Disclaimer: The original characters and plot of the Twilight Saga are the property of Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The storyline of A Family like Ours is mine.





Jackson threw the volley ball at Steven with a grin, "Ready to make 'em cry, Bro?"

Steven laughed as Nicholas sneered at him from across the net, "Yeah, laugh now old man, you are going down!"

"Yeah! Bring it!" Jared shouted as he wiped dry sand from his bronze shoulders.

"Give us your best shot, you pussy!" McCarthy quipped.

Nick smacked his shoulder, "Dude! There are ladies present!" he rolled his eyes towards where a small crowd had gathered on the sand.

Mack shook his blonde hair as he looked over his shoulder.

"The blonde that is sitting with Kathy is cute," he said under his breath.

Nick glanced over to where he was looking and winked at Kathy, who blushed and giggled.

"Yeah, she's Kathy's little sister, so be nice to her."

"Are you and Kathy a 'thing'?"

Nick shrugged, "I'm not ready to settle down like my brother, but yeah, she's nice."

Their conversation was interrupted by Daniel who was on the opposing team together with Jack, Steven, Joshua and their friends Nate and Travis. On the team with Nicholas were Jared, McCarthy, Sam, Christopher, and one of Jared's college buddies, Marcus.

"Come on girls, this will be a lot less painful for you if you just give up and concede now! You are already one set down!" Daniel said with a laugh.

Chris let out a guffaw, "Oh little brother, you are going to be in a world of pain – now let's play!"

Alexis and Tiffany laughed and rolled their eyes as they watched their siblings and cousins flex their tanned muscles. Around them, there were collective sighs from the groupies that had gathered to watch the match.

It was a few days after the Independence Day celebrations and many people had left Lake Tahoe, while others were just arriving for the last month of summer.

There had been much debate from their parents when they found out that the older kids were planning to spend the day at The South Beach Aquatics Club. Edward wanted them to stay closer to home and while Bella secretly agreed, she also knew that they could not keep the kids cooped up for too long without them rebelling.

There was a beach party to be held that evening and Rose, Bella and Alice were not too keen to have the younger teenagers exposed to 'wild parties'.

It was only when Mario informed the adults that he, Jung Cantrell and Amos Rush, two other agents, as well as the two female security team members, Leah Littlerock and Nadia Donaldson, that were still on loan to Cullen Inc. would be accompanying the group that they had relented.

Alexis had been quite shocked by her parents' strong reaction to them partying on the public beach. Usually none of the Cullen's or their friends had a problem with their children mixing with 'regular' kids and in fact they encouraged them to take part in 'ordinary activities'. But ever since they had been told about the threat to their safety and that someone may or may not try to snatch one of them, it seemed as if they had to pass every single activity by their family and their security team.

Alexis didn't mind as much as the others because that just meant that she would at least spend some time with Mario, even though he was more distant when he was working but at least they were together.

Tiffany was another story. She gripped about not being able to hook up with anyone without at least ten people being informed about it and then they had to pass a security check!

"Marcus is looking mighty fine today," Tiffany whispered to her cousin.

Alexis looked back towards the game and she had to admit that even though she was related to eight of the twelve players on the beach, they did look quite fine. Their naked torsos shone in the bright sunlight and reflected off their tanned six or eight packs. Even Mack, Daniel and Sam looked older and less awkward with their board shorts riding low on their hips.

Alexis looked at Marcus and noticed him staring at Tiffany.

"He's looking at you,"

"What? Oh god! Don't stare at him!" Tiffany hissed.

Alexis just laughed again and she leaned over to tell Bonnie about Tiffany's latest crush.

Bonnie was drooling. She was sure that she was drooling. Just looking at all the fineness that was Jackson Carlisle Cullen was almost too much for her to take.

She watched as Jackson swept his wild hair out of his eyes. It was darker because it was damp with sweat and she watched as he wiped his hand across the back of his neck.

Fuck, he is stunningly beautiful, she thought to herself and she wondered for the thousandth time what the hell he was doing with the likes of her. Bonnie knew that she wasn't ugly but she was used to not being the prettiest girl around either. Especially since she had been hanging around Tiffany Ann Whitlock and Alexis Cullen. They were just as beautiful as the rest of their families.

The funny thing was that no one, with probably the exception perhaps of Nicholas, Alexis' younger brother and Joshua Cullen, his cousin were even remotely vain about their looks. Oh, everyone wanted to look 'nice' when they went out, but more often than not, the girls ran around in cut off jeans and tank tops or bikini tops, while the guys walked around in wife beaters (if they wore anything) and board shorts or hacked off jeans.

The first time that Bonnie had seen Jackson, he had been sitting outside on a lounger, strumming his guitar and she had almost fallen on her ass as she missed the step leading to the door.

"What the hell, Bonnie? Are you having a clumsy moment?" Alexis said with a laugh.

Just when she didn't think that things could be worse, Jackson had looked up at the noise.

"Hey Lex, is this the friend that you've been telling me about?"

"Yeah, this is my friend from school. We're going to head upstairs and then get ready for the party."

Bonnie had turned around but not before she noticed that Jackson was staring at her. Green eyes locked with brown and Bonnie quickly disappeared inside. What the hell was that? She had wondered. The color of his eyes were the most amazing thing that Bonnie had ever seen and even from the distance that she was, she could tell that his eyes were emerald green.

Bonnie shook her head and looked across only to see Jackson staring at her. She automatically smiled at him and he winked in return.

Bonnie felt her cheeks heat up as Alexis nudged her, "Aww, that's so cute, but girl, you are drooling over my brother!"

"Well it's not my problem that none of you were hit with an 'ugly stick' and let's face it, Lex, Jackson is the most gorgeous man out here!"

"What? Jack? Oh please! No way! Rio beats him hands down!"

"Rio?! He's ancient!"

Alexis glared at her cousin, "Tiffany, shut up! He is only a few years-"

Tiffany snorted in an unladylike way, "A few? Bitch please! He is almost ten; count them, ten years older than you! He is like, thirty-freaking years old!"

Alexis' hair whipped around as she glared at Tiffany, "Tiffany-Ann Whitlock, so help me God, I will slap you right here and now if you don't shut the fuck up about Mario's age! I know how old he is and read my lips: I. Don't. Care."

