"You're moving again, aren't you?" asked Charlie with a hint of worry and disappointment in his voice. I knew this question was coming, even without Edward warning me two hours earlier when Charlie and Jacob had first walked in the door. I knew it had been coming, but I still didn't know how to answer without breaking Charlie's heart.
Slowly I nodded and looked away from my father to Renesmee. Currently she was lounging on the couch next to Jacob, the two of them laughing loudly at the television.
"It's for the best Dad… for all of us." I started without knowing how best to explain.
Charlie shook his head and sighed, and he too turned to face Renesmee. "To think that only six years ago she was just a baby…" His voice trailed off and even though I couldn't read his thoughts, I knew he was thinking the same thing I was.
My baby was only a baby in my mind. In appearance and maturity she seemed to be more around the age of sixteen, a very mature sixteen. Her long, bronze ringlets cascaded down and around her perfectly heart shaped face. Her chocolate brown eyes lit up with every smile and laugh, and her posture and mannerisms were that of a young adult.
"Will you at least try to stay close by?" Charlie asked anxiously. "I know there are other things you have to consider… but I can't imagine being too far away from you Bells."
I tried to smile. I didn't want to worry my father, but in truth I didn't know if it would be possible. We had risked so much in the last move, choosing to stay here in the suburbs of Olympia, so close to Forks… it was a risk we took because of Renesmee. No one wanted to pull her away from Charlie when she was still so young.
It was hard for all of us, the constant feeling of walking on egg shells. What if someone in the city recognized us from Forks? Would they notice that in the last five years, none of the Cullens had aged? Would they notice the little girl that was sometimes in town, the one who seemed to grow at an unexplainable rate?
"When we have a better idea of our plans Dad, you'll be the first to know." I hoped that eased his mind a bit. It was the best I could offer at the moment.
Just then Jacob got up off the couch and headed toward us. He was still the same Jacob I remembered from my human years. Still tall and strong, with short black hair, russet colored skin and dark brown eyes. The only difference was that he no longer felt like my Jacob. That tie, that unexplainable pull towards him didn't exist for me any more. It did exist however for my daughter.
Jacob smiled gently at both Charlie and I, no doubt already knowing what we had been discussing only moments before. "Ready to go Charlie?"
"Sure Jacob. Wouldn't want to miss the game tonight, and Sue would kill me if I was late for dinner again."
I smiled. I was glad to hear that Sue Clearwater loved to cook for Charlie as much as I had. It was nice to know that someone was taking care of him since I had left. Of course I had always secretly wished that something more would come out of Sue and Charlie's constant dinning together, but alas, if I knew my dad as well as I thought I did, he would be more preoccupied with his food than anything else in the room.
Renesmee glided smoothly off the couch and towards Charlie. She pulled him into a hug while placing a hand on his right arm. Charlie nodded slowly she showed him her thoughts.
"I'm going to miss you too, Nessie." He mumbled into her hair and then pulled himself slowly away before he would start to tear up.
Jacob smiled his winning smile at Renesmee before grabbing her in a bear hug. "I'll call you this weekend, see how things are going." Renesmee nodded into his shoulder and smiled.
"Good night, Dad. Good night Jacob." I smiled and waved them goodbye as they headed down the front steps and into Jacob's black mustang. Renesmee and I watched as Charlie and Jacob climbed into the car and drove off, around the corner and down the highway.
I sighed, "Shall we go and meet up with your father then?"
Renesmee nodded and we both headed out the back door and into the night.
It was a cool night in the suburbs of Olympia Washington. The sky was clear and full of stars, the moon a perfect crescent in the navy sky. We both paused for a moment and took a deep breath. The scent of our family members lingered in the air. I could tell instantly which direction Edward and then rest of them had speed off into the forest, and apparently so did Renesmee for she followed the path quickly and without hesitation.
As we ran together in silence, I couldn't help but glance over a few times at my daughter. My daughter, one of a kind: Beautiful, graceful, loving and stubborn. Yes, of all the traits she got from me, her stubbornness seemed to be the most prominent at times. Especially when it came to her father and myslef. Or maybe Carlisle was right… maybe she just was acting as a normal teenager, as if the word normal could ever apply to Renesmee.
Further and further into the forest we ran. I snatched another glance at my daughter, one I hoped would go unnoticed, but of course she was too quick for me.
"Yes Mom?" Renesmee asked, sort of annoyed.
"Nothing." I responded as innocently as I could. I couldn't say anything more, for I knew it would send her off the edge. She didn't like being worried about, and she knew that for the past six months or so, everyone was worrying about her.
"Mom if this is about the whole high school issue again…"
"No Renesmee, it's not that…" I started without knowing where to continue. Luckily for me at that moment the scent of Edward was so strong that we both left the conversation behind us in the forest.
Renesmee's pace quickened, and I followed suit. Suddenly we stumbled into a little clearing and found Edward sitting on a rock, dressed in the most beautiful charcoal gray turtle neck and black pants I had ever seen him in.
