Confined in the car for the four hour drive from Seattle to Forks with Annie, Bella wasn’t particularly pleased. However, she knew it was part of the plan and somewhere, either before them, or behind, or even already in Forks, was Ben, poised to watch over them from a distance and collecting intel where he could.
“My father’s house isn’t much,” she started explaining to her so she knew what to expect as they grew closer to the small town. “Some time ago, he had taken out my old bed and put in a bunk with all the friends I used to bring home from work. Simple, quiet getaways for the peace. Top bunk is mine,” she warned at the end as she gave her a slightly playful side glare.
“Hey, whatever gets the job done, right?” Annie smiled at her. She wasn’t too pleased about the idea of having to be confined to a village in the middle of nowhere – the biggest city was Port Angeles, 2 hours away – for basically nothing but keeping a watchful eye out, intel gathering and having Bella’s back. But, on the other hand, it was a welcome change of pace. Hopefully.
“So you grew up here?” she asked as they rolled into town. It looked like one main street and that was it. “Where did you go to have fun? Shopping for clothes?”
Her fingers wrapped around the steering column tightly and she drew in a deep breath, avoiding looking at her. “I wasn’t much a fan of
shopping, though I was coerced into it frequently. I actually lived with my mother mostly until she remarried and I decided to come live with my father. That’s when my life got turned sideways…” Bella said quietly, making their way through the streets. “Promise me something? Whatever might go on, just stick by my dad and make sure that nothing happens to him.”
Annie had to smile at that and held up her phone. “Auggie sent me a text earlier about that. Don’t worry Bella, your dad will be safe.”
She hesitated before glancing over at her. “I don’t trust anyone here and neither should you. I only wonder who is here or still around.”
“Didn’t you used to have a friend over here?” Annie asked as she looked at the thin file that Auggie had given her to inform her a little about where she was going. “This guy called Jacob?”
An unladylike snort came from her and she shook her head. “A self absorbed dog that doesn’t take no for an answer. Blind or not, Auggie now would not hesitate to neuter the mutt.”
“Oh, fight club?” Annie grinned. “I’d pay to see that, really.”
Bella tilted her head thoughtfully. “You know…so would I.”
“I mean… Auggie punching someone?”
“That I’ve seen plenty. No. Him putting an asshole in his place,” she smirked. “But if you want to check out the Rez, I’m sure we can visit. There are some beach sand cliffs for diving. I know my dad will try to drag one of us out for fishing.”
“It’s too cold to go diving in the ocean,” Annie laughed. “No thanks. Diving into the ocean in warmer climates? Sure, but here? This place looks so depressing.”
“Yeah. I couldn’t wait to get out of here,” she mumbled as she pulled in front of a small two story house. “Looks like Charlie is still at work. Gives you a little to settle in.”
The house was bigger than it looked; downstairs had the kitchen and the living room and upstairs had two or three spacious bedrooms and the bathroom. Bella had been right about the bunkbeds. Everything in the house was practical. The only remainders of ever being a woman in the house were the picture frames and the furniture in the living room.
All in all, it was quite the cozy house even though the walls seemed to be made out of paper. Bella’s sleeping in the woods remark made a lot of sense now; there was no way they would be able to talk freely with Bella’s dad in the house.
When Annie returned to the kitchen after bringing their bags up and exploring, Bella was unpacking the groceries they had brought with. As Bella had expected, there wasn’t much in the house other than beer. “Are you going to call in telling Auggie that we’ve arrived or shall I?”
Pulling out her cell phone, Bella dialed Auggie and put him on speaker as she continued putting the food away and set the device on the counter. Waiting for him to answer, she pulled out a couple beers for them.
“Please don’t tell me that you’ve left Annie at the airport.”
“Thought she could use the fresh air,” Bella smiled. “Plenty of it up here.”
“Awesome. That means that Jai owes me ten bucks,” Auggie grinned and rubbed his hands. “Glad you two made it to Forks. How’s the weather?”
“The same as last time. When you were here.”
“SerIously? No weather system is that consistent!”
Bella turned to lean against the counter and face Annie and held the phone. “Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. Wet 95% of the time. Your footwear is usually rain boots or snow boots. Anyway, we are at the house. Just waiting for the Chief to get home then I’m thinking of going out and checking things out later.”
