October 4, 2010
Renee’s on a plane back to Jacksonville, and … I guess I better start from last night and tell it all in order.
So Bella and Esme came home with their garage sale finds, very pleased with themselves, and when I saw their haul I was impressed! Bella had found the perfume bottle and handed that to me first, as Esme pulled out her new painting and held it up for us to admire. Then Bella showed me a bronze table mirror that I immediately recognized as being an original Tiffany circa 1905! When I asked her how she knew that’s what it was, she just looked blankly back at me and said she didn’t know anything about it, but she thought Rose might like it.
Anyway, I raced up the stairs to hide the perfume bottle in my gift stash, and when I returned I saw Bella with her hands cupped, showing something to Renesmee, who had woken up when she heard her mother’s voice. With my usual friendly interest in the doings of my sister, I came over to see what the fuss was about – and gasped.
“Bella! Is that – a demantoid garnet?” I demanded, grabbing the dark metal ring and turning it to examine the huge stone from every angle.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “The lady couldn’t tell me. It was in a box with a bunch of random costume jewelry -”
“Demantoid garnets are not costume jewelry,” I corrected her swiftly. “Do you have any idea how rare they are? How much they’re worth? Look at this, it’s stunning!” Under the hallway light, the rough garnet stone was poison-green and clear as glass.
“Well, don’t tell Leah that, or she’ll never accept it,” Bella begged, taking the ring back from me.
“Leah?” I questioned, cocking my head to one side. The urge to look for this future event was instinctive, but of course I couldn’t see any of the wolves in the future. Still, looking at the ring again, it seemed exactly right for Leah: The raw crystals, jagged and unpolished, plainly set on a wide hammered band that looked like iron but was probably just oxidized silver … there was something wild about it that mirrored her fierce personality, and yet at the same time, it was beautiful and one-of-a-kind – again, just like her.
“Perfect,” I murmured aloud. Bella shot me a grateful look and smiled, just as Rosalie and Emmett came in through the back of the house.
“Oooohhhh,” Rose gushed, gazing covetously at the ring. I felt it was my duty to inform her that this was not for her.
“It’s for Leah,” Bella beat me to the punch. “It seemed right for her – Alice thinks so too – but I’m still not sure …”
“She’ll take it?” Emmett quipped drily.
“She’ll wear it?” Rose piped in at the exact same time.
After a tiny pause, Bella replied, “Exactly.”
But Christmas is still a few months away, so there was no need to dwell on that. Instead, Bella unceremoniously shoved the ring into her pocket (I cringed just a little) and then picked up Renesmee and headed to the couch to tell her all about her day.
Nessie’s eyes were wide with fascination as Bella described the various houses they’d gone to, with jumbled piles of random items displayed in the yards and crowds of haggling shoppers elbowing each other out of the way. Evidently Renee had proven to be a master haggler – her lack of focus made it easy for her to lose interest in an item quickly, which caused the homeowners to lower their asking prices to try to get a sale out of her. Ness laughed with delight at Bella’s vivid imitation of her mother losing interest in a funky lamp right in the middle of paying for it – she had changed her mind several times, and finally decided to take it (by that time, the original price had been cut in half)!
Esme, joining all of us in the living room now that her new painting had been hung up in the kitchen, agreed that it had been a lovely day. The weather was just right; gloomy enough to make it safe for her and Bella to be outside, but not rainy or too cold for Renee. From the way she talked, it sounded as though Renee was her new best friend, a thought which made me feel all “warm and fuzzy inside,” as the humans say.
She sounded deeply disappointed that Renee had to go home, and I wondered if she was secretly hoping that she’d move to Washington … Glancing up, I saw Edward’s swift wink, indicating that I was right about that. Well, I could see how happy it made both Bella and Esme to have Renee here, but there was no way we could ask, convince, or allow her to move back to Forks. Having Charlie exposed to our lifestyle was dangerous enough; we couldn’t involve Renee and her husband too. Especially not her husband – while he may care about Bella, it couldn’t be anything like the fierce protective love Renee and Charlie feel for her, so he would be a major liability.
Well, today being the last day of Renee’s visit, Bella and Edward planned to be at Charlie’s from morning until it was time to take her to the airport. Bella didn’t want to miss a single moment with her mom, so she had suggested the four of them have brunch together, giving Renee time to sleep in before traveling home. I guess Renee asked if Esme had any of those “delicious” orange-almond cinnamon rolls left over, because Esme was in the kitchen at about 7AM working on a new batch, which Bella and Edward took with them to the Swan residence.
Renesmee was having a hard time with her sleeping schedule, which needed to be switched back to normal anyway, so Jacob was in his human form at the cottage, reading to her or something. The rest of us were (YAY) working on plans for the party this Saturday – almost an entire month after her actual birthday, but not quite.
After a particularly long speech from me about arranging the dance floor, bouncy village, and food areas, Emmett groaned. “Seriously, can we talk about something fun for a while?” he begged, making a face at me. What was he talking about? This was fun.
“Well, we could work on our plans for Edward,” Rosalie suggested, her eyes lighting up. The boys heartily agreed, so I pulled out my other list and began taking notes as they all started talking at the same time.
Time passed in a haze of laughter and some very inspired ideas from Rosalie, when all of a sudden we heard a surprised yelp and howl that ended abruptly. All of us leapt to our feet at once, straining to hear what was wrong. It had sounded like Seth, but now he wasn’t making any noise at all. And where was Jacob, then?
“Shit.” This came from Emmett, but everybody seemed to agree, since we were all racing toward the source of the noise – right by the cottage. As we ran, I tried frantically to see Renesmee’s future, but I couldn’t – so that must mean she was still with Jacob, right??
