What The Cat Dragged In Ch. 32bypsyche_b_mused©
32. You're a Good Man, Victor Creed
Creed guided the SUV down the tree-lined two-lane highway with his left hand. His right rested in his lap and twitched whenever the sound of the engine told him that he needed to shift. He'd given up on trying to get completely used to automatic transmission. He glanced over at the frail. She was flipping through the stack of homemade flashcards in her lap, trying to look like she was studying. He knew she wasn't. She was going through the cards too damn fast and her eyes were darting from the cards to the passing scenery. Every so often she shifted in the comfortable seat. The closer they got to the Cavinder, the more often she shifted.
Creed smiled a little. "Gotta take a piss, frail?"
"What?" She seemed surprised to hear his voice. A soft blush colored her cheeks. "No. Why?"
He grinned at her, one fang poked at his lower lip. "'Cause you ain't sat still for more than thirty seconds in the last hour."
Her blush bloomed prettily and she laughed. "I have."
He chuckled. "Like hell."
"Well, maybe I've been fidgeting a little." She put a black elastic hair band around the cards and dropped them in her purse. "I guess I'm excited about seeing Granna and Grandpa." She turned toward him and stroked his right hand. "I know you're not."
The delicate touch sent a warm vibration of pleasure directly to his cock. He bit back a growl, gripped her fingers and shrugged. "Your grandfather ain't so bad. 'Sides, we'll be at opposite ends of the place."
Curiosity drew her eyebrows together. "That'll make it easier?"
"Well yeah. Least I won't be thinking about your grandmother standing around with a glass pressed to the goddamn wall every time I want to fuck you."
She laughed and stroked the back of his hand with her thumb. "I didn't think that would bother you."
"Wouldn't bother me if she was in the same goddamn room. Figure she's an old lady though, she'll wanna sleep sometime and she'll be a pain in the ass if she doesn't get her eight hours." She smirked. "That's all you ever think about isn't it?"
A little smile tugged at the corners of his lips. "When you touch me like that, yes." She blushed and tried to pull her hand away. He held on tighter. "Didn't say I didn't like it."
"So? I can multitask." He nipped the inside of her wrist.
"Or," She teased his palm with one fingertip. "We could wait until we get there and actually be comfortable. We're only half an hour away, right?"
Fucking frail, she knew just how to touch him and he loved every goddamn minute of it. He grinned and stepped on the gas. "Fifteen minutes."
Kelly was sure that there was something about being in an unfamiliar place that made Victor even more randy than usual. It probably had something to do with showing ownership or establishing territory or something like that. If she were honest, she couldn't care less why, she just enjoyed it.
She kept her eyes on their entwined fingers and tried to ignore the speed at which the springtime scenery was slipping past. His hand dwarfed hers. The way his claws teased over her skin sent familiar shivers down her spine and an insistent, heavy warmth began to develop in her lower tummy. Much as she wanted to see her grandparents, she hoped that they were late.
When Victor turned into the Cavinder parking lot, Kelly's hopes for a few moments alone with him disappeared. Her grandfather was taking a bag out of the back of a blue rental car. A purer kind of excitement surged in her chest and her heart started to beat faster. Victor parked next to him.
Kelly looked at him. "Sorry. I was hoping-"
"Go on." She started to pull away, but he gripped her hand tighter. A little grin quirked the corner of his mouth. "I'll just fuck you 'til you scream later." He let her go.
"Promise?" She grinned at him and got out of the vehicle before he could answer. "Perfect timing." She said to her grandfather.
"Kelly!" Her grandfather dropped the bag on the ground and wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet. "God it's good to see you."
Kelly laughed. "It's good to see you too, now put me down!"
"Your wish is my command." He set her on her feet again.
"Where's Granna? Is she already inside?"
He gripped her hands and lowered his eyes. Then he looked up at her again. "Kelly, your grandmother thinks that Cody could wake up any minute. I've tried to tell her that isn't exactly true and so have the doctors, but you know how she is once she gets something in her head."
Kelly was certain that all the air was suddenly gone. "She's not here?" She pulled her hands away.
"It was a last-minute decision." He reached for her again.
She stepped back. "I talked to her last night. She said she was packing." Her head was spinning. Anger, disbelief and hurt twined together in a ragged knot.
