OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction: Magic Words Part 2

Fiction: Magic Words Part 2

The next morning, I eased Cree out of my arms and sat on the edge of the bed, pensive. The night before was in the front of my mind, as was the day ahead. There wasn’t a place in that house where I hadn’t made love to her, no place that hadn’t seen us entwined and spent. No place where I hadn’t panted out my love for her in a hurried, sexual frenzy. And no place where she hadn’t done the same. But that didn’t matter. None of it mattered, because it shouldn’t have happened. Because it couldn’t happen again. A hand touched my back, stroked lightly.

“I know you have to go. But once more?” she whispered. I laughed humorlessly. “You know once is not just once with you,” I replied. Her hand stroked harder. “Danny...”

“I can’t, love. I have to go.” I said firmly. She sighed. I wasn’t facing her, but I knew her full, succulent, lips were pouting. I smiled a little. I stood up and turned. She reached for me, and I backed away. I went into the living room and found my clothes. I’d gotten into my boxers and pants successfully when she came in. She found my t-shirt she’d been wearing the night before and slipped it over her head. Her dark brown hair was a cloud around her face, and I found myself wanting to reach out and touch it. But I knew if I did, I’d never get my shirt on. I finished dressing while we stared at each other. I was mentally willing my feet to the floor. When I was dressed, I grabbed my coat and headed for the door. I wanted one more taste of her mouth before I left, but experience had taught me how foolhardy it was to attempt kissing her goodbye. A kiss had turned into me taking her against the front door more than once.

“I’ll call when I can, Love,” I said, opening the front door.“I love you, Danny,” Cree said in response.“Love you too.”Once I was outside, I walked up the street three blocks to a coffee shop. After I bought a

coffee, I walked six more blocks to a nearby park. I sat on a bench and pulled out my cell phone. I hit the 3 on my speed dial and put the phone to my ear.

“Mr. Marcus?” came the voice of Miles, my driver.“Hey Miles. I’m at the park on 26th and Middleton.”“I’ll be there right away, sir,” he replied and hung up. I sat back against the park bench,

drinking my coffee, waiting for my ride, and thinking. I sighed deep. There was no way for this situation with me and Cree to have a happy ending of any kind. It just wasn’t in the cards... not for us, anyway.

I’m a wanted man. In the literal sense of the word. I won’t tell you what I do, I’ll just say it’s definitely not legal. My operation spans the entire city I live in, and the neighboring counties as well. I’m a man of power, of stature, of menace, and intimidation. I’m respected and feared in this corner of the world, but also hated and despised. As you can probably guess, the man who hates me most is a cop, one who is connected to Cree Hunter in a way that makes me an even bigger target than I already am. He’s her older brother. Cree’s late husband was a cop as well, killed in the line of duty some years ago. So there’s no way I can have her in this life. And there’s no way for me to get out. Besides death or jail, of course. But I can’t give her up. I’ve tried. I’ve tried over and over. But she calls, and says she needs me, and I can’t say no. I know I’m a step closer to getting caught up everytime I see her; I know I put her in danger every time I touch her. I know, dammit. But this love and this lust is crazy, for the both of us.

“No,” I said out loud, sitting up straight on the bench, “I’m done. I’m in control.” My driver pulled up. I checked my watch and got into the car.

“Home, Miles,” I said easily.

“Of course, Mr. Marcus,” he said back and pulled into traffic. I sat back against the seat. The phone rang. The number lighting up the screen didn’t have a name assigned, but it wasn’t foreign to me. I sighed and stared, wondering how long I could keep from answering this time.

I met Cree at a charity ball thrown by a local politician. Everyone invited had donated money to the new children’s wing at the hospital and they’d asked me to give a speech, my donation being the biggest. Cree had been there with the chief of police, on behalf of the department and their donation. As the widow of their most decorated officer, they’d made her a kind of sexy ambassador for them. I couldn’t be mad at it. She was fine, and funny, and educated. She was a great spokesperson for them. Most of the people in attendance thought I

was just a wealthy businessman--and I am. I’m just not in a business that’s legal. The chief of police knew what I really did, he just didn’t have any proof, so he couldn’t lock me up for it. As you might have guessed, that pisses him off. So he never has more than a frown and a middle finger for me. But Cree? I met her eyes across the bar and it was over. I’ve never had a woman affect me so fast. I felt like I did that time I forgot to block my middle sparring with my brother. I ended up bent over, wheezing and gasping. That’s exactly how it was when I saw Cree for the first time. Like I wasn’t paying attention, and someone knocked the air right out of me. Her lips perked up in a delicate smile and all was lost for your boy. I wanted her. We had a couple of looks from across the room, but it was hours before I’d get to talk to her. I stepped out onto a balcony for a phone call and she was there, just watching the sky.

“You look beautiful,” I said, taking in her form-fitting black dress and sparkly high heels. She turned and smiled, her perfect lips painted in red. I think my heart stopped.

