A/N:

Guys,

I thought it was pretty apparent from the first chapter of this fanfiction story that I was writing a mash-up of Twilight and SOA. I warned from the get-go that readers would recognize things from SOA and as we've moved along, there has been less of that and more of my own twists and turns. I'm sorry if that bothers some of you. I won't bore you by listing or debating differences, but please know that I'm not trying to take credit for anything that belongs to Twilight or SOA, nor do I have any delusions of grandeur about my writing ability. My only goal here is to have fun and escape from RL for a little while.

Speaking of fun, let's get back to the story…..

To avoid continuity confusion after the outtake, 2 things.

Try to remember it took place far in the past when they were all young and dumb, lots has changed for all of them since then.

I've provided you with the ending to the last real chapter to help you out

Last time on The Pull:

"Bell….." His voice rasped, invading the quiet of the room.

I picked up my head from his chest to look at him, concerned, he didn't sound right. His hands pulled me up by my thighs until my face hovered next to his with one sliding up to circle my waist and the other running up my back, eventually resting against my neck. "Tonight...no matter what is said or decided, I will protect you. I have to ….you know that. Just….." He sighed as he raked his hand through my hair, tucking a thick strand behind my ear.

"I know, I know you will," I said, trying to reassure him. "What is it? What's bothering you?"

His eyes met mine and held them. "Promise me you'll stay. I, I would go crazy if you left again...knowing he could get to you, hurt you. Say that you won't leave, say that you won't leave me."

Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes at his barely concealed desperation. "I'm not going anywhere, Edward. I'm here. I promise," I said as I brushed my fingers over the scruff on his cheek and pressed my face to his, nuzzling his nose against mine. His thumb stretched over to wipe the wetness from my cheek as his hand shifted my face gently to guide my mouth down to his. My arms wound around his neck, my hands tangling in his hair as we settled onto our sides, our lips meeting over and over in soft, sweet kisses.

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Edward POV

"Ed-Edward, wait," she breathed, placing a hand to my chest. "You're bleeding-"

"I'm fine, Bell," I assured her, pulling her lips back down to mine. Having her so close again felt amazing and I didn't want it to stop.

"Edward," she said, her voice more firm this time. "Seriously, it's seeping through your shirt." She touched the wet spot. "You probably just popped a stitch, but I need to take a look at it…make sure it's okay. It will only take a minute."

Untangling herself from me, she stood from the bed and held out her hand. Reluctantly, I took it and followed her into the bathroom.

I took off my cut and shirt and sat down on the lid of the toilet as she looked under the sink for supplies. "I know it's a little cramped in here," she explained as she turned with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a roll of toilet paper, and a box of bandages in her hand. "…. but I didn't want Maddie to wake up and get an eyeful of your boo-boo…especially with it bleeding. She'd get upset and ask all kinds of questions."

"Don't I know it," I said as Bella bent over me and removed my bandage. "Yesterday, after she tried to sucker me into getting her a cat, she started asking about my tattoos…what they were, what they meant. I had no idea what to say. The only thing I could think to do was distract her."

She smiled at my story, her eyes fixed on her work. "I bet it worked like a charm. There's no magic solution for that kind of thing….I use distraction all the time."

"She ever seen yours?" I asked tentatively. "You still have it, right?"

"Yeah," she answered, a light blush blooming on her cheeks.

"Well….what did you tell her?"

She didn't answer me for a moment as she concentrated on cleaning my injury with disinfectant and trying to quell the light flow of blood oozing from the small tear in my stitches.

"I got kind of tongue-tied so, my friend told her it was picture of a pet bird I had as a little girl. She's three, so she believed him and the silly explanations he gave her for his tattoos, too." She glanced up at me and shook her head. "He's such a dork. I think he told her that the Haitian proverb on his side said 'Always mind your mama' or something like that."

I tugged her down to sit on my knee and my hand ghosted over her side where her tattoo lay. I had to know who this friend was. We were so….undefined. And I couldn't help it….deep down I was still that jealous teenager. "So, this friend of yours, this guy…..who is he?"

"One of my best friends. Him and his sister," she answered distractedly as she strategically placed several different sized band-aids over and around my wound.

