October 20, 2010
Today, the custom-made ballerina wardrobe (tutus, leotards, and shoes) I’d ordered for Renesmee arrived! I hadn’t had time to get any of it before the party, since I had only discovered her love for ballet the week before. The only ballet item I had given her at the birthday party was a delicate enameled ballet slipper charm from Tiffany, which I had carefully showed Ness how to attach to the Color by the Yard sterling chain dotted with pink sapphires.
So now I was to be Renesmee’s ballet instructor. I wasn’t sure she actually needed lessons – after all, with very little practice she had stunned me speechless at the depth of her talent and passion – but we would both enjoy it, so we decided to practice three times a week, two hours at a time.
I guess she’s sort of in school now. Between the ballet, and the cooking lessons from Bella and Esme, and the books she eagerly absorbs each day, Renesmee’s education is shaping up to be pretty unique, which fits her perfectly.
“Esme,” I sang, skipping into her office, “can I talk to you for a sec?”
She looked up from her laptop with her warm, loving smile directed my way. I grinned in response.
“Of course, dear,” she replied, scooting her wheeled antique chair back to turn toward me.
“Okay,” I began, settling into my favorite cross-legged position on the plush antique Gabbeh rug. “So, you know how Ness and me are doing ballet practice now?”
Esme’s eyes crinkled at me as she replied fondly, “And I can’t wait to watch your practices!”
“Well …” I paused for dramatic effect, before squealing, “let’s build a studio!!”
At first, Esme looked thrilled at the idea of more blueprints and architectural work. But concern tempered her voice when she asked hesitantly, “Are you … sure that’s a good idea?”
I felt my eyes pop open, my jaw drop, and my eyebrows shoot up at her question. But before I could even begin to reply, Bella hurtled into the room.
“Alice,” she scolded me, “what are you thinking? A permanent reminder of when James … Edward would loathe it! It would be like torture to him, please, just practice in the living room or something.”
“Psshh,” I scoffed. “Edward has everything he’s ever wanted now. Who cares what happened back then?”
But Esme was in agreement with Bella. “I’d hate for him to be reminded of that every day, Alice,” she told me gently. I frowned and glanced to the side, trying to find the future. But because Esme hadn’t decided to build the studio, I couldn’t see Edward’s reaction to it.
Sensing my indecision, Bella went for the kill. “Renesmee won’t want to practice if it makes Edward unhappy,” she assured me solemnly.
With a grimace, I conceded the point. “Fine,” I sighed. “Then we need to figure out where to attach the barre. And there should be at least one full-length mirror. And wood floors. I’m talking bare minimum here!” I protested, as Bella began shaking her head.
“Don’t worry, Bella, dear,” Esme soothed, standing and crossing to Bella’s side. “I’ll find a way to make it look less … well, you know.” She squeezed Bella’s hand before returning to her desk.
“Now,” Esme began in a totally different tone of voice, one that I recognized from the wedding-planning days, “will you be using the barre as well, or only Renesmee? And what time of day will your practices be? Depending on the light from outside, we may be able to get away with fewer mirrors …”
Bella groaned and shot me one last glare, then turned to leave. “It’s for Renesmee,” I reminded her back, but Bella just snorted in response. Typical.
Whatever. I dismissed the entire conversation from my mind, knowing Esme would be as good as her word. We would build a pseudo-studio that in no way resembled the one in Arizona, and Renesmee would love it. Esme and I spent a few blissful hours debating over the right type and color of wood for the floor, and researching the right brand for the barre. Finally, we agreed not to keep it a secret from Ness, since it would be completed long before Christmas anyway.
With that all taken care of, I kissed Esme’s cheek and waved goodbye – she barely looked up from her work to respond. I knew she’d love this project!
As I dashed down the stairs, I heard clanking and laughter in the kitchen, and baseball in the living room. Hmm, tough choice!
Veering toward the kitchen, I detected an extremely unpleasant burning smell. It was not very strong, but it lingered around the stove.
“What happened here?” I asked curiously, hopping onto the counter next to a stack of messy mixing bowls. Renesmee looked up at me with a slightly embarrassed expression on her sweet face.
“I made a mess,” she confessed, her cheeks turning a dark pink as she spoke. I took a moment to enjoy the sight and reminisce over the days when Bella had turned red at the slightest provocation, as Seth and Bella laughed affectionately.
“It was really my fault,” Bella declared, eager to take the blame. But Nessie shook her head.
“No, it was me,” she asserted, with a determined set to her pointed chin. “I forgot to push start, and the timer didn’t go.”
“But I didn’t notice,” Bella countered.
Seth chuckled happily as he finished wiping up the last of the blackened pot roast. Geez, had he really eaten the entire thing himself? Silly question. Of course he had!
“It still tastes awesome,” he assured Ness, with a satisfied belch. “Oops. ‘Scuse me.”
“Where’s the other guy?” I inquired, transferring dishes to the sink. I hoped that rinsing them would lessen the meat and charcoal smell.
“Jake’s on patrol,” Seth replied, picking at his teeth. “Man, that was good, Ness. I oughta come here more often!”
“I think you’re here often enough,” I assured him cheerily, with a little wink to soften the blow. He just laughed again, unhurt.
“Well, guess I’d better get going,” he yawned, stretching his massive form as he rose. “See you guys later. Thanks again, Ness!”
She beamed at him and replied, “You’re welcome! Here, don’t forget to take this home to Sue!” Reaching into the fridge, she pulled out some ramekins of what appeared to be crème brulee.
“Wow,” I commented, impressed. “You learned how to make crème brulee, Nessie? You’re really getting good, aren’t you!”
“I don’t know,” she admitted humbly, her cheeks dimpling as she smiled up at me. “It all tastes pretty bad to me. But, Seth and my Jacob seem to like it!”
Bella sighed and smiled at the same time, resting her hand on Nessie’s head with a tender caress. “Yes, soon you’ll be a better cook than I ever was,” she mused with a touch of dismay in her voice. I imagined she was thinking of the day when Renesmee would leave us to be with Jacob.
So naturally I had to change the subject! “Hey Ness, guess what?” I exclaimed brightly. The two of them looked expectantly at me.
“We’re building a ballet room just for you!”
As Bella rolled her eyes, Renesmee hopped up and down in excitement. Now that was more like it!
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