Welcome to In the Arms of An Angel. This is a romance/supernatural/hurt/comfort/somewhat-angsty story. I cannot really remember where this plot bunny came from, but it's been months in preparation and I finally couldn't handle all the planning, so I started writing as well and here we are.
This is pretty different to what I've written before on my sister account on bexie25. I don't know why, but for my first venture into NC I felt the need to completely own the characters—or at least the main ones. ;) So that means a lot of OOC, some canon, and a lot of my own spin on things—and events. Jasper and Bella's backstories, for example, are nearly completely original.
Chapter length will vary (hopefully not by too much), and I'll be updating once a week on a Sunday (today) at around the same time, if not on the dot the same. That's mostly because of the time difference between Australia and the U.S.; I want to hit you guys in the afternoon (when I wake up) and not too late at night your time.
I want to thank my awesome team—Chandrakanta, my beta, banner maker, manip maker, and my pre-readers, Jennifer, Danielle and Alicia (sorry, I don't know all their FF names!) I also want to thank James Ramsey for her help and wonderful wisdom during the first part of the planning and characterization process (yes, I have two documents, both well over 20 pages at the least for the plan and the background of characters and stuff).
A few other things—
Go onto my fanfic profile page to access the Facebook group for this story and all other stories under this FF account. There, you'll find teasers—both of the story snippet and pictures kind—discussions, a place to question me and where I might respond to reviews if the question is something I think you all need the info to. You can also find the banner there, too. I don't have the banner up anywhere else but Facebook at this point, sorry. :(
Summary: She wanted to fly away. She did—straight into her angel's arms. When two people who fell in love in the 1860s meet again in 2014, what happens? Jasper/Bella. Vamp/Human. Rated M.
I taped up the last of the boxes with a smile on my face, breathing a sigh of relief. One step closer, I thought as I crossed my arms and leaned my elbows against the stack in front of me, lacing my fingers together and resting my chin on top. I looked around the room. It was strange, seeing it now—there was no sign of me here. Even the bed only had one pillow, a white sheet, and a non-descript blanket in case I got cold.
I went over to the pad of paper and pen I'd left on the desk—one of the few items that would not be coming with me, as Charlie had assured me his old desk would cater fine to my needs—and wrote instructions for Renée to follow. If she did, this all would arrive in about a week.
I sticky taped that on top of one of the boxes closest to the door before taking one last scope of the room. With nothing else to do except finish packing and checking my luggage—which I really didn't want to do right now—I lay down on the bed and opened my book to the page I was up to.
I tried to read the book in my hands, I really did. But I found myself easily distracted the more exhausted I became. Mr. Rochester simply was not doing it for me tonight. With a sigh, I set the book down on my bedside table, checked the time, and got ready for bed in my sweats and a checkered, long-sleeve shirt.
Not quite wanting to sleep yet, I looked around for something to do and a light-bulb moment caused me to remember the hemming I needed to do on my jeans. Renée had tried to do them for me last night after I'd gone to bed and had made an utter mess—but she simply would not listen when I told her not to touch them. I sighed and clenched my fists, closed my eyes, then took a deep breath in and out to calm myself. Only when I felt calm again did I open my eyes and shake my head. I grabbed the pair of jeans and the materials I needed and deftly began work. I had been doing this sort of thing for so many years it had become second nature.
I hummed as I quickly completed the task at hand. It was much too quick for my liking, but when I pricked my finger on the last loop with the needle, I knew it was probably time for bed. I finished and tied it off, admired my handy work with a smile, then set them down on the end of the bed for tomorrow. I put my needle and thread away in my kit and put that back in my suitcase. It really was a pity that I was flying to Washington; I'd be able to get so much more done if I was taking the bus or something.
I was just settling when my mother came into the room. She sighed dramatically as her blue eyes took in the scarcely decorated room and the hoard of boxes, stacked and leaning against the wall. Her blonde curls bounced as she shook her head before she turned to me. She smiled sadly and came forward to sit on the bed with me.
"Are you really sure about this, Bella?" she asked softly, reaching forward with her left hand to comb her fingers through my hair.
My relationship with my mother was an odd one. Having been removed from my father's life at six months old and only living with her, we should be close. But the truth was that I saw neither of my parents fulfilling their role.
