AN: Another contest pushed me to write something that's been in my head for the past six months. I'm not a huge fan of Nessie so I fought this idea for ever. I hope everyone enjoys it. It didn't win iFic's A Canon Christmas, but I love it anyway. I hope you guys will too.
Birdee, thanks so much for making me look good every time you wield your mighty red pen. You are awesome. Thanks to vjgm for being an awesome validation beta. Your speedy validations are greatly appreciated. TSO, you are a brilliant CPM. Thanks for helping work out the kinks.
My ladies at The Writer's Coffee Shop are the best friends and cheerleaders a girl could ask for. Footroza, Shae, TO82, and TSO thanks for prereading everything.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns any Twilight characters that may appear in this story. The remainder is my original work. Copyright 2009 by Jennmc. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without my express written authorization.
Growing up I never gave much thought to being a mother. I was always more of an adult than my mother ever was. Once I met Edward there was no doubt in my mind that having him by my side for eternity was more important that any child I could have with another man. I didn't want any child that wasn't an equal part of me and Edward. Finding out I was pregnant was the happiest and scariest moment of my life. I was overjoyed that Edward and I had created a life together, but at the same time I was terrified of what exactly was growing inside of me. The one thing I knew for certain was that I loved the little nudger in my body more than my own life. I would do anything to keep him or her safe and happy.
I finished arranging the string of lights on our Christmas tree and sighed happily. I always felt so much joy when I thought about Nessie and Edward and how lucky I was to have forever with my husband and my beautiful daughter. The smile on my face grew wider when I picked up an ornament carved out of wood. It was a wolf baying at the moon. Jake gave it to Nessie for her first Christmas. It was a larger version of the wolf that dangled from the bracelet he gave me for graduation.
Jake was a part of our family too. No matter how things turned out between him and Nessie, he would always be there for her. Nessie was more stubborn than her father and I put together. She told us constantly that she loved Jake, but she wasn't in love with him, at least not yet. She was attending Forks High as a junior this year and had discovered there were guys other than Jake available to her. It drove him crazy with jealousy. Edward spent the entire month of September trying to calm Jake and remind him that it wasn't a foregone conclusion that he and Nessie were to be together.
Nessie went out on a few dates. I couldn't tell you if Edward or Jake was more irritable during her dates. She seemed to be more frustrated after each date. The last date she went on was two weeks ago with some kid named Evan. He was a nice boy, but I just knew it wouldn't work out with them. My thoughts were confirmed when she came stomping in the main house after her date. She plopped down on the couch and let out a frustrated sigh.
"Nessie, honey, did your date not go well with Evan?"
"No," she pouted.
"Want to tell me about it?"
"Why do boys insist on trying to put their hands all over you? I only wanted to watch the movie, not get assaulted by some hormone fueled boy."
I wasn't worried about where Evan tried to put his hands. Nessie would get irritated if a boy tried to hold her hand. "What exactly did he do, baby?"
"He kept trying to hold my hand or put his arm around me at the movie. I just wanted to enjoy the movie, not have him hanging all over me. The worst part was when he leaned in to try and kiss me goodnight. Mom, how did you ever put up with boys?"
I couldn't help but laugh at my daughter's innocence. She may have looked like a 17 year old, but she was still only seven chronologically. "Dear, I never dated anyone before your father, so I never had to put up with boys pawing me. I can tell you that when you are with the right boy, you will relish every touch from him."
"I just don't get it. I can't stop thinking about Jake when I'm with another boy. I always compare everything they do to Jake. Mom, will my feelings ever get deeper for him?"
I pulled her into my arms and stroked her hair. "Baby, I don't know what to tell you. Jake tends to grow on you. I think all of your dates are actually helping you and Jake. It's showing you how you really feel about him. I've noticed the more dates you go on, the more you hang out with Jake. Just be patient. I think you will wake up one day and everything will just fall into place with Jake."
Nessie nodded her head and gave me a squeeze. "Thanks, Mom. Did Grandma Esme get anymore ice cream? I could really use a therapy session with Ben and Jerry."
A velvety voice brought me out of my memories. "What has put the lovely smile on your face, love?"
"I was just thinking of our daughter."
Edward smiled. "What were you thinking about?"
"I was thinking about how she's struggling right now trying to figure out her feelings for Jake."
