Disclaimer: The usual. SM owns the Twilight universe.

Chapter 1

"Gah, I'm so excited. I can barely stop moving," Rachel complained as she shuffled around the small room, throwing clothes from drawers and cupboards onto the single bed.

I snorted. Ladies and gentlemen, my best friend the drama queen. "You don't look excited. You look like you need to pee."

"Don't jinx me," she whined, "Now I need to go."

I watched as she ran from the bedroom to the bathroom across the hall.

Dropping onto my back, I made sheet angels in the small bed. Touching the slight smirk on my mouth I couldn't help but chuckle. This time, next week, Rachel and I would be official students of the University of Arizona.

We were leaving a week early to get situated and to get our bearings in the new city. Thankfully we'd signed up early for on-campus lodgings and had scored ourselves a double share room. From what the brochures said, it wasn't big, just enough for two singles, two desks and a shared built-in cupboard. But we didn't care. It would be ours.

My mom was as proud as punch. She'd also cried herself into a stupor when both Rachel and I showed her our acceptance letters. Rachel pretend to be a hard ass when mom said Sarah would be proud, but I'd seen the tears in my best friend's eyes. I didn't hold it against her. I'd cried thinking about what my own father would have said had he been alive.

Billy had been a different story though. He was worried. Rebecca, Rachel's twin sister, had runaway to Hawaii with her boyfriend only a year earlier. And while she called to tell everyone she was safe, Billy had been heartbroken. He still carried resentment toward Solomon Finau, who'd whisked away his seventeen year old daughter to, what felt like, the other side of the world.

But he still congratulated us both and gave Rachel a look of 'we'll talk later.' He knew he couldn't stop her. She was the most head-strong of all his children.

"I can't believe they're throwing us a bonfire," Rachel smiled dreamily as she launched herself onto the bed beside me. "Little ol' us."

"Yeah well, that will happen when you're the daughters of tribal elders. It's kind of like an unwritten rule." I replied as I poked her ribs.

Rachel sighed. "It's still kind of exciting."

Grinning she pulled me up with her and began brushing her fingers through my long, dark hair. Rachel was obsessed with my hair. Well, hair in general. She'd even trapped her younger brother into letting her plait his hair when he was younger. To be honest though, Jacob Black had always had beautiful silky hair. Even as a baby.

"We should braid your hair for tonight."

"Sure," I shrugged, not really opposed, not really caring either way.

"I wish my hair was like yours," she moaned, delicately separating the tresses into four equal parts. "It reminds me of my mom's hair."

My hair had a natural wave, and if I took the required time and care, I could get it to drop in ringlets. Though because I was lazy and really didn't worry about things like that, I always wore it in a high bun or pony tail. My hair knotted constantly and it was easier to manage that way. All of the Black children had hair like Billy. Silky, straight and midnight black.

"Did you invite, Richard?" She stated smugly as her fingers weaved through my hair.

I rolled my eyes. "I'm pretty sure he'll be there. He doesn't need an invite. Everyone will be there."

Richard and I had been fooling around for the last couple of months. He was handsome, older and interested in me for some reason. When he'd asked me out, I'd stuttered in an attempt to find an excuse to turn him down. I had to eventually agree and wanted to kick my own ass for standing there like an idiot.

The first date had been surprising. He'd planned an afternoon in Port Angeles, which had us going down to the pier and eating frozen yoghurt. He talked about his job on one of the local trawlers and admitted being away at sea for months at a time was pretty lonely.

When he dropped me home, he kissed me softly and left me smiling like an idiot on my mother's porch.

Ever since, we'd hung out at least a couple of times a week. It was fairly innocent; some heavy petting and hand holding but nothing more. We both knew that I would be leaving soon and he was due to leave as soon as the seasons changed.

Once Rachel finished my hair, I checked myself in the mirror. She was really good and it reminded me of the way Sarah would do our hair as young girls. Grabbing a sweatshirt I slipped it over my singlet and followed her downstairs.

"You girls almost ready?" Billy called from the kitchen.

As we entered we found him seated at the table, a piece of peach cobbler and a cup of tea in hand. "We've gotta get going soon."

"Dad, I thought you were going to wait to eat? Sue said she was making food." Rachel chilled.

