Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 19
19

James froze and moved away from me. “I went too far. I'm sorry,” he apologized, looking down ashamed. He probably would have turned red if his body had allowed him to.

I sat up and crisscrossed my legs. “It was just as much my fault,” I said trying to hide my hurt. I was glad that he had pulled away before things could get too far, though. I would have never been able to do it. And Molly would have really killed me if I’d let someone put my life at such risk.

He looked over at me. “Come here,” he said in a comforting voice. I saw that he had retracted his fangs.

I stood up and walked over towards him. I sat down next to him and he shifted so that I would be more comfortable. He put an arm around me and dragged me between his open legs. Once I was comfortably leaning against him, he wrapped his arms around me in comfort.

“I love you,” he whispered in my ear.

I turned my head and kissed him softly. “I love you too.”

He smiled sweetly and stroked my hair. I leaned my head against his chest and looked over at the sea. We sat motionless for a while and then I broke the silence. “James,” I said.

“Yes?”

“Is it just me, or, do you feel like you’re being watched, too?” I asked as a chill went down my spine.

My eyes scanned the area. Nothing seemed out of place as far as an empty beach goes. I could see miles away and the sun lowering over the horizon.

James stiffened. He was quiet for a few minutes and then a low raspy sound that sounded like a growl came from him. He let me go and stood up.

“Lumex, listen very carefully,” he said, staring at something far in the distance. The sun was lowering quickly and it was becoming dark. I think that since I just got my powers, it’ll take some time to accustom them to the night light, even though full vampires quickly adjusted. “You will stay here. You will not move until I come back. You will not speak to anyone if anyone comes. You will practically be a statue.”

I raised an eyebrow at him. He couldn’t possibly believe that I would follow through with those conditions. He must have drunk some rancid blood, because he was out of his mind.

“You really expect me to do that?” I snorted.

“Yes. I expect you to do that,” he argued. I had a feeling that he was arguing with me without any effort. That his attention was on something else.

“James.” I stood up. “I'm not one of your servants. I'm not like Max or Vivian. You can't tell me what to do and expect me to follow through every time.”

“Anytime, really,” he mumbled.

That made me smile. He was so bitter it was funny. “Then you shouldn’t keep asking,” I replied.

I was very conscious to the smartass tone in my voice. He didn’t seem to notice it. I got in my racing position, eyeing the spot he was staring at. James didn’t notice this either. But, I could tell that his body was shifting into the racer’s position.

I didn’t wait for him to start running. I took a head start, knowing that once he noticed my disappearance, he wouldn’t slow down to stop me. I felt the same queasy feeling in my stomach as soon as he began chasing me. It was the same feeling I got when I was being stalked at school, and the same feeling I’d gotten when I mentioned being watched to James.

To my surprise, he didn’t complain when he caught up with me. I even had the feeling that he was trying to lose me, because he was getting ahead of me. I let him get in front of me and followed him north, towards some bushes.

He stopped in front of them and I came to a halt behind him. I waited patiently as he marched into them and, apparently, caught something. He came up, holding something, which looked like cloth, in his hand.

“Lizette!” exclaimed James. “Do you really want to die that much?”

“James?” I asked when he started talking to the thing. I was beginning to think that he was going insane, talking to an animal. Then I saw her.

The first thing I noticed was the humble girl’s figure. She was thin, like Violet, a slim vampire. Her skin was as pasty white as James’s and her position made her seem frail. The long golden blonde hair that seemed to camouflage with James’s threw me off a little. She was flawless. Everything about her was perfect. Not even Violet looks like that. But the most stunning and petrifying thing were her green-blue eyes. They had the same intensity—the same solemn eyes that James had.

He was still barking at the girl—what did he call her? Lizette? He was throwing orders at her and shaking his head in either disapproval or frustration. She was sitting on the sand like a dog being nagged for chewing the pillows. I was too surprised by the resemblance in their eyes to take interest in their conversation.

“What happened to Australia?” James exclaimed. “Your direct orders were to go over there and join the research team! You don’t get to do what you want while I'm your boss. While you work for me, I'm the boss!” he kept barking, sometimes switching from English to another language. That only made my confusion greater.

“I was worried about you, James,” Lizette responded in a hard voice. “Your blood was boiling up by the time you were out of the plane.”

