Warning: Foul language. Manipulation. Minor descriptions of pedophilic perversion. Possible spelling/grammar errors.

A Razor As Sharp As My Tongue

Chapter X

"Christmas is right around the corner. Do you have anything special planned?"

Do I?

The holiday is drawing near… though it tends to bore me. In my opinion, all holidays are simply marketing ploys used to scam the masses and embed ideas of what a loving family (or even love for that matter) should appear to be. Nevertheless, I think I will find great entertainment at this year's Christmas event. After my good fortune, I won't be surprised by the number of family (and I do use that term lightly) members that will be coming out of the wood works under the guise of spending this coming celebration of Christ's birth together- as a family. People that I haven't seen since Olivia and Arnold's funeral will be in attendance in hopes that I'll be oblivious to the real nature of their visit.

What interesting puppets they'll turn out to be.

Clarice told me this morning of our preparations for the Christmas celebration and she also warned me of those who are coming. My father was the eldest child of four and my grandfather was the eldest of six. His side of the family is vast in size and they've attempted to contact me since word of my selling off the company and its assets has spread amongst them. I have several relatives who want on my good side. Or who simply want to maim me for desecrating the family heirloom that is Saunders Enterprises and Company. I hear they're not too pleased with how I've decided to treat my inheritance.

But where were they when it was told that their beloved Arnold Gregory Saunders IX was nothing more than a perverted incestuous pedophile?

And where have they been since?

Did they honestly believe that I'd allow them to maintain their current positions within the family business or that I would allow them to manipulate me out of my profits? Better yet, did they believe that I was moronic enough to not notice once I came of age that they were working towards buying me out?


They probably wholeheartedly have faith in all of those assumptions, which is why I've encouraged Clarice to allow them to come.

I'll enjoy the holidays this year.

I glance at Phoenix and recline my seat. "We're having family over. Nothing out of the ordinary. How about you? Won't you be lonely without your wife around?"

He laughs. "To some extent but I generally go back home and that's more than enough distraction." That's right, he's the baby of a large family.

I nod thoughtfully and glance out of the window. It's a gorgeous night and the city is bustling with holiday spirit. Which reminds me… "I start my holiday break this coming Thursday. Can you free up your weekend? Your Friday through Monday?"

Phoenix looks skeptical as he stares at me, his topaz irises bright beneath the dull office lighting. "It depends… what's on your mind?"

"There's a house that I… it's one that I have to visit but I can't do it alone." I imagine I look a bit stricken at the moment but it's all for a good cause.

There is a need for me to visit this particular property and I would rather not do so alone. I also intend to spend the weekend there skewering through things of old. The summer home in Santa Monica… I have memories of that place. Some far more horrendous than others. I also have something that I want back. My mother… she was a vicious woman on the days she so happened upon Arnold's indulgence of me and she always took the things that I deemed precious.

It wasn't long before I simply stopped considering things to be precious.

"The things that you ask me to do… they push at the bounds of medical ethics." A frown is marring his handsome face and the urge to devour it is overwhelming.

In due time. The longer I drag this out, the more I'll enjoy exploring and delving into the prize at the end.

I smile airily and lean into my chair. "You're paid a lot to do all that you can for your employers. You told me that you're a different kind of psychologist and that you'll do anything to ensure a patient's successful recovery. I somewhat trust you. If I didn't, you would know nil about me aside from what's been prerecorded. The fact that I've gone out anywhere with you should show you the extent of our progress and that I'm beginning to trust you." Purposefully, I sigh and avert my gaze from the window to pin him in his seat. "If you don't want to go or if you have other obligations, that's fine. I'd just- I'd feel better if I had someone there who's mentally capable of understanding the significance of this visit. And you said that you'd go with me to visit the other home so really, I didn't think this would be too different."

The cogs are turning in that brilliant mind of his as he mentally weighs the pros and cons of going with me this coming weekend. He glances down at his pad of paper before glancing back at me. "Where should I meet you?"

"The airport."

A dark brow rises curiously. "The airport?"

"We're going to Santa Monica and taking a plane is the quickest way to get there. Don't worry about airfare or any other expenses. We'll leave early Friday morning so be ready." My tone leaves no room for arguing and I'm highly intrigued considering he's already resigned himself to this.

