Thank you all for the lovely responses. You're all wonderful and amazing. I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to very many of them, but I read and appreciated each and every one. :) Also, I apologize for the late update... I had to do some stuff, like pass IB exams, graduate high school and start getting ready for college. Don't hate me!
I don't think I ever mentioned this—seems to be a pattern with me and this story, don't it :P—but this whole thang, especially this chapter, was inspired by the Miranda Lambert song Gunpowder and Lead. If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend it, if not to connect with this story then to hear a friggin good song.
That aside, I've based the some of the following proceedings on videos I've watched on Charles Manson's numerous parole hearings (I find him rather fascinating to watch, personally) and other documents I've found throughout my research. I cannot guarantee that it will be fully authentic and perfect because I am not a lawyer nor have I gone through any sort of court proceedings. I'm trying my very best to make it as real as possible, but please no flames if it isn't perfect.
Some FYI's: (this is based on information I found for New Jersey with the assumption that it is the same in all states, because I couldn't find information about parole in Washington State as easily)
- An inmate is eligible for parole (in NJ, just pretend it's WA) after a third of their sentence has been served. Bella's sentence was twelve years, she has served four.
- There are four hearings involved in granting an individual parole: initial, panel, rescission and revocation. For the sake of time (and to get the story moving) I combined the initial and the panel hearing in this chapter.
- There are usually two members on a panel, however, because I wanted to fit the Volturi trio in there I used a bit of creative license.
- The rescission hearing takes place when an inmate is granted parole and the conditions of/date of release are set. That will not appear as an actual event, but will be skimmed over in the next chapter.
I also decided to go against my last author's note and include Edward in this chapter. It wasn't my original intention, but I thought here would be a good place to do some character development. So we get a little more of him this go round.
~I've never met anyone like you, Bella. You're so brave, so strong~
Washington Corrections Center for Women
Block B, Cell 226
June 10, 2010
I rolled around on the cot, my nerves firing rapidly. I hadn't gotten more than two hours of sleep the night before, my eyes refusing to shut as I pondered the events that were about to transpire the next morning—this morning. At eleven I would be facing a parole board, who would listen to testimony from Doctor Whitlock, my father and a few others who were testifying on my behalf to either leave prison… or stay.
I wasn't entirely sure why anyone would be adamant about my release—Doctor Whitlock. I'd committed a crime, I was guilty as sin. Why they were insistent upon my release made me want to laugh at the judicial system. I stood in court, looked the judge in the eye and told him I had shot my husband. In the face. Why anyone was debating that, I had no idea. People are just stupid I guess... especially jurisdictive ones.
I'm not sure how many more times I'm going to have to rehash what happened that day before people got the idea.
I'd woken up that morning feeling rebellious. A little more fire than usual. More pep in my step, which was so uncommon after a night like the one before. James had been particularly brutal all week and there was really no reason that I was so cheerful that morning. I'd gotten up right at five forty-five to set the timer on the coffee maker and had his breakfast ready and in the warming drawer by six thirty. Despite the bruises and the ache between my legs, the lightness I felt made moving around so much easier.
He didn't say anything to me that morning. He said something under his breath about the coffee being too bitter, but though I expected some sort of punishment, one never came. He threw on his lab coat, wrapped his stethoscope around his neck and slouched through the door without more than a withering glance my way. The rumble of his truck as he pulled out of the driveway signified his departure and that was the last I saw or heard of him.
It would also be the last time he left the house alive.
I hadn't been planning to kill him. In fact, the idea didn't even pop into my head until I was dusting the house and happened to pass by his gun cabinet. He'd been cleaning a rifle the night before—my dad thought he was an avid hunter while I knew about the guns' actual purpose—and as I walked by, my eye caught on the lock. The key was still in it, just sitting there. Taunting me. Normally, when he put the guns away he would lock the cabinet and pocket the key.
I thought back to the night before. He'd been putting the gun in the cabinet when I approached him with the phone. An Edward had been calling. Said it was urgent.
I guess it distracted him enough that he left the key in the lock.
