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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…

4. Chapter 4

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Chapter Four-

“Victoria,” Iris said dryly, “That’s a pretty name,”

Victoria smiled. “Thank you. You are a sweet child,”

Iris looked at Victoria appraisingly. She was not stupid. It was plain to see that Victoria was manipulative and compulsive. Helping her pass on would be difficult, and Iris would have to be very sly so as to not get tricked by the pale woman. Gingerly, Victoria knelt down and conjured a rag in her hands. She tore it and tightly wrapped it around both of her arms. Iris looked down, surprised by her caring touch. Only Micah had shown her such tenderness before. It startled her but she did not yank her arms away.

“You shouldn’t mutilate yourself so,” Victoria gently chastised. “It’s not good. You could die,”

Iris sniffed. “I don’t care,”

Victoria shook her head, mortified. “You should. Your brother would not approve,”

Iris flinched. Victoria took the hind to not speak of the dead boy again. “Do you know what I am?”

Iris shook her head. “The ghost of a woman,”

“How did you know?” Victoria asked, with some mirth.

Iris reached up and touched her neck. Victoria’s hand followed. Together, they touched where her pulse should have been. “You’re cold,” she commented.

“I have been even colder for almost a hundred fifty years,” Victoria whispered. “But that’s not what I meant,”

“Then what did you mean?” Iris asked.

“I asked if you knew what I was. And, you don’t.” Victoria gave her a smile, “But don’t worry, Iris. Almost a hundred percent of the world does not know what I am.”

“And what are you?” Iris asked, not really caring what the answer was. She had heard it all.

“Young one,” Victoria said, “I am a vampire.”

Well, that was a new one. Iris stopped for a moment, pondering Victoria’s confession. She had to analyze it. Was as the woman crazy? Was she for real or was she simply trying to screw with her? Iris was fairly sure it was the middle one. That choice brought up the question: did she mean literally or figuratively. Before she could ask, Victoria shook her head.

“A true one,” she said.

“Whoa,” Iris breathed, “And you still can’t pass on?” she said skeptically. “Afraid of Hell?”

Victoria gave Iris an appraising glance. “You seem to believe me. That was very easy.”

Iris shrugged. “I see ghosts. Vampires… it’s plausible,”

“Perhaps,” Victoria pursed her lips. “I need your help,” she continued.

“How?” she said warily.

Victoria looked at her in disgust, “I thought that it would have been obvious. You need to help me pass on, and to do that, I need revenge.”

“Revenge?” Iris said skeptically. Revenge was not her area of expertise. That was Micah. He was the sweet but evil mastermind that always foiled their parents. “To whom and how?”

“The Cullens. They killed my mate.”


“My husband,” Victoria said dismissively. “Edward Cullen ripped him apart with his bare hands.”

“Ew!” Iris wrinkled her nose in disgust.

“I know,” Victoria agreed, “He is a completely heartless bastard

“It seems odd to me that a human could tear apart a vampire,” Iris tried to fin a way out of revenge.

“Vampires. They are all vampires,” Victoria explained. “And they killed my husband before they murdered me. I want revenge,”

Iris looked at Victoria speculatively. “Let me sleep on it,”

Victoria scowled. “Fine.” She vanished leaving Iris sad and confused. Ghosts did not scare her, nor did dead vengeful vampires. Her wrists hurt, but she welcomed the pain. She looked down at them and remember what the kids at school had told her: don’t cross the street, walk beside it. That was sick and twisted and it hurt like crap. She heard a car door slam.

Groaning as she stood, she ran up the stairs. Her breathing was light and controlled. She had to keep her heart rate down or else she risked bleeding out. Once inside her room, she closed the door. Immediately, she was set upon by Harley, who was frantic from both her stupid idea and then the freaky chick. He followed her like a shadow, never more than a half a foot away from her. Iris was touched by his loyalty.

