Word Count: 2,938
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 fuck 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. Or the brand new bottles of shampoo and conditioner (brand name, clearly labeled as "lavender"). Or the oatmeal body wash and loofah. Or the unopened toothbrush and toothpaste. I didn't want to think about how he had set out an array of hair products upon the counter by the sink. Or the hairbrush and professional looking facial wash. Or the deodorant. I hadn't brought any with me, I hadn't really been thinking, but what sat on the counter right now was my exact brand.
Boy, did he have a good nose.
I shook the thought out of my head. 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. I decided I wasn't going to use anything I did not absolutely need. I brushed my teeth and put on some fresh deodorant. I washed my face with hand soap.
I was being immature.
Bella was snoring softly. The sound was lovely. Snoring wasn't the correct term. Perhaps humming. Not long after, she began mumbling in her sleep. Nothing was coherent, really, but I smiled into her hair anyway. She made quite a few contended sounds as she pressed her back against my chest farther. I kissed her shoulder softly. And then her neck. Then her hair. I did this for hours. I just loved having her here, lying with me and sleeping peacefully.
Her mumbles started to become a bit more coherent. My name escaped her lips. I smiled into her hair, repressing a chuckle.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
"Edward, James was a mistake. Don't go."
I released my grip on her and sat up, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and staring out of the bay window. The sun was coming up. The hole in my chest that had seemed to close the second she walked in the house was suddenly on fire. I shoved myself off the bed and pulled the curtains closed, turning away and snatching up some clothes before I walked out into the living room. I got dressed and grabbed my keys and wallet from the side table by the door. I shoved on my boots and left the house.
My motorcycle was around the other side of the house and I hopped onto it quickly. I should pick up some things for her at the store, she'd probably need to shower in the morning. You know, scrub my touch from her skin and all that.
I felt the bitterness welling up inside of my throat and before I could start the vampiric imitation of crying, I sped off down the road. There was something freeing about riding a motorcycle. Unlike running, I wasn't pumping out frustration or anxiety. Speeding down a long stretch of road on a highway just encouraged those feelings.
This was a bad idea. But instead of stopping and walking to the store, I gunned it and ended up speeding down the road at over a hundred miles an hour. The small store I stopped at was practically empty. I walked slowly through the isles, trying to level off my anger and not really succeeding. I threw an array of hair products into the mini-cart. I didn't know what, or if at all, she used so I simply made sure to purchase the most expensive brand names in every possible product. It seemed reasonable. When I got to the shampoo and conditioner, I knew what she favored as far as scents were concerned, so I found the most expensive one with that smell. I went through everything I thought she could need in my head. Deodorant, which I found almost immediately, and a new toothbrush and paste. I picked up a hair brush and facial scrub. Her scents were so specific. By the time I had gathered all of the things I thought she would need, I picked up a few extra groceries for the house, which I always kept fully stocked, and rang myself up.
I left the grocery store two hundred dollars lighter. I called a taxi to take my bags to my house, paying him half in advance so he would meet me there. I hopped on the bike and was home in under five minutes. I waited for the taxi and paid the man for the rest of the tab, removing my bags and entering the house. I put the groceries away first, and then grabbed the rest of the bags and headed into the bathroom, sweeping up her duffle bag along the way. I arranged everything neatly, pulling out a simple change of clothes from her bag and hanging them up on a hanger. I zipped up her bag and brought it back out into the kitchen.
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 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 to 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 it's 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 fucking 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."
"Fuck 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 fucking 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 fucking credit why don't you?"
"I was hardly fucking 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 me. 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 fucking complaining."
That cocky sonofabitch with his blazing green eyes and strong jaw and fierce body. Fuck him. Fuck him sideways.
"Fuck 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 of vampires again. And this one was beginning to frighten me.
"I sure as fucking 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 it's consequences. Regardless of how long they've been around." His voice was bitter, there was something else bothering him. It wasn't just that I thought this was a mistake.
"What the fuck is your issue, James? This can't be the only thing that's got you so worked up. You're practically spitting fire." 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. And then it hit me. He was reacting over something I didn't say. Something I didn't say while I was awake.
"What did I say in my sleep, James?" He was caught off guard. He even looked it.
"You - nothing. You didn't say anything, Bella."
"Don't fucking lie to me."
"Don't fucking 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 fucking scared.
"I do give a shit, James. What the fuck 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 fucking wrong with me. And while we're talking about him, he's clearly what is wrong with you, too."
Oh. No. He. Did. Not.
"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. Besides, you're the one who brought him up." There it was. I had clearly been talking about Edward in my sleep.
"How the fuck does me talking about him in my sleep matter?"
"When you're already telling him I was a mistake, Bella. That's when it starts mattering. When you tell the guy who left you unprotected and fucking shattered that I'm the fucking mistake. Sorry for ever wanting to pick up your goddamn pieces for you."
"I don't need you to pick up my fucking pieces, James. I'm a big fucking 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 the fuck 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. 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 fucked up.
"Stupid, Bella? That's really fucking 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 fuck 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.
"Fuck. You. Bella."