Author’s Note: Thanks for all the support everyone! A LOT of you wanted this - it was something I had originally cut out of the story to keep the pace up, but I didn’t want to trash it completely. This chapter picks up immediately after Seth leaves Claire’s house after dropping Regan off after the bonfire. Enjoy!
Bonus Chapter: Broken
As soon as the front door to Claire’s house closed, she was on me like a piranha.
“What took you guys so long to get here?” She asked me skeptically, raising one black eyebrow.
I shook my head, trying to clear my senses after being cooped up in Seth’s truck with him. His warm, spicy clean scent made my head cloud and not function like it should. When he hugged me so close to his warm body, I had to practically pinch myself to keep from enjoying it too much. It was clear that his embrace in the cab of the Bronco had been out of friendship; he hadn’t tried anything remotely like that with me, and I couldn’t read into it too much. He just wanted to be friends.
That was a word I needed to take very seriously from now on.
“Have you been crying?” Claire demanded, grabbing my arm. She looked at my eyes closely.
“Maybe a little,” I mumbled, wiping my drippy mascara from under my eyes.
“Come on,” She hissed, yanking on my arm. “We need to talk.”
I followed Claire upstairs to her room, pausing to wrinkle my nose. “Why do you smell like a wet dog?” It was faint, but she definitely smelled like she had been wrestling with a wet golden retriever.
“I, um…guess it’s just the smoke smell from the bonfire.”
Now it was my turn to look skeptical. “Bonfires do not smell like dogs, Claire.”
“Whatever. You’re just trying to change the subject, Regan. Now spill!”
I shook my head as I dropped my bag on her bed. “It’s nothing. I was just upset with Seth for breaking Brady’s face.”
Claire giggled as she pulled her long, perfectly curled, black hair into a messy ponytail. “Sure…sure. You liked it.”
“I really didn’t,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Oh come on. As much as I hate it when guys fight…it must have felt good to see Seth come to your rescue and avenge your honor.”
“This isn’t a Disney movie, Claire. I didn’t ask him to do that.”
“But still,” she shrugged, pacing in front of her bed. I sprawled out on her white comforter, still trying to catch my breath. While I was upset that Seth had done what he did at the bonfire, I had a hard time keeping focus when all I could think about was him hugging me. I realized that his wink in the foyer had been playful; it was very Seth. But…was it wrong for me to wish that it wasn’t?
“I still think you liked it.”
“That’s not the point. He can’t go around punching people every time someone says something mean to me. He’s like a barbarian!”
“Something like that.”
“Wait—what?” I asked, rolling over onto my stomach. She shrugged and sat down at her vanity to start taking off her makeup.
“Regan, these guys are like…dogs,” she said with a coy smile. “You have to forgive them for the silly things they do and just learn to live with it. You’ll never find a more faithful friend than someone like Seth. Take Quil, for example, he knows I hate it when he treats me like a child, and well…if I get upset about it enough, he stops. I had to train him — like a puppy,” she said to me. She smirked at herself in the mirror before continuing to remove her makeup.
A sudden howl from the backyard nearly made me come out of my skin. “What was that?” I asked, jumping up. “I swear it’s like….wild kingdom out there…” I muttered. Claire looked surprisingly unalarmed.
“Oh…I’m used to it.”
“How do you get used to having wolves howling in your backyard? So close to the house?’
She snorted. “Well I don’t exactly expect them to run up to the house and through the front door…” she laughed again, but it was almost like she was laughing to herself.
“I just don’t like it.”
Claire laughed. “Aren’t you used to that by now?”
I shook my head. “Definitely not.”
“Oh well, Regan…trust me, the wolves around here are the last of your problems.”
The next morning, I woke up feeling completely drained and exhausted. Claire had yapped my ear off most of the night, and I had only gotten a few hours of sleep before she was up again, yammering away about ‘making the most of a long weekend’. Apparently she was shopping all day in Port Angeles. I was going to have to make a note to myself to not expect any sleep when having ‘sleepovers’ with Claire.
“You sure you don’t want to come Christmas shopping with me in Seattle?”