Bonnie looked up only to see the man in question staring intently at the two women who were arguing. Bonnie couldn't help but feel a little jealous of the intensity in his eyes. He was so obviously in love with Alexis and he didn't care who knew it.

His gaze glossed over Bonnie and she shook her head slightly to convey that his precious cargo was fine. She watched as his stance relaxed ever so slightly and he gave her a small smile of thanks.

She heard soft giggling next to her and she rolled her eyes as she saw that the girls that seemed ready to tear each other apart, just moments before, were now looking at the boys on the volleyball court and giggling together like five year olds.

She leaned forward slightly and gave them a narrow eyed glare, "You know that you two are crazy right?"

Tiffany laughed as she threw her arm over Alexis' shoulders, "I know, isn't it great?"

Bonnie shook her head and Alexis heard her murmur something about 'crazy Cullen's'.

Alexis smiled because they were crazy, and to any outsider it may seem as though they hated each other much of the time because they argued so fervently, the love and devotion that they had for each other was almost tangible. Alexis loved that she had grown up in a family where she was as close to her cousins as she was to her own siblings. Her aunts and uncles homes were as familiar to her as her own home and all of her family had an 'open door' policy, which made it so easy to find a space if ever she needed to get away from her own family for a while.

Rose, Alice, Esme, her mother and even her step-uncle Seth and his wife Jessie and her Granny Sue and Grumpy Charlie had all hosted one disgruntled child at one time or another. No one was ever turned away or forced to go home.

That was one of the things that Alexis missed the most being away at college. She missed her crazy, mixed-up, loud and rambunctious family. After only a week at college, after some guy had tried to force himself on her, she had phoned her oldest cousin, Joshua in tears.

"Lex? Lexi? What's wrong? Are you hurt? Where are you? Alexis! Talk to me!" Instead of calming down, Alexis had cried harder, barely able to breathe through her tears.

"P-p-p-p-please c-c-c-come (sob) fetch-ch m-mmeee!"

"Stay on the line with me; I'm almost to the car, okay? Are you at your dorm?"


Alexis remember how only a few moments later, Josh had gone racing into her dorm room to find her curled up on her bed, crying her eyes out.

After he had checked her over and seen that she was physically unharmed; he had held her in his arms until she had calmed down enough to tell him that she didn't want to stay in Los Angeles by herself and that she was missing home.

Joshua may have been an up and coming Hollywood actor, but he was first and foremost a Cullen and family came first.

Without exception.

This was the way that he and his siblings had been raised by his father Emmett and his mother Rosalie.

He carried a large responsibility as the oldest of the next generation of Cullen's and he took his role very seriously.

He was the protector, the unspoken leader of their 'wolf pack' just like his father before him was to his Uncle Edward and his Aunt Alice.

When he had received the call from Alexis, it didn't matter that he walked or ran out of an audition that his agent had been trying to get him into for months. All that mattered was that he was there when she needed him and he never held it against her, nor did he expect any sort of favor in return.

He had taken her back to his luxury three bed roomed apartment that he had purchased a few years earlier in Santa Monica.

His parents knew that it was a good investment and had encouraged him to purchase a home away from home when he and Grumpy Charlie had spent a few months each year in Los Angeles while he had been a part of the hit teen-drama show, 'Life From My Eyes'*, that had run for seven very successful seasons.

When he was seventeen, he and Charlie had spotted the ad in the window of a store and once they had seen that the apartment block was being completely renovated and refurbished, with all modern conveniences, as well as twenty-four hour security, cleaning and maintenance staff, private gyms on each floor as well as a private swimming pool on the roof, Joshua had been excited to buy the property.

He had the most glorious ocean views from the apartment on Ocean Avenue, and he was on the fifth floor which was far enough off the ground to give him privacy but he still felt connect to the hustle and bustle of life in Venice Beach.

At first his parents and Charlie had been concerned that the lifestyle and the people that lived in the area would be too wild for the teenager, but Joshua was a level headed person and although he became a part of the Hollywood fraternity from an early age, he had been exposed to fame all his life and both Emmett and Rosalie had ensured that he knew that his privileged lifestyle was a blessing – never to be taken lightly.

And after he had calmed her down, Joshua had fed Alexis, placed her in his huge bathtub full of her favorite bubble bath and he had placed a call to his uncle Edward and aunt Bella. They were concerned until he had told them his idea and after Edward had spoken to the Dean of admissions, Alexis moved in to Joshua's second bedroom. There were three bedrooms in total, each with their own en suite bathroom and each bedroom a private balcony. Nana Esme had flown down to redecorate Alexis' space and when she had flown back home a week later, Alexis had been settled in her breathtaking new bedroom in beach and coral tones and she was happier than she had been in a long time.

Surprisingly the living arrangements between the cousins had worked out very well. Each was devoted to their studies and whenever Josh had a public appearance, he would usually drag Alexis along with him to keep him company and to fend off any unwanted company.

They had a cleaning service that kept the apartment clean, and they took turns in cooking the evening meal.

Alexis stared at her oldest cousin with a smile. He was a bit of a man-whore but he was probably the most charming man-whore that she had ever met.

Nicholas spiked a ball into the sand at Jackson's feet with a shout of victory, "Take that, pussies!" he flicked his dark, wet hair off his forehead as he high fived the rest of his team mates.

"Ten minute break!" Daniel called as the two teams prepared to play the final set. The game so far had been fast paced and extremely competitive. All the Cullen/Whitlock men were competitive and there was no such thing as surrendering or conceding in their eyes, but they had been taught from young how to play fairly and how to be good sportsmen and losers.

Nick walked over to where Kathy was eagerly waiting for him on the sidelines with a towel and a bottle of cold water.

One side of his mouth curled up in a semi-smile of thanks as he wiped his face and then his sweaty neck, back and chest before he tilted his head back and drank the water in one go.

He heard Kathy's sharp intake of breath as she watched him with lust filled eyes.

Nicholas wiped his mouth with the back of his arm before he threw the bottle into a trash can.

When he looked back at the star-struck teenager, her pretty mouth gaped at him as her eyes seemed to be as wide as saucers as she took in his chiseled eight-pack and the deep V of his hip bones.

