Thursday, November 30, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 24


I heard your siren call, and I calmed my wolves.
Their great paws unleashing claws on the earth,
biding their time, scratching their vengeance.
My pack is fierce, and hungry.
They feast on the lies of the self-righteous,
they eat the dreams of the sanctimonious,
and they swallow the pride of the selfish.
Yes, we heard your siren call—

And we’re coming for dinner.

~Nicole Lyons

They charged, but we were ready. Quil sent up a howl—the call for help. I didn't think we would need the reinforcements, but if they arrived in time, all the better. Sam was headed straight for me, and I knew that he would aim to take me out before the others.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Perdition Chapter 14

Once we finish reviewing the documents Sue and Seth gathered and we devise a somewhat basic plan of immediate actions to take, everything seems to happen simultaneously.

We decide that Edward and I will have no contact with each other publicly. This includes me refraining from going to the diner during his regular lunch dates with Malone.

Sue checks our phones for bugs, and instructs Edward and I how to perform these checks ourselves, as well as inspecting my apartment daily for any listening devices. Since we can't see each other publicly, we start spending a considerable amount of time talking with each other on our cell phones.

We decided it wouldn't be prudent to report the break-in at my apartment. Since we’re unaware of who’s loyal to Charlie, we can't trust anyone in the department.

While working at the Dead End, I’ll write down information after each of my shifts, noting the make of the vehicle for the keys I've stolen, and as much as I can remember about each customer whose keys I take.

I get a hysterical call from Sue three days after our conversation, telling me that she and Harry were just in a car accident. Harry has a broken nose from hitting the steering wheel, but Sue is fine. The part that has her terrified is that the brakes just went out completely; no matter how hard he pumped them, the car wouldn't stop. Luckily they weren't travelling very fast, or it would've been worse. If they'd had a newer car, the airbags would've prevented Harry's broken nose. All in all, she's shaken up and worried for all of us. I urged her to report the accident to her contact at the FBI, and she agreed.

I can't help but look over my shoulder everywhere I go, despite the fact that I think Jacob is in Seattle. He has plenty of worker bees happy to follow me around and report back to him. I visit Sue and Harry, bringing a potted plant as a get well gift, and she hugs me for a very long time.

“I haven't been able to reach Seth since the accident, so he doesn't know what’s going on."

I try to get the image of Harry's bruised face out of my head, but now I'm worried about Seth as well as the rest of us.

Edward and I text each other, discussing the idea of his parents taking Mallie out of the city, between the tension in town and the car accident. He tells me he'll talk to them and get back to me. I happen to be at the diner one night when a note is dropped on my table by a dark haired guy in a leather jacket, who just keeps walking out the door. I jump up and follow him, but he gets on a motorcycle and takes off down the street, the loud noise of the exhaust reverberating between the businesses.

I go back to the table, picking up the piece of wrinkled paper and looking at it. Hands shaking, I drop it, watching with barely focused eyes as it flutters to the floor. Sinking into my seat, I put my head in my hands and try to remember how to breathe in and out. I jump when I feel a hand on my shoulder, looking up into the concerned face of Angela.

“Hey, Bella. Are you okay? What happened?”

I bend and retrieve the note, handing it to her without a word. She takes it, but continues to stare at me for a minute. Finally, she looks down.

“Wouldn't it be a shame if Edward's brakes went out like Harry's?” she reads aloud. “What the fuck? What have you gotten yourself into this time, Bella?” she demands in exasperation.

I watch as she sits across from me before answering. My head is throbbing and my throat is parched. I swallow thickly. “I've talked everything out with Edward,” I say quietly. "I don't know how they found out, but it looks like someone is pissed off," I murmur.

“Who?” She leans closer. “The ones you won't tell me about?”

I look at Angela, with her porcelain skin and dark, straight hair. Her glasses frame her brown eyes, and she's biting her upper lip.

I sigh, the sound dredged up from the recesses of my soul. “Yeah. I guess he's reminding me of my place, and who he thinks I belong to.”

“Well, what are you going to do? Edward has to keep Mallie safe.” Her fingers worry the edges of the paper she's still holding.

