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I finally return home from a long day of work at my former high school. As soon as I get back home I hear giggling in the tree across the street. I walk over and say “Hey you girls can’t be in that tree!”
The younger girl who looked to be 7 says “Why not?!”
The older girl who looked to be 10 says “Ya about 5 years ago everyone was in this tree!”
“You’re trespassing that’s why you can’t be in the tree! And that was 5 years ago a lot of time has passed! Just please get out of the tree.”
The two girls climb out of the tree the older girl says “Hey I know you. You’re that guy who was always telling people to stay out of the tree even 5 years ago. But that girl you were always with kept saying that everyone was welcome in the tree the more the merrier. What was her name again…?” The two girls thought for a while.
Then the younger girl said “It starts with a B…”
“Leave.” I say with a stern voice.
But the older girls says “Oh I know your James Noel and she was Bella Luna!”
The younger girl says “Oh Ya I remember now! You always liked her! That’s why you were here!”
“No it was not! I have never liked Bella!”
The older girl smirks and says. “People who lie tend to not use contractions you know.”
“Just leave!” completely frustrated I walk off.
“James and Bella sitting in her tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G.!” Just keep walking James they’ll have to leave at some point. “Oh Hi!” I turn around and the girls are talking to someone. But who?
“Good morning South Carolina! Only 20 days until Christmas Eve! How exciting!? In other news…” says the news anchor.
“James get up you’re going to be late!”… “I got you a bagel!”
“I’m up mom!” I hop out of bed and get dressed for work/school. I’m studying to become a grammar teacher and it’s my last year of school. As I leave the house bagel in hand I see Mr. and Mrs. Luna. “Hey! What are you doing today?”
“Oh! Hello James!” Says Mrs. Luna she motions to her box and continues “Just decorating this old tree.”
“Bella’s tree? You haven’t decorated it since she left. Do you want any help?”
Mr. Luna pats the tree and says with a smile “No we’re good.” He looks at his watch and says “Anyways you need to go or you’ll be late!”
“Oh your right. Well let me know if you need anything!” with that I leave. But I can’t help but wonder why they are decorating the tree after so long. Bella was a close friend of mine in school. We first became friends when we were little but once High School struck we began to drift apart. I was the Quarter Back of the football team and she was chief editor of the newspaper. She’s why I like grammar she made it fun. Her dream for as long as I can remember was to be a writer and or a journalist for Wren Times the top newspaper of South Carolina named after the state bird. She loved birds that’s why she has her own tree. She was in the tree whenever she needed to escape. She even folded paper cranes and origami birds. This of course led to teasing by my teammates and other kids. She was often called nerd bird. But I never stood up for her. She left right after graduation. I tried to stop her by saying “Bella don’t leave what about your family, your friends what about me!?
She said before she left “Says the guy who never stood up for me! All I ever did was help and support you and this is what I get in return!? I’m leaving for good!” she got in her car but when I got to the window I heard her say under her breath “I-I thought you were different. But I guess I was wrong.” And then she left. I never saw or heard from her again. I still have the first paper crane she made. And I still remember what she looked like and what her favorite everything was. She had long dark brown hair with bangs that was always covered by a hat or tied with a ribbon it was normally yellow or maroon, freckles danced on her face whenever she laughed, her dark green eyes were covered by glasses.
I finally get to the school but when I get inside a mob of girls surrounds me “Mr. Noel Mr. Noel what are we doing in grammar today?”
I say with no hesitation “You’ll have to wait and see.” The girls glumly nod their heads and leave. It already feels like it will be a long day.
“James I need to go make copies do you mind?”
“Not at all Mr. Terri!” Shortly before school ends while I’m grading papers I hear the door open and then I feel a tap on my shoulder. When I turn around a girl about my age is standing studying my face. Her smile quickly turns into a frown, she starts glaring at me and leaves. I follow her and shout “Can I help you!?”
She comes up to me tilts her head and says “You want to help me? Ok, tell me where Mr. Terri is.”
“Tell me who you are first.”
“Top writer of Wren Times.”
“And a name?”
“Can’t say.” Her long blonde hair looks like fake hair at this angle.
“Rules, but you can call me………Crane. Well I need to go so.” She turns and raises a hand to say goodbye and says “Catcha later James.” And with that she leaves. Wait I never told her my name. The bell rings and everyone leaves. When I can leave I go home.
When I get home I notice something different about the tree. Not only was it decorated with paper cranes and origami birds but the rope Bella used to climb into the tree was out. When I get closer I hear noises typing and music to be exact. “Excuse me but you can’t be in that tree.”
“Oh and why not?” she keeps typing but I can’t see her face.
“Who are you?”
“Wow you really don’t recognize me do you?”
“Should I?” The girl climbs down the rope. “Bella is that you?!” Her long dark brown hair is no longer long but a medium length and the tip of her hair including the tips of her bangs were now died red otherwise she looked the exact same.
“Took you long enough Sherlock.” She flicked my head.
“Hey that hurt!”
“Gee I wonder why!” she starts to climb back up the rope.
“Hey I’m talking to you!”
A bird flies on a branch near Bella “Did you hear something little bird?” She is back to her branch, puts her headphones on and types. She smiles and does that little finger to palm wave and say “Bye James.”