Best friend, huh. Some best friend he was…he obviously wasn't there when she needed him most. And she said last night her friends were part of the reason she left San Francisco….what kind of pussy would let her leave unless he knew she was safe?

"There," she pronounced. "All done for now. My kit's in the cutlass, so this will have to do until you get over to Petey's later. Be careful and don't do anything strenuous."

I wasn't paying attention as she spoke….I was still stuck on the guy friend. I wanted to keep pestering her…to find out more about these best friends, about the role they played in her life, but I hesitated too long and the chanting of a newly revived and impatient little girl cut me off before I could continue.

"EH-WUD, EH-WUD!" Maddie sang. "I'M AH-WAKE! I'M AH-WAKE!"

Bella giggled as she stood from my lap. "I think you're being summoned, Ehwud."

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Peter's POV

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Maddie refused to let me or Bella take Red's leash as we made our way out of the vet's office.

"I a big gull, Petey," she said, her tiny lips puckered in irritation, her face mask hanging off her ears and tucked under her chin. "I can dews it, myself."

With that, she walked ahead of us leading Red, who stood as tall as her little master, towards the car.

I watched Bella as she smiled and snapped a picture with her phone. "You sure that's okay. That dog could overpower her in a second. What if she started chasing something and dragged Maddie behind her? She could really get hurt."

"That would never happen," Bella replied, taking my arm as we walked. "Red would do anything to protect Maddie. She would never hurt her or allow anyone else to. I swear she thinks Maddie's her baby."

"Sweetie, she's still a dog."

"Maybe so," she said, shrugging as if she wasn't entirely sure. "But I'm telling you it doesn't matter. I trust her implicitly. She's incredibly smart and very gentle."

"So, she's never been aggressive with anyone?"

Bella's focus was on her girls as she answered vaguely, quietly. "No, she has…..but she was justified, trust me."

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As I drove the Cutlass out of the parking lot, I glanced in the rearview mirror at Maddie pulling things out of her doctor bag as she talked animatedly to Red. That poor dog was going to be covered in cartoon bandages by the time we got to the house.

"I gots all co-lahs in he-uh, and my stuth-a-scope, and my 'mom-meta. Oh! Petey took me to the stow and I gots you lunch-a-bills, chee-we-os, and goldfishies. I gots all my pound puppy movies 'cause I know you like them da bess…."

I frowned as Bella put her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter. "Hey, I thought that stuff was for her."

"She'll eat some of it," she assured. "But if I don't stop her, she'll give Red half of everything. She's very fair. She'll feed her under the table, tell you she's full, or just flat out drop it so Red gets her share."

Maddie giggled as Red nosed her tummy, begging for some affection. "Okay, Wed, I pat you."

The dog wagged her tail as Maddie loved on her. A bright pink band-aid was already stuck to her eyebrow, but she didn't seem to mind, moving closer to her to help her reach her to give her kisses.

The buzz of a cell phone brought my attention back to the front seat. Before I could reach for mine, I saw Bella fidgeting as she fished her phone from her pocket and flipped it open.

"Edward on his way to the house?" I asked as she read the screen.

"He's already there. This is Jake," she said as she typed a return message. "He needs to talk to me about something….wants to know if we're still staying at your house."

"Tell him to come on over. Jasper's taken over the number one spot on Edward's shit list so Jacob should be in the clear."

"Wonder what he could want….," she said, staring off out the window in thought.

My earlier comment seemed to hit her a moment or so later and she turned back to me, her brows furrowed. "Wait. Why is Jasper on Edward's shit list? I told Edward the secrecy was all on me last night. He promised he wasn't mad."

"Maybe not at you sugar, but you're a different story."

She sighed tiredly. "I'll talk to him again. He shouldn't blame Jasper."

"Bella, those two have always had a little bit of a power struggle where you're concerned. They'll get past it. They always do."

"No," she disagreed. "Edward and Jake, maybe, but not Edward and Jasper."

"Oh sweetie," I said shaking my head at her obliviousness. She'd figure it out sooner or later.

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We pulled up to the house to find Jasper's bike parked right beside Edward's old truck.

"Alright, just in case those two are having it out, the kid and I are going to take Red to the backyard for a while. You go inside and make sure Jasper and Edward are under control."

"On it," she replied as she got out of the car and headed into the house.

