Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Twilight characters, nor do I own the settings, plots, or over all creations, it all belongs to S.M—no copyright infringement intended ***

Recommended listening: Youth - Daughter




~ Move Together ~

Chapter Twelve

We are the reckless

We are the wild youth




"Please, please, bring our daughter back to us," Helen Stanley sobbed, eyes-red-rimmed, cheeks tear-stained, "We just want her back…" She continued, sagging against her husband.

Mrs. Stanley's face was round with large hazel eyes, framed by a riot of auburn curls.

Roger Stanley was handsome, having been gifted with a sharp, square jaw, straight nose and a full head of chestnut-brown hair. He parted it to the side, smoothed down and tamed with some sort of product. Roger pressed a kiss to his wife's forehead, eyes wandering to the enlarged photo of their daughter displayed on an easel to their left.

Jessica Stanely, without a doubt, was the perfect combination of her parents with wavy, auburn hair and wide hazel eyes and a toothy grin. I wonder briefly, stupidly, if she had endured the pain of braces like I did. Jessica disappeared after an evening out with her friends in Port Angeles. According to the press, Jessica had been shopping, looking for dresses for the annual Sadie Hawkin's Dance at Forks High. But she was gone, without a trace. The police had no leads to speak of, apparently, and had turned to the public.

"Every parent's nightmare," Mom murmurs quietly, drawing my attention to where she stands in the door way of our living room. She worries the frayed edges of her favourite red scarf that's looped around her neck, fingers and mind obviously restless, eyes focused on the screen. She was heading out for her night-shift.

"Jessica is a smart, sweet girl, and we love her so very much," Roger Stanley chokes, pauses briefly, overcome with grief. "Please, if you know anything, come forward."

Gooseflesh breaks out and a chill scuttles down my spine. I wonder how it happened. What happened. A robbery gone wrong? Jessica had been missing for a week now already. Seven whole days. Posters with her name, photo, and the telephone number of a tip line were everywhere — Forks, Port Angeles, and even La Push. The Stanleys had appeared on all the local news channels talking about their daughter, imploring people to help them in getting her home safely.

"Do me a favour," Mom pipes up, drawing my attention away from the television. She shrugs her jacket over her shoulders, "Don't go out tonight."




Jessica was still missing.

Twelve whole days now.

Given just how small Forks was, La Push too, I shouldn't have been surprised that Jessica Stanley was all anyone could talk about. Would talk about.

"Pretty sure she's just a runaway," A girl in front of me whispers to her friend, conspiratorially. I wince, recognizing the senior after I spot the pink tips of her hair. Rain Dove. Gossip-monger extraordinaire. "I mean, like, they always make girls like her out to be so sweet on the news but really, taken? There wasn't even evidence of a struggle."

"Yeah," Her co-conspirator, Allison Jacobs, agrees, head bobbing enthusiastically. She leans in close, "I heard that she wasn't even there to get a dress for that stupid dance. Chelsea said she was dating some older guy. She's probably with him right now."

I cough pointedly, fixing them with a glare.

In truth, I didn't care that they were talking in the library. But they were being unkind. The girls roll their eyes at me and go back to chatting but not about Jessica, thankfully.

I return my attention to the books spread before me. My eyes dance across the page, taking in the shapes and symbols. Suddenly, swiftly, a pang of loss pierces my heart. If only Jake were here. The boy had a knack for numbers and formulas. He used to help me.

I close my textbook and start to pack up. I go to grab my pencil case but accidentally knock it instead, it slides away from me and across the desk. But someone catches it — Embry.

I lift a brow, wordlessly asking why he's here.

"Pack meeting."


"You're Pack."

"Since when?"

"Alpha's orders."

Embry hadn't always been this reserved. Quite the opposite, actually. He used to be larger than life — loud, full of energy, star of all the school plays, and always laughing. My heart clenches as I take in the wariness settling around his eyes, the hard set of his jaw, somber line of his mouth.

"Attendance is mandatory, I take it?"

Embry doesn't even bother replying, just gives me this what-do-you-think sort of look — brows raised, disappearing under a thick, feathery fringe and lips curled into a sardonic little smile.

"Right," I mutter awkwardly, shoving my things into my backpack and standing.

The drive to Sam's is tense, quiet, and — mercifully — quick. We head in the house together and follow the sound of voices further in. Automatically, my eyes seek out Sam when we file into the kitchen. He stands at the end of the kitchen island, arms folded across his wide chest, making him seem larger and even more imposing than usual. Thick, ropey muscles bunch and bulge under his dark green shirt and broaden his frame. He's talking to Paul, deeply engrossed in a conversation. I drink in the sight with hungry eyes and fight the urge to go to him. I slip into the open spot next to Jared.

"Swan," Jared greets, voice low and soothing.

"Hey." I smile weakly. I suddenly felt nervous and out of place, wondering why we were all here.

"It's kind of like a club meeting," Jared says, dipping his head low to speak with me. "Think of it that way. Relax."

