Story Title: Breathe Again by ysar
Chapter: 27. Nuisance
Genre: Twilight – Romance / Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Strong Language, Violence,
Post Word Count: 5545
Status: Work In Progress
Summary: “If Alice hadn’t seen Bella cliff-dive, what would have happened? Would Bella have given in to her feelings for Jacob? Was she even capable of moving on? Victoria’s hunting, Edward’s coming back—and that’s just the beginning!”
Embry looked like he was going to make a run for it, but Paul was quicker, jumping up and flinging the door open. Jessica’s eyes lit up the second she saw Embry, and she pushed past a shocked Rachel to plant herself right in Embry’s lap. For a guy who fought vampires, he seemed awfully scared, and everyone looked to be enjoying his discomfort. Even Sam had a smirk on his face.
Jessica certainly wasn’t my favorite person, but she wasn’t all bad. She just seemed insecure, something I had no trouble sympathizing with, but she tended to overcompensate in the worst ways. It appeared she’d now latched onto Embry, and while I was sure Mike would be relieved, I was a little scared for the pack. The only time Jessica was even close to subtle was when she was being backhanded, and I doubted even a werewolf was equipped to handle her.
It was actually Seth who finally took pity on Embry, casually asking if the guys would mind helping his mom with some yard work since it wasn’t raining at the moment. There was clearly no polite way to get rid of Jessica, but at least Seth managed to remove some of the audience.
I talked her off Embry’s lap by asking her to help me with the dishes. Rachel took one look at us in the kitchen and turned up her nose, disappearing to her room and dragging Paul along with her. Embry, of course, made a beeline for the door, and I nearly laughed aloud when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jake’s hand fly out and clamp down on his shoulder. We were willing to help him out, but there was no way he was sticking us with her.
“So, Bella…” Jessica said. “Do you guys do this breakfast thing often?”
I knew better than to answer without thinking it through first. No, we didn’t, but I was afraid if I told her that, she’d ask why today was an exception. The last thing I wanted to do was admit that I’d spent the night—the rumor mill would be spinning before all the words were out of my mouth—and I was a horrible liar.
“Ah…well, since school was canceled we just…it seemed…you know how I like to cook,” I stammered.
“Really? I didn’t know that,” she said. “That’s cool, though. Oooooh! I should make dinner for Embry!”
“Oh,” I said. Really, what was I supposed to say?
“What should I make?” she asked excitedly. “Do you know what he likes?”
“He likes pizza!” Jake yelled from the living room.
“Oh,” she said, sounding disappointed. “Bella, do you have a recipe for that?”
“No, sorry,” I replied. I did, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to torture Embry like that. It was time for a change of subject. “Hey, did you see the fires last night?
“Who didn’t? They were everywhere!” she exclaimed. “Did you see Newton’s this morning?”
I shook my head.
“Really?” she asked, her forehead crinkling up in a very unattractive way. “You had to pass right by there on your way to La Push.”
“Oh, yeah, but I was running late…you know, for breakfast, so I didn’t really get a good look,” I explained weakly.
“Well, let me tell you it’s a mess! And Mike better not think I’m going to be volunteering to help or anything. I really don’t think that would be right. You know, since I’m with Embry now.”
I had to turn quickly and wipe down the already clean countertop so she wouldn’t see the look of complete disbelief on my face.
I grabbed Jacob’s hand and did my best to drag him into his room. Fortunately, he didn’t resist, and it was all I could do not to slam the door behind us.
“Well, if you wanted to be alone…” he said smugly as he closed the distance between us. He started to put his arms around me, and I slapped them away.
“I do not want to be alone,” I said through clenched teeth.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. His smirk was gone, and his eyes were wide with confusion.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him, folding my arms across my chest and glaring at him. “You two go off and leave me with her, and you ask me what’s wrong?!”
Three hours. For three hours Jessica had followed me around the house, asking me questions about Embry, insisting we should double date, and basically driving me nuts. She kept trying to talk to Embry, but each time he’d somehow turn her attention to me. Apparently, Jessica and Embry were soul mates and I was now her best friend.
It’s not that I minded her company—in theory. She was being genuinely nice, and instead of talking non-stop about herself, she showed a real interest in me, asking questions about Phoenix, my interests, and even Charlie. But it was kind of like that day I jumped off the cliff. If I’d been prepared, if I’d worked my way up to it, if I’d wanted to do it for halfway sane reasons, it probably wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But there I was, struggling against whatever current prevented me from getting away from Jessica, and I was drowning in a sea of too much idiotic babbling.
