Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 5

The tan guy was holding a wooden bat over his head and aiming it at James. James was backing away slowly. My heart stopped.

“Give me the bat, now,” I ordered. Somehow I had ended up in between the tan guy and James.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” the guy asked.

I put my hands on my hips. “I am your boss,” I hissed. “Lumex Cockcrow,” I informed him.

The guy’s eyes widened and he brought down the bat. “Silver Camaro, pale skin, red-brown hair, chocolate brown eyes, oh no,” the guy mumbled to himself.

“Hand it over,” I ordered, outstretching my hand. He obeyed and went back to his post.

“I hope you won’t hold this against me, Ma’am. It’s my first day and I was hoping on making an impression on you. I guess I blew it.”

“Sure did,” I whispered so low that I doubted he could hear me. The world started spinning again and I took a step backwards. James grabbed my shoulder and steadied me.

“And in front of your boyfriend, as well,” the guy continued.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I exclaimed. “You’ve got it figured out all wrong. James is a friend.”

I like you, Lumex. A lot, James’s voice echoed in my head.

I looked next to me at him. James’s expression was steady. He can be so cold.

The guy’s eyes lightened up.

“Then would you consider my offer about dinner?” he asked, regardless of the events that had just taken place.

James took a step forward. I put my arm in front of him to stop him. He glanced down at me pleadingly.  I gave him an “it’s not happening” look.

“I don’t think so.” I shook my head. “Just open the gate.”

“Sure,” the guy said, disappointed. He pressed a button and opened the gate.

Finally, I thought.

I walked to the passenger seat, all the while watching James warily. He quietly walked to the driver’s seat with a grimace.

“James, could you just relax?” I sighed when he got in. “I'm used to this and if you’re going to be my friend, you’re going to have to get used to it too.”

I just realized what I said. I said friend. I said we would be friends.  But I don’t want to get close to anyone. I don’t want to care for someone else.

He mumbled something and started driving. He parked in my spot.

James got out of the car and opened my door for me with an extended hand before I could unbuckle my seatbelt. He was doing the same thing that he did when we almost had dinner with his sisters. He was being all charming and acting like the perfect gentleman.

I rolled my eyes and took his hand. I still wasn’t used to how it felt when our skins made contact, so I had to catch myself on the top of my Camaro.

James noticed my uneasiness and grabbed my bag and then picked me up like a baby. He had my bag on one shoulder.

I frowned and said, “Is it normal for guys to do this to girls? Pick them up like this, I mean. Because I haven't been able to watch it happen even once,” I sighed, leaning my head against his chest, way too exhausted to continue fighting.

He blinked once. “It sure seems to happen to you a lot.”

“Just be happy I’m sick. I’d beat you all to the ground if I were in a good condition.”

He laughed. “You give yourself way too much credit.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Is that a challenge? I love challenges,” I grinned.

“It fits you.” He started walking towards the front door.

“You better start explaining what you’re saying soon, because I'm pretty sure my head is going to explode soon.”

He didn’t say anything.

I relaxed and took in his scent. Pine. As if he spends a lot of time in the forest.

James reached the door, set me on my feet and handed me my bag. He reached towards the wall with one finger outstretched.

“Don’t ring the doorbell,” I stopped him. “I don’t want Celeste to worry.” I took out some keys from my pocket, unlocking the door, and we stepped inside.

“Are you okay?” James asked.

I nodded.

“I’ll leave you now,” he said, turning around.

“No, wait, James,” I pleaded. I grabbed his arm. He faced me. “Can’t you stay? I mean, you’ve been excused for the rest of the day.”

He stared into my eyes for a moment. “You…don’t want me to go?” he asked confused.

I didn’t understand what was so confusing about it.

“Why would I?”

He shrugged. “You seem like you would rather be alone.”

He was right. I was surprised by how quickly he had picked that up.

“Usually,” I admitted. “But with you…I don’t know.”

