Author's Note: I read all four Twilight books long after the movie came out, not being able to keep myself out of the biggest literary inside-joke since Harry Potter. I honestly didn't think I would like them, so I only bought Twilight. Fourteen hours and no sleep later, I went and got the rest of them. Two days later, I had finished them. Stopping only to explain to my husband what was making me gasp or laugh or cry. For the next two weeks, I did nothing but read the last three books over and over again. Then I found out about Midnight Sun and I read it twice, reading all four books over again to get the full effect. I was obsessed. I started reading FanFic because I couldn't get enough of the Cullens or the Quileutes.
I started with Jacob and Renesmee stories because it seemed to be the natural conclusion to the story and I wanted to see everyone's take on the future of our favorite vampires and werewolves. After reading over a hundred of them, I couldn't stop thinking about Jake and Nessie. What would have become of them? The more I thought about it, the more detailed my guesstimate became. I would go to sleep thinking about it. I would dream about them. I would wake up thinking about them. After obsessing for a few months, my husband was sick of hearing my endless scenario second-guessing. "Would it be like this or like this? What about Renesmee's power? What would Edward do when she grew up?" About three weeks ago, he finally snapped. He demanded I write a story and get it out of my system.
I reread the books, scouring them for hidden meanings. I began studying them, looking up the etymology of words Stephenie Meyer used, looking for a clue as to what came next. I listened to all four audiobooks, taking in the pronunciation of the places and people, immersing myself in the visual world of the Olympic Penninsula in a way that I couldn't at my reading speed. I looked into the Quileute language and stared longingly at pictures of La Push's shores. It took three weeks, but I figured it out. I know what would happen...I think. This is my best guess. I have only taken two big leaps of literary license, but both fit perfectly within Stephenie Meyer's canon. I will reference them when I get to them. I know it's wordy (nearly as wordy as this A/N), but it's nowhere near being done. It only took a few days to write these 17,000 words, so I hope to make it a weekly serial. There will be a few "Books" when all is said and done. I have no doubt I will far surpass 300,000 words. At this rate, it will only take 17 more chapters. I have at least 25-30 plotted out completely in my head and more that are sketches.
I know that authors like to say "Read and Review," but I am a solitary person by nature and I know that I won't ever respond to anyone's reviews. So, if you'd like to comment, that would be great, but know that it will be received like a penny in a well, lost to the void. Though, I will admit, I probably wouldn't mind answering questions about why I think things would have turned out exactly the way I predict. I have done my research and have thought long and hard about each and every decision and I don't mind sharing my thought process. I will not give out previews, I do not want Beta Readers. When my husband looks up from my monitor and smiles at me, I'll know they're ready and they'll be released.
Stephenie Meyer: Thank you so much for your characters. Thank you for the months of enjoyment I have had in their presence. I have absolutely no claim to them, you've owned them since you dreamed Bella and Edward into existence. I hope you don't mind if I play with them for a while. I hope to return them to you exactly the way I found them.
If I could do just one near perfect thing I'd be happy.
They'd write it on my grave or when they scattered my ashes.
On second thoughts, I'd rather hang around and be there with my best friend,
If she wants me.
--Belle & Sebastian
If She Wants Me
A four-year-old-looking Nessie was curled up against my chest, sleeping, as I sat in an overstuffed white armchair at the Cullens' main house. She had fallen asleep a few hours ago and Emmett and I had finally been able to watch something other than Edward-approved TV shows. I understood keeping sex things from her, but there was no point in trying to hide cussing from her when she hung around the pack and Emmett all the time. And there was nothing in war and horror movies that could scare a vampire-hybrid who would only find the spewing blood appetizing. Whatever. I wasn't going to be the one who would piss off Edward and it wasn't like he wouldn't find out. Damn mind-reading bloodsucker.
As if on cue I saw him and Bella jump the river and head into the house through the back door. Bella started walking across the room over to us while Edward walked over to the bottom of the stairs, listening to something I couldn't hear. "Hey, Jake. Thanks for watching her. I think we're going to take her back to the cottage, now."
"No problem, Bells." I yawned and then quickly looked down to make sure my movements hadn't woken her up.
"Wait, Bella." Edward had walked over to her and put an arm around her waist. "Carlisle was waiting for us to come back from hunting to have a family meeting. I think you had better stay also, Jacob."
He didn't have to tell me twice. Staying meant more time with Nessie, even if all I could do was watch her sleep. Her eyelids started fluttering and I lifted her hand to my face so I could see what she saw. We were in the woods, hunting, and she had taken down the biggest buck while I barely managed a small doe. Pssh, only in your dreams, Nessie. Edward rolled his eyes at me as the others came down the stairs.
They were all starting to sit around the oval-shaped dining room table and I got up and walked over, carefully keeping Nessie cradled to me in the same position. Carlisle was the first to speak, "Well, I think we all know that we've had good reason to stay in Forks this past year, but I don't think we can delay the inevitable any longer." My grip on Nessie tightened instinctively. Shit. I knew that this conversation would happen one day, I just thought I'd be better prepared for it when it did. They were going to take her from me? Where? Could I follow? What about my pack? What about Billy? What about my senior year?
As if she was the mind-reader, Esme spoke directly to me. "Jacob, of course Carlisle and I consider you to be a part of this family now. We know how important you are to both Nessie and Bella and we wouldn't dream of leaving you behind if you chose to follow us. Obviously, we know of your responsibilities here, but you should know that we would love for you to join us."
"Thanks, Esme, Carlisle." I looked down at Nessie in my arms. "I don't think I could leave her if I tried." Esme smiled at me warmly. I know it should go against every wolf instinct I have, but I had grown to love the vampires in the room. Well, mostly. Blondie was still a pain in my ass. Still, it felt a little odd to be acknowledged as a part of the Cullen family. I wondered if it had been strange for all the males in the family to take on the name Cullen when they were changed. Or, in Jasper's case, Hale, when he joined the family. I wonder if Alice considered herself a Cullen, a Hale, or a Whitlock. Would Nessie want to keep the name Cullen or would she become a Black? Edward gave me a hard look. I rolled my eyes. The guy was in denial.
No one had noticed the exchange and Carlisle had continued speaking to the group. "So, we're set on Dartmouth? I have already applied for a position at the university's hospital and Bella and I believe she should be able to attend classes in the fall. Jasper, you, Alice, Rosalie, Bella, and Edward will be needing fake transcripts unless you want to do the general ed requirements again." They all scoffed while Bella looked a little disappointed.
"Don't worry," Edward whispered to her, "we'll get all the syllabi for you that you want and you can study those two years on your own." She seemed to brighten at this. I laughed internally, only Bella would be sad to miss two years of required reading.
Carlisle went on. "Jacob, we'll find a high school in the area for you to finish up your last year. Emmett, I'm sure you'll be content just being Emmett for a few years until we move again." Emmett laughed and laced his fingers behind his head as if to illustrate the nothingness he'd be filling his time with. Rosalie looked over and smiled at him, her eyes tracing over the biceps that were very prominent when he was in that position. He caught her eye and winked. Ugh. No doubt what they'd be doing tonight.
"Then, who knows, maybe high school again." There was a collective groan. I wondered if I would be included in that grouping the next time. That would be weird. It was going to be bad enough being the big Native kid in a small New England town, but I couldn't imagine having to go through that pretending to be the adopted sibling of the Cullens. At least I'd get to do high school with Bella. That might be fun.
Esme was describing the house, now. It wasn't in New Hampshire like the school, but across the Connecticut River in Vermont. It was about 20 miles away, but it was situated between two large nature preserves. Perfect for hunting. Edward waited until she had finished describing the area before he reminded them that they already had bought a house in New Hampshire, near the campus. Carlisle and Esme shared an uncomfortable glance before Carlisle turned back to Edward. But Edward was already a step ahead of him, reading his thoughts. He was shaking his head. "No, Carlisle. We've discussed this before. Especially not now, with Bella and Renesmee. Absolutely not."
Carlisle spoke for the benefit of everyone else, though his words did little to catch us up. "We discussed it decades ago, when Jasper was not so disciplined as now and you were the only one without a partner. Things are different now and everyone deserves a chance to decide for themselves."
It was Alice who finally asked what we had all been wondering. Carlisle began explaining himself as Jasper and Bella focused on calming Edward. "I first had the idea back in the 1960's when it rightfully seemed that living history was taking place on college campuses. I spoke to Edward about immersing himself in the entire college experience, aside from attending classes. Not living in a dorm room, for obvious reasons, but participating in a few rallies or even going to a few parties."
Emmett snorted and muttered, "Edward? Party?" I agreed with Emmett. I couldn't even imagine Edward at a party. He'd probably go around checking IDs or call the cops if he saw a joint being passed around. He raised an eyebrow at me. Jesus, Edward, just because I know what a joint is, doesn't mean I smoke them. You're acting like I've never watched TV.
But the mental image of Edward at a party wasn't even the most interesting thought that had resulted from what Carlisle had said and I spoke without thinking. "Man, you guys are old!" There were a lot of rolling eyes at the obviousness of my statement and I hurried on to explain myself. "I mean, I knew you guys were old, but I've never really thought about it until you brought up all the history you lived through. You really robbed the cradle, Edward! You're like those girls dating Hugh Hefner, Bells!" Emmett, Jasper and Alice laughed at that, but Bella and Edward narrowed their eyes at me. I just grinned back.
"Maybe you should look at the girl in your arms before you talk about robbing the cradle, mutt!" Rosalie snarled. Emmett and Jasper howled with laughter while Alice's eyes widened and her mouth turned into a shocked and amused "o." Bella and Edward turned their already narrowed eyes towards Rosalie.
