Hi everyone! Sorry for missing last week, but this week, I've got a really long chapter for you, and next week, I'll be back with two chapters! In today's chapter (which is a reader request), I show how Jacob might have introduced his father to Nessie, and how Carlisle and Esme might have helped in such a potentially awkward (and extremely strange) situation. Thanks as always for your reviews, and I'll see you again next Sunday! :)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the author of "Twilight," and I can't wait to get "Breaking Dawn" Part 2 on DVD! (I was glad that I got to see it in a theater one last time though, even though my local discount theater can be a bit scary…:))
Okay, so after leaving home and seemingly forsaking my family in favor of hanging out with a bunch of bloodsuckers, I was a little nervous about heading home and introducing my Dad to Nessie. I mean, he knew why I'd left in the first place, and he knew why I'd stuck around the Cullens' place since Nessie had been born, but I was pretty sure that didn't make it any easier to have me gone. Things were better now that Sam knew that I'd imprinted—his pack no longer hated my guts, even if everyone was a little unnerved that we could apparently imprint on people who were half-vampire—but still, I imagined what it must have been like when Seth and Leah and I had first taken off, and I felt bad. Billy and Sue Clearwater had both been worried sick.
My Dad has had a hard time ever since my mom died, and in the past few months, I'd made his life that much crazier by turning into a giant wolf and then hanging out with vampires. So, I was eager to introduce Billy to the person who had suddenly become my reason for existing, if only in the hope that he might understand that I wasn't tormenting him on purpose—what had happened wasn't something I could control. He knew that I'd imprinted, but I knew that hearing about it secondhand was a lot different than actually seeing me with Nessie. At least, I was hoping it would be different and actually helpful instead of just really unnerving for him.
I'd gone home twice already, once to apologize to my dad and convince him that I was alive and hadn't been brainwashed or injured by leeches, and then another time to pick up some clothes and see my sister Rachel, who'd been sitting on the couch with Paul. We hadn't exchanged more than an awkward hello, but I took it as a good sign that he hadn't tried to throw anything at me. Today's visit was different though. Today, I'd be bringing Nessie with me to meet my Dad, and Carlisle and Esme would be coming with me.
Getting Blondie to allow me to take Nessie anywhere seemed like it would be all but impossible at first—just letting Nessie out of her sight was practically a deal-breaker for Rosalie, especially since Bella, for obvious reasons, wasn't welcome on the Rez until she was a little older. (By now, everyone had heard about her amazing self-control, but the pack was taking no chances.) Similarly, no one really wanted Edward on Quileute land because of his creepy mind-reading ability, and I doubted that Billy would agree to drop by the Cullens' place for a visit, so for a while, we were at an impasse. Then Carlisle volunteered to drive me to La Push, and Esme told Rosalie that she'd go too, and after a lot of glaring and scowling, Rosalie agreed. So did Edward and Bella, but then, Bella was glad to give me a chance to reassure my Dad, and Edward was fine with the idea as long as Nessie had babysitters who knew more about taking care of infants than I did along for the ride.
I guess I couldn't exactly blame Blondie for being less than thrilled with the whole situation: Bella knew me, and Edward could read my mind, so it made sense that, after the initial shock had worn off, they cut me a little more slack about the imprinting thing. Before Nessie was born, if I'd known what was going to happen, I would have been even more pissed than Rosalie was. Imprinting had seemed like the worst thing in the world then. Now that it had happened though, I didn't feel angry or uncertain anymore. It was like I'd been holding my breath ever since Edward had come back into Bella's life, and now I could breathe again.
I didn't feel trapped—I felt weirdly at ease, like things were finally okay, which, logically, wouldn't have made sense to me until I'd imprinted. It wasn't like I was in love with a baby—I just wanted nothing more than to protect her, to have her be happy and safe, and I didn't need anything else. In the future, who knew what would happen—who knew what Nessie's future would be like? What I wanted more than anything now was to always be there for her, and I felt like things were going to be like that from now on. When she grew up, whether she chose me or not, I knew that I was always going to be happy just being with her, which would have been a really strange thing to contemplate, before I'd imprinted. Now, it was just the way things were; the thing I used to fear had brought me more happiness than I'd ever thought possible.
Carlisle drove us over to La Push after lunch; Esme was happy to cook for me and Seth, and just as happy to save our parents the expense of feeding us. (Now that we were able to, Leah was insisting on going home to eat though.) Nessie and I rode in the back of the Mercedes, her in a baby seat and me with my legs folded up to fit into a car that wasn't really built to accommodate werewolves.
