Welcome back! If you know me, then you're sure to know that I'll often pop back to a story to extend it a little bit more, or add something else. I'm always extending one-shots into two shots, or adding another chapter to something I thought was finished. So here I am. It's not really a surprise to me.
But I really wanted to write this. I don't know why; I guess because the story didn't feel finished, and I needed to close it off. Lots of you suggested having a sequel where the family members read their letters... Well, you'll have to read on to see what I've done.
So, I hope this is okay for you all, and you enjoy it:
Seventy-four years later.
Staring at the piece of paper in front of me, I felt the tears ripple in my eyes. They stung, and made the paper blur, the content a mass of black ink instead of actual precise words. Something was caught tightly in my throat.
My Little Nudger, it read at the top, and I was wise enough to know that was me, when I'd been in Mom's womb, even though I'd only been in there for such a small amount of time.
Just the memory of it, the reminder that I used to be called 'a little nudger' was enough to make me cry, irrelevant of the fact that this letter had probably been written 174 years ago. I was 174 years old, although stuck forever in the body of a seventeen year old. But now? Now, I felt no older than the little girl this was addressed to.
I'd been rummaging through Mom's stuff, trying to find one of my favourite books that had been misplaced so long ago. And I'd found these, the book slipping from my memory almost instantly.
All ten of them, although one was missing. Every name on the page was scrawled with such love and adoration that I knew they were important. But Dad's was missing… and Mom would never leave out Dad.
Collapsing on the floor in Mom and Dad's room, I leant against the wall that was adjacent to the bookshelf. I felt like I was intruding, but the letter was addressed to me! I am the little nudger… just a lot older, a lot less nudging.
I began to read.
The pages rattled beneath me, and the scent of the paper was slightly tinted with an ink, and salt… there were several blotches on the page, smeared ink marks. When Mom had written this, she'd been crying. Not just silent tears, but loud snotty sobs; she'd written this when she was human, when she'd been pregnant with me.
Is it strange to you that I'm writing this letter to you without ever meeting you?
That was the first line. But that wasn't what I thought was strange; the fact I was reading this was strange, utterly disturbing. Why had Mom written these?
Through the blurring film of tears that clouded my eyes, stung my throat, and burned my cheeks, I read. Words burst out the page at me, but I couldn't shake the sound Mom's voice, as if she were reading it aloud. They were full of love, passion and determination.
You are a part of me.
I'll give everything to you.
I'll never watch you take your first step.
I stopped in my tracks. My eyes re-read the words over and over again, and I found my frustrated outlet as my tears crashed. These were words of… goodbye? What? Why? She was imagining me, and apologising that she was being mushy to Dad, as if that's something I haven't already seen. Apologising for never being there, when she always had been.
You'll be quite old when you read this.
Old enough to handle the situation.
I hope you know about me.
Even then, as I read the words, I didn't quite understand. I never truly got the message of the words. It was true, I was old; 174 is a hell of a lot older than most. Handle the situation… words of goodbye. What had happened? What was Mom expecting to happen? It was weird, reading this from so many years ago. It had an eerie feeling; I almost felt like Alice, knowing this letter wasn't needed because I knew the future.
I'm going to tell you about me.
I want you to know me as much as I want to know you.
I'll always be there
Even if you can't see me…
My heart ached. I could physically feel the burning there as I read the words. I moaned about Mom sometimes, who didn't? She was overprotective, although she wasn't quite as bad as Dad, forgetting that I was fully grown. Sometimes she just saw the seventeen year old exterior.
But the thought of her not being there… the thought of not seeing her, being able to hug her… it burned. A scolding spasm of grief at the simple thought.
I'm your Mommy
I'm quite small and thin.
I'm so clumsy
I love books and reading.
The way she described herself was odd… her hair colour, eye colour, her passions and habits; I knew them all. I knew what drove her mad, what ticked her off. I knew which animal she preferred to hunt, and what colour suited her best. The language she used was patronising; the differences between Mom on paper and the Mom I knew were so different.
Baby, I love you.
And then I had to stop for several minutes. I placed the letter on the floor beside me, and stood. Pacing the large room, I took deep breaths and clenched my fists to try and suppress the sobs that threatened to ripple, as loud as thunder, from my chest. The emotion… the raw simple statement had shaken me so much. My Mom really was trying to tell me something; the words about not being able to see her, about loving me, telling me about her.
Returning to my place, I took the letter in my hands again. My own tears had added to Mom's blotches and they blended together, exactly like I would embrace her. Mother and daughter…
And then it all came clear:
Daddy struggled with the situation because, baby, well, the pregnancy is a little hard on me. I'm feeling a bit weak at the moment, but, sweetheart, please… it's not your fault!
