided it was the time to get the hell out of there before his intensity obliterated me.

  So that was what I did.

  Though I did it after giving him the finger.

  This meant, as I walked away, I heard him laughing.

  Shit.

  Great.

  Whatever.

  * * * * *

  “Jeez-oh-pete, he’s hot,” Charlene whispered.

  She was wrapped around the doorway to the back hall of her house, watching Creed who was at the end of that hall in her bathroom inspecting her leaky faucet.

  I pulled her back and wrapped myself around the doorway.

  Today, more faded jeans. The suede boots. But it was summer and today was going to be hot so he’d lost the t-shirt and was just wearing a lightweight plaid shirt, this one with light blues and hints of yellow against a background of cream.

 
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