The sunlight shining into the large window of the bedroom was what woke me up. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, like I wasn't quite ready for acknowledging something. I rolled over onto the side opposite the enormous bay window, the smooth feel of silk sheets gliding across my skin eliciting a gentle hum from my throat. Wait. I shouldn't be able to feel the sheets directly on my skin. Where were my clothes? My eyes shot open and I immediately looked down at my mostly naked figure. I shrieked to myself and grabbed the sheet, yanking it up around my chest and tucking it under my arms. How had this -
No. There was no need to question this. I knew what happened. I was a moron. I looked around the room frantically. It was empty, the door to what I could only assume was an adjacent bathroom was shut. There didn't seem to be any noise coming from inside. I stood up and searched the room for my clothes. I found my panties on the floor at the foot of the bed. I looked around some more as I slipped them on. There was my tank top across the room hanging off a cushy looking chair. I walked over and pulled it on, allowing the blanket to drop. Then I was standing in James's bedroom in my lacy white panties and my beater. Where the fu*k were my pants? My eyes went over the bedroom repeatedly until finally landing on the lamp near the bed.
Scraps of material hung over it.
I cursed under my breath as I walked over and picked them up. Yep. These were the remnants of my skinny jeans, all right.
I was not walking into the kitchen in my panties.
I walked over to the dark dresser and opened up the middle drawer. Most everyone put underwear in the top, I certainly wasn't going to go riffling through his underwear drawer. I checked the label on a pair of shorts. Way too big. I sighed to myself, deciding I needed to brush my teeth and check my appearance in the mirror before I decided what to put on over my underwear.
I opened the door and locked it behind me. Hanging from a towel rack was a pair of my own pants and a clean t-shirt. He must have gotten them from my duffle bag for me. Resting on a small table beside the large old-fashioned tub sat a matching set of bra and panties. I sighed to myself. I didn't want to think about what had happened. I certainly didn't want to think about James taking the time to set out fresh clothes for me. Or the wonderful plump towel that was beneath the clean underwear. On the small shelving unit near the shower, he’d set out my shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant. My toothbrush sat unassumingly in the free slot beside his on the wall mounted holder over the sink.
He really shouldn't have done all of this. It was only encouraging my behavior. It occurred to me that what had happened would need to be addressed. That sinking feeling I got in my stomach when I woke up? It just about tripled in size and, like a lead weight, hit the bottom of my feet heavily.
It was nearly nine in the morning. I didn't know what she'd told Charlie, but it probably wasn't much and I certainly didn't need him going on a manhunt for her. I marched back into the bedroom, yanking the curtains open and leaving.
It was bright enough that she would be awake soon.
It was a pansy move. I knew that.
Twenty minutes later she was in the bathroom. Within five minutes she was in the kitchen. I was sitting on a stool facing the small island with my back to her. There was a plate of donuts sitting to my side and a glass of milk. There was a smaller one of orange juice beside it. I hated myself.
I said nothing. I knew what she was going to say. I didn't want to think about it. I couldn't look at her. The anger was boiling in my stomach. I was angry at myself, for one, for ever bothering to begin with. Clearly she was completely out of my reach. But what hurt the most was that she came here. And now it was a mistake. She made a choice and now, whether I wanted to be or not, I was part of a problem. She had kissed me. I hadn't done anything to instigate the events of last night. In fact, I had reigned things in. She had asked for more. I had made a decision that I thought was for the best, I had figured she should be in a better state when she made the decision to actually have sex with someone. Clearly I was right.
But even with my attempts to keep things from going too far, they had. I locked my jaw tightly. I couldn't say anything to her. I would blow up. My temper would get the better of me and I would scare her off and then I would have no chance to fix things. No chance at all.
"James, I'm really sorry about last night."
I shrugged. I still didn't look at her. "Have a donut," I grumbled and lifted myself from the stool before walking to the counter by the sink and taking the coffee pot from its burner and pouring some into a mug. I grabbed the creamer from the fridge and slammed both of them onto the island. There was already sugar there. Even facing the island, knowing she was only a few feet in front of me and all I had to do was lift my eyes, I still couldn't bring myself to look at her. I turned around again and let my hands fall against the sides of the sink, staring out through the small window above it.
"I never should have come. I never... I never should have done what I did last night."
And here it comes.
"It was a mistake."
There was the fury I was waiting for, the tremor of vicious, unbridled rage. I ground my teeth together and shut my eyes, my entire body becoming tense. I held my breath. I counted backwards from fifty. By the time I hit ten, there was no stopping what came from my mouth.
"Yeah, using me was a pretty low fu*king thing to do, Bella." I heard her shuffle where she stood. "In fact, it's probably best you got it out of your system now. That way you aren't dragging me along."
"Fu*k you, James."
"You tried," I spat. The venom was pooling in my mouth. I had no choice but to swallow it down.
"You're a fu*king prick, you know that?"
