February 26, 2011
The most vital rule of the vampire world is, certainly, to stay inconspicuous. Our existence must continue as a secret, and for me and my family, this is a top priority. In order to seem like a regular small-town family in New Hampshire, we must remain undiscovered. This is the main reason why we had chosen Alaska, Forks, and now our town in New Hampshire to thrive in; because of the constant overcast skies and rain. Being out in the sun around the public would result in chaos.
So, it’s rare to ever see the sun here in Etna, New Hampshire, especially in the middle of February. That’s great for us, but sometimes it can feel a bit depressing. But against all odds, the sun decided to snake its way through the clouds for a few days this past week. Of course, we weren’t about to take advantage of it.
Last Wednesday, Alice had seen the week’s weather forecast and declared to us with a huge grin that Friday and Saturday would be greeted with sunshine. I don’t think any of us had seen sunlight since Autumn had passed, so we made plans to spend the weekend outdoors on a camping trip at a small and deserted campsite at a park called Coolidge State Forest northwest of Hanover; the larger town to which Etna feeds off into.
The wolves decided they wanted to join in with us as well, so we packed extra tents and supplies. Renesmee, who was really starting to get into different sports, decided that we should bring a portable volleyball net and have a tournament.
We packed all the supplies in cars and drove a little out of the city, before we set out on foot, as the sun was already out by then. We couldn’t risk having anyone see us before we got out of town. The camping site hadn’t been used by humans in a while, for fear of large bears, but there was a large pond and a wide-open field adjacent to it, similar to our field back in Forks.
The first ten minutes after our arrival at the campsite were spent lounging out in the thoroughly-missed sun. It was certainly a beautiful day out; few clouds in the sky, and the weather a considerably warmer temperature, but still coat weather for the fragile humans. Of course, we didn’t need coats.
The wolves pitched the tents while Nessie, Bella and I set up the volleyball net. I had been sure to buy a whole stash of the most durable brand of volleyballs; our inhuman strength can sometimes burst the balls. We might as well have used basketballs. It was six-on-six; Alice, Bella, Emmett, and the wolves, against the rest of us.
“You’re on,” Nessie told Jake, with a flirtatious smirk and wink. When Jacob gave me a furtive glance for half a second, his eyes enterprising, I almost growled. As Renesmee strolled away, Jacob’s thoughts, though not intended for my purpose, revolved around her now more womanly figure. I knew I needed to get on his tail about that. No pun intended.
Like when we play baseball, we take up almost the length of the whole field. The ball was served first by Renesmee, who can pack a lot of power in such a small body. Each time the ball hit someone’s wrists or palm, it made a loud smack, but it was nowhere near the noise we would be making had we been playing baseball.
None of us really knew the proper form or rules for playing volleyball besides Renesmee, so we were mostly out there for fun with the family. The only true competition was between Ness and Jake, as well as Rose and Emmett.
You’d think that the transformation from fragile human to vampire would eliminate all aspects of human imperfections on the exterior, but it seems to be that Bella’s clumsiness hasn’t ceased. She still manages to trip on her own feet, and she still can’t figure out the right way to throw a ball – or to catch it – without bursting it. Sometimes, I wonder why she had been so less coordinated than other humans, or why she doesn’t have the instinctual grace that the rest of us have. But she is my Bella, and her clumsiness is who she is.
Jacob, Seth, Leah, and Nessie all cooked their own hamburgers over the grill for dinner and toasted marshmallows. The rest of us sat around contentedly and absorbed the orange sun. I will never be able to compare anything to the tingling sensation of the sun on my skin, especially from being neglected of it for so long. Our skin is even more brilliant in the setting sun; we all glow like bright orange chandeliers.
“I’ve missed the sun,” Bella sighed. She was leaning on her elbows on the mossy ground, her amber eyes closed. She looked like some kind of avenging angel, with her glimmering golden skin.
I sat next to her and wrapped my arms around her shoulders. “We all have, my love.”
She rested her head on my shoulder. “I should be used to the lack of sunlight by now. I mean, I’ve survived Forks.”
I cracked a smile. “The weather doesn’t bother me.”
“Well, if the sun’s not out, I’ll always have you to keep me happy.” It was true: Bella is my sun. I need her to live, and without her, my life would be dark and cold and lonely. I can’t fathom a world without her.
The rest of the night went smoothly and relaxed. After the sun had set, we just lied on our backs and gazed up at the shadowy sky. In Etna, we don’t see stars at night too often, either. Jasper, who enjoys astronomy, had decided that he wanted to study the constellations and star positions here in Etna, and compare them to the ones in Forks. Anyway, they were incredible, and with our keen vision, there were more stars visible than any human eyes could ever see.
It was when the werewolves started winding down and heading off to the tents when Renesmee came up to Bella and me. She was sharing a tent with Leah, who, despite her rough exterior, plays the big-sister in Renesmee’s life. I am glad that they get along.
