A/N: Welcome back! I've been getting the amazing compliment lately, that I should publish this story. I'm sad to say, that can never happen because it's not even a little bit legal to make a penny off of somebody else's characters. I'd never want to step on Stephanie Meyer's toes. I'd like to write a book of my own, I just need my own ideas :) I've got a few, and trust me, if I ever do write a book, I'd be shouting about it from the rooftops, and you guys would be first to know.
"They are mostly human you know, they can get hurt, Uncle Emmett!" I shouted. "I don't know if I like this thing," I whispered to Jacob.
Uncle Emmett was bouncing on the new trampoline in the backyard of the big house, with my two youngest in his arms. They were having the time of their lives.
"Aw, don't be so overprotective. This is my best idea ever! They are fine, right you two? Tell Mama you're fine," Uncle Emmett said.
"We're fine!" they both called in their tiny little voices. He threw both of them up in the air, then bounced up to capture them in his arms again as they were on their way down. They nearly screamed themselves hoarse, and laughed until they cried.
Anthony had already had his turn, Jacob showed him how to do a flip. Once he learned how we could hardly get him off that thing. I offered to go on with Swan, she eyeballed it, and declined. She had fun watching everybody else on it though.
She'd had a dream last night about my mom coming to the big house today. I started keeping track of them in a little journal. We were trying to figure out if she had the normal dreams everybody else had, or only her "special dreams." So far, everything she had seen, had happened. "Grandma's coming to the big house!" She'd told me this morning. Once again today she'd been right, here we were with my mom, at the big house.
"Lunch time!" Nanna called from inside of the house.
"Ooo lunch," Anthony said. He was Jacob's kid all right. We headed inside and sat around the huge dining room table. We were the only ones eating of course, but everybody sat with us anyway. Everyone was there, because after lunch we were all going to go out to the field to play baseball. Seth was working over at the little souvenir shop in La Push, and would be meeting us later in the field. Jacob and I were looking forward to seeing what Mollie and Xandra thought of it. They were both interested in sports. Grandpa Charlie and Billy had come over on a recent Sunday to watch some football game I had no interest in with Jacob. Anthony wandered in and out, Swan didn't watch the game but enjoyed playing at Jacob's feet. Mollie and Xandra actually watched the whole thing.
Nanna had quite a spread set out for us on the dining room table. "This here is lamb, and this is turkey, and this is roast beef," she explained to the kids. "Take whatever you want, and put it here in your pita." Swan was very interested, she'd just heard three of her favorite words, "whatever you want."
"Just make sure you use the serving spoons," I reminded them. Oddly, my son was my child who had the best table manners. I made a pocket for Xandra, and Jake put one together for Mollie.
Mollie and Xandra dumped their pockets out right away to inspect the contents. "You like this?" Xandra asked Mollie, pointing at the cheese her on sisters plate.
Mollie picked up a few shreds with her fingers and tasted it, she then answered, "Uh huh."
Mollie pointed to the lettuce on Xandra's plate. "Like this?" Xandra tried a piece and said, "Uh huh." They went back and forth like that. At the rate they were going it would take them all day to eat. That's all right, we aren't going anywhere, I thought to myself.
"I don't think I've ever had fries like this, Esme. They are amazing," Jacob said, dunking one in ketchup. "What kind are they?"
"What do you mean, 'what kind are they,' I made them!" she said in a teasing tone.
"From potatoes?" he asked.
I had to laugh. "That's where french fries come from, dear. They were potatoes first," I said.
"I know!" he insisted, trying to poke me in the side but I dodged him. "I don't think I've ever had homemade fries before though."
"Well, I'm glad you enjoy them," Nanna said. She loved to cook for my family, and my family loved to eat. It was a perfect match.
"I like onions in my pita too, Daddy," Anthony said.
"They are pretty good, huh buddy?" Jake said, then took a bite of his pita that was stuffed with a little bit of everything that Nanna had to offer.
Swan started eyeballing the bowl filled with sliced onions. "I wouldn't," I warned her. She looked up and slowly moved her hand towards the bowl, keeping her eyes on me. "Go ahead, but you aren't going to like it." She bit into the ring, and the sound of the sharp crunch was still in the air when she she made the face I knew she would.
"That's the face you used to make when I tried to feed you formula!" my mom said.
Everyone laughed, but not Aunt Alice, and not Daddy. I noticed first, then Mom, and then all laughter stopped. Those two were staring at each other, I could not really read their expressions, but it was clear that something was wrong. Aunt Alice stood up from the table in less time then it took me to blink, Daddy stood up too and picked the twins up out of their highchairs. "Everyone upstairs, into my room," he said quickly.
"Alice?" Grandpa said.
