What The Cat Dragged In Ch. 29bypsyche_b_mused©
I really wish writing this story could be my full time job. Unfortunately, I am constrained by the demands of reality, as I'm sure all of you are. I do hope you enjoy this chapter though, and I hope you continue to be patient with me. :)
Also, I want to thank those who nominated this story and voted for it in the Reader's Choice contest. I had no idea it was so highly thought of, but it was a wonderful and humbling experience.
Thank you all so much!
The honed marble-lined steam shower in the Chicago apartment was nearly as big as the entire bathroom had been in the guest house. The water got hotter, it was driven by more pressure and it emerged from several body sprays. They didn't hit her in the right places, so she turned them off. Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel was on the shelf. Her pink shower puff and his loofah sponge hung on the hook below. It was all familiar. All comforting. Almost enough to make her believe that the last few weeks had been a bad dream. Almost.
Kelly stepped under the water and let it work at the knot in the back of her neck. She closed her eyes. The aching exhaustion had hit her as soon as they stepped into the elevator. It was an object lesson in the weight of nervousness and loss and uncertainty. Her mind drifted back to what Hank had said about hatred and she wondered if that had added to the burden she was carrying. There was no way to tell. She'd hated Stan for so long, the emotion was intertwined with her DNA. Of course, recent events had proven that DNA wasn't exactly set in stone either.
She sighed. It was too much to try and sort out at that moment.
She tilted her face up to the water, then put her head down again. She heard the bathroom door open. Victor walked in and started to undress. It was one more little nibble of normalcy. She took the shampoo bottle off the shelf. He opened the glass door and took the bottle out of her hand.
"Your hair's gotten longer." He handed the bottle back to her.
She put it back on the shelf and stood with her back to him. "You haven't noticed until now?"
His fingers worked the shampoo through her hair, only the tips of his claws scraped lightly against her scalp. Pleasant shivers coursed down her spine. Kelly moaned softly. He chuckled. "You keep it all braided and pinned up, 'cept when you're in bed. When you're in bed, I ain't thinkin' about your hair."
Kelly blushed. "I'll get it cut soon. Cassie showed me a picture of herself from last year. Her hair was short then. She said it would look good on me-"
"No." His thumbs massaged the back of her neck. "I like your hair long."
Kelly knew she should have been upset by his pronouncement. The relaxation that had spread through her body had gone too deep. She hadn't been entirely sure about the haircut anyway. She smiled a little. "I have to get it trimmed at least."
"Few inches is okay." He lowered his hands and Kelly stepped under the spray again. He took the conditioner and stroked it through the strands of her freshly rinsed hair. She took his shower gel and loofah and started to work the thick suds over his shoulders and chest. "I know you hate it here."
She looked up at him. "I don't hate it here."
"You tensed up as soon as you walked in the door."
She laced the fingers of one hand with his and moved the rough textured sponge over his arm with the other hand. "I didn't realize I had, but it's not that I hate it. It's just..." She took his other hand and searched for words.
He lifted her chin so that she was looking up at him again. "Just what?"
She moved behind him. "I don't know how to say it without sounding stupid." She took a deep breath. "It's so big, and no matter how many lights I turn on, there are still these pools of shadow that just linger." Her fingers worked at his heavily muscled shoulders. Her hands weren't strong enough to ease the deeper knots, but some of the tension relaxed. "I know I don't see as well as you do. You probably don't even see them."
He reached back and pulled her in front of him. Kelly rinsed her hair while he put gel on the softer nylon puff. He started at her shoulders and rubbed vigorously.
"I do see 'em. Probably not as many as you do. I don't like 'em either. Coulda fuckin' kicked myself when I realized."
"You didn't notice when you bought the place?"
He laughed. "When I bought the place it'd been empty for a couple years. Well, if you don't count the rats and cockroaches and a couple of winos." His hands moved over her back and down over her hips. "Took months to get it livable. The whole time I thought all the wide open space was what I wanted. After about a week with nothing to do, I realized it was too damn big and I'd fucked up the lights."
She turned to look at him. "You didn't though, it's beautiful."
"Came out mostly alright." There was a little smirk in his voice.