“Thank you, Mr. Marcus,” she said back. She walked over to me and I put my phone away. I reached for her hand and kissed it gently. She blushed and her eyes lowered.

“You have the advantage. I don’t know your name.”

“I’m Cree Hunter. And it’s not an advantage, really. I was warned to stay away from you at all costs. That’s the only reason I know your name.”

“I see. And who issued this warning?” I asked, as if I didn’t already know. Cree pulled her hand from mine and moved closer, touching the lapel of my jacket. All I could think about was taking her home.

“Chief Brennan says you’re a dangerous man. A man my husband would have locked up with no hesitation. He says I should avoid you.”

“I see. And what do you think?”

“I think you might actually be a dangerous man, Mr. Marcus. I have no idea. We’ve only just met. But I’m a grown woman who doesn’t appreciate having my dead husband’s name invoked as a way to make me behave. The officers on the force do that a lot, and as well-meaning as they might be, I don’t need a babysitter,” Cree finished. I smiled.

“Then it’s lovely to meet you, Cree Hunter. Please call me Danny. And I’m sorry for your loss,” I said, taking her hand again. Her fingers gripped mine and I found myself wishing I could pull her into my arms.

“Thank you. I’m sorry too. Gabe was a good man, a great man. And I loved him very much.” After speaking, she turned to look out at the night again. But she never let go of my hand. I stood there, taking in her beautiful brown face. I watched her, and she watched the sky. We stood like this for a while until other people started working their way out to the balcony to get air. I smoothly separated myself from her and went to the other side of the large balcony to make my phone call. Then I headed back in to get my coat and find Miles. I had done my civic duty and I was ready to go home. I didn’t get to see Cree before I left, but I wasn’t worried. I had plans to find her.

My ringing phone took me out of my thoughts. But it wasn’t Cree. It was my brother. I pressed the button and lifted the phone to my ear.

“Miles is pulling in now,” I told him and ended the call. My house is a four-story renovated Colonial, with a red brick exterior and black shutters on the front windows. The concrete steps were gray, lightened by years of scrubbing, with a swirl pattern similar to a marble countertop. I had black wrought iron railings and a heavy black wooden front door with an ornate oval glass panel. Miles pulled into the garage next door and I hopped out, heading to the inside door and entering the code to deactivate the alarm. The alarm disarmed and I opened the door, heading into the kitchen. My brother David was at the island, eating what looked like a bowl of pasta, while Michelle, my cook/ housekeeper, stood over him, smiling fondly. Michelle is an aspiring child psychologist, taking graduate classes and doing research in between cooking my dinners and cleaning my house. She lives here with me, and has her own apartment in the basement. Michelle is the younger sister of my best friend Vincent, who’d been killed three years ago. Vince had been the third man in our partnership; now it’s just David and me. We’ve been taking care of Michelle, since she and Vince hadn’t had anyone but each other. I’ve told her a million times that she can just go to school and live and I would take care of her (and her tuition) and hire someone else to cook and clean. But Michelle likes earning her keep. It took me months to convince her to let me pay her.

“Hey,” I spoke. David looked up at me, gave me the head nod, and went back to eating. Michelle looked up and grinned.

“Hey Danny. Want some pasta?” she asked. I grinned back. I took off my coat, threw it over a chair, and sat at the island with my brother.

“Sure Chelle. I’m starving. You get your paper done?” Michelle’s grin faded at my question and her lips went into a pout.

“I’m gonna do it, Danny. I promise. It’s not due for a week.”

“Doesn’t mean you should procrastinate. Work on it tonight. Don’t worry about dinner,” I told her. David laughed softly and Michelle sucked her teeth.

“Fine, you were right. I owe you twenty bucks,” she grumbled and got a bowl from the cabinet. She spooned some pasta from a pot and sat the bowl in front of me with a fork in it.

“I bet her a dub you would bring up that paper she hasn’t written yet,” David said, chuckling between bites. I laughed as well and Michelle rolled her eyes.

“Whatever. I’ll work on it tonight,” Michelle said. She turned back to the stove and I started eating. The pasta was mixed with vegetables and some creamy, cheesy, sauce. I dug in, realizing how hungry I was. A night of Cree’s thighs wrapped around me had sapped all my energy, not that it was the first time. I was absorbed in my food, but could still see the longing looks and surreptitious glances shared between Michelle and David. They’ve been in love for a while now, but David is adamant that Michelle won’t have any part of this life we lead. And he’s been sticking to that, even though I know it hurts him. They keep it as casual as they can. Once in a while, they even attempt to date other people. It never lasts though, probably because you can feel the heat whenever they’re in the same room together. Michelle is the main reason David is always here instead of in his very expensive, upscale condo that our “corporation” is paying for. He never crosses the line though. If a woman is off-limits, he has enough discipline to honor that. Just one of the many reasons my brother is a far better man than I am.

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