Aunt Alice started grabbing plates and putting them into the kitchen sink at a blinding speed. She spoke so quickly, the only words I caught were, "no time." So all the full vampires knew what was happening, but not us. Great. I could tell by the confusion on Jacob's face, he hadn't caught much of that either. I knew there must not be any physical danger, or else we'd be tearing through the woods right now. I started to speak, but was interrupted.
"Renesmee, Jacob, take Swan and Anthony upstairs." Daddy ordered us. My uncles and Aunt Rosalie had already gone up there, per Aunt Alice's instructions I gathered. When he saw that my mother was frozen in her chair, he handed me my girls. He picked Mom up, and threw her over his shoulder. She didn't protest.
"I didn't understand what Aunt Alice said, what's going on?" I asked, not addressing it to anybody specific, just hoping that I would be answered. As we all followed up the stairs behind Daddy, he explained.
"Renee is coming here. Now. We knew she would be in town, but coming here was one of her spur of the moment decisions."
"Why didn't you tell me?" my mother demanded, sounding hurt.
"We'll discuss that later. The less of us she sees unchanged the better, so we are all going to stay up here and be very, very quiet."
My children? Be very, very quiet? I had to make sure that happened, and I obviously didn't have long to decide how. I handed Mollie to Jacob.
"These two need to be kept apart," I told him before we crossed through the doorway to Daddy's old room, that was now a room for my kids.
Then Aunt Alice shouted up to us. "No! Go to my room!"
So we turned right around. Aunt Alice's room that she shared with Uncle Jasper was a good representation of her personality. Bright and colorful. She redecorated often, there was a lot for the kids to look at in there.
My dad plopped down into the arm chair with Mom in his lap. He was not embracing her, he was restraining her. "You need to get yourselves settled, and get everyone into position they can be comfortable in," he told us.
"Have our bed," Uncle Jasper offered. Jake and I sat on opposite ends of the bed, each still holding one of the twins.
"Anthony, come lay down next to me. Swan, go lay next to Daddy. We are going to stay in here, and be very, very quiet. We are not going to talk, we are not going to move. We are just going to sit and look at Aunt Alice's pretty things." I said.
"But my french fries," Swan whined.
Every mother has one, "the look." I gave Swan mine so severely then, her bright blue eyes filled with tears. I could apologize later.
"If you make one sound while we are up here, you'll never have french fries again," I assured her. She shrank into Jacob's side. "Let's all just take a nap, okay? Mommy and Daddy will take a little rest with you." Jake and I sure weren't going to sleep now, but we could pretend to.
"Go ahead and ask her, Jasper," Daddy said.
"Nessie, would you like me to help them take a nap?"
"Oh! Yes," I said.
"I can't make them, but I can help them along," he said. Xandra started to go limp in my arms almost immediately, Mollie was doing the same in Jacob's. I heard A.J. and Swan's breathing change, just a little. I rubbed gentle circles on Anthony's back to help him fall asleep. I looked at Jake, looked down at my hand, and then at Swan. He got the hint and did the same to her. She fought it the most, but they all fell asleep. She knew who Renee was, she'd seen a picture of her before. Was her dream last night about my mother, or my grandmother?
Aunt Alice came into the room then, and said, "Em, join me by the door." He did as she asked. When she asked you to do something, it was always a good idea to do it. I realized, he was guarding it with her. "Two minutes," she said.
"Why did you take away the plates?" I whispered. This did not seem like the time to worry about housekeeping.
"I didn't take all of them. But since they are only going to see two people here, they should only see two plates." Aunt Alice said.
"They? Is Phil here?" my mother asked.
"Yes," my dad said.
"Oh." She replied in a dull voice. She was calmer then I would have thought she'd be. I looked at Uncle Jasper, and he looked just a bit strained. I then heard the car start down the long driveway then, Mom's hearing was far better than mine, and she heard more than I did.
"Three heartbeats? Who is with them?" she asked. Nobody answered her. Daddy and Aunt Alice stared at each other, but nobody said anything.
"Charlie?" Mom asked.
"Love, we need you to understand that it is imperative you stay here. Please, please tell me you know that," Daddy said.
"I know," she said sadly.
Daddy opened his mouth, but didn't speak right away. Then he must have decided it was better to tell her now, then to let her find out once they reached the house.
"Renee and Phil are here, because they want to introduce Carlisle and Esme to their daughter."
Mom looked like somebody was twisting a knife in her stomach. "What?"
But it was too late for conversation then, they were here.
Bella was stiff in my arms. Jasper was overwhelming her with calming waves. So much so, that they were starting to seep into me, and affect me as well.
I looked into Carlisle's mind. Alice had told them what would happen, so his story was prepared, Esme's was as well. They sat at the dining room table, in front of plates of food that were not theirs, and were silent as they waited for the doorbell to ring. When it did, the act began. They crossed slowly to the door.
"I'll get it," Esme said, and Carlisle lingered behind.
