A/N – I wrote this a few months ago for the Fandom Fights Tsunami event. Originally, I wasn't going to post it here, but I've had a lot of requests for it. If you donated money to read it early, thank you so much because it went to a great cause, and I hope you enjoyed the over 200 stories that were part of the compilation. This story was originally a gigantic one shot, but I polled people on Twitter and they said they'd prefer to read it in two shots.
Scenes included in this story are from Breaking Dawn and my story Absent Imprint (Leah's Story). There's a moment in Absent where Ness runs away from home. This is her POV of that event.
The Twilight universe belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Renesmee's Promise (An Imprint Saga Story)
"Jacob, will you kiss me?" I asked my best friend as we sat on his father's couch.
Jake had brought me to La Push to visit Billy who hadn't been feeling well lately. While his father napped, Jacob and I had made popcorn to eat with plans to watch the football game. Football wasn't really my thing, but Jake loved the sport so I tolerated it.
"What brought that on?" he questioned now, giving me a startled look.
I shrugged casually and he looked away. Kissing my best friend had been something on my mind a lot lately…ever since I turned fifteen, well technically five, but physically and emotionally I was a typical teenager. And I wanted to be kissed like any other normal girl my age. More importantly, I wanted Jacob to be the one who kissed me.
I was in love with him. I had been for a while. He wasn't my first crush. The first guy I ever really noticed was Brady from Sam Uley's pack. Brady was introverted like me. One day while I was at a La Push bonfire with Jacob, I was speaking to Brady about a book we'd both read and I realized he was really attractive. I fell for him soon after. Of course, the more I made my feelings known, the more uncomfortable he became around me, always sending panicked glances in Jacob's direction.
I asked Jake about that once. He'd responded with an uneasy expression on his face that it was because Brady knew if he hurt me, he'd have Jacob to deal with. I loved Jake dearly, but sometimes he could be way too overprotective of me. He'd been like that for as long as I could remember.
Brady ended up breaking my heart when he told me that while he liked me, he would never be interested in me in that way. And the first person I'd turned to was Jacob. He had wrapped me in his warm embrace, his eyes pained, while I sobbed my heart out for hours. He'd been my rock that day.
While I was getting over my heartache, I began to realize something. Jake was always the one I turned to when I needed someone. He was the most important person in my world. Just seeing him made me feel better. And I also quickly realized that Brady wasn't the one I was in love with after all. It was Jacob. It had always been Jacob. The problem was Jacob didn't see me as anything but a kid.
He glanced over at me and gave me his trademark grin which quickly sent my heart into overdrive. Reaching over to brush his fingers across my jaw line, he said, "You know what, Nessie? I might just kiss you someday. When you're older."
I rolled my eyes. That was Jacob's favorite line…
I'll get your ears pierced someday…when you're older.
I'll teach you how to drive…when you're older.
I'll show you how to cliff dive, Nessie…when you're older.
I'll give you your first kiss…when you're older.
"You know, if you're not careful, I might just find someone else to kiss," I threatened. "Wouldn't that break your heart? To not be my first kiss?"
"I'd be completely devastated. I wouldn't be able to go on," Jacob replied dryly and I huffed in frustration. As in love with Jacob as I was, he could be such a cocky shit sometimes.
I wondered not for the first time if there was something wrong with me—other than the obvious. Was I repulsive? Did the fact that I was conceived by a vampire father make me a hideous freak? I worried about that a lot.
My mom had assured me that I was a beautiful, wonderful person, but I knew she was biased. One day when I was giving into my teenage hormones and throwing the mother of all tantrums, I even told her I was a disgusting monster who'd never find true love. She merely smiled at me, patted me on the hand, and said she could guarantee love would happen for me someday. I just had to be patient and give it time.
I sighed and looked at Jacob's profile as he watched TV. He was seriously the most beautiful man I'd ever met. Why couldn't he be the one for me?
Please love me, Jacob, I silently begged. As if he could hear my thoughts, he turned his head so that our eyes met.
"Come here," he said, lifting his arm so I could snuggle close to him, which I did contentedly. I breathed in his wonderful scent—the smell of smoky pine and ocean breeze—and wrapped my arm around his middle as his hand began making soothing circles on my shoulder. He kissed my hair and we continued to watch the game. Being this close to him, I felt so protected. Jake's warmth eventually made me sleepy and I closed my eyes…
I was being lifted out of the darkness. I could hear voices yelling at each other.