“We didn’t leave, Bells. We just went outside for a few minutes,” Jake said, stepping toward me again.
I backed away. “Forty-seven minutes is not just a few, Jacob,” I argued.
“Well, it took me a while to catch him,” he shrugged.
“Catch him? He ran?” Werewolf or not, I was going to kill Embry. Or maybe I’d just give Jessica that pizza recipe and let her cooking do it for me.
“Hell yeah, he ran,” Jake said, as if stating the obvious. “Wouldn’t you?”
I was in no mood to agree with him, so I just kept glaring.
“He phased before I could stop him, and man, he can really bolt when he needs to,” he laughed.
Okay, I suppose it was kind of funny. And Jacob had dragged him back. But it didn’t change the fact that what should have been a nice quiet day with my boyfriend had turned into The Jessica Show.
“Get rid of them,” I insisted.
“Okay,” he said, throwing up his hands in surrender. “Just stop looking at me like that. Please?”
The rest of the day was slow-paced and simple, quite a contrast the night before…and the morning from hell. We watched TV, hung out with the pack—minus Embry, and even went down to the beach for a walk together. We didn’t talk about anything serious. Jealous girls, vampires, and all things unpleasant were banned topics, and I think we were both happier for the break. Spending the day with Jacob like that was easy and relaxing, and I found myself daydreaming about what it would be like if we could do that all the time.
“Bella, are you even listening?” Rachel asked, annoyed.
“Sorry,” I said, returning to the issue at hand. “I was just…”
“Thinking about my brother?” she grinned.
I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks, and she just held up a jar. She’d been acting strange, almost a little mean toward me all day, but then she’d suddenly switch gears and act friendly again. I couldn’t figure her out.
“No. Absolutely not,” I said. “No ‘super secret recipe’ tonight. We’re making our own sauce.”
I’d called Charlie at the station earlier, but he was still buried in his arson investigation. It was the worst crime to strike Forks in all his years there, and the whole town was on edge. I knew there was no need, but I had to stay in La Push until he could come by and follow me home. There wasn’t anything I could do to make his job any easier, but I could make sure he was well fed. That’s how I ended up in the kitchen with Rachel again, arguing about a jar of Ragu.
“Fine,” she sighed. “But trust me, they won’t know the difference.” She rolled her eyes theatrically and put the sauce back in the pantry then turned to me with a smile. I was starting to wonder if there was some medication around that she’d forgotten to take.
Fortunately, the Blacks were fond of canned goods, fast-cooking pasta, and fresh vegetables from their tiny garden out back, so finding the right ingredients was easy.
I managed to do my part of the chopping without lopping off any fingers, and spent the rest of the time directing Rachel. It was an easy recipe using canned tomatoes, a few vegetables, and a lot of stirring. So as long as she kept the spoon moving, there wasn’t much she could do to mess it up.
Charlie arrived just as we were finishing up in the kitchen, and to my surprise he walked straight in and hugged me. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to do at first, but then I quickly remembered the natural reaction would be to return the hug. After a couple of seconds, he pulled away, awkwardly clearing his throat and looking for an escape.
“That the game?” he asked Billy.
Charlie grabbed two beers and joined the guys in front of the TV for a few minutes while I set the table.
“Dinner!” Rachel announced loudly when we had everything ready.
She didn’t have to tell them twice. Jake and Paul practically fell over each other racing the few feet to the kitchen, and Charlie and Billy were surprisingly close behind them. Everyone had their plates piled high within seconds.
“Smells great. Thanks, Bells,” Charlie said.
“Thank Rachel,” I replied. “All I really did was chop some veggies.”
Rachel’s beaming smile was quickly replaced by an angry scowl as everyone but she and I dropped their forks.
“Ah…I’m not really very hungry,” Paul said, scooting his chair back.
“Yeah, I had a big lunch,” Jake said.
“Doc said I should watch my carbs,” Billy added.
Apparently Rachel had quite a reputation when it came to cooking, and it looked like she was going to burst into tears.
“Jacob, if you don’t eat right now…” I warned.
Shock registered in his expression, but then he had the good sense to look chagrined. All eyes were on him as he twirled a couple of noodles around his fork and took the smallest possible bite. And then the shock was back.
