Okay, so first story! It's going to be a pretty slow burner because I really don't see either character rushing into anything, but I do envision romance in the future! There will be a sequel which will be more Patrick/OC based but for the time being it's pretty much just about the OC, Isabella. As I've said it is my first story so pleaseee be kind, but I would love for people to review to let me know what you think of it and how to improve. I have written a fair amount so far but uploads will be quite few and far between because the chapters take me a long time to write and I'll be pretty busy with exams and such. So, yeah, I think that's pretty much it. It's set just before the end of series 3 but not really at any specific point. Sorry for the mammoth note, too.

Rated possibly over cautiously for dark themes. Italics mean flashbacks.

I only own my characters and the stories that they're based in. Anything recognizable, sadly, doesn't belong to me.


"Put it back."

"But mom-"

"No buts. We've had enough animals in this house to start a zoo. No more, okay? And put you're shoes on or you'll be late."

Isabella Sanders was rushing around as usual at this time in the morning. Getting everyone ready on time to get where they needed to be was a full time job in itself, never mind her 9-to-whenever-the-hell-the-force-wanted-to-let-her -go gig. They worked her ragged but she loved her job and so was never able to complain too much about the long hours.

"Its the first day of term anyways, we never do work..." Samuel, the eldest of Isabella's two children at 8, muttered, clutching a toad tightly between two closed hands.

"He gets it from you, you know," Richard Sanders commented between sips of coffee, eyes never leaving his morning paper.

She rolled her eyes at the truth of this and continued to prepare her children's lunches.

"Mom, have you seen my-EEEKK!" A girl of 7 had descended the stairs and screamed, pointing with shaking fingers at her older brother, "He's doing it again! Tell him to stop!"

Sam had started to stuff the toad into a plastic container, "Lizzie you're such a tattle tale! What was I supposed to do? His leg is hurt, he'd never survive."

Lizzie stuck her tongue out at her brother, plonking a pink beenie over her blonde hair and hiding behind her mom with a squeal when Sam thrust the plastic towards her, knocking over a box as cereal as he did so.

"Stop it, both of you! Why can we never have a normal morning without arguments? And please, Rich, can you give me a hand here? For Christ's sake, I'm doing this all on my own!" Everyone was silent as she frowned at her husband.

"Sorry mom."

"Yeah, we're sorry. We'll clean it up."

Isabella sighed "No it's fine. Grab your lunches, you don't want to miss your bus." She waved her children off before they grabbed their coats and ran out of the front door. "Be safe you two and no more animals, okay Sam?"

"I promise!" He called back to her, running down the driveway with his younger sister in tow. He grabbed the beenie from Elisabeth's head and took off laughing. Her cries of indignation rang through the street as she failed to catch up to her brother.

The 32 year old woman shook her head and turned around to face her husband. He looked up at her from behind an extended cup of fresh coffee sheepishly and patted his lap.

She smiled at the gesture. "You know I don't drink coffee anymore. Not after I had Sam." Wafting away his outstretched hand and sitting on his knee she added, "I don't mean to get angry, it's just that the house is a mess and we have viewers coming over tomorrow. We're never going to get the house sold in the state it's in." She ran a hand through her shoulder length blonde hair.

"Iz, stop stressing out, it'll all be fine!" Richard recognised his wife's sign for worry and untangled her hand, kissing it before holding it gently. "We'll tidy up tonight for the viewing tomorrow. Push stuff into cupboards, hide stuff in the basement, you know the drill!" He grinned at her in an attempt to lighten her mood.

She smiled again at her husband of 10 years. He'd been handsome when they had first met at college over 14 years ago, but over the last half decade he had really grown into his looks. The boyish charm was still there but so were a few wrinkles around his eyes and mouth. His brown hair was well styled and no longer the mop of slightly curled madness it once was. He filled out his suit nicely, without being unbearably muscular, and would always go out of his way to help others. It was this along with many other qualities that had drawn Isabella to him all those years ago.

She got to her feet slowly and kissed her husband gently. "You're right, I do worry too much. I also need to get going, jeez, look at the time!"

She grabbed a slice of toast from the rack and held it in her mouth, zipping up her vest and then jacket. Just as she turned around to get her keys she remembered something. "Oh, and Si said something about coming round this evening. He didn't say what for but I'm sure we can rope him in to helping us with the cleaning."

Richard's face set. "Yeah, I'm sure we can if you ask him."

