She was both love
And storms of pain.
When your mother's best idea is to get back together with your childhood boyfriend, who also happened to be a chauvinistic pig, you quickly realized asking her advice on your love life would never get you anywhere.
Getting back together with Jake was as repugnant as crawling after a man, begging him to love me. It wasn't in my nature to pine after someone, or sit at home crying into my cornflakes.
So I called up Seth, the only Quileute that didn't act like God's gift, and asked him if he wanted to hang out. We went to a movie, and I didn't hate it, or him. I also didn't feel anything special toward him. There was no attraction, no spark.
Luckily for me, Seth was cool with that. He didn't mind hanging out with me in a platonic fashion. He even told me he felt like my brother. When Alice and Jasper had a housewarming party after he moved, I invited Seth to come with me.
"Are you sure you like the silver paper over the white?" Seth asked as we wrapped gifts.
"Yeah, it looks really pretty." I handed him a bow before moving to the mirror to refresh my makeup.
"Emmett's coming, right?" he double checked.
"Yes, I told you he was," I chuckled. Sometimes he was like a little kid. He and Emmett hit it off the first time they met, and they spent more time together than Seth and I did.
"You almost ready? I've finished with these."
Seth and I left my house, walking side by side to his motorcycle out on the street. I climbed on behind him, and it didn't take us long to reach Alice's. There were very few vehicles there yet; we were early. Emmett and Rosie were there, so we went in and sought them out.
Alice was showing just the slightest bump as she greeted us in her kitchen. Seth handed over the gifts, then kissed her cheek and disappeared.
"You two have a strange relationship," Alice pointed out.
"He's like my gay boyfriend, what can I say?"
"Is he?" Jasper asked.
"No, but that's how platonic we are. I couldn't imagine kissing him, for instance. He says the same is true for him."
Jasper gave me an odd look. "We're glad you came," he said. I had a feeling that was not what was on his mind.
"We are, of course. We're happy to see you both." Alice knew what was up, I was sure. But I wasn't going to press her.
As more people started to arrive, I moved around the house, trying to help Alice with hostessing. I knew everybody, perks of the small town life, except one guy Jasper introduced me to named Peter.
"As long as your last name isn't Townsend, it's nice to meet you," I said. He looked perplexed, so I figured he wasn't that kid all grown up.
I had my hands full of empty glasses, rounding the corner into the kitchen, when Seth came out of the kitchen at the same time. We ran right into each other, spilling the bowl of chips he was carrying and knocking half the glassware I was carrying to the floor. We made such a ruckus that most of the party stopped in it's tracks to stare at us.
"That's our show for tonight guys, thanks!" I called out in an attempt to blow off the crowd with humor.
"You're so hilarious," Seth muttered as he knelt and started picking up large shards of glass.
When we'd picked up what we could by hand, we headed into the kitchen to throw it all away. As I washed my hands, I got the bright idea to grab the sprayer and shoot him with it.
"Hey!" he protested loudly. I'd soaked his shirt and face.
I laughed, until he wrestled it away from me and squirted me in the chest. Looking down, I could see my bra and my nipples showing through my thin shirt.
"Shit, Seth," I started to grumble, grabbing for the dish towel behind him. When I glanced up, I froze.
Edward was standing in the doorway, an unfathomable look on his face.
Jasper had this ridiculous idea that I should go to his housewarming and cozy up to Bella. I didn't know what I'd say to her, but I was going because he was my friend, not because I thought I could turn a booty call into a relationship.
We were standing around talking with Peter, who I'd met a few times, when there was a loud commotion near the kitchen. I couldn't see exactly what it was from where I was standing, but I froze when I heard her voice.
"That's our show for tonight guys, thanks!" I would know that warm, sexy voice anywhere.
Catching Jasper's eye, I nodded at him and excused myself from Peter. It took me some time, winding through the people and responding to a few greetings, before I reached the doorway to the kitchen. I stepped around the corner, hearing laughter, and stopped.
Bella squealed, and the guy standing with her laughed heartily. They were having a water fight with the sprayer from the sink. The young man was already wet, his black hair slick and weighed down with the water, flopping in his face.
When he doused her chest, her hard nipples showed through her paper-thin tee. I could clearly see her piercings, enough to know she'd changed out the bars that were there the last time I saw her.
She cussed at the boy, then looked up as she grabbed a kitchen towel. I could tell the moment she spotted me; her face fell, and she looked guilty.
I stared at her for a moment before turning on my heel and heading out the front door.
Outside, I leaned my hands on my knees and breathed deeply. I had no right to any of the feelings roiling in my gut. No right at all. Still, they were there, and I fought past the shame and guilt and nausea. I straightened just as Bella came outside. I averted my gaze from her wet shirt, looking out over the front lawn as she came up beside me.
"I didn't know you were here," she said quietly.
"Why should that make a difference?" I returned.
"I'm going to go. Crowds aren't my thing." It was an excuse, but I couldn't stick around and watch her with her new boyfriend.
"You don't have to, you know. It's not-"
"Don't make excuses for my sake," I cut her off, then headed to the car. I would apologize to Jasper later, but for now I just wanted to go home.
When I got there, I wished I'd stayed at the party. There were two guys leaning up against the side of the house, and I recognized one. Sighing, I parked the car and turned it off, climbing slowly out.
"We're here to evict you, cocksucker!" the one I recognized yelled at me.
"Good to see you walking again," I said mildly.
His friend pushed off the wall, coming closer to me. "You need to get out of my house."
"This is my house. I have a lease," I pointed out.
"I didn't rent it to you, so you have to leave." He came close enough that he was face to face with me. He was also taller than me by a good 5 inches.
"I signed a lease," I repeated. "Get off my property." I saw the other guy moving out of the corner of my eye, and widened my stance. "I don't know what your problem with me is, but you should go." The adrenaline was pumping now.
"You've touched what belongs to me," the one to the side of me spit.
"People are not property. I haven't touched anyone that didn't ask for it." My eyes flicked to his. "Begged for it."
I saw him lose it with that statement, saw him lunge for me. I landed a blow to his nose just before feeling a jab to my right eye. Two against one would be interesting, to say the least. When I punched one in the gut, the other punched me square in the ear. With my head ringing, I knew I had to step up my game if I didn't want to go down and stay down. Stumbling back a few steps, I kicked high, clipping the idiot in the head with my boot. He fell like a dead tree, and the other one came rushing at me. My fist met his temple, then as he reared back from the force, I kicked him in the throat. He landed with his stupid friend in the dirt, and I moved to the front door.
I calmly dialed 911, telling the dispatcher that I'd been assaulted in my driveway. By the time the deputies arrived, the two were gone, but I described them well. It's not hard to find two Quileute men with the shit kicked out of them. I informed them I would be pressing charges, and they left after taking my statement.
I slept with my M9 on my nightstand.