Chapter Twenty NineMature


The thing I had never planned for about being a vampire was simple, and in truth it was something I should have considered immediately. Being a vampire, without my idealistic dream of having Edward to ogle at the whole time, was incredibly boring. So boring, in fact, that I actually picked up a few hobbies I never would have expected.

Like painting.

I made an unreasonable mess whenever I attempted it, but James always laughed at it and hosed down the porch with me. We'd become very much like a married couple, except for the sex. Well, the way some people talk about the rarities of sex during marriage makes me think that maybe we nailed the marriage concept. We'd only had sex once, beneath the ocean, and for some reason it was never talked about. If I had to guess at why James avoided it, I would have to say he felt guilty. He probably thought he'd done some horrible thing and taken advantage of me. I never brought it up because I was insecure and I assumed he wasn't interested in it anymore because I hadn't been good enough. It was more paranoia than actual fact, I knew he had enjoyed himself. It was a matter of convincing myself that he would enjoy it again that was the problem.

With the exception of sexual frustration that overtook my body every single time I looked at him, things were going really smoothly. He soothed my outbursts with ease, never questioning my actions or feelings. If I wanted to go run and scream and throw bombs of fire at defenseless trees, he let me. If I wanted to turn the music up loud enough that it hurt our ears, he let me. If I wanted to drink from him until I wound up laying around feeling lethargic all night, he let me. If I didn't want him to leave the house to go feed from his human, he didn't. Instead, he would stay and I would let him drink from me for a while. Somehow, James always knew when I was struggling. He knew when to let me go running alone, he knew when to come with me, he knew when to hug me and when to smile at me and make me laugh instead.

For the first time in my entire life, I felt understood. Renee had always understood me, at least as far as I could have ever expected anyone to. She knew my moods, sometimes knew what I was thinking, but even Renee never knew what to do for me. She'd ask me a hundred different things and I would choose, but that's not being known. Loved, but not known. James knew me. On levels that stunned me on a daily basis. There were things that I couldn't even express that he somehow just knew. For instance, I liked red wines on the weekends and white wine during the week. There was no reason, and I hadn't even noticed the pattern, but he had. Which was my entire point. James picked up on everything, he knew every subtle nuance there was to know without me having to open my mouth. He knew about as much of my human life as I could remember because we would sit on the porch and reminisce. He would tell me funny stories he'd accumulated throughout his life and some small tragedies, things he'd learned and loved and lost and regretted.

It was nice, if I was being honest with myself, to have someone know what your mood was and how to deal with it without having to ask.

We went grocery shopping every Wednesday, Thursdays were our movie days, Saturdays we spent entirely on the beach talking from sun-up until sun-down. Tuesdays were our game nights, which usually involved a lot of talking since we never stopped playing our chess version of 20 questions. Mondays I spent all day painting and every other Monday James paid an instructor to come to the house and teach me. I'd been worried about being so close to a human but I realized that I'd done it before, and on a more grand scale, without even blinking. The club hadn't affected me at all, never did. So I would feed from James every other Sunday night whether I was hungry or not, even though Sunday was one of our only days we didn't spend together. On Sundays he would play guitar and I would try to work things out in my head. We worked on my gifts every Wednesday, since that was the only day we had mostly free during our weekly routine.

I was getting better at painting, even if I still felt like an amateur. It wasn't even just James telling me so, which is why I believed it at all. James had begun hanging his favorites around the house. One in the kitchen was of the beach outside, moving from the porch down to the sand, with the waves barely appearing on the canvas. James said it was his favorite of them all. I smiled every time I looked at it.

My instructor had encouraged me to sketch when I wasn't painting, he'd said it would help me master my strokes. So James had gone out and purchased a Moleskine sketch book for me. I carried it all over the house and whenever we went anywhere. Except when we went dancing. James would eye it suspiciously as I prepared to leave the house and I would grin sheepishly at him and set it on the table as we left. I'd already started on my second one, having had the first for only a month.

I sketched everything. Trees, the beach, the ocean, the house, random objects, James, his hands and face and shoulders, the footprints we left in the sand. Everything.

Friday nights James and I would go dancing. We would always drink from each other before we left to keep our thirsts under control. I never had any trouble being around humans, no matter how many there were. James's blood was incalculably quenching.

It was a Friday night and, as usual, I was primping in the bathroom when James tapped lightly on the door. When I didn't protest, he walked in and wrinkled his nose at the hairspray I was about to use. Reaching out, he gently stopped my hand.

"Your hair looks lovely. Don't make it suffer." His smirk lifted up only the left half of his lips.

He was planning something. I knew that look.

Stepping towards me, he snaked his arms around my waist and pulled my back against his chest, resting his chin on my shoulder and burying his nose in my hair. I chuckled lightly and set down the hairspray, twisting my body so that I was facing him even though he kept his grip firm around me. Looking up at him, I tilted my head as if to appear curious.

"What's up?" I kept my voice light, non-accusing. I'd gotten much better at lying since I'd become a vampire, I wasn't prone to random tears if I got upset. I wasn't lying to James, and even if I had he wouldn't believe it, but the ability to control my voice was a large part of being able to lie. He even saw through my light speech.

"Nothing I'm willing to divulge yet." His grin ate his face whole, spreading and consuming and lighting up the already bright bathroom. I laughed warmly at him.

"Uh-huh. Well that's no fair. You're keeping things secret."

"I have a right to a secret or two," he mumbled into my hair, nipping lightly at my throat and causing my breath to hitch. A warm shiver went down my spine and I felt just a little bit interested in seeing him naked.

Just a little bit.

He continued nuzzling as I debated the various ways I could convince him to remove his pants. I decided on one, but that would have to wait for later. And there would be pants-less-ness later. I would make sure of it.

I was tired of playing games.

The End

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