I go to my house real quick and change into jeans and a Tee-Shirt. When I get back she doesn’t even notice me. “I’m coming up, Bella.” She doesn’t hear me. I start climbing the tree but when I get near the bird it goes to Bella and it looked like it told her I was there because as soon as the little bird got to her she turned off her music and said down the tree “Go away.”
I wasn’t far away from her when she started throwing stuff at me. “Hey quit it!”
“I said go away, James!”
“I just want to talk, Bella!” I’m finally up the tree when she throws her bag at me “Did you run out of stuff?”
“Hey what’s this?” Under her foot is something carved into the wood “P+B? You liked Peter.”
She blushes, looks away and says “Still do…” she looks at me tearing up “He died last year.”
“Oh I'm sorry for your loss, Bella.”
She laughs and looks down and said “You didn’t kill him.”
“Do you mind if I ask what happened?”
“Well Peter died of heart defect that’s why the tip of my hair is died red, a red ribbon is the symbol of heart defect.”
“Were you guys close?”
Again she laughs but she looks at me now “He was my fiancée… Does that count as close?”
I sarcastically “Nope not one bit.”
“Now can you please leave? Please, I need to work!”
I say, “Of course…Not!” I grab her laptop. “We just started catching up! I’m definitely not leaving now, Bella.”
“Suit yourself… but I want my laptop back.”
“*Sigh* Fine” I hand her the laptop.
“Thank you now as I was saying I was trying to work.”
She reaches for the rope to climb down but I unravel it first. “Talk to me. Where do you work?”
She slaps her face with her palm. “Really. I’m Crane. Dunce.” She looks me strait in the eyes then tilts her head “So you’re not going to leave? Huh.”
“I still like birds ya know…”
“I kinda guessed.” I point to her feather necklace and bird bracelet.
“You want to know what I do to be like birds.” She’s giving me a devilish grin…I don’t know about this….
“…Do I want to know?” All she does is smile and nod. “*Sigh* …What…”
“I close my eyes…”She closes her eyes I start to move closer …then opens one “Close your eyes.” I do so “I spread my arms…spread your arms…” I feel her breath on my ear “Put your hands on your head” I do “…Bye James.” I feel her hand on my arm and grab both her shoulders. Before I know it she’s hugging me saying “I’m gonna die” then “Idiot.” I finally open my eyes Bella is standing offering me her hand.
I take her hand and say. “What happened?”
“We fell, idiot.”
“You grabbed me.”
“You grabbed me first!”
“I didn’t grab you…” She looks down “…I pushed you…”
“You wouldn’t leave.”
“Whatever. At least I don’t look like I fell out of a tree.”
“Jerk!” And with that she tries to climb the tree but she can’t without her rope.
When I get home and into my room I notice Bella is still trying to climb the tree I open my window and yell “Want any help?”
She turns around and yells “I got it.” Then “Why would I want any help from a numskull football jock like you?!”
“You want to hear a joke, Bella.”
“…Why not” She comes up to my window. From this distance I can tell she has been trying with all her might to climb the tree her face is red and sweat is running down her face.
“You…the 23 year old who can’t climb a tree.”
“Idiot!” She pushes me back into my room.
“Wait! Bella, I-I’m sorry…”
“Heh! You think I believe you?! Well I don’t! Sorry is just a word man made up for whenever they know they are in trouble! You-You Idiot!”
“I was trying to apologize.” When I stand back up I see Bella lassoing the rope to a branch but she didn’t get it any of the times she tries. I walk over to her and say “K give me the rope.”
“What?! No way! I got this!”
“I wasn’t asking I was telling.”
“Either way it’s still a no.”
“Fine…”I take the rope from her “I’ll just take it then!”
“Hey!” she starts pounding my back but it doesn’t hurt at all.
“I’m trying to help you.”
“I do not want your help!”
“People who lie tend to not use contractions.”
“What?! You think I'm lying to you! I’m not! I don’t want your help! Got it!?” I turn around and Bella starts pounding my chest but when she notices that I’ve turned she stops and blushes.
“Just give me a sec and I’ll be out of your hair ok?”
Completely embarrassed she says “Just make it quick.” She grabs my shirt and says “Don’t you DARE stall.”
I hiss back at her “Let go of my shirt before I kiss you!” she blushes and is so red you could mistake her for a beet. She lets go of my shirt and pushes me away and against the tree “I-I meant Kill not kiss, Bella, I’m sorry.”
She was at the door she turned her head so I could only see the side of her face and shyly says “Just ring the doorbell and leave when you’re done, Noel.”
And with that she leaves I hit my head against the tree “Idiot.”
“I knew it.” I turn my head and see the little girl and older girl from yesterday on their bikes the younger girl said to the older girl. “I knew he liked her.”
“Ya you were right, Trish, he does and it looks like one of those soap opera things mom watches.”
Trish says to her older sister “Ya your right, Becky, it does. Oh look Bec he’s looking at us.” The two girls look at me and wave at me then ride away.