I couldn't help the grin that lit up my face as I placed my fingers on the key and, though they were trembling, grasped the key and turned it to the left. I jumped as the bolt slid back with a thunk, and out of habit looked over both of my shoulders, even though I knew he was gone. As I pulled open the glass door, a rush of adrenaline and pure glee shot through my body like a hit of heroin, and I cackled like a crazy woman as it swung all the way open. I ran my fingers over the polished wood of the barrels like a lover would caress the flesh of her partner, my eyes wide and appreciative as I took in the glossy finish and immaculate cleanliness of each weapon. There were so many, ranging from the wooden, outdoorsy rifles—that he mainly used when out with my father—to the menacing, pure black snipers that he'd been trained with when he was in the military.
I held by breath as my hand clasped around the barrel of the Remington shotgun he bought soon after we were married. Memories of being cracked across the face with the barrel, or slammed in the ribs with the butt flashed through my mind as my grip became more firm. My resolve gathering, slowly eating away my moment of delight, I lifted the gun from the rack. It was heavy in my hands, slippery as the sweat in my palm slickened the surface. My fingers trembled, quakes that reflected all the way down my body.
But it felt right in my hands, and when I snapped back the hammer, the loud cocking sound solidified my decision.
My whole body trembled with it.
I laid the gun carefully on the table and went about cleaning the house. I glanced at the clock often, wanting to time it perfectly. I had to be waiting on the front porch when he pulled up. I had to have the gun ready too, because if I wasted any time before getting the barrel lined up with his forehead, he would be on the porch and have my face pushed into the deck in two seconds. And I was sure that's where I'd stay, until someone found me and he was long gone.
At five thirty I found myself in a deck chair, my untied combat boots propped up on the wicker table. I'd pulled my jean shorts out of a box of stuff from college, which I'd found shoved in the back of the attic. They were way shorter than he allowed. I chuckled to myself at the thought. My red plaid flannel shirt hung limply around my body as I'd lost weight since we left UW but I made due by rolling up the sleeves and throwing on one of his wife-beaters—coincidence, I thought, that he owned so many of them. A cigarette hung loosely burning from my lips. A bottle of Jack sat next to the heel of my boot. Normally I wasn't allowed to go in his liquor cabinet, but since I wasn't giving a fuck, I was going to do whatever the hell I wanted.
I sat on the porch for a while, mysteriously numb. I wasn't shaking or trembling anymore. An eerie sense of calm had settled over me and as I trained my eyes on the mouth of the driveway, I contemplated how I wanted things to play out. If I wanted to aim the gun at him as soon as his truck pulled in, or if I wanted to wait until he got out. Both plans had complications; if I leveled it at him as he pulled in, he could reverse and pull right the fuck out. If I waited until he climbed out, I could move to slow or miss.
And then the bastard really would kill me.
I took a swig of Jack, wincing as it burned down my throat. Liquid courage my fucking ass. It was a distraction technique, that's all it was. I took a pull from the cigarette, blowing smoke smoothly out into the forest that surrounded our house—because of course the motherfucker would pick the most remote, isolated house in the whole motherfucking tiny town.
Unfortunately, it was as I was putting my cigarette back in my mouth that I heard the rumble of his truck on the gravel. As the grill of his Ford came into view, my heart kicked into overdrive. My mouth took on a cottony feel and all of a sudden it became real. I could see his face through the windshield. He'd seen me. He knew something wasn't right. He parked the truck and stared at me through the glass as the cloud of dust settled around him. A sick smirk curled over his mouth and it was that arrogance that drove a nail in his coffin.
He opened the door and stepped down from the truck.
"Whatcha going to do, baby?" he asked. "You gonna shoot me?"
My hands curled around the gun.
"Give it your best shot, you little bitch. I bet you couldn't hit me even with your dear old daddy standing behind you and pointing the gun."
I pulled the gun up, took aim, and rested my finger on the trigger. I waited. Shifted the gun over a little. Pulled.
Missed on purpose.
I wanted to have my fun too, which I don't think he realized. He got his kicks when he laid into me, and now I wanted to have some fun with him too. Call it retribution. Call me crazy.
I cared not.
See, what he didn't realize was that he wasn't the only one my dear old daddy had taken hunting.
He laughed at me and started to move forward. Having not lowered the gun, I moved it over a hair. Pulled back the hammer with my thumb just as he stepped onto the stairs of the deck. Without a second thought, a blink, a breath, I pulled the trigger. I saw the spray of blood, saw half of his face disappear with the blast. Watched his brain matter shoot up into the trees. But the only thought running through my head was that if there was blood in my Jack, I'd shoot him in the face again.
