Author's Note: I was inspired to write what I believe could happen after Breaking Dawn. It is not my character, and I can't take credit for the plot either, but I want you to enjoy what I dream would be the next chapter after Breaking Dawn, the novel. Stephenie Meyer, you inspired this one!
tugged like a tide, a pull
stronger than the attraction of the stars.
Moons circling their planets,
Rounding their suns.
Nothing is what
We cannot imagine
All that we know we know
Moves in the muscles
I reach for you,
I couldn't see the stars anymore, the night was pitch black. It was as if the world has been swallowed into a bottomless vacuum, leaving the stars to fade into the unknown emptiness. I didn't know where I was, but I knew that I was alone. And that notion frightened me.
Though I didn't need to maintain warmth in my body, I felt cold. I squinted through the midnight, desperately scoping out my unfathomable surroundings.
Where was Renesmee? I didn't like this. I felt like I couldn't hear, couldn't see. "Edward! Nessie!" I cried out, but my voice was drowned in sorrow. My lover, and my daughter, were gone.
Chapter 1 Expect the Unexpected
I turned my head slightly to the north, the odd scent that tingled my nostrils. I attempted to follow it a few hundred yards though I came up empty. It had spread too prominently. Something evasive; a scent that was both familiar, yet subtle. I inhaled, filling my lungs. It was in the vicinity of the Cullen's property. It had been enough to lure me out here while arriving home with Alice from a shopping expedition, her idea of course. "Come on Bella, it will be like a girl's day out." She had coaxed me into going, saying that we must find some new cloths and child toys for Renesmee.
I had given in to my sister-in-law when she had threatened to bury her face in her hands. Something about being a girl's best friend, and oh yeah, she needed to have a good heart to heart that she could only have with a woman who wasn't staring into the mirror the entire way—Rosalie, I am sure she was driving her intentions at. With exhalation, I had consented. Alice had burst into bubbling giggles when I had told her yes. We had went to Seattle today for only two hours. I had left my daughter in the capable hands of Jacob Black, my best friend. The one who had imprinted on my daughter, Renesmee.
Sniffing at the wisps of a hint of a sweet, yet musky vampire smell mixed in with canine hide, I furrowed my brow. Something was not right here. I sensed a vapor of stale foreign air and ancient vampire skin cells. Though it couldn't be what my mind concluded, Aro, Marcus or Caius—the Volturi. This fragrance was new to me, yet I had smelt this aroma before. I couldn't pinpoint it, and it irked me. My eyes tightened at the frustration. It could be traces left behind from the Denali coven. They had all visited about eight days ago. Now, our estate was clear of company.
"Jacob?" I called out, my voice a melody, yet somehow, it managed to get caught in my strangled throat. I felt an encumbering sense of fear, for the first time in many months. Since the first time I had become immortal.
There was something inconspicuous out here amongst the spruces of the forest. Or was my mind playing tricks on me? A refreshing shower of rain had covered most of the fragrances that I discerned, so the identity of whom or what this dubious stench was now diminished.
I knew that Jacob could hear me. There was no answer.
Enhancing my senses, I listened earnestly. The void that encompassed me seemed to grow deeper, as if pulling me further. I smoothed my hands down my black and grey Cotour dress that Alice had purchased for me on our shopping spree. "No nonsense, Bella. You will not be wearing faded old jeans while your husband comes home. You need to look classy, and goodness, you need to show off the body that Edward has given you." I liked the way she had phrased that, since it had been Edward's venom that had brought me back to life.
I had nodded, humoring her, as she had tossed about six or seven—I lost count—dresses to me. "And there's plenty more where that came from!" she had added blithely. She did have a point though. I should be dead, but now I could live with Edward Cullen forever.
I had to laugh at Alice. She had such a gifted way of looking at things, which was why I seldom argued with her.
My lover; my friend, Edward Cullen, had saved my life; my soul, as I call it anyway, three months ago when our precious daughter, Renesmee, was born. I should have died naturally during childbirth, though he had managed to save our child, and me. The only difference was that I was now one of them; a Cullen. Not just by our matrimony, but by blood. Venom, accurately. I was now as cunning, fast, and impervious as the vampires were.
I was not the clumsy, accident prone Bella that I had once been. I had evolved from accident prone, to warrior. My initial reason for living was for the two loves of my eternal life: the love for Renesmee and the love for Edward.
There was no reason that I should be frightened right now. There would only be one reason for me to experience that pinch of fear that feels like a needle is piercing through my heart. That was if my child was in danger. I knew right where my little Nessie was. With Rosalie, in my cottage that I shared with Edward. The two of them were playing house and dolls, Renesmee's favorite indoor game.
I pursed my lips and pondered what I would say to Jacob, who was supposed to have my daughter in his custody today. Somehow Rosalie had managed to steal my baby away. Poor Rose. She had always wanted a child.
Suddenly, I could hear the distant drumming of footfalls on concrete. There were four feet, I could count them, even though they were about a mile, no, a mile and a half away from where I stood. The sounds were approaching me, and at a quick pace, padding the earth and the bracken.
The rapid thrumming of the feet ceased, and I heard him call out to me, "Bella? Hey Bells!" It was Jacob Black's voice. He sounded worried.
