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Chapter Text

"Hey you, out there on the road...Can you help me?...Hey you, out there beyond the wall...
Can you help me?...Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all.
Hey You, Pink Floyd 1979

She wakes up and she isn't in her bed. At first, she doesn't realize it, because she's sort of a zombie at least an hour after she wakes up and the room is still dark. She moans, pulling whatever is covering up and over her head. She wants to sleep more, relish the first free time she's had in a month since her projects had piled up. It's such a short break, she can just sleep in for once... Plus, it was Saturday, so she didn't have to get up in a rush to catch her bus to school like she does on Mondays and Wednesdays. She can enjoy a lazy day of fanfiction and movie marathon. Maybe some sketching or getting around to actually making an art piece that is personal, her's and not an assignment.

She debates with herself the pros and cons of getting up now or trying to get back to sleep. But she is more or less awake and there's no point. She yawns, rubbing her eyes as she sits up, stretches, relishing the small cracks in her back. Absently running a hand through her short cropped hair, she pats with her other hand around in the direction her window should be in, the sile specifically. She always puts her phone there, along with her remote for the television and she wants to check the time.

She gets empty air.

She blinks. What the frack? Wonders for half a second if she fell asleep downstairs on the extra bed her mom has for guests and realizes that she is on a bed as tiny as her own twin sized one. Lauren Calderon takes a good look at the room she's in. Firstly, it's much larger than her room, even in the dark she can tell that; with its sloped ceilings, bare of any furniture but a desk with a dinosaur of a computer that she hasn't seen since she was in elementary school, a cork board and a rocking chair in one corner, near a window with old, lace curtains.

It's a very far cry than her cluttered, shelf filled room. It gives her no clue to where she is and why- neutral colors, pale blue walls, and pale wooden floors. Clean, smelling strongly of bleach and some sort of wood polish, and stuffy. It doesn't look like it could belong to anyone, really, a blank slate to fill your own personality with.

Her room is her's, it screams Lauren Isabel Calderon: colorful, half the time it's a mess but it organized neatly in divided areas for maximum use in the tiny space. It's her sanctuary, her studio and her little nest when her anxiety and depression is at its most potent. Her room is full to the brim with knick-knacks of her favorite tv shows, anime, posters and papers and movies, snacks. Her shoes scattered on the floor, jackets, and scarves tossed on the ottoman uses as a desk chair, blankets and stuffed animals she has no heart to toss out on top of a shelf in the corner which held her snacks, and games. Books, comics, manga and movies lined up and stacked up neatly, filling another shelf, overflowing and screaming of her haphazard tastes of fantastical, nostalgic and the bizarre.

Pens, papers scattered across her desk and her coffee table, small coffee maker atop a small end table by the door giving the smell of tea and coffee about the room. She can feel herself each time she enters her room; smells her lotions and perfumes, the dust she spreads on the carpet to make it smell like apples and cinnamon, candles and that distinct smell of sharpies, paint or nail polish. She feels safe and beautifully alone in her room because.. well...

It's lived in.

This room is cold and impersonal. It would've been sad, really, because she can see some semblance of life, very old and long gone. Fade pictures pinned up on board, they are crude and speak of a very small child, Christmas lights and purple lanterns are awkwardly hung by the desk, stuck with duck tape in a rushed job. The strong smell of cleaning solutions permanent the room, but she can see dust lining the computer as if the person who had cleaned had rushed the job. It's squeaky and clean and at the same time it is haphazardly cold in its unlived state, and it's as if it's trying to be pleasant and welcoming and it sends legitimately creepy vibe instead.

She blinks again, rubs at her eyes as if she's having an after vision of a dream.

Wake up. Come on Lauren, wake up, get up right now.

The strange room doesn't go away. She looks away from it, stares at her hands in her lap. The purple comforter tangled around her legs is vividly different than the blue, fuzzy, soft, double sided dolphin/flower combo she got when she was eleven and makes her not ignore the situation she's in. It's pretty and shiny, satin material, matching the lanterns by the desk. She squeezes her eyes shut, scrambling for a logical explanation why the hell she was in a room she didn't recognize. She doesn't find one that is plausible and feels herself start to breathe very quickly. She's trembling and she wonders what the hell was going on.

Stay calm. Don't scream, don't panic too badly. Don't be an idiot in a horror movie. Don't be an idiot in a horror movie.

Quickly and as quietly as she can in her panic, she get's out of the bed. She stops as she stares at her clothes. Lauren went to bed with booty shorts, braless and in a tank top. It was eighty degrees outside and boiling in her room because it's at the front of the house and facing the sun, she hates the heat, loathes it entirely. Hates to sweat hates the feel of it against her skin and the oppressive feeling of heat that across her pale-ish skin and makes her red and splotchy. She doesn't do bras when she's in the comfort of her own home because she is well endowed and her mammaries appreciate a break as does her back. She's dressed now, she notes, in a bra, black sweatpants, a ratty t-shirt full of holes and thick, plain gray socks. It's cold as fuck in here, I have goosebumps. She feels violated, wondering who the hell changed her. clothes She licks her lips and looks around.

She doesn't see any shoes on the floor, like in her room, just worn pale wooden floors, a large window, and two doors. She takes a chance, and creeps to one and opens it. A closet, very bare and small compared to her own cluttered, walk in mess is what she sees and she breathes a sigh of relief. She looks around and spots four pairs of shoes lined up neatly in the right corner. She checks the size, shivers at the fact that they are just her size and grabs the white chucks: particularly new, not a scuff or a stain, but worn to suit, frighteningly enough, her slightly wider foot at the toes. Her own pair of dirty, floral pair had the same crease where her toes start. What the hell.

She puts them on with trembling fingertips, and she tries to stop the stinging heat in her eyes or the fact that her breath is coming in harsh, hiccupy little gasps. Lauren then snatches a huge, thick black hoodie, noting again, that it's her size(in fact with a quick check she can see that the small wardrobe is all in her size range*) and walks back to the room.

Don't scream. Try to stay calm. Don't be an idiot in a horror movie. Don't be an idiot in a horror movie. You're an intelligent, non-promiscuous brunette. Points for you, less chance of being the first killed and more chance of being the plucky last survivor. Increase your chances of survival and think.

That's something she tells herself each time she walking home from school late at night, downtown in the less touristy bits of town, where there's little to no foot traffic and it screams of slasher/ rapist vibes. It's dark, the streets are deserted and she's usually clutching her pepper spray in her right hand, with a box cutter in her back pocket. She listens to music softly in one ear and keeps her other ready to hear footsteps behind her. The distance from her bus stop and her campus is roughly seven city blocks and half the time it's filled with shady people that she does her best to ignore. The bitch face is her best friend and she always tries to never show fear or hesitation. She's been followed more than once and has always tried to keep calm even when someone is freaking her out. That's the only thing keeping her from screaming hysterically now.

Don't be an idiot in a horror movie.

It's still somewhat dark, but lighter than when she woke up but giving her fairly good internal clock(not that it matters now that it could possibly be in a different time zone) she guesses it's very early morning, roughly five or six. She looks around for a weapon, eying the door that leads to the rest of the house and finds a baseball bat, purple with butterflies, obviously meant for little kids but still heavy, underneath the bed when she checks, next to a little shoebox that says 'Isabella's' in a mixture of crayon and Crayola marker. Also, much to her damn relief, she finds her phone sitting on her pillow when she checks the bed for a clue. She stuffs that into her bra(that doesn't belong to her either and looks much more expensive than anything she owns, she notes with growing dread) and heads towards the window.

It's really green outside, is her first thought, she lives in a very green suburb, with trees and wildflowers in the summer. But this green is very dark, evergreen, vibrant and rich, unlike the softer colors she's used too. Her second one is that she's on a second floor. A floor is roughly ten feet, not too bad of a fall. Just don't land on your face or back. Also, there's a tree right next to the window when she whips away the condensation on it. She looks back at the door, white, looking so innocent. Whoever brought her here could be right outside, and she rather not risk that.

She opens the window and is dead relieved that it can be open, but cringes when it starts to squeak about halfway up. She stops, breathing deeply, licking her lips, checking the door that leads to the rest of the house. Waits from some sort of noise to indicate that someone had heard. It doesn't move and the house stays silent. She throws caution to the wind and throws it open. The noise is loud, but after a minute of the door not moving she relaxes her tense posture. She licks her lips and heaves herself onto the window sile.

The window is large, not floor length, but she can sit comfortably in it without hitting her head. She isn't very tall, just five foot nothing, but that still surprises her. The smell just after rain hits her and in any other circumstances she would have loved that, loved the biting cold that settled over her, nips at her exposed cheeks and nose. But right now she can only think of the cold that had just started to settle, chasing away the Texas sun and easing into winter. There were only three seasons where she lived, hot as hell most of the year, wet as hell for a bit of the year, and cold as hell the rest of it.

How long have they had me here? Have I blocked it all out or did they just move me somewhere where it get's cold in November?

Lauren licks her dry lips, squirms in her seat because she just realized she really needs to pee on top of it all. She eyes the tree in front of her, clutching at the small, metal bat with one hand and the other at the edge of the insanely big window. The closest branches touch the side of the house, but those are thin and definitely won't hold her hundred and sixty something pounds of squish and tush comfortably. One branch, about a foot away, looks like it can hold her weight. She licks her lips again, blinks rapidly and looks towards the ground. Mostly grass, full of dew. She can do grass. If you don't make it to the tree, bend your knees. Like when I was five and I would jump off the top of the monkey bars, no biggie, easy peasy lemon squeezy.

She tosses the bat to the ground and scouts the furthest she can on the ledge towards the thick branch. Lauren wasn't athletic, not like when she was a kid zipping around like a meth head on a sugar high. But the thought of whoever was in the house that had stripped her, changed her, touched her and brought her God's knows where, makes her take a deep breath, lick her lips, and launch herself off of the ledge.

She almost doesn't make it. Her first hand slips right off the slick, moss-covered branch. It's her second hand, snatching up, flailing and with her screeching that saves her. The dangerous swing she get's is what allows her to straddle the slightly vibrating and creaking branch. Drops of water drip down from soaked leaves, getting in her eyes and soaking her partially through. She scratched her palms, and her thighs ache from the force of smacking against the tree. But she's stable and the branch holds her weight. Now to get down, slowly, swing yourself up, just like recess. She had been a boss at the handlebars, could flip and swing herself up, get to the tallest set and everything. Except the swings had been her favorite most of the time and it's been a long time since she'd set foot in a playground.

She hooks her right leg, grips the branch after shimming closer to the trunk, where the branch is thicker, more stable and tries to get on top. She slips again, not quite able to haul her weight on the first time and slips back. Her head hits some branches and sends a stream of water from rain squirting all over her. She blinks, grits her teeth and tries again until she's seated on the branch, panting and trembling. Lauren squeezes her eyes shut again, breathes deeply through her nose in a well-practiced yoga way, easing her breathing and trying to ease the adrenaline high she was on.

She get's down from the tree damp, bruises and scratches galore, probably covered in moss and leaves in her hair. She doesn't care, snatches the cold and wet bat and starts heading for the treeline, away from the street. Once she's in the woods, near the tree line, she stares back at the house. It looks so normal- smaller than her own house, but with a large back yard, no fence. She could pass it any other day and think nothing of it. She squints at it, trying to memorize it before she slowly starts making her way right, keeping an eye on the vastly spaced houses, just out of reach of the forest. It isn't until she can see a road with no houses anymore, that she stops and fishes her phone out of the bra. She huddles against a tree, facing the direction of the house she just came from.

She dials 911 with trembling fingers thanking God she has wonderful reception in what's obviously a rural-ish town.

"Nine-one-one, what's your emergency?" the voice is female calm and it makes Lauren realize how tense she is.

Her shoulders slump, her entire body sags and she falls to the ground because her legs are trembling so damn much. She sobs, a little high pitch sort of snort that would have horrified her had she made that noise on any other day. She's going to be fine. She's more or less safe. She still clutches the butterfly bat against her chest, blinking rapidly as she cried, hot tears leaking down her cheeks.

"Ma'am, are you still there?"

"Yes," her voice is rough and high, a combination of stress and sheer relief, "Yes, I'm here, I'm sorry."

"That's alright. Now tell me what's the state of your emergency."

"I think I've been kidnapped," she blurts and she gives a half little giggle at how ridiculous that is.

Her family isn't rich. At best, they had been lower middle class when she was a child. Now, there are barely making ends meet. She's unemployed, a full-time student, a fine arts major, with long hours and scraping and scrimping to make the best of the meager funds her family can give her. There's no ransom money to be given. If there was it's because of her extended family, maybe, her God-Father(also her maternal uncle) is rich and somewhat prominent down in Mexico, has had some run in with the Cartels because of it. But at the same time, there are other family members that are better, easier targets than a niece that lives in another country. She doesn't think she's particularly pretty; she has a baby face and is heavier set, not enough to be quite curvy but enough to have a bit of a muffin top and passable girls. But sexual predators sometimes don't need a gorgeous captive. The thought that maybe her baby face got her nabbed is vivid and entirely plausible. She had been given the kids menu until she was in high school and has been hit on enough with 'hey, you're sixteen right?' and a crude leer by many men that have no business hitting on teenagers.

She's stunned that this is happening, that she's in a strange place crouching in mud, muck, and moss after escaping her captor's house. She's sobbing again, but there's that odd interruption of a hysterical giggle that she can't stop.

"Can you describe what happened? What makes you think that you were kidnapped?"

"I woke up in a room that wasn't mine. Someone changed my clothes," she starts to gag, vivid imagination thinking that, knowing that foreign, stranger hands had touched her, "I just… Got out, and now I'm in the woods and I'm so scared..."

"Ma'am, can you state your name and age?"

She loves crime shows, Forensics Files, and F.B.I. being some of her favorites. And once upon a time, she had wanted to be in law enforcement herself. She recognizes that the operator just wants to calm her down, gets her coherent to assess her validity of her claim.

"Lauren Calderon, I'm nineteen," her faint Mexican accent slips like it always does when she' s stressed.

Spanish had been her first language and while she had been born and raised in the United States, sometimes her first language is emphasized in odd words. Normally, her English is perfect and without a slight hitch, but Spanish's rolled r's or odd infliction sneaks its way into her voice. Especially when she's emotional. At the moment, she feels more than emotional.

"Can describe the location, some sort of landmark, Lauren? Are you near a road?"

She looks around, heading cautiously towards the road.

"I'm on the end of a street called Fern Hill Road. It's some sort of neighborhood, it's surrounded by a forest. Um, maybe pine trees? I don't know. I'm not a botanist. I do know that I came from the house that is at the furthest down the road."

She has never seen such a place. She's been a city girl all her life, even visiting her parents' rural hometowns in Mexico weren't anything like this place. Those were tropical, high grasses and short trees with heady, humid smells. Flowers and fruits and dusty forest floor that dusted her bare feet in a layer of dry grime. Wherever she is, it is wet, cold, moss everywhere and had trees that towered over the two stories houses that littered the one sided street. Her neighborhood is just a sprawling nearly gated community on the very edge of the city, a mixture of city and undeveloped half-hearted forests that break the rolling grass meadows full of bluebonnets and tall grasses.

"Do you have any injuries?"

"Some cuts and bruises, from getting out of the house... I jumped out a window," she mutters and quickly, she heads for the trees again. She feels exposed and not comfortable.

"That was very brave, kid. Now, there is no Fern Hill road in the city," says the woman suddenly and Lauren freezes.

While she doesn't live in the biggest city in the country, she does live in a big city. The chance of it not having a street name aren't very high. She gasps.

"What?" her voice breaks and she feels herself start to shake again.

"Stay calm. I want you to head towards the road. Away from the direction you came from and find the nearest house or passing car. I also want you to stay on the line. I'm going to track you and send some your way if I can, is that alright Lauren, hon?"

If the American school system had taught her anything, it was to follow directions from an authoritative, calm voice.

"Okay. Okay. I can do that," she starts heading away from Fern Hill Road.

She walks for longer than she expected. There had been hardly any houses beyond the house she had just escaped from, but away from Fern Hill Road, there is nothing but a single road and endless expanse of towering trees. She stays fairly close to the road and learns that the woman on the line is named Holly and she is trying to get a trace on her location, which is somehow not working. The calmness of her voice is what gets Lauren to take one step in front of another. It is about ten minute into her journey that a single car appears on the road. It's driving fairly fast, but all she can think is that she can find out where she is.

She sprints to the middle of the road, waving her arms like a crazy person. The car slows sleek and easy, black and gleaming metal, turning so that it's blocking the entire road and the driver's side is facing her. Its windows are tinted and Lauren wonders if it's too dark, knowing that there's some law or another that stipulates that it can't be darker than a certain shade. But that slips from her mind the second the window glides down.

Her phone clatters to the floor.

"Are you alright?" says the man a frown on his pale lips.

Lauren is no stranger to pale. She was milk-white until recently, even with the rosy undertones of her skin. She has seen alabaster skinned people who burn in the sun. They literally have nothing on the man staring at her, blonde brows furrowed. She licks her lips and blinks rapidly. Lauren is an artist, she's seen works of arts that make her want to weep. Been stirred by the beauty before, is an avid movie and tv show binger so she's seen many a hot celebrity.

The man in front of her is so good looking it's frankly alarming. Quickly, she scrambles for her phone, noting, surprised that its screen is black, and even as she smashes the power button on the back that it does not turn back on, even if it had half a battery just a second ago. She looks back at the man, blinks rapidly at the killer and heavy bags he has underneath his eyes. The only imperfection she thinks on his creepily smooth face(seriously it's like the uncanny valley and perfect Squidward smashed together).

"Miss?" he leans forward and gets out of the car.

His movements are just as eerie as his appearance, too smooth, too easy, too inhuman. The hair on the back of Lauren's neck stands up. She takes a scrambling step back. And then what comes out of his perfect cupid bow of a mouth causes her world to tilt on its side, do the Gangnam style and then punch her in the face:

"My name is Carlisle Cullen, I'm a Doctor, are you hurt?"

At first, she just wants to laugh in his face. Because seriously, talk about a dated reference. He looks nothing like the guy who played Carlisle in the film, and though it's been eight years since she's read so much as a fanfiction for Twilight, she can bring his general description fairly easily to mind: perfect, but somehow less perfect than Edward according to Bella, blonde hair, roughly in his twenties and somewhat tall, golden eyes. Movie star good looks, yet somehow inhumanly beautiful and pale. She blinks at the stranger and really looks at him.

He is entirely too pretty- the best features mashed together; strong jaw line, big eyes, nice lips, straight nose and, luminous, wavy blonde hair that looks incredibly soft. And honey(cue nearly fucking yellow) eyes. There on the darker side, like some sort of light beer, but not black. And it is inhuman, the way he looks, but not in the entirely fuckable way, or beautiful way as Bella describes for the majority of the books, it's frankly…


He's moving, breathing, blinking and shifting foot to foot but it's so synchronized that she can almost find the pattern that he's following to appear to fidgety. And that is something that an actor could never, ever achieve. Her knees buckled and Lauren collapsed on the road in a heap. Because this can't be fucking happening.

"I'm lost," she says softly and the hysterical edge to her voice is high and clear.

Lauren wonders faintly, how on earth that being kidnapped is a better alternative, more plausible explanation than being in the world of Twilight.

Chapter Text

"Hm, we keep this love in this photograph...We made these memories for ourselves...Times forever frozen still..." Photograph, Ed Sheeran, 2014

Lauren is in shock. That is the only way she can explain why she lets Doctor Cullen, three-hundred-year-old vampire, slowly and easily guide her into the passenger seat of his stupidly shiny car. He doesn't move to touch her, else she might have bolted, but instead opens the door with a gentle: 'warm yourself up, my dear' and a sweeping gesture of his arm. His jacket, nice and dry is draped across her as soon as she automatically buckles up. He takes it off without hesitation, closing the door behind her and it is cool as if she had just taken off a coat rack left out in the cold weather. She stares blankly ahead at the dashboard, all leather, all black. She's trying to process this, trying to think about what could be happening. Trying being the key word.

I'm dreaming. Okay, fair, not usually this vivid of a dreamer, but it can't really be happening. Doctor Carlisle Cullen is a fictional character. I've written fanfiction and read about him. This is just a vivid dream. It  has  to be a vivid dream.

She looks towards him, blinking and licking her lips, again and again. He's on the phone, calmly, calling Nine-one-one like she had done logically just a little under fifteen minutes ago. His sleeves are rolled up as if that was completely normal in roughly what feels like forty degree weather. Lauren herself loves the cold- she relishes the feel of it on her skin, but most people are not comfortable in what feels like forty degree-ish weather, not to the point of not hunching over and getting goosebumps on their arms. She can see him smiling glittering teeth, making vague gestures with his long, spindly hand. She can't really hear what he's saying, just a muffled mutter of his voice. She licks her lips.

Think logically, come on, express your inner Spock. You've been doing pretty well when you thought you were kidnapped.

But Lauren can't think, not really, her mind a roaring blank and all she can really do is rapidly breath and blink. The butterfly bat is clutched to her chest underneath the large and very expensive looking jacket when the Doctor went to take the driver's side. She's half tempted to lock the doors as he makes his way but instead eyes him warily. He has the keys in his hands anyway, so she can't speed off. Just kinda scream or laugh hysterically and huddle inside the car if she locks it with the automatic locks. It would make her feel better, but it wouldn't change her situation.

He turns to her with a smile once he seated, the door behind him a sort of final click.

It's an easy one, with straight white teeth. It's also very disturbing, she thinks, watching his mouth. Each of the teeth looks normal, neither too big nor small- Only there's a slight sheen to them, a strange off color that most wouldn't notice. A semester of a tortuous color theory had more or less made Lauren very much aware of cold and warm tones, of figuring out how to differentiate small shifts like that. If anything, her foundations' teacher can claim that he at least instilled the ability to tell the difference between a warm or cool color. Whatever is in his mouth is a sickly color, warm in tone, yellowish-pink in hue that is so minute that it could easily blend in the mouth, shiny in comparison with what she would consider normal. His gums are also a shade darker than what she knows has to be 'venom'.

A sickly, kinda corspy color.

She licks her lips.

"Well, Isabella, it seems you gave your father a bit of a fright when you weren't in the room, he's waiting for you at home," he says easily as he starts the car, "I've agreed to take you home."

My father passed away in March*, is her first thought, staring at the eerie creature, her heart twinges and she tries to hold back the growl at the fact that a stranger is bringing him up so casually, so callously. The next is, why the hell is Dr. Sparkle calling her Isabella?


The car starts, speeding off at an alarming rate that makes Lauren lurch forward slightly, her seatbelt digging into her torso. She hisses.

"I've heard a lot about you Isabella," another flash of his unsettling teeth, "Charlie is really pleased you decided to finish high school with him."

He legitimately thinks I'm Bella Swan. The thought is sudden but certain in her mind. Lauren has always been intuitive and quick. Her mind goes back to the little shoe box beneath the bed. Oh, no. No. Come on. That's-

"And of course I prefer to see the Chief happy. He's a good man, Isabella."

Lauren debates correcting him as he calls her that again. She also debates opening the door and tucking and rolling out of the car. Or slapping herself in the face. But, she thinks, eying his speed dominator, that isn't the safest idea. So she decides to play along until she can get the hell away from him. So she just nods her head smiles timidly and raises the borrowed jacket higher on herself, covering her mouth and sinking lower into the leather seat, faking shyness. The car she notes, as they lapse into awkward silence, is slowing down after her fifth look at the speed-dominator.

"I have children attending Forks High right now," he starts after a minute, attempting to once again to coax her into a conversation. She doesn't know why she doesn't really care.

I might actually be in medical shock.

She shivers and huddles deeper in the seat, clinging to the bat.

"Isabella, are you unwell?"

He looks away from the road, turning his full torso to face her. She shrieks:

"EYES ON THE ROAD!" it's an explosion of noise from her throat, she has always had poor volume control and at the moment even if she knows about his advance reflexes the sight of him turning his entire torso sends off alarm bells.

He pulls over instead of looking away from her, in a rapid movement that has her yelping. Her knuckles are straining against the metal bat.

"Miss Swan, look at me."

Out of habit more than anything, she turns and is greeted by a flashlight in her eyes.

"Follow the light and keep your head still."

"I'm not concussed," she snaps, turning away from the light, blinking rapidly, "Stop it."

"You seem abnormally quiet. I was simply troubled, Miss. Swan." he says softly, the reprimand clear in his voice.

She licks her lips and blurts out:

"Maybe I don't like talking to strangers. Maybe I am normally quiet," it's a snap and herLatinn temper seems to be getting the best of her. She forgets completely where she is, or how easily the vampire across from her can snap her neck if he discovered she knew what he was.

Lauren is fairly shy, or better worded, wary around strangers. She usually very uncomfortable around them simply because she doesn't know what to expect. She doesn't speak unless spoken too, and even then it's clipped sentences. She isn't rude, but rather polite, 'yes, please and excuse me' are a big part of her everyday speech. But she isn't inviting. It's a byproduct of working in the fast food industry and of her own anxiety. When she's comfortable, however, she can hardly shut up, much to the dismay of her family and friends.

She doesn't know the person across from her further than what she can remember about the books, and while she knows of his compassion for the species he once was and his supposed reverence for life, she also knows he is not adverse to killing as Meyer had wanted to portray him. If Midnight Sun is any indication, after Edward had saved Bella, the only thing that really swayed him from giving Jasper the go ahead was because Edward was in love with her. Not his reluctance to kill, not his morality, but because his son wanted the girl. He was more than ready to kill if it meant keeping the fucking secret of bloodsuckers running around, even if it was slight of getting out as a girl who might have seen something after hitting her head violently against the pavement.

While Carlisle Cullen might not dirty his hands, his family did and he covered it up easily without much remorse.

So no, she was not comfortable with him and did not want to talk with him. Especially because this didn't, couldn't be really happening.

The amount of death that has happened because of this man, even by extension of his 'children' is freaky as fuck. Me and Miriam have had many a rant about that, read sporkings* and everything that explained the estimate death toll and were rightly horrified over it.

He's staring at her, brows furrowed, before they smooth out. He faces looks like a greek statue for a second, so brief before it settled into that uncomfortable, eerie smile. Pink gleamed in his mouth.

"I apologize, Isabella. You must be exhausted after your ordeal."

She nods, tightening her grip on the small bat. The Doctor starts the car again and swings it smoothly onto the road. He doesn't try to talk to her, instead, he turns on the radio, to N.P.R., and hums absently. Lauren focuses on the voices, smooth, calm and basically anything she doesn't feel right now. There arrive on Fern Hill Road and go to the last house. A cursor sits in the driveway and a beat up, gorgeous creature of an old truck is parked on the curb. Carlisle parks behind it and as soon as the car is stationary she eases her grip on the bat, unbuckles herself and tumbles out of the car. Her movements are stiff and Lauren's heart is pounding hard as she tries to assess her situation-


She blinks, looks up at the name not because it belongs to her, but because it's being yelled, a startling constraint to the silent street. A man in his late thirties to early forties comes out of the house. He's in full police uniform and Sweet baby Jesus that is a hell of a mustache. He's a tall man, pale, but humanly so, with a riot of brown curls and a worried expression. He's beaming, though he has a furrowed brow and when he reaches Lauren he scoops her up in a hug. She freezes. She doesn't like touching strangers. She's a cuddler but that's only when she's super comfortable. She is not comfortable. She is beyond not comfortable. Her arms stay stiffly at her side.

Stranger danger.

"What the hell were you thinking, going off like that?" says the man, stepping back to grip her shoulders, he's frowning now and it does nothing for his actually attractive face, "You don't know the area, Bella, you should be more careful."

Roll with it. Just roll with this crazy ass dream.

"I wanted to take a walk. The woods looked so peaceful," the words that come out of her mouth are stiff and the first thing she can come up with.

"This isn't the city, Bella," says the man, obviously Charlie Swan, father to one Isabella Marie Swan, "There're animals in the forest that can hurt you."

She blinks, licks her lips.

"I brought a bat," she lifts it.

Charlie blinks and his eyes soften. There's a story there, but she doesn't know it, doesn't even feel any sort of connection to the small purple bat that makes the stern looking man melt like that. Something to do with his kid, obviously and isn't that frightfully sweet. Then again, Charlie had always been that, in her eyes, a wonderful father in the span of two years. But really, Lauren is too scared, too frazzled to even register it properly.

"That didn't stop you from getting lost," says the smooth voice of Carlisle Cullen.

Charlie and her turn towards him, leaning against his slick car. He's smiling again, his jacket now being worn. He hasn't crumpled in any way, his shirt is straight and looks freshly pressed, his jacket perfectly cut to fit his lean and muscular torso. Lauren wished he would stop doing that, smiling. Well, at least with his teeth. She can ignore his abnormally perfect face if he doesn't show his venom coated teeth. Kinda like Benedict Cumberbatch or Matt Smith, she thinks, really nice features isolated, but mashed together just looks somewhat off. Oh God, does that mean the Doctor is a vampire?

"Chief Swan, I'm glad I could help bring Isabella home."

Charlie is smiling, a grateful look on his face.

"Thank you, Carlisle, I'm glad she flagged you down," the sheer relief in Charlie's voice is palpable and Lauren is vaguely touched at the concern that the man had for his daughter.

It's too bad that she isn't really here.

"Well, I have to go," the vampire checks his watch, "I'm late."

"For a very important date," she blurts, automatically.

The vampire blinks, smiles, softly. This time it's without teeth and his face is much better for it, she thinks.

"Quite right. Be wary of white rabbits Ms. Swan, they don't all lead to wonderland."

He gets into his car, and with a final wave towards them both, the Patriarch of the Cullen Coven goes off to do vampiry things. Maybe. Charlie turns to her.

"You must be freezing, come on."

Still, on autopilot, Lauren follows the Chief into his house. It's a nice place, she reflects, and it is warmer than the outside. She wonders as she shuffles in, licking her lips, what the hell is-

"You locked the door behind you, Bells, I haven't even gotten you a copy of your keys."

She shrugs.

"Dammit Bella, just… Just don't disappear on me like that."

Um, don't project your issues from your ex-wife on me dude.

She nods instead of saying that aloud. The man is obviously under the impression that she is Isabella Swan, and she can't really think to as to why. That's until she looks up, and stares at the photographs lined up on the wall. It's just like what Bella described in the book, all neatly lined up across the span of the foyer. And in all the pictures, Lauren's face stares back at her. She blinks, going up to stand more clearly in front of them. In the first picture, a woman that looks remarkably like Lauren, marrying Charlie.

Lauren looks fairly similar to her real mother, takes after her in coloring, but she had shared many more features with her darker skinned father. The woman in the photograph is like a carbon copy of Lauren, only her eyes are a rich hazel and she is much more deeply tan than the light peach color Lauren had gotten over the summer. She blinks and starts going down the line, heart pounding. Each picture is like a snapshot of Lauren at a different age- only she never took these photos, never owned clothes like the ones Isabella is wearing because that is so frightfully nineties. I was a late nineties baby, thank you very much. She grew up in the early two-thousands and had never worn a scrunchie in her life. Mary-janes and frilly white dress that screamed of her Mexican heritage, but never that much denim at one time.

But Bella Swan looks exactly like her. Down to the two paired freckles that she has in the corner of her left eye. The last picture is recent- It has Bella or Lauren even now she's getting confused because what the fucking frack smiling awkwardly at the camera wearing a dark green dress that makes her mostly gray* eyes appear green and emphasis her short cropped hair. Her teeth are even identical, straight and perfected by twisting metal torture known as braces, though it looks like, as she looks back at all the pictures, that Bella Swan had had that as well.

Am I real? It's half a joke in her head. But it also brings her to start hyperventilating because what if she just crazy, all the evidence is pointing out that she is Isabella Swan.

"I can take them down," says a soft voice, and she turns to Charlie, looking sheepishly at the photos. He sounds disheartened, rubbing the back of his neck.

That just about breaks her heart, his eagerness to take them down, to please his daughter, in what she guesses is suppose to be a huge embarrassment. Her mother was the same way, her house is full of pictures of her children, of her family. She sends her random texts plastered with pictures of Lauren, proud and cooing at her. Sure, it's mildly annoying, sometimes embarrassing to think of all the photographs that she's taken over the years, but she would never ask her mother to take them down because it makes her happy, to display Lauren and her brother and sister. Even the horrible pictures of her eager shutter button pressing, Lauren never has the heart to ever tell her to take it down.

"Don't. It's fine. I just forgot you had them here," she says, softly, trembling head to toe.

He beams at her.

"Really? Thanks, Bells, I mean I know they can be a bit-"

"Charlie," Lauren had hated that in the books that Bella couldn't even call her father properly by the title he so proudly earned throughout the series, but the man, kind and misguided as he was, was not her father and she as hell wasn't going to call him Dad in her stead,"I prefer Izzy," she says softly and is pleased with how steady her voice is.

Izzy isn't a nickname she uses regularly but it's not as cliched as 'beautiful Swan' and she would answer to it if called by it. And if the wayward heroine who apparently looks the same as a nineteen-year-old Mexican-American college student ever appears, there will be less confusion. He smiles, and it crinkles his warm brown eyes, shows off his decently straight, white teeth.

"That's new, Be- ... Izzy. It suits you."

"I'm really tired. I got up too early… Do you mind if I go upstairs?"

"Sure, Izzy, you did have a long flight yesterday," he smiles again, beaming and eye creasing, "Go be a teenager for once and sleep in, it's still Winter break* for you."

She gives him a faint smile before she goes up the stairs and to the first door. The room she woke up in greets her. Quietly, she closes, then locks the door behind her. Lauren sinks to the ground. She's sobbing before she even realizes it, snot on her upper lip informing her that she is. She desperately paws at her face, trying to get her tears to stop.

Think, come on Lauren Calderon, think. Be logical. Vulcan this shit up.

