"James," I say, tapping him lightly on the shoulder. "Where's mother?"

"Ah, Bella," he replies, and I notice an underlying tone in his carefree voice. It's subtle and is hardly noticeable, but it is there. "Where have you been?" he says, and the angry volcano that is erupting inside of him becomes more evident.

"Walking along the ship," I lie, and I hate to admit that my hands are shaking in fear. I have only seen James loose him temper once, at one of the guards in front of his house gate, and the outcome was fatal. The man had a temper. "Now can you tell me where mother is, please?"

He turns around, and I see his face is scraped, bloodied, and bruised. I'm absolutely horrified, and I gasp, my hand fluttering to my face. "My God, James, what has happened to you?"

He laughs, and it sounds very sadistic to me. I find myself backing away from him, and I only stop when I hit a wall.

"What," he laughs. "What has happened to me…?" He cuts his laugh short and strikes me across the face. I yelped in shock, and instantly reach up to touch the cheek that he struck. I do not feel pain at the moment, but I know I will in a few minutes. I looked up into his eyes, and do not recognize what I see. I see anger, betrayal, and even embarrassment.

"James…" I start, wanting to calm him down before he struck me again. "What is going on?"

"Shut your mouth," he yells, and I cringe. I begin to pray that somebody will hear him, for I begin to fear for my life.

I see his arm pull back, and I instinctively reach up to cover my face. I feel his fist punch me in the stomach, and I find myself gagging from the force he had used. I wasn't sure if I was sick with fear, or if he had done some kind of damage to my stomach.

James freezes as he sees me gag, and I think to myself that he is done hitting me and he is sorry, but then he starts hitting me over, and over, and over again. My breast, my face, my back, anywhere he could hit me, he did. "You stupid, stupid, bitch!" He yells to me over and over again. "Damn bitch!"

I stopped trying to get him to stop, and instead I chose to just lay there and say nothing. What gratitude would he get from hitting me then? If I don't scream or act in pain.

He continues to hit, kick, and punch me. Again and again and again. I bit my mouth shut to keep from screaming, and it takes everything I have not to shield my face from the blows. I taste blood in my mouth, and I begin to get lightheaded. I could never stand the sight or taste of blood without fainting, and although being unconscious sounded rather nice at the moment, I couldn't bear to think of what he would do to me, if I were unconscious.

I hear a knock at the door, and it is the only thing keeping me from fainting.

James stops immediately and begins to panic. "Get up, Bella," he says in a low, commanding voice. "Get up."

I wanted to get up more than anything—lying on the floor was such a defenseless, helpless place to be—but I couldn't. I kept telling my body to move, but it wouldn't listen.

"Excuse me," my mother yells from behind the door. "Open up, please."

"Bella," James tries once more, "get up this instant."

I try again, reaching my arm up to the small table next to me. I feel around for something to help me up, but my arm gives out, and it falls to the ground with an object I had grasped.

I hear my mother push open the door, and at that instant many things happened at once.

James collapses onto the floor, his face and clothes stained with my fresh blood. My mother comes in and screams, then screams louder when she looks at the object in my hand. I look down at it, and I instantly know what is running through her head, for in my fist is a knife, and James is bloodied and collapsed on the floor. I felt like saying, Mother, this wasn't me. That's my blood on him, but I fainted.

Sorry for the long update! I am working on updating at least two different stories every week. And sorry this chapter is so short, but I needed this chapter to take place, so the next chapter will be longer—I promise.