Great do I like Bella? Well I’d better get this done so I can leave. I climb up the tree and tie the rope on the branch so Bella can get back in the tree. Before I leave I notice her laptop. “I really shouldn’t…” But I do I get on her laptop the first thing I see is her desktop. It’s Bella Peter and me at graduation five years ago. “Wow she still has that?” the picture changes now it is just the two of us, then the two of them, then a wedding picture. I'm guessing the picture for an invite because she said they weren’t married yet.
“What do you think you’re doing? I told you to once you were done to ring the doorbell and leave.”
“Bella?! What are you…?”
“Are you on my laptop!?”
“No I mean yes I mean maybe I don’t know.”
She was on the branch now she looks really mad. “What did you see?!”
“Give me my laptop, tell me what you saw and leave.”
“Ok ok…” I hand her the laptop “All I saw was a few pictures…Why wasn’t I invited to your wedding?”
“What are you talking about?” she looks at her laptop and says “No one was, James. We knew he wasn’t going to make it so we took the pictures anyways so we would have at least seen what we would have looked like.”
“Why didn’t you keep me up to date?”
“We did. Don’t you check your email?”
“Oh uh this email.”
“I deleted this one… Why is there a skull next to my name?”
“Oh that…” She shyly laughed “I think you should leave…”
“…bye” Well now not only do I feel hated but also bad. I mean she lost the love of her life last year to heart defect which is pretty rare with today’s tech. But really a skull next to my name. What did I ever do to her?! I should go to sleep I mean it’s pretty late.
When I get to school in the morning someone bumps into me. “Hey! Watch it!”
The girl just barley looks at me from under her hat and says “Sorry” shyly and leaves.
“James! My main man! Hey, uh why were you talking to nerd bird?” It was Mark my best friend.
“Oh that was her. She bumped into me so yeah.”
“What!? Let’s put that nerd in her place!”
“YEAH!” All the football players go up to Luna. I walk up to them but even though I'm the QB I don’t want to lose my friends.
“Hey, nerd bird, let me carry your books.” Says Mark.
Bella barely squeaks “I-I'm good…”
“No I got it, Nerd.” He grabs her binder that reads in bold print ‘Bella’s Stories.’ The boys start tossing it around like an oversized football. Bella keeps walking. The binder gets back to Mark who throws it right smack in the back of her head and she falls to the ground. “Ya know nerd some birds can’t fly some don’t walk right.” He gets down on one knee to the now crying Bella takes her chin in his hand and says “Don’t cry, nerd bird. You’re already ugly enough but now your makeup is running.”
The boys behind him laugh and snicker saying “poor ugly duckling” until Mark raises his hand to silence them. Truth is Bella isn’t ugly but actually kinda cute but they call her that for some reason.
Her chin still in hand he says “Learn your place or I’ll make sure you do! Got it!?”
She says “Yes.” So quietly I can barely hear her.
“Good. Now, nerd, pick up this mess!” Mark flings her head. When he is about to stand up he grabs papers rips them and flings them in the air. Now around Bella were her books, school work, her poems, and stories all ripped to shreds. My ‘Girlfriend’ head cheerleader Stacy come up to me she call Bella nerd bird too.
“Hey James! Are you toats ready for winter formal or what?”
“Huh oh ya Stac ready…” She may love me but I loathe her the only reason we ‘date’ is because we are the two most popular kids in the school and it’s like a rule.
“I totally picked up this toats hot dress! And I got you a tie that matches! Here ya go!” She shoves a bright pink lace bow tie in my hands.
“I'm not wearing this.”
“What don’t you want to match?”
“No… And I never asked you to winter formal”
“Well Jamey poo I assumed since we are dating…”
“Exactly you assumed …”Now everyone in the school was watching us including Peter who was now helping Bella clean. Bella, who was too scared of Mark to look at a football player, looked down but was listening. “We’re through and don’t EVER call me Jamey poo!” I storm off.
She starts crying saying “Y-you jerk *sniffle* who do you love then!? Th-this nerd!?”
She kicks the books out of Bella’s hands who was trying to run away to the news room to be behind her laptop. But Mark then picks Bella up by the hood and carries her outside. I can hear her screaming. Mr. Terri a new teacher, as of last year, came running down the stairs I knew Bella really looked up to him but so do I. I see him talking to Peter then rushing out the doors where Mark took Bella. I'm guessing he heard her screaming from the lounge. They come back in. Bella is walking in tears blended with a bit of blood from her broken right glasses frame. She is now covered in what we call insta-bruses. Mark must have hit her hard. She is shaking and bad but she has Peter or I would go up to her to show that I don’t care and neither should she. When she walks past me I suddenly fell my heart pound but not like a pain but now all I can think about is Bella. What am I feeling now, about Bella?
I wake up in the middle of the night panting and sweating. I look at my watch when I sit up “11 o’clock man I’m so glad it’s Saturday” before I lie back down to sleep I notice the light from Bella’s room is on through her stain glass. “That’s odd…”
I walk over and I can faintly hear music so I can’t really tell a melody. I get closer it was her singing her favorite song from when we were kids it’s a rock song. “Why do you hate me so/Oh yes I know/What have I ever done to you/You know I’ve done nothing too…” then came the refrain it was more rap now “When I leave you won’t hesitate to celebrate but then who will you mock cause you’re a clock you keep it goin til times in slow motion oh but who will you murder with your words of disorder.” The song goes soft now “Who oh who.” The song finishes with drums. Not realizing what I am doing I start to clap. The silhouette that is Bella jump and says “Who’s there?!”
