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Chapter 8- Spoiled Brat
A lot in my life has changed since the year first started. I have a better position in my job, and I must say I'm doin' much better with my finances.
I sent Ma some money the other day and now she's callin' me up.
"Son, where you gettin' this kind of money?" She asks, and I can hear the worry in her voice.
"Ma, I'm workin' hard. I told ya' that I would send over some money to help you out as soon as I was on both feet and had a full wallet on me."
"But you ain't doin' nothin' bad? Tell me you ain't, Son."
I sigh and rub my face.
Lord knows how hard I try not to lose my patience with my mother. She's gettin' old, and that ain't her fault. "No, Ma. The oilfield is boomin', and everybody is comin' this way of Texas for a job. It's doin' that good. That's why I have money now. I even got myself a new place."
She stays quiet, and I know she is tryin' to believe me. I don't blame her, since I spent most of my teen years and early twenties given' hell, and worrin' her to death. She takes a deep breath as she whispers a small prayer to God, and I really wish she wouldn't bother him and trust what I say.
"Well, I'm happy you're doin' so well, Son. I hope you come visit soon. I sure do miss you."
"I miss you too, Ma."
"He misses you, too. He feels awfully guilty. He would call you, but you know he can't do much."
"Then how can he miss me," I mutter and immediately regret it. She starts cryin' and swearin' to me that he's a changed man. He ain't rough no more.
I don't say anythin' and stare at the stain on the carpet of my soon to be, former apartment. She cries and cries in my ear, but all I do is say nothing,' and hold back the pain in my heart.
I don't wanna tell her I'm still mad as hell at her. I don't wanna tell her that I can't seem to find it in my heart to forgive what he did to me all those years, because that would break her heart. She's always been a fragile woman. She wouldn't take it well to know that every time I remember those awful times, I see her there, standin' a few feet away from us, doin' nothin' but crying, as he beats the shit out of me in the name of Jesus Christ.
Maybe one day I will. I'll let go, but not right now.
"Well, look at you!" Rosalie shouts as I walk up to her house. We are headin' to the New Year's party that the owners are throwin' for us workers. I decided to wear my best Levi jeans and button shirt. I even threw on my only clean and fancy cowboy hat. "You handsome devil you. You give my Emmett a run for his money."
"Like hell he does!" Em shouts, as usual, and roughly throws his arm around my shoulder. "Masen here lacks my charm and charisma."
"And you lack brains, but I ain't sayin' nothin'."
He laughs so loud it makes his kitchen shake.
"You don't say much, Masen," Rosalie laughs. "But when you do, you let loose. I like it."
"Don't be seducin' my wife, Masen," Emmett says playfully.
We sit on his couch, waitin' on Rose to finish gettin' ready. We drink beer and stare at the screen of his giant TV as some sports show is on.
"You know, I don't understand why women take forever to get ready. I'm gonna get her naked after anyway."
"I heard that!" She shouts from the other room. "I ain't just jumpin' in the hay with you, you animal. You're have to show me off first."
"Of course, sweet honey!"
I laugh as Emmett rolls his eyes.
"You think your spoiled brat takes forever to get ready?"
"What are you talkin' about?"
"You know what I'm talkin' about. Bella Swan. I bet she has a closet the size of your apartment."
"I don't doubt it."
"Don't worry about her, man."
"I ain't worried. Do you see me worried? How did we go from talkin' about women gettin' ready to Bella?"
He chuckles. "I'm just sayin', she's probably gonna be at this party for a little while. She always is. Charles makes a speech about how much he appreciates our hard work. He'll stand in front of all of us with his wife and Bella by his side. Then they leave 'cause they can't be hangin' out with us peasants and Mexicans."
"So? It ain't like I'm gonna talk to her or get near her. She'd probably have a fit."
Rose finally gets done. She looks like a doll, even with all the tattoos on her pretty skin. Emmett stops actin' a fool for once, and actually opens the door for her, and he can't stop tellin' her how pretty she is.