“Um, no…I think I’ll be taking a Christmas nap,” I mumbled, wincing as she threw her drapes open.
When Sue picked me up, I was shocked to see Leah in the passenger seat.
“Hey,” I said brightly, relieved to see that Leah was still in Forks.
“Hey yourself. Sue and I came to collect you. Did you get any sleep?” she asked, looking at the dark circles under my eyes.
“No, not a bit. I can’t wait to get home and just relax.”
Leah and Sue exchanged a knowing look.
“About that…” Leah mumbled as Sue pulled away from Claire’s house.
“So Claire kept you up all night huh?” Leah asked, turning around in her seat. I yawned, rubbing my eyes. “She never shuts up.”
Leah chuckled. “She never even shut up as a baby. She was born with that mouth moving.”
By the time we got home, I was nearly nodding off in the backseat of the car. Pulling into the driveway, I saw a familiar sleek car that I had seen once before.
“I’m sorry, Regs, no sleep for you today,” Leah laughed, hoisting my overnight bag over her shoulder. I yawned and followed her inside with Sue. There, sitting on the couch, was Alice Cullen.
“Good morning, Regan,” she smiled. She was sitting on the edge of the couch cushion, closest to Charlie’s armchair. He was sprawled out, business as usual, a huge plate of eggs on his lap.
“Did Alice cook for you, Charlie?” Leah asked in surprise.
“She sure did. Steak and eggs — just how I like.”
“What a treat. I usually don’t let you eat something so decadent in the morning,” Sue chuckled, punching her husband playfully on the shoulder. He pretended to be hurt and began inhaling the food even faster.
Alice smiled politely from the couch. “Sorry, Sue. He didn’t tell me he wasn’t allowed steaks in the mornings.”
“It’s alright, Alice,” Sue said, rolling her eyes at Charlie. He snuck a peek at Sue as she breezed into her kitchen.
Leah flopped down on the chair opposite Alice, her expression wary. “What’s up your child-sized sleeve for today?” she asked.
Alice laughed, the tinkling sound echoing in the small living room. I watched as her strange golden eyes squinted slightly from laughing.
“Measurements. I promise to be quick.”
“Not too quick, I hope,” Leah grumbled, flipping on the TV. She pretended to pout, but Alice gave her a knowing smile.
“You’ll survive. Besides…I think I’m here to measure someone else as well you,” Alice said pointedly. Leah’s’ eyes widened and she sat straight up in her seat.
“Oh! I almost forgot!” she said to Alice. Looking at me, still standing in the doorway on my crutches, she stood up and bolted to my side.
“Will you be in my wedding?” she asked quickly, her brown eyes lit up. I opened my mouth to speak but no sound came out. I was completely touched that she would even ask me that — I barely knew her. And yet, that didn’t have any affect to my answer.
“Y-yes,” I stuttered, still in shock. Leah squeezed my hands and smiled.
“It means a lot to me,” she said quietly in her smooth voice. I gave her an unsure smile, trying to figure out what she meant by that. If she had only known me a few days, why did it mean so much to her that I was in her wedding? I didn’t have time to think before a cold hand touched mine. I jumped, instantly brought back to the present.
“Come on, I need to measure you for a bridesmaid’s dress!” Alice said impatiently, giving my hand a tug. I limped over to the living room, leaning on the back of Charlie’s armchair for support. Alice glanced down at my cast.
“Well, what ever did you do to her, Charlie? Do we have another Bella on our hands?”
“Bella never was one for the ice,” Charlie mumbled through a mouthful of food. He turned around and looked at me in his armchair as I leaned against it.
“No, this one isn’t as clumsy as Bella,” he said good-naturedly. I smiled awkwardly, meeting Alice’s strange yet friendly gaze.
“I fell out of a window,” I replied sheepishly. Her eyes widened and she opened her mouth to speak, but instead closed it.
“A story for another day when we don’t have so much to do!” she chirped, giving me a quick wink. I felt my cheeks redden. Charlie grinned up at me through his mustache.
“She’s something, ain’t she?”
