VI

Humanity

When I got home my mother told me what I had already guessed. Jacob had left. It hurt, but less than I thought it would.

"He'll be back soon," my mother assured me repeatedly and I soon began to wonder if she was really assuring me or herself. My father finally whispered something in her ear that I couldn't hear and she fell silent. I could feel her eyes on me as I sat at the table doing homework and eating barbeque potato chips. I wondered what he had told her that made her regard me in such a way.

"Bella," Alice called from the living room. My mother finally pulled her eyes from me and left me alone with my homework. I wished I could get away with eavesdropping, but my father would hear what I was thinking and they would start talking about the weather or our cousins in Denali.

"Alice, no!" I heard my mother cry with such indignation and fury that I jumped in my seat. I heard my father hushing her. I thought they had gone much further than just a room away, usually I would be able to hear them quite clearly. I brushed it off as my mind being too busy with other things.

"Edward!" My mother yelled after a while. I sighed and started shoving my homework and books into my backpack deciding to do them at the cabin. I picked Tennyson up and stuffed her in my backpack on top of my books and left her a small hole to breathe from before darting out the back door.

"Nessie," I almost jumped out of my skin, my mother had heard me leave and was jogging beside me, "where are you going?"

"The cabin," I told her, annoyance trickling over my words, "if secrets are to be kept from me I would prefer not to hear your whispers and gasps regarding those secrets." She slowed and stopped. I sighed, it wasn't really her fault.

A sudden thought occurred to me then and I stopped so abruptly that I nearly fell forward onto my face. I whirled and my mother was already in front of me.

"I was running normally," I told her. She stared at me waiting for me to continue.

"Yes?" My mind was racing.

"You can't normally keep up with me when I'm running normally, let alone catch me. My hearing is weak and I have been having all sorts of mood swings." She seemed to get where I was going. She was quiet for a while, focusing on something so hard a small crease formed in her perfect brow. Suddenly, my father was standing with us, Alice in tow.

"Do you think Carlisle will know what to do?" My mother asked.

"He has been talking with Nahuel for a while so maybe Nahuel has had something like this happen to him before," my father didn't seem convinced even as he said it.

"How odd," Alice murmured. The others came then, hurtling to a stop beside us.

"What's strange, Alice!" I screamed finally. I was panicking and everyone jumped. It was the very first time I had ever raised my voice like that. My mother looked flustered and helpless and scared.

"Your future," she said, the only one who seemed unperturbed by my outburst. I growled in frustration when Tennyson began whimpering and clawing at the inside of my backpack.

"Alice?" My eyes fixed on his, he sounded genuinely surprised.

"Edward, what did she see?" Rosalie pushed her way past my mother to Edward. My mother stood utterly motionless, taking in what was happening and working through it.

"Renesmee," he replied, "she saw Renesmee's future?" He said it uncertainly as though Alice had seen wrong.

"We need Carlisle," Esme announced. No one disagreed and she disappeared.

"We should go back to the house," Jasper suggested, he pulled at Alice's elbow and she nodded as she began to follow him. Carlisle and Esme returned half an hour later and we had all sat in silence as we waited. Tennyson was the only one unruffled by what was happening. Everyone seemed to watch her as she scurried along the floor, nosing at this and that stopping only to tug at someone's jeans or shoes before skidding along to the next interesting thing.

When Carlisle entered the living room I held my breath. He went to my father first, who had all the information and was able to explain it better than anyone else.

"Nessie," he called, "could you come over here?" I nodded, but as I stood my knee hit the coffee table and I stumbled. My mother took a breath and met my father's eyes. I was terrified. Clumsiness was definitely not an attribute that I normally had.

"I see," Carlisle murmured before I had even reached him. I placed my hand on his cheek and thought of all the moments I had in the past month that seemed odd to me. I thought of all my mood swings, my dull senses, my slow reactions and my inability to see their movements. Carlisle watched patiently.

"When do you think this started?" He asked. I had to think about that and quickly added my deteriorating memory to the list.

"This has been going on for a while, Carlisle." My father told him. Had he noticed something I hadn't?

"Carlisle," Alice said from behind Jasper's arms, "there's one more thing. I've been seeing Renesmee's future more and more clearly. I thought it was because I had become so close to her, but now…." She trailed off uncertainly.

"I'll call Nahuel and see if he has had any similar symptoms before, but I can't promise anything." Carlisle disappeared followed by my father. We waited, none of us bothering to move. My dad returned a few minutes later.

"When was the last time you fed, Ness?" he asked.

"I had a hamburger for lunch," I told him. He shook his head.

"I meant blood." I stared.

"Jacob and I went hunting about two weeks before my birthday, but we wound up cutting it short before we caught anything."

"Three weeks before that, I took her hunting with me," my mom told him from the couch. He nodded and returned to Carlisle.

"Nahuel thinks you may need to hunt," Carlisle said as he descended the stairs. My passed him and crossed to me.

"I thought he said they could survive on human food or blood," my mother demanded. Carlisle nodded.

"She can, but when they don't drink blood, the vampire part of them is weakened. When we don't hunt it dulls our senses and, while it won't kill her, she will become increasingly human." Emmett was the first to speak.

"So, if she stops drinking blood all together she'll be human?"

"We don't know, Nahuel has never gone very long without hunting." I sat down.

"Do you think it works the other way, too?"

"What do you mean?"

"If I only feed on blood, do you think I would become more vampire than human?" My father looked uncomfortable with that notion.

"I don't think we should experiment like that with you," he proclaimed. My mother came to stand beside me.

