Disclaimer: I do NOT own Twilight.
Notes: I'm back. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back into the groove of things, but I kind of lost my flare for writing for a while there. I tried and tried, attempted to fix what I'd managed to get down, and then discarded it completely. I know this chapter can't possibly make up for the horrendous wait you've all had to endure, but I hope those of you that have continued to stick by me won't be too disappointed.
Also, please be aware that I am changing my profile links up a little bit. Jacob Black N Pack, which I used to post the unedited version of this story on is no longer up and running. The unedited version is STILL posted onto Tricky Raven (.ning site) and The Writer's Coffee Shop.
To everyone out there I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Many Blessings to you all this Holiday Season!
"You could be arrested for that, you know."
The rumbling deep voice broke into her quiet with such force that she squealed, entirely breaking the false-sense of sneakiness she'd tried to portray only moments ago.
Evy's arms pin-wheeled as she lost her footing on the trellis anchored to the side of the house she'd been spying into. Caleb cursed a blue-streak as he caught her mid-fall. The other two hurried to his side, their hot and heavy hands hovering over her body as she fought against instinct to cuddle into the embrace.
Grabbing hold of her irritation at their frightening her with both hands, Evy shoved her palms against Caleb's chest. The man was built like a damned tank and she had no chance of moving him on her own, but it was the principle of it. It was with great reluctance, she could tell, that he allowed her back onto her own feet.
"You scared me half to death, you jerk!" She slapped at his lingering hands.
"You shouldn't have even been up on that damned trellis in the first place, you little rat." Daire pulled her away from the red wooden walls and nearly dead vines which had climbed their way up the trellis during the warmer months. His eyes were narrowed angrily on the white-washed windows. "Do you have any idea what it would have meant if you'd fallen and broken your neck?!"
Before she could answer that question, though she suspected it was rhetorical, Boone had whirled her around to face him. His brows were drawn heavily over his eyes, the lighter brown color flashing gold.
"Why did you just run off, Evangeline? You scared us half to death!" His lips tightened. "Not to mention that you were incredibly rude to the realtor. If you didn't want to see the house she was going to show us you should have just told her so, not run off like an inconsiderate child."
"She's a man-stealer, anyway," she mumbled under her breath petulantly. The three lifted eyebrows she got in response to her hushed words were enough verification for her that her men weren't going deaf. She huffed out a breath before lifting her gaze back to the dirtied window she'd been peeking through only moments before. "We've walked by this place several times and I just wanted a better look."
Caleb sighed deeply, his fingers rubbing at his temples. Evy knew well that he couldn't stay angry with her for too long. As much as she pushed their buttons and tested their patience, she was the center of their worlds just as much as they shined like the Northern Star in her dark nights.
"Is it an Open House?" He asked finally, his exasperation waning.
Evy hummed with delight before hugging the 'Alpha' of their family with gusto. She rubbed her cold nose into his light leather jacket, which wasn't necessary at all physically to either of her men, but needed just the same due to the Normal society they hid within. His arms banded around her instantly, their heavy weight making her feel as safe and at home as she'd ever felt as a young girl in her parents' house.
"There's an old For Sale sign hidden in the branches of one of those bushes out front, but I didn't dare try to move any of the brush away in case I got stuck with something. Can we look? Please?"
"Come on, Pumpkin." Daire slid up behind her and settled his hand onto the small of her back. He led her out of Caleb's embrace and towards the front of the house.
"How far do you think this place is from the Cabin?" Boone asked from behind them. Sneaking a peak over her shoulder, Evy could see that he was looking back and forth between the empty home and the dirt driveway to the 'road' leading almost directly towards the Lunar Cabin Bella shared with her mates.
"Maybe a mile and a half. The two properties, I bet, share the same woods." Caleb too was looking in the direction of the Lunar Cabin. "I can hear the waves from the ocean. They probably even share the same cliff, though the Cabin's is a lot closer to their property than this one's."
"What drew you to this place, Evy?" Daire asked as they came around to the front of the house.
Evangeline took in the house she'd been eyeing for over three weeks*. It was a two-story home, cottage-like in appearance. The wooden, slatted walls were painted a dusted brick red color. The framing wood which outlined the windows and the porch were white. The door was nestled between two window-panes that stretched to the same height as the door-frame. If she squinted she could see a porch swing nestled snuggly in the corner of the porch behind the over-grown brush. On the second story there was a large window overlooking the front lawn – which on its own had the potential to be beautiful if they could just trim back the overgrowth.