She shook her head, started toward the building and then turned back. "He doesn't even know her! Cody hasn't seen either one of you since he was a baby. He might as well wake up next to a stranger. That's what it'll feel like to him." The anger was working its way out of the tangle.
"I tried to tell her that!" The pain in his voice made it brittle. The sound cracked, so did Kelly's anger.
She took a deep breath and with it came clarity.
"She doesn't want to see me."
"That isn't it." He tried to sound convincing and failed.
Victor walked between them, carrying their bags. He took her arm on the way by. "C'mon, frail. 'F you two are gonna hash this out I need a drink." She looked over her shoulder. Her grandfather was following.
Creed sat the frail in a comfortable chair in the small bar. She told him she didn't want anything. He got her a strawberry lemonade. She forced a smile and took a sip just to please him.
He went back to the desk to check in. The female clerk had a decidedly feline scent, but her golden eyes were the only giveaway that she was anything other than human. He ignored her and turned to study a wooden rack of scenic postcards.
"Two guests Mr. Demmer?"
"Ah, no. Just one."
The girl tapped the keys.
"Can't control your own mate." Creed's voice was low and dangerous.
"What would you have done? Hogtied her and threw her in the trunk of the car?" The old man's eyes were on a large map of the trail system around the inn.
"That's only for special occasions." He listened while the clerk asked Joe to sign the register. The pen scratched against the paper and Joe slide the register back across the desk. The clerk handed Joe a key and told him how to get to his room. He tossed a credit card in front of the clerk. "Creed. Two people in the suite at other end of place from him."
She took the card and tapped a few keys.
"That's my granddaughter you're talking about and I don't find that funny." His voice was tight.
"No, it ain't very fucking funny. That girl wouldn't ask for water if she was on fire. That's how she is. She takes whatever shit comes at her and she lives with it." The clerk handed him the register and the pen. Creed's bold signature covered three lines. "She ain't gonna say shit, but for some reason that judgmental old woman is important to her. You think about that before you say anything to her." He looked at the clerk. "Key?"
She slid two keys with brass fobs across the desk with a professional smile. "One for you, one for the lady. Take the stairs to the third floor. If you turn to the right it's the door marked Tamarack. If you prefer an elevator-"
"No. Got someone to take the bags up?"
"Of course." Another practiced smile.
"Good. We'll be in the bar." He walked into the quiet, dark paneled room and handed a key to the frail. He ordered a beer and sat at the bar. His instinct was to protect her from it all. That wouldn't do her a damn bit of good though. She was just starting to get her confidence back, if he hovered now it would fuck all that up. He took a long swallow of the beer and watched out of the corner of his eye as the old man stumbled through some kind of half-assed reassurance.
He watched Kelly go silent. For a long moment he thought that would be it. That she would just accept whatever he said. She turned to look the old man in the eye. "She's going to have to figure out a way to deal with me. Cody is my brother and awake or asleep I intend to be in his life. She can either keep running away, or she can figure out how to be civil."
Creed was sure he caught a flicker of a smile on the old man's face. Creed's grin was broad as he turned back to his beer.
Kelly relaxed back into Victor's chest. The jets were off in the Jacuzzi tub. The lights were dim in the blue and white bathroom. The anger from earlier had been driven out by afterglow and hot water. It wasn't gone, but dwelling on it wasn't going to do anybody any good and it wasn't going to change anything.
His hand drifted over her stomach. "Wanna have something sent up for dinner?"
She smiled and laced her fingers with his. "We have a reservation downstairs."
"So? You think they're gonna throw us out if we cancel?"
"No, but I think grandpa would be hurt if we just don't show."
"You could call him." His hand moved up and cupped a breast.
Her nipple hardened against his palm. "I could, but after what happened earlier he'll think I'm still upset."
"You are." He tugged lightly on her nipple.
She turned a little, but the denial wouldn't come out. She settled back into him again. "Okay, so I am. It's not really about him though. He's just the one who's stuck in the middle. I am sorry I got so upset outside though."
"I'm glad you did."
A short laugh. "You like to watch me make a scene?"
He massaged her lower tummy with his knuckles. "You don't have to take shit just because somebody wants to dish it out. Just 'cause that someone is family don't make a bit of difference."
