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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…

19. Chapter 19

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3299   Review this Chapter

Chapter Nineteen––

“You’re such a little brat, did you know that?”

They were laying on her bed––well, on Leah’s bed, alone in the quiet. It was well after midnight, and though she technically had school the next day, Iris really didn’t care. She was much happier reading the latest John Grisham novel than sleeping or Algebra. Sleeping was a close second, though.

“Uhm...duh,” Iris purred as she flipped the torn page. Seth was raking his thick fingers through her hair, tugging out the knots and smoothing the waves. It was one of the best things she had ever felt.

Seth chuckled. “You seem rather cavalier about it,”

“I’m a teenaged girl. Of course I’m a brat,” she rolled her eyes. If she had been chomping on gum, she would have blown a large bubble for emphasis. But she wasn’t, so she settled for a caustic look and a hanging mouth.

Seth rolled his eyes. “I know,” he retorted. “I was just making sure you were aware,”

Iris held her hand up, fingers forming an ‘O’, “Mission accomplished, dude.”

Seth cracked a grin. “Yippee,” he joked and shook his head.

“Just out of curiosity,” Iris broke the comfortable silence that settled between them as she turned her head and looked at him with those large eyes that made his burning blood freeze. They were wide and undulating, burrowing into him with insatiable curiosity. “Why am I such a brat?”

“That little stung you pulled at Sam’s house,” he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. His face told her so, too.

“Oh yeah,” Iris grinned, pleased with her self. That was pretty good,”

“Sure,” Seth agreed for the sake of peace. “What were you trying to do?”

Iris shrugged her shoulders. “Some neat trick,” she answered nonchalantly. When Seth’s expression wasn’t satisfied, she tacked on, “It was supposed to be able to see all of the spirit wolves that hover incessantly around you all. And, once I’m good enough, I will be able to see all of the pack bonds, and the imprints and such.”

Seth scratched her scalp. Iris purred like the little sex kitten that she was. “Why would you want to do that?” he quietly wondered to himself.

“Besides the fact that it makes me awesome?” Iris posed the question rhetorically. “I have no idea. Old Quil thought it was a very important trick for me to learn. I’m not so sure,”

“Oh,” he said. “Well, that makes sense,”

Iris laughed. “Totally,”

“Iris?” Sue’s voice suddenly called from the other side of the door. “Seth?”

“Yeah, Mom?” Seth called to her.

Gingerly, perhaps even afraid to see what they were doing behind alone in the big room, Sue turned the knob and pushed the door open. She stuck her head in the door, and looked at the two of them sitting together now on Leah’s bed. “It’s bedtime,” she told Iris.

Her face fell. “Really?” she whined. “You’re making me go to school tomorrow?”

Sue brusquely nodded her head. “Yup. You have to get a good education,”

“There was a rabid wolf attack today!” she cried. “Is it even open tomorrow?”

“You’re going either way,” Sue told her. “You’ve missed too much school already,”

Iris’s eyebrows shut up. “Really?” she stated dubiously. She ducked her head and looked at Sue through her lashes, and with her mouth hanging open. She could not believe that the old lady would dare say something like that. “Do you really wanna go there?”

Sue did not back down. “I will if it makes you go to school,” she told her. She had no sympathy for her, or one of Charlie’s old flings. “Bedtime,” she ordered. “Seth, come on,”

With a rueful glance, Seth stood up off the bed. It was a lost cause to him. Iris grabbed his wrist, keeping him in place. Seth looked down at her with wide eyes, and then his head swiveled to his already agitated mother. Her eyes were squinted, hardened. She was ready for a fight, ready to put the moody child in her place. She had withstood her moodiness, her temper tantrums, her anger for months now, but enough was enough. Iris was belligerent, bellicose too, and her sou mood was grating on Sue’s nerves. Enough was enough.

“Let go of Seth’s wrist now, and go to bed,” she said with a forced calm.

Iris glared at her. “No,”

Sue’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline now. It was open war now. “What did you just say?” she asked.