“What do you think you were doing!” Micah roared. He attacked her as soon as she walked into her room. Grabbing her arms, he shook her slightly, “Were you even thinking? Of course you weren’t! Iris, how could you! You need to be more responsible now that I’m gone! I can’t hover around you twenty-four seven, watching out for danger and keeping you from doing stupid things like this!

“You promised, Iris! You promised that you would stop! And you didn’t!” he thundered.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled as she wiped her nose with the back of her wrist. “We…haven’t fought in ages, and… I…I didn’t know what else to do,”

“Iris,” Micah said gravely, “Cutting is never the answer. Never. I swear…if you ever do it again, I will be so angry.”

She bobbed her head emphatically. “Never again,” she promised, “I swear.” And she meant it. She never again wanted to press the cold steel of a knife onto her burning skin.

Micah looked at her sternly, trying to discern the truth for her gray green eyes. After years had passed in seconds, he seemed satisfied. “Good.” He grinned at her. “I’m sorry for the fight,”

“It really was stupid,” Iris said with a slight smile.

“Yeah, it was. Listen, Iris, this is serious.” Micah waited until he had her undivided attention. “I don’t want you to be with this Victoria character. She is bad news, I can tell, and whatever she is doing, I don’t want you involved in it. Do you understand?”

“Did you know that the Cullens- or that whole gaggle who never told me what their surnames were- are vampires?” she asked as she suddenly remembered that minute detail of the conversation.

“Yes, and no,” he admitted. “As a part of the paranormal universe, I could sense that they were not human, that they were somehow different. I did not know that vampires even existed until the redhead confessed all.”

“Should I tell Chief Swan?” Iris inquired.

Micah shook his head no. “No, don’t. He already knows. Bella, his daughter, is one, and I think that he is aware of that.”

“And he didn’t feel the need to inform me whenever I came here?” Iris cried out indignantly.

“Sssh,” Micah shushed her, “Keep it down, Iris. You have to remember that Chief Swan is home now. He can’t hear me, but he can hear you. As for him not telling you, he couldn’t’ve or else he would have sounded crazy. No one sane would have believed him.”

“I would have. I see apparitions, remember? Vampires aren’t too far of an intuitive leap.” Iris said.

“Now is not the time to be a follower of Einstein,” Mica replied. “I don’t think that the Cullens mean you any harm. Their presence is very different than Victoria’s. Hers is laced with a certain malice that makes hair stand on edge.”

“So you felt it too,” Iris mused.

“Iris,” Charlie opened the door and stuck his head in.

She froze. Without thinking, she whipped around and pulled her arms behind her back. Under no circumstances could Chief Swan see the bandages.

“Who are you talking to?” He asked, inspecting the room.

“No one,” she squeaked out.

Chief Swan stopped and looked at her peculiarly. After a week of not having uttered a word, to hear her voice sounded on. It was actually a very soothing voice, low, melodic, sorrowful. “Are you sure?” he interrogated.

“Is it common for you to eavesdrop on other people’s prayers?” she asked acerbicly.

Chief Swan blanched. “I’m sorry,” he said truthfully, “I did not realize that you were religious.” Mentally, he smacked himself. Of course he should have known it. She had been clutching a Bible whenever she first came to live with him and he never saw her without the silver crucifix around her neck. “I’ll leave you be, then.” Beat red, he withdrew from the room.

“You shouldn’t lie like that,” Micah crossed his arms.

“Are you my conscience?” Iris rolled her eyes and flopped down on the bed.

“Yes, since yours seems to be missing.” was all her brother said.

Iris snorted.

Sleep seemed to be a rare commodity in those days. Iris lay awake at night, not being able to sleep at all. She didn’t want to dream- she was not prone to nightmares but with all that had happened, she did not want to risk it. Also, she just was not tired. She wished she had something better to do than just stare at the ceiling, maybe read a book or something. She had gone through all her favorite books in the Bible like Ester, and Ruth- oh yeah, girl power!- and starting Malachi seemed a fate worse than death. On a whim, she opened her window. She might not be able to talk to her brother--he always left so she could get some sleep--she might as well talk to someone out there.