"Jake?" I called out in alarm, as his brown eyes appeared in front of me. The rest of his muscular body materialized in front of me. That's right. Jacob never wore a shirt when he changed from his werewolf self to his human-self. Or shorts, for that matter. I cleared my throat politely. I pressed my lips together to hide my smirk.
Looking down and cursing under his breath at himself, he quickly unlatched his pair of shorts from the leather strap around his ankle and slipped them on.
I kept my eyes level with his, arching my eyebrows at him. He looked anxiously back at me. His breathing stabilized to normal. He held his palm over his chest.
Before he could answer me, I scolded him, "You know you can't catch me off guard, you know?"
He grinned from ear to ear. "Sure, sure." He was more relaxed now that he had found me.
It was about eight p.m. in the evening. We were about three hundred yards away from the Cullen homestead. The earth smelt of fresh rain, grass, bark, mud, and Jacob. He had his own smell. Like a mix between wet dog and more dirt. Now I understood why Edward still rolled his eyes whenever Jacob came galloping towards us. He did smell bad, though I still loved him. As a best friend.
I allowed my lips to curl up into a faint smile. "You know I can hear my dad actually snoring?" I proved to him that nothing could get past Bella Cullen. I placed my hands over my hips and titled my head to the side.
Jacob just shook his head, laughing his contagious chuckle that made me join in. Only my laugh sounded like a ringing of a bell.
"Naw, I know you," he batted at the air in front of me, closing the distance between us to stand about two feet from me. "Can't put one over me, I know you were wondering where I was." I sighed, even though I didn't need to breath. He added proudly, "Poor acting skills, Bella, I'll dock another five years off of your age."
"I'll never age," I said smugly. He scowled at me playfully.
He was still playing the age game with me. The one where we kept score of one another's merits and demerits resulted in our maturity age. I must be at twenty one and he was at twenty eight by the rate we were going. I'd lost count. It was an inside game we had started almost two years ago.
Like sunshine, he flashed a warm smile at me. Through the darkness, all I saw were his perfect row of white teeth. "Neither will I," he retorted, followed by a snort.
I analyzed him for a moment. "I was actually wondering why my daughter isn't with you," I called his bluff, though I didn't let on that I knew her exact location. Jacob's mouth dropped open. His eyes looked like they would pop out.
My eyes tightened. "Jacob? You didn't," I said slowly, stressing the two syllables of his name. My ears perked up, roaming towards the cottage. My sister-in-law, Rosalie was playing dolls with Renesmee. I could hear my child's familiar giggles, and her beautiful voice as she spoke animatedly to Rosalie, "I like this doll, with the dark brown hair, like momma's."
I depicted the unveiled remark of jealousy in Rosalie's tone from here. "Certainly, whatever you like." I pictured Rosalie combing a doll brush through a blonde doll's hair, thinking of having a child of her own.
Renesmee's joyful voice babbled on, and I grinned. "She will look absolutely radiant! Should I put this white dress on her, aunt Rose? Won't she look lovely?"
"Yes, she will be stunning," was Rose's composed reply.
"I can't wait to show mommy. She will be so proud of the way I fixed her all up for the tea party. Oh, I can just imagine mommy's face," carried on Renesmee. She was so dainty, and it was evident that even Alice, my other dear sister-in-law, educated her in makeovers and beauty stylist one-oh-one.
"Bella. It is never too early to learn the key essentials in becoming a woman. And let's face it, she will flourish into one someday—soon, so you may as well grin and bear it," Alice had trilled at me.
I was impressed by how quickly Renesmee had learned to speak in such adult-like constructed sentences. Since she was conceived, she grew supernaturally fast. She was, after all, part vampire. My daughter was special, and I particularly wouldn't have her any other way.
Edward, Jasper and Emmett were hunting for deer and bears, at the same time. That was possible when you had the keen sense of smell and not to mention, speed. I could just imagine Edward hunching over and tackling a mountain lion, rolling over it and then sucking its blood dry.
"Hello, where'd you go, Bella?" Jacob waved his hand across my glazed eyes twice, as if signaling an airplane to land.
I shook my head, realizing I was fantasizing. I had already taken Renesmee hunting, so I had allowed Edward to go with his brothers, though they should return in the next hour.
"I was just listening to Nessie. She's with Rose," I paused for emphasis on Jacob's blank stare when I had asked him where my daughter was. "You're lucky."
His ever-present grin was rearranged with a look of defense. "Only 'cuz she threatened me," Jacob gave me a mock-pained look of despair and defeat. "Blondie practically held my throat telling me it was her bonding time with Nessie. Not that I couldn't take her on, but still." He shuddered with a gulp while studying my expression warily.
"I'm just dying to hear what you have to say for yourself Jake." I folded my arms in mock chagrin.
Jacob's head reeled back as if I'd offended him. He snorted a husky laugh. "You know she's safe Bells."
I pretended I didn't hear him. "You told me you would have her for the night. What? Did you lose a bet?" I was having fun with him now. I arched a brow.
Apparently, Jacob was not enjoying himself. He huffed. "No." He was embarrassed that Rosalie had taken over his day with my daughter. It was a shame that Rosalie had used the absence of Edward and I to take advantage of spending time with Renesmee.
Jacob was deflated.
"You're slipping here, Jake," I said, portraying disappointment, gradually swaying my head from side to side. "That's a demerit."
