I wrote this a while back on JBNP and am just now getting around to posting it here. Thank you gempire for prereading; if you have not read her work you should. All characters belong to SM.

Lies and Small Miracles

It was another slow night at the Jack's Bar & Grill on 70th Street. With dead week in full swing, most of her classmates were studying for their final exams. At 1:00 am, Angela had given up hope that her boss would let her go early. She had a physic's final at 10:00 am that she needed to be ready for, but at the same time, she needed this job to pay rent on the first. Finally, last call was made, and thankfully her boss sent her home without having to clean up and close out the register. She thanked God for small miracle number one of her day and headed home.

Small miracle number two met her at her apartment. She was relieved to find her apartment halfway clean, quiet and her roommate out. With hopes of a nice long, hot shower, she locked up behind her and started her nightly ritual to unwind from her shift so she could get in one more hour of study time before bed.

Unfortunately, miracle number two was short lived if the noises she heard out in the hallway were anything to go by. It seemed her roommate decided to come home with a "friend"; grumbling to herself about annoying roommates bringing home strangers on weeknights; she sighed and hurried her shower.

"Crap!" Of all the times she brought her clothes with her to the bathroom to change into after her shower, tonight had to be the one night she left all her stuff in her room.

Frustrated, she turned off the water and decided to do her best to sneak out of the bathroom without being seen. After drying off she took a quick peek out the door. Not seeing anyone she attempted to make a break for it and skip to her room. It seemed as if her miracles where on a downward spiral now, because just at the moment she decided to make a break for it the "friend" decided he needed to use the bathroom.

Didn't they hear the shower go off? She swore her roommate and her acquaintances had no perception of the world around them. Not for the first time, she wished she could afford an apartment on her own. Somewhat embarrassed about being caught in only a towel by the fine looking man-candy in front of her, she gave a small, curt half-wave and hurried to her bedroom. Meanwhile said man-candy seemed to take in her every detail, while looking her up and down in the middle of the hallway.

After entering the safety of her bedroom, she leaned against the door a moment trying to catch her breath thinking about where Becca found these guys. "Well hot damn he was a fine piece of…"

Shaking her head trying to get the man out of her mind, she remembered her long time boyfriend. They had been together since their junior year in high school; they were what most considered high school sweethearts. Five years later they were still together. Sure he had seemed a little off lately, and they argued more, but she put that all off to him being worried about grad school and finals. Shrugging her shoulders, she decided there was nothing wrong with looking; guys did it, why couldn't she. She didn't want to think about her boyfriend tonight; she needed to focus on the exam she had in a couple of hours.

After getting dressed and resigning herself to having to hear her roommate's activities, she was surprised to hear the man say a quick "well I better head out" and "see ya".

She couldn't help but giggle as she put on her headphones and took out her notes. Maybe her miracles weren't on a downward spiral after all.

Angela had just completed her last final exam. She couldn't wait to get back her scores and graduate in a few weeks. Feeling pretty good about herself and her accomplishments, she decided to treat herself to a mini-celebration with her favorite Chocolate mint mocha and book at the duck pond on the west side of campus.

While Angela did not plan on going to grad school, she did have a nice job lined up working as an entry-level accountant at the local United Way of Clallam County just outside her hometown. Even though she had accepted the offer earlier in the year, she was starting to second-guess herself. Ben wanted her to join him on the east coast while he worked on his masters. It wasn't that Angela didn't want to go cross-country; it was that she didn't know if she wanted to go with Ben.

It started out as a small argument about her not supporting him enough in his "goals". She tried to ignore the small jabs he made and guilt over not wanting to go with him, by telling him, it wasn't that she didn't support him; it was just that she already had this commitment and opportunity set up. Their strong relationship was a struggle as of late, but Angela was willing to work on it. While she wasn't the perfect preacher-kid, she had learned enough from her parents that all relationships took work, honesty and commitment. However, since the beginning of this new semester, Ben had been working extra hours as a Teaching Assistant during late night labs, while she had to work at Jack's. She knew he was a dedicated student, but the spark in their relationship seemed to slowly burn out, until recently there seemed to be none left. She tried to schedule date nights with him to talk about her feelings and see if they could reconnect on some level, but both had such different schedules that it was hard for them to have quality time together. After a while, every time she would try to bring up spending time together, it would start another disagreement. Sometimes, she felt clueless, not even understanding what the disagreement was about in the first place.