"It's…quaint." Her head tilted as she took the place in more fully. Boone and Caleb were pulling at the branches she'd avoided so many times before to look at the For Sale sign. Despite the weathering showing in the paint and the evidence of Operation Lawn Take-Over, the home could very likely be an Open House. Empty or not, most of the homes within small towns like La Push weren't locked. People felt safer in their small communities where everyone knew each other.
Minus the coven of vampires that used to live right down the road in Forks. That's kind-of, sort-of beyond dangerous. Then again, it's not like a flimsy locked door would ever hold a bloodsucker at bay. Too bad that myth about needing to invite vampires into your home isn't true. It would save everyone a lot of grief.
Her fingers fiddled with the hem of her parka. A familiar feeling began to gurgle in the pit of her stomach and pain made its momentary appearance in her heart.
"It – reminds me of my home. The one I had back before you guys came along." She felt more than heard all movement cease. Their emotions settled off into absolute calm. It was still. "I-I don't mean for you guys to think that I ever regret coming with you. Oh God! I could never regret that. I can't. You guys have made me happier than I've ever been in my life, but…" Her words choked off as a sob threatened to burst its way out of her chest.
From all around she felt heat, arms dropping down to hold her close between them all. Foreheads and lips nuzzled her hair, cheeks, and shoulders. A few stray tears trickled from her eyes as they whispered soothingly to her.
"S-sorry." She lifted shaking hands to wipe the tears off of her cheeks. Well, she wiped off the ones that Caleb hadn't kissed away.
"You don't need to be sorry for anything, Sweetie." Caleb kissed her one final time, his lips leaving warm tingles in their wake. Evy felt her heart stutter a bit in her chest, knew that she wanted more of whatever he was willing to give her to make her feel whole again. He and his 'brothers' had been able to make her feel like she didn't need her old family to be happy in her own life. They made her feel wanted and loved. Always.
"Not out in the open, little one." Boone whispered consolingly in her ear. His hands stroked gently over her hips. "When we get back home, hm? We'll have a nice dinner together and then we'll take you up to our room for some much needed attention." She could all but see the devious smirk dancing across his lips.
"Sounds nice," she hummed, leaning back into his supportive chest. Ever since she'd accepted them into her life, even as friends, four years ago she'd never found a better source of comfort. From the very beginning they meant something to her. They were her confidants and her greatest loves.
"Doesn't look like it's an Open House, Pumpkin." Daire called from nearby. His eyes assessed the house. "We can see if the doors are unlocked, but I wouldn't think so with how long this place looks to have been on the market. They wouldn't want kids running in and trashing the place. If worse comes to worse, we'll talk to the realtor so she can give us a tour."
Evy grumbled under her breath, all too aware that her men could hear her.
Their realtor, Jane Marston from Forks Realty, was nothing short of a totally kiss-ass. The woman also seemed to be in the mind of getting the attention of any one of her men all to herself and Evy just couldn't forgive her for that. They were her men and no-one else's. The woman could flaunt and hint all she wanted to, but she would rip the elder woman's arms out of their sockets before she ever let her lay her manicured hands on Caleb, Daire, or Boone.
Possessive much, dearie? The inner-her snickered.
Damn straight I am! She snapped back, determined to keep that hussy away from the trio.
Together they moved up the several steps and onto the porch. While Boone tested the knob to the door, Evy worked her way over to the swing. She was cautious on the porch floor, unwilling to step on dry-rotted wood and fall down through to the ground beneath. Goodness knows her men would have kittens, or rather puppies, if she took a tumble like that.
Luckily enough, the wood seemed to be in as good a shape as it looked. All it needed was a good coat of paint like most of the rest of the house's exterior. The swing, too, was well worn, but when she set herself onto it gingerly it held strong. The u-screws in the arm-rests were original, she suspected, but the chains attaching them to the overhang were much newer. She couldn't even see rust in the links.
Caleb lightly pulled at all four chains while she sat, Daire watching all the while above them in case the chains came unhinged from the overhang. Evy knew that she'd be out of the swing quicker than she could blink if they thought for an instant that it was going to break.
"Seems sturdy enough." Caleb mumbled, his eyes taking in the face of the house. "Most of the homes we've seen out here have great craftsmanship. The homeowners took pride in what they built."