He held up his hands, palms facing me, as if he were surrendering his life. "Alright, I'm really sorry, Bella, for nearly letting Blondie kill me. You know, I bet I could take her if she annoyed me enough. Doesn't take much on her part. " Heavy sarcasm there.
"Hmmm," I replied, studying him.
I concealed a smile, morphing it into a glower. "I knew she'd be safe, really," he said, flashing me a weak smile.
I folded my arms. A slight breeze combed through my long brown hair, sweeping it across my cheeks. "Could have told me," I replied. I knew I could trust Jacob with my life, though I enjoyed harassing him. It was my way of teasing him, and in some odd way I knew he liked it.
"No, hey, don't worry about me, I'm fine," he flicked his fingers in the air, deriding me. "It was only my neck she was going to break."
I narrowed my eyes, and then let my mind unravel. I was relieved that my child was safe. If she was happy, I was happy. "It's alright. You can answer to her father when he comes home, how's that?"
Jacob's smile vanished. He now stared at me like I had just told him that I never wanted to see him again. He snapped his head back.
"What did I ever do to you?" was his glum reply. He was wounded that I would even contemplate such a notion. How could he take me seriously about sicking Edward on him?
"Holy crow, Jake, I'm only teasing you." I glanced heavenward, shaking my head and letting out a long breath.
Okay, not my best joke. Jacob's mood had dampened immensely. I studied him, as he whiffed at the air currents and shrugged, as if what I said didn't matter to whatever was torturing him. There was more underneath the surface. I could depict that now.
"So where were you, while pawning off my child?" I made it sound like he had just committed a deadly sin, but in reality, I wasn't mad at him. I crossed one ankle around the other, not letting it go yet. Jacob squatted down by my feet, picking up a twig and snapping it with one hand.
He didn't answer me at first. "Ah, just had to talk to Sam." It was a short response, which meant I knew there was more.
I tried to catch his eyes. They seemed to be far away, even though he carefully scrutinized the patterns he was tracing with the broken stick. He was drawing a heart in the mud and leaves.
"You can tell me," I reminded him, chastising aside and the reprimanding aside.
He was silent, which bothered me. "It's nothing."
"It sounds like a big nothing," I said, my voice melting for him. I glided closer to him, resting my hand ever so delicately on his shoulder. I had to remind myself how strong I was. As a newborn, I had yet to balance the forceful damage my weight could do. "Oh common', Jake. I'm still Bella," I reminded him.
"It's not that." He grumbled. I knew that even though I was a newborn vampire, it didn't bother him. There was something else that was grinding on his mind. His usual carefree ball of sunshine demeanor was now as dark as the sky above us.
He wouldn't look up at me. He traced the heart again with the point of his fractured stick. He gradually moved his head side to side. As I gazed at him closer, I could see his eyes were glossier than usual. Human eyes wouldn't have been able to pick up on it, but I sure could. I also could see that he was breathing deeper than usual. He was depressed.
"What is it then?" I asked softly. I would keep pressing him until he broke.
I let me fingers brush to his neck, but he shivered. I retracted my cold fingers back. His skin radiated immense heat. That was usual for Jacob. He noticed my feelings were hurt, and so he glanced up at me with a motion of his hand to pardon the rudeness he had just displayed. He shook his head as if to tell me that it wasn't my touch that bothered him. His eyes sunk down to the mossy dirt.
"Tell me," I urged.
"Let's just drop it, 'K Bella?" He mumbled, not lifting his eyes. I heard a faint sniffle.
"No," I disagreed. "You're my best friend," I reminded him fervently. "And you are telling me now. I'm not letting you go until you do, and believe me, I don't function on sleep, so you're already at a loss here."
As if feigning a long-suffering sigh, his lower lip jutted out, and he tossed the twig against one of the tree trunks. It bounced off high about two feet and then landed in a pile of moss. "Just…that Sam doesn't agree with my choices, let's just put it that way."
"What choices?" I probed, not letting him get away with flimsy explanations that held no significance for me.
When he said nothing, I knelt down to his level. "Jake, you know I don't get your vague short answers. It's not going to help anyone. So may as well tell me now." I craned my neck to peer up into his deep brown eyes.
"What about Sam?"
He pursed his lips together. He glanced up at the starless sky, as if hoping to find comfort and explanations to his unspoken problems there. "He just doesn't get it."
I blinked my eyes and jerked my head from side to side. "Uh, neither do I…?" I said, matter of factly.
I could hear crickets, and possibly bullfrogs from twelve miles away. My heart leapt when I heard the voices of Emmett, Jasper and Edward. They were on their journey home. I knew Alice would be buoyantly awaiting Jasper's arrival, and I felt butterflies in my stomach just thinking about seeing my lover again, even though it had been only a few hours.
Distracted but only momentarily, I looked over my shoulder to the south, the direction I could hear the thunderous sounds of boots pounding into the earth, like a stampede. I would give them three minutes max, before Edward would find his way to me. It both excited me and made me anxious.
I turned my attention back to the sulking Jacob, wanting to console his agony. It took a lot to get Jacob Black to frown, so this was big.