“It’s just me, Bella. It’s James.”
She opens the window and says “What do you think you are going? It’s 11:15 for goodness sakes, James.”
“I had a nightmare.”
“And what am I supposed to do about that?”
“You were in it…”
“It was just a dream, James, not real life. What kind of a man are you?”
“No this really happened.” She raises an eyebrow in question. “It was before winter formal when I broke up with…”
She cut me off “Don’t remind me of that horrid person and horrid day.”
She closes the window and I can hear her crying from outside “Well this couldn’t get any worse…” I walk over to my house and I reach for the handle it’s locked “Of course.” Well I can’t just sleep outside. So I go over to the tree climb up midway so I won’t be seen and tie myself in with the rope.
-When I wake up in the morning still in the tree but something is off. I look up Bella is sitting across the branch scolding me to the core. “What are you doing in my tree?!”
-“W-wha are you talkin about?” I slur my words.
-“Are you drunk?!” she starts to scream but calms herself down. I'm half asleep so I can't really tell or control what’s going on. In a calm voice Bella says “Let’s get you untied and home.”
-She reaches for the rope to untie me but since I'm in a half asleep state I grab her hand and say (very idiotically on my part) “No need to get handzy Mz. Lurna.” I shoot her a smirk and she looks like she is planning my funeral.
-She unties the knot with her other hand and whispers in my ear “Have a nice flight, James” and in no time at all I am face down on the ground but now I’m wide awake.
-I stand up and look at Bella who climbed down the rope she retied in the tree “WHAT WAS THAT FOR?!” she slid down the rope with her black gloves on.
-She rolled her eyes before looking at me, “Oh my good gosh, James! Are you okay?!”
-I rubbed my head as she pulled me by the arm to the garage. “What do you mean? I just fell out of a tree of course I'm not okay.”
-“You’ll see what I mean.” The garage opened to a maroon sports car with silver racing strips “Hop in…”
-“Can I drive?”
-She shoots me a glare and says “…No…” then put on sunglasses. “Before we go I need to do something…” she grabbed something from the trunk and came up behind me. “K hold this.” She holds out a mirror and now I can see the blood slipping out from my head.
-“Wow, you have such a manly way of screaming.” She said with a smirk on her face. She starts wrapping my head with a laugh.
-“Well when blood is gushing—”
-“Okay done but please try NOT to yell or do anything that will make you light headed or pass out because I’m NOT carrying you into the emergency room.” She gets in the car and looks at me “Ready?”
-We are in Bella’s beautiful sports car driving to the hospital for my head injury that she caused. “So which hospital are we going to?” I ask as I look over at her. Her beautiful brown hair with red tips flowed through the air… wait what am I thinking she’s only a friend.
-“The one just up this street. Why?”
-“You might not want to go to that hospital.”
-“Why not? It’s the only one I know how to get to.” She parks her car where it’s safe and says “Well too late now…”
-She grabs what looks like an old laptop “I'm gonna type until we can leave…unless you’d rather me call your mom.” She looks at me teasingly.
-“No thank you. She wouldn’t allow me to see you if she found out you pushed me out of a tree.”
-“That’s not what cu your head. You landed on your pocket knife.”
-“How come I didn’t feel it?”
-She looked at me odd and stopped “Um…don’t you remember that… oh ya you slept through it. Well in science of our senior year we watched videos daily and took notes one of the things we learned about our last week was when a body is seriously hurt it can sometimes ignore pain if needed for survival.”
-“How do you remember that?”
-We start walking again. “I had to rewrite the notes for all of the football team and Mark’s precious sister Stacy the demon. Your ex-girlfriend.”
-“Nerd bird? I thought you moved.” I turn around but Bella doesn’t. Stacy is standing in front of me and behind her.
-“Ya, cheerleader, I moved but I’m back on business.”
-“What do you?”
-“I- Oh ya you can't read so you wouldn’t know even if I told you. C’mon, James.” She walks off.
-“Nice to see you, Stac.”
-“I know right!” as self-centered as always…
-“Hi he fell out of a tree and cut his head it was bleeding badly so I wrapped it.” Said Bella.
-“Oh my, well we will get you in right away, sir!” said the girl working the front counter
-“James Stelle Noel.” The girls are trying to contain their laughter.
-“And you Miss?”
-“Bella Stellato Luna.”
-“Okay please take a seat.”
-“Alright.” We said at the same time.
-“What’s so funny?”
-“STELLE!” She breaks out laughing.
-“You know my folks liked astrology.”
-She starts wiping away tears when she said “Ya but they could have named you Fleck it means the same thing in German and it sounds manlier.”
-“At least my name doesn’t mean ‘Beautiful Starry Moon’”
-“Ya but anytime someone says ‘Hey Bella!’ What are they saying?”
-“James Stelle Noel the doctor will see you in room 6.”
-“Welcome. Oh and Miss Luna may I have your autograph. I always look forward to your articles!”