“It’s my business how I feel and how my blood is acting up!” he nagged. Oh, how the tables have turned! I covered my mouth to hide my sudden smile. “Now, I can't hurt you!” he said irritated. He eyed a large piece of pointed wood.

“James, so help me, if you even touch that wood, I will hurt her.”

It took me a moment to process that she was talking about me. Who the hell did she think she was, practically, threatening me? And who the hell was this “Lizette” that James seemed to be so hesitant about eliminating. Depending on what she did, I would have probably already snapped her head off.

I was astonished by my own thoughts. I had never realized how violent I was. Or how immature I was. This girl, who I didn’t even know, shows up, and after three seconds, I'm already ready to kill her and end everything. I would really have to work on that.

James snapped. He grabbed Lizette’s throat in one hand and lifted her up. My mouth dropped. Lizette didn’t seem to be affected, but there was hidden fear in her eyes. I reacted instinctively to someone in danger. I sprinted to James’s side and tugged at his arm.

“James!” I cried. “James, put her down!”

Lizette glanced at me vigilantly. James barely looked at me, his eyes never leaving Lizette’s face. Swirling like a hurricane, I could see James’s eyes shift between gray and silver. I could have sworn that James’s grip was getting tighter and that Lizette was growing paler. I didn’t even know that was possible.

“JAMES!” I finally hit him. It was the hardest that I’d ever hit him. It was the same force I used to stab Brian the first time with the pencil.

There was a crunching sound.

I quickly jerked my hand back and clutched it to my chest, biting my lip and squeezing my eyes shut. I wasn’t a doctor, but I was sure that some bone was broken. Great. Just what I need. A cast a few days before I have to fight for my life. I jumped up and down, quietly complaining. I used way too much force.

James’s head finally turned and he dropped Lizette. “Let me see,” he said rapidly. He reached for my arm and I turned away.

“No!” I flinched, the movement displacing another bone in my hand.

“Lumex, this isn’t the time to be stubborn,” he argued, moving to face me. I let him grab hold of my hand. He was right. This wasn’t the time to be stubborn. James examined my hand gently, barely touching it. “I think we should get you to a hospital,” he finally said.

“Absolutely not!” I exclaimed, pulling my hand away. “I’d rather chew broken glass than go to a hospital where they’re going to slit my wrist open.” He grabbed my hand again.

“At this point, they might need to give you some more stitches,” he mused, still examining my hand which had spontaneously begun bleeding. He winced and cringed a step back, disgusted. “You popped a vein.”

I took my hand back and sucked on my bleeding hand. “Problem solved.” I flinched.

There was too much blood. It was rushing into my mouth, almost choking me. It slid down my chin, staining my shirt and the sand. I didn’t understand how something that tasted so good could be so nauseating.

James’s expression didn’t lighten up. Instead he pulled my hand away from my mouth gently. “Your blood won’t regenerate like that.” He considered that for a moment and then shook his head. “Remember that you’re only a half-blood. You don’t heal that fast.” He narrowed his eyes. “Speaking of healing…” He turned to look back at Lizette who was watching us patiently. “You’re going to have to really focus on that once I'm done with you.”

She straightened up. I raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “Who are you?” I asked, painfully squeezing my broken hand to stop the bleeding. Lizette didn’t seem surprised that I didn’t know her, but she did seem amused by me.

She opened her mouth to talk, but James interrupted her. “She’s nobody that you need to know,” he said dryly. “I'm getting you to a doctor,” he said to me. Then to her, “You’ll need one too.” Lizette didn’t immediately react to his threat. She considered that for a moment and then narrowed her eyes.

“There’s no need, James,” I said. “It’s healed already.”

He looked at me, frowning. “That doesn’t make any sense,” he disagreed, shaking his head lightly.

“Vampire,” I reminded him. “You can check it if you want,” I offered, holding up my hand. He stared at it, for a moment I believed that he would actually inspect it, but after a moment of consideration, he looked back at Lizette.

“That leaves more time for you,” he said in a tone that I had never heard. “Listen to me very carefully, Lizette,” he said slowly. “I'm giving you one last chance,” as he spoke, he gently pushed me behind him, “either you get out of here, or you get staked.” He said it as he took a few steps closer to her like a panther cornering its prey.

“I think I’ll take my chances,” she said snobbishly.

I would have punched her. James didn’t seem to have any more control than I did, but it was a mistake. He held his ground, taking deep breaths.

