Disclaimer: Not mine...don't I know it!
A/N: Sorry, guys! I am behind on answering reviews! I got distracted by all the NM hooplah! But I will get to them! :)
Everything had settled into a comfortable pattern for the most part. Edward led our family in the search for Hank and Mary Black, but we found no trace of them beyond the main island. There was no scent of werewolf or unfamiliar vampire left in the area. Carlisle was fearful that Hank's ingrained animosity toward vampires had overcome his love for his wife. I wasn't so sure.
I asked Edward about it as I lay in his arms, our passion spent. He had more insight into Mr. Black's psyche than any of us. I wanted him to confirm my suspicions.
"She's alive, isn't she, Edward?"
He sighed against my neck, his arms tightening around me. "I don't know."
I sat up and leaned over him, letting my hair fall across his chest. "Don't give me that! Tell me what you saw in his mind."
Edward raised his hand and cupped my cheek. I leaned my face into his palm, letting the pleasure of his touch melt through me. "Love, Bella, overwhelming love and soul destroying anguish."
"He didn't kill her," I stated firmly.
"How can you be so sure, Bella?"
"I just know, Edward." I shrugged. "Do you think I'm crazy?"
Edward pulled me down across his chest and kissed me lingeringly. "Not at all, my love. I think you could be right. I didn't see the capacity for murder in him."
I smiled against his lips; a strange sense of certainty flooded through me. "We will see her again one day," I whispered.
Edward snorted. "I think one prognosticator in the family is more than enough, if you don't mind!"
I giggled. He was right about that! I snuggled into Edward's side, resting my head in the crook of his neck. "I love you, you know."
Edward smiled and leaned in, allowing lips to trace across mine. "I love you, too, Bella. Always."
His mouth slid down my throat and I moaned, burying my fingers in his hair. Our conversation quickly fell to the wayside as our never ending passion ignited once again.
Charlie decided to stay with us for a couple of weeks, despite his misgivings and probable fear. He wanted to spend time with his granddaughter and me. It was nice to have him around—with the exception of having to cook for him.
My self-control held steady. We were discussing attending to Dartmouth this autumn, but Edward wanted to live apart from civilization and its expectations of normalcy. He said, and I agreed, that our time with Renesmee as a baby was short and we didn't want to miss anything—like we would if we were cooped up in a classroom all day pretending to go to school. We had eternity for that later.
He suggested that we move to our home near Denali instead. It was isolated and appearances wouldn't matter there. If any of the family wanted to join us they were welcome. We would understand if Carlisle wanted to continue working. He had, of course, decided that now was a good time to take a hiatus from practicing medicine. They all were very attached to Renesmee.
I still hadn't decided what to do about my mother. Charlie didn't think that it would be a good idea to let her in on our little secret. I knew that with her uncanny intuition and instincts she would immediately pick up on the differences in me, in us. Maybe her wild imagination would work in my favor. She would make assumptions—most likely wrong ones—and I could have her in my life—for a little while at least.
Edward and I were still planning to remarry. I had talked him into rededicating our vows on our one-year anniversary, instead of waiting for June. Alice was already excitedly planning something lavish and ridiculous—I was sure.
Edward's Vanquish was finally in the garage downstairs. He had been livid when the call had come in about the damage. The garage had offered to pay for the repairs, but Edward had refused. Rosalie was the only one he trusted to work on that car. Besides, she had a little dent she had to fix in addition to the window.
It hadn't helped matters when he had inspected the car. Edward had cursed roundly, his eyes narrowing and glinting dangerously. "Do you smell that?" he raged.
I leaned in and sniffed the car. It smelled distinctly of wet dog. Oh, no! I deduced right away that Jacob had done this to Edward's car. He must have followed Edward and Jazz to Ketchikan. That was how he had located us!
"Edward, please. You can't murder Jacob!"
His fists were clenched at his sides and he was growling. "Oh, really, Bella? I can't? I think I have suddenly developed a thirst for werewolf."