"Please Jake, Edward's on his way," I pressed, and immediately wishing I wouldn't have rushed him. Jacob was more sullen now. I had a brilliant an idea. "Okay, let's make a deal." I pressed my palms together. " I'll let you play with Nessie first thing in the morning and all day, after her breakfast, if you just tell me what Sam said." I knew that tomorrow was Edward's and my day with Renesmee but I could share my daughter, since she was already betrothed to Jacob.
To make a long story short, Jacob had imprinted on her when she was born. He knew that one day , he would love her and take care of her. Even though it was a twist, since Jacob had once loved me before I married Edward, Jacob now belonged with my daughter. I had had a conniption fit at first, but now I understood the way of things with the werewolves—shape shifters, their relatively technical term.
Jacob's eyes sparkled, and his cheekbones lifted a little higher, like he was contemplating smiling. "For reals? And you'd keep Blondie off my back?"
I nodded in agreement. "I'm Renesmee's mother. Enough said." I simplified the facts out for him. His eyes finally met mine and I nodded to seal the deal. "I mean it, you don't even have to ask Edward," I added on as a staple.
Giving in, Jacob huffed out in one breath. "K. Fine. You win," he said despondently. He rose to his feet, his muscles flexing as if he were ready to attack someone that wasn't there. He exhaled deeply, his chest contracting. "Sam's been riding on me, about this whole imprinting on Nessie—" he stopped short, waiting for me to complain about his nickname for my daughter, but I shook it off, urging him to continue. "—he thinks it's a mistake for me to have, you know…and he's given me an ultimatum. Either I forgo my decision, which I won't, can't do…or, no more am I in the pack." He summed it up, taking another breath. I could tell he was relieved reprieved to have the load lightened by telling me.
"I didn't think you were." I tilted my head to the side.
Jacob's deep-set eyes met mine. "No I mean ever again. Even if I wanted to."
I chewed on that news, now seeing his point. This was crucial. Even though he was an Alpha leader of the pack, if the others overruled him, they could easily turn this to mutiny on his part. "Evidently, it's not going over with them as smoothly as I thought." Jacob explained.
As a mother, I reacted with offense for Renesmee. "What? What's wrong with them? They have a problem with my daughter?" I couldn't help it. Anyone who wouldn't love my baby girl would be an enemy to myself and my husband, as far as I was concerned.
"Bunch of losers," he said, disgusted at his own kind. "I already told them my decision."
"You did?" I was surprised. He had chosen Renesmee over his life, his family. That was saying something. I knew how deeply he cared about her, and that brought warmth to my heart.
Jacob inclined his head back, revolted that I had put it that way. We both knew it was true. Vampires and werewolves had never really coincided, until now, because of Jacob and I being such close friends. True, we had stood as allies when we had thought that Aro was going to slaughter both of our covens, and now it was clear that the werewolves had gone back to revolting us for who we were. This left Jacob tangled in the middle. The pack had graciously offered for him to return to be their Alpha and he had accepted.
Jacob's eyes fell. He didn't want to show his pain. I felt it for him. He tensed, a fist balling up on his side. I could hear his knuckles snap and pop. "Jake." I wanted to soothe his aches, but how could I when I didn't know what to tell him? Choose my child over your family? It was his call. "You have a place with us, if you need it. We are your family. You know that."
He lost his temper. He turned up his nose as if Sam was standing right beside us. His antagonistic stare averted. "This isn't easy for me. Not that your husband wants me around anyway. I see the way he shoots glares at me when I'm not looking."
My words got caught in my throat. Jacob didn't miss much. Edward accepted Jacob as a friend, though I could see in my lover's eyes that he still had resentment against Jacob imprinting on our daughter. I couldn't deny that. "It's because he's a father, you know how it goes." I held out my hand to placate my friend, but Jacob turned and ran in the opposite direction.
We both could feel the rumble of the ground as Edward galloped elegantly towards us, only a few hundred yards away. My mouth hung open as Jacob's bare back was out of sight. "Talk to ya later, Bells," He grumbled, not appeased. I had failed. I hadn't comforted him. In any way, I made it worse.
I felt agony for Jacob. I understood what he was going through. I wished that I could do something more. It was a shame that Embry, Jared, Quil, Paul, and Sam still held the treaty intact with our Cullen clan. That imaginary line would always be as solid as it were etched in stone. It was unfair that they held that against Jacob's happiness with Renesmee.
My arms hung to their sides as my husband slowed down to a gentle glide behind me. I felt his breath on my neck, as his hand gently glided up mine, reaching my shoulder and then my cheek. He whispered to me, "Bella, my love."
Forcing myself to drag aside the complications, I mellowed my stone features and slowly turned to look up into his golden eyes. He had a glowing smile on his lips. We were mesmerized into one another's eyes for what could have been half an hour before I curled my fingers around his chin, mirroring his gorgeous smile that still made my still heart beat hard in my chest.
His arms wound around my waist and he pulled me into him, meshing our bodies close together. I swept my thumb over the right corner of his mouth. "You got a little blood."
He laughed softly.