“And besides, I'm here because of some orders,” she continued.

“I didn’t give you any orders to return,” James hissed.

Lizette rolled her eyes. “I didn’t mean from you—and don’t give me that look,” she warned. “Your friend…Violet, I think, she said that you called her before she could complete her mission,” Lizette explained. “So, I followed her orders and went to Australia, like you wanted too, and got what I needed from Auryelle.” She put her hand in her short’s pocket and searched for something. Half a second later, she produced an object from it. “You wanted this?”

James and I glanced over at what she held. It looked like a knife. A wooden knife, I noted. I didn’t know what kind of wood it was made of, but I could tell that it was resistant. The stake was curved gently. On the wood there were elegantly scribbles that created a pattern. At one end there was a rubber part for a better grip. The other end was pointed like the end of a sword. It surprised me that it hadn't wounded her. After all, the fabric that her shorts were made out of was thin.

“I ordered for it to be shipped,” James hissed.

“I like delivering my shipments in person.” She shrugged. I almost believed her.

“You like seeing me,” James muttered under his breath. “Anyway, I demanded the status.”

Lizette reached in her other pocket and showed him a folded piece of paper. “And she hasn’t finished her experiment. She decided to give it up.” That really confused me. Both of them began talking casually about who knows what while I don’t even know who this girl is. Though….

She looks familiar. I’ve seen her before. I might not have noticed her, but I’ve definitely seen her. Maybe I’ve even met her. Yet the name didn’t ring a bell. Where do I know this girl from? I studied her, hoping that it would give me a clue. Not much came.

She was thin, as I had noticed before. And she had long, wavy golden hair, the same color as James’s and her green-blue eyes that now had a respectful awareness.  She was dressed like anyone would be at the beach. Maybe a little underdressed even. She wasn’t wearing a shirt. Instead, she had on a pale yellow bikini top that glowed against her chalky white skin. She was also wearing shorts that were even shorter than the ones I had worn on the first day of school when getting James’s attention had been my main priority. She had on tall black flip flops and a little jewelry—golden earrings a few shades darker than her hair and a necklace.

It was the necklace that hit me hard in the gut. Something about the ring on the chain had me on my toes. My unease didn’t get any better as James and Lizette began arguing again. They were like cats and dogs.

“James!” I stopped him when my head began hurting. “Remember that thing I said about my head exploding if I didn’t get information?” I asked when he glanced over at me, his gray eyes startled. “Yeah, it’s happening!” I think I saw a smile curl onto Lizette’s mouth and then disappear as quickly as it had appeared.

“I'm Lizette,” she introduced herself before James could even open her mouth. Then she said something that I really wasn’t ever expecting to come out of anyone’s mouth. “I'm James’s fiancée.”

My mouth dropped and my eyes should have popped out. My heart stopped and never resumed. That completed my vampire transformation. Just at that moment, night fell on us and my eyes adjusted after one blink. My stomach curled up more, turning into a ball. I studied her face, hoping to get a clue that she was lying. My heart sank lower in my chest. I couldn’t find one. She can't be telling the truth. Can she?

I looked over at James for help. For him to assure me that this wasn’t true. He watched me, his eyes neither flaring with anger from the lie nor disapproving to hint me that the truth was another. His expression was blank, his eyes were wide, and his lips were in a straight line. I looked back again at Lizette who was playing with her necklace.

The necklace.

It was a golden ring with a small diamond on it. Through my peripheral vision I saw that there was something engraved in the inside. For the rest of eternity this will decorate your hand. I recognized James’s script immediately.

Lizette noticed where I was looking and flashed me a smile. She then played with it, twisting it and sliding it onto her fourth finger. It fit perfectly in her bony finger and really did decorate her hand. “And James has his too,” she said. I looked back at James who was now grimacing.

I looked down at his one hand that wasn’t hidden. There wasn’t a ring, but his expression didn’t help.

“You’re his what?” I exclaimed, turning my attention back on Lizette.

“Lumex,” James stepped in, raising his hands apologetically. “It’s not—”

“Yes it is,” Lizette cut him off. “We’re engaged.” She threw in another brilliant smile. “Ever since we were kids, we’ve been in love.”

Vaguely I remembered a time in a past life where something similar to this had happened. I’d been devastated and killed. That was as simple as I could put it and frankly, as much as I can remember of that time. But that time I hadn't taken the time to listen to what James had to say. This time it was different. I wasn’t so credulous.

