Claiming Addison

By: Zoey Derrick

“It’s gorgeous,” I say as I reach to take it from Talon.

“We bought two different bottoms for it. One is a matching skirt, so when you put it together it looks like a dress. The other is a pair of black jeans,” Kyle informs me.

“So what’s in the bag?” I point to what’s in his hand and a wicked gleam dances in his eyes and he hands the bag over to me. I take it, pulling out the unmarked silver box from inside. The box is big so it is obviously shoes. I toss the bag aside and balance the box on my left hand and open the lid. I nearly drop the whole thing when I see what’s inside. “No fucking way.” I don’t need an explanation on the designer. The signature red sole is enough of a dead giveaway. It’s a pair of purple suede platform pumps with no less than a five inch heel.

I’m not a prude, and I’ve spent a good amount of money on shoes, but never in my life have I paid more than three or four hundred dollars. These shoes set them back no less than a thousand dollars. “This is way too much. I can’t accept these.” I try and hand the box over to Talon and he refuses to take it. “Seriously. This is too much, all of this is just way too much.” I run a mental total in my head, not counting what’s in the black bag and it has to be more than ten grand worth of stuff. “At least let me pay for all of this?”

Talon clenches his chest dramatically, but I can see it’s in good fun. “We can’t take it back, sorry.” He shrugs.

I shake my head. “I mean it, guys, this is all way too much.”

“You work hard and you deserve it,” Kyle says.

“Kate worked hard too and look what happened,” I bite back.

“That’s not fair. That’s different. This is different,” Kyle argues.

“Why, because you’re sleeping with me?” Both guys flinch and I immediately want to take back my words, but I don’t. I have to stand my ground somehow.

“No,” Talon growls at me, the look in his eyes is furious and I step back. My heart pounds in my chest. “We bought this stuff for you because you deserve something nice, something special, and something that is uniquely you and something we both know damn well you wouldn’t do for yourself. Addison, it is obvious to both Kyle and I that you spend so much time taking care of everyone else, making sure that everyone else is taken care of that you barely recognize when it’s time to do something for you.”

I scoff. “I bought tattoos last night, those were for me.”

I watch as Talon calms down a little bit with my words, but he’s still furious. “Yes, but who outside of your tattoo artist is ever going to see those pieces of art? No one. You barely even show off the beautiful piece of art you have on your back and that, Addison, is a real piece of art and it should be shown off and displayed proudly.”

Talk about whiplash. We went from them buying me clothes, to a pair of thousand dollar shoes, to attacking my character and insecurities. It’s just all way too damn much.

“It’s my body, it’s my choice what I want to do with it, or how I want to show it off. Did it ever occur to you that I don’t show it off because I don’t like to be ogled by everyone? Did it ever occur to you that there are personal reasons behind why I don’t show off my back tattoo? No, Talon, it didn’t, because if those occurred to you, you wouldn’t be standing here attacking me for something you don’t understand. I take care of everyone else because I don’t need someone taking care of me. I’ve been the one doing it for so long I don’t know any other way to live my life. Taking care of people is part of my job and it’s who I am. So when you’re ready to get off of your damn high and mighty kick, you can pack it up and take it back. I don’t need your clothes, I don’t need your money and for god’s sake, I don’t need your fucking pity.”

I throw the shoes down on the couch, pull off the top I’m wearing, and slide out of the jeans I have on as I stalk off toward the bedroom, leaving clothing crumbs in my path toward the bedroom doors. Reaching them, without turning around, I slam them shut, lock them and fall into a heap on the floor.

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