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Jasper POV

I rubbed my sore jaw as I lounged on my dad's beat up recliner and waited for Alice's voicemail to pick up.

At least one punch had been enough for Edward. And he'd listened to me….which didn't happen often with his stubborn ass.

"Hello?"

Her cheerful voice brought a smile to my face. "Hey. I thought I'd have to leave a message."

"You're home! And, no, your timing is excellent. They're in the middle of a mud-wrestling scene and wardrobe is well….not really necessary right now. So, where are you?"

"Over at my dad's. We're dealing with some stuff."

"Oh, okay." She paused for a moment and it sounded like she went to another room. "Are you going to able to come over tonight? I miss you."

"I miss you, too. And I'll try. It might be late, but I'll try.

"Try hard because I need to talk to you."

"O-kay…-"

"It's work stuff," she whispered. Before I could respond, she continued in a normal voice. "Gotta go. Duty calls. I'll see you tonight."

"Bye," I said to dead air.

I pulled the phone from my ear and looked at it like it could answer my questions.

Work stuff?

There was so much drama between the porn studio and the strip club that there was no telling what she could be talking about.

But I did know one thing.

If it was Aro messing with the girls again…on top of what Edward had told me about him dealing to Vickie and maybe tossing his house….the dude was toast.

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Several minutes later, the back door slammed.

That had to be Bella.

I got to my feet and strode toward the kitchen, ready to lay eyes on her after what had happened the day before.

"Hey," I breathed, hugging her tightly when I reached her. "I'm sorry I wasn't there yesterday."

"I'm okay. Riley was right outside my office door and he got me back to Petey and Maddie in no time."

"Yeah, dad filled me in." I stepped back and looked at her apologetically. "I still wish I'd been there."

She patted my chest. "You're here now."

"I am. And apparently Edward is too, huh?" I kidded, quirking my eyebrow at her.

"Yeah….about that….," she said as I slung my arm around her shoulder and led her back towards the den. "Sorry if he gave you any grief. I told him it was all me, but….."

When she didn't finish her sentence, I glanced over to see what had stopped her.

Shit.

Shit, shit, shit.

I quickly attempted to swipe at my mouth to get rid of whatever evidence of Edward's little temper tantrum still remained, but it did no good.

"Did he…." She shifted my face to take a better look. "Did he hit you?"

"It's no big deal. It's just how guys settle things. I deserved it," I said nonchalantly.

She huffed out a breath in irritation. "No, you didn't. And he is such an idiot. I just patched him up an hour ago after he tore a stitch and now he's punching people."

"Don't worry. He used his good arm," I joked as she carefully inspected my face.

"Are you sure you're okay? Do you want some ice or something?"

"Nah," I replied. "I'm good, doc."

"If you say so." She dropped her hands from my cheeks.

"Speaking of Edward, where is he?"

"Backyard. He needed a little air. He gets it….why you came to me, I mean. He gets it….he just doesn't like it."

Her eyes were focused away from me as she nodded her head. She remained standing, picking at the calluses on her fingers as I plopped down on the couch.

"Is there anything I can do to smooth things over?"

"Just leave it alone for now," I said as I cleared some pillows off the couch so she could sit. "Let him cool off. And don't say anything to him about punching me."

She agreed to do as I asked as she picked up the remote and sat down beside me.

"By the way," I said, snatching the remote from her before she could change the channel to some awful chick show. "I didn't want to tell you when you were panicking on the phone yesterday, but Crowley got a preliminary report back on the fire. It seems the cause was your neighbors, the Thompson twins, and their fireworks."

She looked up at me in surprise. "Really?" She chewed on her lip as she considered the information. "I was sure….at least after I got the flowers….."

I nodded. "Yeah, me too, but it's only a preliminary report so I'm not ruling out his involvement until they're done with the investigation."

"Do you think he could've somehow persuaded those kids to do it?"

"I don't know. We're going to work with Tyler on figuring that out, but in order to do that I need you to give me more information on the mysterious ex. I need you to tell us everything you know about this guy. No more half-truths, no more-"

"I know, I know," she agreed before I could berate her anymore. "I'm sorry about before…about misleading-"

I scoffed. "You never had me fooled, darlin'. Circumstances just got in the way of me coaxing the whole story out of you a few days ago, but that ain't gonna happen tonight. We've got nothing but time."

