I locked my jaw tightly, shutting my eyes and focusing all of my attention on banning Edward from my mind permanently. I dug my fingers into the sand at my sides. The anger over everything I'd been going through lately was bubbling up in my chest, frothing and swishing in my ribcage. For the first time in my life, I felt wild. I finally understood the biggest difference between vampires and humans. Yes, there was the speed, the thirst, the strength, the sheer power.
But now I understood the danger. The feeling of a wild animal pacing in your ribcage. Where humans had a heart, vampires had a beast growling and snapping and furious in it's place. Or maybe it was just me.
I felt like a caged animal.
I could focus on nothing except for the lean monster that had consumed my chest. The hole in my chest was no longer a concern in the way it had been. It was only a concern in the way that I momentarily wondered if this creature would burst through the opening and leave me here on the beach, empty and lifeless. I narrowed my focus down even more, zeroing in on the feeling in my chest.
That's when I realized it wasn't an animal at all. I was the animal. This thing in my chest was something different entirely. And it was beautiful and it licked it's way around the bones of my ribs and it jumped and glowed and incinerated everything. I imagined myself pulling this wondrous power from my chest, threading it through my veins until it reached my palm. I imagined pushing it out through my skin with force, bursting through the thin layers of epidermis. The sound of something exploding broke me from my focus and my eyes snapped open. I stood quickly, my eyes darting around everywhere but nothing was to be seen. Even in the light of day, there wasn't a trace of anything except for me.
Then I caught a whiff of something burning. My eyes flew down to my feet and I stumbled backwards at the sight before me. The section of sand I'd been kneeling on was charred. Sand was supposed to heat up and become glass, wasn't it? How fu*king hot did I get that section? I looked at my palms, panicked, but nothing seemed amiss judging by my skin. I glanced down at my legs and realized that the comfortable jeans I'd thrown on to go running in were completely burnt. There was nothing left except a few shreds of material here and there, dangling and fried. Luckily, it had only caught the lower sections of my jeans, the burning stopped about mid-thigh.
This was ridiculous. I had been on fire and not even realized it.
Bella slid open the glass door just as I was setting my guitar back on the stand. She looked beaten, with her burned pants and her tussled hair. I said her name quietly, not wanting to aggrivate her, and her eyes snapped up to me. That's when I was worried. She looked... wild, for lack of a better word. Her warm brown eyes were frantic and burning beneath her eyelashes. She stepped towards me and I couldn't help but back up once. I didn't know if she was worse or better from when she'd left. She was completely different.
I'd never seen this side of her before.
Her hand reached out and her fingers grazed my cheek gently. Well, that was something. I let my posture relax a little, sighing into her palm and placing a chaste kiss there. Her hand slid down from my face to my neck and I watched the look in her eyes. Something was terribly amiss here. She wasn't meeting my gaze the way she normally would, instead, she was staring fixedly at my throat. Her hand slid down a bit more, her palm pressing against the front of my shoulder. Then she pushed.
And I was pressed against the wall behind me, my shoulder actually feeling a little bit like it might crumple beneath the force of her hand. I managed to croak out her name again, startled and confused, and her eyes flickered up to mine before returning down to my neck. She stepped closer, the weight of her hand never lessening, and then she bit me. Suddenly, I could explain the look in her eyes, the way she moved.
Bella was feeling the thirst for the first time on her own. Really feeling it. I relaxed slightly, still pinned violently against the wall, as she sucked on my neck with a sick viciousness that was oddly un-like her. I wasn't going to stop her, she could feed as long as she wanted. That was a perk to my blood. She wouldn't need to drain me. The amount she would even be physically capable of consuming would be less than a quarter of what she would need to consume to even subdue the thirst were she drinking from a human.
Finally, she broke away and when her eyes met mine I swear she would have blushed if she could. She dropped her hand and shook her head, lifting her other hand to press against her temple.
"I... I, I'm sorry James. I don't know what just happened."
I leaned forward and kissed her forehead, shaking my head and wrapping my arms around her. "Shh. It was the thirst, I know that."
"But I've never felt like that..."
"You've never been thirsty before." At my response, she relaxed. She finally trusted that I wasn't upset or bothered, and she leaned herself into my arms with a sigh. It was time for something less serious, less upsetting. And even though I wanted nothing more than to ask her why her pants were burned off of her body, I knew she needed a break. Bella had had a long day, no one wants to deal with the things she'd been dealing with. "What do you say we watch a movie, baby? Something to take your mind off things." A light nod into my shoulder was all the response I got, so I lifted her off her feet and tossed her to the couch, jumping on her from across the room and smirking down at her.
I tickled her until she threatened to pummel me when I wasn't looking.
The movie was long, long enough that by the time it was over I wasn't even worried about Bella's physical state after her clear brush with fire. She was snuggled into my chest, my feet propped up on the table in front of us, her legs stretched out along the length of the couch. She seemed to enjoy the movie, laughing frequently and arguing with the screen when she didn't agree with something one of the characters did. She was absolutely adorable as she popped mini chocolate chip cookies into her mouth and her eyes darted around the screen as she watched all the movements. I brushed some stray hair from her face with my hand, studying her more than watching the movie.
This stunning woman lying against me was mine.
In every way. The thought brought a smirk to my face that even I had to admit was irrefutably smug.
She was mine in every way and she'd liked it.