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Finished. Six years after Breaking Dawn, a brutal murder is committed near Forks. When called in the middle of the night, Charlie Swan rushes off to do his civic duty and protect the public. Three hours later, he returns home with a new ward: the only survivor of the double homicide. From the beginning, it is clear that the poor thing needs a new start, a new life- and someone to save her from her old one, especially when ghosts from the past resurface. And, with Nessie determined to overcome her own demons, the two realize that friendship can come from the strangest places.

All of this belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Duh…

17. Chapter 17

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Chapter Seventeen––

It was too early for anything even remotely close to Algebra II, and yet, there she was, sitting Mr. Collins’s class, bored out of her mind. She wanted to stab her eyes out with her Number 2 mechanical pencil just because it was something to do. Logarithms were easy enough; she could do them in her sleep. When Mr. Collins answered his constantly ringing phone, she threw her yellow pencil the desk. It hit with a sharp rap, and several students looked at her with awed faces. Mr. Collins was the one teacher that no one pissed off. He was that bad.

She was just begging for it in their minds.

“Is there a problem, Iris?” Mr. Collins asked loudly.

Iris glanced up at the slowly balding man with a sneer. “No,”

“Then if you please,” he said, “what is the answer to example four in your book?”

Iris glanced down at the greasy old textbook. Number four…number four. Log 2. She rolled her eyes. With a leering glare that told the teacher just how much of an idiot she thought he was, Iris rolled her eyes. “One hundred,” she crisply told him.

Mr. Collins pursed his lips. “Correct,” he told her. Plainly, he expected her to not know it. “Can you tell the class how you got that?”

She wanted to make some snippy comeback, like ‘It was beneath the question,’ but that only would make him angry. Seth was worried that she was getting in trouble too much, that she was causing herself unneeded grief. If only there was a way to piss the teachers off without getting in trouble. Alas, it was not so. Poop.

“Unless it is otherwise stated, Log is understood to be ten. Because it is ten with the stated exponent of two, it equals one hundred,” she told the ugly man.

Another nod. Mr. Collins was unimpressed with her knowledge. He wanted her to fail, to teach her that she was uneducated and needed to be taught. Like she cared. It was the last day before Thanksgiving break. She wanted to get school over with so she could get back home to cook. Sue asked both her and Leah to help cook. The fifteen year old was incredibly excited.

The bell rang. Students stood in unison as they slunk out of the classroom while Mr. Collins shouted out their homework. Nobody cared.

“You are so lucky the bell rang just then,” Elzie Taylor commented with a smile as she walked past Iris. “His head was about to pop off.” Her laughter chimed brightly as she pranced down the hallway to her waving friends.

“Can I not leave you alone for ten minutes?” Brady asked from behind her.

“Oh, you know me,” Iris rolled her eyes. “Flouting authority with every word,”

“Seth was right you do need a keeper,” he teased.

Iris bumped against him. “You are so not man enough,” she quipped. For the time being, she would let the keeper comment slide. Maybe––just maybe––Seth was right. When she was with the pack, she felt more safe than she had in a long time.

Brady playfully glared down at her, and balked. Seth was right. Iris was short. “I could protect you with one arm tied behind my back,” he told her.

She giggled. “You are so funny,”

“Hey!” Brady cried out indignantly.

“C’mon,” Iris instructed. “Let’s go get lunch,”

“I’m starving,” Brady agreed.

“It shocks me how much you and Seth eat,” Iris said as she picked up an apple from the bin. “I’s disgusting,”

“No,” Brady shook his head. “That rabbit food you east is disgusting.” He gestured to the carrots and celery that littered her plate, and wrinkled his nose. “That’s disgusting,” he reiterated.

“It’s healthy,” Iris sniffed. “Keeps me skinny,”

Brady gave her the classic up-down, and sneered. “Personally, I think you’ve got a smokin’ hot body and one helluvan ass, but Seth has always preferred girls with a little bit more meat on them.”

Iris flinched and looked down. “Like…more boobs or more fat?”

“Both.” Brady picked up the largest sliced of pizza that he could find. “All the girls have big boobs, round butts, and bright eyes. You’re the fist non-jiggly girl that he’s date in forever. Maybe ever.”

