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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…

2. Chapter 2

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1712   Review this Chapter

Chapter Two-

Bella walked into her father’s house with a smile, her family around her. They were gathering together for the first time in four months. Her family had been forced to move away to dreary Montana in order to keep their secret from the humans. Nessie and Jacob had been attending Columbia University in New York would be there as well. She could not wait to for the family reunion.

“Calm down,” Edward said, taking her hand. Bella gave her husband a wide grin. After years of marriage, it was like he could read her mind, even if he really couldn’t.

“I can’t help it,” she squealed. “I’m just so excited.”

Edward chuckled at her antics. “I know you are dear,”

Bella pivoted her torso to look out the rear window of the Ferrari. Behind them, she saw Jacob and Nessie in the Volvo- Edward and Bella had given it Nessie to learn how she could drive. Bella smiled at her best friend and her only daughter, whom she dearly loved. “We haven’t had the family together in over half a year. I miss my father and my daughter,”

Edward gently stroked the back of her hand. “As do I, dearest.”

Bella smiled at his term of endearment. With a lustful voice she said, “Also, I miss our little cabin,”

Edward looked increasingly interested. His voice took on a deep, husky tone. “As do I,” If her heart could beat, it would be racing with the look he was giving her.

“Tonight,” she promised.

“Deal,” he answered as he pulled into the driveway. Jacob parked behind them. Carlisle, Esme, Jasper and Alice had already arrived, as had most of Jacob’s pack. Embry, Quil, Seth and Leah waved whenever Bella got out of her car. Charlie’s cruiser was parked beside the house.

“Why aren’t you all inside?” Bella asked curiously.

“Hey, Bells,” Embry waved.

“Charlie’s not home,” Seth answered.

Edward crinkled his brow, “Really?” To Bella, he inquired, “Did he know that we were coming?”

She nodded. “Yes. He did. He set it up, remember?”

“Oh, right,” Edward said.

“What seems to be the problem?” inquired Carlisle, hands shoved in his pockets. He asked though he already knew the issue.

“We can’t find Charlie,” Edward answered.

Billy, whom Jacob was helping out of the Volvo, spoke. “I think I know where he is,”

Bella crossed her arms, and snapped, “Please, then, inform us all.”

Billy shook his head obstinately. “No, this is one thing that I have no right to meddle with,”

Bella snorted and muttered, “That’s rich,”

“Bella,” Esme chided softly.

Bella looked cross but said nothing. All of the vampires looked at the Quileute Elder with disdain and apprehension. Billy obviously knew what was going on and the fact that he was keeping something about Charlie- possibly the aging man’s well-being and safety- and was not telling. It irked them all.

“Dad,” Jacob said, “Please, just tell us,”

Billy shot his only son an apologetic look. “I can’t, son. This is something that Bella can’t hear from me,” Seeing the look of pure terror on Bella’s face, he quickly added, “He is perfectly fine. This is simply something concerning family,”

“What do you think I am?” Jake asked with some heat. With a soft sigh, Renesmee placed her hand on his forearm. Jacob looked at lovely face, and immediately calmed down. Billy shot a thankful look to his son’s fiancee and it was received only with a glare. The father of three was not fazed in the least.

“Let’s go on in until Charlie decides to show up,” Bella suggested gaily as she tried to turn hostess and salvage the situation. Esme gave her an approving smile. The fifteen different creatures shuffled into the small home to wait.

Bella and Esme shuffled around the kitchen, preparing food for the starving werewolves. Even Leah, though begrudgingly, was going to eat what the vampires made. As she was putting the pheasant into the oven, Esme stumbled over a shiny metal bowl. She looked down at the ceramic floor, perplexed. “Did your father get a dog?” she asked Bella.

“What?” Bella laughed as she diced the tomatoes, “No. Charlie hates dogs. Absolutely loathes them.”

“Hmm,” Esme said nothing more on the subject.

“How much longer, Bells?” Jacob yelled from the den. Bella heard the television blaring the latest football game. She listened: Steelers vs. The Patriots. How interesting. Charlie would probably be freaking if he knew that he was missing the kickoff.

“Until Charlie gets home,” was her answer.

“Oh, damn,” Jake muttered. He was bored and hungry. Not a good combination for any one.