"Save some for me?" I kidded, lifting the tips of my fingers to my tongue and licking it. I returned it back to his marble face, tracing the features I had memorized so delicately—I admired him adoringly with my fingers. His hand combed through my long hair, all the way down to my back. He looked at me like he was falling in love with me all over again, and I him. I sighed and nuzzled my nose into his neck. He held onto me tighter, rubbing my back slowly. I closed my eyes, as his hands roamed all over my arms and the small of my back. I tangled my fingers in his messy reddish-blonde hair, trailing my lips up to his chin, up his neck and then to his jaw line. I heard him moan as I kissed the corner of his lips and then our lips met.
As if passion were unleashing like raging waters of a dam, he raked his hands into my scalp and kissed me fervently, his tongue exploring my mouth. He didn't hold back, like he used to. I felt the impact as I groaned and parted my lips enough to massage his tongue with mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck, as if holding onto him for dear life. Like he was my life-raft afloat the deep waters of the world. We held onto one another, enjoying each other's love as if we had gone without it for too long. Three hours was agony for me, and I could tell by the way he whispered my name on my lips that he had missed me. Now I was complete again, we were whole, we were one, as we should be.
I could get lost in his arms for hours, and I did almost every moment we were together. His mouth slid down my neck and to my collarbone, as he trailed kisses all over my bare skin. I let out a soft giggle. "Hello to you, too."
As if recalling his manners, he searched my eyes for a long moment before he said in a velvety voice, "Hello sweetheart. I missed you." He humored me, though the passionate kiss was his greeting. Sometimes, we didn't need words between us. Actions spoke louder than words.
I let our noses touch and I stole another soft kiss. "So I noticed."
I kept my wrists locked around the nape of his neck. I wasn't about to let go. His arms were linked around my waist just the same.
"Where's Nessie?" He asked me, his sweet breath blowing over my face and his eyes smouldering. My strong legs felt weak. I was so grateful that the intense love I felt for him, physically and emotionally, never went away. It was enhanced, actually.
"With Rose. At the cottage," I explained. We paused, as we both caught the faint whispers of Rosalie tucking our baby in her bed. We heard a "Goodnight, princess," from Rosalie, and a "I love you, aunt Rose," from our sweet daughter. We both shared an endearing smile.
"See? " I said, drowning in his amorous gaze again. "Safe."
He nodded slowly. "I would have to scold you, if by some chance or another, you had lost track of our daughter in between my sister and Jacob." Edward gracefully shifted his weight into me, while tracing his arm from behind me underneath my arm, to my breast and then finally at an arrival underneath my chin. He tapped his fingertip on my nose, like a child. He already knew what was going on.
I was busted, though I hadn't lost faith in Jacob's care of Renesmee. I knew he would guard her with his life. I ran my fingers through his hair, which made him breathe deeper. "I know I can trust Jacob. He had some—business to take care of," I said, not divulging my friend's trust. He had confided in me and I respected him for that.
Edward tilted his head to one side, while intently exploring my honest stare. "Is that so? Then why was it that I heard you reprimanding him for a poor delivery to Rosalie, without telling you?" I knew he was trapping me, even though I couldn't escape the fact that he had eavesdropped on our conversation. "How much did you hear?" I inquired, although I stated it as if it were not a question, but a statement. I dropped my eyes but he pressed his finger gently under my chin and lifted my face.
"Just the introduction. When my daughter's name is involved, I usually drop what I am doing to listen."
"So you didn't hear what he said after that?"
He played dumb, but I knew that little twinkle in his eye. The one that showed that he banked more knowledge in his head than he let on.
"I will not repeat what I heard, don't you fret."
"That still classifies on invasion of privacy you know," I said to him, though smoothing my jest over with a brush of my fingers over his forehead. I touched him whenever I could. It was our special affection that we showed to one another. He returned it with a sweep of his index finger over my lips.
"I do concern myself when another man is with my wife, yes."
"But it's Jacob, he—" I started to defend him but he cut me off.
"And you're mine," He said, as if case closed. I knew he wasn't jealous. He was just protective.
As I spoke, our lips touched. "Then I won't argue with you," I said under my breath, though he caught my mouth with his. I traced my fingers around his neck and up to his face. I laid my palm there, and then I closed my eyes and concentrated on my memory of the first time that he had kissed me, and the heated way I had kissed him back. I felt his smile underneath my fingertips. I transferred my mind to another sensual moment where I had woken up from a near concussion after James had tormented and mangled my body. I rekindled the relief when he had rescued me.
I fished another memory out of my mind, when he had proposed to me, begging me to be his wife. I felt him smile beneath my lips.
Enjoying my dim, yet detailed memories, Edward manoeuvred his hands up and down my waist. For his benefit, I reminded him with another clip of the past when I had chosen to be with him over a very heartbroken Jacob.
I opened my eyes to find him studying me with so much love. "You are an intelligent woman, Bella. Though you know that you just have to say the word and I will stop eavesdropping on you. As I have said, you were both talking about our child. I cannot help the nature of being a father, a new one at that." He hugged me closer, as if yearning to love me more.
I nodded, with parental understanding. I did the same when Renesmee was concerned, so I would not blame him for that. I squeezed closer to him if that were possible. "Alice and I had just returned from Seattle. We were shopping for more cloths for Renesmee. As if she doesn't have two walk-in closets full. Still." I told him, while caressing the back of my hand against his cheek, his jaw and back up again in a silky revolution. He enjoyed my touch. He closed his eyes and then took my hand. He kissed it and then placed it back on his cheek. I held it there, while we were transfixed in our ardent stare.