"Did you ever live here? For more than a few days at a time I mean."
"Yeah. For six or eight months I was picking up local jobs pretty steady. I always figured I'd get around to fixing it and never did."
The tone for the elevator sounded.
"Conlon. I sent him out for pizza and shit for breakfast." He reached around and pinched her nipples.
Kelly moaned, a little smile touched her lips. "Dinner'll get cold." She turned and stroked her fingertips over his hardening shaft. Her tongue flickered over his nipple.
Something between a growl and purr rumbled through his chest. "So?" His fingers laced into her hair. "I like cold pizza." His mouth found hers in an aggressive kiss.
Kelly surrendered. The exhaustion that had suffused her whole being only a few moments before had been replaced with a need that set every nerve on fire. The dance was familiar to both of them, and as always Victor took the lead. He lifted her with one arm around her waist. She wrapped her arms and legs around him. Her mouth found the place where his neck and shoulder joined. The taste of his skin was obscured for a moment by the soap and water. She moaned when the masculine flavor of him came through.
He growled. His claws bit into her hip. Her teeth scraped his skin with a teasing touch. One large hand cradled the back of her head, holding her still. Kelly's nails bit into his back. The world spun as he slammed her back against the wall, entering her in the same harsh movement.
She wanted him. Needed him. None of that was a match for feral passion and heavy muscle. His intensity brought tears to her eyes. Her pained cry bounced off the walls, even as her arms and legs tightened around him. He was still. A growl rumbled through his chest, but his lips and tongue teased her neck and shoulder gently.
Shocked tension began to drain away. She nipped lightly at his earlobe and felt him grin against the side of her neck. He moved again with as much intensity as before. The slow tenderness of the night before had been replaced by a claiming, bruising need. Tears streamed down her cheeks even as her orgasm began to build. Her legs tightened around him, her nails bit into his shoulders. The dull scratches drew a dangerous growl from deep in his chest.
One large hand crept around her throat, the other shifted to her hips, supporting her body. His eyes locked with hers. Lust and danger swirled in those deep pools. Kelly's breath caught in her throat. Her inner muscles tightened around him.
"Something making you nervous, little girl?" He squeezed her throat lightly. His hips rocked slowly. Even though he was barely moving, he was hitting all the right places.
Kelly couldn't speak, so she nodded instead.
He shook his head, a wide grin put his fangs in full view. "Uh-uh frail. I wanna hear you."
"Y-yes." A little more pressure on her throat. Not enough to cut off her breathing, just enough to make her feel like it was. Her hands fluttered over his back and shoulders like frightened birds.
"Awww." His hips punctuated the sarcasm. It was almost enough to push Kelly over the edge. "What could possibly be makin' you nervous?"
He leaned forward and sniffed the side of her neck. "Don't smell so nervous." He inhaled again, deeper this time. His hips rocked slowly, letting her feel every thick inch. Kelly started to tremble. "Smell like you're about to cum." His tongue teased her skin. "Are you about to cum for me frail?"
The world was standing still while she found her voice. He kept her just on the edge. She knew he could keep her on that edge for as long as he wanted. "Yes. Please, I need to."
A low purring growl. "Oh I know you do. Ask me again, real nice."
Between the maddening pressure of his thumb and the painful need, Kelly could barely form the words. When she did, all that came out was a pleading whimper. "Please."
He stopped moving. His hand drifted down over her body and he leaned in closer. "You're lucky I'm such a nice guy." His claws dug into her hip as he drove her over the edge. Kelly's cry reverberated off the walls.
At first, Kelly thought the white noise of the shower was just part of the humming afterglow. The pressure of her knees on the tiles came through next, then the sting in her hip. Her body was still cradled by his though. His hands moved over the small over her back. She opened her eyes and looked up at him. Concern drew his eyebrows together. His thumb stroked over her cheek, just under her left eye. Kelly remembered the tears from the beginning. She stroked his chest. Her lips brushed over the hollow of his throat. She looked up at him again. This time, a little smile curled the corner of his lips.
"Water bill is gonna be un-fucking-believable." His voice was a low rumble.
Kelly gave a short laugh. "I was just in here to take a shower." Her voice was soft.