"Take the baby," one said.
"Throw it out the window," another replied. This voice scared me. It was so full of hatred and anger. It was the voice of the monster; the one who'd haunted my dreams for years.
Things began to shift around me. I saw my mom, bloody and human. I knew it was real. I was reliving my birth. She was so pale…so deathly white. I was suddenly placed in my Aunt Rosalie's arms. She was humming, wiping blood and afterbirth off me. She placed me against her shoulder and that's when I saw the figure standing in the shadows. He was shaking…he was going to hurt me. He took a step toward me, his body language screaming his murderous intent…
I jerked awake, my heart pounding painfully in my chest. I realized I was still on the couch, but sometime while I slept Jacob had shifted us so that we were both lying flat. I was between him and the back of the couch, my arm across his waist. He had fallen asleep too, his mouth partly open as his chest rose and fell on each breath he took.
I brought a shaking hand to my face and ran it wearily over my eyes. I hated that dream. I used to have it all the time when I was a kid, but I usually only had it now when I was agitated. When I was little, I'd wake up screaming and my father would rush into my room with a grim expression on his face as he wrapped me in his cool arms. Thanks to his ability to read minds, he knew every detail of my nightmare, but he always assured me it was just a bad dream and I had nothing to fear.
I settled back down next to Jake and placed my head against his chest, listening to the strong steady beat of his heart. I felt myself calm instantly. Moving my head so that I could stare at him, I tentatively reached up and lightly touched one of Jacob's soft eyebrows before my fingers drifted over his sculpted cheekbone. His head moved and I froze, but he merely turned his face into my hand. I continued my exploration, running a fingertip over the slight dent in his chin. I rarely got the opportunity to touch him like this. Jacob and I were extremely close, but he always kept a frustrating distance between us.
"Jake," Billy's voice called out. I quickly withdrew my hand as Jacob's eyes fluttered open. He looked at me in confusion before a lazy smile appeared on his face.
"Hey," he murmured, sitting up and pushing me slightly back so that I was no longer hanging on him.
"Hi," I replied, hiding my disappointment at our removed contact. "Your dad's awake."
"Oh…okay," he said, standing up.
"I think I'm going to head for home," I said, also standing up.
"Let me check on my dad and I'll take you back," Jake replied.
"That's okay. I feel like walking," I responded. I was the only Cullen allowed to be on La Push land. I didn't understand why, but the wolves who protected the rez, Sam Uley's pack, were incredibly indulgent when it came to me. The other members of my family—not so much.
Jake looked at me hesitantly. "Are you okay? You seem upset."
"I'm fine," I said, giving him a brave smile. "I had a bad dream."
His face turned pained. "The same one?"
"Ness, let me take you home," he insisted.
"Jake, really. I'm fine," I said. "I want to walk."
He sighed as he saw the stubborn lift of my chin. He came over and kissed my forehead. How I wished he'd move his mouth lower and give me a proper kiss.
"Call me when you get home, okay?" he requested. "Otherwise I'll worry."
"All right," I said as I followed him into Billy's room. I gave Billy a quick hug goodbye before I headed outside and made my way into the darkening woods. It was almost twilight. I had walked about a mile when I felt a presence nearby. Turning my head, I saw the wolf forms of Collin and Brady. Brady didn't meet my eyes. Collin came over and licked my hand.
"Gross Collin," I said as I ran my fingers over his head. He hummed at the gesture. Collin was one of my favorite wolves. While his best friend Brady was quiet, Collin was a smart ass and always up to no good. He let out a little whine as I walked.
"I'm just headed for home," I explained. He began walking next to me while Brady stayed several feet behind us. As soon as we reached the La Push borderline, Collin let out a little woof.
"Thanks for the escort," I said. He gave another bark and he and Brady returned back the way they came. I walked the rest of the way home with my mind on how I could make Jacob fall in love with me.
"You're too young for thoughts like that," my father said, appearing by my side. I jumped at the sound of his voice, so lost in thought I didn't hear his approach.
"You know…I really hate when you mind-drop on my private thoughts," I told him.
He winked at me and changed the subject. "When was the last time you fed?"
