It had been just six months since the tense stand-off between the Volturi and the Cullens. After all the vampires had left the small town of Forks, life went on as usual for Edward, Renesme and I.
Renesme was almost a year old now, but she was growing fast. She was a young girl already, and her mind had already far surpassed Edward's and mine in intelligence. I couldn't be prouder.
The afternoon today was dull, the sun hidden in the gray clouds that threatened rain. I sighed, standing in the living room of the airy Cullen main house. We were visiting Carlisle and Esme from our cottage for the day because Renesme woke up wanting to see her grandparents. She ran out the front door as fast as her little half-vampire legs could carry her, prompting Edward and I to tag along after.
Esme sat on the couch playing chess with Renesme as Carlisle and Edward talked in the den. I found myself daydreaming as I watched dark clouds wander in front of even darker clouds.
"What's on your mind, Bella?" Edward asked, appearing to her right. She'd heard him approach, her vampire ears sensitive to his movements. She laughed inwardly at Edward's question. For whatever reason, I had always been the only one whose mind was silent to the mind-reading vampire. When I had Renesme and was turned, I quickly discovered my mind was my special gift. Finally, I could protect the ones I love.
"I was just thinking about, well, everything." I answered honestly. I didn't know where to begin.
Edward smirked at me, a knowing look striking his face. He wrapped his strong arms around me and tugged in in closer to him. "The Volturi are gone. There's nothing to worry about now. Everything is perfect."
Little did I know at the time that everything was not perfect.
Before Edward's words even had time to sink in, Jacob came rushing through the door in his usual boorish manner. Stopping right in front of the couch where Renesme played, he flashed her a quick smile then turned to Bella and Edward.
"What now?" Edward asked, annoyed. He'd gotten used to Jacob being around, and they'd even formed a bond that normal people might call friendship, but both of them refused to admit it. Edward insisted he merely put up with the foul-smelling werewolf for Bella and his daughter, Renesme, who adored the mutt.
Jacob looked awful. I'd just seen him yesterday, but already it looked as though he'd lost days of sleep. His hair was disheveled and his eyes were dark with sleeplessness.
"I just got back from the reservation. I came to spend time with Renesme."
From Jacob's appearance, I'd say it was only half the truth. "Jacob, what's going on? Why do you look so tired?" I asked, placing my hands on my hips and planting my feet firmly on the ground. He absolutely hated it when I did this.
Jacob avoided my gaze and went to sit beside Renesme and Esme as they played chess. A faraway look crossed his glazed eyes as he absently played with Renesme's long silky hair.
Before I had the chance to drill Jacob, my phone rang. "It's Alice," I announced, excited. Jasper and Alice had left a few weeks ago to celebrate their anniversary, and I hadn't heard from them since.
I flipped open the phone and pressed it to my ear. Instead of a hello, my ears were met with Alice's frantic voice.
"Are you alright? Is it there yet?" Alice demanded.
"Yes. N-no? What? Alice, calm down." I said into the receiver. I glanced up to see all eyes on me. Carlisle ran into the room from the den. Jacob's ears perked like a dogs as he strained to listen.
"Good, I'm glad you're safe. Listen, there's something coming. Something awful." Alice said slowly. "I called Emmett and Rosalie. They're on their way right now. Jasper and I are on our way home. We'll be there in a few hours. Get out of the house until we get there!" Alice yelled and hung up.
I dropped the phone to the floor, devastated. Weren't we supposed to live happily ever after?
"Do you think it's the Volturi?" Esme asked Carlisle.
Carlisle shook his head grimly. Edward's face was dark. Everyone seemed shocked by the news except for Jacob. I rounded on him. "You knew about this, didn't you?"
"Yes." Jacob said, cowering from me. I could practically see his tail between his legs. I was always the only one who could put the proud Alpha dog in his place. Well, me or my daughter.
"Explain yourself, please." Carlisle asked kindly.
"Jacob!" I yelled when he failed to reply.
"Fine, alright. Yes, I knew something strange was going on. Seth, Leah, and I have been patrolling as usual. Only we've been having to take double shifts since the film crew has been in town. We were patrolling as usual last night when a fog set in. We could hardly see in front of our eyes as we ran. That's when we saw it."
"Saw what?" Renesme asked, her tiny eyes wide open.
Jacob wrapped his arm around Renesme to hold her close. Edward stiffened beside me. "A huge, dark figure in the fog. We stopped short and called out to it, asked it who it was. Before we got an answer, it rose a gun at us and began shooting."
Suddenly, Rosalie and Emmett ran into the house, coming up at my side. Rosalie wasted no time in going to Renesme's side to greet her.
