OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction: Magic Words Part 3

Fiction: Magic Words Part 3

After eating, I left Michelle and David alone and went upstairs to my suite. The second floor was just my bedroom and bathroom. The third floor has two offices, one for official business, and one alarmed and soundproofed for my “unofficial” business. I showered quickly and was looking in my closet for something to wear when the phone rang.

“This is Danny.”

“Danny, where have you been?” Cree was in my ear, demanding, pleading, her voice both a balm and a nuisance, scrambling my thoughts, hardening my dick. I sighed. I went to the bed and sat down.

“Baby, don’t be this way. You know we’re not supposed to be talking like this.”

“I know that, but last night was so special. The way you touched me... we have to find a way to be together, Danny. It’s time. I’m tired of waiting,” Cree said. I put my head in my hands.

“Boo, I love you. You know I do. And I know you love me. But we both know there’s no way for us to be together, in the open, that doesn’t end with me dead or in jail. There’s way too much exposure in trying to go public with you. I don’t want you in this life--at all. Plus, you’d lose your brother behind me and I won’t have that. You need him.”

“Danny, I don’t care about him. I ne-”

“Don’t,” I interrupted before she could let those will-crumbling words escape, “Listen to me. If anyone finds out about us, anyone at all, you’re in danger. Any enemy of mine could find you, and get to you. Do you know what they would do to you out of hatred for me? Plus, your brother and his band of boys would run up on me so fast. They’d use you against me, Cree. You know they would. And that would mean open season on anyone else in my life. What about Michelle? What about David?”

“I don’t want anything to happen to any one of us, Danny. You should know that. But I crave you. I don’t know how to stop. I can’t be calm. I can’t be reasonable. God, I know what the dangers are. And I do care. I’m not a fucking monster. I’m just a woman in love with you.” When she finished, I could hear her breathing hard, trying to choke back her tears. I wanted to punch a wall. I hated making her cry.

“Cree, you are everything I have ever wanted,” I said, my voice low and serious. I needed her to fully grasp what I was about to say, “I have never loved a woman the way I love you. I will never love a woman again, the way I love you. But if your brother and that chief find out about us, they will try even harder to get at me. And you know what kind of man I am. People who come for me are automatically my enemies. And I destroy my enemies, Cree. It’s how I’ve gotten to where I am. Right now, they’re just cops. When they become my enemies, I will have no choice but to treat them as such. But they’re your family. Will you still love me if I destroy your family? And if they get to me, and catch me... if they destroy me, Michelle, David... what then?”

“I don’t know,” Cree choked out, sobbing, “I don’t know. I’m so torn, Danny. I loved Gabe. And you are the opposite of everything he stood for. But I love you so much. More than I’ve ever loved anyone. And I don’t know what to do. Jesse is my family. The police are my family. But you... you’re my everything, Danny. And I don’t know how to reconcile the two.”

“I don’t know either, baby. I don’t know how we do this. I just know it’s dangerous to keep going on this way.” There was a long pause on the line while we listened to each other breathe. Finally, she spoke.

“You’re right. You’re completely right. This is crazy, and foolish. I guess I have to learn to live without you, Danny. I guess we have to learn to live without each other. I don’t know how we’re going to do that. But I guess we have to.” she hung up after speaking, the click in my ear sounding loudly. I sighed and fell back onto the bed. I’m done. I’m in control. But Cree’s heart is broken... and so is mine.

Two days after the charity ball where I met Cree, I knew everything about her. My resources were vast, and she was a civilian, so she didn’t have anything to hide. I learned she was a CPA working out of her apartment, she was childless, never extravagant, and that she never spent a dime of the police pension she’d been awarded after her husband died. It was all in an IRA that was invested very modestly. The businessman in me wondered what she was saving for. I also found out that she loved to sit on a bench in the park on 26th and Middleton every Wednesday afternoon and people watch. The Wednesday after the charity ball, I had Miles drop me off two blocks from the park, walked up and sat right next to her on the bench. She looked over at me and smiled.