"A few days ago," I said with a shrug.
"You want to go hunting with your old man?"
I raised an eyebrow at him. It was hard to consider anyone an "old man" when they were forever frozen at seventeen. I was beginning to look older than my dad.
"All right," I replied.
We headed deep into the woods and found a few deer we drained in seconds. Walking back, I told my father about my visit to La Push. As we reached the cottage, my mom appeared in the doorway with an exasperated expression on her face.
"Would you call Jacob and let him know you're alive and well?" she said. Crap!
"I forgot I was supposed to call him," I replied as I went inside. I headed into my room and grabbed my cell phone off my dresser. Sure enough, there were ten missed calls. I quickly dialed his number.
"Ness?" he asked, sounding panicked.
"I'm sorry," I immediately stated.
"You're going to give me a dammed heart attack, do you know that?"
"I'm fine," I assured him. "Collin and Brady walked me through La Push, and then when I got home Dad and I went hunting."
"Yep, I'm looking at myself in the mirror right now and I see a streak of gray hair," he told me. "That wasn't there a few hours ago, you know."
"You worry too much," I said with a laugh.
"When it comes to you, I always will," he murmured and my heart leapt excitedly.
Trying not to show my reaction, I said, "Pull yourself away from the mirror and get some sleep."
"Yes ma'am," he teased. "Night Nessie."
"Good night," I replied with a smile on my face. I hung up and took a shower before I headed for bed. With my mind on Jacob, I fell into a peaceful sleep. When I got up the next morning, there was a note in my mom's familiar handwriting waiting for me on the living room table.
We're at the meadow if you need anything.
I wrinkled my nose in disgust. Meadow was code for: wild afternoon of sex. I knew my parents had a very healthy sex life. Sometimes I wish I didn't have extra sensory hearing, because the sound of my parents moaning in the room next to mine was enough to scar me for the rest of my existence. As I got older, they had placed a radio in their room and I had one in mine. Luckily for me, I was a pretty sound sleeper, but there was more than one night where I'd wake up to the sound of moaning and classical music playing.
Putting the note back on the table, I decided to go see Jacob. I sent him a text to see where he was. A minute later he returned my message and said he was back at his dad's. I grabbed my favorite blue shirt and pulled it over me. It clung in all the right places and really brought out the red highlights in my bronze hair. Pairing it with my favorite jeans, I slipped on my knee-high black boots and headed outside, making my way to La Push. As I got closer to the rez, I heard voices in the distance and smiled as I recognized Seth, Quil, and Embry, all members of Jake's pack. They were laughing and I was about to head over to them and say hello when I heard what they were saying.
"I bet Jake about shit his pants when Ness asked him to kiss her," Embry said. I froze even as my cheeks began to burn. Jacob told them about that?
"Don't say anything to Nessie or him," Seth pleaded. "It'd just embarrass them both. Jake wouldn't have even told me if he hadn't been thinking about it when we were patrolling for Sam last night—"
"We won't say anything," Quil said. "Poor Jake. If Claire ever asks me to kiss her when she gets older, I don't know how I'm going to handle it."
I frowned. Claire was only a kid. Why would Quil even be thinking about something like that?
Embry snorted before saying, "Maybe you should practice on Bella like Jake did."
I lost my balance and grabbed the tree next to me at that announcement. Jacob had kissed my mom? When?
"Can you imagine that conversation?" Quil said. "Hey Ness, guess what? I was totally in love with your mom at one time. Talk about messed up."
I plastered myself against the tree, my stomach queasy. Was what they were saying true? Why hadn't Jacob ever told me? Why hadn't my mom? No wonder Jacob never saw me as anything but a friend. Was he even over her?
"Come on, that was a long time ago," Seth said. "You know how much Ness means to him."
"True," Quil replied in a more serious tone. "I'm just glad Jake stopped to look at Nessie right after she was born. Can you imagine how fucked up he'd be if he had successfully killed her that night like he planned?"
I covered my ears with my hands to block out the rest of their conversation. I couldn't listen to anymore. I shook my head in denial as tears filled my eyes. Behind my blurry vision I saw him…the mysterious shadow figure who'd haunted my dreams for so long. Now that I thought about it, he was Jacob's size and he had been shaking like a wolf about to phase. I placed my hand over my mouth to hide my cry. I didn't want Jake's pack to hear me.