"Never been a fan of extracurriculars," I retort dryly. "And am I that transparent?"

Jared snorts, a rough, indelicate sound. "Fair enough."

"And no, to answer your question, you're not that transparent," the were continues after a brief pause. "But you reek of nerves." He taps the side of his nose meaningfully.

"Ah, thanks for the heads-up," I sigh. There would be no privacy in this den of weres. My eyes scan the room, searching for Jacob. "Jake's not here."

"And he won't be coming," Jared snaps, voice tight.

"He can't keep Jake away much longer, right?"

Jared just shakes his head. "Sam can. He might. He's Alpha."

The words sound forced, rehearsed and as if they aren't his own.

"You know, Swan," Jared turns, lowering his voice. "If anyone can convince him to let what happened go, to do right by Jacob, it's you."

I prickle, not comfortable with the implication. Despite my best efforts, bitterness bleeds through, "You think I haven't tried, Jared?"

"Well, try again," the were counters, impatient. "You're his Imprint. Sam pretty much has to listen to you, he's got no choice."

Confusion sweeps through me, my brows furrow and I am just about to ask what that even means when Sam begins the meeting.

"During Patrols early this afternoon, Paul came across a body on our land," Sam says, voice low and calm. "Jessica Stanley's body, in fact.

He pauses, glancing around the room, as if readying himself to relay the worst of it. "And it was clear that she had not been attacked by an animal. She was attacked by a vampire."

Dread rushes through me, pooling in my belly and churning thickly. Jessica Stanley had been killed by a vampire?

"Before anyone asks, no, it was not one of the Cullens," Sam continues. "We have reason to believe that it was a different leech, whose scent we caught a few weeks ago."

"Have the police been told?" Jared pipes up.

"They have," Sam nods. "They think that Jessica was the latest victim of an animal attack."

"An animal that sucks its victims dry?" Embry asks, disbelief colouring his tone.

"That's the thing," Paul intervenes. "She was missing a lot of blood but, but it was made to look like an animal attack… by the leech."

Dread transforms into horror as my mind starts to connect the dots.

"All these attacks…"

"Aren't what we thought." Sam finishes my thought, locking eyes with me briefly before telling the Pack about his plans to increase patrols.




All the guys have gone, leaving Sam and I on our own

"You can't afford a divided Pack," I blurt out, hiking my backpack up on my shoulder. My gut jumps with nerves, and I work hard keep my voice from wavering. I knew it wasn't my place to tell him how to run his Pack. "You need to bring Jacob in. If not for his sake, for the Pack's. You need all the help you can get to catch this monster."

Sam looks down at me, eyes cold and dark as onyx gems. He clenches his jaw, "You know how I feel about this, Bella," Sam sighs. "I thought you understood."

"But that doesn't mean I agree with you."

Sam barks out a sardonic laugh, shaking his head.

"Seriously, Sam," I huff. "I don't want to be the reason that something bad happens."

"And if something bad happens to you?"

"Jacob won't attack me again — "

"Again being the key word in that sentence."

"Jacob isn't going to hurt me or anyone else, for that matter. That was an accident. But these new vamps will, no doubt, hurt someone." I draw in a deep breath, close my eyes for a moment, and meet his gaze again. "Just, do me a favour, and think about it, okay?"

My eyes pace between his, searching for some sign that Sam will do as I ask but I come up blank. It bothered me that he wasn't listening to me.

"Forget it," I mutter tiredly, turning away.

"Hold on," Sam stops me, loosely shackling a hand around my wrist. He tugs, turning me to face him, "Don't leave like this."

"Like what?" I challenge, arching a brow.

"All," He struggles, brows furrowed. "Upset."

"I'm not upset," I lie, looking away. I didn't want to keep talking. It felt pointless anyways. I clearly wasn't going to change his mind. And I was tired of having these little fights with Sam. Things were so much easier when I didn't push him.

"You sure?" He asks, arching a brow. Daring me to be honest.

"Yeah, I gotta go."




"Come on," Quil whines, though his voice is muffled, trapped in the fridge — my fridge — that he is currently rummaging through. "I don't get it."

"I don't like scary movies," I remind the ravenous were. Quil had a bottomless pit for a stomach before transforming. Now it was even worse, he was always snacking on something. "Why would I subject myself to an entire night of them?"

"All of it is fake, anyways," Quil argues, pulling out some cold meats and setting them on the counter. He closes the fridge, pulling out some bread next from the box on the counter. "No such thing as ghosts, or ghouls, or…"


"Oh, that is so not fair," He cries, wagging a finger at me before taking a massive bite of his sandwich. "And you know it."

I laugh, shaking my head.

"So it's got nothing to do with the fact that you're avoiding Sam?"

"I'm not upset with him."

"Sure," Quil draws out the word.

Eyes narrowed, I fix him with a look, "I'm not."

"So that's why you haven't seen him since the meeting?"

"I've been busy."

"With what?"