Edward nodded his head. "She really is confused. She's only seven. She shouldn't have to worry about love and forever."
"I know. I was equipped to handle that decision at seventeen. I don't know what I would've done if I had to make that decision when I was seven."
Edward ran his hands through his hair and let out a deep breath. "That is the real problem right now. Nessie may look like a seventeen-year- old girl, but she is still only seven. She wasn't worried about Jake and boyfriends until she started school. All of the boys there are hormone-driven teenagers that only see Nessie as this gorgeous teenager. I think this new attention from her human classmates is confusing her about what she should be feeling for Jake."
Edward and I finished decorating the Christmas tree as I thought more about Nessie's love life. I was terrified at the thought of her falling in love with a human. I finally understood all of the thoughts and feelings Edward struggled with while I was human. Nessie never had to worry about Jake knowing our secrets. His life was intertwined completely with ours. She wouldn't have to worry about us changing Jake to be with him forever, either. Life would be so much easier if Nessie's heart would mature as fast as her body. Hopefully, this dating phase she was going through wouldn't last long and we wouldn't have to worry about any of this.
Nessie threw open the door a few minutes after Edward and I had finished decorating the house for Christmas. She flopped onto the couch and let out a dreamy sigh.
"Welcome home, baby," I said as I handed her a few cookies.
Edward sat next to Nessie and asked, "What has you in such a good mood?"
"I might finally be in love." Edward's already pale face lost all color.
"Did you finally realize how much you love Jake, sweetie?" I asked.
"No. Grandma Esme and Grandpa Carlisle have a few visitors, and I think I'm in love with one of them," she said dreamily.
I didn't know Carlisle and Esme had visitors. I wracked my brain trying to think who could be here that Nessie didn't already know. "Sweetheart, who's visiting?"
"Nahuel and Huilen." It had been almost six years since we had seen them.
Edward cleared his throat. "Did you speak with them?"
"No, Daddy. I just saw them, but that was enough. I just know he's the one." I heard a low growl coming from Edward.
I placed my hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him. "Why don't we go to the main house and say our hellos." Edward nodded, and we left our cottage hand-in-hand as a family.
We could hear our family's happy voices and laughter as we approached the house. I cringed when I heard Jake's low growl. I heard the door slam, and he appeared in our path a few seconds later.
"Good evening, Jacob," Edward said, nodding his head.
"I don't know what's so good about it," Jake sneered.
"Hey, Jake." Nessie skipped up to him and threw her arms around him. Jake cracked a little smile and returned her hug. "What's got you so grumpy?"
"Our good friends Nahuel and Huilen are visiting," he said through clenched teeth. Jake wasn't too happy with Nahuel the last time he was here. He felt like Nahuel was looking at Nessie like she was a prize to be won six years ago.
"Nessie told us they were here. We were on our way to the house to greet them. Were you leaving for the evening?" Edward looked at Jake, and I could tell they were having a silent conversation.
"You know that's rude, Daddy," Nessie huffed.
Edward just smirked at Nessie and started walking toward the main house. "Come on, Jake. I want to talk with Nahuel." Jake fell in step next to Edward and they disappeared up the path.
"Mom, we better get there before Daddy and Jake can embarrass me." Nessie grabbed my hand and started running toward the house. We ran into the house and couldn't find Edward, Jake, or Nahuel anywhere.
"You've grown into such a beautiful woman, child." I cringed when I heard Huilen call Nessie a woman. My baby was only seven and in no way ready to be a woman.
"Thanks," Nessie said beaming.
"What brings you to Forks?" I didn't need to ask. I knew they were here for Nessie. For some reason, the thought of Nessie being in a relationship with Nahuel really upset me. Maybe it was because he and Huilen both looked at my daughter like she was a woman. Nessie was in no way ready for all of this.
"Nahuel and I were curious to see how Renesmee has matured."
That confirmed my suspicions. It was time for momma bear to come out of hibernation. "Nessie has reached her full physical maturity, but she continues to grow mentally. There is still so much she doesn't fully understand."
"Mom, you are embarrassing me," Nessie scoffed.
Edward, Jake, and Nahuel walked back into the house before I could respond to Nessie. Jake sat next to Nessie and got as close as he could without actually sitting on her lap. Nahuel took the seat next to Huilen and refused to meet Jake's or Edward's eyes. I was dying to know what exactly they talked about.