A smile curled the corner of her lips. One hand stroked his thigh under the water. "Maybe."
A soft purr. "No fucking maybes about it."
"Anyway, at this point I'm too relaxed to be anything but pleasant."
He chuckled. "Telling me I gotta keep you tired all week to keep you calm?"
She looked at him and smirked. "I have to study sometime and I have to be kind of awake for the two midterms. That's why we're here in the first place."
"Tangent squared theta plus one is equal to?"
"Secant squared theta, but-"
"But nothin'. You're ready."
He kissed her before she had a chance to protest. Once his tongue was wrapped around hers, she forgot what she was going to say.
Kelly smoothed her hair back in a matte silver barrette and pulled a fitted charcoal gray tweed blazer on over the cream turtleneck. Victor was sitting by the fireplace doing his best not to pay attention to her getting ready.
"You gonna fuss all fucking morning?" There was a growl under the comment, but Kelly knew him well enough to know that it wasn't really directed at her.
"We have plenty of time." She smoothed on some berry colored lipstick.
He looked over at her. "You ain't gonna change what they think of me, frail." His voice was softer.
"I'm trying to change what they think of me." Kelly stepped into the low black heels.
"You? They probably got a room ready for you." She sorted through her purse, making sure she had everything. "That's the point."
His eyebrows drew together. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Kelly met his eyes. "The last time I went through those gates I was wrapped up in your coat, covered in blood and bruises and mostly dead. Now, every time anybody talks to me on the phone or sees me on Skype they look at me like I'm this broken thing. Something that won't heal without their help, whether I want it or not."
Anger stiffened his muscles. "And if you weren't broken, you'd run a fucking mile from me."
She sat next to him on the stone fireplace surround and waited for him to look down at her. "That isn't true. You know it isn't true."
He looked away. "You know what I do-"
"And I know what you did for me. You could have left me in the woods where you found me. You could have let me walk out the next day, or done something awful thing to me afterward. You could have given me up for dead when we were ambushed. After that, when you found me you took me to people you can't stand because you knew that I'd have a chance to recover there." She stopped, letting her words sink in. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. Kelly took his hand. "You put up with my nightmares and my insecurities. You believe that I can be more than a broken thing and you made me believe it. Whatever else you are Victor Creed, you also have the capacity to be a very good man." He looked at her curiously and a long silence stretched between them. "Say that again. The last part."
She held his eyes. "I said that you can be a very good man."
He was silent, his eyes on her fingers entwined with his. He brought it to his mouth, scenting her skin. His eyes were closed, lost in the connection, his body leaning into hers. Kelly was sure that she could see a tremor in his hand. She gripped it tighter and leaned forward to let her head against his. His other hand cradled the back of her head. She wrapped her other hand around his. Kelly was certain that she could stay in that moment forever.
A knock on the door registered on the edge of her consciousness. She brushed it aside. When it came again, she couldn't ignore it.
"Grandpa." Her voice was a whisper. She didn't move.
He bumped his forehead against hers. Kelly brushed her lips over his. "I have to let him in." Her voice was still a whisper. She moved to get up, but he shook his head.
"No. I'll go." He got up, but didn't let go until the distance meant that he couldn't hold on anymore.
Victor stared at the closed gates. A growl rose in his chest.
"They know we're coming." Joe leaned forward from the back seat. "Is there a bell or something?"
"No there ain't a fucking bell. The old man knows damn well we're here." Creed gripped the wheel. He watched the frail take her phone out of her bag. "Who're you calling?"
"Hank. I don't want him to think we just didn't show."
"He knows exactly what's goin' on. Put it away." Creed pulled out his own phone. "I'm gonna call the old man."
Creed could feel his anger rising as he waited for the supercilious bastard to answer. Motherfucker was keeping him waiting on purpose.
"Charles Xavier." The voice was cool and smug.
Creed didn't bother to bite back the snarl. "And this is the fucking tooth fairy. You gonna open the goddamn gate?"
"Good morning to you too."
Creed rolled his eyes. "Good morning Milord. I hope you've had a most pleasant night's repose and a satisfactory breakfast. Pleasant civilities out of the way now? Might we be admitted to your stunning presence?"
"Mr. Demmer and Kelly are expected. You are not." There was practiced disinterest in the voice.