"They wanted homes that would stand the test of time, man." Boone stepped up behind his Alpha. He shook his head at Evangeline. "The door's locked. We'll call the realtor a little later to see if she can let us in for a look."
Evy nodded softly, gently working the swing into a gentle sway.
Her mind drifted, thinking back to the first day she'd met Bella at the 'school'. There had just been something about her that had drawn Evy closer. She felt almost as if she had a kinship with her. She'd felt almost the same way when she'd first met Brigitte with her men. She believed now that the human mates were connected to Indujas in some way. Like moths to a flame. Brigitte attracted other Shifters' mates to her and so it seemed did Bella. How else could they explain both she and Issa finding Bella with how big the world was?!
Bella was a genuinely good person and Evy couldn't stand how her men had treated her. She wanted to castrate them, actually. While she understood how scared they had been for her and how worried they were over the nomad vampire hell-bent on ending their mate's life, she could by no means forgive them for hurting her friend as they had. They should have let matters settle after the Swan house burnt down before addressing Bella on all that was going on and what she'd been hiding. Undoubtedly she'd still have found herself spanked, but it wouldn't have been in the midst of their anger and uncaring.
Bella was now desperately trying to build La Push into something so much bigger than it currently was…without the full trust and support she'd had before with her men, the Alphas and their Prime.
Talking with Brigitte, Bella, she, and Issa had come to the conclusion that there needed to be another safe haven for other Shifters and their Mates. The La Push Packs of the past had had the wherewithal to purchase nearly every establishment within the Reservation that wasn't state-owned such as the library as well as miles and miles surrounding the little town. Not a single entity could buy them out of it, either. In layman's terms, the Pack could throw the Reservation under if they so chose and it would be in the tribe's best interest to allow outsiders onto their territory.
Bella had been in debates with the Council for five days now, Jacob and Sam working beside her in the Town Hall, to make La Push into a Supernatural Hotspot, so to speak.
Evy and her men had made the decision to make the move to La Push, regardless of the Council's approval, simply because the place felt more like home than anywhere else they'd ever been. Part of it was due to the Pack already being in residence here, but it was also because the others accepted them. The Council had made certain that the Normals would welcome their 'Protectors' and she and her men had already fallen into that category for the Reservation's inhabitants.
She could still remember going to the grocery store while Bella was in Florida with her mother and being openly encouraged by some of the elder patrons to seek a home within La Push. They appreciated all the help her men put in towards reviving the town –which consisted of chopping down dead trees or aiding in cleaning up a vandalized beach– with the others while they weren't on Patrols.
They felt at home here.
"Do you think this is a place we can afford?" She asked her men suddenly, her gaze lingering on the front door hopefully. She could just imagine hanging a Christmas wreath on that door. She could already smell the breakfasts cooking in the kitchen she hadn't yet seen and hear the patter of children's' feet across the floors. She so badly wanted to have a family of her own, one she would always love and support no matter what circumstances arose, and to be at peace with her men.
She prayed with every part of her being that La Push would be that home for them.
"Look at me, little one." Caleb ordered her gently. She turned her eyes to find him crouched down in front of her, his green eyes all but shimmering. She could see the same hope in his eyes, could feel his eagerness for a place that they could keep her safe, happy, and whole. "We have money stashed away for something like this. Me, Daire, and Boone aren't without our resources. We will do everything we can to make this happen for you. For us. We love you, Evy. More than we could ever express."
Tears welled in her eyes again, though these were tears of joy and not sadness.
She may have left her family behind, may never see her parents again, but she had a family in these three men. She could have a family in this town, with Bella, Issa, and their men. She may have given up on her old life, but the new one that awaited them all promised to be something worth fighting for.
"I love you guys, too. So damned much!"
Evy threw herself forward into their embraces, the tears falling down her face in a soft trickle. They all hugged her back, their love for her shining through their shared bond and warming her heart.
Larissa glanced towards the Town Hall nervously. She was sitting on a park bench directly across from the Hall, her hands fisted in her lap.
She couldn't believe she was a part of this!
Coming from New York City such a short time ago, she'd never expected she'd become a part of the Supernatural World. At least some of these people had grown up around legends about Shapeshifters and Vampires. She'd come from a place where the closest she ever came to the Supernatural was watching Dracula or the Wolfman. Even back before she'd found herself thrown into the Supernatural she'd laughed her ass off at the absurdity of it all. Blood-drinking dead people? Humans that grew furry and fangy when the full moon was out? That was just nonsensical.