“I’ll stay, but you have to promise me one thing,” he said, taking a step forward and holding up one finger.

“It depends.”

He grinned. “I can carry you.”

I blinked twice. “That’s low,” I hissed, narrowing my eyes.

He laughed. “It’s either that or I go.”

“Oh?” I said with my hands on my hips. “How would you leave?”

He stopped laughing. “I’ll walk.”

He seemed serious. I narrowed my eyes. There was going to be one winner and one loser in this fight. I wouldn’t lose.

“I’ll let the dogs out.”

He raised an eyebrow mockingly. “You wouldn’t and you know it.”

I said to him the same that I said to Claire. “Try me.”

“C’mon, what’s the big deal? Let me carry you. Just once.”

“I like being close to the ground. I’m really just not a big fan of the whole ‘in the air’ thing.”

“No dresses, no being lifted, what’s next? No hair?”

“Shut up, Goldie locks.” I looked away embarrassed.

He lifted me off my feet.

“I win,” he chuckled.

I frowned and kicked. “No! Put me down!”

He ignored me and headed for one of the staircases. “Which one leads to your room?” he asked.

I sighed and looked at the one to the right. “That one,” I said. “My room is the last door.”

James made his way upstairs without any difficulties. He looked around as he strolled to my door. When he finally reached it, he opened the door without putting me down. Momentarily pausing, he scanned the space and then headed for my bed. He set me down gently.

I sat up as soon as he let go. “You’re going to pay for that, you know,” I growled.

“Yeah, I know.” He sighed and sat down at the foot of my bed.

His head was hanging down. That made his golden hair fall over his eyes. It makes him look so adorable and I feel like I'm melting and—I mentally slapped myself. I needed to stop that. I wasn’t going to become attached to anyone anytime soon.

James looked up at me, his eyes grave. He didn’t look as if he were about to joke around. “How old are you, Lumex?” he asked.

I gaped, taken aback. “Sixteen. Why?”

He was silent for a second and then he said, “What date is your birthday?”

“September 1st.”

He frowned. “At what exact time were you born?”

I thought hard. Molly had told me this many times. “I think midnight, why?”

He stood up. “You know that the planets will align at exactly that time and date?”

“Yeah, it happens every five hundred years, right?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he began pacing. “It’s less time than we thought,” he mumbled to himself. “At least it’s a good date.” He put his hand to his mouth pensively. “We’ll have to train her., but, there aren’t enough of them. No. I'm not letting anything happen to her this time.”

I watched him, puzzled. I need to rest. I have a headache and it’s getting in the way. I can’t even think straight. James was still mumbling to himself. God, my head hurts. James needs to shut up. I grabbed a pillow and flung it at him. He caught it.

“Can you please tell me what you’re all worked up about?” I asked.

James looked around. “Not now.” Pause. “But I think I can arrange something for tomorrow. Yes. I can do that.” He started pacing and mumbling to himself again.

“Earth to James,” I said, throwing another pillow at him. He caught it again.

He shook his head. “Tomorrow, I’ll pick you up in the morning for school. I'm going to have to take you to the place where I’ll explain everything,” he said.

“What’s wrong with right here?”

“A couple of things,” he said, sitting down next to me. “One, the right people aren’t here. Two, the walls have ears. And, three, you’re sick.” He put a hand on my shoulder and pushed me down gently. “You have to sleep. I promise you I’ll be here when you wake up,” he said. “So, just close your eyes and relax.”

I did as he said, even though I was pretty sure that he’d be gone when I awoke. I wanted to stay awake so that he wouldn’t leave me. But his voice was so soothing and my bed was so comfortable. So much had happened. All I wanted was to be with James somewhere quiet.

When I finally woke up, it was dark outside. I sat up, feeling much better. The world stayed in place when I moved. I was covered by a plaid wool blanket. I looked around. Everything was dark.

James had probably gone home. All those hours passed. He must have gotten bored. I reached over to turn on my lamp and gasped.

