Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Stephenie Meyer created it all.
A/N: This outtake is dedicated to Starla1979 who requested this (throat clearing) a couple of months ago.
This outtake covers the talk between Bella and Nessie, as Nessie starts to question love. It leads to the incident on Isle Esme.
"Mama, do you think that you and I could go out together, just the two of us?"
She turned to smile at me from where she was sitting. She and Daddywere entangled on the couch, Mama reading a book and Daddy a textbook. Unless he was playing piano, it was always amazing to me that they seemed to find a way to be touching, even if it was just the bare tips of their fingers. I could only suspect that after all the stories I'd heard of how devastating their separation was, that they were making up for lost time. Nana had just smiled when I spoke with her regarding it, telling me that it would probably take decades before the public intensity wore off for them. She'd chuckled, adding that the passion of their private moments would never cease. Such was one of the benefits of the bonds of my kind.
She gave him a long, slow kiss, and finally, I had to clear my throat to return her attention to me. "Uh, um…in the room, guys."
She sheepishly grinned over to me and softly patted the side of his face, before extricating herself from his arms.
"We aren't going shopping, are we?" she asked in an aggrieved tone.
My mom was internally damaged in some way. What red-blooded American teenager—I had to stop at that analogy…well, it worked for me—didn't like shopping, I continued with the thought. Alice had finally given up, conceding to just buying clothing for her. I satisfied Alice's need for a shopping companion with great enthusiasm. Rose had, as well…until the incident with Henry and Anna. Now she was as unlikely to go anywhere as Mama. Which was one of the things I wanted to speak about …
"Well, I thought we would at least start at the mall, but I was thinking more of a trip to a park together, a hunting trip…maybe."
This suggestion engendered a considerable bit more enthusiasm on her part. I held up the backpack I'd already filled full of clothing for us to change into, just in case.
"Take the Range Rover, so that you can go wherever you desire," my dad said.
I loved the sound of his voice, and the fact that he used words that seemed so out of date at times. "So that you can go wherever you desire," instead of "So that you can go four wheeling," or "So that you can get on the back roads."
He was adorable. "Smoking hot sex toy" was the term I usually heard when my "older brother" went places with me. I was glad I couldn't see their thoughts, because he'd twitched enough for the two of us. What would it feel like to protect my own father's honor? I wondered sometimes. His eyes never strayed from my mother, so it wasn't like I had to worry about anyone ever getting to take advantage of him, although from the looks on the girls' faces, many would like to try. I snorted internally, and he rolled his eyes, hearing my thoughts.
She flitted into their bedroom to grab her keys, and after another long kiss that I had to interrupt, we started through the door to the garage.
"Daddy, just think of this as uninterrupted studying time. I'm sure there is something in those books you don't already know by heart, and now you'll have the time to go over it without distractions."
His crestfallen expression was my answer. "But Ness, I like the distractions," he said with that lopsided smile of his.
My mom was built of strong stuff. Anyone else would have caved under the promise of that smile. She just chuckled and very quickly placed a soft kiss to his lips, before dancing out of the way of his hands. I received a peck to the forehead and an engulfing hug.
"Have fun," he said, but what really came through was, Come home soon.
He was leaning against the door jam, his arms crossed, watching us as we pulled out of the garage.
"Please tell me we aren't really going shopping," she said in a hopeful voice as we pulled onto the street.
"Yup," I replied, giggling.
I enjoyed her discomfort for just a few moments before I caved.
"Mr. Nudelman called."
That was all that needed to be said. Her face lit up like Esme's Christmas tree.
"Much, much better," she giggled infectiously.
She turned the Sirius radio up loud so that we could bellow out one of our favorite songs. As she began to maneuver expertly through traffic toward the only shopping she would ever enjoy, I ruminated on my family.
As Henry had deduced, Poppa and Nana were the glue that held us together. Poppa's reaction the day Henry and Anna had left us was indicative of his leadership and care of us. He would sacrifice himself for any of us, at a moment's notice. Aro's threat toward us had cleanly severed any ties that previously existed between them. Poppa was going to kill Aro, I was afraid. He may attempt to find non-violent ways to solve problems, but if those weren't available, he was perfectly comfortable doing what must be done.