"Does your father have some idea of what to expect, Jacob?" Esme asked, smiling at Nessie and waving to her from the front seat; Nessie waved back.
I shrugged. "Um, kind of? I mean, I've told him that she's not like a normal kid, that she's super smart and growing really fast, but I think he just thinks I'm exaggerating because of the imprinting thing. Like, any kid I imprinted on would automatically be the most amazing, perfect kid in the world."
"Well, I'm grateful that your father agreed to allow us to come with you," Carlisle said with a smile. "It will put our family at ease, and yours too, I hope."
"Yeah," I said. "I mean, I think it should be fine. My sister and my Dad are okay with things, but if Paul's there, I might have to throw him out..."
"Jacob, no throwing people please, unless it's absolutely necessary," Esme said with the tired tone of a mom who's used to her kids throwing things.
I grinned. "I'll be on my best behavior, I promise." As long as Paul keeps his damn mouth shut.
We pulled up to the house then, and by the time I'd gotten out of the car, Esme was lifting Nessie out of her car seat and Carlisle was greeting my Dad at the door.
"Thanks for having us," Carlisle said, and Billy, to his credit, didn't flinch when he shook hands with Dr. Fang. My Dad, I've often thought, would have made one hell of a wolf, though I guess I was glad that he didn't have to deal with all the stuff me and both packs had been through lately.
"Well, thank you for looking out for Jacob," Billy said, nodding at Carlisle and smiling a little at me. Having Carlisle with me for this was definitely a good idea—thanks to the fact that he'd saved my life, I think that Carlisle could have been a yeti and my dad wouldn't have minded. While they talked for a minute about how Bella was doing, Esme handed Nessie to me with a grin and went to stand by Carlisle.
"And this is my wife, Esme," Carlisle said, putting his arm around her as she and my dad shook hands.
"It's very nice to finally meet you, Billy," Esme said, and I saw Billy's eyes widen a little when he looked at her. Let's face it—Esme just looks way too nice somehow to be a vampire. "You've certainly raised Jacob to be a fine young man."
"Ah—thank you," Billy stammered a little. "It's nice to meet you too, Esme. Come on in, it looks like it's about to start raining again."
I trailed after the three of them, preferring that we get inside before Billy got a good look at the baby in my arms. Nessie touched my face to show me a memory of a picture I'd shown her: it was me and Billy together, before he'd needed the wheelchair. I was younger, a lot shorted and skinnier. Nessie seemed curious about the change in both of us.
"I guess the easiest way to explain it is that we both got older," I said quietly. "Billy got sick, so he can't use his legs anymore. I turned into a wolf about a year after I met your mom, and that's why I suddenly grew to about twice my previous size."
Nessie touched my face again: she was having a hard time understanding a sickness that made your legs not work.
"Ask your grandpa to explain diabetes," I said with a wry smile. "He is a doctor, after all. I'd probably just make things more confusing."
Inside, my house was the same as ever: small, but sort of cozy, if you like a lot of furniture and other stuff crammed into a small space. I'd never really thought of my house as small until I'd become a wolf; now it could seem sort of cramped, but sometimes just being inside at all was hard. There were times when I just had to get out and run, get some fresh air and be surrounded by trees, not walls or the smells of people. The Cullens' house, with all its windows, felt less confining, but it was still no substitute for a good run in the woods.
Carlisle and Esme sat down on the sofa, Billy beside them in his chair—I'm pretty sure I saw him open his mouth to offer them something to drink, but then he stopped himself. With a sigh, I decided to stop lurking, so I sat down on the floor in front of the couch so Billy could see the baby. His eyes widened again when he saw her.
"So this is Renesmee," he said quietly.
"You can just call her Nessie when Bella's not around," I said cheerfully. "I think we all agree that the name's kind of a mouthful."
Hesitantly, Billy leaned down and waved at Nessie, who was staring at him. "Hello, Nessie. It's nice to meet you."
"Want to hold her?" I asked. "She doesn't really talk yet, but she can say hi in her own way. And she won't bite, we've discussed that."
My Dad raised his eyebrows at me. "You've discussed it?"
"She really only bit Jacob right after she was born," Esme explained. "We think she was maybe testing her boundaries, as much as an infant can do that."