"So it's my fault, huh?" His fingers drifted down over her bottom.
Her finger teased the tip of his nipple. "Course."
He wrapped his fingers in her hair. She looked up at him; his little smile mirrored her own. "You're fucking lucky I'm in a good mood." The tender tone didn't match the words. He let her go. "C'mon, I'm hungry."
Creed woke with a start. For a long moment the expansive, dimly lit room was unfamiliar to him. The relaxation of sleep was replaced by adrenaline and readiness to fight. Recognition came a heartbeat later. He took a deep breath. The loft in Chicago. The brick-lined barn of a place that would serve as a comfortable cage for the frail until he could end the current threat permanently. He could deal with the place, but he fucking hated the purpose. Made what Jimmy and the old man thought about the frail being a captive seem almost true. That pissed him off even more. Still, they were both safe enough in the quiet moment. The pumping adrenaline subsided enough for his claws to retract. He looked down at the frail.
She was sleeping next to him with her head on his thigh and had been since about an hour after she cleaned up the dinner dishes. He remembered her starting to shiver at around midnight and he toyed with the idea of taking her up to bed then. He liked how she felt next to him though. He'd pulled the throw from the back of the sofa and put it over her instead. She'd mumbled something and settled again.
He figured he had too. He glanced at the nearly silent TV. Lucy and Ethel were attempting to wallpaper a room and failing miserably. He smiled a little, halfway picturing his redhead doing something similar. The frail wasn't much for movies or soap operas or shit like that, but she loved the classics. He could take it or leave it. It was always too sweet, always too fucking perfect and he never saw what was so goddamn funny about it. Course now he was starting to get some of the jokes. Was probably just because he was getting old, or senile or some shit like that. He turned off the set and looked down at the sleeping girl. Any other night, he might have just stayed there with her. Tonight, he wanted to stretch out.
Creed shifted the frail's head. She moaned and drew her knees up closer to her chest. He lifted her, leaving the throw wrapped around her body, and headed for the stairs. Halfway there, her eyes fluttered open. He felt her tense as she looked around.
" 'S alright frail. Just goin' to bed."
"What time is it?" Her voice was soft and tangled with sleep.
"Little after four." He set her on the bed. She started to unwrap herself from the throw.
"Late." She managed to get free and pull the covers down.
He pulled his shirt off and watched her pull his shirt off over her head. "Or early. Depends on your perspective I suppose."
She pulled the blankets up over her naked skin and slid over, leaving room for him. "What's your perspective?" From her voice, he could tell that she was mostly asleep.
"I don't give a shit one way or the other." He got in next to her. "I just want to stretch out in a bed that ain't too small for me." He pulled her into his chest. She laced her fingers with his. A deep purr rumbled through his chest. He didn't even think about trying to control it.
When Creed woke up again he was stretched out over half the bed. The frail had drifted over to the other side, her arms and legs flung wide. One of her hands was still resting on his wrist. Every so often her fingers would twitch, or her foot would quiver and something about that made her seem so fucking vulnerable. He shifted closer to her. She moaned and moved closer to him, one small hand found his chest.
She'd wake up in a few minutes. When she did, she'd smile at him and ask him what he wanted for breakfast and the day would start. Meaning she would do her thing and he would do his and they would be apart. Together, but apart. She arched into him. As far as he was concerned, the day could wait a little while longer. He stroked the outside of her hip, exploring the expanse of silky skin. A little smile curled the corners of her lips, but she didn't open her eyes.
A smile touched his lips as well. "Playin' possum, huh?"
She looked up at him. Her sea-glass eyes carrying a glimmer of mischief. "No, just enjoying the moment."
"What makes you think I wasn't?" His hand drifted down over her thigh and back up to her hip.
A little shrug. "I just figured if I said anything you'd want breakfast or," a blush stained her cheeks. "Something else. Just felt good to be close like this."
He moved onto his back. She moved with him and rest against his shoulder, one arm around his waist. "Coulda sworn you liked that 'somethin' else'."
"I love that something else. Not the same as just being close though." Her voice was still soft with sleep. Her body was molded to his.
