A/N: Ok so I know this is long overdue (that's an understatement), but things have been so hectic with school exams, colleges, and my computer conveniently died a couple of weeks ago. So finally here is the first chapter of my next story. This is sometime after Breaking Dawn and the Cullen's still live in Forks. Hope you all enjoy and don't forget to review (you can even yell at me for taking so long if you want to). =)
I run my fingers through the honey curls that hang down Nessie's back. She likes it when I play with her hair so I always take my time. Nessie leans back against me and hangs her head backwards so she can give me an upside-down smile. Grabbing one of her loose curls I pull it strait in front of her face. Her eyes cross as she follows my fingertips to the very end of the strand. I let go and it bounces happily back into shape. Nessie bursts into a fit of giggles before bringing her head upright so that I can continue.
With a family as big as ours we don't get a lot of quiet time to ourselves. This moment, sitting cross-legged on the living room floor with my daughter in my lap as I braid her hair, is one of those rare occasions. Carlisle and Esme are busy working on various jobs outside of the house while Rose and Emmett are traveling through India on another honeymoon. Jasper, well I'm not quiet sure where he is. He just up and disappeared this morning, but Alice isn't worried so neither am I. That leaves Edward, who is quietly sitting beside us at his piano playing soft background music, and Alice, who has been unusually quiet lately.
Edward's fingers hesitate over the keys momentarily, but he picks back up fluidly so as not to draw attention to himself. He must have "heard" something. Before I could think anymore about it Alice anxiously skips down the stairs.
"Jasper is coming home and he's going to want me to meet him in Vancouver," she informs us. Edward eyes her incredulously, but she ignores him and runs over to kiss Renesmee on the top of the forehead and give me a light squeeze goodbye before running out the front door. Since I've become a member or the Cullen family it's come as a relief to me that Alice's strength is no longer seemingly disproportionate to her size.
Edward sighs and turns back to his piano. I'm tired of Edward's cryptic sighs and varying expressions whenever he's around Alice nowadays so I tie off Renemee's braid and join him on the bench. I wait until Nessie closes the back door to question Edward.
"What's going on?" Without missing a beat he turns to me and flashes a lazy crooked smile. Contrary to his attitude when Alice was with us, Edward now exudes such serenity that he would give Jasper a run for his money.
"Well," he says calmly, "Nessie just went out back to look for Jacob, Carlisle is…"
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
"Oh do I?" He raises an eyebrow. "You seem to be blocking me right now so I couldn't be sure." I exhale in exasperation and turn my attention towards the back window. I can hear Edward chuckle softly before returning to his music. If Edward's going to be difficult and play games with me, then he must be hiding something. Two can play that game.
I look at the clock on the cable box in the living and push myself up from the piano bench. Fruitlessly stretching out my legs and back, I walk towards the garage and grab my car keys. I place my hand on the door knob and pause for a fraction of a second.
"The Ferrari," Edward asks right on cue, "You usually like to take my car since it's less ostentatious."
I smile innocently and turn to find him standing only a few feet away. "I do, but, since I'm not going to be in town today, I figured that it would be innocuous." Edward furrows his brow in confusion and I work to keep a strait face. I've gotten better at lying in the past few months. "Besides my car is faster," I add for my own enjoyment.
Edward contemplates this before asking the inevitable question, "Where are you going?"
"Oh didn't I tell you? This morning Alice told me about some visions that were troubling her and she brought up Jasper leaving. She told me that he would ask her to meet him eventually, and asked me to join her shortly after she left." I had kept my face smooth and lied flawlessly. I'd have to pat myself on the back later.
Edward ponders over the validity of my lie looking for holes I guess. The only way he could call my fib would be it he had heard something in Alice's thoughts that contradicts me. I can tell he's choosing every word with care trying not to give too much away in case I am lying, but at the same he wants more information from me just in case I'm not. From both his and Alice's expressions all morning I could tell the she was trying to keep her visions from him while he tried to decipher any glimpses he could get.
