Outtake – James

The waves of rage continued to roll through me. The only way I could contain them these days was to play Foals.

Over. And. Over.

The frenzy in the music served a purpose as a comparison. I could never be that out of control. It didn't help my lack of sleep however, and that's what was slowly killing me.

Jimmy would come around and I'd show him where I thought the whistles in the walls were. He would spend hours trying to make me happy.

I loved him and despised myself for loving an angel.

I wrote a lot of garbage, abandoning thousands of words, not understanding them the next day when I read them. The story had taken on a life of its own, leading me along tangents that were stimulating but unprintable. She said, "You can't kill innocents," and I was doing it constantly, needing more surprise, more fear, more death, more sheer excitement.

I deleted it all and having to do so fed my anger.

She had to come here and tell me what to write, to bring me back to the holy fire.

I needed to get her away from him.

She allowed him to monopolize her time these days. Every time I saw her, she was with him, holding hands, arm in arm, even kissing on the street; seemingly unaware they were in public. He'd pull her back, not wanting to let her go.

Genuine affection.

I stopped taking pictures.

Underestimating him was the main reason I was so angry. I was sure he was gay but now I suspected his pretty looks had fooled me and my rage spiked when I saw him touching her, tainting her beauty with his hands.

I had to get back into her life, and soon.

The perfect opportunity presented itself when my mother's liver finally gave out. My strung out exterior, coupled with that piece of news, was easily enough to extract Bella's compassion. Even the receptionist fell for it.

I wasn't above using pity because it had worked before with her, but a simple cup of coffee and some kind words were all I expected today. She was at work and I was only planting a seed, one I would cultivate over a period of days or weeks.

When I tried to make fun of Cullen's sexual persuasion and get the real story, she stood up for him, telling me they were getting married, showing me that overblown pretentious engagement ring.

That's when things changed.

He had to go now and she could be my bait.

It could look like an accident or self-defense.

She wouldn't even question it. She only saw the good in me. Like Jimmy.

Two shining angels who loved me back.

I had to regroup.

I had the drugs on me.

She put on quite a performance for the patrons and staff of Starbucks, fighting the effects and looking like she'd been drinking. I played the gallant boyfriend, screaming to a panicked stop out front, parking illegally, running in and carrying her back out to the truck.

I made sure everyone saw me.

She thought I was taking her home – never suspecting.

She didn't think like that.

She knew I would never harm her or let anyone hurt her.

Not my angel.

The trip home was not the one I rehearsed. I'd played out the scene filled with the old banter, her chastising me for something I'd done, me winning her over and telling her she was going to love the new house and how much she would adore Jimmy. He was the thing that would cement her to me, his goodness a magnet for her, ensuring she would never want to leave.

We could live off the proceeds of my book.

That was another reason I was angry. My father had cut me off, threatening to expose what I'd done if I ever came near him or his family again. He'd proved what a damn good lawyer he was, manipulating that jury without ever speaking a word in court and I repaid him by nearly blowing it when I presented myself for testimony after sleeping a total of twelve hours in the previous seven days. They all thought I was distraught over my half-brother when really it was due to lack of sleep – again.

Anyway, my sudden lack of income was the reason I needed this book to sell and I wasn't capable of writing it without her guidance any more. Having her name associated with it virtually guaranteed its success. She'd proven she could write; something I always knew.

Bella was still out cold in the truck next to me. I don't know if I sprinkled too much in her coffee or if she was just susceptible but she slumped down in the seat, rolling her head forward, almost hitting the dash.

I realized I had stolen her.

She didn't come freely like I'd imagined and that was depressing.

Playing the Foals' song and singing loudly along with it felt better. It was the best track they had ever recorded and finally I had a half-decent version.

The lyrics filled my brain, my throat and my chest as if they'd surely been written for us.


She was going to stay with Jimmy and me.

"They said I once was lost but now I'm truly found."

We would be great together, three misfits, all very different, but complete as a triangle. The holy fire would burn bright when we formed our union.

Fire – glorious - connecting us in every way.

"Oh now Momma do you hear my fear, it's coming after me."

Mother Nature conspired with me in the fire that ripped through her hometown but Bella caused it and she probably knew it. She chose to ignore me and I won't be ignored.

"I'm calling out your name."

I demanded her attention that day, only to find out later she wasn't even in the fucking country.

"And I know you ran away. Oh I know but I'm feeling okay."

She ran from me, choosing that French woman's book over mine, abandoning my project for trashy everyday lives over the power of my beautiful "Fire." Jimmy went to prison and I had to act like I was okay. Another reason to keep me awake in the dark. Lighting the inferno had been for nothing, backfiring.

And she clung to him now partly because of it.

"Happy now, happy now?"

I would be, once he was gone.

Whether she was chatting animatedly next to me or drugged into oblivion, the result was the same.

He would come after her quickly and I'd be ready.

"And I know the place but not the way."

I knew where to take her - through the ramble of the forest, around the point and on to the isolated beach. Few people ever walked on it. They only passed it on boats, but Jimmy should know my favorite place on the lake.

"It's coming after me."

