Friday, July 28, 2017

Jack & Crush Chapter 11

When she is quiet
There is a reason
She is sorting through
All the chaos in her head…
And all the madness
In her heart.


~LLK


BPOV


The only thing I knew to do when I was fucked up was to paint. There was a riot in my mind, and it escaped onto the canvas day in and day out. When I wasn't working, I was churning out portraits. I knew I had to finally do something with them, instead of stacking them in the attic. It was the last thing my father asked of me before he died.


The only promise I hadn't fulfilled.


It broke my heart to think of him, to feel like I'd failed him. He only wanted me to pursue my dreams to the fullest, but I was too afraid. That's what happened to him, and I couldn't allow myself to follow him down that path. Charlie wanted to be an artist; I had all of his work in my house. He was finally in talks with a Seattle gallery just before he died.


I was going to call that same gallery. I was going to show them my work, and I was going to pursue that elusive dream that I'd been too scared of.


I recruited Alice, Rosie, and Emmett to watch the bar and tattoo parlor for me while I spent some time in Seattle. They assured me that between the three of them they could keep the businesses running. Alice even volunteered Jasper to help, and Seth was going to house-sit.
I was working a final Monday night with Alice and Rose when I noticed they were watching me intently.


"What?" I asked self-consciously.


"You're so quiet, B. Are you okay?" Rose asked.


I shrugged. "I'm just thinking. There's a lot on my mind right now."


"Just don't forget you can talk to us, yeah?" I hugged her, thanking her softly.


All of my loose ends had been tied, and I was finally sitting in a hotel room in Seattle. Staring out the window at the rain, I realized there were two men I missed fiercely.


I missed my dad, I always would.


And I missed my Jack.


EPOV


Even after being told the morons who tag-teamed me were in jail, I was uncomfortable being in that house. I'd looked and looked for something for sale, but like Jasper said, this was a really small town.


Jane, or rather her father, bought me out of my half of the house we used to own together. There was nothing currently on the market; unless someone died, I was pretty much screwed. Not that I wanted anyone to die so I could have a house.


No, I wanted to share a little faded blue cottage just past Main Street that sat off the road, tucked into the treeline.


Mr. Uley assured me that his son did not speak for him, and I was more than welcome to stay for the entirety of my lease. I knew he needed the money, and wouldn't willingly break my word. It was, after all, only a six month agreement. As long as his rabid dog and the troglodyte didn't come back to bother me, I would stay.


When I thought of how those two acted, I was surprised that Bella was dating one of the Quileutes. I didn't want to picture the two of them together, couldn't envision his tall frame taking up space in her bright kitchen, or God forbid, her bed.


Knowing I made a choice and should suck it up, and actually doing so were two different things.
When I couldn't resist any longer, I drove past her house and saw a motorcycle in her driveway, so I kept going to the bar. They weren't terribly busy inside, and I was surprised to find Alice and Rose behind the bar. I'd only just officially met them at Jasper's party, though I'd seen them in the bar the last time I was there. I didn't see Bella anywhere, and I couldn't help craning my neck.


"She's not here," I heard from near my elbow. I looked over to see Alice watching me.


"Why not? I thought she was always here." I felt anxious now that I'd decided to hunt her down.


"She's in Seattle," she answered curtly.


"Why Seattle?"


"She didn't tell you?" Rose returned.


"Oh, hey, Rose. No, I can't say I've spoken to her in a while." I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling like a bug under a magnifying glass.


"That's interesting. You two butt heads more than you get along, huh?"


I hummed in agreement.


"She's checking out a gallery there; they're looking at her portfolio and deciding if they want to feature her work." Alice looked at me intently as she spoke.


"Uh, I didn't know…"


"Is there anything you do know about Bella?" Rose scoffed.


I dropped my head. They started to move off just before I answered. "I know she has more passion for life in her pinky than I have in my whole body. I know she likes to drink her coffee while looking out her kitchen window." I swallowed. "She has a husky laugh when she's teasing, and a great big laugh when she's really happy. She has a way of quirking her brow when she's pissed so that you know she means business." I felt awful when I realized that these were just things.


"Wow," Alice breathed.


I looked at her in surprise. "What?"


"You've got it bad. I didn't realize."


"Got what bad?" I asked in confusion.

Rose snorted. "You're in love."


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