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-7-
Setting Straight: Part II

"What the hell?" I muttered.

Rose began stomping her way downstairs with her hands clenched into fists.

"Rose, stop! You heard Jane. James didn't mean it. Let me," I sighed, "talk with him first."

She unclenched her fists and took a deep breath. She walked behind me. "I'll be right behind you."

Bella and Jane followed behind as I approached the driver's seat of James' car and knocked on the window. He smiled weakly through the tinted glass.

The sane part of me felt nervous to tell him what he did. I didn't want to make him feel bad. That was the sane part, though.
The uncontrolled part of me wanted to shout at him. I wanted him to feel physical pain. But luckily that part of me was overruled by my conscience.

I made my way to the passenger's side and got in, seeing Rose's anxious glare hit the back of my head.

I'm not in danger, I repeated to myself. Once I stepped in, my confidence built up. I can do this, I can do this.

"Hello, James," I greeted. Facing him now made me angry, but I tried to keep my voice steady and casual. Saying his name tasted bitter.

"Hey, Alice. Listen," he sighed, "I'm sorry."

What? He knew what he did? He never even got the nerve to apologize? I thought he was nice for a second. For a second—

"I don't know what I did wrong, but I'm sorry."

I sighed. He was actually clueless. Innocent? No, he wasn't innocent at all.
"J—James, it's okay. You were just drunk and you—"

I didn't know why I had to forgive everyone. I felt stupid, but every time someone hurt me, I had to forgive them. 'It's okay?' It is not okay. I really wish I could say my thoughts aloud.

"What did I do Alice?" He looked at me. The face he gave showed genuine concern and curiosity, but I couldn't trust my perceptions.

I stood there open-mouthed with not a single word escaping my lips. "I—You—"

"Please. Just tell me Alice. Please."

He must have thought there was something wrong that he said on our date, like a simple gesture or a bunch of words that happened to hurt me. It was more than that.

And worst of all, I didn't feel comfortable repeating what I explained to my two closest friends. But as I bit my lip, I finally spoke. The real reason I spoke was because I had to let it all out. I wanted him to know what he did. If he had a heart, he would hate himself. If he didn't, well, I didn't really know.

"You brought me to your place that night. It was fun," I started explaining what we did that earlier that night. The part that he still remembered.

"And then you started drinking. A lot," I left out the part that I sort of encouraged him to.
"But I didn't notice. So when you offered to drive me home, I trusted you. The ride was silent, until later on you started speeding. Anything fast, speedy . . . that's when I get anxious. I heard the car roar at least four times, and I got even more nervous."

I sighed, remembered the nauseated feeling I had when Rose drove her car fast. She takes it slowly now since I'm around.

"I got scared and told you to slow it down. But you refused to, so I got out the car, about to call someone to pick me up. But you snatched the phone away from my hand. And you started yelling . . . and you tried to touch me even when I yelled at you not to. . ." I felt the anger building up as I took deep breaths, images of the dangerous expression on his face flashing in my head.

"Don't act like that, baby." He told me, his hand on waist. I slapped his arm away. "Don't touch me!" I walked away faster, about to call Rose when he snapped the cell out of my hand and it fell to the grass.

"Stay with me," he whispered into my ear, putting his hands on my blouse.

"Don't touch me!" I shouted again, loosening his grip.

The anger was building up at a rapid pace as I started shaking with anger.

"Alice," I felt his hand on my thigh.

"Don't touch me!" I hissed.

"Stop! I'm not going to touch you, damn it. What the hell is wrong with you?" he shouted. He took a deep breath. "Look, I'm sorry for what I did and I'm not usually like this—"

"No, James. I'm sorry," I gulped. "I can't trust you now—"

"Just give me a chance to prove myself. See, I'm not drunk. I'm not the angry, uncontrolled guy you saw."

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I mocked his tone. "See, now that is still James. You're angry and uncontrolled no matter what happens."

"You know what? You're not worth it. Face it. No one's perfect. If you think you'll find someone that is, you won't with that damn attitude of yours."

Attitude? James is the one with the bad attitude, and Jane said he doesn't normally act the way he did that night.

"Attitude? You surely know what that is. Besides, I have found someone, and I'm sure as hell that he'll take care of me better than you ever will," I told him straightly.

"Alice, I'll promise you one thing," he started with a chuckle. "He won't be perfect, I can assure you. The people that act perfect are hiding something deep inside. And once you figure out what his secret is, it'll break you. Whether it's a secret desire or a secret past, you'll be hurt. And I'm not surprised you're leaving me. I always do something wrong. Always," he had disappointment hinted in his tone.

"Look, James. I don't know how to say this, but I know you're wrong. The guy I found was the one who came over when you were drunk. He drove me home, and it happened to flow on after that. So I know he likes me for who I am and he isn't using me. Some guys can be perfect."

He smiled. "Flow on after that? See, you and I both know what he wants. And whether or not you've gave it to him already, he is using you."

I had to take the words in when I finally realized what he meant.

"No, it's not like that. It isn't about sex because that isn't on my mind. All I care about is him, and I believe he feels the same way. I think he is the right one for me. There's a girl out there who is right for you, it just isn't the girl talking to you right now. And that's all I'm saying."

"Believe me when I say I'm sorry," he apologized sincerely, "I'm sorry for acting up right now, and I know you won't forgive me, but I can't live with hatred and neither can you. But— just think about giving me a second chance."

I shook my head. "I can't. Not now. Bye James," was all I said as I got out of the car.

I gave Rose a quick nod as she and Bella followed me upstairs, the sound of a car pulling away being heard from a distance.


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