Chapter 18: Home and Answers
Even before Carlisle entered my daughter's hospital room, I knew what he was going to tell us and was relieved. Bella had gone downstairs to sit with Charlie while he had breakfast, and Jacob had just left after bringing Renesmee a book of Suduko puzzles. With very little to stimulate her, my baby found working those puzzles helped pass the time. We were also allowed to take walks down the hall in order for her to gain her strength, and she was steadier on her feet than she had been that first day. Leaving her room was something my daughter didn't like because of other children on the floor who were sick, so going home would be what I hoped was the first step in getting her back to a normal life, as normal as we could manage.
A soft warm hand on my cheek followed by an image of me looking at the ceiling was Renesmee's way of showing me that I wasn't paying enough attention to her puzzle. We were doing a five star puzzle and that wasn't as easy for her. "I'm sorry baby, my thoughts got away from me," I said putting my arm back around her so she could rest her cheek against my chest.
As we began to try and find out where we had gone wrong, the door opened and Carlisle walked in, a smile on his face, "Nessie, how would you like to go home?"
My baby looked at her grandpa and then at me as I nodded.
The smile that lit her face warmed me because I hadn't seen one there in a long while.
The covers were kicked away and before she could get too busy, I held her back. "Grandpa still needs to give you a clean bill of health," I reminded.
My baby sighed but held still as Carlisle listened to her heart, having her take deep breaths in and out. He also ran a thermometer over her head showing it to me. Her normal temperature ran at one hundred and eight just like Jacob's, what the thermometer showed was one hundred and one.
The moment my wife entered the room Renesmee was sitting up on the edge of the bed with a huge smile on her face. Bella sat next to her and our daughter shared the good news without the use of words. My other hope in taking her home was that she would start talking again. Renesmee had encountered another child on her last walk and the little girl asked her why she talked funny. Since then we hadn't heard another word from her.
"When do we get to go?" Bella asked Carlisle as I got out my phone and called home.
"Alice, she's coming home. Do you…" My sister's were both talking, already barking out commands to their husbands to make sure everything was ready.
"Don't worry, Edward, we will take care of everything," Alice said right before the line clicked off.
"Do you want to dress yourself?" Bella was asking our daughter as I stood up from the bed.
Her head shook only once and while Bella helped her get her pajama shirt off, I began to gather my daughter's things before my father returned with the release papers.
It was already getting dark as I walked out of the hospital holding my baby in my arms. A gust of cold wind blew against us from the left and Renesmee shuttered before Bella handed me a warm blanket.
Charlie was taking us home in his rental car and Jacob was following behind in the Ferrari.
As Charlie pulled the blue Sedan under the awning, Jacob got the door so I could get my baby into the car.
I leaned in to get her in the seat, but Renesmee clung to me. "We're going home, and I'm going to sit right next to you. But you have to wear your seatbelt."
Her hand was on my cheek in an instant and she showed me the times I had let her ride in the car seated on my lap.
I noticed then that Charlie was looking at us with a puzzled expression on his face.
"Bella, will you get her buckled while I go around to the other side?"
That seemed to comfort her and once I was in the back seat, Renesmee was calm, but held on to my hand. What I would give to know her thoughts, but that was still lost to me as was the connection she shared with Jacob in Europe.
Charlie's thoughts were loud in my head. He was greatly concerned by the fact that Renesmee wasn't talking and yet we all knew what she wanted. It seemed like the time to tell him was nearly upon us, but I wasn't going to allow that until Renesmee was asleep.
The hour and a half drive home had not helped my little girl sleep, and if anything she was more edgy. Once Charlie had the car stopped in back of my parent's house, she was in my arms, and Charlie had seen how fast she moved.
"Dad, why don't we go in and get her things into her room," Bella said pulling him by his left arm very gently.
They left and thankfully my baby was unaware Charlie had seen her.
Jacob opened my door and helped me with the blanket just as Rosalie left the house.
My sister hugged us both, but Renesmee was silent both verbally and mentally.
Inside it was quiet, though I could hear Bella talking to Charlie, and his angry whispers.
What did he see? Jacob thought.
"Later," I said clearly as Esme came into the kitchen.
"We have her room ready," she informed, placing a hand on my daughter's back.
Renesmee's room had been painted and the murals all depicted the Faeries she loved so much in her stories. Renesmee looked at them briefly before resting her cheek back against my shoulder.
Without her touching my cheek an image of Bella was in my mind. "Mommy is talking to Grandpa Charlie."
