A/N: Sorry for the delay people. I had to go and attend a wedding, and it was loooong. Way too much alcohol and not enough sleep. Still, good time had by all.
Thank you to my wonderful reviewers. You make my day you really do.
I've been writing another story that I will post soon. Very different but I think it's gonna be fun.
Thanks go out to my wonderful beta Traceybuie who translates my crayon scribblings into coherent chapters. You go girl.
It had been a while since I had attended one of these things. I had almost managed to forget the hormones that raged uncontrolled throughout the entire building. And they did.
I could tell that half the boys/men at this event were hoping to have sex tonight. Well, they had splashed out on tickets and flowers etc. It was all a little bit silly. I thought that most of the girls should hold out for partners with a little more kindness running through them. Maybe a few less hormones would be good. Though I knew that was more of an age issue.
I could see Alice and Bella helping the girls get ready to pose for their prom pictures. Alice was in her element; she was stunning. I smiled at my wife, admiring the dress she had chosen for the evening. Maybe I would suprise her by booking us into a hotel for the night. We sometimes did that when we were attending our own proms. She liked the role-playing, my love could be a little kinky at times. Not that I ever complained.
Alice suddenly froze and I was about to go over to her when she turned slowly on the spot and smiled at me. Ah, I guessed I was going to book it then. Alice whispered something to Bella, who smiled at her indulgently and then turned and grinned at me. Alice danced over with a seductive look on her face and she slipped her hand into mine, "I really like that idea."
"Just the hotel or am I surprising you with something else?" I wandered if she'd seen something else. Was I getting creative? Maybe we were hunting first, or maybe I gave her one of the presents I had stashed. By storing several things I knew she wanted at once, I could make snap decisions and occasionally surprise her with my choice of gift. Maybe the only good thing I had learned from our experience with Victoria.
Maybe we were playing games. That would be fun."
"Oh I like all of those ideas," Alice's other hand slipped around the back of my neck and she pulled me in for a kiss. It was only for a second; there were minors present after all. But I could feel what she wanted me to. She was eager for us to have some alone time tonight. I was suddenly very eager too, "Love you the most Jazz."
"Love you too."
"Gotta get back. I'm making perfect high school memories over there." Her expression was deathly serious but I could feel her frivolity. She was having fun.
"Enjoy," I pressed my lips to hers again for a second, I couldn't help myself. Then she danced back over to the queue of waiting teens. I stood with a grin on my face completely oblivious to the room around me. Edward approached me trying not to smile, "You listening in on my thoughts?"
"Sorry, you were just in the background I promise," he was smiling apologetically but I wasn't angry. No one could keep that kind of guard up all the time. I couldn't block out the lust that was rolling off Edward now after all. Bella did look good in blue even I had to admit. "Touche," he said with a wider grin.
His eyes drifted over the dancefloor; over the students we were supposed to be supervising. I didn't know how much good chaperones did. Even we couldn't compete with this kind of single-mindedness. It came close to the bloodlust we had all felt at some point.
I spotted Cadence dancing with Benjamin. He was elegantly leading her around and she was happy. She felt...lucky. I knew that she had expected to attend this event alone. She felt awkward and self-conscious around human men. The way their eyes moved over her made her very uncomfortable. She didn't want to be an object of lust. She felt safe with Benjamin. I smiled unconsciously; glad that she was happy.
Benjamin had a small smile on his face. His thirst was almost non-existent. He was...well not in pain at least. I wouldn't go as far as content, but he was glad for Cadence. He felt affection for her. It piqued my interest and against all common manners I paid closer attention. After all, if someone was interested in one of the girls I considered my nieces I had a certain responsibility. No, she was safe. He was grateful to her, he thought she was good. He took a certain relief from her. This only increased my good mood; our Cadence might be the one to help him.
I looked over at Edward, wondering if he had noticed the progress Benjamin was making. He was looking at his daughter. She looked happy too, though it was still hard to read her. Since we had made our foray into her head...and heart she had reverted to her previous silence.
I was worried for her. Edward and I had discussed the situation with the others of course. We couldn't keep what we knew to ourselves. It hadn't really helped anything though. What were we supposed to do? Our only option would have been to look into the future. To do that Cadence would have to be involved and maybe Renesmee too. That wasn't an option. Alice had eventually suggested we just keep our eyes open and 'in the mean time we should fret like a normal family.'