She only curls into herself, a hysterical little giggle escaping her.

I'm Isabella Swan. Two characters have told me this. Her fucking father just confirmed this. Oh God, this is like a fanfiction gone wrong.

Only it isn't a fanfiction, Lauren is actually here, in Forks, Washington, at the start of the novel of Twilight. She's in the Twilight Universe. And she's in place of Bella. She blinks, hiccups.

"Why the fuck couldn't it been Harry Potter?" she whispers, "I still read Harry Potter. I adore Harry's story. I adore the characters. I still quote it, haven't really put it down since the seventh grade."

Nothing answers her whispered plea and all Lauren can do is sob.

Chapter Text

"Call me (call me) on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me) my love
You can call me any day or night
Call me," Call Me, Blondie(1980)

Lauren, after a good crying fit and trying to pinch herself awake over the course of the next night, had settled on the fact that yes, she was in a fictional world. Yes, she had seemingly replaced the main character. The next two days passed in a sort of hazy blur and she struggled to make peace with the fact that she was in this situation.

It didn't mean she had to like it, though, or not try to find a way to 'wake' up or return back to her real life. But, she had no clue. At all. Nor did she have any idea what to do if she couldn't go home. She did, however, readily and very soon became dead set on not reliving through the events of the books. She wasn't Bella Swan, despite all the evidence to the contrary, so she didn't need to fall in love with Edward (that was so disturbing to think about)or get herself gnawed on by James or nearly squashed like a bug via Taylor(Tyler, was the guy's name Tyler or Taylor… It was something with a T at least.)'s Van.

After all, even if she was at the beginning, it seemed that the book itself was not a reliable enough narrator because she was pretty damn sure Bella had arrived in Forks in the middle of the semester, not towards the end of Winter Break at the start of January. It made a bit of sense, she supposed, Bella had sent some furniture up from Phoenix, as well as a couple of boxes. The one suitcase move made little to no sense to Lauren, she could only ever fit a week's worth of essentials in a fairly sizeable suitcase(she rather be over-prepared than underprepared and always had options when it came to clothes and of course, the thing that took up the most space, art supplies). A move in the middle of the semester would just be stupid- no time to settle in, being tired from the flight and going to school the next day would be inconvenient at the very least. The fact that she had a week to get her head together still didn't seem to be enough time.

She had strongly debated to run away, avoid living anywhere near the setting of this book until she could get away from this. It seemed to be a great option. Only the whole problem was that Bella Swan was a minor. Hence, Lauren was seen as a minor. The fact that she was two years a legal adult didn't mean shit to the world who saw her as a relative child. Not to mention tried to come clean on who she was- Well, she didn't even know if she existed at the moment, the thought of going to California and meeting her eight-year-old self was startling, to say the least and she hadn't been brave enough to look up her family quite yet, not if the glaring thought of having a younger form of herself living at the moment(if she even existed in this world).

She wouldn't get very far if she went that route, Charlie was so sure that she was Bella, treated her with a kindness and reverence that only a father would don't suspect something was wrong. Nothing she did set off alarms to him, and she wondered why… Even Renee, the one person who was supposed to be the closest to Bella, over the phone had taken her in stride, laughed at her sudden desire to be called 'Izzy':

"Bella," laughed the woman on the phone, her voice was soft and pleasant, "What do you mean you want to be called Izzy?"

Lauren licked her lips, hand absently coming up to tug at hair that was no longer there. She frowned, wishing she hadn't cut her waist length hair on a whim, as it had been a comfort to tangle her hands and mess with it. Instead, she pushed back short strands that fell into her face.

"Forks is a new place…. So new me. I thought Izzy could reflect that," she said simply.

Renee or the woman Lauren assumed was Renee, laughed again.

"Good perspective, baby. Even if it isn't new," she paused, then said, "Say the word and you can come home to Phoenix, I'll come back Bella. I'll miss Phil but he knew this was going to be a thing even when he proposed, you don't have to do this..."

Renee's voice was genuine and she just seemed confused as to why Bella would leave in the first place. Frankly, from the calm, slightly exasperated voice that all mothers had with their teenage daughters that she had, Lauren could guess that Renee… Renee was just going along with her daughter's decision because she didn't want to argue with her. Lackluster parenting aside, it was still more parenting then the Bella of the novels had claimed. She was sorely tempted to go to Phoenix, but she nixed that idea quickly.

"Izzy," she said firmly, "I haven't been fair to Charlie. It's a little under two years. I need to get back to my roots."

"Alright, baby," Renee was clearly humoring her, as if she was just waiting this out, "Try to keep in touch… You have my email right?"

Lauren had found all of Bella's Mom's information in a small planner in one of the bedside tables.


"Good. Remember, I'm just a phone call away Baby, I love you."

"Me too," Lauren couldn't actually bring herself to say the words to a stranger, even when she wasn't in front of her, "Call you soon."

She debated moving back to Phoenix- but the unease of sparkling vampires with uncontrollable bloodlust wandering around at night pushed that thought away. At least the Cullens had some control over themselves, Jasper and Edward aside. If she avoided them, she would be more or less safe. Either that or claim sanctuary to Sam(as far as she remembered he should be the only wolf at this point) and beg to protected from the Cold Ones. Somewhat of a plan. Another half baked one was moving to Italy and living in Volterra, after all, no one hunted you within the city as long as you lived there, you were the safest from vampires within the city walls. She knew Spanish and Italian wasn't really far off, after all, she had quickly picked on how to say a monkey was reading a book in Italian, so she could pick up on the rest:

Un scimma legge un libro.

Bella's things had arrived that morning. Lauren had come downstairs, picking at the meager food that was left in the fridge (cold pizza, yum) with the mind that she should really bully Charlie into going to the store. She loved pizza as much as the next girl, but even getting Hawaiian would get old after the fifth time. A doorbell ring later and all of Bella's belongings were in the living room. She and Charlie had spent the rest of the day lugging several waist-high bookshelves, two bedside tables, a large mirror and ten boxes up the stairs, and Charlie, bless him, had stayed stubbornly with her to arrange the furniture in the way she wanted.

"I got this week off to spend it with you, Izzy, not drink beer and watch the game."

Reluctantly, but with some relief she had banished the 'Vamp' rocking chair out, taken in a very beat-up lazy boy that Charlie had in the garage in its stead to set it up by the window to have decent light and placed one of the bedside tables next to it with one of the lanterns on it(turns out they were all individual lamps, pretty neat really and she gave Charlie props for choosing them). She had moved the bed so that it lay flush against far wall, away from the window, placed the last bedside table next to it and made a little office area with the bookshelves by the immobile, surprisingly nice desk(stocked, she noticed with surprise with school supplies like paper and pens a plenty, Charlie's work no doubt). The mirror hung over the inside of the closet door.

"It looks great Be- Izzy," said Charlie, smiling brightly at her.

Lauren gave a tired smile and rubbed at her eyes. Despite the rain more or less lulling her peacefully to sleep each night, the stress of her strange and seemingly impossible situation had more or less brought Lauren's stressed caused Insomnia to come in in full force. She had gotten roughly six hours of sleep in the last thirty-six hour period. Two hours wasn't her worst ever record for lack of sleep(two days straight), but it still took a toll on her.

"It looks liveable," she said bluntly, it was still a bit sterile for her taste, no cute or cool knick-knacks or collectibles in sight or her glass bottle collection, but the room looked more lived in with the new arrangement, so she wasn't as creeped out.

Speaking of creeped out:

"Charlie, are there any other curtains that fit this window? These ones leave a little too much light..."

And lace is so not conducive to blocking the view of possibly voyeuristic Vampires.

She might not become Edward's lady love, but if she caught any of the family's attention then it was a possibility of being perved upon via creature of the night. She also made a note to find bells to attach to the window somehow, possibly the door too. Paranoia was her friend and she was a light sleeper. It was a better option then nailing the window shut anyway, which she had debated seriously. If she ever opened the window and it didn't squeak, she would know anyway.

"There's some in the closet down the hall."

"Great," she can't help but smile at the man, besides only knowing him for roughly three days since the disastrous Saturday morning of her 'arrival', Charlie was one of the least hateful things of this whole ordeal.

Team Mustache Dad all the way, she mused.

"I can take it from here Charlie, the heavy lifting is done," she mentioned and she moved towards the mysterious, unmarked boxes.

"Right, I'll order some pizza, Hawaiian right?"

She smiled.

"Half is fine, Charlie, I don't eat as much as you," she said, turning away, "So get half-Hawaiian and half meat lovers, extra bacon, even if it's bad for your heart."

The man laughed and ruffled her already messy mop of a head.

"I'm a young man, sweetheart, don't have to worry about that."

Fifty was young, and that's when my father started having heart problems.

"Just ease off the burnt meat."

"Seventeen years, and I still don't understand how my daughter doesn't like bacon," he snorts, "Burnt meat she says. Deliciousness, I say."

With that, and an uncomfortable on both their parts kiss on the forehead, the police chief left the room. Lauren stared after him for half a beat, eyes prickling. However awkward, it was so painfully sweet at how hard Charlie was trying to make this work for his 'daughter' (reluctant roommate). It reminded her so much of her own father; an old-fashioned man who still went along with her sometimes stupid antics and had been just so damn proud when she had told him of being accepted into Art school with a full ride, when everyone else at the time had more or less told her that it was a waste of her intelligence and not a steady career...

Charlie was that same sort of devoted to his child, trying to make her happy to be living with a man she hardly ever saw. Though from what she could gather, this wasn't on Charlie's part, but instead on Bella's. Considering how much effort Charlie was trying to put into making Lauren comfortable, it was obvious that he wouldn't limit the contact to just an awkward family vacation every summer. The little league baseball bat and the careful considerations like making note of her favorite type of pizza, it was obvious in how much effort Charlie did to show his daughter that he cared deeply for her. Phone calls, though somewhat expensive in this decade when it wasn't local, would be something that Charlie would gladly pay, she was sure. It must've been all on Bella, and considering her own father was dead, Lauren couldn't help but resent Bella for wasting her's. She didn't even have the excuse of having a bad father.

If only Bella was really here. She could actually give the man the affection that he needs...

She turned to the boxes, blinked, shook her head and sighed.

"Let's see what's behind the curtains," she muttered, pushing her hair out of her face.

Three of those boxes had been books, one of shoes, one box had comforters and pillows, and the rest clothes. Bella didn't have a single knick-knack, photo album or electronic like a video cassette player or mp3 in sight, not even a cellphone. Lauren had had a cellphone in 2005(the current year, she had discovered, when she had found a cute cat calendar in the kitchen, it was the first week of January in 2005), at eight-years-old, even if it was just to call her parents in case of an emergency(the joys of being a latchkey kid). The fact that the seventeen-year-old Bella didn't have one baffled her, because this was the time when phones had started to get more mainstream for the average consumer. Her parents hadn't been rich, far from it and yet she had gotten a phone. Not too mention how 'paranoid' Renee was suppose to be...

The boxes came with no video cassettes(did Bella not watch movies!? Lauren couldn't even comprehend that), a couple of generic cds stuffed between some spines and of course, books. Books and more books, worn, old and obviously bought second hand, much like Lauren's own personal library.

Lauren does love reading.

But all of Bella Swan's books were books that would be on an English class's reading list. Lauren adored classical books; The Divine Comedy, The Great Gatsby, A Christmas Carol, Pride & Prejudice, Animal Farm and East of Eden being among her favorite books of all time. But I like diversity too, she thinks, looking down at the content of the boxes. She adored fantasy- All Bella seemed to have was an abundance of old British literature. Romantic old British literature: Jane Austen, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Bronte- No Harry Potter, no fantastical classics like The Last Unicorn or childhood leftovers of Matilda or Redwall. No sci-fi and to Lauren's complete and utter horror, no manga or comic book in sight.

Her own personal physical collection was much smaller than this, but it had so much more. Not to mention her electronic collection, she thought, which was vast and ranged from gothic horror to shoujo manga, staring at the lackluster selection. And Bella complained about the library not having a wide selection?

Bella Swan was so boring.

Even her clothes were boring, thought Lauren as she put them away in the tiny closet. All neutral colors with a couple tops being the exception, all very safe cuts of dresses and skirts. The materials were also very heavy for someone who had lived in Arizona, even if Bella had claimed to have made her wardrobe specifically for the cold of Forks. I've been to Arizona. I'd boil in all of these close, even at the coldest. What the frack. To her horror, all bell bottom jeans and what the fuck is a seventeen-year-old doing with slacks? The wardrobe was horribly outdated. At least to her, and while Lauren wasn't a fashionista she dressed cooler than this. It was all… Fuddy duddy, an abundance for an ugly shade of khaki and pheasant shirts that a nineteen-soon to be twenty-year-old shouldn't wear, let alone a seventeen year old.

"What the frack. This is a load of snickerdoodles. Did she raid her mom's closet?"

Lauren missed her high waisted jeggings and skinny jeans. She missed her long A-line skirts inspired by the fifties, she missed her various dresses that snitched at her waist and flared beautifully on her body. She only ever wore wide legged jeans with her kickass boots. The closest thing Bella had to that were a pair of uggs. Lauren scowled at the offending shoe, sure they were warm but they were ugly and overpriced and would do diddly squat in the rainy Forks, squeaky and muddy up the expensive material. She was a picky dresser, not a fashionista but she liked to look good. Uggs, to her, were the opposite of looking good, clunky and... Well, basic white bitch material.

She tossed the boots into the corner and stared at the entire thing. She wasn't present in the wardrobe- nothing about the clothes even hinted at Lauren's own wardrobe, hell, Bella didn't shine. She longed for her own wardrobe: Comfortable, somewhat dressy and kinda vintage, with a few quirky and proudly dorky accessories thrown in. Lauren made a mental note to ask Charlie to take her to a clothing store to be able to feel comfortable here for however long her stay was.

She had found Bella's money sock: worse place to hide money ever she found it in five seconds as soon as she started to look through one of the suitcases in the corner of the room, not to mention, who the hell leaves that much money in a goddamn sock?! It was enough for a down payment on a car. A used car, but it was still much more money as a girl in college had held at any given time. Part of her felt bad. She hadn't earned this money, and she was already planning on spending it.

On the other hand, she was already in the girl's life and she would be horrified to ask Charlie for money even more than taking money that anyone would say was her's. So she was taking the old sock money. After she found a better place to hid it.

Speaking of hiding, Lauren but her ear to the door and heard the distinct noise of the TV playing some sort of sport. She licked her lips. Carefully, she eased away from the door and went to the window. Bella's purple bat was firmly in her hand. Something about the metal weight made Lauren feel better, plus the matches she had swiped from the kitchen. Impossibly strong and fast, the sparklepires were still motherfucking flammable and it made her feel better even if it wouldn't do much(she had never gotten the hang of zippos).

She breathed deep and felt around with her foot, pressing against the pale wooden floor boards. When a board creaked, she carefully pulled at it. In the space between the support boards lay her phone, in all its crappy glory. Eighty bucks and two years later, but it worked. She picked it up and once again pressed the home button nestled on the back. It turned on without a hitch.

She frowned, knowing that the thing didn't turn on when she within five feet of a person other than her. It was the oddest thing, but she kept comfort that it did work and wasn't losing any charge. It was sorta magical, but considering she was in a world of a book series, she didn't tend to question it much. She clutched her phone to her chest, before going to the wallet part of her phone case.

Her student id, her driver's license, her state id, a two-dollar bill from the year 2013, her debit card and credit card, a pass to her local theme park and a quarter from 1996 were her only affirmation that she wasn't Isabella Marie Swan. Her phone and all of its content, from her bus schedules to the music that wouldn't be invented until a decade and then some years, was the most concrete proof that she wasn't simply crazy. Not to mention, her favorite manga and some books in pdf form, and movies in mp4 form. The advantage of modern technology, she had some of her favorite things to help her through troubled times.

"Lauren Isabel Calderon," she read carefully, staring intently at her state id.

She had had longer hair then. Nearly to her waist before she had gotten a little tipsy one night and nabbed some scissors. Her hair was only now just recovering from what her brother dubbed her 'Britney' moment. She didn't really regret it, she did miss her long hair but she had needed the change. She repeated her name over and over, affirming her existence in a ritual she had started to do every night. She wasn't Bella Swan and be damned if anything told her otherwise. She would play her part though as much as she could stomach, at least, until she could find her way home.

Her phone started to vibrate.

Lauren dropped it in surprise. It vibrated against the floorboards, a loud noise as it vibrated along for a few inches. She scrambled for it, flipped upon the faux leather case open and nearly cried. She hadn't been brave enough, not yet, not to for this:

"Miri?" she whispered as she answered, bringing the phone to her ear.

"Lauren?" asked the voice on the end and it sounded as shaky as she felt.

Lauren fell back with a thump, resting her back against the floor. Without meaning to her eyes started to fill. She normally avoided crying, but she couldn't stop gar at the moment.

"Miri, oh Miri!" she sobbed and she never so happy than she did in that moment.

"LAUREN ISABEL CALDERON! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?!" screeched the voice of her older sister, Miriam Calderon and she sounded so panicked and relieved that Lauren couldn't help but giggle.

It was half hysterical but well, sue her.

"Miri, oh God Miri you'll laugh your ass off! It's straight out of fanfiction!" she cried and she couldn't stop the sobs and the ugly little snorts that came from half-sobbing and half-laughing in her hysteria.

She went on this way for a bit, her laughter getting louder and louder as she rocked herself on the floor. Her sister made a small noise of anger, a mixture of a sigh and a growl.

"You've been gone for months," Miriam whispered, "The police have been trying but's there's been no leads, they want to declare you dead! You called the police and then there were no ransom demands- Do you even know what the hell you've put Mom through? Half the family came up, Godfather and Godmother were willing to pay for anything, hell even your school was involved, trying to get your picture out-"

The more she talked the quieter Lauren's sobs and giggles got. Slowly, she got up, whipping absently at the snot and tears that had gathered.

"Miriam," she said, trying to get her attention, but her older sister was on a roll.

"It's been months, I get it that you're an eccentric artist and under a lot of fucking pressure but claiming to be kidnapped-"

"It's been three days."

"What the hell is wrong with- Wait what?"

"Miriam," she said, and she tried to keep her voice even, hurt that her sister would think she would lie about this, "It's only been three days for me. Wherever the hell I am-"

"Lauren, are you okay? Have they hurt you? How did you answer the phone?" she said, startled realization cold in her voice, "Lauren? Oh God Lauren what have they done? Did they drug you after you escaped, did you escape again? They've been drugging you this entire time, oh God. oh God."

Lauren sighed and breathed deeply from her nose. Her sister was insanely intelligent and very logical. Her… situation would be hard to understand even for her, and she was living it.

"I'm in Twilight. I took Bella's place. Miriam, I'm going to be eaten by a sparkle-pyre," she blurted.

The silence on the other end was very telling.

"Lauren," back was the pissed off tone.

Anger was good though. It meant that Miriam was listening.

"Miriam. I'm completely serious. Can you do me a favor and tell me what day the Van day takes place? I rather not get run over by some guy's van."


"Miriam. I'm not kidding. Give me a tick. And shut the fuck up and listen to me."

She pressed the speaker and carefully tipped toed her way down the hallway, at the top of stairs(grand staircase unlike in her home, a wrap around and rickety affair that was hard on her Mom's knees). She hid the phone in her sweatpants pocket.

"Hey, Charlie?" she called out.

The Police Chief turned towards her, lifting his head.


"I told you to call me-"

"Izzy. I remember. Sorry, Honey."

"It's okay. I just wanted to ask if the pizza was here yet?"

"Not yet Iz," he said pointedly and he gave a sort of crinkly smile that yeah, made him look very attractive. If he didn't think she was his daughter, she is sure she would have looked at him from across a library or a restaurant and ogled, he was that nice to look at.

He turned back to the TV, blaring an old game. She wasn't much of a baseball fan, but it would make her point.

"Okay. What's the score?"

"Hm? My Be- Izzy taking an interest in baseball?" he laughed, "Now I can die in peace."

"Ha, ha."

"It's One to zero. It's just a friendly match though," he started off a list of the individual team's prospects.

"Cool. Call me when the pizza's here, please," she said pleasantly. She made her way back to Bella's bedroom and sat down on the lazy boy. She curled her legs under her and pressed her face against the window pane.

The dark hardly ever bothered her, but the fact that a coven of vampires lived a few miles out of town and that the Nomad trio of Laurent, Victoria and James were heading this way did not endear her to it. But she did like the cold. It was a sharp contrast against her skin and made her cool down after her crying fit. She lifted her phone to her ear.

"Miriam. I don't think I've ever been this scared. Not even when Dad died. I could make sense of that, as much as it hurt and how much I didn't want it. I don't even know how I got here, or why the hell I have to be Bella Swan. I want to go home," she whispered and she closed her eyes tightly, not even wanting to see the evidence that she was in a place she shouldn't be, "Oh God Miriam I'm so scared. But I need you. I need you to go through the book again. I need to know when shit will happen. I need to prepare so that I can come home."

Miriam was silent. For a brief second, she thought the worst. That her sister thought the worst of her and that she would be alone in her quest to figure shit out- But if anything, Miriam Calderon took care of her little sister:

"I got you, fam," she said softly, "I'm not sure if I believe you, but… But you need me?"

Laurena smiled, tears in her eyes again.

"I always need you Miriam. Always."

Chapter Text

The problem, Lauren found out, about stepping into Bella Swan's shoes, is that those were woefully inadequate for Forks weather. While she appreciated some aspects of Bella Swan being so bland that she could build off of her wardrobe to feel more comfortable in whatever the hell sort of place she had somehow found herself, Lauren was more or less more upset on how much money that she would have to spend, it wasn't her's, really, but she was a college student damn it.

Frugality was the name of survival.

But well, it was still somewhat mortifying now, despite the access to a ridiculous amount of money($4, 539. 69) to be stealing from a seventeen-year-old. Not her best moment but she would cite it as duress, so she justified taking it. She 'was' Bella Swan in a way, so it sort of wasn't stealing, even if it still felt icky to go through with it. Now, Friday, three days before the new semester of high school(oh what horror), she was rifling through a large discount outlet shop in Port Angeles while Charlie explored a fishing shop across the street. She had already nabbed new underwear, socks, thermal tights and bras in her cart(screw wearing Bella's, she could stomach the bras and possibly the socks but not the underwear that had gone on long enough) and now she was trying to find some decent pants.

The problem with 2005, she thought as she pushed pants after pants away, was that everything was light denim track pants and made have her had vivid flashbacks to childhood days of long braids and terrifyingly matching track suits with her sister Miriam; they didn't even look alike, Miriam was tall and Lauren was short, Miriam was dark skinned and Lauren was fair as can be, she had icy gray eyes and Miriam had warm brown eyes, dark black hair to Lauren's own light brown(she had even been blonde as a baby), but their mother insisted on Twining them as kids. She nearly fist pumped when she found a pair of black skinny jeans that were obviously meant for punks or something like that(Thank God for Avril Lavigne). Lauren loved black anyway, in her middle school years, punk and emo had ruled the trends of popular culture and it reflected in Lauren more than she cared to admit, even as she tried to have a bit more mature wardrobe.

She cheered when she saw it was in her size and tossed it with the few other pants in the skinny fashion, as well as a few pairs of 'mama' jeans she planned to cut off the bell buttons and others into some shorts. She was nearly done and at the prices at clearly unpopular things, she was making a steal. Much as it would easier to blend into 2005 if she followed the vague trends she remembered being prevalent when she was a kid, she rather screw that and dresses in a way that would make her 'stay' in Forks comfortable. Her phone vibrated, and she looked around her, keeping an eye on the gaggle of girls by the dress sections a few rows over, the only other people in the store other than the bored looking cashier.

Miri:  Send a picture of the monstrosity that is 2005!

Lauren smiled and quickly snapped a picture of a particularly odd jacket that was fuzzy and bright yellow and sent it to her sister. She had vivid images of the Spice Girls just looking at it.

Me:  Can you believe all this? I feel like I've been sent to a Britney Spears music video. And I mean pre-shaved head days…. Wait has that happened yet?

Miri:  According to Google, no. That's in 2007.

Lauren sighed, rubbing her temples at the slight temporal implications. I miss 2016, she mused and considering how craptastic that year had been for her personally, she hated the feeling of being displaced in a time where she had been more worried whether or not she could nab the swings or a jump rope before everyone else at recess.

Me:  I don't know what's weirder. The fact that I'm in the past or the fact that it involves Sparkly vampires. Do you think Edward is going to consider me his 'personal brand of heroin'?

Miri:  You mean his personal brand of delicious bacon? Geez, let's hope not.

Me:  Your encouragement is all I ever need, Miriam.

Miri:  Sassy sarcasm noted.

Me:  Jerk.

Miri:  Bitch.

"Hey!" called out a girl and Lauren looked up from her phone, startled.

She had hoped that she would be able to go unnoticed, she thought with a hesitant smile. Quickly and in a way she hoped was subtle, she stuffed her phone into her pant's butt pocket.

"Hi," she said and tried to ignore how her heart was beating fast, maybe it was a reflex of being a recluse or being constantly on alert in public. She flinched slightly at the softness of her voice and waved to cover it in case they hadn't heard her.

The girls were all staring at her, which immediately made Lauren shift nervously foot to foot. The one that had spoken was blonde, with frosted eye shadow around her pale green eyes and pink lips and she had a large pink parka that matched her lips perfectly: fashionista looks really like a young Britney. Her two friends, brunettes didn't match her at all, at least according to Means Girls, which was Lauren's closest experience to high school girls in 2000s. The tallest girl was wearing overalls and had her long hair pushed back via a plain black band and the other girl was wearing a weird mixture of hip hop clothes(neon orange) that Lauren remembered being a thing.

"Yeah, sorry, I hate to bother you, but my two friends are so not in agreement to what dress I should choose, could you help us?" asked the girl, perfectly pleasant. Her hand was on her hip, stance wide and eyes demanding that she did as she asked.

Okay, Britney is alpha queen bee. Also, her friend's really tall, like six feet tall, thought Lauren, smiling as she nodded and rolled her cart towards them. The fact that she was more or less petite had made her very conscious of people like that, having to look up to talk them, the only one that was near her height was the other brunette girl that was quickly looking her up and down, with wild curly hair bouncing in a floppy ponytail (scrunchie, she thought with an internal snort, so Lizzie Mcguire). She stopped a little away from them.

"What's the occasion?"

The blonde girl beamed;

"Six month anniversary with my boyfriend. He's taking me to see the space needle and for fancy dinner in Seattle!" she gushed and while she wasn't bubbly, per say, Lauren saw a sort of pleasant flush in her face and an enthusiasm that only high school girls seemed to have in relationships.

"Congratulations," she said and smiled at her, before looking at the selection of dresses in her cart.

All three girls waited for her, politely, and she settled easily on the dress:

"Try this one," she touched this warm looking velvet affair that was a soft gray, "Wear some good eye shadow to emphasize your eyes and some tights to keep warm, and some cute shoes."

"Isn't it too simple?" asked the shorter girl, frowning, "I mean, you could wear this to church."

Lauren shrugged.

"Why go flashy? She's pretty enough to go simple."

The blonde girl blinked and got soft pink. She smirked and wiggled her brows at her friend.

"Yeah, Jess, I'm pretty enough for simple," said the blonde girl, which, Lauren, thought, in a slight blink, was the girl in Twilight that shared her name. Her tone is haughty and yeah a little bitchy, but Lauren had long learned that all girls had a minuscule amount of bitch to them, no matter how kind.

Well, hi Lauren Mallory, Jessica… Jessica something. Yeah, I can't remember her nameI'm not even sure if they say it in canon.

"It suits her skin tone," muttered the taller girl, which, thought Lauren, must be Angela Weber.

What the frack, I justed wanted clothes so I didn't freeze my bits offI do not need to meet more book characters.

"I'm Lauren," said the blonde, turning to her again, "Thanks so much for your help-"

"Izzy," she supplied and gave a faint smile.

She waved goodbye to the girls after the other two introduced themselves, confirming themselves to be Jessica and Angela respectively and went onward in her search through the dresses to add to her wardrobe before she went off to the shoes. After purchasing, she noticed with amusement that the girls were at the front of the store, seemingly debating something heatedly.

"Izzy!" called out Lauren Mallory, hands on her hip, her own bag hanging from the crook of her arm.

Lauren smiled at her and nodded, arms full of purchases.

"I noticed you were buying a lot," the girl flips her long sheet of beautiful blonde hair behind her shoulder, "Want any help?"

Lauren grins.

"Yeah, actually. Help me drag this to my truck, please?"

The girls, including a not so happy, Jessica grab most of her numerous bags.

"God, I wish I could buy so much at once," said Jessica, frowning. She had said this brightly, but Lauren could tell the passive-aggressiveness for what it was.

She felt her lips curl, not so nicely.

"I wish I didn't have to buy so much. But I just moved near here recently, and I did not prepare for the weather," responded Lauren and she tried to keep the bitterness out of her tone.

Angela Weber was apparently very quick. She hitched one of her bags higher on her shoulder.

"Izzy wouldn't be short for Isabella, as in Isabella Swan?" she said, and her voice was softly sweet.

Lauren gave her a grin. No, it isn't but I have a role to play.

"Apparently so, let me guess, Charlie, announced the arrival of his daughter to all of Forks?"

Jessica's eyes sparked in interest. She purses pale plum lips which clashed horrendously well with her orange sportswear:

"There are no secrets in Forks. He babbled straight since before Christmas," she said and while it wasn't malice per say, her voice wasn't exactly kind either.

"I thought it was sweet," said Angela.

Lauren sighed.

"Sounds like Charlie," she said evenly, slightly exasperated really, even if it was very man was such a devoted father that it made her wonder why he had let Renee take Bella in the first place, considering she was supposed to be such a harebrained and scattered brain person that she forgot bills and to fill her own car regularly.

80s custody laws favoring moms maybe? Or is Bella Swan full of shit?

"Hmmm. Yeah well, he always talked about you anyway, you know? His honor student daughter," claimed Lauren Mallory, smirking with her pastel pink lips, "Yammered on at the dinner anytime someone would ask."

They made it to her truck which Lauren opened and stuffed all her purchases, along with her previous ones, in the cab, behind the passenger's side. She did not want everything getting wet on the way home.

"Gosh what a tank," said Angela softly, blinking at the rounded fenders of the faded, rusty red truck.

"Isn't the Crushinator beautiful?" cooed Lauren in response, patting the truck fondly.

She had never owned her own car, had tentatively had a driver's license for only emergencies and relied on the cheaper alternative to ride the bus for most occasions. The fact that 'Crushinator' was her's made her adore it, crappy tank mileage aside and engine like a beast. It was all part of the charm and the fact that she had access to a car to possibly run away with. Fuck Bella and her ungratefulness over the car 'Wow. Free' indeed. Every chance she got she was thanking Charlie over it, much to the older man's embarrassment.

"The 'Crushinator'?" asked Jessica and she was blinking rapidly at her, a confused look on her face.

Trust dorky sci-fi cartoon references to go over most people's head.

"She's made out of steel, not plastic. Anything hits this baby that's newer than 1990 and it's the Crushinator's bitch. Cause she's a class act and all."

"It's an ugly hunk of rust," pointed out Lauren Mallory, rolling her eyes at her enthusiasm.

"The Crushinator laughs at your petty forms of ridicule."

"You're strange," said Jessica, frowning at her cheerful manner.

Two years out of high school and its melodramatic ways(though really, that never changed), a passing of a parent had little to do to alleviate her social anxiety, but Lauren had always been good at giving a good presentation before crumpling when she was alone. Fake it or book it, was a philosophy she lived by. Humor also helped her deflect a lot, and while she wasn't particularly nervous talking to three literary characters in high school, as she was much more worried about the vampires in the school then the humans, because she had replaced Bella Swan and Bella Swan smelled delicious, so if the trend followed, so would Lauren. Hell, one would especially want to eat her. Yeah, she was very much more nervous over that. But these girls? Bitchy high school girls? Yeah, been there, done that.

"You have no idea, Jess was it?"

"Yeah. I introduced myself like five seconds ago."

"I'm terrible with names..." she said bluntly, running a hand absently through her short cropped hair, "Hey, do you guys know if there's an art store around here, by the way?"

"There's one by the bookstore by the end of the boardwalk," said Jessica, brows furrowed.

"Sweet. Two birds with one stone. I guess I'll see you guys at school?" she asked, locking up her truck.

Angela smiled and nodded shyly.

"See you on Monday, then, Izzy," said Lauren Mallory, smiling brightly.

"Yeah, Monday," said Jessica.

Lauren smiled and gave a brief wave before she went towards the fishing shop. Charlie was in an avid discussion with a clerk and while Lauren hated to be rude, she was in a hurry so she and Charlie could make a grocery run before dark. She hated driving in the dark.

"Charlie, I'm going to the bookstore and art store down the street," she said pleasantly.

The Police Cheif nodded to her and she went on her merry way. It was a nice day she reflected. It wasn't too bad cold wise, roughly forty degrees, with hardly a wind to make her life miserable. The art store was dismally small once she got there, with mostly painting supplies, something that Lauren could never get a real sense of, which most people found confusing for a fine arts major. She gravitated towards the sketchbooks and paper, picking up a basket and grabbing at many things. She may be in Bella Swan's life, she mused as she squinted at the charcoal and pastels, but fuck if she wouldn't keep up her passions.

"Do you need any help?" asked a cheerful older man, hands splattered in paint.

She smiled at him. Even from a distance, he smelled like turpentine, that permeated from him. She had found a good place, she thought, despite the lackluster selection.

"No. But thank you. By the way, you should get used to my face. You're going to be seeing me a lot. I'm Izzy."

"James, James Garner."

She smiled with a slight happy twist to her lips.

"Nice to meet you."