"Did Edward tell you about…."

I regarded her carefully for a moment after she trailed off. She looked so tense, so uncomfortable. As mad as I was over what she'd been through, I could see that the last she needed was an overboard reaction from me. It was my job to put her at ease.

Gently, I tipped her chin up to make her look at me. "Yeah, he did… and I'm so sorry it happened. I hate making you go over it again-"

"But you need to know everything," she finished with a sigh. "I understand."

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Bella POV

We had just started watching Jeopardy when I heard the rumble of Jake's bike in the driveway.

I stood to go meet him at the front door and kicked Jasper's foot.

His head turned toward me. "What? Who's here?"

"Jake…..he needs to talk to me about something. Will you come help me with that lock? You know it hates me."

"Sure," he said as he rose and followed me. "I've got the magic touch."

"Please," I teased.

Of course, the damn thing popped right open for him. It always had.

Jake was leaning against the porch railing, his eyes focused on his phone.

"Hey," I said as I moved toward him.

I expected a hug…that was our usual greeting. But the look on his face, his overall demeanor made me halt my advance.

He brushed right past me into the house.

As I followed him into the dining room, my brow furrowed at his un-Jakelike behavior. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Sit," he said as he pulled a chair out for me.

"Do I need to, uh….." Jasper said, gesturing behind him.

"No, you can stay," Jake answered sarcastically as he dropped the bag he was carrying beside me and walked to the other side of the table.

He stood there silently for what was probably seconds but felt like an hour as I looked on, waiting for him to tell me what the fuck was going on.

"I had a very….eye-opening conversation this afternoon with a good friend of yours."

"Really," I replied tentatively. "Who?"

He continued as if I hadn't spoken. "Apparently, you and I, we have very different ideas about what a bad break up is. I guess I should've asked you to be more specific, but when you told me and I quote "Marcus wasn't too thrilled I ended our relationship". I assumed that meant that… He. Wasn't. Too. Thrilled. That maybe he still had feelings for you, liked you more than you liked him…something like that. Never and I mean never did I think you could mean he stalked and attacked you!"

There was only one way Jake could know.

"Xavier…..," I said quietly.

"Yeah, Xavier." He threw his hands up in the air in exasperation. "Why did I have to hear it from him? How could you not tell me what that asshole did to you?!"

"I'm sorry, Jake," I said calmly, hoping I could get him to bring his volume down a notch or two. "I, I didn't want you to kill him. I thought I could handle it and Xavier-

"Oh, I know Xavier told you not to tell me," he shot back. "He's in deep shit with me right now, too. But, he did think you told me once you got home. He couldn't believe I didn't already know, he couldn't think of who else you'd go to?" He snorted. "But me, I know you and I only needed one guess to know you went straight to Jasper."

My eyes darted over to Jasper and back to Jake mystified as to how he'd made the right assumption.

"Don't look so surprised, Bells," he said with a sniff. "He always was your secret keeper."

I looked down at my hands, feeling stupid. Jasper had been the best friend that Jake wanted to be to me in our younger days. It frustrated Jake to no end that he could never best Jasper or Edward for my friendship or love. So, of course he saw my telling Jasper as a slight. I hadn't meant it that way….all I could see was that Jake knew too much about my ex and that like Edward, his first instinct would be to find him and kill him.

"Even after all this time…." He shook his head. "It's like none of it fuckin' matters to-"

Jake stopped short when he heard a tiny gasp behind him.

All of our eyes shot to the double doors that separated the dining room and kitchen.

Maddie's little face was squished into the crack between the doors, looking up at Jake with wide eyes.

"A- whew-whew, that a baaaddd wud, Unca Jake," she said seriously as she grunted, trying to get the doors completely open with Red right behind her. "Didi say ladies and gennelmans don't say those wuds."

The sight of his little munchkin turned Jake into a complete marshmallow. His face held no trace of the anger from moments before as he crouched down to her level. "Didi is right. I shouldn't say that word. I'm sorry."

She exhaled like a grown-up and crossed her arms. "You has to give me five whole dollas."

"Five whole dollars?" Jake asked in disbelief.