Carlisle lightened. "That's not that bad. Guns don't harm us, Jacob. It was likely a frightened hunter. We should be safe." Everyone seemed to relax at this notion, except Jacob.
"No, Carlisle." Jacob said. "This gun was different. The bullets that stuck us weren't normal." He reached into his pocket and withdrew a small round.
Carlisle took the round from Jacob to examine it. "I haven't seen this in many, many years." Carlisle's face grew dark as ever, his eyes burning. "Where did you get this?"
"It was removed from Seth."
"Is Seth alright?" I begged, worried for the small boy-wolf.
Jacob shook his head. "I don't know. I left him with my father. I had to make sure you were alright." He seemed only to be speaking to Renesme as he said this.
"Carlisle, what does this mean?" Esme asked, placing her hand gently on the elder vampire's forearm.
"It means we have a vampire hunter in Forks."
"We have to move." Carlisle had announced.
We hurried and packed our bags. I grabbed the passports and papers for Jacob and Renesme and stuck them at the bottom of my bag, just in case. Jacob kept Renesme company on the couch as the vampires swiftly ran past, grabbing what they could.
We left the Cullen home as quick as possible. I couldn't imagine leaving Forks after all I'd been through here, but I had known deep down that it was inevitable. We would never age, never wither and waste away like the humans. We would eventually have to move or risk being found out. Better now than never, I supposed.
We dressed casually and walked towards the small center of town, where we could hide in plain sight. If there was a vampire hunter, Carlisle told us the best place to be was to blend in around many people, where the hunter dared not attack even if they were to find the Cullens.
"Alice must've known the best place would be downtown." Esme realized. "She must've seen what was coming."
"I always do." Alice replied, appearing at their side. Everyone appeared relieved to see Alice with the ever silent Jasper at her side, except Jacob who humped at her sudden appearance.
Carlisle lowered his voice. "Alright, tell us what's going on. A hunter, am I correct?"
Alice nodded. "I can't see who they are. They must be wearing an artifact of some sort to block my sight. Whoever it is, they're powerful, and dangerous."
Jasper frowned beside her, looking down at the shorter woman with worry.
"For now let's just stay here and try to figure out who's new in town." Carlisle decided.
"That'll be difficult with the film crew here." Jacob reminded him.
"What are they filming, anyway?" I asked, curious why anyone would want to be in the small town in the first place.
"Betty White has a new television show about old people pranking the young." Renesme explained. At my curious gaze she flushed, embarrassed. "Jacob lets me watch T.V. when you're gone."
I glanced at Jacob and merely grinned. "Alright." I replied. "Why did the director choose Forks? Do you know?" Renesme shook her head.
"It's okay. I'll try to get a read on why. Let's go toward the set." Edward said, leading the way.
"It'd be best if we split up. We stand out enough as it is." Jacob said in a low voice.
Carlisle nodded. "Alice, Jasper, you go quiz people nearby about anything new and strange. Bella, Edward, Jacob, and Renesme will go to the set. Emmett and Rosalie will go toward the edge of town to do a patrol. Esme and I will check with some shopkeepers."
Everyone split. Edward and I followed closely behind Jacob who had Renesme on his shoulders. I smiled at how natural they seemed together. The fact that Jacob had imprinted on my daughter had taken some getting used to, but now it just seemed to make sense. As far as I was concerned, we were a family.
The crowds of people became denser as we neared the set of the show. The base of the set held half a dozen trailers and a small set where Betty White could sit in an old leather chair to talk to the camera.
I craned my head to see over the crowd. I'd never seen a celebrity before, and I wondered if today I would. Edward stood beside me, his head cocked to the side as he listened to dozens of minds, attempting to figure out what was amiss.
Everyone in the crowd around me began to cheer. I hopped on my feet to see who had come into sight. Sure enough, the little old woman, adored by millions, had emerged from her trailer. Betty wore loose fitting bright blue pants with a matching jacket, a plain white shirt underneath.
Jacob stood in front of us a little ways, and stepped forward to get a better look. They reached the front line where wooden barriers had been set up to keep out the crowd. Renesme called out to Betty.
Betty turned and waved at the crowd. Renesme called out again. Betty smiled sweetly and slowly walked forward, her old age showing. She reached the barrier and began giving autographs and signing women's breasts, all the while nearing us.
When she reached Jacob and Renesme, she stopped to talk to her.
"Hello, little one. What's your name?" Betty asked, her voice reminding all those around her of their grandmothers.
"Renesme," My daughter replied.
"That's a really strange name," Betty said, raising an eyebrow. "Really, really strange." She smiled again. "Well, it's nice to meet you, darling."
