This is the first story in a five part series entitled, Damn Imprinting. As mentioned in the summary, this story is the beginning of Nessie's story and begins (as so many fictions do) on her sixth birthday.
Many thanks to the lovely Addicted to Edward for her excellent work beta-ing this story. This story can also be found on Twilighted. Find the linkage on my profile.
The narration changes from chapter to chapter. Although it's mostly narrated by Nessie, I will mention at the beginning of the chapter if the narration changes.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight
Disclaimer: I do not own The Hill, by Marketa Irglova
Part I—Chapter I: And I Wish that You Could See
"Happy birthday, dear Nessie! Happy birthday to you!" The song rang out happily among my family members. It was my sixth birthday, although I looked like a 21-year-old, a result of my untraditional pedigree. Of course this was an Alice affair, elegant and perfectly coordinated; even the gift wrap matched. This birthday was themed with dark blue and rustic, metallic orange. Alice explained she picked colors that harmonized with the color of my eyes. Twinkling lights were wrapped around nearly every available surface, off-beat indie music played softly from overhead speakers, and an enormous cake sat in the center of the kitchen as an homage to my…existence, I suppose. That is the point of birthdays, isn't it? I questioned who was going to eat the giant iris-and-rose covered-cake. No one in my family ate food. I could have gotten some enjoyment from eating it, I supposed.
"Alice you didn't need to go to all this trouble," I pleaded with my insatiable aunt.
"Never mind," she said, quickly dismissing my pleas. "If we didn't have a cake we'd have nowhere to put the candles. Now make a wish!" I rolled my eyes but blew out the candles obediently.
Alice immediately looked over to my father. "Edward, what did she wish?" she asked, hoping my father would reveal what went on in my mind.
"She didn't wish for anything," he answered with an interested smile. He was right.
"Nothing? Oh Nessie, your birthday wish wasted." Alice's cheery face had fallen into mock disappointment. She wanted every detail of my birthday to be perfect and I knew she hated I didn't always cooperate.
"Well, if I had wished for anything, Dad would have heard it and it wouldn't have come true anyway," I said, justifying myself to her. "I'll save my wish for the next shooting star I see,"
"Oh, fine. Jacob, would you like a piece of cake?"
"Of course Alice!" I had forgotten Jake. He could eat half the cake himself. At least it wasn't going to waste.
"Presents! Presents!" Alice sounded. I begrudgingly headed toward the main sitting room and my parents and the rest of the family soon joined me. Jacob sat next to me on the couch with a piece of cake as large as the plate it was sitting on. "Who first?" Alice sang out.
"Just throw them all at me at once. It'll be faster."
"You are just like your mother. You take the fun out of everything."
I noticed my mother give my father a playful jab of her elbow.
"We'll go first Alice," Esme said over Alice's complaining. Alice handed me a modestly sized white box with a blue ribbon around it. I removed the ribbon and gently lifted the lid. Inside was a small watercolor painting of the driveway to the estate. It was a fall scene and trees, covered in vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, hung over the path. Underneath the painting was a set of new watercolor paints and a small sketchbook.
"Oh Esme, Carlisle! I love it!"
"Esme painted it," Carlisle explained with a proud smile.
"Esme, I didn't know you used watercolors."
"It's nowhere close to your talent but I found you so inspiring I thought I would give it a try."
"Thank you both. It's beautiful," I said genuinely. I was pleased when I didn't have to lie to my family members. Not that I really could, not all that easily.
"Me next!" Alice practically squealed. She handed me a box which was smaller than the first. I had learned from living with my family never to trust small boxes. They always held the most extravagant gifts as the clichéd adage went. Tentatively – and while preparing my argument for being unwilling to accept the gift – I opened the box. Now to be fair the extravagant part wasn't inside the box. There, lying in a comfortable bed of black velvet was a key. A key with a car alarm keychain attached to it, a key with a tiny Jaguar symbol on it.
"There's no way I can talk you out of this, is there?"
"Nope! You've been able to wriggle out of one of us buying you a car for long enough. Your father finally agreed to let me!" I gave my father a quick look, although I'm sure my mind revealed quite enough to him without it.
"I can't tell you how many dealerships we went to. It was hard for her to decide which car to buy since she had no way of knowing how you would react," Uncle Jasper explained. Yes, she may not have been able to have a vision of me accepting her gift, but surely she knew me well enough to know I didn't want or need a car.
"It's so pretty Nessie!" Alice gushed. "You'll love it. It's understated yet powerful, and the most beautiful shade of dark blue." Of course, even the car matched the party.