“I knew you’d find me,” she said in a soft voice. I smiled back.“Did you really?” I said.“Yeah. I mean, I knew you had the resources. And I did tell you my name. You left without saying goodbye.”“It got a little claustrophobic. I needed some space. But I apologize. It won’t happen again.”Cree laughed. “I hope not. So... I assume you checked on me. I checked on you too.”

That made me sit up and pay attention.“You did?” I asked, incredulous. She nodded.“My brother is a police officer too. So after the ball, I told him you were the guest speaker and asked him why the chief hates you so much. He told me some... interesting things,” she said.

“Interesting things, huh? Do you believe them?”

“I guess I do. I’ve never known my brother to lie to me. But he made you sound so... evil. And I don’t think you are.”

“I’m not evil. I’m just cautious, calculated. I don’t leave loose ends and I’m always in control,” I told her. She nodded again.

“I see. And the other things my brother said? About what kind of business you really run?”

“I’m just a businessman, Cree. I’m just me. And for my own reasons that’s as much as you’re ever going to know about what I do. If you’re not okay with that, I’ll get up right now and I won’t bother you again,” I said. Cree took a deep breath. Then she bit her lip, thinking over her options. I wanted to reach out and touch her, hold her, kiss her. My dick was hard as a rock and the suspense was killing me. For a man so cautious I was certainly throwing it to the wind. I had no business sitting here with the widow of a cop, who was the sister of another cop. I definitely knew better than this. But something had drawn me to her. And I knew it was the same something that was making Cree think instead of getting up and walking away. Finally, she turned to me.

“Let’s go to my place. I live up the street,” she said to me and stood up. I stood up as well and followed her to a third floor walk-up a half block away. We barely made it inside before we were grappling with clothes, hands and mouths mingling. I took her half dressed against the front door the first time, falling in love with every stroke, our hearts and bodies imprinting on each other. And that’s when the magic words surfaced.

“Danny, I need you.”

After I hung up with Cree, I spent the rest of the day in my office, brooding and grumbling, and yelling at anyone who asked me anything. When I snapped at Michelle, and she ran downstairs on the verge of tears, I knew I’d gone too far. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Ten minutes later, my brother appeared.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” he demanded, walking into my office. He sat down in the chair in front of my desk and stared at me, waiting for an explanation.

“It’s nothing, man. Look, tell Michelle I’m sorry, aight? I didn’t mean it.” David shook his head at me.

“Nah dude. You the one that acted like a dickhead. You can tell her yourself. But first, you need to tell me what’s going on. I mean, the shipment’s a little late this week, but you can’t be this mad about that,” he said. I sighed.

“It’s not that, Dave. I’m good. I’m just... I got some shit on my mind, that’s all.”

“Then maybe you need to get out, do something, get your mind off it. Meet a woman. You ain’t been checking for nobody since you backed off that cop’s sister.” David said, ever observant. After two months of seeing in Cree in secret, I finally told my brother, because... I tell my brother everything. He told me how stupid I was, and made me promise to back off. That was six months ago. He didn’t know I’d continued to see Cree, had moved her into a small townhouse, and was currently trying to untangle myself from her. He didn’t know how far I’d gone. And I wanted to keep it that way. It’s not easy for me to admit I’m not the man he thinks I am. I’ve been putting us all at risk, when it’s always been my job to protect us. I don’t want David to know how far I’ve fallen.

“Yeah. Maybe I will go out tonight. Maybe that will clear my head a bit,” I said. David nodded with satisfaction.

“Great. Feel like handling a little business while you’re out?” he asked. I looked at him, confused.

“Why, what’s up?”

“Well, that state representative, what’s his name--Jones, or something--anyway, dude is throwing himself a birthday party at the Oswald Manor tonight. I heard Senator Grant is a confirmed guest so I copped a couple of invites. You can go in my place. It’s a good chance to get all dressed up, drink, charm a lady or two. Plus, you can talk to Grant about that venture we discussed. What you think, bro?” David finished and smiled at me. I smiled back. It was time for me to get back to business as usual.

“I think I’m going to a party,” I said back. I laughed and then got up to find Michelle and apologize.