“Alright, if you need anything, let me know. Call me tonight?”
Smirking, there was a devilish glint in her eye. “You seriously expect phone sex with Annie in the bunk below me and my father down the hall? Naughty, Auggie…”
Annie started to laugh. “As if!”
“Watch it or I’m going to blow this entire thing and I’ll come to Forks,” he said playfully. “Have fun you two.”
“I’ll call later. Tell Mom I’ll check in with her later,” Bella laughed lightly just as she heard a car pulling up outside.
Not soon after they disconnected the call, a man dressed in a sheriff uniform and the worst 80’s porn mustache ever walked into the kitchen, confused for a second as he saw his daughter and her friend. “Oh, that was today,” he stated, more to himself than the people in the room.
“Yeah Dad,” Bella smiled at him. “That’s today. You forgot. Tsk, tsk.”
“I didn’t forget, Bells,” he said as he pulled his daughter into a hug. “I had planned to go to the supermarket after getting changed.”
She hummed her amusement as she hugged him tightly. “No need. We stopped on our way from the airport. I know how much you live on the diner food and beer. Dad, this is Annie. Annie, Charlie,” Bella introduced as she turned in his hold.
“Hi, nice to meet you,” Annie smiled widely.
Charlie huffed as he looked at his daughter. “Did you tell her to stick with me while you go and do other things in Forks just like the previous times?”
Her eyes widened innocently and shook her head. “Why would I do something like that? Come on dad,” she tugged on his arm towards the table. “Fill me in on the gossip in town. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back. You’ve had to have heard something good.”
“Well, the Black boy and his friends have started their own security company and have been on the shooting range quite often. Billy’s so proud of his son, they even got their first big job right here in Forks,” Charlie said as he sat down at the table.
“What the hell kind of security would you need in Forks? Someone thinking their loot going to be stolen by rabid wolves?”
“Their idea was to move closer to Seattle. Billy always believed in letting them go, knowing they’d come back running with their tails between their legs,” he said with a chuckle. “Those boys want to have fun, serious work is not really what the majority of them desire. You know Jake, he likes to tinker a lot. Sam and Paul… well, maybe.”
“But still. Security?” she repeated, skeptical. “An auto shop is more in their repertoire. And would last. They’re idiots.”
Charlie shrugged. “Training them to use a gun was a nightmare. It was like a frat party until Billy came in and looked at them sternly,” he turned to Annie with a big smile. “The guy’s in a wheelchair but he can make water boil by just looking at it.”
Annie smiled as she joined the Swans at the table. “I echo Bella’s sentiment though, who would need security in a town like Forks? Is there a celebrity moving in or something?”
“Nah, just Doctor Cullen and his family. He’s grown a little bit paranoid due to his time in Europe.”
Bella’s eyebrow rose and her lip curled back in disgust as she turned in her seat. “They’re back. Lovely,” she grumbled, playing up her role. “Too bad I forgot to pack the cyanide.”
Charlie gently pat his daughter’s shoulder. “They won’t be back for another week or so, they’re still renovating the house. It’s just that Alice and her new boyfriend for now. I doubt you’ll have any trouble from them and when you do, point them to me. I have a gun.”
“May I borrow one?” she smiled sweetly, batting her eyelashes. “I promise not to waste any bullets. I’ll save them for Edward if I run into him.”
“I know I taught you how to shoot, Bella, but if you just stay away from them, you won’t need a gun,” Charlie said sweetly as he took a sip of his beer before nodding towards Annie. “Don’t let her get involved with them either.”
Annie eyed him, glanced at her before looking at him again. “You do know I can get better results by talking to that wall over there,” she said pointing behind him. “She’s as stubborn as Auggie.”
“Auggie…” Charlie pondered before his eyes lit up and looked at his daughter. “That’s that guy you brought over a few times, isn’t it? I like him. How’s he doing?”
“Yeah, Dad. Auggie’s – good,” Bella answered quietly. “He’s… been through some things since he visited that he kept secret that I found out about after helping him out overseas. And well, he’s doing better now.”
Charlie slowly nodded. “You’re still not dating him, are you? He’s a great guy, I kinda hoped you two would end up together.”
Annie quickly took a sip of her beer to muffle her laughter and texted Auggie with the phone in her lap. This was fun. So much fun.