As quietly as possible, I headed back to the cottage. As soon as I was far enough away from La Push, I ran as fast as I could, avoiding going anywhere near my Grandfather Carlisle's property. I didn't want to run into any family members until I had time to process everything.
As soon as I entered the safety of my home, I shut the door behind me and slid to the floor as gutting-wrenching sobs wracked my body. I couldn't believe it. Jacob—my Jacob—had tried to kill me when I was little. He was the one I had feared all my life.
And my parents knew it! My father knew my dreams. He would have told my mom because he never kept anything from her. Why hadn't they told me Jacob had tried to hurt me when I was born? Why hadn't they told me about my mom and Jake's previous relationship? I knew they were close friends, but in love? They had even kissed! He wouldn't kiss me, but he had made out with my mother. How many other people had known the truth? Jake's pack knew. Did the rest of my family? Was I surrounded by a bunch of liars?
The walls of the cottage began to close in around me. I heard my phone go off in my room. Taking a steadying breath, I got up off the floor and went to check who it was…like I didn't know. Sure enough, Jacob's name flashed across the screen and I shuddered. I couldn't face him. I couldn't even speak to him.
I looked around the sanctuary of my bedroom blankly. Everything I had known and everything I'd believed to be true was one big fat cover up—a lie by the very people who said they loved me. How could my parents let me hang out with my would-be murderer? And as stupid as it was, what hurt me even more was the fact that Jacob and my mom kissed. How far had they gone? Had it been a mere peck on the lips? Or had they slept together? I pressed my palms to my eyes to block out that question, but torturous images were now taunting me from behind closed eyelids.
I started to hyperventilate. I needed to get out of there. Running over to my closest, I ripped the door off the hinges and ran inside. Grabbing my suitcase, I threw an assortment of clothes in it before rushing to my dresser and filling it with panties, bras, and socks. Hurrying into the bathroom, I grabbed my necessities and also threw them in my bag. I heard my phone ring again persistently. My lips twisted into a sneer as I reached over and turned the volume to mute. Grabbing a piece of paper, I left a note for my parents.
I need to leave for awhile. Please respect that and don't follow me. Looking at the note I added with immature relish, And Mom, if Jacob's upset, give him a kiss for me…I heard you're good at that!
I placed my message on the living room table and returned to my room. I reached inside my desk and grabbed one of the fake ID's my parents insisted I keep on hand for emergencies. I zipped up my suitcase and headed outside, running as fast as I could to Port Angeles. I might've been part human, but I had inherited my father's speed.
Stopping by the bank, I withdrew a large sum of money and then headed to the airport. It was small and the only flights they offered wouldn't take me far. I ordered a ticket to Seattle where the plane would land at Sea-Tac International Airport. Maybe I'd be able to get a flight to Australia or South America from there. I'd have to avoid Europe thanks to the Volturi, but everywhere else was an option.
As I waited for my flight, I checked my phone. Sixteen missed messages. The logical, rational part of me began to question if I was overreacting a tad. I hadn't even heard Jacob's side of things. Sighing, I sat down in one of the airport chairs and dialed his number.
"Nessie, where are you? It doesn't take this long to get to La Push," he said before we could even exchange greetings.
"Jake—" I tried to speak, but tearful emotion started to choke me.
"What's going on?" he asked immediately. "I've got a really bad feeling and…is something wrong with you?"
Swallowing over the painful lump in my throat, I said, "Jacob, I have some questions for you and I want you to answer them truthfully."
"Okay," he replied slowly.
"Were you ever in love with my mom? Did you two ever kiss?" I rasped out.
He didn't say anything for so long that I thought he'd hung up. And then I heard swearing—loud, furious swearing.
"Where are you?" Jacob demanded when he finally started to calm down.
"Just tell me," I said.
"Renesmee—" My breath hitched. Jake never called me that. "That was so long ago…before you were even born."
"Not so long ago," I countered. "Not even six years."
"Nessie..." He sounded tortured. "Please tell me where you are."
"And did you…" My fingers tightened apprehensively on my phone. "Did you ever try to k-kill me right after I was born?"
Again silence. Then in a voice I could barely hear, Jacob asked, "Where did you hear all this?"
