I whip around at the sound of Jasper’s voice, who is leaning against one of the porch posts, looking at me from under his eyebrows.
“Oh. Hey,” is all I manage, a bit tongue-tied, and more than a little embarrassed. I never even tried to contact him to thank him. Sure, I no longer have a phone, but I could easily have gotten the number off Damian.
“Damian asked me to come and take your statement.”
The closed off look on his face, combined with those dispassionate words, send me straight from embarrassed to injured, and anger wraps around me like a protective cloak.
“Oh, he did, did he? Let me get this straight; you’re telling me the reason you’re here is because my brother asked you? That’s priceless.” I don’t even bother holding back on the venom in my tone.
“Squirt…” he mumbles, but I’m already too far lost in my head of steam to let the nickname, which just days ago would make me feel safe and protected, sway me from my path.
“No. You don’t get to call me that. Didn’t take much to set you running did it? Did you suddenly decide I was too much of a challenge? Too damaged for ya? Too fragile?” Hot tears come spilling down my cheek as I rant, and I agitatedly brush at them.
“That’s not—” he starts, but I stop him with a hand in his face.
I’m angry and so hurt. I trusted him, opened up for him in a way I never had for anyone. I feel exposed to the core, and found lacking. Again.
Suddenly deflated, I squeeze my eyes shut and drop my head. “Tell my brother he can come get his damn statement himself.”
Without even looking at him, I turn back inside, swing the door shut behind me, and walk straight into Kerry, who closes me in her arms.
“Honey, maybe you should give him a chance to talk before—”
Behind me the door slams open and I’m suddenly pulled from Kerry’s hold and swung around by an angry looking Jasper.
“Goddammit, Bella,” he swears, cupping my face in his large hands and tilting it up. “Jesus, how can someone so smart get it so fucking backward?” He barely gets his words out before his lips take mine in a bruising kiss, laced with anger and regret. I find myself leaning in and almost whimper when he pulls back, leaving his forehead pressed against mine. “Don’t you see?” he mumbles softly. “It’s me who comes up short.”
Next thing I know, he is stalking out the door.
“Oh my,” Kerry whispers behind me.
“What just happened?” I ask no one in particular, trying to get my bearings after going through what feels like an emotional spin cycle. My eyes land on Kerry, who is inexplicably smiling. “What?”
“That boy’s got it bad.”