Done. We could do that. I just wished I could get a clear reading from her now. She looked happy though. Jake was, nervous. He was thrilled and happy to be here with Renesmee but he was still nervous. Did he think that maybe he was going to have sex tonight? I didn't think so. There was some lust coming from him, there normally was when he was around Renesmee but nothing too excessive. He was mainly nervous and excited. Maybe he had a surprise planned. It would fit.
I turned to look at Edward again and saw the shock on his face, "Is there something wrong?" I asked quietly.
Edward didn't seem to hear me for a second but then he dragged his eyes to me, "I-I don't know. I-I think Jacob Black is planning to propose to Renesmee."
I didn't know what I had been expecting Edward to say, but that wasn't it. It was one hell of a surprise Jacob had planned. "Oh...wow. Well..." I thought for a moment, trying to think of what I should say in this very complicated situation, "No, I'm drawing a blank." From the looks of things Edward was too. He looked literally too shocked to speak. "Edward, are you alright?"
He nodded but still seemed to struggle to find his voice, "Maybe...maybe this is for the best."
Huh? How was that? "For the best? Given what we know..."
Edward shook his head, "We haven't gotten involved yet. Now is not the time. We shouldn't interfere." His voice was getting stronger, he meant what he was saying.
"Edward, are you sure..." he sounded sure, but this seemed like the worst possible time for anyone to be putting pressure on Renesmee.
"Jasper, I am. We've all had to go through things to get to where we are now. Look at your history. Look at mine. Look at the damage that I did to Bella and all she forgave me for. Look at everything we've been through. We did it ourselves. Renesmee is for all intents and purposes an adult. It's...It's not our business. It's her choice."
"You think this is going to force some kind of confrontation?" I wasn't sure that was a good idea. The levels of emotion flying around were enough to concern me. If everything came to the surface the fall-out could be substantial.
Edward shrugged, "Whatever happens, Jacob will not hurt Renesmee. That is the only thing that would justify us interfering as far as I'm concerned."
"Edward this could really hurt..."
"Hurt my daughter? I know. But I don't see anyway to avoid it. She can't decide what she wants and until she does nothing will change. She's certainly not happy now." Edward sounded worried, but resigned.
He was partially right. I had felt how 'not happy' Renesmee was. I still wasn't sure this was the best way but what I thought didn't matter. Edward knew everything I knew and he was her father. I only asked one more internal, but deliberate question. I wondered if he was going to tell Bella. Before it was too late to do anything to stop it.
Edward met my eyes for a second, but his expression didn't change. He just took a deep breath and stared. He wasn't going to tell her. Oh yeah, this was going to go great.
The rest of the evening was following a predictable pattern. I noticed Bella subtlely removing a bowl of punch after one of the boys added a large quantity of vodka to it. They were lucky to have vampire supervision. Humans wouldn't have smelled it. She had nodded towards me and I had removed the boy in question from the party.
Alice had noticed that there was something on my mind. She could tell just from looking at me. We hadn't had time to speak yet and I was glad. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep what I knew from her. I would have to tell her and then she would be in the same quandry as I was. Except for Alice it would be even worse. She and Bella were so close; they were closer than any biological sisters I had ever known. Alice would want to tell her.
I was torn, I wished she could just look into the future and see it. Then I wouldn't have to tell her and she would still know. I was still considering just coming clean when I was distracted. The feelings were from a familiar source. Renesmee.
She was panicked. I focused on her scent, I needed to find her. Where was she? What had happened? If someone had hurt her I would kill them. Witnesses or no. I needed to find Edward. Had he heard her too? Did he know what had happened?
No, he wasn't in the room. He was probably getting more punch or food from the school kitchens. The caterers were set up in there. No time, the panic was strong. She might need help.
My eyes found her. She was...dancing. She was dancing with Jake in the middle of the room. That made no sense what so ever. She had felt a lot of things in Jake's presence. Love, sympathy, affection, aggravation...but this level of panic could only mean one thing. Jacob Black had proposed to Renesmee. Oh crap. I really wished Alice was with me.
I deliberately didn't listen to what they were saying. I knew it wasn't fair to do so, plus I didn't want more secrets to keep. I just kept my eyes on my niece. If her emotions changed I wanted to know.