When she looked at him, she blushed a deep pink and he winked at her, "I'm going to need a massage tonight, perhaps you can help me out?" he said with a smirk.

Kathy's eyes dilated and she nodded mutely.

Nick leaned forward and slung the towel around her neck, with his nose almost touching hers, he whispered, "Good, because I will definitely return the favor later."

Kathy gasped as he backed away with a wink and turned to rejoin his team mates while Kathy stumbled back to her sister.

Alexis frowned as she watched the exchange between her younger brother and the girl. She was the latest in a long line of girls that Nicholas had kept 'company' with over the summer and she was sick of him sneaking in the early hours every night. Her parents had no idea that their little angel was well on his way to being a slut!

"Oh stop looking as if you have just sucked a lemon, Cuz, lighten up. He is young and unattached and if I have to say, he is built!" Tiffany said with some amusement.

Lex shook her head, "I don't know what has gotten into him lately but he is with a different girl every damn night – it's like he is scared that there will be no girls left out there for him to screw!"

Bonnie chuckled, "Yeah, well, the way he's going, there won't be!"

Nick looked up and spotted the three women looking at him and he winked at them, making Alexis and Tiffany groan, "Oh my God! He is insatiable!" Alexis quipped.


Nadia watched the antics of her 'charges' from a little ways away. She had noticed the second eldest son of Edward and Bella Cullen from the first time she had seen him.

He was exceptionally good-looking but that alone wasn't really a factor in a family where good looks were the norm.

No, there was something about the younger man that Nadia found quite … delectable. There was something a little dark and even dangerous about the younger Cullen. His eyes held dark promises and secrets and Nadia knew instinctively that he would be an accomplished lover.

Even though she was about five or so years older than him, she found herself feeling rather wet, down there as her pale blue eyes combed over his chest that was damp with perspiration. Nadia licked her lips as she saw the fine smattering of dark hair that ran from his navel only to disappear beneath the low-slung shorts.

Oh yes, it would be an absolute pleasure to corrupt this Cullen, to make him her victim before she used him and spat him out.

Nicholas felt the uncomfortable but almost familiar sensation of being watched.

He tried to shrug it off because in reality there were about forty or more people watching the match but this feeling was more than the usual scrutiny of girls, this felt uncomfortable, uneasy.

As Nick turned away from the net he quickly searched the crowd, not sure of what he would see, and it wasn't a shock when he zeroed in a pair of pale blue eyes blazing with some emotion that belonged to one of their security team.

Nick frowned slightly as he searched his memory for her name… Natalie, no, it sounded more foreign than that… Natalia…Nadia! Nadia Donaldson. She was a bit of an enigma. Relatively petite in stature with dainty hands and feet, pale blonde hair that matched her pale eyes and skin tone. Her body was sexy in a way and if she didn't make him feel so uncomfortable, he may have fooled around with her for a bit, but the truth was that there just seemed something off about her. She was too intense, and the look in her eyes was almost manic sometimes when he caught her staring at him.

He sighed as he hankered down on the receiving line, something just didn't feel right about her.

As the ball whizzed past his head, he heard Mac groan, "Come on Nick!"

"Better the devil you know…" he muttered to himself as he took his place again. He looked over at Kathy and gave her a sexy smirk and winked at her.

Across the way Nadia's gaze hardened as she looked to where Nick had smiled seconds earlier. She wasn't going to let some blonde bimbo cheat her out of what promised to be a wonderful time. She was sure that Nicholas fancied her and she just needed the time to convince him to take a chance on her.

The blonde would have to be 'dissuaded' from pursuing him further. It was time to put the first part of their plan into action.


The Chief had not been too keen when Nadia had first proposed it, but after she had told him how easy it would be to begin the downfall of the Cullen's, he had been on board with it.

The Chief didn't only want to cause them emotional pain and suffering, no, he wanted their impeccable reputation to be in tatters. He wanted the bonds of trust and affection to be destroyed. That was what his plan with the photographs had been but they had turned out to be an epic failure. This plan of Nadia's was even better.

She was going to corrupt one of their own, turn him and then she would publicly desecrate him and his reputation. He would be branded an outcast, a predator, a vile human being that preyed on innocent girls.

In the public eye, the Cullen's would be judged and so when he swooped down for his final blow, they would be all but destroyed.

He wanted to be there, watching it all unfold, but Nadia had convinced him that he should be far enough away so as not to cause any suspicion on himself.

The Chief sniggered to himself; Nadia was quite the team player. She was a good and loyal little minion.


The game ended not long afterwards with Steven and Jackson's team winning by one point.

The guys quickly showered the sand and sweat off themselves before they joined the rest of the party at the barbeque pit that had been set up.

Nicholas arranged to meet Kathy near the rest room at eight o'clock. He knew that she had to 'baby sit' her little sister until then and he didn't have a problem with that. Shit, he'd spent half his life looking out for his younger siblings and cousins.

Their group, of which there were about twenty-five people, consisted of the Cullen and Whitlock's, the friends that they had invited to join them for the week and a few people that they knew from years of coming up to the lake. Mario, Cantrell and Rush were easily able to blend in as they took control of the barbeque and refreshments, all the while keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Meanwhile Nick was cornered by the crazy security chick as he pulled a cold drink from one of the cooler boxes.

"Hey Nick," Nadia said as she stepped close to him.

Nicholas had been brought up to be a gentleman and good manners had been drummed in to him from the crib but still, he didn't like the woman and he didn't like how she made him feel up close, rubbing herself against him.

Nick took two steps backwards as he gave her a discouraging glare.

"It's Nicholas and aren't you supposed to be part of the security detail? Shouldn't you be patrolling or something?" he asked coldly.

Nadia's eyes widened before her blue eyes paled and narrowed as she glared at him.

"I was just being friendly, Nicholas," she spat, "I've noticed you staring at me and I thought…"

Nicholas was not a Cullen for nothing and his blue green gaze was like a laser as he glared at her, "Well don't think! Whatever you 'thought' was wrong. I'm not interested in you, nor will I ever be, so unless you want me to file a complaint with your boss and have you fired, I suggest that you do what you were employed to and that is watch over my family."