“Jiggly?” Iris repeated as they sat down at the table.

Brady nodded with a stupid grin. “Yup, super jiggly. The kind of girl that makes you glad to be a single guy with loose morals,”

Iris flushed. “I am lacking in the super jiggle department,” she candidly admitted.

Brady openly stared at her chest. “You’re alright,” he said finally after a great amount of deliberation. “You’re what? A B?” Iris flushed but nodded. Brady nodded his head acceptingly, “That’s a little less than a handful each. That ain’t bad,”

“I don’t even want to know how you know that,” Iris said. “I’m sure it involves a lot of practice, and snooping.”

Brady cockily shrugged. “What can I say? I got game,”

Iris rolled her eyes. “No, you got dumbass girls. I don’t like not being as jiggly as Seth’s other girls,” she forced herself to admit. “That makes me insecure,”

“I don’t know what you should do about it,” Brady told her. “So don’t ask me. That’s girl shit, and I don’t do it.”

“You are so helpful,” Iris snapped.

“I’m not a girl,” he told her truthfully. “I don’t want to be either. I just fuck you all, I don’t do the emotional stuff. It’s crap like that anyway that messes up any sort of relationship,”

Iris quirked her head. “What do you mean?”

Brady groaned and leaned forward. Elbows propped up on the table, his face was just inches aways from hers. People started to stare, but she decided not to care. It could be dealt with later. “Guys don’t do emotional. It doesn’t matter that you’re not jiggly like the other girls he’s dated. He’s still dating you, isn’t he?” he told her exasperatedly. “Girls make everything confusing with emotions and feelings. They don’t matter in the end. He’s dating you. End of story. Why doesn’t matter,”

“That’s bullshit!” Iris declared with a twist of her mouth.

“Is it, Iris?” He leaned back. “Is it really?”

“What do you mean?” she asked with some trepidation.

Brady answered, “You’re with Seth, and you aren’t jiggly like Amber or Belicia. But you’re still with him. That means something. If you keep on with these emotions, and insecurities, you’ll only make everything worse. Just relax, and let it happen. Who knows? Maybe Seth has decided he’s an ass man. And if not?” He grinned ferally and his gaze zeroed in on her chest. “Hell, I’ll give you a whirl,”


Brady grinned broadly. “I told you, Iris: you’re a smoking piece of ass. Seth’s lucky he got to you first,”

“I can’t decide if I’m flattered or insulted,” she snapped.

“You’re pleased,” Brady laughed. “Trust me,”

“I can’t,” she retorted. “That’d be going on emotion, and then I’d ruin anything we might ever have.”

Brady laughed loudly. “You learn well, my young padawan,”

Leaning forward, Iris grabbed the biggest slice of pizza from his plate. Brady let out a disgruntled cry, but Iris was too quick for him. She took a big bite and laughed, very pleased with herself. In response to his outraged and questioning look, she taunted. “I have to work on making myself jiggly,”

“You’re ruining something good,” Brady said as he crossed his arms and pouted.

Iris laughed loudly. Her newest and most perverted friend––who thought along the same lines as her––was entirely too much fun. Yes, the pack was doing her wonders. Old Quil must have been right; she was meant to be here.

It was amazing how quickly shit could hit the fan. One minutes, she was joking around with Brady and drinking her diet coke. The next second, people were screaming and lunches were flying. Brady yelled for her to get down, as he jumped over the table. Plates were flying, and girls ran, screaming in fright. A plate of spaghetti his Elzie Taylor’s pink blouse, and splattered over Iris.

That was when Iris saw it: a giant wolf beat snapping its jaws as it foamed at the mouth and roared. It stood on a broken blue table, up to its haunches in lunch. She saw Brady slinking towards the shredded piles of clothes, and a sobbing Germain. Iris grabbed Elsie’s wrist and jerked her down beneath the table. The lovely girl’s mascara ran down the smooth curves of her cheeks, blending with her heavy foundation.

“Iris!” she cried. “What are you doing? We have to get out of here!”

“Wolves attack things that run,” Iris shook her head. “Easy kills give beasts their backs,”

“What?” Elzie shrieked. “Are you some kind of nature freak?”