"Stop it, Edward. It is only a window,"—and some money—"I mean it could have been much, much worse!"
Edward turned his hot glare from the car to glance at me. "I will never get this stench out!"
I wrapped my arms around his waist. His hands came up hesitantly to hold me. "I'll buy you a new one."
He sighed. It was still my intention to send Jake to college, but I would have to do it behind Edward's back. He would never agree to it now…
Emmett and Rosalie were away on an extended hunting trip when our little surprise arrived. Edward supervised, as box after box was unloaded from the delivery truck.
"How long do we have, Alice?" I asked, glancing at the gleaming gold watch on my wrist. It had been a gift from my husband. It was a Rolex. I was still thought it was ridiculously extravagant. He was determined to spoil me at the least opportunity. It had been our one-month anniversary. He had also bought me a closet full of skirts and dresses as a late Valentine's Day present. I had just rolled my eyes, but I humored him, and myself, by wearing them often.
Alice closed her eyes for a moment, searching out the future. "An hour."
"We had better hurry then."
We were sitting on the couch, going about our normal, everyday routine when Em and Rose crashed through the door. Rosalie turned and winked at me conspiratorially, as she pulled Emmett up the stairs to their room. She was in on the joke.
While they were gone I dashed into the backyard and threw the tarp back from the huge pile there. I grinned evilly as I struck a match and flicked it away. Flames whooshed, quickly engulfing the mountainous stack. I had poured lighter fluid on it earlier. I didn't want there to be anything left to salvage.
I darted back into the house and returned to my chosen vantage point on the love seat. I was holding a book, pretending to read.
As I sat there, I thought about all of Emmett's practical jokes. I remembered the Eeyore bedspread and stuffed animals. My husband was not an ass! Then he had short-sheeted our bed, interrupting the hot love making session Edward and I had been about to enter into. That pause had caused Edward to change his mind—to make me wait. Being a man and all, Emmett had no idea what my pregnancy hormones had done to my libido. That interruption alone could have cost him his immortality. And then there was the final straw—the sticky shower.
I wanted revenge. Now, I could have filled his sheets full of cornflakes, sabotaged the plumbing in his bathroom, sawed through the legs on his bed or some such thing, but that just wasn't Bella Cullen's style.
Everyone was in on it, Edward, Rosalie, Alice and Jasper. They each had their own little plans on how to exploit my prank. We were all waiting in gleeful anticipation for Emmett's reaction. Edward was half-heartedly playing World of Warcraft. Alice and Jasper were sitting beside one another surfing the web. I think that Jasper was setting up an account on a video sharing website.
Charlie was the only one who wasn't in on the joke. He was raiding the refrigerator with a half eaten cookie in hand. Esme had been experimenting on him, instead of Renesmee, lately. According to Charlie, she made a superb chocolate chip cookie.
"What the hell!" a loud voice shouted.
I tried to hold back my snicker, but it forced its way out. Edward dropped the game controller and turned his head toward the staircase expectantly. Charlie had shut the refrigerator and strolled back into the family room, his expression curious.
"What's going on?" he asked.
I nodded toward the staircase. "Emmett is getting some of his own medicine," I replied, a smug grin on my face.
"Your daughter is an evil genius, Charlie, in case you didn't know," Edward murmured. His beautiful golden eyes were glowing with love and contentment as they captured mine.
Just then, Emmett stomped down the stairs in a tight pair of burnished, leopard printed spandex pants. His feet and chest were bare. Rosalie skipped down behind him and slipped a black, leather jacket that was covered in erroneous zippers over his shoulders. She had insisted on that particular accessory herself.
It had been my initial plan to replace the clothes in Emmett's closet with something decidedly feminine in nature, but Alice had talked me out of it.
"Oh, no, Bella, that won't work…trust me!" Her little nose was wrinkled and her eyes narrowed.
"What am I missing, Alice?"