Finally his curiosity gets the better of him. "So your mom," he starts cautiously. My muscles freeze and I work to control my breathing thankful that my heart rate can no longer give me away. What happened to Renee?
"Yeah, Renee. What do you think about that?" I drop my eyes to the floor and hope I'm using the right tone for the situation.
"I'm not quite sure what to think. Alice hasn't been very generous with information, but from what I have seen we do have an interesting conflict on our hands," he says giving up little useful information.
I turn his words over in my mind. "Interesting conflict", it must not be too horrible. "I suppose she'd want to talk with me about it first considering Renee is my mom."
"I guess you're right. Well, I hope you guys can get things worked out. If you need any help I'm here for you." He smiles a breathtaking grin and kisses me on the forehead before heading back to his piano.
I turn my back on him and open the door to the garage swearing silently to myself. Jamming the key into the ignition, I rev the engine and pull out of the garage much too fast. Accelerating down the serpentine drive I pull off onto the main road and head towards Vancouver. I'm not planning on actually meeting Alice there, but I have to keep up the façade in case Edward is listening. About six miles beyond the house I pull off on the shoulder and cut the engine. I sit for a few moments in the silence to be sure I wasn't followed. Being overly cautious, I get out and circle the car a few times tasting the air and searching for that familiar scent.
I'm still not completely satisfied with my findings, or lack thereof, but I slide back into my leather seat and grab my cell phone anyway. I speed dial three and wait for Alice to pick up. Before the phone rings even once on my end I hear the familiar voice sing "Hi Bella" from the other end.
"Renee, Alice, what's going on?" I keep my tone even and demanding in hopes that Alice won't try to sidestep my questions.
"Relax Bella, she's fine. In fact she's better then fine." Her voice is smooth like the purr of her Porsche in the background. I have to believe her, why would she lie to me about Renee?
The leather squeaks behind my back as I slouch in my seat. Relief flows through my body; the warmth helps ease my hitched breathing and tensed muscles. "Ok then, why are you having visions about her?" My mind is spinning in a hundred different directions at once. If Alice is seeing Renee, then we must be somewhere near her. Holy crow what will I do? I can feel my control slipping; any human would have fainted by now, but I don't have that luxury.
"Bella I know you're still there, relax. You won't do anything; none of us will," she assures me. I hold my breath because I can't seem to ease the habitual hyperventilating. "Bella please say something."
I suck the air slowly through my clenched teeth. "Where is she," I manage to mutter almost unintelligible.
"Really Bella there's nothing . . ."
"Alice, where is Renee? Don't make me come up there. I promise you I will and I'll bring Edward with me." I'm tired of Alice's games. Why is she doing this to me, this isn't like her.
"She's in Alaska, Bella, with Phil. They are on a cruise." Alice finally answers my question, but only creating many more to fill its place.
"That's where Jasper went isn't it? You sent him to spy on Renee, but why?"
"Your mom is coming to visit you since she's so close by. I didn't want to worry you yet. I sent Jasper to check on her because some aspects of my visions are unclear. Your mom hasn't committed to making a decision," she explains.
"So we don't know if she's come yet?"
"No she's coming in a couple of days."
"Then what hasn't she decided? What are you hiding Alice?"
Alice struggles for a moment, but she had to have seen this coming. "Bella, it's really not my place to tell. It's very personal and it would be better if she told you herself."
I almost drop the phone as her words process. Renee is coming. She'll want to see me, in person. "Alice there is no way Renee can see me like this. What are we going to do?"
"Bella relax, I have a . . ."
"Oh no, Renesmee! What are we going to do with her? Renee would make the connection immediately."
"Bella," Alice shouts over the phone, "if you will listen to me I was telling you that I have a plan already worked out." She pauses to make sure I'm in control and won't interrupt again. I hadn't even realized that my breathing spiked almost to the point of hyperventilation again.
"Bella, are you alright?" I nod my head in a daze. "You have to answer me, I can't see you." I'm sure she could have "seen" me if she tired, but I comply anyways.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Ok, we are going to tell Charlie that Renee is coming and ask him to tell her that you are out of town. She may want to come to the house to visit Esme and me anyway so you, Edward, and Nessie can hide out at the cottage. Does that sound good?"
