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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…

3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3016   Review this Chapter

Chapter Three-

Iris sat cross legged on what she supposed was now her bed. It was in what Chief Swan insisted was to be her room- and she could do whatever she wanted with it, he had made that point quite clear. Harley was sprawled out at the foot of the bed, pretending to sleep. Iris knew that he was closely watching her- he always did whenever Micah had to leave the house. He protected her whenever her brother couldn’t. Brushing a long lock of hair behind her ear, she stared down at the empty sketchbook in front of her. Chief Swan had not realized that she had smuggled a small bag of needed items out of her room. A change of underwear and clothes, her iPod and sketchbook, Harley’s collar and leash. All were things she needed. As soon as he fell asleep, she was going back for more stuff.

“You shouldn’t wander off, like that,” Micah said.

Iris didn’t even look up from the page where she was drawing a unicorn. It wasn’t no shitty unicorn, no way. It looked realistic, as if it were going to gallop off the page into the viable world. She wished it would, sometimes. “He will never know,” Iris answered her brother as she flicked her wrist across the page.

“Still,” the apparition of her brother chastised, “Something could happen. Something bad, and no one will know until it’s too late,”

“I think I’ll risk it,” she said flippantly.

“I’ll tell,” he threatened.

Iris breathed heavily, declaring her annoyance. “Fine. I’ll take Harley.”

Micah looked at his beloved dog wearily. “I don’t think that he’ll be enough, Iris.”

“Do I hear you doubting your loyal and fierce dog?” she teased, looking up at him.

Micah grinned. “Never,”

“Then stop complaining,” she snapped. His face fell. Damn, she had won. Iris grinned defiantly. She knew it as well.

“I’m going, too,”

“Do whatever you want,” she mumbled, “It’s a free country.”

Micah snorted in derision. “Sure, whatever you say, sister dear.”

“Iris?” Charlie said as he walked up the stairs. His footsteps were heavy and his breathing seemed slightly labored. For a cop, he was certainly not the epitome of physical fitness. Surprise surprise. “Who are you talking to?” He knocked and then opened the door.

“No one,” she whispered, looking at Charlie with dead eyes.

The old man flinched. He was a fool if he thought that she was going to speak to him anymore than was absolutely necessary. “Oh, all right then. Good night,”

She did not return the well wish. Instead, she shaded the wild horse’s mane as it blew in the forceful wind. No one was allowed to know about her secret hobby. No one. Only Micah knew and that was because he spent so much time her room, hiding with her. Micah looked at Charlie’s retreating form. The poor man looked so despondent. His special sister was not cutting him any slack, that was for sure. She made it quite plain that she wanted to go home, and to be left alone. Micah sighed. Iris needed help. He pushed the door closed. Charlie turned at the sound. He was positive that he saw Iris sitting on Bella’s bed as the door swung shut.

“Don’t be such a girl,” Iris muttered, unaware that Charlie was listening intently on the other side of the door.

“I’m not,” Micah said, fully aware that he was. Maybe this was the way to get Iris help.

Iris snorted. “Yes, you are. Good night,”

Micah realized that he had been dismissed. As Iris pulled off her stretched out shirt, he vanished from sight. She unclasped her bra and breathed deeply. It felt good to let the girls fly. For the past week, she had slept in her bra, afraid that Chief Swan might barge in on her at any given moment. After five days, she had gotten a sense of routine down- one that did not involve her being pestered night and day to talk about ‘it’. It. What a ridiculous word. It could refer to anything and everything and was so generic that it held no value whatsoever. Pulling on her favorite pajama bottoms and a tank top, she slipped under the covers, content to wait until midnight to sneak out. If she hurried, she reasoned, she could make it back before dawn. Micah was going to argue that she needed her sleep. She did, but she wasn’t going to get any, so it was pointless to lay there and do nothing when she could do something worthwhile.

The minutes inched by, but finally, it was midnight. Iris jumped out of the bed, landing softly on her toes. Grabbing her jacket and Harley’s leash, she opened the door. It creaked loudly, making her wince. She counted to sixty-four Mississippi’s as she waited for Charlie to come bounding up the stairs, guns ablazing. That would be just the thing she needed right then and there. No one came. Nothing in the house stirred. Harley whined slightly and he titled his head to the side. The poor, exhausted dog was confused and nearly asleep on his feet. If she hadn’t promised Micah that she would bring him, she would have left him to sleep soundly on her bed.

Avoiding the stairs was a must, so she slid down the banister, landing on the ground silently. Harley seemed to understand that silence was a necessity. He tread down the stairs almost silently, using his canine sixth sense to avoid the creaks in the stairs. Iris sighed, eternally grateful to the faithful hound. Grinning, sure that she was home free, she unlocked the door and would have screamed if it weren’t for the hand that covered her mouth. A strong grip drug her out the door and closed it behind her. The ground disappeared from beneath her feet and she suddenly stood in the back of the house, beneath her bedroom window.