“He doesn’t have to listen to you,” Iris snapped. “he’s a grown man,”

“And you are a fifteen year old girl, a child,” Sue retorted. She glared at the green eyed girl, ready to smack her. She had never wanted to hit a child before, but Iris pushed her limits like no one ever had. It made Sue sick to her stomach, but she was strong enough to muscle her way through it. Iris needed to be disciplined.

Iris was not intimidated in the least. “You aren’t my mother,” she hissed.

Sue didn’t flinch; she didn’t need the little girl’s approval to be a parent, or her love to raise her properly. She just needed her backbone. “I am Seth’s mother,” she told her. “This is my house, and while you are under my roof, you will obey my rules.”

“You can’t make me,” Iris challenged.

“Do you really want to test me?” she dared.

Iris staunchly looked at the woman who could possibly be her future mother-in-law, or her future adopted step-mother. It was ridiculous to challenge her; it was a battle she was loose. Chief Swan would back her up. Seth probably would too, as would the rest of the pack and the elders. There was not way she was going to come out on top.

That had ever stopped her before.

“Bring it on,” Iris retorted.

Sue’s eyebrows crossed so deeply that they touched her nose. Her mouth pursed into the tiniest frown, tight and drawn in, bloodless. Her skin flushed from aged copper to burning russet. Her heart beat rapidly, like she had just run an ultramarathon, and adrenaline ran through her veins, burning like wildfire. “Seth,” she hissed. “Leave. Now,”

Seth stood, rooted to the spot. He could n’t bring himself to disobey his mother, but was scared to leave the two most important women in his life alone with both of them looked equally murderous. “Iris,” he pleased with the beautiful girl, “Please.”

He wanted to her to apologize, and admit that she was wrong. He wanted her to obey like a good little girl, submit to his mother like he submitted to Sam. For absolutely no goddamn fucking reason. He couldn’t make her.

“No,” she hissed. “It’s personal now.” She glared daggers at Sue’ she would have killed her if it was possible and if it wouldn’t have offended Seth. Iris really did not care about Leah. “She made it about mother,”

Both Clearwaters flinched at the mention of the brutal murder. Sue fixed her own unrelenting glare on her face. “I didn’t,” she told the now shaking girl. “You did, Iris,”

Iris jerked her lips back over her teeth, and snarled horrifically, “You did,” she barked. “I blame you,”

Sue glared. “I can’t control who you blame, Iris,” she told her. “And I won’t try to. But I will make sure that you are healthy, well rested, and make sure that you are in school tomorrow morning!”

“You can’t make me!” Iris screamed. “You’re not my mom, so stop trying!”

“I might not be your mother, but I am responsible for you! You will do as I say!” Sue yelled right back.

“Or what?” Iris challenged. “You’ll ground me?”

“That’s not out of the possibility,” Sue stuttered over her words irately.

“Oooohhh, scary,” Iris taunted unwisely at the top of her lungs. “I can’t go see the friends I don’t have,”

“You certainly won’t be allowed to go to any pack functions for a long time, young lady!” Sue threatened.

“Like I care about your stupid pack,” Iris screamed and then winced at the sharp pang on Seth’s face. She unwittingly broke his heart and wrenched herself out of the heart and soul of the pack again. Whoop-de-freakin’-do.

“We care about you,” Sue retorted.

Iris snorted in utter derision. “How altruistic of you. Charity,”

Sue blanched. “I didn’t mean it like that,” she whispered.

“Well it came off like that,” Iris snapped.

“What’s going on in here?” Chief Swan burst into the room, burly and surly. It was late; he had work in the morning. Despite his head injury, he was the only one providing a stable income for the family. Sure, Seth and Sue owned and operated the gas station, and though it was enough to support the two of them, it was not enough for a family of four. Chief Swan’s income was.

He had to be rested in order to provide for the bloodsucking leeches.

