Author's note: This was written for the Twilight Gift Exchange for nonevil_redhead. I hope you enjoyed it, dear!
General disclaimer: Twilight and all its related characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, not me. I make no profit from writing this.
"Don't worry, dear, everything's going to be all right. You'll make loads of friends and everyone will love you."
Renesmee laughed to herself. Like that's ever going to happen. She loved her mother so very much but surely that statement would have sounded impossible to Bella even. Hadn't she known by now that she took after her mother too much?
She made sure her sunglasses were firmly in place before she drove the car out of the garage. The weather was good enough for her to get the top down and so she did, letting the air whip through her hair, allowing it to fly. She was glad that no one in the family, with the exception of Esme, made a big show of her driving off to her first day in high school.
She didn't like the attention. She supposed she got that from her mother as well. Aunt Alice told her enough stories to believe that.
They moved to Oregon slightly over a year ago. The entire family had put off leaving Forks as long as they could for Charlie and Jacob's sakes but the town was getting suspicious. Carlisle was not getting wrinkles and the children were not getting any older. She herself was getting a little suffocated. She had to stay out of the public eye; after all, no one was supposed to know about her and after a few years, that really took its toll on her.
She could only have her family as her friends for so long.
In the end, they decided on Oregon because of its close proximity to Forks. Bella promised to call Charlie every week and while the separation was hard on Jacob, he knew that it was for the best and assured her that it would all work out.
Renesmee sighed. She missed Jacob every day since she moved to Oregon. He was her best friend, her confident, and her sunshine. How could she possibly go on without him? How would it all work out?
Her parents were, for lack of a better word, weird around her when it came to Jacob. Sometimes, she would catch them speaking to Jacob, and she would catch snippets of the conversation, a word here and there, but the moment they saw her, they would totally clam up. They wouldn't even explain what "imprint" meant.
But now was not the time to be harping over such matters. Today was her first day in high school and she was as nervous as she could possibly be. Stomach churning, sweaty palms, the works. She'd suppose that high school shouldn't scare her at all. After all, immortal vampires had educated her for the past 7 years. Her family taught her history, philosophy, art, languages and everything else imaginable. High school teachers couldn't possibly teach her something she hadn't already learnt.
It was the students that were scaring her.
It's been a long time she's interacted with other human beings. Jacob and the wolf packs didn't count. They weren't real humans. Real humans didn't heal as fast as the wolves did whenever she bit them because she was feeling annoyed.
Real humans smelt a lot better too.
Sometimes, she doubted if she could trust herself not to bite any of her new classmates when the temptation became too great. Jacob joked that she should bring a shovel in the boot of her car, just in case. Her mother was horrified that he could think of the matter so lightly and smacked him on the back of the head when she found out.
Renesmee had never tasted human blood before but that didn't mean that the temptation was easier on her. Her father described it best. Feeding on animal blood was like a human only living on tofu; it kept her strong but it never fully satisfied her.
Alliance High School started to appear on the horizon and she felt the sickening feeling in her stomach come back. Her foot relaxed on the accelerator and slowly, her body began relaxing too.
Fitting in wouldn't be too difficult, would it? After all, she looked like everyone else in school. Even though in reality, she should only be 7 years old, she could pass off as a mature-looking teenager. Her hair was similar to her father's, bronze and she had grown it out so it curled softly past her shoulders. Her eyes were her mother's, chocolate brown, blending right in with the humans'. One could call her pretty and many would not disagree. She was slender and tall but she wouldn't say she stuck out like a sore thumb.
How bad could it really be?
Renesmee felt all eyes were on her as she consulted the school map in the hallway yet again. Normally, she would ask for directions but today, she was afraid she would be so nervous that she would slip up and ask for them "the wrong way"; projecting the question into their minds rather than asking it.
Was this how her parents felt, every time they pretended to be high schoolers? So obviously different but still desperately trying to fit in?
It seemed that Alliance Highhasn't had any fresh blood, no pun intended, in a long time so naturally, the school seemed to know about her arrival. Whispers and stares followed her throughout the morning. It started from the point she got out of her car to when she stepped into the office as it became apparent that everyone was talking about her.