She was saying goodbye… because she was slowly dying. And I was her killer. I knew Mom's birth had been difficult, and that Dad had changed her. But how bad had Mom been? Enough for my own supposedly loving Dad to struggle at the thought of me? Enough for her to write heartfelt, gut wrenching letters of goodbye to her loved ones? I was a monster.
Daddy blames himself
Have a long happy life
How was that possible? If I'd killed my own Mom, then I should have been killed. You read about this, sadistic people who murder their parents… and I was so close to being one of them! How could I not regret taking the life from her?
Then she described the family; the same Cullen's I'd spent the past 174 years with, taking out the couple of years when Jake and I had ventured out on our own to explore life together.
Daddy is very stubborn…
Alice is probably the most annoying but fantastic person…
Jasper is such a lovely gentleman…
Auntie Rosalie; she loves you…
Uncle Emmett will always be able to make you laugh…
Nana Esme is the most loving person…
Grandpa Carlisle is a very wise man…
As if I didn't know that… as if I needed help in the right direction to help me identify my family. It was all true, each and every thing Mom had said. Dad was too stubborn, although Mom could give him a run for his money. Alice was… annoying, definitely, but so much fun. There was never a dull moment with Alice, or Emmett, although I would have placed most annoying on him. Rosalie was bitter, it was true, but she did love me. She was the one I turned to when I couldn't go to Mom, just like Mom had asked. It's like I was living this letter out, following its orders without even reading it.
Did you know I'd never planned for children?
I'd never realised how empty my heart was.
How could someone love something without even knowing them, seeing them?
It's irrational but very, very real.
I knew Mom had never really expected children – that's what happens when you fall in love with a vampire. So the way she's described her feelings towards me, the explanation I'd never truly heard. She loved me, I knew. I'd always known I was loved by my parents, and everyone else. But I was an accident, really, although they often buttered it up with the word 'miracle' instead. But to hear that her heart was empty, and I was the one to fill it made my tears run over; my heart beat even faster, and a smile to ghost my face. I gripped the paper harder as it rustled loudly in protest, the sound like a fire spitting.
You'll need to be with your Mommy
I'll regret not being there.
Please know that's not my choice
I've given everything I have to you already.
In the back of my throat, the tears pricked. In some ways, it was more annoying than the thirst that roared every time there was even the smallest scent of blood. With a thirst, you could quench it. What could I do to rid myself of this strange aching? I did the only thing I could; read on.
You won't be able to see me, but I'll be there.
If you want a hug from me, go to Daddy instead.
I love you more than my own life.
That much was true. Mom had been prepared to give everything, and it struck me then, in that moment, how much everything was to her. Mom and Dad had a relationship that was so intense and passionate, it was queasy to watch. As I'd grown older, I'd understood it better, although even understanding didn't mean I wanted to know about it. But you couldn't deny the true love that was there. Mom had been willing to give that up for me?
How can I end this letter?
How can I say 'goodbye' to you, when, really, I never said 'hello'?
I gave my life to you, you never took it.
Inhaling deeply, my chest rose and shook. My hand swiftly swiped a tickling tear away and I blinked quickly to clear my vision. Mom wasn't dead, but it felt as if she was, it really did. It felt as if I'd been transported back to a time when I was small, to a time when I'd feared for her safety. Being in the womb, I could only remember so much. But the encounter with the Volturi was etched into my mind forever. The situation still applied; she would have died fighting for me, for my life, and my safety. That's how amazing my Mom was.
I'll always be with you, in your heart, your head and the air that you breathe.
I love you forever and always, little nudger; you've already captured my heart.
Just in case
I fingered the rustled pages in my fingers; the goodbye from my Mom, the only thing I would have to remember her by if she'd died during her pregnancy. I tried to think:
What would I have done if all I had to picture my Mom by was her pathetic excuse for a description? Long wavy brown hair and chocolate eyes? Her and a third of the world's population! Her love of books, and music, but what else? Where was her passion for art, and her temporary love of motorcycles? Where was the rest of her history? Her school friends? How she was good at cooking? Her favourite smell, her favourite flower?
I was angry. Because, so easily, I could have lost my mother and, so easily, I could have been reading this letter as it was intended; as a substitute for my grief, or lack of knowledge. And I was angry, furious.
A knock sounded at the door. Quickly turning, I tried to push the pieces of paper under my bottom, sitting on them, but I knew it was too late. Any vampire would have seen. Especially Dad, bronze haired, confused but patient standing at the door.