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

"You know, Issy. He's been in love with you since high school, everyone can see it! The way he looks at you. Like you're some prize to be won."

"He's just a friend, Rich! I don't understand where all this jealousy comes from!" She glared at him, yanked her keys off of the holder and marched for the door. She looked back at him and told him to grow up before slamming the door loudly.

It was only a short ride to work, but it was long enough for her to start regretting the argument that had just taken place. When she was younger she was always told by people that she had a fire about her. It seemed that as she had aged the trait hadn't been lost, but subdued in motherhood. Her passion was something that had attracted her husband to her, as he had often told her, and was what had caused them to meet for the first time.

It was an unseasonably warm day and many of the students were lazily dozing on the green or eating in any shade they could find. One young woman, however, was bustling around aimlessly, with one arm clutching too many books and the other a sheet of paper displaying her timetable. She was muttering to herself and shaking her head, angry at herself for not being more prepared, when she felt the impact of another person walking into her. She lurched forward with an "oof", spilling books and sheets of paper onto the cobblestones in front of her.

"Hey, sorry about that! Guess I need to watch where I'm going." The boy knelt down and began to sort out the mess he had created, straightening his jacket as he did so. "Capital Punishment: A Balanced Explanation... Yikes"

"Yeah you do." Isabella replied angrily, snatching the book out of his hands, "Perhaps you should worry more about the death of the poor cow that you're wearing than my major." She gathered her papers together and stood up hastily, taking another pointless look at her timetable, then her watch with a sharp breath.

"Let me guess, late for the Animal Rights meeting?"

The boy smirked at her and she sighed gritting her teeth.

"That obvious?"

"Yeah. I'll take you if you want?"

She raised an eyebrow. "How would you know where it is?"

He held out one side of his jacket as if to show it off. "Faux leather. A few of my buddies went last year."

"Ah..." She smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, I didn't mean to judge. I get a bit worked up when things don't go to plan."

He chuckled warmly. "I can tell! Well then, can't have you be any later can we? Puppies to save, monkeys to release! I'm Rich by the way. Richard Sanders."

He extended a hand and she took it after juggling her heavy book load.

"Isabella Flynn. My friends call me Issy."

"Well then, Issy, it's very nice to meet you." He smiled cheekily and led her to the lecture room.

Sitting on the grass about 50 meters away, unseen by the pair he had been watching, was Simon Parker, Issy's best high school friend. He seethed at the exchange and found himself ripping at the grass around him. This wasn't right. When she said she needed time to think that shouldn't mean she wanted to swan off with the first boy she met. She was his. And only his. And nothing would change that.

It was busy all day at work and so Isabella never found the time to ring her husband and apologise for her temper. And why should she? she reasoned with herself. Sure, she got a bit mad with him but this whole Simon thing was getting out of hand. He was her friend, her best friend. There was never anything between them and never would be. She loved Rich with all her heart.

"Hey Iz," someone called her name pulling her from the trance she was in. "You finish that filing the boss told you to?"

Isabella looked at the clock and her heart sank. 4:52.

"No. Shit, that was for today?"

The sympathetic look in the man's eyes told her what she already knew. She ran a hand through her hair. "I'll never get it all done in time."

"Sorry, Issy, you know I'd stay to help but Sandra came down with something yesterday and I gotta look after the kids."

"Yeah I know you would, Frank. I appreciate it but I don't expect you to stay. Go home, and send Sandy my best won't you?" She said with a reassuring smile.

"Yeah will do. Good luck!" He said with a wave. She shook her hand in his general direction and huffed out a breath at the enormity of the task at hand.

3 long hours later, everything was done. Her desk was neat and tidy for the first time in a long while. She gathered her things hastily and grabbed the locking up keys. She hated being anywhere on her own at night, which was probably pretty irrational since nothing had ever sprung out and attacked her. She supposed most fears were like that though. Regardless, she still tiptoed through the dark to the security guard, Joey. They were on good terms which most likely was a result of how often she stayed late. She handed him the keys with a tired smile and made her way to her car, shoulders hunched and alert for danger. She jumped at a noise to her right. She readied herself to scream when Joey came into clearer view, brandishing her car keys. Her heart raced and she lashed out to hit him.

"Don't do that to me!" She shouted as Joey chuckled lightly to himself, rubbing his chest and pretended he'd been hurt.

"You gave me the wrong keys ya goof."