“This isn’t bad,” he said, sounding like he couldn’t believe what he was saying. He took another, much bigger bite and grinned. “It’s actually edible!”
Everyone soon followed suit, and before long they were asking for seconds.
“So do you have any leads?” Billy asked.
“No. It’s the damnedest thing,” Charlie replied. “At first we thought it was just some stupid kids, a prank gone wrong. But it looks like all the fires were started around the same time. It’s more than just simple arson.”
“Like what?” I asked. I knew he’d never figure out the real reason the fires were set, but I was curious as to just how close he’d get.
“We think the fires were just a diversion, something to distract us from the real crime. Only problem is we can’t figure out what that is. Nothing’s been reported missing, no break-ins other than the ones related to the fires, and none of the places that were hit seem like they would have been a target for anything else. The safe at Newton’s wasn’t touched. And why a church?”
Billy’s control over his expressions was simply amazing. He managed to look interested and curious, even impressed a little by Charlie’s explanation. And it was his perfect reaction that kept Charlie from noticing those of us who were more transparent.
“We’re starting to wonder if they weren’t after some kind of information…or maybe a person. Can’t imagine what—or who—that would be though,” he said. “All I know is that someone around here knows something, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of it.”
Charlie’s assessment mirrored the pack’s. The only details the officials in Forks hadn’t zeroed in on were the identities of the culprits and their primary intentions. Vampires sent to kill me.
Rachel fumbled with her fork, clanking it loudly on the rim of her plate. I pushed my food around in little circles, afraid if I looked Charlie in the eye he’d see right through me. Paul shoved so much spaghetti in his mouth I worried that he would choke. But Jacob managed to look almost as unaffected as Billy did. Like father like son, I guess.
“But no one was hurt, right?” I asked.
“No, not really. Unless you count Mrs. Cohen’s Pomeranian,” he laughed. “Stupid little thing decided to eat half a roll of foil while the old lady was outside watching all the action.”
Billy managed to steer the conversation from dogs to fishing, and soon Charlie was telling Paul and Jake stories about “whoppers” and the ones that got away. He looked tired, but happy to have his mind off work for the moment, and Rachel and I soon excused ourselves to do the dishes. Jake came in and hovered for a while, but three people in a kitchen that small was just an accident waiting to happen, and we’d already pushed our luck when making breakfast. After I tripped over Jake for the fifth or sixth time, he finally grabbed Paul and went outside, to the garage I assumed. After they’d been gone for a few minutes, Rachel caught me looking at Charlie.
“He’s not even paying attention,” she said with a knowing smile. “Go find Jake.”
I tossed my dishtowel over the faucet and slipped out the front door, wondering if I’d ever figure out Rachel’s mood swings.
The garage lights were off, and there was no sign of the guys. I wandered outside and looked around. I waited around for a few minutes, wandering aimlessly around the yard, but I had no idea where to find him.
“Oh, there you are,” Charlie said, stepping out of the house. “Ready to go?”
“Ummmm…yeah,” I said, still looking around for Jake.
“Come on, I’ll follow you.”
Rachel stepped outside and hugged me goodbye, and Billy nodded, but there was no sign of Jacob. Realizing I couldn’t stall forever and knowing that Charlie was exhausted, I sighed and walked over to my truck. The door handle was missing, but the window was down, so I reached inside to pull it open. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to explain that to Charlie, but that wasn’t really my priority at the moment.
Driving back into Forks was…strange. The smell of smoke lingered in the air, and the streetlights illuminated a light haze still clouding the night. I slowed nearly to a stop as I drove past what used to be Newton’s Outfitters. The building was still there, but it was charred almost black, and several windows were blown out. Yellow police tape surrounded the scene, and a lone cruiser sat in the parking lot. The honk of Charlie’s horn was the only thing that kept me from rolling my truck up onto the sidewalk, and I switched my focus back to the road.
A few minutes later, I was pulling into my driveway, feeling a little like one of those people who returns home after a long time away, only to find that everything has changed. I turned off the truck as Charlie pulled in beside me, and I climbed out.
“Hope you don’t mind if I turn in early,” he said as we walked inside.
“No, I’m sure you’ve got some sleep to catch up on. I’m just gonna read or something.”
Charlie kicked off his shoes by the door and put away his gun. He stopped at the fridge to grab a beer as I headed upstairs to my room.
“Hey, Bells?” he called out.