Beside me, Edward flinched, his eyes darkening. I used my mind powers to remove the barrier on myself and asked What's wrong? Hoping that Edward would hear my mind above everyone else's. He was listening for me, however.
"I can't hear her thoughts." He whispered in my ear.
Is that so strange? I asked in my mind. You couldn't hear mine when I was human. Maybe there's more than one of us. I smiled. Edward's face remained grim. Oh, come on, Edward. She's just a little old grandmother.
Edward sighed. "I suppose you're right." He replied, and forced a smile. He grabbed hold of my hand and intertwined our fingers.
Betty reached out her hand to shake Renesme's in goodbye. When they clasped hands, Renesme's face flashed with an emotion that they quickly hid before it could be recognized. Betty remained cheerful. "Who did you say you were, again?" Betty asked suddenly, before she left.
"Renesme. Renesme Cullen." My daughter replied.
"Nice to meet you, Renesme Cullen." Betty said, before walking off down the line to give more autographs.
We met up with the others shortly after. No one had found out anything. Edward recounted his inability to read Betty's thoughts, worry on his face. Everyone seemed to laugh at this notion except Renesme, who shook her head.
"I think Dad has a reason to worry." Renesme piped up, still riding on Jacob's shoulders. "When I touched her, I tried to use my power to let us get backstage."
I gasped. "Renesme!" I began to lecture.
"I know, you told me never to use my power for personal gain. I just thought we should meet the crew in person to check things out." Renesme frowned. "When I touched Betty, though, she blocked me."
Everyone's faces grew grim. It couldn't be, could it? Betty White? The beloved, little, old Golden Girl?
"I can't see anything in the future, but I think we will be safe going home for now. We can hop a plane to Alaska in the morning." Alice announced. "We just have to be on high alert until then."
"For an old lady?" Jacob scoffed. "I'm taking a nap when we get there. Wake me up when the actual hunter shows up." He began walking toward the Cullen home, Renesme in tow.
Renesme looked back at Edward and me with confusion and worry. I knew that my face must look exactly the same.
Later that night, a thunderstorm began. Rain began to fall thickly, washing out the crew from the set. Everything was quiet around the set, not a soul in sight. Suddenly, the door to a trailer slammed open. There a silhouetted figure stood, armed to the teeth with weaponry that broke dozens of state and federal laws to own. A flash of lighting lit the surrounding area, revealing Betty White, war paint smeared upon her old face. She raised a gun into the air and cocked it.
"Time to die, Cullens!"
It was one of the longest night's I'd ever lived through. It was the waiting, the tension. I sat on the couch, cuddling Renesme as she slept, biting my nails – a habit I'd unfortunately kept from my human days. Jasper used his power to calm me, though, and I found myself staring out the window as I had in the morning.
Emmett and Rosalie were doing a patrol around the house in the dense woods. Jacob and Leah, from his pack, were helping as well. Thunder rolled through the hills, chilling my already ice cold skin.
Jacob appeared in the room, shaking off the rain like a dog. He reported that everything was okay as far as he could tell. He sat down to have a drink of water before setting out again.
As I stared into the darkness of the woods, I caught a glimpse of something flash. Renesme woke up as I shifted in my seat to see what it had been, but it was gone now, disappeared among the trees. What had it been? It wasn't a flashlight, or one of my friend's phones going off. My forehead creased as I pondered.
"What's wrong, Bella?" Jasper asked in his soft voice. He could probably feel my anxiety.
"I saw something strange outside. Can you check on Emmett and Rosalie?"
Alice was way ahead of me, the phone already to her ear and ringing. There was no answer. She moaned. "Maybe they turned it off to keep silent?" She asked, though she knew better. Emmett had promised he'd keep in contact.
Carlisle turned from his statuesque position near the giant bay window to look at the vampires gathered together. "We have to go find them."
Everyone rushed out of the room except Jacob, Renesme, Edward, and me. I turned to Jacob to stop him before he ran out into the rain.
"Jacob, I have something I need you to do." I said softly.
"What is it, Bella? I don't have much time, here. I think Leah's calling for me."
I reached into my bag and produced the papers for Jacob and Renesme to start a new life elsewhere. "Take these. Take Renesme with you if anything happens. Don't come back for us. You understand?"
Edward frowned. "When did you do this?" He demanded to know.
"Before the Volturi came to Forks. I'll explain where later." I replied. "What matters now is that Renesme is safe."
Jacob took the papers with a shaking hand. "You're sure?"
I nodded. Edward said nothing, but his jaw was set firm. I could tell he only approved of it as a last resort.