Good. He's learning his place.

It's been nearly two months since Brendan and I "ended" our relationship and I've seen him a few dozen times since then. The city is by no means small, not in the least bit, but all of the best places to hunt coincide with where he likes to enjoy himself as of late. I knew this already, of course. Ignoring his existence is an easy thing to do entirely, more so when I'm pushed flush against a wall, a door, or a staircase lost within the boundless pleasures of the flesh. But he likes to make his presence known to me or at least he tries to and were I someone else such a thing wouldn't be a hard feat for him to accomplish.

Everywhere he goes- Every house party, bar, or club he steps into yields an incredible number of people who know him or make a show of trying to get to know him. And he is gorgeous when in his element. Such charisma and charm… his personality floods the entirety of whatever space he so chooses to step into.

I'm simply keeling at the prospects of what destroying it all will do to him. What will it turn him into if he survives? Will that disaster of a man be as gloriously stunning as the hubris tainted star quarterback? I ache with need at the very thought of what I'll be able to do to him. How I'll mend and break him until he is a blank husk ready to start anew.

It won't be much longer now.

His resolve to stay away from me is nearly shattered and he makes this so obvious. Whenever he spots me, I tend to be his focus. This was not the case in the beginning. He did a fine job of ignoring me so blatantly. It was as if we'd never met. His skills (acting wise) are marvelous. Were I not myself, I truly would have doubted that he cared for me at one point or deigned to care for me in the first place. If, perhaps, I were a female, I would have wholeheartedly believed that every faucet of our relationship was based upon his so called bet. But I am me therefore I know otherwise.

He has tells, though his poker-face is nearly flawless. Aside from those startling sapphire irises that tend to covertly follow my every action when we're in the same vicinity, Brendan has other quirks that let me know that he can see me just as I can see him. Recently he's taken to brushing past me. But that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes he'll make a show of fooling around with the girl(s) standing closest to me. Sometimes he'll become drinking buddies with one of the guys I've lavished with attention throughout the night. That is his way of stealing away my company. Other times, like last week when we were at the same club, he'll have the person I've deemed worthy of my attentions thrown from the establishment.

Jealousy… An emotion that humans are so very fond of. Much like pride, it can lead those who invest in it to spiral into oblivion. Which is nothing short of gorgeous. A person consumed by such irrelevant and ridiculous emotions is an entertaining thing and can turn into something beautiful if those emotions are wielded properly.

In her own way, my mother did those sentiments justice.

She was such a magnificent tragedy.

"You're one sexy motherfucker."

The retort at the tip of my tongue is that I've never fucked my mother, only my father, but I refrain. My sense of humor always tends to be a bit darker than others I suppose. "Is that your best? Do you actually get people using that line?" I carefully take in the man now standing next to me.

He's average looking, that being a brunet with brown eyes, but I'll assume it's his brawn that lures in the masses. He's also tall. But, since his pickup-line was atrocious and he still had the gall to use it upon me, that tells me that he's confident. Confidence such as his is a result of generally getting ones way. Which in turn lets me know the answer to my previously asked question. For that, I'll entertain myself by speaking with him for a while.

Besides, Brendan is watching keenly so he must know this boy. Considering my true target is Brendan, this is a golden opportunity.

He chuckles, his strong chin jutted out as he peers at me through a narrowed gaze. "Here and there. Depends on who I'm talking to."

"Then you must usually talk to dumbasses. And if that's what you're looking for, you've got the wrong person." My smile is as showy as his leer and I know I've reeled him in when he leans against the wall and situates himself comfortably.

"No. I'm sure I stopped to talk to the right guy tonight. Are you here with anybody?"

Gavin and Caleb are… around. But, aside from them- "No. Not really."

His glance says that he wishes I'd elaborate. "Not really?"

"I'm here with my cousin. And now I'm here with you." I'd like this to move along because I can see Brendan who's studiously watching me. Of course, there are so many people in here that it could be assumed that he's watching anyone as he laughs and knocks back another shot.

"That you are. I get the-"

"Let's cut the chase and move right along to the capture. You want to hookup, right?"

He's momentarily stunned before he regains his composure. "Yea."

