Wow, it's already the end of December? How did time fly by so fast? I'm sorry about being this slow with updating, again. November really was impossible for me, and then December came and the holidays and I was away all last week... So in the end, I had no extra time on my hands. I thought I'd be done with this story by the end of the year, but it looks like I'm not going to make it. I only have 1-2 more chapters left, though, so it shouldn't take all of next year ;)
Anyway, Happy New Year!! Let the new decade bring lots of happiness to you :)
Enjoy chapter 11!
"Don't you think it's unfair?" Edward surprised me by asking. Neither of us had said a word for the last two hours, and I had become accustomed to the silence.
I didn't answer, mostly because I didn't know what exactly he thought was unfair. Edward waited a few seconds, seemingly not expecting an answer, and then continued broodingly.
"For over a century, I have nothing at all. And then everything in the world is given to me at once, and my life is turned upside-down. And then, when I'm finally coming to terms with it, it's all taken away from me again."
I nodded. "It's like winning a fortune in the lottery and then being told that it's only a loan."
"Exactly." Edward sighed and tightened his hold around my waist. We were sitting on the living room couch and gazing outside, subtly monitoring every one of both Sam's and Seth's movements without being so rude as to stare at them the entire time. Two hours had come and passed, and still no change.
And to top it all, I kept feeling utterly miserable. I'd ruined a big part of our chances by staying silent about the tickets I'd bought for Renesmee and Jacob. In the rush of the battle and the events following it, I'd unconsciously suppressed any reminder of the preparations I'd made in case Renesmee had to leave. It wasn't until I was forced to sit still that the thought had occurred to me.
It was a little after Sam had told us of his plan. For the first time in days, I'd sat down, looked out of the window, and reeled in all my thoughts. That's when, to my horror, I realized what I'd done.
It hadn't taken long to explain things to everyone. I told them everything—about the note Alice had left me, about Mr. Jenks, about the fake IDs, everything. And it had taken them even less time to go absolutely wild.
Rosalie had instantly called the airline and nearly trashed the phone when the assistant, worried about privacy issues, refused to give her any information. Finally, once she'd passed the phone to Carlisle and a considerable sum of money had been brought up, the manager admitted that no one by the name of Wolf had boarded their plain in the past few weeks. We'd carried on by phoning other airlines and even bus companies, but nobody could tell us anything useful. As far as we knew, Jacob and Renesmee had never left the country by public transport. This meant that he'd either decided not to use the plane tickets, or that he'd never made it there.
And once that realization had hit us, I'd been the one they were screaming at. Rosalie especially had found some very nasty words to throw at me, along with some kitchen chairs. What's worse, I'd even let her bash me because I knew I deserved it. If it wasn't for Edward and Emmett, I probably would have ended up a pile of ashes.
I'd apologized a thousand times, and still Rosalie was fuming. In the end, she had stormed out, swearing to "find Renesmee and not come back here ever again". I'd accepted that she was permanently mad at me now. Admittedly, it made me feel a tiny bit better to know that at least someone was showing the right type of emotion towards me. Edward didn't seem to blame me at all.
Even now he was embracing me as if there was nothing wrong with it. His chin rested on my shoulder and I could feel his breath tickle my throat. Only his hand was moving as he stroked my waistline; otherwise he was completely immobile. His eyes were focused of the trees outside, but they were far-away—I knew he was actually paying much more attention to Sam's and Seth's thoughts.
To be honest, I didn't believe Jacob was coming back anymore. He was plenty far enough now to feel the call, so he would have turned around all ready if he had decided to listen to it. But for the sake of both my and Edward's sanity, I continued to pretend that I still hoped.
Another unchanging five minutes passed, and Carlisle entered the room. It's worth mentioning that Edward didn't react to his entrance in any way. He neither tensed nor shifted, and had I not known better I would have thought that he hadn't even noticed.
"I just called airport security. The guard who was in charge last week is on holiday and no once knows how to reach him. I'm afraid it's another dead-end," he told us regretfully. As no one else answered, I nodded and murmured a thank you. It was nothing less than expected.
"I could try to contact the airport in Rio, but unfortunately, there isn't much more I can do," Carlisle continued apologetically.
I nodded again. "It's okay. You've done all you could. Thank you."
Carlisle sat down on a chair at the other end of the room, looking like he wished there was something he still could do. Sam eyed him curiously and—unless my eyes were playing tricks on me—with a substantial bit of respect. Seth hugged himself and frowned, mumbling another "I'm sorry" under his breath.
"Is there anything I can get you, Bella?" Carlisle finally asked, cocking his head to the side as he assessed me. I shook my head, recoiling from the mere thought of asking for even more from my adoptive father.
"And you, Edward?" he asked cautiously after a second of hesitation. His eyes were dark with apprehension.
At first Edward didn't answer. He just straightened his back and leaned away from me a little, although he never let go of my waist. His eyes never left the window.
I didn't even realize I was holding my breath until he finally replied, "No, Carlisle. Thank you." His tone was just a little strained, but otherwise it sounded pretty normal. Not believing it true, I looked over my shoulder. Edward's eyes swept over mine quickly, and they looked reasonably calm. His expression wasn't all that scary—just a little anger was mixed in it all, but most of it was sadness and, above all, fatigue.
Carlisle leaned back in his chair, unsmiling but still looking satisfied. "Very well," was the last thing he said before he, too, averted his gaze to the trees outside. Esme, who had been watching the progress with great fear in her eyes from the corner of the room, visibly relaxed.
