So it's been awhile. I apologize for my absence. Bad writer's block, working over 60 hours a week, bereavement, divorce...it's been a real clusterfuck.

Anyways, for those of you who are even remotely interested in this story here's the next chapter. I will try my hardest to get this back up and running.

Last time in FS, we saw Jasper and Edward kick some ass with Jacob's help and Aunt Tilly was there too. Bella went back in the house to wash off more than the day's grime as she remembered Demetrius' words over and over. Edward showed up, and here's the last few lines of dialogue from the last chapter:

"You are so fragile but so dangerous, Isabella Swan." His hand moved to my neck, delicately stroking down to my collarbone.

I shivered as my name was formed on those perfect lips. I was staring at his mouth now and remembering exactly how he tasted. I swallowed. "What do you want?"

He leaned forward then, getting even closer to me. His face inched closer to my neck, and I felt his cool nose graze my throat. Then his lips were at my ear.

"You."


His lips formed around that word, those perfect lips moving, forming a small, lax O. I shivered, feeling every nerve tingling around me. His fingers dipped lower, and I closed my eyes at the sensation of his skin on mine. Unbidden, my mind echoed another voice.

I wonder if you still know how to do that wonderful thing with your mouth.

My eyes snapped open, and I took a step back from him.

"Edward, I can't. Not with all the shit in my head after...after all that out there." I gestured towards the window with my chin.

He stared at me; his dark eyes still had that odd red ring around them. I watched as he turned to go, his broad shoulders and tall frame moving toward the exit.

"Wait!"

He stopped but didn't turn around. I walked forward until I was directly behind him. My hand shook as I reached out and laid it on his shoulder blade. Under my fingers, his t-shirt was still damp from the rain.

"Edward, I—thank you, for saving me."

Demetrius's voice slithered through my brain again, and I inwardly shuddered. I needed a hug, the reassuring physical contact, but wasn't sure if this was something I could ask from Edward. I wasn't even sure if it was something he would give me. He was so cold in many ways, but I remembered what it was like in his arms as he kissed me.

"You are welcome." His velvet voice was soft, and he moved from my touch and left the room. I listened to his retreating footsteps, first down the hallway, and then on the stairs.

+FS+

I sat outside on the front porch in one of the rocking chairs, wrapped in a black fleece blanket. I scanned the trees, unsure of what I expected to find. I assumed the threat was over, but I still hadn't seen the others. Only Edward remained in the house; he prowled restlessly from room to room. It drove me nuts and out onto the porch.

I tensed as my eyes saw a slight movement in the trees to my left. Jake emerged from behind a maple tree, his face serious. His eyes landed on me, and he jogged towards the house, dressed in a clean white t-shirt and black Adidas pants.

I stood up as he ascended the stairs. "Are you okay? Where's Becks?"

Jake shook his head. "I haven't seen her."

"What?" My face fell, and panic laced through my chest.

"I lost track of her during the fight. It's like she was there, and then she wasn't. I tracked her for about ten miles towards the North, and then it just drops off. There are vampire trails that criss-cross over her scent. I'm gonna see if Edward will help me."

"You don't think she—"

"No. I would know."

"How?"

"When we're in wolf form, we're linked, mentally. I can hear her, and she can hear me. And I can feel her, like she's a part of me. I would know if something had happened to her."

My gut tightened at the thought of anything happening to Becks. We had been through so much, the three of us. Where Jake was loud and exuberant, she had been the quiet and constant older sister, looking after both of us.

Jake must've read the look on my face. "Don't worry. She won't be far."

I stepped towards him, towards the reassuring wall of his chest. He opened his arms. "Bring it in, Sugartits."

His big arms wrapped around me, closing the distance between us, and I laid my head against his chest. He sighed. "How're you holding up?"

"The big vampire, the one that Edward fought with?"

"Yeah?"

"He was my dealer, Jake."

"What?!"

The horrible things in my head came spilling out of my mouth. His arms squeezed tighter, and I could hear his heart beat pick up as I talked about a time in my life I would rather forget but had to acknowledge. Jake had known some of it, but not all of it. Not even Aunt Tilly knew the things I was revealing against Jake's chest.

When I finished, Jake and I were both silent. We stood there, with nothing but the sounds of the forest around us.

Then finally, he spoke. "I could kill him all over again. I wish I could."

"Only if I get to help."

"You bet your sweet rack you would."

I snorted against his chest, and he squeezed me.

"Did I ever tell you how much I love you, you big fuck?"

"I love you too, you dirty skank."

We laughed together, and I felt myself relax.

+FS+

Night had fallen, darkness slowly claiming what it could from what the houselights couldn't reach. Jake paced, unsure of what to do. Becks still hadn't made an appearance, and we were both worried something had happened to her.

"Jake, just go after her."

"I don't want to leave you alone."

"I won't be alone. I have Aunt Tilly and the Ungrateful Dead in the other room. Plus I'm a tough bitch."

He shot me a look, and his lips tightened as he regarded me. "What if—"

"What if Becks is alone and hurt? Neither one of us can live with that alternative. Just fucking go already."

He mulled over my words, his eyebrows drawn together, his forehead creased. "I'll try to call you every six hours. If you don't pick up, I'm coming back."

"Just don't come back without our big sister."

Jake nodded. I didn't want him to go. He was the one constant that I was able to cling to in this whole mess. The thought of something happening to Becks scared us both.

I walked him out onto the porch, and he turned toward me. Jake hugged me close and whispered in my ear.

"Be safe, Sugartits."

"You too, Jake."

He kissed my cheek, and without another glance, walked towards the woods, taking his shirt off on the way. His back was a study of beautiful dark skin and muscle. There was a tattoo running along his spine, tribal symbols, the meanings of which were a mystery to me.

I knew that back, even though it had changed so much since we were children. I knew it because it was so much a part of me that it was an extension of myself, which is why it hurt to watch as it parted from my space, from my sight.

I wished Becks would suddenly appear, as if she had gone out for coffee and forgot to call. Jake would call her something crass, and we would all laugh together.

Walking back into the house, I saw Edward standing at the living room window, far too still. Aunt Tilly was upstairs, and Jasper was in the kitchen.

It was too quiet, except for the sound of the washing machine as it gurgled from the laundry room.

I felt horribly alone.


Thanks for reading.