“Yeah, Dad?” I stopped halfway up the stairs and waited.
“We still need to talk about Jake.”
I couldn’t have planned it better myself. Embry had a habit of leading girls on, and it was finally coming back to bite him in the ass. Before he started phasing, he always played the shy card. He acted all nice and sensitive, and they fell for it every time. To his credit, he never really took it too far, but it was still a mean game to play. I think he just liked the attention.
After going through his first phase, shooting up several inches in height, and putting on some muscle, he’d changed his game. Shy wasn’t necessary anymore, since girls seemed to notice him without the act. Now he just grinned and let them fall at his feet. This one had fallen a bit too hard, and now she was standing at our door.
“You’re Jessica? From last night?” Rachel asked. Apparently Paul had filled her in.
Embry turned a little green and looked around for an escape.
“Hey, Embry! Your woman’s here!” Rachel yelled. She was getting as much enjoyment out of this as I was. I couldn’t blame her. Embry annoyed her nearly as much as I did growing up, and it didn’t look like she’d forgotten it.
“My what?” he choked. His eyes darted around nervously, silently begging us for help, but he was in the wrong company for that.
He jumped out of his chair, ready to take off, but Paul anticipated his move, springing over to Rachel and swinging the door open wide. The look on Embry’s face when Jessica jumped in his lap was something I’d never forget. And I planned on playing it over and over in my mind every time we phased for the rest of our lives.
We all sat watching in amusement as he half-heartedly ate the food he’d been dying for just minutes earlier, and Jessica talked his ear off. She was going on and on about some dress she needed, asking him a million questions she never gave him time to answer, and scolding him for being too messy when he ate. Too bad he hadn’t imprinted on her. I could have watched this go on forever.
I glanced over at Bella to find her expression fighting between pity and humor. I knew she’d feel sorry for Embry—she felt sorry for everyone. But I was glad she was getting a silent laugh out of it, too. She was quickly becoming one of us.
“That was great, Bella. Thanks,” Seth said, pushing his chair away from the table.
Bella smiled at him, clearly pleased. His eyes lit up as he returned her smile, and then he suddenly looked at me. Immediately he cleared his throat, his gaze dropping to the empty plate he held, and he shuffled away to the kitchen. Smart boy. His crush on Bella was becoming obvious. I really couldn’t blame him, but he was only going to get away with so much.
“So…I need to get home,” he said. “Told Mom I’d help her with the yard.”
No one paid any attention to him. We were all too busy watching Jessica pick at Embry’s hair as she explained why he needed to grow it out like some guy she saw on TV.
Even Jessica noticed Seth this time, and she scrunched up her face in annoyance. Seth repeated his bit about the yard work, and then he just stood there, looking at everyone expectantly. Sam had to get home to Emily, but Jared and Quil reluctantly offered to help. Embry, seeing his opportunity for escape, started to volunteer as well, but Jessica cut him off, insisting they didn’t get enough quality time together.
Bella’s pity finally took over, and she asked Jessica to help her with the dishes. Jessica didn’t look happy about having to be a whole ten feet away from Embry, but she followed Bella into the kitchen anyway.
The second she was out of reach, Embry sprung toward the door.
“Not so fast,” I said, grabbing him by the shoulder. “This is your problem. If you leave, take it with you.”
He glared at me, glanced over at the door again, and then sighed. “Fine. What’s on TV?”
While the girls cleaned up from breakfast, Embry and I flipped through channels, trying to find something decent to watch.
“So what happened last night?” I asked him.
“You know what happened,” he said.
He was right, to an extent. As focused as he’d been on hunting vampires last night, his thoughts had still occasionally flitted to Jessica. I knew he and Quil had caught up with the girls a few miles from Newton’s, and they’d driven out to the Timber Museum together. Leah had tormented Lauren just long enough for her to mouth off, and it looked like someone was going to be sporting a black eye for a while. Poor Quil had been stuck with a pouting Lauren while Embry swapped spit with Jessica—and not in my car, thank God. I really didn’t want to have to torch it after all the work I’d put into it.
“I only know what you were thinking about,” I said. “Apparently I missed something epic, like a proposal.”
He rolled his eyes. “Dude, all we did was mess around a little. Not even third base! I don’t know what her deal is.”
“I’d say her deal is you,” I grinned.
“You gotta help me get rid of her,” he said.
“C’mon, man,” he pleaded. “It’s part your fault anyway.”