Angela didn't want to think about these things. She wanted to experience miracle number three of the day and enjoy her mini-celebration. Just as she was getting ready to sit down at the bench in front of the pond, she got the feeling she was being watched. Looking around, she spotted the guy from her apartment. Feeling frustrated yet again that she had to face this guy twice in one day; she gathered her belongings in hopes of a quiet evening in her apartment before Becca returned.

On her way to her apartment, she thought about going to Ben's place, but remembered he had headed home earlier that day to spend some time with his mother who just got out of the hospital. On a whim, she decided that she would call her boss to see if she could get off for a few days and have a surprise visit with her parents, Ben and his mother. With small miracle number four in mind, she was able to get a co-worker to cover her shifts and her bosses go ahead.

After getting back to her apartment, Angela was about to finish her mini-celebration and four chapters of "The Princess Bride" before packing her bags and calling it an early night before making the long drive home.

She was making good time singing along to the radio, when she met the rain. She knew she shouldn't start counting her next small miracle until it happened, but she was hoping she would bring the sun with her for once. "Oh well Ang," she spoke aloud to herself, "I should have dragged Becca's ass with me". As much as she liked to complain about her roommate, Angela really did like her friend. Becca helped the shy little sailor minded girl come out into the open and not just in Angela's head. Giggling, Angela remembered Becca always telling her in that sweet southern Mississippi twang of hers, "you have got to let all that pent up monologue in your head out every once in a while or your gonna blow up honey!"

The two had met each other during second year stats and micro economics and discovered that they both had the same warped sense of humor after witnessing each other laugh at the worse and most inappropriate times during the first week of classes. Naturally, the two became fast friends and ended up studying together all semester. Both of the girls wanted out of the dorms, so Becca suggested they become roomies. Smiling and thinking about her friend, Angela turned the music up being sure to sing really bad at the top of her lungs over the sound of the rain.

Just as she was passing the welcome to Forks sign, she started having second thoughts. Maybe she should have called? Now that her brothers where older, her mom and dad tended to make more plans. She really hoped she didn't walk in on them deciding they wanted a last minute honeymoon. Shuddering at the thought, she decided to pull out her cell phone and made a quick call to her mom to let her know she was in town and to keep her cloths on.

Her parents where beyond excited that she decided to visit. They were a little confused about Ben not being with her when she showed up. Her mom had not heard Mrs. Cheney mention him being in town when she was doing her hospital visit as part of her duties as the pastor's wife earlier that morning. Seeing her daughters face, she quickly responded, "Oh, I'm sure Mary was just really tired and forgot to bring it up, thinking I already knew about it. She has been through major hip replacement after all. And let me tell you, at her age that is no picnic". Angela knew her mother must be right and decided to get in a good visit with her family before surprising Ben at home or at the hospital the next day.

Mrs. Cheney was happy and surprised to see Angela at the hospital. The smile on her face when she saw her was the small miracle number five Angela was hoping for. She truly did love and respect the woman. (Was it wrong to love her boyfriend's mom, more than her boyfriend)? She had been through so much in her life. Wife and mother to four sons, the first one dieing of heart failure at four; standing beside her husband through brain cancer; and then raising her remaining three sons on her librarian's salary at the school. The woman knew hard times and was always there for her boys and the other students. A little while into the visit, Mrs. Cheney asked Angela what Ben was doing this weekend since she did not see her son with Angela.

Clearly surprised by the comment, Angela tried to think of anything to say as a way to answer the woman. "I'm not sure Mary, honestly, I thought he was here. Oh gosh, I hope he's okay. I'm surprised he hasn't called you. I'm sure there is just a misunderstanding and we passed each other and he will be around soon, but if you don't mind, I think I am going to step outside a bit and call him while I run to get that milk shake you wanted." Giving a quick pat and rub on the arm, Angela smiled at the woman before stepping out.

Before Angela could have a full on panic attack she decided to call Ben and make sure he was safe. Answering on the third ring, Angela was relieved to hear he sounded alright. "Hey babe, I just wanted to check in with you and see where you where at?"

"I'm on my way into the hospital to visit mom, can I call you later tonight after I'm done here?"