"Hello, Nahuel," Nessie said softly.
"Hello," he responded, refusing to make eye contact with her.
Nessie got out of her seat and pulled Nahuel to his feet. "Let's take a walk and catch up. A lot's happened in six years." She dragged him out of the door, not giving Nahuel a chance to refuse. Jake looked mad and Edward looked shocked.
"What did you two say to him?" Esme gave them both a disapproving look.
"We just made sure that he understood that even though Nessie may be physically fully matured, she was in no way mature," Edward said proudly.
I laughed. "What are you leaving out, dear?"
Edward looked ashamed. "We may have threatened to rip him to pieces if he tried to tell her that they belonged together because they were the same."
Esme shook her head. "Edward, dear, I understand your concern, but could you please give your child a little credit. She goes on dates with human boys and doesn't let them influence her thoughts. I'm sure she will be the same with Nahuel."
"I know you are right, Esme, but I don't like the way he looks at her."
Huilen looked offended. "He looks at her with nothing but respect and admiration."
"Hardly," Jake scoffed. "He looks at her like she is a steak and he is a starving man ready to devour her." Edward nodded his head in agreement.
"You need to look at this from his perspective. His sisters and I have been the only females in his life for over 150 years. He's just excited to find a female that he's not related to that he could have as a mate."
Both Edward and Jake growled at the word "mate."
"I apologize for my son and Jake's rude behavior, Huilen," Esme said, embarrassed.
"Don't apologize for me, Esme. I'm not sorry. I want Nessie to be happy, but she is too young to be thinking about a mate. She's only seven!" Jake was pacing and yelling by the time he finished talking.
Alice appeared in the living room and had a seat next to Huilen. "It's so good to see you and Nahuel again."
"It's always good to see you, Alice," Huilen smiled.
"I think everyone is forgetting something very important. Nessie isn't Nahuel's only choice for a companion. He can be with a vampire too." I raised my eyebrow at Alice. She had a smug look like she had had a vision.
"Alice makes a very good point. I think Nahuel doesn't need to limit himself to considering just one person. There is an entire world of female vampires out there. He could find his happiness with one of them." Esme gave Alice a nod of approval.
Nessie and Nahuel walked back in the room. He looked devastated while she looked frustrated. Nahuel returned to his seat next to Huilen. Nessie sat on the floor in front of Jake and leaned back against the couch between his legs. He relaxed and started rubbing her shoulders. I couldn't help but smile at the sight. They fit together so perfectly.
We only spent a few hours at the main house before Nessie started yawning. We said our goodbyes and walked back to our cottage with our daughter. I was anxious to get her away from everyone so I could find out what happened between her and Nahuel.
"Don't ask, Mom. I don't want to talk about it," she said, defeated.
"Baby, you need to talk about it."
She dropped her head and sighed. "Can I just show you when we get home?"
"Of course you can, baby."
I pulled her close to my side and tried to comfort her on the walk home. It broke my heart to see her so sad. I looked at Edward and was surprised to not see a smug look on his face. I guess seeing his daughter hurting was enough to keep his gloating at bay.
Renesmee and I settled on the couch while Edward turned on the Christmas tree lights. "Thanks, Daddy."
"Anything for my princess. Now can you tell us what happened between you and Nahuel?"
Nessie shook her head and hesitantly grabbed my hand. She was going to show us. Edward started to gently rub her back while she replayed the whole scene in her head for us.
We saw Nessie and Nahuel sitting on a boulder beside the river behind the house. She looked nervous, and he looked like he was ready to pounce on her. I could hear Edward's jaw clenching when he noticed. She was telling him all about her classes in school when Nahuel grabbed her hand. Nessie's nose wrinkled like she smelled something bad. She obviously didn't like the way her hand felt in his, but she didn't pull away from him.
Nahuel didn't attempt to interrupt her conversation. He just gazed longingly at her, mesmerized by the movement of her lips. Nessie was telling him about one of the boys pulling the fire alarm when he leaned closer and tried to kiss her. She slapped his face and jumped back before his lips could make contact with her. Nahuel was in complete shock, and Nessie was on the verge of tears. She accepted his apology, and they made their way back to the main house.