"That's basically how it went," I said, staring the greasy-looking one in the face. The plaque in front of him said Aro Volturi. Even his name sounded pretentious, and I didn't even want to start on the nose that was currently pointed up in the air.
My lawyer, a state-appointed jit by the name of Riley Biers, had coached me on how this was going to go. They were going to spend a lot of time interrogating me, asking me all kinds of questions from what happened to if I felt remorse. They would interview a few other people as well, including the Warden, Doctor Whitlock, my father, the prison doctor—Doctor Masen—and a few guards to determine whether or not I was able to leave on parole. Not like I thought that was a possibility in hell.
I shot my fucking husband in the face. I was not leaving this place any time soon.
"Mrs. Hunter," a thinning, slightly attractive grey-haired man leaned forward in his seat. Caius Kahn. "Do you, or do you not, realize the ramifications of the story you are telling us today?"
I shrugged. Biers nudged me in the side and I sat up a little straighter, folding my hands in my lap. "I mean… yes sir, I do. I understood them at my trial and I don't assume that they have changed now?"
"Not quite, Mrs. Hunter," he said. "At trial, you were being sentenced to prison. This is a parole hearing… a chance for you to be released. Isn't that something you want?"
I shrugged. "I mean, who wouldn't? But… I shot my husband. I don't see why we're having this discussion in the first place."
Riley sighed and dragged a hand down his face.
"So you don't feel any remorse?"
I tossed Rose's words around in my mind, testing them out. "I mean… I feel a little sorry for his family and how it affected them, maybe. But they didn't know who he really was, not until they sat through the trial. No one did. I don't blame them, and I feel bad that they had to sit there and be subjected to all of that at once. Dealing with the fact that your husband's wife shot him in the head on top of having to hear about what an animal he was had to have been incredibly hard for them, and I'm sorry for what my actions have put them through. As far as feeling any remorse for what I did to him, I don't and I never will. He was… he was…"
The room was deathly silent as I tried to come up with words. The faces of the three board members were impassive and completely devoid of emotion. It was as if their faces were made of marble and they were stone gargoyles watching their prey.
I took a deep breath. "He was a monster, and if I'm being honest with you sir, I would gladly take eternity here than have to live another day with him. So if this is the price I pay to never have to be near him again, I will pay it multiple lifetimes over."
"But you had other options, if you didn't want to live with him," said a fat, bald man on the left of Mr. Volturi. Marcus Swift. "You could have gone to the police, you could have called a hotline. There is no record that you ever did either."
I shrugged. "My father was the police. As far as he was concerned, James was a saint and I was exceptionally clumsy. And we had no telephone."
"Thank you, Mrs. Hunter," Aro said with a bland tone. He looked up at the guard near the door, who came up by my side and touched my elbow in a gesture suggesting that I stand. I stood, nodding at the three men and was led over to a table to their left. I sat there, with my lawyer, while the next person to testify was called forward.
The Warden was called forward to speak, though I wasn't sure what they expected her to say. I had seen her maybe a handful of times over my stay, and none of those times had been any direct confrontations. She answered their questions about what I did at the prison, like my work and how I spent my free time. She was uncannily accurate and precise in her detailing of my activity, making me keenly aware of the documentation that must be going on behind closed doors. Every trip I made to the library, every book I'd checked out had been monitored. Every shift I had worked in the kitchen was recorded. Any time I went to see Doctor Whitlock, watched TV in the recreation room… any time I had left my cell, it had been charted in my file.
Seeming satisfied with what the Warden testified they called forward Dr. Whitlock.
He walked into the room collected and with an air of confidence. He looked over at me and smiled. I did not return it. He greeted the parole board members by name, a gesture which they acknowledged and returned. It seemed he was on friendly terms with them, something he said would help my case. I didn't want my case helped, so I had merely shrugged when he mentioned it. He sat the manila folder that held my session notes on the table and leaned back in his chair.
"State your name for the record," Volturi barked.
"Dr. Jasper Whitlock, prison therapist at the Washington Corrections Center for Women."
"You've provided therapy for Mrs. Hunter during her duration?"
"That's correct," he answered.
"Please describe how this therapy has progressed."
"When Mrs. Hunter—Isabella—first came to see me, I'd been only made scantily aware of her case from the brief description I was provided. I knew only that she came from an abusive relationship and had shot her husband at point blank. I wasn't made aware on any of the circumstances of her abuse, giving me a tabula rasa, so to speak, with which to work."
