I looked around my small bedroom and smiled. The faded blue walls that previously housed photos were now bare; the decrepit, oak wardrobe stood at the back now empty, its contents packed into the suitcase on my bed. I walked the length of the room to the desk by the window where the last remaining object to be packed, rested. I picked it up and smiled at the distinct memory. It was a photo of me, my mom and my grandpa. It was taken five years ago on my fourth birthday. Of course, then I looked ten-years-old. My mom, Bella, had packed us all an exquisite picnic made up of our favourite human foods. There was too much there considering it was only Charlie and I who ate it. Looking at the photo now, all our heads close in proximity, I tried to imagine Bella with the same deep chocolate eyes that she once shared with Charlie and I instead of her luminous yellow eyes.
Our family time was special because we had to keep our unit a secret from the town. Although Charlie never acknowledged what we were, he knew we were different. Ten years later, he'd fully accepted it and loved us regardless, and as a man who had a strong presence in our town, he had no problem fielding questions about his daughter's whereabouts. My existence remained a mystery. No resident of Forks knew that we were here. Charlie had told the town that Bella had decided to move to Florida for college so she could be closer to Renee, and when the time came, he claimed that Bella preferred Jacksonville to Forks and opted to stay permanently. He joked about us being his personal, invincible house guards. He was the strongest man I knew. I think that's where my mom gets it from.
As I grew older I found that human food tasted better; it still wasn't as appetising as blood but less of it tasted atrocious anymore. My accelerated ageing began to slow three years ago and that was when my mom said it was acceptable for me to attend a real high school. Of course, I'd already learnt more and knew more than the average human, but I'd not actually experienced any of it and that experience was needed. We'd attended a school in Port Angeles as Bella would be too easily recognised in Forks. As soon as we had graduated, I knew that I wanted to experience college too, so, after extensive persuasion, Bella had finally agreed to let me go to The University of Washington in Seattle as it was the nearest college to Forks. It also had a satisfying science programme which was what I wanted to study (this time round anyway). I liked all aspects of science but biology was my favourite because I liked observing human and animal behaviour. It helped me understand them better – understand myself better. The only thing that bugged me about science was "everything has an explanation" because I, for certain, could not be explained.
So, here I was packing the final photo into a box, ready to face the next four years of college and living in different surroundings with different people.
"Ness?" Someone called from the doorway. It startled me as I hadn't heard anyone approaching and I was so used to Charlie sounding like an elephant. I immediately realised that it was Bella calling my name.
I turned and saw her expression. She didn't appear sad but it was still visible beneath the dominant emotion on her face. She looked a little peeved and it was obvious why: although she'd grown used to it, she really didn't like the nickname I'd been given by her best friend and my future mate, Jacob. She'd resolved it by calling me 'Ness' occasionally so that she had some control over what she wanted to call me, but she called me Renesmee mostly. I wasn't precious about what people called me. I liked my long name; I also liked my nickname but I think that was due to the fact it had been Jacob who had named it me. That was our family – me, Bella, Charlie and, I suppose, Jake.
"Yeah?" I replied as I secured the box shut.
The reason I'd packed all my things was because I didn't have much to begin with. Because we had to blend in, I shared a laptop with Bella along with most of the books and DVD's we owned. I didn't have all the latest gadgets because I didn't want them; the only gadget I possessed was a smartphone. So, my room stored my small personal items: clothes, CD's, sketch books, music books and finally, my piano. It wasn't a grand piano, it was a small rectangular structured one made from red oak that sat nicely in the far corner of my room. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring it with me, but Bella had asked the university if their music facilities could be used by students that aren't majoring in that subject. They'd assured me that I could use all their facilities; however, I would need to find out the time the rooms weren't in use as students of the subject had priority.
Bella was the reason I taught myself to play. She had a CD of composed pianist music she told me was created by my father. I'd listen to the harmonising strings at night to calm me and I fell in love with it. I could easily recognise my favourites' but not by name and Bella didn't know them either. The only name she'd given me for my most favourite was Bella's Lullaby – named that because she'd been told that she'd influenced the music. It made her sad to think of it but she quickly got over it. I'd asked her if she had the music to accompany the melody but she said she hadn't and that's when I began to teach myself the songs and make a copy of the notes. I didn't compose much myself as I found inspiration hard to come by, but I had managed to create a few tunes for myself which I was pleased with. I love playing but it wasn't a future for me, it was a hobby.
My other hobby was sketching. I sketched everything I could. I had four filled sketch books in total and I was halfway through my fifth. This was why I'd elected to take an art class as an additional module – I wanted to improve and to grasp the ability of sketching every single detail. I admit, my eyesight being better than a normal human and the patience I have is a major part to my talent.
My essential items consisted of my two music books, the photos from my room and my copy of Romeo and Juliet that Bella had bought me one Christmas, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in wonderland. Finally, I was bringing along three sketch books: The first was my half full one so that I could complete it whilst I was there, a new one just in case, and the first sketch book I'd ever owned because it held the most sentiment for me. It had sketches of my family including Jake's wolf form, sketches of the house, the forest, La Push, the sea, the pack. Everything that reminded me of home was in this book so taking it would provide tranquillity for me as and when I needed it.