I pulled my daughter into a tight embrace and rubbed her back. "I'm so sorry, baby. I know you wanted there to be something special between you and Nahuel."
"Mom, all I could think about when Nahuel touched me was Jake. I just don't understand," she sniffed.
I felt so helpless. I looked to Edward for help. "Renesmee, you are only seven, baby. You don't have to grow up so fast. Don't be in such a rush to find a romantic relationship. You have all the time in the world to decide who you want to love."
"Daddy, I know you don't like the thought of me growing up, but I'm afraid to tell you that it has already happened. I may only be seven, but my body isn't. I look at the boys at school and just see another person. I look at Jake, and I don't feel complete unless he is right beside me holding my hand. I got excited when I saw Nahuel because I felt a flutter in my stomach. Jake is the only other person who has ever made my stomach flutter."
I pulled back and lifted Nessie's chin to look her in the eyes. "Baby, is it so bad to think about loving Jake in that way?"
"No. I just don't want to settle for him because it's what everyone expects." There was the stubborn girl I loved so much. "I've got an idea," I told her. "Quit thinking about what is expected. Open your heart to him completely and see where it takes you. Go out on a date with Jake and see what happens. You'll never know unless you try."
"I think your mother is right, princess. Just give Jake a chance like you've given all the boys you've dated. I think your Jake deserves that." Edward kissed the end of her nose.
Nessie nodded her head. "I think you're both right. I'll give my Jake a fair chance."
The next few weeks Jake and Nessie were inseparable. She would whine when it was time for him to leave for the night. Of course Jake was always at our door as the sun was rising the next morning. I expected to see him curled up on our doorstep if I walked out in the middle of the night.
It was a week before Christmas and I still hadn't decided on a special gift for Nessie. Every year I liked to give her something with a special meaning, like the locket I got her for her first Christmas. One year I found a signed first edition of Wuthering Heights. I remembered explaining the significance of the book to both Edward and me. She treasured that book. One year I had Esme paint a beautiful picture of Nessie and Jake in wolf form lying by the river. Nessie was laying her head on Jake's side and running her hand through the fur at his neck. Esme even captured the smile in Jake's eyes.
This year I was at a complete loss for something special. I let out a frustrated sigh as Edward walked in the door.
"What's wrong, love?"
"I can't figure out a special gift for Nessie this year."
"I think you should get her something to represent how special Jake is to her." Thinking about Jake, I absently started rubbing the wolf charm on my bracelet. Edward looked at my hand and quirked his eyebrow at me. "I think you just found your special gift this year." I followed his eyes to see that he was looking at my bracelet. My face lit up with an excited smile. I threw my arms around his neck. "You are a genius. Thank you so much, Edward."
I carefully removed the bracelet from my wrist and placed it on the counter. I searched through my closet and found the small multi-colored bag Jake had the bracelet wrapped in. I went back to the kitchen and started to remove the diamond heart from Edward from the bracelet.
"Bella, leave it. I would like for her to have a piece of my heart with her always." My eyes glazed over with tears that would never fall and nodded my head. I carefully placed the bracelet in the bag and tied it closed. I didn't want the bracelet to get lost in mountain of gifts under the tree, so I hung the bag on the tree like an ornament. It fit quite nicely on the tree. I couldn't wait to give the bracelet to Nessie on Christmas morning.
Jake spent Christmas Eve with us. I cooked a big turkey dinner for him and Nessie. She picked at her food while Jake inhaled everything in sight. Nessie was developing more of a taste for blood and was eating less human food. It made me sad to realize that she truly was growing up.
After dinner we settled into the living room and watched It's a Wonderful Life. It warmed my cold heart to see Nessie snuggle into Jake's side. He put his arm around her and held her tight. It just felt so right seeing them together. These past few weeks had definitely brought the two of them closer together.
Nessie walked outside with Jake to tell him goodnight when the movie was over. I was in the kitchen finishing cleaning up when she walked back into the cottage in a daze.
"Ness, honey, are you alright?" She nodded her head.
"You want to tell me what happened outside?"
She stared into space a few more moments and then shocked me with the words that came out of her mouth. "I love Jake, Mom."
I dropped my dish towel, ran over to Nessie, and pulled her into a tight hug. "Sweetie, that's wonderful. So, what happened to make you realize this?"