We drive east to pick Alice and Jasper up. I sit awkwardly by the window as the couples chit chat, and I hope Alice don't feel the need to include me in the conversation. I'm perfectly fine with my silence.
But Al can always be counted on to be 'nice'.
I don't want her to be nice, goddamn it.
"So, Edward," she's says. She's the only one that calls me by my name. "I spoke to Bella today."
"She's goin' alone to this party … well with her parents, but George won't be there."
"Hell if I care," I mutter.
"Look guys, I'm glad you wanna be so nice to me, I ain't never had friends like ya'll, but goddamn it. I'm tryin' really hard not think of this girl. It's been too long, and I should move on, but you guys keep bringin' her up!"
They stay quiet, and I hate myself. "Like I said, I've never had friends like ya'll. I just ain't used to it. Sorry for being a dick."
Em laughs. "Bro, that vein on your forehead said hello to me. I swear it. It's intense when you get mad."
"I hate you," I mumble and go back to starin' out my window.
"We promise not to talk about the spoiled brat anymore," Rose says, raisin' a hand as if she was in court. Alice nods in agreement.
"That's all ask. Let's pretend she never happened."
Alice sighs. "I know Bella can be tough to understand."
"But she's my friend. I've been able to get to know the real her. She just has a tough time detaching herself from her world. And then losing Pete was so hard on her. He was a good person. She says mean things and acts like a bit… like a rude person, but I know her. That isn't the real her."
"Well," Jasper says. "She's been workin' with us for a long time now, so I guess she's been her fake self for too long then."
Alice elbows him in the gut while Em and Rose laugh.
"Maybe it's easier that way," she says, still tryin' to defend her friend. "But I have hope she'll change. No matter how hard she tries to act, she isn't one of them. She isn't like those people."
It's a honky-tonk at its finest. I stand on the side, watchin' as Em, Rose, Al and Jasper dance. I ain't never had no rhythm.
Too serious, my friends would say. At parties or school events, I would always just stand on the side and looked on as everyone had fun. I didn't mind it one bit.
I sip on my beer and lean against a wall, smilin' at the fun my friends are havin'. It's a really chilly night, but that ain't stoppin' anybody from drinkin' cold beer. I'm glad I brought my jacket with me.
"Hey, handsome," some lady says and runs her hand up my arm. She's looks a little older and braver that a lot of the girls here. "You wanna take a lovely lady like me out to dance?"
I shake my head. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I ain't much of a dancer."
She shrugs and walks away. Maybe I should have taken her out to dance. I should have pretended to be normal. The last time I danced was with that spoiled girl. That beautiful, angry, spoiled girl.
"Gringo!" Eli shouts as he makes his way over to me.
"Hey, Eli. You enjoying yourself?"
"Yeah, how about you? You look so serious, amigo."
I chuckle. "That's what everyone tells me. It's just my face."
He pats me on the back. "Why don't you come and party with us? We Mexicans know how to party."
"I'm sure you do, but I'm fine," I laugh.
I stare at my friends for a little while longer until Charles Swans asks for everyone's attention. Bella ain't with him, just his wife. She's a pretty lady, and I can see traces of Bella in her facial expressions. She don't say much, and after Charles gives his last words of the night she gives everyone a forced smile.
All the men and their families applaud as they leave. This party ain't for the Swans. It's for us, and they sure as hell don't wanna hang out with people not as good as them.
I have another beer with the group, but I start feelin' a little out of place, so I head out. I stand a few feet away from the party and have a smoke while starin' at the night sky. I can't believe it's about to be a new year. Time sure does pass by fast. Who can catch up?
I start a second cigarette and drink my beer while tappin' my foot to the music from the old country band Charles hired.
My eyes wander to each star, until the sound of gentle footsteps on the gravel behind me, gets my attention.
At first I think it's one of my friends comin' over to tell me that it's time to go.
But I'm wrong.