“Jesus fuck Dad,” Bella blinked as she sat back. “Is this a fucking conspiracy? Just because I brought someone home, doesn’t mean I was dating them. Remember Jai? And Eric? Not to mention Ben? I didn’t date any of them. Christ Dad!”
Charlie grinned. “Don’t you think the lady protests too much, Annie?”
Annie shrugged. “I think that it’s an outdated thing that women and men can’t be friends with each other.”
“Have you seen them?”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
“Thank you,” Bella nodded, triumphantly, smiling and feeling pleased as she looked to her father. “See?”
“Call him. Invite him over. I want to go fishing,” Charlie said seriously.
Bella’s smile faltered. “He can’t come.”
“Because he can’t see.”
“And Billy’s in a wheelchair and yet he goes on the boat every time we go fishing,” Charlie rolled his eyes at her. “And what do you mean with ‘he can’t see’? What happened?”
“Billy can see around him. Auggie can’t see the unsteady ground. He’s blind. He was in an accident when he was deployed,” she shared the common knowledge, her fingers tapping nervously on the table.
“Jesus Christ, that blows. Call him. We’ll do something else then. The boy could use some fresh air,” he took a sip of his beer and smirked. “Unless you think that you can’t keep your hands off of him, of course.”
Her eyes narrowed and shook her head. “You have no idea what the hell you are talking about because when I tell you what I need to, you’ll be choking on those words,” she muttered as she pulled out her phone with a sigh and dialed Auggie on her NOC line.
“Miss Swan! Is everything alright? I promise you that your colleagues are not ruining your strict filing regime, I’m personally seeing to that.”
“I’m sure you are, while you are eating popcorn and making a mess of my desk?”
“Feet up and everything. You know me.”
“How busy are things?” she asked, tired and irritated by her father’s inquisition.
“I don’t know, it depends.”
“Do you think management could arrange for a working vacation for you? If you can bring the equipment you need, that is,” she suggested.
“Your dad doesn’t like Annie?”
“He hasn’t indicated as much. He wants to see you though. Something about fishing. You know I would rather be strung up by my toenails than be on a boat like that.”
“Fishing, huh? Well, as it happens, I was just looking at some rods online.”
Bella snorted. “How much did Jai get you for one of those rods?”
“He said he’d owe me if I could get him a proper rod. I was actually thinking on buying him a kiddy rod and make your dad mock him like crazy.”
“You both were planning on coming out regardless of plans?” she deadpanned. “What the hell Auggie?”
“No, Jai wanted to make plans, back up shit. You know, incase you get cold at night.” Auggie sounded as if he had bile in his throat.
“I haven’t told him yet.”
“Told me what?” Charlie murmured as he took a sip of his beer. “You’re pregnant?”
“No!” she denied indignantly. “Hell no! No. I – uh… may have gotten into a relationship this year and it progressed rather – fast…” she swallowed nervously.
“That sounds unlike you, who’s the guy? Can I meet him? And shoot him if I don’t like him?”
Bella looked to Annie, almost as if for help. “You, uh, met him before, Dad.”
“Jai and Bella have been dating for a few months,” Annie explained with a half hearted smile on her face. “He proposed to her in Paris during a work thing.”
“Jai?” Charlie said with a low growl. “I liked the guy but I don’t like him that much!”
She shrugged at him with a small smile. “It just happened, Dad. Believe me, it came to me like a surprise.”
“And he didn’t even ask me for permission!”
“Once again, outdated,” Annie pointed out.
“It wasn’t planned,” Bella pushed out, her teeth grinding the words. “Can we discuss this later? Please?”
“Sure,” Charlie muttered. “The invitation for Auggie still stands.”
Bella let out a breath, calming herself. “Charlie wants to invite you to join us for the trip, to go fishing with him or something.”
Auggie was quiet for a moment. It would be best for everyone of he stayed as far away as possible for this, but he could make himself invisible if he had to, and he was pretty sure that Annie didn’t like to go fishing anyway. On the other hand, Forks was a messy place to navigate, he’d have to rely heavily on others to get around. Which would be terrible. “Uhm, I could check with management but I don’t think it’s a good idea. While I’m generally fearless, I am not sure how I could go about the town without imposing on everyone.”