Bella's face changed into sadness then. "You almost ready?" She asked, leaning against the door frame.
I turned to survey my empty room before turning back and answering, "I'm ready."
Uncertainty clouded my voice as I looked at my mom. She immediately closed the space and enveloped me in a tight hug. To me it felt tight but with her strength it wouldn't be. She breathed in deeply – her way of making sure she remembered my scent. Human blood didn't bother her because the smell was too similar to my own and the thought of killing a human made her think of Charlie, Jake and all our friends.
I felt tears well up in my eyes. I was going to miss her so much. Not only was she my mom, but she was my best friend. No one could replace her in my life. We looked the same age but she was a lot more mature than me, having adopted her motherly instincts, but she knew when we could mess around. She was everything I could ask for in a mother.
I suppose Jake was also like my best friend but the love I had for him I knew would evolve, it was inevitable. His imprinting on me made our hearts beat for each other. Bella had once given me the explanation he had given her: 'When you see her, suddenly it's not the earth holding you here anymore. She does. And nothing matters more than her. And you would do anything for her, be anything for her...you become whatever she needs you to be, whether that's a protector, or a lover, or a friend, or a brother.' And it was true. Jake had been a brother to me, now he was a friend, sooner or later he'd be my lover and we both could see it was going to happen sooner rather than later. And he was always my protector whether I liked that or not. In my mind, I'd contemplated a relationship after college. Embarrassingly enough, a bashful Bella had already had the talk with me and asked me to be a responsible person. Even though I looked old enough, I promised her that I would officially be sixteen before anything like that happened.
Bella pulled away from our hug at that point but kept her palms grasping my shoulders. She stared straight into my eyes which were now blurred due to my tears; a bearable stinging sensation pulsed in them. The white surrounding her golden irises were tinged a barely noticeable pink as the venom automatically ran to the small veins of her eyes – a vampire's alternative response to producing tears. So much loved filled her eyes and I couldn't help responding. She was the one person I cared about most, especially after what she'd been through. Admittedly, she doesn't know that I know more about what my father did to her than she'd told me; I'd found out through Jake but even he didn't tell me everything because he respected my mom too much.
Her hand reached up and lightly grazed my cheek. It took me a second to realise she was wiping a leaking tear. She sighed sharply and composed herself before speaking. "Right, let's get these boxes downstairs and get you on your way."
Her voice was thick with emotion and I knew that she didn't want me to go, but it was a learning curve for me and I knew I had to do it.
She picked up the box and my suitcase whilst I carried my rucksack out of the room. I turned to admire the empty space. The bed, wardrobe and desk still occupied their usual spots, but without my personal items it looked bare and hollow. I knew I'd be back to this same place very soon but it still felt like it was a permanent goodbye. Silly, I know, because it's just a room, yet it'd been my room growing up, made especially for me after I was brought home as a baby. I closed the door and stared at the carving spread across the middle of the wooden door; 'Renesmee' decorated with ribbons of daisies and vines. I ran my fingers lightly in the indentation and smiled before I headed for the stairs.
As I reached the bottom, a blinding flash (to human eyes anyway) struck my face accompanied by a small click. It had not been something I was anticipating. I looked to see the cause of the light and saw Charlie stood by the door holding a small camera, eyes bleary, his moustache wet and the sound of small sniffles escaping every other second.
"It's your first photo as a college student," he explained behind the dismay enveloping his sullen voice.
I dropped my bag and ran into his embrace. It was strange how the ice cold of Bella, the lukewarm softness of Charlie, and the burning body of Jacob were equally as comforting to me as each other. I felt the vibrations of his chest as he tried to contain his crying.
"It doesn't seem like you can be old enough for college," he muttered as he hugged me.
I giggled. "Technically, I'm not old enough for high school, let alone college." I pulled back and smiled encouragingly at him. "You'll see me very soon, Grandpa; it's not that far away. I'll be visiting every other Sunday... as soon as I get a car anyway."
"Yeah I know," he replied before wiping his eyes and nose with the sleeve of his jacket. Bella re-entered the house then after taking my stuff to Jake's car.
"It's time to go," she declared. Enthusiasm wasn't present at all.
I looked back at Charlie mournfully, tears welling up in my eyes again. He nodded slightly then stepped aside as a gesture that he'd let me leave his house. I walked and kissed him on the cheek. "I love you, Grandpa," I said quietly.
"Yeah, you too."
I know that he meant it even if he hadn't actually said 'I love you too'. Charlie wasn't one to express his emotions as clearly as others.
He followed us out the door and stood under the porch, watching us as we made our way to Jake's car. Jake greeted me with a grin as I climbed into the back seat. Bella and Jake took their seats in the front and the engine roared to life. As the car crawled out of the driveway, I gave a timid wave to Charlie as the house became smaller in my sight. I could see him waving back and because of my enhanced vision I could still notice his chest wobbling uncontrollably. I rested my head against the window and watched as my last view of the house I loved disappeared behind the jade green trees of the forest next door.
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