"Don't think for one moment that I am calling you a bad mother, love. I am not," Edward clarified. He dipped his mouth for another sensual kiss, and I molded myself to the connection. We shared another deep kiss that lasted ten minutes. When we were both breathless, his hand tenderly glided down my waist and then my thigh. It lingered there. I shivered, not cold.
I playfully slid my hands around the blue coaler of his button shirt and toyed with the first button. "You had better not. I knew she was in good hands," I said. Edward looked concerned for a moment, though I couldn't detect the trouble in his eyes, though it flashed back to a look of crazed love. Delight washed over his eyes when I ran my hand down his chest and back up to his neck.
Edward's stare was tense as he found the bottom of my skirt and slowly lifted it up to my waist. My breaths felt heavy in my chest as he pressed his lips over mine and buried my head on his shoulder. While our kiss grew more vigorous, he lifted my body up so that he was holding me in his arms like I was Renesmee. I moaned for him not to stop but he reluctantly shook his head.
I sighed passively, perturbed that he had controlled himself so easily. It was downright annoying. I thought we were over the boundaries, except when it came to Renesmee, which was probably the matter. As new parents, we needed to tend to our daughter, and tuck her into bed.
"Okay…" I murmured, caught off guard by him stopping whatever it was he was doing that felt so good. I pouted, my lower lip hanging down. "That is torture. You know that right?"
"Bella, my love. I haven't seen my daughter in over four hours. My heart is at a loss." Edward spoke as if he were in pain from missing our child. My hands clenched around his neck. I wouldn't let him put me down if he wanted to, which I could tell, he didn't.
Breaking our kiss, I rested my cheek on his shoulder, still captured by his heartbreaking stare. My fingers travelled through his hair, as he carried me back to our cottage, not even watching where he was going. He knew the way. I swore, he carried a map of the entire state of Washington in his head. I was getting there, but I hadn't graduated to the atlas of the state as of yet, only Forks and some of La Push, where my Jacob lived.
"I know. Nessie comes first, you're right." I indulged in another kiss and then said against his lips, "You're such a good father, you know that?" For once, Edward didn't run in blinding speed, he walked—or in the Cullen style, he glided us back to our sleeping Renesmee.
He laughed lightly. "Well, yes. You have told me before. And once I have properly greeted my daughter, I will properly greet you."
We were laying in our bed, he on top of me. I was breathing hard, as was he. We stopped to lay there and relish the moment. His cheek was on my chest. I ran my fingers repeatedly through his hair. "I love you," He said to me, for the thirtieth time tonight—now today. I embraced him, enveloping my shoulders around him and sighing in pleasure. A long moment of blissful silence went on, and then he spoke to me, the conversation not going where I thought it would.
"Bella?" he murmured.
A deliberation. "Why were you in the woods alone, without Alice?" He let the question marinate before he followed it with a dash of, "Before Jacob found you tonight?" His voice was husky, though an edge of scepticism drenched his tone.
How did he know everything? My heavenly sensation of euphoria drained away.
I fidgeted with a lock of his hair, not sure how to answer. I wanted to scold him for asking me such a thing, especially while we were making love, though I felt rather guilty for not saying anything about it.
When I had bolted into the dark forest, it was because I had heard a ruffling of the Cullen earth. These acres were ours, and anyone who set foot was going to hear from all of us. This usually didn't happen, a trespasser on our turf. It hadn't been Jacob, or any other of his pack, for that matter. It was unexpected. A disturbance of our peace. It was not human, nor animal that I had caught a whiff of. It was agonizingly familiar, yet I couldn't pinpoint who exactly the scent came from. I knew that I didn't like it. Perhaps the unknown subject that treaded our property could have been one of the more pleasant Nomads, or a person from our widespread kind, though who? I hadn't said a thing to Alice, Esme, Carlisle, or Rose yet either.
I took a deep breath, shaky as it was. I usually was not this inarticulate. I found my voice and said causally, "I smelt something different. Like a faint scent, familiar, but foreign. Something that didn't belong."
Edward's head jerked up to look down at me as if I had poked him. His eyes blazed with trepidation.
"And you didn't say anything to me? To anyone?" He could have woken the baby by his loud retort, but I could hear her. She was still dreaming with light snores.
I startled, from the calm that was broken. I lifted my head to look into his now hardened eyes. He was angry with me. I was angry with myself. "I wasn't sure if it was one of our family, though its gone now."
He gritted his teeth. He was considering my sanity, like he used to. It usually followed a, "Oh, Bella." Then he said it aloud. I nodded, closing my eyes. Perhaps I didn't want to believe it that this could be a grave situation.
So much for the romantic mood we had set. Though I agreed with him. I should have announced it to the rest of the Cullens that I had noticed a strange smell lurking about.
"I know, I thought it was nothing, and I thought I was overreacting," I said, though my self-consciousness about the situation left me trailing off in a tangent.
He propped himself up on his elbows, now untangling himself from my legs. "Bella. Love. You should have said something to me, at once." He gave me a look that told me that he was disappointed. With that, he threw on his clothes and reached for my hand. I stood upright, dressed myself and then went to the baby's steel crib. She was sound asleep, curled into a ball underneath her soft down comforter. A doll that Rosalie must have given her was tucked underneath her arm. I reached over the railing and I carefully touched her long, curly hair.