"School," I toss out, knowing the excuse is pitiful. "And, and other stuff…"


"Shut up."

Quil chuckles, taking another bite of his snack before continuing, "I don't like it either, you know."


"The thing with Jake."

"I said something after the meeting," I confess, focusing on my fingers instead of Quil. "It got awkward."

"How so?"

"I told him that what happened was an accident and it would be safer for everyone if he brought Jake in," I share. "But Sam disagrees."

"To be fair, Jake did hurt you pretty bad."

"I know," I reply. "But I don't think it's just about protecting me. It's about punishing Jake, too. And I don't like that."

"Did you tell him that?"

"He knows I don't like it," I sigh. "But it's easier not to fight."

"I get that," Quil finishes off his sandwich. "But sometimes you gotta. Since when did you hold back? You're always busting my chops."

"It's different with Sam," I look away from Quil, embarrassed. "I really like him, Quil. A lot. And we're trying to figure all this stuff out — the bond, us. I don't want to make it harder on him."

"Sam s'not mad at you," Quil offers up freely, fully exploiting the Pack bond without any hesitation. "He's worried he did something wrong. Are you mad at him?"

"No," I shake my head. "Just frustrated."

"Sounds like you should come hang out at his place, then."

"I already told him I had homework to do," I rebut, eyeing the history textbook laid open on the table before me.

"So he'll be pleasantly surprised then."

"You're not gunna take 'no' for an answer are ya?"

"Probs not."




I follow Quil into Sam's house, the guys calling out greetings as we enter the backroom-turned-lounge.

"Where's Sam?" Quil asks, plopping into an empty recliner.

"On his way," Paul chirps, bringing a handful of Cheetos to his mouth to devour.

Relief soothes my frayed edges, and my nerves settle for a moment. I should have been excited to see Sam; thrilled to spend an evening with him and the guys, taking a break and relishing in the normalcy of a movie night. But after our exchange, and our limited communication this week, I felt awkward and unsure.

"I'm just gunna get some fresh air," I announce, heading out to the deck. None of the guys question me thankfully, I am sure they could scent my nerves.

I lean against the railing, closing my eyes and take in a deep breath. I open my eyes again, looking out on the backyard and the forest it gives away to.

Sam appears then, his shaggy black hair — punctuated with blue highlights brought out by the moon — brushes the tartan shirt stretched across broad shoulders. I don't notice the figure that trails behind him in the darkness immediately. It isn't until Sam steps up onto the back deck, bathed in the soft yellow glow of the light shining out from the backroom, that I see his companion.


My heart twists in my chest, and my throat tightens, as a lump forms. Tears prick at the corner of my eyes as I take my best friend in. The weeks on his own have not been kind to him; dark, circles beneath his eyes, a dark, heavy stubble adorns his jaw and cheeks. He looks worn out, head bowed and hunched over behind Sam.

"Hey, Jake."

"Hey," he greets, not looking up.

Silence fills up the space between us.

"I'm just going to be inside," Sam says, eyes pacing between Jake and I, his tone cautionary.

Sam leaves and the silence persists as we look at each other. Being friends with Jake was easy as breathing and all of a sudden it wasn't. I open my mouth to say something but the words won't come. I don't know where to begin or what to say. Jake drops my gaze, bowing his head again.

Jake's choppy, shorn locks fall forward, concealing most of his face from my view. He's got his arms folded behind him, as if he doesn't trust himself. Despite our last encounter, I'm not afraid.

"You okay?"

His head snaps up; the motion quick and sudden.

Jake laughs darkly, bitterness souring the lines of his mouth, "Shouldn't I be the one asking you that?"

Jake looks down again, bringing up a large hand to pinch the bridge of his nose.

His begins to shake faintly, and I worry, briefly, that he is having a hard time controlling the wolf that lurks beneath his skin. Jake sniffles, wiping the back of his hand across his eyes.

I don't wait for permission, I rush towards him and wrap my arms around him in a fierce embrace. For a few moments, Jake does not move; he stands, still as a statue, in my arms. Then, all at once, he gives in. Long, ropey arms return my embrace, and he rests his chin on top of my head. I don't know how long we linger, but we eventually part.

"I'm sorry," Jake says, voice deep and rough. "So fucking sorry, Bells."


Jake hadn't called me that in years. Nostalgia washes over me, making me wish for days when we laughed until our ribs were sore. When the days were long, the nights were warm and all we worried about was making it home before the street lights turned on.

"It's okay," I step back, squeezing his arms.

"Don't," Jake shakes his head, face crumpling. "None of this is okay."

"It's not." I agree, heart aching, tears rising.

"But we've got each other, right?" Jake asks, voice low and small.

"Yeah," I agree, smiling with trembling lips. There was no going back. The curse had come for Jake, and I couldn't help but worry he would lose parts of himself to the wolf that now lurked inside just like the boys inside. But I could be here.

"'Course. You've always got me, Jake."




A/N: Until next time, reader.