Damaged

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Chapter Nine

B E L L A M Y

“What are you doing here?” I asked, grabbing my belongings from the counter and walking past Noah to the exit.

He signed something on the clipboard officer bored held out to him and rolled his eyes before he followed me.

“Bailing your ass out of jail, Goldilocks,” he said, holding the door open for me. “Or I could leave you here?”

I ignored the gesture and scowled at him as I walked out into the night.

Though the sky was pitch black, I could make out clouds that threatened to unload all over us any second now.

Great.

I gasped when I thought of Maria, and I quickly unlocked my phone to call her. A message from her popped up on my screen, and I narrowed my eyes.

‘Cute guy brought me home, he left and imma pass out rn’

I didn’t trust it and brought the device to my ear, waiting—hoping for her to answer.

“What?” she groaned, and I let out a breath.

“You’re home safe?”

“You just woke me up from a perfect dream, bitch.”

Alright, she was fine.

I chuckled softly, walking behind Noah to his car. I had no idea he even had one, but now, I was grateful.

“Are you safe?” Maria asked, and I quickly looked at Noah. Debatable.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Before I could say anything else, she hung up the phone. I rolled my eyes and locked the screen, opening the passenger door of Noah’s car.

I tried not to look at him as he drove us home. I remembered him to be bulkier, but I guess doing some time had made him a little leaner. Still, his muscles flexed as he changed lanes, and for one second—one teeny tiny second—I let myself fully take him in.

His face was emotionless, his jaw sharp as he constantly tightened it, and the scar above his right eye seemed translucent in the light of the passing street lights.

I had to admit that I was intrigued by him. Not so much that our relationship would change, but just enough to make me wonder.

There was more to Noah Taylor and I was dying to find out.

“What did you do?” he asked, breaking the surprisingly comfortable silence.

I turned to the window and leaned on the frame. “Made things right,” I replied, though it weren’t the right words. “Or better, maybe.”

“Hmm,” he just hummed, his eyes still on the dark road ahead.

It was almost peaceful. Having a civil conversation with Noah while we drove home in the middle of the night. Or whatever hour it was.

“Why do you always get in trouble?” He had to ruin it, of course.

Though his voice was soft and free from judgment, the question rubbed me the wrong way.

I didn’t have the energy for a snappy comeback or something along those lines, though, so I just scowled at him before I turned around.

“Oh, we’re not talking now. That was quick.”

“I don’t want to talk.”

Tension filled the car and the walls were closing in on me, slowly suffocating me the longer we sat next to each other, the comfortable silence definitely gone.

“Bellamy—”

His voice was soft, but just the mere mention of my name felt like a slap in the face.

“Stop the car,” I interrupted him, turning and placing my hand on my seatbelt.

“What?” He frowned at me, but made no move to hit the brakes. “It’s pouring outside. Besides, we’re nearly there.”

“Noah, stop the car,” I repeated, definitely needing a breather. Was it the alcohol maybe?

He sighed in frustration, steering to the side of the road and the car slowly came to a halt.

“Bell—”

I ignored him, throwing my door open and jumping out into the rain. The cold water felt amazing on my face, and I didn’t even register getting completely soaked as I closed my eyes and threw my head back.

This was bliss. Upcoming nausea faded quickly, and as I breathed in the evening air, the feeling of claustrophobia disappeared.

“What the hell, Goldilocks?” Noah yelled as he stepped out of the car too, slamming his door closed behind him.

My smile fell when I opened my eyes and looked at him. Wet, dark hair fell in his face, and his shirt suddenly became skintight—showing me every single detail of his broad chest.

No, this was the alcohol talking. I would never think that way about the guy who made my life a living hell—no matter if he was aware of what he was doing or not.

“I needed air. Just...leave me alone, please,” I replied, running my hands through my drenched hair.

“Get in the car, Bella.”

I almost choked on my saliva when he said my name like that, the tingle in my stomach frustrating the shit out of me. Where did all this come from?

“No.”

Maybe there was some kind of thrill I felt by arguing with Noah. Or when I talked back to him.

“I wasn’t asking.” His jaw tensed even more, though it became hard to see him with this heavy rain.

“I just need one—”

“Can’t you just listen to me for once in your life?”

I narrowed my eyes at him and I noticed that my heart was threatening to break out of my chest with the adrenaline I felt.

Listen to him?

I had been forced to listen to everything he said over the years, and he was crazy if he thought that I would do it for one second longer.

He took a step in my direction. And one more.

We could see each other a little more clearly now, but I wasn’t going to budge. This wasn’t about the ‘air’ anymore. This was all about pissing Noah off.

Childish, sure. But it was all that I could muster at that moment.

The tension between us shifted, however, and my cheeks heated up. I had no idea what to do with my hands, and a shiver went up my spine—though not because of the cold.

It got worse when Noah’s eyes lowered, taking in every inch of me.

We were in trouble.

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