“We've planned for it, but it needs to be sooner, I guess. His parents are going to take her away for a little while. They've got family in Alaska.”

We're leaning toward each other across the formica tabletop as we speak, but we both jump as the door is slammed open so hard the bell crashes to the floor with a cacophony. A frighteningly skinny woman strides in, her blonde hair over-processed and greasy. She has so much jewelry on that she jingles as she walks, a deranged reindeer with no sleigh. Her makeup is overdone and smeared in a few places, the liner smudged under her eyes and her lipstick bleeding at the corners of her lips. She’s wearing this ridiculously short, and I mean you could see her panties if she’s wearing any, leopard print mini dress with matching platform heels. If I didn't know better, I’d think there’s a prostitution ring in Forks. She marches up to the counter and starts yelling, and nobody in a five mile radius could miss what she's saying.

My eyes widen on Angela, because just as she spews her verbal vomit over the counter, I recognize her.

“Where the fuck is my brother-in-law? He's always here, ain't he? You hidin’ his ass in the back or what?”

I frantically text Edward as the cashier cowers.

Rose is at the diner looking for you!

His reply is swift.

Uncle suffered ‘heart attack’. Mom and Dad heading up with M now.

I know this is his cover story, and I sigh in relief. Rose is still shouting, and I finally hear the kitchen door squawk open. Sue looks ready to kick ass and take names as she charges down the aisle between booths. Dinner and a show, goody.
“Hale, you get your scrawny ass the fuck out of my diner!” Sue bellows. Several patrons hunch over like she's the school marm scolding us all.

Rose turns like she's moving in slow motion and glares in Sue's direction. “It's Mrs. King, and what’re you gonna do? Call the law?” she snickers.

Sue's hands prop on her hips. “I take care of my own. Now get out, before I yank your cheap extensions out of your head and whip you with them!”

Rose snarls at Sue, and I'm starting to wonder if I should stand up and take a side when Edward comes silently in the door. It's surreal to not hear the bell and its merry chime.

“What do you want, Rosalie?” he demands. He looks every bit the avenging angel, which is so hot by the way, and things are rapidly clicking into place in my brain at this showdown.

“My daughter, you bastard. Where is she?”

My daughter is out of town with her grandparents. Why are you really here?” I watch a muscle tic in his cheek, and she crosses her arms and taps her foot.

“I want full custody. I can do that, you know, she's mine.”

“You can't do that, either. Let me refresh your drug-erased memory for you, Rosalie. You will never get custody due to the fact that you legally revoked any parental claim to my daughter. Now… for the last time, what are you doing here?” Edward moves closer to her, keeping his hands in his pockets. I know I'd be tempted to deck her.

“Look, I just want you to know I filed. Your time is up.” She pushes past him, stalking out the open door and disappearing on the dark sidewalk.

Edward looks to me, and I nod as he makes his way to the kitchen. Sue loudly tells everyone the show’s over and takes up a position behind the counter like a sentry. I get up slowly and saunter into the kitchen where Edward is waiting for me.

“We need to talk,” he starts.

He looks flustered, and I can't blame him. “Malone is Rose's daughter,” I state. I slip my hands in my pockets to avoid soothing him as instinct demands.

“She's also Emmett's daughter,” he says.

“I figured that out.”

“I thought- you didn't think she was mine and Rose's after that display?” he asks anxiously.

I shake my head and finally decide to touch him, running my hands through his thick hair as I lean against his firm chest and tilt my head to look at him. “I still know you better than that. You wouldn't have been with Rosalie Hale four years ago, much less any time recently.”

Edward exhales into my hair. “Can I just hold you for a minute? I promise I'll explain, but for just one minute, can I pretend nothing’s changed?”

I nod my head in agreement, and his mouth crushes to mine in a heated kiss, stealing my breath. So much more than merely holding me, Edward tangles his hands in my hair as his tongue presses into my mouth. His lips move hurriedly, surely afraid that I'll go up in a puff of smoke and leave him again. I groan in my throat as his hands wander down to cup my ass and press me against the hardness I feel growing in his pants.

