All things related to Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer and/or Summit. Everything else belongs to me.
Thank you to Wendy, who is an extraordinary beta. You are fabulous!
This was written for the Fanficaholics Anon 100 Pictures competition and it tied for first place in the popular vote! I hope you enjoy!
"Would you like to hold your son now?"
Rather than answer, I reach my hands out to grasp the tiny bundle. I ignore the tug of the IV still embedded in the crook of my arm, wanting nothing more than to hold my baby, to smell him, to feel his warmth against my skin.
The doctors at the foot of my bed barely register with me now that I am about to hold my child. A nurse reaches up to pull the sheet down over my bottom half, so I don't have to think about anything but my beautiful boy.
Pulling him close, I breathe in his wonderful scent. He looks up at me with wide eyes; I can already see the hints of brown behind the newborn slate. He does not cry. His pink mouth opens slightly as though he has something to say. There are remains of his birth evident at his hairline. They'll be taking him for his bath soon. I can see the nurse edging toward the bed to take him to the nursery. My heart clenches a bit in my chest.
Lowering my face to my son's, I press my lips to his incredibly soft skin, and tears leak from the corners of my eyes.
"You don't know how long I've waited for you."
My husband's voice reaches my ears from much closer than I expected. "Nessie, you have to give Billy to the nurse now. He'll be back soon."
Handing our son, who is named after his paternal grandfather, to the nurse, I turn to stare into Jake's smiling face. The nurses finish my clean up and leave me to speak with my husband.
"I'm so proud of you," he says, leaning in to kiss my lips softly.
"I have to admit, I'm impressed with you, too," I tell him with a smirk.
"With me? What did I do?" Jake's brow furrows in confusion.
Laughing lightly, I confess, "I thought you'd pass out."
Looking slightly affronted, he looks deep into my eyes, "Baby, you know I can't stand to see you in pain."
"I know, Jake," I say, feeling properly chastised.
Jake's terror over my pregnancy is not unfounded. His lips lift in a grin. "I'm going to check on our son."
I look up at him gratefully, "You read my mind."
Placing my hand in his, I pull him to me, pressing my lips to his jaw, his chin and coming to rest against his full, pouting mouth. "I love you, Jacob Black."
"And I love you, Renesmee Black. I always have and I always will." With that, he places a last, lingering kiss on my forehead and walks toward the door. Just as he passes the bedside table, he pauses and turns back.
"Did you forget something?" I ask, thinking he wants another kiss.
He flashes his brilliant, white smile and grabs the camera from the tabletop before heading out the door.
I settle back against the pillows, letting contentment wash over me. I don't rest for more than thirty seconds, when I hear a tapping.
"Hello Mrs. Black, how are you feeling?"
"Mostly tired and a little sore. Oh, and please, call me Nessie." Dr. Embry Call's russet skin and dark eyes remind me of Jake, which is partly why I chose him to be my obstetrician. I find the familiarity comforting.
"Well, Nessie," a smile lifts his lips, "I'd say forty hours of hard labor warrants some rest. What do you think?"
"I think I'm inclined to agree with you."
"I thought you might be. I ran into your husband in the hall, he's very concerned about you. I assured him we're going to take you good care of you. I actually have some medicine I'm going to inject into your IV. It's just to help you relax, so you can get some rest."
"Um, Dr. Call?"
"How long will it take for my blood pressure to come back down?" Not only did I have pre-eclampsia, but it turned into full-blown eclampsia during labor, complete with a mild seizure.
"It should happen fairly quickly now. You'll need to come in for a recheck in two weeks, and we'll go from there. However, you don't need to concern yourself with any of that just yet. Your discharge nurse will go over all of the information with you upon your release. For now, I'm going to give you your shot and I want you to get some sleep. You're still going to have that 'yucky' feeling, as it's been called, for a while. It's still necessary for you to have the magnesium sulfate; just to be sure there won't be any more seizures."
Dr. Call lifts my hand and lays it gently on the hospital bed, palm up, fully outstretched. Just as he pops the top from the syringe, a question pops from my mouth.