“Just what do you think you are doing?” a strong voice asked.

“What the hell are you doing?” she screamed.

“Quiet!” the voice barked, “You’ll wake Charlie.”

“That is what I’m trying to do!” she shrieked, fully aware of the fact that she sounded like a weak, helpless little girl. She hated it, but then and there, hubris was going to get her killed. She most certainly didn’t want that. She was loathe to admit it, but she was a wuss and still afraid of death, despite the fact that her family was dead. She didn’t want her brother to think she was weak- she wasn’t! But the thought that the strange man in front of her could overpower her and rape her at any second was terrifying.

“Do you really want to explain to him why you were sneaking out?” He had her. Damn. “That’s what I thought. Now,” the looming figure towered over her, “Go back up to your room and go to sleep,”

“What the hell are you doing out here?” Iris hissed.

“I’m your guard. Jacob didn’t want anything to happen to you. We all figured you would pull a stupid stunt like this.”

Iris looked at the figure, thinking quickly. “Jacob? As in, Renesmee’s fiance?”

The man knew he had screwed up. “Of course not. Now, up you go.”

Iris looked up at the window, “I don’t think so,”

“Now,” he ordered.

“Dude, you aren’t scary, so quit that crap. It ain’t working. As for the window, I can’t climb up that high.”

The guy gave an exasperated groan. “Don’t scream,”

“Wh-” Iris didn’t finish her sentence. The words died in her chest as she flew through the air, spiraling to the closed window. It was suddenly open and she was on her bed. What the? Two tan arms deposited Harley onto the floor and retreated. Iris ran to the window. All she was a fleeting black figure darting into the woods. She and the dog shared a look. Well, she was certainly going to have to get to the bottom of this one. Life- though tragic- had suddenly gotten much more interesting.

Nessie was surprised the next morning to find Charlie’s ward awake. Iris lay on her bed, her face blank as she stared blankly at the cracked ceiling. At her feet lay her dog faithfully. Nessie realized that she never had seen them apart. It truly was dedicated to her, and that sentiment would melt any stone cold heart. As she walked into the room, Harley sat up and watched her with his honey eyes.

“Good morning, Iris!” she sang. “Rise and shine, ‘cause I have a surprise for you!” She smiled brightly, ready to become friends with the human girl. Aunt Alice always said to put your best foot forward and that was exactly what the half-vampire intended to do. Never before had she had a friend, a fact that made her feel like she missed out on something. Sure, she was friendly with all of her aunts and uncles, but she reasoned that that was because they were family, and she had to like them. She got along well enough with Jacob’s pack, but they were his friends, not hers. Nessie had thought college would bring her friends, but she and Jacob had started being intimate, and she enjoyed it too much for socializing. SIne she had cut him off while they were near her mind reading father, now was the perfect time to start a friendship. Quickly, she knew that it would take some effort.

Iris sat up on the bed and blinked twice. She said nothing. Renesmee was not deterred in the least.

“We’re going shopping!” Nessie squealed excitedly. The girl stared dubiously at Nessie for so long that she became somewhat annoyed. “Hurry up and shower real quick so we can go!” Nessie shoved a silent Iris into her mother’s old bathroom. She shifted through Iris’s room while she waiting, hoping to find out something about the reserved girl. Her brown eyes fell on the bed where a torn book lay twisted in the sheets. Nessie reached for the sketchbook only to pull stop when Harley let out a low growl. Nessie pulled back- not out of fear that the dog would harm her, but out of respect for Iris’s privacy. Whatever lay hidden in the yellowed pages was obviously very important to her, and it made Nessie oh so very curious.

Twenty-three minutes later, Iris walked out of the steam bathroom in a snugly wrapped towel. She said nothing as Nessie handed her a new pair of bra and panties- thank God for Aunt Alice’s foresight; Nessie loved her Grandpa Charlie dearly, but he had let poor Iris walked around in the same clothes for a week *nasty!*- but Nessie caught the shock that briefly splashed across her face. So she wasn’t as stoic as she pretended.

“Get dressed so we can go shopping,” Nessie ordered with a smile.

Iris ignored her. Instead, she began the long, arduous process of towel drying her hair. Nessie waited patiently for about forty seconds before she snatched the towel away. Iris gave her a potent glare. Nessie had to admit, Iris had perfect the evil eye. It was even scarier that Aunt Rosalie’s.

But she was far from deterred. “I won’t take no for an answer.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder, “And after you’ve met my dad, you’ll realize why you’re not scary.”