"Seems like I remember telling you that when the frail was on your grounds, I would be too."
"When Kelly was testing, yes. I don't recall saying that you were welcome anytime."
"I don't figure I'm ever welcome. I do know you're itching to talk to Joe and see the frail again though. That means you put up with me bein' around for a few hours. I'm sure you can have any patch of carpet I happen to stand on roped off and disinfected."
"Perhaps I could speak to Mr. Demmer."
"Whatever." He shoved the phone at Joe. The frail looked on curiously.
The old man took it. "Professor Xavier." He was silent, listening.
Creed could see the other man's jaw start to tighten. When he spoke again, his voice was calm and even with a strong undertone of pissed off.
"I'll put it like this Professor, I'm not entirely convinced that your doctor can help my grandson. I know he helped Kelly, but even she says that was a fluke. Frankly I don't know if I'm willing to gamble with the little bit of ground he is gaining for a maybe. I'm willing to listen, but I'm not going to beg and I'm not going to leave Victor sitting out here like he's a second class citizen." The old man was silent for a moment, then he handed the phone back to Creed.
"Well?" Creed said
"I'll arrange an escort for you."
Creed ended the call and waited. The gate slid open. He drove slowly down the lane to the mansion. The runt was standing on the stairs looking like he'd rather be anyplace else. The ape stood behind him, the old man was on the other side.
The frail got out and the runt managed a little smile. Creed hung back and fought the surge of jealousy that lengthened his claws. He watched the frail smile and give warm greetings and make introductions. He could see what she meant about how they looked at her. He could tell that she saw it too, but she ignored it. A little smile touched his lips. She smiled and walked toward him.
"I don't think this will take any more than an hour or so."
Jimmy and the ape were staring at them. The professor was chatting with Joe, but his eyes were on the frail. Creed didn't give a shit. "I'm sure Jimmy's got instructions to keep me as far away from the mansion as possible. Call me when you're done."
She nodded and stood on her toes. He leaned down and kissed her. Kelly looked up at him and laughed.
"You have a little of my lipstick." She reached up and wiped her thumb over his lower lip. He grinned. "Like it better when you don't wear any." He nodded in the direction of the steps.
She clasped his hand and walked toward the ape and her grandfather. Jimmy walked over next to him. Creed didn't take his eyes off the frail until she was through the door. He took a deep breath. "C'mon Runt. Can't leave me lingering too long among the righteous and worthy. God knows what they'll catch." He started toward one of the wooded paths.
Kelly and her grandfather sat on one side of Hank's desk. He sat on the other side with Professor. She got the distinct impression that the battle lines had been drawn. On the way to the office, there had been pleasantries and small talk. Now a thick silence filled the room. Her grandfather was the first to speak.
"Did you get my grandson's medical records, Dr. McCoy?"
"I did, thank you. His injuries were quite extensive."
"Stan's a vicious bastard, but Cody's a strong kid." Her grandfather said.
"Strong will seems to run in the family." Professor Xavier said. "Speaking of which, I wonder if we might have a talk about Kelly."
Kelly opened her mouth to speak, but her grandfather grabbed her hand. He smiled. "I know that Kelly is safe, happy, healthy and getting good grades. Is there something more?"
"How much do you know about Sabertooth?" The professor asked.
"Victor." Kelly corrected firmly. Her eyes were locked on the professor's.
He nodded. "How much do you know about Victor Creed?"
Her grandfather's smile never wavered. "You can't tell how much I know?"
"Your mind is quite closed and has been since you've been on my grounds."
Her grandfather's eyes sharpened. "As closed as my military records were?"
"You investigated my grandfather?" Kelly was angry, but not surprised.
"I have a responsibility to my students, Kelly." The professor said.
"You have a built in excuse for snooping you mean." Kelly's anger throbbed through her temples.
"What do you make of the fact that you didn't get anywhere?" Her grandfather asked.
The professor took a deep breath and studied her grandfather for a long moment. "I'm not entirely sure. With my connections and clearances I should have access to almost everything. Perhaps your connections are better than mine."
Her grandfather chuckled. "I doubt that. The government doesn't like to be reminded of what I did for my country and it certainly doesn't like anyone else finding out about it." He crossed his legs. "I also have a good friend who keeps me informed if anyone should get too nosy for their own good."