She's there; standin' in front of me wearin' a fancy lookin' blouse, but no coat and no expression on her face. She's holdin' her hands together, and now that my eyes are on her, she's slowed her steps.
The cold breeze has made her cheeks a perfect rosy pink, and goddamnit is she gorgeous. She's beautiful.
"What are you doing out here?" She asks with a soft voice. I was kinda expectin' her rough tone, but I guess she ain't in the mood.
"I could ask you the same thing, Ms. Swan. I thought your ma and pa had left already. Shouldn't a young lady like you be with them, instead of out here with us fools?"
She sighs and stops when she's only a footstep away from me.
"They are gone. I stayed ... I don't know why though, but here I am," she says. Once again I'm surprised she ain't her usual mad self. Her eyes are soft like the rest of her face. But them brown orbs don't move from my chest or shoulders. They never seem to reach my eyes.
I don't respond and exhale some smoke. I try not to look her way, and instead turn my gaze out into the distance. The lack of trees and hills in this place lets your eyes wander. If you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, perhaps in the desert, with nothing around you but the sunset, you get the loneliest feelin' inside.
I wonder if she feels it sometimes, too.
"You know, Masen, I'm a sore loser," she says.
I still don't look at her.
"The things you've lost ain't easy to let go of," I say.
"I know, but I'm not talking about those things. I'm not talking about him."
"Pardon me, ma'am, but what are you talkin' 'bout?"
She sighs, and this time when I turn to look at her, she's the one that stares out into the distance.
"There isn't much in this town. Just a bunch of oil and pickup trucks. And money."
"What's wrong with money?"
"Nothing. When you have it of course. But that's all everyone around here seems to worry about."
"Well, not all of us have rich parents. Some of us still got bills to pay," I say.
She chuckles. "I don't forget that you don't have any, Masen. You're just a poor, white trash roughneck who thinks the few bucks my daddy pays him is good enough. Money is important to me, and I can't do just good enough," she says.
I don't think, I just act.
I've had it with her mouth.
I grab her by her upper arms and pull her to me. "You spoiled brat!" I shout, but she don't even flinch. "You think you can just walk around and speak to people like that? Well, I have news for you; you can't. Just 'cause you was lucky and weren't born dirt poor don't mean you can walk around stompin' your fancy shoes on everyone else. If money is so important to you, and I'm just white trash, then why won't you let me be? You look at me with them brown eyes all the time, like you want somethin' to happen. I'm tired of it. Just leave me alone! Go on and live your life with the lies about how happy you are, and let me be."
Her eyes fill with big tears. "You bastard," she gasps, and shoves her head into my chest, wrapping her arms around my waist. She cries into my jacket and holds onto me for dear life.
I don't want to, but I give in and wrap my arms around her. She's so small, but she has a mean fight. I just wish she would use it for good. "Goddamn it, Bella. You silly girl," I whisper by her ear as she gently snuggles her face into my neck. Her hands desperately move up back, over my shoulders and chest until they find my hair.
"You don't have to be like this," I tell her.
She pulls back and takes my face in her hands, pullin' me close to her. So close, that I can feel her breath on my skin. "You goddamn roughneck. You're always looking at me, too. Don't think I don't notice it. You've been trying to act distant these past few months, but I always feel you. I just want to be angry and hate everyone, but there you are, looking at me like you know better. You're wrong, Masen. I'm a horrible person, I'm awful, always have been. But you, you're so kind. You're such a good man."
I don't say anythin' to that, because I'm not too sure I agree with her. But I almost believe her. The way she's lookin' at my eyes and then at my lips as if I was somethin' special, would make any man feel some kind of grace.
She caresses my face with her fingers while I hold her close. She softly touches my cheeks, nose, chin and jaw. I don't quite remember how we got here, but I pull her in tighter, just in case the wind decides to pull her away once again.