The door behind us opens and Sue returns to the kitchen. She laughs when she sees us tangled together.

“You really need to be careful who sees you two,” she warns.

Edward has loosened his hold, but he doesn't let go yet. His lips touch mine in a gentle kiss before he steps away completely.

“We need to talk,” he repeats.







Perdition Chapter 16




I don't see Rose again, not that I really expect to. If she's not getting her payout, there's no reason for her to stick around Forks. I don't see Edward, either, for that matter, but that's exactly the plan we agreed to. I know I have a shadow sent by Black, or maybe even Charlie, which means I have to be especially careful with every move I make. My ‘journaling’ happens at home, and I don't use my phone at work or in the diner, either. When I eat, I don't linger too long with Sue, though I can tell she and I are building a strong relationship that will last long after this mess is over. She's sent in my information by email every few days, too afraid to mail it and not having the time to drive to Seattle to see the FBI agents personally.

Alice texts me out of the blue, telling me that she had a conversation with Edward about me and wants to rebuild our relationship. We've spoken in some form every day since then, where she fills me in on her life living in the dorms at the University of Washington. She and Rose’s brother Jasper have been dating for a couple of years, and she told me that he’s getting more and more worried about his sister's drug use. Unfortunately, I don't have any comforting words for him, especially since I think his brother-in-law isn't long for this world.

The senior Cullens send pictures of Mallie to Edward constantly, and she is really loving her time in Alaska. It's beautiful this time of year, and they're always doing something fun like hiking or boating. Everybody dotes on her, and she's absolutely adorable, enjoying her time with the extended family in the pictures Edward forwards to me. I delete each of them after looking at them, the same as our text conversations. I don't think it's paranoid to be extra careful with everything I do. When I consider the fact that I haven’t had any contact with Black in months, it sometimes feels a bit excessive.

I’m so used to keeping my head down that I don't even see it coming, of course. I've attuned myself so much to being followed that I stopped worrying about who it was a long time ago. As focused as I am on not letting anyone see what I'm up to, I've become blind to my surroundings. Getting yanked right off the street in broad daylight, hands bound in tape while I scream, is another testament to the mob running the town. No one would dare to stop Jake, and it suddenly dawns on me that more people know about him than I assumed. If not one person would attempt to help me or even pick up their cell phone to call for help, then they've known. All along, these people have known. I assumed I was mostly alone in my misery.

It's stupid to assume.

I assumed Jake was in Seattle.

I was wrong about it all.

As he throws me forcefully into the back of a black panel van, the sudden onslaught of hysteria makes me crazy.

I laugh. I sound like a lunatic, and I can't breathe, but still I laugh.

Jake slaps me, and I laugh harder. I can taste the salt and iron of my own blood in my mouth, and it makes me howl in laughter. I think I've finally lost my sanity.

“Shut the fuck up, Swan!” he growls at me. The look on his face is terror-inducing, and I am terrified. So much so that I can't gain control of myself.

The tears are streaming down my face, and I can't decide if they're from laughing so hard, or from the true fear of what he has planned for me. It won't be pleasant, of that I'm positive.

“You think you're so fucking slick, meeting up with Cullen in the kitchen of the diner. Don't you know I have eyes everywhere?” he bellows in my face. The van careens around a corner, and I fall into Jake. The back of the van is completely bare, and as he shoves me off him I land on the metal flooring, hitting my head.

“I don't know what you mean. It was just the once, because your guy's skank, Rosalie, came in making a scene.” I'm positive he doesn't care, as I look up at him from where I lay bleeding.

“He's not my guy anymore. He's the coroner's problem now,” he says offhandedly.

I shiver at the casual way he speaks about death. Murder. “And me? Am I to be the coroner's problem now, too?”

He flashes a wolfish grin, flipping his hair out of his face. “You're to be my wife. If you're smart, you'll do everything you're told and I won't become a widower on my wedding day.”

I press my lips hard together to contain the scream that threatens to overwhelm me. It would send me straight to hell if I let it escape. Jacob would see to that, I have no doubt.