"Me? Yeah, Bella, I am. But at least I don't go around using people."
"I didn't see you fighting me last night, James! Take some fu*king credit why don't you?"
"I was hardly fu*king using you, Bella. In case you forget, I was the only one practicing any level of restraint." I turned around and leaned the small of my back against the counter top. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at her, finally meeting her eyes. She was furious, perhaps almost as furious as I was. Her little hands were balled up into fists at her side and her shoulders were tense. I wanted to soothe her, to rub the tension from her shoulders and smell her hair.
I hated myself even more, and in turn, my anger only grew.
"Yeah, James. Clearly ripping my pants apart was practicing restraint." Her voice was level, fueled by animosity.
"I didn't see you fu*king complaining."
That cocky sonofabit*h with his blazing green eyes and strong jaw and fierce body. Fu*k him. Fu*k him sideways.
"Fu*k you sideways, James. You're being ridiculous." I reached down to the duffle bag that was near the island and pulled out my cigarettes and lighter. I lit up right there in his kitchen, breathing in the smoke and praying it would keep me in check.
Here I was pissing off vampires again. And this one was beginning to frighten me.
"I sure as fu*king hell don't need this right now, James."
"Christ, Bella. I'm sorry. Next time you use me I'll make sure not to inconvenience you with the consequences."
"Go to hell."
"Oh, I'm being immature? What about you, James? You'd think that someone your age would be able to handle himself better around a little eighteen year old human girl. Maybe even practice some control."
"Sorry, babe, but throwing yourself at anyone has its consequences. Regardless of how long they've been around." His voice was bitter and I wondered why I had to leave so much destruction everywhere I went.
"What the fu*k is your issue, James?"
He was silent, his eyes burning into mine from across the room.
Strange as it was, I felt myself go a little weak in the knees. As scared as I knew I should be, and mind you, I certainly was feeling the beginnings of fear here, all I could think about was him ripping off my jeans.
And maybe a bit of how I'd like for him to do it again.
"It's none of your concern, Bella. I'm a mistake, I'll deal with it." His emphasis was clear.
"Don't brush me off like that."
"Don't fu*king act like you give a shit!" His voice wasn't so much a yell as it was a roar, the air around me vibrating with it. I shivered. Okay, I was scared.
"I do give a shit, James. What the fu*k is wrong with you?" The cigarette was not helping. I was pulsing with my own anger and his stupid reactions weren't helping, either.
"Edward, Bella. Edward is what is fu*king wrong with me. And while we're talking about him, he's clearly what is wrong with you, too."
He did not just cross that line, I thought, even as his words sank in and left me reeling from the blow to my awareness.
"Don't talk about him." My voice was low, menacing even to me. I thought, for a moment, that I saw a moment of sheer panic cross James's face.
Had I just frightened a vampire?
"I'll talk about whatever I want, Bella. This is my house. If you dislike my conversation you’re welcome to get the fu*k out."
“Could you be more resentful of me? I don’t understand why you’re so devastated by this! My entire life is in a whirlwind and I’m terrified and I’m sorry but I made a fu*king mistake.”
“Bella – the only thing holding you back from me is Edward. Don’t pin this on your father or your nightmares or the shock therapy. I’ve done nothing except try to help you pick up your pieces and keep going but at every fucking turn you reject me. Because of him – the moron that left.”
He wouldn’t drop it. He simply wouldn’t shut up. He refused to take the hint. "I don't need you to pick up my fu*king pieces, James. I'm a big girl."
"Yeah, obviously. Because big girls run to someone's house and throw themselves at said person and regret it the next morning."
Gah. What did he want from me?
"I can't say it wasn't a mistake, James. It was stupid."
I watched in silence as James stepped towards me. Closer. I stepped back when he was right up to me, his eyes so enraged that I, for once, feared for my life. Really feared for it. I’d been less terrified when Laurent held my life in his hands. My knees were wobbly. My breath was hitching in my throat. But that wasn't the fear. No, even I had to admit that every single deliberate and vicious step he took was sending shivers of excitement down my spine.
I was fu*ked up.
"Stupid, Bella? That's really fu*king fair." His voice was low. He was inches from me. His breath danced across my skin. "It could have been worse, you know."
"I guess this is how it's done then, James." I paused before blurting out, "Good thing I didn't fu*k you, then." I don't know why I said that. Maybe I was pushing him. Maybe I wanted to see what would happen. And boy did something happen.
The growl started in his chest, moved up his throat and when it finally escaped his mouth, my entire body was crying for him. I didn't move, I didn't back down. I refused to let the stupid pleasure show. So I stared into his eyes, determined not to flinch. He was visibly shaking with his fury.
Then he hit the wall behind my head and I heard it crumple under his fist. It didn't sound like any other time someone had punched through a wall. No, I actually heard the entire wall behind me crumple to the ground.
"Fu*k. You. Bella."