Hello, lovely people!
It's the last chapter of the second part - this time, there won't be any of the weird Beth/Seth stuff. He's a werewolf, she's a vampire, it was too weird.
In her impatience, Nessie found no peace in all her usual past-times, which was why her feet took her to the front of her grandparents' house to watch and wait for Beth's arrival. Soft jazz trickled out of her dangling earphone.
"Ness? You in here?" Jake called, and Renesmee couldn't ignore the flutter in her heart.
She switched off her iPod. "Yeah, Jake."
Leaning against the doorway, Jake stood barefoot in jeans and a grey shirt. "Waiting for Beth, huh?" He came over to give Nessie one of his best Jake hugs, making her giggle. He smelled warm and safe, like home.
"They should be on their way back by now."
Jake chuckled. "So, you're just gonna wait here till then?"
"No, but I can't – ah! " Nessie's phone chirped in her hand. "Look who it is." She put her on speaker. "Good morning, Beth!"
"Hey, Ness! How are things?" Beth was loud and cheerful with a strange echo.
Nessie giggled. "Good for hearing your voice. Where are you? In the bathroom?"
"Uh, yeah – how did you guess?" she asked, laughing. "Anyway, is everyone okay?"
"Yeah, everyone's cool," Jake replied.
"Oh, hi, Jake! Wow. Your voice sounds really deep on the phone."
Nessie smiled. "So, how are Tanya and –?"
"Everyone's hunky-dory." Did Beth answer her question just that little too quickly? Nessie bit her lip. "Hey! I've got a surprise for you guys when I get back!"
"Like a present?"
"Nah, sorry. Nothin' like that."
"Okay. When are you coming home?"
Beth paused. "Soon. I'm getting ready to go now. Your mom and daddy are taking me." She put on a dreadful, nasal American accent. Jake groaned.
Nessie laughed. "Great. So, we'll see you soon!"
"Yeah. Can't wait to tell you all that's happened! Bye, Jake!" Beth sang.
"Bye, Beth," he chuckled.
Nessie hung up with a happy sigh. "She's coming."
"Hey. Don't worry so much." Jacob's arms came around her again. "But something tells me things didn't go so hot with your cousins," he mumbled into her hair.
"I hope they haven't been too harsh on her."
"Guess we'll find out when she gets back."
Pacing the veranda, Beth flicked through her phone messages.
No. But I think he likes it, said Anna. The thought of Aro, enjoying Anna's attention, made Beth feel sick.
"Are you ready, Beth?" Alice called from downstairs.
"Just a sec, Tink!" Jolted from her thoughts, Beth stuffed her phone away and took up her rucksack.
In all the excitement of last night, the nickname had accidentally slipped out. Alice appeared annoyed, to begin with, but eventually seemed to warm to it.
Beth sighed. It was titbits like that that made it so hard to say goodbye. Maybe she could revisit the Cullens. Then there was Christmas. Was she thinking too far ahead? Forks would probably look spectacular in snow.
The Denalis were still a problem, however. Beth wasn't in love with Aro, although Tanya sometimes watched her suspiciously when she thought she wasn't looking, so Beth thought she might as well.
Alice tapped her foot downstairs. "What took you so long?" she asked grumpily, before reaching up and yanking Beth's phone out of her hoodie.
Beth squawked. "The hell, Alice?!"
"Relax. I'm just giving you my number." When she'd finished, Alice handed it back with a smile that didn't touch her eyes.
"Er, okay," Beth muttered. "You could have just asked for my phone, though."
"I could have, yes – but where's the fun in that?"
The day was cloudy out on the veranda, with a breeze that played with everyone's hair. With the remaining Cullens all standing there, a knot of sadness tightened in Beth's windpipe as she said her goodbyes.
When it came to Emmett, she squeaked as he crushed her in one of his best bear hugs. "Careful, you! I like my spine how it is," she gasped, and he laughed his booming laugh.
She had fallen in love with this lovely band of misfits. Beth would miss Emmett's overenthusiastic affection, Jasper's slow, rare smile, Esme's mothering, and Carlisle's warmth, even Rosalie's wit. Through all the hugs and kisses on the cheek, she wondered how Nessie had coped without them.