Edward loomed over my shoulder. I slowly pivoted around, but he was looking tensely into my eyes, as if looking into my soul. He motioned for me to step away from her so he could exchange a few words with me.
He took a deep breath. "I'm going to gather everyone to go into the woods to investigate."
I registered what he was saying and then nodded once. "I'm sorry, Edward." And I was. I should have not followed it on my own, but rather I should have told Carlisle right away. As my old nature, I bit down on my lower lip. I lowered my head, embarrassed by my incompetence.
Gently, he took my chin in the cup of his hand. He held my gaze, though I couldn't tell if he was still angry or if he was trying to figure my reasoning out. It was true, I had thought nothing of the scent, thinking it was from about a week ago when Tanya, Carmen, Eleazar and Kate from Denali had dropped by to see Renesmee. It smelt a lot like her, yet I couldn't place the smell.
I had pondered that it could be someone else, something dangerous like Aro, Marcus or Caius, but we would have known for sure if it had been their presence. They liked to make a wake; an entrance. To put it bluntly, I thought it was just me. That is was no big deal, and I thought that I was getting worked up for nothing.
"My love," his voice shook my inward self-loathing thoughts, as he seriously examined my eyes for a moment. "Never look down to anyone. Not even me." He said earnestly, shaking his head firmly.
When he said these words, I felt a rush of emotion. I had thought he was going to tell me I was idiotic, an imbecile for not telling him right away my discovery, though I was planning on it.
I felt relief as a smile tugged at the corners of my mouth. He gave a stiff nod, ensured that I had gotten his message. "Just please ," he begged me in a soft lull. "Come to me about every single detail, about everything next time. Alright?"
I rose my chin. "Okay."
He held our stare once more before he planted a tender kiss on my lips and said, "You may stay with Renesmee. The rest of us will be around the terrain. Call me, if you need me." His fingertips delicately traced over my cheekbones, and he gave me an alluring smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, and he turned and swept out of the room and out of the cottage before I said goodbye.
I turned to our daughter and watched her sleep, dreaming sweetly and lost in a serene world where she was safe and sound. The way I desired for it to be for her. I dangled my arms over the rail and rested my chin on my wrist. The other hand folded over the other. A smile escaped my lips as I whispered to her, "I love you so much, my Nessie." I wanted to touch her but I couldn't wake her. I could watch her forever. A little grin stretched one half of her face, the way it did when Edward smiled. His lopsided smile. I laughed to myself as she rubbed the hair of her doll between her fingers and said out loud, "Mommy, I want to play with Jacob a little while longer, he gives me pop tarts. Can I please?"
I nodded as if answering her, stifling another laugh. "Of course you may, my little one," I bent down to drop a kiss on her hair. She moved then steadied in her slumber. "Anything for you. You're in my heart." I told her, and then I heard my husband's voice cry out, "They're what?"
"I'm afraid so," I heard Carlisle's weary voice announce.
"No!" gasped Esme.
"Don't worry, I got this," said Emmett. Rose remained quiet, but Alice was the next to speak.
"Bella was right, yes, they are watching us. But why?" Alice paused. I imagined her shaking her pixie-like hair from side to side, ticking her gaze at her family members. "They still want Renesmee."
"Over my dead carcass," said Jasper.
Edward growled. I could hear his fists clench from where I stood. "It won't happen. My wife and my child will not leave my sight." His vow was a roar.
I gasped and whirled around to listen intently.
"We need to leave," said Carlisle. "Until we know what step to take next. Alice?"
Alice chimed in, her high soprano voice speaking. "I don't see them attacking. Their plan is stealthy. Yet uncharted. They mean to take her." Her words climbed at a sad pitch.
"No," I whispered, covering my mouth, wishing Edward was closer.
"No!" Edward hollered. "We will do what we can to keep them out of their reach. It won't happen."
"No, we've got the higher ground," said Emmett.
"We can't leave. What will that do? A wild goose chase, how lovely." Rosalie said.
"Nicely put," Edward said, sarcasm heavily in his tone. "Carlisle?"
There was a pause. "No, we're not going to them to fight," said Edward. "That is far too dangerous, because then I would want to be part of it. I'm not leaving Bella and the baby alone with anyone. I've been there before." He spoke bitterly. Edward hated being split up from me. The last time that happened, I was nearly murdered by James, the Nomadic vampire.
"Then we hide and wait until they seek. No big deal," said Jasper.
"That may work," said Alice. "Still…they may find us. In fact, I'm sure of it."
"Denali," Carlisle proposed.
"Why Denali? Why don't we stay here, and simply gather all of our allies here?" asked Rosalie.
"I think it's safer to relocate, baby," Emmett answered her, his tone saturated with affection. "That way, we draw any battle that may occur, elsewhere."
"Yes. This way, Bella's father does not have any random chance in getting caught in a crossfire. We will not risk him," Carlisle said on my behalf, as well as Charlie's.
"I agree." Edward's distracted tone was abrasive, and I caught the tension in it. I could have scraped it with a knife.
"If that is what we must do, then we do what we must do," Esme said lightly.
Alice chirped, "I don't see them following us quite yet, though the decision is now made to retreat to Denali. From there, we will assemble our family, our relatives, our friends—everyone."