“My fault? How is this my fault?” There was no way I was taking the fall for this.
“I wouldn’t even have met her if I hadn’t been helping you out,” he insisted.
“Okay, first of all, I didn’t ask for your help, and—“
“Just because you didn’t have the balls to—“
“And second, you’re the one who went chasing after her.”
“You screw with girls’ heads all the time, man. Odds were you’d eventually get a stalker.”
His mouth opened like he wanted to say something, but then he quickly shut it. He narrowed his eyes at me and grabbed the remote.
When the girls were done in the kitchen, Embry jumped up from the sofa and moved to the chair. He looked pretty satisfied with himself until Jessica hopped on his lap again. Apparently nothing was going to keep her from sitting with him. Bella snuggled up at my side, but there was no getting comfortable with Ms. Fatal Attraction in the room.
I’d felt sorry for her at first, but the more she talked, the more that feeling faded. She was louder than the TV, no matter how much I turned up the volume, and even though it was obvious that Embry didn’t want to be around her, she just couldn’t take a hint. I was tempted to just spell it out for her, but it was kind of fun watching Embry squirm. Besides, Bella seemed to be getting along with her well enough, and even though I knew they weren’t very close, I didn’t want to be rude to her friend. Even if she was the most annoying person I’d ever met.
When it came time to check in with Sam, Jessica didn’t want to let go of Embry. Apparently she didn’t believe him when he said he’d be right back—and neither did I. I didn’t know what to do to get out the door without her following us, though. It’s not like we could say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go morph into vampire slaying monsters real quick, okay?’ Fortunately, Bella saved us by asking Jessica about a dress. Jessica got a wild look in her eye, let out an eardrum shattering squeal, and started spewing words so fast I couldn’t tell if she was excited or insane. But either way, we had an appointment with the pack.
Embry and I bolted out the door and ran to the woods, phasing the second we were behind the thick cover. We tried to keep our thoughts quiet, simply listening as Sam and Jared tried to talk Collin down from hysteria. We’d been expecting it for a few days now, but we were all kind of hoping it wouldn’t happen. It seemed that the leech attack had been just enough to rip him out of his human form. It sounded like the only thing that had kept him from phasing earlier was the gallons of cold medicine his mother had been filling him with, keeping him completely calm and practically comatose for a few days.
Poor kid was only thirteen, and I doubted he was ready for something like this. Then again, none of us had been. Sam had been trying to get access to Collin for days, but short of telling his mom what was really going on, there was no way he could argue with her when she insisted he was contagious and couldn’t have visitors. The result was that his mother had been standing in the doorway to his room when he phased, and she was convinced he was a demon who’d taken her child and was now trying to kill her. Her panic only fueled his agitation, and he was too upset to phase back any time soon. From Sam’s thoughts I gathered that he and Jared were just out of sight near Collin’s house, while Emily and Leah were in the house, doing their best to calm the hysterical woman. We waited a few minutes, knowing that Sam recognized our presence, but we were just a distraction to him, so we phased back.
“So, I guess Brady’s a goner, too, huh?” Embry asked.
“Looks like it,” I replied, pulling my shorts back on.
Brady was another one that was too young for this, but his “fever” had started a few days after Collin’s did, and it was just a matter of time before he joined us. We were probably just lucky they didn’t both phase at the same time.
“We’re gonna have our hands full,” Embry said.
I nodded and looked over at him. Why was he still standing there naked? Oh. Shit.
That sneaky little bastard grinned deviously and leapt away from me, phasing just after his feet hit the ground. I yanked my shirt back up, trying not to rip it as it tangled over my head. I couldn’t exactly walk back in the house with no clothes on while the girls were there, and he knew it.
“Dammit, Embry!” I kicked off my shorts and sprung, phasing mid-air to chase after him.
I zeroed in on his mind, ignoring everyone else who was phased. Poor Collin was just beginning to calm down, and now he had to witness a full on chase through his mind.
‘You can’t run forever!’
It was all pointless. He was going to have to stop eventually. I was faster than anyone in the pack, including Sam, and even with his head start, Embry wasn’t so ahead of me that he’d get very far. And if luck was on his side, and he managed to slip too far ahead, Sam would simply command that he stop. He’d be lucky if he got out to the mountains before I caught up to him.