She bought too much. Way too much, as she always did when she went to the art store, buying well worth over two hundred dollars, despite the limited selection, but she chalked it down to the fact that it was because she didn't even have any good base for her work. She mostly bought in bulk and for long-term, and still had supplies from when she was in middle school. Her supplies were wonderful and she was careful and here in Twi-world, she had nothing.

The bookstore that Bella had dismissed in Twilight was larger than it looked on the street, and the scent of some burning incense was pleasant to Lauren. It was a bit new age-y, with crystals and dream catchers in the window, but it did have a great selection. Of which, Lauren made sure to take good advantage of, grabbing books she recognized and some she didn't. Six Harry Potter books were in her gleeful arms(she had the ebooks but hey, she sighed liked the feel of a book in her arms, and her phone magically died around people, anyway), already loaded with other things and more books. The older woman running the shop was shocked at the huge stack, blinking as she scanned book after book.

"Have everything you need, dear?" asked the woman, ringing up her purchases.

Lauren smiled and repeated what she had said to the art store clerk:

"Yes, thank you. But expect to see me very often here. I'm Izzy."

The woman smiled.

"I'm Ava White, are you a big reader, hon?"

"Yes. While I might not buy so many in one go, I will buy if you switch up inventory often."

Her smile turned into a beaming one.

"Then I look forward to seeing you here. Blessed be," she hummed.

Lauren recognized the Wiccan greeting and farewell and smiled at the reminder of her own Wiccan days, of tarot cards and burning sage to clear the house of evil vibrations. Her mom had thrown such a fit at the smell, as well as her refusal to go to church and over time she had lessened her own Wiccan practices because of the lack of time and overall, the shift in her recent life. Didn't mean she didn't occasionally have a crystal or two with her. It was more about positive thinking and clearing her mind that worked for her and while it felt sometimes silly, it was had had a positive influence in her life.

"Blessed be," she responded with a wink. The older woman smiled again, wider, dark eyes sparkling and waved her from the shop.

All said and done, she was roughly five hundred dollars shorter, which ate at her but she soothed herself in the fact that she nearly had four thousand bucks to run away if she had too. That could get her to Italy, or even last her a couple of weeks on the road... Waiting on Charlie she popped in her new earbuds and then nabbed a toned sketchbook and some Prismacolor pencils to pass the time.

He came twenty minutes later, smiling and arm with only one bag. She opened the door, popping out her newly purchase earbuds and glad that her phone was in her butt pocket. She smiled at him, tapping her feet against the dashboard.

"Did you get enough?" he asked, sliding into her truck, hands out. She passed over the keys easily and buckled up and rolled her eyes at his exasperated lit to his voice at the sight of the bags stacked behind the seat.

"The sarcasm in your tone is noted. Now get us to a Supermarket, Chief, I'm tired of take-out."

He rolled his eyes and started the roar of the truck. She had refused to drive in an unknown area. And her GPS on her phone was worthless, as it stated she was currently nowhere. It was an hour drive back to Forks, in relative silence, with Charlie mentioning a thing here or there, distracting Lauren away from the first Harry Potter book, which she had fished from behind her once he had started the golden oldy station. She smiled at him, followed his small talk and just kept reading. The supermarket was relatively big for a small town, it even had a butcher in the back, which was pretty cool.

"Izzy, I'm not so sure, I really don't have time to cook-"

"I can throw shit together, Chief," she replied, barely managing to hold her rolling eyes.

She snagged a cart, list in hand. She liked lists. Lists stopped her from buying a cartful of ice-cream she didn't need. Even if it was on the list. She wondered if the Seattle area had Ben and Jerry's in 2005.

"Isabella Marie Swan," he said and that time Lauren did roll her eyes.

For fucks sake I'm nearly twenty. Am twenty? I left in November 2016 at least, and according to Miriam a couple months have passed, so I should be twenty now if it's 2017 in My world... I can swear. Hell, at seventeen I was a worse potty mouth.

She didn't swear as often as she once did. But she did swear, her baby face aside. Innocence and innocence looking had a clear distinction. She carefully measured the tomatoes as she placed them into the plastic sack.

"Sorry. I thought references to excrement were okay," she said, and she smiled a little sheepishly. It was both jarring and annoying to suddenly be thrown into a teenager's place, "I can cook, Charlie. Very well in fact."

A couple weeks ago Charlie would've been more or less her equal, not an authority figure, cop status aside. Sure she was still a kid in many ways but she paid taxes and bills and everything. She should have at least the ability to say a 'naughty' word on occasion in comparison to the forty-one-year-old man. She moved onto the fruit, eyes careful as she inspected late-season apples against out of season oranges.

"No. Ladies don't use foul language."

She smirked and looked over her shoulder at the taller man.

"Then I won't reference birds?"

Charlie blinked, pursed his lips.

"When did you become such a smartass?" he was smirking himself and briefly, Lauren saw the bit of the man beneath the 'mustached-dad'.

The man she could easily see herself becoming friends with in her exile in Twi- world. He was easily one of the best things here.

"Ah, ah, ladies don't use such language."

He snorted.

"I'm no lady."

"Charlie, you're the prettiest Lady with the best mustache."

He smiled, a chuckle escaping his lips.

"Well, I won't say no to the last one-"

"Oh, excuse me, dear!" said a voice after a thud rang out through Lauren's arms. She swore her teeth chattered at the force. The voice was unmistakable, high, sweet like a nightingale.

Chills went down Laurens spine as she turned to the second Culled she had the misfortune to meet, the matriarch, Esme. Well, she thought with a blink, She is gorgeous… In an uncanny valley kinda way.Esme Cullen was as beautiful and pale as her husband, with dark, caramel color hair, and those intense, yellow eyes. Not golden, no, Bella Swan knew nothing about colors. As an Arts Major, she knew color and Topaz did not qualify as 'gold' it was yellow. Her features were perfect, separated, but together they were almost awkward- not quite right. She was taller than Lauren and just as her husband, she blinked, moved and breathed at a rhythm that was almost natural.


She didn't quite remind Lauren of Snow White(where the hell Bella had gotten that, she didn't know) but she did have a sort of softness that her husband didn't have, which she figured from the fact that she had recently had a baby when she was turned. She was smiling, closed mouthed, thankfully, dimples in her round cheeks. She had small features, large, luminous eyes, from what Lauren could see. though, Bella's perception of her looking like a silent film star was spot on. She had the same sort of dew beauty of Fay Wray. Vaguely, Lauren had recollections of Metropolis and A Trip to the Moon. Of King Kongand Helen Grovner of The Mummy, circa 1939. Lauren did love her old movies.

She pursed her lips, knowing damn sure that she hadn't accidentally bumped into her. Vampire senses and all. That means she wants to speak to me in particular. Fuck. Lauren had apparently caught the attention of the vampire family already. Fuck. Fuckty fuck, fuck. Chinga me o coja me.

"Mrs. Cullen," Charlie's voice was warm, pleasant and a little flustered, "Don't apologize, it's my fault for distracting Izzy."

Esme shook her head:

"Oh, Chief Swan, I have asked you to call me Esme. And I wasn't looking either, the blame lies with me as well," she brightened, turned to Lauren with a wider smile, "Oh, Isabella, I've heard so much about you. I was terribly frightened when Carlisle explained to me of your ordeal in the woods. You must be careful, dear."

Lauren had an urge to scowl at the tone Esme had adopted, chiding and parental. I'm an adult, she internally seethed at the patronizing. She had actually been behaving very naturally and logically considering she had thought she had been kidnapped. But, she thought with a forced smile, it wasn't as if she could scream it at the Vampire woman. As much as it would make her feel better.

"I just got a little turned around. I don't really plan on going back to the woods so soon without being prepared," the fact that Esme's surrogate children, herself and her husband were running around in the woods feeding more or less axed any of Lauren's enjoyment of the beauty of the woods or the urge to walk in them.

She liked breathing and she didn't know if she smelled as sweet as Bacon to this gaggle of vampires, but she rather not risk it. In what she remembered of canon, it didn't matter to most vampires anyway. Blood was blood.

"That's wonderful, dear. I'm so pleased that you are so decisive! If you need any advice on hiking, do feel free to ask. I may not look it, but I adore it myself. I'm quite the outdoors woman," something in Lauren eased at that, at the actual somewhat thoughtful offer.

Lauren had remembered liking Esme, once upon a time. She hadn't been in much of the books, but the scene in which she was talking to Bella in the baseball clearing had been honest and blunt to the basics of the lost of her only biological child. That had been brave and showed a lot about Esme, if briefly. She had been matter of fact of her suffering of her tragic loss of her only biological child. Yes, the woman in initial treatment felt patronizing and the fact that the woman across from her had eaten people really did freak Lauren out, but, well, being rude to a vampire was a stupid idea anyway.

"Thank you, Ma'am, but I'm not really much of a hiker. I was just curious about the woods, they looked so different from what I'm used too," Lauren was careful to not mention specifics. She was a more or less skilled liar, but she always felt that the truth was mostly easier to deal with and keeping it vague was her best bet at the moment.

"Ah, yes, Phoenix, it must be such a vivid change in comparison to Forks."

Lauren had been to Phoenix, many times in her life, back when she was small and her parents had decided to take that route on the way to Mexico when the Tijuana route was too dangerous. She had even spent a spring break there, back before their move to Texas, when her parents had debated moving to the sprawling city in the desert. But that was back when she was nine, which would be the March of next year in this place if I exist in this Universe, so, really, she didn't remember or know too many details. But she could say this much:

"The climate is so much nicer here," she said and she smiled at that. Seriously, it had yet to go over fifty degrees and Lauren loved it.

Esme's carefully smiling face flickered surprise, her small dainty mouth popping open slightly and her nicely arched eyebrows lifted.

"You like the cold?"

"Ma'am, after being in the Valley of the Sun, you relish the cold."

Esme smiled.

"Oh, call me Esme, Isabella, dear."

Lauren found herself smiling, slightly:

"Call me, Izzy. Esme," she made sure to pronounce the name carefully, as until her sister had so gleefully corrected her, Lauren had read it in her head as 'Eh-sm', instead of 'Es-may'.

"I would adore that, Izzy," her tone was warm and yeah, Lauren could feel the motherly-ness pouring from the older woman. She had an ache for her own mother, for her arms and the smell of the powder that Lauren had gotten her for Valentine's day, the same brand her Abuelita had used when she was alive.

The fact that she was only a few years physically older than Lauren made her feel very sad in that moment, especially the fact that she had taken her own life over the loss of her son. She wondered if Esme had ever resented Carlisle for not letting her join her son. She blinks at her smile, at the stillness and otherness that she excludes, this young woman of twenty-six that had just wanted to escape her abusive husband and found eternal life instead, one with her baby dead and buried.

"If you need anything at school, please feel free to ask my children. I have two girls and three boys. Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper are seniors, but Alice and Edward are juniors as well," the woman said, smiling brighter at the mention of them, she particularly glows at it, "They are a little reserved, but they will help you adjust if they can."

Lauren shivered at the mention of Esme's children, at the members of her coven. Or really, one in particular. She wasn't sure how she felt at the prospect of Edward Cullen, but the fact that she had filled Bella's place seamlessly so far didn't exactly endear her to the thought of meeting the sparkly boy. She really hoped her blood didn't 'sing' to him. She liked her blood. A positive, not blood donor material because she went to Mexico recently, but hey, it kept her going. Nonetheless, Lauren wasn't so rude to not see the kind gesture:

"Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. But, I'm pretty good at working things out, but I won't be averse to saying Hi."

And she wasn't really, not completely. Yeah, she sure as hell didn't want to be lusted after for her blood, but part of her was fascinated at the prospect of speaking to…. Well, all of them. She didn't like that she was in the Twilight universe or wherever the hell she was but they all had lived through at least eight decades(both Carlisle and Jasper had centuries behind them, three and two respectively) and through periods of history that were fascinating. And she was somewhat morbidly curious on some level, even if she was intent on steering clear of the family in the long run.

She was banking on the fact that they seemed to be haughty assholes in the books over interacting with humans. Why they went through the charade of high school was beyond Lauren, especially if they didn't partake in social things. From what Lauren could see, Carlisle and Esme were the only ones that actually bothered to interact with people, at least until now, so she had no idea why the four vampires bothered with school and didn't just stay home and pursue other things. It wasn't as if they had to be seen anyway, or really, even were seen outside of school. If Esme and Carlisle moved and presented themselves at any given location as a newlywed couple with no one else, they wouldn't have to move as much. And if one of the younger members of the coven were spotted, they would say that they were visiting cousin or drifters or something.

"That's wonderful dear," here, Esme's lovely brows furrowed, and she had a look of mild distress, "They never try to make friends and I wish they would."

Color me surprised, thought Lauren. Maybe the high school is Carlisle's effort to further humanize his progeny?

"Well, Esme, if they're anti-social, they're anti-social. I won't push them. Now, if you excuse us, the Chief and I have to get some things so we can eat something other than dinner food or pizza."

Charlie blushed, bless him, as Esme laughed.

"Certainly, I just wanted to say Hello and make sure you were well. Welcome to Forks, Izzy, dear."

With that, the vampire walked off, movements smooth and trotting away in her little kitten heels and with a swish of her lovely patterned skirt. Charlie sighed, wistfully.

"Doctor Cullen was lucky when he met her," he said softly.

Lauren blinked.

"Charlie, are you lusting after a married woman?"

The sputtering Chief of Police turned an interesting shade of red.


She smirked.

"Hey, she was gorgeous and really nice in a Suzy-homemaker kinda way, I get it. You're an adult male and all. It happens."

Charlie stared at her, while Lauren simply nabbed some onions.

"You're treating me a little casually, Izzy. I am your father," and his voice was firmer, the reprimand clear.

No. No, you're not.

Lauren turned to the fictional, literary character, closing the plastic bag of onions and throwing it violently into the shopping cart. I am a hot-blooded Latina. He was real and a real full-blooded person to her now, as horrifying and startling as that was, she had to deal with it. He also was a stranger that thought she was his daughter. She wasn't treating him as a father, nor an authority figure. And she refused to even if she liked the man. As far as she was concerned, he was a roommate that she had never agreed with. She placed her hands on her hips and licked her lips.

"Charlie, you really haven't had a say in my life. You didn't raise me, you don't really know me, " she said bluntly, and she felt bad as she saw him flinch, however, she was going to say her piece damn it she was a grown woman and she was not going to be cowed more than she was naturally inclined to do, "But, I'm here, in Forks with you and I'm living with you. You have to look at it from my perspective. This is new and hard for me, and I'm pretty set in my ways. I'm not going to temper myself for you, this is me, and this is what you're getting. If you don't like it, call Renee and ship me off to Phoenix."

His face was heartbreaking, really, his eyes watering. Why do I have to hurt this poor man? Fuck you, Bella Swan, for not being here. Fuck me for being here. Charlie doesn't deserve this.

"It wasn't for a lack of trying, Isabella. I wanted to be a part of your life. I still want too. How can I send you to Phoenix if I just got you back?" his voice was thick.

Lauren remembers that bit, an echo of what Bella had said when had she trashed on Charlie by saying the words of his ex-wife when she had left him. She sighs, feeling horrible as she rubs at her forehead.

"Good. Charlie, that's wonderful. Now, I'm sorry if I'm not acting like a daughter," he stared at her in surprise, but she wasn't done, not yet, "I can't behave in any other way. You're a stranger, one I respect and certainly like, but a stranger. Can we be, if not father and daughter, friends?"

He didn't respond, brows furrowed and frowning at her. Lauren sighed.

"Think about it, come on, let's finish shopping, we need to get back to the house so you can catch that game you mentioned."

Charlie was silent and followed her as she went to the next item on her list, going until they were outside, rolling out with their purchases. It was evening already, sunset. Twilight as Bella so pretentiously said so many times.


Lauren liked that word better. It made her think of classical novels and gothic ones, mysterious and grand. She wasn't that type of person but she did have an extensive loaded the truck, and this time, Lauren took the wheel. She was a shaky driver at best. Last she had driven she had been sleep deprived, in a hurry and in her friend's car. She may have driven over things that weren't meant to be driven, but she hadn't wrecked the car at least. The Crushinator could take her questionable driving skills. It was when Lauren started the truck, that Charlie spoke:

"Isabella," he started, and his voice was a little clearer, less rough, "I… I know I haven't been in your life. But I can be now. Please, let be in it. In whichever way- I'm sorry if I overstepped my-"

"You didn't Charlie," she interrupted and she sighed at the road as she went along, "I understand that you want to be my father. I respect your effort. I know why you doing it, and I adore you for that."

She did. It was sweet, said a lot about his character.

"But you don't need a father," his voice was sad.

Lauren thought of her dad. Of her wonderful, tragically dead dad.

"I do. I really want my Dad. He's dead. Died last March," it was easier to say it. Horribly easier to say it now.

Didn't mean it didn't hurt. She couldn't stop the heat or the onslaught of tears in her eyes. But she refused to let them drop.


"He was a father to me. His kids are my brother and sister, and his wife was more if a mother than Renee," she looked over at him and smiled sadly before she turned back to the road. It was the closest to the truth that she could say.

He didn't say anything, startled no doubt. The only sound was the sound of the loud engine, the heater and the faint whistle of the wind through the window that didn't roll up all the way.

"The bacon, you said-"

"He had heart problems. Well, at first. Then it was the strokes too. Diabetes. He was sixty-four years old when his LVAD* got a blood clot. They had to replace it. The surgery went perfectly, that's what the Doctors said. He got a blood infection. He was weak from the surgery. But, hey, he was a tough ol' bastard," she laughed aloud at saying that, she had loved her father to bits, but sometimes he could be so backward and an asshole," He was so strong. So strong. Even towards the end he had such a strong grip, could pull me easily across a room with his good arm. It was six months before he finally… Couldn't fight it."

"Oh God, Izzy. I-"

"You didn't know. Renee doesn't know. That's okay. He fought his sickness tooth and nail, kicking and screaming all the way. I was ten when he first got sick. When he went to the hospital after his surgery due to some 'minor' complications, I sort of knew it was going to happen. A feeling that it was his last time going into the hospital."

"That's why you're in Forks. You wanted a change. Why didn't you tell anyone?!" he exclaimed.

Lauren blinked. Even she didn't know why she was in Forks. But hey. In for a penny, out for a pound. It's a better explanation then, hey, I'm not your daughter. Not even in a biological. My name is Lauren. I'm a Mexican-American college student that woke up in Bella's place. Can I still live in your house until I figure out how to get home?

"Because it was too much. I didn't want to talk about it nor dwell on it. But I can dwell on it. It get's so much easier that it's sad. I want to be sad all the time, I feel like I should. He was my father for fuck's sake. But I can't. That's not how life works."

She parked her truck on the curve next to the Swan house and turned to the stunned Chief of Police.

"I really know nothing about you," and Charlie sounded so sad.

"Hey, Chief, you know my favorite pizza. You know I have a brother and a sister. You know that I'm short and swear a bit more than I should. Everything else comes with time."

He stared at her, blinking rapidly.

"Time. We have that," he said, slowly, and he cracked a smile for the first time in a while.

Lauren smiled and stuck out her hand. Charlie took it. He had a strong grip, firm and easy shake.

"Friends?" she asked and he nodded.


Chapter Text

'First Sight Part I'

"This can't go on I must inform the law, can this still be real or just some crazy dream?But I feel drawn towards the chanting hordes, they seem to mesmerize, can't avoid their eyes. Six! Six! Six! The number of the beast," The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden (1982)

The morning of Lauren's first day returning to high school was not a good one. Generally, Lauren and mornings did not get along period. She was an insomniac, or a night owl if you will(she rather describe it as being a permanently exhausted pigeon but since that wasn't the saying, a chingada owl she was), ever since she had been a child. It wasn't so bad, wasn't severe, it was just some nights, maybe four out of seven a week, she would lay in bed, the noise of her T.V. soft and trying to be soothing, the dark of the room creeping up on her and her thoughts, whirling and looping. Or maybe it was too hot, too cold, her pillows felt flat. She couldn't get comfortable on her side or her legs didn't feel right when they rested together.

All of that would build up to her not sleeping, no matter how heavy her eyes felt, no matter how much she wanted to sob at the fact that it was four in the morning and she had to get up at the latest, six o'clock. It was simply how her sleep cycle worked, most of the time, she would have a few weeks of constant, steady sleep of six to seven hours every night, have one night of not sleeping and it would carry out until she broke the cycle again. She had learned to live with it, avoided drugs because she hated how they made her feel the next day, groggy and hazy in the mind.

Lauren liked her mind clear, thank you very much.

The mornings were the worst though, whenever she had an insomniac bout. Everything about mornings bugged her whenever she had not slept well the night before. The bright light hurt her sensitive eyes, the humidity in the mornings in Texas was always killer and of course, the prospect of what she had to do with the coming day always ramped her anxiety up to the nth degree. Considering she had a habit of not sleeping well in general, especially when she was stressed, she was not in such a good mood, to begin with when she woke up to the blare of her alarm. Well, the one Charlie had put in the room for Bella. An annoying ready thing that snooze button apparently didn't work.

So bad start of the day right there.

Especially since she wanted to throw the damn thing across the room and into the wall, sleep the rest of the day and claim to Charlie she had legitimately overslept. But she didn't make a habit of breaking things that didn't belong to her and she didn't want to die today by throwing off how Bella had met Edward(she had already, somehow, fucked up the when- Bella started school on Tuesday the Eighteenth, not today, which was the Tenth of January, a Monday). She had tried to prepare. She had begged Charlie to show her the way, memorized the route on both foot(now that had been an adventure of walking along the highway like some crazy hitch-hiker, several cars had stopped and pulled over in concern, ah, the good of humanity) and car and purchased a map just in case on her way out of the grocery store. She had packed Bella's beat up backpack for school and staged a makeshift bug out stash in her truck just in case(sparkle-pyre universe, she would be prepared because otherwise, it could kill her).

If Edward didn't kill her straight off and if he reacted even more violently than he did to Bella, then Lauren was going to book it to the next plane to Italy, with a possible Wolfy escort if she could convince Sam. Or maybe even hole up in La Push if she was given permission. She was woefully unfamiliar with policies of visitors to reservations staying an extended of time but knew that Billy might make an exception for Charlie's daughter, even if Charlie and he weren't in the best of places at the moment. She had a vague inclination that they were estranged over Billy's reaction to the return of the Cullens.

"Water to last you a week?" chimed her sister's voice. It was slightly thick, no doubt with sleep since it was much earlier than normal for her and Lauren couldn't help but yawn in response to it. She rubbed her eyes, pinching them tightly together at how heavy they felt and rubbing at them absently with her hand.

It was near seven in the morning(she had a little over two hours to get to her first class, a small mercy, but she was running on about three hours of sleep), not really raining but looking like it wanted to, with Lauren standing outside by her truck, door open, a small notebook and checklist in hand, a thin, fleece hoody on, with booty shorts and flip flops, her phone perched on her passenger seat. She felt fairly comfortable in the about forty degree weather*. Lauren didn't flinch at the temperature despite her scantily attired body, she loved the cold after all. Her nickname in high school had been Sailor Popsicle, as she had worn skirts and shorts with non-thermal tights in twenty-degree weather.

"At least five gallons," Lauren said to her sister, who was on speaker. It was more than enough, even considering the fact that Lauren made sure to drink large amounts of water each day. She even had bought a large, one-liter water bottle to lug around school with her.

She checked behind in the boot of the truck, standing on her wheel and counting out the large jugs in the large cooler Charlie had had for fishing (he had mentioned that he had been meaning to get a new one, so she felt comfortable taking it), Miriam hummed, a soft familiar sound. Lauren would bet the Crushinator that Miriam had a similar checklist in hand, a world and some states away.


"Enough that Charlie thinks I'm planning a camping trip," she confirmed, touching them next to the water.

It had been funny really, browsing through the jerky and long lasting foods, watching a twitchy Charlie as she went about:

"Izzy. You got lost in the woods just by walking," his tone had been exasperated and his lips had been pursued. She picked up some jerky, glancing at its shelf life, wrinkling her nose at all the salt inside the damn packet.

They were on their second grocery run, as Lauren had decided to be the one to drive to and then back to get her bearings in Forks, it was Sunday and tomorrow she would be entering high school. Again. It was a small town, population-wise, but aside from the small downtown area everything was hugely spaced out and you needed a car unless you were a marathon runner to get around. Lauren walked everywhere, took public transportation regularly and knew the big difference from knowing your way around on foot and through the system than in the car, so she was determined to get comfortable with her Crushinator and just as familiar on foot, so she had taken on going on walks around town. She turned to Charlie, squinting at the Chief of Police and grinned.

"You have a thing against beef jerky, Chief?"

He squints right back at her.

"You hate bacon, but you like beef jerky?'

She shrugged.

"Yeah. It's cured meat. Not burnt."

He laughed, full belly. She giggled alongside him, grinning as she tossed a couple of the longest shelf-life into the basket. She had long been told that her lack of love of bacon was odd and her tolerance for beef jerky in contrast with her disgust with bacon.

"You're something else, Iz."

She smiled, the casual mention of her nickname in this world finally sounding natural on the older man's tongue. She patted his arm in thanks and in comfort, noting with surprise that Charlie was kinda buff. It wasn't that obvious or to the point where he could bench her with one arm, and Lauren had long learned that Charlie was the master of a stiff uniform or oversized flannel shirts, hence hiding his apparently buffish body. She figures being Chief in such a small town demanded a better physique than what she had assumed. Point for the mustache Dad, she mused.

"You know it, Chief!"

"First aid kit?"

Lauren sighed.

"Prepared it myself."

She had been meticulous really and as a sister to a former nursing student, she had had that thing locked and prepped in less than ten minutes. She had nothing on Doctor Cullen's own personal arsenal, of course, but she was good enough as long as she didn't do anything too drastic. She wasn't as clumtasic(spaztastic) as Bella had claimed to be in the books, but she had been known to trip up stairs. And accidentally throw pencils at teachers, but the worst she had ever suffered or caused was a few broken plates and a small break in her arm near her wrist and she took pride in that.

Even if I broke my arm tripping over a Goddamn football.

Her excuse was that she had been four at the time and less coordinated than she was now. The first aid kit was underneath the passenger seat, ready for whatever hurt her. As long as she could get to it at least.


"Most of it is in my glove compartment, which had a padlock," she had a few hundred dollars on her person, just in case. Some of it was tucked into her bra, some in her shoes(the ones she was going to wear to school) and some in her phone wallet. She rattled her keys, touching the key to the lock on her glove compartment.

If Lauren had had a penis, as well as her parents been more wealthy when she was a child, she knew she would have been a boss at the whole boy scout business.

"Good, the more secure that is, the better, " Miriam said and Lauren preened at the praise, swinging her keys that held her house, glove compartment lock and house keys again," Can of pepper spray and hairspray for your lighter?"

Lauren smirked and patted the cute leather purse she had found in the garage(more of a satchel really, she had a habit of humming the Indiana Jones theme to it whenever she rummaged through it).

"I can light anyone at ten feet. Always on me," she had tested it when Charlie hadn't been in his home, of course. She had doubled checked to have two travel sized hairsprays with her.

She was so happy that she had found a better alternative than her little matches(which were still in her truck). It wasn't a traditional lighter, but rather one of those meant for cook-outs, long nozzle, and simple trigger to start it. She could never get the hang of the thumb press ones. She kinda would have gone for an electric lighter that she favored whenever she did metalsmithing (Her kingdom for a gas torch), but out of outright buying a torch, she was stuck, as she didn't see how well Charlie would let that slide. She was tempted to buy at least a little kitchen one but knew better than to push it. Maybe if she could convince Charlie it was for Crème brûlée?


"Hidden behind the backseat," she said, slamming the cooler closed.

It was enough to last her for a couple of days and plenty of socks, bras, and underwear. All things that were comfortable on the run clothes; jeans, two dresses, shorts, and t-shirts. Lauren checked it off the list, seeing it was the last item.

"Lauren, you're all set."

The silence that fell on both of them was heavy and thick. Lauren licked her lips, fidgeting as she tossed the small notebook into the small basket she had placed into her truck(another garage find).

"I should go get showered and dressed," she said softly into her phone.

She tried to ignore the lump in her throat or the fact that felt her eyes watering.

"Yeah. I need to start getting ready for work."

Lauren swallowed.

"Miri, if I'm bacon-"


"Seriously. Miriam if he drains me dry, I won't respond to you anymore. Declare me dead... And tell mom and Andrew that I love them ... Please?" her accent was thick, her heart was pounding and Lauren didn't want to die.

But she really didn't have a choice, she rather follow the story and chase Edward away for a week and regroup with attempting to escape wherever the fuck she was then risking changing the story and get herself killed. So far, searching carefully around both a little into the woods and Charlie's house top to bottom had yielded no clue about why or how she was here. In the past few days, she had gone over the first novel and Midnight Sun, despite its dubious nature as perhaps non-canon and tried to map out both the Time-Line and Bella's behaviors to either mimic or avoid around the Cullens. Knowing the book was a good way to avoid the book, after all.

"Text me after every class," she demanded, firm and scratchy.

Lauren licked her lips again before she grabbed her chapstick from the small basket of essentials on the space between the passenger and driver's side (deodorant, tons of lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner and five types of chapstick, it was the small things that kept her going) and smeared it on.

"Every class. Call me as soon as you're off at work and can get away from mom and Andrew."

Her sister's voice sounded throaty and hoarse:

"Don't you dare fucking die Lauren Isabel Calderon. If that dip-shit Bella can survive this encounter, so can you dammit. I love you."

"I love you, too."

With a loud sob, the line clicked off. Lauren stared at her phone, pressed her hands tightly into her watering eyes, before slipping out of her truck, locking it up tight and heading inside. She showered quickly for once in her life, scalding hot and she quickly rubbed her skin raw with Bella's strawberry scented(fairly nice brand) body wash going through the motions of washing her hair, shaving and didn't bother to dry her hair with Bella's large, clunky hair dryer. Lauren had never owned one and as she quickly changed, she noticed by the sound on the roof that it had started to rain. Opening the thick, heavy curtains she had installed the other day only confirmed this.

No point then. It looks beautiful outside, though.

She got dressed with care, if this was her last day she would, as her one of her Aunts sometimes said, 'Deja un curpo bonito, niña' or 'leave a beautiful corspe, girl': choosing a black, long sleeve dress, black, slightly heeled boots that reached her calves, a black set of tights and a nice jacket that wasn't too thick, black as well. The black offset the robin's egg blue nail polish she had bought for a dollar on the way out of the grocery store. She looked into the mirror over the closet door, adjusting her bra strap and fussing with the way the dress fell over her stomach and checking twice to see that her well-endowed mammaries looked well in enough.

She looked…

Normalish, for her, well, the cut of the dress was all wrong- it didn't have that cute little flare that more modern skirts did, but it wasn't too long on her(curse her lack of height) and with a nice plain, nearly invisible black beaded design of roses, with a slight A-line skirt that hide her stomach well enough. In all, Lauren thought she looked fine, maybe a little punk or grunge in comparison to the pastels and bright colors the girls had been sporting in Port Angeles, but not grossly out of place in 2005. With her short, messily overgrown pixie cut she thought she could pass for an attempt at a Winona Ryder look(Or was she more eighties?). She wasn't that pale anymore, but with the constant gray outside she looked close enough.

She didn't even bother with any makeup, she had never been to make up oriented in her day to day (it wasn't that she didn't need it, even if Lauren had been blessed with dry, mostly clear skin, it was more that she was too lazy and didn't want to poke her eye out in an attempt of using eyeliner so early in the morning), especially to impress anyone, let alone for a bunch of teenagers. The meager amount that Bella had was the wrong color anyway, all pale and pastel eye shadow, a mascara and eyeliner that was not water-proof and no lipstick to speak of, talk about no.

She hitched her satchel on her shoulder and grabbed Bella's plain backpack. She met her own gray eyes in the mirror.

"You're not going to die. You are not just bacon," she whispered softly. Her face was pale but determined, she hoped, "My name is Lauren Isabel Calderon. I am not Isabella Marie Swan. I won't fall in love with Edward or get caught in the Vampire world. I'm going to figure a way out of this place and laugh this off when it ends."

She ignored the semi-permanent bags underneath the eyes that told her that her worries couldn't be dispelled by pretty words. A certain level of delusion was what she needed at the moment. She couldn't do much about the bags anyway. Even if she bothered, she needed a good corrector stick to even make a dent in the dark color(she knew this from many years of practice). With one last final adjustment to her dress and slightly damp hair, Lauren slathered on some more chapstick and left the house with her keys and cheap aviators in hand and no breakfast.

The very thought makes me want to upchuck in Edward's sparkly face. I have lunch and snacks ready anyway.

She climbed into the Crushinator, backpack, lunch bag and satchel swung across her right arm before she tossed them into the passenger street. She took a deep breath, once, twice, before she licked her lips and started the loud, rumbling engine. She eased herself into driving the large, relatively unfamiliar truck. Though she didn't drive often, the certain aspect of control it allowed eased her a bit, made her constant licks to her lips stop, made her grip on the wheel relax. It was just her and the empty road, gray, slick with the dew from the night before and as she took it all in the bright rainy morning, her breathing eased. The towering, slightly blurred trees were rich and nearly evergreen, even in January.

If she wasn't living in the life of a fictional teenage girl, it would have been beautiful.

The drive to Forks high school was relatively uneventful, with only a little amount of rain, Lauren blasting her phone's little speakers instead of the radio because she could only stand golden oldies when she was in the right mood for it and apparently high possibility of being eaten by someone made her blast Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills like nobody's business(they were her unwind songs as of late), on a small playlist, on repeat. The slight crooning and rapid pace guitar and drums made a nice contrast to the looming forest around her, filled the silence and made Lauren, well, relax even further.