"Can I see Billy again before I get knocked out?" I feel as though a part of me is missing; I'm almost panicked.
"Your son is just fine; the nurses are cleaning him and running a few tests." My eyes narrow and he rushes on, "His APGAR was normal, and your husband is with him. I assure you, there is nothing to be concerned with now. Just relax, sleep for a few hours and then you can hold your son to your heart's content. Okay?"
I sigh. Like I really have a choice. "Okay."
He places the syringe to my IV port and applies pressure to the plunger, slowly, watching for bubbles. Within seconds, I feel the new medication seeping through my veins. It's cold. I shiver a little, and settle back onto my pillows.
"Give it a few minutes and you should be able to get some sleep." His voice sounds muffled already, as my eyelids drift shut.
I can hear his footsteps on the linoleum and the slight creak of the door as he closes it on his way out. I mumble belatedly, "thank you."
Floating in the limbo that is not quite sleep, not quite waking, memories flood my brain. The scent of Billy lingers in my nostrils, sweet and pure, like sugar… Suddenly, my thoughts shift.
My mind seems to be playing a game of word association of its own will. A voice within me argues.
No, stay with Billy…
And it's gone before I can focus on it wholly.
When I think of candy, I can't help but think of that fateful summer. Our trip to Mackinaw City in Michigan.
Dad and I wandered into that tiny candy store on the strip; we found so much more than sweets.
An unexpected, lingering pang of jealousy fills my chest.
As I sink further into my ever darkening limbo, images flash behind my eyelids of my Dad and Bella, and of Jake.
A steady beeping fills my senses as it increases in tempo. Somewhere in the blackness, I hear a shrill sound, like a siren.
I don't recall envy being such a physical pain. The sting has blossomed into a consuming pressure. Air is coming from my lungs in short puffs. I can't get enough oxygen in my lungs.
I hear a muffled commotion in the darkness, but my awareness is fading. I can make out three separate voices – voices that will anchor me to this place.
"Doctor, please, what is it? Can't you tell us what's wrong?" The panic in my father's voice is palpable.
Then I hear the voice of reason, the calming force from the last ten years of my life.
"Edward, Jacob, let the doctors do their job. She's strong." Her voice breaks on the last word.
Tubes are being attached to me, air is being forced into me and yet, I'm sinking.
The pandemonium surrounding me is quieting, slowly disappearing.
I see blackness. I hear a soft humming.
I open my eyes to see what is making the sound, because it doesn't fit with my surroundings, and I am stunned by the picture before me.
I'm floating above a couple. A couple that is kissing passionately. The couple looks familiar. I look around and notice the park they're sitting in.
This is where I used to come with Jake when we were teenagers.
The girl pulls back to speak. Now that I can see her face closely, I realize… that's us!
I blink and upon opening my eyes, I look out at Jake. All the thoughts in my head vanish until nothing in this world exists but the two of us. He is my world and I know I will marry him someday. I'm only sixteen, but that doesn't matter.
"Jacob," I say seriously, "I want you to come with me. Is there any way you can do it?"
"Nessie, you know I can't. Your dad already said there was no way he'd allow that, and I don't think my dad would be too thrilled either." Jake sighs and brushes my hair behind my ear. "I'll be here, waiting for you to come home."
"No, it's nothing. Never mind." I feel my lips push out into a pout.
"I want to know what you're thinking. Please?" he asks me, pressing his lips to mine in a most convincing manner.
I manage to break our kiss, though it's not without effort.
"Jake, I'm worried someone else will steal you away when I'm gone." He shakes his head and I continue. "No, don't do that, just listen. You just graduated. I still have two years left. You're going to meet so many new people this year… You'll forget all about me." He opens his mouth to protest, so I raise my voice to speak over him. "That's why I want us to spend this summer together. Our last summer."
The tears that have been burning the backs of my eyes, spill over, dripping down my cheeks. My melodramatics work to my advantage.