After a moment of tense silence, Nicholas spun on his heel and walked away. He knew that he was correct in his assumption that something just didn't 'gel' about the woman and he made a mental note to talk to his father and uncle about it when he got home.

Nadia was beyond furious. How dare he reject her? How dare he try to make her feel like nothing?

Well he was going to regret that he had been so mean to her. Nadia looked around her quickly before she pulled out her phone and quickly dialed a number.

"Yeah, it's Nadia. Did you get the van? Good!… we are ready!… Is everything ready at the cabin?... great. Now you just need to wait for my signal. Oh come on Peter, of course this is about the 'end game'! This is just the beginning! Phase one, if you want to call it that."

With a last look back at the people on the beach, Nadia walked towards the parking lot, which was where she told the girl Kathy that she would meet her earlier. Her plan had been to convince Nick to take her to the parking lot where Kathy would see them together, but now, now she had something better in mind…

"Now, here's what I want you to do… come to the parking lot at…"

Nicholas was going to be sorry that he messed with her. Very sorry!


Alexis wondered over to where Mario stood in his board shorts and T-shirt. He looked down at her through his aviator sunglasses and smiled.

"Hey Baby, are you getting hungry?"

Alexis nodded as she smiled back, "Yeah, that hamburger smells wonderful!" she moved closer and rested her body against his side with a small sigh, "I missed being with you today. I can't wait for summer to be over!"

Mario chuckled as he flipped the last of the burgers onto a waiting platter and nodded to Leah to pass the word that lunch was ready. They didn't want the teenagers to drink on an empty stomach and although they were discouraged from indulging, they were not there to stop them, just to keep them safe.

"Aw honey, you are going to be miserable when the summer's over because then you will be busy at school." He teased her to lighten the mood.

Alexis pouted, "I know, but if you can get that transfer to the L.A. office; at least we can see each other."

Rio nodded, "I've spoken to Anderson and he says that it shouldn't be a problem, but it may take a couple of months to organize."

Alexis sighed, "Okay, well, I'd better round up the rest of the gang before it's all gone. Maybe we can go for a walk later?"

"Lex, Baby, I'm working, but let's see what happens later and maybe Rush can cover for me for a bit."

Mario watched as Alexis walked over to her cousins. He was more in love with her than he had ever thought possible. He knew that his family was also concerned about their age difference, but after speaking to his parents, they also knew that his feelings for Alexis were genuine and they were looking forward to meeting the girl that had stolen his heart.

His mother had persuaded him to invite Alexis for a long weekend visit to his parents' home in Dana Point which was in Southern Orange County. The couple had settled in the seaside town fifteen years before and although they owned five bistros along the West Coast, it was when they had driven to see a new location in Dana Point, that Camilla had fallen in love with the town that had reminded her of her hometown in Spain.

They had sold a couple of the bistros off as they grew older, but they had kept one in Dana Point, which Antonio and Camilla managed, one in Los Angeles that their daughter Inez and her husband Carlos ran, and one in San Diego that was run by one of Camilla's nephews.

Alexis wasn't too happy when he had asked her parents' permission to take her with him, but she understood when he had explained that he wasn't asking for their permission as much as he was asking for their blessing.

Alexis was nervous to meet the couple that was obviously as important to Rio as her parents were.

Rio loved the fact that Alexis was such a family orientated person and he had grown very fond of her family that reminded him of his own seeing as they seemed to have no personal boundaries or verbal filters. He especially loved watching how she interacted with all the members of her family, regardless of age. Alexis was a warm and loving daughter and sister and Rio knew that she would someday make an equally loving mother and wife.

He watched as she wondered over to where her brothers and cousins were sitting and he smiled to himself as she sat down on Nicholas' lap without blinking. Nicholas smiled as he wrapped his arms around his sister while he continued talking.

After a moment Alexis jumped up and announced that the food was ready and the spell was broken as Mario was suddenly inundated by hungry teenagers.


The sun had set and the beach was littered with bonfires and writhing teenage bodies.

Cantrell ran a hand through his short black hair as he scoured the area. He was trying to keep track of their charges, but the light was so damn bad and every teenager looked like the next! He gave a half growl of frustration and lifted the small walkie-talkie that resembled a cell phone to his mouth.

"Rush – check in," Cantrell spoke softly. Anyone walking past would think that he was talking on his phone.

A moment later Rush's voice was heard, "Rush here, everyone's accounted for - except C3. I repeat: I'm not locating C3."

Cantrell turned to where Rush had taken up

"Fuck! Okay, I'm going to see if I can find him. Stay in your current position. You have a good 'bird's eye' from there."

Cantrell turned away from the group and his keen gaze combed the beach. Here and there he could see a few stragglers or couples that had separated themselves from the gathering, but these kids knew better. They had been briefed and they had been told that under no circumstances were they to split off from the main group without contacting one of the five security guards.

All of their charges had been given codes, which made it easier for everyone to keep track of them as there were eighteen including the 'minis'. The code was simple: First letter of the surname and numbered from oldest to youngest.

Cantrell was just about to swallow his pride and alert Mario who had gone 'off air' for a few minutes so that he could take a walk with Alexis, when his earpiece beeped. He glanced down and saw that it was the 'open air' frequency that they had assigned to the two women.


"Littlerock here, wanted to let you know that we may have a breach, Sir." Leah Littlerock was nervous. She knew that these men didn't mess about and they didn't take sloppy work lightly.

"A breach? How?" Leah winced at the bark in the man's voice.

'A breach' was a phrase that was used if anyone picked up anything unusual going on within their team. Because Leah was in a supervisory capacity, she was in charge and therefore responsible for Nadia Donaldson, who had only joined their team a few months before. Leah had been surprised when Nadia had been cleared for this assignment, but the woman that she would normally have teamed up with, Sandy Michelson, had up and quite her job suddenly because of a 'family emergency'. She had not even bothered to go into their offices but instead she had sent an email and a couple of text messages.

Nadia had informed her that she had sublet Sandy's apartment fully furnished. Leah had received a few random text messages over the past six months but so far her phone calls all went unanswered.

"Donaldson, Sir. She was asking all sorts of questions about the C's but I didn't think anything of it until…"

Cantrell swore under his breath, what the fuck was going on?