“Hello?” she called out, wondering if her guard from the previous night was still there. “Is any one out there?”

Silence, and then… “Go to sleep,” it called out.

She grinned. Excellent. “No, I’m bored,” She answered.

“Then you should sleep,”

“I can’t. Come talk to me,” she called out.


“Fine,” Iris huffed indignantly and crossed her arm. “I’ll come down and talk to you.” She yelled down to the figure that she could barely see at the edge of the woods.

“You need to get your sleep,” the voice said after a tense pause.

“I’m not tired,” Iris defended.

“Go away,”

“I’m coming out!” she announced as threw her leg over the windowsill. As she lifted up her other leg to push herself off, she saw the figure run out to catch her.

“Stop!” he hissed authoritatively. “You’ll break your neck jumping from this height!”

“Nah, I do it all the time,” Iris said dismissively. Breathing out, she pushed herself off the window. She plummeted quickly to the earth, enjoying the feel of the wind whipping through her hair as it pulled her long ebony locks upward, as if begging her to not jump. Yet, she did not hit the ground. Instead she was caught in two steely arms. It took Iris a moment to gather her bearings. She could not make out much of the man’s face, but his body was warm, and though the night air was chilly, he was not wearing a shirt. Her fingers splayed across his hairless chest, and she quite liked what she felt. “You didn’t need to do that,” she said crossly.

“I had to keep you from dying,” he retorted.

“Well, you hurt to land on. The ground would have been softer, and I’ve jumped from a lot higher,”

The man snorted in disbelief.

“It’s true!” she protested. “I used to do street gymnastics back home with Toni.”

“Really?” he sounded amused.

“Yes.” She struggled to get out of his arms. It took him a second to realize what she was doing, but he quickly let her down.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“You should be,” she muttered.

“Go back up there and sleep,” he ordered.

“Make me,” Iris said defiantly.

“Fine,” the man snapped. He scooped her up in his arms and squealed.

“Put me down!” she yelled.

“Make me,” he taunted.

She elbowed him in the face. He dropped her to the ground, swearing. Iris blew raspberries at him. “Hah!”

“What was that for?” he said, clutching his face.

“I wanted you to put me down,” she crossed her arms.

“Well, you got your way,” he answered.

“I always do,” she boasted.

The guy gave a sarcastic smile. “I don’t doubt that,”

“So, what’s your name?” Iris asked.

“Seth Clearwater,” the guy answered. “You met me last night at dinner,”

Iris closed her eyes for a moment. “Oh yeah, I remember you.”

“Who are you always talking to in your room?” Seth inquired.

Iris flushed bright red. “No one,”

“Oh, come on.” Seth crossed his arms. Iris wondered if he even felt the broken nose she had so kindly give him, “I hear you talking to someone all the time. Who is it?”

“Maybe I’m talking to myself,” Iris offered.

“Nope,” Seth popped the p. “You are definitely talking to someone. I haven’t seen anyone enter or leave your room. Is it Charlie?”

“No, I really don’t talk to Chief Swan,” Iris said.

“You should,” retuned Seth, “He really is a great guy, and he must care a lot for you to let you stay in Bella’s old room. She was his whole world,”

“I don’t care,” Iris sighed.

Seth shot her a sad look. “You should.”

“i don’t,” she snapped, “And that is not going to change.”

“Hopefully, some day it will,” Seth yawned.

“Are you tired?” she asked dubiously.

“Yeah,” he stretched his long arms. “You?”

“Nah,” she shook her head, “I don’t need sleep like normal people,” she confided.

“Maybe if you did, you would stop harassing me.”

“Nope, I still would.” She grinned brightly at him. Seth smiled at her, too.

They stayed their talking until the sun began to rise on the horizon, painting the world in bright colors. Seth watched in awe as Iris bound up the side of the house and into her room. Seth watched her through squinted eyes. “I thought you said that you couldn’t climb the wall last night!”

Iris laughed. “I didn’t feel like it, last night.”

Seth sighed in exasperation. “Girls,”