"Renesmee Cullen, that's enough. Listen to me." Jake places one of his warm hands under my chin, forcing me to look into his dark eyes, and the other on my leg, rubbing it gently. "I don't know what I have to do to prove that I love you and only you. You're all I could ever want. You're perfect."
My underlying seed of doubt is nearly buried, but it will always be a part of who I am. Jake does his best to quash it. I love him so much. I'm used to getting what I want, but I am always scared of it being snatched away from me. It's an odd mix of qualities, but it seems to work for me.
I sniffle a little before answering, "I love you, Jake. You're all I want, too."
We sit cuddling for a while before he drives me home in his little, rusted Rabbit.
After a long, clinging kiss, I walk up the side-walk toward the house. I open the door to my dad. He's glaring.
"I'm sorry, Dad. I, uh, didn't have the volume up on my cell phone." I had to think of something.
"I don't want to hear any excuses; you're grounded."
"What? No! Dad, come on! I'm only..." I look at the clock behind me.
Oh shit. I'm going to have to do some major sucking up for this one or he'll never let me see Jacob.
"Yeah, you're only an hour late. If I hadn't already paid for our plane tickets, we would not be going anywhere."
Apparently I'm a little too late for sucking up, he's passed that point. I groan. I'd kind of hoped my being late would get me out of this stupid vacation.
My dad tries very hard to compensate for me not having a mother. It's not his fault. He didn't kill her. Before my mind travels that path, I apologize and head up the stairs to flop on my bed, letting the tears pour from my eyes. Part of me is hoping I'll drown in them. I'm such a mess of emotions. Normally I'm not so maudlin, but the impending trip is weighing heavily on my mind, making things seem worse.
Tomorrow I leave for Michigan…with my dad.
My boyfriend is going to be here all summer with all the tourists, while I'm thousands of miles away. I wish I had a woman to talk to. It's not that I don't love my dad, because I do – very much. It would just be nice to have a woman's advice occasionally. My mother passed away giving birth to me, so I don't remember her. I sigh, thinking, my life sucks.
I close my eyes to get some sleep and just as I start to drift off, I hear people speaking in hushed tones.
"I can't lose her." The tears in this man's voice make my heart twinge in my chest.
"You won't. She's not going to give up. Are you, Nessie?" This woman sounds determined. How does she know my name? And I'm not giving up anything.
What a weird dream!
"Where's Edward?" I hear the man ask.
"He went to spend time with Billy," she answers.
Before I can open my eyes, I sink into sleep.
"Renesmee, can't you wait to call Jacob until we're out of the airport?" My father sounds annoyed.
Huffing, I close my phone and watch for my bag to come around the conveyor belt. I'm feeling irritated by the five or six hour drive we have to take to get to our hotel. He conveniently left that part out.
After seven hours and many wrong turns, we finally make it to Mackinaw City, which I have to admit is beautiful. It's dark now and the large bridge visible from our hotel window is lit up.
Oh, I wish Jake was here…
I can hear Dad's low voice on the phone with the front desk, asking where we can find an open restaurant. It's late and we're both hungry. I tune him out and wander into my small room within our suite. It's nice even if it is lacking in space.
So this is my home for the summer. I sigh and toss my suitcase onto the bed to unpack. There is a drawer and small closet to store my things. The bed is large and plush… I lose my train of thought as Jake pops into my head once again.
So much for that fantasy. "Yeah, Dad. Come in."
"Well, I talked to the desk clerk and he said everything on the main strip should still be open. Do you want to go walk around and see what we can find?"
My stomach growls. I laugh. "Sure."
We're only a couple of streets away from the main drag, so the walk is a fairly short one. There are multitudes of shops and restaurants, all lit up and open for business. We stop at a deli and grab some sandwiches and drinks.
Sitting on the ledge of a beautiful fountain, we eat our dinner and take in our surroundings. There's a bunch of shops I can't wait to check out. One in particular won't wait until tomorrow. I'm craving a bit of sweet now that I've eaten and there's a colorful candy shop across the square.
"Dad, do you want to check out the candy with me?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe I'll just wait here for you."