Nana, well, she continued to remind us that above all, we were a family. There wasn't a one of us that wasn't deeply affected by Anna and Henry's absence, but I believed that Nana felt it at another level. She'd brought the grief over from her infant son's death when she was changed. She'd felt Daddy's absence, during his rebellion that I'd heard so much about, as a loss. She'd felt it again when he left attempting to "save" Mama, and she was definitely dealing with Henry and Anna's absence the same way. But as she attempted to silently grieve, she held us together and kept us from lashing out at each other. Or repaired the damage, I thought, going back to my childish behavior at Christmas.
Uncle Jasper…if anyone made me nervous, he did. The level of training he was inflicting on everyone was beyond intense. He attempted to portray himself as a stoic individual, stating that he never desired children, and even joked neither he nor Aunt Alice wanted "those responsibilities." Henry had called "bullshit" one night as we sat under the stars, pointing out just how much time he and Aunt Alice spent with us.
"You fixed my bottle. You held my hand as I learned to run. Nessie and I have crawled into your bed as often as our parents'. You gave us consequences for our behaviors and dealt with our mistakes," he'd said.
"Help us to understand how what you've done is any different from being a parent?" I'd added.
Jasper hadn't answered us. He'd remained silent. Jasper may not "claim" us as his children, but he couldn't argue the points. Aunt Alice had laughed contagiously when she learned of our conversation. She'd grabbed us by our necks and hugged us to her tiny body.
"You're as much mine and Jazz's as you are your parents. He just doesn't want to call it." She'd grown serious then, murmuring, "He's afraid he'll fail you."
If Poppa and Nana were the glue and Uncle Jasper the warrior, Aunt Alice was the light. She flitted from house to house with a mission of keeping us above the depression. From the outside, you would assume her life was focused solely on shopping and flippant things. It was a cover. Aunt Alice struggled more than anyone. For decades, she'd approached most things with a degree of certainty. Her visions had allowed her to know, for the most part, exactly where the family was headed. It was why she'd remained calm during my mom and dad's separation. Because Mama's mind had never left the desire to be with Daddy, Alice's visions had held firm…well, except the Volterra incident.
The introduction of Henry, Jacob, the other wolves, and me into the mix had radically changed Aunt Alice's life. She never complained, though, about the sketchy nature of her visions as a result of our existence. She used what she had to entertain the family, whether it was to harass my mom about shopping—providing chuckles for the family as a whole—or by livening our holidays with special traditions. In many ways, she was our own personal fairy. I wondered if she didn't actually possess her own magic dust.
Aunt Rose and Uncle Emmett were facing their own personal hell. Until Aunt Rose's meltdown on Henry's birthday, they'd at least done it together. Henry would cry if he could see them now…circling each other like rabid dogs.
Not to my surprise, Uncle Emmett had broken first. I thought back to his favorite kid's movie. I could picture him and Henry clearly rolling in laughter at the characters. Emmett was like the onion the characters talked about…he had layers. On the surface, he provided the comic relief, but he was so much deeper. He was our protector, that much was obvious, but what made Emmett stand out was his loyalty…which is what Henry played upon when he left. He made his father promise. He knew Emmett's word was iron clad. Uncle Emmett was doing his best to worm his way back into Aunt Rosalie's good graces.
Aunt Rosalie…I wanted to cry thinking about her. I turned to look at the window so that Mama wouldn't see me getting upset. We'd cried together…a lot. Well, I'd cried, and she'd joined me, just without the tears. I missed Henry so much. Not in the same way as Aunt Rose, of course, but deeply, just the same.
I was confused, about everything, and about what his silence meant to us. To me.
My confusion was what I wanted to talk to Mama about. She was my confidante. All the parenting gurus spouted that parents couldn't be friends with their children and still successfully provide the structure needed … blah, blah, blah. I wondered what they would think of us. They'd have to get past the whole blood sucking immortal stuff first. A snort escaped my lips, and she turned to look at me in question.
"Private joke," I supplied.
She grinned and rolled her eyes at me as she turned into Mr. Nudelman's parking lot. This was our own personal version of heaven on Earth.