With Renée, I was the caregiver, the guardian. With my father, I was an estranged child. And I knew that when I moved up there, I'd become his caregiver and guardian, too, to a certain extent; he was, after all, just as hopeless in the kitchen as Renée was.
Thankfully, he at least was responsible enough to handle the accounts, bills, and day-to-day things. Unlike Renée. Thankfully, he wouldn't rely on me. Yes, I really was quite bitter, wasn't I?
Sometimes I wondered how my parents had ever found each other, fallen in love, had me, married and been happy—however short a time they had stayed that way. They were just such an unlikely pair, such an unsuited one. They were complete opposites.
From both I was entirely estranged, removed emotionally. To be perfectly honest, moving away from my mother would not affect me as much as it would her.
Not nearly as much.
Somewhat guiltily, I felt relieved.
Plus, I knew my mother had Phil now to make my absence easier. Not that I really felt she'd miss me for much besides my handling the responsibilities that a mother should and normally would fulfill.
Remembering Renée's presence, I stopped my lagging train of thought and cleared my throat, nodding. "Yes, I am."
"I know you're doing this for me, honey—"
"Yes, I am," I said again, sitting up and sighing. "But I'm also doing it for me." She frowned, confused, and I nearly rolled my eyes. Of course; nothing I ever did could ever be for me. "Yes, you are newly married and yes, I want you to be able to travel with your husband without me holding you back," I held my hand up to stop her when she opened her mouth to object, "but I'm also doing it because I want to live with my father before I go off to college. I want to build a relationship with him, and I wouldn't be able to do that by staying here or by continuing to have only a few weeks out of the summer holidays with him." I looked down when I continued. "Re—Mom, when I told him I wanted to move up there, he was so happy," I said softly. I looked up at her again to see her eyes filled with tears as she swallowed and drew in a shaky breath. Guilt flashed across her face before she suppressed it a second later. "He wants me up there, and I want to be up there, too. Please just let me go, because you cannot change my mind."
She sighed and stood up, nodding sadly once more. She left the room and I sighed with relief once she was gone and the door was closed.
Yes. I would indeed be very relieved once I was gone from here and no longer the one responsible for Renée.
I looked down at my hands and at the white prick scar on my finger, one I'd had since before I could remember. Smiling, I remembered a scene from a vivid dream I'd had many years ago.
I gulped as I looked down at the trousers in one hand and the needle and thread in my other. Of course, this was not the first time I had repaired trousers and I had to say I was quite accomplished at it, but it would be a first of a different nature.
My hands were shaking with nerves, warmth filling me as I remembered the look on my gorgeous husband's face when I had asked him this morning before he left for his family's property if there was anything of his that needed fixing. He'd nodded and went back into our bedroom to get whatever it was, and his handsome face was twisted with nerves when he came back with a pair of trousers in hand. I took them from him and looked them over as he stood over me, watching.
I told him I'd have them fixed by the time he came home later that night.
It was only once he was gone and I was faced with actually fixing the damn things that I realized this would be the first time I'd do such a thing for him as his wife.
And that had me scared shitless.
Of course, I pricked my shaking pointer finger and cursed right on the first loop through.
But my darling husband made my finger—and other areas of my body—feel all kinds of better later that night as a thank you.
I took a shaky breath in and blew it out of my puffing cheeks. They, like the rest of me, were now red and tingly. I shook my head and settled back down, eyeing the jeans on the edge of the bed. Shaking my head, I changed my mind about what I was gonna wear tomorrow and got up to pack them in my bag.
Feeling an unusual bout of nerves, I went through my bag one more time. I came across my kits and materials—my sewing kit, my needle and thread kit, and my bag of wool—and checked them thoroughly to make sure I had all my parts. I cussed under my breath again, annoyed that I couldn't bring it on board—both for safety reasons and lack of room. All I could hope was that Mr. Rochester and Jane would keep me entertained for the entirety of the four to five hour flight. I'd purposely read slowly if I had to.
With another look around my room, I was disappointed to find that there was nothing else to do but sleep. And that was the last thing I was prepared to do right now. It was hard enough expecting the beautiful dreams and the life I had in those dreams only to wake up later. It was worse because I hated how they'd shaped me so in this life—this reality. To everyone else I was a freak who didn't belong in this era, but one about one hundred and fifty years prior. I did belong, though. With him. In my dreams—no matter the time period.
If only he was real.