"Would you please detail some of the abuse you became aware of?"
Dr. Whitlock looked over at me, a note of sympathy and apology in his eye. I continued to stare back at him numbly. His voice carried a hint of revulsion and anger. Toward whom I wasn't sure.
"He lit a fire above her while she was submerged in a bathtub. Held her arms over a lit burner on the stove. Smothered her with a pillow and proceeded to rape her. Tied her to a chair and forced her watch him kill her dog."
I squeezed my eyes shut. Seth.
"Those are only a few of the specific situations that she has told me about, besides the hitting, raping and verbal abuse that seemed to be commonplace for her at the time."
"And how would you say this has affected her presently?"
"She's been witnessed to having nightmares that cause her to wake up screaming in the middle of the night. Usually after such a nightmare, she grows withdrawn and detached from any and all forms of human-to-human contact, which I fear is causing her massive psychological trauma on top of what has already been caused."
"Has she been diagnosed with any disorders?"
"I've been working on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. The nightmares, the detachment, the numbness she feels, the vivid flashbacks and the depression on top of her self-isolation and blatant avoidance of anything having to do with James Hunter all points toward PTSD."
"Is she being medicated?"
Dr. Whitlock shook his head. "Though she's been displaying a number of emotional symptoms indicative of PTSD, she has not caused harm to herself or to any other inmates. In fact, she makes it a point to avoid any sort of altercation, be it with an inmate or a guard. She does not show any sort of violent tendencies, making me believe that a continuation of therapy would be the best way to treat her."
Caius Kahn leaned forward. "Doctor, based on your expert opinion, do you believe Mrs. Hunter would be adequately suited to survive in an environment beyond prison?"
Dr. Whitlock seemed to ponder this for a moment. "Mrs. Hunter married soon after college. She was on her own for about four years before marrying and having her life controlled once again. She lived in total isolation from society and I wouldn't be surprised if she had no friends whatsoever." He glanced over at me. "However, I feel that with the right parole officer and continued therapy, she will learn to be able to stand on her own two feet again and pursue a life that she should have been having all along."
"Thank you Dr. Whitlock," Aro said. He glanced over at me with the same dispassionate expression he'd worn through the duration of the hearing. "We'd like to call forward Dr. Edward Masen."
This time I looked to the floor. I didn't want to watch the pompous bastard any more than I wanted to be in the same room with him. I clasped my hands in my lap and listened as he greeted the parole board members, noticeably less self-sure around them as Dr. Whitlock had been, though that didn't mean his arrogant, overly-confident air wasn't present.
Nope, that was perfectly intact.
"Please state your name for the record."
"Dr. Edward Masen, head of neuroscience at the Harborview Medical Center and visiting prison doctor."
"There's a pretty big difference between neuroscience and general medicine, doctor."
Dr. Masen nodded. "While applying for residency programs, I was fascinated by both general medicine and neuroscience. I eventually chose general medicine as a specialty, however in the third year of my residency decided to switch to neurosurgery. I've been working in the field ever since."
"You're pretty young to be the head of a neurosurgical field."
Dr. Masen shrugged. "I worked hard."
I was thrown off balance by his comment. I was expecting something haughty and arrogant about how brilliant he was, or how easy it had been for him. The fact that he wasn't flaunting his success at all made me doubt my original assessment of him.
"You examined Mrs. Hunter recently, yes?" Volturi asked.
"That's correct, sir."
"Was this the first time you had seen her?"
"What provoked this examination?"
"Mrs. Hunter was involved in a work-related accident in the kitchen. There was an altercation between two female inmates in which she was caught in the crosshairs. She had no connection to the dispute."
"And what did your examination yield?"
"She suffered a minor concussion, which we kept her in the observation room for overnight. She suffered an injury to her arm, which she wasn't very forthcoming about, so we put her arm in a sling and when she left the next morning she claimed to feel no pain."
It had hurt like a motherfucker, I just didn't want his hands on me anymore.
"How thorough was your examination of Mrs. Hunter?"
Dr. Masen shifted in his seat. "The examination was limited to external injuries only. Had there been any complications throughout the night I would have mandated she be taken to a hospital for an MRI. However since there were no complications, she was not examined internally. Results showed headache, nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness. I diagnosed her with a concussion and held her for observation."