He smiled that angel smile of his and looked over at me, his hand held out for mine. I was at his side in an instant and wrapped my arms around his neck. He looked up into my face and smiled, "I thought I'd wait a little bit behind for you both. The others are almost up to Canada by now. Emmett's on the prowl for large grizzlies. How did Charlie take the news?"
I frowned a little, "I didn't exactly tell him anything…" I trialed off feeling embarrassed. I always knew the day would come when I would have to leave Charlie for good. I knew it back then when I was still human, and wishing so much for this immortal life. But it seemed easier then.
Then I didn't have a child, who fell more and more in love with her Grandfather with every passing year. A child who looked forward to spending Christmas and birthdays with Grandpa, and he with her. It was no longer just me leaving Charlie behind, but Renesmee too. I didn't know if he would be able to deal with such emotional pain.
Edward stared up and into my golden eyes, and I into his. I felt the desire stir within me. To take Edward right here in the clearing. To have his arms around me, his kisses washing away my shame. To feel his body so close to mine, rolling around and around with ecstasy… but just then Renesmee's yawn interrupted my thoughts.
Edward seemed almost as lost in lust as I had been, but he too seemed to be aware of our daughter in the same moment. He winked at me and got up off the rock. "Alright, everyone ready to hunt?"
Renesmee nodded sleepily, and we took off north to follow the sent of a herd of unsuspecting deer.
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Silently I walked next to Edward as he carried Renesmee in his arms. She had fallen asleep around two, while lying against a tall oak tree. She had looked like a sleepy angel who had gotten lost in the forest, her pale skin easy to spot in the dark night, her bronze hair shining in the moon light above. I sighed as I watched Edward carry our baby up the stairs and into the house. At five foot five and 120 lbs, she was very light for Edward to bear and yet the expression on his face was somewhat strained. I was just about to ask him what was wrong when I noticed that Renesmee's hand was placed lightly on his arm.
I shook my head. If she knew that her father was listening to her dreams she would go crazy in the morning. And so I kept my mouth shut until Edward had finished laying her in her bed and closed the bedroom door behind him.
"You know you really shouldn't invade her dreams like that." I started in a somewhat accusing tone, though it was really hard to continue with his golden eyes melting away all of my irritation.
"I know," he sighed, grabbing my hand and leading me down the stairs. "I just wanted to see what she was thinking."
I snorted, "And since when have you ever had a problem with that?"
He smirked. "Lately she's been blocking me out fairly well. Well not really blocking me out, but just not thinking of anything specific. She just sort of lets her mind wonder and it's hard to pick out exact thoughts because her mind is fluttering about as fast as her heart."
"So did you get anything from her dreams?" I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer.
"Yes… she's very nervous about fitting in. In high school I mean. She's worried she won't be 'human' enough." He sighed, and I squeezed his hand a little tighter in reassurance.
"She'll be fine. She has the ability to charm the pants off of everyone she meets. And we'll be there along side her, right? She'll have her family with her." I paused and wondered if my little speech was meant more to ease Edward's worries or my own.
We reached the bottom of the stairs and Edward lead me into the dinning room. There seated at the table was the rest of my family. Carlisle sat at the head of the table, with Esme on his right. Rose and Emmett sat quietly together, their hands intertwined on the table top. Alice sat to Carlisle's left, with Jasper by her side. I noticed Alice at once. Her grin was so large it was almost sinister.
Edward suddenly froze at my side. He stared at Alice in shock, and then began to shake his head. "No, no no! Alice you can't do this to me!" he began and everyone turned to stare at Edward now, including myself.
"Oh come on, Edward – it's not that bad." Replied Alice, as she tried to rearrange her smile.
Carlisle took this moment to speak, "Well Edward, Bella, Alice called this meeting because she said that we would have to make a change in plans…" Carlisle's eyes bounced off of Alice and Edward, waiting for one of them to speak. But instead of saying anything Edward quietly pulled me across the room, where we sat down across from Alice. He shot her a threatening glace, and Alice shrugged.
"It's not like there's anything I can do about it Edward! I just saw what I saw."
"Would one of you care to explain what is going on?" asked Rosalie, in a somewhat bored tone.
"Well…" started off Alice, "it's kind of hard to explain because the vision was about Renesmee…"
My jaw dropped. "You've finally been able to have a vision about Renesmee? Alice that's so wonderful and would give us so much-"
Edward sighed. "It's not like that, love. What Alice saw was more like … our reaction to something that happens to Renesmee…"
"I don't understand." I searched Edward's face, "What do you mean, 'our reactions'"?
Alice giggled. "Well lets just put it this way… there is no way that in a few days time Renesmee is going to pass for a sixteen year old."
I raised an eye brow at Alice, but she seemed to have been shut up by the lethal glare that Edward was sending her.
"I'm sorry Alice I don't think we follow you," replied Carlisle, in a very patient tone, "What do you mean by 'she won't be able to pass for a sixteen year old'? What exactly did you see?"
Alice bit her lip in hesitation. She glanced at Edward but he simply waved his hand in defeat.