She has Jacob, Anna's voice whispered in her head. She had reappeared some time near dawn, when Beth had started imagining what her reaction would look like, seeing her expanded glamour.
"Have a safe journey!" Carlisle said as Bella ducked inside the car.
"That went well, I think," Bella said softly, sliding into the passenger seat.
Beth nodded. There was so much she wanted to say, the words jostling for freedom on her tongue. She still buzzed from last night, but the Denalis were glad to see her go.
"Tanya will come around…in time," Edward murmured, shifting into reverse.
Beth snorted quietly. "Yeah, if I disown my sister. "She saw him frown in his mirror. She didn't know what it meant.
Don't be sad, Beth, Anna murmured. Beth could almost see her in the neighbouring seat, brushing dirt off her rucksack. Staring down at her lap, Beth didn't notice the look Edward and Bella exchanged as they drove away.
In spite of Eleazar, Kate, and Carmen's warmth, Tanya's suspicion still hurt Beth, and Garrett's coarse humour left her uncomfortable and angry. Edward wanted to apologise for their behaviour, but that wouldn't make her sadness go away. Her past had left her feeling lost, desperate to be liked, and accepted. She would be happier in Forks.
They had only been driving for a few minutes when he caught her rifling through her rucksack. He looked away, seeing nothing wrong. Then she pulled out a pen and notebook that looked small enough to fit in the back pocket of her jeans. Like most things she owned, it was red with battered corners.
He tried to shut her thoughts off, but as always, it was rather hard, and he was guilty of hearing some of them.
Ride in the Lamborghini without punching Demetri – completed! (surprisingly easy)
Reach the airport – completed!
Get through customs – completed!
Get on the plane – completed!
Reach Washington – completed!
Get eaten by wolves – didn't happen, hurrah!
Meet the Cullens – completed!
Meeting the Denali coven – completed!
Getting to know the Denalis – who the fuck knows?
That might be it for now!
What else was in that notebook? In the wrong hands - Beth had to know how dangerous that was. She would be a fool not to.
"Edward, what's wrong?" Bella said as his hands tightened around the steering wheel.
Edward relaxed instinctively. "It's nothing." He could feel Beth's eyes on the back of his seat.
What happened? She asked. Some reckless driver, giving you road rage?
Edward was glad when, for the remainder of their journey, Beth didn't touch her notebook again.
They followed the darkening clouds, and by the time they reached the borders of Forks, spatters of rain danced across the Volvo's windshield. Beth laughed out loud. "Home sweet home, folks."
Had she still been a human, Beth quietly reckoned her ribs would be aching from all the tight hugs she was getting today. The welcome from Nessie felt like she had been away for more than a month.
At the cottage, Seth caught her by surprise. Dog-stink and suffocating body heat aside, he was an excellent hugger. "It's been quiet without you!"
"Well, it's nice to know I've been so missed," Beth said, embarrassed but pleased.
Edward and Bella would stay for the rest of the day at their cottage. Bella called her father to let him know everything was alright. Grandpa Charlie was going on a fishing trip the following morning, and so he wanted to see everyone before he left.
Soon, Bella and her daughter disappeared upstairs, giggling. The wolves were back at La Push as Jake went to check in on his dad. Beth could hear Edward outside, letting Carlisle know of their safe return. She had texted Alice but had yet to get a reply.
Browsing their bookcase in the lounge, Beth jumped as Edward come in. "Beth. May I speak with you for a moment?"
Struck by his formality, Beth hesitated. "Yeah, sure." She scrutinised his face, concerned. "God, what is it? What's up? Is it Alice?"
"No. Alice is fine." Edward moved deliberately as if trying to find the right words to say. Beth watched him, starting to feel that first trickle of dread. It had to be something awful for Edward to look so unsettled, in his own home, no less.
"Beth," he said at long last. "Exactly how long have you carried that notebook with you?"
What? Beth frowned. "Why do you ask?"
"It is a dangerous thing to carry around. If you were to lose it –"
"Oh!" Beth's laugh sounded confused to her ears. "I won't lose it, Edward. I always carry it with me."