She kinda had me there, but I refused to admit defeat. She was nearly the same age as Edward and she just didn't like being called old. "Aww, Blondie, I wasn't calling you old. You don't look a day over..." I paused and stared at her intently as if I were really trying to figure out how old she looked. "...30." Alice and Bella giggled as Rosalie's stare turned murderous.
Esme cleared her throat and we all looked down like chastised children. Carlisle continued as if there hadn't been an interruption. "At the time, I had thought that Edward should be the deciding vote, as he would have no one to share the experience with. I also felt like my idea might exclude those of you who didn't feel comfortable being around so many humans. Now, things are different. The college experience is different. I see no reason why any of you should not be able to handle it if you are so inclined."
"What does this second house have to do with anything?" Jasper asked, bringing the conversation back around to where it started.
"It has more to do with the cover stories to be used. Even when some of you have attended college in the past, we've always stuck to the story of adopted siblings. I've never felt comfortable with the obvious couplings while you were attending high school and I don't think I have to tell you that I've received more than one side-long glance when people discovered that the wards in my care were involved with each other while living under my roof. However, I know all of you are adults and I have never forced you to keep your relationships secret. In a college setting, everything is different. No one needs to be related to each other or adopted into the same family. There is a simplicity in a story revolving around a house full of student couples living off-campus together."
I had to give it to Carlisle, his plan sounded perfect. Five teenagers always did seem a little weird for a young doctor and his wife to take in. Aside from the occasional vampire rumors on the reservation about them, there was mostly gossip about the living situation. It seemed like everyone else felt the same way I did about Carlisle's plan. Everyone except Bella and Edward. Jasper noticed their hesitation first and asked Bella what she was worried about. She only had to speak one word, "Renesmee." I guess that would be the hang-up. Could they be the married couple with a kid in the house? I guess that would ruin the whole "college experience" part of his plan. And there's no way they'd live apart from her.
"Bella," Carlisle assured her, "the house would only be needed as a decoy. None of you would have to spend any more time there than you would like or than would be necessary to keep up appearances for the neighbors. College students are on vastly different schedules than normal working people and a lack of routine is almost expected. The house would merely serve as a means to procure the six of you legitimate college personae. Of course, what you choose to make of them is entirely up to you."
Emmett was already nodding his head enthusiastically. "Aw, Jasper, we could finally get those surround-sound speakers that Esme said would ruin the decor. We could have a whole gaming room, with a pool table and a couple of arcade games." I rolled my eyes. Only the Cullens would take their one chance to look normal and ruin things by throwing money at it. "Just think of the parties we--"
Edward cut him off. "Parties? You're on board with this too, Alice? So now the two of you are going to be hanging out with a bunch of humans, partying? Jasper, you can't seriously be considering this? I know how well you've been controlling your thirst, but isn't this a little too much?" From the people he singled out in his rant, Rosalie appeared to be on Edward's side.
Emmett seemed to catch that, too, and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "C'mon, Babe. It'll be fun...and it might not be a bad thing to have a place to ourselves when everyone's over at the other house." He didn't even bother whispering that to her. Not that it mattered with our hearing. From the low growl that Edward was now emitting, she seemed to be considering this. He was slowly becoming outnumbered. Only Jasper and Bella had yet to say anything.
"As long as we would still be able to live with Renesmee...," Bella began, but her voice trailed off when she saw Edward's disbelief and anger. Edward shot a quick glance over to Jasper and then softened the look on his face before turning back to Bella. Did he really need Jasper to tell him that he was intimidating her? He shot me a look that would have made me raise my arms in defeat if Nessie wasn't in them.
And then Jasper said the one thing that Edward Cullen couldn't argue against. "Bella wants this, Edward. I would think you would want this for her. After all, you are always trying to give her those human experiences you think she missed out on. College is one of them. Besides, the humans will probably all avoid us as usual, anyway."
"Then why do it?" But his resolve had been broken and, across the table, Alice grinned in silent victory as her eyes unfocused on the present.
As Emmett laughed and rubbed his hands together in anticipation, Carlisle spoke again. "If you all are decided, there was one more thing..."
"Wait," Edward cut him off. He turned to look at me. "You can go home, now. I know you're tired." Was he kicking me out? The meeting obviously wasn't over.
"I think I'll wait until you guys are done here to tuck Nessie in."
"Edward," Carlisle's voice held a warning. "Jacob is a part of this family. He is very nearly an adult and he has every right to be here and hear everything I wish to explain." Edward scowled but didn't say anything else. "Some of you, while human, imbibed alcohol." What? That was out of nowhere. Where was he going with this? "Alcohol and what people refer to as recreational drugs are a significant part of the college lifestyle. In my travels, I have only met one vampire who has been successful at inebriation. Most vampires, as you would imagine, do not even try. This vampire, however, found that adding blood to hard liquor allowed him to absorb the properties of both. Of course, it took a great deal of liquor to achieve even a moderate level of inebriation. He only tried it a few times before concluding that it wasn't worth the effort. Obviously, he only tried it with human blood and I am unsure that these results could be replicated with animal blood. Jacob, given your past experience with narcotic pain medication, I would assume that an equal amount of liquor would be needed for werewolves." Wait, was Carlisle really giving us all tips on getting drunk?
Edward groaned."Is this really necessary, Carlisle?"
"I have already told you, Edward. Just because we have already had this conversation, does not mean that everyone else is not also entitled to the same information to which you are privy. As for marijuana, all I can venture is an educated guess. While we do not need oxygen nor do we convert it into carbon dioxide, I see no reason why an inhalant such as marijuana smoke could not be absorbed through our lungs. After all, the scent of blood is absorbed in this way and it obviously affects our nervous system. This is even more the case for you, Jacob, as your physiology is not remarkably different at all while in human form from the average human. In both species, though, I believe a larger amount would, again, be needed to achieve the desired results." No one spoke for a while, even after it was clear that he had finished. It was just...weird. Like getting the sex talk from your grandpa. Obviously, it wasn't as uncomfortable as that would have been, but just as awkward. Not even Emmett could think of something stupid to say.
I spoke first. "I, uh, probably should get going." I was sorta regretting not taking Edward up on his offer when I first had the chance. It seemed like the conversation was much more for the vampires' benefits than mine. I already knew about wolves and alcohol. Leah had gotten drunk when she first phased. It took her half a bottle of tequila and even then her metabolism had just made it wear off quickly. She had said that the only good thing to come out of it was that her quick-healing body had allowed her to skip the hangover. "Two more days of Finals starting tomorrow...," my voice trailed off as I realized it wasn't just the beginning of my last days as a Junior, but my last days at La Push's high school.
The entirety of the move began to hit me. In the heat of the moment it was obvious that I'd follow Nessie, but it wasn't until now that I thought of the pack I would leave behind. My pack. Would they be able to hear me if I phased all the way across the country? I know that Leah would do a great job without me, but I felt like I was shirking my responsibilities off on her. What about Billy? How was I going to tell him I was moving across the country with a bunch of vampires. He was still somewhat wary of the Cullens. All except Carlisle, who he had gotten to know while I was healing after the newborn attack. I knew that he was torn about me imprinting on Nessie. He was happy that I was happy and finally over the pain brought about by my love for Bella, but I know that he would have preferred me to imprint on anyone else over a half-vampire. He, like Leah, was not too happy about an unbreakable bond with the Cullens. I also knew Leah was hoping that the relationship developing between her mom and Charlie would not progress any further than it already had. Her greatest fear was that they would marry one day and she would have two bonds tying her with vampires. Still, as prejudiced as Billy was, I felt bad that I would be abandoning him. Especially because it was only a year and a half ago that Rachel had come home and it began to look like his family was coming together again. I sighed when I thought about breaking it to all of them. I'd have to do it soon, before they found out about it by hearing it in my thoughts as a wolf.
I snapped out of my head long enough to notice that the table had cleared and Edward was standing next to me. He put a hand on my shoulder as he read my thoughts. "I'm sorry we have to make you choose, Jacob."
I looked down at Nessie, still sleeping in my arms. "Don't be. I'd give up more for her. I know moving keeps her and Bells safe, that's enough for me. Just do me a favor, alright?" He raised an eyebrow but made no move to respond. "Don't tell her until I get here tomorrow, okay?" It was Bella who agreed. "Are you guys heading back to the cottage?"
Edward turned to Bella. "Go with Jacob, love. I need to talk to Carlisle about the move. I'll meet you out there in an hour." He turned back to me. "Carlisle and Esme want to talk to your father. After you explain things, of course." I nodded, ignored them while they kissed, and walked outside with Bella.
"You alright, Jake?"
"Yeah." I sighed. "I guess I just didn't think I'd have to worry about this for a while. It's not the move that's bugging me, I just dread telling Billy and the pack. It's funny...I never thought moving in with a bunch of bloodsuckers would be easier than telling people I was." I grinned when she slapped my arm. She had gotten better at controlling her newborn strength.
We made it to their cottage and walked into Nessie's room. I suddenly couldn't pull myself away from her. My emotions were slowly overwhelming me and it seemed like she was the only thing keeping me together. "Bells?" She looked at me from the doorway. "Mind if I stay until Edward comes back?" She smiled and shook her head. I sat down on the edge of her bed. "Wanna keep me company?" I asked, patting the mattress. She crossed the room and sat down next to me. We both stared at Nessie for a while in silence. "So, college, huh?"
"Yeah, I guess so." After a few minutes of comfortable silence, both lost in our own thoughts, she took my hand. I let her. The coldness of her skin no longer caused me to shiver just as the burning of mine no longer caused her to grimace. It was also easier handling her smell alone. The sensation that felt like someone had forced a mint down my nose was the same whether there was one vampire or ten around and I had learned to ignore it. But by being alone with her I was able to sniff past the too-sweet vampire scent and could actually smell the old Bella underneath. I hoped to her I still smelled like me. Like she wore too much perfume and I needed a bath. Friendships had survived worse. "Thank you for what you said, earlier."
