August 1, 2010
I wondered what would benefit Edward more; keeping my shield draped around him so he wouldn’t feel nauseated, or taking the shield off, and allowing him to feel repulsed in exchange for having to hear Fred’s thoughts about Renesmee. It was clear that whatever Fred was thinking was not something a father would like to hear about his daughter.
“Listen Fred,” Edward began. “I have a gift, too. I have the ability to read your mind. So please do me the extraordinary favor of keeping your thoughts about my daughter to yourself, or you might get a taste of what Victoria’s newborn army had to endure when we ripped them all apart… limb for limb.”
Fred cringed, embarrassed. “My apologies. I wasn’t aware that you were the mind reader. I know you have some very gifted members in your clan, Riley informed us all, of course. I will keep that in mind and try to keep my thoughts pure around you.”
Renesmee was blushing and glaring at Edward at the same time. Even while she was glaring, she still looked charming and innocent, somehow. Edward raised one eyebrow then rearranged his entire expression, leaving me to assume that Nessie was giving him a small piece of her mind through her thoughts.
Everyone seemed awkward, so I spoke up to try and break the tension. “So…Fred, you said you came here to see us. Is there something we can do for you, or…” I trailed off, noticing that Edward and Renesmee were still making faces at each other.
“Will you two please stop with the mental arguing?” I hissed, shifting my eyes between the two of them. They were having a normal father-daughter argument; Nessie sharing her displeasure with Edward through her mind, and Edward, in return, making the ‘I’m warning you’ face. I should say a normal vampire father-daughter argument. Mortals don’t argue using their thoughts, of course.
“I’m sorry love,” Edward said, his beautiful eyes meeting mine. “If you could hear the things she is saying in her head though.”
I shot Renesmee a calculative glance, and she grinned. She looked so much like Edward when she grinned. Her beauty was equal to his, just different. I couldn’t help but think of how normal we actually were as a family, despite our obvious differences from mortals. In a way, I guess it felt good, comforting, to see Edward and Renesmee arguing like a father and daughter normally would.
“I came to ask you about Bree,” Fred finally responded, answering my question, and breaking the tension. “Well not just about Bree. I was also hoping you could educate me a little on the higher power, the vampire law leaders.” He asked the question as if he were afraid of the answer, his expression wavering between curiosity and apprehension.
I suspected he heard about the Volturi. About the control and power they hold. I wondered what Riley had told them. Probably a bunch of lies. When I thought about the girl, Bree, I felt hallow. I felt a slight clenching, tightening, where my heart used to beat. I couldn’t help feeling guilty – those newborns were created because of me. They were created because Edward destroyed Victoria’s love, James, to save me. It was my fault that Bree had her human life revoked, then was later destroyed.
Edward’s lips went flat and all the expression drained from his beautiful eyes. He looked distant and finally spoke, his voice cold, bleak. “We tried to help the girl. Bree.” He choked out her name and his eyes searched for comfort in mine. I moved closer to Edward, and grabbed Renesmee’s hand to keep her close.
“There was nothing we could do,” Edward continued. “The Volturi simply don’t make exceptions. She asked me to be nice to you, Fred. She figured out I was the mind reader and told me everything she could through her thoughts… before they destroyed her. She cared about you.”
Fred darted his bright red eyes to the side and held them there, staring at nothing. Thinking. I heard a low hiss escape his lips, which was followed by Edward squeezing my hand unnecessarily hard.
“Don’t even try it, Fred,” Edward warned. “They are malicious and will kill you without any thought at all. Bree is gone and there’s nothing we can possibly do about her destruction. Going to the Volturi, to confront them, will get you destroyed, too. I understand that you’re gifted, but there are far too many of them – and to try to fight them for something that is unchangeable, for Bree, is just…” Edward looked down and his voice trailed off. He didn’t want to insult Fred, but it was true; attempting to take on the Volturi, for something that was already over with, was not rational.
A cold rain began to pour through the leaves in the tall trees above us and the smell of freshly drenched earth washed through my nose. The rain felt like silk dancing down my granite skin and made my long hair fall completely flat, clinging to my cheeks and back.
Renesmee batted the rain water off her big beautiful eyelashes, then placed one hand to my cheek to show me what she was thinking:
Fred seems lonely, mom. He doesn’t have anyone, and because of his special gift – which I seem to be immune to – it will be difficult for him to meet other immortals. He can’t be alone forever. I think we should offer him a place in our family. It’s not his fault that he is what he is. This must be such a lonely way to live. Please, mom.