They'd send Cullen our way - a shock, a startling, menacing appearance.

I would have to shoot to protect her.

"Did your phone cut in the way?"

Not out here. His blood would freeze in the snow and I wouldn't have a signal to call for help.

"Stay with me."

Once he was gone, she would stay with me.

Jimmy wanted to know why she was still inside asleep, looking suspicious and asking if he could see her. I told him nothing. I couldn't risk him knowing anything when I couldn't guarantee it wouldn't get him locked up again. No, I couldn't allow a spotlight to fall on him. He had to be innocent.

But why wouldn't she wake up? It was just fucking Zolpidem! Hell, it hardly affected me and I didn't even give her a full pill. When I crushed it, half of it went on the floor at Starbucks.

I started scrambling through drawers, thinking I knew how many pills I had, hoping I hadn't given her the Ambien CR. She'd be out for hours if I made that error. No, it was okay, there were still ten of them left. It was just regular Zolpidem.

Just calm down for a minute.

Waiting was making me very edgy that my plan wasn't coming together. I rocked back and forth and then paced for what felt like an eternity, before I grabbed my laptop and wrote an entry in my diary about taking her to the lake this afternoon to show her its beauty and convincing her to come back to me and help me finish the book.

The timing of the entry would give me some credibility. "No officer, I never planned to hurt anyone." Just the thought of my face when I did this later today made me laugh hysterically.

I scrolled up and smiled when I landed on a page where I'd written a few paragraphs about the time Jimmy came down and stayed with me in Seattle. I censored most of this diary. It served to remind me about things that happened without revealing the devil in the detail. I made sure what went on in my head on dark days never stayed on the pages. I read some of those entries and couldn't believe it was me who wrote them. I did use a watered down version of some of them in the book and then deleted them from my working diary.

This particular entry described a funny night when Jimmy and I went out for a late lunch and ended up drinking Vodka. I didn't write the part where I irresponsibly let him convince me he was okay to drive or that I certainly wasn't. Just thinking about that day was making me laugh hard.

We managed to make it almost all the way home with the windows down and the air blasting in when I spotted Bella's little Mazda and pointed it out to Jimmy. His immediate reaction was to lean out the window, taking the wheel with him, careering across towards her, and it was a fucking miracle we didn't kill her. Once we realized she was okay, though, we laughed ourselves stupid.

There was no way I could record that part. It was the first time I blacked out from booze once we finished off the bottle we brought home with us. The next thing I remembered was waking up with those two terrified cats in our living room, thinking we'd painted their faces like that until I realized who owned them and what had happened.

Scrolling and laughing, I noticed the time. How long had we been here? Too fucking long!

I shook her, knowing we didn't have time for this. We had to get down there well before dark if I was going to get a clear shot at Cullen. Twilight was the perfect time; dark enough to plead an accident of mistaken identity but still light enough for me to target his heart or his head or maybe both.

No, I wasn't thinking straight - two shots wouldn't look like an accident! I needed enough light to make the first one count so he would bleed to death, slowly losing his life as it drained out, staining the snow blood red around him. It was tantalizing wondering if there would be enough light for me to get the full impact when it happened. If not, I could always bring down a fire torch to illuminate it and watch the fear in eyes as he realized what was happening.

I'd enjoy it even more, knowing there was nothing I could do to help. Using the lack of cell coverage was a piece of brilliance. I could use that in a future chapter – starting a fire without the means to report it. Another character could make the mistake of trying to stop me and pay for it with his or her life.

Just like Cullen was stopping me from having what I wanted.

Another source of anger stirred me - why I thought it was a good idea to leave her in the first place. None of this would have happened if I hadn't been so arrogant. I let him in and she closed the door behind him, shutting me out.

"Bella, Bella, try to wake up! I've made you a cup of tea."

This perfect plan of mine was unraveling and panic was setting in. She was still only semi-conscious, talking about going home, about being sick and cold, trying to fight against me when he could be here any minute. I had to get her up and I struggled with precious minutes getting even a woolen jacket on her so she'd have to get by with that.

We'd be out in the elements for only a short time anyway. Everything was mostly set up and all I had to do was fill the baskets with tinder and start the flames. I'd left plenty of wood in a sheltered area if we needed it.

When the snow fell on her from the roof, I laughed at her ability to attract bad luck when we didn't have time to get her more dry clothes. It was imperative we got moving before he turned up. It was probably a stupid decision because she started to shiver in the wind but the forest would give us a few minutes of peace. I wondered what it would be like on the beach now and how hard it would be to keep the flames going.

This fucking weather – everything was going against me.

She kept falling and groaning, angrily refusing my offers to carry her, cute really, but this was taking far too long!

All hell broke loose when we finally reached the beach and a wind full of biting splinters of snow and ice hit us. At least the direction meant that when we reached our destination, it would be sheltered. It was something. One fucking thing.

Bella could hardly walk. Struggling through the curtains of snow in the damp sand almost brought us to a standstill. Almost. I forced us on while she tried to scream but I couldn't hear her in the wind anyway. She gave up completely and then I had to drag her.