"Oh Renee!" Esme cried when she opened the door, "How ARE you!"
"Esme!" They threw their arms around each other, Renee wiping tears when they finally pulled away. When the adults exchanged greetings, the affection they showed for each other was genuine, no acting was required. Phil was feeling a little awkward though.
"I'm sorry it's been so long," Renee gushed. "I'm sure you know, reminders can be so hard."
"Oh please don't apologize, half of the blame is certainly ours as well," Esme said.
Renee smiled. Carlisle bent down in front of the young girl who was hiding behind Renee. All he could see of her was some sandy brown hair, and one green eye.
"I don't believe we've met," he said in a gentle voice.
"You don't have to hide sweetheart. Do you remember who this is?" The child did not answer. "This is Edward's mommy, and Edward's daddy, we talked about them, remember?" The girl nodded. "Won't you come out and say hello to them? They don't bite!"
I made a mental note to laugh later when I'd be able to find that more amusing.
The girl hesitantly came out from the safety of the back of her mother's knees. I may be a touch biased, but she was a beauty. Every feature that Bella had gotten from Renee, her sister had also.
"Hi there. I like your dress, purple has always been one of my most favorite colors. What's your name?" Esme said.
The girl whispered, "Joy Isabella Dwyer." Bella cringed in my arms.
"What a lovely name. My name is Esme, and this is Carlisle. How old are you dear?"
"How nice," Carlisle said with a smile.
"Why don't you show them the picture you made for them, Joy," Phil said.
Joy removed the tiny backpack she was wearing and unzipped it. A little of her shyness faded away as she proudly presented Carlisle and Esme with her creation. It was a light blue piece of construction paper. Across the bottom Joy had written mine and Bella's names, each capital letter was in a different color then the one before it. Sitting on a big puffy cloud, there were Bella and I. Complete with angel wings, covered in sparkles.
"This is Bella, and this is Edward. They're angels," Joy quietly explained. Bella turned around to face me. Her expression was heart wrenching.
"I see that," Esme said. "It's a beautiful picture, you are quite a talented artist."
"Would it be all right if we put it in Edward's old room?" Renee asked.
"I'm leaving this here for him, I'm not taking it home with me on the plane," Joy explained.
"I'm afraid we've turned Edwards room into an office, and it's quite untidy at the moment," Carlisle said apologetically.
Esme chuckled softly. "They say the most brilliant and creative minds are often so scatterbrained," she said.
Renee laughed. "I could not agree more!"
"How about I promise that we'll put this in a nice frame, and we'll keep the office looking presentable for your next visit. Then we can show you, this will add the perfect touch in there," Esme said. She extended her hand and Joy gave her the drawing. "I'll go put it up there now." I stayed in Esme's mind as she came upstairs, and came into my old room that now contained two cribs, and two toddler beds. She waded through the sea of toys, and set the picture down on Anthony's bed. Joy caught my attention downstairs.
"God called Edward and Bella home, so they had to go. But they can see us, and we can talk to them."
"That's exactly right," Carlisle said.
Renee started to run her fingers through her daughter's sun lightened hair. "She talks to her all the time. Bella is your sister in the sky, right?"
"Yup," Joy said.
"We were going to pick up some flowers and head over to the cemetery, we were hoping you'd join us," Phil said a little formally, for him. Humans often picked up our mannerisms and ways of speaking without even meaning to.
I knew it was a tradition in Renee's family to line up rocks along gravestones, I saw in her mind they were planning to do that too. It was a way of letting the deceased know someone had been there, that they were still loved.
Esme and Carlisle both put on masks of disappointment as Carlisle said. "We wish we were able to, but we've got plans that we just wouldn't be able to wiggle our way out of. How long will you be in town?"
"Oh I'm so sorry to hear that. We're here for one more day, then we're going off with Daddy to the next stop," Renee said, giving Phil a small smile.
They agreed to meet for coffee the next morning. Esme briefly thought about how much she disliked the strong smell of coffee. Carlisle suggested Starbucks rather than the diner. The diner would have served them coffee in mugs. But Starbucks would give them disposable cups with lids. If a human sees some one take sips of their coffee, their mind automatically assumes it's being drank even though there's no evidence of that. We relied on assumptions like that often while living among humans.
There was another moment or two of small talk, Carlisle asked Bella's sister what she thought of the snow that was thick on the ground now.
"Mommy and I make snowballs and throw them at Daddy, but only with gloves on."
Renee embraced Esme again before leaving. "We'll chat more tomorrow. It's so nice to be with someone who understands," Renee said. She had no idea how much Esme did understand. Renee thought she'd lost one of her five children. But Esme too had known the pain of loosing her only child, before she'd even gotten to know him. She made a mental note to tell Renee tomorrow that they should both be glad they had 19 wonderful years with Bella and I.