I muster the coyest smirk in my arsenal before pushing myself closer to him, my hand resting on his arm. "We could go upstairs and find a room… or a bathroom." I don't intend to let this plebian have his way with me, however, I currently need to look as though I will.

He nods numbly, as if this isn't really happening to him. But it is… in a way.

"Come on then." I make my way through throngs of people and upstairs with my pawn following dutifully behind me. When we reach the top of the stairs, I glance at him. "The room at the end of the hall just freed up. Go get it before someone else does and I'll be there in a second."

"Where are you going?"

"To use the bathroom. Now hurry."

He nods stupefied and trails away. Good boy. The population up here is scarce which makes getting into the bathroom an easy feat. Shortly after I shut the door, loud thumps resound in the fairly small space. Very predictable. It takes all of ten seconds for Brendan to worm his way into the bathroom with me the moment I unlock the door. It slams behind him.

He's staring at me, eyes hard and glazed over from being sloshed. He smells like alcohol. "The hell are you doing here?"

I raise an eyebrow as I stare at him. "You should ask yourself that."

He scowls and moves closer to me. I don't bother to budge. I'm not afraid of him in the slightest. "You're always every fucking where I am and I- I- it pisses me the fuck off."

I laugh at that and lean against the sink. "You told me I meant nothing to you and yet being in the same place pisses you off?" I run a hand through my hair. I should get it trimmed tomorrow after school. "I'm not bothering you and I'd appreciate it if you returned the favor."

He laughs and it's a hollow sound. "Not bothering me?" Brendan walks closer to me and stops when we're only a few inches apart. A snarl tugs at his lips and delightfully ignites my nerves. "You're a constant fucking reminder of what I- what I almost gave up just because I decided to follow my cock. And, you know what, I actually fucking liked you. Me! I- I actually was starting to give a damn about the person I was fucking around with. Can you even- do you even understand what that shit means?"

Oh yes Brendan, I know exactly what that means.

But I won't tell him that.

Instead, I frown and cross my arms over my chest somewhat defensively. It's a stance I've seen Amy take on when Clarice disagrees with her on any given topic. "What the hell do you want from me? You're the one who called the shots and you're the one who broke shit off after fucking me. I'm not the one who screwed this up, you are."

His eyes narrow. "No. You fucking- you called another assholes name and-"

"And what? You made it very clear that you didn't mind seeing other people and you took every opportunity that you could to let me know just how many other people you were fucking around with at any given time of the day. Which was fine. We'd said it was fine from the beginning because we were just. Friends. So this, all of this, could have been avoided if you'd made your intentions clear but, then again, I was just a bet from the get go so it doesn't really matter." I stand up, not caring that I'm pressed to him because I'm not angry in the least bit but he believes I am. "Move. I have someone waiting for me."

But Brendan is rather fired up so he stands his ground and pins me to the sink with a hand on either side of me. "Don't fuck around with that slimy bastard. Greg has more STDs than most people have teeth."

I want to laugh in his face. I want to chortle hysterically in to the air and get it out of my system because this, all of it, is so engaging. Brendan is right on schedule and moving according to a very unique pattern… I'm enthralled.

"Good to know you still care. Now move." He doesn't budge so I duck under his arms but he grabs my wrist. "I swear to god, I'm not above screaming and if you don't let me go-"

"Just… you weren't a fucking bet, not really. I mean… kind of. But not really."

And the plot thickens. I turn to stare at him and Brendan takes a seat on the toilet. "Kind of but not really a bet?"

He smirks a bit before he stares at me, his cerulean eyes unguarded. "When we play pool the loser gets some kind of crazy ass challenge. At the time, Haden was still pissed at me from when I made him streak through the sorority houses with nothing but his socks on. He has a small dick so… yea. He hasn't gotten laid much since then. Anyway, point is, I had to fuck the guy at the bar who'd been blowing fuckers off left and right- according to Jared anyway."

