DISCLAIMER: I do not own the title (TWILIGHT) or any of the characters related to it. The book and characters all belong to STEPHANIE MEYER. Any names I create or extra characters I add do belong to me.
CHAPTER 1: THE SMELL
"Done," Renesmee proudly announced, letting the gazelle's carcass drop from her hands.
Jacob growled playfully, nudging her with his nose. He looked at Edward.
"No, I think that was pretty fair, Jacob," Edward said, reading his mind.
Renesmee and Jacob had grown closer, although to both of them, it was merely a friendship. Until Renesmee's old enough to learn about Jake's real feelings, I say to myself. I grind my teeth at the thought.
Jake, my best friend, had imprinted on my daughter. I can never get used to thinking it. He explained it was nothing to worry about, that it was something uncontrollable. But to imagine them walking hand in hand… I shivered, looking away.
"Mom, are you OK?" Renesmee asked, coming over to me.
Although technically Renesmee should only be two years old, she was almost as tall as me, and looked like any average fifteen year old. Fifteen years in two years. Although I knew she would stop growing and stay permanently frozen in about half a year, I couldn't believe the rate that she was progressing at now.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said, stroking her smooth hair. "When are you ever going to let Jake win?" I asked, lightening the mood.
She laughed musically, throwing her head back. "Whenever he thinks he can beat me," she said tauntingly.
"Which will be someday soon," Jake said, back in his human form.
"Sure, Jake, whatever makes you feel better about yourself," Renesmee said, smiling.
Jake grinned back, running a hand through his hair. "Race you back to the house?"
"You got it," she said. They zoomed off in the direction of our cottage, whizzing through the forest at lightning speed. The leaves barely rustled, and then it was quiet.
I turned around; I almost forgot that Edward was there with me. I took his hand and we walked in silence, listening to the sound of the woods.
"I'll never get used to this," I said, looking at the trees. "I can hear everything. It's almost… overwhelming."
He chuckled, squeezing my hand. "Oh, give it a century or so."
"I guess I have the time," I said, laughing with him.
He stiffened all of a sudden, staring blankly into the empty air. I tensed myself for danger, automatically looking around.
He tugged my hand, jerking his head into the direction we were going. "Let's run."
We fell into our familiar pattern, him in the front as always. I thought that being a vampire would give me a chance to at least beat him once. But no matter what, Edward would always be faster.
In less than a minute we were at the cottage, and we slid to a stop. "Edward, what's the matter?" I asked, looking at him.
"Even as a vampire, Bella, you still worry too much," said a tinkling voice. I looked up and saw Alice dangling in the branches. She stepped off one and landed lithely among the fallen leaves, barely making a sound.
Before I could respond, Renesmee came bounding out of the house, running straight into Alice's arms.
"Alice!" she squealed with delight.
Alice laughed, spinning her in a circle. "How's my favorite niece?"
"She's your only niece," Edward teased.
Alice glared at him.
"What's up?" Renesmee asked, looking at her longingly.
She laughed, holding up her hands. "Sorry Nessie, I don't have any gifts with me."
As an Aunt, Alice pretty much spoiled Renesmee to the extreme. Her and Rosalie combined were the worst. Talk about playing favorites.
"How's your pet doggy?" Alice asked in a lighter tone.
"He's fine, thank you," Jake replied, coming out of the house.
"Ah, he's got a shirt on today. What an improvement," she said walking over to hug him, putting as much distance between them as possible. Although they weren't quite used to each other yet, they made an effort.
"So if your not here to pamper Renesmee, what's the matter?" I asked, stepping forward. Renesmee smiled smugly.
"Why do you have to assume there's trouble?" she asked, hugging me too.
"Because I know you," I say, raising an eyebrow.
She sighed, stepping away. "Follow me. You can come too, Jake, but keep your distance, OK?" He nodded suspiciously, and we took off.
Alice led the way down our familiar route leading back to the Cullen house. We shot through the slim tree trunks that I now considered fragile, the light casting rainbows off our skin.
"What's up Jake?" I asked as a wolf appeared beside me. He coughed up a throaty reply, winking his eye at me.
We leapt across the river, landing almost in sync, and were greeted by Rosalie and Emmett on the other side.
"Rose!" Renesmee greeted, hugging her instantly.
Rose smiled, stroking Renesmee's hair. "How's my little Nessie?"
I walked up to Emmett, accepting his bear hug. "Hey little sis, it's been a while," he said.
"What's the matter?" I asked right away, looking past him at the house.
Emmett and Rose exchanged glances and waved us on. We stalked up to the house, and I jolted in surprise as a new scent wafted up my nostrils. I grabbed Renesmee's hand, pulling her towards me. Edward sensed my distress and put an arm around my shoulders.
"Relax," he coaxed, whispering into my ear.
"I can't." I stiffened as we approached the house. The smell grew stronger, taking over my senses. My nostrils burned and I tried to fight the impulse to take Renesmee back to our safe little cottage. I'd know that smell anywhere.