And then she'd met Bella and found herself thrown to the wolves, quite literally, with Brady and Collin.
Her mother was a surgeon and her father was an accountant. She was raised with fairly simplistic values and a hum-drum look on life and her future. She would have never imagined being paired up with two men for the rest of her life; ones that grew a fur coat when they were feeling particularly hostile, and especially would have never thought she'd have fallen in love with them.
How sick was that?!
She'd met them barely over a month ago at the Halloween Party and had fallen into bed with them not even a month later while Bella was taking a well-deserved vacation from her asshole-for-mates. It wasn't until afterwards, while she was throwing up in the toilet and cursing the two boys for making her so god-damned sick, that she realized something very important…
She actually loved the two idiots.
Brady and Collin had been over to her home she shared with her parents almost every day of her sickness from their mating, constantly doting on her and making sure she didn't want for anything. As much as the hovering irritated her when she started feeling better, she couldn't argue against that little part of herself she'd tucked away that wallowed in the cherishing they bestowed upon her. She hadn't felt so…special since she was a little girl.
She'd known from the start that she'd have never jumped into bed with a boy, or in this case, boys, if she didn't somewhere in her heart love them. She wasn't a virgin, as loath as her mother was to admit to the truth when she'd found out at turnabout in the tenth-grade. She'd had sex with her sweetheart from school and hadn't regretted a single moment of it, but there'd been something missing between them. Something that went beyond their friendship and ardor for each other that she just couldn't ignore.
Brady and Collin had given her what she'd been missing all along.
They'd given her a sense of permanence she'd been lacking those times before with Jason.
And Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God! Eighteen-year old numbskulls or not, those two certainly knew what they were doing! She didn't know if she particularly liked thinking about them with any women before her, but it certainly paid off for her in the end. It was Collin first, the more dominant of the two, and then Brady…both of them eliciting so much of a response from her that she'd thought she'd burst into flames.
Of course, if any woman tries to get their hands on either of my men from now onward I'll be more than happy to give her a proper beat-down.
Polyamory and Supernatural bullshit was never something she would have ever in her wildest dreams have thought she'd find herself in, but she couldn't make herself think for an instant that night back at the Halloween Party that she should have kept running despite what Bella had told her.
There was the other kink in the protective shell she'd wrapped around herself.
Isabella Swan was the best friend, along with Evangeline Dwyer, she'd ever had! Those two were like Mo and Curly to her Larry. Despite all her bitching and aloofness, they both stood strongly beside her. Neither of them turned their backs to her when she needed help. They talked to her about all that she had been thrown into, they comforted her when she wanted it and kicked her ass into gear when she didn't particularly want it, but still needed it. They wouldn't let her run away from a chance at something incredible.
Issa promised herself that she would never turn her back on them for all they'd done for her in such a short amount of time. She would never give them a reason to distrust her.
"You okay, babe?" Brady asked worriedly from behind her, his hands slipping to rest over her shoulders. Without even having to be asked, he began to massage the tension out of the muscles there. The delightful feeling of his hard hands working out the kinks in her exhausted body had her humming thankfully.
"You haven't taken a nap yet today, have you?" Collin inquired with displeasure. He sat down beside her smoothly, his hands picking hers up to perform his own sort of massage to her aching arms and hands.
"Not yet," she begrudgingly admitted. "I was doing Zumba in the back yard when you guys gave me the call from Paul saying that Bella, Jacob, and Sam had come to a decision with the Council. I was going to shower and take a nap afterwards, but like I said – you called."
"We're sorry, chickadee." Collin murmured, his lips pecking an innocent, but tender kiss to her temple. His near obsidian eyes stared right back into hers soulfully. He lifted a hand to caress it over her braids slowly. "If we could stop drawing from you we would. I hate that we're the reason that you're tired so often."
Despite herself, she smiled reassuringly. She might have made a snarky remark had it not been for the earnest regret she saw plastered all over his handsome face. She leaned forward, still being rubbed-down by Brady, and brushed her lips over the sexy little scar on the bridge of his nose. He'd told her it had been from falling face-first over the handlebars of his mountain-bike over five years ago, but it still made him look roguish and sexy as Hell. It also made her want to kiss it as if she could take away the proof of his past pain.
"Don't be sorry. I'm happy that it's you two. I'm happy to be able to help you both in any way I can." She flushed a little and fought not to dip her head down in embarrassment. "Since I was 'destined' to be a mate I'm glad it was you two I was to be mated to."
