I don't own anything, Its all the lovely SM's. All I own is a lot of effing jewelry.
A/N I'M SO SORRY. I know it has been two months. I cannot apologize more. My life is chaotic. Please understand I am trying. I won't go on further. Just a thank you to my beta's letmesign and bmango. No more suspense... read. =)
Seattle was much bigger than what I was used to, but it was nice to just explore a new place. I didn't finish the school year or enter midway through. I sat the year out while Renee home schooled me. I had to let myself begin to heal.
I talked to Lucy on Skype every few nights, which kept me sane. I truly did love that girl. We never talked about Max; we had a common understanding. The only time she ever brought him up was to tell me that he was an asshole, and his parents made him get a job to support the girl he knocked up.
I no longer loved him, but I still felt betrayed.
It took a long time for me to adjust, but I got there, and in the fall, I started my Junior year at a new school. Thankfully it wasn't a huge school, since my parents opted to send me to one just outside of Seattle, in a small town. They thought that maybe I could ease into it with less people around to intimidate me.
I wasn't sure I liked the idea, but I trusted them, and gave it a shot.
Max had gotten me so used to being around only him -- and not going out of my own zone to make new friends -- that I wasn't sure what to do or say when I met these new people. I mostly kept to myself, with the exception of the blond boy, Mike Newton, who quickly befriended me.
He was an extremely nice guy.
The day I met him, he confidently told me that he was the captain of the baseball team. There was nothing cocky about the guy; he was simply proud of the fact. I could tell that he deeply loved the game and simply wanted to share his enthusiasm with others. It was a glowing trait of his that made me feel warm and excited.
It was the kind of excitement I'd never had the chance to feel back home. The kind that Max wouldn't allow. Mike was a real, genuine friend, and there wasn't anyone telling me that I couldn't enjoy his company. I was thrilled to get to know someone new. And more than anything, I was excited that he was real and respectful.
I quickly learned that he wasn't just popular for his sports ventures, but for the basic reason that he was incredibly nice... to everyone. The only time I ever heard negativity come out of his mouth was when someone was disappointing him; and not even him personally, but rather that they frankly were not reaching their potential. Mike saw the good in people, he saw what they were capable of and he relished that. When they fell short, it angered him because he couldn't understand how people would want to be anything less than what they had the potential of being. He was amazing that way.
Mike also had a girlfriend, which was very appealing to me, because that made him even more harmless. Jessica Stanley was fun, and fresh and so very much in love with Mike. I could see it in her eyes when she looked at him. I could also see the easy warning when he introduced her to me. She wanted me to know that he was hers, not for the taking. That wasn't going to be a problem. I received it and responded accordingly and we became easy friends. It was an instant trust that took me by surprise. They had been together for years, and I could easily tell that they would be together forever. Whatever that meant. If anyone could have a forever, I was willing to bet it would be those two.
"Hey, Small Fry. Jess and I were going to go out to the diner after class. You wanna join us?" Mike took to calling me Small Fry the first time we met. He claimed it was a combination of my small size, my salty attitude and the kinks in my hair.
"Oh, uh, thanks, Mike, but I sort of have plans already."
"You have plans, kid? Well it's about time you started to make more friends than just Jess and I. What are you up to?"
"Actually, you guys are still the only people I hang out with; and give me a break, it's only been two weeks." I scoffed at him. Although I appreciated his attitude towards me, it took me a while to warm up to people.
"I'm going to make you our team mascot if you don't try harder, Small Fry. You know I will, too. So what's the plan then?"
I could tell his curiosity was getting the best of him as he started to awkwardly shift feet. The guy was easily excited and amused.
"Actually, Mikey... today is my seventeenth birthday, and my mom promised me that I could get my tattoo done today. So that's the plan, I guess. I'm going to head over to that place in uptown Seattle that I heard was good."
I felt myself smiling at the thought.
Charlie wasn't keen on the idea of me getting inked, but he understood why I wanted to. Both of my parents had become extremely supportive of me after everything went down the year before.
"Dang, Bella! I never would have picked you to get inked. What are ya getting? Little butterfly on your ankle? Heart on your hip? Something cute and little, I suppose?"
He made this darling scrunched up face, and I smirked at the thought of what I was actually getting, and where.
"Not exactly. How about I surprise you on Monday?" I winked at him.
"Well, I think Jess and I should go with you. I don't want you going to uptown by yourself. It's kinda rough out there sometimes; plus the whole tattoo shop thing, gotta make sure it's sanitary and stuff. And Jess is fascinated with tattoos, although she would never get one, I know she would enjoy going. She likes you, you know." When Mike was adamant about something, he tended to talk faster, a trait he and Jessica had in common.
"It's okay, Mike. I promise I will be careful. Have a good time with Jessica, and tell her that we're still on for the movie tomorrow night. See you Monday, Ace!" I winked and threw my backpack over my shoulder. I headed out the door and straight for my truck. I had my sixth hour open, so I got done with school an hour sooner than most. It was truly convenient.