"Well what I saw was, Edward freaking out actually… because he saw what the boys in school will be thinking about Renesmee. She'll be … um, hitting puberty real soon. And from what I can tell, she'll be a knockout!"
At this Emmett, Rose and Jasper burst into laughs. Even Esme suppressed a giggle.
"And to think, I thought it was something serious," Emmett chuckled.
Edward turned to me to see my reaction, but I was blank. Not only was my baby no longer a baby, but in a few days time she was going to be man-eater. Okay so maybe that was taking it a little too far. Sure Renesmee had always been pretty, but it was a fair and innocent kind of pretty. Not a drop-dead-eat-your-heart-out kind of pretty. I didn't know if I would be ready for it. Or would she?
Carlisle cleared his throat and the room quieted down, a bit. "So Alice, from what you saw Renesmee will still be able to attend high school… she'll just have to be pushed up a year or two?"
Alice nodded, "There's no way she'll be able to pass for anything less then a senior. And all the better for us then, we'll only have to do senior year again - and then it's off to college." Alice grinned certainly happy with the outcome of her vision.
I was still partially frozen. That had been the plan, of course. It took the last six years for Renesmee's growth to finally slow down to a normal rate. Edward and I had spent those years trying to stay hidden away here in the suburbs of Olympia, hoping beyond hope that the neighbors wouldn't realize just how quickly our daughter was growing, or should I say Edward's sister. Eight months ago Renesmee expressed her dire wish to attend high school, to try and live like a human teenager. Of course the entire family was quick to comply – who could ever say no to that child?
Carlisle and Edward both convinced me that the home schooling she had received so far would make her eligible to attend Harvard right away, but her young and innocent appearance, not to mention unwavering stubbornness, made high school our only option.
So the online research had begun. Where would be a good, small town with enough cloudy days to make it possible for the Cullen family to move to? Which town had a decent enough sized hospital so Carlisle wouldn't get bored? Close to a forest full of grizzlies for Emmett? A quick escape into the forest for either Jasper or Renesmee, both of whom were still not used to being around lots of humans at a time?
There did seem to be an answer… and amazingly it wasn't all that far away…
"Bella, love? Are you alright?" Edwards's fingers gently caressed my cheek, sending tingles down my spine.
"Mmm…" I nodded. That was the best I could come up with for the moment; my head was too busy spinning to formulate a proper response.
"So I guess that's that." began Carlisle, "We'll only be spending one year in Hope, British Columbia instead of three. Jasper do you think it's possible for your friend to get us some new papers for Renesmee. I think her birth certificate and passport might need some updating… and she should probably have a driver's license as well."
Jasper nodded, and Rosalie smiled, "Oh she'll love that one! She'll be putting some real mileage on that Cooper once she's allowed to drive during the day."
Emmett looked at Edward and shook his head.
"What's wrong with you? Big deal, your daughter's going to be a knock-out – so what?"
Edward shot a look at Emmett and his hand fisted on the table, "You don't get what Alice saw." He began slowly, "She saw me having to listen to a school full of horny little boys who all want to do perverse things with…" he paused to swallow, "…her body. How would you react to that, Em?"
Apparently Emmett would react very badly, considering the way he had suddenly squared his shoulders up and began to breath deeper. Rosalie placed a hand on his arm and that seemed to calm him down, a bit.
"But we're all going to be there with her Edward. She'll be safe and happy. So what if all the boys want her, some times the attention is a good thing, it builds confidence in a woman." Rosalie smirked, and Edward rolled his eyes.
Esme glided down to where I sat and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. "Are you alright?" she whispered in my ear.
I nodded slowly, and then tried to find the right words, "It's just all so fast… I knew this part would be coming soon, it's been six years after all… but I've just never thought of her dating or wanting to date before… and now it just seems like its weeks away."
"Who said anything about her being allowed to date?" mumbled Edward angrily beside me.
I shot a glace at Edward. That reminded me of something else.
Edward turned sour, "He better not even think the thought or I swear I will - "
"Son, don't get yourself all worked up over things that have yet to happen." Interjected Esme as she patted Edwards arm, "Jacob knows that even though Renesmee looks and acts mature, that she is still young at heart and in experiences. He seems to really understand that." She smiled and then left to follow Carlisle out of the room.
Edward looked like he doubted that very much, but he said nothing.
I let out a small sigh and rose out of my chair. "Will you play for me, Edward?"
Edward looked up with a confused expression. "You want to dance tonight?"
I tried to hide my smile, "Well what else could we possibly do tonight since this conversation has put you in such a mood."
At that, a smile broke across his perfect face and he stood up and lead me out to the back of the house.
"I can think of one thing I'd love to do with you tonight." He whispered softly in my ear, his breath so warm on my neck. Slowly we walked across the backyard and into the dark forest.
"Oh, really?" I asked feebly, my body already giving into the temptation of his words.
"Oh yes Mrs. Cullen, I can definitely think of something that would take up the entire night, if you don't mind."
Silently we walked, hand in hand till we reached the little clearing from earlier. And there underneath the millions of stars, in a rage of kisses, we were both undressed …