"Until what? Spit it out!" he barked.

"Well, she kept asking about Nick, um, C3, sir and I saw her follow him to the public restrooms about twenty minutes ago and neither has returned, Sir and I can't raise her."

"She is under your watch, Miss Littlerock, I suggest that you go and find her and my charge and get back here on the double!"

He was about to follow when Mario's voice broke though, "Cantrell, I need you here by the police car on the ridge?" Cantrell looked up and saw the flashing lights and a cold shiver ran down his spine.


Leah took off at a fast pace towards where she had seen them last.

Leah approached the public restrooms with caution.

As she got closer she could hear someone shouting, "What the fuck is wrong with you? I told you to get away from me!"

Another voice spoke, but this was softer, female. Leah didn't know what she would find and she tried the door, only to find it locked from the inside.

The man's voice rose again, "Look Nadia, I've told you over and over again, I. am. Not. Interested. In. you. Now give me the fucking key and let me out of here!"

Leah had heard enough and she banged on the door with her fist, "Nadia? Nicholas? This is Leah Littlerock. OPEN THIS DOOR!"

A muffled curse and a moan of protest met her call and she frowned. It sounded as if they were struggling and she tried forcing the door with her shoulder.

"Nicholas Cullen! Is that you?"

Another muffled curse and then a door was flung open. The sound of it hitting the back of the wall was like a gunshot and Leah jumped.

She looked up just as an angry looking Nicholas Cullen almost ran out of the bathroom. Leah could see the panic and relief in his eyes as he rushed passed her.

"Keep her the fuck away from me!" he growled.

His dark brown hair was sticking in all directions while his lips looked swollen – Leah felt her anger rise as she watched the petite looking blonde stumble out of the bathroom as she pulled her skin tight tank top over her head, unmindful of the company.

She looked at Leah with one eyebrow raised, "My boy likes it rough, did you notice?"

Leah watched as Nicholas turned swung around at Nadia's words, his jaw was slack, "WHAT? I never touched you! I never invited you here! What the fuck is wrong with you? You are a liar!"

Leah could see that he was upset. In that moment he looked as young as his nineteen years. She felt sorry for him, because she knew that Nadia was lying, but she just wanted to defuse the situation and get Nicholas as far away from Nadia as possible.

Leah ignored Nadia and she spoke to him instead, "Nick, why don't you go and rejoin the group? I'll make sure that you aren't bothered any more. I will be submitting a full report, Sir and you should contact Mr. Anderson as soon as you return to the compound."

Nick nodded, "Thank you Leah, I will be sure to report this." He looked from Leah to Nadia and he noticed that instead of looking embarrassed or scared, Nadia seemed excited, turned on almost at getting caught.

Leah nodded and Nick walked back towards the party. He wanted to bash his own head in! He had no idea what the fuck had just happened, but one minute he was walking to the restrooms to take a piss and the next the blonde security agent was waiting for him, telling him that they were going to be so 'good' together and that nothing and no one would stand in their way. When he had demanded that she get out of his way he had found that the door was locked and for the first time that he could remember, Nicholas had been afraid of another human being.

He ran his hand through his hair with both his hands. He could see where his cousins Daniel and Christopher stood and he quickly made his way over to them.

"Hey Nick, there you are! Mac was looking all over for you! Apparently Kathy's parents are out looking for her." Daniel exclaimed.

Nicholas frowned, "What are you talking about? Kathy was supposed to meet us here and I haven't seen her. She was minding her younger sister this afternoon and when I invited her to the barbeque, she said that she would be here around eight, after she dropped her sister back home."

Just then Cantrell walked up to their small group and he asked Nick if he could talk to him alone.

Cantrell led him towards the ridge where Nick could see a couple of cars with flashing lights and he stopped walking.

"What's this about?"

"The police just want to ask you a few questions about your friend Kathy?"

"Kathy Thomas?"

"Yes, it seems as though she was last seen with her sister this afternoon and then the two of them just disappeared."

When they reached the top of the ridge, Nicholas saw a distraught looking couple standing with Mario. The woman resembled Kathy and he felt sick as he saw the anxiety in their eyes.

"Mister and Missus Thomas?" the couple nodded.

Mario stepped forward, "This is Nicholas Cullen. He is a friend of your daughter."

The woman stepped forward and Nicholas wanted to shrink back from the anguish in her eyes and tired face.

"Have you seen them? Have you seen Kathy and Erica?"

Nicholas blinked. His head was swirling with images of the girl that he had spent the past two or three days with.

"Answer me! Have you seen them?" the woman's voice rose shrilly and this time Nick did step backwards.

"Yes! Yes! I saw them this afternoon! They were on the beach watching the volleyball match! We made arrangements to meet up here tonight but she hasn't showed up yet. She said that she was watching her sister until just before eight." The words spewed out of Nick's mouth.

"It's after nine Jason! Oh God! What has happened to them?" the woman turned and almost fell into the man's arms and she began to sob.

"Son," Nicholas looked up. He saw Ted Russell, the sheriff of Tahoe City Police Department. He knew 'uncle' Ted because he and Grumpy Charlie were great fishing buddies.

"Yes, Sir?"

Sheriff Russell looked at Mario. He knew all the men that worked at the Cullen compound. He made it his business to know who was working in his town.

"I think that you should probably round up all of your charges and take them home. If we need to, we will contact the Cullen's in the morning."

"No! What if…" Mrs. Thomas began to protest but Sheriff Russell put his hand on her arm, "Now Ginny, we are going to comb every single inch of this beach and then we well work outwards towards town. We will find them."

Mario put his phone into his pocket, "Sheriff, Emmett Cullen has offered more manpower if you need it."

Ted nodded. He had spoken to his long time friend Charlie Swan earlier that evening and Charlie had immediately got in touch with Emmett who had volunteered their services.

Word had spread quickly that a girl and her fourteen year old sister were missing and they had last been seen at the volley ball match.

Jackson sat at the back of one of the SUV's with his arm securely around Bonnie's shoulders. He felt her let out a little sigh before she put her head into the crook of his neck. He tilted his head and gently kissed her soft hair.

"Jack?" she whispered.

"Yeah, baby?"

"I'm scared."