"You found it then?" he said quietly, his tone almost inaudible because of the sorrow and sympathy that swirled around it, muffling the words.
"How long have you been standing there?" I demanded, embarrassed at being caught.
"Seconds." He shrugged. "I heard your distraught thoughts and came to find you, see if you were alright." He edged towards me closer.
"Have you read yours?" I snapped, waving the pile of envelopes in front of me, the movement creating a waft of air. "Yours is missing."
"Yes, a while ago,"
Our eyes met for several moments, and I blushed under my tone. Despite everything, he was my father and I needed to respect him. Sometimes it was hard, seeing someone my age as an authority figure. Sometimes I got angry, living in such close proximity when I just wanted privacy for Jake and I. But somtimes I liked it, being just a call away, the relationship we had.
"I understand," he tried to say, but I shook my head to dismiss him. After several more moments of a silence that swallowed us whole, he moved backwards. "I'll go and fetch your mom; you need to talk to her about it."
I was about to protest, but he was gone. And when I was left alone in the room again, the weight of the words drowning me, the sound of them echoing round and round, I was pleased that Mom was coming. Dad was right, as always; I needed to talk to her.
Spinning to see the door, Mom was standing, her forehead creased as she breathed out my full name. I could smell her scent even from here; a beautiful strawberry and freesia mixture that I'd always associate with her. Had I not met her, I'd never have known. Nowhere in the letter did it mention what she smelt like.
"Why?" I whispered, all energy leaving me in the instant I tried to talk to her. I felt exhausted.
"Why what, honey?" Mom asked, stepping towards me quickly and hovering about me; her presence was soothing, even though I was still angry. "Why did I write the letter? Why did I prepare to die?"
"Because," she said, kneeling in front of me. Again, I felt so young. Here I was, 174 years old, but as my mother stroked my cheek with her delicate pale fingers, and her wide loving eyes, I reverted back to my small self. "I loved you. Because a letter was all I could give you; my pathetic attempt at trying to tell you everything I could. You should know that I could have written forever. Pages after pages simply telling you how much I loved you, how much I wanted you to be happy and healthy; but the reason for the letter was because I didn't have forever."
Mom's hair fell in front of her eyes. Its length never varied; it was never cut, because it'd never grow back. Alice sometimes styled it differently, but Mom was too set in her ways to go to town with different styles.
"You were prepared to die," I stated. "Why?"
She closed her eyes for several moments, breathed deeply and smiled, showing her sharp white teeth. Her cheeks lifted and she changed position so she was sitting on the floor beside me. Her scent was more empowering now, comforting. But I didn't want to let on. I was a fully grown woman.
"You've never had children, Nessie, so you won't know. The feelings; that gut wrenching feeling that re-arrange your insides because the love is so strong. That's why. Because in that moment, when I knew you were inside of me, there was no other option but to give you everything; irrational, but very very real."
I noticed she'd quoted her letter, although it seemed to go unnoticed to her.
"I just can't believe it," I said through gritted teeth, holding up the letter. "Seriously, Mom was this it?"
"It was the only thing I had left to give, honey. I'm sorry. It would never have been enough. I could have written pages and pages, I could have written a novel and more with the amount of things I wanted to say, Nessie, but it still wouldn't have been enough!" She breathed heavily, her words separated.
I could tell she was angry, regretful, but also defeated. In her eyes, I saw the faint memory that she had of the time, and the agony she went through, the pain and torment, mentally and physically, as I wore her down. She was the one who had the right to be angry, not me. She was the one who was so close to having everything taken away from her.
"I'm so sorry, Mom. I couldn't help it. I didn't know. I would have stopped!" I gushed, trying to make her see.
"No, Renesmee, sshh!" she said, pulling me into an embrace much like old times. We sat, on the floor, our arms wrapped around each other. We must have looked so silly; two seemingly seventeen/eighteen year olds holding each other so desperately. "I gave it you all, I've said this. Read it again, and you'll see. You tried to stop. When you knew you were hurting me, you tried."
She kissed my forehead, gently and quickly, before pulling away, creating a distance. It was for my sake; I got claustrophobic with all the touching sometimes.
"All that matters is that you're safe," Mom whispered, and I squeezed her hand tightly, a pressure she didn't really notice.
"Are you going to give the others theirs?" I asked, my eyes flickering to the pile of other envelopes which were near to my discarded letter that I'd placed down quickly in my anger and frustration. Mom sighed, and I saw her look at them too. Her handwriting was a scrawl, and all nine envelopes craved attention; the paper called to us with an unspoken song which she couldn't deny any longer.