The three in the room––he bristled when he saw his daughter’s hand clutched around Seth’s wrist. He was far too old for her, and she was far too immature and emotional for a relationship right now. She did not even know that she was his child; she was not ready for romance. He was not going to have another Bella on his hands.

“Iris won’t go to sleep,” Sue said through pinched lips. “Even though she has school tomorrow,”

“You’re going to make her go?” Chief Swan asked her incredulously. His mouth dropped open and his eyebrows rose up. Seth was astounded at just how much he looked like Iris. How no one knew that she was his daughter was beyond him. It was so utterly obvious when they stood side by side, and their reactions and preferences were so similar that they were inexplicably related. They even thought the same way.

“Yes,” Sue huffed exasperatedly. “She has missed enough school already,”

“Sue’s right, Iris,” Chief Swan instantly agreed with his booty call. “You have missed a lot of school,”

“That,” Iris hissed, “Is not my fault.” Her grip on Seth’s wrist turned painful. She was cutting the circulation off in his hand, and the blood loss was starting to creep up his arm, turning the entire limb numb.

Chief Swan sighed. “I never said it was,” he conceded. “But it wasn’t our fault either. School is incredibly important, and its already after midnight…”

“I’m not tired,” Iris told them. “I don’t want to sleep,”

Sue sighed. “Why not, Iris?”

Iris’s lips trembled. She did not no how to explain it. She did not want to seem weak, or silly. She didn’t want them to capitalize on her fear. But Seth knew. She could see it in his eyes. The pity. There was nothing she hated more than fucking pity.

Unless it was a whole fucking pity party. Those were the worst.

She held her breath, begging with Seth with her eyes. Her eyes pleaded with him to not tell, to keep her secret. She did not want them to know, to think she was weak. She wasn’t. Iris was strong.

“It’s the nightmares,” Seth supplied to the suddenly worried parents who were looking back and forth, confused by Iris’s sudden, explosive silence. “She has them all the time,”

Sue’s eyes widened. “Nightmares?” she whispered, hand on her breast, aghast.

Iris felt her heart sink. The one last person in the world she counted on betrayed her. Then again, she supposed she deserved it. She announced to the world that she didn’t care about his pack that he had invested his youth and current adult life in. Maybe she did deserve to be sinking alone in the ocean right now.

“They don’t concern you,” she snapped. She was not going to take their pity. They could take it and shove it up their assholes for all she cared. She’d even help. Even if they didn’t need her to.

“I’m fine,” she added as she crossed her arms.

“Iris,” Sue softly said as she reached out for her.

Iris flinched back, far away from them all. “Don’t touch me,” she hissed. “Don’t you dare,”

Sue pulled her arms back to her chest. She didn’t try to hide the pity in her eyes. She was too much like her son, caring and loving, to ignore her. She was going to mother her to death now. “Can you at least let the rest of us go to sleep?”

Iris said as far away from the others in the room as possible. She was still close to Seth, but she deliberately shied away from him. Her head bobbed. “Sure,” she whispered.

“Good,” Sue agreed. “And will you go to school?”

“No,” she whispered. “You can’t make me,”

“Iris,” Sue sighed exasperated once more. She wanted to go to bed. She needed her sleep and recoup after her trying day. She was exhausted. Looking at Charlie, she pleaded silently with him to talk some sense into the girl. She was his responsibility after all.

“You need to go to school,” Charlie uselessly agreed. His argument was weak; he was going to agree with whatever the two women decided.

“No,” Iris fervently shook her head. “I’m not going. Never again,”

“You have to go to school, Iris,” Chief Swan snapped. He was tired and irritated. She was being beyond obstinate, and it was getting beyond the point of ludicrousy.

“You can’t make me,” Iris cried. “And that’s final!”

“Now see here,” Chief Swan blustered.

“No, you see here!” Iris yelled back. “I’m not going back to the hellhole, and nothing you can say or do will change my mind! I won’t go back to the those jackals! Never!”