Jackson felt a shudder rip through her body and he pulled her even closer against his side.

"It's going to be okay, Baby, hush now. You are safe." He crooned.

In the dark his eyes met Mario's in the rearview mirror and he saw the almost imperceptible look of apprehension in the older man's eyes. Even Mario wasn't sure that they were safe.


The day had begun as most days up in Tahoe. The sun beat down on the crowds that walked the small towns, all looking for 'bargains' or memorabilia to take home after they left the area.

Peter had not wanted to outstay his welcome with the Cullen's and he had felt as if he were being watched all the time.

He had noticed that although no one had said anything to him, there was a subtle difference in the way that Edward and his family had interacted with him.

Edward was as friendly as always, and he seemed genuinely interested in what Peter was up to, where he was working and living but there was just something in his eyes that sent a bit of a shiver down Peter's spine, almost as if he knew that Peter was selling him and his family out.

But that was impossible, Peter thought to himself. If Edward knew that Peter was planning to destroy him, he would stop at nothing

Peter also noticed how protective Edward and Bella were over their children and how carefully Bella made sure that Peter had little to no direct interaction with them.

He had even spoken to the Chief about it, but he had told him not to worry because with him, 'little dove' (his nickname for Nadia) and 'cowpoke' (Darryl), together, he was ready to begin his 'end game'.

Peter said goodbye to Edward and Bella after enduring their nauseating affection for two days and as instructed by The Chief, he booked himself into a cheap bed and breakfast in town for two weeks.

The Chief was very insistent that 'phase one' would be over in that time. Peter was to stay out of sight and he was to avoid being seen around town as much as possible. He also had to return his cheap sedan rental and he collected a panel van that the Chief had purchased from a retired plumber in Carson City.

It was perfect for their needs apparently. It was a nonscript beige color; the side paneling was faded from years of being in the sun. The side windows were tinted and there were no windows in the back although the owner had installed air-conditioning and ventilation as he had used the back as a mobile workshop in the past.

Early that afternoon, Peter had received a call from Nadia and he got an exited feeling in the pit of his stomach, or maybe it was the fact that his last high had been a little more than he was used to, either way, he was excited and after making sure that he had everything that he needed, he made his way to the pretty beach house. He knew that he could still be intimidating when he needed to be but he was hoping that he could use his charm rather than his muscles to do what he had to. His disguise should work.

Nadia had been able to get the girl's phone away during the volleyball match and so it was almost too easy when she rang and told Kathy that her parents had been in an accident and they needed her and her sister to pick them up from the hospital. She also told them that the highway was closed further up the lake for road works and she advised them to take a dirt road that ran parallel to the highway.

Of course Kathy and Erica had hurried out of the house and Peter followed behind them. When they had turned off the beach roadonto the road that Nadia had told them led to the small hospital, Peter had flashed his lights.

Unwittingly the girls had pulled over and Peter got out of his truck.

Kathy rolled her window down slightly; she didn't know the man and he looked a little odd, but she couldn't put her finger on the reason.

"What's the matter?" Kathy asked hurriedly. She was only thinking of getting to her parents.

"You have a flat tire, Miss." Peter said with a smile.

Kathy frowned, she turned to her sister, "Erica, did you notice anything?"

Erica shook her head, "No."

Kathy shook her head and looked at the man. He didn't look like a threat, but he did look odd. He was wearing a long-sleeved top in the summer heat, with a baseball cap on and dark sunglasses. But it was the heavy beard and moustache that made Kathy uneasy. It just didn't seem to fit his face somehow.

"It's only a couple of miles down this dirt road to the hospital. I'm in a hurry, you see, my parents have had an accident and I have to get to the hospital…"

Peter pursed his lips sympathetically, "I wouldn't if I were you. You will damage the rim and if you need to drive home with your parents…" he left the rest unsaid.

"I could help you, if you like. I taught both of my sons to change tires, but it's still difficult if you are on your own."

Kathy nodded with a sigh and she released her seatbelt, "I'll be back." She said to Erica.

"Kath, wait!"

Kathy looked over at her sister, "I'm scared, I don't trust him…"

Kathy looked in the rearview mirror, "Look, its okay, I'm just going to open the trunk and change the tire. We can't drive with a flat, he's right. If … if something happens, then I want you to promise that you will jump out and run across into the woods; stay off the road, okay? Stay hidden. Don't come out until you are positive that he is gone. Promise me. He can't get you if you stay out of sight in the woods. You hear me?"

Erica began to tremble as tears flooded her eyes, "O-okay, I promise, but hurry!"

Kathy nodded as she climbed out of the car.

"Lock the doors." She muttered as she made her way to the back of the small hatchback.

She glanced up at Peter who was standing by his truck. She noticed that he had opened the side sliding doors and he was holding a tire iron and a rag in his hand. He smiled at her innocently.

Kathy walked around to the back of her car and opened the trunk. She felt him come up behind her and her heart sped up. This was wrong, she was wrong to have left the car! Kathy turned quickly but a strong hand clamped down on her arm.

"Don't make a sound. Don't cry out or scream. If you do, I will kill your baby sister. I won't hurt you. We are just going to go for a little ride and then you are going to keep me company for a few days. Now, call you sister to come and help you."

Kathy whimpered but shook her head. "No!"

"Do it!" He hissed as his cheap boozy breath washed over her making her want to gag. His grip tightened.

"S-sissy! C-come here!"

Erica frowned. Kathy never called her 'sissy'. Now she knew that something was wrong. Her hands shook as she grabbed a jersey from the backseat and quickly looked around for anything else that she could use for warmth. There was a towel at her feet and she picked that up as well and a bottle of water that was half empty. Erica was a member of the girl scouts and she knew about surviving out in the open.

"Sissy!" Kathy shouted and Erica closed her eyes.

Please, please find us, Erica thought as she opened the door slowly.

"Sissy – RUN!"

Without stopping to think or look back, the fourteen year old girl flew out the door and she sprinted across the field of waist high grass, brush and shrubs. She kept a tight grip on her treasures as she raced towards the thick band of woods that surrounded the area.

Behind her she heard screaming and shouting but although she stumbled, she didn't stop running. Her heart was pounding in her ears and after a few minutes, which seemed like hours she finally made it to the trees that hopefully would offer her protection from whoever had taken her sister.