“Well, if you’re able to come, you won’t be imposing on us,” Bella smiled slightly. “You know how I roll.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want this trip for you to become a disaster, either. That’s the whole reason I stayed behind in the first place,” Auggie replied with a sigh. “I could put you through to management and if they say it’s okay, I’ll make the necessary arrangements.”
“It won’t become a disaster,” Annie assured Auggie. “Blind guys aren’t superheroes.”
“Watch your language, I AM a superhero and there’s nothing you can say to prove that otherwise,” Auggie said playfully. “I have a cane and I’m not afraid to use it!”
Bella chuckled and shook her head. “Don’t forget how many times Murdock kicked your ass in the gym, Walker. Wash out your mouth.”
“So, who’ll talk to management. You or me?”
“I will,” Charlie grumbled, still very displeased with his daughter’s engagement. “You crazy kids will be the best thing happening under my roof for years.”
“Awesome,” Auggie grinned.
Annie looked confused for a moment. “How will he…?”
“And when management does release you into my custody, you and I are going to have a long fishing trip, son.”
Auggie swallowed hard. “I uh… I’ll bring something to make you be nice to me.”
“Oh, you have nothing to worry about. We just have some things I’d like to discuss.”
Annie grinned as she looked at her phone, seeing a message from Auggie, asking her if he should be worried. She texted him back and told him that it was going to be a difficult thing to discuss with Charlie and that he needed to bring his dancing shoes.
“Great! I’ll just wait until I hear from management. Have fun you three!”
“Bye Auggie,” Bella said, her finger hovering over the end call button, anxious to keep her father from saying more. “I’ll check in later.”
“Uhuh. Talk to you later. Bye!” Auggie disconnected the call and ran his hand through his hair. “Oh boy…”
Charlie polished off his beer and smiled as he took Bella’s phone and called Joan. “Hello sweetheart, how are you doing?”
Annie’s eyes grew wide as she looked at Bella. ‘Sweetheart?’ she mouthed.
She only rolled her eyes and sat back in her chair with her arms crossed like a petulant child. “Um, yeah… Joan is actually my step-aunt, you can say? Arthur is Charlie’s brother from their mother’s first marriage,” she whispered back.
Annie’s eyes grew even bigger as her jaw seemed to drop on the floor. “Shit, you’re fucked!” she whispered.
“Charlie! What a surprise! What can I do for you?”
“Well, Joanie, somehow I get the feeling that this trip that you put my daughter on with one of your family members is going to be a working one.”
“Of course I am,” he hummed as he walked to the fridge to get himself another beer. “Am I correct in understanding that the guy who answers the phone for the Institution is one of your family members as well?”
Joan was quiet for a moment and sighed. “Maybe, why?”
“I like him. Surely he can do his job from here. It’d be nice for him to be in the clean air, go fishing with me, make me feel like I’m not the only man in the house.”
“Charlie, I’m not going to send someone else on a trip just to entertain you. I love you but that’s just ridiculous.”
“Okay, fine. I like him. Blondie looks a bit green around the nose.”
“Annie is one of the best we have. Still no reason for me to send someone else along. I didn’t send them alone, you know.”
“I know the kid. I trust him. Send him out here Joanie. What possible reason could you have against it that would justify not sending to support the girls and keep me distracted as Blondie here was supposed to do?”
Joan sighed deeply. “Yes, but trust me. I trust Annie.”
“Yes, well, I have things I’d like to talk about to the boy face to face. Send him out Joanie.”
“Then come to Washington!”
“Send him to Forks.”
“How about I come to Forks and drag you back to Washington with me so you can talk to him?”
Charlie held the phone out from his face and twisted his lips like he tasted something sour. “This is a private matter that doesn’t concern you. If you had done your job, then I wouldn’t need to talk to him.”
“What?” Joan spluttered. “My job? And what was that?”
“Maybe I should have called Arthur. He’d be more understanding from the point of view as a father.”
Bella threw her hands up and stood from her chair. “I’m outta here for this this,” she announced, already knowing where his call was leading. “You’re more than welcome to stay for the show Walker.”
“Oh no, thanks,” she said as she got up as well. “Knowing how stubborn Joan is and seeing the determination on your father’s face, I don’t want to stick around for World War Three.”