“Hey, sleepy head,” James smiled. He was lying down on top of the blanket next to me. His hair was all messy, like it had been before I’d given into unconsciousness, and his gray eyes were dangerous. Though, he looked happy.

I stretched an arm. “How long have I been out?” I yawned.

“I’d say almost eight hours,” James said, sitting up. “You’re funny.”

“I'm funny?” I asked, pushing my hair away from my face.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “You roll around a lot and you talk in your sleep. Not to mention the snoring….”

“I don’t snore,” I said, defensively.

“I know. I'm just messing with you,” he said. “But you do talk in your sleep,” he said, seriously. “You were babbling about your friend, Brooke. You really care about her, don’t you?”

I looked down at the blanket. “She’s like a sister to me. I'm really her only family.”

James looked at me with desolate, sad eyes. “She’s an orphan?” he asked.

“No, not at all,” I said. “But, her parents aren’t there for her. They work all day and then come home late at night. Usually one is asleep, so everything is quiet. Though, when they both arrive and they’re awake, they fight. And they drink. When they get drunk, it’s not safe to be around them, because you never know when something might hit you in the face. Brooke even has a scar….” I flinched at the memory.

“Why doesn’t she report them?”

I looked at him, stunned. “Because she loves them anyways,” I said. “I mean, would you do that to your parents, James?”

“You make a good point.”

I ran a hand through my hair. “God, I forgot. I have to go check her out from the hospital.”

“You weren’t kidding about that?” he asked, surprised.

“Why would I mess around about that?”

“I don’t know. Anyway, I’ll come with you.”

“Yeah, I have to drop you off.” I kicked the blanket off and stood up. I walked towards the bathroom. I tripped over something since everything was dark. I opened the door and walked in.

James was right behind me. “What are you doing?” he asked when I picked up a hairbrush.

“Well, for one, I have a bed head. And secondly, I don’t want to see her reaction when she sees I have this crap on my face,” I said, turning on the water and trying to wash the make-up off.

“Well,” James grabbed the pale pink box that was still on my counter, “you won’t get anywhere like that.” He took out a little bottle and some cotton. “Try using this.”

“How do you know so much about make-up?” I asked. I turned off the faucet and grabbed a towel.

He chuckled. “You’re looking at a guy who grew up with three older sisters.”

“Speaking of sisters, I have to give you back the dress I borrowed.”

“You keep it. Just promise me that next time you wear a dress, you’ll put make-up on.”

“It’s too ostentatious for me. But, well, in a million years, when I wear this stuff again, I’ll give you a call.” I tried to take off the mascara.

“Would you like to be with me for a million years?” James asked, grabbing my hand.

I turned scarlet. “Am I supposed to know what that means?” I asked, staring into his gray eyes. He looked serious.

“Not yet.”

“Fine,” I retorted. “But remember that my head will explode eventually. Maybe I should just make a list and ask you everything tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll know.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me away.

I got my arm loose and jumped backwards. James looked at me confused.

“Just don’t pick me up,” I warned him.

He laughed. “Let’s just hurry.”

“You sound like you have to be somewhere,” I said, walking to the door with him.

“I kinda do. But I have to call him first. We have to set up a meeting.”

“You work?”

“No. This isn’t that kind of business,” he shrugged. “I have to schedule some things and fly in some people.”

He wasn’t telling me in details what he was going to do, but he wasn’t saying it was nothing. “Will you explain tomorrow?”

He looked down at me startled. “Of course.”

We went into the hallway and walked downstairs. We didn’t see Celeste or Molly when we headed down. Molly should be home by now and Celeste must be eating.

We walked out the front door and headed for my car. Molly’s red Mustang was parked in its usual spot. I searched for my keys.

James was already in the car in the driver’s seat.

“Smartass,” I muttered under my breath. I walked to the other side and got in.

James started the car and backed up. He waited for Dexter, the night time guard, to open the gate. I waved at him as we passed.