He runs a hand through his hair and tugs me a bit closer. "I was nervous as fuck about calling you that first time because you weren't… you definitely weren't what I expected you to be like and you're not like other people that I usually want to fuck, right. For starters, you're a dude and that was way out of my element. Still is. But I liked hanging out with you and I figured that was one of the fucking perks of bagging a dude. We have shit in common and I didn't have to pretend to be some fucker that I wasn't but then-"

"Then you got scared because you actually liked me and I have a cock? I get it, I do. You were scared and didn't know what it all meant so you wanted to break it off. I get that. Thanks for explaining. But you're an asshole and you made feel like shit after you- and we… you're a bastard." I look away because there's no way that I can muster tears right now. I absolutely can't. But I can feign being on the verge of tears rather well.

Brendan takes my other hand and pulls me to stand between his legs. He doesn't make me look at him and I'm grateful for that. "I am and it sucks but I- I still like you. And that's weird to me because I haven't been in a relationship or felt the need to be in a serious-ish relationship since I was in fucking high school. So, I- this is all fucking odd and I didn't know what to do. I still don't. I wanted to see where that shit went but then you called out that bastards name and I just-"

I bite the inside of my cheek. "Sorry about that. He's… he was a guy that I wanted but I couldn't have and you remind me of him sometimes. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to and I- I really missed you." My fingers run through his thick tresses and he shivers.

This goofy grin pulls at his lips and lights his face. "So what does this mean?"

I shrug and let him rest his hands on my hips. "Depends on how much of this you'll remember in the morning."

"All of it. I'm one of those honest, happy, drunks- or so people tell me. You still have my number?"

I shake my head. "You told me to lose it and I really didn't plan on ending up like this with you."

He chuckles. "That's a first. Someone actually lost my number when I told them to… Gimme your phone." I hand it to him and he quickly puts his information in there. "Don't lose it, alright?"

"Okay… So does this mean you'll call me or something?"

He stands up, easily towering over me and making me look up at him. "I'll call you tomorrow. We can talk then because I'm still kind of fucked up right now so I don't think anything is coming out right."

I laugh. "Alright. Then I should go. Caleb is probably wondering where I went anyway." It's the last night before break officially starts and Caleb didn't want to be here long but he still wanted to come.

"Right… your cousin. You can leave first."

I nod and walk out of the bathroom. The moment I'm down the stairs I spot Caleb and Gavin talking to a group of girls and easily wooing them. It's a common occurrence.

I feel so accomplished at the moment. Training Brendan is going according to plan, roping in Phoenix is getting easier by the session, and things in general are uncompromising.

The only thing I have left to truly entertain myself with is Christmas.

I'm looking forward to it.

"Do you have a job?"

"No." As it is now, I won't need one either but I still intend to go to college and take courses that are at my particular level of knowledge. "Why?"

Phoenix leans back in his seat and takes a sip of his orange juice. "You bought our tickets and we're flying first class. Since you don't have a job, can I assume that the money you have is some kind of inheritance?"

Normal people find it classless to discuss money, religion, and even politics at certain points in time but I know what he's doing. Phoenix is always working on figuring me out and this is no different. The way in which I spend my parents' money will let him know how I'm still coping with what they've done to me.

I'll let him stew over the facts at the very least.

"On my eighteenth birthday I was awarded the assets that my parents left to me. Both of them left everything that they'd ever owned to me and me alone. In other words, they left Amy nothing." They were selfish and single-minded until the very end. But I'm interested in what he'd make of that. "Why do you think they left their legacies to me?"

His brow knits in concentration before he stares at me. "It could be a number of reasons but guilt would make the most sense. Did they leave you anything else? A statement, a note, a letter, a message?"

"My mother left me an envelope with her name on it. I haven't opened it yet." I've been meaning to but I could truly careless for what she has to say now. All that she could have said and the moments she was given to do so have passed. I don't want to aid her burning soul in any way.

Phoenix sits up in his seat, eyes swimming with excitement. "Do you still have it?"

I nod.

"Bring it with you on Wednesday and we can go over it together."

It takes a moment for me to bite back an immediate no. Denying the reading of that letter implies that I'm still under their clutches. That I'm still being driven and fueled according to their whims makes me hate myself to a degree. For that, I will read that letter to eliminate a brewing weakness.

I'll take joy in the fact that I caught it earlier as opposed to later.

"I'll do that." I turn and glance out of the window. "Wake me when we land."