-“Of course.” She signs her name and follows me to room 6. “I wonder what doctor you got…I hope he’s cute.”
-“Okay I just fell out of a tree your tree and you are thinking about doctors.”
-“I wouldn’t say it like that.”
-“Hi, James, I hope you don’t mind I have a student with me…”
-“Not at all.”
-“Mark, please come in.”
-“Baka…” she turns to me and says “It’s Japanese for moron.”
-“Baka, it’s Japanese for moron.”
-The two rivals just stared ‘til Bella looked at her laptop and began to type the doctor said breaking the silence “What seems to be the problem, James?”
-“Oh uh she can explain better she saw.”
-“Alright,” the doctor smiled and turned to Bella who was typing up a storm, “Miss, what happened?”
-Bella stood up unwrapped my head and said, “He fell out of a tree and cut his head right hear with a pocket knife. I wrapped his head to attempt to stop the bleeding and drove him straight here.”
-“Oh my, well it worked we will make sure nothing is infected but you are lucky to have such a good friend.”
-I grab Bella’s hand which was right behind me but she managed to break my grip and said “I’m just a neighbor I looked out and he fell so I hurried out to help.” What is this? Why am I so hurt that she moved her hand? Why do I feel like I died when she denied that we are friends? Do I love Bella? Yes, but those feelings are one sided and will never be returned. I need to forget her she has and always will be this way.
-“Oh well my apologizes to request this of you but he needs to be watched over can you do that?”
-“Sorry but I can't I'm a journalist for Wren Times… Bella Luna. Maybe you have heard of me?”
-“Oh yes of course I’ve heard of you! My daughter, May, always reads your articles. She is actually researching you for a report.”
-“Would she care for an interview? I’ll be leaving town shortly in 5 days to be exact but if I am needed I’d be happy to help. Here’s my contact info for my work.”
-“How kind of you! Now back to James I’ll run some tests and until then you two can leave! But until Miss Luna leaves may I ask you to stay under her watch.”
-“Of course doctor but I-” I'm at a loss for words
-“Doctor I need to get ready to leave and, but, I well-” and so was she.
-“Then it’s settled you’ll stay with Bella for 5 days Doctor’s Orders! You should be thanking me. Now Mark rewrap his head I have another patient in room 8 and 1 join me when you’re done.” The doctor leaves.
-“I’m going to go start the car join me when you’re done.” Bella leaves.
-“So you and Bella…”
-“There is nothing between us.”
-“Plu-ease, Bro, you looked horrified when she denied you to were even friends. Then again she was bright red when you grabbed her hand.”
-“You saw that.”
-“Ya I saw… As much as I hate to say this *sigh* you two have always had something. And if you don’t act on it now who knows when and if she’ll come back here…to you. My diagnoses you have been bitten by the love bug and the cure is to tell her you got 5 days together just try or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
-“Of course I'm right. All righty all done oh hey before you go,” He pulls out a note pad “Give this to your mommy, momma’s boy, and these to Bella.”
-“Kay thanks, bro!” and with that I go to tackle the biggest problem I’ve ever faced.
-I walk out to Bella’s car before I get to her car I read the notes the one to my mom says, “Mrs. Noel, James is required to stay under the watch of Bella. Yours truly, Dr. Fish.” Oh he didn’t sign it from him… The two for Bella say, “Miss Bella, We entrust you with James’ heath and care. Yours truly, Dr. Fish.” And “Bella I am sorry I bullied you as a kid I do hope you forgive me. Your biggest fan, Mark Writeson.”
-“Hurry up, James, I'm going to drop you off at your mom’s place.”
-“MISS LUNA!” The doctor came running up to the car looking mad followed by Mark who was smiling like an idiot. “NOW, MISS LUNA, I TOLD YOU TO WATCH OVER JAMES AND YOU DISOBAY! WHY I NEVER! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!” He calms down and says, “Take care of him doctor’s orders.”
-She forms the sign language symbol for music and salutes him saying “Ay ay cap’n” he smiles and leaves along with Mark but she glares at me and says through her teeth angrily. “Get in the car.”
-“I’m coming…can I drive?”
-I get in the car and say “Well someone’s going to get a lump of coal in her stocking next week.”
-“I’m tired, ok I am beat, and I still have an article to write in five days got it?!”
-“Someone is grumpy today.”
-She looks at me with bags under her dark green eyes. “I’m dropping you off at your mother’s I really don’t care what he says I need to work.”
-I have to stop her from passing me off…I know! “Hey, Mark!” She looks at me in surprise as she parked in her driveway “You told me to call you when I got settled.”
-Mark on the other side says “What no I didn’t.”
-“Well I just got to my mom’s house Bella’s dropping me off.”
-At the same time Bella and Mark say “Why you little…” Bella sounds mad but Mark sounds proud of me.
-“Hold on, James, I’ll get the doctor to give her a talkin to so put me on speaker.”
-Bella scolds me from the driver’s seat. “Okay.”
-“FINE! I give up come on.”
-“Never mind, Mark, she’s…”
-I heard and take me off speaker real quick.” I do as he says “Go get her tiger.” He makes a tiger noise and we say good bye.
-“I’ll call my mom and let her know.”