"I said I was a sore loser because I'm tired of telling myself I'm winning this battle. I keep telling myself that I've managed to push you away. That you mean nothing to me. I'm a damn liar. I lost so long ago, and I just can't lose with acceptance," she whispers.
I don't understand her. I don't understand what she wants from me. I'm confused as can be and I don't know if I have her, or if she's just losin' her mind.
But as the fireworks start up, lightin' us from above and announcin' the New Year, she presses her lips to mine. I kiss her back with so much desperation that she has to hold onto the back of my head for balance.
Her face is cold, but her mouth is warm, and as she lets me kiss her as if it was the last time, I pull her small body so close to me I'm sure she feels my thunderin' heart. I hold my hands on her waist, and take in the warmth of our close bodies.
Her tongue leaves my mouth, and she places warm, soft kisses on my chin and lips. I just kiss her cheeks, mouth, and chin, whatever I can reach. "Why don't you …" I press my mouth to hers again, stoppin' her from announcin' that she has to go and leave me.
I'm a goddamn masochist.
She's gonna leave me anyway.
But after a few minutes of kissin' her and touchin' her she doesn't leave. She's still in my arms. She deepens our kisses, and hugs me so close to her that I'm afraid she's feelin' how excited she's got me. "Why don't you take us away from here?" She finally manages to breathe out, as I rest my forehead on her shoulder to catch my own breath. She kisses my neck, running her lips up to my jaw then to the small space between my jaw and ear.
"What?" I manage to ask when I find some composure.
She pulls back and places her hands on each side of my face. "Take me with you. I don't want to be here. I've never really liked parties."
I'm dumbfounded, and somethin' in me is tellin' me to say no and get away from her. But her swollen kissed lips, her soft hands on my face, and them pleading, deep eyes of hers, make it difficult to listen to the logical side of my brain.
"Where do you wanna go?"
She shrugs. "I don't care. I just wanna be with you," she whispers, and places a tender kiss on my lips.
I'm trying not to read too much into what she just said. I kiss the palm of her right hand and shake my head. "Listen, if this is you just playin' with me, or a way of you using me as a distraction, I ain't up for it. If you're just gonna get up and leave and act like you hate my guts the next day, I ain't doin' it."
She quickly shakes her head. "No, please," she pleads. "It's not like that. I promise."
"Then what is it?"
She sighs, pullin' out of my arms.
She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and paces for a moment before she looks me square in the eye. "Look, Masen, I don't know what I want. I'm a fucking idiot … I'm crazy even. But obviously I want you, and I don't know what that means exactly. I'm pretty sure my father would kill you if he found out that you touched me. Or he would fire you at least, and I don't want to do that to you." She nears me again and places a warm kiss on my cheek. She wraps her arms around my neck and starts runnin' a hand through my hair. "I don't know if I'm any good for you or if I want a relationship. I'm not right in my head right now, but if you just give me some time…"
I huff and pull away.
I take another cigarette out 'cause she's makin' me stress, but she don't let me light it as she takes it from my hand.
"How am I supposed to kiss you when you got a mouth full of smoke, Masen?" She asks, with a small hint of a smile on her pretty lips. She looks mischievous and even innocent.
"You're crazy, Isabella Swan," I say, shakin' my head.
She smiles and rubs her arms. I remember she ain't wearin' a coat ,and hastily take mine off. I make her put it on, and she quickly pulls it tight to her body.
"You look handsome," she tells me. "This cowboy look suits you."
"I didn't come in my own truck," I tell her.
"I have my car," she answers and starts walkin'.
And I follow.
"What the hell is that?" She asks, as I pull it out of my back pocket.
"Your father gave all the men a small tequila bottle," I tell her as she makes herself comfortable on top of the hood of her car. She had asked me to drive us somewhere, so I drove us to the middle of the desert. "I wish I had money to give all my friends tequila bottles," I say.
She giggles and then groans.
"Daddy loves showing off that he has money. One year, he bought all of my friends and me tickets to some football game I didn't even want to go to. I remember being so mad about it."