Bella's description of the school was fairly accurate in a sense that the school didn't look quite right. Maybe it was her own, three thousand strong high school and tall three story buildings and old ridiculously large courtyard that was triple the size of a football field bias talking, but the Home of the Spartans didn't scream school to her. At least high school. It was fairly reminiscent of her minuscule middle school: Tiny, brick buildings that were clustered together and numbered, she eyed the parking lot in front of a building marked 'Main Office' and drove past it, to the larger, slightly shititier parking lot in front of the two largest buildings. What she guessed was the Cafeteria or the gym, not quite knowing which was which. The fact that most of the school seemed to connected loosely with walkways outside did not endear her to it.

If it rains for so much of the fucking time, why the hell isn't it an inside, one building school? I swear in real life it had been or was that just the movie?

It was eight, still an hour before the first class started, but the parking lot on this side was relatively full. Must be a hangout time, or the people in clubs and sports. She steadily ignored the Volo at the other end of the parking lot as she turned off her engine(she had deliberately parked as far away as she could). The number of students all about, loitering, made something in her empty stomach heavy. It had been easy to ignore the time difference at home with only her phone and Charlie as a point of reference, even when she had gone out, it had been later in the day with Charlie, she could ignore the plethora of acid wash jeans and large t-shirts and even the lack of bras. But the otherness of the time period she was now in….

It was eerie.

It was suddenly as if she was eight again, but this time people weren't taller and she wasn't wearing something similar. She blinked. Wondering again if she existed in Twi-world. She hadn't checked. Didn't know where to start(much like she didn't know where to start when it came to blowing this popsicle stand). She knew for sure that the internet wasn't as prominent as before and dial up was a fucking nightmare to work with(God she missed Wifi). Her phone seemed to be connected to reality, at least her's- she had access to modern youtube, so she couldn't exactly use that. She had Miriam trying to track the house phone number of their home in California and if it lined up here than she would have the answer if her mom answered the phone if some else answered she would inquire after her family and would find out from there. Short of physically going to California herself, she had no other ideas.

The sight of a lot of kids, teenage kids, but kids nonetheless made Lauren lick her lips and grabbed her phone, fingers trembling. She scrolls through the music and deliberately selected Dead Girl Walkingfrom the Heathers musical, a product that wouldn't be made in nine years, popping in her earbuds and taking a few moments to just blast the three-year-old song. It was soothing and felt... Nice to have a reminder that when and where she was couldn't define her, wouldn't force her into accepting her strange, frightening place in Twi- World.

And if I die today, the chorus of the song will be pitch fucking perfect.


* "That's Isabella, the new girl Esme mentioned!" chirped Alice, tugging on her husband's arm excitedly. Being what she was and Jasper's own usual inclination of following his wife's lead, he was tugged down towards her in her forceful exuberance.

Edward forced himself not to roll his eyes at his sister's, zealous and bubbly enthusiasm. It wouldn't due to appear to be so rude to a woman, even if she never caught the gesture. Isabella Swan did indeed pull up, in a pathetic and frankly frightening bucket of rust that Edward thought could fall apart at any moment. Most of the children did have such sort of cars, old and frankly hideous, but at least they looked like they could go past sixty and not startled him more than the engine was the fact that she was had the sound of British metal coming from inside the cab. A song made roughly around the time the girl had been born. He wonders, briefly, who had influenced her to like such music, perhaps her estranged father?

The children's reaction to the relatively unfamiliar vehicle was typical:

It's Isabella Swan!

I hope she's hot.

Oh, newbie is here!

Edward tried to tune out the cacophony of voices out as best as he could, grimacing at their petty and shallow thoughts, reacting in such reverberation to something so mundane as a new student. It was as if they were throwing a new, shiny toy into their small lives, despite how simple it was to acquire a new student. They were so easy to incentivize, to rile up. His family had had the same reaction and he wagered even when Michael Newton had the same when he had come a few years prior. He remembered how the more inane girls had fancied his brothers and himself as a new opportunity, in which they had missed with the Newton boy. His sisters, of course, had been the target of idiotic teenage boys that had found themselves in the mood for a romp or 'in love' with them. He had no doubt that many little boys(as well as a few select, confused girls) were looking for the same chance with the girl who was coming out of the truck.

Despite himself, the memory of both Carlisle's and Esme's encounter with the girl made him mildly curious; Carlisle had thought of the frightened, quiet girl that had simply lost her way, Esme had found a vivacious and smiling girl bantering with her father. Edward had seen that she had a distinct lacking in respect for her elders and mulishness typical to children, but one encounter between his parents meant little to discern her personality. So he himself was looking in her direction, as were the rest of the children around him. She was a tiny thing he reflected as she jumped out of her truck, only an inch taller than Alice herself, even with her slight, three-inch heels(She walked confidently in them, thick and supported as they were).

She stood in all black(save for a brown leather bag across her torso)- a rebel or a attempting for that image he wasn't sure. She was curvy, plump really- either from poor genetics or overeating he could not tell, not so much that she waddled or anything of the sort, but enough that it would cause many of the children to dislike her- with a rounded, child-like face, large grey eyes with no lashes to speak of, a small nose and small, plump lips. All her features were like that, small and diminutive, child-like.

Her small height was emphasizing how much of a child this girl is, delicate, Esme had said that. The small amount of her color was rosy and just a hint of tan seemed to emphasize that even further, showed off the deep bruises of lack of sleep on her face. Her cropped, brown hair was wet, darkened by the rain, she didn't even bother to lift the hood of her sharply cut jacket against the light spray. An umbrella dangled from the satchel, but she did not even motion towards it. Nicely dressed, he mused, more so than needed for Forks. A try hard he would wager, trying to be stylish and edgy if her monochromatic choice of dress was any indication.

She wasn't beautiful, as no human truly was, nor did she have a face or body that would attract much attention in a crowded space, but if he had to label her by human standards she was merely cute. Like an overweight kitten or puppy perhaps.

But half the boys were already imagining themselves in love with her.

Damn those legs and those tits!

Edward could see that she was relatively well endowed and she had shapely legs and perhaps that would replace the boy's want for beauty. He pitied the poor girl, being lusted after was never pleasant(it was such a chore but of course the girl wasn't privy to thoughts as he was), but by her dress and by the way most children were at that age perhaps she wanted that. She walked with a sway to her small hips, back and forth, heel to toe*. It made him want to roll his eyes at her strut.

She's not very pretty.

God, what a fatty. Wish I had boobs that big

Lauren and Jessica said she was cool.

I can't believe she's wearing that to school-

"I don't have to stay and die like cattle; I could change my name and ride up to Seattle. But I don't own a motorbike -'s an option that I like: Spend those thirty hours gettin'... freakay! Yeah! I need it hard, I'm a dead girl walking! I'm in your yard, I'm a dead girl walking!" crooned out of her earphones, loud and melodious, a change from the harsh grind of Iron Maiden.

"Huh. That's a song I never heard before," said Emmett, starring in the girl's direction. She was blasting the song as she made her way towards the Main Office building(with small, controlled steps in that hips swaying walk of her's), the noise to a level that would most likely damage her already frail hearing, "Yo, Eddie what's that song?"

Edward frowned.

"I do not know. And do not call me that, Emmett."

Of course, Emmet would like the vulgar lyrics of a girl seemingly wanting to have relations with a boy after saying something against another popular girl. A strange turn from Iron Maiden, but just as vulgar, he found. His large, burly brother chuckled at his reaction.

"You don't know it? That's strange. You claim to know it all Eddie."

Edward grimaced.

"I know music that is important, Emmett."

Emmett raised a brow and rolled his eyes.

What crawled up your ass?

He found his curiosity peaked when he caught Lauren Mallory, Jessica Stanley and Angela Weber intercept the girl. The 'popular' crowd was already honing in, he thought with amusement. Either to ostracize the girl or to bring her into the fold. A pack of sheep bringing her into the flock. He was about to see her true status of being a rebel if she blew the girls off she was determined to be such, if she was overeager, she was a try hard.


God, she looks so cool, gushed Lauren Mallory's mind, much to his surprise, as the rather prickly blonde was not often praising others, I wish I could pull off black like that, and she doesn't even bother with makeup, the bitch.

That was more familiar, as was Jessica Stanley's mind:

Look at little miss Goth. What the fuck does she think she is, she's always wearing black. And look at Lauren, playing the welcoming community, what a two faced bitch.

Her mind flashes to their subsequent meeting at an outlet store, where the girl had indeed been wearing a black, ruffled blouse and dark jeans. No makeup either. Dismissing Jessica in a way that was clearly unintentional, but the vapid girl had taken it greatly to heart. Esme had made the same comment, praising the girl for not sloping on 'unnecessary accents' to her face. He watches as the girl pops out her earbuds, turning to the girl that called her name with a faint smile.

"Hi, guys," she said softly, smiling, he notices white, straight teeth through Angela's eyes. He liked her mind, she was one of the most kind creatures he had ever met.

She is pleasantly surprised by the way the girl has taken both headphones out, considerate is the word that comes to mind, as Angela's own shy smile came tentatively in response. The girl is winding her earbuds around her mp3 player, looking directly up at the three girls crowding around her.

"Hi Izzy!" cried Jessica, smiling widely, I suppose if Queen B-eyoch likes her it's social suicide to ignore her.

"Did you get your class list?"

She looks so nervous, I hope she has a nice day. The kind tenure of Angela's voice was soothing.

"On my way now, Mrs. Cope was nice enough to go over a couple of class changes with me over the break."

The way she sounds in that moment is resigned. He wonders if she was stuck in a course she disliked.

"Can you find your way to the office?" asked Lauren.

"I got it," the girl waves her hand over her shoulder in direction of the office.

"Want us to walk you?"

She blinks and then smiles again.

"Thanks, but I-'

Suddenly, she freezes and looks to towards them in a sudden, quick manner. Perhaps she is attracted to the fact that they were all staring, even Rosalie had come away from her thoughts about herself to look at the girl. She smiles, hesitantly. Then, Edward watches in sheer astonishment as the girl waves in their direction.

She just fucking waved at the Cullens!

"Izzy?" it's Jessica who speaks surprised and mouth open.

They do not wave back of course and the girl seems to accept that well enough.

"Their mom was really sweet the other day," her voice is thoughtful, clear as a bell despite the distance of an entire lot between them, "I thought it'd be polite to say hello for Esme."

She's on first name bases with Mrs. Cullen!?

Edward had of course known this, but the fact that she says her name with such genuine casualness is startling. Curious, Edward reaches for her mind, trying to find if she had done that on purpose, to catch the attention of the popular girls much more firmly and-


Edward feels nothing, no voice, not even a whisper from the girl's direction. Her mind is quiet and silent, almost as if she wasn't there at all. He blinks, catches her large eyes. They are primarily gray, a darker rim around the edge of the iris, with softer, different shades of gray and blue. It is a startlingly, sharp color, with yellow bands extending from her pupil like a burst of a delicate flower or star, flecked with reddish spots. He is startled, never had any human ever look him directly in his eye, even from a distance. She blinks, quickly, licks her too small lips and turns away.

"Gotta go, guys. See you later?"

Esme is meddling again, is Rosalie's thought, mulish and crossed.

She turns to him, a pinched frown at her lips.

"What was she thinking?" she tosses her blonde curls over her shoulder in an agitated manner, "Did Esme set her on us?"

Edward grunts, annoyed, looking back towards the girl, retreating to the main office, waving off the trio of girls as they head to away, back to their little herd of friends parked around the Crowley boy's large van. He tries to hear her, to catch her voice and he hears nothing. He stares at her, confused and frustration rising at the lack of thoughts at the lack of anything from her mind. He tries again, taking half a step toward her, as if distance would ease the lack of voice, despite that as long as they were within a mile of him, familiar voice or not, had never mattered.

And still, Isabella 'Izzy' Swan mind is silent and unknown to him.

Chapter Text

'First Sight Part II'

"Food glorious food. Eat right through the menu, just loosen your belt, two inches and then you- work up a new appetite, in this interlude, then food once again, food fabulous food glorious food!"~ Food, Glorious Food, Oliver! 1960

Lauren remembers rather vividly what it's like to be the new girl at school, at least, she does when she was in elementary school, being as she had only ever moved when she was in elementary school(At least twice, four other times before she started school). And really, the high school equivalent is much the same. Everyone is really more or less friendly, smiling and welcoming. You know, acting like normal people from a relatively small town when it came to a newcomer. With gentle curiosity, genuine pleasantness but with a certain distance. Not anything drastic, but... Just... Normal. Most of it was cut down because, well, it was the start of a new semester, everyone was more or less getting used to that and more mindful of that than anything else.

God Bella is so insecure.

It is slightly different compared to experience at being the 'new' girl, it is all eager teenagers around her, so she really isn't sure at how sincere everyone is being when they smile and try to be nice. Of course, there are the apathetic people that don't give a fuck and Lauren respects them all the more for it. Her first class is Gym, which is delightful in a sense that it is full of the athletic crowd, the kids on the teams and all. Hence, Coach Clapp is much more focused on them and only tells her to sit out the class until they can get a uniform for like a second before he's chasing after a tall, stocky boy, yelling:

"Crowley, get your ass in gear or we won't get to state this year!"

She sighs as she leans back, lifting her book, sitting amongst her fellow non-athletic kids as the Athletes monopolize the gym*. Lauren M. is one of them, a cheerleader and of course, head at that. She is militant as she barks orders, all of her fellow cheerleaders taking it all with nodding heads and smiles, which makes Lauren wonder at the fact that Bella had never mentioned that in the entire book series(Self-absorbed much?). Angela is next to her, smiling in her particularly unused uniform of yellow and blue, glancing at the book in her hands. A series of photographs are sprawled across her lap and the fact that Angela is in the school newspaper, Cheif Editor, in fact, seems to have been transplanted from the movie-verse.

"Oh, I love that series," she says, grins, as she looks at Lauren shifts the book down to look at Angela, "Have you read the latest one?"

"Yeah. Half-Blood Prince was one of my favorites."

"I can't wait for the last one!"

She lifts the Prisoner of Azkaban, again, smiling, wondering how Angela would react if she knew that the last book was in Lauren's back pocket. She has a vivid image of being tackled.

"It'll be a tale for our generation," she says seriously, "The next book is going to make us cry!"

Angela nods.

"Is there anything else you like reading?"

The rest of the class is spent talking about books, with Angela commenting on how she's glad to have someone other than Lauren M. in the class with her; 'She is too busy shaping up the squad, so I just mostly read in here all the time or work on the paper'. Her next class is Trig, Angela and Lauren walking along with her. Funnily enough, they have mostly the same schedule, with the exception of Lauren M. not having her last two classes, while Angela did not have her last class(that was her Journalism class). She smiled as she walked along the girls, pleasantly surprised about how… Well, natural it felt. It made her so nostalgic and she wonders briefly about her high school friends, most of which she hadn't kept up with. It made her remember that she was only two years out of school and that her life had changed so much in so little time. But she had been happy for her changes in life, with one glaringly obvious exception.

It was without that sort of mindset that she came into her next class, kinda sad and kinda miffed at the fact that she still had no idea how she was even in Twi-world. Miriam and her had spitballed of course- they bounced things off of each other very often.


"Miriam, I don't think it was aliens."'

"I mean, Meyer did write The Host. It could be aliens!"

"I really don't think so."

"Okay, not the Yurks, then. Did you pick up a creepy doll?"

Lauren sighed, curling up into herself, pulling a quilt she had found in the hallway closet higher. It was late, way past Miriam's and her bedtime. She was sitting by the window in Charlie's lazy boy, looking out into the night as it rained. She did not fear any creature looking back at her- Not yet. She doubted she had peaked the interest of the Cullens just yet. Or at least, to stalker levels. The fact that Esme had gone out of her way to talk to her worried her... But she couldn't really dwell on that. She could hardly see outside, just the impression of the tree thanks to the small lamp she had on. A book was across her lap, but she hadn't really looked at it all.

"Not that I know of."

Miriam sighed. She was quiet and so was Lauren.

"We're justing making shit up at this point," she said, she growled it out really.

Lauren leaned her head against the window.

"Yeah. We really are. The last thing I remember is going to bed... In November. It's now January both in Twilight and in the real world. Dates and times are aligned. I lost three months and there is no indication here, or in the real world what happened to me," Lauren swallowed thickly, licking her lips, "Miriam... I'm really scared."

"That makes two of us, Lauren."

Now, math and Lauren don't get along. Oh, she is fine with it, can get at least an eighty in most classes, but as a usually straight A student, that has borne some resentment(the fact that she had only ever failed one class in her academic career, by six points, did not endear her to it).The fact that the teacher, a sour-faced man demands she introduces herself with unmistakable glee in his eyes makes her know for sure that this is a class she won't like regardless of the subject matter. No one else had asked her to introduce herself, much to her surprise, but she accepted this as a courtesy of the teachers trying to tone down the attention she was getting. It was the start of the new semester, after all, their attention needed to be elsewhere. She scowls at the man because she loathes bullies and while she is tempted to tell him off, the fact that she rather not slap a grown-ass man for being a bully to a supposedly teenage girl. She did not want to add to assault to a public record, even if it was Bella's record and not her's. It was the damn principal of the matter.

She turns to the class and tries to smile, feeling her face heat up. All eyes on me. Public speaking isn't her forte, she is much better at public snarking. But, fake it or book it.

"Hey, my name is Isabella Swan," saying that lie is hard, bitter on Lauren's tongue, but she manages to spit it out without too much trouble, other than an inward urge to smash something (Maybe jerkwad Mr. Varner's face for making her do this). She continues with a quick lick to her lips, "But I guess most of you already know that if you listened to Charlie for the last few weeks. Call me Izzy, it's less of a mouthful. I like reading a lot and writing and hope to be an Artist one day, hopefully not starving."

Some of the kids do look at her, with interest, while the rest ignore her, as teenagers do. Some actually chuckle at her words. She smirks, feeling much more at ease at their lack of reactions. Oh, some are whispering, gossip mongers no doubt. But then, there are always people like that.

"I like movies and am very picky about my T.V. shows, but lean a lot towards fantasy and sci-fi dramas. I also like a lot of Asian horror and humor. Any questions?"

A guy, tall and with skin like that of chocolate milk, eyes that matched, in the front smirks, handsome and knowing it as he looks her up and down. He is slouched, easy, letterman draped across the back of his chair.

"You like horror, huh, Wednesday Addams?"

Lauren doesn't like bullies. She is a hot blooded Latina, as she jokingly tells her mother so much, but there aren't many things she really gets worked up over. Not really angry. But, she's been angry, confused and in so much stress over the last few days that her temper seemed to be really short as of late(sleeping so little does not really help with that). If anyone knew who and what she really was, she bet they wouldn't blame her. She places her hands on her hip, curling her lips. While she doesn't hate the thought of being called Wednesday, it obvious that the kid in front of her, Crowley, Coach Clapp had called him, the guy that nearly kills Bella with the van, is not saying it with flattery or with the affection of a nickname. It's her dress, maybe, the fact that she doesn't quite look right for a 2005 high schooler. A little too adult maybe, with her lack of showing off skin like most of the girls around her and disregard for fitting in with the current trends, a little too dark in color.

"Yeah. I like it. Got a problem with that?"

"Just kinda creepy, Wednesday."

Lauren M. in the back is biting her lip, looking at her and shaking her head, in embarrassment for her, maybe, or the fact that Crowley was probably her boyfriend(Lauren had spotted that the blonde girl had thrown the boy a kiss during Gym). Angela has an open mouth in slight horror and looks like she wants to do something. The rest of the kids are snickering. Mr. Varner makes no move to stop the boy. Lauren feels her temper flare, mostly at Varner, but at the boy too. She is watching the cocky kid, narrowed eyes as she sizes him up. He is in peak form, she bets, popular. Star everything. She can't remember if he had been this much of an ass in the books, or Bella had never mentioned it because gasp, a boy can't bully a girl (strong arm her for prom, on the other hand, that's played up for humor)!

"Asian horror has a different ambiance than most western horror. It isn't gore-porn for the most part. It is more psychological and brings about a better overall emotional tone. It's not about the horror, really, not that much of a fan of horror in general because most of it is just shock factor. It's the undertone and the fact that a lot of Asian horror has a different base in mythology. Different cultural fears portrayed and that is always very interesting," she smiles, ice cold, at her use of high words and the fact that the boy is blinking stupidly at her, "But that might go over your head."

The boy blushes, as more people laugh, Lauren Mallory is frowning, but that hadn't stopped her snort. Crowley sits up from his slouch.

"Yeah, Wednesday-" he's stuttering and mentally, Lauren adds a point to her scoreboard.

"Too many big words, Tyler?" says Angela, sweet and pleasant.

Lauren smirks, So even little Miss Kind-Thoughts can have a bit of a backbone.

The teacher, obviously disheartened at her lack of outward reaction at being forced to talk in front of them and Tyler's casual bullying, clears his throat and hands her the slip.

"That's enough Miss Swan," he grunts, not even looking at Crowley, "Sit in the back next to Newton."

Lauren has always been a bit of a smartass. Being let loose from High School where you're taught to not talk back has been detrimental to her respect for asshole Teachers. Especially if her university, small as it was, practically demanded you speak up in class and critique where you can.

"Thanks for the clear instruction. Which one of you is Newton?" she turns back to the class, pleased that more kids are laughing.

She knows of course. She had read the book, but, it's all about faking it or booking it. The boy that raises his hand is attractive, only blond boy in class, sitting straight, looking at her intensely and much like Tyler, has a Letterman draped over the back of his chair(Lauren mourns the fact that she doesn't have her own Fine Arts Letterman, it was dreadfully comfortable and it was just perfect for Forks Weather, not so much Texas weather). He has somewhat of a baby face, big blue eyes and spiky hair that makes her wince at the amount of gel that must be in them. She walks toward him, holding her binder and textbooks in hand, pencil and pen case perched carefully on top. He is grinning as she sits next to him in the joint desk, one of the only available. He makes room, shoving his textbook and his own binder to the edge of the table and scoots closer.

"Mike," he whispers underneath his breath, beaming. She smiles back softly, not missing the way his cute baby blues do a quick, but notable little glance up and down her body, before they settle in her face.

Much too young for me, Kiddo.

"Izzy, nice to meet you."

She shakes his hand, thrusting it forward. He catches it quickly and shakes a little too hard before she turns pointedly to Mr. Varner, who is squinting at her. She narrows her eyes, opens her notebook to her Trigonometry area and just smiles.

Bring it Math Man.

The rest of the class is spent with Mr. Varner lecturing and hurling questions at unsuspecting students. Lauren, true to most of her last few years in Math, spends the time half taking notes, half doodling in her sketchbook. Mr. Varner does leap at her more than the others and it takes her a second to answer the questions, but it had been a year since she had to take any sort of math class, which is her only excuse. He is frowning, but nods when she gets the questions right and sneers when she gets two out of the six wrong. It is when she is leaving class, that the two girls converge on her. Mike and Tyler are lingering, tentatively following on either side of the two girls.

"Sorry about Tyler," Lauren Mallory scowls at the boy, who has a hand draped over her waist, "He's a bit of an ass."

"Yeah, I am," says the boy, good-naturedly, "Good burn in there, Wednesday. No hard feelings?"

Lauren raises a brow.

"Sure, as long as you ease up on the Wednesday bit. I'm not a homicidal kid with a fascination of death."

"I think it suits you," says Lauren M., winking. She is teasing and motioning at her black dress, "In the best way."

Lauren laughs because she can see that her fellow Lauren isn't being bitchy at all about it.


"Can you believe Varner gave work on our first day back?" groans Mike.

Lauren purses her lips, clutching her binder to her chest.

"He seems to be an ass."

Angela bits her lip and sighs.

"One day here and you got it right."

The group chats comfortably, more or less, with Mike following the trend of Twilight and… Well, just being generally overly nice and trying really hard. Part of Lauren is flattered. The Mikes of her high school would have been buddies at most, she had run with the 'popular' crowd when she was in high school. More of a happenstance than because of her own merit at socializing, most of them had been in AP with her and that had lowered the fact that there were three thousand students in the school total or five hundred in her graduating class. But never really considered dating her.

She doesn't blame or fault them for it, simply because for one, Lauren hadn't been really obsessed with the thought of a romance in high school(or now for that matter), other than to ogle a butt or two. She always focused on her studies and making friends rather than romance. (She was the smart one, the kinda cute girl that was your buddy, not the one you put your tongue into her throat)

She had been the shoulder to cry on for many people, and that affected her ability to blindly go into a romantic relationship. She wasn't willy-nilly with her romantic affections because she was very adamant about the fact that a romance was meant to be something that was a large investment of time, effort, on both partners part. Most teenage boys, even when they had asked her out, hadn't seemed to understand that or have been very decidedly not Lauren's cup of tea when it came to a boyfriend. Especially the girls that had asked her out, though that had been a factor of Lauren not swinging that way, much as she was flattered at their attention(and that was a couple of times, which her sister still teased her about having a better girl pull than their brother, much to Andrew's chagrin).

As a scholarship student and as an artist, so intent on A, not losing her scholarship and B, working day and night on her projects, she frankly had never found anyone to be the person for her to take that relationship with(Her school only has fifty something students, mostly women, or men in relationships or, well, gay). She didn't fault anyone for not being as firm or serious when it came to romantic relationships. Different mindsets and all that, which is why she had never been in a relationship(twenty years old and a Virgin, never been kissed, it was the stuff of Rom-coms, she knew much to her chagrin over the matter).

When it came to Mike's eager smiles, all Lauren could do was look at his roundish cheeks and remember vividly that he was seventeen-years-old, while she was twenty. Not a big age gap, that's for sure, but it still made her a bit queasy and gross, even if Mike was a literature character(and that really seals the deal on romance, everyone around her is from a different world, part of a book universe!). Because at the moment the tall, blond boy was really real and, well, a person. And she was a twenty-year-old playing the part of a seventeen-year-old- Dawson's Creek style. She wasn't planning on roping herself together with a seventeen-year-old. She liked older, more mature men anyway.

The rest of the day passes comfortably, she has no problems in English or Government, just noted absently that she has Eric in the last class(he says hi and shakes her hand, smiling pleasantly and looking all shy when she smiles back), with no Tyler in English and Mike seemingly having most of her schedule as well. Lunch is passed with the girls and the boys of Forks high school all converging on a table and teasing Lauren for her homemade lunch.

"Aww, Daddy make you a lunch?" coes Tyler, the asshat that he was. Only now Lauren can see it's much like her own humor, a defense mechanism and the urge to hide behind it. Only Tyler's seems to be more of the dickish, outward humor.

She sighs.

"It's called cooking. And I think I'm not half bad at it," she lifts her Tupperware container, in emphasis, "So you can eat whatever the hell kinda meat that burger is and I'll eat my delicious, lean and beautiful meat. So suck it, Crowley."

The boy laughs.

"I like the cut of your jib, Wednesday."

She rolls her eyes and eats her cold pasta with relish. He does the same to his crappy looking burger, sipping at his chocolate milk gleefully. Lauren makes it a great point to not even look in the direction of the Cullen table. She isn't Bella Swan. She doesn't need the half-baked exposition on Jessica's part to add to the oh-so-mysterious Cullen's bad reputation. She knows it all and it was just a stupid way to emphasis on how apart the Cullens were from the dredges of humanity. By the end of Lunch, Lauren is ready to book it to her truck and blow the rest of the day off. She is super tempted when she drops off her morning books into the floor of the passenger seat(she sees no point of a locker if she has her wonderful Crushinator), but both Angela and Mike are waiting for her in the slight drizzle, underneath her large umbrella (why no one seems to have one other than her is beyond her).

It only one the way that she is going to Biology, the only class she couldn't change that she starts to feel any sort of trepidation. It was after all, what would determine if the rest of the trend would follow and Edward would freak out at the smell of her. She freezes outside of the classroom, takes a deep breath, waves at Mike and Angela as they go to the seats they had last semester and makes it a point at not looking in Edward's direction. After speaking quickly to Mr. Banner, licking her lips about five times, Lauren turns toward the table she would share with the hundred and four-year-old vampire.

She had been so damn hopeful. She wasn't Bella. It wasn't her body, even if she looked like her apparently, it wasn't the same.

But as dark, dark, black eyes glare at her, Lauren knows like she knows the sky is blue, like the fact that her name is not Isabella Swan but Lauren Calderon.

Well fuck me sideways, I'm Goddamn Bacon.

She nearly freezes. Nearly screams or bolts for the door. But instead, she just walks stiffly towards the table, pulls her chair the furthest she can from Edward and waits. She waits for him to kill everyone in the room. For him to snap her neck. She waits and she waits with tears in her eyes, watching him out of the corner of her vision, sitting with her legs underneath her, ready to spring up, hands on her satchel, where her lighter and hairspray lay waiting. Not that it would help, but it is comforting to know she would not go down without at least trying to defend herself.

She waits.

She can see the tension on his body. The way his marble white hands are curled on his thighs, the way his entire body is bowed, taut, ready to move. It's strange that no one notices, he is nearly falling off his chair in his urge to get away from her. She wonders faintly if she dies whether or not her body would be returned to her own world. If the police would find her cold, still body in her bed, drained of all of her blood, in the clothes she was wearing now, with only Miriam in the know of how she was murdered. Or would she be buried underneath a headstone that called her Isabella Swan, with her family never getting the closure they deserved, with the exception of Miriam?

She hates him.

At that moment she really hates Edward Cullen. Beyond the fact that he was a somewhat shitty character, beyond the fact that he is a stalker, a murder, and some many terrible things. Because he wanted to eather. He wanted to kill her because she smelled like fucking bacon. She seethes and when she sees him moving his arm, she turns, eyes wide because would he-

Black eyes meet her's.

After a semester of horrible color theory, Lauren knows that black is technically not a color(or hue, if you rather), but a shade, just as white is a tint. There are millions of variations of shades because every hue technically has a shade that is equivalent to black. There is no such thing as true black or true white, those are just theoretical. There are red-black or warm or cool blacks. But no real, true black. Lauren thinks as Edward glares at her, with those ridiculously long, bronze(he looks kinda like a red-head, some part of her mind is making soul-less ginger jokes) lashes, that his eyes are the closest she will ever see to true black. Because they are dark, pitch dark and burning.

And she can see the hunger in them, the strong resentment he is throwing at her, hot and venomous. Lauren wants to cry. Not in fear, though that is so present that isn't funny (she only has ever been this afraid when her father breathed his last, when she hadn't been there and she had no idea what would happen after that, when an armed gunman had stopped their car in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere Mexico, Cartel-related no doubt, with her young cousin sitting next to her and clutching her hand) but in anger. Because it isn't her fault that she smells like bacon. She can't control that and this thing next to her is feeling hate because he can't control his own fucking hunger(a hunger that technically doesn't even sustain them if Carlisle starving himself shows that they can't die that way) because she smells delicious.

She doesn't want to be in Twi-world.

She sure as hell doesn't want to be in Bella's place.

And she doesn't want to be eaten by Edward because she smells good.

Edward sneers, lips curling. Her heart is pounding and full of so much adrenaline, fingers curling into fists, body taut as Edward's. She fights every instinct in her as she forces herself to follow the book and turn away, head down as if she was shy. She curls into herself wait for the bell or something to take her away. Death or for her to appear in her bed, just something to fucking happen.

I want to go home, she thinks, again and again in her head and she wonders if Edward can hear her. That only makes her even angrier, she is shaking with it.

Because if you can you sick, sick fucking monster, I will do my damndest to not be your idiotic Lady love if you don't kill me right now. If you do, I will haunt your sparkly ass until your stupid existence is ended. I will not be cowed and I will never, ever follow your insipid, angsty story that entertained me as a middle-schooler. Because I am  bette r than that.


The bell rings and Edward leaves as if he were a bat out of hell. She nearly laughs, her entire body sagging with relief. He made no indication that he had heard her, much as he hadn't in the parking lot, where she had screamed his name at the top of her mental lungs and hurled insults to his face as he stared at her. Mike, oblivious to the fact that the vampire nearly killed her, maybe everyone in the room, is smiling at he walks up to her.

"What did you do to Cullen, stab him with a pencil?"

I wish, not that it would do much.

"I have no idea what his problem was. He looked a little sick though," she says and she is immensely proud of the fact that her voice is not shaking, "It is flu season."

She tries not to snicker at the fact that Edward's human life ended during a very vicious flu season. She felt a little petty at finding amusement at the end of a boy's life, but, since said boy wanted to nom on her neck, she felt justified.

"I guess. But, I would have talked to you if I sat next to you."

She smiles, absently and shakily gets to her feet, waves at Angela and makes her way to her last class. A quick text to Miriam, with shaking fingertips, is all she can manage, 'I'm bacon. Not dead. Fuck me', before she goes into her last class. She wonders if Edward is going to ambush her, it nearly makes her bolt to her truck. But she takes a deep breath through her nose, trying to think zen thoughts, pushes that aside as she goes to her last class, Art.

She relaxes at the smell at the of the room, heady, thick paint smell. She may not use paint last herself but it is a familiar smell that she connects to studio space, so some tension in her body leaches away. She is surprised at the fact that there is not one, but two Cullens in her class, seniors Emmett and Rosalie, looking bored(she swore Emmett had had Spanish in Midnight Sun and she reminds herself that it is technically non-canon, and she takes it as a confirmation to more or less ignore it now). Both are at the back, in the only of the four-seater table that has empty seats. She sighs.

Of course.

"Hello, Ms. Swan," says the Teacher, pleasantly, "I'm Ms. Garner, please have a seat with Mr. Cullen and Ms. Hale."

"Just Izzy, please, Ms. Garner... Any relation to James Garner?"

The older woman smiles.

"My father, he mentioned that a pretty young woman had introduced herself the other day..."

She takes the slip and Lauren makes her way to the table. She sits, back and arms tired from being so stiff last class. She flopped into her hard, plastic chair.

"Hi," she says, more out of habit then expecting a response.

