September 19, 2010
Ever since Bella became a vampire, Jasper has been on a constant roller coaster of borrowed emotions.
There was the bliss of holding Renesmee in her arms for the first time, Jacob’s insane fear for Renesmee’s safety, Edward’s overwhelming joy at Bella’s happiness … then came the threat of the Volturi. That first moment when I saw their decision to come here … though Jasper couldn’t see the vision himself, he felt my crushing, hopeless despair, which was soon magnified by the rest of my family. When we had to trick them and leave, he felt his own guilt as well as mine.
When we defeated outsmarted the Volturi, dozens of vampires and werewolves just about exploded with victorious joy. Imagine the effect that had on Jazz! He was unable to even speak for hours, just floating blissfully in the current of everyone’s pleasure.
And, more recently, this business about Renee visiting. Though they all had their concerns (silly of them not to trust my vision that it would all be just fine), there was also a sort of wild, yet tentative hope throbbing to the beat of Bella’s thoughts, or so Jasper describes it. It’s difficult for me to understand fully, but he always tries to put it into words so I know exactly what he’s feeling at all times. I’ve seen Bella and Renee’s first meeting, at SEA-TAC airport, and if Jasper were there he would be stunned into near-paralysis by the sheer force of Bella’s emotions. It was going to be a tender moment … and one that the rest of us could not intrude upon. Bella and Edward would be going to the airport alone, and the only reason Edward will be there is to monitor Renee’s thoughts.
So, between all these different feelings, plus the usual day-to-day emotions passing through my family and our furry friends, Jasper gets a bit overwhelmed at times. The other day, for example, when I got home from shopping, I found him hiding in the library – luckily his “range” is much smaller than Edward’s mind-reading or our hearing. Each step he takes away from someone lessens the force of their emotions, so a few rooms’ distance makes a huge difference.
That’s why he can’t stand to be around everyone all day (or night) – it gets exhausting, all those different emotions bombarding him from every side. He can use his mood control to smooth it out, but people (particularly Jacob and Rosalie) don’t really like it when he does that. So he escapes from time to time … and I tend to follow him, at least about half the time. I hate the nagging itch in my mind when he’s not at my side. Though, rationally, I know it’s not likely anything bad could happen to him, I still prefer to have him where I can see him.
Tonight we were all role-playing. – No, not like THAT! Jeez. No, we were trying to help Bella prepare for Renee’s visit – it’s only about another week til she gets here, after all, and Bella really hasn’t had enough practice appearing human. (On the plus side, that means we can’t move away anytime soon! Not til she’s ready to re-enroll in school.) She needs to work on her voice more than anything, because there’s just no good explanation for why she now sounds like a chorus of bells instead of, I dunno, a human talking?
Rose, Jacob, Esme, and Emmett were all talking to Bella, pretending to be human (I guess in Jacob’s case it’s not really a case of pretending, but you know what I mean) and clueless about the reasons behind her transformation. I had slathered her almost head to toe in different types of makeup, and she was going through colored contacts at a brisk pace – we needed her to fine-tune her sense of when they would dissolve, so it was okay that a few boxes were going to waste. Edward was clutching Nessie, and watching Bella closely. Probably worrying, as usual. His favorite pastime. Jazz was keeping track of Bella’s emotions so they could back off when she got too frustrated (and so Edward would freaking relax a bit, knowing Bella felt okay). And I, of course, was analyzing her every move to see what it did to the carefully applied makeup.
From my perch on the concrete fireplace mantel, I watched as Emmett kept up a constant stream of questions and insinuations for Bella to deflect. Stuff like, “How come you sound so different?” and “Gee, you sure feel cold, are you feeling alright?” and “Maybe the reason you’re so pale is you’re not getting enough -”
That was where Edward cut him off, knowing Bella’s hatred of that type of teasing. “It’s unlikely that Renee will make such an inane and inappropriate comment to Bella, Emmett. Perhaps you should stick to your lines, if you want to keep all of your limbs.” He actually hissed that last part, and it looked like he wasn’t entirely kidding, either!
All sibling rivalry aside, it was going okay until Rose made a huge blunder. “So, honey, now that you and Edward are happily settled, when do I get some grandchildren?” she cooed, in a poor impression of Renee.
Instantly Bella tensed, clenching her jaw and darting a glance to Nessie. We all sighed in unison, which, if you’ve never heard such a thing before, actually sounded kinda cool. But it was a big deal; though Rosalie shouldn’t have thrown it at her out of the blue like that, Bella did need to be able to react appropriately to questions of that nature.
But you know Edward … he’s always a little biased. We all watched as he flipped his lid, reacting to Bella’s obvious chagrin at failing Rose’s little test. “Rosalie, please!” he fumed, his eyes burning holes into my sister’s nonplussed face as she raised one eyebrow at him. “A little compassion and tact, is that too much to ask of you? You should know better than to provoke Bella about Renesmee!” He paced back and forth as he lectured, giving me the opportunity to grab Nessie away. It was bad enough she had to watch him throw a hissy fit, she didn’t need to be right in the eye of the storm.
Speaking of which … I frowned and squinted at Bella, who was, as usual, chewing on her bottom lip in agitation. I really need to find a way to break her of that habit. Maybe Jasper could project some kind of remorse anytime she started doing it? Well, anyway, she had lowered her head in shame, but I could still make out the demarcation between the makeup and her actual skin color around her lips. She was licking – or chewing – it off! Gross.
I darted to Jacob, who had his arms crossed and was watching Edward with a look of supreme boredom on his face, and handed Nessie to him without a word. Ignoring my brother, who was waving his arms around and still – still! – spouting off about how we all need to be respectful and understanding of Bella’s feelings, I crossed to the sofa and knelt by her feet. With one finger, I lifted her chin, and turned her face one way, then the other while she stared back at me in confusion.
Heaving a deep sigh, I informed her, “You’ve been rubbing off your makeup, Bella.” As I spoke, I whipped out a small compact to show her the damage. She frowned guiltily at her reflection in the mirror.
“But Renee won’t be able to see that … will she?” she asked, then clamped her mouth shut as I produced a tiny sponge and the foundation to feather around her lips. A quick blending and I was done. Still, I thought it would be best if we could condition Bella to stop doing that – because from what I had heard, Renee was pretty observant, for a human.
We continued our work for another hour before Jazz gave up; the tension in the room was palpable even to the rest of us, and his mood control could only do so much. I gave them another ten minutes of my time before declaring it a lost cause. There was just no stopping Bella from her nervous tics.
Well, we still have an entire week to practice. I sincerely hope she won’t start complaining, because I have seen that there will not be any problems, and I’m pretty sure Bella needs more training in order for that to come true!
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