Making their way to the back porch, Bella leaned on the rail and let out a frustrated growl. “I bet he’s looking to have Auggie come between Jai and I, but of course he doesn’t have the whole picture. Honestly, if he knew some of the truth, it would make this easier, but I need him pissed off about my relationship to make it all that more believable.”
“His heart is in the right place, though,” Annie said, leaning against the wall. “And it might even be a good idea for Auggie to be here, Jasper could have told them about me being CIA and his suspicions about you. Auggie could be the straight guy, you know. Why would a blind person work for the CIA?”
She narrowed her eyes as she stared out into the woods. “If he told them about you, it would have given away that he’s a Fed, so I doubt that he would have done that. It’s too big of a case to blow and it would make a name for himself. Aside from them, I have to contend with my father trying to break up my fake engagement, while attempting to use my very real boyfriend to come between us. How fun do you think this will be?” she grinned, wagging her eyebrows, as she looked over at her.
“And still time it right so they can see that you’re breaking up with your fake fiancé and appear vulnerable,” Annie grinned. “That’s going to be awesome. You’ll certainly earn an oscar.”
“Ergh,” Bella frowned. “I’m still working on finding another way in that doesn’t involve that particular family. I’m kinda hoping their Alaskan cousins happen to come down. They were kinda fun, even if they were a bit whorish. We could always play it that we decided to jump teams.”
Annie blinked when she heard Charlie yell at Joan. Even with the doors closed, all words were audible. “I’m totally up for that, would be so much fun to fuck with everyone’s heads.”
“I could just imagine the look on the boys’ faces when we pull that card out. So much fun,” she sang as she remained unfazed by her father’s outburst.
“Just so you know, I’ll be up for that. Especially hearing Jai tell Auggie what he sees and then seeing the look on Auggie’s face.”
“I’m the one that will have to live with the man when we go back to DC after this you know,” Bella pointed out as she looked at her. “It’ll be fun, but first we need to get past Joan. Dad should have her where he wants her by now.”
“Does he always get what he wants?”
She shrugged. “Damn near if it’s reasonable and justified. We can use him to help with our cover and he can help keep Dad better occupied than you would. Even if he goes into work, Auggie could go and upgrade their computers free of charge and still be able to babysit. You really wouldn’t have a good reason to hang around the station.”
“I could iron the tea towels, get them donuts and coffee…” Annie shrugged. “But you’re right, Auggie would be a better idea.”
The door opened and a victorious looking Charlie emerged. “I always like going to war with Joanie. Much more fun than Arthur’s first wife.”
“You didn’t leave her ego too bruised this time, did you? I do have to work with her, you know,” Bella huffed.
“All I told her that I still have some Miss Wet T-shirt photos that I had found and she told me to destroy.”
“Ah. I’ll have to remember that,” she mused thoughtfully. “Can I get copies?”
“Sweetheart, I already destroyed those pictures. She doesn’t know that.”
Bella pouted and shrugged. “Worth a shot. Want to just do pizza tonight? Not really feeling like heading out until morning.”
“Pizza is good. Pizza and beer is a great combination,” Charlie nodded.
“Awesome. Go order. Does the liquor store still special deliver for you?”
“Of course, as long as I keep turning a blind eye to their… side-business, I get deliveries and something extra.”
Bella smirked and pulled out some money. “Call in the orders and tack on two bottles of Patron for us.”
“Two?” Annie asked.
“One for you and I to start tonight. The rest for when Auggie gets here. He’ll need it. You’ll understand later,” she explained.
Charlie ignored the money in Bella’s hand and handed her her phone back before heading back inside to make the calls. He succeeded in bringing Auggie back to Forks for his Bella. This was going to be great.
Bella and Annie were in her room upstairs passing the Patron back and forth between them as Bella set her phone up to call Auggie on his. Charlie was preoccupied with his game downstairs so she was reasonable comfortable for the conversation about to ensue.
“No, you didn’t forget your toothbrush.”
“I got you a bottle of Patron waiting for when you get here,” Bella grinned.
Auggie whined. “He still has slow ass internet, doesn’t he?”
“What can I say? He truly has ulterior motives for wanting your presence. He should have joined with Mom and Dad. Imagine the three of them in the ranks. Henry’s nightmare.”
“Your dad would eat Henry alive.”
“And spit him out. He – was not pleased with the engagement news. Right away he started asking about you. So be prepared for participating in some super spy shit with him.”