EDWARD. COME MEET ME.
Renesmee was still panicking and it was playing hell with my nerves. I wanted to go over there and drag her out by the wrist just to calm her down. I heard Edward approaching, I knew he would be reading my thoughts as he came.
Sorry, you don't have to panic. Everything's fine-ish. Jacob's asked Renesmee. Her reaction took me off guard. She was shocked as all hell.
Edward was by my side before I had finished but he wasn't looking at me. He was staring at Renesmee. I wondered if he was doubting his decision. Maybe he was wishing he had told Bella.
Edward shook his head, "I'm not. She's okay. She was just taken off guard. Jacob's reassuring her now. Telling her he just wants her to know how serious he is. She's okay." I could tell by the slight tremor in his voice that he doubted his decision just a little. "Maybe a very little," with a small wry smile, "I don't like keeping secrets from Bella. it feels wrong."
"I get that." There was no better word to describe the feeling than 'wrong'.
"Of course you do. I'm sorry Jasper. I didn't even think about what I was asking. I was just thinking about Renesmee. That was really selfish." He looked genuinely sorry but I didn't need to hear it.
"With our gifts it's inevitable Edward. Not your fault." It was true.
We both looked at Renesmee again. She had calmed a little but she was still stressed and I didn't like it, "I don't like it either. Then again, we've both been through worse."
That was also true, maybe Edward was right after all. By interfering we might be denying her normal experiences, or as normal as we could get. It didn't make it easier.
Edward indicated the door and I realised we were being watched by our respective wives. I wondered if they had been listening, but they were on the other side of the room. I doubted they could have heard over the music. I hoped not.
"They didn't hear," said Edward, "They've been in the bathrooms. A girl who'd been drinking earlier got sick."
I wasn't sure it mattered. They knew we had been talking about something. Heatedly. They were going to ask us; they were coming over to join us. I could feel their emotions; identical ones. Suspicion and curiousity.
Edward, if she asks me straight out I wont be able to lie to her.
"Don't worry about it. I can't either," he smirked at me, "Keeping your mouth shut is one thing, lying is another."
Well, Edward was just full of pearls of wisdom today. Alice came to my side and took my hand as she had earlier. She tugged lightly and I followed leaving Edward with Bella. We each had our own bosses to deal with.
Alice led me back over to the food table and she started clearing some of the now empty plates. "Spill it Jazz. I know something's up. It's really not fair of you to take advantage of my vision holes."
She looked up at me with her big black eyes and I felt the inevitable guilt, "Don't Alice, I've been wanting to tell you all night. I was just waiting for you to ask." I looked at her with sincerity.
She dropped the pout a little and nodded, "Then I'm asking."
"I'm going to have to just drop this on you," I warned her. It was hard to put news like this gently.
"Okay," she said, nodding her head so her hair bobbed, "Consider me braced."
"Jacob just proposed to Renesmee."
For a second she froze and I could feel her shock, "What the hell is it about proms and dramatic gestures?"
I was so surprised at her reaction I laughed out loud. It was the first time I had laughed since she had last left my side. I dropped the plates I was holding back onto the table and wrapped my arms around Alice's waist. I needed this woman like humans needed air. "I don't know. Would you like me to make one?"
She smiled despite the shock and now concern I could feel from her, "I always like your gestures Jazz."
My mind went back to where we were, "Edward decided not to interfere. I thought I should support it...until you asked me of course."
"Hmmm, sneaky," she said with a smile, "Well, I can understand it. Still, Bella is going to be pissed. I can understand that too."
"Yeah, Edward was just saying what a pain our gifts can be sometimes. It can really be better not to know."
Alice put on her mock annoyed face, "Oh yes, just fabulous."
"Sorry, sweetheart," I kissed her gently on the nose, "Shall we get out of here? Things are winding down anyway." There were only about sixty kids left. Edward and Bella could easily wrangle them. There were other adults here too.
Alice thought for a moment, "Oh yay, I'm thirsty and we're going to find big cats on the way."
I smiled at her excitement, "Let's go then."
Edward, we're going to leave if that's okay?
I looked over at him, he was stood talking to Bella. Their expressions were blank and their lips moved just a little too quickly. Oh dear. At my thought he glanced over at us and nodded with a tight smile. I mentally wished him luck and took my wife's hand. We were taking a night off.
