Fear. It pulsed through me; raw and hard. It was all I could do to stop from screaming. Running a hand through my already-tousled hair, I imagined all the things that could be happening to her. All the scum that wandered the streets in Port Angeles – having firsthand experience as I did from my own ...rebellious years, only made the possibilities seem more infinite. I knew all it would take was one drugged up creeper to lay a finger on Renesmee, and I'd go berserk. Hell, it was already taking all I had not to race out there in my Aston Martin – faster than the Volvo – and go find her myself.
I was grateful Bella had decided to let Alice and Rosalie take her shopping. She hates it when I get so worked up over our daughter. She's only six! Bella, for some reason, trusts the dog implicitly with Nessie's care. She tells me every time that Jacob would die before he let Nessie be harmed, but that's not enough for me. I need to feel my little girl in my arms before I can be completely reassured.
I'd been playing the piano when I realized it was past her curfew, and I'd almost missed it. I found myself cursing my acute vampire mind, counting the minutes independently of my conscious will. Maybe if I'd still been able to sleep, I would have slept right through when she promised to be back. No, that'd never do. What if something did happen and nobody realized it until too late? Granted, I would not be experiencing this horror, but I will appreciate Renesmee even more for it.
I stood there, kicking myself for taking her phone away. It had been a silly dispute, over letting the mutt stay the night, and it turned into a shouting match, the result of which was me confiscating her cell, and her storming away screaming at me in her head. Bella had backed off, choosing to let me and Nessie sort out our differences. I couldn't help but think that if my wife had been at my side during the argument, I wouldn't have reacted so harshly and Renesmee would still have her cell phone for me to call her on. But no, that wasn't right. I couldn't blame Bella for my temperamental nature. It was all on me. Me, for overreacting. Me, for allowing my daughter out with no means to contact her.
The seconds ticked by painstakingly, and I paced the front room, over and over, almost reminiscent of a true wolf guarding his kill. As I watched the lime green numbers on the DVD player taunt me, I became aware of someone's thoughts, tickling at the edge of my consciousness, teasing me. I couldn't quite identify the specific tenor of the thoughts that would let me know who it was, but it was enough that I raced to the front door and yanked it open. Much to my dismay, I could hear the unfamiliar tones of a stray hiker, wandering unusually close to the property. It wasn't the voice I was searching for. Swallowing the lump that had quickly grown in my throat, I closed the door gently and trudged over to the couch. I pinched the bridge of my nose, a habit that had formed over the decades. I was this close to calling Bella in a panic.
Suddenly, I heard the unmistakeable sweet tone of Renesmee's thoughts, and the rougher "voice" of the dog's. I was up out of my seat and on the front porch in a flash. Renesmee was sitting in the passenger seat of Jacob's Volkswagen, casually touching his face to let him know she loved him and would call him tomorrow. As soon as she had shut the door behind her, I had her against my stone chest.
In a muffled voice she said, "Dad, what are you doing?" Something in her face changed when she glanced at mine and saw the distress etched there. I sighed, breathing in her sweet scent, and proceeded to start the third degree.
"Where the HELL have you been? I've been worried sick! You're lucky I haven't gotten your aunts or mother involved in this!"
She stepped back, looked me once over, stuck her hand on her hip, and raised an eyebrow at me. "Dad. Seriously? Chill. I'm like, six minutes late. I don't think that's cause for a freak out, 'okay?" In her mind she pictured the clock in Jacob's car – and it did indeed say 11:36. I realized that maybe I had been overreacting just a tad, and I allowed a sheepish grin to overtake my features.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right." I admitted. "Now let's go inside. I'm sure Alice has seen this and your mother is on her way back to scold me." I put my arm around her shoulder and we walked into the mansion.
Renesmee was thinking about Jacob, surprise surprise, so I decided to change the subject. As far as I was concerned, my daughter is far too young to be thinking about guys and love.
"Look, I'm sorry for overdoing it. You just mean so much to both Momma and I, and I think you're smart enough to know that there's no second chance for us" I knew she was well-enough informed about her conception that she understood that. "I don't know if you realize what it would do, not just to your mother and myself, but the entire family, if anything should happen to you."
She was silent for a moment, thinking about her answer. "Oh Daddy," she sighed. "I know, and I feel the same way about all of you, especially you and Momma. But I'm sixteen now, and I can take care of myself better than you guys seem to think I can."
"Well, you'll always be my little girl, so I can't help myself," I replied tenderly, brushing her rosy cheek. "Besides, technically, you're only six. So there." I grinned, and relished in the father-daughter bonding that was going on.
She rolled her eyes and hugged me. "Love you too, Dad." As I hugged her back, we heard a car pull onto the long stretch of road that led to the house. "Sounds like the mad shoppers are back." Nessie noted.
"I don't know that I'd call your mother a 'mad shopper', per se. I'd be willing to bet she was bribed or dragged..."
"Whatever, Dad. You know what I mean."
We turned around and stood on the porch again, waiting for them to reach us. Bella got out of the car first, and ran up the steps into my waiting arms. I inhaled her wonderful freesia scent. "How was the trip, love? Did you enjoy yourself?"
Bella snorted, and it was still music to my ears. She pulled back and looked into my eyes. "I was thinking about you the whole time," she breathed. I bent down to kiss her soft, luscious –
"Mo-om! Da-ad! Could you, like, not do that in front of me?" Renesmee whined. I laughed, and drew her, protesting, into the hug. I found myself revelling in the joy of holding my entire heart in my arms, and vowed to never let these beautiful women go, so long as I could help it.
A/N So what did you think? Any chance you could drop me a little review? ;)