Leaning forward, she took the envelopes in her hands. Her eyes closed shut for several moments as her fingers remembered the letters; she touched them so gently, letting the texture of the paper brush across her finger tips, let the words she'd wrote and the emotions she'd felt pour back into her.
Mom shuffled through them, and she removed two from the pile. I looked at her, confused, for a moment but when I saw to whom they were addressed to, I understood.
Both Grandpa Charlie and Renée had died now; they'd been gone a long time. Although I'd only met Renée twice - when Renee had visited Charlie to be friendly and kind, to offer any help to the ex-husband who she still loved, brought together by the trauma of losing a child - she'd never known I was her granddaughter.
Mom bit her lip, a habit that I noticed all the more now; where did it say she bit her lip on the letter? But she did, when she was nervous, awkward, or upset.
"When your father read his letter, he asked me a similar question. I'd said another time," Mom explained, as she took unnecessary breaths. "But, now I think that it's too much trouble."
Mom sighed heavily, leaning over to take my hand in hers.
"What do you mean?"
"Honey, I mean that the two people who've read the letters were almost torn apart by reading them," she mumbled, looking at me; I tried to imagine my dad being torn apart whilst holding pieces of paper. It wasn't hard. Dad without Mom was nonexistent. "They were written so long ago, when things were so different, another time, another life. It was during a time when worry filled me. I wrote those letters because I thought I was running out of time…"
I waited as Mom jumbled the envelopes in her hand, her eyes grazing over the name that she'd scrawled so many years ago, the colour of the black ink having faded slightly.
"It doesn't seem right… to bring up so much negativity after so long."
"You aren't going to give them the others to read?" I asked, not shocked. I'd gotten my letter, I'd read it. And with each word that Mom said, and with each squeeze of my hand, I felt the anger I'd felt drift slowly away.
Suddenly, I had the feeling we were being watched, and I looked up quickly to see Dad standing against the door way, as he had been several moments earlier, eyeing us up with a deep sense of concern and love.
"I hate to see my two favourite girls upset," he mumbled quietly with a small sad smile.
"Then come and kiss me better." I rolled my eyes at the romance between them, but it was nothing different to Jake sometimes behaved.
Dad walked over to us both, and sat down on the floor next to us, completing our small three-person circle.
"Are you not passing the letters on?" Dad asked, although he could probably know from my mind if he delved deep enough into it, something he tried not to do because of the privacy I often craved.
Mom shook her head quickly. "It's too much. There's no point. The ones who are most important to me have read them already."
"If you're sure," Dad whispered quietly, shuffling closer towards us and leaning into us, enveloping us both in his sturdy protective arms.
"I'm sure." Mom nodded, pulling away from both of us. "Come with me."
She swiftly stood, gripping the letters tightly in one hand and holding my hand in the other. Dad followed us out of the room and onto the balcony that was connected to the bedroom via the large glass double doors that looked out onto the lavish gardens that slowly blended into the depths of the forest.
"What are we doing?" I asked, looking from Mom to Dad as Mom quickly left for several moments, reappearing seconds later with a match box in her hand.
An intense stare was passed between Mom and Dad as he eyed the matches, and Mom looked back at me. With her intention clear, I handed the letter to her.
"I don't want it. It was meant as some kind of replacement; I don't need a replacement. I have the real thing." I smiled with tears in my eyes as I looked at her, hoping to show my adoration for her through my eyes.
She nodded, and held the stack of envelopes and loose papers up in front of us, striking a match with her other hand and bringing the open flickering flame to the corner of the papers. As the flame spread, my mother's smile spread as if a huge weight had been lifted.
And as the letters burned, the flame finally dying, we all said goodbye to the part in our lives that was crowded with fear and horror that, although quickly replaced with miracles and happiness, still lingered.
I realised how lucky I was; I hadn't needed the letter, when it could have all too easily been something I'd clung to with desperate hands.
Just in case, she'd said.
And never had I been more grateful for the moment I shared now; my parents and I, an unspoken understanding passing between us as we finally buried the memory as deep as our perfected minds would allow.
So, I understand thats not exactly what many of you wanted. But all of the family members reading the letters, I feel, would get monotonous. Don't you think? I'm pleased with the way this story was brought to a close :)
I've replaced my authors note with this chapter, so I'll include it here. Thank you very much for all of your support and encouragement through this story! You guys were amazing, and I appreciate each and every one of your reviews.
Please review and let me know your thoughts :)
Thanks you for reading xxx