Our house is on a manmade Island off of the Santa Monica coast. Arnold was one who valued his privacy so he didn't mind paying any price to have that privacy. All of his homes are, in their own way, isolated. I'm sure, if he were still alive in this day and age, I would have never escaped him. Pity.

When we docked, I easily navigated around the courtyard. Memories of hiding amongst the tall grass surfaced easily enough. I could very nearly hear my mother frantically screaming for me to come to her. The same could be said about Arnold.

He'd bring me here, just he and I, on numerous occasions. This was the home where he welcomed others to take part in my beauty. He was selfish, he wanted me for himself, but he had rare moods in which he liked to watch others treat me properly. He'd watch for the most part and join once he was satisfied. Sometimes I'd be forced to watch the disgusting pair as they lost themselves in each other. He was such a foul beast and the world is lucky to be rid of such a man.

I'll surpass being pleased when I demolish everything that he ever invested time and energy into. That man loved far too many things, which makes it easy to destroy him now.

This house, this detestable house, was one of Arnold's most treasured possessions.

"How long did you live here?"

I glance at Phoenix from the corner of my eye. "We spent summers between here and various other places around the world, however, we spent the most time here." I lead him inside and glance around the foyer.

Everything is as I remember it to some extent. It's a bit weathered and smells of mold but it is still lavish. There's nothing of true worth here aside from the photos of Amy and I that mother took from me. Memories are everything but having certain memories captured… I'd like to have those photos but it'd matter not if I could not retrieve them. There is also the off chance that Arnold has stashed away something here that he considered to be of value to me.

"How were your days spent while you were here?"

How weren't they spent is the real question. Nevertheless, I stop in the kitchen and take a seat at the table tucked beside the grand window. "Arnold built this island for me. Or rather, as a prison for me. He would bring me here and spend days violating me. If my mother traveled with us, he would bring me to the guest house in the early morning and spend hours taking me and praising me with his love. If it were just the two of us, he'd sometimes invite another to join and they'd take turns with me. Or I'd have to watch as Arnold devoured another man."

At first, it was a different man every time, however, he became attached to one man or rather boy in particular. I'm not sure how he was able to entrance a perverse child or how that child's parents allowed such a thing to commence but they seemed to enjoy each other. Or, perhaps he was yet another victim.

I suppose I'll never know but it doesn't matter.

"And your mother?"

"Would drag me to the cellar and beat me until I passed out and then she'd lock me in there until Arnold came for me. Or she'd make me watch as she destroyed the things I considered precious, which, later in my life, were usually things given to me by Amy." It's intriguing to think back to those days and to know that Amy was the one thing that truly kept me sane.

Phoenix sits across from me and his face is rather blank. "This house… it's equivalent to a torture home for you. Why did you want to come here?"

The true reason I wanted to come here was to gouge his reaction as well as to collect a few things but I can't very well tell him that. "I'd never thought of coming back here, never. It- I can easily tell you everything that happened to me in this house but once I go into those rooms… I've never told anyone the extent to which I was abused but I've told you and I- I don't know what to do. There are nothing but bad memories for me here or in California in general. I just… yea. I don't know what to do." I sigh for added effect before I run a hand through my hair.

Maybe today is the prime opportunity to finally get a haircut.

"How do you feel right now, being here?"

I feel like I should be productively treasure hunting, however, I have time. "Like shit. I hate this house and I hate all that it stands for. And I just- I don't understand why I still feel like this after all of these years."

Phoenix nods, his gaze filled with understanding as he stares at me. "What's happened to you isn't something that can be easily forgotten or relinquished. You were subjected to years of abuse by people who were supposed to grant you unconditional love and trust. I know you probably hate hearing this by now but getting past this sort of thing, it will take time and patience. And I'd like to be there every step of the way." His words of comfort are charming to say the least but I'm growing bored now.

Although, it's good to know that he's already prepared himself to be a part of my life for quite some time.

"I know and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to move past this and maybe even… maybe one day I'll even be able to forgive them." Those words burn a bit as they leave my mouth.

Forgiveness… there is no such thing as forgiveness. I can forgive you but I'll never forget… So many people toss that particular phrase around and it simply reinforces the fact that forgiveness is as nonexistent as unconditional love. If one can't forget, then they'll never "forgive". With that being the case, no one will ever be able to absolve any incident or occurrence- they'll simply harbor and retain the memory of any given negative incident whilst physically overlooking it and pretending that all is right in the world.