“Young lady, you will go to school tomorrow!” Chief Swan ordered. “You have no say in this matter,”

“You can’t make me!” Iris screamed.

“Yes, I can!”

“Oh?” Iris screamed. “And how’s that?” She stood up on her knees and balled her hands at her hips. Her entire body shook with rage as she stared down the only man in the world who dared to put up with her and not get shot. It was not for his lack of trying, though.

He was at his wits end. His head hurt after a long day at the office. His body was exhausted from training new recruits and his back hurt. Chief Swan still got splitting head pains from his concussion weeks before, and he was irritable. All he wanted to do was go to bed. In his defense, he never meant to tell her. He never wanted her to know, preferring that she hold on to the last dredges of happiness that her previous life had given her. It just slipped out.

“Because I am your father, and you will do as I say!” he roared.

As soon as it slipped out, his eyes bulged out of his head. They were wide with shock; his entire face was alight with it. Hands clasped over his grizzly mug, he tried to clamp the words deep in his throat, keep the ugly truth buried deep inside him. The last of the Swan family secrets had suddenly been aired for the world to see, and he regretted it.

Her hands fell limply to her side. “What?” she whispered, but it was so slow that no one other than Seth heard her. He was already starting his way towards her, to comfort her. She needed all the love and support she could get with such earth shattering news.

“I’m so sorry,” Chief Swan was whispering. “You were never supposed to know. I’m so sorry,”

He was crying, she realized. Thick tears fell out of his ugly brown eyes. Seth’s burning hand touched her shoulder. She flinched away.

Looking up into his familiar eyes, Iris could only scream. “Get out!” she yelled at them all. Springing up off the bed, she grabbed Seth and pulling with all her might, threw him into Chief Swan and his mother. The force from his heavy ass pushed all three of them out into the hallway. “Get out!” she screamed again. “Out!

“Iris!” Seth yelled, turning around faster than any human could. “Wait–”

“No!” she screamed. “Get away from me, you freaks! Liars! Get out!”

And with that, she slammed the door shut. She heard the rest of the household pitter-pattering outside her door, speaking in hushed tones. They were talking about her, about her nightmares and her psychotic breakdown, about her mental capabilities and her capacity to continue living a normal life. She wanted to laugh and scold them. Her life had never been normal. Seth should have known that. But then again, he was angry with her, and probably believed everything she told him was a lie. That made things easier for her.

Iris slid down her side of the door, to listen and to wait. She intended to use her body as weight to keep them from getting back in and pestering her. Human contact was the last thing she wanted then and there.

They stayed there, talking for a long time. They were concerned, Iris noted, worried for or about her, she wasn’t sure. Maybe they were worried for themselves. Who knew, she could go rogue or insane and slash them all in their sleep and revel in their blood. It was in her family history to do that. Finally, a little after two in the morning, even Seth left his perch. Chief Swan and Sue went to sleep around one, but Seth stayed there with Iris, probably making sure she would not come murder them all as soon as they let their guard down. Iris snorted. She did not want to murder them, no matter how much she wanted them gone. Murder meant dead. Dead meant more ghosts, more people that she would have to hear whine and complain. It got old quickly.

Once Seth was certain that she was not going anywhere, that she was asleep, he too drifted off towards his own room to lock himself in for the night. He did not have patrol. He was on duty all day today, and at the school. He had also run the night before. He was supposed to be catching up on his rest so that he would be fresh for Sam by eight. Iris felt a pang as she realized Sue was right. Seth did need his sleep, even if she didn’t. He was important to the community and served them loyally. She wasn’t.

She was so tired of it all: the hypocrisy, the love, the family, the suffocatingness of it all. She wanted to run away and never come back. Which was why she was happy that everyone was asleep and the moon was gone when she opened up her window and dropped a stuffed bag onto the lawn. Grinning at their stupidity––Iris had told Seth she was a practiced street gymnast, way back when––Iris followed it to the ground. Slinging it over her shoulder, she trekked off into the night, determined to loose herself in the inky darkness forever.