The unabashed delight that suffused both of their faces made keeping her head up all the more worth it. By telling them what she had, you'd have thought they'd been told they'd won the lottery! From behind, Brady hugged her tightly to his chest. Collin darted forward so fast that she knew if any Normals had been watching they would have instantly suspected something was more than 'off' about the La Push Protectors than they already thought. His lips crashed into hers, their intensity lighting a fire low in her belly.
And other places.
Without thinking twice about it she raised her hands to curl her fingers into his chopped off locks and pulled him into her. Her lips pushed against his and her tongue snaked out to clash against his. A deep, rumbling bass echoed from his chest, a mixture between a growl and a groan. It sparked her desire higher.
A throat clearing loudly brought them both out of the kiss. Larissa clenched her fingers tighter into Collin's hair, bound and determined to keep him latched to her. Whoever it was interrupting could suck a horse's ass for all she cared at the moment. Collin snarled into her mouth, his own ire provoked by whoever it was that was trying to garner their attention. It was only Brady's relative calm that kept them from going at it on the park bench out in the open.
"Hello Evy. Caleb. Daire. Boone." Issa hissed and bit at her tongue as she heard the greeting out of her other mate's mouth and pulled away from Collin's lips. She figured her eyes had to be hooded as she looked in the direction of where the clearing throat had come from. Evy, with her trio standing directly behind her; all of them were smirking, but it was the petite red-head that was snickering.
"Are we interrupting something?" She cooed pseudo-innocently.
"Remind me to pay you back for this." She snapped at her friend. Evy simply shook her head in amusement. With a heaving sigh Issa brought herself fully out of Collin's and Brady's hold. Her hands fell back into her lap heavily. "You guys got the call, too?"
"Yeah. About fifteen minutes ago. We were house-hunting." Evy glanced towards the Town Hall where the rest of Bella's men were standing minus Jared and Quil who were running watch over Charlie.
"How's that going?" She asked distractedly, her mind already running over the possible outcomes to the battle with the Council.
"All right. I think we found the house we want, but we're going to need to get the realtor to let us in for a closer look." Issa could hear the distaste in Evy's words. The pale girl certainly had a strong dislike for their realtor. Issa couldn't exactly blame her. When her two men worked part-time at the Diner when they weren't in school or Patrolling they were being eyed up and down by the female patrons. She hated that her men were eye-candy for anyone with half a brain, but she couldn't rightly scratch their eyes out for it.
…As much as she wanted to.
"I hope you guys get it," Larissa smiled encouragingly. Her heart went out to the quad. They hadn't been able to settle down anywhere since they left Evy's home after her parents disowned her. If anyone deserved a solid home, it was Evy and her men.
Speaking of…I'm going to have to figure out a way to tell my own parents about Collin and Brady. Right now they just think we're only friends. Jerking her head from side to side to disperse the horrendous thoughts that suddenly assailed her, she settled herself to thinking of it later. There were more pressing matters at the moment.
Evy slid in beside her on the other side of the bench. Their eyes were trained on the front doors of the Town Hall.
Bella hurried down the few steps of the Town Hall several minutes later, her hair pulled up into a haphazard bun. She'd worn nothing but nice dress-pants and pastel-colored button-up shirts for the past five days and she was itching to change into something more comfortable.
Like sweatpants and one of the guys' shirts.
Ignoring that thought, she looked around for her friends.
Beyond her men, whom were crowded around she and the two who had followed her out of the building, she could see the others sitting at a park bench. As soon as the two females caught sight of her they jerked up to their feet. They were all but running across the street moments later with fretting Shifters following in their wake.
"Look both ways, damn it!" Daire shouted at both of them, his eyes frantic as he looked out for the non-existent traffic.
"Larissa! You could have been hit! Do you hear me?!" Brady's words had little to no effect on Issa as the darker-skinned girl continued on undeterred.
Bella shifted the binders in her arms so that she had a better grip on them. Both Jacob and Sam had several boxes full of contracts, paperwork, and deeds in their hands. She'd certainly gotten the lighter load of the three, though they hadn't even wanted her holding onto those. One stern-faced glare was all they'd needed to give up possession of just a few of the documents to her keeping.
"How'd it go?" Issa asked.
"What's the verdict?" Evy chimed at the same time.