There wasn't any further response and she was quiet as I sat down on her bed removing her warm winter coat. She had on a clean pair of long pajamas, and she was tired so I leaned back against the pillows stacked against her headboard hoping that finally being here would be the key to helping her through the rest of the pain she was in.
I followed my daughter into the large family room ignoring the game on the TV and Jasper's offer to bring me a beer. "Bella, what did I see?" I asked softly, though I wasn't sure why we had to whisper with my granddaughter on the third floor.
"Charlie, sit down," my daughter finally answered, turning to face me.
I did what she said not liking the nervous expression on her face, "Why were you in Europe?"
"Before I can tell you that, I need to explain a few things about me and Renesmee. I need you to swear not to raise your voice, because your granddaughter will hear you even from her room. She's been through enough and I won't have you judging her with what I'm about to tell you."
A few things were already making me uncomfortable, the first of which was Bella using my name instead of "Dad". Call me old fashioned but I was still her father, the second was her tone of voice, but the look on her face forced me into silence.
Bella took a breath wincing as she did, "We were in Rio, at a street fair, when a group of people took her away from us. Edward and I were aware that they were coming for her because we could smell them."
"Now wait just…"
"Please let me finish," Bella whispered.
My daughter was hurting and I was lost on what to do to help her. She told me several things that I once would have never believed, but since that day in my back yard when Jacob turned into a very large dog, I found myself caught up and believing everything she said, "How were you able to know those wolves were coming to find her?"
When Bella paused, she had to take in another breath, "Because, I am a vampire."
That did it I stood up before remembering what she said about Nessie. If she were telling the truth, how in the hell could she have a kid. I ran my hand through my hair as Jacob came to stand next to me. "Give me a second," I told him and he backed off.
"You're telling me that you died and that you came back as a…a…a"
"Vampire?" Emmett asked, and I could hear the humor in his tone.
"Yes, Dad," Bella said.
When Jacob grabbed my arm I was glad. He helped me back into my seat. "So you go out and kill people?"
"No," Carlisle said stepping in. It was then that I realized that they were all vampires.
The doc explained to me about a lot of things, how he came to be, and I kept my eyes on him. He said they didn't drink human blood which was a relief. He also told me that all the movies had it wrong and that this was all very secret.
By the time they finished I wasn't sure what kind of world this was, but my daughter was alive, and I had the most beautiful brilliant granddaughter any grandfather could ever ask for. The rest didn't matter. "I'm glad you trusted me, but this is going to take a while for me to get used to it," I said as Bella sat down next to me, "So how do you know what Nessie wants if she doesn't talk to you."
"She can project anything in her mind into ours, even you or anyone else if she wants," my daughter answered
"Why isn't she talking?"
Bella put her arm around me and I sighed.
"The last walk we took in the hall, Renesmee met another little girl who was her size. The other girl didn't realize that asking Renesmee why she talked funny would hurt her, and we think that's why, but it may just be everything." Bella answered
"How old is she really?" I asked.
"Mentally there isn't a limit," Carlisle explained, "With all that has gone on she's more dependent on her parents than she has been. I've noticed that she is calling you Mommy again," Carlisle said directing his observation to my daughter.
"I know. Dad, if you don't mind I want to go be with them."
"Sure, thanks for trusting me, Bells."
"Many water lilies with broad green leaves grew in the stream, and it looked as if they were floating on the surface. The leaf which lay furthest from the bank was the largest of them all, and it was to this leaf that the old toad swam with the walnut shell which held Thumbelina."
As I read from her book, Renesmee held it open for me. She had yawned quite a few times while I was reading, but didn't seem ready for sleep. My daughter put her hand on my cheek showing me Bella. "Mommy is coming," I said.
My wife walked into the room carrying our daughter's favorite purple cup looking more relieved than she had when we got home. I knew that Charlie had accepted what she told him and was glad that there was one less worry for the moment.
"Which story is Daddy reading?" she asked as she settled in the king sized bed on the other side of our little girl.
Renesmee showed her the book and yawned in the process.
A few pages later, the story came to an end, and Renesmee began searching for another, but I put my hand on the book, "It's time for bed."
Her head shook back and forth and I drew my arms around her. "Mommy and I are going to stay right here all night long. Everyone is home now and nothing is going to happen."
My baby rolled over resting her cheek against my chest as Bella pulled the warm blankets around her. Esme had gotten an electric blanket for her bed and that was helping.
Once she was soundly asleep, I looked over at my wife, "How are you feeling?"
"Glad that he knows, afraid that he does," Bella whispered rubbing her hand over Renesmee's back, "I've wanted him to know since before we left Forks. Now that he does, what kind of dangers is my father going to face?"