Fred watched closely as Renesmee communicated through touch, and raised one eyebrow, confused. “So, do you guys even need to talk to communicate then? This is pretty weird… I mean, you’re all communicating in front of me, and I have no clue what you’re talking about.”
Edward ignored Fred and responded to Renesmee’s plea. He already heard everything, of course. Mind reading.
“After the things I heard Fred thinking about you, Renesmee, I don’t think Jake would appreciate him being part of our family. You know how much fighting that would cause. Jacob has imprinted on you. He will forever be protective of you and you know that.”
“Wow. I’ve got a lot to learn,” Fred said, looking as through he were trying to follow people who were speaking a completely foreign language. “Imprinted? So, I take it this is a vampire thing I don’t know about then?”
“Actually, it’s a wolf thing,” I started, wondering how crazy Fred was beginning to think we were. “It’s a long story…” I opened my mouth to continue, but Renesmee interrupted me to respond to Edward’s comment about Jake. This time she said it out loud, as if she couldn’t bear to hold it in. She erupted and her soft, melodious, child-like voice now stern and somewhat cold.
“So I’m supposed to live my entire life, an eternity, worrying that Jacob will be upset if I so much as look at another male? I love Jacob, more than anything, but I should not have to deny myself of my desire to help someone out.” She pointed to Fred, who was darting his eyes between the three of us, his face smothered in confusion.
Edward relented, understanding where Renesmee was coming from, to a certain degree. After all, he refused to live his life based on what others wanted from him. He met, and fell in love with a human – which nearly turned his entire family upside down. A lion falling in love with a lamb, and likewise. But Edward wasn’t living for anyone else, he wasn’t existing to seek approval from others. Nessie shouldn’t, either. Imprinting isn’t an arranged marriage. She is still free to do as she pleases.
Fred was staring intently at Renesmee, and this time he looked more puzzled than awe-struck. “She has blood running through her,” he said, nodding. “I can smell it, but it does not appeal to me. Yet, she was able to show you her thoughts through touch, and she is the daughter of two immortals. I’m confused. Is she a human, or…”
“She is half human, yes.” I said, thinking of how to explain this one. “She still drinks blood, though. And she is strong. She grows, but is supposed to stop soon. She is part vampire, part human. We hang around a werewolf a lot, too. He lives in our backyard. That might be why you’re not overly attracted to her smell.”
Fred’s blood red eyes widened and he cocked his head to the side, puzzled. “H-How?”
“Again, it’s a long story,” Edward answered coldly. “We have a lot of long stories.” He was grinning now, that grin that could make even my rock hard body feel like jello.
“I see I have a lot to learn about our kind,” Fred admitted.
I wanted to help Fred, too. He was basically left in this world with no direction. No friends and no family. His one friend, Bree, was destroyed. He was given a gift which would be helpful in some situations, but repulsing people seemed like more of a curse than a gift in this already lonely world of his.
I decided that I was going to ask Fred if he would like to make an attempt at adapting to the ‘vegetarian’ lifestyle, but he started speaking before I could get the words out.
“And just so you all know, I am not here to join your clan. I don’t want to try to fit into anything. I don’t know what the girl told you through her touch, but based on your response,” -he glanced at Edward- “I can tell it had something to do with me joining your family. I truly don’t believe I could live as purely as you all do. I know I wouldn’t have the strength. I truly just wanted to hear it from you that Bree would not be coming back. I wasn’t sure how those things worked, exactly. I also wanted to know what my chances of confronting the higher power…”
“The Volturi,” Edward interrupted. “They’re called the Volturi.”
“Yes, the Volturi.” Fred corrected himself. “I wanted to know what my chances of confronting the Volturi would be, given that I have a special talent. But I don’t want to join you. Besides, I wouldn’t want to be make any wolves mad, or interfere with their imprinting… whatever that is.”
Fred was being honest. He really didn’t see himself living as we do. It’s in his nature to hunt, and kill. Human blood keeps him strong and it’s what he is used to. This life, if you can call it that, was already confusing enough to him. Having to resist human blood would only complicate things more for him. I could still see the vacancy in his crimson eyes, though. It bothered me. I could feel his suffering and his emptiness. He seemed like a nice guy and I couldn’t help but wonder what he’d been like as a human.
The least I could do was leave Fred with some advice before he took off, back into his lonely, disordered world. “If you choose to continue on alone, we wish you the best. And about the Volturi, you have to make sure no one ever finds out about our kind. Ever. Never expose yourself to the humans. If, for some reason, you create another vampire, you must control them. Make sure they don’t get out of hand. Any risk of exposure to our kind will end you.” I paused and thought for a half second. There was one more thing I should tell him.
