I needed help. There was no doubt about that. It was painfully obvious that I needed to turn to those more experienced than I for advice in this matter.
How do you explain to the people in your family how confusing something like this is? And how do you explain that you do understand why things have to be the way they are, even if you wish it were otherwise?
And how do you explain that you have trouble remembering who's playing what part this time around because you were too busy trying to get someone to admit how they really felt about you without you letting him know how you felt first?
Life is complicated, even when you're an immortal.
I was three weeks into a new school, a new home, a new town, everything. And everything was going well. I had met some people that I got along with pretty well, was doing well in classes, life was great.
Then last week Miss Phillips had to go and assign that stupid family tree.
And we've moved so much and rearranged things so much that I don't know which is what anymore. And, like I said, I really wasn't paying attention when everyone was deciding who was related to whom in what way.
I love Jacob Black. Always have. But I'm not sure if he feels the same way, or if he's just been doing stuff just because he thinks it's what I want him to do. I don't want him to say he loves me just because he thinks that it's what I want to hear.
So I missed the whole 'who is what' part of moving in. But how did I admit that?
I definitely needed help.
And I definitely didn't know who to ask for help.
It's embarrassing to admit you weren't paying attention when the whole reason we work this stuff out ahead of time is so we don't have to worry about messing up our cover. I've essentially endangered that by not paying attention, and now I have to admit it.
But how often does someone ask me how someone's related to me? How often do I have to explain that stuff?
Except now I do, with this stupid family tree.
I sighed, and grumbled at the poster board that was supposed to have my family tree displayed on it. And I'd been putting it off for a while, so now it was due tomorrow.
I couldn't put it off any more. I had to find someone to help me with it.
I sighed again, hoping by some miracle someone would appear and ask what was wrong. No such luck. Grandpa was at work, Auntie Alice had taken Mom and Grandma and Aunt Rosalie shopping, and of course Dad had gone with Mom so they could sneak off, since Mom hates shopping with Auntie Alice anyway. Jacob was taking advantage of Aunt Rosalie's absence to play around in the garage with his bikes.
That left Uncle Jazzy, who was in his and Auntie Alice's room doing some kind of homework of his own, and Uncle Emmett, who was-
Where was Uncle Emmett anyway? Usually you could hear him watching sports or playing video games or something, but right now it was pretty quiet, except for the sound of Uncle Jasper typing.
"Gotcha!" I shrieked as he appeared out of nowhere to sweep me off my feet and throw me over his shoulder. Uncle Emmett still tended to throw me around as if I were still the size of a five year old human. Mom and Dad found it annoying, but I usually didn't mind.
I growled at him this time, though, in annoyance. "Put me down." I grumbled.
He did, and looked surprised. "You okay?" He asked, concern causing his brow to furrow and a frown to form.
I shrugged. "I just have this stupid project due tomorrow." I said, hoping he would leave it at that. I didn't really want to ask Uncle Emmett for help. I would probably never hear the end of it. Uncle Emmett would pick on you for something for years, Dad said.
"What kind of project?" Great. Uncle Emmett was interested. In something school related at that. Uncle Emmett found schoolwork one of the most boring things on the planet. But of course he would be interested in my schoolwork.
"A family tree." I said shortly. Uncle Emmett gave me a sympathetic glance.
"It must suck not being able to say who your real parents are." He said.
I sighed. "It's not that. I'm used to that by now."
Uncle Emmett looked confused again. "Then what's wrong?"
"I don't know who I'm supposed to put where." I admitted sheepishly.
Uncle Emmett snorted. "Oh, is that all?"
I stared at him, a little confused by his reaction. "I wasn't paying attention when we went over that."
He snickered. "Find something more interesting?" He knew about us, then. Great. "Don't worry." He said easily. "I know just what to do. Grab your poster and follow me."
I followed him up the stairs and down the hall. We stopped outside Uncle Jazzy's room. I looked at Uncle Emmett with wide eyes. He wasn't going to bother Uncle Jazzy while he was working, was he?
"Hey, Jasper!" Uncle Emmett said, opening the door. He caught the book right before it hit him in the head. "Yeah, I know you're busy. Nessie needs help with something."