Excited he was on his way inside, and not wanting to give herself away, she told him sure thing and hung up. Deciding to give Ben a few minutes with his mom alone, she drove down the street to pick up the milk shake before heading back. Confused at not seeing Ben with his mom when she entered the room, Angela asked her when the last time she had seen or heard from him. "Did he not answer dear?" Mary asked. Not wanting to worry the still healing older woman, because Angela knew perfectly well he was fine, she told her that she left a message and she was sure he was just busy at the moment and would try to talk to him later that night.

Wanting to be alone and not talk to anyone, Angela decided to make a trip to First Beach. It wasn't bad for a May day; at least it hadn't started raining yet. Finding a comfy spot, Angela laid out the towel she kept in her car and watched the waves. She didn't know what she should think about Ben's flat out lying to her. She had been so worried; only to find out he was hiding something from her. Pissed, she decided to call Becca.

"Damn girl, that lying, no good for nothing piece of shit," Becca told her after hearing all the events of the morning. "You deserve better honey!"

"But what if it is all just a big misunderstanding? He could have some kind of surprise for me you know? It is my birthday next week! You don't think he forgot after all these years do you?"

"I say he's a cheat girl. You two have been arguin' all semester. Now don't you go sugar coatin' it, callin' it disagreements; I have done heard you, and what I heard is arguin." Becca rattled on, ignoring Angela's attempt to interrupt. "Look, I know his car, I'll go check his place and the lab out for you, see if I see anything. If he's smart he won't be in town, wherever the hell he is. But then again, if he is planning birthday shit or whatever, he should be 'round, right?"

"Yeah fine, that might be a good idea, but hey Bec, don't make it too obvious 'kay. I don't want to be one of those girls; you know the ones." Angela sighed. What would she do if he was messing around on her? That thought pissed her off too much to think about at that moment.

"Alright girl, I'm gonna let you go and think before I piss myself off and call him out on his shit." Ending the call, Angela really did try not to worry.

She didn't know how long she was sitting there when she had the feeling of being watched again. Looking around, she saw Becca's friend from the other night wave and jog toward her. Was this guy stalking her? What the hell was he doing here? Surely...

"Hey there, you following me?" The stranger asked her. Angela couldn't help but giggle at the pure absurdity of the question, thus briefly forgetting all about Ben and her anger. Damn, she had never seen a man that built so up close. She wanted to touch him; he was just so handsome.

"I was thinking it was the other way around; I was about to get out my phone and call for back up" she smiled teasing him right back. She sure wished she had remembered to ask Becca about the mysterious man in front of her, but then she would have to tell her how exactly she noticed him, and then Angela would never live that down...

"So, do you make it a habit of following women around after seeing them in nothing but a towel?" Oh man, why did she say that... biting her tongue before she could say anything else, she decided to introduce herself. Unfortunately, he must have been thinking the same thing, because he said his name at the exact same time as her. It was bizarrely cute, in an awkward kind of way. Smiling at her, he took a seat next to her and stuck out his hand, "Embry, and your Becca's roommate? Angela right?"

"That's me." She replied, shaking his hand back.

Why was she all of a sudden so incredibly happy? If she didn't know better, she'd swear she had been out drinking.

Embry told her about being a junior at Washington State majoring in computer science, and how he commuted every weekend home to help out his family. Something, Angela could respect. He continued to explain that he knew Becca through some friends of his and was just trying to help her out after he saw she had locked her keys in her car outside the library. At this point, she was reminded of her embarrassment at him having seen her in a towel, added to her assumption of him being involved with her friend. Angela in turn told him a little about herself and the job she had lined up. She was feeling so at ease with him, she wasn't quiet ready to go when she started to feel a little cold.

Deciding it best to head home, Embry asked to see her again. Angela wasn't stupid, she was attracted to this man, and it would be wrong to continue having conversations with him or even entertaining the idea of being his friend; oh, but how she wanted to. This was the third time she had ran into him in the past two days, surely that was some kind of evidence that they would run into each other again. Deciding to leave it up to chance she told him, "We seem to have made a habit of running into each other. I'm sure I'll see you around." She walked away, secretly hoping for some future small miracle that she was right.

After three days of visiting home and hearing nothing save a text from Ben saying he was sorry he didn't get a chance to call, Angela decided to head home. Becca had called the night before, but Angela was too frustrated and nervous to answer, deciding to send her a text saying she would be back at the apartment before dark. With hugs and promises that she would be moving back home at the end of her lease next month, Angela wished her family goodbye.