I sit next to her, my head by hers on the windshield. I take a sip of the tequila and make her take a sip of her own. "God, that's awful," she says after a few coughs.
I chuckle and take another sip.
"I remember saying things about how rich my parents are when I was in school, just to make the other kids envious. I remember feeling like a bitch afterwards. I don't know why I acted like that. I don't know why I am the way I am sometimes. It's like it's not really me. The scarier thing to think about is what if it is me, you know?"
I don't respond and stare at her face.
The stars are shinin' in her eyes. "Do you remember a time when you acted like the real you?" I ask.
She smiles at the sky. "Every summer, when my grandfather was alive, he would take my cousins and me out to his ranch with my grandmother. We would run around, get dirty and sweaty," she giggles. "It was so much fun. I would scrape my knees and my hair would be in terrible knots by the end of each day. My mother always had a heart attack when she would come pick me up. My favorite times were when Granddaddy would take us out fishing, and we would stay out late until you could see the stars reflecting on the river. I wish life was like that. Just wild and free. I haven't had that much fun since I was ten."
I move her face towards mine and place my lips to the corner of her mouth. She sighs and kisses my lips. "But you can, Bella. You just have to let it happen."
She don't answer and instead kisses me. We make out on top of her car for a few minutes until she tells me it's time to go home.
"I'll give you a ride," she says.
"Don't be silly, it's far in west Odessa. You live east. I'll just catch a ride or call someone."
"You don't be silly," she argues. "Don't be a prideful man. Let me drive you."
"I don't know," I mutter. "It's awfully strange to be driven around by a lady."
She giggles. "You're so old fashioned, Masen. But I think I like it…sometimes. Just let me drive you."
I give up and a few minutes later, I find myself in her warm car as she drives me home. She's so carefree at the moment. I don't know how we ended up like this. Just the other day she was lookin' at me as if she hated every cell in my body. But right now she looks so young and relaxed. She giggles at the dumb things I say, and the sound is so enchantin'. I may be me losin' my head, but I think it's worth it if I get to hear her laugh.
When I place my hand over hers, she lets me. She's hesitant, but she's the one that intertwines our fingers.
"My daddy can't know, Masen," she whispers, as we sit in her car in front of my apartment complex. She traces invisible lines on my callused hands. "Nobody can know for now. Not even your friends or Alice … they just can't. Someone will tell my daddy, and he won't be too happy. He'll have your head."
"What exactly are we keepin' a secret?" I ask her.
She sighs and places my hand on her cheek. She closes her eyes, leaning her face closer to my hand as I caress her skin. "Whatever it is that we're doing. We'll have to figure it out first before we give it a name."
I just nod, still feelin' uncertain.
Something in me tells me that tomorrow mornin' she'll wake up and everything will go back to the way it was.
When she finally looks out the window at my apartment complex she studies it for a moment. "Not too bad, Masen."
I chuckle. "You should've seen the place I was at before this. I think you would have been spooked."
"Well are you going to give me a tour of your place?" She asks.
"Yeah, why not?"
"It's three in the mornin,' and you live far from here."
"So I'll sleep on your couch."
"You just said your father would kick my ass."
"No, I said my father would kill you, but he isn't here, is he?"
I chuckle. "But won't he notice when you don't arrive at your house?"
"He thinks I'm out with the girls and I told him I might sleep over at one of their homes. Besides, my parents like to stay up late with their stupid snotty friends on New Year's. They don't care about me at the moment."
I take a deep breath and press my lips on the corner of her mouth. "You wanna sleep on my couch? What are you tryin' to prove, Bella?" I ask against her mouth. "Are you tryin' to prove somethin' to yourself by taking these big jumps?"
She shakes her head. "I'm not trying to prove anything, Masen. I'm just done thinking so much. I'm done wondering when I will see you again."
"I'm right here," I say and that earns me a smile from her.
"That's why I don't want to leave," she whispers.
Bella is giving me whiplash!
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