I ponder her plan, and decide that, for all intents and purposes, it is a good idea, but this could be my last chance to see Renee. I had dealt with the pain of my good-byes at the wedding, but now she'll be so close. I've already gotten back so much more of my human life than I ever hoped for, why not Renee too? This avoidance will only make her more persistent; she'll keep coming back until she see me, and the longer it takes, the harder it will be to explain my appearance once we do meet. Why not cut things off now while it's easier.
"Just one day, Alice. Edward and I will come home the day she leaves so it can be short, but I have to see her. I need to end things right," I mutter with conviction.
"Do you understand what that means? Are you willing to take that risk, to put Renee in so much danger? Bella, she's going to ask questions that we can't answer."
"Well, what do you see?" With every moment I become more hopeful that this will work out. We can't expose her and Phil like we did Charlie, but there has to be a way. I'm sure of it now.
"Bella I can't see anything until we make a decision. Listen, I'm already in Vancouver, we can talk about this when I get back and I've had a chance to discuss with Jasper. Think things over and tell Edward what's going on if he hasn't already figured it out, maybe you two can come up with a solution." The line goes dead, but I keep the phone up to my ear longer enough for the dial tone to start buzzing.
My body pulses with anxiety. I finally have the opportunity to see my mom again – a chance I never thought I'd get – but at the same time this opportunity is wrought with possibilities of unfavorable endings.
I throw the phone down into the passenger's seat and accelerate back towards the house. Watching the trees blur passed the car window, I try to clear my mind until I get back home. Talking to Edward will help me put things into perspective, and Carlisle always knows the right thing to do. I slide my car swiftly into its spot at the far end of the garage.
"Nice, I see you finally took the Ferrari out for a spin." I turn around to see Jake admiring my car like he does so often. I can feel the bewilderment plain on my face. How can anyone think of cars when my mom is coming? With my hand still on the knob I stare at Jake whose expression quickly shifts to one of confusion. He doesn't know yet, I think to myself and with that all my repressed thoughts flood to the front of my mind almost blinding me.
"Bella are you alright? You look a little out of it."
I shift my attention back to Jake and, without thinking, I point my finger sternly at his chest and say, "Don't you dare strip down in front of my mother," before running into the house.
I find Edward sitting lazily on the couch watching an old black and white movie with Esme.
"Edward we need to talk."
He looks at me mockingly and raises an eyebrow, "So how was your trip to Vancouver?" I ignore his snide sarcasm.
"Renee is coming in a couple of days to see me and we need to figure out what to do. Where's Carlisle?"
Esme jumps from the couch, but doesn't go anywhere. Concern shadows her young face. Edward clenches my hand and pulls me up the stairs to Carlisle's study. The door is open and we find him peering out the back window. His conflicted eyes mirrored in the flawless glass worry me; I'm sure he heard my declaration in the living room.
"What are our options," Edward asks stepping towards his father. Carlisle shakes his head and runs his fingers through his hair. In his centuries of committing to this way of life I'm sure he's never had to deal with, much less think about, the problems I've created for his family.
I sigh, and resolve. "We should just do as Alice advises. Edward and I will hide out at the cottage with Renesmee whenever we need to so that Renee won't see us." I'm determined in my decision, because that is what would be easiest for my family, but I can't keep the disappointment from leaking into my words.
Carlisle finally turns to face me and places his hands on my shoulders. His eyes soften and a confident smile pulls at the corners of his mouth, "You mustn't worry Bella, we will discuss this once Alice returns. You don't have to sacrifice your mother for us; you will see her again. You are her only child after all."
A/N: Ok so there's chapter one for you. Yeah not much was revealed, but there was a whole lot of set up there. Next chapter Alice and Jasper will return to share what information they have. If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions I'd love to hear them. Also be sure to check out the new picture on my profile of "cover" art for this story. I pretty much make all of this up as I go along so if you have any good ideas I may use them in the story. So be sure to review.