When I got to the party, it was already live and loud. People were dressed in their best semi-formal wear, dancing and drinking, and schmoozing. It was the perfect opportunity to see and be seen. I took a deep breath and headed to the bar. I figured I’d keep it casual for a while, and then find the senator later, when he was appropriately liquored up. When I got to the bar it was fairly crowded, but the crowd parted for me. My wealth and business stature meant that I knew quite a few of the people in attendance, some casually, some a little more so.

“Bourbon, double, neat,” I said to the bartender. He nodded and poured, handing me a glass. I took the glass and nodded in thanks, turning to lean against the bar. I sipped slowly, appreciating the bourbon’s quality. I scanned the room quickly, trying to see if there was someone there I cared to make conversation with. I spotted Senator Grant, holding court in the east corner with the birthday boy, Rep. Marvin Jones, and some other lower level minions. As my eyes moved west, I stopped short. Cree was standing there, looking good enough to eat in a short, blue dress, her left arm threaded through the right arm of the police chief. I sighed and closed my eyes briefly, hoping it was just a trick my mind was playing on me. I should have figured the chief would show up here. I could only fathom that he was sowing the seeds of his future political career. Too bad he hates me. I could have helped him out. But why the fuck was Cree here? This wasn’t even her scene. I threw back the rest of the whiskey and headed toward Cree. As soon as she saw me, her eyes widened and her luscious mouth opened slightly. I made a quick turn and headed into the crowd, making sure to lose myself and block her view of me. I found the bar on the other side of the room and ordered another double.

“Hi Danny,” a sultry voice greeted me. I turned to see Lana, a secretary in the Mayor’s office and a party girl I used to make scream before I met Cree.

“Lana. How you doing, sweetheart?”

“You know me. Same old, same old. You uh... here with anyone?” she asked. I nodded and signaled the bartender. I put up two fingers and pointed to Lana, indicating that he should refill the both of us. I looked Lana up and down, taking in her tight silver dress and stiletto heels. I knew the bottoms were red and wondered which one of the men on her roster had paid for them.

“I’m here with you now,” I answered and handed her a drink.

Lana clung to me the rest of the night, except for the few minutes I pulled Senator Grant to the side and hashed out some details about our joint venture. I kept Cree in my line of sight, so that I could make sure we avoided each other. I saw her glance my way a few times; her eyes ice cold, a frown on her face. I knew she was pissed and having Lana clinging to me like this was overkill, but I needed to make Cree see that we were done. If I had to hurt her to do that, then so be it. After a while, my duty was done and I was ready to go. I knew I’d have no problem getting Lana to go home with me. Hopefully she’d keep her mouth shut long enough for my dick to get hard. She teetered to the bathroom to get herself together and I headed to coat check. Cree was there, holding her ticket and waiting. I walked up and reached into my jacket pocket for mine. The attendant took both tickets and disappeared into a large closet.

“She’s cute. If you’re into that. Way to go, Danny,” Cree said, her voice angry. I sighed.

“You’re judging me? I can’t even have a night to process losing you without you appearing everywhere I fucking go,” I said back, my voice just as angry. Cree turned to me, her face flushed and scowling.

“Obviously I didn’t know you’d be here. One of the chief’s kids got sick and his wife asked me to accompany him in her place. I’m supposed to be home crying my eyes out. But here I am. And not only did I have to be in this place, but I had to watch you drink and laugh and touch another woman’s ass all night. So yes, I’m judging you. You’re a piece of shit, Danny.”

“And you’re a spoiled brat. What you want me to do? Follow you around all night? If I hadn’t had a distraction in here, you’d be somewhere naked with me dicking you down right now. You know we need a buffer, Cree. And I didn’t know you’d be here, either.” I finished my rant as the attendant reappeared with our coats. I took mine and walked away quickly. When I got back to the main hall, I didn’t see Lana anywhere. I stopped one of her friends walking by, Clarissa or something.

“Hey. Where’s Lana?” I asked her. She giggled drunkenly.

“She passed out in the bathroom. Manor staff put her in a cab a second ago.” she replied and stumbled away. I sighed, frustrated. I shook my head in disgust and went to find Miles.

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