"Thank you, Alice," I said as authentically as I could while I pulled her and Uncle Jasper into a hug. The hug was honest, but my next few words weren't exactly so. "I really appreciate it. I suppose I'll have to actually learn how to drive now." Everyone in the room laughed. Truthfully, I never had a real interest in cars or driving, which is why I always insisted that my parents did not need to buy me one. I preferred walking.
"Here you go, Renesmee," Rosalie said to me as she handed me yet another small gift with Uncle Emmett beaming behind her. Her gift was exactly what I expected of her. A beautiful diamond and sapphire bracelet I would probably never wear. Rosalie loved fine things and I loved her for sharing them with me, but they weren't exactly to my taste. She, like Alice, would never give up trying to dress me up and surround me with expensive things. They couldn't help themselves. They just had so much love to give and such endless funds with which to express it. In a way, I think my mother was secretly appreciative of it as the attention was now on me and no longer on her.
Finally, it came to my parents who handed me a large envelope. An even smaller, thinner package…this could not be good. I opened the envelope like I was pulling off a band-aid and drew out a brochure for Dartmouth University. On the cover was a beautiful photo of a few students, dressed in appropriate green sweatshirts, enjoying the scenic campus. I gazed at it, confused. I'd never actually been to a formal school. Jacob leaned over my shoulder to get a better look at the brochure and released an impossibly low growl.
"We thought you might like to enroll," my father explained.
"It doesn't have to be Dartmouth. Any of your father's alma maters would do," my mother quipped.
I forced a smile on my face and flashed it towards them. "Thank you guys. It's a beautiful gesture. Thank you everyone. It was the best birthday yet."
Jacob had finished eating his cake and gently elbowed me, encouraging me to follow him outside. Alice distracted everyone by explaining the superior characteristics of the car, allowing me to escape the fray.
We took a slower pace through the woods we practically had memorized. Jacob. He was my constant and the nearly omnipresent force in my life. From an outside observer we would appear to be best friends, but that didn't quite explain it. When I was young he was like a playmate that always had the energy I had. As I matured the physical play partially ended and we focused on our conversations as a way to strengthen our connection. As I continued to mature I began to understand the whole imprinting process and what I really meant to Jacob. Or at least, I understood the knowing smiles everyone had whenever Jacob and I were together. It was like they were all in on a secret, that Jacob and I were meant for each other. I knew what they thought, what they believed was my…was destiny the right word? I wasn't always sure if I agreed, not because I didn't love him…I think…I just…didn't always agree.
We stopped at the base of a particularly large tree. When I was young we used to race to the top. I always won. Jacob was very fast, but I was far more acrobatic than he was. Today I just leaned against it.
"Some birthday, huh? Maybe you guys should set a price limit instead of trying to outdo each other."
"At least Esme and Carlisle got it right."
"Hey, I haven't given you my gift yet."
"That's right. I can't imagine what it could be." Jacob was standing about six feet from me – an unusual distance for the two of us. Growing up, we were usually within arm's length of one another so I could touch him easily if I wanted to flash a thought to him. The unfortunate side effect of this is some thoughts escape inadvertently. To avoid this, I used my ability less and less these days, choosing to speak for myself instead. I then noticed Jacob stood with both his hands in his pockets. This wasn't his usual stance either. I knew what that meant: small boxes.
"I'm not sure if I want to give it to you now. You seem too depressed. It will ruin the moment."
"Fine, whatever." I slid down the tree and sat on the ground with a quick sigh.
"That's not what you usually say. I say something annoying, you have some sarcastic comment, I say something snarky back, you give me a look, I give in." He closed the strange distance between us and sat down next to me. His speech slowed and he peered at me through my long hair. "Something is really the matter."
"No, nothing…I'm just being a pain. Birthdays…I'm sorry," I apologized quickly, hoping my excuse would satisfy him. It wasn't like me being cranky on my birthday didn't occur annually.
Jacob then asked me something slightly unexpected. He was paying better attention then I would have guessed. "What would you have wished if your dad couldn't hear?"
"I'm not sure," I lied. A blatant lie, really. It was easy to tell this lie. I had been doing it for a long time. The truth was I knew exactly what I would have wished for. Something I had taken exceptional care to hide in my mind. I couldn't know for certain my father had never heard it, but he had also never asked me about it.
"Hey, you know what I'd wish for?"
"One more race," he said playfully, his tone completely changed in an effort to diffuse my bad mood.
"Don't you think we're a little old for that?"
"Why? Afraid you'll lose?"