Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight; this is just something I came up with a while ago that wouldn't leave me alone.

Thanks to my beta, Stratan, for cleaning everything up. Thanks to stephk0525, twilover76, claireoth, Nikita2009, and my Andrea for going over what I've written so far and making sure this didn't suck before I started posting. I love you guys and all your confidence in this fic.

Posting up to chapter 2 today, and then I'll post weekly (unless RL gets in the way like it's known to do) after that.



It's funny how your life can change in a single moment in time. How that one event can change the course of a person's life. How we respond to it. There's a physical, biological reaction a body has to stress and adrenalin. Hearts thump, palms sweat. Your stomach drops, flips. Blood rushes through your veins; your face flushes.

I held my hand up to my cheek, felt the heat there as I stared at the door.

Seemed a good surprise affected you just as severely.

You could rise from the ashes. Use it to make yourself stronger, better.

Or you could let it destroy you.

I was a broken version of the girl I used to be, unable to find the will to move past it, but refusing to burn in the flames. Haunted by a tragedy I couldn't forget, memories of those I'd lost.

And yet hope flared inside me with the sight of a man. That one man made me feel something solid when I'd been floundering for so long, trapped in this lonely existence I'd created for myself. Because to let people in was to be in pain. At some point, intentional or not, they'd hurt you. Leave you. Disappoint you.

But he...

My cell phone buzzed in my pocket.

My landlady, Mrs. Cope. Calling to tell me someone would be here to check out the house just a little too late.

I'd already met him.

And now he had a name.