I settled under the covers with a shake of my head, trying to shake the gloomy thoughts. Considering I'd be seeing him in my dreams anyhow, there was no reason for me to feel all sad now. It wouldn't be long.
It never was.
My eyes closed, and I let myself fall into the world I so wish was real.
As always, I was only too aware that this was, in fact, a dream. But this one was different… more modern. I'd had dreams of all of Jasper's 'future' after his disappearance and my sudden death in the 1860s during the Civil War, but this was even more recent. It felt like present time.
In fact, as I looked around the small cafeteria, I knew it was present time.
I was sitting with unfamiliar people, who were chatting around me but not with me. I was too busy looking around for something. What it was, I didn't know.
I saw them at the door; the short-shit pixie girl with black, spiky hair, and the tall but lanky pretty boy with bronze hair. They were followed by a statuesque blonde who had an air of ice queen about her and a buffed-up brunet boy with curls.
Short-shit pixie smiled at me.
I turned back to the unfamiliar people in front of me and spoke, but couldn't hear the words. She answered animatedly. I became confused for some reason, and then looked over at the door again, where a blond guy, buff but not as buff as Ice Queen's partner, was coming through the door.
He was familiar though, very familiar, and I gasped—I think—and stood up. That was when I knew how I knew him.
It was Jasper.
He looked up at me and gasped as well, as if he knew who I was as well. A jolt ran through me and straight into my heart, making me gasp again. I walked forward, toward him, stopping just a few centimeters in front of him. I barely got his name out before I collapsed, but I didn't fall to the ground. No, Jasper caught me.
The last thing I heard was a very familiar, smooth southern accent breathing my name.
"Jasper," I whispered, blinking as I stared up at the ceiling. With a groan, I sat up, hunched forward, and rubbed my eyes with the back of my hand. I yawned and stretched, rolling my head. Tears pricked, as they always did, but with a shuddering breath in, I suppressed them and closed my eyes. Leaning forward, I rested my elbows on my knees, my legs crossed. My hands cradled my head at my temples, and I rubbed in small circles as if battling a headache.
There was something different about that dream. Apart from being one of the few I could ever remember to have not been in the South, it was set in present time, there was something more definitive about it. All my other dreams of Jasper had felt unreal, especially after my 'death', after which I was more of an observer than a participant, and that was not solely due to the fact of the time period. In fact, I had no idea why it was that they had felt that way.
I sighed again. It was shameful that the only true… friend—and I use that word only in reference to my current life—was a figment of my imagination. The only man—and he was man not boy—that I could ever see myself loving, and loving fully and whole-heartedly… was fictional.
I took a deep breath to calm myself. The breath was shaky, my throat closing up painfully. The pressure in my chest and throat, and the absolute stupidity and sorrow I felt in this moment, made me want to sob. But I wouldn't let myself. I couldn't.
I was used to it—this loneliness. I had lived with it my entire life. Never quite fitting in, never making friends—being made fun of for things I couldn't help. I knew from my mother's account—and my father's as well—that I had begun dreaming of Jasper quite early on. Time and time again they told me as I grew up how cute my little companion was, speaking to him as if he were in the room as every parent does when they find out their child has no friends but an invisible one. But he wasn't in the room... no matter how much I wished he was. He was merely in my dreams.
And so when I started school, and I was bullied for having a stupid pretend friend and an inexplicable southern accent, I stopped. For a while, I stopped speaking, but eventually I started again—sans accent and sans speak of imaginary friend. To my parents, Jasper was no longer. I had "grown up."
Part of me always wondered at that—why I might have an imaginary friend, and why he had not gone away as of yet. Why it all felt so damned real, even now at my age of eighteen. Why the dreams had turned into… more.
I looked around the room, my face so hot it felt like a beacon of light lighting up the room. I sighed again and lay back down, tired and in need of sleep before tomorrow. I smiled at the thought of what was to come—my time of freedom from absolute responsibility. I hoped idly that Charlie was more competent in most areas bar cooking. I knew he sucked shit at cooking.
And so with one last thought of Jasper, I let myself fall back onto the bed, my head burrowed into my pillow, cooling my burning cheeks. I sighed in relief as the inferno ceased and closed my eyes, drifting slowly to sleep. This time, it was dreamless.
A mere few hours later, my seven am alarm woke me up. I slapped my hand on the stop button and got up, stretching and groaning. I had a ten o'clock flight, and just in case—and because Renée was sure to be frenzied enough—I had insisted on leaving home at eight-thirty.