-“Whatever.” She walks in the house obviously disappointed does she hate me that much?”
-After I talk to my mom I go inside “Bella?”
-She was typing away on her laptop as usual “I’m sorry you have to leave so soon.”
-“Well it doesn’t matter my folks will be back up to see me off at least and thanks to you I only have 5 words left in my max.! But if it weren’t for you I’d still be 10 words under my min.! So uh thanks I guess.”
-I walk over to the chair and sit on the arm by Bella. I wrap my arm around her shoulder and began to rub her shoulder when I whisper, “What's it about.”
-She stands up “What sounds better? ‘They may change’ or Just believe they will change’ the second one uses up all my words so…” she types it in answering her own question.
-“You didn’t answer my question, Bella.”
-I stand up and hug her from behind “You know what's weird…hugging. It’s like ‘let me show you my affection by trapping you in one spot not allowing you to move or fight back.” She laughs nervously and begins to ramble.
-I cut her of whispering “Bella…”
-“I'm getting claustrophobic, Delinqu, please stop.
-I nestle my head on her shoulder trying to relax her. “And what if I don’t wanna.”
-She starts to hyperventilate “Ja~mes, st~op. Wh-~at’s go~tten in to~you?”
-She keeps going and I let go knowing I hurt her. “Sorry.” She gasps for air and runs to her tree tears streaming down her face. I fall to my knees and say “Sorry…”
-It’s almost ten and I haven’t heard from Bella since this morning I need to make things better between us so I don’t lose her forever.
-Since I hurt Bella I decided to do something nice for her but my only ‘idea’ wasn’t very good. My ‘idea’ was to buy her favorite food (pizza) and setting up a ‘romantic’ diner. I have no other idea so I guess I need to do this. I order the pizza and start getting ready by setting up a table for two with some Christmas lights that weren’t used from my house and while I'm at my house I change into nice clothes including my favorite shirt and bring others for the remanding 4 days. “Well here goes nothin’.” When I get back to Bella’s house the pizza arrives and I finish everything. I walk outside and climb up the rope. “Hey, Bella, I have a surprise for you inside.”
-“Now, Mr. Noel, I saw the pizza delivery man…”
-“But there’s more c’mon.”
-She looks at me and says, “Man, your serious I mean you’re even wearing that shirt I got you for Christmas senior year…”
-“Oh yeah well it’s a nice shirt…”
-“Okay okay I’ll come in but only because there’s pizza involved.”
-I laugh and say “Okay.”
-When we finish eating she says, “Oh! Hey, I got you something before I came down here for Christmas do you want it now…”
-“Why not wait ‘til Christmas? It’s only a week away.”
-“I'm going to be back upstate to work in 5 days.”
-“Oh yeah sure why not!” I forgot she’s leaving, we had so much fun all of my problems just vanished.
-She brings out a nicely wrapped box tied with a yellow ribbon. “Open it!” She looks egger for me to open it so I slowly untie the ribbon. But as soon as the ribbon is untied I rush to open it. When I open the heavily taped box it reveals a yellow stone apple along with a yellow apple. “So my mom told me you were about to become a teacher and I know you like yellow apples I mean that was all you used to talk about. So I thought ‘Well teachers have apples on their desks…’ So I saw this little thing and thought of you.” She laughs realizing that she said she had thought of me and continue, “Oh, and I have a friend who’s a farmer and I asked him the best way to keep apples fresh and that’s why you have a real apple too.”
-I hug her tightly and say, “I love it, thank you, Bella.” And she hugs me back.
-The 4 days go by in the blink of an eye. Bella and I even had dinner together every night it was nice but I wish it would have been longer. Oh but I found out what her story was about. It was on bullying and how to prevent it. Bella left early this morning in her sports car. I wasn’t awake when she left but when I got up I saw both Mr. and Mrs. Luna. “Hello, James.” Said Mr. Luna who was sitting in the chair across from the couch cleaning his gun.
-“Oh, Good morning, Mr. Luna…” I only saw him do this when Adelina, Bella’s little sister, who just got over a sickness that’s why they went down to Georgia, brought over a boy he never did this to Bella because she never left the house except to go to school, work, or to go across the street to hang out with me but that was rare. I sit up “Um so is everything ok with Adelina?”
-“She’s fine now…How’s my Bella.”
-“Doing well…”I look at my feet and notice I’m shirtless this may be why he might be doing all of this. Correction this is why. “Oh, Oh! Sir, I assure you~“
-He cuts me off. Wow Bella and him are a little too much alike. “Bella informed me of the situation.” He looks at me with cold eyes that have a sprinkle of hope in them. “James, I need you to answer one little question for me. Can you do that?”
-“Of course, Sir. What is it?”
-He lets out a deep sigh “What. Are. Your. Feelings. Towards Bella?”
-The way he says the sentence tells me it was hard for him to say “I think~” I cut myself off “No I Know I love her.”
-He lets out a sigh then laugh and says, then why are you still here…” He hands me a little piece of paper it’s a note from Bella.
-‘Dear James, I’m sorry I had to go so soon but I was needed to work. Please feel free give me a call…’She puts her phone number ‘P.S. James, you talk in your sleep and it was funny to respond to you and hear what you would say next. Yours truly, Bella Luna’ I blush because the past few nights I dreamt of her.