I laughed but by the end of the afternoon, I had to agree. Alice had me go through almost a dozen bridal magazines to pick out the perfect bridesmaid’s dress. Apparently the wedding was small; I was the only girl walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid as Leah apparently didn’t have many girlfriends.
When I had picked out a design that I was happy with, I finally let Alice measure me. She had me stand up in the middle of the living room, hold my arms out, and her cold little hands took my measurements with a measuring tape.
I felt my heart flutter when I heard a familiar sound in the driveway. Moments later, Seth tromped through the front door, his eyes instantly meeting mine.
“Hey!” he said brightly, standing with his hands on his hips. Alice stuck her head out from behind me.
“Hi Seth!” she trilled happily, giving him a quick wave. He waved back, giving me a quizzical look.
“Oh, hey,” Leah said, coming from the kitchen.
“What’s all this?” Seth asked; his expression clearly puzzled. Leah grinned at me, walking over as she chewed on a piece of licorice.
“Regan’s in the wedding,” she said casually, glancing at her brother. Seth’s face lit up, and I instantly felt weak-kneed being in the presence of one of his million-watt smiles.
“That’s awesome! This is going to be a kick-ass wedding!” he said, clapping his hands together loudly. I laughed, glancing down at Alice as she measured around my waist.
“Just a few more,” she promised, looking up through her short, stylish bangs. I nodded, looking up at Seth.
‘Thank you’ he mouthed to Leah who was now on the couch. I watched her nod once before looking away. Why was he thanking her? I didn’t have time to think about it.
“Done!” Alice announced, stepping away from me. She gave me a charming smile, and for a second, I was completely captivated by how truly beautiful the tiny girl was.
“Can I get you to stay for dinner, Alice?” Charlie asked, shuffling back into the room. All of the wedding talk had bored him far too much, and he had been helping Leah graze over the Thanksgiving leftovers for the past half an hour.
“Oh Charlie, that’s so sweet of you, but I really have to be heading home. I was only in Seattle for the day. This was just a pit stop on the drive home.”
“Ah, okay,” he said, visibly disappointed. She smiled again, playfully slugging him on the shoulder.
“We’re still coming down for New Year’s though. Don’t be too sad. Bella’s already excited about it!” she added with another wink.
“Good, good. It’ll be nice to see her again,” Charlie said. “Been too long.”
“She’ll be here, Charlie,” Alice reassured him. She looked at me again as she quickly rolled up her measuring tape.
“I’m throwing a party at Seth’s house for New Year’s….will you be coming?” she asked curiously, her golden eyes gleaming.
“Yeah, you have to come!” Seth replied, bounding out of the kitchen. In one hand, he had the last turkey leg; and in the other, he had a bowl full of mashed potatoes.
“Um…sure, I’ll be there,” I agreed with a nod.
“Oh! Excellent! I’ll help you decide what to wear!” Alice said, clapping her tiny hands together. Seth rolled his eyes, but she simply grinned and ignored him. Suddenly, she froze as she was reaching for her oversized bag. Her strange, yellowy eyes grew unfocused, and for a minute, I almost panicked.
Before I could say anything, she blinked several times. “Oh…yes, you should wear something black — black would be perfect for a New Year’s party.” she muttered, nodding to herself.
I gave her a weird look, but Seth just shrugged from the doorway of the living room.
“I’ll be seeing you in a month! Leah, remember to approve those flower arrangements when I email them to you on Monday, okay? We have to confirm them ASAP!”
“Sure thing,” Leah replied form the couch, not taking her eyes off Sports Center. Alice snorted and looked like she had to force herself from rolling her eyes.
“See you soon!” she trilled one last time and in a flash, she was gone.
I flopped down on the couch, propping my cast up on the coffee table. Seth ambled over past Charlie and sat on the couch beside me.
“So…is she always like that? I’m exhausted.”
Seth chuckled, settling against the arm of the couch. He was still several inches away from me, but I could feel the warmth radiating from his leg. I liked how close he was, and I couldn’t help but wonder – was he that close to me because he wanted to be? Or because Leah was lying sprawled on the other couch and Charlie was in his recliner? It was the only place for him to sit, but still…
“Yeah, you get used to her. She’s just a planner. She likes things…just so.”