“James,” I asked shakily. “What the hell is going on here?” My eyes began stinging and my vision blurred as tears welled up in my eyes. I blinked and they rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t tell if it was because of how my heart was hurting because of the news or because he hadn't had the courage to tell me the truth.

Lizette’s expression turned angry at the fact that I didn’t believe her. “Why the hell does his word mean more than mine?” she exclaimed.

I ignored her and looked back at James. His expression was still somber and he didn’t look like he would answer me. “It’s true,” he admitted. I never expected those two words to hurt so much.

Throughout my entire sixteen years of life, I have always demanded the truth for everything. But this really, really hurt. It was worse than any physical damage that had ever happened to me. It was worse than the bloody image of my father’s death scene. It was a worse pain than even dying slowly. The internal pains were the worst.

“But not completely,” he finished.

My hopes shot up and I dismissed the feeling immediately. I didn’t need another disappointment added to the long list of displeasures. This was hard enough to bear. Why have my heart shattered more than it is already? Why go so far as to stomp on the broken pieces?

“We’re not engaged anymore,” he explained.

“Yes we are,” Lizette argued. “James has always been like this. Always trying to spare everyone’s feelings.”

He shot her a look. My chest stopped moving as my lungs stopped working. I didn’t know how I had been able to stand so much heartache throughout my life. This, though, overruled everything else. It was the feeling of deception that triumphed over the sadness of losing a loved one. This had never been much of a problem for me. Mostly because I wouldn’t allow such friendships to be formed with anyone—other than family and Brooke, that is. But, now that I looked back, I suppose that I have unconsciously allowed another friendship to nourish and slowly blossom.

Demetrius, I have always kept closer than any other guy in school. Allowing him to be at my dad’s funeral was my first approach. He’d known him, even though he was of only five years of age, and he had mourned with me. He had stuck by me like a true friend would, and I had allowed it. A few years later, I finally put up some barriers to strengthen my slim defense wall. Now it seemed as if some of them had pitifully come crashing down. He was getting closer now that the truth was revealed. We were standing on clear, shallow waters and I wasn’t sure if it was a good or bad thing.

Have all my walls finally crimpled under the stress from my life that has been added over the years? An interesting question. It is relating to the topic of my mental distress. The blood phobia might be weakened, but I can feel a new one rising to the surface as my due date comes nearer. I'm just not sure of what it is or will be. In my delicate mental state—as my therapist used to say—I have the disadvantages—or advantages in this case—to block out any small or big problem, which many people call denial. I doubt that this still happens, since I haven't seen my psychiatrist since I was ten. This feeling again, of something being there and not being there, came back into play. I was told that the problem had gone away and that side effects could happen every now and then, meaning that I was “cured,” when really underneath all of that phony smile I was still struggling to keep my world balanced. Right now, it was easy to tell the difference; it was there.

Because my walls have fallen to the ground, this could mean that the side effect my depression had caused could have vanished. That was bad. It had been what kept me both level-headed and out of danger. When reading my mind, I had noticed that something strange had been going on with James. Now I knew what it was. He had been struggling to enter my mind, avoiding every defense that I had put up. Having a powerful vampire like him struggle so much to obtain information from one girl was amazing. But, now that they weren’t there anymore, anyone could access my thoughts.

“It was our last option,” James said. Abruptly my thoughts were pushed to the back of my head to hear what James said.

“What?” I asked stupidly.

“There weren’t any more purebloods,” he explained, shaking his head. “Our family had grown apart and the only royal left was her.” He held my gaze, his eyes sadder than I had ever seen them. “It was all arranged and I hated every moment of it.”

Like it usually did, my sadness dissolved into fury. “You could have just backed out,” I said through gritted teeth.

Selfish. It was selfish of me to want that. But, I couldn’t stand the thought of him dumping me for the first girl that came around. Especially someone like her. Someone that took pleasure in her rival’s suffering.

“It’s not that easy,” he carried on in a voice that matched his eyes. “Royal vampires are forced by law to marry purebloods. For exactly that purpose; keeping the bloodline pure,” he said slowly.

“No half-bloods allowed,” Lizette added in.