She sighed. "Well, you know I outfit the entire family in the latest styles…"
"Of course, Ali. I don't know what we would do without you…"
Alice snorted and tapped her head. "I do…everyone of you, with the exception of Rosalie, would dress about a decade behind the times! And Edward would look like some emo bitch's wet dream, all angsty and bed headed, wearing nothing but black!"
I hmmed noncommittally, trying to appear nonchalant. That was exactly how I imagined Edward on an hourly basis! I briefly wondered if I would have to make a jigsaw puzzle out of Alice in order to get Edward in black for all eternity.
My mind was quickly taken over by a fantasy of Edward lying on our bed, a tight, black t-shirt stretched over his chest. The dark jeans that were hugging his hips were unbuttoned and unzipped slightly… I whimpered. There was a snapping sound and I glanced up to find Alice's fingers in front of my face.
"Earth to Bella!"
"Sorry, Alice," I mumbled, glad that I couldn't blush.
"Anyhoo, back about twenty-five years ago, Emmett refused to wear anything I bought him! He absolutely despised the style of the times. I know he doesn't seem the type, but Em is very particular about what he wears! I tried to force him into expanding his sense of fashion, but…"
I leaned in. This was something I had to hear! "What did you do, Alice?"
Her lips fell into a decided frown. "Well, I replaced everything in his closet. On one side there were all these wonderful outfits…the height of fashion, I might add. On the other side were old-lady dresses and suits, you know, skirts and jackets in floral prints and plaids—all of them in Emmett's size."
I smiled. I wish I could have seen that.
"The thing is, Bella, Emmett wore the dresses instead! He despised the 80's that much! And don't get me started on how much he loved those plaid skirts!"
I fell over on Alice's bed in gales of laughter. A soft laugh joined mine.
"Now that I look back on it, Em looked a lot like Janet Reno in all those boxy suits, didn't he?" Rosalie said from the doorway.
Alice giggled. "Now that you mention it! Come on in, Rose!"
Rosalie plopped down on the bed beside me. I imagined that we looked very much like a group of typical teenagers, giggling and gossiping about boys. It was nice to have sisters—best friends. We glanced at one another, our eyes bright.
I folded my arms across my chest and sighed. "Well, since Emmett doesn't mind cross dressing, I guess that blows my plan completely out of the water…"
Rosalie eyed Alice, her countenance excited. "Oh, no, Bella, not at all!" She turned to Alice. "What do you say we go back in time a couple of decades? I did so love the 80's—it was all spandex, leather, and hot guys in heels!"
Alice started bouncing up and down on the bed excitedly! "Oh! This is going to be great! Okay, this is what we do…"
Rosalie tilted her head and perused Emmett's form critically. "I have to say, babe. You look smokin'! Hmmmm…that's definitely the 80's rock star vibe that I was going for! Man, I adored that era! I don't know if we could get your hair to spike up, but I really did love that Billy Idol look!"
Rose winked at me. It had been her job to shred the clothes that he was wearing when they got home. She sashayed down the stairs with a chuckle.
"Wow, Emmett. That's…ah…quite the ensemble you have there. Those pants are very…um…David Lee Roth," Jasper said, snickering.
"Very funny, guys! Where are my clothes?"
Alice's face was very serious. She didn't joke around about fashion. "They're in your closet, of course. What a silly question."
He growled. "Those are not my clothes! What did you do? Buy out an old thrift store?"
I poked my lip out, affecting a pleading and injured expression. "Emmett, are you saying that you don't like them? And I put forth so much effort. I just wanted to do something nice for you…"
His eyes narrowed. "Where are my clothes, Bella?"
He sniffed. "What's burning?"
Everyone laughed uproariously. Emmett ran to the door and quickly disappeared outside.
"Shit! Are those…Oh, shit! They are! You burned my clothes!"
I doubled over with laughter. Emmett was so big that he couldn't fit into any of his brother's outfits. He would have to wear my little gift to him until he could order something different and have it delivered. Or he could always go out in public...
Em was huffing when he came back in. "Damn it, Bella!"
I glanced at him innocently, a huge grin splitting my lips wide. Batting my eyelashes, I said, "You know what Emmett? Revenge is sweet!"
