Hello all - this is the first story I've ever written. That being said, feel free to give criticism since I'm new to this whole thing. I'm also looking for a beta, so if you're interested or know someone who is, please message me.
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong to the infamous Stephenie Meyer.
Isabella Cullen was sitting on the swing of her porch enjoying the late morning sunlight when she heard the gentle padding of feet heading her way approximately half a mile down the beach.
The trespasser was light on their feet, which years of experience told her was the result of either a smaller male or a medium sized female. Her senses were on high alert; from the smells finding their way to her nose she could tell the being was female and friendly to the wolves at that. The heartbeat said it was not one of her own. She knew that slight instep; the light hop in the person's walk. That could only mean one person. Renesmee.
"What is so important that it brought you all the way out here?" She asked her now grown daughter in a curious tone. Could it really be over 60 years since her daughter had made her own way into the world, clawing her way out of her own body?
Yes, yes it had been. And what a short 60 years they were.
"Can't I just be out here to visit my wonderful, endearing mother?" Renesmee said, a playful smile on her beautiful features.
Her daughter was a sight to be seen. At her maturity, Renesmee Carlie was 5'6" with her hair color the same bronze of her father while inheriting its curliness from grandfather Charlie. The eyes, though, were completely her own (before she was turned).
Her fierce personality, however, was the influence of all those who had a hand in raising her. The love of shopping and clothing attire was entirely Aunt Alice and Aunt Rosalie. She gained her patience and cooking talents from Grandmother Esme and her tolerance and ability to read emotional people from Uncle Jasper. She was musical like her father and enjoyed the hunt of the bear like Uncle Emmett. From Carlisle she learned to love history and its effects on present day as well as the future. Yes, her daughter had grown up with the best of all of them. Though she never could pinpoint what it was of her own personality that her daughter took on.
She had to laugh though.
"I doubt it; it seems like the only times you're ever out here to visit it's because you've had a fight with Jacob or you need some space from everyone."
Bella was on her yearly 'vacation' to Esme Island. It had become a tradition after she and Edward had split up eleven years ago. For one month out of the year she would stay at Esme Island away from her family, alternating each visit which time of the year she went. This year happened to be around the start of second semester, as she was attending college for the 8th time.
Renesmee brought her out of her memories by finally walking up to her (at a human's pace) and hugging her for what felt like seconds, but in reality was most likely minutes. Her daughter's eyes gazed back in a completely serious expression.
"I have no idea what you're talking about. I visit all the time!" She couldn't however, keep a straight face while saying it and she grew to have a sheepish grin. "I just don't like to interrupt your time out here unless I'm going crazy."
This put a worry line on Bella's flawless face. "What's the matter?" She said as she patted the bench next to her. "Was it Jacob? Because you know, Ren-"
Her daughter sighed loudly. "I know, I know. You don't care how old we are, if he hurts me you'll kill him with your bare hands."
She smiled. Atta girl. "That's right. Even at 64 years old you're still my daughter and no matter how many times we go through this it will always have the same message across. One claw out of line and the mutt is mine." She added a little growl at the end for dramatic effect.
Renesmee smiled at her mother, for she was the only person (besides herself and their children) that her husband ever allowed to call him any nicknames relating to his wolfish side.
"No actually, I came out here to talk to you about a couple of things. One has been on my mind for the past couple of years and now seems like the right time to talk about it. It's been all I can think about and I was going crazy waiting for you to come home so I could talk to you."
Now she was downright curious. What was her daughter talking about? She'd been thinking about whatever it was for years?
"Okay, now I'm worried. What's wrong? Are you thinking of having another child? You know Jacob would love another to add to your pack as it is and you know your father or I would gladly watch the kids whenever you need us to and your Aunt Alice could surely see if it would be a problem…"
It was at this point in her worried rant that she noticed her daughter's face. She wore an "Are you crazy?!" look over a mask of barely veiled nervousness. Her daughter was never nervous unless it was because she truly was scared of what lie ahead. Were the topics she wanted to discuss so terribly frightful to her that she would be nervous of her own mother's reaction?
"No it's not about that. I told you we decided to wait for another couple of years before even considering another pup anyway. It's about you actually. We, and I mean the family, is getting concerned. Since you and Dad split, you've been kind of… Off."
Ah, so that's what this was about.
"Okay before we start delving into this conversation, can you tell me the other topic you want to discuss with me?"