"Bella, Nessie…I've been looking forward to seeing you," he announced as we came through the door.
We spent hours looking through the new additions he'd acquired through several estate sales and private commissions. I would say that Daddy would blow a gasket about what we spent, but he wouldn't. He'd just smile and ask if we'd gotten everything we wanted. Mama flirted harmlessly with her "other Edward" while I carried our newest acquisition to the trunk. He was blushing profusely as he waved goodbye to us.
"You're a shameless hussy," I teased.
"I love that man," she said dramatically, taking my accusation in stride. "Have I put in a sufficient amount of time shopping?" she asked hopefully. "Because I'd really just like to skip the torture and head out hunting. Why don't we go over to the Olympic National Park? We haven't been there in awhile."
"Ooooh! Uncle Emmett will be so jealous." I knew she was teasing me with the trip to get out of shopping. My mind immediately went to the prospect of finding a bear. I'd have to have Mama take a picture with the cell phone, if I got that lucky. Hopefully, it would make Uncle Emmett smile.
I could tell that she was patiently waiting for the purpose of our trip, but I just wanted to enjoy the time with her first. I'd heard the stories about her, when she was human. I knew she'd been quiet even then. Daddy still teased that she spoke more to him when she mad about something than when she wasn't. Her answer was to always roll her eyes at him. I think they just enjoyed the intimacy when Mama would lift her shield and let him into her head. It generally culminated in Jasper snickering, Daddy's eyes turning black, and them leaving us. I'd grown used to my parents being sex addicts. Well… actually…all my family. What could you do with that? Just realize that you had a lot to live up to – and enjoy it when the time came. It would not be soon enough for me. Being good around Jake was killing me. He kept mumbling the words "Like mother, like daughter," and I seriously wanted to know what that was all about. But I wanted Mama by myself, alone in the woods, before I started that awkward conversation.
Like the trip to the bookstore, we spent the travel time to the national park just talking and laughing about random things. After finding a suitable space to park, we were soon flying through the trees, the sound of our giggling being left in our wake. I was actually thirsty, so not long into the trip, my senses picked up on the smell of deer, and I shot in that direction. Mama followed, even though I knew she would rather have found a mountain lion or two. After disposing of the bodies, we slowly began walking toward the sound of water. We finally came upon a gurgling creek amidst the green lush foliage. It seemed as good of a spot as any for me to talk with her.
She grinned softly and sat down. I lay down beside her, putting my head in her lap, gazing over at the crystal clear water sliding over the rocks. I might look like her teenage best friend, but she was still my mother, and I enjoyed the moments we spent together where she fussed over me. I relaxed when I felt her fingers begin to softly comb the tangles out of my hair.
"Renesmee, you seem sad. Is it Henry and Anna?"
I took a deep breath and realized I just needed to spit it out. "Yes…that and more. How could he just cut us off like this, if he truly loves us? I've begun to wonder if he loved us at all," I ground out, angry all of a sudden.
I felt her softly hug my body before she began talking. "Your father and I believe that he has some sort of plan. I don't doubt, and neither does Edward, that it will make sense to us one day. But if there is something I do not hesitate to believe, it is that he loves us without reservation. Your dad heard his anguish as he left. Feelings that strong just cannot be faked, Renesmee. Think back to all the things you two have done together. He didn't fake that. He couldn't. We just have to have faith."
I know she really meant the words, but it was hard to accept them. If he really wanted us to know his affections, couldn't he have found some way to contact us, to acknowledge our existence? She could tell I wasn't convinced.
"You've been raised in a household that doesn't withhold affection, where you've never had to doubt. So I imagine it would be difficult to experience that level of commitment and bonding just disappearing instantaneously."
Ah…dang it. I didn't mean to bring up what happened between her and Daddy. She felt me tense.
"Don't worry…I'm past that between your father and me. He's appropriately begged and worked for my forgiveness."
She snickered, and I couldn't help but smile. I REALLY didn't want to know…kinda like Daddy really didn't want to know about what happened between Jake and me.