"Hey!" she nearly falls off her chair when Emmett speaks, grinning at her. His voice is deep, very smooth and booming.

She blinks, on alert. She does not miss the fact that Emmett is taller than her by more than a foot. Or that her head is about the size of his bicep. But that's not what's creepy.

"I'm Izzy," she says, eyes flickering back and forth between the two vampires.

They are just as eerie as the Esme, Carlisle, and Edward, beautiful, too beautiful and too still. Emmett looked like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, circa Mister Olympia days- built like a brick house with muscles that have muscles and then some- but with dimples and black curls and alabaster skin that is clear and perfect. Rosalie is an old, glossy pinup in modern form, with a haughty tilt to her pouty, full lips. She has cascading blonde curls, big eyes. The fact that they both can eat her makes her want to slap her head onto her desk.

If I die from cardiac arrest, I will haunt your damn family. With stupid pranks. Bell Witch style.

"Emmett and this angel is my girlfriend, Rosalie."

Izzy raises an eyebrow. She goes through the motions.

"I thought you were both Esme's kids."

Rosalie looks over, a slight bite to her smile.

"We're all adopted, so don't call me inbred."

Well, someone is defensively bitchy. Justifiable, but bitch I am in no fucking mood for shit from anyone.

"Inbred implies being descended from two family members that got freaky, not a brother and sister who are fucking," she says, with a smile just as pleasant as the blonde vampire's, just as ice cold, "And it was an innocent question. I don't know your life story, nor did I ask for you to be a bitch about who you're dating."

Lauren could admit that she could be pretty bitchy herself.

Yellow, vivid eyes narrow. Emmett laughs.

"Oh, feisty."

"With relish," she says, smiling pleasantly at them.

Rosalie tosses her blonde hair, curls that are thick and glossy. Lauren sighs, she wishes that she had her own long hair to do the same pissed off gesture. Instead, she just runs her hand through it and purses her lips.

"Big bark, Swan," she says, voice sweet, kinda like a huskier Marilyn Monroe.

Lauren makes it a point to smile, eyes narrowed.

"I'm short and flabby. A bark is my best weapon."

When Rosalie smiles, it is less icy, but rather appreciated.

"Well said, Swan."

Izzy smiled back, a little less icy herself.

"Call me Izzy. Swan isn't something I'm going to respond to, blondie."

"Alright Class, as an exercise to break the ice today, you will be drawing the person across from you until the end of class. For those of you in three to a table, just choose one of the two across from you. This is the supplies list, try to get it by at least this Friday," says Mrs. Garner, smiling and clapping her hands to bring the chattering class to attention.

Ms. Garner starts handing out large, eleven by fourteen sheets of plain, cheap paper and the list. The eleven by fourteen paper is a little bit better than copier paper, but not by much(after learning how to make her own paper, she's become a bit of a snob, much to her embarrassment). Most kids scramble for their number twos, while Lauren brings out her many pencils, and chooses a good blue one, her base for many drawing. She turns back to the vampires, purses her lips before settling on Emmett. Males were so much harder to draw because she could never glance down or in her mirror for a decent reference. Plus, Rosalie seemed to be of the inclination of getting bitchy if she messed up her nose or something. She pauses, judges the distance between them and then raises her hand(she almost shouts it out, but as she knows that it is inappropriate, God she misses college where no one gave a fuck). It looks to be five foot.

"Yes, Miss Swan?"

"Are we allowed to listen to music?"

"Yes, as long as no one else can hear it."

Lauren wastes no time and pops in her headphones. She goes to her favorites and blasts Aaron Burr's passionate, Wait for It. She is so deep into just staring at Emmett and capturing his strange, abnormal perfectness that she doesn't speak until the teacher tells them that time is up. Her hands are covered in blue and pencil on a line on her hand, a sign of a good, productive day. She is putting away her things when the paper in front of her is snatched up by a large hand, more than the size of her face.

"Holy shit, darlin'," Emmett's accent slips up, Tennessee southern charm, stark in his otherwise accentless American English, he lifts her paper, a delighted smile on his face, dimples flashing, "You drew me like one of your french girls!"

Lauren is both amused and annoyed. If I had a dollar for every idiot that said that line, I'd be rich as fuck.

"I don't have french girls. And you're not naked," she says pointedly, she giggles, "I can't believe you watched Titanic."

Rosalie squints at her.

"He dragged me to the Theater, whining and moaning about how James Cameron was going to fuck it up," She smiles, to Lauren's complete surprise, it is genuine and warm, but it is directed to her husband after all, "He cried."

Lauren is under the very good impression that vampires can't cry. But, she supposes the fact that they can be babies and be weepy over shit.

"Shut up, he did not."

The blonde, seemingly despite herself, smiles, this time at Lauren. It isn't warm but it isn't as hostile as before.

"He did."

"Babe, you're killing me," whines Emmett, he lifts Lauren's drawing, "But you can't deny that the girl is pretty good."

Rosalie looks over the drawing and nods. Lauren feels herself preen slightly at the praise, if there was something she always accepted, it was being complimented for her art. Deserved or not.

"I will buy this drawing off of you."

Lauren, knowing what sort of money they are toting, feels a distinct flattery.

"Thanks, I think," she snatches the drawing, "But it's just a quick assignment if you want something paid for I would prefer that I use good paper and spend more than an hour on it."

It was the principal of the matter of making good work.

"I'll pay you fifty bucks when this is returned."

Lauren blinks, on the other hand-


"Babe, I think we just got suckered," Emmett says this in a serious tone but is grinning as he says it, dimples flashing.

Ms. Garner is beyond herself when she sees their table. Lauren can see that the Cullens in their perfectness, can't draw for shit. She isn't sure if they had just never tried it, or don't want to put the effort, but the drawings they give Ms. Garner are basic, kinda like the self-portrait she had done in middle-school, but Ms. Garner seems to like them well enough. But their flat, uninspired and while not lacking skill by much, lack anything else. After all, the art world is no longer focused on sheer skill, but rather Concept. She frowns when she gets to Lauren's drawing.

"Miss Swan, please stay after class."

Emmett, true to his personality in the book, ooh's ominously. Rosalie, back to being silent and haughty, slaps him upside the head. Lauren licks her lips.

"Yes, Ms. Garner."

After briefly going over the supplies list(all which Lauren already has), the class is dismissed when the bell rings. The Cullens, or well, Emmett, waves at her as he leaves. Ms. Garner sits across from her, in Emmett's chair.

"You have talent," she says and she looks pleased.

Lauren feels her face heat up.

"Thank you, Ma'am."

"What do you want to be when you leave school?"

"An Artist."

Ms. Garner looks even more pleased.

"Good girl, if you need any help in your applications or looking for schools, ask me. Welcome to Forks High School, Ms. Swan."

With a large smile and a quick pat to her hand, Lauren is handed her slip and she leaves the Art classroom with a slight frown. I don't want to be here when college comes around, that's when Bella is turned into a fricken' sparkle-pyre. She is going towards the office, knowing damn sure who is waiting for her inside. Sure enough, there is Edward Anthony Masen Cullen trying to 'Dazzle'(brainwash) Mrs. Cope into getting him out of Biology, sixth period. Lauren licks her lips and leans back, waiting for the door to open again so Edward can bug out and leave for Alaska with his tail between his legs for a week. She is tempted to tap her foot but knows that he shouldn't be aware of her until the girl comes in.

As if by some invisible cue, the girl comes in not a second later, runs to the basket and runs out. Almost comically(if you know, he wasn't debating on killing her), Edward freezes, taut and turns around to glare at her with his pitch eyes. Lauren makes an effort not to glare back, not to scream or run for the door. She just stares, fists clenching. The fine hairs on the back of her neck and her arm are raised.

"Never mind, then," he turns back, funnily stiff, his voice is kinda nice, but is trying to be this sort of velvety tone that Bella describes in the book, kinda like a kid trying to sound smooth and failing too, "I can see that's impossible. Thank you so much for your help."

He turns on his heel, quick. Too quickly and bolts out the front door. Lauren breathes and moves forward to Ms. Cope. If her knees are shaking, that's her business.

"How did your first day go, dear?"

Brown eyes, pleasant behind their thick glasses, ease Lauren. Because they're human.

"Better than I expected," she feels her lips curl in something that isn't really a smile or smirk, "I didn't die, at least."

Mrs. Cope chuckles, unaware at how much of a poor joke Lauren is making.

"That's good, hon. Did you like your new classes?"

"They were great, everyone's been super nice."

Mrs. Cope smiles, grabs Lauren's paperwork.

"I'm glad, Isabella. I'm so sorry that you can't take another Biology course, they really are full and sixth period is the best I can do. If you really do have stomach problems during labs, please bring a Doctor's note. Maybe I can convince Bob- I mean Mr. Banner, to change it before lunch."

"Okay, thank you so much for trying. Oh and call me Izzy, Mrs. Cope."

"Only if you call me Shelly."

Lauren smiles, weakly, but she still manages to smile.

"Alright. Thanks so much for your help, I see you later… Shelly."

Mrs. Cope waves her out. Lauren is already popping in her earphones as she steps out, putting her phone in her jacket pocket when she picks out a song to calm her nerves, settling on the soothing soundtrack of Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time. It's raining a little harder, so Lauren gets out her umbrella as she makes her way to the car, noting that it is nearly the last one. She walks slowly, not caring if her boots get splashed as she walks through puddle after puddle. It's kinda soothing to kick violently at the water anyway.

I haven't died.

She stops just short of the Crushinator, looking into the woods, tall, imposing trees. She blinks. Licks her lips. The parking lot is empty. She seems to be alone and Lauren knows that Edward is heading up to Alaska. More importantly, away from her. She walks a little bit forward and leaned against her door. She sighs.

"I am bacon," she says, softly, so much so that she can barely hear it over her blasting music, the Song of Storms soothing her, "But that doesn't mean that I will jump into the frying pan. Bring it on, Twi-world."

It was cathartic to say it aloud.

Chapter Text

Living In Suspended Animation

"We always start with good intentions. But lose ourselves along the way. This is the time that we let it go, These are the words that will take us home. Singing the song that's inside us all….If we don't open our eyes we're walking blind," Nothing More, (2014).

It was the Friday, the last day of her first week back in high school that Lauren sacred the shit out of Charlie. It wasn't really intentional, after two weeks of living with the man, she tried to keep a sort of well, pleasantness between them. It wasn't really hard. Charlie was a nice guy and Lauren herself was always keen on being if not nice to people, polite and somewhat considerate. But, they were strangers- she knew that more clearly than her 'guardian' in this world, she was a twenty-year-old Mexican-American art student, he was a forty-one-year-old Police Chief of Forks, Washington. She was a woman and he was a man with no blood relation living together(there was nothing sexual about it, but Lauren, despite being the least conservative and religious of her family, had been raised as a Roman Catholic and it was freaking weird for her).

As far as Charlie knew she was his estranged seventeen-year-old daughter that despite having two weeks out of the year, he knew little to nothing about. That alone made it very difficult for both of them to deal with each other- Lauren was all about respect to authority and gratefulness towards those in the public service, but she was very much used to going to the beat of her own drum. Art college had only emphasized that, cultivated that. Her mother and father, while understanding and loving, didn't fully recognize her logic or thought process. But they had respected that and just had told her 'just don't hurt yourself in whatever you do'. She was a free spirit, mature sure, but prone to going against authority and questioning it because she felt she needed too. Charlie was an authoritative man, Police Chief at a young age and though very fair, was not used to people talking back to him, no matter how polite, as Lauren was. Logic and pointed questions from a 'seventeen-year-old' was not what he had expected of his daughter...

They were going to be growing pains no matter what between them.

They squabbled a bit over chores, scrambled to get the only bathroom first in the morning, bitched and moaned about each other over their more annoying habits: Charlie was a bit of a slob and while Lauren wasn't OCD about things(hell, she was a bit of a slob herself but she kept that to her room, not communal spaces!), she still had to badger the grown ass man about moving his plates and glasses back into the kitchen, it was his chore to do them after all and she didn't need to trip over the fifth glass of water he had leaving around, or his jackets that were strewn across the couches and the lazy boy. She wasn't Bella, she wasn't going to become a sudden live in maid just because she the younger girl had chosen to do so.

"Charlie!" she hissed, blinking at the what seemed like the tenth glass she had tripped over.

Charlie, at her, muffled hiss, peaked over the couch with a sheepish grin. His hair, curly and wild on his off day, was sticking up at odd angles. She pursed her lips at his apologetic expression.

"Um, sorry?"

She put her hand on her hips, raising a brow.

"I know, I know, pick up after myself."

"You're on dish duty!" she said pointedly, picking up the glass, squinting to check if she had chipped it or cracked it, "Why you keep leaving glasses on the ground is beyond me."

"I never agreed to that. You declared that you would cook and I would clean up afterward."

"Yeah, well, I have no idea how you managed to live this long without chores, Charlie."

"Hey, I managed without you!"

She gave him a look and he snorted.


She tsked.

"Izzy, I'll pick up the dishes and wash them. Sorry, really, honey, I'm not used to the company."

Genuinely touched by his words, she reached over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. It was quick and it was more or less impulsive on her part, but his pleased grin was worth it.

"It's okay, Charlie, just try not to murder me via various glassware on the floor."

Lauren could admit that her showers were way too damn long- she took a complete hour in the bathroom, minimum, ten minutes for her pre-shower routine(brushing out her short hair, careful of any knots, using the restroom and waiting for her Nair to take effect), forty minutes in the actual spray, carefully washing, shaving any stray hairs that Nair had missed, and shampooing and conditioning her hair carefully and then used the last ten minute for her post-shower routine(drying, lotion, brushing her wet hair). It annoyed Charlie to no end and once he was comfortable enough with her, he had no trouble gripping about it.

"You do not need an hour. You are wasting water!"

Izzy blinked, combing through her straight, short and very wet hair. She had been told this many times. But Shower Times were her time- she hadn't changed the habit for her own mother, surely not for her new and very unwanted roommate.

"My showers are sacred, Charlie," she shrugged carelessly, "That stays the same. Try to beat me to the bathroom, Cheif!"

He grumbled all the way into the steamy restroom.

"Just try not to use all the hot water!"

If she stuck her tongue out at his back, that was her business and her's alone.

Not to mention the noise and the smell that started once Lauren started doing art related things in her room- most of her things didn't smell but she had found these lovely little gauche paints that Mr. Garner(the owner of the art shop in Port Angeles and while he had attested that paint wasn't for anyone, he had insisted that she at least try these because it was right up her soft, less glossy aesthetics). While she wasn't much of a painter it was a fun exercise and Mr. Garner had given her the set at half-off with a wink. The noise came from her blasting her music during the day to keep a good rhythm or from her banging around at night(headphones in) but walking around the house and even rushing downstairs for water or a snack.

"Seriously, Izzy, what the hell, it's three in the morning!"

Lauren blinked, heart pounding as she turned around to see the irate Police chief in nothing but a pair of shorts. Mustache Dad with abs, she mused with slight humor. She rubbed at her tired eyes. He looked a bit peeved. She didn't really blame him. It was late, or really, early and she must look a sight. She had been using her bare leg as a palette and it was covered in paint, as was her face and she had pushed back her hair with a rag, she was in booty shorts and a t-shirt full of holes, no bra much to her embarrassment.

She licked her lips.


"Why are you up right now?"

Lauren shrugged, scratched absently at the dry paint on her leg.

"The muse, she beckons, Mister Swan," she said happily, gesturing dramatically with her glass of water.

The Chief did not look amused. He crossed his somewhat impressive arms over his chest.

"Go to bed. Seriously. You have school in a couple of hours."

Lauren raised a brow.

"Hey, I can handle this, Chief," she shrugged again, "Come on, you should go to bed, you have work in a couple hours yourself."

He sighed.

"I would but someone is stomping down the stairs at odd hours in the night. I'm used to a quiet house."

Lauren felt a bit bad about that. After all, Charlie hadn't signed up for an insomniac artist as a roommate. He had wanted his seventeen-year-old, obedient daughter who slept at normal hours. Then again, Lauren hadn't wanted a forty-one-year-old as her own roommate. It had always been Mariam in her head, an easy, comfortable little apartment with just the two of them. But well, Lauren couldn't really change that, could she?

"We all have our growing pains about our situation, Charlie," she patted his arm, smiling faintly as she made her way out of the kitchen, taking a swig of her cold water, "Sorry to wake you."

"It's okay, Iz," he had called out to her, voice warm, "I'm just really glad I get to know you. Just try to be sneakier when it's past midnight, alright?"

Seriously, Charlie was too cool, she cooed at his statement. She just wishes Bella was less of an asshat in cannon.

"Will do, Chief."

But she felt otherwise that they were getting along great for two complete strangers with a twenty-year gap between them.

"So, big plans for the weekend, Chief?"

Charlie looked at her from over his newspaper, blinking.

"Going fishing with Billy down at the Rez tomorrow."

Lauren smiled, licking her lips as she realized what sort of opportunity was open to her. Now, Lauren always wanted to say that she was a relatively nice person. She was generally pleasant, polite to a fault and while not really actively social, friendly. She did not want drama. Avoided it like the plague. Simply because Lauren hated to burn any bridges. She wasn't malicious or actively cruel.

She could also admit that she was very manipulative. It was a habit she had picked up from being the physically weakest of her family, from being somewhat shy and unable to speak up as a child, she could never strong arm to get her way. But she could convince. Twist things around in her favor. She wasn't cruel or evil on it. Didn't want to make waves or resentment, she just did it to get her way.

It was mental play and on the most stubborn it was thrilling to move the along to her favor. However, she rarely ever did it on people she cared about. She rather talk things through with them. As nice as Charlie was, she barely knew him.

That meant it was game on.

"Who's Billy?" she asked innocently, chewing her eggs absently. The trick was to be only mildly interested, to work your way up you what you wanted.

Mmm, slightly runny. Come on Chief, take the bait.

Charlie didn't look up from his newspaper, nodding absently.

He took the bait.

"Billy Black, the man that owned the truck before you... Do you remember him?"

Lauren, obviously did not. At least, not from meeting with the man in person. She does however damn know about the fact that he is the Chief of the Quileute Tribe, leader of the all-male council that oversaw the wolves(well in this universe, after all, in her's, a lot of the council was well, female). Wolves the size of horses. She remembered also that they were the only thing in cannon that… Well, could kill vampires other than vampires. So yeah. She remembered Billy Black in the sense that he could be her mother fucking savior if she played her cards right. She liked Charlie, he had been really sweet and had given her space as she was more or less a basket case at the moment.

But he couldn't change the fact that he was her meal ticket(God she would be broke and homeless without the man), that he had access to the only protection against vampires(oh her kingdom for a Buffy Summers with Mr. Pointy in hand).

It could save her life. And Lauren really wanted not to die.

"Vaguely," she hummed, absently, "You said he was in a wheelchair… Hard to image Billy Black in a wheelchair."

She sipped at her mildly okay green tea, the only brand available in a grocery store in Port Angeles. She had to drive fifty frackin' miles for tea. She really hated 2005. She couldn't even find good tea and there was no Cherry Garcia to soothe her stress(she was going to freakin' die). But so far, she had found that she couldn't really do much about her situation. Both she and Mariam had come to the decision that with no clue as to how Lauren and her phone ended up in Twi- World, the only thing she could do was bide her time and wait for a clue that could take her home. It wasn't an active plan, but that was all they had.

But it also didn't mean Lauren couldn't wiggle around and make contingencies for shit not going the way of the novels.

"You played with his girls all the time until you were fourteen. Rebecca and Rachel. His youngest, Jacob used to trail after you like a puppy," Charlie laughed, "He was so happy when you joined the girl's little league team when you were nine. You stayed longer that summer… I think that was the last time you had fun here."

She blinked. That was… really sad. Charlie had such a wistfulness. It broke Lauren's heart. She may be a manipulative bitch but at least she wasn't malicious or capricious about it. Bella was so terrible. Especially since she had limited the time that she and her father had together.

"I remember," she said, lying without hesitation. She didn't like to lie, but she was really really good at it. She smiled brightly, "We used to make mud pies together?"

Charlie chuckled. The fact that she had stolen that from the movie didn't seem to matter.

"Down at the beach. But when you and Jacob started throwing them at Rachel and Rebecca, it was a mess. God, you were covered head to toe in sand and mud by the time Billy and I put a stop to it."

She laughed, sipping at her warm tea. She tried to invoke the feelings of nostalgia, thinking of Miriam and Andrew, her cousins, to make it sound naturally found. She wasn't exactly an actress but Charlie didn't seem to find it odd.

"I miss that. The Beach I mean. It feels like it's been forever since I've gone."

That much was true. She had last gone to the beach with her Mother during a vacation in Mexico, last summer. She remembered going by boat to the least touristy islands that were less than a mile offshore from the coastal city most of her maternal family lived in. She remembered good food, high-speed ride on a large banana boat and watching her stupid cousins jump off it in various ways and faintly wishing she had a swimsuit to tan her pale skin better in the sun. It had been a really long time since she had gone, as she had never ever gone to the Beach in the United States, despite living in two states with the largest coastlines. Charlie looked at her, face confused.

"I thought you said that beaches should be warm, which is why you hate Frist Beach. Why would you miss it?"

Lauren felt uncomfortable at the sadness she heard in his voice. She smiled, gently, trying to ease Charlie a bit.

"Nostalgia is funny, Charlie. It's been a long time since I've been in Forks."

He hummed, more of a grunt in acknowledgment, a frown on his face. Then, he went back to his breakfast. Lauren went for the kill.

"Charlie, would it be too much of a bother if I went fishing with you?" she asked, tentatively and she swore that Charlie nearly did a spit take with his coffee at her question.

He blinked rapidly at her.

"Who the hell are you and what the hell have you done with my daughter?"

Lauren flinched at the question, if only he realized how on target he was.

She made a show of wilting, parting her mouth and looking upwards through her eyelashes. Lauren was the master of the puppy dog look and with her eyes, beautiful as they were(her best feature by far and she knew it) she was especially good at it. Charlie's furrowed brow relaxed slightly as she looked at him. He blinked, eyes softening.

"So I can't go with you tomorrow?"

It was early morning, just before Charlie had to head off to the Station and they were having a nice enough breakfast of huevos rancheros, which, as Charlie had found out were delicious courtesy of her. Lauren knew she was a good cook, she did it fairly often in her own life and it was better than doing the dishes. She hated the dishes. She really loathed dishes.

"I didn't say that," said Charlie, looking at her with a strange look on his face, "But Be- Izzy, you don't like fishing."

Lauren felt no strong feelings for fishing. She had never been fishing in her life. The closest she had ever been from that was from her Uncle harpooning fish in the local river in Mexico, swimming after them, goggles on his head and a cigarette stub between his crooked teeth, even as she tried to put it out by splashing water at him. She had tried to help by catching fish in a bag and failed completely. She had never ever done the whole pole thing, with hooks and worms and stuff. She sighed, licking her lips and moving her hair out of her face.

"Charlie, I just really liked to go with you," she winced slightly at the blatant manipulation on her part, she was usually sneakier than that and dropped her shoulders as if in defeat, "Do you not want me too?"

Charlie beamed, full on beamed. Crinkled his warm brown eyes and pulled at the lines around his full mouth, looking as if Lauren had just told him he had won the lottery.

"We have to leave very early tomorrow, before dawn, can you handle that?"

Lauren nodded, smiling.

"Yeah, yeah I can. Wake me up please?"

"Yeah, no problem honey."

"Thanks, Charlie."

He finished his coffee, folded up his newspaper and with a kiss on her forehead, was off. In the past two weeks that she had been in Twi-World, both she and Charlie had gotten used to their increasingly casual displays of affection. It was less awkward on Charlie's part and Lauren tried to approach it with a mentality of those kisses she sometimes had to given in Mexico as greeting to complete strangers. That made it bearable on her part at least. She liked Charlie, but she had only known the man two weeks. Other than on impulse, she hardly ever offered him affection first.

"I'll get the dishes after dinner, sweetheart."

With that, Charlie was out the door and Lauren was grabbing her own backpack and purse to head to school. Things had settled into a depressingly easy routine for Lauren in her return to high-school- It had been so simple to fall back into the rhythm of the whole thing. Homework was easy, usually finished before Lauren even made it back to Charlie's, most of the kids at Forks high seemed to have lost interest quick enough and the quote on quote 'cool kids' seemed to have taken a liking to Lauren. She had a place to sit at least when it came to lunch, so she assumed socially she was doing very well for herself, even if it was because she was the 'new kid' more than anything on her part.

Her fellow Lauren was Queen B(also Queen Bitch) but seemed to have taken a great liking to Lauren(something Lauren was ever puzzled about, she was supposed to hate Bella after all), Jessica was the steady follower- a bit jealous but nice enough when Mike wasn't fawning over her, Angela was very nice and stayed very nice(she had a bit of humor which Lauren was gleefully feeding into), Mike was super sweet if a bit overzealous, Tyler was an ass that she regularly verbally spar with and Eric was a fellow geek that she nerded out with(He had seen Futurama, at least, found the fact that she had called her truck the Crushinator hilarious). Her teachers more or less left her alone, which was fine for her because she already had authority issues especially since at her real school, being on a first name basis with her Professors was completely normal and overall Lauren was fitting nicely into Forks High School.

She did enjoy the opportunity to drive on a regular basis, at least, it was getting easier with time as she got used to the permanently slick roads and the Crushinator and despite the uncertainty of who could be in those woods, they were beautiful. Tall evergreen even in the middle of winter. It was so unlike what she was used too- it looked very peaceful. Part of Lauren did wish to walk in them but wasn't so stupid. She had no idea how close to town did the Cullens hunt their food and had no desire of falling victim to a Nomad.

The day at school was pretty much similar to her week- Boring, doing homework between classes and trying not to lose patience at the sometimes annoying prattle typical to teenagers. Lauren hadn't been too keen on it when she had been in high school and found that she wasn't keen on it now.

"I mean, I know it's like months away, but I really am going to ask Mike to go with me to the Spring Dance," at this, Jessica turned narrowed eyes towards Lauren, assessing, measuring at her probably politely attentive expression,"I'm a strong independent woman expressing myself, right?"

Lauren herself sighed. It was lunch and she was munching on her cold sandwich absently. Mike wasn't at the table today, as apparently, the boys had to stay back for some sports thing. Eric didn't generally sit with them so it was just her and the three girls.

"If it really is a celebration of female independence at having the girl's ask, why don't you just Stag it?"

Jessica turned to her blinking her big, heavily marked up eyes at her. She fully turned, fuzzy yellow turtle neck cut off at the midriff and all.


"Why don't we go as a group, no boys?"

Angela smiled faintly.

"That'd be kinda cool."

Lauren Mallory frowned.

"But, it's like tradition to go with a date that you ask yourself."

Lauren snorts.

"Count me out, if I go," she wrinkled her nose at the thought of dancing to current music with a bunch of teenagers(who were technically older than her if she thought too hard about it, in fact, Bella was technically nine years older than her), "I'm going without a date. And I doubt I'll go anyway."

"That's so weird," said Jessica pointedly, eyes narrowed, "I mean, don't you like anyone here? Do you hate dancing?"

The fact that they were all physically younger than her, or, well, dead, did not spark a romantic interest in Lauren. Not to mention the fact that they were literature characters, kinda put a cramp at that too.

"Nope. And I love to dance," she smiled slightly, "But they probably won't have anything I like to groove to anyway."

"What are you, a lesbian?" the slight disgust she heard in Jessica's voice made Lauren frown.

"Why are you saying it as if it's a bad thing? I mean, I don't find women sexually attractive, so I'm not a lesbian, but that's not the point. I don't really know anyone here, so how can I like them like as a boyfriend?"

Jessica pursed her lips.

"You have to like someone."

Lauren sighed. It was really high school. She had gotten into very similar arguments with her friends when she had been their age. She had even made up a crush to get them off her back. Now, she saw no point.

"I really don't."

"Is it Emmett Cullen?" asked Angela, shyly, biting her lip.

Lauren M. was smirking. Lauren herself just blinked.


"Your like the only one he talks to outside of his family!" said the Queen Bee, jumping up and down, green eyes sparkling. Not to discretely, she looked over at the Cullen table, where Rosalie looked distinctly stiff, she looked over at them at glared, the kind of glare you would have if you put too much pepper on your chicken. Mildly annoyed, but annoyed nonetheless, "And he's gorgeous!"

Oh, fuck me and Vampire hearing.

"No. No, no, no, I do not like Emmett Cullen!" she said, shaking her head violently.

Emmett was staring as well, but just in surprise. With eyes wide and eyebrows raised.

"Denial is not just in Egypt," sang out Jessica, smirking in obvious amusement.

"He has a girlfriend. That is so unattractive," she snapped, barely stopping herself from pointing out that he was in fact, married to the beautiful and very drastically deadly vampire that was glaring in their direction. And guys in relationships were very unattractive to Lauren, "And they have both been really nice to me because their mom told them too!"

"Oh, so the fact that he's in a relationship is the only thing that unattractive about him? I mean, it's not like he's married to her!"

Lauren frowned.

"They really care about each other. Anyone with eyes can see that. I wouldn't be surprised if they got married right out of graduation. I'm so not into that. Emmett's nice and all, but I'm not a homewrecker!"

Lauren M. and Jessica just laughed, giggled really.

"Rosalie is a haughty bitch!" Lauren M. tossed her beautiful hair, she smiled, "If you like Emmett, climb that tree, Izzy, I'll help you! You're really nice!"

"Yeah, you should totally go for it. Break up the weird incest thing they have going on."

Angela looked mortified over bringing it up as she stared at her friends. She didn't stop them though. Lauren herself had enough of it. She felt red face, in both anger and embarrassment. They didn't know. They couldn't know that Emmett was happily married and well, a fucking Vampire. They were just shallow, silly girls in high school being shallow, silly girls in high school. It was one thing listening to them talk petty over her, it was another thing if they brought in other people. Decidedly people who could snap their necks. Stupid girls, who had offered their friendship despite everything.

Lauren wanted to cry.

"You know what, kiddos, if you want to be immature, that's your jazz. I'm leaving," she said pointedly and stood to gather up her things, "And by the by, I don't like Emmett Cullen. I don't like any boy here, I've only known everyone for a week. And right now, I don't even like you."

With that, despite their affronted faces, Lauren walked away.


Rosalie McCarthy hated going to high school. She was a ninety-year-old woman stuck everlasting in the body of an eighteen-year-old. Perfect, every woman's dream. She had watched the nation she had been born in raise and fall in wake of the Depression, the Second Great War, its triumph during the years of the Cold War and had suffered through it all stuck as a cold, dead thing. She had been turned in the day she had been betrayed, abused and soiled by the man(and his friends) that would have been her husband. She met the love of her existence on his dying day, seen his beautiful, dying face and couldn't bare to leave him. She had lived, loved, suffered for many years and was immortal.

Frankly, high school was so utterly dull that it made the monotony of eternity, even with Emmett, a little bit harder to bare.

It didn't help that most humans were so- well, they were mostly the same. Ever since Carlisle and Esme had started insisting that they attend school for humans, well, Rosalie had to suffer through immature boys and girls at the cusp of adulthood, moving through their small, predictable, wonderful lives that Rosalie could never have- It never changed. They never did. It was always the same, just repeated situations, their journeys echoing across the country and the years. So when the typical popular girls started gushing about Emmett- her husband- it was well, normal. She was annoyed, yes, not because they were fawning after her husband, exactly, but because they expected her to be annoyed and they were only trying to be 'helpful' to Izzy Swan.

She was an odd kid, thought Rosalie as she placed down her art supplies(she had wished that Forks was big enough to have a music class other than band or orchestra, she liked it much better than art). Was a little more mature than most. Oddly, she had defended them- the outcasts, but curiosity over the popular children. She seemed to go to her own beat, which was rare at her young age. People were usually so eager to fall into the status quo- to follow into their roles that echoed across the nation and the years. She eyed her as she came in, grim face, headphones already within her ears, loud and blasting:

"My boy builds coffins for the rich and the poor. Kings and queens; they've all knocked on his door. Beggars and liars, gypsies and thieves. They all come to him 'cause he's so eager to please. My boy builds coffins he makes them all day. But it's not just for work and it isn't for 's made one for himself. One for me too," it was a beautiful, full and rich voice that sang- It reminded Rosalie faintly of Stevie Nicks, one of her favorite artists.

She stared, blinking rapidly as the girl sat down, lips parting slightly as she mouthed along with the song- it was probably a favorite of her's then. She was looking tired- the girl obviously never got much sleep as she had permanent bags beneath her lovely eyes. Rosalie frowned as Emmett grinned in her direction, but the girl was oblivious, focused on spreading out her materials for their latest art assignment. She only waved absently in their direction, not even looking up before she set to work. Ms. Garner more or less gave the girl free range, as she was the most passionate about the material, as well as the most technically skilled. She didn't even pay attention to the small lecture other than to peek at the teacher before she set to work.

Her movements were all economical- her hand moved quickly but without hesitation as she went across the large page. Rosalie found it a tad more interesting than the teacher's comments on how wonderful Picasso was. Emmett was staring as well, his large hand resting on her thigh as he drew the 'warm-up' exercise with his less dominant arm. She hummed, pleased, and then spoke in rapid fast, vampire way:

"So, do you think the girl has a crush on you?"

Emmett snorts.

"I doubt it. Humans with crushes usually look in our direction more than she does."

The girl, oblivious and focused, didn't even look up. Some of the humans did- those with better hearing or without headphones could almost feel their speech- It was at a higher frequency than they could hear but the air around them vibrated all the same. She paused, tapped her pencil to her lips before she grabbed her kneaded eraser and swept it across a bit of her initial form.

"She just seems to be… Nice," said Rosalie and she did not hide her frown.

Emmett sighed.

"You think Esme set her on us?" there was doubt in his voice, but he was letting her speak her piece.