I'm in a pretty good mood and decide to hassle him a bit. "You're getting pretty old if you can't even walk across the square with your daughter. Should I call a cab to drive you back to the hotel?"
He laughs. "Alright, alright. Let's go." He gets up and tosses his trash into the nearest garbage can.
My dad throws an arm around me as we head into the shop, and for once, I'm not embarrassed. We enter the fun looking shop and my eyes are met with the sight of thousands of different types of sweets.
"Wow!" is all I can say.
With a chuckle, my dad agrees. We start looking at all the labels on the bins ooh'ing and ahh'ing at their contents. I spot a glass case near the register with some very tempting looking candies. I leave my dad's side and peer through the glass, deciding on several things I'm going to bring back to the hotel with me. I even see a few things I'm going to mail home to Jake.
"Hey, Dad, can you come here a sec?"
He doesn't respond.
I look up and notice him standing stock-still, staring at something behind me. Slowly, I turn around and notice a beautiful woman with dark hair and skin so pale it makes her eyes appear huge and warm. Her mouth is slightly open as she returns my father's stare.
What in the hell is going on here?
I've never seen my father react this way to a woman before. He's had girlfriends, but he has never looked at them like this. I would have thrown a fit if he had.
As though she's been struck by some unseen force, she jumps and starts forward. She stops behind the case and clears her throat before speaking.
"Hi, I'm Bella. Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Um…" I look at my dad, unsure of what to do. He still looks like a zombie.
"Did you want something out of this case?" Bella asks.
My dad starts forward. "Hi…"
The girl blushes and says shyly, "Hi."
I feel as though I'm intruding on an intimate moment.
Incredibly repulsed by the sight before me, I turn on my heel and leave the store. I make it out of the store and halfway across the square before I hear him.
"Nessie?" My dad is calling from behind me.
I ignore him and storm off in the direction of our hotel. I hear his quickening footfalls on the pavement; he's closing the distance between us.
"Renesmee Cullen! What was that about?"
I turn to face him before shouting, "That was embarrassing! You were practically drooling all over yourself."
"You're being melodramatic," he mutters, but I swear he's blushing. "Look, it's late and you're not even walking the right way. The hotel is over that way," he says, pointing in the opposite direction.
When we approach the hotel, I keep up my pace, leaving my dad behind me. I jump into the nearest elevator and push the button to close the door, leaving my dad glaring at me through the shrinking gap.
Arriving on our floor, I rush into our suite and lock myself in my room. I sit on the bed, fuming for a few minutes before I hear the outer door open and close.
"I can't believe you did that. You behaved like a six year old child, not a sixteen year old girl." He doesn't even sound angry, just disappointed.
Whatever. He was being an insensitive jerk.
He goes on, "I'm going to bed. Let's start over tomorrow morning, okay?"
"Fine," I huff.
Determined not to make this summer longer than it has to be, I pretend nothing happened last night. I step out of my room after a last glance in the mirror to find my dad on his cell phone.
I look at him, confused, trying to figure out who he's talking to, only he doesn't see me because his back is to me.
My phone vibrates in my pocket. I take it out and see a text from Jake.
Love and miss you.
I quickly send a message back.
Love and miss you more.
With a smile, I place the device back in my pocket. When I look up again, my dad is hanging his phone up with a goofy grin plastered on his face. Something's up.
"Who was that, Dad?"
"What? Oh, it was Bella. She gave me her business card last night. She owns that shop, you know. She'd like us to come back today." He sounds excited. My good mood quickly evaporates. I frown at him.
"Well, I wanted to do some shopping, so…"
"Well, isn't it lucky that her shop happens to be right by those stores you want to visit?" He isn't backing down.
A few weeks pass and things only heat up between my father and Bella. I've walked in on them countless times making out in various places. In order to escape, I have taken to walking along the beach surrounding the city. It's beautiful and peaceful and more than ever, I wish Jacob was here with me. However, I have convinced Dad to give me his lovely, black credit card.
Thinking more about Bella and my dad, I get a little irritated. It's not that she's not nice, because she is. But, she's overly nice. Like she's sucking up. I think I've got her game called, though.