Marcus nodded his head, seeming to agree with Dr. Masen's diagnosis. "Was there anything out of the ordinary that you noticed during your examination?"
"No sir, not from a medicinal standpoint."
"What about any physical signs of injury previous to your examination?"
Dr. Masen took a deep breath. I looked up at him. His face was hard, his angular jaw locked. I knew he was thinking about the scars. I was praying he didn't say anything about them.
"I have no way of knowing whether those came before or after her sentence, sir."
I exhaled a breath. It was louder than I intended and I caught the eye of Marcus Swift.
"But there were signs of previous injury?"
Dr. Masen realized his slip.
"To substantiate the claim that Mrs. Hunter had been a victim of abuse?"
He nodded, and my heart plummeted. "Yes, there is visible scarring in several places on her body."
"State where." Aro glanced up at Dr. Masen. "For the record."
I watched his fists clench. "As it wasn't a part of my examination, I didn't take too detailed a note of the marks. However, there are scars from a burn across her forearms." He glanced over at me and for the first time since he'd entered the room he met my eyes. Rather than seeing the cold, condescending stare that I was expecting, I got something kinder… more compassionate.
"Thick scars, no more than two inches long, maybe ten of them , in a cluster…" he gestured to the expanse of skin between his shoulder and elbow, "…here. Possibly…probably… stab wounds."
I squeezed my eyes shut.
"Did you see anything in her medical records that would indicate abuse?"
Masen nodded. "I became aware of a number of trips to the hospital for major injuries, but they were fewer than you would expect from an abuse victim."
Dr. Masen shifted. "Well, you'd have to confirm with Dr. Whitlock, but it is common for abusers to prevent victims from seeking proper medical care in order to prevent any unnecessary attention that would cause investigation."
"Dr. Masen, do you believe Mrs. Hunter is fit for release?"
He glanced over at me and I stared back at him intently.
Say it, I goaded him, say it. Say I'm fit for release when you know damn good and well that I'm not.
"I think that with proper therapy, she should be fine. She didn't demonstrate any behavior I would deem… unsuitable for a normal life beyond prison. She did demonstrate an element of hostility during the examination, but I'd like to blame that on my impeccable bedside manner." He flashed a grin at the board members, indicating his sarcasm, and I felt sick when they chuckled in response. Here this man was telling them I was hostile and they were laughing as if it was no major issue.
It didn't help that his smile was… well, it was beautiful.
It made my fists clench.
"Thank you Dr. Masen, you've been very helpful."
I could tell that his cocky attitude was returning. He stood from the chair and adjusted his navy blazer, a stupid smug grin plastered all over his fake face. Walking forward he shook the hands of each of the men at the table before turning on his heel. He glanced over at me once more and I met his eyes with as much anger and hostility as I could.
The anger and hostility did not leave my face for the duration of the hearing. Next they called my father, and no amount of coaching from Riley could keep the disdain and hatred from my mind, let alone my features. My father entered the room in his uniform, hat tucked under one arm. He didn't look over at me but instead sat down in the chair and nodded gruffly to Aro.
"Please state your name."
"Charles Swan, chief of the Forks Police Department, Forks, Washington."
"Please state the nature of your relationship to Mrs. Hunter."
"I am her father."
"Please describe when you became aware of Mr. Hunter's presence in her life."
A man of few words and emotions, my father did his best to answer their question. "She met James in college. Brought him home a few times and he seemed like a good guy. She seemed to like him enough. Seemed happy."
"And there were no signs of abuse that you became aware of?"
"What about after they were married?"
"I never saw anything."
"And how many times did you see your daughter?"
Charlie paused for a moment. "Few times."
"How many times did you see Mr. Hunter?"
"Probably once a week."
Marcus nodded, jotting something down.
"Describe your activities."
"Hunting, fishing, outdoors stuff. Stuff Bell—Mrs. Hunter never seemed to take an interest in."
I wanted to choke. I'd been hunting with him so many times…
"Are you aware of the general psychology of an abuser, Mr. Swan?"
"Can't say I am."
Marcus sat forward. "Victimizers often forge strong relationships with persons close to the victim in order to further isolate those being abused as well as to create trust between those they are seeking a relationship with. To make it more difficult for the victim to make any allegations against them. And when they do come forward, to make those allegations less believable."