Rosalie was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, flipping through a thick catalogue. It was marked on the front, Big Eddie's Retro Rocker—Spring 2006.
"Hmmm…" She flipped the catalogue on its side and opened the pull out. "You know the outfit on page one-fifty-one has real potential. Purple leather…hot! Mmmmm…makes me thing of the artist formerly known as Prince!" Rosalie began to sing Purple Rain, which made Emmett growl.
Rose paused and glanced at me calculatingly. "That reminds me… Have you ever seen Purple Rain, Bella?"
I shook my head.
Rosalie smiled wolfishly and winked at Alice. "Girl's night!" they screamed together. Every man in the room groaned…including Charlie.
Alice and Rose giggled. Rosalie flipped the catalogue over so Charlie could see the picture. He snickered, promptly forgetting the evening of torture that lay ahead. "You have…amazing taste, Rose. But I don't know how Emmett would ever squeeze himself into those pants!"
"Bella, did you…"
I nodded. "Of course. Alice gift wrapped it and placed it under your bed for later."
Edward whipped out the digital camera he had been hiding and took several quick pictures. Emmett snarled at him menacingly. "Give me that camera!"
Edward sprang off the couch and landed by the door on the opposite side of the room from Emmett. "Well, Emmett, Big Eddie's loves receiving pictures of their satisfied customers wearing their outfits. They have a page where you can post them and everything!"
"I will be a smoldering pile of ashes before I let you anywhere near a computer in this house."
"I guess you didn't think about the Internet café in town!" Edward said, snickering as he dashed outside and disappeared into the woods. Emmett flew out the door in pursuit of my husband, but he stopped abruptly and looked down at his outfit. Then he glanced at the direction in which Edward had fled. He snarled in frustration and turned around.
Finally, he stomped back into the house and sat down on the couch beside me petulantly. "Like I said before, you are a cruel woman, Bella Cullen."
I smirked. "You will think twice about messing with me though, won't you, Emmett?"
He shrugged. "I'm not exactly a think twice kind of guy, Bella."
"Maybe you should reconsider your stance. It's okay, Em. There is a bright side."
"And what is that?" he grumbled.
"I nixed Jazz's idea of filming this and putting it up on YouTube!"
Emmett groaned and buried his face in his hands. I winked at Jasper slyly. He was giving me a lesson in video editing and production later—but Emmett didn't need to know about that…yet!
Well, the video of Emmett's reaction to his new wardrobe was an Internet sensation. His video had over two million hits, before the fervor began to die down. It was all due to Jasper's superior Internet marketing skills. Big Eddie's still contacted Em occasionally, begging him to reconsider posing for their spring line. It didn't matter where we moved. They found him. It took him a while, but he finally figured it out.
Bella owned the company.
Emmett still didn't know that it wasn't real. Big Eddie's was just a front for our never-ending practical joke. Alice and Bella did have a heyday putting together that catalogue every year, though. And then there were the fliers and the website. There was a quote from 'Emmett'—ahem, I mean Rosalie—on the homepage.
The practical jokes, of course, continued. Emmett tried to force Bella into buying him a replacement wardrobe by traipsing around the house nude whenever Renesmee was asleep. In vengeance, Bella had taken a decided interest in 80's glam rock—which Em despised. She played it continuously and loud!
Charlie's eyes had popped wide and he had choked on his drink the first time Emmett came strolling downstairs naked. Finally, I gave in and bought my brother some new clothes. I had to protect the innocence of my wife's eyes, after all. Besides, I was really tired of catching a glimpse of Emmett's huge, white ass every time I glanced up.
Bella had been furious, stating that she didn't want to let him win! Rosalie had insisted that Emmett keep the clothes from Big Eddie's because she thought that he looked hot in them. And anything that got Rose hot quickly became acceptable to Em.
Needless to say, the Cullen household was a swirling miasma of immortal lust. Rosalie and Emmett were almost as bad as Bella and me. Jasper had finally thrown up his hands and taken Alice on an extended vacation.