“I like her,” I admitted with a laugh. “She’s just…”
“A piece of work?” he asked, looking down at me. I gazed into his soft, brown eyes and nodded.
“Yeah, you could say that.”
We shared a quiet laugh and soon Seth had turned his attention to Sports Center. Charlie was already snoring from the recliner, and Leah soon joined him.
“Man, these leftovers are making me sleepy—must be all the turkey,” Seth whined a few minutes later.
I yawned, nodding. “I haven’t even had any turkey and I’m exhausted. Oh yeah, maybe it’s because Claire kept me up all night.”
“Did you have fun?” he asked, looking down at me. I nodded, stifling another yawn.
“I did. She just wears me out sometimes,” I admitted. He nodded, looking back up at the flat screen.
He was silent for a few minutes as his eyes watched the screen and I watched him. It was almost as if my gaze was drawn to him somehow. I could tell he wasn’t really watching the game though.
“I’m um…I’m really sorry about…last night,” he offered quietly, looking down at me. I bit my lip and looked down at my lap.
“It’s alright Seth…I…I know you were just looking out for me.”
“I am, Regan. And I’d do anything for you to realize that. We’re friends and…and honestly I would’ve gotten angry with Brady for saying something mean about one of my other friends too. He’s just an ass, I mean..”
“Would you have punched him in the face if it was one of your other friends?” I blurted out quietly, looking to make sure no one else was paying attention. Charlie and Sue were both in the kitchen, and Leah was engrossed in the blaring TV.
An amused expression crossed Seth’s chiseled features. “Well…probably not, but…but you’re a special friend,” he added with a chuckle.
“Define special friend.”
He raised an eyebrow at me, surprised by another repeat of my pushy questioning. But I didn’t care - I wanted answers.
“Special friend….well…it’s someone you…ahm….you would…you would punch someone in the face for,” he replied with a smile.
I felt my heart speed up a little as I gazed up at his perfectly straight, white teeth as he grinned at me.
“Just don’t worry about it. I said I was sorry….are you still mad?”
I shook my head. “For some reason….I don’t think I could stay angry with you for long. Someone Leah mentioned about smiling like a jackass…”
Seth elbowed me and I laughed, instantly feeling more comfortable. “I do not smile like a jackass. I smile like…I smile like I mean it. And I do.”
“You’re so weird,” I teased.
“So you’re not mad?”
“I told you I wasn’t,” I chuckled, rolling my head on the back of the couch to look at him.
His face got a little more serious. “I meant what I said though….I really do.”
“About what?” I had a feeling I knew what he was talking about, but I wanted to hear him say that words. I wanted to hear him say again that he would never leave me.
Maybe if he said it enough times, would it be true?
“That I will always be here, and no matter what…I’ll always be your friend. Always.”
I felt myself give him a relieved smile.
He reached over and ruffled my messy hair, giving me another million dollar smile.
I hadn’t even realized I dozed off until I woke up. A quick glance at the window told me it was dark out which meant I had been sleeping for awhile. However, when I remembered that it was a holiday weekend and I didn’t have anywhere to be, I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. I was so tired.
Wait a second. I realized my face was resting on something hard and warm. Not just a little warm—very warm—and it smelled amazing…
“Oh!” I gasped, sitting up quickly. Seth was jostled awake, and he looked just as confused as I was. He blinked several times, and we realized at the same time that I had fallen asleep against his arm.
I quickly glanced at Leah and Charlie, feeling better that they were still asleep in their respective chairs and couches. Seth looked just as panicked as I was.
“Um….s-sorry,” I mumbled, feeling my cheeks turn hot.
“It’s…it’s okay,” he stuttered, sitting up a little bit. I glanced sideways at him, realizing he was staring right at me with his sleepy eyes.
“I fell asleep,” I admitted sheepishly.
“I did too. Sorry,” he laughed awkwardly. I nodded, leaning against the other side of the couch. I glanced at him again before closing my eyes, and I was relieved to see that Seth looked about as un-sorry as I felt.
*Bonus Eye Candy*