"She needs to stop meddling. We're all adults… I love her but if we don't want to interfere with humans-" she breathed deeply through her nose at the feelings of resentment and anger that clawed at her chest, made something scratchy that had nothing to do with the burn she felt at Izzy Swan's delicious scent being so near, "If she and Carlisle want to play human that's fine but I'm tired of high school."

Emmett hand squeezed her thigh, softly, kneaded the softer skin there. She felt the tension that she hadn't even known was there melt away.

"You want to leave again?"

It was a tempting thought. It always was. Rosalie always would care for her family, even her extended 'cousins' in Denali. But sometimes it was just too much- Between Alice and Edward, even to some extent Jasper, she felt drowned in people who could twist and pull her to follow their lead. Edward was the favorite, the first son and the mind reader who plucked whatever he heard from her mind. Alice the magic-eight ball who could tell her what she would wear to what she and Emmett would break in their next 'sexual escapade'. Jasper knew how she felt and because of it so did Edward. There was no privacy amongst them… She respected Carlisle even if she loathed him at times and Esme was a soothing balm. Leaving always seemed to be the best option.

But she couldn't deny that she would miss them all, even Edward. So many years together and it was odd to be apart because they were comfortable more than she ever cares to admit aloud.

"No," she frowned down at the replica of the small image on the screen, she had scribbled on her small sketchbook, "Not yet. Maybe after school ends."

Emmett hummed a disappointed note.

"Take that fifth honeymoon. Milan or Paris?" he pressed, waggling his thick, dark brows at her. She found herself smirking despite herself.

"Too sunny and it smells of human urine now."

"What about Tokyo or Hokkaido? It's on the list of places we've yet to make love on, babe."

She giggled.

"Maybe. The fashion is picking up there and can you image all the car factories we can tour?"

He smiled.

"That's my girl."

She wanted to kiss him. It was always so hard to stop herself- but they were in the wrong company. She frowned, sighed, wishing she could even just lean against her husband. But she couldn't, they were even technically married in this identity yet… She frowned, dropped her hand on her lap and flipped his large hand over. He let her- her husband, the strongest among them- let her flip his hand as easily as one would lift a piece of paper and let her twine her fingers into his. It was one of the reasons she had come to love him so much- He was so much stronger than her, then most-

But he was the gentlest soul she had ever met. He never took from her, nothing she wouldn't willingly give. And he always gave to her. No hesitation, no resistance. He gave and gave and gave to her. He didn't worship her as Royce supposedly had, he was her partner and her King as she was his Queen. They were equals and that was made her love him above anything, even if he resented himself for never being able to give her a child- She could never, ever fault him for such a thing. After all, he hadn't been the one to rape and beat her within an inch of her life, nor had he been Carlisle…

"Please," her voice was a croak, a silent hiss that barely passed through her mangled jaw.

Golden eyes stared, hesitant and growing darker by the minute. Rosalie didn't know what she was pleading for. She just couldn't help but cry and plead for the pain and humiliation to stop. Her entire body throbbed and her breath was a wheeze- She was just so  cold . Royce had ripped her jacket clean off, the one he had bought her, ripped the delicate buttons clean off. His friend, she thinks she recognized him as the Police Chief's son, had ripped her the front part of her dress.

Faintly, all she could think was that it couldn't end here, that her mother was waiting for her. That her father had promised to buy her that lovely violet dress that she had seen in the seamstress shop just the other day. She didn't understand why Royce would-


"Shh, it's going to be alright," said the Doctor Cullen, dark eyes bright, "Just bare with the pain for a little wild, poor thing."


"Rosie, come back to me."

Rosalie blinked, trembling as she looked into the dark eyes of her husband. She breathed, deeply, forcing her lungs to work. Izzy Swan's scent hit her, sweet, underneath all the artificial smells of her soap, shampoo or lotions, she smelled deliciously sweet, made her throat distinctly burn like it was on fire. She focused on the sensation, not losing herself but using that sharp pain to remind herself where she was. Emmett squeezed her hand, gently and she squeezed back, in quick, three successions, the sign they had developed to show that she wasn't stuck in her memories anymore.

"I'm … I'm not fine," she whispered honestly, she would never lie to her husband, "I was on the street again, with Carlisle over me-"

"Where are you now?" he asked, patiently.

She blinked.

"Forks. Forks high school. Ms. Thomas- No, Ms. Garner's art class. I'm sitting in the back. With you right next to me," she squeezed his hand tighter, "And Izzy Swan sits in front of us."

She looked at the girl to confirm it, who was still drawing. Izzy paused, looked up, maybe sensing her gaze. Her eyes, bright and an intense gray locked with her's. She frowned, a small pull of her small lips. She blinked and then popped out an earphone.

"Everything alright? You look a little pale?" she asked, her voice was hesitant, her small, fine brows bunched together.

Rosalie blinked again, a hysterical giggle passing past her clenched teeth. She is taking in the features of her round face, trying to center herself to understand she was here. She hardly had any acne, just a few spots minuscule on her chin and small, pointed nose. Rosalie as a human had been the same, but she always covered it up with a little bit of powder, the girl didn't bother. She had freckles- not much, just a speckled here and there, two at the corner of her eye, on her bottom and top lip, at the top of her forehead. She had rounded features, vaguely foreign features that Rosalie couldn't quite place-

"Yeah," Rosalie answered, trying to muster up her usual haughtiness to off put the girl, to make her stop from noticing that she was having an episode, but her voice is off even to human ears, "I'm feeling a little… Sick."

The girl made a face, nostrils flaring, mouth twisting and then she raised her hand. Ms. Garner came over, smiling.

"Rosalie isn't feeling well. Maybe she and Emmett should home," she glanced at the clock and nodded, "I know this class is important, Ms. G but their brother Edward is home with the flu if Rosalie has something similar- "

The older woman frowned but nodded.

"Well, I suppose it should be fine if you don't make a habit of it. Tell you what, Izzy, take them both home, they usually ride with their brother and sister and I don't want Rosalie to stay longer than she should," the older woman looked at Rosalie with concern, watching her with a furrowed brow.

Izzy's face paled and she licked her lips quickly. She blinked rapidly.


"Is that alright with you two?"

Emmett answered for both of them, surprising Rosalie by agreeing. But when she looked at him, he shot her a concerned glance that made her heart clench. Izzy nodded and set to putting away her things.

"You're the best Ms. G," said the girl as she grabbed Rosalie's things as well, hardly struggling with the weight of her things.

"Work on that project at home, Izzy, I want that ready for V.A.S.E. in a few weeks, you got it?"

The girl nodded.

"I'll have it done before that."

With that, with their things in hand, the girl holding the project in a portfolio underneath her arm, they walked out with whispers following them. Rosalie leaned heavily into Emmett's side, relishing in the hold he had on her waist. Izzy Swan just simply ignored the whispers, leading the way. She turned to them with a slight frown.

"You guys need anything from your lockers?"

"We can wait in the car for our brother and sister. You can use this chance to ditch and go home," started Rosalie, but Emmett squeezed her waist in slight disagreement.

Izzy licked her lips, shaking her head.

"No, it's fine. It makes me more comfortable knowing you guys are at home. Can you text or leave a note so they know not to wait for you?"

Emmett made a show of taking out his phone and texting Jasper as they walked towards the parking lot. Izzy surprised them by taking out an umbrella, large enough for all three of them, Emmett took it and let it hang over them both to avoid the slightly heavy downfall. They made their way to her old truck, a faded old bulbous pickup that Rosalie would peg at being a 1953 model, maybe 1954. It was in horrible condition rusted with tires that looked a little stripped down- but it was beautiful nonetheless. Rosalie, despite herself, was already imaging fixing it up, stripping down the steel to clean off the rust, painting it a lovely fire engine red or turquoise-

"Sorry for the mess," she mentioned as she opened it up, and gestured for them to go inside first.

Emmett went first placing him flush against the door before Rosalie went after him. The cab was small and neither she and Emmett were exactly petite as Izzy was. But they made it work, Rosalie in her husband's lap as he stretched out, Izzy perched in the driver's seat. She placed both her purse and portfolio behind the seats, keys jingling in hand. The car was not a mess- in fact, it was quite organized. It smelled pleasant enough, a black ice freshener infused with the scent of its owner, a floral sort of scent and had a faint lingering smell of tobacco, mint and something else that Rosalie did not like underneath it all, weeks old. The previous owner maybe?

"You can put that behind the seat or underneath it," she said, pointing to the basket in Rosalie's hands and lap. It was full of miscellaneous things, like lotion and travel-sized deodorant, Rosalie shrugged, before she placed it underneath the seat, next to a first aid kit.

"What's so important that you have to padlock it?" asked Emmett, jangling the lock on her glove department.

The girl smiled.

"A map to the fountain of None-of-Your-Business, Cullen," she said pleasantly, no heat or malice, just a polite warning as she started up the engine, "Now I have no flippin' clue where you guys live so point-me!"

"Harry Potter, really?"

The girl laughed.

"That fact that you recognized it tells me everything I need to know, Emmett."

Rosalie sighed and directed her. She started the truck, a large rumble that made the entire cab vibrate. Rosalie frowned as the girl carefully pulled out, driving slowly and with caution around the many cars around her. When they were on the highway, she pressed forward with more speed, but not much. About sixty-four miles per hour, Rosalie listened carefully to the engine, hearing the slight pop and wheeze in its loud rumble as she pressed the gas pedal.

"Where did you get this thing?" she found herself asking, bored as she fiddled with the radio. Original to the car and surprisingly still functional.

The only station they could pick up was one that played older songs. Patsy Cline crooned from the old speakers.

"Charlie bought the Crushinator off of a friend, I want to say he bought it in the eighties? I don't know much about cars I'm afraid. Just that this one is from the 50's and that it's mine!" replied Izzy, both hands on the wheel, eyes intently forward, her voice was bright and enthusiastic about the last part.

Rosalie remembers her own first car- a 1935 little Buick that she still owned, lovingly kept in Tennessee in the property Emmett had bought for them for their first wedding. She believed Emmett had inherited it just last year when his 'grandfather' had passed.

"It's a 1953 Chevy pickup truck and the engine sounds as if it's been patched together a few times, it probably needs maintenance. The tires need replacement too," Rosalie said, frowning at the girl.

Izzy frowned at the road.

"Fuck. Know any good mechanics? I don't want my Crushinator to die."

"Is that a Futurama reference?" said her husband, sounding delighted, at Izzy's nod, he fist pumped, "And there's no better mechanic than my Rose. She takes care of all of our cars."

The girl blinked.

"Really? Cool. I envy any grease monkey."

"I can take a look at your truck tomorrow if you're available and if you want. I won't charge you. Think of it as thank you for taking us home and getting us out of class."

If there was anything Rosalie hated, it was being in someone's debt. She knew that Izzy had sensed something off about her in class, not just her being 'sick'. The fact that the girl had known to get her out of the situation was… Kind of her. She was observant and that was dangerous, but not really worrisome. Izzy Swan seemed like she had a good head on her shoulders- many people like that would not make the leap to vampires. They were pulling into their long drive now, the girl driving her truck carefully through the twists and bends of the road with the air of someone who didn't drive often.

"I'd really appreciate it. Can I call you after I get home from La Push? Charlie is taking me fishing and I have no idea when I'll get back... We could always do it Sunday if-"

"Saturday is fine," said Emmett, smiling, "You got a sticky note or something to put down our number?"

"In the basket."

He wrote down his personal cell phone, smiling. Rosalie wondered faintly if Esme was getting what she wanted. They were interacting with a human after all. Becoming more of what they once where, even though she felt a faint throb in her chest that she would never get her humanity back. She was cold and froze until someone tared her apart and burned the pieces, with Emmett to soothe the bad memories and to hold her until then.

The thought made her frown. The fact that Edward- Edward of all people who touted his eighty-year-old streak from drinking human blood so proudly(Emmett was so ashamed of it- the people he had killed when he had been a newborn: they had been unprepared for him, it had been by chance she had found him broken and bleeding the claws of the bear still in his stomach. And those two afterward- the woman that had smelled so sweet that he hadn't even thought of it as he had only smelled them and then they were dead and drained in his arms as he sobbed) had run off with his tail between his legs to Denali because of this girl…


"Is there a reason you started talking to us?" she asked and the girl blinked.

"Um, because you sit in front of me in art class?"

"You waved to us," Rosalie pressed, "On the first day of the semester. Most people either ignore us or just stare. Why?"

The girl laughed.

"Esme mentioned it to me you would help me settle in if I asked," she quirked a brow, and continued in an honest, soft voice, "But from what you said you guys were anti-social. It just felt polite to wave… And to talk to you when I saw you guys were in my class. I can stop if you want. I know someone people are more perfectly content with a small circle of friends."

"Defiantly doesn't have a crush on me," Emmett said too high for Izzy's ears.

Rosalie nudged him on the arm, a small smile on her lips.

What an odd person.

"No, it's fine. Maybe it's okay to expand our circle… Just this once."

The girl smiled, faintly.

"So, I'm a Mongol."


"This world history web series that I liked when I was younger, any time it mentions a general rule, like say no one has ever successfully invaded Russia, it had a montage of the one exception. The Mongols," she laughed, a pleasant sound from the back of her throat.

Rosalie found herself smiling, larger. The girl knew her history as well.

"You're just a dork full of references!" cried Emmett and he laughed.

"A dork is a whale penis," she quipped, and with that, she made it to the large meadow that leads to their home in Forks, drove straight up to the house with a slightly crooked park,"And may I say you have a lovely home?"

Rosalie laughed at her choppy transition. Inside, she could hear Esme laughing as well.

"Maybe you should come in?"

Izzy shook her head, while Rosalie elbowed Emmett at the stupid comment. If Edward, when he came back from Denali, were to smell the girl in the house… Or even Jasper… That would be horrible. It was bad enough that they smelled of her, the small room of the cab making it inescapable from her scent and the warmth her body radiated.

"Thanks, but I gotta go cook dinner for the Chief, feel better Rosalie."

They grabbed their things and made their way inside, Izzy watching them the whole way. By the end of it, Rosalie was being carried by Emmett. Esme was in the foyer, waiting for them. Her eyes were bright and she was beaming at them, looking towards the window as the rumble of Izzy's truck drove away. She then turned to both of them, her happy face morphing into concern.

"Why did Izzy Swan drive you here?"

"Rosalie-" Rosalie gripped her husband's arm, twice, asking him to lie(she didn't need Esme's mothering at that moment), and he continued without missing a beat, "Was bored so we made it as if she was sick. Izzy told the teacher and she asked her to drive us home so Jasper and Alice would have the car."

She tsked.

"You already missed enough school during the sunny days. You shouldn't do that," she lectured softly.

Rosalie made a show of rolling her eyes and gripped Emmett's arm again.

"Well, mom, we're going upstairs to get freaky."

Esme shook her head as Emmett took her upstairs. She went to her office on the first floor- a fake show of privacy as she put on music to tune them out somewhat. They did not make love- not as soon as they reached their room. No, Emmett eased her into it. It was never had any force with them, despite the zealous that they usually made love with. It was always sweet, heavy and heated between them. Emmett was a gentle giant by definition and it was always by her prompting that it got rougher, hard enough to break buildings if they so wanted. But at first, Emmett only kissed her body, slowly, massaged away the tension and the memories.

"I got you, babe."

Rosalie wished she could cry. It was one of the other things she missed the most of about being human.

"You do," she whispered to him, cradling his face in her hands, "You have me. And I have you."

He smiled, dimples flashing, tracing words of love against her skin. She sighed, closed her eyes as she leaned into her husband of sixty-eight years and let him love her tenderly.

Chapter Text

Men Need Their Girl Time

"Life flies by in seconds. You're not a baby... you're my friend… You'll be a lady soon," Gracie Ben Folds, 2015

Charlie Swan was beyond ecstatic when he learned that his daughter wanted to finish off her high school years with him. It was the best gift she could have given him for Christmas, more so than the fifty dollar gift card to Circuit City with a small note that told him to put it down for a new T.V. (he had just bought a new flat-screen for himself, before that and instead used the money to buy a fancy new VCR and 'DVD' combination instead).

He wished he had known it had been a gag gift beforehand as all he had felt at seeing the glossy red piece of plastic and the small ripped piece of notebook paper was just plain tired(It was the reason he had finally made up with Billy, after the whole Cullen business had put their friendship to the test for the last two years, he just wanted his daughter to at least feel something for him- but it seemed that wasn't going to happen and he needed his best friend). The call he had gotten on her telling him to sign her up for Forks High School had been beyond incredible- He had paid for the flight himself and to save her the trouble of going down from Seattle on the bus, made sure it was a connecting flight to Port Angeles.

Isabella- well Izzy- was not what he had expected. Of course, that was because he didn't know his daughter very well. And God did that fucking sting. She had a bit more humor than he expected, smiled a little more then he remembered, had different hobbies- He didn't even know she had liked to draw, let alone if she was any good at it and it seemed to be a big part of her life(she was good at it, showed him a portrait she had done of him, gripped how she couldn't get his expression quite right but all Charlie could think was that it was the most wonderful thing and he was amazed she had made it with her own two hands). She still read a lot, which was comforting, but that wasn't all, she listened to music(loudly), she drew and watched all of his crappy video cassettes with glee:

"You have the freaking original Mummy on VCR!" she cried, bouncing up and down, as he walked into the door, putting up his gun, keys in hand.

Charlie blinked, watching as his daughter lifted the mentioned movie, he thinks it had belonged to his father because it's a black and white movie- and his daughter, the kinda mopey, sullen Isabella Swan squealed. Honest to God squealed as she clutched the old video cassette to her chest. It wasn't even the newest movie- the one that had come out four years ago. He had watched it last night after she had gone to her room and blasted some song that involved something about poking her face? It had been a bit garbled and he had tuned it out with the movie.

"Um, yeah?"

"You've been holding out on me Chief!" she pointed dramatically, grey eyes bright, "What else you got?"

Carefully, he leads her to the small closet underneath the stairs and pulled the cord on the light. Charlie wasn't much for collecting- but his parents had been. They had collected as many as they could, bought particularly the entire inventory of the Video Store before they had passed. The older they had gotten, the more muddled their minds had gotten, the more they had watched them, kinda focused solely on it. And it had kept them kinda calm, immersed them more than talking to him had in the end.

"CHINGA ME*!" she cried, and he blinked, because that had been Spanish, and he hadn't even known that Izzy could speak any amount of Spanish,"This is amazing! Is that Predator? Total Recall? Hell yes!"

"You like Arnold Schwarzenegger?" and now he was staring at his daughter as she had grown a second head. Isabella hated action movies.


"Get to the CHOPPA!" she screeched, voice deepening and mimicking the actor's sometimes ridiculous accent, nabbing several of the movies and grabbing his arm in answer.

He had laughed his way to the couch, and laughed even harder as he watched her get very into the movie, muttering underneath her breath the lines and making a sweet, thick caramel popcorn for the 'movie marathon that's happening right now Chief!'. They watched Predator and ate their dinner, a nice sweet chicken Isabella had made in the oven with a side of steamed vegetables and rice.

But what Charlie loved beyond the delicious food that wasn't dinner food was the fact that his baby was sitting next to him as they enjoyed something together.

She was much more disrespectful to authority- not really acting like a seventeen-year-old in her attitude. But it was in a way that seemed to more of an intellectual decision versus teenage rebellion. She needed the whys of a command, request or law. It wasn't an attitude he had expected from someone raised by Renee, but it was the one that Izzy had nonetheless. It was…

Strange, to say the least.

The conversation they had had in the car about the man she called 'dad' was… Heartbreaking. He had never wanted another man stepping up into the place that was meant for him, he almost resented the dead man for being that person for his little girl. But at the same time, he understood that Izzy had found someone to care for and that person was now gone. Maybe her coming to Forks had been an escape from the death of a man he had never met- the man she called her father and watched her grow up in the way that Charlie wished he had- but his baby girl was in pain regardless of the source and Charlie was sure as hell not gonna let her suffer through it alone.

Izzy was a stranger.

It was hard to swallow sometimes. It startled him when he would look at her- seeing a person that he had thought he knew so well. Charlie expected that little girl that would throw mudpies at the Black girls and make faces as he speared worms with hooks. He expected the girl who would ignore him in California as she soaked up the sun or read all day in the hotel room. The girl who smiled at him and called him 'Chief' was new to him. She tried to talk to him, asked about his interests, actively did what little homework she had in the living room, spread out on the worn carpet while he watched the game or movie to spend time with him. Nagged him about his 'bachelor habits' and cooked meals for him, ate with him and asked about his day.

She was trying- Isabella had never tried before. He wondered if it was a byproduct of losing someone close to her if this warm girl with a quick wit and a sarcastic edge was the person that grief had changed Izzy into. Or if this was the person his daughter had always been but had never gotten to know. Never been allowed to know. She was strange but trying, at the very least to be his friend and at the very least trying to live with him with some semblance of happiness.

He would admit that her sleeping habits were a pain in the damn ass.

He was a cop. He was a light sleeper from many nights at various stake outs- the slightest noise had him bolting up. Her wandering around at night, even in the house, made him a little uneasy. The fact that Izzy was a restless person and hardly batted an eye at being up for twenty-four hours was concerning. He half wanted to ask Doctor Cullen if it was normal for a seventeen-year-old to have such a strange sleep cycle… But mostly he was annoyed at the fact that she was getting better at sneaking past him. Izzy might be a good kid, but she was still a teenager and if he caught her sneaking out of the house she was grounded until she turned twenty-five.

"You asked me to wake you up, Iz," he called, somewhat amused to see her downstairs, on the couch watching infomercials. In her lap was a book, something that was normal more often than not- she must've turned on the T.V. to get some background noise.

She was anxious like that, always chattered when there wasn't anything to fill the noise. She hadn't been like that before, or maybe she had simply never wanted to be comfortable with him before. He could admit that he hated the thought. He had busted out his old music cassettes more then once to ease her a bit, watched with some amusement as that had relaxed her and made her hum along to his music(he would have never pegged her to like Thin Lizzy or Rush, but he had caught her singing along to Tom Sawyer, baldy and had joined her while she laughed out a couple more lyrics).

She looked over, smiling sheepishly. She stood, dressed in high waisted shorts that looked to be something that was more appropriate in Arizona with thin, black tights underneath that were so sheer that he could still tell the creaminess of her skin, and a large green sweater(Izzy was surprisingly good with the cold, wore shorts and skirts without look uncomfortable). Her short mop of hair, wet, was pushed back by a black headband and she looked fairly awake despite the fact that it was about four in the morning. Around her waist was a hoody, black of course. His daughter seemed to have grown fond of the darker colors, which was a contrast to the pastels and jewel tones she had liked before.

"I set my alarm so I could take a shower," she shrugged, padded over in thick, red socks with little green dinosaurs on them. While she seemed to like the cold she also hated cold feet or at least cold toes, "Are we having breakfast before we go?"

"Billy buys breakfast, I buy lunch," he replied, shaking his head, "You should put on your shoes, Izzy."

She wiggled her sock covered feet. She liked to walk around barefoot more often than not- In fact, he rarely saw her wear shoes inside the house if she could help it. He wondered where she had gotten the habit. Renee had loved shoes when they were married- It was one of the few things she had asked for him to send to her from the house as the divorce had been finalized.

"I honestly have no idea what to wear shoe wise."

"Something comfortable. Don't worry about it being slip proof- I still own my small motor boat. Not much opportunity for walking."

"Rodger that Chief- Oh, I made coffee!"

She brandished two thermoses, taking them from the end table by his crappy couch.

"That's my girl," he took the one she offered, beaming.

"Black as hell and no sugar!" she called as she went upstairs for her shoes.

"Thanks!" he called back, bringing it up to his lips. It was piping hot and warm, the smell alone makes him more alert as he waited for his daughter.

She came downstairs with his old satchel slung across her shoulders, laced up boots and sipping at her coffee. He was impressed when she only stumbled a bit on the last step of the stairs. Izzy apparently had gotten over the clumsy thing since he last saw her. She did trip- but it was rare and more to do with her being unused to the slippery streets of Forks than her ability to find things to trip over. They took her truck, him at the wheel with a quick promise that he would pay her back for the gas. She blasted the radio, humming along to Elvis in the dark streets as they drove. She was tapping her toes against the dashboard.

"Feet down," he told her, frowning.

She didn't miss a beat.

"My truck, my rules. My feet can go where they please," she tapped along to Heartbreak Hotel in emphasis.

"Izzy, it's dangerous. We get into an accident and that angle could severely hurt your spine. Your set-belt will do jack-shit," it was strange that he swore so much around Isabella, wouldn't have dared to a few weeks ago, but she was so relaxed about it and even quoted some damn article about how swearing helped reduce stress and could lead to lower risk of heart disease and ulcers, and had proceeded to state that it wasn't like a swear word was bad per say, just the society to conditioned to believe to be faulty, that he had decided to drop the stately act. If his seventeen-year-old daughter wasn't offended by it and did it herself, he found it much easier to not think too much about anymore, "Feet down"

She sighed but complied with a small smile.

"Well reasoned, Charlie."

He smiled at the compliment and at the soft pat she gave his arm. He laughed as she sang along to Elvis, badly and off-key, forgetting a few words here and there. She smiled at him, flashing her straight teeth that he had helped pay for, beaming as she belted out loudly and almost obnoxiously.

I could get used to this.


Lauren was a little wary and more than a little nervous, when the door to Chief Billy Black's home, opened. Her heart was pounding and she felt nervous sweat gather at her spine. Especially when she saw the one who opened it was the man himself. She didn't know what to expect, at all and had risked relapsing into her coffee addiction by drinking a bitter, cheap brew that was in Charlie's kitchen(loaded it up with a shit-ton of sugar and milk). She had weaned herself off of it, her first year of college when she had noticed she was drinking two pots of coffee by herself and shaking when she didn't have a mug in hand. But her nerves are too high strung now, what could be potentially ridding on Billy Black was her life so down the hatch the devil drink went. She was half tempted to pace, once Charlie parked next to the house and dragged her to the front door.

But what she found was a man, who was already dressed in simple jeans and a button-down flannel, had bright, alert eyes that were so dark brown they looked black and stared straight at her. He had darkly tanned skin beyond just his copper-toned complexion, hair a little past his shoulders in a fine, dark color, and like Charlie looked surprisingly built for a man that was in his forties. Immediately, once he saw her peeking over Charlie's shoulder, he beamed, honest to God beamed, flashed teeth that were white and straight.

"As I live and breath, Isabella Swan!" he said, voice deep and booming. Part of Lauren registered that his voice was very nice.

She was a sucker for a nice voice. Billy Black's was deep, rich and rumbled like thunder. She smiled, a little timidly as she came to stand in front of the man. The man who commanded respect and could save her from the vampire that thought she smelled delicious. She wonders, briefly, as he looks at her, measuring and with a small hint of fondness, what the relationship between the younger Bella Swan and this man had been.

"Hello, Mister Black," she said, absently straightening her sweater. She extended her hand for a shake.

Billy chuckled, grabbed her hand, and pulled her-God this guy was strong- into her into a hug instead. He smelled like peppermint and tobacco, and she wondered if he smoked or if he chewed it. She awkwardly patted his shoulders.

"None of that! It's Billy to you! Now, look at you!"

She wiggled out of his embrace quickly, absently smiling as she tried to be calm.

"Look at you! You've haven't changed one bit," she said cheerfully, the lie slipping past her lips easily.

He chuckled.

"But you have changed! Where's the little girl that would carry books to the beach?"

Lauren couldn't help the slight sarcastic smile that comes to her lips.

"Who knows?"

Because I sure as hell don't know where that brat is.

He laughed and ushered them inside his house.

"Come on in we need to get ready to go! Charlie has been talking about you none stop since you called him to say that you'd be moving here."

Charlie grumbled, good-naturedly, take a swig of his coffee. Faintly, she noticed that his cheeks had gotten a little pink.

She resists the urge to giggle, knowing that it will just embarrass the man and allowed herself to be led to the kitchen area, small but serviceable before the two men go off to prepare their tackle boxes.

"Wait here for a sec, Iz," said Charlie, waving absently at her.

"Will do Chief," she calls back, settling comfortably onto the built-in breakfast nook, curling her legs into criss-cross applesauce as they disappeared into the backyard for a second. Faintly, she shivers, throwing her jacket onto her almost bare legs, it was cold inside the house, not as much as outside but now that her coffee was running low and she wasn't moving, she felt it more strongly.

Lauren is sitting at the kitchen table, sipping at the last bit of her coffee, when a boy stumbles in from the living room, only clad in what looked like a pair of loose boxers. She blinks rapidly, surprised and a little amused as he staggers to the fridge, absently calling out 'morning, Charlie and dad' in the faint direction of the open door. Lauren, registering that she is staring in surprise at a fifteen-year-old, Jacob Black as he takes out a jug of milk and starts chugging it.

Oh look it's the other half of Bella's idiotic angst fest of a love-triangle, and what the fuck dude, get a glass. He is gangly and all lean, she registers, wary at the sight of the soon to be shapeshifter, turns away with a faint lick of her lips. Jacob Black is tall, but is also thin and reedy, with very sharp cheekbones and strong jawline that had hints that he would be a very nice looking guy in a couple years, but obscured with baby fat, rounding out his face. Stretched out, she would say, as most kids that age were, and with annoyingly clear skin. Some people had all the fucking luck. He was also kinda totally oblivious to the fact that she was in the kitchen with him, as he absently scratched at his chest and ran a hand through his messy hair.

"Um, Hi," she says, as though part of her rather just wait for him to notice her, she rather make the boy put some damn pants on. Because she has a feeling he would be terribly embarrassed, she's sort of immune to nudity, what with having to draw live nudes on a semi-regular bases a year back.

True to form, Jacob yelps at the sound of her voice, which is adorably high pitched, and she has to bite her lip to stop the snort as he turns around wildly. For a moment, all Jacob can do is stare, milk jug in hand. Then, with a slight shriek, he runs out of the room, jug still in hand. Lauren can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it, giggling like a loon as she nearly snorts her coffee out of her nose. Jacob comes back a few minutes later, blushing like a fifteen-year-old kid that was half naked in front of a stranger, dressed in wrinkled clothes that looked like he had picked them off the floor in his rush. He quietly puts away the milk, and vaguely, Lauren winces the fact that he had pulled his messy hair back with a rubber band- no matter how silky his hair was she couldn't help but think that his hair would snag on the material.

Hair tie kid. The hair tie is long hair's best friend.

"Hey, I'm Izzy Swan. I came along for fishing, today," she said, softly, trying to ignore the whole thing. She can't help but smirk, chin in hand as the boy turns to her.

Jacob jumped at her voice again, paling sharply, smiling sheepishly at her. Even at fifteen, the boy towered over her. He extended his hand for a shake, almost automatically, and Lauren returned it firmly. His hand was sweaty, much to her slight disgust, and had her threatening to giggle again. She tended to laugh and make bad jokes when shit was awkward.

"Hi, Izzy, I'm Jacob. I guess you don't remember me that much? You did mostly hang out with my sisters."

"Rebecca and Rachel, right?"

He nodded, rubbing his hand on the back of his neck. Nervous then, she doesn't blame him. She had seen him in his underwear, after all. She smiles slightly, trying to appear as unassuming and unthreatening as possible. Not a hard feat with her face and short stature. He shuffled uneasily on his feet.

"Yeah," he muttered, looking anywhere but her.

She blinked as Jacob just looked at the floor. She took in his jeans and surprise, surprise, a flannel shirt. Then there was nothing but awkward silence. I have no idea how to talk to young people. She blinked, wondering when fifteen had become young to her. She was only twenty- but having to be around so many people below the age of eighteen made her feel so old. She sighed slightly, before forcing herself to smile.

"So I was promised breakfast, you have any idea what that might entitle?"

"Um, Charlie and my dad usually just sort of prep a cooler full of things before heading out," the boy muttered, head down.

Lauren felt distinctly uncomfortable at the fact that she was making a fifteen-year-old boy uncomfortable in his own home. She got up, swinging her oversize hoody to tie around her waist. She tried not cringe at the fact that he was eying her up through his ridiculously long lashes. She wasn't even that pretty she thought with a faint flash of irritation, uncharitable and more than a little uncomfortable with all the male attention. Especially since the majority of the males that were looking her way were…. Well, underage, teenage boys in a Universe that a Mormon housewife had written about. She ignored him as she walked out, taking both satchel and nearly empty thermos as she came outside, both inpatient and uneasy being around Jacob.

"That better not be beer," she called out as she watched Charlie and Billy both tear apart a six-pack of something into a small cooler.

She didn't really care if it was, not really, but the fact that she wouldn't be able to partake when she could really use a shot of some sort of alcoholic beverage* made her feel petty... She wondered if she could convince Charlie to buy her favorite white wine by saying that it was for cooking. Moscato would be hard to sell though... Charlie raised a brow.

"Izzy, I'm driving us home, of course not. It's off-brand coke."

She nodded approvingly, trying to ignore the hovering fifteen-year-old at her side.

"Thanks for the warning, Dad," grumbled the boy, hands in his pocket.

Billy blinked.

"You didn't walk into the kitchen in your boxers, did you?" he asked, and he sounded half amused.

Jacob blushed and that was all his father needed to see before he burst out laughing. Lauren felt a bit of a pity at how Jacob looked down, trembling slightly- Holy motherfucking shit no, no, no! It's too fucking soon!

"I didn't see anything," she lied, carefully, wondering as the boy looked over at her to blink in surprise, "Just saw you out of the corner of my eye before the fridge door covered all the important parts. I turned away when you went to change."

He smiled at her and she was so damn relieved to see that his shaking had eased up. She was a little perturbed because he was supposed to change in a year's time… But then again he hadn't changed because he had been so happy to be with a zombie-Bella for a while… But still, he hadn't started his transformation until at least a couple months from now. Do the wolves run on a different system than what Meyer* wrote? Because if so holy shit I'm in trouble. Do not panic. Do not panic. Assess the situation. Spock this shit up before you hyperventilate.