After my father's death six months ago, Rachel had been like an eagle circling Billy, monitoring everything he now ate.

It had been a shock to not only to our little family, but to the whole reservation. My father was loved by everyone and was greatly missed. While my mother and I tried our best to put on brave faces, we were both devastated. But Seth even more so.

I hadn't been there that night, but when I'd arrived home it had been absolute pandemonium. Billy Black, Charlie Swan and Old Quil were crying amongst themselves in the living room while shirtless boys darted back and forth through our small home. I was confused until Anna Call caught me in the doorway and enveloped me in a massive hug.

I didn't understand as she sobbed into my shirt, but the way everyone turned towards me, their eyes full of pity, I knew.

"Who?" I'd rasped, my body trembling as Anna tried with all her might to keep me from shattering. I loved my parents, but my heart collided with my chest as I thought of something terrible happening to my baby brother.

"It's your daddy, honey," she whispered gently, trying to pet my hair.

Within seconds I was out the door toward Forks. Of course I hadn't thought and only just wanted to move. Even with three years being on the junior female track and field team, there was no way I was going to be able to run forty miles to the hospital.

Luck was on my side when the rumbling of a dirt bike shot up the road after me. It skidded to a stop and I had to double take. In my haste I hadn't seen my best friend at the house.

"Thank fuck."

"Get on," Rachel shouted, her hands trembling just as much as mine as she revved one of her brothers old bikes.

She took turns holding us all that night. Me, my mom, even Seth. We all sat, exhausted in the waiting room, drinking horribly strong coffee and staring at the slightly faded hospital walls.

It was a heart attack, the doctor said. He didn't stand a chance.

In the following months my brother seemed to change. I wasn't sure if it was because of my father's death or because of the new, older guys, my brother was suddenly hanging with. Within the blink of an eye he was six-foot-something and built like a Norse God.

He was angry all the time, snapping at mom and I for no reason and constantly in a mood. He acted like he was the only one who lost someone they loved, who was hurt, and when I finally called him out on it, he flipped. Just missing my face by a millimetre, he'd smashed his fist straight through the plasterboard of my mother's kitchen wall.

His eyes burned with anger until I blinked and felt the hot rush of tears run down my cheeks. We stood there silent, nose to nose, until my mother rushed from the garden after hearing the loud crash.

For the better, Seth and mom had decided it would be better for him to stay with old Quil for a while. I'd apologized but Seth argued it would be safer that way. By the looks he and my mother shared that night, I knew it was more than that, but let it be.

Seth and I had slowly been repairing our relationship. It was all baby steps but it was better than being stubborn and losing him all together. He felt guilty about the whole ordeal; I could see it in his eyes.

The shrill ring of a telephone snapped me out of my thoughts.

"Have you packed yet, little Miss C," Billy smiled, as Rachel sighed and reached for the wall mount receiver.

We all knew who it would be. Bella Swan, soon to be Cullen, called every night to see if Jacob was back from his vacation in Canada.

"Not yet, Billy. Mom's trying to get me to cull all my clothes and donate the rest to the community centre." I replied, even though my attention was darting between him and Rachel.

"Well I think that's a mighty fine idea. A little goes a long way for those in need." He smiled his famous smile at me. Jeez, he must have been gorgeous when he was young.

Rachel groaned and slammed the receiver down. "I swear to God, when Jacob gets back, I'm gonna kick his ass. I'm so sick of her calling here. No wonder he took off from her whining ass."

"Rachel." Billy chastised. "While her actions are questionable, she and Charlie are still friends of this family. As for your brother, let's hope he does some growing up while he is away."

I slid back into my seat as Rachel apologized and grumbled about Jacob's sudden disappearance. He'd gone in the middle of the night, leaving only a note for his father. The details were sketchy because Billy felt it necessary to withhold certain information. Rachel was pissed, while I was a little worried. He'd only had mono eight months before and he'd barely been home since. I'd seen the back of him a few times, as he hung out with Seth at the arcade, but he hadn't even acknowledged me in anyway.

Standing from the table we ushered Billy out to the truck. While Rach helped him into the cab, I collapsed his chair and hoisted it into the tray.

Following suit, I jumped in the tray, sliding down the back window and open hand slapping it. My best friend fired up the truck and within no time, we arrived at First Beach.