November 3, 2010
Things are getting to be so friendly between the wolves and my family. The birthday party … the Halloween party … the constant presence of at least one of them in our kitchen … Even Leah is warming up to us.
Today, she came slinking into the kitchen where I was sitting at the island, chatting with Esme as she baked cookies for the dogs. Since Leah isn’t usually tempted by the treats Esme keeps on hand for the pack, I watched her curiously as she crept closer to us, her eyes narrowed to slits and an expression of extreme discomfort on her face.
But hey, it was an improvement over not coming into the house at all … right? I didn’t want to disappoint Esme by being less than gracious, so as soon as she finished welcoming Leah and offering her some of the warm cookies (which were declined, as always), I greeted Leah myself.
“Yes. Hello,” Leah muttered stiffly, her arms tightly folded across her chest. I watched as her gaze skipped over to the pile of perfectly-shaped cookies, then shot back to me. Leah sucked in a deep breath, wrinkled her nose in disgust, and sighed without vocalizing whatever was on her mind.
“Is anything wrong, dear?” Esme inquired with sincere concern in her loving voice. How she could love this particular person was beyond me, but that was Esme’s gift.
Leah’s mouth twisted and she glanced at me again. Shifting her weight from foot to foot, she uncrossed her arms and roughly rubbed at her close-cropped glossy black hair. I watched her fidget with interest. This looked promising! Maybe she wanted my fashion expertise …
I should have known better. “I need your hel- advice,” Leah blurted out, rushing through the words with distaste. “I need to know something about the future.”
“Oh,” I said, taken aback. Leah wanted to know about her future? Didn’t she know I couldn’t see that?
“Not my – it’s not about me, exactly,” she continued. “Um, I need to …” Once again, her voice trailed off and she looked like she wished to be anywhere but here.
Esme and I leaned a tiny bit closer as if we could force the words out of her. Leah glared at me and growled, “Look, I just want to know if she’ll get upset, all right? I want to give her a portrait of our family from … before, but I need to know if it will upset her. Those framing places take forever and I have to place the order soon.” She said it defiantly, as if she thought I was going to laugh at her.
Well, I wasn’t! It was very sweet of Leah to want her mom, I assumed that was who she meant, to not be upset by a picture of the four of them from before Harry died.
But, before I could tell Leah that, she added, “I don’t know if you can even see her, since she’s the mother of two wolves …” That angry twist pulled her mouth out of shape again.
Could I see Sue? I supposed I had never really tried. There was that time she had surprised me by accompanying Charlie to our house – but no, I had seen her before in my visions. Of course I could.
“Okay, I’ll try,” I promised Leah, “but I’m not sure if it’ll work, since your decision is the one affecting her future.” Leah sniffed and turned her gaze to the window.
Ignoring her, I closed my eyes and began searching. I felt my way past Thanksgiving and reached toward Christmas, doing my best to ignore the many fascinating things that wanted to get my attention. Not everyone had decided what they were giving as gifts yet, but quite a few decisions had been made, and they tugged at my mind, demanding attention.
Shoving those intriguing thoughts aside, I vowed to look again the next time I had a chance, but for now I had to focus. I could just barely make out Sue at her house. But Leah and Seth came into the room, and she disappeared. Okay, so I couldn’t see her opening the gift. But maybe I could find her looking at it when they weren’t there …
Finally, I let out the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding with a whoosh of air, and turned to look more closely at Leah. I could understand now why Edward and Esme found her interesting.
“You’re giving her more than one picture,” I stated confidently, which made Leah glare back at me. In a softer tone, I continued, “She’ll love them both … it’s very thoughtful of you.”
“She’s lucky to have you as her daughter,” Esme smiled, gazing fondly at Leah, who was trying to back out of the kitchen now that she had the information she wanted. “She’s very proud of you, you know.”
“Yeah, whatever, okay,” Leah began mumbling, making her escape. On her way out, she tossed a grudging “Thanks” over her shoulder at me.
You’re lucky to have her as your mother. The thought entered my mind without warning, and instantly I felt a flash of guilt that I could even think such a thing with Esme, the most wonderful mother anyone could ask for, standing beside me.
I looked up at her, and saw only goodness and love. I was on my feet and had my arms around her before she saw me coming, and she let out a startled laugh as I hugged her fiercely. A terrible thought had entered my mind. What if dear, kind Esme, so sensitive to everyone’s feelings and needs, had sensed how I had been feeling lately? What if I was hurting her by pining for the woman I didn’t remember while Esme did her best to mother me here and now?
“I love you,” I whispered forcefully, squeezing her tight. Esme made a soft sound and patted my head gently.
“And I love you, dear one,” she murmured tenderly, surprised but pleased.
Just as suddenly as I had grabbed her, I let her go. I had to find Edward and make him tell me what Esme had been thinking about me lately.
It sounded like he was still outside with Bella and Renesmee, so I dashed out the front door. Sure enough, there they all were, laughing and playing, joyous and carefree. Much as I hated to disturb my brother in his well-deserved moment of family bliss, I needed to know.
Edward! I cried in my mind. As he glanced over at me in surprise, I ran through the events of the last hour in my head and concluded by mentally asking him, What does she think?
“I don’t know,” the wrong voice murmured in response. I tore my desperate gaze from Edward’s face to find Renesmee staring worriedly at me, with her tiny hand on Bella’s cheek. Bella was watching us, too.
“What’s wrong?” Nessie fretted, her big brown eyes wide with concern.
“It’s nothing, Ness,” I lied swiftly, smiling at her convincingly (I hoped). Edward?
“Truly, there’s nothing wrong,” Edward assented, with a meaningful look. Turning back to Renesmee, he continued, “Your silly aunt was just overreacting to something, as usual. She should know by now that nothing could possibly go wrong, with all the hard work she puts into making things perfect.”
His serene stare calmed me. Edward doesn’t lie to me, or hide things from me. If I had done Esme wrong, he would let me know.
But just in case, I vowed not to let myself think or talk about it any more. I have a mother now, and there is no need to dwell on the past.