"So, what's for breakfast?" called Jacob, sounding a bit more cheerful.

"I hope you like sandwiches," said Billy, holding up a large Tupperware full of said sandwiches, before he tossed it in the cooler along with more not-cokes and various bottles of what she hoped was water.

"Yum," she deadpanned.

"Sorry, Iz, we aren't exactly the best chefs, we'll leave that to you," said Charlie, and much to her slight irritation, he ruffled her short hair.

"Oh, yes, the Chief won't shut up on how good of a cook you are!" said Billy, laughing as she carefully smoothed down her crazy hair.

"Something wrong with that?" she asked, blinking as they tossed in another bag of ice into an empty cooler. For the fish?

"Just surprising. Renee was a terrible cook ."

"I had to survive somehow," she said simply and was kinda annoyed as they loaded her truck, with the coolers, not letting her lift a damn finger.

"I'm afraid you and Jacob are going to be in the bed," said Billy, eying the room in the cab.

Lauren has a memory of Mexico, riding in the back of trucks. She had done it even last summer, the wind whipping through her short hair as her uncle made his way up the Malecon*, watching the waves crash on the beach. She shrugged, climbing up into her truck in a practiced way, using the tire as a step ladder before she swung herself up into it to sit on the hump the tire provided. Charlie blinked.

"Izzy, have you ridden in the back before?" he asked, sounding concerned.

Faintly, Lauren realizes that it was super illegal in the United States. Well, it wasn't legal in Mexico- it was just done. She grinned.

"Ask me no questions, and I shall tell you no lies!" she said simply.

Looking unhappy, but also realizing that he would get nowhere, he sighed, before helping Billy into the truck. She was surprised to see that Billy couldn't move his legs at all and she found herself frowning. According to what she could remember, he was supposed to have lost his ability to walk because of diabetes, losing a foot when he refused to go to the hospital with Doctor Cullen and because Meyer only wanted to write how badly superstitious the 'brown' people were. He could stand, but he did not shuffle forward or shift the muscles of his legs without the aide of his hands. So not diabetes… The crash that claimed his wife? But that was supposed to be a low speed one… Does Meyer have a firm grasp of physics*?

Jacob all but threw the wheelchair into the truck, jumped into the truck with a grin and with a quiet tap on the side, Charlie took off. As soon as he started the truck, Lauren lifted herself off the tire stump and onto the lip of the bed of the truck, getting a blink from Jacob. She gripped the lip of the truck and braced her foot against the cab. He lifts himself up as well, and Lauren is envious of the way his hair followed majestically in the wind. She sighed, ignored the way that he kept throwing glances her way and focused instead on the landscape.

The furthest north Lauren had ever gone was Sacramento, California, once, when she was four-years-old and the most she remembered was that it had been sunny and had a lot of tall buildings. She, much to her shame had never been to see the Redwoods in her own home state. But she had been to both the cost in the Mexico as well as the high, forested Mountains that came with the path of going down to visit her family.

The Quileute Reservation was beyond beautiful, wonderfully cold and smelled like the ocean, rich and familiar to her. She had vivid memories of it from visiting the coastal town in Mexico every summer for most of her life. Though, she could readily agree with Bella on the point that beaches were supposed to be warm- at least to swim in, as this Coast was no less beautiful than the tropical one that featured in her childhood memories. She sighed slightly at the wind whipped at her hair, flowing behind her as she leaned carefully over the truck to look at the coastline of Washington, at the dramatic far-off cliffs of rocky little islands that lined the shore.

If she closed her eyes all she would feel is the wind and the feeling of the truck ambling along, the scent of the sea bringing to mind days with her extended family.

She could ignore the fact that she was in the place of a fictional character and just pretend for a little while.


Charlie nearly laughed with the sight of Izzy slipping on the life preserver, orange gaudy and contrasting greatly to her nice sweater. It was a little large for her, as it was usually the one they forced on Jacob, but with her confession of being unable to swim at all other than to flail at a doggy paddle(her words), Jacob had surrendered it gleefully to his daughter. Because the boy did know who to swim. Billy was instructing her how to put it on and tighten it properly as he put on his own. Izzy wrinkled her nose at the fact that it didn't quite secure tightly across the chest. She grumbled underneath her breath as Charlie lamented that he wasn't quite ready to have a grown daughter, especially when he saw the way that Jacob was eying her from the corner of his eye.

Charlie wondered faintly as he watched Izzy do a little dance when she managed to get the buckles across her chest if he was allowed to do the whole shotgun father routine. Izzy was surprisingly mature in ways he couldn't quite understand sometimes, but she was still a seventeen-year-old girl. Boys would be looking, she looked so much like her mother to be anything less than a head turner*. And that was a headache that he was not looking forward the second she started looking back. It wasn't that he was opposed to her to date- but he had been a teenage boy once too, so he wasn't exactly trusting of them.

They piled into the motorboat, it was a bit of a tight fit as most of the time it was just three and it looked as if Jacob had grown another foot in the two weeks since he last saw them, but at least Izzy was compact, settling herself at the bow, not even bothering with the seat and leaning over the edge. She didn't do it so much so that it worried him but in interest. Her hand reached out, skimmed over the water before drawing back quickly, shaking her hand. It was freezing, no doubt, but other than flinching away she made no indication that it had bothered her, rubbing her hand absently into her hoody, which she had thrown across her legs.

Jacob seemed conflicted as he usually settled in the middle of the boat to pass around things, but was not so subtly looking over at Izzy even as he packed things in the usual place. A little irritated, but not wanting to alert Izzy, he placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and pushed him to sit. He ignored Billy's shit-eating-grin.

The jackass, probably thought it was cute as hell that Jacob's childhood crush was back in full swing at the sight of Isabella.

And it would be cute if he wasn't a fifteen-year-old boy with hormones and the like. They set off at a slow pace, the light just now starting to come he would wager about six o'clock or seven, as he glanced at the sky. No rain either, just cloudy, which was good because he wasn't exactly sure how Izzy would react to being on a boat for that. It wasn't until they were preparing their rods in their usual spot did he realize that Isabella didn't have one- and she solved that problem by, as soon as they dropped anchor, taking out a sketchbook and some colored pencils that had cost her an arm and a leg("They have oils in them in Charlie, it's why the color is so vivid!"). She was smiling, humming tunelessly as she ran her hands across the large book in large sweeping gestures with a pale blue pencil that were only cut off occasionally by a flick of her wrist.

"Now what are you doing?" and that's Billy, sounding oddly soft.

Izzy looks up, furrowing her brows in confusion.

"Sketching," she says and blinks at them, "I mean, it's not like you have an extra rod, Charlie only packed one and you guys had two. Did you really think I'd be happy to sit in the boat staring at the water without doing something constructive?"

She doesn't sound defensive, only confused. It's at that moment that Charlie wonders if she's forgotten that Sarah had loved drawing and painting and that Billy is asking out of sincere interest and with a softness that he hadn't had since Rachel and Rebecca graduated. She just looks at them, curious, before she shrugs. Billy drops it, but his eyes constantly flicker to her. Charlie frowns, but focuses on preparing his rod, slowly and methodically, as Billy seems to do the same. But Charlie can see vaguely that he is endeared by it, smiling as he looks over the water.

Izzy looks out at the water too, humming again that tuneless thing, disjointed and without real rhythm. She seemed to be highly focused on the sea around her, eyes bright as her hand went rapidly across the page.

Charlie felt light.

Seeing her comfortable, doing her thing, as he did her's, made a tension he hadn't know had been there eased. He wonders, at the fact that the little girl he had held seventeen years ago was the person was in front of him. They all sit in silence, easy with it, the only noises that of the slight sounds of gulls, the gentle lap of the water against the boat and Izzy's pencil scratches across her paper. It isn't until a bit later, that he notices that her attention is no longer on the landscape of sheer cliffs in the distance, but rather on them- him, Billy and Jacob.

Grey eyes gleamed, intent, face slack and relaxed as they spent a quiet afternoon, with the occasional conversation popping. It was mostly Jacob starting it- with her little earbuds in, Izzy seemed to be in her own little world, fingertips flying across the page with an ease that seemed to be second nature to her. It is when Jacob looks at her, expectantly, sometime later that Izzy pops out the two buds.

"Sorry, what was that?" she asked, curious and raising her eyebrows.

Jacob shifted uneasily from in his seat and Charlie repressed a sigh.

"How are you liking Forks? School okay?" he asked, again.

Izzy blinked and shifted herself. She smiled and lowered her large journal.

"Forks is fine…. I love being around Charlie," she said, warmly, and Charlie couldn't help the goofy grin in response," And school is okay. Everyone has been super nice… I'm just worried about getting the flu."

Charlie frowned.

"Some bug going around?" he asked because he would have to take some days off to take care of her and he wondered if Richard, his second in command would mind. It wasn't as if he had used his sick days in a while, anyway.

It'd be nice, at least, to have a few days babying Izzy. She didn't leave much room to be babied, that much he could tell from the way she acted, even if he didn't know his daughter very well. She shrugged.

"Well, Rosalie Hale and Edward Cullen have been sick and I have them in two classes. Not to Mention Angela Weber has been sniffling and I have most of my classes with her. I'm surprised I haven't gotten sick before, to be honest..."

Charlie immediately tensed at the mention of the Cullens. Izzy didn't know of course- the tension between the Quileute and the Cullens for some bad blood between an ancestor of the Cullens: some big showdown between them some hundred* years ago. It was infamous gossip in town. So much so that some of the older Quileutes had threatened to boycott the hospital before Billy had put his foot down and claimed that was counterproductive for the tribe to make things so tense right off the bat. He had even made a point of going more frequently for checkups as an example. Now, as he looked at Billy out of the corner of his eye, he saw how tense his best friend had become.

Damnit. We have just started to get over this bullshit.

"Oh?" said Billy, and Charlie ground his teeth at the way his voice got- His 'Chief' voice, an infliction that denoted a presence and authority* that Charlie had always envied. Billy was staring at his daughter, eyes intent and measuring, "Do you have a lot of classes with the Cullens?"

Izzy blinked again, furrowing her brows.

"Just the two. I haven't really spent a lot of time with Edward Cullen- he's been out all week. But Emmett and Rosalie have been nice enough. But, I don't really talk to them. I have them in my art class," here, Izzy bite her lip, turning towards Charlie, "I drove them home on Friday, by the way. Rosalie looked really terrible. She was really happy to get out of class- so much so that she offered to look at my Truck today."

Charlie really wished he had mentioned the whole Cullen thing to Izzy beforehand. If not he would have saved himself the rise in blood pressure for both him and Billy. Billy usually was a cool customer- but looking at the way his mouth twisted made Charlie realize that today would end in a screaming match.

At least we caught a few fish before this.

"You're meeting a couple of people you don't know at their house?" said Billy and he seemed to be so mad he was trembling. Charlie wondered at the fact that he was going a roundabout way to scold his daughter.

"What? No! They're coming over. I mean, Rosalie is just going to look over the truck. She said she heard something wrong with the engine."

"There's nothing wrong with the engine!" and that was Jacob, hotly jumping up and causing the boat to rock violently.

Izzy went pale, clutching at the bow of the boat.

"Dude what the fuck, sit your ass down!" she snapped, screeched really.

She can't swim.

"Jacob!" he barked, because really the kid know better, "Sit down, son."

Jacob did so reluctantly, slamming himself down with more force than necessary.

"There's nothing wrong with the engine. I was taking care of it before my dad sold it," he said sullenly, "What does Rosalie know about cars anyway?"

Izzy was frowning at him.

"It barely goes past sixty without making the worst grinding noise. Emmett said she takes care of all of the Cullen's car I just want her to look at it. Geez, it's not like I can afford a mechanic-"

"Just bring it by! I'll look at it! I work part time at the garage on the Reservation. You don't have to go to her for anything," said Jacob, and Charlie was reminded vividly however quickly he was shooting up, he was still a fifteen-year-old boy.

"You should cancel," and that was Billy, face hard, "The Cullens aren't a good family Izzy. And if you're really worried about the Truck, I can talk to Harry Clearwater. He owns the garage and can give you a good discount. He's your dad's friend beside me giving a good word."

Izzy looked at Billy and her face was careful, even in a way that made something of the Cop in him be concerned.

"They're a bad family?" she said softly, "They've been nice enough to me… Well, the one's I've talked to more then once. Carlisle and Esme were trying to be helpful. I haven't met Alice or Jasper… And Edward has been sick all week. But Rosalie and Emmett-"

"Sick, huh?" here, Billy snorts, "Kiddo, trust me. Their type-"

"Okay, that's enough, Billy," Charlie said quietly, because he was fed up with this entire conversation. He was putting his Goddamn foot down.


"No. You can believe what you want Billy, but if the Cullens want to be nice to my kid and be her friend that's my damn business."

Billy was glaring now, visibly shaking still. Charlie wasn't feeling very still himself.

"Charlie, I'm only trying to keep Isabella on the right path. The Cullens are not right," he said sharply, dark eyes narrowed.

"Yeah. And I think both me and Izzy are old enough to be the judge of that. We're done with this conversation."

"I don't think we are."

Charlie narrowed his eyes.

"Yes, we are William* Black."

Honestly, if he wasn't in a boat a little off shore he would've stormed off by now.


"Izzy, it's getting a little cold, isn't it?" he interrupted sharply, "What time did you say that you were meeting your friends?"


"Don't want you to be late," sharply, he heaved the anchor up, before his hand went to the motor.

"Charlie, we can stay out a little longer," and that was Billy, voice strained.

Charlie swallowed. He didn't want to fight with Billy. Not over someone else. But the Cullens weren't bad people- whatever their ancestor had done to the Quileutes, which he still hadn't fucking told him what it had been, had been in the past. Billy knew better then anyone that the past did not determine the person. He was the Police Chief of Forks, it was his damn job to be impartial and just. And so far? None of the Cullens had done anything to make him uneasy. And Izzy was a good kid who wouldn't let herself fall into a shit crowd. She was smarter then that. He sighed.

"It's is getting pretty cold, Bill," he said, and he felt his face relaxing, his jaw unlocking. He hadn't realized he had been so tense, "Come on, Izzy isn't used to being out for so long… And we're still up for next week to fish, right?"

Billy frowned but sighed and nodded.

"Yeah. Yeah… You coming down next week, Iz?"

Izzy nodded, quickly.

"Yeah. I'd love to. As long I don't have too much homework."

"And if the Cullens…. Are being strange you'll tell me and your Dad?"

Izzy shifted, blinking rapidly before she nodded, quickly. Charlie frowned at the way her shoulders relaxed.

"Yeah, sure. No problem."


"Just looking out for her, Chuckles*," said Billy with a slight grin that didn't quite meet his eyes.

Charlie frowned but nodded sharply. He didn't want to get into again. It had caused enough grief between them. When Charlie placed a hand on his arm, he knew that while they weren't great right now, his best friend and him were okay.

Mostly, Charlie mourned his moment of peace with his daughter.

Chapter Text

It was because he was curious.

Emmett McCarthy figured interacting with the human girl named Isabella 'Izzy' Swan wasn't that bad. Even if she had been set on them by Esme, simply because she was… Interesting. Humans weren't usually interesting, not really at that age, too focused on 'finding themselves' to busy trying to grow up so fast when the easiest years of their lives were slipping through their fingertips. He liked college students better, or at least after freshman year because they took their heads outta their asses for the most part. He didn't see that kinda urgency in Isabella Swan. She was utterly relaxed and maybe it was because he only ever saw her at lunch and in Art class, surrounded by her friends or in something that was very much her element.

But he could appreciate that calmness- that self-confidence and ease. She was funny too- quick on the draw with it really. And she had a fondness for some God-awful puns, really the girl was a hoot in a half when she wasn't ignoring them in favor of her craft. That was also curious. The passion in which she went for something- to the point of harming herself and running herself ragged if the deep bags under her eyes were any indication. She was utterly absorbed in something that she loved, whether that be her drawing or whatever book was in front of her with an intense focus that made her oblivious to things around her.

And Emmett was man enough to say it was also because he was grateful that Isabella Swan had noticed his wife was off. Off enough to alert the teacher and use the sway she had on her(she was her pet and Emmett didn't need to be Edward to notice that while she cared for the girl, Mrs. Garner was also gushing over her talent as if it had been only by her lackluster teaching that the girl had achieved it) to let them get the hell out of the situation and recover after one of her flashbacks. She had been quick and observant, eyes open.

Most humans didn't look past their own asses to even notice something about other people. Isabella Swan seemed just like that at first- but sometimes she would look around at people in a way that Emmett thought was really thoughtful. She was quieter than most too- often just silent as people talked to her, looking directly at them in a careful, while not in an intense way, an active assessing way that showed that she was actively listening. Even with her moments of complete absorption of whatever was going on in her head as she read and drew as she so obviously loved, she actively looked and listened.

She was a weird one, really.

He was mostly curious, really, he hadn't been human in a long time, nearly seventy-something years(he didn't really bother to keep track) and he found most people to be… Boring. Easy to scare from a flash of his teeth, easy to silence by his face and much too slow and ignorant at times. It was a hassle to go through the motions of it- temper himself in a way that wasn't natural. But it made Rose happy and he was always down to make his wife happy.

He always found it ironic that he and Rose had the opposite view of humanity- she saw the endless potential and he saw tediousness and vain self-absorption, but they both saw that there was an inert joy that came with being human.

It was curiosity that made him drive up to Chief Swan's house, after a quick call from the girl, his wife at his side. It wasn't terribly late, only about three in the afternoon and she was waiting on the porch. She was dressed in a sweater and very short shorts, contradictory even with her light tights. She was reading something, leaning casually against the house, booted feet absently wiggling. Part of Emmett delighted in the little t-rex's socks that he sees peeking over her boots. Most of him noticed she was reading a Harry Potter novel(the sixth one, he noticed with a faint surprise, because she seemed to be plowing through them really quick like all week, already on the last novel when she had started on the third one just that Monday). She was listening to music too, nodding her head along to the song:

"Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It's Friday night and I won't be long
Gotta do my hair, I put my makeup on
It's Friday night and I won't be long
Til I hit the dance floor
Hit the dance floor

I got all I need
No I ain't got cash
I ain't got cash
But I got you baby

Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
I love cheap thrills
Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
I love cheap thrills
But I don't need no money
As long as I can feel the beat
I don't need no money
As long as I keep dancing."

It was crooned a voice, slightly accented going along to a rapid beat. He furrowed his brow, wondering where on earth the girl got her music because while she had an eclectic ear that had ranged from damn opera(Carmen, he had noted with bemusement) the other day to rapid rap (by Eminem though he had never heard that song before*). She looked up over the novel after a second, and at the sight of them, she set the book aside as well as her mp3, stuffing it into her back pocket. Her heart started to pound, most likely in anticipation or excitement at the sight of them. He parked, casually, down the street from Izzy's house, as far away as he could get away with and Rosalie's hand squeezed his for a brief second, a rare sign of nerves(and he loved that his wife trusted him enough to show him that- her 'weakness' every nook an' cranny that made her up). He felt a bit apprehensive himself.

He was a simple man- vampire or not- and he had always been comforted by the fact that his eternity was more often than not predictable. It would get exciting once in a while because eternity was a long ass time to be boring but his life was a routine. Rosalie relished the routine, found a safety in it that he cherished for her. Meeting anyone with the purpose of friendship was more than a break from their routine. Because they weren't like Carlisle and Esme- they didn't find a need to remind themselves of what they had lost, nor they did they have to find bandages to cover up the gaping wounds left behind by turning into what they were.

They were both growing together, healing, slowly but surely. It had been a long time, to be focused on each other, the first tense year after his transformation had been rough… And for a while, Emmett had felt lost and useless, mad at the world all over again because he was a raging monster that killed human beings and because this golden girl with sad eyes, had come to his rescue from his own goddamn stupidity. He should've been paying better attention, saw the bear's tracks sooner before the damn giant thing had come at his drunk ass, furious and roarin' over the rabbit he had just snared for his dinner. He hadn't even had his gun with him, just out camping with a damn bottle, a knife and his own misery over some stupid fight he had had with his older brother, Ezekiel over something he couldn't even remember...

Emmett was always one to look at the present, simple-minded as he was, he didn't exactly miss humanity or at least his own, because he had been dirt poor hick of the Tennessee backwoods with no future but to drink himself to death and to be furious at the world for his lot in life. But he missed the simplicity of the deep woods, the smell and quiet of it, and the sharp burning and numbing taste of moonshine on his tongue, of warm evenings on the back porch, barefoot with the vague memories of his brothers and sisters next to him as they watched the lightnin' bugs on balmy summer nights. Rose, on the other hand, was constantly moving from a past that had fucked her over, trying to move past betrayals and shattered dreams. Trying to let go of what she would never have and the pain and humiliation of being seen as nothing but an object by the man she had sworn to herself to love, of losing her parents on a whim of their creator.

Not trying to patch herself with short-lived fixes, but trying heal- to leave behind only scars. Neither of them was what one would call progressive and part of Emmett blamed that on being a vampire, and part of him blamed it on the human beings they were before they had turned. Him, the Tennessee redneck going nowhere, her, the New York social climber trapped in a life that would never be quite enough. This was a step for them, more then they cared to admit because they were letting someone into their secluded lives in a way that was very dangerous.

Human or no.

The human element made it just that more dangerous. Any misstep on his part(he had no illusions who was the stronger willed person between him and his wife) or on the girl's part would mean her death. Or worse, exposure to what they were. He was sorta already fond of Izzy Swan and both he and Rose were very reluctant to turn her and give her their type of life*. With their only option for her to have an 'accident' after that… Well, that was a mess and a half that Emmett did not want deal with because Rose was damn proud that she has only ever killed two people who didn't really deserve it and it was a mistake- a freak accident. Even then Rose still mourned the two security guards that she had flung a little too hard with her newborn strength in her eagerness to get to her bastard of an ex-fiance…

Then again, Emmett had always been more reckless and more than willing to throw caution to the wind. It was the hick in 'im, the reckless jackass that had blown through two moonshine stills and come back for more without a care. The idiot that had gone camping in the spring in bear country just because he wanted to go where no one would bother him and because of the sheer cockiness of being one of the best hunters in the area- no way would anything hurt him.

It was why he and Rose worked so well together- he was the id to her super-ego and together they formed the perfectly balanced ego.

"We could always take a powder*," he mutters, as they unbuckle at a nearly unbearably slow human pace, before leaving the car. He 'helps' Rose take out her large toolbox, before tossing an arm around her shoulders.

He tugged a little uncomfortably at his hoodie as he much rather have his arms bare and free, but appearances were appearances and according to the thermometer it was scientifically 'cold as balls'. Izzy waves at them, a slight smile on her face, and he waves back, a smile forming on his lips at the simplicity of just greeting someone that he hasn't lived with for the last sixty and plus years. Rosalie nods and offers a slight smile but no more than that because she has her walls up and doesn't trust the small girl watching them enough to be the girl that he only gets to see… But the fact that they were doing this much spoke volumes on how much Rose, and him for that matter, wanted to trust this girl.

They walk towards her slowly, holding off the interaction as much as they can because they may look like two lovely Debs* who thought they were indestructible, but they have all the insecurity of their actual age. Nothing sadder than a few old cats without a friend.

"We're already here, you pill*," says his wife, sounding vaguely snappy due to her stress. He squeezes the hand he's holding in response, as always, she squeezes back, "Now let's not gum the works* and try to make a friend today."

"It'll be eggs and coffee*, dollface."

"Hey, guys!" calls Izzy, making her way carefully across the slick walkway. It's ridiculously methodical, her booted feet stepping deliberately every few feet. But he doesn't blame her- he saw her slip on the sleek concrete rushing out of class on Wednesday, so he doesn't hate her for it and had nearly applauded when Rose had snapped out and caught the young girl by the waist.

Falling on your ass, he recalled faintly, was painful and embarrassing as hell.

"Hey, Izzy," he called, easily smiling.

Both he and his wife freeze, minutely, as they catch a whiff of her scent- it isn't the fact that she smells good (though he is the first to admit that Izzy had made his mouth water with venom that Monday he had first met her and he doesn't blame his brother for running as fast as he could to Alaska if she smelled anything like the Two) it's an overlaying scent that has their hackles raising and something in them hissing. Because it is a familiar smell, vaguely akin to earth and forests*, that reminds them vividly that they are not the only creatures that humanity is ignorant of.

That though they may be frozen in time and immune more or less to the passage of it, there were things that could take them down if they so wished. They had known that the girl was going to La Push. They had also known that the girl's father was big friends with the current Chief William 'Billy' Black, so it is on par that she would smell as the tribe did, especially if she was spending time with the Chief himself, a direct descendant of Ephraim Black. It takes them a second and a half to not let their instincts reign over them and temper their reaction to the scent that reminds them that they, as supernatural creatures, are not alone.

No sentient creature liked knowing of its own fragility, after all, especially the immortal ones.

"Thank you so much for doing this, you really don't have to," she says, gesturing to her truck.

Rosalie just rolls her eyes, lifts her large toolbox with a slight 'struggle'. She wiggles it with emphasis. The only indication that the scent had unsettled her is the slightly uneasy way she stands, or how close she presses against his side. Emmett himself feels it keenly and it has him anxiously wanting to hit something. But both he and his wife are not Newborns. They are at least seven decades into their vampire life so it is only a moment of confliction before they are settled. Instincts inform them, but it will not rule them.

"Whatever, just show me the Crushinator," she said simply.

Izzy giggles, and walks in the direction of her truck. Emmett eyes kinda go cross-eyes as he watches his wife get comfortable, discarding her jacket with quick economic movements, making a show of shivering in her sweater before she pushes back her sleeves, and goes elbow deep into the hood of the Crushinator after she ties her long locks back in a tight, no-nonsense bun. Funnily enough, Emmett himself never had found himself too handy with a wrench(after all, two exploded stills), he had been a little leery of automobiles in his human life. Too complicated, too expensive for his likin' and a good way too fancy for his redneck ass. His wife loved them because of they used to mean, the luxury and class, because back in their day, it had been a privilege and sign of wealth to be cruising' about in an automobile.

And if anything, his Rose is a classy woman.

Izzy shimmies her way to him, her hands on her hips, her brow is furrowed. Emmett wants to laugh at the picture she paints- she is the epitome of small and full of moxie this girl, with her serious expression. He towers over her and could've bench her if he was a regular human, let alone a vampire. It was the reason so many people were reluctant to approach him, despite his easy smile. Because he was built like a truck on top of looking slightly off as all vampires did. But Izzy Swan did not flinch, even if she held herself at a respectable distance.

"Do you have any idea what's she's doing?" she asks, as she watches his wife work.

Emmett gives a hum and a shrug in the same measure.

"I know the names of tools when she needs me to pass them, other then that, Rosie is the genius, not me," he says, and watches as the girl shakes her head in amusement.

"God, I can use a blowtorch just fine, but cars are so not my speed. They confuse the Dickens out of me, I remember once I got a flat and I couldn't even get the bolts off if it weren't for my friend stomping the hell out of the key thingy."

"Blowtorch?" Emmett is a little confused, after all, he can't see this girl wielding fire with ease? Did she like to cook creme brulee or something? She liked to cook, that much he had picked up on from her constant homemade lunches, but was she a gourmet?

Her expression, from what he can see out of the corner of his eyes, goes wistful. She is frowning, and the grip on her hips tightened for a fraction of a second.

"For metalsmithing… Erm, jewelry making. I was taking classes back home," she said quietly, blinking rapidly.

She still misses Phoenix. It has only been a couple weeks for her.

Emmett misses that-attachment to place. Roots. He has some property down in Tennessee that had more or less been the land his family had owned before they slowly sold it off, but it's more out obligation of the faint memories of who he had been, not because of any real attachment to it. Rosalie missed it too. She hated being a nomad to serve Carlisle's need to heal the human race. Something they both infinitely respected him for but didn't deny to resent at times. It was a relief when they actually went off to college for a few years to gain some semblance of independence. They were adults after all, and as much as they appreciated Esme's motherin' and Carlisle's steady hand, they still were ninety years olds that had been frozen at an age that was much past the time of them being children. Especially if you considered the era they had been born to.

"I'm sure you can find something like that near here," he said, softly, though he doubted it. Forks wasn't really a big town, Port Angeles an hour away and Seattle five hours away even if Isabella Swan was determined, it wasn't feasible to do with school and the like.

"I doubt it," she mused, laughing slightly, "But thanks for the sentiment. At least I have more of a reason to just draw nowadays. I'm out of practice and its been refreshing to return to it."

"That's out of practice?" and that was Rosalie, coming around the truck with a quirked brow, hair pulled back and covered in engine grease and oil.

Emmett found that this was when Rosalie was at her most beautiful. Because she was utterly relaxed and happy with what she's doing.

"Yeah, yeah it is."

"Hmm. Well, just by looking at your truck, I can tell that whoever has been working on it is keeping it together by hopes and sparkles."

The girl's brow furrows, and she licks her lip.

"That bad?"

"Yes and no. The engine isn't original to the car- If it was you wouldn't be able to get past fifty or so miles an hour at all*. It's a seventies engine, which is good because that means the parts are less of a pain in the ass to get but you need a couple things to fix it up. It's a really good thing that whoever changed the engine made sure that it could deal with the size and weight of your truck. But it's still something you have to get serviced often. Which it has not."

"What sort of price are we looking for to replace whatever needs replacing?" said the girl, eyes narrowed, she had not missed, it seemed, that Rose had kept the name of the parts vague.

Rosalie hummed.

"Nothing major, " she dismissed, "I have most of the parts you need in my garage. I'd be glad to give them to you."

She was lying through her teeth, noted Emmett because she was tapping out a quick message in Morse code with her foot. Needs major parts, at most give it a year or two with what it's got. It was so fast he doubted the girl would have even noticed the movement.

"I don't know… It feels like I'm taking advantage of you. You only offered to look at my truck-"

"It's fine," said Rosalie seriously, before she smiled slightly, "It gives me an excuse to work on your truck. It's a beauty if a little beat up... I love more than anything to give cars like this a new lease on life. Working on the engine is step one. If you let me, I'd love to take a sander to it and help you paint it too. The interior is in fantastic condition in comparison, but the windows are a little stiff which can be fixed easily enough… And you really do need new tires. I can do so much for the car if you let me."

The girl pursed her lips, quirked her brow.

"You just want to work on the truck because you like it?"

"Yes. It needs it. It's a beautiful car that needs to be saved," and here, Emmett knew Rosalie was not lying because she looked reverently at the Crushinator. His wife adored automobiles- had a vast collection down in Tennessee. Given her looks, he would not be surprised if Izzy ever sold the car, that the Crushinator would end up with her Collection, and if not, Rosalie would be looking for a model for herself.

Izzy Swan started. Eyes careful, heartbeat speeding up slightly. She was just looking at Rose, assessing and measuring clearly. After a beat, the girl narrows her eyes and starts to nod her head slowly.

"You can only work on the car here," stipulated the girl, "And you have to at least let me know if anything major needs replacing, even if you already have the part. Let me pay for it then. Oh, and let me pay for the tires."

"You can't let anyone else touch the truck," his wife said, protectively, and Emmett repressed a sigh because Rosalie was more than a little overprotective of anything that she considered to be her's, be it objects or people, "I want it to work on this truck because it's beautiful, but I know that you would never let me buy it off of you. This is a compromise... This makes it ours."

The girl narrows her eyes, takes a breath, licks her lips, before she nods, and extends her small hand towards his wife. Rosalie nods as well, clasping the girl's hand easily. The girl shakes it, readily, not even flinching at the difference in temperature or the grime on his wife's hand.


Emmett is a simple man that doesn't put much stock in certain things. But as he watches the pleased expression creep on his wife's face, he understands that some things are indispensable. Because his golden girl is smiling, almost beaming really, and that was something that Emmett McCarthy always wanted for her. Silently, he thanks whatever fate had caused Isabella Swan to move to Forks.


Lauren watched the two vampires drive away with sweaty palms and an uneasy heart. She had not wanted to drive them home, two days ago, but had not felt like she had much choice. It wasn't as if she could have made a big fuss over her art teacher letting her escape early for a day. Well, she could have but that would have drawn a lot of attention to her. What regular teenager wouldn't jump at that, even if they were a stickler for the rules? And sure, she could have let the Cullens 'wait in the car' or really run their way home, but she was the first to admit that the way Rosalie had acted… Rosalie had acted in a way that was eerily similar to a panic attack.

Lauren was no stranger to panic attacks.

Both she and her sister were prone to them- her sister more horrendously and frequently then her- but she knew the signs. She knew what it felt like. Her's were anxiety based, and when she was stressed or overwhelmed, Lauren often had to go to the bathroom to hyperventilate and pace for five minutes and try to calm herself down. More often than not, it was triggered by stress (finals, of a deadline that she might not make). Or via overstimulation via too many talking people or her own thoughts looping in a constant train of thought that had her own self-loathing tendencies. Miriam's panic attacks… It was always triggered by being overwhelmed. She was very anthropophobic for reasons that always made Lauren want to cry. Or punch something.

And they were very akin to what had happened to Rosalie*.

Lauren had felt her heartbreak as she had watched the woman in front of her Friday afternoon. Because though Rosalie had hidden it well, Lauren knew what to look for. She knew. Though she had been lying through her teeth… Lauren had known. And Lauren was the first to admit to those she loved that she was a callous bitch that wanted to get her god-damn way. She was not cruel with her manipulation, not really- she just simply had honed the skill to her advantage. And at the moment she was very afraid for her life and was not beneath manipulating strangers to save her ass in this insane Twi-world. But she was not completely heartless despite her slyer attributes. She was not a monster. She was just a very scared woman that was in an impossible situation that did not want to die away from her family and friends, that wanted to go home.