"Oh, that's just some family stuff I wanted to give you a heads up on so you're not thrown for a loop when you get back home. Aunt Alice and Uncle Jazz are having some problems and it looks like they may even split up for good this time."
This news was troubling to Bella. Her best friend Alice and her partner Jasper had been together twice the time she and Edward had been. While they may have had their disagreements and fights like normal couples, they always stayed together. It was Jasper's ability to read his partner's emotions and Alice's way to read future decisions that had diluted most of the fights.
"That doesn't make sense. They're normally so good together, especially with their abilities. What happened?"
Renesmee looked up at the sky thoughtfully, as if she was contemplating between having blood or a muffin for breakfast.
"It's actually because of those. The most anyone can get out of either of them is that Uncle Jasper felt something in Aunt Alice that he shouldn't have. They're not even speaking to each other and barely to the rest of us. The only reason I know that much is because I heard Aunt Alice muttering across the forest."
Bella raised her eyebrows at that. If it was anyone who were to be on such terms it was Rosalie and Emmett, but those two made up more than they ever fought.
"Wow. Do you think I should come back early and try and talk to them?"
Her daughter shook her head remorsefully. "No, I don't think it would do much good. Besides, this is your time and I'm already invading it. Sorry about that, by the way." The underlying tone in Renesmee's voice told her mother that while she was sorry, she may have felt the intrusion was warranted.
"Okay," Bella said, staring out at the ocean, steeling herself for the future conversation. "What did you want to talk about that relates to me?"
The nervousness crept back into swirling chocolate eyes.
"Okay, like I said I've noticed that it started after you and Dad split up. And remember that what I have to say, I say with the utmost love…"
Bella sighed. "Yes, Renesmee, I get it. You love me and want me to take whatever you say with a grain of salt. Can you just come out with it please?"
From the corner of her eyes she saw a smile form on her features.
"All right, at least you're aware that this isn't going to be easy for either of us."
"Yeah, no kidding…" She muttered under her breath even though she knew her daughter's keen hearing would have picked it up.
Renesmee seemed to ignore the statement as she plowed on, determination laced in her voice.
"Since you and Dad have gone your own ways, I've noticed some… things. You don't spend as much time with the family as you used to. You always spend time on the Reservation with me and the kids. You never hang out with any friends. You haven't even tried to date anyone new. Have you considered maybe exploring the rest of the world? You've been in the States for close to 50 years! It's time you start actually experiencing life instead of just going through the motions."
Bella's eyes closed for a brief moment as she thought up a proper response. How do you tell your daughter that you have been experiencing life, but that it was a lifeless, blurred list of one-night stands? Unconsciously her secrets flooded to the surface of her mind. Gathering up a non-needed breath, she knew now was the time to tell Renesmee at least some of it.
"As you are an adult, I will treat you like one. There are things that you have not been privy to that I have specifically requested be kept from you. And before you ask, yes, your father does know about it all."
She took a deep breath, held it for a moment, and exhaled. The familiar movement of her chest settled her down, enough for her to continue.
"You've been told the reason your Dad and I split up was because we no longer had the connection with each other that we used to have. That is true, but there's a little more to it then that; in the year we spent with the Denali clan, I had come to find myself noticing people other than my husband. Specifically, women. It was something I had never bothered to contemplate because I had found Edward in high school. He was the only one I had ever been with.
"Now that this was happening, this sudden attraction to women, I found myself comparing everything my husband had to that of a woman. Where he was rough, a woman was gentle; where he had edges, a woman had curves. It kept coming, bombarding me so much that it was all I ever thought about and towards the end Edward and I were arguing over what to do about it constantly. He wanted us to go away to Esme island for a while so we could get reacquainted with each other. I wanted to just forget the feelings ever came up and go on with our lives.
"It was such a foolish thought… How something like that could ever be forgotten…" Bella said chuckling. Getting up from her sitting position, she held out her hand to her daughter who grabbed it and heaved herself up as well. Together the two walked toward the surf.
They walked along the beach for a few moments in silence. Her daughter would wait all year, she knew, if that was what it took to get the full story now that she had a taste.
"At his suggestion, Edward and I went to Esme Island for two years. You may remember those years, dear. We hardly came around to visit."
Renesmee nodded. "Yeah, that was a rough time for Jake and I. We worried the entire time you were gone about what was going to happen."
At least Bella could find humor in this. She laughed; a melodious tone so full of joy that Renesmee found it hard to believe they were talking about the darkest time in her mother and father's marriage.