"At any rate, I should take her hunting." I was lead quickly from the house and deep into the woods. I wasn't sure if I would still be able to hunt with my weakened senses and my decreased speed, but the second I cleared my mind everything returned. I could feel my muscles draw tight beneath my skin and I could see and smell everything.

"Are you going to be alright to hunt, Renesmee?" I nodded, and settled into a crouch, ready to charge a herd of deer that were grazing in a meadow about half a mile in front of us. My mother loped after me and we both caught decent sized bucks.

I was still hungry after having drained my buck and I took off in search of bigger game. I was running faster this time, my strength returning. A large mountain lion was standing between two trees, I might not have noticed him before the deer, but he stood out now. Yellow eyes watched me and he growled at me, a weak warning.

We lunged for each other at the same time and I sank my teeth into his skin. It felt no different than using a knife to cut butter. My arms clamped around his thick, muscular body and I squeezed. His body fell limp in my arms as I continued to drain him of his life force.

My mother was standing a few yards behind me. I stood to face her, tossing the lion away from me. I licked my lips, the smooth copper flavor coating my tongue.

"Are you finished?" I nodded, "Head back to the house, I'll be back in a bit," she ran off without waiting for me to respond.

I ran back to the house, feeling my muscles stretch and relishing in the pure exhilaration that came from pushing my body. I was back at the house in hardly any time at all.

"Are you feeling better?" My dad asked as soon as I stepped through the threshold.

"Yes," I told him taking a deep breath. He nodded and looked over my shoulder eagerly, "She stayed behind and told me to head back." His eyes snapped to mine a sudden panic had leapt to his face.

"You left her alone?" He demanded. I jumped back. He was never cross with me. He shoved past me and yelled into the woods at the top of his lungs for my mom. There was rustling in the trees and my dad held his breath in anticipation, but it was Alice who shot out of the trees.

"She went to them!" Alice told him cryptically. That was apparently all he needed because he darted out into the woods. "You won't make it!" Alice told him sadly, but he didn't return. Alice turned to me as though just noticing I was there.

"You should go pack a suitcase," she told me, "You'll be staying with Charlie for a while."

"Why?" I demanded. Alice shrugged.

"I suppose you could come with, but you won't see any of your friends again if you do," she told me. I bit my lip. I could always make new friends. Being immortal I would always have to, but I wouldn't see Cole again either. On the other hand, what if Jacob was involved?

"You want to stay here, Nessie," she told me, "I know I haven't been a very good friend lately, but you should trust me." I nodded and started to leave, but stopped.

"Where did my mother go?" Alice bit her cheek, deciding whether or not to tell me the truth I was sure.

"Italy," she said at last. I nodded, I wasn't quite sure if that was the truth or not, but I knew better than to push it. Instead, I did as she suggested and packed a suitcase of my best casual outfits. By the time I returned to the house everyone had disappeared. Esme had left a note for me by my keys. I picked Tennyson up and cuddled her to my cheek as I read the note.

Renesmee,

Everything will return to normal soon.

I promise to have Edward tell you everything when

we return.

Listen to Charlie and don't draw too much

attention to yourself.

Love,

Esme

I lifted my keys from the hook, the Volvo's keys were gone and when I got to the garage, my car was the only one left. I tossed my suitcase in the trunk and I slid behind the wheel sitting Tennyson on the passenger seat, anticipation boiling inside me. It had been too long since I last drove my car and I peeled out eager to get onto the road.

I slowed down when I turned onto Charlie's road. He was standing outside waiting for me and there was no way I would have heard the end of it if he had seen me driving like I was. I grabbed Tennyson before getting out of the car and popping the trunk. Charlie grabbed my bag and walked me inside. I had never been upstairs at Charlie's house let alone in my mom's old bedroom.

"I heard your mom went out of town for a while," Charlie said as he led me up the stairs.

"Yeah, urgent business or something," I told him. I was back to my normal self, complete with a hop in my step and all the gracefulness of a ballerina.

"Probably off helping Jacob with whatever he had to do," Charlie grumbled. I shrugged as we came to a door immediately after the stairs and on the left. Charlie shoved the door open and set the suitcase down inside the door.

"I haven't really touched it since Bella left, so there's a lot of her old things around here," I gazed around the room. This was where my mother had lived when her heart still beat. I set Tennyson on the ground and she began sniffing around eagerly.

"Er, is it potty trained?" Charlie asked gruffly, gesturing at Tennyson. She turned and fixed her eyes on Charlie as she sat down. Her soft, white ears were turned toward him in interest and I laughed.

"Well, we haven't had any accidents yet," I told him, "but she's still only a puppy. I promise to clean up after her if she makes a mess though." Charlie nodded and excused himself from the room to let me get settled.

"Tennyson," I sighed, she gazed at me and her tail flopped on the ground, "how did things get this way?" I flopped onto my new bed, which was my mom's old bed, and pulled the covers over my face. Tennyson scrambled onto the bed and nosed her way under my arm. I looked at the time, was it already ten? I kicked my shoes off and stuffed myself under the covers, clicking off the light as Tennyson made herself comfortable.

I only lie there for a few seconds before I felt something prodding me in the back. I shifted and reached beneath me and pulled out something long and thin. I reached out and flipped the lamp back on. It was a bracelet with a small diamond heart and a small wolf charm that had been whittled by familiar hands. What was my mom doing with a charm bracelet from Jacob?

I decided that it must have been a birthday gift from my mom's human days. Jacob and my mom had been friends before I was born after all. I shut the light off again, but the charm bracelet was still eating at me. I wondered if Charlie might know anything about it and decided to ask him tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I couldn't decide what I was anticipating more, being with my friends again, finding out about Jacob's charm bracelet, or seeing Cole again.