Hi everyone! Today's chapter finally concludes the series focusing on the golden cross, and here, Nessie contemplates the future of her family and this particular heirloom. I feel like a lot of people don't like Nessie because as a half-human, half-vampire, it's hard to know how she experiences things. So, in Nessie chapters, I always try to explore how she might perceive the world, and how she might try to understand who she is and how different her life is from that of even those closest to her. (This chapter also shows Carlisle getting to be a Grandpa, and I always like exploring that side of him. :)) Also, for those who have asked, yes, my other CarlisleXEsme story, "I'm Always in Love" is canon, and it gives my take on how Carlisle and Esme got to know each other and eventually got married. :) Thanks as always for all your great reviews, and I'll see you again next week!

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the author of "Twilight," and I still need to see "Breaking Dawn" Part 2 in theaters one more time! Maybe later this week? (Not tomorrow night though—hee hee, I have a date. :))

2007: Next

Nessie's POV

"Those were all really interesting stories," Nessie said, smiling at the golden cross in her hand. "They make me wonder where it's going to be in the future. I mean, maybe it'll still be in our family a hundred years from now." Then she grinned. "Maybe I'll even wear it at my wedding."

Nessie struggled not to laugh when she felt her parents turn and give each other a faintly panicked look over the top of her head.

"Maybe you will," Momma said slowly. "Someday in the future."

"Right," Dad said quickly, "that's probably not something you need to start planning for a while though, honey."

Nessie laughed. "Don't worry. I'll probably be older than Momma was but younger than you were when I get married—if I ever get married."

"Regardless of when or if you want to get married, why don't you wear that necklace for a while?" Aunt Rose said. "We can all share it—you, your mom, grandma, Alice and I."

"That sounds like fun!" Aunt Alice said grinning at Momma and Dad. "You know, Nessie, Rosalie let me borrow that necklace when I married Jasper."

"Hey, how come we don't get a turn?" Uncle Emmett wondered.

"Because I think there's a good chance you'd break it, even if you were really careful," Aunt Rose said archly. "You do that, you know—break things. Particularly things that people wear."

"I'll let you share my turn with the necklace," Aunt Alice offered, looking at Uncle Jasper.

"Yeah, I'm not really a jewelry person," Uncle Jasper said with a smile. "Besides, I have a bad habit of breaking things too."

"Thank you," Dad said, rolling his eyes. "Thank you both, as always, for your innuendos."

"I'll have to draw you wearing that sometime," Grandma said. "The chain's a little long on you now, but you'll grow into it."

"I promise I'll be really careful with it," Nessie said, slipping the necklace over her head. "When will you need it next, Aunt Rose?"

"Well, the next time we start at a new school, I suppose," Aunt Rose said thoughtfully. "I like to wear on the first day, for good luck. And I'll want to wear it the next time Emmett and I get married."

"And, Esme will need to borrow it when she and Carlisle renew their vows on their one hundredth anniversary," Aunt Alice said eagerly. "I've still got lots to plan for that day, but that part is pretty much set in stone."

"You're picking out my jewelry now?" Grandma said, raising her eyebrows. "We've discussed this, Alice. You can do the decorations, but we're picking out our own clothes."

"Fine, but wear the necklace," Alice said firmly. "You were going to anyway, even if I didn't try to boss you around about it."

"That's probably true," Grandma said with a laugh. "Nessie, that means I won't need to borrow it for certain for about fourteen years, so take care of it for me until then."

"We'll all take turns," Momma said, smiling at the necklace. "Now that I know how this necklace is connected to our whole family, I think it has sentimental value for me too."

"The wolves will be here soon," Grandma noted. "Edward, Bella, want to come help me start dinner?"

"Sure," Momma said, kissing Nessie on top of her head before standing up.

"Stay out of trouble," Dad said, ruffling her hair as he followed the others to the kitchen.

"Let's go destroy something before our guests arrive," Uncle Emmett whispered to Aunt Rose. She grinned and kissed Nessie before they went upstairs.

"We'll be right back," Aunt Alice called from the front door. "Jasper and I are going to hunt real quick."

Nessie looked at Grandpa. "Can we go to your office? I want to look something up."

"Sure. We can take a look at some maps too," Grandpa suggested. "I can show you all the places the cross has been, as far as we know."