""Fraid so," I answered. "Didi's swear jar system runs on a scale. The D word or S word would've been much cheaper."

"Al-right," he said, placing a bill in Maddie's outstretched hand.

"You welcome," she replied, nodding her head once emphatically.

She placed the money in the pocket of her lab coat and then put her little arms around Jake's neck. "Did you come to see me? Are we going to Ole MacDonnell's?"

About that time, Petey stuck his head in the room. "What are you talking about kid? I've got your peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the table. Come on."

As Maddie turned to follow Petey obediently, Jake called out to her. "Hey munchkin, we'll go tomorrow, okay."

"Okay!" she cried as she skipped to the table to eat her dinner.

"The Happy Meal toy this week is kind of awesome," Jake mumbled as he turned back to me.

Afraid he would start in on me again, I launched right into my apology.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," I said regretfully. "I was afraid of what you would do, but I should have trusted you. You've been good to me all these years, helped me through so much, checked in on me and Maddie, and even pulled out your 'dad' voice when you felt like I needed it-"

"Hmph," he interrupted. "Like now."

"Yes, like now. I'm sorry, Jake, so sorry. Please forgive me." I maneuvered around the table to hug him.

He refused to yield for a moment, remaining stiff, but eventually he hugged me back. "I forgive you."

When I pulled back from his embrace, he begrudgingly admitted, "You were probably right to think I would've killed him…..why that's a bad thing, I don't know."

I raised one eyebrow at him. "Because I'd rather you not go to jail."

"Bella, you gotta realize that killing him may-"

"Whoa, man," Jasper cut in. I glanced over to him and saw Edward standing beside him. "Let's just…not now. Stay. We're going to talk about all that once the kid's in bed. Sounds like you've got some information to add anyway."

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With Red home, it was easy to get Maddie to go down early for the night. Once I had the two of them settled in the bed with everything they could possibly need, I made my way to the kitchen, ready, finally, to get all my crap out in the open.

And to find out why Xay had called Jake.

That couldn't be good.

I found the guys gathered around the table eating pizza and drinking beer. As expected, Jake and Edward were as far from each other as possible. Thankfully, Petey was at least attempting to engage Jake in small talk.

All conversation ended when they saw me. Edward jerked his head coaxing me to come sit in the empty chair beside him. A paper plate with pizza sat waiting for me, but I pushed it aside and instead grabbed a beer from the box on the floor. My appetite was nowhere to be found.

I took a sip of my drink before asking the question that had been burning in my mind since Jake's arrival. "Jake, why did Xavier call you?"

"He and Didi went home to visit their family because their grandmother had surgery-"

"Is Teeny okay?"

"She is, she's fine," he assured. "Anyway, they've been in and out of the hospital so Didi's phone had been turned off a lot. She'd gotten a few weird unknown number calls here and there, but nothing she thought was all that strange until she listened to her messages yesterday. It was obvious to her that one of the messages was an accident, that someone had forgotten to hang up and she was about to delete it when she heard what she thinks was a radio DJ in the background announcing the weather in Forks, Washington. Obviously, she kept listening and pretty soon she heard a voice, Marcus' voice….he was bitching about the song that came on or something. Xay, of course, was skeptical, because why would stalker-boy call Didi but-"

"He wants to make sure they're out of the way," I supplied. "He was convinced they were a bad influence on me."

"Okay…still, why Didi? Why not Xavier?" Jake asked.

"He doesn't want Xavier around either, but first off, he knows placing one of them is as good as placing both because of the way they are. Secondly….if I had to guess, I'd say he thinks that with Didi out of the picture, he'll be able to convince me to go back to him." I shook my head at the nonsense of it all. "It sounds weird… but he's very intimidated by her."

I put my hands up to stop Jake protest. "I know, I know, she's far from physically imposing…" I began before glancing around at the puzzled faces of Edward, Petey, and Jasper.