"I meant it. I'd give up anything for her."
"I know you would, but I wasn't talking about that part. Thanks for still thinking about keeping me safe, too. Renesmee isn't the only one that would miss you if you didn't move with us, you know."
I squeezed her hand. "You're still my best friend, Bells. I'd miss you, too." Looking down, I saw Nessie's eyelids flicker. "She's dreaming, again." We each pressed one of her hands to our cheeks and grinned at each other as her unconscious thoughts filled our heads.
I drove my Rabbit to see Nessie after school the next day. She was sitting at the dining room table, studying Latin. Edward had wanted her to learn Latin first, saying it would help her learn others later. I thought it was kinda stupid to learn a language that no one spoke anymore. She smiled at me when I walked in and ran to jump into my arms.
"Hey, Nessie. Studying?" She nodded and put her hand to my face, showing me a memory of her dad telling her she was almost ready to move on to a different language. "Oh, yeah?What do you think you'll learn next?" She showed me a textbook for Ancient Greek Edward had bought her. I rolled my eyes and muttered, "Edward." She replayed my muttering, lacing a question in with it. "Never mind," I said, shaking my head with a smile. "Where is everybody, anyway?" She kept showing me images: Carlisle and the hospital, Jasper and his room, and Rosalie and Emmett and the garage. Finally, she showed me an image of her parents, Esme, and Alice running in the woods and put some thirst in the memory so that I understood they were hunting.
I held back a grimace. Lusting after human blood was not a pleasant sensation, but that was the way she had always showed me thirst or the need to hunt, so I was used to it. It was a painful burning, not just an uncomfortable dryness like human thirst, and it always made me sad to know that Nessie had to experience it, even if it wasn't at the level of the rest of her family. Nessie's thirst was the only thing I really held against Edward. On the other hand, there were at least two upsides to her having a vampire for a father: my imprint was less breakable than everyone else's and we would have eternity together.
"Your parents left you alone?" She sighed and showed me a memory of Emmett watching TV, babysitting, until Rosalie announced that she'd be out in the garage and winked at him. He had turned to Nessie to ask if she'd be okay without him and then beat it the hell out of the front door. I groaned and was thankful that Nessie didn't seem to have understood their exchange. I couldn't wait until she shows that to Bella and Edward.
She looked put out when she finished replaying the scene and moved her hand away from my face. "I am old enough to be left alone, you know, Jacob."
Uh oh. She only denied herself the convenience of her power when she was upset. It was as if she knew the lack of contact from her was denying me something, too. That stung. Her age, and subsequent child status in the family, was always a sore spot with her. I tried to get back on her good side. "Oh, I know that, honey. It's just that, well, you know how your dad can get." She seemed appeased and gave me a knowing nod as if to say, "I know exactly how my dad can get."
She nuzzled into my neck while I walked into the kitchen. Esme always kept food in the house for me and my pack. I got some chips from a cupboard and a soda from the fridge and took her back to her work in the dining room. I watched her translate one of Carlisle's old, leather-bound books. "Hey, Nessie?" She looked up. "Do you like learning all this stuff?" I waved my hand over all the dictionaries and pages she had spread out in front of her. She nodded her head enthusiastically, a wide grin on her face. She leaned forward to show me a memory of Edward promising her a trip to any country whose language she learned. I had to admit, it wasn't a bad incentive. But it also seemed cruel to make her learn all these dead languages first, knowing she couldn't really go anywhere and use them. I doubt he'd let her go to Rome without learning Italian.
I wonder... I put the bag of chips on the table and leaned towards her, whispering conspiratorially. "Nessie, would you want to learn Quileute?" Her eyes widened and she put her hand to my cheek. She didn't know there was such a thing. She nodded so hard I thought she'd break her neck. "My dad has an old textbook of it somewhere, I'll bring it if you want." She nodded again, her eyes still wide. "You'll have to keep it a secret, though. I don't want your dad upset that I'm breaking his dead language rule, okay?" She showed me a memory of the day we hid the TV remote from Emmett in the fridge. We had kept it's hiding spot from Edward, too, when he had helped look to shut Emmett up. Apparently, Emmett whines in his thoughts. "Yeah, like that."
While I really did want to share the language with her, there was a part of me that didn't care about all that tribal heritage crap. The only reason I knew the language was because Billy thought it was important that Ephraim Black's great-grandson learn it. He always said that when he was trying to teach me tribe stuff, Ephraim Black's great-grandson should know/learn/do...whatever he was pushing. It was probably also because he knew I'd be the leader of the Quileute Council one day. Poor Embry got roped into it all the time, too. When we were younger, Billy would take Sam and Embry out fishing with us because their dads weren't around, and he would use the trips as an opportunity to teach us the language and the legends. Sam was into that crap even then, but Embry looked just as bored as I did half the time. Now, the school in La Push teaches Quileute as part of the curriculum. Anyway, I thought Nessie would get a kick out of us having a secret language together. We just had to keep it from Edward while she was learning it, or else he'd get all butt-hurt and want to learn it, too. He still mopes around when Bella and I go out riding our motorcycles together. He's always fine a few hours later when they get back from "hunting," though.
The other reason I want her to learn it, though, is so that I can finally take her down to La Push. Edward was just as adamant that his daughter not hang out with a bunch of werewolves as he was about Bella doing it a year ago. He knew that there was no keeping me away and he was okay with my pack coming by, but only because there was a house full of vampires around. I knew it was, in part, because the treaty still forbade him from going down there. There's no way he'd let Nessie go somewhere that he couldn't follow. I had tried to guilt him into letting up, telling him I really wanted her to get to know my dad. It didn't work. Instead, Bella and I take her to hang out at Charlie's house sometimes when Billy's over. I figured his promise about letting her go to places where she knew the language was a nice little loophole.
I had to stop thinking about it, they might be home soon. "You almost done with your work?" She shook her head. "I'm taking a nap, then." It was the only fool-proof way of keeping my thoughts from Edward. She rolled her eyes and showed me an image of herself covering her ears while I snored. "Oh, yeah?" I tickled her until she bit one of my hands. "Ow! That hurt, you little brat!" I mussed with her hair and threw out my trash in the kitchen. Then I went to lay down on the couch in the living room, letting her get back to studying.
I awoke to the smell of dinner. Bella was trying to relearn to cook with her new senses. She was able to follow recipes precisely, but she was used to things smelling or tasting a certain way when they were done right. Esme was learning, too, and Edward was helping them. Nessie preferred blood, but Edward and Bella usually made her eat dinner at least a couple of times a week.
She had, eventually, been weened her off human blood. Those few weeks at the end of winter were hell . She was as stubborn as her parents and had put up a fight. She even fasted on both blood and food altogether, hoping her parents would break first. They didn't. Two and a half weeks in, there were dark circles under her small eyes and she would unconsciously project thirst into everyone she touched. When I couldn't take it anymore, I had casually invited her to hunt with me, "just to keep me company." She took down two deer alongside me and I hadn't said a word.
We were still trying to find foods she liked and Bella made a couple of different dishes each time so that she could, at least, sample them. I was more than happy to eat anything left over, seeing as it took a couple of normal human portions to fill me up, anyway. Aside from the obvious raw meats, we had found she liked overly salty and sweet foods. A few months ago, Carlisle had come up with a theory about that. He thought that it was because proteins, salt, and glucose make up part of human blood. I barely passed Biology, so I took his word for it.
"Nessie," Edward called from the kitchen, "Jacob's awake." I heard her footsteps as she ran to me, jumping over the back of the couch to land on my chest. I pretended she'd knocked the breath out of me and she rolled her eyes, but she smiled.
"Hey, kid." She tolerated me calling her that, because it was what I called Seth. She saw Seth as my equal, even if I didn't. "Dinner almost ready?" She touched my face, showing me an egg timer set to five minutes. I laughed. I loved the images she came up with to show me the simplest things. Even in her thoughts she refused to speak. I picked her up and put her on my shoulders, walking into the kitchen. "Hey, Bells. Hey, Edward. Smells good." They said hello and Bella walked over to kiss my cheek. I asked Edward in my head if we were telling Nessie about moving over dinner, he nodded but didn't look up from whatever was in the pot he was stirring.
Nessie jumped off my shoulders and walked along the counter top, looking into bowls and underneath a pot's lid. Edward sighed. "Renesmee, please get off the counter." She shot me a look and then jumped on to my shoulders again. I laughed. "Jacob, she doesn't need your encouragement." What was I around for if I wasn't going to help her break the rules, like I had done for Bella? Her parents were going to be boring and uptight, but her Jacob was going to be exciting and fun. Edward glared at me, but I ignored him.
"So, I missed the six o'clock weigh-in." I brought Nessie around in front of me and held her an arm's length away, pretending to study her. "Oh, yeah. You look way older than you did before I fell asleep." She giggled and Bella smiled.
"Carlisle said that her growth now is slower than it was in her first six months and it should be even slower by her birthday. After that, he thinks it should be pretty constant, if Nahuel's seven years was the norm." Bella was still smiling as she said this. It was a lot easier to talk about her growth now, now that we knew it wasn't sentencing her to an early death. "Go set the table, you two."
We were sitting at the dining room table playing a supernaturally fast and painful game of hot hands when they came in with a few bowls and a couple of plates. Edward rolled his eyes at me. Aw, shut up, Edward. Are you going to teach her these kid things? He ignored me, something I learned that he did when he knew I was right. He ignored me, again.
After Bella pointed out what was what, I waited for Nessie to try each of them. They sat down across from us. She grimaced from the first bite of some chicken dish and pushed it over to me. I started in on it.
I started to worry about what would happen to her when we moved. Nessie never really left the two houses or the woods around them and she had never gone farther into town than Charlie's house. When we moved, we would be changing the very limited world she knew. Would she like that? Did she feel claustrophobic here, with her only escape the woods when we were hunting? Or would she freak out by the sudden uprooting of everything stable around her?