"That's what I struggled with before you figured out my secret and even after, but I think Charlie's advantage is that he has the La Push pack to keep him safe."
"I wish she would talk, and I wish little kids weren't so honest."
I knew that my wife was getting at, and wished the little girl wouldn't have asked that question, but it was an inevitable part of Renesmee's life. One day when she was ready to go to school someone would likely ask her why she spoke the way she did. All we could do is prepare her for that. It all seemed to want to happen now.
"I think you are her security blanket," Bella mused as our daughter snuggled closer to me even in deep sleep.
What ever Renesmee needed from me, I would give. After that we didn't say much because we didn't really need too.
Bella moved over to my side and I held both of my girls in my arms.
Morning brought with it a fresh set of tears. Renesmee had started awake and was upset that Bella wasn't next to her. That was more trivial than a true emergency, but it also gave me a guide to how set back she truly was. Once we got her calmed down, Alice came with another cup of human blood along with her medicine. Renesmee took both without one word of complaint, though I would ask Carlisle today if the medicine for her ulcers was truly needed.
"What would you like to do?" I asked her as Bella came back to the bed with a pair of jeans and a long green turtle neck.
Our daughter huddled against me not wanting to dress and we didn't push that.
"Would you like to go downstairs and talk to Grandpa Charlie, he's anxious to see you," Bella said as she sat next to Renesmee.
The image of the little girl asking about her voice flashed through my mind as Renesmee's small hand rested on my neck. "Grandpa knows our secret," I said unsure of what kind of reaction that would elicit.
"Is he angry?" she whispered.
"No, baby, he's glad to know," Bella said as we both hugged her.
Once she was aware that Charlie knew, Renesmee wanted to get dressed, letting Bella give her a piggy back ride downstairs.
Charlie was the first to greet us when we entered the kitchen and when Renesmee arrived by his side he smiled and settled her on his lap. "Would you like a bite?" he asked, and Renesmee accepted the fork full of pancakes.
Recalling that I had been her security blanket last night, I sat down in the seat next to Charlie.
"I'm glad I understand better why you don't eat," he said softly as Renesmee took his fork and began to eat more of his pancakes.
"It's something you can't ever let slip, Charlie."
"I'll keep it like I keep Sue's and the rest of those La Push boys." He answered kissing the top of Renesmee's head.
Esme brought a second plate of food for Charlie and Renesmee's purple cup. Right now we were keeping her on human blood well aware that it would help her grow stronger and hopefully help her heal that much faster.
Once the two of them were finished, Charlie started to stand up, and I watched as my daughter began to panic.
He seemed to notice and a moment later she was in my arms content once more.
"Nessie, would you like to come with me to get the presents I brought for you?" Charlie asked?"
"Yes," she whispered.
The rest of my family was in the family room. I knew my sisters wanted to have a birthday party for my baby, but also knew that she would likely have a panic attack.
When Charlie brought his presents, everyone one else followed suit and Renesmee stopped in the middle of one. She put her hand on my cheek and showed me her last birthday party. "Would you like to have one?"
The moment she rolled her eyes we all laughed, and again she smiled. It was a good sign that perhaps things were on the mend even though there would likely be several more bumps in the road.
"Renesmee would like to wait to open her presents until we have a birthday party," I announced.
Rosalie and Alice grabbed the hands of their husbands and flew out the door, leaving Charlie stunned.
"Takes some time to get used too," Jacob said as he walked into the room.
He sat down on the floor and Renesmee slipped from my lap and went over to him. She sat down on his lap pulling his arms around her, and Charlie's thoughts were again loud in my head as he wondered about Jacob's relationship with my daughter.
"Charlie, why don't you ask Jacob some time about something called imprinting," I said knowing that was his secret but also not letting him off the hook now that we were sharing it all.
My father-in-law was more confused and Bella sat next to me punching my shoulder. It actually hurt a little but I knew she didn't mean to harm me.
With the TV set to a Mariners game, and Renesmee content to let Jacob hold her, I wrapped my arms around my wife reveling in the moment of peace before my sisters and their husbands returned for a birthday that my little girl would likely never forget.
AN: Thank you all for sticking by me through this story, and huge thank yous to all of you who reviewed. Again my thanks goes to Mac for Beta reading and keeping up with my crazy need to write.
The story Edward was reading to Nessie is Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson.
This is the end of this story. But rest assured that a third one is already percolating in my mind and will be forthcoming. Again I'm grateful for all of you who stuck by me, and hope you will stick with me for the next installment which I will put as soon as Mac gets it back my way.