"No turning tails on us this time?" asked Edward, the suggestion of a joke shadowing his sombre words.
I could hear the smile in her answer. "I won't run this time, I promise."
"No need." There was a scoff, followed by Emmett's oath to take them on himself, which was what he always craved. "I'd take them on, with both of my bare hands." Emmett smacked his fist into his palm. There was a clap of two hands together. Probably Emmett and Jasper, I pictured.
"We'd need more than just us to take a fight them. I say we retreat, gather everyone else in Denali." Edward's voice was in between panic and impatience. "We leave now." His voice was closer and before I knew it, I was collapsing into his arms.
He drew me in, rubbing my back in a soothing motion. "It's going to be fine, sweetheart." His eyes were blazing with sincerity. I opened my mouth to speak. So many questions brimmed over inside of my head, as I computed the figures of all of our comrades against the three brothers from Italy.
He beat me to it. "Do you think I'd let anything happen to either of you." He glanced at our sleeping child, who had no concept of the danger that still elusively dangled above us. He looked back at me. He touched my cheek. "We're going to Denali." He halted, listening to the rest of the Cullen's murmurs.
I couldn't argue with him, even though I began to wonder if the odds would be as generous as they were the last war that had nearly occurred a mere five weeks ago. I paused to listen to my family outside of Edward and my cottage, twelve yards away.
"Time is of the essence. The sooner, the better." I heard Carlisle order for everyone to pack up. Emmett and Jasper were all for it, Alice was telling Esme about a possibility that they would follow eventually, though it was going to be at a later time followed by an "Oh dear."
Then a "Yes!" from Emmett.
"We can't stay here. Whoever was here is too close to our peace," Carlisle responded, trying to keep his calm though they all moved into the house.
A million thoughts clouded my head. Jacob, Charlie, my dad, my friends Angela, Ben, Mike, and of course, how would I explain things to my dad.
Edward spoke quieter to me, pulling me to him while holding my shoulders. "We will have Jacob stay here, with your father, for his protection. I will have Jasper run and tell Jacob the predicament. As for your father, we can call him periodically." As he spoke, his hands ran all over my face.
It was as if he was reading my thoughts. I wasn't worried as much as I would be as a mortal being, although I didn't like leaving my father here. Though he was a chief of police, it still wouldn't save him if the worst happened. "I thought we were over all of this." I said, not concealing my stress.
He cradled my body in his arms, as if holding me in place from not falling apart. "We aren't. They are still alive. I always had a suspicion they would reboot and figure out some sort of cognitive way to retrace back to us and resume where we left off."
"Never ending battle," I grumbled. I could protect us with my mind shield. My gaze shifted from the baby asleep who now looked like she was about two years old, back to Edward. His eyes were full of love. He grabbed me. "Don't even think about worrying," he said, almost as if he was searing with loathe of anything that may hurt us. "Do you know how much I love you?"
I gave him a dubious look. "As much as I love you," I replied, adding mentally I love you more.
"Then you know I won't let anything happen to Nessie, or to you." He shook me lightly to get the point across. Then, in one swift motion, he reached inside of his pocket and pulled out a bottle cap.
He held it out for me to analyze. It looked like it was from a Tropicana lemonade bottle. I was stumped, not really seeing much of a significance as to the context that our urgent discussion had driven to. I arched an eyebrow up at my husband. "Why do you have that?" I wondered, confused at why he had a cap to a drink bottle. Had he gotten thirsty for something other than blood?
A smile lurked all over his handsomely chiselled features. I emphatically gestured it to me, his motion quite momentous. "This. This is the lemonade bottle cap that I took from you. The day we sat together at lunch, for the first time. When I had first fallen in love with you," he admitted. If I could cry, there would be a tear lingering in my eyes.
Realization dawned on me. It was symbolic of our first love. "You kept it?"I took it and turned it over in my hands.
I was amazed when he said, "Yes." He smiled at me so lovingly, that my whole body quivered and my knees felt weak. " This had been a symbol of you. It had given me hope that you would come back to me, after your class. I've always known you were the one," he said with fire of passion. That smile that I loved reached the corners of his eyes. I melted, falling apart as my legs turned to jello.
I believed him. I inspected the round, silvery object for a weighted moment. I looked up at him as he searched my eyes. I took his hand, placed it inside of it and closed his fingers around it. Couldn't he had just stolen a lock of my hair? So many things went through my mind now. Priorities shifted.
This gesture deeply touched me. It was a token of my unspoken love for him, at the time. He had always known that I would love him one day. Without warning, I practically jumped onto him as I kissed him passionately. He engrossed himself in the kiss for a moment and then found his bearings. "Now. I am going to give you hope." He cradled my face in his palm as if I were still breakable. "We must keep ourselves at bay, for the sake of Renesmee."
I shook my head desperately. "What do you want me to do?"
"Wake her. Please," he whispered. His hands still touched my neck, my hair. "I will pack what she needs. Get her ready. Everyone is nearly ready to leave. Now. It's time."
I didn't waste any more time with questions, for I trusted Edward with my life and Renesmee's. As he pulled away unwillingly to gather her belongings, our hands linked and our eyes held the piercing stare that our lives just may be in jeopardy once again.