It had been three days since I found the CD. Three long, tiring days. It was Friday evening. I had done something kind of stupid. Kind of. Skipping school was the least of my concern. I had gotten on mapquest and estimated the distance from my house to the address printed on the CD. I figured it was James's home address. What else could it be? It was a twenty hour trip, give or take. I couldn't believe it when I read that. Twenty hours? James got there in just over two hours!
Then I was just impressed.
I wrote a note to Charlie. Saying I was staying at an unspecified friend's house the next night right after school, since I'd be in a mental institution for an unknown period of time. That would guilt him into not asking questions. I also made sure to say I would be leaving early for school the next morning. I didn't bother citing a reason. I just threw a duffle bag of spare clothes into the bed of my truck and hopped in the drivers seat. It had been eleven PM when I pulled out of Charlie's driveway. It was now seven in the evening as I pulled up in front of James's house. I recognized it immediately and was grateful for that. I'd been crying on and off for the entire drive. I had also gone without sleep.
I was exhausted, starving and emotionally wiped out. I must have looked a mess. I leaned my head against the steering-wheel and let myself have a good, hard cry before I made my way up to his door to beg him to not hate me. And, maybe, help me figure out what to do. The tears burned my sore eyes but that didn't stop them from coming, my shoulders heaved with the powerful hiccups of breath I managed to take. I had uploaded the songs to my iPod and, even though it was illegal, kept my earbuds in the entire drive. I listened to the same two songs the whole way here. They continued to play in my ears as I felt like my body was slowly ripping itself apart from the inside. Eventually, I got myself under control and wiped my face. I waited a few minutes for my eyes to become less puffy and my face to stop being so viciously blotchy. When I felt I was as presentable as I was going to get, I reached across the seat and grabbed my pack of cigarettes. I lit one as it hung between my lips and took a good, hard drag before I pushed the door of the cab open and tumbled my way out of the truck. I smoked to keep myself under control. I never removed my earbuds. The music somehow kept me reigned in. It kept me from wanting to kill myself. It kept me from wanting to kill other people.
It had saved numerous lives thus far.
I reached into the bed of the truck and grabbed the duffle bag, holding it firmly in my left hand as I smoked with my right. I had stopped in front of my side mirror on the truck and inspected myself. My comfortable grey zip-up short-sleeved hoodie looked wrinkled. My white beater beneath it looked really used. I glanced downward, hoping to find something decent upon my person. My dark blue skinny jeans stretched down my long legs and disappeared into my knee-high creamy tan boots. They didn't have heels, which was why I bought them. And they were cute. Like it mattered. I still looked like crap. I let the cigarette hang from my lips as I walked up the small sidewalk to the front door, my right hand fidgeting with my iPod in the pocket of my zip-up. I continued taking drags from my cigarette and blowing the smoke out of my nose, never needing to pull the cigarette from my lips. I had sort of become a chain smoker.
I released my iPod in my pocket and lifted my right hand to tap lightly on the door.
It had been three days since I left the CD on her pillow. She hadn't shown up. She wasn't going to. I lay on my bed, dry sobbing into my pillow, with my mp3 player repeatedly playing back the songs I had recorded for her.How pitiful. It was a stupid, cheesy idea to begin with. How I had let myself do it was beyond me, but what was even worse was how I had managed to run for two plus hours and set it on her pillow and still not see how fucking lame it was. No wonder she wasn't here.
I was a moron.
The pansy weeping continued.
Through the painful volume of the music in my ears, I heard a soft rapping on the door. Of course. Someone just had to be knocking so that they could see how much of a pussy I was. Figures. Salt in the wound. I pushed myself up and drug my hand across my face to hopefully shake the stupid sobbing look from it. I grabbed my beer from the bedside table in the hopes of making it look like my bloodshot eyes were from drinking and not sobbing. I yanked one earbud from my ear and walked to the door. I caught a whiff of something flowery. Freesia? Lilac? I sniffed again. And lavender. They were smells that reminded me of Bella. Fuck.
I yanked the door open, furious and bitter and more than ready to rip the head off of whoever it was that was disturbing me.
My beer bottle shattered when it hit the floor. I hadn't even noticed it had fallen out of my hand.
Bella stood at my door. Her own eyes were red and bloodshot and looked puffier than they should be. She had her own earbuds in. I let my eyes roll over her slowly. She couldn't really be here. She looked fantastic. Absolutely fucking gorgeous. Her skinny jeans hugged her thighs perfectly, making her legs look longer than they were. Her boots hid her calves from view, which really only made someone want to see them more, and as I let my eyes lift upwards again I enjoyed the look of her endless legs thoroughly. I began considering if I really was a leg man. I'd never really thought so before. My eyes roamed over her perfect little hips, sliding up her torso to see her zip-up, but more interestingly, the beat up white beater beneath that. It was clearly another skin on her, and beneath that she seemed to be wearing a lacy white bra. Moving on before I could make it obvious that's what I was noticing, I followed the flow of her long hair in it's big, gentle curves, with my eyes. There was a cigarette between her cotton-candy pink lips, and from the smell of it it was a menthol. Her lips looked glossy, and as the cigarette moved between her lips as she breathed in some smoke, I realized it was leaving a mark on the filter. Was she wearing lipstick? I met her eyes then. There was thick mascara around them, pulling the warm chocolate brown of her already large eyes out farther, making them the single most attractive thing I had ever seen in my life. Her brow was knitted together gently, those big brown eyes looking terribly sad. I realized my jaw was hanging open.
I closed it abruptly. She was looking at me closely. I ripped the other earbud from my ear and dropped it, letting it dangle in front of my chest.
"Bella." I choked on her name. I was ready to swear she was a hallucination. When I said her name, she dropped something on the stoop beside her. My eyes darted down to see it. A duffle bag? How had I missed that? Oh. Right.
I shook my head to clear the image. It wasn't exactly the reality of what I had seen. More of a dirty fantasy of what I'd like to see. I shook my head again.
"James." Her voice was tiny, I could hear the music from her earbuds more than I could hear her voice. Wait. The music from her earbuds. It sounded exactly like the music coming from my earbuds. I listened harder, the need to be sure that I wasn't just hearing my own earbuds was overwhelming. But I was right, hers fifteen seconds ahead of mine. My inanimate heart leapt with joy.
She was listening to the songs I recorded for her.
As I figured this out, my eyes never left her face. I watched her right hand reach up and yank the cigarette from her lips. She dropped it on the stoop and crushed it beneath her boot.
"Christ, Bella. I can't believe you're here."
Apparently, she didn't need any further encouragement. She bent down and grabbed her bag, stepping towards me to enter the house, looking more of a woman than I'd ever seen her. Oh, Christ. This was not good for my self-control. I took a step back, making room for her to enter into the kitchen. Once she was fully in the house, her left leg lifted and smoothly pushed the door shut behind her. It was but a light tap and yet the door swung closed completely. She didn't stop moving.
She dropped her bag again.
She took three more steps towards me. I didn't back up. Within a moment, she was close enough that I could feel her body heat. My skin was screaming for me to close the microscopic distance between us. I let my gaze move up to her eyes. The second our eyes met, she pressed her lips to mine fully.
At the same time as her lips crushed against mine, I could feel her entire body pressed against me. I lost control of my own actions.
My arms were around her waist, she was lifted from the ground and in response, she wrapped her fantastic long legs around my hips. Her arms wrapped around my neck and she turned her head slightly, making the kiss deeper. Her mouth was open against mine and I had no idea how to bring my limbs back into my control. I was walking towards my bedroom. I was slamming the door behind us. I was pinning her to my bed. My tongue was in her mouth.