No sooner had she walk in the door of their apartment, Becca was hugging her. Angela knew that look. While it had never been directed at her before, she knew.

"What is it?"

"I'm sorry honey. You really don't want to know, but I have to tell you. Come on sit and put your stuff down." Once settled she continued, "I didn't want to be right honey, but I saw all the signs."

"I need to see it for myself Bec... Is it someone I know? God, I really hope it is some bleached-blonde tramp I don't know."

Becca had an idea where he would be that night. She had followed him from his apartment to Phoenix Underground the night after she spoke to Angela; a place Angela had never had the urge to go to before.

Making sure they were dressed to kill, Angela in her "street-walking boots" as she liked to call them and Becca in her "come-hither" red heals, they headed out.

She had an idea of what to expect when she got there, but it did not stop the feeling of her heart dropping to her stomach and her knees from going weak. Becca was there to hold her arm, when Angela saw Ben out on the dance floor with one of the students from his lab. She had seen them at the library together multiple times; they even made idle chitchat from time to time saying that they should do coffee sometime. She had never thought anything of it. The girl had acted like she wanted to be Angela's friend. "Why that little," Angela saw red! Watching them together, Angela didn't want to be there anymore. She turned around, before Ben saw her; Becca hot on her heals.

"The little shit. The two-timing, no good... He used his mother Bec! His mother who was in the hospital! As an excuse! The nerve..." Angela blurted out.

She was beyond all rational thought. She knew something was wrong with him and their "relationship". She didn't support him, her ass! Who the hell does he think he is? Snorting and flailing her arms, a very un-Angela-like think to do, Angela marched out to the parking lot feeling part crazed. She was heart broken; Ben was her first and only love that she had ever known outside of family and friends. Sure, now that she looks back there where signs, but it still hurt, and it pissed her the hell off. How dare he lie to her, accuse her of not supporting him, when he was off with that POS bimbo looking for a moneymaker.

Eying his car in the parking lot, she wished she had the nerve to bust out his windows, or dig her keys into the paint. Five years!

"Five years Bec! I need a baseball bat!" She said, turning to her friend seeking comfort.

Seeing how lost she was, Becca gave her the strongest hug she could muster, leading them both toward her car, as Angela cried angry, hurt tears.

The day Ben finally called, Angela was so grateful to Becca for taking the call and telling him to "fuck off". So it really shouldn't have been a surprise when the cheat showed up at her doorstep a few hours later trying to act confused. Becca tried to stop him, but Ben pushed past her to talk to Angela. She felt a fire inside her when he tried to touch her. Her head whipped around and she stared him down. How dare the motherfucker even think of touching her?

Seeing the fire in Angela's eyes, Ben felt his stomach drop to the floor. He knew she knew, and there was no way he was going to be able to talk her into another one of his stories. Thankfully, Becca showed up with a broomstick, threatening to call the police and beat him with the stick if he didn't get the hell out.

Weeks past and the end of the month was upon them. Ben only attempted to call and ask forgiveness the first two days before giving up. Angela was starting to miss her small miracles in life; she was such an optimistic person by nature, she missed not counting them. She really did try to be strong and look on the bright side, but she felt like she had wasted so much time in her relationship with Ben. Becca was the best friend a girl could hope for, helping her not to wallow and enjoy her last few weeks before leaving college life behind her. She didn't know what she would do without her when she was officially moved out tomorrow evening. She would miss Becca and the life they had made.

"Don't look so down" Becca said hugging her "I'll just be a phone call and a plane ride away".

Becca was going home too next week. Angels knew, she would only be seeing her on Skype for the next few years and was already missing her. She couldn't help but giggle.

"What's got you all giggling Missie?"

"I just realized! I'm going to miss you more than Ben."

Becca joined her this time, hugging her friend, happy to see an honest-to-goodness, real smile on her face.

"Alright sweet-cheeks, enough of this," gesturing to the last of the boxes holding Angela's things. "Let's have one last hooray before you have to leave tomorrow. You can borrow some of my stuff if you don't have anything not boxed up."

