"What the fu*k does that mean?" Ethan was speaking. His judging was starting to irritate me. Did the kid ever just shut up? I was beginning to think the answer to that question was a big, resounding "no".
I ignored him, the same way I had been doing for the past half hour. I was trying to think. The sun was going to be coming up shortly. I dropped my head into my hands, my mind wandering to Bella. She'd been underwater for going on five hours now. That was a long time to be left alone, not really having any idea what was going on. Though at least she wasn't panicked about hunters the way I had been for the first few hours of this. I still couldn't believe I'd been so stupid. How could I just assume things like that? Was it because I was afraid of failing her, of not protecting her properly? That seemed to be the most logical reason.
I was better than that, though. Not better than protecting her, of course, but better than jumping to conclusions and acting rashly. I was smarter. It was bothering me beyond belief that I'd acted on such an impulse and wasted so much valuable time. And for the second time today, a thought hit me full force, powerful enough to make me wonder if I was being hit by a semi.
Bella was underwater.
Bella, the vampire that can throw fu*king fire, was under fu*king water.
Somehow, this didn't seem safe. I pushed myself off the floor quickly and shoved my way passed Ethan. I muttered a quick 'thanks' and took off running towards the beach I'd left Bella at. I came short at the edge of the woods bordering the ocean, skidding to a stop as her scent hit me full force. Well, she wasn't under water. I scanned the beach for her and there she was, curled up into herself just where the waves couldn't reach. I could still smell the cigarette smoke in the air. Realizing she was safe, I could breathe again.
I hadn't even noticed it was a problem before.
I frowned to myself, leaning my back against a tree and sliding to the ground to bury my face in my hands. I'd never felt so stupid in my life. Where was my gift now, when I fu*king needed it? This wasn't how it usually worked.
I thought about something.
I knew it.
It was that fu*king simple.
Except for now. Maybe I wasn't thinking about the right thing?
Bella throws fireballs. What else is there to think about, really? Why she was throwing fireballs?
Fu*k me. I was such a fu*king moron. Of course.
I hopped up to my feet and bolted across the sand, slowing to a jog so I wouldn't startle her. She heard me approaching and threw herself to her feet, jumping into my arms and clinging to me tightly.
"I was worried about you! Where the fu*k were you?!" I smiled into her hair, hiding it because it would only infuriate her if she thought I found her panic funny. I didn't, I simply couldn't ignore the joy I felt that she cared enough to worry.
"I'm sorry, baby. I... I was stupid." There really wasn't any other way of saying it.
"Stupid? Why, what happened?" She pulled back a little so she could meet my eyes, presumably to scan my face to figure out what I meant. I frowned again.
"I acted on impulse, I wasn't thinking properly. If I had taken a second to think, I wouldn't have gone tearing through town looking for someone that wasn't there."
"I'm not following, James." I sighed. I hated telling people about my gifts. So I didn't.
"Your DNA reacted to one of those dormant chemicals, Bell." She completely released her hold on me, startled, but luckily I was holding onto her as well so she didn't drop to the ground.
"It did? That's the reason for the... fireballs?"
"How do you know that?"
"The same way I know everything else." She understood. Bella knew there was something different about the way I knew things, but she also understood how uncomfortable I was talking about things like that. She let it go, trusting me. She'd once told me that she'd never bet against Alice, then she'd smirked and said "But if it were between you and Alice, I'd never bet against you."
"So I throw fireballs, then?" She was grinning from ear to ear as if she'd just made the funniest joke ever told. I couldn't help but laugh with her.
"Well, you did once. You will again when you learn."
"I tried again. I think I'm waterlogged." I perked my brow up at her. Clearly she hadn't just been wasting her time here.
"Oh? Nothing happened?"
"I sparked." She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly, as if everyone threw fireballs and everyone would understand what she meant when she said "sparked". Shit, she was cute. I chuckled again and leaned in to kiss her nose. She let her arms rest around my neck again, locking her legs behind my back. It took nothing longer than a second before I felt a wave of heat crash into me. I met her gaze and her brown eyes were smoldering beneath her lashes. Instantly, she crushed her lips to mine heavily and I had no choice. My hands were in her hair, digging for a grip and pulling her harder against me. I was biting on her lip and throwing our bodies to the beach, the impact tossing stray granules of sand flying around us. Her tongue was fighting with mine for control, her damp dress soaking my clothes and her long, delicate fingers scratching at my back. I broke away from her lips, dragging my teeth along her neck until I was halted by the top of her dress. I growled and reached up my right hand from her hip, ripping an opening in the dress that revealed her collarbones to me. My mouth was on them the second my eyes could see them, magnetically pulled to her skin. My right hand was back on her hip, mimicking my left hand, and pressing my fingers into her skin. I pulled her roughly upwards, crushing our bodies into each other. She let out a soft moan and I realized there really was no going back for me.
I'd seen her walking around my house in her tiny little underpants and a tank top, swimming nude, dancing slowly to the jazz beats in the kitchen wearing almost nothing. This was the culmination of all of those moments, every single time I thought "No, leave it be. She'll come to you." And she did. Now.
Eventually, we searched for our garments (or what was left of them) and pulled on what we had. I'd bolted out of the water and to the woods, scooping up her clutch on the way and waiting for her there. It was almost nine in the morning and there would be people milling about the beach, so we wanted to just get home quickly. She came crashing towards me, our bodies colliding, laughing as we tumbled to the leaves and pine needles of the forest floor. I kissed her soft mouth lightly, reveling in the noises that I could now hear.