Such a thing breeds weakness.

I, on the other hand, will never fall into the trap of unrelenting pardons.

Phoenix smiles a bit. "I'd like to help you achieve that." He leans on the table, his focus entirely centered on me. "And this is a good starting point."

"How so?" Feigning ignorance takes a lot out of me and far more patience than most can comprehend. I'm beginning to grow weary of this game so it'd be best if he quickly moved this all along.

"We'll turn California, or rather, Santa Monica into a pleasant memory as opposed to a negative one." Phoenix stands and stretches a bit. My gaze follows the contours of lean muscle outlined by the thinning fabric of his shirt. I wonder if he knows how tempting he is. "Tell me something that you've always wanted to do but never had the chance to. Or better yet, what commercialized attraction comes to mind when you hear the word California?"

There are so many remarks nipping at the tip of my tongue and begging to be spoken but the majority of them aren't suited for where I intend for things to go during this trip. Though I imagine I'd thoroughly enjoy his expression were I to say something as simple as Arnold's gravestone or a police station. For now, I'll settle with something rather childish. It should please him and make me appear… average.

I tilt my head to the side and stare at him curiously. "Disneyland?"

Phoenix's grin touches his eyes and exposes his dimples. "Disneyland it is. We can spend the rest of the day there. Unless you have things that you wanted to do here."

"No, I can come back later." Because what I have in store for this house significantly pales in comparison to the opportunity that he's presented me with. "But, if we're going to do this, I don't want you to treat me like I'm just another one of your patients. I want this to feel like I'm actually hanging out with a friend… not just trying to overlap my past with something nice."

"I wouldn't do this any other way."

I enjoy theme parks for several reasons. They provide an entirely different sample of people for me to observe and gather data on. It's not exactly my target population but the information I collect from watching the various groups of people and individuals roaming around is just as valuable. I also find pleasure in the short lived thrills that theme park attractions provide. To ride a rollercoaster or even to be turned this way and that… the minute spontaneity of such rides is an adrenaline rush. Knowing that there's the slimmest chance of death or perhaps being stuck upside down…

My blood rushes just thinking about it.

The unpredictable can be just as refreshing as predictability.

Aside from all of those things, what I've enjoyed examining and continue to enjoy examining is the way in which Phoenix behaves. From the instant we arrived, he's treated me as I would assume he's treated any of his friends or possibly his kin. None of his actions or topics in conversations are forced. He seems calm and collected yet so carefree…

I want to obliterate all that this man stands for. Phoenix, I'm sure, will be the treat of all treats. I long for his demise just as much as I lust for his body.

But I have so much work ahead of me when it comes to him. I still am not entirely sure as to which pattern his personality follows. I still hold uncertainties when it concerns his behaviors and actions which only further drives me to add him to my collection. I want to know the ranges of his emotions, to scour the depths of his psyche, to push the bounds of his morality… and then I can work towards decimating all that Phoenix Halverson is and claims to be.

That thin veil of mystery that still surrounds him, I will get rid of it.

I will learn Phoenix's weaknesses and use those to my advantage.

I'm looking forward to this.

"So… they said the wait for another funnel cake would be fifteen minutes or so because they needed to make some more batter but I didn't feel like waiting so we're sharing." Phoenix smirks as he pulls his chair closer to me and sits a plate between us.

I take a clip from my wristband and pin my bangs back. I need to stop putting off my haircut. "You got vanilla and chocolate ice cream right?"

When Phoenix looks at me he makes a face as if he's confused about something and then he smiles. "I did." He's staring at me, studying my face as though this is the first time he's seen it.

"What?" It's not often that my full face is on display but I doubt it gives reason to gawk.

He shrugs before he picks up his spoon. "You look relaxed... at least more than usual."

Ah, so that's it. To a certain degree, he's correct. "I guess… Did you get my pistachios?" It's better to derail him from that train of thought lest he slips back into psychiatrist mode.

I need him to be vulnerable.

He frowns and pushes the small bag towards me. "I don't get why you like these."

"How can you not like them?"

"Easy, they taste like shit." Phoenix starts in on our funnel cake sundae.