On the upside, she didn't know many people and a majority of them would be moving with her. The only people she would really have to miss were my packmates, Charlie, my dad, and Sue. Although, she might see a lot less of her family if they were always over at the second house. Would all the changes be too much for her?
Edward waited until she had taste tested each plate and decided on meatloaf before he started talking. "Renesmee," she looked up at him, furrowing her brow. "Do you know how old Carlisle was before he became a vampire?" She shook her head. "He was 23. Now, in order for him to be old enough to be practicing medicine, he has to tell the hospitals he works at that he's 28. When we moved to Forks five years ago, that's the age he gave them. Which means that he's now trying to pull off an age that's ten years older than the age he appears to be. Now, you know the reason your mother and I don't allow you to go into town often is because no one can see your accelerated growth." She nodded. "Our vegetarian lifestyle allows us to have a home and to stay in one place for a few years, but we have to make sure no one ever suspects anything about us. People who work with your grandfather at the hospital are starting to question his seemingly unchanging appearance. For this reason and also because your mother is now able to handle her thirst well enough to attend college, we will be moving at the end of this summer."
Nessie slammed down her fork, threw herself at me, and sobbed into my neck. I didn't know what to do. I guess all I had been worrying over was what would happen to her once we moved, I hadn't expected her to break down like this. So I just rubbed her back and told her over and over again that everything would be okay. Bella had already gotten up from her seat and dashed over to us, trying to take Nessie in her arms. That just made her cries deepen and her grip on me tighten.
Bella looked over at Edward, who was standing on my either side. "What is she thinking, Edward?" He didn't respond immediately, he seemed to be concentrating on hearing her.
"I'm not sure, her thoughts are hysterical..." His face relaxed and he sighed gently. "Nessie, Jacob is coming with us." Bella and I wore matching looks of understanding before I resumed comforting Nessie. She had started to calm down and she had those double-gasps that happen when you try and take deep breaths after crying.
That was the worst of it. She asked a couple of questions about where we were moving while she finished her dinner. They explained the two living situations, the hunting options, and their night-class schedule. She was sad to be leaving some of her family behind but, overall, she was just excited. As soon as she was done eating, she went online and looked into everything about the area, the college, and what was to be my new high school. Edward had said that I'd use the second house's address in Hanover to enroll at Hanover High. She giggled at something on her screen and as I looked over her shoulder to see what she was pointing out on the Hanover High School website. "Their mascot is the Marauders? What's that?" She giggled again and showed me an image of myself dressed in a full pirate's outfit. I rolled my eyes and Edward laughed.
A while later Alice danced down the stairs with paint samples and fabric swatches. "Nessie, you're going to have to help me decorate your room. No matter what I decide, I can't see if you'll like it. You'll have to decorate Jacob's room, too. Unless...did you want to do it yourself?"
I couldn't tell if she was serious. "I don't think so, Shorty. Nessie'll know what I like. In fact, I should go talk to Carlisle." When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I stopped and turned around. "All I want," I began. Alice looked up, intrigued. "Is a huge bed!" Everyone laughed. I climbed the stairs and knocked on his study's door.
"Come in, Jacob."
He set down a medical journal and turned his chair to look at me come in. "Hey, Carlisle. Edward said you and Esme want to talk to my dad."
"Yes, we do." He motioned for me to sit in the chair in front of his desk. "Have you told him about your plans to move with us?"
"No, not yet," I confessed as I sat down. "By the time I got home last night, he was asleep and then I came here right after my last Final to tell Nessie. I've been avoiding phasing so no one finds out but I have patrols tonight, so I was going to go home soon and let him know."
"What do you think his reaction will be to your decision?"
"Honestly, Doc? I'm not sure."
"Should Esme and I wait a few days to speak with him?"
"Nah. It might even be better if you saw him right after."
"I would also like to speak to you, but we could do that some other time. Right now, you should go home and speak to your father."
"Sure, sure," I said, standing up. "I have patrols at nine, if you guys wanted to come over then."
"Esme and I will be there. You should also inform Sam that we will be crossing the treaty line. Call us if our presence is a problem and we can make other arrangements, perhaps Bella could make plans for us to meet at Chief Swan's house."
"If Sam has a problem with you guys crossing the line, he'll be reminded of who the true Alpha is."
Carlisle frowned and shook his head. "No, Jacob. You will not antagonize your brother over me or my family, and certainly not over something as trivial as this meeting's venue."
Sometimes Carlisle was too peaceful for his own good. "If you and Esme meant what you told me last night, then you are as much my family, if not more so, than Sam is. And it is not insignificant that my own family would not be allowed on my land, especially when they're not allowed because they're seen as a danger. Sam will trust my family and he will trust my judgment."
Carlisle seemed somewhat taken aback by the passion behind my speech and he smiled at me. I told him I'd see him later and left the room, finding Esme right outside the door. She hugged me. "You don't know how much your words mean to me." I inwardly slapped my forehead. I had forgotten that everyone in the house could hear me. Damn vampiric hearing. I hugged her back and gently got myself out of her embrace, leaving her in the hallway when I figured it wouldn't be rude.
Jasper had joined Alice downstairs and he looked up from his book to smile at what he knew to be my embarrassment. Bella was watching Edward play the piano. He had offered to teach her, but she said she liked hearing him play more than she would like playing herself. Nessie was shopping online with Alice and she smiled at me when I got to the bottom of the stairs. "I gotta go home and talk to Billy, Nessie." She frowned and I laughed as she jumped over Alice's laptop to run over to me. I hugged her when she leaped into my waiting arms. "Don't worry, I'll be back tomorrow." I pulled her away to kiss her on the forehead. "Bye, guys," I said over her shoulder. "Bye, Bells, Edward." They all said the same to me and I walked to the door before kissing Nessie again before I put her down. "'Night, Nessie. Love ya, honey."
I was halfway to my car when I heard her say something in that high, sweet voice that melted my heart, "Goodnight, Jacob. I love you, too." It was exactly what I needed to hear. Because I was off to tell Ephraim Black's grandson that Ephraim's last male descendant, the true Chief and Alpha, his son, was leaving La Push.
I took a deep breath before letting myself in the front door. My dad was sitting in his chair in front of the TV, watching the news. "Hey, Dad. I need to talk to you before I go on patrol."
He raised his eyebrows, but wheeled himself to the TV to turn it off. "What is it?"
"Well...yesterday I was over at the Cullens' and they were talking, and...uh..."
He interrupted me. "And they're leaving and you're going with them." Huh? Okay, so breaking it to him would be easier than I thought. I must have had my mouth open or something, because he laughed. "Well, yeah. How did you know?"
"Son, I've been waiting to have this conversation with you since the stand-off with those vampires last winter. I'm surprised it's taken this long for them to leave."
"It's not those Italian bloodsuckers this time. Carlisle's just pretending to be too old for his face. People are starting to talk. It's not safe for Ness--I mean--any of them, anymore."
He smirked. "It's okay, Jake. I know what your priorities are. Have you thought about your pack, though?"
I rubbed the back of my neck and let out a slow sigh. "Yeah. I'm going to ask Leah to take over." His eyebrows shot up. I tried to backtrack. "Not give up my claim as Alpha. I mean, I'm still going to have to phase to stay young for--" I cut off, not wanting to say I was doing it all for Nessie. He knew, of course, but I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of saying it out loud. "So, she'll just take over most of the duties. I mean, Sam's pack does a majority of the patrols, anyway. The pack is so small it's not that much of a burden. She's been doing a lot as Beta--" That fucking eyebrow went up again. "Sorry, that's what Bella calls it, it sorta stuck. Anyway, she already gets a kick out of being an Alpha's Second. The only thing that's going to take some convincing is having her deal with Sam. But I'm hoping I'll still be connected to the pack's mind when I phase, so maybe it won't be so bad and she won't have to do too much."
"How far are you moving that connecting with the pack would be a problem?"
"Oh, I didn't say that, huh?" I decided to put the location on Bella. He still had a soft spot for her. "Well, Bella's gotten really good at controlling her thirst, so she wants to take a stab at college, and she enrolled at Dartmouth. It's a really good school. Ivy League and all that. It's in New Hampshire right on the Vermont border." I added the last part because I didn't even know where it was until a few hours ago when Nessie looked it up. I think Esme had said it the night before when she was talking about the two houses, but I hadn't been paying attention to the the details at the time. I'm glad I had been looking at the map over her shoulder, I would have looked pretty stupid if he knew that I had blindly agreed to follow them without knowing where the hell we were going.
"And what about your schooling?"
Now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows. He had never once even brought up the topic of my education. In fact, he hadn't even given a damn when I skipped the entire fall semester last year. The only reason I had gone back after winter break was because Bella had pushed the issue and Edward had threatened to stop letting Nessie hang out with "an ignorant ass." It was the harshest word I had ever heard him say, so I believed him. I felt like answering him like the ass Edward thought me to be, but I figured it wouldn't help my situation. Instead, I told him that Carlisle had already planned on enrolling me in a high school in the area. Which reminded me of their visit. He seemed to be out of objections, anyway. "I'm going to have to go on patrol soon, but Carlisle and Esme wanted to come talk to you when I left. Is that okay?"
"Sure, sure," he said as he rolled himself back to the TV and turned it on again.
I was halfway to the phone, preparing what I would say to Sam, when it started ringing. "Hello?"
"Jacob..." It was Sam. Shit. "Do you have any idea why Cullen and his mate just drove across the treaty line?" What an ass.
"Yeah, Sam. I was just about to call you. Carlisle and his wife are heading over to my house." I heard the beautiful engine of Carlisle's Mercedes as it got closer to my door. "In fact, they're here now, so I gotta go."