She was so engrossed in trying to find her next class that she did not hear footsteps approaching her. A light tap on the shoulder and she swung her head to face the person, her hair almost smacking him in the face.
"Hi. I'm Craig. You look lost." A kind pair of blue eyes was peering at her.
Renesmee let out a nervous laughter. "Yes, I am," she admitted shyly. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, remembering that this was a very human reaction. Just blend in. "I can't find my class for Davidson, he teaches government."
"I'll take you there." Craig smiled, his eyes almost disappearing. "I have the same class too."
She breathed a sign of relief. "That would be great. Thank you!"
He shrugged as they continued walking down the hallway, eyes still following them. "Don't mention it… So are you new here? Didn't see you in junior high."
"I was home-schooled." Renesmee lied, the untruth slipping into the conversation effortlessly. "I wanted to have the high-school experience."
"Couldn't you just have watched the movies?" Craig joked and they both laughed. That felt good to her. It felt like she was starting to fit in.
"So what's your name?"
"Vanessa. But you can call me Nessa." She beamed at him. Before arriving in Oregon, she made sure that her fake credentials carried that name. While she did not detest the name her mother gave her, it was a mouthful. She thought a simple name would help her fit in better and Bella relented after a few days of pleading.
It seemed like everything she did stemmed from the want, no, need to be accepted. She was already so different from her own family. She wasn't exactly vampire, but she wasn't exactly human either. She just wanted somewhere to belong.
"That's a very pretty name, Nessa, for a pretty girl." Craig complimented and she suddenly felt that she was blushing.
Didn't Jacob compliment her all the time too? Why was this making her feel different? Was it because it seems like she was finally fitting in now?
"Thanks," she murmured and they continued walking to their next class. She memorized every turn, every step they took; she didn't want to be lost again tomorrow.
"We're here," Craig announced as he gallantly opened the door for her. She nodded her thanks and walked into class, the entire room falling silent as they saw her. Renesmee froze for a second, before quickly regaining her composure and taking an empty seat by the window.
They just think that you were the teacher. No harm, no foul. You're tall for your age. That's all.
Her heart sank a little when she saw that Craig already had a partner and was seated beside him. It would have been nice to have a friendly face beside her, she thought, as she opened her books, pretending to be oblivious to the attention on her.
The day progressed uneventfully, with the exception of her finding out what was being served as lunch in the cafeteria. She took one look at the supposed "meatloaf" and decided that she would hunt every couple of nights before turning in. There was no way she could pretend to eat that ridiculous excuse the school called food.
Craig escorted her to the rest of her classes. She made sure to tell him that he didn't have to, after all, she didn't want to lead him on. She was pleased when he assured her that he was only doing it because he had someone show him the ropes on the first day as well. He was merely passing it on.
It was in gym when she had the feeling that something terrible was going to happen. They were dividing themselves into basketball teams when she heard a couple of girls whispering about her. She knew she shouldn't get involved, that it wasn't any of her business, but she had heard them talking about her the entire day. Wasn't it enough already?
Renesmee composed herself, trying to pay attention to Coach Laurie's instructions and ignoring the girls but it was so difficult. They were openly gawking at her, pointing and not bothering to keep their voices down anymore. They were saying mean things, untruths. She heard them spreading falsehoods, like how she was being a teacher's pet; trying to seduce the younger male teachers.
Lies. All lies! I've barely looked at any of the teachers in the eye at all.
Anger boiled in her blood as she was determined to pay no heed to them but their voices were getting louder and louder. Other girls were joining in and they were simply badmouthing her right in the open.
She felt adrenaline surging through her veins and her natural instincts virtually taking over. She was more than capable of ripping the heads off those girls. She could hear the sound of their terrified shrieks now, the rushing blood; the crushing blows to their bones. They would all be very frightened of course, and would try to run away but it wouldn't matter. She was faster than all of them combined.
Just do it. No one will know.
I'll know. My family would know.
So? You'll just have to move away again. Don't let these girls get away with what they're doing…
Renesmee struggled with the conflicting thoughts in her head, the girls' squeaking voices fading into the distance. A loud roar seemed to muffle every sound in the gymnasium, making it hard for her to concentrate; to even think of her own name.