"He kissed me," she said breathily. "It was amazing. My lips tingled and I could feel it shoot down my body all the way to my toes. I didn't want to let him go."
"Nessie, that is wonderful. It sounds just like I felt the first time your father kissed me."
"Eww. What a way to ruin my moment, Mom."
Nessie skipped to her room, still high on the endorphins from her first kiss. I was able to let out a sigh of relief. Nessie finally realized her love for Jake. I couldn't wait until the morning when I could give her my special gift.
I was in the kitchen making French toast and bacon when Nessie stumbled out of her room. She sunk into a chair and laid her head on the table. She was definitely not a morning person. I placed a cup of hot chocolate in front of her. She inhaled deeply and slowly raised her head.
"Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad," she slurred. She sipped her hot chocolate and smiled.
"Merry Christmas, princess." Edward kissed the top of her head and settled onto the couch with a book.
By the time I had her breakfast ready, Nessie was fully awake and rushed through eating. She was eager to get to the gifts. She had just finished loading her dishes in the dishwasher when there was a knock on the door. I gave Edward a curious look when I smelled Jake. We hadn't planned on him being here for Christmas morning. Nessie ran to the door like she had been expecting him. She threw open the door and jumped into his arms.
"Jake!" she squealed.
"Merry Christmas, Nessie," he breathed.
I looked at Edward expecting to see irritation but was surprised to see pride. I wasn't sure if he was proud of Nessie for finally realizing her heart's desire, or if he was proud of Jake for being the man she needed him to be.
"Merry Christmas, Jake," I said before I placed a kiss on his cheek.
"Merry Christmas, Bella, Edward. So what wonderful things you have for me to eat?"
I punched him in the shoulder. "You weren't expected for breakfast, so I didn't make you anything. I bet you could find some cereal in the cabinet."
Jake rolled his eyes. "I'm disappointed in you, Bells. I thought you knew by now to always make extra for me."
"I just thought you might want to spend Christmas morning with your family."
"I did. We were up at five this morning opening gifts. Dad is at Paul's with Rachel right now. I was not about to be subjected to Paul on Christmas. That would just ruin my holiday."
We spent the next hour opening the mountain of gifts. They ranged from books, music, movies, and clothes. Nessie got excited when she opened a gift from her father that turned out to be keys to a new car and her driver's license that I had picked up from Mr. Jenks the week before.
I pulled the last present from under the tree and handed it to Edward. Nessie's head dropped in disappointment. I knew she realized that I hadn't given her a special gift yet. Before I could grab Nessie's gift from the tree, Jake spotted it.
"Bells, why is this bag hanging on your tree like an ornament?" Jake asked, pointing to Nessie's gift.
"Jake, could you please hand that to Ness?" Jake gave me a questioning look, then shrugged his shoulders and handed the small bag to Nessie.
"Mom, what is this?"
"Just open it."
Nessie gently pulled the strings loose and opened the bag. She turned the bag over into her hand, and my bracelet fell into her palm. Jake had a confused look on his face, and Nessie had tears in her eyes.
"Mom, I can't accept your bracelet. You've never taken it off. Why would you give it to me?" Realization dawned on Jake's face and he smiled.
"Did I ever tell you about this bracelet, sweetie?" Nessie shook her head no. "Well, Jake gave me the bracelet with the wolf charm on it for graduation. He carved the wolf. He said it took him a really long time. Jake wanted to make sure I had something to remember him by."
Nessie's smile beamed at me. "If Jake gave you the bracelet with the wolf, then where did the heart come from?"
"Your father. He was jealous that I easily accepted a gift from Jake when I threw a fit any time he tried to give me a gift. I explained to him that Jake hadn't spent money on me and that was why I didn't complain. He asked if he could get me something if he didn't spend any money on it. I agreed and he presented me with this heart. It belonged to his mother. This bracelet is a representation of my best friend and my soul mate. I treasured it because it reminded me of them. I give it to you now because they are both the most important men in your life, the man you love and your father."
"Mom, this is the best gift you've ever given me. Thank you so much."
"You're welcome, sweetheart." I gave her a quick hug and watched her grab Jake's hand and drag him outside for a walk.
I couldn't believe my baby girl had finally grown up. I smiled as I realized that she received the greatest gift of all this Christmas, love.