Nessie smiled. "Thanks, Grandpa."

Up in Grandpa's office, they looked through several atlases, some of them very old, and traced the most likely routes that the golden cross had taken over the centuries to get from Eastern Europe to the state of Washington. It was all very interesting, but as Nessie sat in Grandpa's lap, she had to admit that something was bothering her. Usually, when she sat in someone's lap, she could pretend that she was an ordinary child, and that she was safe and sound with someone she loved, but not tonight.

"You said before that you wanted to look something up," Grandpa said, his expression thoughtful. "You're very quiet though. Is something troubling you?"

Nessie examined the golden cross hanging from her neck. "The answer to my question probably isn't in any book. I've just been wondering what my future will be like. I mean, what my life will be like on the days we were talking about before: at Aunt Rose's next wedding, and yours and Grandma's hundredth anniversary, and maybe my own wedding…I just wonder…do I feel the same things that the rest of you do?"

Grandpa frowned. "How do you mean exactly?"

"I mean, you were all human once," Nessie whispered. "I've never been human, and I'll never be a vampire either. I'm something in-between. So I wonder sometimes…does life feel the same to us? I mean, I love all of you…but is the love that I feel the same as the love that all of you feel? Are our emotions even the same? I'm not wholly like you, or Grandpa Charlie, or Jacob, so what's normal for me? Sometimes…sometimes I worry that if anyone knew what I was really thinking, how strange my thoughts are and what it's like to have a brain that grows faster than my body…that no one would like me at all."

"Oh, honey," Grandpa said, giving her a hug. It was only then that Nessie realized she'd started crying. "I don't think that you experience things so differently from the rest of us. The truth is, we all feel the way you do sometimes. No matter how close I get to people, even your grandmother doesn't know what it's like to exist as me, to be inside my head. Even your father doesn't know what it feels like to be you, and even your Uncle Jasper can't know what you're thinking. No one knows exactly what it's like to be you except for you, but that's true for everyone. We all sort of go through life wondering how much we're really like other people, but I don't think any of us really know, ever."

"But you've been alive for hundreds of years," Nessie said. "Shouldn't you know by now?"

"I had hundreds of years to worry that I must not experience the world like anyone else, because if I weren't too strange to love, then why was I all alone?" Grandpa said gently. "But people do love me now, and they love you too. Some days, I still don't understand why our family loves me as much as they do—maybe I'm not really as strange as I used to think, or maybe we're all just being strange together."

Nessie smiled a little at that. "Okay. As long as I'm not the only one who feels this way, then maybe it isn't so bad."

"Nessie, you're more unique than most, but even you aren't one of a kind," Grandpa said with a smile. "You could write to Nahuel if you like, ask him if he thinks he experiences life differently than Huilen. I bet he worries about the same thing sometimes."

"I bet he does," Nessie said, already feeling better. Grandpa was right—Nahuel was like her, and he was old enough that he must have some idea by now if his emotions were the same as his aunt's. "Good idea, Grandpa."

"Feel a little better?" he asked.

Nessie nodded. "I guess it's normal for one-year-olds to cry. Still, I'm sor—"

Grandpa put a hand over her mouth. "Don't apologize, sweetheart. Everyone, even a one-year-old, has the occasional existential crisis. That's nothing to be sorry about."

"Okay," Nessie said, glancing down and wiping a stray tear from the cross around her neck. "But it's strange to think about—how everyone, not just in our family, but everyone who's ever worn this, has been all alone in their heads. Every person ever, even if they're like Dad or Uncle Jasper, can't know exactly what it's like to be a different person."

"Plato had a saying I like," Grandpa said. "It goes, "Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." That's always been true, and I think it always will be."

Nessie smiled. "I like that saying. Have you told it to me before?"

"It's possible," Grandpa said with a chuckle, pretending to look forgetful. "I'm an old man though, so I can't always remember things like that."

Nessie laughed, and then she and Grandpa sat quietly in his office for a while. Snow was still falling outside, and for the moment at least, the prospect of facing the future just as she was, neither completely mortal, or completely immortal, didn't seem so lonely. After all, no one knew what their future would be like—well, except for Aunt Alice, but even she couldn't see everything. 'Someday' was a mystery to everyone, and one of the hardest parts of life, but also one of the best, was waiting to see what would come next.