I heard Alice sigh next to me, she had a beautific smile on her face, "Everything okay?"
"Yes, after we hunt we're going to make love in the woods. It's going to be really, really...really good."
Life was good. Apparently really, really...really good.
I strode away from Edward ignoring his quiet utterance of my name. He didn't want me to go. I almost never walked away in the middle of an argument. It was a childish and selfish thing to do; leaving someone to stew in their own juices. When you loved someone you stayed and fought until you made up. That was how you got through tough times.
There was just one problem this time. I wasn't actually sure why I was mad. But I was definitely mad. The anger was clear and hot in my veins. I knew I wasn't being fair. I usually didn't want to know about the things Edward heard from people. I knew he felt bad about repeating thoughts, so I didn't ask. I just assumed that he would know to tell me something like this. This was about someone wanting to marry our daughter! Wow, I finally understood how Charlie had felt when Edward has asked for my hand. As a parent it was the milestone it was impossible to ignore. Of course I would want to know.
On the other hand, Edward had made some good points. What could I have done? Maybe it was right to not do anything. Normal parents didn't have these advantages. Maybe it really wasn't right to use them, especially for something like this. I sighed and looked across the dancefloor. My husband was watching me. His eyes asked me to come back; he wanted us to talk it out. I wasn't ready yet. I just needed a second to think. My anger towards my husband was fading quickly, but I still felt as though my head was spinning.
I knew why Edward hadn't told me, to keep me from obsessing when I had no power to change anything. God, what a mess. It rivaled anything I had experienced as a human or a vampire. My daughter was all grown up. She was having feelings for her best friend which she was trying to deny, while dating a man who adored her. She was afraid to change and afraid not to change. I wondered if she knew what she wanted and was fighting it, or if she really didn't know. Then I wondered which was better. The apple really didn't fall far from the metaphorical tree. Or maybe it would? Maybe it would fall far far away.
What if she really was meant to be with Cadence? That was maybe a possibility. A strange one to wrap my head around though. Edward had asked me how I felt about it. The truth was I didn't know that, anymore than I knew why I was so mad. I wished Alice could see their future, though that made me feel like a real snoop.
Ugh, there was no way to win as a mother.
I watched as Renesmee danced, she was swaying gently in Jake's arms. Her head was resting gently on his shoulder. Her posture was relaxed but her eyes were open; she stared straight ahead at nothing. I wished that I knew what she was thinking. I wished I could help her. I couldn't though. This had to be her decision.
Edward had known that. I wasn't really mad at him. I was angry that I couldn't do anything. I looked back at him; he was still staring at me. I smiled and his face relaxed into the crooked grin I knew better than my own face in the mirror. I really should learn to listen to my husband more.
He came and stood by my side. "I'll tell you everything if you want. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologise Edward. I'm the one who's sorry," I took his hand, "Please can we just forget it?"
"Of course. We have other things to discuss anyway." That was nothing but the truth. Yet again I felt that twinge, would we never be free to just be happy? There was always something to worry about even if it was only in the background. There had never been one day where everything and everyone was okay. If I was still capable of feeling tired I would be.
Edward squeezed my hand and I realised I had lifted my shield from my mind. It was so easy to do now I sometimes did it automatically, "That's the price we pay for being parents I guess. But we had eternity to have that perfect day you know."
"I know. I know we'll have it, "I sighed but managed a small smile, "But that day is not today."
"I guess not, but..." Edward's voice stopped abruptly, "Oh...Bella, where's Cadence?"
I scanned the room, "I don't know. She was here a mintue ago. She and Benjamin were dancing." I had seen her laughing.
"Renesmee is looking...oh, she's..." Edward was watching as Renesmee pulled herself free from Jake's arms and although I knew I shoudln't I concentrated.
I could pick her voice out, "Jake, please. Just let me go. I just need to get out of here. I will call you tomorrow I swear."
She turned on her heel and started for the doors. Her eyes searched until she found us and looked hard at Edward for a second. Then she continued out of the room. Like mother like daughter I guessed. I was going to follow her but Edward's hand held me still. "No, let her go."
He sighed heavily, "Edward please, before I go crazy, tell me what's going on now."