"Jacob," he continued in the same condescending voice as earlier, "you should have warned me before my boys caught their scent on our land."
"Look, Sam, if you want to continue this, I'll be phased in a few minutes and we can talk Alpha to Alpha. Right now, though, I have company." I hung up on him.
"You should have warned him, " Billy scolded.
"Sure, sure," I brushed him off and then opened the front door before they could knock. "Hey, guys. C'mon in."
Esme gave me a hug before walking over to Billy, who was turning off the TV, and bending down to kiss him on the cheek. He was a little taken aback and he reflexively grimaced when he caught her scent. I hoped she wouldn't notice. She did. "Oh! Oh, I'm so sorry! I thought it was just the wolves that could--"
He cut her off, turning on that old Billy Black charm. "No, I'm sorry. Please, welcome to our home." He motioned for her to sit on the loveseat.
Carlisle had stopped by me, putting his hand on my shoulder. "You didn't tell Sam?" He whispered it so that Billy couldn't hear and Esme pretended not to. I looked at the floor and shook my head. It was harder to blow off Carlisle than it was Billy. I didn't even try. I didn't want to try. He pat me on the back and then walked forward to shake my dad's hand. I closed the door.
"...And now it's just you and Jacob?" Esme was asking.
"And one of my girls, Rachel. She's over at Paul's."
"Paul's in Sam's pack, right? Is he Rachel's imprint?"
"No...I mean...Rachel is Paul's imprint."
"Oh...It's just...from the way Edward's explained it...I mean...from Nessie's thoughts..." She looked flummoxed. Things had definitely not been going smoothly for her. I decided to help her out.
"It's just that Edward's seen imprinting from the wolf's perspective. Even though we're the ones that imprint, we belong to our imprints, even though they're not necessarily ours. That's why Nessie sees me possessively, as hers, in her thoughts." Billy didn't seem to like that. Carlisle gave me a grateful smile. I shrugged, I had tried. Carlisle, Esme, and I turned our head towards my front door as Sam's scent approached us. Shit! Billy followed our gaze and looked confused when all he saw was the closed door.
Carlisle made a show of checking the Rolex he didn't need. "I think you're late for your patrol, Jacob. You don't need to stay for our benefit. Tomorrow is your last day of Finals?" I nodded. "Your shift will be over with enough time for you to study and get some rest?" I nodded. He didn't have to know that I didn't study for Finals...that I didn't study.
Billy looked a little put out by this conversation. It seemed like Carlisle was saying everything he should say, but never did. I tried not to meet his eyes. Esme got up to give me a hug and to kiss me on the cheek. "Be safe, dear. If you have time tomorrow morning, come by and I'll make you breakfast. If not, come by after school and I'll have a cake ready to celebrate the end of your school year."
I grinned and hugged her. "Thanks, Esme." That reminded me... "Dad, if you go to bed before I come back, can you leave out that old Quileute textbook you have? I want to teach it to Nessie." He looked surprised, but agreed. I turned to Carlisle and Esme. "You guys didn't hear that."
Carlisle gave me a knowing smile and Esme sighed, saying, "I guess I'll be reciting a lot of poetry for the next couple of days." Carlisle and I laughed, Billy just looked confused...again.
I was opening the door when Carlisle called after me. "There'll be a thunderstorm tomorrow night." I had heard all about the supernatural version of baseball they played during storms but I'd never played with them before. In fact, one night Emmett had felt the need to relive a game with me, play by play.
I grinned. "Nessie, Bella and I haven't been able to play, yet. Edward's going to have to run to catch her balls!" Carlisle and Esme copied my smile and nodded their heads. "Bye, guys, see ya tomorrow. 'Night, Dad." I didn't have to look over to know what his expression would be.
Poor, Billy. Seeing me interact with Carlisle and Esme had really thrown him for a loop. I wonder if that's the look every parent has when they see their child interact with their in-laws and it dawns on them that they belong to another family, too. I don't know if it'll make it harder or easier to see me go. I couldn't dwell on this now.
Opening my front door, I walked outside to face Sam. He was in the woods on the side of my house, still in wolf form, sitting on his haunches. I didn't speak to him, I just undressed and tied my clothes to my leg, phasing in front of him. I was in the same position he was in, sitting directly across from him, our noses nearly touching. I was much taller than him, now, and I took pride in being able to look down my snout at him. Sam. I had to consciously speak to him, it had taken some getting used to. We usually didn't talk to each other this way. I wondered if he hadn't phased back because he didn't want Carlisle and Esme to hear our conversation. I was kinda hoping he wouldn't hear theirs.
I could feel Leah's presence, waiting to change shifts with me. She was trying not to think, she wanted to hear our conversation. Damn right, I do. I mentally rolled my eyes at her.
Hello, Jacob. Now are you going to tell me why the bloodsuckers are on our land?
What bloodsuckers? The Cullens? What's he talking about?
Shut up and listen. Just know that I'm not telling him the whole truth because there's something I need to tell you first. They came here to talk to Billy.
Why? Is there anything I should know about? Did the psychic have a vision?
No, Alice did not have a vision. They just wanted to speak to a Council member.
That's none of your business.
None of whose business? Mine or his?
If it has to do with La Push it sure as hell is my business.
If you'd just shut up, Leah, maybe you wouldn't get confused. Look, Sam. I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I lost track of time. Thank whoever found their scent for me for letting them pass without stopping them.
No, they probably should have stopped them. Now, what's this all about, Jacob?
Yeah, what's going on? Why don't you want to tell Sam the truth?
Shut up, Leah. You'll find out soon enough, Sam. Now, I've got Leah in my head and she's bugging the piss out of me. I'm sure you remember what that's like. Leah growled at me. So, if you'll excuse me, I have some things to talk over with my Second.
You're being extremely disrespectful to me, Jacob. If this has anything to do with our land or the safety of our people, I need to know what it is. I don't see why you would tell Leah what's going on, yet you refuse to tell your fellow Alpha.
Jesus, Leah, what the hell did you see in this guy? She growled at me, again.I'm going to tell Leah because she's my Second and she's in my pack. You, however, have lost the privilege of being in my head. Or don't you remember?
Ooh, low blow, Jake.
Shut up, Leah!
Sam snorted out of his snout. Some privilege.
Whatever, Sam. I gotta go change shifts with Leah. Anything I should know about?
Oh, so now we're sharing information?
He's got you there.
Shut up, Leah! No, Sam. I guess not. I'll explain everything to you later. Say hi to Emily for me. I turned and ran off to meet up with Leah.
Okay, now will you tell me what the hell's going on?
I will in a sec, where are you?
The woods by Second Beach. I guess I'm waiting here for you?
Yeah. I made it toher a minute later. I sat in front of her, giving her more space than I had given Sam.
So. What's so important that you had to hide it from Sam?
I wasn't hiding it from Sam, I just wanted to talk to you first.
Who's talking to Billy? Why did they want to meet with an Council member?
They didn't want to meet with an Council member, they wanted to meet with Billy.
You're not making any sense, Jake.
Carlisle and Esme wanted to meet with Billy because he's my dad, not because he's an Council member.
The Cullens are moving.
Really!?! That's great! I mean, there won't be any new wolves. Who knew three guys could have so many great-grandchildren, anyway? She had stood up and began pacing back and forth, obviously excited. There might even be less need for patrols without having to worry about vampires stopping by to see them. No more Volturi, no more... She stopped pacing and her head suddenly whipped around to face me. I could see the gears finally click into place. She was thinking about Renesmee, she understood why Carlisle and Esme were talking to Billy. You're going to follow her, aren't you? Now she was pissed. I nodded. You stupid asshole. You're going to leave your home for a filthy bloodsucking leech?
I growled at her, bearing my teeth. Don't. You. Ever. Call her that again. I calmed myself down before directing my thoughts at her again. She knew to give me time and she stayed quiet. I know you have a thing against imprints, but you know how it works. I can't be away from her. Her family has to move to protect themselves and her. I have to do whatever's best for her. It will only be for a couple of years.
And then what? You'll come back to Forks. Bullshit. It took them seventy years to come back last time, you think they're going to go out of their way for you?
We don't know what will happen when Renesmee grows up. In a few years, she'll be old enough to make her own decisions. Maybe we could move back then.
Oh, yeah. I forgot. Mr. Pedophile's gonna shack up with an eight-year-old. I'm sure Bella and Edward will go for that.
What do you want me to do, Leah? I know you think we're all a bunch of weak males, being led around by our dicks. I know you think we can fight it. We can't, Leah. Besides, in a couple of years, it's going to be noticeable that we're not aging, either. Then we'll be in the exact same position the Cullens are in. We'll have to leave our home, anyway.
And what? You just planning on pawning off all of your responsibilities on me while you went off to be with the jail bait "love of your life?" I was going to stop phasing as soon as I could manage it. I was going to get out of here. I was going to get away from all this shit.
So you were going to give up La Push, too.
I'm not Alpha.
I'm not arguing with you, Leah. I've made my decision to leave with my imprint. Now, I made you my Second for a reason. I trust you with my pack. I trust you to do the right thing. I trust you to stand up to Sam when he's being an ass. If you don't want to take over for me when I leave, not if I leave, but when I leave, then I can ask Seth or Embry or Quil to do it and you can become my Third. It's up to you. It's your choice.
Bullshit! You know, you always said you wouldn't pull that Alpha shit with us, that you'd always give us a choice! But this isn't a choice! This is an Alpha command wrapped up as an ultimatum that you're trying to pass off as a choice! Well, fuck you, Jacob Black! Fuck you!
As she hurled these thoughts at me, she advanced on my slouched sitting form until we were nose to nose. When she finished, she ran. There was no point in following her, she could outrun me. Besides, there was nothing left to say.