Emmett had gone as far as to thank Bella for his wardrobe improvements, which had only ticked her off more. I had to grab her around the waist and hold her back when she let out a furious growl and tried to launch herself at Em's head. Emmett had just chuckled, ruffled her hair, and nicknamed her, Kitten. Bella had snarled and snapped her teeth at him, almost taking off his pinky finger.
Bella actually did saw halfway through the legs on his bed, but the collapse of their bed—at a most inopportune moment—didn't tame Em and Rose's ardor any. In revenge, Emmett had volunteered Bella to teach a cooking course at the local community center. She, in turn, had signed Emmett up to be a taste tester at a local chili cook-off.
Then Emmett, who knew how much Bella despised shopping, had helped Alice trick Bella into an extended shopping trip to Paris. After she got back, Bella had arranged for Emmett to be the keynote speaker at the Save Alaska's Bears Conference. Emmett had, of course, brought the attendees to tears with his impassioned speech about his love of Grizzly Bears, or Brown Bears as they were known here.
There was also the time that Bella had challenged Emmett to a drinking contest. He had readily agreed, thinking she meant quenching their thirst in the vampire way. Bella had blindfolded him and led him into a bar where she loudly proclaimed, "This is my brother Emmett and he said that he can drink any one of you pathetic losers under the table!" And he had to prove it, because neither Emmett nor Bella would back down from a challenge.
So, Emmett took Bella on a tour of the local Salmon processing plant and kept starting conversations with people so she would have breathe in order to speak. There was nothing quite like rancid fish and vampire senses. Bella swears, to this day, that her eyes actually watered from the stench!
It had taken Bella a week to wash off the odor of the plant. Emmett, of course, refused to bathe for a month, because he loved the way that Bella gagged every time he came near her. Finally, Carlisle and I had ambushed Emmett and shoved him into Connell Lake when we were out hunting, because he was stinking up the house.
This was the way our lives proceeded for the next three years, until Bella's coup de grâce. In a last ditch effort she had donated Emmett's beloved jeep to a charity auction, and recruited me to engage in a bidding war with him when he tried to buy it back.
Now, normally, I wouldn't have interfered in their little war, but Emmett had pulled a Bella—as we now refer to it. In vengeance for arranging for him to be a guest DJ at the local radio station during the I Love The 80's Weekend, he had burned all of the dresses and skirts I had bought for my wife. And that had seriously inhibited my and Bella's spontaneous sexcapades. Therefore, I was no longer Switzerland and had become decidedly Team Bella!
Em knew that there was no way he could win against the both of us. So, wisely, he called a truce and proclaimed, before the family, that Bella was the winner. It didn't stop her from slapping a bumper sticker on his newly reacquired jeep that stated that Emmett was 'Betsy's Bitch'. But he let it go and things cooled down after that.
We were in New Hampshire now, all set to start school at Dartmouth next week. Bella was really looking forward to attending college. We were living apart from the family for the first time. They were never far away, though, dropping in often—especially Alice.
We had spent the last four years attending high school with our daughter and siblings in Astoria, Oregon. This was the second time that Bella had graduated. Charlie and Renee—who had figured it out, much to our surprise—were in attendance to cheer us on. We made regular visits to Forks and Florida to visit Bella's parents. They guarded our secret well, knowing that all of our lives were at stake.
Charlie stayed with us for two weeks after our graduation and then took Renesmee back to Forks with him to spend the summer. I had been a little apprehensive about this. It was the first time that we were separated from Ren for such a long period of time.
We had managed to survive three months without her, barely. Bella spent a lot of time going through photo albums and watching family videos. She missed our daughter dreadfully. Thankfully, Renesmee would be home soon—any minute, in fact.
Ren was eighteen years old now. She had reached maturity about four years before. She was full-grown and desperately needed a little teenage independence. That is why I had talked Bella into letting her spend the summer with Charlie. I hoped that he had kept a better eye out for Ren than he had for my wife. The thought of some boy sneaking up into Bella's old bedroom to spend the night with my daughter was just too much to handle.