I was shocked at his tone. He sounded like he was about to cry. My tough, infallible…deceitful, murderous Jacob.
"I guess the fact that you haven't denied anything means it's all true," I said in a dead voice. "You're the monster from my dreams. And all of you knew it. You told my dad to throw me out a window when I was born. You…you were going to kill me."
"Nessie, please…" he pleaded.
A voice announced over the loud speaker, "Now boarding, American Airlines flight 53…"
"What was that?" Jake asked. "Are you at the airport?"
"Goodbye Jacob," I whispered and quietly disconnected the call.
I had just gotten into my seat when the screen on my phone flashed again. The caller ID revealed it was Aunt Alice. I knew she couldn't see me in her visions because I was a half breed so Jacob must have called my family. I didn't want to talk to her. She'd just send Uncle Jasper after me and he'd use his voodoo power to calm me down and then drag me back home. I didn't want to see any of them. They could all go to hell as far as I was concerned. The phone stopped and then flashed once more, this time the caller being my mom. I calmly hit the power button and the phone went dead.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the plane taxied out onto the runway and we were soon airborne. The flight was quick and we were landing in no time. As I exited the plane, I went over to the large monitor that listed flights. None of the destinations sounded that exciting. Where was I going to go? I closed my eyes tiredly. I felt so confused and hurt I couldn't think straight.
"Excuse me, miss," a woman's voice said. "Are you all right?"
I looked over and saw a flight attendant wearing an Alaska Airlines uniform. The Denali coven popped into my head. Tanya would let me stay with her for awhile. I was positive of it.
"I'm fine, thank you," I said. I made my way to the baggage claim and grabbed my suitcase before I headed to the ticket counter and approached the lady behind the desk. I asked politely, "Can I get a ticket for Fairbanks, Alaska?"
She began typing into her computer. "The next flight doesn't leave until tomorrow morning. Would you like a ticket?"
I pressed my lips together. Would my parents find me? I knew they'd be looking for me by now. I looked at the picture behind the woman. It was of the Seattle skyline. I knew Leah Clearwater was living in Seattle with a guy she'd met in college. I had met Dylan once before and he seemed incredibly nice. Maybe they'd let me hide out at their place for the night. Leah had retired from Jacob's pack shortly after Sam and Emily Uley had their first baby. She had moved to Seattle and rarely made it back to La Push these days. But despite that fact, she and I had become close over the years through the power of email and Skype.
"Yes please," I told the woman.
She booked my reservation and I went outside and ordered a taxi. I arrived at Leah's apartment and knocked on the door. She opened it, surprise appearing on her face. I immediately turned emotional. Seeing her reminded me of Jacob and the good times with the pack.
"Ness, hey." She moved so that I could enter the condo. I walked in and turned to face her.
"Leah, could I please stay here tonight?" I pleaded.
She looked out at the parking lot before closing the door. "How did you get here?"
"I ran to the airport in Port Angeles and hopped on a plane to Seattle. Then I came straight here."
"Does Jake know where you are?"
"No!" I said in a panicked tone. "I don't want him to either."
She looked at me closely before she wrapped her arm around my waist and dragged me into her living room. She might not have been a wolf anymore, but she was still strong. She took me over to her couch so that we could sit down.
"Okay, spill," she said. I kicked my shoes off and pulled my legs to my chest. Putting my head on my knees, I felt like an emotional dam cracked inside me and I began to sob uncontrollably.
"Did something happen to Jake or one of the guys in the pack?" she asked nervously.
"No, it w-was nothing like that," I assured her and then started to cry even harder.
"Ness, you have to calm down before you make yourself sick," she ordered.
"Leah, I'm j-just so u-upset." I barely got out.
"Tell me what's wrong," she encouraged.
"J-Jake u-used to love my m-mother," I stated while trying to hold back my anguish.
"Oh…" she said in a lighter tone. "Jesus, Renesmee, I thought it was something serious."
"O-Of course it's serious!" I cried. She opened her mouth to argue so I added, "I a-also f-found out that he tried to k-kill me when I was a b-baby."
She froze like a deer caught in headlights and then she said, "Do your parents at least know where you took off?"
"No, I don't want to talk to them, especially my mom," I replied as my mouth went grim.
"Honey," she said in a light tone. "Jake will find you in a half a heartbeat if he decides to track you."