Bella waited until everyone was assembled on the sidewalk, the women corralled into the middle of the wall of nearly-indestructible flesh that was their mates. Knowing that no one else would hear them on the dead streets of La Push, as it was well past dinner time, she let out an emphatic 'they agreed'.
Several of the men whooped while the girls all squealed delightedly.
When she'd regained her breath, Bella started in on the tale. "The Council was completely against it at first. This is a Reservation and technically they don't want anyone on the territories that isn't Native in descent. That was the whole purpose of it being a Reservation, after all. The crux to the whole thing, though, is that not all of La Push is a Reservation. The Packs bought out a lot of the land surrounding it. Actually, they bought damn near most of it. They were also the ones who funded most all of the businesses within this town and several of the ones in Forks and the neighboring tribes. If the Pack left because of the tribe not accepting them, we could rightfully dismantle every establishment within the Reservation. All of the revenue would be gone." She smirked. "The Council did not like hearing that."
"No shit." Jacob shook his head in wonder. "My old man about busted a vein when we pulled out all of the signed deeds for the Rez. All of the shops and such have their own copies, but these were the originals without any omissions. The primary reason this took so long was because all of the deeds needed to be verified. They were notarized, but some of them are so old we had to go back a long ways to determine their validity."
"Anyway, we basically told the Council that it had two options. The first was that they would either accept the Pack and allow in other Shifters, which in the end would profit the Reservation as a whole due to the added revenue and higher population…or we could leave. If we left, though, we would take everything with us. The Reservation may be getting a certain amount of money from the government, but it wouldn't be enough to restart this place almost from scratch. By the time they could be reimbursed for all the shops that would be forced into bankruptcy, La Push would be all but wiped out. They could recover, but it certainly wouldn't be a quick or profitable endeavor.
"We have a lot of paperwork to deal with, but it's going to be done. We're going to be calling in Wanderers around the globe, the ones searching for a home, to come and settle here. We'll need Brigitte's help, I'm sure, but we can do this." The grin stretching across her face was fit to split her cheeks right open.
Jake pressed a hand to her lower back and began to rub circles into it. She was tired from all of the battling they'd been doing with not only the Council, but also the government. The government, of course, wasn't clueless to the Supernatural world. They also had their own sets of paperwork that needed to be filed to do what they were all working so hard to make happen, but they had the support they needed now.
They were making a home for everyone here.
"What about the current town?" Evy splayed her hands outwards, gesturing in general towards the main street. "The population here is puny at best, but it's still a Normal community. How are they going to take to so many Shifters coming into the town? I doubt we can hide this happening!"
Sam spoke next, his tone mellow for the situation. "There are currently two-hundred and sixty-three people living on the Reservation. Nearly two-hundred of that are aware of our 'ancestry' even if they don't believe in the Legends. There are a total of fifteen members directly on the Council and another thirty-five that are completely aware of how true our Legends are since they are enlisted as possible Council members if the current ones are unable to continue servicing the Reservation. The Council is working out how we're going to either inform the Normals of what their Protectors really are or how to better hide us.
"The main gist, though, is that we'll be bringing in people from other Reservations and abandoned towns. La Push is going to be a refugee, so to speak. The story we're supposed to be giving the Normals is that we're, as a tribe, helping to bring people together and helping our fellow men – and women – out when the world is at such a low point." His eyes zoomed in on Evy and her men. "You four'll be the first of the 'refugees'. Consider yourselves the guinea pigs. Don't mess it up." The last was said more in jest than with seriousness.
"No pressure, Sam," Evy snorted, her eyes rolling up into her skull. Caleb rubbed circles into her shoulders comfortingly.
"So…where do we go from here?" Issa voiced the question aloud, her eyes trained on Bella.
"First step is everyone going home and getting some rest," Jake spoke before she could, his tone drenched with Authority. He gave her a pointed look, but softened his stare when she thinned her lips at his highhandedness. He still had a lot of things to be forgiven for and to make up to her. "This has been a long five days and I think all of us need to take a few days off to breathe. Christmas is less than three weeks away and I'm sure we've all got our hands full between now and then."
"Sure sure," Bella hushed, her shoulders drooping. She did need a nap, as well as a long, hot bath and a lot of cheesy, fattening food, but as soon as she was rested she'd be holed up in the office of the Cabin.
They had a lot of work to do and she was going to make absolute certain that there would be a home for everyone when the time came.
Just try and stop me, she challenged them all in the privacy of her own mind.
Just you try.