Iris cocked her head whenever Nessie mentioned her dad, making the half-vampire’s instinct kick in. Did she suspect anything odd? Last night, they had been clear to make it seem like they were all friends- no relations except the marriages or engagements- they were perfectly clear. Nessie recalled the entire evening in an instant. She was quite positive that nothing had been done to reveal their secret. Had her and her father’s similar looks given them away? No. That was impossible. Carlisle, Rosalie and Jasper looked very similar yet were truly not related. Everything was all right. She was just over reacting, Nessie convinced herself. She plastered a large smile onto her face and waited. Iris stared intently at her for a moment, than, silent in defeat, picked up her dirty jeans. Nessie watched in disgust as she shimmied into them and then pulled on her stretched out shirt. They really needed to get her some new clothes, NOW!

Grabbing her arm, Nessie quickly drug the girl down the stairs and into her shiny Volvo. Iris forced away a grin, and blankly stared out the window. Nessie took her to Port Angeles, where they shopped for hours. Nessie bought Iris every outfit that she deemed cute, and never once did Iris utter a word. Skirts and shirts were thrown up onto the ever growing pile. Nessie must have picked out at least twenty pairs of jeans for her to try on. Iris was astounded by the wealth that Nessie seemed to throw around, and wondered if she should refuse the sweet but annoying girl’s offer for the clothes. Eventually, she decided not too, if she was going to refute the girl’s attempts of friendship, she had to cement the impression of cold hearted bitch in Renesmee’s mind.

Nessie looked over at Iris. The terse girl stood in front of a hat rack, and looked at a Dodgers had intently. Nessie plucked the hat off the rack and gently put on the tippy top of the pile. Thinking for a second, she grabbed two matching black berets. Grinning, Nessie paid and they were off back home. Iris had not once spoken.

“I think that Forks is so beautiful,” Nessie tried for the thirtieth time at starting a conversation. “I love it here. The small town atmosphere, the neighborly closeness, the kinship, I love it all.”

Iris snorted. “It seems like it’s one of those towns where it’s still illegal to read.”

Nessie stopped and looked at Iris with wide eyes. Iris realized that she had uttered that thought aloud. Her eyes were wide and fearful- she hoped, why she didn’t know, that she had not offended Nessie in any way, and that her image of coldness had not been hurt. Nessie burst out laughing, letting Iris know that the latter had occurred. Damn.

“That is so true!” she hit the steering wheel. “I love it, I love it. I love it! Ha!”

Iris feebly grinned. Then, she glared at the entire world and slumped down into her seat. Nessie was not fooled. Iris and she were going to be great friends. Dropping Iris off at Grandpa Charlie’s house, she shouted through the rolled down window, “Hope you like everything!” Iris nodded. “I had fun!”

Iris said nothing. She carried her six large shopping bags into the house. Charlie was not home, so she knew that she could talk to the apparition of her brother again. She missed her brother terribly. Renesmee was getting ready to pull out when she barely heard Iris whisper, “Me, too.”

Grinnig, Nessie pulled out of her grandfather’s driveway and sped back to her house.

“You should have said no,” Micah said crossly. “You are taking advantage of them, and it is wrong. You don’t need charity.”

“I don’t care,” Iris stared at the ceiling. “I wanted the clothes,”

“That’s selfish,” Micah snapped.

“I’m incredibly selfish,” she retorted.

“You used to not be,” he replied.

“You used to not be dead,” she snarled than froze. Tears formed in her eyes and she sat up, searching for her brother. He was gone. Cursing herself, she started to sob. She shouldn’t have snapped at him. It was her fault he was dead; he committed suicide for her. She had no right to treat him that way. She was a horrible person.

“Micah!” she called out, frantic. “Micah!”

No answer. She had angered her brother, and now, he might never come back. Iris could not handle that thought, she couldn’t. She needed Micah to survive. He was just as necessary to her as oxygen was. He protected her, kept her safe from the people that were supposed to love her and didn’t. Tears clouding her vision, she darted out of her room and down the stairs. She jumped the last six stairs, thankful for her hobby of street gymnastics to cushion the force of the impact. Pulling the drawers out frantically making them fly off the hinges, she searched for a knife. Harley snapped at her feet, warning her to stop. She knew that he wouldn’t hurt her, Micah had trained him specifically not to. She sat on the floor, and prayed to God, before she paid her penance to her brother. A few minutes later, she threw the knife in the sink and rinsed it off. There was no need for anyone else to know her little habit.

“That’s not good for you,” a voice said.

It took Iris a moment to realize that someone was talking to her. She screamed. Looking up, she clutched her arms to her chest and met blood red eyes. “W…who are you?” she gasped out.

The woman who looked down at her laughed. “I wasn’t even sure that you could see me. I heard you talking to your brother, but I didn’t know if you saw him only because he was your brother or if saw all of us.” She hissed the word out to make it sound sinfully pleasurable.

Iris looked at her beauty. “I have the Sight.”

“So you do see ghosts,” she clarified.

“What’s your name?” Iris asked. She had to know the woman’s name to help her to pass on.

The woman grinned malignantly. “Victoria,”