Peter was furious and he all but picked Kathy up by the scruff of her neck as he threw her into the back of his van.

She was kicking and screaming as she tried to fend him off, but Peter had been prepared and he shoved a dirty cloth against her face, covering her mouth and nose.

Kathy began to gag as she inhaled the sickly sweet chloroform.

"No! No…."

Peter looked down at the teenager. He quickly felt her pulse and breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the flutter beneath his fingers.

He didn't waste any time as he bound her hands and feet and pushed her into a corner, where he quickly covered her with a piece of tarp that had been in the van.

He looked up and down the dirt road and smiled. He could not believe that she had taken the 'short cut' to get to the main road where the hospital was.

He was pissed that the other child had gotten away from him, but he was sure that he looked, he would find her. He just needed to get rid of the car and then get the girl back to the small fishing shack that he had found that would be perfect for the next couple of days. It looked rundown and neglected and Peter knew that it would serve its purpose.

He quickly pushed the small compact into the ditch alongside the road and made sure that it was covered with reeds, brush and grass and that it could not be seen from the road.

After wondering around the field for about twenty minutes, Peter gave up looking for his other captive.

She was just a child and she was stuck out here, miles away from town or anyone so his getaway would be secure and they would be safe for a while. They only needed two days.

Peter smiled to himself, two days, Cullen and then you will see what it's like to be the target of public ridicule and outrage.


Erica didn't know what time it was, only that it was quite late in the day. Erica wasn't sure where she was exactly. She knew that she was in the Sugar Pine Point Nature Reserve somewhere. She wasn't going to stop moving but instead she pushed herself to go further and further into the woodland. She looked back once but she could no longer see the road, and she only caught snatches of the lake through the dense tree covering.

She knew that this was a good thing because there was no way that the van would be able to reach her. She was scared and she was sick with worry over her sister, but she knew that she had to keep going. She knew that if they were going to , no! Not if, but when they were going to find her sister, they were going to need her help.

When the sun went down, Erica found a fallen tree and she pulled low branches and leaves together and made herself a small hiding place beneath the tree. She could hear water running and went to find the small stream about a hundred feet away. She was grateful that her parents had sent her to scouts because she knew the basics of survival. Keep warm, keep hydrated and eat what you can find.

She dared not make a fire. This was a nature reserve and it was against the law to build fires out here. And he might still be out there looking for her.

Erica was glad that she had been wearing jeans and a T-shirt with sneakers when they had left their secluded house in such a hurry. She wondered if her parents were okay. As tears flooded her eyes she wondered if the phone call that Kathy had received had been real. Maybe it was all part of a plan.

Erica pulled her sister's jersey that she had snatched from the car around her. It was too big of course, but it was soft and warm and it smelled like Kathy, and this made Erica cry.

She curled into a tight ball and pulled the beach towel over her as she cried herself to sleep.


The adults had gathered at the main house as soon as Charlie had sounded the alarm. They were all anxious as they waited for the children to return.

Edward watched Bella carefully. He could see that she was falling apart inside but she was trying to hide it from everyone, especially the younger children.

Esme and Sue had made sure to supervise bath time before they had gathered them all in the playroom and had settled them down with a movie and hotdogs for dinner.

Arielle, Kate and Garrett made themselves busy in the kitchen by preparing supper. They knew that no one was really going to be too hungry, but they also knew that it was a good distraction, especially for Bella.

Bella swung around as the front door opened and she gripped Edward's hand as Marcus, Anderson and Emmett walked in.

"Is there any more news?" Bella asked urgently.

Anderson ran his hand over the back of his neck and shook his head, "No; all we know is that Kathy and her fourteen year old sister, Erica Thomas left their home around four thirty this afternoon. A neighbor remembers them hurrying to their compact and driving away. The woman thinks that she remembers a van that followed them, but she couldn't be certain. She thinks that it was tan or rust colored and that it had been parked outside the Thomas' home for a while. Neither the girls nor the car has been seen since then. The cops are checking the camera footage along West Lake Boulevard and Emerald Bay. We aren't sure which direction they were headed in. North and they would have picked up the cameras on West Lake and if they headed south then the Emerald Bay cameras should have caught them. Either way we will have a better indication of where to begin the search for the car."

Alice began to cry softly, "I keep thinking that it could be one of our kids. Oh my God! Their poor parents!"

Bella's eye flooded with tears as well and her hand tightened on Edward's shirt as she bit back a sob, "What if… do you think…" she had wondered if what had been going on with them was somehow connected to what had happened to the girls.

She felt Edward's stomach tighten beneath her fingers as he pulled her closer against him, "We don't know, baby girl. I don't think so; we will know more once the police get here."

Bella nodded.

A few seconds later they heard the cars on the gravel road and everyone raced for the front door.

The teenagers piled into the entrance hall and it seemed as though everyone was talking, asking questions and making sure that their own children were safe.

Edward urged everyone into the great family room and they all gathered around where Nicholas sat between his parents, giving them an account of their day. When he got the part where Nadia had confronted him after the game and then in the bathroom, Edward shot Emmett a worried look.

"Has she done something like this before?" Emmett asked.

Nicholas shook his head, "No, but I have felt her looking at me, but she never said anything to me before now. I'm just glad that Leah was there."

Edward scowled what the fuck was going on? These women should have been checked out!

He gave Anderson a black stare. Anderson was already on the phone talking to someone. He put his phone away and spoke quietly, "Leah Clearwater is on her way here. We'll get to the bottom of this."

"Tell us about when you last saw Kathy Thomas, Son," Edward prompted.

"Well, the match ended at about three or so," he looked at his cousins for confirmation and they agreed with him.

"Daniel and I walked Kathy and Erica, that's her sister to Kathy's car and she and I made arrangements to meet back at the parking lot at about a quarter after eight, because her parents were away for the day. They had gone sailing on the Lake with Kathy's dad's clients and they were only getting home after six or seven. Erica didn't go with her parents because she gets seasick."

Daniel agreed with Nick's story and he told them that after the girls had left, he and Nicholas had taken a shower and had changed before they bought bottles of soda and they met their siblings on the beach before they headed off with Jung Cantrell to purchase wood for the fire pit and refreshments.