It was a Thursday night. The truck for Angela's belongings would not be at their apartment until noon the next day. That allowed for the duo to stay out pretty much as late as they wanted. While getting ready the girls decided they would go on a self-made dinner tour. It had been a while since they had had a serious girl's night. Their first stop was Jack's for an appetizer and drinks. It also allowed Angela one last chance to say good-bye to her former co-workers.

After a good visit, the girls headed to the Country Kitchen down the road. The girls loved it because they could have breakfast for dinner, without getting overly full, before catching a movie.

"I think that was the best one yet..."

Becca went on talking about the newest Pixar animated film while Angela smiled and thought about the small miracle walking beside her. She was so grateful for a friend like her. As they were entering the Cheesecake Factory for dessert and coffee, Angela's mind drifted to the last miracle she had hoped for. Now that she was single, she wondered if she would see the strange man again. She decided to brave it and ask Becca about him; unfortunately, after a good tease about Embry finding her in the hall in only a towel (she knew she shouldn't have told her), Becca didn't know much about him, only that he was friends with some of the guys in her web design class the semester before last.

Just as the girls where finishing up, Ben walked into the restaurant. He was escorting a different girl than the one from the other night. Angela tried to ignore the new couple as they walked in and took their seat, while she and Becca waited on the check.

Unfortunately, their server was not quick enough. As soon as Ben's date went to the restroom, he approached them.

"What do you think you are doing?" Becca asked, drawing attention from the table next to theirs.

"I got this", Angela told her. "What do you want Ben?"

"Look Ang, what happened the other night was a mistake, it won't happen again baby. We can work this out."

The nerve of him! She couldn't help the laugh that escaped.

"You sure have a way of showing you mean it 'baby'; why not just introduce us to your date! What happened to your lab partner?" She didn't wait for him to respond. "Let's get out of here Bec!"

Once outside, Ben tried to turn Angela to face him. Not wanting to hear anymore lies, Angela nailed him right in the noise, just as he was opening his mouth.

"Damn that felt good," she told Becca as they jogged away from her ex-boyfriend, while he stood there cursing and holding his face.

Angela had been home for several months, when things got interesting. She loved her new job and was adjusting well to life "in the real world"; she thought she had been rather fortunate. Everyone was so helpful and welcoming. After her second full month of employment, she was able to find a modest two bedroom, one-bath house on the residential side of town and move out of her childhood home. Which is where she would be now, if she was not asked by her parents to house-sit while they finally went on that honey moon they always said they wanted.

She was just leaving the grocery store when she heard her name being called, turning she saw it was none other than Embry. Surprised to see him after all this time, she smiled and said a quick "Well hi there stranger!" while loading up her trunk.

"Embry," he reminder her, like she could have forgotten.

"I remember who you are. It's been a while since I last saw you, but not that long. I thought for sure we would have run into each other sooner than this though. It's been what, five months?" she said still smiling at him.

They spent a few moments catching up when he asked to see her again that night for coffee, to which she quickly agreed. Pulling out of the parking lot, Angela started counting her small miracles again.

Embry and Angela had been seeing each other for three years when Ben Cheney showed up in town. Angela and Embry were out for Sunday lunch with Embry's mother and her parents. When she saw him, Angela had to do a double take. She knew she would run into him eventually, but it had been so long since she had seen or heard from her long ago ex-boyfriend, that it caught her off-guard. Approaching the table, Ben said hello to Angela and her parents, before introducing himself to the other two at the table. Angela, felt nothing for him, which surprised her again. She was able to smile and say "It's nice to see you, how's your mother?" without any outside emotions clouding her judgment.

As the week past, Ben approached her, but naturally when Angela told him to "fuck off," he seemed to get the hint. Her best guess was he didn't want another punch to the face.

Over the years, Angela and Embry grew as a couple and married. Angela counted her small miracles everyday and could not have been happier.

Ben also ended up moving back to Forks and getting married to a schoolteacher. Not many people knew what had happened between Angela and Ben, Angela was happy, so she really didn't care one way or another. For his wife's sake she had hoped he had learned his lesson.

It wasn't long after that Angela heard he was shot in the ass by said wife for him cheating on her with the teller at the bank. Angela shook her head when she heard the news. The fool never did learn. Maybe she should have destroyed his car that night, although she highly doubted he would have learned anything.

Pulling into the drive of her and Embry's home, she was once again thankful for her small miracles and the future they had ahead.