“Don’t let the Volturi know you’re gifted, if you can help it. They will try to have you join them to make themselves more powerful. They’re corrupt and all they care about is power. And blood. Before you go, know that if you need us for anything, or you would like to try living as we do, we will help. We wanted to help Bree. She wanted to be helped, too.”
“Thank you,” Fred answered, shifting one foot as if he were about to run in the other direction. “But I don’t think I need help. I’m not doing anything that isn’t in my nature. Killing for blood is what we’re made to do. It’s what keeps us alive.”
Renesmee bit her bottom lip as if she were trying to hold back from saying something. She could see that Fred wasn’t getting the point and wanted to say something about it. I liked that she was beginning to develop strong opinions that she stuck by.
“Yes, and for humans it’s in their nature to eat animal meat, but vegetarians are some of the healthiest humans,” Renesmee began in a factual tone. “Some humans believe that it is completely unethical to kill anything that is living and breathing. Because they are only weak humans, they cannot kill an animal in the way we can when we hunt. We can do it so fast that they don’t even know what happened. But humans have to cause some degree of pain in animals to eat them, so some choose not to. This is how we see humans. Sure, we can kill a human fast enough so they wouldn’t feel pain – but the pain of their absence is still left for their loved ones to feel.”
Edward moved closer to Nessie and put his arm around her shoulders. He was as proud as I was. She was so incredibly compassionate. She understood why practicing control was so important. Why humans deserved to live. She was conceived inside a human, and is half human, so I figured she would always have a natural compassion for them.
Edward tried to keep his voice casual. “We aren’t trying to preach to you, Fred. Do as you choose, of course. We just see that you’re incredibly confused and don’t understand your options. Renesmee only wants to let you know that abstaining from human blood is in fact an option.”
The pouring rain turned into a soft drizzle and the sun began to set. Fred smiled, a polite friendly smile and nodded once. “Thank you all for your time. You helped me a lot with the information you’ve given me. I know how to keep myself out of trouble now – and have learned some interesting things about what we’re capable of. I’m going to be on my way now, though. For now, I will continue to exist in this life the only way I know how.” He paused and looked at each of us, holding his gaze slightly longer on Nessie. “Besides,” he continued, still smiling playfully. “I prefer bright red eyes to golden ones.”
And he was off.
Renesmee’s shoulders slouched and she let out a frustration filled sigh. She felt connected to Fred. I figured she liked him because she was immune to his special gift. Listening to her thoughts, Edward confirmed that she felt as though that meant something. Like there was a reason she did not feel repulsed by him.
“I’m sure I’ll see him again. One day. Maybe,” Nessie whispered. “Can we go back now? I want to see Jake. I miss him.”
We ran back home and to our surprise, Renesmee told Jake everything. She even told him that she found Fred ‘charming’ and ‘good-looking.’
“He’s a killer, Nessie,”Jake replied in disapproval, and jealously. “Why would you want to have a pale, blood suc…” Edward cut him off with a low growl.
“Well, he’s gone now so I don’t really care anyway,” Jake half-snarled. “I don’t want to talk about him anymore. Looks like I’ll have to make sure I come everywhere with you for now on Ness’. To protect you from the bloodsuckers and their spells. Seems like they have the ability to wrap anyone around their finger.”
Nessie rolled her eyes and smiled, her brilliantly dazzling smile, then laughed at Jake. She understood. She knew he had gone through losing someone, me, to a vampire in the past and that he was petrified of it happening again. She didn’t want to break his heart again, and she did love him. Edward tells me that she can even picture herself being with him. But, she doesn’t have to clean up my mistakes, either. She doesn’t have to be with him just so he wont be heartbroken.
Right how, though, Renesmee just wanted Jacob to tuck her into bed. “Give it up Jake,” she said through a smile. “And come tuck me into bed, will you?” With one swift movement, he lifted her up into his arms and carried her to her room, placing her on the bed as if she were a delicate, fragile package.
Edward and I kissed her goodnight, then left Jake alone to tuck her in. We were almost all the way down the stairs when Edward stopped, froze on the spot, and ripped the banister up, bending it like a pipe cleaner. So effortlessly.
“He kissed her on the lips” he said through his teeth. “And sh-she liked it. She kissed him b-back.” His eyes were clenched tightly and he was still holding onto the now broken banister. I half laughed to myself and mentally started thinking of when it would be raining next; we needed to go banister shopping.