"But love is love, and it shouldn't hurt. This hurts…" I thought of the grief weighing Rosalie, Emmett, and the rest of the family down.
"Whoever told you love wouldn't hurt was seriously misguided. It's messy, violent, wonderful, chaotic, fulfilling, and exhausting all in one…and generally, all on the same day."
"Was it that way for you and Jake?" There, I'd said it…gotten it out. I wanted to know. I wasn't a simpleton. I knew that she and Jacob had feelings for each other before she decided on Daddy and become a part of his world.
She didn't tense, so I took it as a good sign, but she did reach under me to lift me up. Her golden eyes caught my brown ones.
"Yes, it was." She paused, and I could see her eyes glaze over as she relived her hazy memories. I saw the moment she came back to me by the sudden clarity in her eyes.
"When your father left me, I was broken. You've heard all the stories, so I won't go through those again. But Jacob saved me, in ways that are even difficult for me to put to words. He was my best friend, but I won't minimize the memories by claiming it was just that. While we waited for the fight to start with the newborns, I realized just how much he really meant to me and my life. We shared a kiss I'll never forget."
OKAY…this was a little strange and uncomfortable. Weren't there talk shows dedicated to this kind of stuff? Meet my mom…who looks like my sister…and my sexy boyfriend who has kissed us both…enter the heartthrob…my father. Wonder what the talk show host would think about a vampire and a wolf fighting on stage. I could see Aunt Rose flashing the camera just for the hell of it…well, maybe before Henry and Anna left. A snippet of her face washed across me. Nowadays, we were just lucky to get her to take a shower…there was no life left in her.
She continued, "I was faced with a horrible decision. Either way, someone I loved was going to get hurt. I wished so much to be able to tear myself in half, giving them each what they needed…but of course, that wasn't possible. Your father is everything to me…everything. In the end, I tore my best friend's heart out. Even though I loved him, it just wasn't enough."
"Had Daddy not existed?" I left the question open ended.
"I'd probably be happily married to your wolf, living a fairly uncomplicated and thoroughly satisfying life."
"But with Daddy?"
"It is a ride, Renesmee. A thoroughly exhilarating, wonderful, chaotic ride…of course, complicated by our natures."
"The love you felt for Jake just wasn't enough, though…at the time?"
She smiled serenely at me, considering the awkwardness of it all. "Not against the force that is Edward Cullen." She stopped momentarily, before continuing. "Although Jacob tempted me on so many levels, he was just eclipsed by what I felt for your father. The kiss was the catalyst, but I knew the moment that I saw the misery in Edward's eyes, after he'd read Jacob's thoughts about our kiss, that there would never be another for me. It was like everything clicked, and I was settled. It was difficult…agonizing even…to tell Jacob. But I just KNEW it was what was right. And…" she continued, reaching out to brush the curls from away from my face, "it was exactly what was supposed to happen."
"There wouldn't have been a Renesmee, and no Jacob following Renesmee around with a level of dedication and love that is awe-inspiring. He loves you more than he ever considered feeling for me. As it should be."
I didn't doubt Jake's level of commitment. I doubted mine. How, if I said I loved Henry, could I be so angry with him? Almost hate him at this moment? It made me question my ability to love at all, at least the way my family did. I panicked for a moment. Was I capable of loving Jacob the way he deserved?
We remained quiet for a long time, lost in our individual thoughts. "I'm worried that I can be so mad at him," I finally admitted, referencing Henry. She understood.
"Renesmee, love or loving someone gives no guarantees. I must say, belonging to the family we've been blessed with, makes it seem fairly easy, though; even with Rosalie and Emmett's pain right now. What you see is ultimate dedication to each other. Being in love doesn't mean you don't get angry with someone. Again, I think we've seen that quite clearly with Rosalie and Emmett. Do you doubt that they love each other?"
"Absolutely not! If they would just open their eyes, they could see how the other is hurting. I think Uncle Emmett is trying now, but you know how stubborn Aunt Rose is. I just hope she opens her heart before she does something stupid."
"`Me too…" she murmured, fear creeping softly into her voice. After a few moments, she began again. "Being angry with Henry almost feels natural. We can't blame him for the situation, although it would be nice to have something to let us know he is okay. That Anna is okay."