I'd showered last night and would shower again tonight in Forks—another reason why I hated planes; they always made me feel dirty, not the least of which had to do with the stale, infected air that was passed around from mouth to mouth. You were literally breathing in a person's disease. I immediately got dressed, packing my pajamas in my suitcase. I headed out to get the day started. Phil had already gotten up and most likely had given Renée a sleep in as he showered, so I woke her up and told her breakfast would be ready in fifteen. When she started getting out of bed, I turned and rapidly walked out of the room. There was only so much I could handle, and watching my naked mother sneak into the shower with her husband was not one of them. I shivered in disgust as I walked down the hall to the kitchen.
Breakfast was simple—toast and eggs. Renée preferred them scrambled, as did I, but Phil liked them poached. I got out the eggs and the sauces and put them on the table. I used four eggs for the scrambled, and got one egg for Phil. He wasn't a big breakfast eater, though I'd tried to feed it into him. I sighed and shook my head. He was more stubborn about breakfast than Jasper!
I smiled at the memory—dream, rather—but it dropped quickly when I realized what I had just done… or thought, really. I berated myself for again thinking of the make believe and flicked my forehead sharply. I turned back to the task at hand.
When the eggs were done—somehow I had managed not to overcook them, what with my frazzled mind—I scooped the scrambled into a bowl and the poached onto a plate for Phil. He didn't mind so much, but Renée was, funnily enough, pedantic about serving herself. I didn't mind—at the risk of being unintentionally mean-spirited, it was, perhaps, the only thing she actually did for herself.
I got the breads out and then the toaster. When I had first started making toast—particularly after Phil moved in—I immediately knew that the arrangement we'd had back then wouldn't work. So I had saved money up to buy a four-slice toaster for us. It was a dream. I plugged it in and deftly put white bread in for me, grain in for Phil, and whole-meal for Renée—one piece for Renée and I and two for Phil was all that was needed.
I had the table all set with the food and any other things they'd want to add on when they came out.
"Thanks, Bella," Phil said as he sat down at the head. "This looks great."
I smiled and shrugged. "That's fine. Is there anything else you guys want?"
They looked around the table before shaking their heads. They dug in and I smiled to myself before doing the same, breathing a sigh of relief.
Apparently, I was too quick.
"Oh, yes!" Renée exclaimed. "Would you get me the low fat butter instead? I'm trying to watch my weight, remember."
I cleared my throat and got up immediately to get it. I ignored the part of me that wanted to serve up a big "fuck you" instead. This was my last morning here—thank fuck—and I could deal for a little longer. "Right! Sorry about that," I said, swallowing back the words I really wanted to say.
"Not to worry, dear," she said as I handed it to her then walked around the other side to sit down.
"Anything else?" I asked one last time, gritting my teeth. I swear to god, if they get me up one more time…
"No," they both said.
"Good," I mumbled. I nodded to myself once and finally got into my own breakfast. My erratically appearing, short-fused temper defused as fast as it had infused and I felt my tense muscles relax. My work in this house was officially done. I barely refrained from squealing in delight.
We finished breakfast, and of course, I was left to clean up. Sometimes, like today, this angered me, but for the most part, I ignored it. The house, in the past, would have been in disrepair if I wasn't here to clean it, and Phil milked my servant-like behavior—a fact I chose to ignore most of the time so as not to cause a fuss. I had no idea why it was suddenly bombarding me today. Perhaps it was because this was the last time I was going to be doing it and I was closer to freedom from that sort of responsibility. Though I had a feeling it was due to something else entirely.
One frantic Renée looking for a pair of shoes that she had thrown out last week later, the three of us were in the car, my suitcases in the back, and we were on the road. My goodbye to the house and neighborhood was short. I knew I wouldn't miss it here.
We got to the airport in no time at all. I got out of the car and breathed in the hot air. I loved the burn it caused. I took another deep breath, taking advantage of the last that I'd feel for a while as I pulled my sunglasses down to cover my eyes. Phil passed me my suitcase and I unclicked the handle and pulled it up into place. I turned back to the car and grabbed my bag. I glanced to the back of the car as I slung it over my shoulder.