I saw Seth at school, in between Finals, and made the mistake of mentioning the cake Esme had promised me. So, together, we drove over to the Cullens' after our last Final on the last day of school. It was overcast, but there was no rain. I knew that would change by the time we got to the field later tonight. Alice was never wrong. Especially about something as unchanging as the weather.
I had talked to Seth about the move on the way over. He had already heard about it from Leah, who had come into the house cursing and screaming after leaving me in the woods. Seth didn't seem to care that I was leaving. He liked the Cullens and he wasn't against the idea of imprints. He saw how happy every imprinted male was and he wanted it.
"Not right away, you know. I still want to finish high school and go to college. I don't mind if I don't find her for a while. I just don't want to settle, you know. And as much as Leah bitches about it and says she wants to stop phasing, I don't think she will until she imprints. No one would willingly give up that kind of love. Besides, I think it's the only way she'd ever really get over Sam and what he did to her. I mean, look at you and Bella. I mean, you're going to move in with Bella and her husband. Can you even imagine Leah and Sam having a civilized conversation? It's not all Sam's fault, either. I wanted to blame him, too, in the beginning. I mean, Leah's my sister and Emily's my cousin, too. I saw him as the bad guy for a while. And then I realized that he was really trying and Leah wasn't having any of it. Not that I really blame her..."
That's the thing about Seth. You don't have to do much talking when you're around him. It was ten more minutes of that before we were at the Cullens'. Nessie came out to meet us on the front porch, covered in chocolate frosting. I don't know how she did it, especially because she has reflexes that are better than any human alive. She probably did it on purpose. You were supposed to get dirty when you were baking, so she did.
She jumped into my arms and I kissed her on the cheek, hitting one of the spots of frosting. She giggled when she saw me licking it off my lips. "Hey, Nessie. Is our cake done?" She nodded. "Good, we're starving." She shook her head and put on a serious face, too serious for it to be genuine. Then she showed me an image of sandwiches and chips. "We have to eat lunch first?" She nodded, still serious. "Please," I pleaded, because that's what she wanted. She shook her head. "Fine," I sulked.
She turned her attention to Seth. She jumped from my arms into his. "Hey, Nessie. You made us lunch and everything?" She nodded, smiling. She put her hand on his face and showed him something. "Oh, no, I haven't forgotten." She jumped off and ran inside.
"What was that about?"
"Oh, uh, she was just showing me lunch."
I was halfway to the kitchen before I remembered the Quileute book in the car and went back outside for it. I found Nessie, Seth, Esme, and Alice in the kitchen. Seth was already starting in on his sandwiches and Nessie and Esme were finishing up frosting the cake. Alice was looking through fabric swatches again. They looked like nylon and I figured I didn't want to know.
"Hey, guys. Where are Bella and Edward?"
Alice answered, but she didn't look up. "Hey, Jake." She was the only Cullen who had adopted Bella's nickname for me. "They went to tell Charlie that we're moving."
"Good." That piqued her attention. I pulled out the Quileute book and put it on the counter. "There you go, Nessie. It shouldn't be too hard to learn, not for you anyway. It's actually a pretty unique language, something about the sounds it doesn't make and the words that are dozens of letters long and mean whole sentences."
Alice picked up the book and skimmed through it while Nessie washed up and Esme put the cake in the fridge. She laughed.
"What?" I asked through a bite of my sandwich.
"Kitlayakwokwilkwolasstaxasalas. It means, 'those are the people who think that I am the one who is going to Forks.' Oh, yeah, Nessie. Piece of cake." She handed the book to Nessie as Seth snorted. "Why are you having her learn this, anyway? The future Chieftess needs to know the language of the people?" Seth snorted again, but Esme and I gave her a hard look to shut her up. Thankfully, Nessie was oblivious as she started reading, sitting cross-legged on top of the kitchen counter.
I decided to answer Alice as if nothing had happened. "Promise not to tell Edward, at least until she's learned it?"
Alice's eyes lit up. "Ooh, a secret? From Edward? I'm in!"
Seth put his hands over his ears. "I shouldn't hear this. I already know too much and Edward sees right through me. He always figures it out when I'm trying to block him and then I can only think about what I'm not supposed to be thinking about." He started humming.
Esme walked out of the kitchen. "I'm not keeping anything more from my son. I've already been reciting poetry around him. He knows some thing's up."
Alice was all but bouncing in anticipation. "Oh, just spit it out already. You're killing me."
Nessie was looking up over the top of the book. I looked at her and asked, "How fast can you read that?"
Alice looked over her shoulder. "She's almost halfway done, already."
"And you you'll be able to remember it perfectly, right?" Nessie nodded and gave me a look as if to say "obviously."
"So what's the secret? Why do you want her to learn Quileute?"
Nessie looked up. I hadn't told her that there was a reason behind it at all. She was just as curious as Alice, she was just more confused than her aunt. Alice never needed a reason to keep a secret from Edward. "Well, did you know that Edward made Nessie a promise? That if she learned a country's language, he would take her there."
"Yeah...Oh! Wow! You've found the perfect loophole! Oh my God, Jake, it's genius! I've never seen Edward tripped up by his own rules! I've waited decades for this to happen to him! My brother's going down!"
I'm not sure Nessie understood what was going on, but we both couldn't help getting wrapped up in Alice's enthusiasm. I just grinned at her as I gave Seth the all-clear to move his hands from his ears. We were finishing our lunch when Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie came back from hunting and met up with us in the kitchen.
Seth and I said hi to everyone, Nessie just smiled at them and then went back to reading. Rosalie gave me a dirty look, but she smiled at Seth. Yeah, I get it. It's not a werewolf thing, it's a me thing.
"Oh, Jazz," Alice gushed. "It's wonderful! Jake's figured out a way to trip up Edward with his own rules! He's—oh, Seth, cover your ears." Jasper and Rosalie looked at Seth like he was crazy because he obeyed Alice immediately, covering his ears and humming. Emmett just laughed. "Seth can't keep secrets from Edward." She explained in a rush. "Anyway, Jacob's figured out a way to get Nessie to visit La Push!" Jasper and Emmett raised their eyebrows skeptically and Nessie lifted her head from the book, the plan finally completed in her head. She smiled at me and I smiled back, she went back to reading.
Rosalie huffed. "And this is a good thing, why? Do you all want your niece hanging out with a bunch of dogs?" Well, maybe it was more than just a me thing.
Everyone ignored her and Alice went on as if she hadn't said a word. "No, really, guys, it's perfect! He's told Nessie that she can visit any place as long as she's learned the language. So...get this...the boy's teaching her Quileute!" Jasper got it first and let out a loud roar of laughter. It was infectious and soon I was laughing, too.
It took Emmett a little bit longer. "But how's...Oh!" He bent over kitchen counter in laughter. "Oh, man! Edward's going to be so pissed!"
Seth uncovered his ears hesitantly when he saw everyone laughing. "Can I listen, now?" I nodded.
Emmett stopped laughing just long enough to give me a hard slap on the back. "I underestimated you, Jacob. You're going to fit in perfectly in this family." He looked over at Rosalie, she was still scowling. "Oh, c'mon, Baby. Think of how pissed Edward's going to be."
"Who cares if Edward's upset? You guys are telling me you're all fine with Nessie hanging out with those mongrels, on their land, where we're forbidden?"
Seth, who hadn't heard her first comment because he was covering his ears, looked hurt. He opened his mouth to say something, but I spoke first. "And what do you think we're going to do with her once she's there? Hold her hostage? Sacrifice her to our primitive gods?"
"Don't be stupid, Rose. Jake wouldn't let anything happen to her. Quil's imprint is a little girl and she's fine hanging around them all the time." I didn't tell her that none of the imprints were actually allowed around the wolves when they were phased. "Besides, there's nothing you can do about it. Edward made up the rule and when Nessie learns Quileute, there's not going to be a single thing he can do to keep her from going."
As if on cue, Nessie raised her eyes from the book and slammed the covers together with a huge grin on her face.
I nearly choked on my soda. "Done?" She nodded. "Really?" Her smiled widened and she nodded again. I decided to test her. "Ayásochid*?"
She cleared her throat before responding in her soft, high voice, "Háҫhli, ho**."
I grinned. Beside me, I heard Seth's jaw drop. "Did she really just learn Quileute?"
"I think she did, Seth! I think she now knows more Quileute than the both of us combined!" I walked over to her and picked her up off the counter, spinning her around. She giggled and I hugged her.
Alice was staring off into space. Then she snapped back to the present. "Jake. Quick. Hide the book. They're almost back and Edward will find it if it's in the house."
I set Nessie back down on the counter and sped back to my car, hiding the book under random junk in my backseat. I ran back into the kitchen and stopped in front of Nessie. "It's a secret, remember?" She nodded and showed me a picture of her "locking" her lips and throwing away the invisible key. I rolled my eyes. "You know you could have actually done that, right?" She nodded and giggled. "You understand why Edward's going to be upset, right?" She nodded and showed me driving her past the La Push sign on the highway. I smiled at her and kissed her forehead.
We all froze as we heard their car pull up. Before I could blink, Alice had a piece of cake in front of Seth. "Eat. Think about how good it is." I sat down as she put one in front of me and then shooed her husband, brother, and sister out of the kitchen.
It was good. "It's delicious, honey." Seth mmm'd in agreement. She blushed. That girl's good at everything, but she never believes it. She must have inherited her self-esteem from her mother. Oh well, it was better than her being a cocky asshole like her father.
"No, Jacob. Please. Tell me what you really think about me." Nessie threw herself at her parents as they walked into the kitchen.
I just took another bite of my cake and ignored him. "Hey, Bells," I said with my mouth full.
Seth didn't look up at them when he said hi, just concentrated on his cake. Edward gave him a puzzled look. "Good cake, Seth?" He just nodded. Man, he was really bad at this.
Edward looked at me. "Bad at what, Jacob?"
I changed the subject. "How did it go at Charlie's, Bells?"