It couldn't have been more different to what I'd imagined. What I'd seen was her face marveling at the beauty of the lake in the early winter evening, an impressive sunset and the sounds of peace played by lapping waves and an occasional loon. Instead, it was chaos, mirroring what was going on in my head.

As soon as we rounded the point, the effect on the wind was instant and I could almost focus on what I'd originally intended for this visit. She had to see the beauty of this location that thrilled me every time I came here. Even in the snow, it was an astounding place. I told her I saw us tobogganing with our kids here and tried to get her to move up the hill, feeling a moment of anger with her. I had to pick her up when she wouldn't try to walk.

I could feel how frozen she was so I stood her between the two fire poles. She needed the warmth and I could hardly wait for her to see the spectacle it would create. I quickly assembled the tinder I'd stored and then poured gas over them. When I lit them, they exploded into the air, making me grin at the twitch in my dick as I screamed from the excitement.

I'd recreated my own version of the scene from "Spanish Sahara" and it felt good. Very good. I know I was rambling while drinking in the view, not noticing at first how she'd moved away from the heat and had fallen to her knees. She was as overcome as I was. It was as if she was worshiping the fire, as I did.

Suddenly I heard the muted sound of someone calling my name and she recognized the voice, calling out "Edward!" He'd reached us even faster than I'd expected and I had to race to get the gun from the forest. I quickly found a spot to stand away from the illumination of the fires, aimed and fired as soon as I saw his chest.

It was so easy, so perfectly executed. I called out a goodbye to him, feeling euphoric as he fell, rushing down the hill to watch him die. Just as I'd hoped, there was still enough light to witness his terror as he breathed his last.

What I found made me wish I'd never been born.

The shock and the sharp intake of breath felt like a lungful of snow, the inner chill so profound.

I fell to the ground, searching for the wound, hoping the bullet had only stunned him, somehow ricocheting off him, but Jimmy's blood coated me as I held his lifeless body, bawling and screaming, willing this to be a hallucination, a moment of madness that couldn't be true.

I cried to the heavens, begging any God looking down on this dreadful mistake to make this right, to take us back just five minutes.

When no miracle came, I looked out over the lake through my tears and realized what I'd done.

I'd killed an angel.

I put his body down and picked the gun up, knowing that my options were running out fast. I could not go to jail for slaughtering someone like Jimmy. I'd burn the whole fucking place down with me in it before I let them put me behind bars and Cullen would leak blood like a sieve to pay for this.

I looked up at Bella, my last living angel, still kneeling in the snow, ready to take my confession and forgive me. With heavy legs, I climbed the hill to join her and touched her sweetly, asking her to save me and happy when she nodded her agreement immediately. She knew I wasn't a bad person.

I began my confession; ready to pour out that everything I'd done was for her, but the admission of drugging her coffee brought out a strange fierce anger that surprised me.

She drove another nail into my coffin. I'd harmed an unborn innocent this time, her baby with him.

Children can't pay for the sins of the adults.

I screamed to the sky again as a whirlpool spun out of control inside me while my heart pounded loudly in my ears. I needed the music.

Loud. Loud. Loud.

I sang even louder, feeling a combination of anger and hilarity sweep through me. I never stood a chance, did I? If Jimmy hadn't introduced me to the idea of her, finding another true angel in the form of a human woman, things might have been different.

I aimed too impossibly high because they were both unattainable.

They were once two candle lights at the end of a tunnel but I'd snuffed one out and the other barely flickered in the wind – they'd leave me in the darkness and I'd stumble, falling into the abyss of being alone and anonymous, struggling to write words I could no longer control.

A nightmare of endless frustration and horror loomed out in front of me and I knew it was time to finish everything.

I spewed out more of my confession to her and to the soul of Jimmy, trying to cleanse myself, but it came out like I was blaming her. Once I got it all out, a feeling of calm came over me and I knew it was over. The gas can was handy so I poured it over me, making sure it coated me properly, and smiled as I lit myself while she screamed for me to stop.

I watched the flames in fascination, changing color as they overwhelmed my clothes, more beautiful than anything I'd ever seen. The glow I cast on the snow was nothing short of mind-blowing. I laughed and danced through the sting that only lasted minutes, knowing this was part of my absolution, and it soon gave way to a feeling of a power bent on consuming me.

Still walking, I relished the sensations coursing over me. This was what I expected from the holy fire, no pain, only overwhelming calm as it took me into the next life. Unfortunately, the music stopped, my clothes melted away, and I began to grow deathly cold. I knew I must tell Bella that there was safety and warmth in the forest.

I'm not sure if I formed the words because I was blacking out.

There, I did it, I got it out of my system! Did I deal with every unanswered question posed in the story? I hope so.

To Beach, I can never thank you enough for all your help. You know I love ya!

And to VampyreGirl86, my grammar Nazi, thanks again and congratulations on the birth of your own sweet little angel.

To those of you who voted this into the top ten completed fics for January at www . twifanfictionrecs . com, that was the best surprise!

To those who reviewed or just read, thanks for joining me. There's another story brewing but I'll finish it before I upload a single chapter this time.

xxx Compass