Renée stood with Phil, whose arm slung around her shoulder. His fingers rubbed the top of her arm gently, soothingly. As soon as our eyes met through sunglasses, and I was gripping my suitcase handle, Renée surged forward and took me in her arms. I jolted from the unexpected force and shock, and after a few moments I lifted a hand and patted her shoulder then wrapped the same arm around her. I withdrew quickly.
"You can come home at any time," she said, pinching my cheeks in her fingers. I winced.
"I know," was all I said.
Thankfully, Phil pulled her away. "See you, Bella," he said, giving me the same one-armed hug I'd given my mother. I smiled, tight-lipped, and said nothing.
"Bye." I got out of their grasps. "I'll, uh, call as soon as I land."
"And email me every day!" Renée insisted.
I sighed internally, but nodded. "Sure, Mom," I replied softly.
She nodded shakily and burrowed into Phil.
I smiled brightly, gripping the suitcase tighter. "Well, I should probably get going. All that security and stuff to get through…"
They nodded and I turned around and walked away. I turned just as I reached the door into the airport and waved, smiling tightly. They'd already gotten into the car and weren't looking. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and turned back around to walk through.
It was easy to follow the direction. Despite the confusion of Phoenix's airport, I'd been here many times as a child. I wasn't quite sure why I remembered it so vividly; to be quite blunt, I found myself impartial to both parents though Charlie was definitely easier than my mother.
Then again, I struggled daily with living in this world. I just felt so disconnected from it all.
"Excuse me, Miss?" a man's voice interrupted my thoughts.
I blinked and looked up and around. A tanned and balding man, probably in his forties, sat beside me in this cramped plane. He was leering at me, but there was something I saw in his eyes—for the brief moment before I looked away—that was oddly peculiar. Internally shaking away the thought, I cleared my throat, and shuddered at the memories of my so-realistic dreams. "Yes?"
"Is it my lucky day today or something?" he asked with a smirk.
I frowned, forcing myself to ignore his creepiness. "I'm sorry?"
"You heard, sweet thing," he said.
My right brow and side of my jaw twitched. Anger now rising over disgust and fear, I locked my jaw and stared hard into his eyes. "If you want me to tell my father then I can assure you that I didn't," I replied evenly, lowering my voice. "He's very resourceful as the Chief of Police." No need to tell this guy that he's only the Chief of Police of the small, rainy town of Forks.
His eyes widened, and the smirk disappeared from his face. I couldn't hide the smirk of satisfaction that grew across my face at that. I turned in my seat once more, away from him, and faced the front. I ignored him as he sat down in a huff next to me, my skin crawling and my stomach rolling.
"So, how old are you?" he asked after a few moments.
I turned around and raised an eyebrow. My defenses kicked in, and coldly, I snapped, "Too young for you, baldy. Now fuck off."
When the plane doors had closed and we started toward the tarmac, I took the two empty seats next to me. I stretched out over the two seats, not trusting the creep, and shut my eyes. I soon fell asleep.
Thankfully, when I woke up as we were about to descend, Creep was well and truly still on his side. He seemed engrossed by whatever he was reading. I rubbed my hands over my face, yawned, and sat up to stretch. The last round of drinks was coming, and I took an orange juice, deciding not to dilute it with water so I'd wake up faster. I winced at the strong tangy taste but chugged it anyhow.
Descending took no more than twenty minutes, and I got up and collected my things as soon as I could. I was one of the first off the plane, and did not encounter Creep again—thank fuck. I went through the motions, and quickly turned my phone on again as I got out into the main area of the airport. Charlie wasn't here yet, and I imagined he wouldn't check his phone yet, but I sent him a text anyway.
Here. Meet outside? ~Bella
I made my way to the nearest exit, and sighed as I got outside. It was raining and it was cold, of fucking course. I shook my head though; I couldn't be a negative nelly—I'd chosen to come here. I just had to lie in the cold, wet bed I'd made.
I closed my eyes after a few minutes, sitting down on a seat closest to the door, under the covering. I smiled as my mind immediately conjured up sweet images of a sunny, hot Texas. Tears prickled in my eyes as I remembered the dream I'd had last year of hands clasped together, the other hand of each person weaving and brushing through tall-grass in a large field.
Sniffling, I opened my eyes and shook my head.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, I chastised myself bitterly.
"Bells!" I heard from my right. I looked up and around, forcing a smile on my face as I saw my father. He was in his police uniform, so I knew he'd drop me off and then go back to work—his wife and family.