-“I-I need to go!” I start to leave when Mr. Luna calls my name. “Yes, Sir.”
-“Do me a favor and put a shirt on for goodness sakes.” I grab my stuff and leave.
-A quick flight and taxi ride I finally arrive at Wren Times to surprise Bella. I walk in with forget-me-nots her favorite flower when the lady and man at the front counter lets out a squeal and says, “James?!” The man hugs me tightly. “The lady says “Careful, Ricky! He’s fragile.”
-“He’d have to be tough to be pushed out of that tree so much, Kel.”
-“Ya, dumplin’, but he hurt himself last time he fell remember Bella told us she had to take him to the hospital!”
-“Excuse me but are you Bella’s friends?”
-Kel says, “Of course, dumplin’, Bella told us all about you.”
-“Ya she even asked me how to keep apples fresh for you.”
-“Oh, thanks for the apple by the way it was good.”
-The two look at each other than Kel says, “What? Why are you thanking him, dumplin’? He only knows how to preserve food.” She pats his muscular stomach.
-“Ya Bella’s the one with a yellow apple tree in her yard.”
-“That little liar.”
-Kel giggles and says, “I’m Kel not K E L L but K E L.”
-“And I’m Ricky.”
-“Nice to meet you two I’m James.”
-“C’mon we’ll take you to see Bella…Well I will, Ricky dumplin’, you stay here. You can come up when you’re on break.” She starts to pull me by the hand to see Bella.
-Ricky wasn’t far behind us but when we get to her desk I hear a very surprising conversation. “Come on, Bella, just one kiss.”
-“No, Mr. Delinqu.”
-“Now, Bella. How many times do I have to tell you? Call me Wentson.
-She tries to type. Kel pushes Ricky and me behind her Bella’s wall. “Achem, Bella, you have a package downstairs Ricky has it.”
-“Oh, okay I’ll come get it.” I hear her stand up then sit back down
-“No, Darlin’. Darla, please have Ricky was it? Bring it up. Thanks.”
-“My name is Kel, Sir.”
-“My bad, Kel.”
-Kel smirks and says “I’ll have him bring it but, Bella, you may want to move you’re your stuff off your desk.”
-“And you may want to scoot back a bit.” I hear the wheels squeak as they move back. “Okay, Ricky, toss it over.” Wait what?!
-“Wait what?!” Bella says what I’m thinking. I’m suddenly in a bridal carry and being hurled over the wall that was only a little taller than me. Before I know it I’m sitting on Bella’s desk right next to an old picture of us senior year the same one that’s on her laptop.
-“Enjoy!” and with that Kel and Ricky run off.’
-I look to Bella and say “Surprise.” And she looks at me wide eyed jaw down. “Come on.” I say moving off the desk. I continue “Close your mouth before the flies make it their home.” We both laugh.
-But Mr. Delinquent stops us. “Hi I’m Chief Editor Delinqu and you are.” Bella stands up from the chair he was pulling towards him and he looks hurt.
-It’s obvious she doesn’t like him. “Noel…James Noel.” Bella laughed at my joke from beside me. “Oh, Bella, these are for you.”
-I hand her the forget-me-nots and she says with a gasp “Aw forget-me-nots, James, you shouldn’t have.” She accepts the bouquet. And puts them in a vase with some white daisies.
-“Uh ya they were a gift…”
- I curl my hand into a fist and say “From who?” I lose my cool around Bella it just came out.
-“From um…EEK!” Delinqu grabbed Bella by the waist and pulled her into his side. She was obviously uncomfortable she starts hyperventilating but he doesn’t care.
-He just smiles and says “The daisies are from me.”
-But he just smiles and says “The daisies are from me.” Bella squirms to try to break free but it doesn’t work. “Well, Blaine~”
-I cut him off and say “It’s James.”
-“Right, right well, James, it was nice meeting you but we have work to do right, Bella?”
-Bella shakes her head no viciously “I~I finished I just came in to turn in my story.” She says quietly.
-He looks down at Bella who looked like she could cry “Well I need your help. Anyways…” He turns to me with a smile “You’re welcome here any time. Any friend of Bella’s is a friend of mine. Now shall I see you to the door?”
-“Nah I’m good.” I grab Bella’s hand and pull her away from him. I sit her in the chair and begin to fan her. “I’ll leave when Bella’s okay.” I glare at him then turn to Bella “How can I help you?”
-She looks at me tears beginning to fall down her face when she points to a drawer and says “Kit…” I pull out a mini fan and paper fan. She was planning for this to happen. “Flower…” I pull the vase to her and she grabs the forget-me-nots. “Thanks…J~ames” I don’t even care that she picked my flower over his I just want her safe. She starts breathing in and out over the flower. “Re~remind me to get a new bonsai.”
-“Okay.” I turn to him when she starts breathing normally “How many times have you done this to her gotten in her bubble?”
-“I don’t see why you need to know this.”
-“20 times not including this time.”
-“Is he why you’re claustrophobic?”
-“Yes, after the second time.”
-“Bella, you said you were done with your work right?”
-“Good, we’re going to HR then to your place.”