I winced. Recovering, I said, “So this stupid little act only includes vampire-to-vampire descendants?” I tilted my head in annoyance, narrowing my eyes. “How ironic that you ended up with such a repulsing half-blood like me, Jamie.”

“By ironic, I hope you mean sad,” Lizette said to me. “For a half-blood to have powers is a rare thing. You have enough to worry about already without that on your hands. So, don’t disgrace our family name,” she said, her cold voice turning deadly icy. “Just die for good so that some of us can move on with our lives.”

That last sentence hit me like cold water had been thrown on my face. I had never given much thought to how many lives were being risked to both keep me alive and dead. Jeff and Vivian, everyone else—every agent around the world that James had—their lives were being risked to keep me safe. On the other side, the evil side, forces were joining together to kill me and anyone in their way. Maybe it would be good if I just disappeared from the face of earth for good. People could return to their lives, forgetting that I ever existed. That would be good.

“Then why don’t you just kill me?” I challenged.

She took a step back, taken aback by my sudden proposal. It took her a few seconds to regain herself. All the while, James was waiting cautiously for her answer. Lizette narrowed her eyes and clenched her hands into hard fists.

“Because I'm not the bad guy,” she responded.

I gave a dry, wry, humorless laugh. “It sure seems like you are.”

She glanced over at James. “Am I the bad guy, James?” she asked confidently. Maybe she wasn’t the bad guy. James wouldn’t be en—en—I can't even think it—to the bad guy.

“I'm not going to answer that,” he said harshly. “But I am not giving you the option here anymore, Lizette. I’ve had it with you. You’re my cousin, but that doesn’t excuse you of anything.”

That was what had been bothering me. That was why they had the same hair. That was why they had the same eyes. But to be marrying your cousin? That brought on a whole new round of nauseating disturbs. I don’t think that it’s even legal. I mean, if you can't marry your brother or sister, then surely you can't marry any other relative. Things in Black Moon were beginning to look really messed up.

I swallowed. “She’s your cousin?” I asked stupidly.

He stopped in the midst of his threat to answer me. “I said that we were out of options,” he said, his harsh voice never leaving. But his eyes softened as they met mine. “I didn’t have a say in it. I wasn’t even preoccupied with her.” I chewed on my lip. “I was with you whenever I could.”

“It was all arranged?” I asked. “Nothing that you wanted to do?”

He shook his head. “I hated every moment of it,” he said, his voice softening, but never quite meeting the emotion in his eyes.

Somehow, even after things that he kept from me and the lies that he probably told, I still found a way to believe in what he said. It shouldn’t be so strange that I trust him like this. I guess that I'm just used to assuming the worst of people. It’s strange to have my perspective of the world change. I was starting to get used to having my world turned upside down now. I just hope that it stops soon.

 “Because, believe me, she’s nothing like you,” he said, his voice turning icy again as he sluggishly looked back at Lizette. “You aren't coming back,” he finished. “I’ve let you off the hook too many times to count, but this time you’ve crossed the line. If you come back, I will kill you.”

“No you won’t,” she said disrespectfully.

Lizette was beginning to crawl under my skin. Her arrogance was really getting irritating. I bit my tongue, hoping that this would prevent me from telling her off. But, the disrespect she was showing towards James was really pissing me off, setting my self-control on fire. There was a big possibility that somebody was going to get hurt right now.

“Lumex,” James warned, sensing my unease. He gave me a vigilant look that told me, “Don’t blindly go starting anything unnecessarily.” It shouldn’t have been a surprise how clearly his expressions spoke to me, but deep down inside, some part of me was astonished.

“She’s pissing me off,” I said through my teeth. The sound came out awkwardly, considering how my teeth were still sinking into my tongue. Unsurprisingly, James’s wary look didn’t shift even the slightest.

Lizette narrowed her eyes. “Learn to live with it, Anastasia. This is how it’ll be for the rest of your short, short, short life.”

Lumex,” I corrected her shakily. She was making it harder to keep my voice even and relaxed. I gave her an icy stare that turned deadly in the matter of seconds. “Ask Max what I did to him for spying on me. It’ll give you an idea of what’ll happen to you.” I took a step forward.

James appeared in front of me, blocking me from Lizette. “Lumex,” he said again. “As much as I agree with you, don’t go starting anything.”

“Our agreement was that you stayed out of my fights,” I said dryly, looking over at the water that was getting higher.

“Our agreement was made when you were a human,” he argued. “It was abolished when you became a vampire.”