She snatched them out of his hands with a scowl. "You're such an ass! How'd you manage to sneak up on me anyway?"

Joey stood at nearly a foot taller than Issy, which was not unimpressive considering she was 5 7". She dug around her bag, uncovered the correct keys and gave them to Joey. They said goodbye once more and Isabella began the journey home. The roads were pretty quiet at this time, so she made it home sooner than usual. As she turned onto her road she noticed Simon's silver jeep. Of course! She'd forgotten all about him coming over tonight. She rushed through the front door to greet him and apologize to her husband for for how late she was.

"Rich! Simon?" She called, muting her voice to avoid waking the kids and dropping her jacket and keys on the breakfast table.

The house was shrouded in darkness and she could make out only basic shapes. She peeked into the dark living room and could see no human shapes in the unlit room. Frowning, she turned to the stairs and climbed them two at a time. She pushed the door to Lizzie's room open and found it empty, then succeeded to do the same with Samuel's with no more luck. Panic had begun to set in. Where on earth where they? She rationalized that they must all be in the master bedroom. Right? Yeah. Watching a kids film, making the most of bossy mom being away and staying up late. She readied herself to scold her husband and Simon for being in cahoots and pushed the handle down.

The door swung open of its own accord. All four windows were wide open with curtains billowing, bringing in gusts of freezing January wind.

It took a while to register the horror in the room. Her breathing hitched and she began to shake uncontrollably. Her husband was sat slumped against the wall, head lolling and lifeless. Blood covered his once crisp, white shirt and soaked into the green carpet, creating a dark pool around him. Elizabeth, her baby Lizzie, lay on the floor as though asleep. Blonde, curly hair framing her delicate face. A red stain grotesquely spread across the bear face that brandished her pale t-shirt. Sam was sprawled on his front across the carpet at an awkward angle, brown hair stuck to his scalp with blood. Time stood still.

A shadow shifted in the corner of the room and Isabella's eyes were reluctantly drawn to the moving shape.

"Finally. I thought you might never show! Hah, well no harm done, you're here now. Whuddya think?"

Simon held his arms apart, signalling his work, a crazed look in his eye. A strangled sound escaped her. He noticed the lack of emotion that he expected-happiness, of course!-and frowned, tilting his head sideways.

"What's wrong? Its perfect! We can start afresh! No kids, no Richard to worry about. Just me and you!" He grinned maniacally and reached out his hands to grab hers. It was here that she really noticed him. Hands stained and crusty with dry blood, red hand prints adorned his jeans, face hollow and haggard.

"W...what?" She struggled with the words. Her voice sounded foreign to herself.

"I did it! At last! I got Richard first, the asshole. He didn't expect it, see, so he was stuck before he knew it. It slowed him down so it didn't take long to finish him off. Sammy was brave. It was really a shame to have to have to kill him. Lizzie was bawling and wailing over Rich, causing such a noise so I had to shut her up, but Sam wouldn't let me. Shielded her with his body, even when faced with a knife!"

She couldn't believe what she was hearing. They must be alive. It was all just a joke, it must be. Any second now, Lizzie would sneeze and Sam would tell her off for ruining the joke and Richard would jump up with a sachet of fake blood and hug her in apology for the cruelty of the whole thing. She ran for them, hoping against all odds that her fantasy was true, or at least that they were asleep or in a coma or that the blade had missed vital organs or anything, just anything, that meant her world wasn't torn apart.

"Hey, they're dead, okay? Nothing you can do now. And we can be together. At last. Like we've always wanted!" He grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him.

"Get off me! Get off, you monster!" Isabella jerked and twisted in an attempt to free herself from his grasp.

"Well that's not very nice, considering I did this for you." He said, clutching her even tighter.

"You disgusting, horrid, evil-" Isabella flew backwards from the force of the back of Simon's hand.

She took the opportunity to crawl over to her family and touch each of them in turn, body lurching with tearless sobs.

"How dare you." Simon said, shivering with anger and injustice. "All my life I've watched you, waiting for this; waiting for us to be together. Now, I've given us this opportunity and you throw it back in my face? I don't think so!"

He grabbed her arms and pulled her backwards off of the floor, holding her to face him at arms length. The crazed looked had left him and was replaced by a look of pure disgust. Fury radiated from him and she flinched away from the man she once knew. He threw her onto the bed and followed her. She lay there, helpless and undefended. Broken.