His claws drifted through her hair. "Fuckin' I understand." He shrugged instead of finishing the thought.
She laughed softly. "I'd say 'understand' is an understatement." She looked up at him for a long moment, then kissed his shoulder. "You've got good instincts for the rest though."
He chuckled. His hand drifted over the curve of her back. The empty grumble from his stomach broke the moment.
The frail laughed. "Eggs and sausages?"
"He didn't get any bacon?" He let her up and handed her the olive drab shirt she'd been wearing the night before.
She pulled on a pair of her homemade socks with pinks and purples shifting and fading into each other. He knew they were her favorite pair. "He did, but we had bacon yesterday. I thought that you might like a change."
"So? Yesterday we were livin' on the old man's rations. Make both."
She ran her fingers through her hair and smiled over her shoulder. "Both it is." She picked up an elastic band from the nightstand and started twisting her hair into a loose braid as she walked down the stairs.
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Only she could make just rolled out of bed look so fucking good and she had no goddamn idea of the effect she had on him. He got up and pulled on a pair of sweats. He'd tell her after breakfast. Well, his cock would tell her, but she'd get the message. The little smile turned into a hungry smirk.
Kelly stretched out on the sofa with a copy of The Grapes of Wrath. She'd read it once already, but the first five chapters and a list of questions were her first assignment. Describe the characters, situations, how the author sets the tone, blah, blah, blah. The usual ways that teachers managed to suck all the life and enjoyment out of a great story. Maybe it was a good thing the assignment was so straightforward. Her mind was decidedly unfocused.
The emptiness of the room was a looming, leering presence reminding her that Victor was gone. She knew that it was ridiculous to be so nervous. Sure she was alone in the apartment, but Conlon was right downstairs. Victor had changed all the codes twice since they arrived. No one could get in and even if someone managed it, he'd turned on another alert that would signal when the garage door opened. All she had to do was look at the monitor to see who it was. They couldn't get to the upper floors without the elevator and Victor had taught her how to keep it from descending. He wouldn't have left her if it were unsafe. Now all she needed was to repeat that to herself another million or so times. Or more. At least until Victor got back.
She looked over at her phone. Calling Victor wasn't an option. She never knew what to say to him on the phone anyway and that hadn't really changed. Neither of them felt the need to fill silence with pointless conversation. If she was honest with herself, his voice on the phone wouldn't make her feel much better. It would make it even more obvious that he was away from her.
Cassie would be in class.
Granna would talk to her all day, if Kelly was willing to talk about what happened while she in the bunker. Every detail of what happened while she was in the bunker. Over and over again. She wasn't ready to think about most of it, let alone rehash it. Just thinking about that conversation was making her stomach turn.
She picked up the book again. She could relate to the Joads. The pain of being forced from the familiarity of home to a frightening future. The desire to get to somewhere better. To work and to live normal lives. The desperate need for hope amidst the ugly business of survival.
Kelly was getting absorbed when the garage tone sounded. Kelly put the book down and ran to the monitor, her heart pounding, her chest tight. A dark colored sedan pulled in. A few minutes later, Victor got out and looked up at the camera. Kelly took a deep breath and felt the tension start to drain away. Victor's grainy, black and white image moved to the back of the car. She folded the throw and straightened her stack of books on the coffee table.
The elevator tone sounded.
"You spend all fucking morning fussing around?" He set a dark blue Best Buy bag on a chair and picked up the plastic grocery bags. The scent of Chinese food drifted out to her.
Kelly reached for some of the bags. He pulled them away. "Just take the yellow one. It's got lunch in it."
Kelly took the yellow bag and brought it over to the dining table. While he loaded the fridge with perishables, Kelly set the table and took General Tso's Chicken and pork fried rice out of paper cartons and put it into serving bowls. She put the egg rolls on a plate. By the time he was finished, Kelly had lunch set up.
He looked at her, then at the table. "Well shit, I turn my back for five minutes and you go and make everything all civilized."
She laughed. "I can put it back in the cartons if you want."
He gave a little shrug. "Now that you got it all in bowls and everything. Might as well eat it." He grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down.
For a few minutes, he ate silently, then washed it down with a long swallow of beer.