"I see," Billy said, watching Nessie a little warily when I stood up and set her in his arms. She touched his face, and as he gasped, I wondered what she was showing him. Probably me, but I wondered what specific thoughts she'd think to show my Dad.
"Yeah, she can show you her memories. With her mind. Somehow," I said.
"I can see you, Jake," he said quietly. "I guess...she cares for you too."
"I know," I said with a smile. "I like to think that I've gone from chew toy to friend over the past couple of weeks."
"How is she able to do this?" Billy asked.
"We think that Nessie's gift is similar to her father's, only in reverse," Carlisle said. Billy looked a little less freaked out now, and when Nessie smiled at him, he smiled back. I grinned. It was sort of impossible not to love the kid, even if you'd spent your whole life being less than thrilled with the idea of vampires.
"Well," Billy said, looking amazed. "I guess...she really is as amazing as you said."
I rolled my eyes. "Told you I wasn't exaggerating."
"And you're...you're okay with this, Jacob?" Billy asked hesitantly.
"Fine," I said easily. "I mean, better than fine, which would have seriously freaked me out before this happened. I'm...happy, Dad. I know I never thought I would be if something like this happened, but everything really feels okay. I'm happy if I can just be around her, and make sure she's happy too. And now, in retrospect, I feel bad about being sort of creeped out by the whole Quil and Claire thing, since I know that this is almost weirder."
"And has your family accepted this?" Billy asked slowly, looking away from Nessie to glance at Carlisle and Esme.
"Billy, I know that this is an unusual situation, to say the least," Carlisle said, "but we understand that what's happened isn't something that Jacob could control. And given that Edward can read Jacob's thoughts, he knows that his intentions really are protective and nothing untoward. Nessie's parents accept what's happened, and so do we."
I smiled a little at the fact that Carlisle hadn't mentioned Nessie's aunt Rosalie's opinion of me.
"Really Billy, we're always happy to have Jacob in our home," Esme said with a smile. "We're all very fond of him, and he's been a great deal of help to us, and to Nessie."
Billy smiled down at Nessie. "Well, I'm glad. She really seems to like you too, Jake."
I grinned, realizing for the first time that Billy wasn't disgusted or scared by Nessie, and maybe he never had been in the first place. Actually, he really did seem to like her. Maybe he hadn't been worried so much about who I'd imprinted on—maybe the concern I'd heard in his voice the last few times we'd talked was because I'd imprinted at all. Maybe he was afraid it would change who I was; a lot of the guys who'd imprinted seemed a lot different than they had before it had happened. But now he could see that I was still me. He hadn't lost me—Nessie had just added an unexpected new dimension to my family's reality.
"We know that at some point, Jacob's going to need to go back to school," Carlisle said, and I tried not to roll my eyes; lately, school had hardly been my biggest concern. "Until he can get back into high school classes, we'll be happy to tutor him."
"Hey, um, don't go to any trouble though," I said quickly.
"Oh, it's no trouble. I've taught high school before, and I'll be more than happy to help you catch up in every subject, Jacob," Esme said with a smile.
"Past report cards suggest he'll especially need help with math," Billy said quietly, and Nessie giggled.
I scowled. "That was a low blow."
My Dad smiled at the Cullens. "Tutoring sounds like an excellent idea, thank you. Of course, I'll want to borrow Jacob now and then, but if it's no trouble, I don't mind him spending most of his time in your home, and I'll always be grateful to you for helping him."
"Helping me?" I repeated blankly. "Math, in my experience, is very rarely helpful."
"I meant giving you new clothes for one thing, but mostly for feeding you the past few weeks," my Dad said wryly. "I was starting to worry that you were literally going to eat me out of house and home, but it's starting to look like your sister and I won't starve to death this winter after all."
"Speaking of which, I think I'll raid your kitchen while I'm here, just for old time's sake," I said, laughing when I heard him sigh as I entered the kitchen. I found a bag of chips on top of the fridge, and within seconds of opening it, it was mostly empty. After locating a soda, I returned to the living room, where I grinned at the image of my Dad and Nessie sitting together, Nessie looking cheerful and Billy seeming a lot happier than I'd seen him in a long time. Sure, the Cullens were a part of my life now; I didn't know all of them very well yet, but when it came to Bella and Edward, Carlisle and Esme, and of course Nessie, they were family already. But I was still glad to see that having a new family didn't mean I had to say goodbye to my old one. I felt that if Billy could deal with this, then we could deal with anything, as a family, no matter what happened in the (sure to be interesting) future.