I could hear his paws crashing through the dense undergrowth just ahead of me as he barreled between trees, leaves flying and branches snapping behind him, and I picked up my pace.. He was still running at top speed, his head down and paws heavily pushing off the ground with each step, and I was just getting started. I was watching the ground ahead of him through his mind, and he was doing the same with me. I felt his desperation as soon as he saw I got a glimpse of him. He was about to make a fatal mistake.
It takes a lot to make a werewolf stumble. Our phased bodies practically sense obstacles, and we can spin almost instantly, changing course without missing a step. Unless we’re not looking through our own eyes.
Embry’s focus was constantly changing between what was ahead of him and what I was seeing ahead of me. He was focused on what I was seeing again when it struck me, and I reacted before I even completed the thought.
I knew where each tree, each rock was in front of me. The only other thing in my path was Embry. I closed my eyes and leapt forward. He was still watching through my mind, and for a second, all he could get from my thoughts was the backs of my eyelids. I heard his confusion and panic just as he focused his gaze ahead and sideswiped a tree, slowing him just enough that I crashed into him. The struggle was over in seconds.
The second we walked in, Bella jumped up off the sofa and stalked toward me. She grabbed my arm and spun, trying to pull me toward my room. Finally. I didn’t care if all we did in there was play checkers, as long as there was a closed door between us and her chatty little friend.
She kicked the door shut and turned to face me.
“Well, if you wanted to be alone…” I said, only to be surprised when she slapped my hands away from her.
“I do not want to be alone,” she spat.
I don’t think I’d ever seen her angry before…at least not like this. I’d seen her upset, hurt, maybe a little mad. But I’d never seen her eyes flash fire or heard her voice quite so steely. For such a tiny girl, she could be a little scary.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, stepping back to glare at me. “You two go off and leave me with her, and you ask me what’s wrong?!”
Make that a lot scary. “We didn’t leave, Bells. We just went outside for a few minutes,” I said. I got that she wasn’t happy with Embry and Jessica, but it wasn’t exactly my fault. Jessica was her friend, not mine. And the only reason I hadn’t already shoved her out of my house was Bella.
“Forty-seven minutes is not just a few, Jacob,” she argued.
Had we really been gone that long? “Well, it took me a while to catch him.”
“Catch him? He ran?” she asked, her voice rising.
“Hell yeah, he ran,” I said. “Wouldn’t you?”
She didn’t answer, but she wasn’t glaring…as bad.
“He phased before I could stop him,” I tried to explain. “And man, he can really bolt when he needs to.”
Her eyes narrowed at me. “Get rid of them,” she said.
Gladly. “Okay. Just stop looking at me like that.” I thought I saw a flicker of my sweet girl somewhere behind the anger. “Please?”
Bella and Rachel almost had dinner ready when Charlie showed up. Rachel’s contribution to the meal had everyone making excuses not to eat, and Bella made me the guinea pig. I really hoped my supernatural abilities included immunity to food poisoning. Otherwise tonight was going to be a repeat of that Thanksgiving a couple of years ago when Rachel had tried to kill us with what she swore was turkey. I thought about warning Bella, but the look in her eyes and the tone of her voice slapped that thought right out of my head. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to death by spaghetti.
“This isn’t bad,” I said. The noodles weren’t over or undercooked, and the sauce was…”It’s actually edible!” Bella’s influence in the kitchen might have just saved all our lives.
We ended up talking about the attack, or, as Charlie knew it, the “arson investigation.” I knew better than to hope the cops were just as clueless as the rest of the locals. Sure enough, Charlie told us they thought the fires were a distraction from the real crime.
It was hard to sit there without feeling guilty. Charlie had every official in the county working overtime, and he’d never get to the bottom of it. What’s worse is that we all knew Bella was the target, and yet no one would, no one could tell him. It’s not like he could do anything about it anyway. His department issued gun was nothing to a bloodsucker. But I’d take care of his daughter for him, even if he’d never know just how much.
Dad worked his usual magic, easily leading the conversation in a different direction just as everyone’s nerves were starting to show, and when dinner was done, Rachel and Bella headed back to the kitchen to clean up. I wanted to help out, but they just kept pushing me out of their way. I hated that Bella had spent so much time at my house stuck in the kitchen, but she wasn’t complaining so I let it go and gestured to Paul that I was going outside.
We were walking to the garage when we heard the howl. It didn’t sound like an emergency, but we still couldn’t ignore it, so we stepped around back and phased.