She's obviously aware of my dad's money. I mean, how many men can afford a summer, well, a couple of months anyway, away from their jobs just lounging in a tourist town? Part of me thinks I should ease up on her, but it's a small part. I just wish my dad could see her for what she really is. A gold digger who wants all of my dad's attention.
Getting bored with the town, I decide to head over to Mackinac Island today. I text my dad, who is having lunch with Bella – again, telling him I want to check out the island. He texts back saying he wants me to wait, so he can come with me.
I shut my phone with a snap and thrust it into my pocket without returning his message.
I head to the area where the ferries are docked. I buy my ticket and wait to board. I watch a ferry on its way to the island, water shooting from the back in a large arc. The sun is shining so the water has taken on a brilliant blue hue. I check my phone and see it's time to climb aboard the boat.
I feel a thrill of excitement. When everyone is seated and the ship takes off, I get up to walk around a bit. I head to the back of the boat and watch the water spray from the bottom, looking like a giant rooster tail.
I see a fish break the water not too far from behind us. Leaning over to get a closer look, I slip on the handrail and feel myself fall.
I don't have time to scream before my body hits the icy water.
Oh my God!
My thoughts are panicked. I can't breathe. I can't think.
I throw my arms out in front of me, trying not to get sucked under by the pull of the retreating boat.
Finally, I break the surface, sucking in a deep breath. My hands swirl around me, my feet kicking below as I tread the water. I see the boat nearing the island and realize I'm more than a mile into the lake.
This is a busy area, what if no one sees me?
Can I swim to either side?
What do I do?
Realizing I can't stay in one spot, treading water forever, I attempt to swim after the boat. I know I can't catch it, but maybe someone saw me fall in. I thrust my body forward, dragging my hands through the cold water, praying my muscles won't seize. The air is hot and muggy, so I don't think that will be a problem.
I'm surprised at the clarity of my thoughts. As I swim, I keep my mind occupied with other things than just trying to save my life.
I gasp, sucking in a mouthful of water. Coughing and sputtering, I expel the water from my lungs and remember my dad would have no idea where I was going. He probably thinks I got mad and went back to the hotel to call Jake. In hindsight, I really wish that is what I would have done. How stupid of me to travel alone to a place I've never been.
What if I don't make it back?
I shake my head and continue pulling myself through the water. This is getting harder; I'm growing tired. My limbs are sore and I'm having trouble kicking with my shoes on. I manage to take them off, giving them a mental memorial.
They were such good shoes.
I don't know how much time has passed, but I can see the shore getting closer. I can start to make out people on the beach. Feeling a sense of relief knowing I am perhaps only minutes away from salvation, I hear a buzzing noise behind me.
My arms are so tired, I'm not sure I can stop to wave for help. I'm afraid if I do, I may sink. I just continue swimming. Black spots are dotting my vision and a fresh wave of panic washes over me. I snort internally at my disgustingly ironic pun.
The buzzing is getting closer.
My pulls through the water are slowing as my limbs begin to lose their will to move.
I can't give up, I think as I sink into blackness, the cold closing in over my head.
When I open my eyes, I'm confused. I don't know where I am, but I know I'm in a hospital. The sickly green walls and beige linoleum alert me to that fact. I look down at myself and take in my odd, grayish colored gown, an oxygen tube stuck under my nose and the IV taped to the inside of my arm. The IV tube is full of clear fluid. My throat hurts.
"Help," I croak.
"Shh, baby, don't try to talk. They had to put a tube down your throat to pump out all the water."
Jake? How did he get here?
The sun is coming through the windows at an odd angle for the time of day. It almost appears to be mid-morning and I know I left well into the afternoon. More puzzling is the fact that Jake is standing beside me, staring at me with his intense gaze, scrutinizing my every move.
He must have seen the questions in my eyes, because he places his hand against my hair, smoothing it, and he speaks.
"Your dad flew me in. He even chartered a plane to get me here faster. Do you know what happened to you?"
Tears fill my eyes as I nod once and then shake my head. I only know part of the story.