She leaned back on her elbows, looking up at the sky. She was beautiful. It wasn't like I didn't know it, see it every day, but with the faint flush of the deer's blood under her skin, causing her lips to be wild red, she looked like an angel fallen to earth. She was my rock, allowing me to be who I was. I sat, crisscrossing my legs, to look down at her.
"Mama…I just get so confused sometimes. I wouldn't want to say this around Poppa and Daddy, but I feel at times like I am losing my mind. They'd pin me down under a microscope to attempt to figure out what is going on."
She giggled just like a teenager. I would bet that she was imagining them doing exactly that. "Say ah…" she snorted.
She turned to me, flashing a grin. "I know you are a genius, and pretty much a woman extraordinaire, but in all honesty, you are still just a teenager…particularly in regards to some of your feelings and emotions. At eighteen, I was attempting to convince a vampire I was in love with him, that I wanted to spend eternity with him. Then, after having my heart ripped out of my chest, I was doing my best to convince myself that I had to live. Add in a certain young man challenging me to love him, throw in the return of the love of my life, and a group of renegade newborns…yeah, I can relate to being a little confused. You are so much of a combination of your father and me. You, of course, get your sense and sensibility from me, but that volatile nature comes from your father."
I pushed one of her arms out from under her, but she didn't move. Instead, we both broke down into cleansing laughter. I ended back with my head in her lap, her gentle hands soothing me.
"Seriously, Renesmee, you aren't like other vampires…frozen in time. You are changing, evolving, so it only makes sense that you would experience uncertainty. You come by your analytical and emotional nature honestly from your father and me. I would be concerned if you didn't feel doubt. Henry will be back, I just know it; the same as I knew everything would be okay with your birth. I sensed I had to hang in there just a little more. That's what we have to do for Henry and Anna."
We stayed beside the creek for a long time as I allowed her words to sink into my brain. She'd loved both Jake and my dad, but she'd known in her heart which one was right for her. Nothing within me doubted I loved Jacob, and that I wanted to be with him for eternity. I realized a moment of awareness that Henry would be ashamed of me if he knew what I was feeling. I knew he was most likely going through hell, and here I was, surrounded by the love of our family, whining because I couldn't talk with him. I felt shame. Like Aunt Rose, I was letting Aro win, I realized—allowing his poison to infiltrate my thoughts. He would not win! We were so much stronger than him, my family and me.
As we'd rested, enjoying the peace, the world had begun to darken. We watched night steal softly over the sky, and the twinkle of the stars became vibrantly clear above us. How many times had my best friend and I lay under the stars and giggled about our family and our lives? I missed him terribly. Jacob might be the love of my life, but Henry was my partner in crime…as much a part of me as Jake. I'm sorry, Henry, I sent out to the random universe, hoping against hope that he might somehow hear me. I miss you. Please get home with Anna soon.
Henry's naked body stirred softly beside me. Watching him sleep was an indescribable treat. I'd heard Edward tease Bella about those memories once, but I now truly understood the contentment that had been evident across his face. Henry had been having a hard time sleeping the last few nights. He was having nightmares, I suspected, but cleverly avoided my attempts to speak with him about it. He'd distract me with his lips and body, and it was working quite well.
"Ness…" he murmured, and then he smiled softly as he rolled over, throwing his arm around my waist.
He seemed to settle after that, and I scooted down from where I'd leaned against the headboard to watch him, and snuggled into his chest. If he was dreaming of Nessie, he was dreaming of happiness and mischief. I threw up a petition that the peace he'd find in those memories would provide a restful night.
And finally - As always, I want to sincerely thank my Betas for this chapter:
Crmcneill - His help and significant contributions to this story have taken it from merely okay to extraordinary. Contrary to how he presents himself on his FF profile, he is an incredibly patient man. Male twilight fans are not a myth – they do exist, and I am so glad I was able to connect with him.
Another thanks to Jenny Cullen who stepped in to give a final beta review on this to help out during a busy time for Crmcneill. She is awesome. If you haven't read her stories over on Twilighted – GO NOW and do so.