"You carry all your findings of us, of the Volturi. In the wrong hands –"
"What do you take me for?" Beth said slowly.
"I know, Beth, but I do not want to see you get in trouble." Edward would blame himself when the worst happened. "Do you always carry notebooks with you?"
Beth gulped. "Yes," she said quietly. "They help me focus and relax."
"And what do you do with them after you've filled them?"
"I destroy them," Beth said. When Edward breathed a sigh, she scoffed. "Yeah, see? Told you, I'm not stupid."
"I never said you were."
Later that evening, Beth decided to go hunting on her own, calling Anna soon afterward. Dora had moved onto designing bridesmaid dresses in Anna's favourite colour. Beth's stomach jumped with nerves when Anna asked if it was okay if she told Dora Beth's measurements.
The wedding was happening a lot sooner than she expected, potentially messing with any plans she would make here in Forks.
When she came back to Nessie's house, Edward was making dinner. Beth breathed in the gorgeous smell of Sue Clearwater's renowned leftover meatloaf casserole with a sigh. She had always wanted to try meatloaf.
She sat with Nessie and Jake at the breakfast bar while Edward served up. "How were things with grandpa?"
Something about that made Bella smile. She always referred to him as Charlie, not Dad, usually, so it had to sound strange to hear him called something as endearing as 'Grandpa.'
"It was great!" Nessie gushed. "Jake fixed his car, and I helped."
I wish I could be as enthusiastic about fixing stuff! "Awesome," Beth grinned.
They had moved onto apple pie when Nessie brought up Beth's phone conversation from that morning.
"So, Beth," she said, helping herself to another scoop of vanilla ice cream from a tub. "You said you had a surprise for us?"
Beth looked up from a book in her lap. "Huh? Oh, yeah. I did." She glanced at Edward and Bella, who shared the seat beside their daughter. "Do you mind helping with my demonstration?" Beth fluttered her fingers dramatically, and Nessie giggled.
"Alright." Bella slid off Edward's lap. "What do you want us to do?"
Smirking, Beth stood up. "Just stand still and look pretty." Jacob snorted.
"Okay, guys. Watch this," Beth said, vanishing. Jake opened his mouth, and she had to raise her voice so he could hear. "Wait! I ain't done yet."
She hid Edward first. They both grinned as Nessie gasped.
"Couldn't you do that before?" Jacob asked.
Beth shook her head, before remembering they couldn't see her. She dropped her glamour with a small curtsey. "It you want to win at hide-and-seek, you can now just ask me."
With the day winding down, Nessie's parents put their daughter to bed. As she bid them goodnight, Beth found herself alone again in their living room, watching a re-run of one of her favourite American sitcom.
Jacob came downstairs. "You okay here on your own?"
"Hm? Oh, yeah. Though I wouldn't mind the company," Beth said and was surprised when Jake sat down, not too close to make their scents unbearable, but neither was he too far away to make things awkward.
"Mom and Dad will stay with Ness tonight," he said, not without a hint of sadness, and Beth laughed gently.
"You'll have her back tomorrow." She paused, eyes on the TV. "You alright with this show?"
Jake shrugged. Beth babbled away about the show until she heard Jake snoring. "Well, shit," she mumbled, laughing. "Good to know my conversation is so stimulating. Night, night, Jake."
With nothing left to do (and not wanting to wake Jake up), Beth turned off the TV. She could hear Edward humming a pretty tune that conjured images of clouds and starlight. Beth found him, and Bella, sat on either side of their daughter, who had finally drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
Bella turned and saw Beth. "Hey. Is Jake okay?"
"Yeah." She smirked. "Fast asleep."
"I thought I heard something." Bella smiled.
"Actually, I was going to go for a walk," Beth said.
"Sure. You go on ahead." Edward's eyes were warm as syrup in the pink-hue of Nessie's room.
Jake still snored in the same position when Beth crept back downstairs, his mouth now slightly open. Chuckling, Beth closed the door behind her. What would happen tomorrow? It wasn't anything to worry about now. After months of looking over her shoulder, feeling judged by all those around her, Beth could finally relax.
For the first time in her life, she felt safe and happy. Really happy.
The end...for now