WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BREAKING DAWN BELOW. If you haven't read the book, this story won't really make sense. Go read SM's story first! 8-)
As for my little story:
A missing moment from Breaking Dawn - some bonding time between Edward and Nessie... and Jacob! Some Jacob/Rosalie action as well... Could have happened during a rare quiet moment while the vamps were visiting the Cullens.
Ah, there it is... the roasted chicken. I don't know where Esme got it but man, was it good. I pulled out the container and slapped a couple of huge chunks of the meat on top of my already full plate.
I grabbed a handful of paper towels and a fork and turned to the table. This was the one room I was most comfortable in - the one that stank the least in this house. It still didn't feel right, though, with its cold, dark granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. I half expected everything to be covered in dust - why would vampires even bother with a kitchen, anyway?
The word didn't carry the hate it once did, and when I heard a high-pitched laugh from the living room, it quickly vanished. Her laugh was so... geez, I wish I had Edward's brain to find the right word. It sounded like a chandelier shaking, but with a softer, airy quality. It was beautiful, happy, bubbly... it was life-water to me.
Then Blondie had to spoil it by speaking. "How about a ponytail today, Nessie?"
Another laugh, and I snatched my plate and marched into the living room.
"Jake!" Nessie said happily and exploded off of Rosalie's lap. In an instant her arms wrapped around my legs, squeezing hard enough to leave a momentary bruise. Blondie grimaced, and the dirty look she shot me warmed my heart.
"Morning, Nessie, you look happy today," I said, scooping her up with my free arm.
Her hand automatically reached out to my cheek, and for a second all I could see was her memory of Rosalie brushing her hair. I fell into the couch and set my plate down on the table. Usually I ate in the kitchen, but Rosalie was the only one around this morning - and she hated to watch me eat.
"Take that out of here, dog," she snarled, and I smiled.
I ignored her, stabbing a piece of nearly raw steak with my fork. "Hey Nessie, you want a bite?" I heard a loud snort from the other end of the couch.
Nessie's face wound into a frown, but she took the fork from my hand and inched it into her mouth. I had to work at keeping the laughter inside; her 'taste-face' was too cute. Her brow creased, but her mouth turned down as she tried to resist spitting the food back out. She looked at me, trying to put on a smile, but couldn't, and a little chuckle escaped my lips. With a deep breath she swallowed, then turned to me with wide eyes and a careful grin.
"Good girl. More?" I took the fork from her and her hand moved to my cheek again. As I stabbed another piece of meat, my mind filled with a picture of Bella's fading red eyes. We'll go hunting today, sweetheart, and the image changed to Nessie's favorite part of the river, surrounded by elk.
"I get it, don't want to spoil your dinner," I said and she laughed with me. I shoved the steak in my mouth and Rosalie groaned.
"I refuse to watch this," and she marched past me toward the stairs. I ducked just before she could swipe me across the back of the head and snickered.
A soft, rhythmic beat grew louder outside, and in a flash Nessie'd jumped off of my lap and headed to the back door. She jumped up into Edward's arms so gracefully, I paused to watch. The sight actually made me happy - because she was ecstatic to see her father. Imprinting was one weird experience.
Nessie hugged Edward tightly. "I'm proud of you for trying it," he said, kissing her forehead before setting her down. "Good Morning, Jake, sleep well?"
"Yup. Where's Bella?"
Edward glanced at Nessie, and after checking to see her nose buried in a book, made a fist. "She's out with Jasper and Emmett... practicing." His voice was tight, and turned into a hiss on the last word.
I strained, and could barely hear the thumps and groans and laughter that always came when Bella was working on her fighting technique.
Edward moved to the piano and started playing, a little louder than usual. Nessie started to sway to the music; it was one of her favorites, a song he'd written for Bella apparently. As the music got louder, she twirled around, like a wisp of smoke rising from a candle. I watched her, amazed by her grace. Wow...
The song ended and I polished off the last of my breakfast.
"What would you like to hear next?" Edward asked, pausing to listen to Nessie's unspoken answer. "I don't know, you'll have to ask him."
"What kind of music do you like, Jake?" she said. Her voice was so lovely, I wish she spoke more.
"Hmmm. Something with a beat." Linkin Park flashed through my mind, but Edward shook his head.
"Not on the piano."
"Something she can dance to, then."
Nessie clapped her hands and looked expectantly at her father, rising to her toes. His face softened and he smiled widely at her, lacing his fingers together and pretending to stretch them out in front of him before settling them on the keys.
He began to play, and I recognized the old song. Fifties, I think, but I'd heard it in a movie... Top Gun? Nessie bounced up and down with the beat, watching Edward's hands fly from one end of the keyboard to the other. I found my toe tapping as well, and she glanced over at me with a huge grin on her face. When Edward ran his finger down all the keys, she squealed with delight. I wanted to feel jealous, but couldn't. She was happy, and that was all that mattered.