That confused me. I had paid for my airplane ticket in cash so I wouldn't leave a trace. "How? I covered my tracks."
She opened her mouth to say something and then closed it. Finally she said, "It's all part of being a wolf. Ness, let me call him, otherwise he'll show up and bust down my door."
"Fine," I said. "But I don't want to talk to him. And if he tries to come here, I'll run."
"Okay," she replied. She grabbed her phone and went out onto the apartment balcony and closed the door. I could hear her speaking, but I began to hum to tune the conversation out. I had no interest in hearing Jacob's voice.
I had finally stopped crying by the time she came back. She paused as she looked at me and then grabbed a box of tissues and handed it to me.
"Thanks," I murmured. Curiosity getting the better of me, I asked, "W-what'd he say?"
"That he loves you…that they all do, and they want you to come home."
I shook my head. "I can't. Not right now."
"You're welcome to stay here, but I really hope you'll consider going home and working this out."
"No," I said. "I never want to see any of them again for as long as I live."
Leah looked like she was trying not to smile. I had the feeling she thought I was just being an irrational teenager. She said dryly, "Considering you're immortal, that's a long time to not see your family."
My anger got the better of me and I stood up. "I knew you'd be on their side."
"I'm not on anyone's side," she said, her voice going firm. "I don't even know what the hell happened so you can drop your 'it's me versus the world' attitude. Sit back down and talk to me."
I wanted to tell her off—after all, she'd been in Jake's pack. She probably knew all about his sordid past. But I suddenly felt drained. I sat back down on the couch with a sigh.
"I-I don't want to go into details, if that's all right. I can't talk about it," I said. The last thing I wanted to do was tell Leah how I figured out Jacob was the dark figure from my nightmares. She'd just report everything back to him, and I didn't want Seth, Embry, and Quil to get in trouble. They hadn't even known I was around to hear their private conversation.
"That's okay," Leah said.
I bit my lip as I painfully thought back to everything I'd learned. "Let's just say I remembered something. And when I asked Jake, he confessed everything."
Leah reached over and gave my shoulder a comforting squeeze. "Nessie, you have to understand something. None of us knew what you were. Even Carlisle and Edward didn't know. As far as we knew, you could have been born a complete monster that destroyed everything in your sight. It was pretty reassuring when you came out instead looking like a normal, beautiful baby girl. Yes, Jake thought about destroying you."
My stomach twisted but Leah didn't notice my pain. "He loved Bella, though I think he got his feelings of friendship mixed up with stupid teenage hormones. When he thought she died right after you were born, he wasn't thinking straight. But I promise you, Ness. From the moment Jacob looked into your eyes, he has loved and cherished you. He would've died on the spot if anything happened to you. I know this for a fact because I saw the whole thing through the windows of your house. As soon as he really looked at you, you became his whole world. That hasn't changed once in all the time you've been with us."
I listened to what Leah had to say but only felt more confused. Nothing made sense to me anymore. "Leah…" I started to say and stopped.
"You can tell me anything, you know," she said.
"I-I think I love Jacob," I whispered and felt ill. Even after everything I learned, I still loved the bastard. "I mean…I know I love him. My dad says I'm too young to understand what that kind of love is, but he sees me as his little girl. I'm in love with Jacob Black. And to know that he gave my mom his heart first—"
"Something which she didn't accept because she loved your dad," Leah countered. "Ness, that was before you were even born. Don't hold it against Jake now. I'm positive that if Jacob could go back in time, he would have never tricked himself into believing he loved Bella."
"But he'll never love me." I confessed ashamedly. Tears welled up in my eyes again, but I blinked them back before they could spill.
"Ah…now I get it," she said. "You love him, but he still sees you as a kid, right?"
I nodded and to my surprise, Leah laughed. She reached over and patted my cheek, her face turning sad as she said, "You know, Dylan was engaged before he met me, but his fiancée died. I didn't think he would ever love me like he loved her, but I gave him time. Now…I have no doubt of Dylan's love for me. Lil' M—" I smiled slightly at Leah's nickname for me. It stood for Lil' Monster. She'd been calling me that since I was a baby much to Jacob's annoyance, but coming from Leah, I knew it was a term of affection, not an insult.