A familiar whistling filled the air. Everyone save Billy hear it. There was a mad rush to the door and front window to see Charlie come home. What they saw surprised them all. Charlie beside a teenaged girl with long black hair and a slim build. Though it was a warm fall day, she wore a jeans and a jacket with the hood drawn up. Her head was bowed so it was impossible to tell if she was pretty or not from the position. Even more surprising was what was between them. A large golden retriever trotted along on a bright blue leash with its pink tongue hanging out of its mouth. When he saw the parking lot his driveway had become, he gestured to it with joy evident on his face. The girl beside him did not seem to care, though she did match Charlie’s increasing speed. The dog did not even seem to notice the faster pace.

Charlie opened the door with a grin. “Hey, family!”

“Dad!” Bella cried as she rushed to hug her father. Charlie threw his arms around his precious child.

“Hey, Bells. It’s good to see you.” He crushed her tightly against his chest.

Thankfully, she no longer felt it. “You too, Dad. It’s been too long.”

“It has, baby,” Charlie agreed. “It has,”

All bystanders were touched by the family reunion. More importantly, they were all extremely curious about the strange girl who stood awkwardly in the doorway. The dog was obviously hers; it sat contentedly at her feet, observing the world with golden eyes very similar to the Cullens. The girl stared at the floor, fully aware of the fact that she was an outsider intruding on what was supposed to a family gathering. Charlie finally seemed to catch on to the fact that no one else knew who she was and decided to enlighten them.

“Everyone, this is Cinnamon Iris Potter,” he announced a little to gaily for Iris’s pleasure, “and she is living with me for a little while until things settle down.” He tried to make it quite clear through his expression that they were not allowed to ask questions about her until she was out of the room. That only spiked their curiosity and embarrassed the poor girl further.

“I’ll set another place at the table,” Bella announced, breaking the awkward silence that settled around the room.

“Thanks, Bells,” Charlie smiled. “Iris, why don’t you put Marley in the backyard until everyone leaves,”

Iris did nothing to acknowledge Charlie. She started walking and the obedient dog followed her. It was as if the mutt was her shadow. Renesemee followed her, curious. Her mother called her back too softly for the humans to hear, but she ignored her. “Hey,” she said to Cinnamon. The girl didn’t answer. Bella rolled her eyes at her daughter’s kind and caring nature.

“So, Dad,” she said, sliding up next to Charlie who gave her a look of apprehension. He should be scared, Bella thought. Let the games of confession begin. “How did you come to have Cinnamon?”

“First of all,” Charlie gave his daughter a look that only a parent could give, “Her name is Iris. She hates Cinnamon. Secondly, she is a ward of the state and I am her guardian until either she goes to Foster Care or she comes to the age of majority. Thirdly, her parents were murdered by her elder brother who then turned the gun on himself. She found the bodies.”

Everyone stood at attention, in shock. Even Renesmee, who was trying to learn Iris’s favorite color. The only one who did not hear the announcement was Iris, and for that, they all were thankful.Charlie continued, “I don’t want anyone to bring this up again tonight. If you have questions, ask me later, but not in her presence, do you understand me?” He said, sounding like a cop. If anyone disobeyed him, no one doubted that he would throw them in lock up for a week.

A chorus of ‘yes sirs’ sounded throughout the room. No one was going to cross Charlie and risk his infamous wrath.

“How did you come about the dog, Dad?” Bella asked, arms folded as she struck the pose of a mother interrogating her child.

“It was her brother’s,” he sighed. “The morning after I brought her home, she disappeared. Frantic, I sped to Amsterdam only to find her walking along the interstate. She was going to take the dog for a walk. Said her brother did it all the time, and that it needed to be fed.”

Edward interrupted, “Why didn’t animal control have the dog?”

“She locked it in a closet in their basement while she waited for the police to arrive. Apparently, she didn’t want to risk it being put down,”

Carlisle looked at Charlie, alarmed. “Is there a history of violence?”

Charlie shrugged. “She’s adamant that there isn’t, but I’ve got a friend at control doing a check. So far, nothing has come up.”

Edward grinned, “That’s comforting,”

Jake cleared his throat. The coven and Charlie looked at the pack of wolves and their elder. “You all seem to be forgetting that half the people in this room are doggish.”

Bella laughed, “You choose company, Jake. Not family,”