We come to a stop, and as I struggle to sit up I see that we're on the reservation lands. It used to be a safe place, and I used to play here with the Quileute children on First Beach. Now it looks like a slum, with paint peeling and wood rotting. Porches are falling down. Yards are overgrown, rusted vehicles scattered like lawn ornaments. The men are glassy eyed and disheveled, obviously using their own products, and I don't see any women or children. That's definitely for the best.

I'm pushed and shoved, so I hurry to get out. Jacob grabs my upper arm and drags me into the nearest building, which I quickly realize is a church. Panicking, my lungs labor to fulfill their duty, and the room spins as I hyperventilate. Without mercy, Black yanks me upright and walks me to the preacher standing at the alter. I clamp down on the pain and terror to remain standing tall.

“Why, Jacob, you didn't even give me a ring. What's a girl to think?” My words slur a little as I struggle to breathe normally. I can do this. I can beat this fucker at his own game.
“Just say the words, and cut the crap!” he grits out. The wizened preacher starts to speak, stuttering through a pronouncement of a wedding under the eyes of God. The groom is wearing torn jeans and scuffed boots, and the bride is in shorts and a t-shirt, her hands still taped behind her back, no God to be found. The only reason I'm not gagged is so I'm able to repeat the words required for Jacob to get his hands on my money.

Knowing I have no choice, I stand in a run-down chapel somewhere on the Quileute reservation next to my mother's murderer and repeat wedding vows after the poor old minister whose life is probably forfeit. I think only of Edward as I say the words; focusing on how one day he and I will say them and we'll mean them with every fiber of our beings. One day, I'll be Edward's wife and Mallie’s mother, and we'll live in the kingdom where nobody dies. I have to stay alive, and if that means playing the game as the Queen instead of the pawn…

So be it.








Friday, November 24, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 24 Teaser

Sam made his move, dipping low to grab my left front leg in his mouth. I howled in pain as he crushed my bones in his teeth, and as I screamed in my head everything happened at once.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 23


It's said she’s made of storm cells
and a wild wolf’s hungry heart,
that she's learned the lightning’s secret
to ripping darkened skies apart.
The power of her presence
can bring the mountains to their knees.
Her song is one of chaos
as she stirs the angry seas.
But if you've met, you're none the wiser,
since she is also born of light.
Another face amongst the crowd;
the hidden hiding in plain sight.
Great power doesn’t always come
inside the forms that you'd assume,
but you would never doubt her strength
when she is howling at the moon.

~Anonymous

Nothing ever happened the way we expected it to. As humans—or as close as we came to being such—our subconscious made plans without always thinking of the contingencies or the deviations that could arise. I made plans, laid them out carefully, and set the worry aside. I would celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in a week, before returning to school and completing my exams for the term. Then I would return to Forks for the winter break and tackle the problem of Sam and his pack of assholes. Sue and Harry would accompany Esme and Carlisle to South America, more specifically Brazil, and meet up with their friends that might have seen my birth parents. I was torn between my responsibilities at home and the idea of meeting my mother and father. It looked like I was Amazonia-bound in January.

The universe didn't want to make things that easy for us.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 23 Teaser


I closed my eyes for a second, breathing deep and separating myself from Alice’s panic. This was what I was good at, this was something I’d trained to do, with Sam, no less. The tribe might constitute a small percentage of my heritage, but it was there, guiding me as I pictured my spirit animal.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 22


Everything changes. Everything is temporary,
except for the sky. When you find yourself caught
up in the horrors of a lifetime, look up.
Don't look down. That which is beneath
our feet is liquid, but the sky,
the sky is solid, constant, ever ready and
ever hopeful that the sun will rise
in the morning and the moon will rise at night.
They don't really set, you know.
They’re always rising, just rising for someone else.