I got up just as he reached me. He grabbed my bag off me and slung it over his shoulder, leaning forward to hug me in a rare, completely unexpected, and uncharacteristic display of affection. I closed my eyes briefly as his arm curled around my upper back, over my shoulder blades. I opened them as he let me go and we shared a smile—one that actually came naturally to me this time.
The drive back to Forks from Seattle was silent, and took quite a while—about three and a half hours. By the time we stopped outside the house, it was dark. Charlie hopped out as soon as the car was parked and got my bag out for me. He closed my door after me, leaving the keys in the ignition—further proof he'd be leaving as soon as he was sure I was settled.
He let us into the house, and I stopped in the hall, taking a look around. The stairs were just a few steps away, slightly off to the left. Between that and the door were a mirror and a slim but lengthy table with a bowl on it for various keys and loose change. To the right was an archway into the living room, and another from there into the kitchen. There was another door down the hall between the archway, the wall and the staircase led to the kitchen as well, it looked like, but it was shut and I could not recall ever using it. There were glass sliding doors straight from the kitchen into the backyard. The backyard, from memory, was small but quite nice and led straight into the woods—no fences.
Upstairs, again only from memory, were two bedrooms of equal size and a bathroom at the end of the hall, opposite which was a fixed cupboard for towels and bed linen.
Charlie's house was nice, quaint, and small. But it worked for him, and I knew it would work for me as well. Unlike Renée, I had no desire for the grandeurs of life; I much preferred simple—one of the many qualities my mother detested in me. Renée was never able to understand that with which she was unfamiliar.
"Bells?" Charlie called, forcing me from my thoughts. I blinked and looked over at him. He was at the foot of the stairs, looking expectant. I smiled and nodded, shoving my hands in my pocket. He made his way up the stairs and I followed him.
He led me to the door opposite his room at the top of the stairs—my room. With a nervous glance at me, he opened the door and stepped through. As I'd done downstairs, he continued through and let my bag down onto the bed with a huff of exertion while I hung back and looked.
"Purple's good, right? Sue helped me with the room… said teenage girls like purple," Charlie blurted out after a minute or two of silence.
I blinked and nodded, looking at the bed. "Purple's fine. Thanks, Dad."
He nodded and silence fell between us once again. Then he started again. "I—I'm really glad you're here, Bells," he said gruffly, looking down at his feet.
I smiled a small smile. "So am I, Dad." And for some reason, I really was.
He glanced up at me with a small smile of his own, nodded, and then returned to his usual gruffness. "Uh… well, I gotta get back to work to finish something off. I'll be home soon—maybe in around an hour, so seven-thirty?"
I shrugged. "Sure… I'll have dinner ready."
He blushed and said nothing, choosing to nod again in appreciation. Then he turned jerkily and walked out the door. I pressed my lips together to stop my giggle. Charlie certainly hadn't changed.
I stood around in the room until I heard the door downstairs shut loudly. I sighed and relaxed my shoulders. Walking forward a little, I sat down on the bed. Gloom and depression rolled through me at the clouds and rain and wind outside, but I pushed back the tight feeling in my throat and the tears in my eyes. I sighed again.
"Welcome to Forks," I muttered to myself, looking around the room before letting myself fall back sharply against the bed.
I closed my eyes, tried to ignore the sounds from outside, and imagined hot, sunny Texas and entwined hands and tall-grass. I sniffled and curled up on the bed on my side. A watery smile settled on my face as I thought of Jasper, and for the thousandth time, I wished he were real.
Just a few more things…
First up, I have to promise you I don't usually have such huge ANs. I just wanted to keep you informed about a few things this first go 'round.
Dreams and memories like that aren't going to be the norm, I don't think. In the 20 chapters or so I already have planned, it's not happened again (from the top of my memory).
This will be all BPOV. There's no Jasper. Sorry about that.
A re-cap from up the top—posts are once a week, on a Sunday at this time pretty much on the dot. You can find the Facebook group to post questions, read sneak peeks, view pic teasers, check out the banner and discuss—link on profile.
Another thank you to my pre-readers: Jennifer, Danielle, and Alicia, and also to my awesome manip maker, banner maker and beta, Chandrakanta. A special thanks to James Ramsey, as well, for all her help.
And I think that's all for now. See you next week on Sunday…
Please review—at the very least to tell me you're with me and what you think.