Addressing them, I said, "Xavier and Didi Duval are my two best friends in San Francisco. They've brother and sister. Didi lived in the same apartment complex as us and Xavier and I worked together. Jake's met them when he's been down to visit. Didi is no bigger than me and she's a girly-girl….as much as you can be when you grow up hunting and fishing in swamps with an older brother and a bunch of male cousins. "

"According to Marcus, Didi's "evil" influence over me was toxic to our relationship and ... her larger than life personality always bugged him…" I couldn't help the smile that stretched my lips. "….just as she intended. See, the Duvals are from right outside of New Orleans. They're Creole, and Catholic as you might expect given where they're from…..but with their family's heritage other customs and stories are a big part of their culture, too. Didi has an amazing amount of knowledge about Voodoo fables, spirits, and spells she learned from her grandmother. She's not some nutbag that goes around sacrificing humans or that thinks she's a witch, she just has fun with it. She's just…..tons of fun. You'll have to meet her."

"Anyway, Didi always thought Marcus was weird so she went out of her way to freak him out any chance she got…..like once we came home to her and Maddie dressed up in some of kind of traditional Voodoo queen outfits mixing a "potion" with all of these strange ingredients lined up on the counter…another time she set up this elaborate altar with offerings to different deities. Maddie thought they were playing games, but he…..well we'll get into his puritanical religious beliefs later but, suffice to say that he pretty much thinks Didi is one of Satan's minions."

"The point is that he doesn't want her around, doesn't want her to interfere with whatever grand plan he has in store."

"So he doesn't want your friends around and due to this voice message they suspect he has followed you, which we all already know to be true. Why wouldn't they contact you directly if they thought he was after you?" Petey asked.

"They don't have my number right now," I explained. "I didn't go to any great lengths when we left San Francisco to hide, but I did get a new number and one of those untraceable phones, deactivate my old email and generally fly under the radar with my move. We thought it was best to stay out of touch for a while just in case. As idiotic as it seems now with the benefit of hindsight, at the time I thought was being overly cautious by doing the small things I did."

All the men around the table nodded their heads, mulling over all the new information I'd given them.

"So Marcus? That's his name?" Edward asked with an edge in his voice.

From the chair beside him, I fiddled with my lip as I considered how to explain. "Yes, but…. his name as well as several other "facts" about him changed throughout the course of this whole mess. It's all so ridiculous, it's like something from a twisted t.v. show. I just, I'm not sure where to start-"

"Bella," Jasper said, leveling me with his gaze across the table. "Take it easy. Don't make this harder than it needs to be. Start with the day you met him and go from there. If we're confused we'll let you know."

"Yeah, okay…..," I trailed off and concentrated on my beer bottle as I continued. "It was a Tuesday…the day I met him I mean. It, um, it was the same day Lauren was murdered."

"Oh Bell-"

"No, no, it's okay," I insisted. I didn't want to get into Lauren's death…if I did, I'd start blubbering. "I was outside the police station. Xavier went to get the car and left me sitting on a bench…..I was a little unsteady. I was sitting there trying to pull myself together when he approached. He said his name was Marcus Tanner and told me he was sorry about my friend. He had on plain clothes but he had all the cop stuff so I just assumed…..anyway he gave me his card and told me to contact him if I needed anything."

I sighed as I thought back to that terrible time. "I never thought I would take him up on his offer, but it's hard to get the right person on the phone when you call a police precinct so one day when I was particularly frustrated over my inability to get the information I needed, I called him. I did that a few more times and before I knew it, we were friends and he started offering to help out with other stuff."

"Things were so crazy for me…dealing with losing my best friend, trying to help Maddie understand where her mother was, work, and even all the stupid paperwork…..I was stressed, stretched to my limits. So at the time, he seemed like a godsend."

"I don't mean to make it sound like my friends were MIA, they weren't. But with everyone distracted with their own grief, he made himself indispensable to me. I appreciated that I didn't always have to bother them when I needed something. And as I said before, I wasn't thinking straight…I mean I had to take care of a 2 year old so I functioned, but I wasn't in a good place…" I looked down at my hands. "I…there were a few incidents at work. I got really upset during surgery on more than one occasion. No one was hurt and my boss was very understanding but I felt like a crazy person. I'd always felt so confident in the OR and I just…I couldn't get it together. Luckily time and several sessions with a shrink helped me move on and after a few weeks in the clinic I was cleared to perform surgery again."