Everyone sat quietly after they had finished recounting the day's events. Carlisle noticed that it was after ten and he prompted everyone to try and get some sleep.

After all their visitors had left, Edward and Bella put their younger children to bed, before they checked on each of the older kids.

Edward wasn't surprised to see that Nick, Sam and Jackson were all up in the attic dorm room, while Bella noticed that Alexis and Bonnie were already in bed in Alexis' room.

"Are you having a sleepover?" Bella asked with a slight smile as she looked at the girls that were under the covers of Alexis' double bed.

Alexis shrugged her shoulders and Bella could see that she had been crying, "We just don't want to be alone, that's all." She said quietly.

Bella walked over and sat down on the side of the bed.

"Sweetheart, it's okay. This is a terrible thing to have happened and we are all worried about Kathy and Erica." Bella smoothed Alexis' thick hair off her check as she leaned over and kissed her, "I love you sweet girl. Now try not to worry too much and just get some sleep okay?"

She reached over and tucked the thermal blanket around Bonnie's shoulders, "Goodnight, Bonnie, sleep tight, honey."

"You too, Mrs. Cullen'

Bella smiled when Alexis asked her to leave a light on. As a little girl Alexis was always afraid of the dark when she was nervous or unhappy. Bella turned on a low lamp in the corner of the room and she made sure to double check the locks on the windows and the French doors.

She quietly closed the door and went in search of Edward and the boys. She heard talking from upstairs and she made her way to the double doors at the top of the stairs.

When she pushed the door open, she smiled. Edward was sprawled across the bottom of Nicholas' bed, while Jackson sat with his back against the headboard, strumming his guitar. Sam lay across his bed, as he checked the wheels of his skateboard.

The scene looked so normal, that for a moment Bella forgot why her sons had all decided to sleep together. She looked at Nicholas' face and the sadness and worry in his face brought everything back to her.

Edward turned his head and held out his hand, "Hey, Baby, we were just talking."

Bella walked over and sat down next to Nicholas and put her hand on his knee, "How are you doing love?"

"I'm worried about her, Mom. I'm freaking out. I'm not serious about her, not like Jack and Bonnie, but she's a nice girl. She's sweet and kind and I don't why anyone would want to hurt them. If she's been in an accident, she could be lying in a ditch somewhere, hurt."

Bella reached over and brushed his dark brown hair off his forehead. His blue/green eyes were stormy and troubled and Bella cupped his cheek lovingly.

"I wish that I could tell you that this will all end well, my love, but I can't. All that I can say is that she is going to need a friend when this is all over. They will find them, Nick."

Nick nodded and Bella pulled him into her arms for a hug.

Edward watched as Bella rocked Nicholas in her arms for a while. She was such a loving mother. Bella had been born to nurture. Over the years, her love, dedication and commitment to their children had grown and Esme often said that Bella was a better mother than she was. Bella would just laugh and tell her that she had learned how to be a good mother from her.

Bella reluctantly let Nick go and she whispered something in his ear which made him role his eyes and snort as he looked across at his brothers.

"I think that I'll be fine here, Mom. But thanks for the invitation. I'm sure that Dad wouldn't approve, though."

Edward raised his eyebrows, "What was the invitation?"

"Oh, she just said that if I have bad dreams or am worried, I could come and sleep with you guys."

Jackson, Sam and Edward began laughing.

"Right, no, not happening. Baby, what were you thinking?" Edward said teasingly.

Bella was blushing as she mock glared at her husband and sons.

"Fine! Laugh it up, funny man; just wait till I get you alone!" Bella growled playfully.



"Seriously, Mom?"

It was just what they needed to lighten the mood.

Edward got off the bed and pulled Bella up next to him as he grinned at his sons and wiggled his eyebrows, "On that note, we will leave you guys alone. Good night, boys, sweet dreams."

They left to a chorus of 'goodnights' and 'keep it clean'.

Edward wound his arm around Bella's slim waist as they walked downstairs, while she had her hand in his back pocket.

"Do you want to check on the minis again?" he asked.

Bella shook her head, "No, I think that they should be fine. Let's go to bed; I have some punishment to meter out."

Edward chuckled, "You are going to have to catch me first."

Edward said and he took off with a pinch on her ass down the hallway towards their suite.

Bella laughed as she ran after him, giggling.

When she entered their bedroom, her room was in darkness, except for the reflection of the moonlight on the dark lake that shone through the open windows.

Bella stood still as she tried to listen for his breathing.


"Edward?" she whispered. Somehow it just seemed wrong to break the silence with a loud voice.

Somewhere to her left she heard him chuckle.

She turned quickly but there was nothing and she huffed.

"Edward, come on!"

From the corner of the room Edward watched his wife. She looked ethereal in the moonlight. Her dark hair looked black, while her skin was almost iridescent. Edward watched as she licked her lower lip.

"Isabella," he whispered as he shifted from one dark corner, along the wall behind her and into the opposite corner.

Bella gasped as her hand flew up to her throat.

Edward stepped up silently behind her. Bella felt a shiver of delight as she felt that reliable feeling of electricity that told her that he was near.

"So, Isabella, the hunter becomes the hunted." His warm breath tickled her ear as she gasped at the effect that his velvety voice had on her. She could feel how her nipples had hardened to almost painful peaks beneath her lacy bra and the gush of moisture told her that she had ruined another pair of panties.


Edward smirked as he ran his nose down the side of her neck. His fingers had found their way to the light cotton button down shirt that she was wearing. As his fingers flicked the buttons open he dropped a kiss to her shoulder.

"All in good time, my lovely, sexy, girl, all in good time."

Bella's eyes rolled back as she gave herself over to just feeling…

For a little while they could forget that some dark force was at work…


A/N: Well, I'm sorry but this began as a regular, fluffy chapter but then the ideas crept in and that old evil Chief and his crazy crew began to speak to me…

Sorry for the 'fade to black' moment at the end there – I just wasn't feeling lemons in this chapter, but let's see what we can do for the next one – maybe a little 'playroom' fun?

I hope that you liked it. I promise that I'm working on the next chapter as I type this. How are you enjoying this so far?

Hugs until next time,