Just kill them. Just one. You know you want to…
Stop. Please stop.
"Vanessa Cullen? Vanessa!" Coach Laurie was calling for her attention but Renesmee heard none of his futile efforts. She simply ran out of the gymnasium, trying to escape from the frightened screaming that was starting to enclose around her. It wasn't until she reached her car when she realized that she had been the one screaming all along.
"Oh, thank goodness you're home!" Esme exclaimed the moment Edward and Bella walked through the main door. The older woman's hair was in a loose bun, something uncharacteristic for her, and her face wore a weary and alarmed expression.
"What's wrong, Esme?" Bella sprang to her side, her arms around her mother-in-law's shoulders.
"It's Nessie," the maternal vampire's face creased up with worry. "She came home early today and locked herself in her room. She hasn't been out since and she won't let me in."
"Why didn't you tell us sooner?" Edward enquired, not in an unpleasant tone of voice.
"She wouldn't let me!" Esme threw her arms in the air exasperatedly. "She kept screaming and crying. Oh Bella!" She hugged the younger woman. "I don't know what I'm doing wrong."
"There, there," Bella comforted Esme, patting her on the shoulder. "I'm sure it's not your fault. Edward will straighten it all out." She looked to her husband and he nodded, racing to their daughter's room.
A soft knock interrupted Renesmee's sobbing but she made no move to open the door. Why should anyone care about her? Why would anyone want to care about a murderer?
More knocks and she heard her father calling out. "Nessie, let me in!" He pleaded gently.
"Why?" She wailed even louder. "You could just pick the stupid lock."
"I'd much rather come in with your permission." There it was again, her patient, caring father. What a horrible daughter she was becoming.
"Okay. You can come in." Renesmee tried to control her sobbing, hiccupping along the way. She moved to sit upright on her bed when Edward came in, a comforting smile on his face.
He sat on her bed beside her, simply wrapping his arms around his daughter's shoulders and letting her cry some more on his shirt. He never asked for anything, no questions, no demands, he simply waited.
When Renesmee's cries started to quieten and her breathing evened out, Edward handed her a tissue to wipe away her tears.
"Do you want to tell me about it?" He asked gently, kindly.
"You can just read my mind." Renesmee mumbled, the hiccups interrupting her sentences once in a while.
"I'd rather you tell me about it."
"The girls at school were talking about me and I got really mad and I thought about killing all of them," she admitted in a guilt-ridden whisper. "I could really do it, you know," she looked her father in the eye. "I could have done it."
"But you didn't," Edward reminded her. "You were strong enough not to."
"What about the next time? What if I go back tomorrow and they do it again and I want to kill them again?" She asked, tears welling up in her eyes but more importantly, there was fear in her voice as well.
"You won't," he assured her. "You're my daughter and I know you better than anyone. I know you're a strong girl. You'll do the right thing."
"The right thing isn't always the easiest," she sighed and leaned her head against her father's shoulder.
Edward thought back to his rebellious period and he couldn't agree more. For a long time, he believed he was justified in killing all the murderers, rapists and what-have-yous that preyed on innocent victims. He knew the right thing was to renounce human blood and go back to Carlisle and Esme but it was so, so difficult. Human blood tamed his instincts, made him who he was, and surely he had to protect those innocent people somehow.
How did he manage to do it?
"I know it feels that way but trust me, you're too much like your mother. Put your mind to it, nothing will stop you," he laughed softly and Renesmee couldn't help but smile as well.
"I just want to fit in." There was a longing in her voice; a yearning. "I don't want to be different."
Edward patted her on the head. "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free."
"You didn't come up with that on your own, did you?" She teased her father.
"No, but at least I used it right," he laughed and this time, Renesmee couldn't help but join in as well.
"Come on, we should head out now. Your mother and grandma would be worried," Edward squeezed her hand and Renesmee obediently followed him out, wiping the last of her tears away.
It didn't matter that she was never going to fit in with the vampires, the werewolves or the humans. The only important fact she needed to remember was that her family was always going to be there for her.
Please review! I'm always a fan of constructive criticism. Let me know what can be done to improve the story! :D