~ Amber Kizer 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Right Where I Want to Be Epilogue




Anytime I see you standing there
I go down upon my knees
I'm changing, I swore I'd never compromise
But you convinced me otherwise
I'll do anything you please
In all my life I've never found
What I couldn't resist, what I couldn't turn down
I could walk away from anyone I ever knew
But I can't walk away from you
I worked too hard to call my life my own
I made myself a world
And it’s worked so perfectly
But it's your world now, I can't refuse
I’ve never had so much to lose
I'm shameless

~Garth Brooks, Shameless


Three Months Later
EPOV

Friday, November 10, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 22 Teaser

I stood leaning against the railing on the back deck at the Cullen’s home. My breath showed in thousands of miniscule droplets of ice every time I exhaled. The stars were magnificent pinpoints of light in a black silk sky, the moon a sliver of its usual self, barely visible. I hugged my arms and rubbed them to bring some heat to my body. It was probably time to go in, because I had truly become chilled. I only came outside for a breather from all the people in the house, but then I'd been captivated by the night sky.

Right Where I Want to Be Chapter 45


Edward attacks my neck with his lips and teeth, and my breathing is out of control. My hands are all over him; in his hair, gripping his neck, pushing at his clothes. He steps back from me, and I have to drop my limbs and lean against the wall as I pant. He kneels, and my heart jumps into my throat as he yanks my ankle up and over his shoulder. Edward buries his face in my pussy, and it’s been so long since he’s touched me that I cry out shamelessly. My hips rock against him, and he moves one hand to hold me against the wall, the other joining his tongue as he circles my clit. The acoustics in the bathroom are embarrassing as I shout and curse, begging to come. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Right Where I Want to Be Chapter 44



After saying goodbye to everyone, I make my way to the changing room and the shower. I can’t stand my sweaty self for one more second. I drop my bag near the entrance to the stall and think back to the day as I lather up.

Seismic Shift Chapter 21


I believe in everything until it’s disproved.
So I believe in fairies, the myths, the dragons.
It all exists, even if it's in your mind.
Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares
aren’t as real as the here and now?


~ John Lennon


We were heading to Forks for the fall break from school. I was so nervous to meet the Cullens, but I was ecstatic to see my family again. They had been invited to visit for our first day back, and for Thanksgiving dinner later in the month.

I couldn't possibly describe the butterflies in my stomach over Frank, a houseful of vampires and wolves, and food that only half the attendees would partake in.

There was nothing odd about any of that, right?

Nah.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Right Where I Want to Be Chapter 43

This song should not be played in public.



After laughing at me, Emmett actually makes himself useful and replenishes the refreshments. People have been coming and going all day long, and Rose and I have performed twice. My feet ache, my face hurts from smiling so much, and I’m closing in on exhaustion.

I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl with her first kiss.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Right Where I Want to Be Chapter 42

I turn and gape at him. “Your sister? You didn't tell me she was coming!”

“Surprise,” he mutters as she steps into the studio.

“Hi, and welcome to Cherry Bomb! I’m Rose, and this is Bella.” Leave it to Rose to just plow on.

“Hi.” She gives a little wave as she stares at me, then her eyes dart to Edward at my side. “I’m Alice.”

Friday, November 3, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 21 Teaser

“Oh, you do smell good. Not like that awful wet dog smell.”

“Yes, yes, she smells fucking delicious. May I have a hug?”

Right Where I Want to Be Chapter 41

It’s opening day, and my stomach is in knots. I know it’ll be fine, but having the attention all on me is what makes me nervous. It feels like a heavy dose of irony, since I normally crave the feeling of all eyes on me. This is different. This is my make or break moment. Hopefully Rose will hog the spotlight and I won’t feel the need to throw up.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Seismic Shift Chapter 20


Every time we have to say goodbye
I'm counting down until we say hello
Every touch is like the strongest drug
I don't know how much longer I can go
You're like that cigarette
That shot of hundred proof
No matter how much I get
I'm always craving
That feeling when we kiss
The way your body moves
No matter how much I get
I'm always craving you

~Thomas Rhett & Maren Morris, Craving you

Edward was right about one thing; I was exhausted. We went to school together in the mornings, and he had every class with me. We ate lunch together in the cafeteria most days. Sometimes we’d hit up a nearby restaurant if we had more time between classes. Then, most afternoons I had to work at the bookstore. I enjoyed my job, really. The people, the books, the smell of a new shipment. Pulling out crisp paperbacks with smooth, unwrinkled spines or heavy hard copies of textbooks was the highlight of my shift.