She sighed and started to respond when Edward cut her off. "Bad at what, Jacob? Keeping me out of his thoughts? And why are my brothers and sisters keeping me out, too?"
Seth's eyes widened and he shoveled another bite into his mouth.
"Rosalie? What's going on?" My head dropped when he stood still for a second, obviously listening intently to something. Goddamn that Blondie. I waited for the explosion. It didn't come. A moment later I chanced a look up.
He was standing with his chin touching his chest, two fingers pinching his nose, his eyes squeezed shut. Bella was beside him, holding Nessie to her hip with one hand, rubbing his back with the other. "What, Edward? What's wrong?"
"Jacob," he practically growled my name, "thinks he has bested me into allowing our daughter to go down to La Push."
Wait a second. "What do you mean thinks? I have figured out a way..."
"Jacob, I don't care what kind of loophole you may think you have found, she's my daughter and I say..."
I decided to take a different approach. "She's Bella's daughter, too. Bells," I turned to her, "do you really mind Nessie going down to La Push?"
She looked torn, looking from my face to her husband's. "What's going on, Jake? What loophole?" She asked. Nessie jumped out of Bella's arms and I opened mine to catch her. She sat on my lap, turning so that her back was leaning against my chest.
"Well, Nessie told me yesterday that Edward had promised her to let her go anywhere she knew the language. So I taught her Quileute."
Bella laughed, but stopped when Edward gave her a look. "Oh, c'mon, Edward. You have to admit, he's got you there. He followed your rule and you can't go against it, now."
"Bella, this isn't a question of rules and loopholes, this is about our daughter's safety." She rolled her eyes. "Or have you completely forgotten about your friend, Emily?"
Now, the asshole had gone too far. I opened my mouth and could feel Seth even gearing up to say something, but Bella beat us to the punch. She looked pissed. "Don't you dare bring Emily into this. Do you know the guilt that Sam has to live with because of that? She's not some example you can bring up whenever you're being prejudiced against the wolves. Do you think she holds a grudge against Sam for it, do you think she avoids the rest of the wolves? No! She's like a second mother to Sam's pack. Aside from that, Sam was a new wolf when that happened and he still doesn't have the control over phasing that Jake has always had."
"Which is why I still allow the dog to see her, but there will be others down there, and they might not have the same control he has."
Her eyes were slits, now. "You know how I feel about you calling him that, Edward." Nessie put a hand on my face without turning around to replay what her mom had said. She didn't like when he called me that, either. Edward opened his mouth to say something, but Bella stopped him. "Look, I have let this thing go on long enough. I have never liked keeping Nessie from La Push, some of my greatest human memories happened on the Rez. She isn't a normal little girl, Edward, no one's going to be able to phase and catch her off guard. She's going, loophole or not, she's going."
Oh, shit! I hadn't expected Bella to defend us like that. I had forgotten how close she and Emily had become that spring when we were out chasing Victoria. Nessie turned to look at me with a big smile on her face. I was relieved. I didn't think she had ever seen her parents fight before, I wasn't sure if it would have upset her. She showed me the image she had showed me earlier, I was driving her to the Rez. I smiled and nodded down at her.
I decided to at least try and smooth things over. Beside me, Seth looked uncomfortable having just overheard their fight. "So, how did it go at Charlie's?"
Bella sighed like she had before. "Okay, I guess. He didn't seem too upset by it. I think that has a lot to do with your mom, Seth. It's nice to see him so happy all the time. I would have felt a lot better, though, if I could have told him when we'd be coming back."
That reminded me of the fight I had had the night before with Leah. "Yeah, I know what you mean."
"Oh, that's right. How did it go with your dad, yesterday. I'm surprised that Billy didn't call up Charlie last night and rat me out."
"It was fine. I didn't even have to tell him, really. I started to tell him and then he just guessed. He said he'd been preparing himself for the move since the Volturi came for all of us." I shrugged. "He's more worried about the pack than about himself."
Seth spoke up. "Aww, I think we'll manage without our fearless leader." I socked him on the arm. "I just hope Leah gets over it, soon. I'm not really looking for a promotion." I just shrugged. I didn't want to talk about it. I probably hadn't handled things as well as I could have, last night. I believed Seth, though, as much as Leah talked about leaving and not phasing, she was still waiting for her imprint.
Bella looked like she wanted to say something comforting, but she didn't know what. Even now that she was a virtually-indestructible newborn vampire, Leah still scared her. She just squeezed my shoulder and took our dirty plates, washing them with vampiric speed. "Thanks, Bells."
"I have a new rule," Edward spoke up for the first time since Bella had handed him his ass. I rolled my eyes when he glared at me. "More like an amendment to the language rule, which is, apparently, still in effect. Nessie will still be able visit anyplace she speaks the language. However, Jacob, if you wish to join her, you will also have to learn the language."
What?!? Seth was doing a horrible job of pretending his laughs were coughs. Bella looked shocked for a fraction of a second and then she smirked and shook her head. Goddammit. Nessie turned to look at me and looked confused that I looked so glum. She showed me an image of the Quileute book and a clock with it's hands racing. "Yeah, Nessie it's easy for you and your photographic memory. It takes everybody else years to learn languages." She showed me an image of her helping to teach me. Great. I was going to be tutored by a little girl.
Edward laughed. "That reminds me. Nessie, where's that Quileute book?" We shook our heads together. "What does that mean?"
"It means that you're not going to learn Quileute. It's our thing." Nessie nodded at that.
He rolled his eyes at us. "I'm serious, Jacob. Where is it?"
"I am serious, Edward. You're not learning it."
"You, Jacob, do not dictate what I can or cannot do."
I ignored him. "Nessie, do you want Edward to learn Quileute, too?" She shook her head. "Do you want to be a secret between the two of us?" She nodded, smiling. "I want it to be our secret, too, honey." He knew he was beaten. He wouldn't deny Bella or Nessie anything. With a low growl, he stormed out of the kitchen. Jesus, he acts like a little kid left out of a joke. Bella rolled her eyes and followed him out.
"Nessie, is your grandpa here or is he at the hospital?" She showed me the memory of him coming home when she was baking the cake with Esme. "And he's still here?" She nodded. "Okay. Can you find something to do with Seth for a while? I have to go talk to him." She nodded enthusiastically and shot a meaningful look at Seth. I wondered what that was all about. I set her down on the counter and kissed her forehead before walking out of the kitchen and up the stairs to find Carlisle.
For the second time in as many days I found myself knocking on Carlisle's study's door. "Come in, Jacob." He and Esme were looking at blueprints spread out on his desk.
"Hey, Esme. Hey, Carlisle. I know you wanted to talk to me but I can come back later."
Esme answered. "Oh, that's okay, Jacob. I was finished with him. You're saving him from the same hour-long discussion I just had with Alice about the square footage of everyone's closets."
"Yes, Jacob. Thank you for that. Please, sit down." He gave Esme a kiss after she rolled up the plans and walked her to the door.
She turned to face me. "Would you like me to make you dinner, Jacob? We still have a few hours before we go play."
"You don't have to, Esme."
"I need the practice for when you move in with us."
"Thanks, and you might want to make a meal for a family of eight. I think Seth's staying for the game, too." She laughed and left the room.
"So, Doc, how did it go with my old man, last night?"
He exhaled slowly. "Well, as I'm sure you know, the move will be very difficult on him. I know he's been preparing for it since you imprinted on Renesmee, but he thought he would have more time with you."
I nodded. "I guess I could see how I haven't been around much in the past few years. Especially with running away and all."
"He really does think of you as your own man. He thinks the responsibilities that came with becoming a wolf, inheriting your own pack, and imprinting on a child have matured you. He believes that you're under the impression that he doesn't improve of Nessie, but she's grown on him. Of course, he was saying this to her grandparents, so it may have been disingenuous to spare our feelings, although he was the one to bring it up, so I doubt it."
That surprised me. I guess I did think that he had a problem with Nessie. Maybe the few times he had been around her at Charlie's had made more of an impression on him than I had thought. I hoped that bringing Nessie around the Rez would help with that, too. "That's good to hear, I guess. I wish he would have told me he felt that way, though. But I guess Black men aren't the most expressive with their feelings."
He looked taken aback. "That's odd. I've always found you to be extremely honest with your emotions. I don't think anyone tells you this enough, partially because everyone takes it for granted as part of imprinting, but you take very good care my granddaughter. I've always appreciated that and I'm glad that she will always feel loved, even if she's away from her family."
"Your father never came out and said it, but I'm sure you sensed what I did, last night. He seemed almost sad about the relationship you share with Esme and, if I'm not being too presumptuous, the relationship you and I have."
"No. I got that, too. I've always really respected you, Doc. Even before I was comfortable with everyone, when I was still trying to save Bella from this life, I couldn't help but feel differently about you. It may not seem like a compliment, but ever since the newborn attack when you treated me, I couldn't help but see you as a man and not a vampire. The closer I get to the family, the more I really do see you as a father figure.
"I think my dad was a little put out because he does see me as a man, not a teenager. When I ran away the summer before Edward and Bella's wedding, he just let me go. He told Charlie that he was overreacting by trying to find me. And then, after Nessie was born, I never started the school year. I wanted to see her all the time and then she was in danger from the Volturi, so I just didn't go. Billy didn't care, didn't say a word about it. I've thought about why that is. I mean, he never really got on my case or anything but he was even easier on me after I phased for the first time. I guess what you said about the added responsibilities makes sense. But I don't think that's all of it. In a strange way, I think it has more to do with the fact that I'm technically Chief of the tribe. No one tells the Chief what to do. Billy's very traditional about stuff like that. That's why I thought he'd have a much harder time with me moving. To him, I'm not just moving out of his house, not just leaving him, I'm leaving my people, my pack." I shrugged. "I guess I just don't think about it that way.