Edward settled back into his position behind my back. I rested myself against him, inertly beaming. At least some things were going to get better even if all of them wouldn't.
But the restful peace didn't last for long. Just after a few seconds, Edward perked up again and whispered, "What?"
My eyes shot wide open. I, like everyone, immediately turned to look at Seth and Sam, thinking that something in their minds had triggered the change. It took little more than a second for us to realize that they were actually looking as baffled as we were.
"I can't believe it!" Edward's next jubilant exclamation only served to deepen my confusion, although something inside me did bestir.
Just as I was about to wring him out of what he knew, Edward bounced up and dashed for the door, not even bothering to glance back at me. I hung back a few moments, forlorn, until I stood up and walked to the open door. I could just and just distinguish Edward veering past the bend in the road.
"What's going on?" I asked aloud, hoping that someone knew more than I did. It was obvious they didn't, though, for everyone was soon crowding near the door as I was, searching the frontyard for something suspicious.
Frustrated, I turned my gaze back to the corner behind which Edward had disappeared. For a second I considered running after him, but decided against it because I couldn't bear to leave the wolves for even a second in case something new happened. A vain twinge of hope escaped past my careful barriers, but I crushed it before my mind had time to register it. I had to stay neutral, I told myself. Or else I would perish.
But the little bit of hope refused to leave my mind. This hope was different than the one I'd felt in the woods. It wasn't overwhelming, which made me convinced that it wasn't all that bad. It wasn't the type of hope that explodes like a firework and dies just as fast. This hope was steadily growing, patient, and yet expectant…
I wasn't the only one feeling it. Carlisle had aroused and was standing by my side, also gazing out towards the road—I could feel the new expectation roll out from him in waves. Seth was up on his feet and striding back and forth in the vast living room. Even Sam's eyes were watchful as we waited.
And true enough, soon a figure did appear back on the road. But as I watched it approach, I saw that it wasn't only one—three figures followed the first one, racing towards the house at great speed. The first one was Edward, who was waving about frantically with one arm while holding something in the other.
I gasped. Suddenly, there was a huge mood shift in the room. Everyone had the same expression on their face: an incredulous, surprised one. But I was sure none of their expressions quite matched mine. If my face mirrored anything that I was feeling, it should have cracked from the strain already.
After the first milliseconds of shock, I lunged towards Edward and Renesmee, who was looking like a goddess in my husband's arms. Her face was one wide, dazzling smile, her arms were outstretched, and she was crying out in joy. My feet could not carry me fast enough, and neither could my heart. Even though my heart was dead, I could feel something hot rushing through my veins. It was like adrenaline, only ten thousand times stronger.
I met Edward halfway to the house. Without pausing to look at him, I grabbed the little bundle from his arms and swung her around, and then finally pressed her against my chest. Warmth entered my body, and for the first time I started worrying about how cold I was in comparison to my daughter. She was like a star, radiating heat for the whole world to see. I was like a black hole, sucking the light in…
But I was far too selfish to care about how she fed me with her energy. It didn't seem to bother Renesmee, though, for she was crying too—drops of steaming saltwater trickled down her cheeks, and she kept ranting my name: "Mama, mama, mama…"
I could take my eyes off her face. Almost automatically, my eyes searched her tiny body for any signs of injury. A weight fell of my chest when I found not a single scratch on her. Someone enclosed us from the front—Edward, who was equally scanning her body.
Right then I was reminded of something I never thought I'd remember from my human years. A trivial memory, a few seconds of childlike fun flashed through my head. It was the memory of a ten-year-old me on my first and only real vacation to a spa resort in California. I'd never been in a spa before, and I'd been so excited when I saw the huge whirlpool. I'd jumped in, and the heat had been incredible. It had felt so good…
"Told you I'd take care of her!" a deep voice shouted from behind us. I turned around, and saw a chunk of russet skin and brown eyes nearing us—Jacob, smiling like he'd never smiled before. His smile was so bright that I couldn't help but catch it. I could have sworn my face muscles creaked a little when I smiled my first real smile for two weeks.
"Jacob," I sighed, welcoming him into our embrace. "I've never been so happy to see you before."
He winked and gestured to his side. "Well, you're lucky to see me at all. I was about to run off for good when these two started charging at me!"
I looked to the side—and couldn't believe my eyes. Alice and Jasper were both beaming at me, politely holding back from our intimate family moment. On Alice's face the smile looked natural—normal, even—but on Jasper it look slightly out of place, probably because he didn't smile all that often. I grinned back at them, all the while conscious of the little star I was holding between my arms.
"Surprised to see us?" Alice asked playfully.
Shaking my head, I gave up trying to find any reason in anything. "I don't understand anything," I told her, "but to be honest, I couldn't care less right now!"
We all burst out laughing, not because what I said was particularly funny, but because the relief felt so good.
Soon the others were there too, and Alice and Jasper were dragged into dozens of hugs and kisses. I let them go, knowing that it would all sort out later. After all, I had all eternity to talk things over with them. But as for my little child in my hands, I knew I didn't have all that long. Even if Renesmee would live forever like me, she wouldn't belong to me forever. One day she wouldn't need her mother anymore. One day she would have thousands of other priorities, and I would fade into the background like all mothers do. But for now, she needed me. I knew I didn't have long to enjoy the motherly advantages, especially considering the rate she was growing.
"Don't grow old," I whispered into her ear when no one was listening. "It's just way too dull to be an adult."
Only she and Edward heard me, and together we laughed all the worries away.
It's not quite over yet, so stay tuned! And if you have a minute to spare, please leave me a review... :)