As Bella's human family got into their rental car, Joy asked. "Can I have coffee too?" Renee laughed.
"That would perk you right up, wouldn't it!" Phil said with a grin.
"I don't think that's the best idea, maybe some hot chocolate," Renee said.
As they started down the drive way Bella began to plead with me. "Please, I just want to watch them pull away."
I looked at Alice. She can look, she thought. Everyone but Alice disagreed, but I didn't care. I could not find it in myself to deny her this one final glace. I relaxed my grip on Bella, and in the next millisecond she was at the window. She parted the heavy curtains, and I got up to stand behind her. I wrapped one arm around her shoulders, and the other around her waist. We had a clear view of Renee's face as she looked at the trees out the drivers side window from the passenger's seat.
As children did so often, Joy made an impulsive decision. She got on her knees in the backseat, and turned around to look back at the house.
"Move!" Alice hissed. But it was too late, by the time I pulled Bella away from the window, Joy had seen us, if only for half a second.
"Mommy! I saw them!"
"Who?" Renee asked.
"Bella and Edward."
Everyone in the room started to look a little panicked. "Wait, it's fine. Just hold on," Alice said to us.
"Oh honey, I don't think so," Renee said gently.
"No, I did!" Joy insisted. "I saw them, and then they disappeared while I was looking at them!"
"Maybe their spirits are visiting Carlisle and Esme."
"Oh," Joy said. And that was that.
"I'm coming to see you Bella! I have a special rock to put on your stone," Joy said.
Renee did something that surprised me a little as I watched her through Joy's eyes. She smiled. She started to wonder if our spirits had ever visited her. The thought brought her a lot of comfort.
"She-" I started to say, but Bella held up her hand to silence me. Now that they were gone, she separated herself from me. In the blink of an eye she was in my old room, I followed her. I could hear our grandchildren waking up, and quiet talking as she stood motionless, with Joy's picture in her hands.
It was like watching her heart break. I could almost hear it shatter as I rested my hand on the small of her back. I held her tightly when the sobs began to tear though her body. There was nothing I could say. She didn't want to hear that I was sorry, she didn't want to hear that it was all my fault, though both were true. So I just held her as she mourned the life I'd taken her away from.
When her sobs became smaller, and infrequent, I pulled back to look at her. "She wonders if you and I visit her. Our spirits. The thought seems to bring her great comfort, love."
"You're lying," she accused me. She was right to do so, I would have lied about it to spare her any pain.
"You must believe me, please," I begged. "Of course she misses you, she always will, but she's stronger then you thought." She stared at me harshly, trying to decide if I was being honest. Her face softened slowly as she realized that I was.
"Is she happy?" Bella asked me in a voice that sounded almost timid.
"Yes, she is," I said truthfully.
"What did you pick up from Joy?" she asked.
"She loves you. Both of us. She's just a normal, happy child. A bit shy though."
"They named her after me," she said in a quiet voice, looking at the drawing again, running her fingers over the generous globs of sparkles on the wings.
"Maybe Carlisle and Esme can keep in touch...by phone, or letters I mean. Maybe they would send them pictures," she said hopefully.
"I'm sure that would be possible."
Her face crumbled again, and she pressed it into my chest.
I could hear the sorrow in her voice when she said, "We'll have to leave Forks now, won't we."
I wished I could tell her that we could stay here, in the place that we'd fallen in love, for many more years. That Carlisle was not downstairs preparing to rent moving vans, that we could stay forever, but that time, I'd have been lying.
A/N: Super special thanks goes to Stephanie McFartyPants (lol) for being the angel on my shoulder for this chapter. She helped me to make sure everything was perfect!
I think I may have some Alices or some Swans among my readers. I've been planning this chapter since before I even wrote the chapter, Letting Go, which was way back at number 23. And then just recently people start suggesting Nessie should run into Renee, and that Renee should have had a child with Phil. I could hardly believe it lol. I knew you guys would figure out Seth was going to imprint, but this chapter I didn't even drop any hints about! At least not on purpose. And people are starting to suggest stuff that seems so random, that I know I've dropped NO hints about, and I'm already planning. If I ever use an idea from you guys, I do give credit. But I think you all are in my head or something, it kinda trips me out! ;)
So here is something amazing, AGU has fan art! I've got a quickly growing album of it on the Facebook page, there's some adorable stuff in there! Like Swan pouting after she got into Nessie's makeup, it's hilarious! I highly recommend checking it out. Remember with the links, you need to remove the spaces. Annoying, I know.
http:/ www. facebook. com/album. php?aid=27233&id=100001355030502
Here is a song for this chapter, it's beautiful and it called, And Now I Let Go. I think it adds something to the second half and I hope you'll give it a listen.
www. youtube. com/ watch?v=ehBa3ooT5A0
Until next time, be safe. :)