Chapter 1 – Wake Up Call

Bella moaned, smacking her lips and nuzzling the side of her face into the downy softness of her pillow as an insistent pounding at her front door proceeded to shred the cobwebs of sleep that were happily weaving a web of dreams around her subconscious. Rolling over onto her back, she allowed herself a cursory stretch before biting off a curse as another series of impatient knocks invaded her otherwise quiet apartment.

"Coming, I'm fuckin' coming…" she muttered as she peeled back the covers, her feet landing softly onto the wooden floors. Yawning unashamedly and stretching her arms high over her head, Bella looked the very picture of a disgruntled cat nudged out of its sleep as she stumbled past the living room to the front door. Throwing back the bolt, she yanked the door open, death stare firmly plastered in place and was about to unleash a plethora of acidic curses onto her unexpected visitor…

"Well, it's about time, Bells." A girl with silver-blonde hair stood on the threshold, a backpack slung over one shoulder. She opened her mouth to continue then shut it with an audible click as her eyes raked down Bella's attire…or lack thereof. One eyebrow disappeared beneath a curtain of haphazard bangs. "Uh, Bella?"

"What?" the brunette snapped, more than a little grouchy at being so abruptly woken. She knuckled her eyes then glared blearily at the girl at her door that was now sporting a smirk so perfect; Bella felt it should be immortalized on a photograph.

"Nice birthday suit." The smirk grew impossibly wider as Bella's mouth dropped open in horror. A quick glance down had the brunette shrieking in terrified embarrassment before she fled back into the apartment, ripping an afghan off the arm of a couch before winding it tightly around herself.

The girl by the door laughed and let herself in, nudging the door close with her shoe. She made her way over to the couch Bella was standing next to and plopped herself down on it. "Do you greet the mailman without a stitch on too, or was that specially for me?" Another trill of amused laughter followed that remark.

Bella failed to see the humor. She scowled. "Shut up, Star." She stomped past the giggling girl and retreated back into the sanctuary of her bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

Star simply stuck her tongue out at the closed door and made herself comfortable. Snagging the remote off the coffee table, she indulged in a few minutes of channel surfing as she waited for Bella to get ready.


Bella emerged not fifteen minutes later dressed in a pair of tight fitting jeans and a white t-shirt. Her hair was damp from a shower, her cheeks slightly flushed from the hot water. "Get off my couch, we're going to be late for school," was her greeting to the girl occupying her couch.

Star rolled one eye in Bella's direction. "And whose fault is that? What, you have a late night last night?" She narrowed her eyes at Bella, who simply stood in the hallway, scowl still firmly in place. "Your silence says everything. Tell me you were careful."

"I don't need a babysitter, Star." Bella turned around and began tugging on her boots. "And for your information, I was." Boots laced, she picked up the backpack hanging on a hook by the door, shouldered it and swiped up her keys and wallet off a ceramic bowl place on top of the shoes drawer.

Star turned the television off and stood up with all the fluidity and grace of a ballerina. She tossed her silver-blonde mane over her shoulder as she too grabbed her discarded backpack before joining Bella by the door. "You better be, Bella." Arctic blue eyes bore into Bella's dark chocolate ones and the temperature in the room dropped as the tension grew into a thick fog that swirled around the pair. "I can't have you leaving a trail of dead bodies around. I can't, I won't keep cleaning up your mess."