I stare at him momentarily before I open my bag. "Have you ever actually tasted shit?"

He pauses mid scoop. "Have you?"



"Then how can you infer that my nuts taste like something you've never had before?" That sentence is riddled with innuendo and only furthered by my pushing a pistachio past my plump lips and into my mouth, my finger lingering as I lick the salt.

Phoenix is watching. "Fine. They taste like ass."

At that, I laugh because this man… his sense of humor is juvenile and he's so capricious at times. Waiting to have him is a sweet sort of torture.

Before I can reply to his rather bold statement, my cellphone starts to ring and this is a call that I can't ignore. "Save that thought. I'll be right back."

Brendan, Brendan, Brendan… He's called me every day since we met at that party. He's becoming an obedient puppy.

"Shouldn't you be at practice?" I watch Phoenix from where I'm standing and I'm not the least bit surprised when two girls approach him.

He'll probably take their numbers just as he has with all of the other women who've had the gall to talk to him. Phoenix is in every right a gorgeous man that exudes a subtle sort of confidence. A luring tactic perhaps… He also has an exotic allure. Black hair, hazel eyes that shift between honey brown and forest green depending upon the lighting, tall, lean… he's the ideal mate for a majority of the women in this world.

"Practice ended a while ago. Are you busy?" Brendan's husky voice easily rouses me from my thoughts and reminds me that it's been a few days since the last time I've captured release beneath the skill of another.

Were he here… "I am. I'm not even in Seattle actually." I can picture the puzzled look casting shadows over his face as we speak. I didn't mention to him that I was going out of town- I consider it part of his punishment.

"When do you get back? I'll take you somewhere before I go home." Or he could simply indulge me tomorrow considering his family home is in Sacramento.

"Monday but that's when you're leaving… I'm in California you know. I'm staying at this hotel in Santa Monica… if you left earlier, we could meet in LA Saturday evening." I know he'll come.

Brendan is even more eager to tame me now than before so he'll come. He wants to dominate me because he feels as though I'm taking some claim to him. He doesn't want that, at least not until he's sure or assured of his hold on me. It won't be long now before I can begin tearing him apart piece by gorgeous piece.

He hums thoughtfully for a moment. "I could do that."

"Good, then I'll see you tomorrow. We can catch up…" My tone is suggestive enough for him to comprehend what I'm saying. I'm sure he's anxious.

"Yea… later baby."

I shut my phone and head towards the table where I abandoned Phoenix. The two women from earlier are still loitering nearby so perhaps I'll give them something to stare at. When I sit down and glance at our funnel cake sundae, I notice he's nearly finished it off.

"I'm gone for five minutes and you eat everything?"

Phoenix smiles somewhat apologetically but my eyes focus on the ice cream dribble at the corner of those teasing lips. "It was melting."

"Hmm…" I pick up my spoon, however, I forgo the sundae in favor of carefully dragging the tip of my spoon over his slightly parted mouth to the corner of his bottom lip where some sundae remains. While staring at him, I ease the spoon towards my own mouth, my tongue delicately easing out to taste the flavors. "Not bad… but it needs more nuts."

Phoenix is, most probably, resisting the urge to gape. As are the two women standing near the concession stand who watched this entire ordeal.

But, as expected of Phoenix, he recovers quickly. "Then it'd taste like ass."

I laugh as a push a spoonful of ice cream into my mouth. "Do I even want to know why you'd know what ass taste like?"

He raises a dark brow and the corner of his mouth twitches upwards. "Do you?"

In due time, I'm sure I'll personally know the answer to that question.


A/N: So I really have seventhswan to thank for getting me to put out something... again. This time I had all of the inspiration in the world but I was stuck. Now I am un-stuck. It's a fantastic feeling.

Anyway, reading feedback about the characters in this story is very entertaining, keep it coming. I love the mixed reviews about well... everyone really. People seem to hate to love Dalton or love to hate him.

Sorry it took so long. There was going to be a shit ton more to this chapter but I thought wrapping it up here would be for the best because the next chapter... well... yea. Until next time?

Also, to the unsigned reviewers, thank you so much.

Anywho, if you dig it or have any questions, drop me a line. Thanks for reading and certainly thank all who've reviewed.