Chapter TwelveMature

BPOV

I woke up feeling empty the next morning. I hated what I'd done to James. The last moment he was at my window was the worst.

Even after I'd pulled the blanket over my head, he'd remained outside for a good minute and a half. I was pretty sure he was crying, or at least the best attempt at it that a vampire can put forth.

"Bella, please." His voice was weak, sore from his dry crying, still filled with the sobs. My heart ached. The hole in my chest that Edward created throbbed violently. I tightly wrapped my arms around myself as my own sobs wracked my body.

"Move on, James. Just move on." And then I heard him hit the ground.

I sighed and tried to push the memory of last night out of my head. He was probably mad at me. Why else would he have let me hear his landing? It was similar to my slamming a door. I looked around my room and my eyes landed on my abused alarm clock. It occurred to me then that I had no idea what time it was. I jumped up and ran to the alarm clock, bringing it back to the side dresser and plugging it back in. It seemed to be in working order. It lit up with the time immediately. Eight ten. Fuck. I was late. Awesome. Just what I wanted. I headed into the bathroom to get ready, not bothering to rush because I was already late so it didn't really matter.

When I was finished getting dressed, I lifted my backpack onto my shoulder and was about to walk out my door when I tripped over my own shoelace and fell backwards. My tailbone hit the hardwood and I yelped loudly, rolling onto my side to relieve pressure, and realized that one of the floorboards had come up beneath me. Shit, how do I fix that before Charlie notices? Of course. Had to be today. I let my backpack fall off my shoulder and rolled to face the lifted floorboard, ignoring the pain in my ass. I looked at the open end and nearly fell backwards again. Was something under there? I grabbed the edge with my right hand and pulled the board up further. It moved slowly and I had to put some force behind it but it eventually lifted enough for me to see it's contents.

The pictures. The CD. He had put them in here to hide them from me. What. An. Asshole.

The anger was back. Tenfold. I threw the CD at the wall and stomped out of my room, snatching my backpack up quickly on my way, and true to form I slammed the door behind me. There was a note on the table from Charlie. He'd scheduled another session for today.

Of fucking course.

The ride to school was tiring. I wanted to speed. My truck said no. We bickered. It was pathetic. Halfway to school I pulled into a gas station to fill up and, as I stood there pumping my gas, I debated a way for me to calm down. Something to ease my stress. Maybe water-down my fury. I looked into the window of the gas station and watched someone pay for a pack of cigarettes. I'd never smoked before.

I'd also never been this angry so often before.

I went in and bought the same cigarettes I'd seen the other person buying. Camel Menthols. And a lighter. It was red.

School was about the same as yesterday, except today Mike didn't ask me anything and when Jess glowered at me across the room in class I simply smirked and pointed at one of the football players. She didn't bother looking at me for the rest of the day.

During lunch I went outside and had a smoke. My first. It was harsh. I didn't cough though, which I was surprised about. I smoked the whole thing slowly and put it out on the cement before tossing it into one of the outside trash cans. When I stood up I nearly passed out, I felt so lightheaded. It was kind of relaxing once I got passed the rush. I didn't feel the need to rip into anyone for a while.

So I had another one on the way to the therapist. When I walked in the receptionist glared at me as if she was worried I'd give her boss a heart-attack. Well, if I did all I could think to say was that sometimes people just have things coming.

I sat through the entire session without saying a single word. When he mentioned Edward again, I simply pulled out my pack of cigarettes and lit one up. When I took a nice long drag from it, I blew the smoke out of my nose despite the slight nausea I was feeling from having two in such a short span of time. He just stared at me in shock. After a few more drags, I leaned forward and ashed right into his folder. He didn't mention Edward for the rest of the session.

Instead he talked about how I shouldn't smoke. I kept ashing on his desk.

Later, Charlie wasn't too fond of that. Nor was he fond of my smoking. I was beyond caring.

JPOV

"Bella, please." My voice was unfamiliar. It had been a long time since I'd cried and hearing the tears in my voice now shook me. She had rolled over and pulled the blanket over her face. I wanted to open the window and comfort her, to wrap her in my arms and tell her that shutting people out wouldn't help. That I could help her. Somehow. I wouldn't open the window without her permission, though. I was pretty sure that's what she was banking on. Then came her voice.

"Move on, James. Just move on." The pain in my chest crashed through me. I fell out of the tree as I tried to hold my ribcage together. The sobs kept me from breathing for a long while as I lay there beneath her window. I watched the sky change colors from that spot, hearing Charlie leave, and still the sobs pounded through me. What had I been thinking? I never should have kissed her. It pushed her away from me. Christ, I was so stupid.

I forced myself to stand up and walk into the woods. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and took a deep breath, the moist morning air filling my lungs. I didn't know what else to do, so I ran.

I ran home.

But that was stupid because the second I walked in the door, her smell hit me like a brick wall. I forced myself to walk through the kitchen and into my bedroom, shutting the door and opening the window in the hopes of at least airing out the room if her smell managed to sneak in somehow. I laid down on my bed, my left arm tucked under my head and my right hand searching for the mp3 player in my pocket. I put my earbuds in and turned on something soothing.

The music washed over me gently and I felt my muscles relax. The pain in my chest eased up slowly, dissipating with the melancholic chords, until I finally felt a little bit better. Eventually, I turned the music off and went into the adjoining bathroom. I liked how small the house was, it was quaint. I didn't need a lot of room to move around indoors. I preferred running around outside. The beach was perfect for that. I owned two and a half miles of the beach, part of the deal I got when I built this house, so the beach was always secluded. I debated going for a swim. The idea appealed to me so I turned around to go outside instead of shower like I'd planned. I caught my reflection in the mirror. My eyes were puffy, even though I didn't shed any tears, and the usually unnoticeable bags under my eyes seemed darker. My facial hair was growing in. That, however, wasn't something strictly to ancients. A lot of vampires continue to grow their hair after they've been changed. Especially if, during life, their hair would grow faster than most. Mine did. It was slower now, as a vampire, but it still happened. And since I was changed in my early twenties, it happened even more frequently. Had I been changed before my body was done changing from adolescence to adulthood, it would be a fifty-fifty shot.

I liked my facial hair, so I was grateful. I rubbed my hand over it roughly, turning my face in the mirror to see both sides. I figured I'd let it grow in a while.

I stripped out of my clothes and walked, nude, into my bedroom to riffle through my drawers for a swimsuit. The cool water would, hopefully, distract me from the memory of last night. I could already feel the pain in my chest increasing again.

The End

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