Germain screamed like a banshee. The towering wolf stood overtop of her, snarling. Brady was speaking in cal tones with soothing words. His hands were turned to the ground, and his shoulders were hunched forward in a submissive manner. He was trying to not shift, Iris realized. He did not want to give away the pack, or threaten the wolf. He wanted to keep the situation under control.

“Back away from her,” he was saying. “Calm down,”

“Brady!” Iris screamed as the wolf snapped its massive jaws at his heels.

“Iris!” he yelled without looking at her. She was distracting him, so he could not concentrate. And yelling only made the wolf more agitated. “Stay back!”

Unknowingly, she had crawled out from under the safety of the table to help him. Quickly, she took a step back. She wasn’t much use here. The wolf swerved to look at her. Its disjointed gaze filled her with terror. There was a raving lunacy in those familiar yellow eyes that froze her burning blood and kept her heart from beating.

“Elzie,” she whispered, desperately trying to unfreeze herself. “Run,”

“What?” the terrified girl cried again.

“Just go!” Iris ordered. “Now!”

Elzie glanced at the scene. The wolf lunged at Brady who easily ducked. His senses were superior to a normal high schooler’s, even as a human. Grabbing the shocked Germain, he shoved her towards them. “GO!” he thundered.

The wolf saw Germain run towards Iris, who had her arms stretched out. Grabbing the sobbing girl, Iris puled them both to the floor. It was just in time, too. The wolf flew over their heads and onto the table. Its large, wet nose reached towards Heaven, sniffing the air.

“Iris!” Brady yelled. “We have to get it outside!”

“Are you crazy?” Iris screamed as a paw swiped the air beside her face. It clawed the air maliciously, desperate for Germain. She was bleeding, Iris realized as she held the trembling girl. It soaked through her shirt, and stained Iris’s. It made her sick.

“I can’t do anything inside!” he yelled.

Of course. The cameras. Shit. Iris scowled. Turning towards the girl in her arms, she demanded. “Can you run?”

For her credit, Germain––lips pressed tightly together––nodded staunchly. Her four eyes focused on the doors that opened out to the patio. It was thirty feet away. They could make it. They could make it. “Ready?” she asked Iris.

Iris nodded. “Brady!” she called again.

Steeling his resolve, the all too human boy picked up a soda can. It was still full, and heavy in his hand. Shoulders squared, Brady reeled back in the perfect pitcher’s stance. Heaving with all of his might, Brady threw the can directly onto the foreign wolf’s head. It connected with a solid thump, and exploded. It howled as Diet Coke ran into its protuberant eyes. After an eternity of pain, it realized that Brady was responsible for its pain. Furious, the wolf leapt off the table, and in a single bound, crossed the linoleum floor.

Back turned, it had to way to see Iris lift Germain to her feet. Hands locked, the two girls ran with all of their might for the doors. Once they were outside, Brady could shift. Hopefully, the rest of the pack would be there as well and save them. Iris was sure that she was capable of defending herself against human attackers. She was not so sure about animals ones.

It would have worked, too, if it were not for Germain’s heels. They clacked loudly on the floor, echoing in the eerily empty hall.l Instantly, the wolf focused on them, and jumped. Germain screamed, but Iris jerked her along even faster. Loosing their heads would only get them killed.

Ten feet was all that separated them from freedom. Ten measly feet. Unfortunately, ten feet was all the space the wolf needed. With a great leap, it planted itself firmly between them and safety. It glared maliciously at them, daring the to try. And Iris was dumb enough to take the challenge on.

“Fake left, and run right,” Iris whispered to Germain, careful to keep her expression calm and her voice low. “I’ll go left,”

Germain was so scared that she could not think. She would gladly take any assertive direction. “Okay,” she nodded.

“Three,” Iris counted down. “Two,” she glanced back at Brady. He was tensed, ready to grab Germain as soon as she ran. It was up to him to keep her safe. “One!”

And she aran. The wolf’ confused eyes followed, eager to pounce. As it dove for the, Iris pushed Germain back with all of her might. The girl slid over to the right, into Brad’s arms. Together, the two ran out the doors. Meanwhile, Iris dropped to her knees, sot he beast would miss her. It did, but just barely. She slid on her knees over the floor, closer and closer to the door.

“Iris!” Brady yelled from the haven of outside. “Get out of there!”