"You're only fifteen," she continued. "Once you get a little older, I'm positive Jake will start seeing you in a whole new light. Give him time though. Guys are notoriously slow at picking up the signals when a girl is interested. In the meantime, will you think about going home and talking to Jake? He sounded pretty torn up when I called."
"Good," I said with more vigor than I intended. Looking apologetically at Leah, I said, "I…I just need some time. I'm not ready to face him or my mom right now. I want some space to think things over."
"What are you going to do, Nessie?" she asked cautiously.
Frowning, I said, "I might go up north for a bit. Our Denali cousins are up there. I think they'll let me stay with them."
"And if they don't?"
I let out a small sigh. "Maybe I'll go see our friends in the Amazon."
"Before you go globe trotting, pretty please consider talking to Jacob. Or if you don't want to talk to him, call your parents."
"I'll think about it," I said just as the front door opened.
I froze, worried that it was a relative, but instead Leah's boyfriend walked in carrying a suitcase. He had obviously just gotten back from a business trip. Feeling like an intruder, I offered to leave, but they both insisted I stay the night. We ordered Chinese food and spent the next few hours chatting. Dylan was charming and hilarious. By the time it was nighttime, my mood felt a little lighter.
Leah prepared the couch for me to sleep on. As I crawled into the sheets, she said, "I'll take you to the airport tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure. Thanks Leah. For everything," I said with a yawn. After all the trauma of the day, I was exhausted.
"No problem," she replied. "Sleep tight."
I tried to fall asleep, but my mind kept racing with everything I'd learned. I hurt. Every molecule in my body was in pain. Half of me wanted to get up and run out of the condo and never look back. Another bigger part of me wanted to go home and let Jacob wrap his warm arms around me. I wanted to seek the solace he had given me my entire life. I couldn't get my brain to fathom that the man who had loved and protected me for so long was the same man who was capable of murder…my murder. It broke my heart.
Around 5 AM, I finally got up and called the airport. I confirmed my flight and left a note for Leah letting her know I was catching an early flight to Alaska. I didn't want to wake her. She'd only try to talk me out of leaving again. Slipping out the front door with my suitcase, I went to the end of the street and called a cab.
A few hours later, my plane was landing in Fairbanks. To my surprise, my Denali cousin Eleazar was waiting for me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked as he grabbed my suitcase from my hand.
"The wolf you stayed with in Seattle called your friend Jacob after she realized you'd left her place. He immediately called your parents who called us. Using some of our connections, we figured out quickly which flight you were on."
My mouth went into a straight line. So much for covering my tracks. I looked at Eleazar's profile. "So it's okay? Me staying with you, I mean?"
"Of course," he replied, giving me a hug. "The ladies are already making plans on how to entertain you."
I groaned silently as we got into his car. I just wanted peace, quiet, and plenty of time to wallow in my self-misery. It took us a couple of hours to get to their place deep in the Denali National Forest. As soon as I entered the house, I was wrapped in Tanya's cool arms.
"Oh honey," she said sadly as she examined my tired expression.
"Thank you for letting me stay here," I replied.
"I'm glad you came to us," she said as she grabbed my arm and guided me into the house. "You have no idea how worried and upset your family is. When are you going to call them?"
"I don't know," I told her. "I don't really want to talk to them right now."
Tanya's lips quirked. "Whether you want to talk to them or not isn't really an option. Edward said and I quote, 'either she calls us when she gets in or I'm coming up there. And if she tries to run, you keep her there.' Now, I don't want to force anyone to stay here against their will, but I've never heard Edward sound so angry before, not even when the Volturi tried to destroy your family. So in exchange for staying here, will you please call your father so I can continue to live my life in peace?"
I sighed. "Fine. But would it be all right if I showered and rested first? I haven't slept in a couple of days and I'm exhausted."
She squeezed my shoulder in sympathy. "Sure. Let me show you to your room."
I was given a private suite with my own bath. I grabbed the essentials out of my suitcase and went into the bathroom. I stood under the warm spray of the water for a good ten minutes before I washed my hair. After getting out of the shower and drying off, I pulled on the large t-shirt I usually wore to bed. It had once been Jacob's, but I was too tired to search for anything else to wear. Climbing into bed, I was out in seconds.
End Note - I'll post Part II in a couple of days.