"Are you aware that you saw Mr. Hunter more than you saw your own daughter?"
"She was busy working."
Marcus continued. "She worked at a diner, Mr. Swan. Mr. Hunter worked as a surgeon at a major hospital. You tell me which one was logically busier."
My father chose not to answer.
"I just want to make one more thing clear, before we ask you one final question. You stated you were chief of police, correct?"
"Meaning you had authority over the whole department."
Marcus' voice was lethal, so contrary to his calm demeanor when questioning Dr. Whitlock and Dr. Masen. "Do you not see why Mr. Hunter chose to grow close to you?"
Again, my father did not answer.
Aro finally asked the most important question. "Do you think Mrs. Hunter should be released?"
"No, I don't," he answered. "As an officer of the law I believe that any individual convicted of a crime should serve the full, maximum penalty for it. Mrs. Hunter shot her husband in the face. In my opinion, she should be locked up for life."
My heart hammered in my chest. It was the answer I wanted, and it was an opinion he had made very clear in his testimony at my trial. Despite the fact that I had tried to numb myself over the past years, it still hurt to hear the words coming from my father's lips. I tried—God, I tried—not to care, not to let his betrayal affect me. But it cut me deeply, even to this day and I fought hard to keep my emotion at bay.
It didn't matter that I'd shot James that day.
He was still living through my father.
I'd avoided Rose for the remainder of the day—which isn't easy when you share a cell. I hadn't gone out of my way to stay away from her, but I knew she wanted to ask questions about the hearing and I wasn't ready to answer them yet. I was still shaken up over seeing my father for the first time in four years and I didn't want to talk about anything with anyone other than Dr. Whitlock, who was unavailable for sessions this late at night.
He didn't have to live here too.
I'd sat with her for dinner but tactfully avoided her questions and dodged any topic that was in any way related to James, my father or what had happened in that room. When we went back to our cells, I told her I was exhausted from the day and pretended to fall asleep so I wouldn't have to talk to her.
Eventually, she got the hint and stopped asking.
Over the next several days, I went back to the life I knew in prison while I awaited my fate. The parole board was currently reviewing all of the testimony brought forth at the hearing and deciding whether I could stay or if I should go. It wasn't an easy task, working in the kitchen, jogging in the courtyard or reading in my cell just to pass the time, but I made it work somehow. I got back into the swing of my everyday schedule and soon it became easy to pretend that I didn't have to go anywhere. Eventually, I forgot about the whole ordeal.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months without any word from the parole board. I continued to see Dr. Whitlock twice a week and he thankfully avoided talking about anything having to do with the hearing. My father was off the table, so he continued with things we'd been talking about all along. If I was having nightmares, what was I reading, if I was experiencing any trouble with my emotions.
It was quickly approaching December. The cheap paper Christmas decorations had been strung up in the recreation room and throughout a few of the hallways. A small Christmas tree was set up in the mess hall with enough lights to not make it look bare. Snow was softly falling outside on a regular basis. I was at dinner with Rose, pushing around a grey piece of meat that was supposed to be pot roast when an officer approached our table with a handful of mail.
"Merry Christmas, Hunter," she said, handing me an envelope.
I rarely got mail. My mother was dead, I had no friends and my father was taking my dead ex-husband's side.
My mouth ran dry when I noticed the return address at the top of the envelope.
It was from the parole board.
Rose looked up at me. "Bella? What is it?"
"It's from the parole board," I murmured.
She perked up. "Open it," she hissed.
I shook my head. "I can't. I need to wait for my lawyer. I should go call him."
"Bella I'm sure he's gotten a copy as well. Open it!"
Several eyes were on us at this point, so to avoid any further attention, I slid my finger under the flap and pulled the envelope open. I skimmed through the letter, and as the contents began to sink into my brain, tears welled up in my eyes.
"What is it?" Rose asked.
"I've been… they accepted my plea. I'm being granted release on parole."
Rose's face lit up with a smile, but it was misguided. She thought my tears were tears of happiness.
They were the exact opposite.
Next update should be in about a week, as long as nothing comes up. Leave a review!
Two things: one, I'm thinking about renaming this story so let me know if you have any ideas and two, if anyone wants to come up with a book cover thing, please do so. I'm crap at that stuff and it'd be cool to have one.
See you in a week!