“What hospital?” James asked as he got on the road.

“Tampa General Hospital,” I answered. “Though, I think we should drop you off first.”

“Why? Are you worried about your friend so much that you won’t let me meet her?”

“No. I'm worried about how she’s going to react when I walk into her room with a guy.”

And not just any guy, but the guy that she had met. The one she thought I had clicked with. Not that she was far from it.

“You don’t have boyfriends?”

“Okay, two things. One, none of your business if I do or don’t. And two, no,” I said, casually.

“Does that mean my chances are ruined?” James asked.

I flushed and said, “I wouldn’t give my hopes up.”

“Is that a yes?”

“Yes to what?” I asked warily.

“You’ll find out very soon.”

I looked at him and narrowed my eyes, shaking my head

“I'm serious. You’ll know what I'm talking about tomorrow.”

“Well, keep on being all mysterious with me and you won’t get a chance to explain,” I snorted.

He parked in front of the hospital and turned off the engine.

“Wait here,” I said before he could get out.

“Not in a million years am I leaving you alone when you’re so close to your seventeenth birthday.”

“I’ll run,” I said. The fight was starting again.

“I’ll carry you,” he challenged.

My eyes widened when I saw he wasn’t kidding. He was smiling, but not messing around.

“Let’s get going,” I said, opening the car door and walking towards the door.

“Shifty,” James noted when he caught up to me.

“Stubborn,” I clarified. He looked away, trying to hide a smile, but I saw the way his cheeks lifted.

We walked in and headed for room 111. I stopped him before he opened the door. Through the little window, I saw Brooke watching T.V.

I took a deep breath and turned to look at James. “Whatever you do, don’t let her get any ideas.” Not yet, at least, I added in my mind. “She’ll never stop bugging me.”

He looked at me like I was delusional. Still, he nodded and opened the door.

Brooke’s head snapped up, automatically. She saw James first and stared puzzled until she saw me behind him. Then, she grinned and it looked as if she were about to start laughing.

“Brookie, how are you doing?” I asked. I walked towards her and sat at the foot of her bed.

“I'm bored,” she said. “But you sure have been busy,” she whispered to me.

My cheeks flushed. “Do you want a broken arm to match the brace?” I threatened.

She snickered. “We haven't been introduced,” Brooke said to James. “I'm Brooke Smith.” She held out her hand in a friendly gesture.

He took it. “James Eventide.”

I gulped. It frightened me that what happened to me would happen to Brooke as well. If I ever decided that I actually did want a boyfriend, I wouldn’t want to fight Brooke for him. Though, a fight against Claire would be interesting. I already had an advantage.

“Where’s your doctor? I want to get out of this place,” I said.

Brooke understood why. She didn’t have to ask. She knew. She’d been there when it was tough.

“He’s supposed to check up on me soon. And may I add what a hottie he is.” She flipped her big dark hair back. “He just got out of college.”

I laughed. “Still thinking of boys, huh?” I teased. “What happened to Blaze?”

Blaze Harp was Brooke’s recent boyfriend. When I left for Portland, they had been perfectly in love.

She waved at me. “Here and there,” she snorted. “He’s not my business anymore.”

“Heartbreaker,” I said mockingly.

She rolled her eyes. “Softy,” she replied. “Anyway, why is James with you so late at night?” she asked. I noticed how her eyes sparkled as she hit jackpot.

Brooke loved rumors and loved spreading them. She loved being the first to find out about things and the first to tell people about them.

“Lumex got sick and I had to drive her home,” James replied, with an innocent expression. “Then, I offered to stay with her until she got better.”

I narrowed my eyes. James had just set Brooke off.

“And how long did that take?” Brooke asked.

“Five minutes, then we ditched school,” I said, annoyed. “What do you think?”

She ignored my comment. “And how’s our pal, Claire, doing?”

I smiled evilly. “She’ll be back.”

“We have to do better than last year.”

“What are you talking about? We creamed her last year,” I said. I stood up just as the door opened.