Jacob folded the papers and placed them into the bag I handed him. He strapped the bag to his shoulder and took hold of Renesme's hand. They ran off, leaving Edward and me alone.
Edward gripped me tight and kissed me passionately, sending shivers down my icy flesh. "What was that for?" I asked once I was allowed to breathe.
"It's worse than I imagined." He said. "I can't hear Emmett or Rosalie at all anymore."
Before I said a word, I rushed out into the rain.
"Emmett!" I called. "Rosalie!" I ran around the woods, my vampire strength carrying me faster than humanly possible. I couldn't see anything, but I caught the scent. A human. Nearby.
I also caught the scent of something else. Blood. Wolf blood.
I ran toward the scent of blood and stumbled upon the body of a wolf. Jacob appeared behind us and cried out, letting go of Renesme's hand and running forward. "Leah!" He cried.
Jacob's hands grasped at Leah's fur, dark and matted with blood. Edward, in a rare sentimental moment involving Jacob, placed his hand on Jacob's shoulder. "She's gone. We have to stop this, before anyone else gets hurt."
Nodding, Jacob went back to Renesme, who stood alone, eyes wide in terror. The poor young girl had seen plenty of terrifying things in her T.V. shows, but never in reality. I could only imagine what my poor daughter was feeling. I didn't have time to wonder, though, as I had a mission to keep her safe. We hurried on.
"No!" I heard the voice of Emmett yell. Esme's sobs reached my ears after that. We followed the sound and found Emmett on the ground, cradling the headless body of Rosalie.
I stood dumbfounded. Rosalie? Dead? It didn't seem possible to me. She'd never been my favorite Cullen, but she had certainly earned her stay after helping me when I was pregnant with Renesme. If my eyes were capable of watering, I would have cried for her.
Emmett stood, his tearless eyes dark and full of hatred. The big vampire roared with rage, running off into the woods alone.
Esme walked up next to Carlisle, and they shared a worried glance. He grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze. "Let him go. There's nothing left for him here, anyway."
"Let's go." Edward said, leading the way. I took one last look at Rosalie and shuddered.
We split up. After a while I heard Emmett cry out in rage. Not far away I saw the same flash I had earlier, only this time I heard a noise with it. It sounded like a muddled gunshot. Gunshot! I realized. I ran as fast as I could in its direction.
When I reached where the light was, I was confronted by the most terrifying sight I'd ever seen. In front of me, littering the ground, were the bodies of Emmett, Jasper, Alice, and Esme. At the head of the pile of bodies stood an intimidating figure. The figure had a gun pointed to Carlisle's head.
Carlisle looked around and caught my eyes. "Run!" He yelled. "It's a trap!"
At that, the figure pulled the trigger. A wrenching metal sound was heard over the thunder as Carlisle's head was blown clean off.
Lightning flashed, revealing the vampire hunter that had just killed half of the Cullens, who lay at her feet in a pathetic, headless heap.
"Betty White. I should have known." I breathed angrily.
"That's right!" Betty replied, cocking her gun. The gun seemed to me to be nothing special, then again, it had just beheaded a vampire in one shot.
"Who's next?" Betty demanded, her voice gruff. Her curly white hair shivered as a light breeze struck up.
Edward ran forward, planning to use his speed to win against the aged woman. Betty expected this, however, and swung around to meet Edward right where he was about to strike. Her finger landed heavily on the trigger, sending a barrage of bullets through Edward's marble body. Edward stumbled backward, barely able to stand for the wounds in his legs.
"How? How is this possible?" Edward demanded.
The Vampire Hunter stepped forward and spit on the pile of Cullen corpses.
"I'm Betty fucking White." She replied, sending a bullet soaring at Edward's skull, blowing his head off.
"No! Edward!" I screamed. I ran forward and caught his headless body in my arms.
"Daddy!" Renesme cried, running behind me.
I whipped around, my eyes fierce. "Go!" I screamed at Jacob in an unnatural voice. "Get out of here! Take Renesme and get to safety!"
Jacob nodded, not asking any questions. He transformed to a wolf and grabbed Renesme in his maw, running off. He gave me one last look, his eyes watering.
In my arms lay my life. My love, my husband. Edward. Our love story flashed before my eyes as I-
"Stop narrating everything like a twelve year old." Betty White said after the bullet made Bella Cullen's head explode. "Kids these days. Humph."
Betty unclipped a grenade from her utility belt and sent gripped the pin in her teeth. "So long, Cullens." Betty said, tossing the live grenade onto the pile.
Betty White walked through the woods, not bothering to look behind her as the grenade exploded, burning everything vampire.
And Betty White lived happily ever after… for a few more years at least.