The drive to Seattle wasn't too bad considering I had to drive that distance for school each day. Uptown was only about fifteen minutes further, and so worth it. I had taken refuge in a small coffee shop I found there when we'd first moved. The tattoo place was right next door. Walking by it every day sparked my desire to get inked.
I got a large peppermint mocha, and then walked next door to the shop. I was early for my appointment, but Bree was ready to see me anyway.
"You must be Bella?" The girl smiled brightly and shook my hand. She was tiny. I always thought that I was small, but I dwarfed her. Reminded me of a Polly-Pocket that grew up on the West side.
Her long black hair flowed beautifully and reminded me why I always wished my hair was straighter. It wasn't that I had curly hair, but rather those damn waves that I either had to deal with, or spend the extra ten minutes trying to flat-iron out. The girl's personality shined through more with the pink stripe that adorned her shiny hair. I may have been allowed to get inked, but I don't think pink hair would have ever flown with Renee.
I could tell she was a deep soul. Someone that had lived through things, seen things. It spoke through her irises, the darkest shade of blue. There was joy there, and there was pain there. But beyond all that, I saw contentment, and understanding; a willingness to try to live better, and do better. It was all there.
The tenderness in her eyes seemed a contradiction with the metal piercings that were found in nearly every place you could imagine putting a hole. And there were probably holes in places I didn't even want to think about. Her tattoos however, were few. Few in the ones that I could see at least. Somehow that made her more classy. They weren't merely put on there for decoration, but I could tell somehow told a story about her life, who she was, and who she wanted to be. Meaningful, true.
She was beautiful in a completely non-traditional way, and made me hope that I exuded those things in my own way.
"Yes. Bree, I take it?" I was so excited that I was shaking.
"Let's talk about what you want done, Bella. Do you have a sketch or just an idea for me to create? Either works for me, just so you know." Her friendly enthusiasm was greatly appreciated, and helped me feel less intimidated by the whole ordeal.
I was about to have something painted on me permanently. That was a little bit daunting having never done it before. It wasn't any sort of hesitancy to get it done, but rather, getting it right. I had complete and utter faith in the girl in front of me. I could tell she was an artist that liked to tell stories. Her version of doing so was with a needle and ink. I trusted her. I had seen the portfolio of her work the time I stopped in randomly and asked the guy at the counter about her. He said she was "straight aces." I assumed that was a good thing.
But even bigger than that, we had some odd cosmic connection. It wasn't really explainable, but just the feeling that I didn't need to worry with her.
"I have an idea, I was hoping you could help me create and shape it."
I told her my thoughts, the vision I had in my head. When she asked me about the force behind my decision, I told her about what I had gone through the previous year, and it was as if the inspiration hit her like a lightning bolt. Her tiny hand started sketching wildly, and I watched as my future tattoo appeared before my eyes. I pointed out a few things and she made some minor adjustments, and then I laid down on the table and let her get to work.
The first thing she did was stencil it on. I got to see the outline before it became reality. As I stared at my bare back in the mirror, my eyes filled with tears at the hope and freedom that the picture symbolized. Inside my heart was soaring, and I was more than ready to make it a permanent fixture on my once-bruised body.
There was no way I would say it didn't hurt, because it did. It hurt like hell, in fact, but it was entirely worth it. I had always been afraid of needles, and actually still was, but something about why I was doing what I was doing made it less scary. Made it more bearable. I had been through so much pain in the past that the fear of needles seemed like nothing compared to what I had felt when Max's hands wrapped around my wrists, or the pain I felt when I realized that he had never once told me that he loved me. That I had just been a girl to him. A sex toy there for nothing but his pleasure.
She was only able to get one half of it done that day, and I had to make another trip out Saturday morning to get the second half finished. It took four hours for each half, making the whole tattoo an eight hour ordeal.
I was a little too uncomfortable for the movie date with Jessica that day, and sadly opted out, apologizing. She understood completely and told me she couldn't wait to see me at school on Monday.
I drove to school awkwardly Monday morning, not bringing my backpack at all for fear of irritating the scabs. The lady at the front desk, Bekah, had shown me her tattoo as I was leaving that day. She informed me that tighter shirts felt better than the ones that hung loose. I was grateful for that information and wore under-armor to school, with no bra. It left little the imagination, but it was comfortable and wasn't scratching at my scabs.
I saw Mike and Jess approaching from down the hall. Jessica's hair bobbed as she bounced by Mike's side in her excitement to see me. I always giggled when I saw her hair bounce that way. It seemed to perfectly reflect her constantly jovial personality and mood.