Jake looks at me intently. "Are you sure?"
I nod again.
"Okay," he sighs. "After you fell in you obviously started swimming, right?" My head bobs slightly.
"Well, a man on a jet ski happened to see you and headed your way, but before he could get to you, you fell below the surface. He saved you, single handedly, brought you to shore and performed CPR on you. He kept you breathing until the paramedics arrived. They got there and hauled you away in an ambulance. You were brought here and they pumped the water out of you. You must have lost your purse somewhere along the way, because they couldn't find any form of identification on you. When you didn't show up last night for dinner, your dad and Bella scoured the city, handing out flyers and showing your picture to everyone. Bella called a contact of hers here on the island and they told her about a girl who fell off a ferry. You're big news, by the way." Jake smiles gently at me.
"So, your dad and Bella hopped on the next ferry and came to find you here. Apparently, he decided I deserved to be here, because he called me in the middle of the night and got me on the next flight. He said Bella talked him into it."
My cheeks are hot and wet.
"Dad?" I manage to whisper.
"I'll go get him." Jake stands up and then leans over to kiss my forehead before heading out of the room. He pauses in the doorway and looks back at me, mouthing, "I love you".
I mime it back to him and close my eyes, ashamed of my stupidity and selfishness.
Bella did all that to help my dad? To find me?
I've been terrible to her. I need to apologize.
My dad comes in, his eyes red rimmed and swollen. "Nessie, honey, are you okay?"
He rushes to my side and takes my hand in his. I see Bella lingering at the door, looking uncertain. I raise my free hand and gesture to her to come closer. My dad reaches his hand out to her and she comes to stand next to my bed.
I clear my throat. Ouch.
"No, Nessie, you have nothing to be sorry for."
Exhaustion takes over my actions and my eyelids drift shut, but not before I see Bella rest her hand on my dad's shoulder and smile.
A picture show of my past is suddenly playing before me. I see flashes of Jake and me at my senior prom, him placing a promise ring on my finger and finally bending down on one knee.
I see my dad beaming at his new bride, Bella, as Jacob and I look on. Then I see my wedding day. My father and Bella are on either side of me, holding my arms as we make our way down the aisle. I can feel the love emanating from them.
More images flash and I see time pass.
Now, I'm pregnant and Jake and I are telling my parents. I watch my belly grow and grow and I can almost feel my water break and the horrid contractions.
Suddenly, I hear, "It's a boy!"
Tears stream down my cheeks as I come to awareness. I can hear people rushing around the room, it sounds like they're coming closer.
"Nessie? Nessie, can you hear me?" Jake sounds less anxious, and more hopeful than the last time I heard his voice.
My eyes slowly open and there he is, my husband, my Jacob, stroking my face gently while tears trickle down his own.
"Jacob, where's Billy? I need him," I whisper hoarsely.
Bella's hand shoots out of nowhere, a cup of water in hand.
I hear my dad's relief as he speaks. "Renesmee, take a drink and we'll go get your baby."
I sip slowly and am struck with a feeling of déjà vu. As it happened in my memories, Jake is the one to explain what happened to me.
I had a reaction to the medication Dr. Call gave me and my heart stopped beating. I've only been out for an hour or so, but somehow I've managed to relive most of my life in that time. It's left me with so many different emotions, I'm feeling overwhelmed.
I try to explain to everyone how grateful I am for them, how much I love them and how much better off I am for having known them all, but they brush it off, insisting they already know.
I sit cradling my son, his face to my breast as he suckles. My dad and Bella left a while ago to give Jacob and I some alone time as a family. Before they left, I asked the boys to step out for a second so I could speak to Bella. I had to thank her for everything she's done for me. Without her presence, I doubt I would be half the woman I am today. She helped mold me and saved me from becoming a spoiled rotten brat.
It's been a long, scary and happy day. The nurses have pulled in a roll-away bed for Jake and taken Billy to the nursery so I can sleep for a while.
Jake positions his bed right next to mine and we hold hands as I fall into a dreamless sleep.