That, however, was easier said than done. She scrambled to her feet, and dodged another swipe of the beast’s paw. No one was going to help her, and with the fear pumping adrenaline through her veins, she did not need them to. She was less than five feet from the door when the wolf connected.

It’s heavy paw hit her back, sending her flying. Iris feel to the ground, scraping her elbows. The wolf’s weight stood on her firmly, keeping her planted on the ground. It was crush her; she couldn’t breath. Pain burst from her still healing shoulder and from her middle back where the wolf’s sharp claws dug into the soft flesh. Somehow, the wolf was aware that it was hurting her, and retracted its claws. Still, it kept her pinned against the cold ground.

“Get off her!” Brady roared. He was suddenly standing before her, shaking with rage. “You’ll smother her!”

“Cheyne!” Germain screamed.

Iris froze. Cheyne: Germain’s twin brother. He was the wolf, the attacker. That explained his fixation with Germain. But did he want to protect her, or hurt her? Cheyne‘s wild eyes stared at his sister, as if her voice broke him out of a trance. He then looked down at Iris, and blinked liked he was seeing her for the first time. With a sorrowful snort, he stepped off of her and released her. Iris was on her feet before she could sneeze. Cheyne looked at her with sorrowful, saggy eyes and whined.

Iris took a step forward, and faltered. Those doggy, familiar eyes drew her in. He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He was scared, unaware of what was happening. He had no control over his body, over what his body did. He had not meant to hurt her. There was a clamor at the other end of the cafeteria. Teachers and policemen rushed to save their precious students. Cheyne’s eyes widened in fear and he shifted, uneasy. “Let’s go,” Iris told him.

Brady grabbed Iris’s wrist and jerked her out of Cheyne’s way. A bright light flashed, and then, Iris screamed. She was plummeting to the ocean below. She heard Connor and Paul’s whoops beside her, and she realized it was not her yell, but Brady’s. Then she was growling, snapping her jaws at pale skin and red eyes. A vampire. One who ruthlessly killed and who needed to die mercilessly. Just as she bit into the cold, rocky flesh, she tasted warm milk, and smelled pork roast: his favorite dinner. No one could cook like Mom.

“We need to get out of here,” Brady was saying. “We need to explain things to Cheyne,”

Sam’s authoritative bark silenced any talk. Germain gasped as seven large wolves materialized on the edge of the forest. Iris watched as Sam called Cheyne to him. He was a wolf now; he was Pack. Head hung in shame, Cheyne dutifully took his place along the line.

“What’s going on?” Germain yelled. “Where’s he going?”

She started to run after them until Brady grabbed her. Pulling her into his chest, he whispered. “Let him go,” he ferociously hissed. “He’s safe, now,”

“No!” she yelled. “That’s my brother! My brother! Get away from him!”

Brady growled and Germain flinched. Quickly, Iris intervened. “She needs to understand,”

Brady’s protest was silenced as Sam’s shaggy head nodded. Lips pursed, and glaring, he nodded his head in resignation. Two of Germain’s four eyes widened with a mixture of shock and fear. “What’s going on?” she cried.

Iris’s cold eyes met hers. “Go with them; they’ll explain everything.”

“Germain!” a voice screamed. It was a panicking Mr. Collins. “Brady!”

“Shit,” Iris snapped. Her eyes flashed. “You’ll have to go, now!”

Brady scooped Germain up in his arms. “What about you?” she yelled.

“I’m going to cover your ass,” Iris retorted. A warm furry head nudged her hand. Looking down, she grinned. It was Seth who’s warm tongue affectionately licked her palm. Large eyes stared up at her sappily, and her cold heart melted again. It was just something about him that made her feel loved. “I’m all right,” she softly murmured. “I’m all right,”

Germain balked. She never imagined that she would see Iris smile so lovingly, speak so gently. This was utterly incomprehensible, not at all what she supposed the defensive girl was like. What did this cult do to her?

Sam barked, and, as one, the pack disappeared into the fog. With the final kiss to her hand, Seth ran after his brothers. Shoulders squared, Iris steeled herself for the barrage of questions that threatened to destroy the pack. She would not let that happen. Iris grinned evilly. Handling them would not be difficult at all. She was a surprisingly good liar.