There was another tall boy with them that I hadn't met before. I was taken by surprise when my heart started to race a little. His hair was cropped and a dusty blond color that reminded me of Max. I instantly shoved that notion aside, realizing it would be wrong to judge this stranger based on the color of his hair. Relating him to Max by some physical factor was not fair; plus, nothing else about his appearance even came close to Max. The best part of him was his eyes, which were a beautiful hazel. Like caramel. I wanted to lick them. Grasping the concept of what I had just thought, and how awkward licking someone's eyeballs would be, I started to fidgit. I adjusted my shirt awkwardly, knowing I looked a little disheveled, but that there was nothing I could do about it. I wiggled, trying to make sure I wasn't nipping out, without poking them to fix it. That would make a great first impression, right?
"Small Fry! Let's see the ink, girl!" Mike's enthusiasm and curiosity was getting the best of him.
"Hold up, Mikey. Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?" The tall boy grinned at me, waiting.
"Oh sure. Bella, this is James Kastle, he's on the baseball team with me. The catcher. Now show us." His feet shifted back and forth. He was getting a little demanding, and it was actually cracking me up.
I enjoyed prolonging the torture a little bit. "That so? Aren't you a little tall for a catcher?" Was I being coy with him? It wasn't something I had expected to feel for quite some time, if ever. But he was cute, and I was into it.
Just then, there was screaming down the hall, and I looked to see that one of the teachers had a rusty-haired guy and blond boy by the ears. I couldn't tell who they were from the distance, or if I had ever seen them before, but they made their way to the principal's office; and I watched in curiosity.
Mike rolled his eyes, "Fucking pot-heads. Now, Bella, stop teasing us." I couldn't help but notice the sadness in Mike's eyes as he forced himself to look away.
James grazed my elbow with his finger tip. "It's OK, Bella, we can talk more later. Give Newton what he wants before he pisses himself like an overly excited puppy."
I laughed at his lame joke, that I actually found funny because his eyes sparkled with amusement and he was simply cute.
"Okay, but it's probably not what you were expecting." I turned around and slowly lifted my shirt from behind, not exposing my front because we were in school. It was tight, which made it difficult, and a little painful in moving it, but I managed, I was too excited not to share.
I felt their silence as they stared at the sort-of wings that took up my entire back.
"Shoot, Small Fry, that's intense. But I mean, it's cool."
"Thanks, Mike. Jess, what do you think?" I knew she liked tattoos, but I also knew she was rather girly, and this wasn't some ankle butterfly.
"It's big, Bella, but ya know, it suits you. You have this sort of free spirit. I dig that. It's going to be really beautiful when it heals." I knew she was being sincere, and I appreciated that about her.
I felt my eyes shift to James, his opinion waiting to be told. His hand was slowly wiping his mouth as he stared at me. I couldn't tell if that was a good sign or a bad one.
"It's... sexy," he finally said as I started to let my shirt slide back down and turned to face them again.
Jessica was cuddled into Mike's arms; they were wrapped up in their own little world, while James quickly invaded mine.
He blinked and stepped forward slowly. My heart raced. I realized that I had never truly felt excitement with Max, since it all just happened over a span of many years. There was never that new blissful torture of what the other person... stranger... was thinking. This was new territory, and like the idiot that I was, I jumped right in.
His fingertips barely touched my mine. Eyes locked. "Go out with me Friday, Bella."
"Swan," I mumbled.
"Bella Swan... yes. Where?" I was so nervous. I don't think I had ever been on a real date. Max and I always just hung out at the skate park, or... in our beds. But James wanted to take me out. On a real date.
"Swan. That suits you. Batting cages and dinner?" He suggested.
Well, that was close to a real date, and sounded like fun. "I'm in. Pick me up at 7?"
His face came so close to mine; it was supreme.
"Not a minute later." He whispered in my ear.
"Don't fuck with the new girl, Kastle! You fucker." The same reddish-haired boy from before was leaning against a locker just down the hall watching us. "You stay away from that fucker, pretty girl. He'll poison your precious taint."
I didn't know whether to be tickled pink that he called me pretty, or to be horrified that he referenced my... taint in public. I came to the conclusion that I was annoyed, and that he was high.
"Get your worthless ass outta here, stoner. Nobody cares, and she's already with me." James walked toward him with authority.
The boy's green eyes flickered with something as his gaze caught mine. There was so much sadness there, behind all that flawed beauty. I had nothing to say, so he threw his hands up and started to walk away.
"Don't say I didn't fucking warn you."
That was how James and I began.
If I would have known then what I know now, I would have listened to the bronze-haired boy with the sadness in his eyes. I would have listened, and not gone on that first date with James Kastle. But I didn't know. And I did go.
Got you where I want you, again
Got you where I want you,
where I want you, I want you
A/N Alrighty tighty. What are you thinking? If you want visual of the tattoo, go to my profile page and check out the banner that AngstGoddess made me.
If you haven't read Dark Side of the Moon by blondie AKA robin, you must do so now. =) Otherwise, have a splendid rest of the weekend, and Martin Luther King day. As always, be praying and supporting those in Haiti. I have dear friends there, and sponsor a sweet little boy there. They are in need of financial support and many many prayers. Thank you all so much.