“That is always interesting,” Auggie said as he put his own toothbrush in his bag. “It’s a good thing that your dad knows about our stuff, because I took a little more than the usual travel equipment, mainly for my own sanity.”
“Well you are more than welcome to upgrade things here. And you can upgrade the department while you’re at it, just to stay near him. But he doesn’t know about you and I which will make things – fun.”
“Can’t Annie throw herself at him? Bat her pretty lashes at him? Seduce him? I don’t know.”
“Hey!” Annie whined as she reached for the bottle.
“He’s not into jailbait.”
“We’ll throw her at the puppy then.”
“We’ll discuss the puppy and his friends when you get here. Seems an influential family has adopted their new security firm. I plan to scope it out as soon as I can.”
Auggie groaned. “Goodie. I’ll probably be arriving at lunch tomorrow. I’m taking an early flight and have someone drive me down to Forks.”
“Joan will probably have Ben pick you up. Just don’t kill him.”
“I will kill you if you kill him, Auggie,” Annie warned him.
“I can play nice if he can.”
“I’ll kill you if you touch a hair on him,” Bella glared at her, yanking the bottle from her hands and swallowing a mouthful.
“Great, the killing game has already started!” Auggie took a sip of his beer and nearly tripped over his bag. With a grunt, he pulled it back onto the bed. “Is your dad prepared to have three 30 somethings in his house that behave like absolute children?”
“Well – I can’t exactly tie you up and drag you out and have my way otherwise it would give away our relationship. So are you prepared to keep your hands to yourself? Or do you want to just tell him the truth? That Jai is a lie.”
“We’ll see. I mean, your dad is pretty observant. Then on the other hand, if he catches us in the lie, hell will be paid… Joan might have to pick up our bodies from the airport.”
Bella shook her head and grunted. “Wrong. We will never be found. Dad will have us so well hidden in these woods, they wouldn’t find us for fifty years.”
“We’ll see. I’m more interested in what he has to say to me that couldn’t be said over the phone. We can have a laugh at it later.”
“Hm, yes. Laugh,” Bella repeated as she sipped. Making her way off the bunk, she tripped over the corner of her chair. “Fucking shit. Where did that come from?”
“It’s been there since I got our bags up,” Annie laughed. “Are you okay?”
“Fucking shit attacked me,” she grumbled. “Auggie! When are you coming here?!”
“Tomorrow,” Auggie laughed. “Go to bed, you’re drunk, you silly little lightweight.”
“Too long,” she complained. “I want you here now.”
“You saw me this morning before you left. Have we really gotten to the point in our relationship where we can’t spend one day away from each other?”
“I’m tired of being sent away. I don’t want to go away anymore,” she mumbled as Annie had moved to coax her into the bed. “Don’t let Joan send me away anymore.”
“I know and I’ll tell Joan that if you’re going to be sent away again, I’m with you. Or we could just pack up and leave and disappear, how’s that?”
There was an incoherent mumble from her as she was face down on Annie’s bunk. The events of the day and news she received, with the help of the alcohol, pushing her to sleep.
“Annie, keep an eye on her. I know you’re not that drunk yet.”
“Hell no, I took my time,” Annie said as she wrestled the duvet from underneath Bella to cover her up and took the phone. “I didn’t quite realize how bad this thing has been for her over the years, but I’ve seen a lot today and she needs you here, Auggie.”
“Yeah, I know,” he sighed as he finished packing his bag and handed it to Joan who was standing patiently at the door. “She’s been on her own with this for far too long. You and I are going to make sure that at least this part of her assignment will be dead and buried when we’re done.”
“Sounds like a fantastic plan to me. We’ll talk when you get here. Goodnight Auggie,” Annie said softly.
“Good night, Annie. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Auggie hung up and put his phone in his pocket. He wasn’t on Joan’s best side right now as he had exchanged some pretty powerful words with her about Bella and the Cullens after she had come off the phone with Charlie, as he had been afraid that she wouldn’t send him.
Much to his surprise, she had allowed him to and agreed with everything that he had said. But still, it felt a little bit uneasy for her to drive him to the airport for the last plane out. He wanted to be there by morning. Luckily, Ben agreed to pick him up and not to kill him for a lack of sleep.