Much to our relief, it appeared that Renesmee had stopped aging. Carlisle was hopeful that she had inherited our immortality. Bella and I were, as well. The other possibility was unthinkable.
I smiled as I heard a car pull to a stop in front of our large, Tudor inspired home. Bella was down the stairs and at my side in a flash. She was practically bouncing with excitement.
I grabbed her hand and restrained her as she tried to flit away to meet our daughter in the yard. "Wait, Bella."
"But, Edward, it's been three months!" We might not have seen our daughter in that long, but Bella made sure that we talked to her on the phone every day.
"Two minutes more won't kill you."
"Yes, it will. Come on." She tugged my hand and I followed her, rolling my eyes.
Bella yanked the front door open and rushed down the steps, before coming to a shocked standstill. My brow creased as I watched my beautiful daughter step out of the passenger's side of her silver Audi coupe.
Renesmee ran toward us. Her long, bronze curls were bouncing and twisting in the light breeze. She was several inches taller than her mother, but had her lithe shape. She threw her arms around us and hugged us tightly.
My eyes narrowed on the car. Whoever was driving still hadn't gotten out.
"Who did you bring with you, Ren?" I asked, trying to keep my voice level.
She glanced away hesitantly, keeping her thoughts perfectly blank. She was hiding something.
She darted away to the driver's side of the car. Renesmee turned back to glance at us, biting her lip nervously.
I watched in abject horror as the car door slowly opened. A large man, with long, dark hair stepped out of the vehicle. His face was turned away from us, but he was distinctly familiar. Renesmee reached out eagerly and clutched the man's hand in her own.
I growled. Bella elbowed me in the side, her golden eyes wide. Renesmee had never brought home a boy before.
"Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my boyfriend." He dropped her hand and slid his meaty arm around her shoulder before lifting his apprehensive gaze to meet my dark, murderous glare.
Bella gasped in shock—probably because of the stench. I just stood there frozen, glowering at the rotten, stinking, mangy mongrel that had his arm around my baby girl!
A/N: Okay, I think you all have guessed that there is a sequel coming! I am ending the story here, because it seems appropriate. That Girl was about Edward and Bella and they have their happy beginning!
But, I can't end the story yet, because there are so many unanswered questions out there, right? What about the Volturi? Will Charlie be able to keep his mortality? Is Ren in love with a werewolf? Just exactly WHO is the boyfriend in question? (Hint: It's NOT Jake!) What about Bree, is she alive? And, of course, is Bella right about Mary Black?
**Note on Hank and Mary Black. I know I left y'all hanging! It's purposeful. There are some questions about them; I'm not ready to answer yet! I realize that some of you are upset with me because I didn't let Renesmee save Mary—and it touches my heart that you all care so much about Hank and Mary! :D Sometimes, when writing you just have to go with your gut…and my gut tells me that it wasn't the time to reveal the full nature of Ren's gift! And that's all I can say about that! ;)
I hope you all will be patient and will stick with me while I write the sequel! A story that is as complicated as what is in my head cannot be written on the fly… (well, at least, I can't write it on the fly!) So, if you haven't, put me on AUTHOR ALERT, so you will be notified when I publish it!
I would once again like to thank Katmom for Betaing this story! Her advice, friendship, and ninja-editing skillz have blown me away! I have learned so much from her and will forever be in her debt! She has many, many wonderful stories out there-*cough*Guarding Edward*cough*-y'all should check them out, if you haven't! www[dot]fanfiction[dot]net/~katmom
I would also like to thank all of you who have read and reviewed this story! Your enthusiasm and encouragement have inspired me to write more! I appreciate each and every review and PM that you have sent me! It means more to me than I can say! I swear you guys have turned me into a closeted review whore! LOL! They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?
**So, if you haven't before, leave a review! And if you have, THANKS! Okay, you know what to do! Click the green button and tell me what you think! :)