"How was that?" Edward asked both of us.
"Not bad, right Nessie?" I said.
Nessie looked at Edward and answered with her thoughts. He cradled her cheek gently in his hand in reply.
"Give me a break," came Rosalie's voice from upstairs.
"Hey Edward, how do you get a blonde's eyes to sparkle?" He rolled his eyes at me, but one side of his mouth turned up. "Shine a flashlight in her ear." I cocked my head, waiting.
"Don't you have a home of your own, you mangy mutt?"
"Go back to your face, Barbie."
Just then we all heard Bella scream loudly. It wasn't a scream of pain, but in an instant Edward was on his feet, sending the piano bench flying behind him. Nessie jumped too, then reached for her dad.
Laughter erupted outside as he lifted her up, and he relaxed. "You're right, they won't hurt her." He wrapped his arms around her like a blanket. His hair mingled with hers, matching perfectly as he rocked her, their cheeks glued together.
I looked down, torn between the urge to steal Nessie away so I could comfort her and racing out the door to give this father some privacy with his daughter. I couldn't argue that Edward was a father - though he was cold on the outside, it was clear that there was love and warmth on the inside. I tried to be angry - how did a murderer earn such grace? But if Nessie loved him, I sure couldn't hate him. Damn, but imprinting was powerful.
The piano bench lay upside down at my feet. I flipped it back up and set it behind Edward.
"Thank you" he said knowingly. He sat back down, setting Nessie next to him on the bench.
I collapsed back on the couch, making plans to take Nessie out for a run later. Edward's hands moved back to the keys, but then paused. "You want to try?"
She nodded, but it was Edward's hands that started to move. She watched his fingers intently as he played a different, bright melody - the song he'd written just for her. This was a simpler version than he usually played, and it was slower, but just as sweet. He finished, then lifted Nessie on to his lap so she could reach the ivory keys. She looked up at him, questioning.
"Don't worry. Try it gently, then you'll know how hard to press."
She reached out with one finger, very slowly pressing down one key. Her body was the size of a four-year-old, but she had the strength of a bull, and she was so smart that she knew to be cautious with new things. The delightful giggle that came out of her when she made that first note was like rose blooming. Pretty became beautiful, and her fingers eagerly reached out.
She ran her finger up the keyboard, pressing all the white keys, then back down, her eyes lighting up like beacons. Edward's face was glowing too, finding this new connection with Nessie. I wondered what connections I would find with her in the future - maybe she'd like cars.
"It wouldn't surprise me in the least, Jacob," Edward said with a big smile.
Nessie's face crinkled with concentration as her hands returned to the middle of the piano and she began to pick out the melody of her song. At first it was only one note at a time, but as she played the next verse, she added more chords, and more complexity, repeating the movements her dad's hands had just made. I looked down at my hands, at my fingers that were nearly the size of her arm. Nope, this was something only she and Edward would share.
On the third time through, Edward reached out around Nessie and added the chords that had been missing before, and they played gracefully together. Her face exploded with happiness when the song finished, and Edward hugged her again. She leaned back and kissed his cheek before snuggling against his shoulder.
"Great job! How about something by the Beach Boys?" I said playfully, moving next to the piano. Her happiness drew me to her the way a flower turned its face to the sun.
She fidgeted a tiny bit, and Edward began to play 'Little Deuce Coupe'. Nessie watched his hands again, picking up the song in the middle. By the end Edward had put his hands back around her, and she played alone, adding her own touches to the song, making it even better than on the CD I had at home.
Edward and I applauded loudly when she finished, and she blushed, looking exactly like her human mother as she did. "Thank you," she said quietly, and I reached out for her hand, giving it a soft squeeze.
"That was really cool."
She smiled at me again, and as we touched I saw her view of my face as she played - the stupid, amazed smile I had put on - and felt how she loved to see it. My chest had never felt warmer, knowing that this little child cared if I was happy.
Edward leaned his head toward the windows only slightly, signaling that the lessons outside had ended. He and I had developed quite a level of communication over these past weeks... was that a product of the imprint as well? Anything for Nessie.
"Time for you to go hunting, I think, Nessie. Wanna go for a run with me after you get back? Maybe we can find the eagle we saw yesterday."
"Okay, Jake, see you soon," she said, rewarding me with her voice.
"I'm going to head home for awhile, but will be back in a few hours. You'll be back then?" I asked, looking at Edward.
"That sounds fine. See you then." He hoisted Nessie onto his shoulders and ducked out the glass door.
As I turned to the front door, I paused. "Don't get lost in the closet, Blondie," I said loudly.
Her face appeared at the top of the stairs and I quickly opened the door. Something hit the wood with a dull thud. "There's a law, you know, dog."
I looked around the door to see her turn on her heel and stalk away. At my feet was a black spiked collar... and a leash.