Silence filled the house.
Where the rest of the family were, God only knew, but for now, I was revelling in it. The recent excitement had been enough to last me a lifetime.
Wandering into the living room, I picked up the pillow case that I'd been embroidering. It was nice to be able to sew something that would be useful as well as appreciated. The sewing skills I'd been taught in my youth had been valuable from time to time; although we had money to burn, there was something in the back of my mind that told me that socks with holes needed darning, not throwing out.
The pattern on the case was beginning to take shape. A border of ivy entwined with Aubrieta deltoidea, my favourite flower. All three colours were present: violet, pink and white, combined in an explosion of beauty. I hoped that she would like it. My lovely granddaughter.
Granddaughter... it felt so strange to even think it. I knew that it was an impossibility for Jasper and Emmett to be my sons, both being twenty, but yet, they were – and are – my sons through and through. A twenty-six year old grandmother should have been similar. But, somehow, it didn't feel strange.
A crash sounded from upstairs. I hadn't realised that there was anyone else at home.
"Anything broken?" I called. I doubted that any serious harm had been done. The most likely scenario was that someone had taken a corner too quickly, and toppled a piece of furniture. But when no answer came, I set down my sewing and headed upstairs.
The scene that greeted me was brought a smile to my lips, but a smile that was quickly banished. My wonderful, exasperating, beautiful granddaughter was in her grandfather's study, standing innocently over a pile of books that had evidently been pulled from the bookshelves.
"Renesmee Cullen! What do you think you're doing?"
"I was just getting Grandpa's book down. For when he gets home."
"From the top shelf?"
She looked at me worriedly, wondering how much she should be telling me.
"I was getting this one – the one about the fairies getting married, and the workers putting on a play, and the elf being naughty – but it was all the way up there." She pointed to the top shelf.
"Didn't you realise that it was too high? You know that all you had to do was ask."
She looked at me, unsure of what to think. Noticing my stern expression, her lip shook for a minute, before she burst into tears. I couldn't help myself: I ran over to her and picked her up into my arms. Sobs shook her body as I rocked her to and fro.
"Shhh... Nessie... don't cry. Please, sweetheart, don't cry. I wasn't trying to be mean. I was only worried... I was scared that you were hurt."
Her sobs slowly subsided. I hummed to her as she clung to me. With her intellect, it was so easy to forget that she was still a little child. In reality, she'd been on this earth for about six months, and was physically almost three. We'll have to have a party for her birthday soon...
"Are you alright now?"
She sat up and smiled at me, the tears a distant memory.
"Will you read to me, Grandma Esme?"
I hesitated. I had been in the middle of that sewing... Then I realised that she was all mine until the others got home. How could I not take this opportunity?
"Of course I will, honey. What do you want to read?"
"A new book! A brand new book. Not a Daddy book or a Mummy book or a Grandpa book or a Rosie book or an Alice book or -"
"I understand!" I said. "What sort of book do you want?"
"I want a children's book! A book about fairies and goblins and magic and adventure and candy and shoes and children! Of course, there have to be children!"
She was so gorgeous when she got excited.
"Nessie... relax, sweetheart! We've got all day. We've got all year if you want. You'll just have to tell your adoring fans that it's my turn. And I've got an idea for a book. It's called The Enchanted Wood, by someone called Enid Blyton. It's in a bookshelf downstairs. Do you want to go and get it? We can read on the couch."
She nodded excitedly. I took her by the hand to go downstairs. I couldn't help it. I knew that she could walk by herself; God, she could read by herself. But it was a wonderful feeling to have that little hand in mine.
Settled on the couch, I began to read: Once upon a time there were three children... We read about their discovery of the Faraway Tree and the adventures that they encountered when they climbed up the ladder, through the clouds, and into whichever land was visiting that day. I gasped at all the right moments, and she giggled and gasped with me.
Chapters later, I was still reading. Her eyes were beginning to droop, so I finished the page I was on and marked my place.
"Are you tired, honey?"
She nodded sleepily. Holding out my arms, I took her as gently as I could, and sighed with relief as she moulded herself to me. I took her up to Edward's old room, and lay down with her on the bed. Her breathing evening out, I unwrapped her arms from around my neck and sat up.
And as I made to stand up and leave, I heard a tiny voice.
"I love you, Grandma."
And at that moment, nothing could rival my happiness.