Uncle Jazzy looked up from the computer. "Oh. Why didn't you say so?" He asked, turning to face us. "What can I do for you?"
Sometimes I wonder if I could declare myself supreme goddess of the household and get away with it. There are some days when I'm struck with the ludicrous idea that most of my family wants nothing more that to fulfill my every desire and whim. It's a scary thought.
"She needs to do a family tree." Uncle Emmett explained. "She's not sure where to put everyone."
Uncle Jazzy rolled his eyes and laughed. "And you weren't listening either, were you?" Uncle Emmett shrugged and grinned.
"Alright." Uncle Jazzy said. "This time around, Nessie, you and your Dad are brother and sister; Carlisle adopted you. Your Mom and Jacob are Esme's sister's kids; your cousins, if you will. Rosalie and I are Carlisle's younger brother and sister; Emmett and Rosalie are already married, Alice and I graduated last year and got engaged over the summer. So you can call us Uncle and Aunt in public. Rosalie and I moved in with Carlisle, and stayed, and brought our significant others with us, which makes everybody at work feel sorry for him."
Uncle Emmett laughed. "Four adopted kids, two freeloading siblings, and their husband and fiancé? I imagine they would consider his position pitiable." It's funny how Uncle Emmett puts so much effort into sounding simple, and then ruin it by saying something like that. Of course, he only slips like that around Uncle Jazzy, as far as I've seen.
"What about Grandpa Charlie?" I asked. I hated leaving him out.
Uncle Emmett looked thoughtful. "Just say he's Carlisle's dad. No one will know the difference."
Uncle Jazzy shrugged. "True, they don't tend to notice that sort of thing. There was never any notice that none of us ever mentioned having grandparents, or aunts or uncles."
I nodded. "Thanks." I said. "I thought I'd be in trouble for not paying attention."
Uncle Emmett laughed. "You aren't the only one. Alice and Edward never pay attention either."
"Neither do you." Uncle Jazzy pointed out to him. "Anything else?" He asked me.
"I need some pictures." I said. "But I think I can do that part myself." Then I frowned. "Except for you and Auntie Alice. There aren't any pictures of you two around."
It was true. While there were pictures around of everyone else, pictures of Aunt Alice and Uncle Jazzy were rare. There were tons of school pictures hidden away in old albums, and there were even pictures of Grandpa and Grandma around, but I didn't recall seeing any of those two. I wondered why that was.
Uncle Jazzy smiled. "There wouldn't be." He said. As if that explained everything. Uncle Emmett nodded, like it actually did. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes as he turned back to his computer desk and opened one of the drawers.
"Here." He said, turning back. He handed me two pictures; one of her, and one of him. I stared at them in silence.
They were pictures like the kind from those photo booths you see in the mall. The one of Auntie Alice showed her sitting back, smiling brightly, her eyes dancing. You could tell by the triumphant expression on her face that she'd just managed to convince someone to let her have her way. One arm was by her side, but the other shot out, as if she were holding on to something just beyond the edge of the picture.
The other was of Uncle Jazzy, staring straight ahead, stern and unsmiling. He sat stiff, uncomfortable, many of the scars on his face plainly outlined. He looked self conscious. You could tell by looking at it what Auntie Alice had managed to get her way about. There was no way he wanted to be in that picture. He too looked as if he were holding on to something just out of sight of the camera. They were holding hands, I realized. Alice was just beyond his, and he had been just beyond hers. It made me smile.
"Thanks." I said. "Are you sure it's okay if I use these?"
Uncle Jazzy smiled and chuckled softly. "Of course." He said easily. I looked to Uncle Emmett for reassurance. He rolled his eyes.
"He wouldn't give them to you if it weren't, Nessie." He laughed; his deep voice reverberated through the room.
"Thanks." I said again.
I went downstairs and found some other pictures for my family tree. It didn't take me long to finish it. I gave a report on it in front of the class the next day before I turned it in. I ended up getting an A on it. Miss Phillip was impressed.
It's nice to have two uncles that'll do almost anything for you, even help you with your homework.
Disclaimer: Twilight and all characters, ideas, and so forth, do not belong to me.