After what seemed like an eternity, we burst into the clearing where Seth paced in front of the cottage in his wolf form. Crap!
“Seth, can you change to human and tell us what’s wrong?” I urged, dropping to my knees as I realized I couldn’t hear Renesmee or Jacob inside the tiny house. He shook his head, whining softly.
“What?! Do it!” Emmett roared, clenching his hands into huge, menacing fists. Seth cringed slightly, but kept pacing and whining.
Rosalie’s eyes narrowed to ferocious slits, but luckily Jasper could feel Seth’s emotions, and stepped in front of the rest of us. “Wait. Seth, has Jacob ordered you not to say anything to us?”
Seth nodded vigorously, earning another curse from Emmett and a grim look from Rose. This couldn’t be a good thing …
“We’ll follow his scent,” Jasper called, already rushing away.
As we ran, I noticed that we were heading toward Forks, and I began to get an idea of what was going on. My worst fears were confirmed as we entered Chief Swan’s neighborhood, following the sound of Jacob’s huge heart beating along with his vile scent.
We slowed as we reached the edge of the forest – Charlie, Bella, Edward, and Renee were inside the house, but close enough to a window that they just might see something if they glanced outside. Edward had a tense look in his eyes, but was still keeping his composure better than Bella, who looked terrified.
Jacob was sitting in the woods with Renesmee on his back, and the two of them were watching the family scene inside. Renesmee looked up guiltily as we reached her, but Jacob gave us a look that resembled gratitude … it was hard to tell coming from a wolf. But Edward hissed under his breath, “He didn’t want to, but she asked him to, and he couldn’t say no.”
Too bad Emmett was grinding his teeth and urging Jacob to come a little deeper into the forest, his voice a harsh whisper as Rosalie snatched Renesmee from his back. “I’m going to kill you, mongrel,” Rose spat before turning and beginning the run home. I heard her flatly refusing Renesmee’s plea to stay, and was glad that some of us were sensible enough to know what was good for her.
“Talk to Renesmee,” Edward ordered quickly, then turned his attention back to Renee and Charlie. I nodded to Jasper and the two of us took off, leaving Jacob to deal with Emmett.
When we got back to the house, Renesmee was sitting on the sofa alone, and Rosalie and Esme were both standing in the doorway with their arms folded tightly. Jasper stayed behind the couch and I moved to kneel in front of Renesmee on the carpet.
She looked at me warily, gulping as she saw that there was no trace of a smile on my face. “Renesmee,” I began in a monotone, “do you realize what you just did?”
She took a deep breath and said in a wavering voice, “She’s leaving today and I wanted to see her just once. Everybody else got to meet her but me.”
I nodded slowly, and hated the position I was in. Discipline was not my strong suit. “Okay, and we can all understand that,” I explained, as Rose and Esme nodded, “but what you just did put a lot of people in very grave danger.”
She swallowed hard and tried to tell me that she knew her Jacob could make it so she wouldn’t be seen by Renee. I had to interrupt.
“No, you didn’t know that, Renesmee … because I can’t see the future when the wolves are involved,” I reminded her in a voice that was barely above a whisper, “so there was absolutely no way to be sure that you would have been safe. Anyone could have seen you sitting on the back of a giant wolf, and if Renee had glanced out of that window at just the wrong moment, she would have spotted you.” I paused; Jasper was filling the room with belief and a bit of fear, which was confusing to me as the authority figure, but exactly what we needed Renesmee to feel.
“Now, you know that we were very worried when your grandpa Charlie first found out about you,” I resumed the lecture, looking her straight in the eyes, which were beginning to water. I shoved my own emotions out of the way and continued, “With the Volturi looking for any excuse to find fault with us, it is incredibly unsafe and selfish of us to keep humans involved in our lives. The only reason I told Bella and Edward it would be okay for Renee to visit was because I saw that we would be able to keep you out of sight.”
I stopped again, heartbroken by the quiet sobs coming from Renesmee and Esme. Rosalie’s jaw was tense, but so far, she wasn’t breaking down. I tried to soak up some of her strength to go on.
“Renesmee … you will get to meet Renee someday. I know with her here now, and everyone talking about her, you wanted to see her too. But she cannot see you yet. One day, when she meets you, you will look about 14 years old; and that will only be a couple of years from now. So she canNOT see you at this age. It is far, far too dangerous for everyone involved,” I finished with a huge sigh.
Renesmee’s breath hitched in gulping sobs as she wept in shame, and I signaled to Esme and Rose to come help me comfort her, now that I had done what I had to do. A quick glance at Jasper was enough to tell him it was okay to leave – I knew the emotions had become too much for him.
The three of us stayed on the couch, speaking only rarely, until Emmett got home and reported that Jacob was back in La Push and Bella and Edward had left for the airport. Then, Esme gently urged Renesmee to take a quick nap before her mom and dad got back.
As soon as the poor, heartbroken little girl was asleep, I turned to Emmett and asked what had happened with Jacob.
“Well, he didn’t put up much of a fight,” Emmett snorted, looking disappointed. “Just walked into the forest and stood there, wouldn’t change back into human, so I had to fight him in his wolf form. But Edward made me stop way too soon, I wasn’t even halfway done with him,” Emmett griped.
“He’s incapable of telling Renesmee no,” Esme fretted, twisting and crumpling the fabric of her skirt. “Oh, I wish he hadn’t done that, but … maybe it was wrong to hit him, since he really didn’t have a choice.”
Emmett looked chagrined at that, but Rosalie was quick to remind Esme that he had also ordered Seth not to tell us where he went. “He didn’t have to do that,” she pointed out.
“True,” Esme sighed.
“I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about when they get back,” I said, “but right now I – I just need – I’m going to go find Jasper.” With that, I ran away.