I exhaled a long breath and tucked my hair behind my ears. "But back to Marcus…..uh, he didn't ask for anything beyond friendship for several months. And even then, it was almost like he convinced me it was my idea for us to be more….." I paused, unsure of how to put the next part. "…before long he became frustrated with my reticence to move forward with our um….. physical relationship. I told him that I wasn't ready. I know it probably sounds insane to a man, but I just wasn't in the right state of mind for that so soon after losing my best friend. He accepted my excuses for a while, but that's when he started the constant calling, showing up at my work and apartment unannounced, and acting jealous if I spent time with anyone but him."

I looked to Jasper and Peter. "Remember when I told you before that all his weird behavior got to me and I started trying to step back from our relationship right before everything happened with Maddie?" I asked. "Well, that's when all that was going on."

"There was one thing I didn't tell you about because….well, you know why." I chewed on the inside of my cheek for a few beats before continuing.

"Anyway, it happened one night when we were sitting on the couch. We'd probably been more than friends a month or so and he goes on this weird tangent about my purity. I side-eye him, thinking surely he doesn't really believe a 28 year old in this day and age is a virgin, and I realize he's not kidding. He'd built it up in his head that I was this pure untouched angel….. and something about the way he spoke told me not to argue with him or correct him."

"So, he creates this fantasy in his head that you're pure to justify to himself why you won't sleep with him," Jasper posited.

I nodded my head. "I know now that he has some pretty twisted religious views, but at the time I was puzzled. I couldn't understand why he was so possessive and suspicious of me one minute and then mr. true-love-waits the next. Oh, and that's also where the white flowers come from, it's some purity symbol to him….I knew the minute I saw them that they were from him because he used to send similar arrangements when he was trying to get me back."

"What kind of flowers were they?" Edward asked.

"White roses," I answered. Anticipating his next question, I continued, "The card was blank so I'm not sure where he got them."

I waited for more questions, but he instead motioned me to go on.

"Anyway, so I'm already pulling back from him and then he takes my kid. I hadn't wanted to burden my friends with what I believed were petty relationship annoyances, but I didn't have any choice when I couldn't find Maddie."

"I couldn't get ahold of Didi until after he left that night. She and Xavier were at my door in no time-"

"And Xavier wanted you to get a restraining order right then, didn't he?" Jacob interjected. "Why didn't you listen to him?"

"Because I thought I would be unsuccessful and only make the situation worse. He had the advantage as a cop and he was a smooth talker when he was able to keep his crazy hidden, so I knew he could easily spin the story into a misunderstanding. The day care workers handed her to him, he didn't take her. I hadn't reported her kidnapped or missing while he had her, she was only gone a few hours, and there was no physical harm."

"I guess," Jacob grumbled, sitting back in his seat.

"Back to the story," Petey said. "You broke up with him a few days after he took Maddie and then what happened….."

"After I ended things, nothing got better. If anything, he amped up his efforts to get to me. At first, he was being nice, trying to charm me with gifts and other stuff. My friends were on me about going to the police but I was reluctant. His attention was creepy and unwanted, but he hadn't hurt or threatened me. And again with him being a cop, I felt like his actions would have to be pretty severe to get me anywhere at one of the precincts nearby."

"I'm not sure what caused the change, I assume he realized I wasn't caving and got tired of waiting, but in any event, after a few months he dropped the nice guy routine." I shook my head and smiled sadly as I thought back on my misplaced optimism. "At the time, I was hopeful that he'd given up. I hadn't received or heard anything from him in weeks so he caught me off-guard when he got right up behind me as I rounded a corner at the hospital and started spouting off his crazy."

"It became his new…strategy, I guess. He'd sneak up on me as I walked out of a building and either say crazy things to me that only I could hear or if he found me alone…grab me, things like that. It was so random I never knew when it was coming and because long stretches of time would occur between incidents I stupidly let myself become hopeful again and again that it was over."

"Xavier saw him pull his little routine one afternoon outside the hospital and quickly intervened, diffusing the situation with his flawless manners." My eyes darted around the table taking in the faces listening to me. They were not going to like the next tidbit. "It wasn't until after he'd seen it with his own eyes that I told Xay about the other physical incidents. He insisted we go directly to the police station and it was there that things took a weird, soap opera turn."


A/N: I'm sorry to be such an evil cliffie bitch, but this bitch of a chapter was getting looonnggg for me.

More to come!

Thanks to you all for reading/reviewing/reccing!