"I think the way I was interacting with Esme bugged him because he feels like he didn't do the greatest job of being both my parents after Mom died. He's probably happy that I have someone mothering me, but I think it just brought up issues from my mom's death. And then when you brought up studying and stuff, he probably felt guilty because he never tells me stuff like that. He probably didn't think I needed a dad-dad anymore until he saw you guys acting that way towards me last night. It just reminded me that I'm still a teenager, not some legendary Chief. I don't want to make it seem like he's a bad dad or anything. It's just...different with you and Esme."
"I'm glad you're telling me all of this, Jacob. This is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. Esme and I have adopted most of our children when they were on their way out of adolescence, like you. Bella was a little different. She was the same age as Rosalie when she joined the family, but she was also a married woman and a mother. The other major difference is that they have all been newborn vampires. There were different issues to be dealt with. By the time their thirst was controlled and they were fully adapted to the idea of being a vampire, they had matured past their teenage years, even if their bodies had not. Do you see where I'm going with this?"
I thought about it. "Kinda. I'm going to be the first real teenager you adopted?"
"Yes, exactly. This is still very new to us. For example, schooling. We've had children in high school before, but never finishing their first time around and never without the advantage of having a photographic memory or the disadvantage of thirsting after their classmates. I expect you to focus on your studies. Something I'm guessing you haven't been doing?" I didn't meet his eye, I just shook my head.
He didn't respond, he just went on. "The other major thing Esme and I discussed with your father was the documents that Jasper is going to have drawn up for you. The driver's license that Bella made up for you six months ago does not have your real age on it, so we'll have to get you another one. But, more importantly, in order to sign you up for school, we'll have to make up fake adoption papers. Your father didn't take that well. Of course, the papers will be a forgery, and they will have absolutely no legal ramifications. I would never really take you away from your father like that. In the end, he understood. Still, you might want to talk to him about it."
"Yeah. I guess I should." That was going to be awkward as hell. I figure I should at least try. If he blew it off, I wouldn't push it.
"I also wanted to talk to you about your cover story. I see no reason for you to go by any other name, but I'm not sure what you'd like your history to be. You could be either my or Esme's nephew or just an adopted ward, it's up to you. Seeing as your father didn't appreciate the adoption papers, you might want to work out your story with him. I don't know if you'd be comfortable pretending to be an orphan. Again, your name and back story is completely up to you and we have time before we need to arrange for any paperwork to be drawn up."
It would be kinda weird to say my dad was dead. But wouldn't it just be worse to say that he couldn't handle me and sent me off to live with my rich aunt and uncle? "I'm definitely going to need to think about that."
He nodded. "Of course, your car will be shipped over with ours, so you'll have a means of getting to school everyday. Esme and I will also be giving you an allowance."
I shook my head. "No. I'll make my own money. I can work in a shop or something."
I cut him off. "I'm already imposing on you guys enough, you're not going to give me money. I'll work all this summer if I have to."
"Well, I certainly won't stop you from working this summer, but I must put my foot down about this. You will need to focus on your studies and you can't do that if you're working. That's not to say you won't be earning your allowance. You will help Esme around the house, do your own laundry, clean your room, and all the other things normal teenagers do to earn their allowances. Besides, you'll need gas money and lunch money at the very least. We're the ones forcing you to live twenty miles from school, it's the least we could do."
"I don't know, Carlisle. I need to think about it."
"That's fair. I guess I have given you plenty to think about for today. We'll iron things out as we get closer to moving. You really should speak to your father, though. We gave him just as much to think about, yesterday."
"Thanks, Carlisle. For everything."
"My children never have to thank me." I just nodded and left the room.
When I went downstairs, Emmett was alone, watching TV. "Hey. Where are Nessie and Seth?"
"I think they went to Bella and Edward's with Alice."
"Yeah? What's that about?"
"I don't know. Alice probably wanted to dress her up in something else for her scrapbook. You should have seen her earlier when she was making that cake with Esme. She even put strategically placed chocolate frosting all over her, just to get pictures of it."
I laughed. That explained it. "Hey, Emmett? Can I talk to you about something?"
He turned to look at me, weary of what I was going to say. "I'm not going to keep any more secrets from Edward for you. He can hear you, anyway. They're up in his old room."
"Are you sure your brain is as good as the other vampires? I said I wanted to talk to you about something, not tell you a goddamn secret. What are we? Twelve-year-old girls at sleep-over?" I went to sit next to him on the couch, keeping a couple of seats in between us, the unspoken amount of space guys need when sitting next to other guys. "How do you deal with Carlisle giving you money all the time?"
"Carlisle's giving you money?" There was no judgment in his voice or even surprise, he was just curious.
"Yeah. He's calling it an allowance for when I move in with you guys, but it's weird, right?"
"I guess it weirded me out at first, too. I don't know. It's different for vampires, I guess. We don't really need money. I guess it might be kinda the same for you guys. Like, you don't really need stuff. All I really need is blood. I don't sleep, but I can be outside without suffering or anything. I just need a place to hide my sexy-ass body when it's sunny." I laughed in spite of myself. "You noticed then, huh? Not that I blame you." I laughed again.
"Anyway, the money and all the stuff is just kinda extra. And Rosalie's sure as fuck not going to live without all her shit and a nice to place to put all her shit. It took me a long time to get over the thirst thing in the beginning for me to even think about all the money and how we had everything we had. I guess Carlisle had given Rosalie money before I came around and then he gave us a shitload when we got married the first time. That kinda freaked me out and we were really good about spending it for a long time." I raised my eyebrows. How much did it take for these guys to consider it a shitload? I could only imagine. "And then Alice came around and doubled all our money in the first year by telling us which stocks to buy. Then we really started having money. Now, I don't know. I guess I don't really think about it anymore. You shouldn't, either, man. It's no big deal. We just keep piling it up, different names in different accounts in different fucking island countries I didn't even know existed."
I could definitely see how he could see it that way. I don't know. Growing up in the shoe box that is my dad's house, saving enough to get parts for my car seemed like the biggest extravagance I would ever get. Who even knows how much Carlisle would consider to be an okay amount for an allowance. Probably not what most kids get, especially when you get a "shitload" as a wedding present.
"Thanks, man. I'm going to go find Nessie."
"No need," Alice called from across the river in the backyard. Seth was in wolf form and Nessie was riding his back as he jumped the river. She was giggling. I have to admit, as stupid as it sounds, I was jealous that she was riding another wolf. I took it, though, she looked happy. He dropped her off at the back steps and then went to phase back and put on some clothes.
"Hey, Nessie, you changed?" She nodded, jumped over the back of the couch and snuggled into my lap.
"Stand up, Jake." Alice was standing in front of me with a measuring tape around her neck.
"Why?" I didn't like where this was headed.
"Oh, just get up." I shook my head. "Nessie," she whined. She put her hand on my face and showed me standing up to be measured.
"No. What's this all about, anyway?"
"You have to get new clothes for the move." Alice said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "And since you had to be a giant I need your measurements, especially for pants. I'm definitely not going to be able to buy them off-the-rack."
"I'm sure everyone looks like a giant to you." She glared at me. "Besides, I've never had a problem finding sweats in my size, I just cut of the bottoms." She looked horrified and Seth and Emmett laughed.
"Just do it, man. Trust me. You'll just save yourself hours of arguing. Seriously, she'll just go get Jazz and you'll suddenly love the idea of new pants."
She nodded. "He's right, you know. Plus, it's all a part of your cover story. You can't wear sweats and be adopted by a rich surgeon. If you're gonna live like a Cullen, you have to look like a Cullen."
I hated to admit it, but she was kinda right. It looked weird enough that I wore cut-offs without a shirt in the dead of winter in La Push where there were over a dozen other guys all wearing the same thing. I couldn't really pull that off in New Hampshire and fit in.
I put down on the couch, between Seth and I, and groaned as I stood up. Nessie put her hand on Seth's cheek and he nodded. They started playing rock, paper, scissors. I smiled. I love that I'm the one teaching her all those kid things. I frowned as I felt Alice's hand climb up my leg. "Jesus, Alice. Watch it, will ya?"
She rolled her eyes. "Don't flatter yourself."
Emmett laughed. "I don't know, Jacob. First you notice my sexy-ass body, then you complain when a woman touches your leg. Got something to tell us? Is imprinting on Nessie just a clever cover story?"
Seth laughed. "How do you think I feel, Emmett? He sees me naked all the time." Emmett was roaring, slapping his thigh.
"Don't start with me, kid." I told Seth.
Emmett started in again. "Ooh, "kid?" Is that what you like to call the guys? You get off on that? We already know you're a cradle robber."
I growled and took a swing at him, which he easily dodged. "Jacob," Alice scolded. "Stand still."
Esme called out to us from the kitchen. "Emmett, leave Jacob alone." I groaned. Didn't she know that he was just going to tease me more for her help? "Alice, when you're done with that would you like to go grocery shopping with me in town?"
Before she could answer we heard Bella's voice, "Oh, Esme, I have a list of groceries I needed for some recipes that I wanted to try out." A few seconds later, she and Edward were walking hand-in-hand down the stairs. She walked up to Alice and gave her the list.
"I don't think I'm going, Bella." She said as she looked over the list, anyway. Then she looked up as if something had just hit her and a huge smile lit her face. She pointed a thumb at Bella and Edward while she looked at me, Nessie, and Seth. "Kitlayakwokwilkwolasstaxasalas!" We nearly fell off the couch laughing. Nessie was crying she was laughing so hard and even Esme's laugh was coming out from behind the kitchen's door. Bella and Emmett looked confused, but Edward, Edward looked pissed.
(Some Quileute characters were approximations)
*: How are you?
**: I'm good/well.
Author's Note: Thanks for hanging in there. I know it was lengthy investment. I hope you got your precious time's worth.