"To be honest your father and I didn't know what was going to happen either. We focused almost entirely on getting to know one another again, and that included in the bedroom. It was… An unpleasant experience. Still, I pushed on for your father because I still loved him and wanted to try. I still do love him. We came back after the end of our two year marriage counseling, as we had come to call it, and things were no better. In the end we decided it was best for everyone involved to go our separate ways."
That was all that she was going to give on that subject. Any more and Bella feared she would say too much without getting enough information on the situation back home. Instead of elaborating on any more, she waited quietly while they walked to give Renesmee time to process all that she had been told.
It took them two full trips around the island before her daughter uttered a word.
"Okay. Let me get all of this straight. You like women."
Simple answers would help make this part quick. "Yes."
"And you told Dad and everyone else to lie to me for 9 years."
A wince. "Yes."
"Are you the reason Dad doesn't visit Jake and I so often? Because you're there so much? Are you the reason my children don't see enough of their grandpa?"
Silence reined supreme again for a short time. Then…
Bella yelped in surprise and rubbed her now sore arm. "Ow! Jeez, give me some warning next time! I AM your mom, you know."
She was rewarded with a scowl. "You use that excuse every time. We're best friends, which gives me the right to hit you when you do something stupid. Lying to me is stupid."
She sighed. "Whatever you say Ren."
Seeing it was getting dark out, Bella redirected their walking towards the house so she could fix her daughter something to eat.
Once her daughter was situated in the kitchen she began quickly making up some Chicken Caesar Salad and took some blood she had stored from an earlier hunt out of the fridge. She put the salad in front of her daughter, poured some of the blood into a glass and instructed her to eat. "And I don't want to hear anything come out of your mouth about either choice of food."
Without saying a word her daughter quickly ate the salad and drank down the blood. She grabbed the dirty dishes and began cleaning them in the sink.
"So, Mom, is there any woman that's caught your eye?"
She froze in her actions. This was dangerous territory. One wrong step and everything would be ruined. Her thoughts were a whirlwind but she forced herself to speak. "Yes, there's been a few."
Her daughter laughed. "Ooh, a few, huh? What are you, some kind of player?"
She laughed along but her insides were tightening in anxiety. She had to be in control of this conversation. Now. "You could say that."
"How many women have there been? 20? 30?"
This was the easy part; telling the truth. She smiled, the remnants of her laugh still visible on her face. "A little more then that, dear." She finished washing the dirty dishes, put them away and sat across from Renesmee.
Chocolate eyes widened. "More? Like how many more?"
She smirked. "Try adding another 30 onto your second guess."
If possible, Renesmee's eyes got even bigger.
"60?! You've slept with 60 women in the past 10 years?!"
She scoffed. "That's my total for the past 5 years, dear."
She thought her daughter's eyes were going to come out of her head with her last comment. Instead of screaming or doing something equally dramatic, she started laughing hysterically.
This threw Bella for a loop. She expected hysterics, even anger, but not humor.
"What's so funny?" She asked Renesmee who was now clutching at her sides.
"My mother's a whore!" She said between fits.
"Hey! I am not a whore! If you figure it out, that's something like one woman a month!"
Renesmee's laughter had slowed to a chuckle and she was able to now talk normally. "Still, mom. One a month? Wasn't there ever a girl that caught your eye for a longer period of time?"
Without even thinking Bella responded in a cheerless tone. "Yes there was. Once." Realizing she had spoken aloud something she had sworn herself not to reveal, she spoke again. "But we're not talking about it. Ever." She held her daughter's gaze for a moment to show she was serious.
But that didn't stop Renesmee. When she wanted to know something she usually found out. Usually.
"But, Mom, we're best friends. We tell each other everything." Upon looking at her daughter she noticed that she wore a curious expression as if to say, "Why couldn't we talk about this?"
Holding back the anger that was seeping in at herself she responded in an even tone. "I said that's it, Renesmee. It's not up for discussion."
Her daughter shrank back as if she had been slapped. Bella rarely ever talked to her in such a cold tone and when she did, there was a very serious reason for it.
Instead, Renesmee dropped the subject for the moment but took time to file the information in her mind to investigate further when she got home. Now was not the time, with her mother already mad at the broached subject, to try to gather more information.
No, she would wait until she could snoop around some and get to the bottom of this mystery woman her mother obviously was still pining for.