Stupid, stuck up vampire prince, I thought angrily. A little voice in my head told me not to push James to the limits. I paid attention to it, mainly because he looked like he was on the edge of killing someone, but also because he was right. I didn’t need to start something unnecessarily. It was a little annoying that I couldn’t go off and do whatever I wanted anymore. Nevertheless, it was safer this way. And it would keep me alive.

“Wait a minute,” exclaimed Lizette. “James turned you?”

She didn’t know that I was a vampire, then? I wonder what she had thought. Apparently, she’d known that I was a half-blood, but not a vampire half-blood. Then again, for regular Moon People, it was hard to tell the difference between the creatures of their world. A half-blood would probably be a harder creature to identify. It shouldn’t be a surprise that she had mistaken me for something else. Then again, I did have their skin…and the intensity in their eyes, too. It was hard to tell what she was thinking.

“No,” he retorted. “I would never turn her into anything.”

“But then…how?” she asked puzzled. Her eyes drifted from James to me. She carefully looked me over from head-to-toe, examining my vampiric features, probably. She frowned.

“Welcome to the half-blood world,” I snapped. “It allows you to turn into a full-fledged whatever-you-are without any assistance.”

Her frowned dropped and her expression turned relieved. “So you didn’t bite her?” she asked cautiously.

“I’d bite you before I bit her,” he said, giving me a sad look. “It’s time to go,” he said, his head turning up to look at the moon. “You probably have some things to discuss with Molly.”

I’d forgotten completely about Molly. I had been so concentrated on awakening my vampire side, that I hadn't paid attention to getting my answers of how it had happened and why I was only informed of it now. Molly had gotten home after I went to sleep last night and left for work before I awoke. It was a bit of a disadvantage I had to not be able to go see her when she wasn’t busy.

A few nights ago, unlike normal days, she came home earlier—by early, I mean midnight instead of two in the morning. It wasn’t that she was forced to work that late, but that she was a workaholic. Sometimes I would tease her about it, but I had never taken it too seriously…until now.

“And you better not be here tomorrow,” James said to Lizette. “I don’t care if you decide to visit Heidi and Jeremiah; I don’t care if you want to see my sisters. I don’t care. My point is that you better not be here.”

James and Lizette held each other’s gaze for a while. They were in some sort of stare down. I looked back and forth between them, curious of who would win. A few minutes later, Lizette shifted positions and raised her hands in defeat.

“Alright. I’ll leave tomorrow.” She threw the stake and piece of paper at James. He caught them and we watched Lizette turn around. Halfway, she looked back at us. “Just to let you know,” she said to me, “I never lose. So, be sure that you aren't alone in this contest. I'm sorry, but this isn’t just your game anymore. For a while now, it’s been mine,” she said, her expression unreadable.

I gave her a faint smile. “I’ve never considered myself to be alone in this play,” I said. She gave me a sharp nod and turned away.

James didn’t wait for her to disappear out of sight. He turned to look at me with a blank expression. He put an arm around my waist and began walking away.

Uncontrollably, I looked down at the hand on my waist. No ring. James’s fourth finger was plain, without jewelry. But, it was the one I had examined earlier. I eyed his other hand, trying to hide my curiosity. There wasn’t a ring on that hand either. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder if Lizette had been lying about James having his engagement ring.

The thought made my stomach twist into a tight knot. Marriage was something that I had never given much thought to. But now, seeing as my soul mate had once been engaged made me wonder: Would I want that? Would I want to be legally united with someone? To lose that little piece of freedom for someone that I loved?

Interesting questions. But they weren’t of my concern at the moment. Right now, I was trying to survive long enough to be of a legal age. If I ever did get to them, though…well, I don’t know. I have never been the kind of person that thinks things through. Usually my first ideas are the ones that work and figuring out the rest is no problem. This is just too different. It’s the future.

“Why don’t you tell me these things?” I asked. “You should have realized by now that keeping things to yourself doesn’t really work for me.”

He sighed. “I keep things bottled up because I need to,” he said sincerely. “If I could—if it helped in any way—I would tell you everything. But, things don’t work that way anymore.” James didn’t elaborate on what he meant. “And I'm sorry for that.” That was my response. His expression made it clear that I wouldn’t be getting any more information. Inside it tore me to pieces, but I decided that it was for the best.

 

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