A guy in a white coat walked in with a clipboard. I walked to James’s side, and then looked over the doctor.

I suppose that this is Brooke’s doctor. He’s handsome. Though, he looks familiar. He had pale skin, dark hair and green eyes. His pale skin made his eyes pop. He seemed to be well-built in body structure and he was about James’s height, which was tall. James was three heads taller than me and I was five-foot-six.

The doctor looked at Brooke and then at her guests. His eyes widened when he saw James and me.

I couldn’t understand why.

“Dr. Freeze, can I leave?” Brooke asked. “Lumex and James are here to check me out.”

Freeze? Like Demetrius Freeze?

“Yes. That is my younger brother,” Dr. Freeze said.

I hadn't noticed that I had spoken out loud.

“You must be Lumex Cockcrow. He speaks of you all the time,” Dr. Freeze continued.

“Yeah,” I said, lost in thought. I sucked in my cheeks. I'm still mad at Demetrius. He should really mind his own business. Or at least go butt into one of his fan’s business. Just not mine…ever.

Dr. Freeze ignored James and headed towards Brooke. “You can go now, just stay off the road for a while.”

“How long is a while?” Brooke asked, dreamily.

“I’d say one, maybe two weeks,” Dr. Freeze said while checking a monitor.

“Sure,” Brooke smiled at me.

Great, now my head really is going to explode.

I grimaced.

“I love you too, Lu,” she said in response to my expression.

“On second thought, just a week,” Dr. Freeze said.

We looked at him confused.

“You’re doing great,” he said, holding up some papers. “And who am I to keep a teenager off the streets? That’s your parent’s job.”

I felt Brooke’s uneasiness as he said parents.

“Brookie, I'm sure they’re worried sick about you,” I tried to comfort her. I put my hand on her arm and she shook it off.

“They’re probably still out drinking,” she replied. “Let’s go.” She rushed past me. “I want to get home before they do. If not, I’ll have to spend the night cleaning out their cars. I simply can’t handle that many bottles.” She hurried out of the room.

I gave Dr. Freeze one of my dangerous looks. It was the coldest look I had. It would make even penguins feel freeze.

“Go after her,” he said. “The least I can do is to check her out of the hospital for you.”

“Yeah, it is the least that you can do,” I said, coldly, and then ran after her.

I found her outside sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her legs and her head hidden in her lap next to my car. I walked towards her. She didn’t look up when I came near. Sitting down next to her, I brought my knees up and rested my chin on them. I watched Brooke for a moment. She didn’t move.

“You know that they love you,” I said.

No response.

“You should let them know that you’re okay.”

No response.

“But if you want, I guess you could sleep over tonight,” I sighed. I knew that she was in no condition of thinking of her parents, so I should try and cheer her up.

She looked at me. Her cat-like eyes were glowing in the dim light produced by the street lights. Her black hair was a mess around her face. Her expression was sad. “Clothes?” she asked.

“You can keep,” I answered. She loved the clothes that Molly brought me and I usually gave her the ones she liked.

“What about food?” Brooke asked.

“Lobster,” I smiled. Lobster was Brooke’s favorite food. I would even have Will, our gourmet chef, add some cocktail shrimp.

“What about the big bed?”

“All yours,” I said, standing up. Every time Brooke slept over, Celeste brought in another bed and set it somewhere in my room. It was smaller than the bed I had. Brooke claimed that my bed was comfier but I didn’t see the difference. “So, are you okay?” I asked. I stretched out my hand to help her up.

She took my hand and hugged me. “You’re a good friend.” She seemed at to be perfectly healthy.

I sighed. “I'm starting to think that you were faking everything.”

“Are you ready to go?” James asked, appearing from the shadows.

“Yeah,” I said. I started looking for my keys again.

“You don’t have a very good memory, do you?” James laughed, holding up my car keys. He unlocked the Camaro.

I rolled my eyes and got in the car.



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