-I pick Bella up in a bridal carry “Are you claustrophobic?”
-“No.” And with that we walk to HR.
-After we are done at HR we say goodbye to Ricky, and Kel. And head to her car when I say “Are you still light headed?”
-“A little.” I’ve been supporting her this whole time because it was hard for her to walk with a light head.
-“Maybe I should drive.”
-“*sigh* Fine you can drive. From here to my place”
-“Yes!” she smirks, “Um. Bella where’s your car?”
-“My place isn’t far from here so I just walk.”
-“That’s not safe.” We get to her apartment and I notice it was completely empty. “Bella, isn’t something wrong with this?”
-“Huh? No, it’s fine. Anyways did you bring fancy clothes perhaps?”
-“Uh yeah I think so. Why?”
-“You’ll see! You can use the bathroom to change.” She giggles and goes into a room.
-Something’s up here. After I change into my clothes I walk out to see Bella in a beautiful maroon dress and her hair was pulled up into a side bun “Ciao bella.” Meaning ‘hello beautiful’ in Italian
-She blushes and says, “Ciao bello.” Meaning ‘Hello handsome’ in Italian.
-“Why thank you.”
-“That’s my line.” She holds out a hand to me “Shall we go?”
-I take her hand and say “We shall.” She grabs her purse and we head out “So uh where are we going?”
-“You’ll see.” We walk hand in hand to a fancy restaurant.
-“Come on they have the best sea food.”
-“Welcome, Miss Bella, this way please.”
-The man leads us out side to a table with a great view. “Thank you.” Bella says politely before sitting down. Why would she bring me to a place like this? After Diner we start to walk towards the office because she said she needed something. “Okay so you’re probably wondering why I brought you here. Correct?” All I can manage is a nod. “Well…” She looks at the ground blushes and smiles when she looks back up. “Before I went back to our home town I quit wren times. Ya I was tired of my boss coming onto me. So I quit I found a publisher who signed me on near my folks, and a nice little house down by the water so when I had gone down it was to finalize everything and make sure everything. So tomorrow I leave to go to my new home.”
-“Bella, that’s not funny.”
-“Bella, that’s not funny.”
-“What do you mean?”
-“Don’t play with my feelings.”
-“James, I’m not. I would never play with your feelings.” She reaches to hold my hand but I pull away heartbroken. “James, I~I love you.”
-“I Love you, James.”
-I hug her tightly and whisper “I Love you too. Bella, will you go out with me?”
-“Yes, James, I’ll go out with you. Now let’s get my stuff then get some sleep we’ve had a long day.” We get her stuff and thankfully we don’t run into anyone. When we get back to her place we change into something to sleep in. After finished brushing her teeth she turns to me and goes bright red as I lean against the doorframe she laughs nervously and says “You know there’s this really cool invention called a shirt.”
-I walk up to her in her extremely baggy sweatshirt and shorts and hug her. “But then it would be harder to hug you.” I can feel the heat from her face on my chest and the heat from her ears on my arms. I let go and back up to see she’s frozen in place. I look at her sweatshirt and notice something. “Is that the sweatshirt I gave you when you were cold at winter’s formal and said you could keep?” She spreads her arms and looks at again the sleeves dangle off her arms about 2 inches. And she goes even redder matching the color of the sweatshirt.
-*ring* *ring* “I’ll get it!”
-“Wait.” I grab a permanent marker on a little box near me and lift her bangs I write “Mine.” Okay your good.” She looks at me suspiciously before answering the door. It was exactly who I thought it was. Mr. Delinquent.
-“Bella, can I come in?”
-She looks at me then back at him, “I don’t think it’s a good idea I’m about to feed Gizmo.” A big black German shepherd came out. I remember when Bella got him. She taught him to be a guard dog but she trained him to like me. At the sight of his owner’s worried look his hackles went up, and he showed his teeth. Bella nodded to me.
-“Gizmo.” I patted my side and he kept to my side as I slowly walked behind Bella hugging her. I lifted her hair up revealing my mark on her after a while I let her hair down and I said. “Now, Mr. Delinquent…”Bella laughed at me calling him this I moved her behind my back so he couldn’t lay another hand on her. “I thought I made myself clear. Stay away from Bella or Gizmo and I will make sure of it. Got it?” Gizmo starts a low growl.
-“Crystal!” He takes off running. And I close the door.
-“Well that’s the last of him…”
-I turn around and Bella is staring up at me “Um… thanks for that.”
-I smirk at her and say “Do I get a reward? You know for being such a manly man?”
-She looks at her feet then at me. “My highest offer is a peck on the cheek…”
-I shrug my shoulders and say “That’s the lowest offer I’ll take. So you kiss me.”
-She looks suspicious but slowly nods her head. And says “Okay.”
-We stand by her room so she can get some rest and I turn my cheek to Bella. “Fire at will…”
-“Don’t say it like that! Never mind.”
-She starts to walk off but I grab her arm and hold her still. “Now, Bella, you promised. You wouldn’t want to start a relationship like this over a little kiss on the cheek now would you?”
“Well no but…”
I smirk and say “Good…” I kissed her not on the cheek though. And after that kiss we started a happy relationship after she stopped yelling at me of course.