Rosalie was a woman that had been ganged-raped. That had been turned into a vampire in her most vulnerable moment, and if Meyer's claim that vampires were frozen in the moment of their turning, then that meant she was constantly in mind-state of a woman who had been ganged-raped. Lauren more than felt empathy for her. While she could not understand the strain of being raped, she had seen the aftermath of what had happened to someone who had.

She could never look at herself in the mirror if she dared ignored someone in pain like that.

So she had taken them home. Bantered with them, tried to distract them both, and offered a last-ditch attempt to the Cullens to leave her alone. For them to keep to themselves. Rosalie and Emmett had not taken it. And Lauren had accepted that she had to adapt. The thing about being manipulative- it was not bending everyone to your will absolutely. There were no absolutes, especially with human beings, or in this case, sentient creatures. No, it was moving things in your favor and hoping that people would go for what you wanted. If they didn't, you had to make contingencies. Had to move forward from your first scheme to the next.

She had never expected to have to interact with any of the Cullens beyond Edward in biology. Bella hadn't. Or at least not before Edward and Bella had started their relationship. But having Rosalie and Emmett in a class changed that. And she had to adapt. She had tried to be friendly but not overall familiar to be dragged into the supernatural world more than she already was by being Edward's Singer. But from what Rosalie had offered to do- take care of her truck, Lauren knew that wasn't possible. Not from the earnest way the vampire had offered to do it, not by the semi-hopeful look on her husband's face. They wanted to befriend her, God only knew why, and it was something she had not anticipated. Rosalie supposed to hate Bella and while Emmett liked her, it was only after Edward was attached at the girl's hip. It seemed that being herself, polite and friendly, was enough to get both of them to turn around and try to connect themselves with her.

Adapt. Adaptation or die. This is the nature of survival in a world that wants to drag me into it further.

She had already put her foot in the door with Billy- one fail-safe and a carte blanc on the wolf side of things in case the Cullens got too close to Lauren for comfort. She would be twice an idiot if she dismissed the older Cullens in anyway, beyond the fact of sincerely finding herself liking Emmett and Rosalie, they could be her second fail-safe. The fact that Rosalie had been Bella's biggest opposer to becoming a vampire was something she was banking on now. Maybe, if she were too adamant for the sake of her poor human friend to be left out of the supernatural world, Edward would leave her alone. Especially if Lauren herself ignored the boy and did not allow his curiosity to morph into infatuation like it had in the novels.

If she could get the older Cullens as a second fail-safe and as a possible buffer between her and Edward, the better Lauren would feel. She sighed slightly, hands coming up to rub her temples over everything. She breathed deeply in, allowing the cold, crisp air to settle painfully into her lungs. It was a reminder. She was alive. Wherever she may be, she was still alive and she would make sure it stayed that way.

She took another deep breath, before she grabbed her small satchel of things, her jacket, and made her way inside. Charlie was in the kitchen and peaked out with a knife and a fish and hand. He smiled.

"Your friends left?"

She nods, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear.

"Yeah. Esme called them and said that they needed to go home for a late lunch," she said simply, before tossing her jacket over the armchair.

"Pity. I'm sure they would've loved to have some fresh fish, Harry Clearwater even gave me so of his famous batter to fry these babies," he said going back into the kitchen. Lauren followed, going to wash her hands.

Expertly, Charlie scaled the fish, humming along to the Beatles CD he had put on. A song she didn't know was playing, and while Lauren had always appreciated what the Beatles had done for music, she was not overly in love with them. A product of not growing up with them and being completely oblivious to music until she was eleven, she was sure, though there were a couple of their songs that she did really like. Lauren just went over to check the potatoes she had put to boil before the two Cullens had come and before Charlie had shooed her out of the kitchen. She grabbed a fork and pressed into a potato to check its softness. Satisfied, she turned off the flame(faintly missing her electric stove top and being super nostalgic about the return to the gas range top that had been her childhood), before she dragged the large pot to the sink, and tossed the water.

"I was surprised you didn't come out to meet them," she said offhandedly, before she went to the fridge and grabbed milk, a stick of butter, and some grated cheese, "I mean you did peek through the curtain but you didn't come to say hello."

Charlie laughed, not at all sheepish. Lauren grabbed pepper and a powdered garlic.

"Well, I didn't think you want your old man cramping your style. And by the way, that boy is too old for you."

She smirked at him, expertly slicing some butter into the potatoes and pouring in a dash of milk. Charlie had no idea.

"I agree with you. It's a good thing he's dating Rosalie, you know, the pretty bombshell that was looking at my truck?"

"What's the verdict?" he asked, taking off his gloves as he had finished scaling the last fish, he went to the small battering station he had set up just before the Cullens had arrived, and grabbed one of the five medium-sized fish and began to dip it into the egg base, before moving to the dry batter, "Did Billy sell me a lemon?"

"A couple problems in the engine. Some parts need replacing and the tires defiantly do, but Rosalie said it was an easy fix. She also mentioned that she was really thankful that I was letting her have her 'dirty way' with the truck," Lauren said, making sure to use air quotes before she went on making the mashed potatoes.

If she smashed a little more than mashed, Charlie didn't comment. Lauren had to get her stress out somehow, and yoga every morning was just not cutting it.

"How much we talking about?"

Lauren pursed her lips.

"She didn't say. We made a deal- she gets to work on the truck as long as I don't let anyone touch it and she gets to play."

Charlie frowned. Lauren frowned as well.

"Iz, that is not okay. Is she just going to pay for the parts? And what, you're going to let a girl that isn't a professional mess with your car? I'm not sure how safe… Or ethical that is," said Charlie, and faintly, Lauren realized how disappointed the man sounded.

Partly, Lauren agreed with him. Part pride and part suspicion would've made her turn down the offer flat. What Rosalie proposed was sketchy at best, and if she had been anyone else, Lauren would've turned her down. But this was Rosalie- she had at least a couple of decades of experience with cars, and Lauren really didn't want to spend any of her stash if she could help it. And the Cullens could more than afford whatever parts would be going into the truck. She did not see a huge problem of reaping the benefits of their wealth in a false sense of pride or morality, she was already technically stealing from a seventeen-year-old girl.

What was it to add stealing from a couple hundred or so year old vampires in the mix?

"I trust her, Charlie. As for the money thing, I'm going to wiggle my way in to pay for everything. I just agreed because she seemed to really want to work on the car," she lied easily.

Charlie grunts and she adds small bits of the garlic and pepper to the mashed potatoes, before she adds another dash of milk and some cheese.

"Fine. But I'll pay for the tires."

Lauren felt a flash of guilt. It was bad enough she already lived in his house without contributing to anything other than cooking and a few chores. Less than what she did at home.


"I bought the thing cheap. I should've replaced the tires when I did."

"I can pay for it," she countered mulishly, "I'm already on your insurance and you paid for the new plates and the registration-"

"Izzy," he said softly, shaking his head bemusedly, as he moved to the counter where his small deep fryer sat, "It's okay. It's my job to pay for things like this… Come on, save your money- For college. For stuff that matters."

Charlie looked at her earnestly, and firmly, and Lauren felt her eyes sting with tears and she nearly laughed at the panic she saw in his eyes in response. He was a good father, she thought faintly, a really good father.

"Half," she sniffed, compromising. And while she should've jumped at the chance for Charlie to pay for all of it, she had her pride… And her conscience.

He pursed his lips.

"You pay a quarter."

"Half or nothing, Chief."

"Fine," snorted the man, "God, you ever think about being a lawyer Izzy?"

She laughs.

"I don't think I could do so much paperwork."

Chapter Text

And So the Dick that Wants to Eat Me is Back

Monday morning Lauren woke up with her stomach turning. She groaned, slamming the alarm she had set. She stared at the thick curtains she had placed on the window, noting that faintly, the small bells she had sewn a little clumsily on the very bottom shinned in the low light. She licks her lips before she got up. Today was the day, she thought, trying to ignore how ominous that sounded even in her head because Edward Cullen was coming back from his self-imposed exile in Alaska. She sighed, running a hand through her hair.

She called her sister. Two rings and she answered her.

"City Morgue, you stab 'em, we slab 'em," chimed her sister, a little tiredly, "This is eight-ball speakin' how may I direct your call?"

Lauren couldn't help it, despite her foul mood, that made her cackle like a hyena. It was stupid and really not funny- but it still made her laugh, and she needed that. She took a breath before she talked:

"Hey, Miri… Today's the day," Lauren said, trying to sound okay with it.

Miriam knew her too well.

"You can always pretend to be sick," Miriam said thoughtfully, yawning, "Or stab him in the eye. Or fire. You like fire. It'd be a good way to test our theory if the Andy Warhol* is a walking talking roman candle?"

"I don't think that's going to help me, as tempting as that is," she muttered as she grabbed the first set of tights she could find that didn't have a hole and a decentish emerald dress. She headed to the bathroom, ignoring the sound of bells on her door(this provided by a horrendously green and red scrunchie, yes, an actual scrunchie around her doorknob with festive bells), bath things in hand and sighed a little at the fact that Charlie had already left for the morning.

She liked the man- but she didn't have to pretend when he wasn't in the house, she could relax a bit. Sometimes it was incredibly hard to behave the way he expected her to and while she tried to be as honest as she could be, she was a hermit by nature and having to live with a relative stranger amped her anxiety up to eleven. When he wasn't in the house, Lauren didn't have to worry if she was wearing a bra, or if her hair was a small halo of hair that defied gravity that was sticking in all directions.

She could just… Be comfortable. Three weeks were not enough to be completely at ease with anyone, no matter how awesome the mustache dad was. Hell, she was pretty sure that Charlie wasn't completely at ease with her either. She thinks that there both still adjusting to each other. Apparently, Bella had failed to mention in the book how much of a distance was between her and the police chief. Doesn't hover her ass, more like has no idea where he stood with her. Lauren felt that their heart to heart at least allowed that much to them.

"Well, you know the drill, keep him at a distance, don't throw your hair or anything in his direction, and be the first one at the table so that the heater is moving your scent towards the back instead of head-on."

Lauren sighs.

"I know. Even if the heating circulates the room, at least it isn't straight in his stupid face."

"Good girl."

"Text you after every class?"

"Yes, please. I love you, Lauren," says her sister quietly, warm and soft.

Lauren feels herself smile.

"Love you, too Miriam," she responds, just as soft, before she hangs up.

Shaking her head, she showers, slowly, because she woke up insanely early and she has time, slurping up all the hot water. She slowly unwinds her muscles, focuses on breathing and the beat of the music she has playing on her phone. Shower time is her time- so she takes her damn time with and allows for the water to grow cold after she finishes shampooing her hair. Her breakfast, well that she skips, because Edward Anthony Masen Cullen is back and she feels herself wanting to hurl at the thought of it. The drive to school is rainy and she's blasting the Weeknd, and she leaves the house early because she's so on edge. And because she knows if she loiters, she's going to skip the entire day.

When she gets to the parking lot, she realizes that she's about an hour early to class, only a few cars in the parking lot. Club kids, she thinks with a sigh, before she swings onto her back, debating reading before she feels like she can't, and then debates drawing a bit before she realizes she's too amped up as well. She sighs, staring at the ceiling of her truck, letting the Weeknd's Reminder wash over her. She decides to take a nap, giving herself about thirty minutes to at least zone out before she left her car.

She's about twenty minutes in when someone knocks on her window.

Blinking her heavy eyes, she lifts her head to see her fellow Lauren- face pinched and slightly irate. She shuts off her music, and swings up, unlocks the door, and let's the utterly soaked girl into her truck. She rummaged behind her, grabbing a large towel and giving it wordlessly to the girl. Lauren M. took the towel with a strange look on her face before it went around her shoulders and she started to rub her long, luscious blonde hair. She was silent for a beat, her teeth chattering slightly. Lauren took it as her cue to turn on her car and heater, the softer rumble via Rosalie, and discreetly shoved her phone under the skirt of her dress.

"God. You're such a mom. I swear you're like Mary Poppins when you do shit like that," says Lauren M., shaking her head with a slight smirk, "Do you even carry cough drops?"

Lauren lifts a brow at the younger girl- waiting and assessing to what brought the girl to her truck in the first place. Her lower lip trembles and the blonde let out a huff of hair.

"What are you even doing here at school anyway?"

Lauren shrugs.

"I was tempted to ditch today. I knew if I didn't get my ass to school I wouldn't come at all."

Lauren M. blinks her expressive and gorgeous green eyes.

"And here I thought you were a nerd. You got balls, Swan."

Lauren smiled.

"I am a nerd. But nerds have balls too, blondie."

Lauren M. laughs, shaking her head.

"Okay, Okay," she mummers, dropping the towel around her shoulders, "I wanted to ask if you were mad at me and Jess. She said you would be, for what we said about Emmett Cullen. I'm not really that good at making friends, and most people just call me a fucking bitch and tolerate me because Tyler's my boyfriend and I run the cheerleading squad."

Lauren blinks, and blinks again, wondering at the fact that even Queen Bee's have their insecurities.

"Hey, I may have overreacted. I don't make friends that easily either, Lauren Mallory, " she told her honestly, leaning on the seat, finding herself smiling, "It's just a sore spot for me. I don't really care about dating, and I got enough shit for that before. I overreacted, even if you guys did push me."

She doesn't point out that she is under a shit ton of pressure via supernatural shenanigans, which was the real reason she had overreached. She had honestly forgotten about her kinda blow up on Friday at Jessica and Lauren M.- dealing with the possible implications of the Pack, the elder Cullen couple zoning in on her and adamantly wanting to be her friends- Well, it had honestly slipped her mind. But evidently, it did bother Lauren Mallory to a bigger extent then Lauren would have believed.

"So no hard feelings?" and as Lauren M. looks at her, she sees a horrible vulnerability that comes to all teenagers, fear of lack of acceptance, fear of not being liked.

It is horrible that the sight of it leaves Lauren feeling both old and horrible nostalgic. Part of her thinks it's because she never had such an opportunity to really be a teenager. It was the reason why she had loved Bella's character when she was eleven. Because she had connected with Bella's claim to be burdened with taking care of a parent at a young age. She had matured, in part because of how her father's disease had degraded over time, as well as for what had happened to her sister. It was a lot of stress, on a child that young, she acknowledged, and it was a reason she had lost herself so deeply into the escapist that reading offered.

Lauren had never really allowed herself to be a teenager, not really. She had never had any big rebellions against her parents because they were poor and her father was incredibly sick for her to put more stress on him by being stupid. She had never fallen into the whole drama aspect that seemed to drive most of her friends, had focused hard on school and art, knuckled down on responsibility. It had been her armor, her drive to keep from crumbling down. Not because she had been above or blind to it- but rather because certain things were pushed aside for how little importance they were to her in comparison to other things. Who cared if the guy I have a crush on doesn't like me because I'm fat? My father just had his second heart attack and is having an experimental mechanical pump put into him so he has a better chance of living until a heart transplant.

It hadn't helped that she more or less had become like a therapist to most of her friends. It was an odd day when she didn't have a friend leaning against her shoulder to sob their heart out over how their boyfriend or girlfriend had broken their heart. Or how worried they were that a person didn't like them back as much as they liked them. Another reason that Lauren had been reluctant to date in high school.

"Water under the bridge, Mallory," she said softly, smiling at the younger girl.

Lauren M. gives her a smile in return, sweeping away that vulnerable expression. If Lauren had learned anything in the twenty years of life, it was how to be good at comforting people.


Edward Cullen had a faint feeling of dread as he walked towards the biology classroom. He knew she was there- Isabella Swan. She had gone ahead of both the Newton boy and Angela Weber, a smile on her face as she departed from the table of the more popular children of Forks High School. She had waved her binder in their faces at their complaints, claiming to want to get a start on her English homework and 'Couldn't do that with your asses making so much noise' and walked off amongst the hoots and jeers of her classmates, somehow not taking offense at the crass language.

Most of them had even laughed.

And there she was, at their shared desk- The creature that smelled so devastatingly good, made his throat burn white hot and his mouth filled with venom, nearly causing him to drool like some sort animal.And that was what this child had reduced him to- a frothing drooling animal that had been so ready to slaughter a room with children and one man just so he could relish in that girl, devour her, consume every last drop of her blood inside of him and warming every corner of his body to the point of agonizing, delicious ecstasy.

It was a curious, but intoxicating mix: the sharp smell of lime(Everlasting), tempered by the sweetness and liveliness of orange blossoms(Purity) and the softness of lavender(Devotion), all enhanced with the smell of the earth after the rain(cleansing). He wondered, absently, if the last one was a product of living in Forks, and if her scent was different in the heat and dryness of the Arizona sun… If it was better and more potent…. His mouth watered at the thought before he pushed the thought viciously aside. I will not fall into temptation, I am stronger than my base desires, no matter how strong.

He had not understood. Not quite, when he had caught just faded remains of her smell on Carlisle's jacket and Esme's clothes. Carlisle always burned whatever clothes he took to the hospital for the sake of Jasper, to prevent any lingering scent of blood and death off of him. And Esme, sweet Esme had been around so many humans after she had moved away from the girl- it had become muddled and lost underneath the stench of other people and the food she had purchased to donate across state lines. He had only caught a hint- a small lingering scent of sweetness and had felt thirst afterward but had not really thought too much of it.

But oh. Oh, a week ago he had nearly killed her.

He had been so close, nearly sprang from his seat the second the smell had hit him, thrown his way by the faulty heater, blowing the short strands of her hair and the overpowering smell towards him. But he had stopped himself, mustered the restraint and the will to prevent himself from becoming a monster again- but this time he would not have the false self-righteousness of being judge, jury, and executioner. Destroying a part of himself, harming Carlisle and devastating Esme... He sat and allowed Banner to do his half-hearted lecture before he fell back into his standard of giving the pages to read and sitting and reading an inappropriate novel behind his desk.

Now, she was just as oblivious as she had been last week, doing as Banner bid. Seated daintily, with crossed legs beneath her on the hard school chair. She leaned on her right hip, earbuds in place absently chewing on her lip as she stared at the book in front of her.

Edward wanted to understand her- She seemed friendly, but the girl was constantly quiet, did not invite conversation. He had seen that with her interactions with the popular children, she never started the conversation herself. He wouldn't go as far to say that the girl was shy, not really, how could she be when she could banter so well with Crowley or talked so admittedly with Angela over the latest book she had been reading(Curious, to Edward, she had been reading Pride and Prejudice, he wouldn't have pegged the girl for a classical fan with her dark attire, not to mention she had also mentioned reading at the same time some sort of fantastical book about a wizard detective). But here they were, ten minutes into sitting next to each other and the girl had yet to say a word.

Instead, she was diligently reading the passage as per Mr. Banner's instructions, humming tunelessly and writing down notes in her binder. She had horrible writing- a confusing mess of loops and hasty scribbles that would have made his schoolmaster take out the cane. But she wrote it quickly, highlighted keywords in different colors- wrote color-coded notes with brightly colored gel pens with small doodles to support her notes.

She never looked at her notes- when she studied, the girl tended to quiz other people and seemed to be doing fine. The minds of the teachers seemed to imply that the girl was intelligent but distant in class. She was somewhat attentive but doodled and spaced out more often than not. But she still did well in class, straight As.

She hummed, a soft sound before she shook her head as if she hadn't intended to do that. And she did this all without a look in his direction. It was not as if the classroom was quiet- in fact, most of the children were blathering away mindlessly as they took notes, illy no doubt. But not the girl. Edward was mildly astounded, as he had yet to see such a diligent student. It spoke about the girl, she was serious, which he would have never guessed by her somewhat lack of application that had done in her other classes, perhaps it was because she attained information much more easily from textbooks then from the lackluster teachers that Forks provided(he does not blame her for it, even pities her because he can sympathies having been forced again and again through the drudgery of incompetent teachers). She was quiet but he would never have guessed her to be serious because she got along so well with the popular children.

She was a puzzle and much to ever mounting frustration, her silent mind stayed that way- silent and eluding him.

"Hello," he started, trying to keep his voice soothing, it wouldn't do to scare the girl. It was for that same reason that he kept his smile close-lipped, "My name is Edward Cullen, I believe we have yet to meet properly."

Her purple pen froze and the girl swiveled her head in his direction. Her big gray eyes- they looked green because of her dark emerald dress- blinked. She licked her tiny, plump lips, a quick swipe of her delicate, pink tongue. He blinked, trying desperately not to breathe her scent.

"Oh, Hi. Right, sorry, I'm not used to having someone at the desk with me," she smiled, a quick quirk of her small lips, exposing even teeth for a fraction of a second, "I'm Izzy. Izzy Swan."

Automatically it seemed, she extended her hand for a shake. Strange for a teenage girl, but she was surely aware of it because she started to withdraw the hand quickly. But Edward extended his hand anyway, capturing her small hand easily halfway through its retreat. He marveled at how small it was- at how her plumpish fingers just radiated warmth, at just her touch, he felt a small spark, a current of something he could not comprehend at the meeting of their hands. She shook, seemingly not noting the different temperatures or the shock as Edward had. His eyes flickered downward at their hands meeting, seemingly polar opposite. Her's warm and small, his frigid and large, he could encompass her entire fist in his hand if he so chooses. He quickly let go of her hand.

"Nice to meet you," here her smiled sharpened somewhat, "Emmett mentioned you had the flu. Are you feeling better?"

Edward frowned at the casual mention of his brother. They were getting close- Emmett had warned him just this morning not to hurt the girl, uncouthly placed him in a headlock because she was 'Pretty cool and has a future'. His sister and brother's mind on the ride she had given them to their home during one of Rosalie's episodes- how she had been willing to stop her extension of friendship if they were uncomfortable with her small talk as it was. She had said it with a smile on her face and then of course that Saturday afternoon they spent with Rosalie inspecting her car.

Pleasant, Emmett and Rosalie laughing in a way that hadn't in years, the girl surprisingly mature and charming when she spoke, a plethora of references and various intellectual interjections that most would not hear below the level of college Academia. Edward did not like that. It would not do for them to become friendly, it was bad enough that this girl smelled as she did. Emmett and Rosalie for that matter, should not be interacting with her. But they kept going back, grinning as they waved at her or as they talked between classes...

"Yes, I was quite ill," he supplied evenly and he smiled again, "But I am much better, thank you."


And at that, she moved as if to return to her notes.

"So, I heard that you're interested in Art?"

The girl froze, heart, beating slightly faster. She turned to him in surprise. Her cheeks, round and with just a dusting of a tan already fading in the lack of sun, turned a rosy color.

"Is Emmett talking about me?"

Ah, so the girl is infatuated. Typical. Well, we are beautiful to them, I suppose.

Edward was surprised at how disappointed he felt- perhaps he had been hoping for a different mental process to go with that silent mind.

"Rosalie mentioned it- though Emmett did say that you were very good at it," he didn't want to disappoint the girl too much, poor dear, liking a Vampire and a brute like Emmett beyond that, "I've dare to say they both talk about you often. It's been awhile since my family… Has made a friend."

The girl blinked.

"Oh, Rosalie too? I'm glad. I thought she didn't like me," she laughs, smiling again, "But then again she's the epitome of the bitch face. She's incredibly difficult to read sometimes… I swear she likes my truck more then she likes me."

He stares at her, in complete surprise. She's smiling in pleasure at the thought of Rosalie liking her. So not infatuated, then, she had been blushing in embarrassment. How odd. He is idiotically pleased by the turn of events. Much more of a mystery, then, he tells himself, smiling.

"I'm afraid you never answered my question," he prompted.

The girl rolled her eyes, but not maliciously.

"Yeah, sorry. I am interested in Art," she smiles, wide and it's really a beam, full and inviting. It surprises him because he sees that she flushes when she's pleased and it becomes her rosy complexion and her green-grey eyes crinkle and shine, "I hope to be an Artist… Hopefully not starving."

"Ah, not a very stable career, is it?"

"I guess not. Then again, that's mostly a stigma because of the whole trend of the Bohemian- living for art's sake is a torture and all that jazz- there are fairly stable careers within the art world. And it's what I want to do- Follow your dream and all that. I can't imagine being stuck in a job that I hate. Been there, done that, all I got was a lousy t-shirt. Well, I actually stole the t-shirt but that is neither here nor there."

Edward blinked.

"You've thought long about this," he pointed it, brows furrowed. And it had seemed as she had, despite her… Colorful phrasing. That small spark of intellect had impressed Rosalie and Emmett.

The girl frowned.

"Well, yeah. Why wouldn't I?"

"Most seventeen-year-olds don't."

Her lips curled.

"But some do, obviously. What about you, what is in the cards for you, Mister Cullen?"

"Oh, well, I want to become a Doctor, like Carlisle."

She raises a brow.

"Pretty lofty goal," here, she gives that sharp smile, "Not queasy are you? Frankly, as much as I admire the medical field all the various bodily fluids always off-put me from joining it."

Edward has to stop himself from laughing aloud. He was out of breath and needed to inhale to continue talking. He breathed, enduring the beautiful burn of her scent down his throat. It was so…


"You have a fear of blood?" he chuckles at the irony of the thought- The girl's whose blood he wanted to drain dry had a fear of it*.

The girl blinks and then snorts.

"Actually no. I'm fine with blood. I've worked with my blood on an Art project- It's the other stuff- saliva and urine of other people- that is extremely off-putting."

"You've worked with your blood on an Art project?"

He is both fascinated and disgusted, the art of his time had been beautiful and exploration of form and light*. He could not get behind the more modern art. Part of him, that monster in the bottom of his burning throat is frustrated that this creature in front of him, this frail, little creature with the bright eyes and the intoxicating scent has wasted some of the nectar that runs through her veins on something as silly as a piece of art. She waves a dismissive hand.

"Well, yeah. It was an exploration of the body with the body. It took a while to collect the blood too, I gathered it up in a little glass vial and stored it in the fridge- Nearly had a heart attack when my mom threw it away so I had to start all over. It was a failed project anyway, just an experiment," she wrinkled her nose, "It looked horrible and that was mostly because I am not a painter."

He laughed.

"Isabella Swan, you are curious person."

She looked at him, grey eyes green and intent. She placed her chin in her hand, caressing her round face with her infinitely small fingertips. There was something in her gaze- a contemplation- an assessment that made him freeze, curious and wondering what her gaze meant- to what was going through her mind. But even as he pushed, as the minds he had been ignoring came to the forefront as he actively tried, no whisper of her voice became his to listen to- she was silent and out of reach. And she was still staring at him, assessing, calculating in a way that had he had a heartbeat, his would be pounding.

"So are you, Edward Cullen. Now, as lovely as this chat is- I want to finish this reading so I don't have any homework- Talk to you later, Cullen."

"Edward is fine," he corrected, smiling.

She blinked, licked her lips, nodded and went back to the assignment.

"Okay. Call me Izzy, then, Isabella is a little too… Not me," she said, distantly, flicking her small fingertips in his direction. She then popped in her earphones listing calmly to her bizarre music and returning to her notes.

She did not so much as look in his direction for the duration of the class. In fact, she gave no other indication that she cared that he was there. He made a show of lifting and dropping his chest in a mockery of breathing, the taste of her scent pooling and festering in his venom-filled mouth. When the bell rang, he fled the classroom and sucked in a breath of fresh air away from her.

He did not see how her grey eyes followed him, or how her shoulders slumped in sheer relief as he left.


When Lauren entered her art class, she was greeted with two worried looks pinned on the door. Faintly, as she gave as casual as a wave as she could to the Cullen couple, she realized that they had, on some level, been worried shitless for her and her encounter with Edward. Emmett was a bundle of large, uneasy energy- right leg jiggling up and down in an almost unnatural way, his broad shoulders hunched and uneasy. When he spots her coming in the door, his shoulders relax and big movement that has her blinking, because it's in obvious relief. Rosalie is less obvious, subtle in her worry- she simply removed her hand from her husband's shoulder, her eyes, which had been narrowed and pinched, relaxed into her usually half-lidded boredness, and her mouth parted into a natural pout.

Part of Lauren felt a brief, but pointedly there flash of warmth and affection for these two supernatural creatures.

Because they were worried. Someone other her realized the level of shit she was in as Edward's singer. Miriam knew of course, but couldn't do anything for her. Billy was worried, but more in an abstract way of 'oh shit, vampires are sniffing around my best friend's daughter'. And for her part, Lauren couldn't exactly call in the cavalry via Billy- as of then, as far as she knew, only Sam was turned. And no matter which way you slice it, seven vampires against a single wolf was shit odds. Especially considering how the Pack had hunted as a, well, pack in the novels. But here, here were two supernatural creatures, with the agency and the power to actually do something about the situation, that were in her corner to some extent.

Allies, she was well aware.

A more cynical part of her felt a righteous fury at the fact that fact that these inhuman beings existed at all. But it was more of a helpless, self-directed fury. Because she had come to Twi-World, she had, unbidden, been thrown into this mess. She was in their territory. Not the other way around. She was not in her world, the rules didn't apply. Yet another part of her, the calculating bitch in her that she had tried to temper, was already hoping that she could turn their worry to her advantage.

But most of her… Most of her just felt tired in that moment. Exhausted, in fact. Because her life had become a shit show of intrigue and supernatural beings that wanted to eat her. She forced a grin on her face, trying to ignore the urge to walk right out of the classroom and straight into her truck, destination anywhere but there.

"Hey," she said, sitting down with a careless flop before she set about extending a new drawing sheet of paper as well as the rest of her things, "Happy Monday."

Fake it till you can lose your shit.

Rosalie gave her well-deserved look of disgust.

"Happy Monday?" she asked, raising an arched brow of sheer bitchy perfection, "Oh sweet lord you're an optimist."

Lauren laughed- not altogether forced.

"Fuck if I am!" she said with a roll of her eyes, and a natural grin coming to her mouth, "I'm an anxious and depressed ridden grump that is trying not to lose her mind and make shit happy-ish. So I repeat, happy Monday."

Emmett grinned.

"Happy Monday, squirt!"

Lauren blinked before she looked at Emmett with a bitchy raised brow of her own. She spread out her pencils, frowning at the older being.

"No, Emmett Cullen don't you dare call me squirt. I've suffered through enough idiotic nicknames."

Emmett just grinned.

"Like what?"

"Guera," she said, ticking them off of her fingers, "Flaca, Chabella, Chabells, Vampira, Chicken legs, Slim Shady-"

"Woah, Woah, you speak Spanish?" and Emmett is just blinking at her, most likely at her flawless(if she said so herself) exaltation of the rs and flow of sounds.

She sighs, automatically, at the astonishment of the fact that fact that she spoke Spanish. A common reaction to her pale complexion and 'white' looking features. A common annoyance that had many people questioning the fact that her parents were from Mexico, or that her and her sister, who had inherited their father's darker coloring of tannish skin and brown eyes as well as outrageously thick, black curls, weren't sisters at all. More than often called a lesbian couple when they held hands in public because Miriam had a terrible sense of direction. A stigma that had had her scolded when she had worn a Frida Kahlo costume last Halloween for appropriating someone 'else's' culture.

"Of course I do. It's-" Lauren stops mid annoyed rant, wanting to smack herself over the fact that she was just about to say 'it's my first language'. She licked her lips, blinking at the annoyance curled in her throat before she threw it aside, improvising hastily, "My neighbors only spoke Spanish and I wanted to play with their kids really bad. So I learned it."

"Hablas el Espanol bien, o asi asi*?" asked Rosalie, furrowing her brow at Lauren.

Lauren shrugged.

"Fluente, si cres sabre. Hablo mejor que lo leo o escribo*."

Emmett raised a brow, grinning in silent delight.


"The boy next door knocked out all of my front baby teeth," she said, rolling her eyes at the fact that it had been her brother, Andrew, not any neighbor, "Except for my canines. My adult teeth took forever to grow in… I also had a habit of biting people if they upset me."


"I'm pale as fuck and that was weird to my Mexican neighbors."

"Chabela, Chabels?"

"A common nickname to people named Isabel or Isabella."

"Flaca?" and that was Rosalie, looking curious despite herself.

Lauren sighed.

"I was severely underweight until puberty."

"Slim Shady?"

"A boy couldn't remember my name and I told him to guess it each time he saw me. It got to the point where he got frustrated and started calling me Slim Shady until he learned my name. It stuck for a while. Now, what the hell is this," she asked with an eye roll, "The Spanish Inquisition?"

In unison, the two vampires said, "But nobody expects it*!"

Lauren cracked up, and the vampires laughed as well, Emmett especially, bending over in his humor.

"Oh come on, do you two have stupid nicknames?"

Rosalie grinned, gesturing to her husband.

"I call him my Teddy-Emmy. Or monkey-man because he's super gymnastic."

TMI, thought Lauren, with a slight wince. But she marveled, that just like Angela being an editor to the newspaper, that the name had transferred over from the movie.

"Ah, damn it Rose," muttered Emmett, ducking his head, "Did you have to bring up Teddy-Emmy?"

Lauren snorts, realizing that the whole 'teddy' bit was also a morbid nod to the reason why Emmett McCarty 'Cullen' wasn't a geriatric in Tennessee or dead ten feet under. It seemed that the older Cullen kids had a gallows type of humor that she appreciated.

"How about you Rosalie?"

Rosalie shrugged.

"Not one for nicknames… Just Rose or Rosie. Now, why the hell were you called chicken legs?"

Lauren rolls her eyes and lifts her leg onto the table in a flexible way that both of the vampires blinking.

"Cause my legs are shapely but thin in comparison to my torso."

Rosalie rolls her eyes.

"Those nicknames are horrible and mean-spirited for the most part."

Lauren shrugged.

"Kinda of the point of most Mexican nicknames, poking gentle fun at the one it's for. Affectionately mean-spirited, I would say."

Emmett nods, sagely.

"I'm still calling you squirt then."

"Fuck you, Teddy-Emmy."