“Can I ask you something?” she said, looking down at us with a glowing expression.
“Of course, baby,” Bella said warmly, motioning she sit next to her. “What do you need?”
“Well, I was wondering… Would you let me go to public school?” she asked us.
I became rigid, and felt Bella stiffen next to me. We’d already discussed this when Renesmee was too young to understand, and decided that sending someone so different to a school full of humans would be rash. Though she is only half-vampire, that didn’t mean she is totally inconspicuous.
Renesmee has an unnaturally flawless ivory completion, and in the sun she doesn’t sparkle like us, but her skin glows faintly. Her voice is high and clear, as melodic as a flute, and she moves like any other vampire; gracefully, like she is dancing. Surely the humans would notice. So Bella and I’d vetoed out that idea, and since she was about a year old, we’d been homeschooling.
She seemed to know what I was thinking. “I realize why you’d think it would be an issue, but I promise I’ll be careful,” she incited. “I’ll even try to get a few B’s in class to seem more human.”
“Nessie, why exactly do you want to go to public school?” The more I thought about it, the more reckless the idea seemed.
“Why not? It sounds like fun. I may not be all human, but I can act like I am. Like you used to, Daddy. People are going to start noticing it if I don’t go to school soon. And besides,” she raised her eyebrows for emphasis, “I’d really like to have a girlfriend or two to go shopping with.”
Alice appeared beside Nessie at the mention of her favorite hobby. “What, is your Auntie Alice no good for shopping with anymore?”
“Of course you are, Aunt Alice,” Nessie insisted. “But I’d love a friend who’s my age.”
“Well, I guess…” Bella started.
I realized with a pang that Nessie had a coherent point; she really didn’t have any friends outside of our secluded family. “How can we be so sure you’ll be safe, though? Or that someone won’t find out about us?”
At that, Alice held a finger up and her pale eyelids shut. Her foggy vision of the future consisted mainly of images of Renesmee on her first day of school. When Alice’s eyes opened back up a second later, she smiled. “I don’t see anyone finding out about us in the future.”
“What you saw isn’t set in stone, Alice. The future—”
“Always changes, I know,” she finished for me. “But it’s like how when Bella was still human, I could see her becoming one of us. At the time I didn’t know exactly what would happen to her up until that point, but the outcome was always the same. It’s the same thing here, and now I only see one outcome.”
“Oh, come on, Daddy. You went to school, too.” She gave me the one sad-puppy look that would have worked on any other father.
I couldn’t disagree with Alice – her visions were always right, as long as there are no werewolves in the way. I took a deep breath and looked back to Renesmee. “We’ll register you for middle school as soon as we return.”
“Oh! Yay!” Renesmee exclaimed, and bent down to hug me and her mother. “Thank you!”
“You just can’t be too noticeable, okay?” Bella instructed her.
“I promise. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ‘Night!” She smiled once more before returning back to tent with Leah.
“Are you sure she’ll be alright, Alice?” I gave her a wary look that spread the message that I was all business about this.
She rolled her eyes. “You’ve gotta have more faith in your own daughter than that, Edward,” she professed. “She’s mature enough. She’ll be fine.”
“Good,” Bella sighed.
As Alice flitted back to where Jasper was making a star chart of the constellations, the idea of Renesmee going to school brought my thoughts back two months ago, when we’d first moved in. The whole reason we’d decided on New Hampshire as our new home was so that Bella had the opportunity to go to Dartmouth. But, after I had finally convinced Bella that college would be fun and that she didn’t have to worry, we went on our first day and she decided that it was just too hard to fake being someone she wasn’t. I understood; I had been the same when I had first gone to school as a vampire. And even with immortality, Bella is a horrid liar.
The subject of college hadn’t come up since then. But I didn’t want Bella to miss out on her experience in college, even now. So, I’d asked her what she thought about it now that we’d settled.
“Edward, I don’t think I can take the pressure of lying to everybody.” She’d stated the exact same thing after our first day two months ago, and she must have realized that because she added, “I’d feel much more comfortable not going.”
I smirked at her. “Come on. You can try again. You just might end up liking it.”
“Edward, I don’t wanna go.” She sounded like a little kid whining about being taken to the supermarket with the parents, and her stubbornness made me laugh.
“That’s okay, my love. I’ll try it again later,” I told her, kissing her head.
In the morning after the wolves and Renesmee had woken up, the sun was still present but threatening to hide behind the fluffy clouds. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get more sun here, but that just meant that we didn’t have to work so hard to hide. We packed up our supplies and tents, and just as the last glimmer of sunlight disappeared behind the clouds, we took off.
We returned from our trip a few hours ago. It was a great getaway with my family, and I was glad we got the chance to get some sun before it was gone again. I am still worrying about how school is going to work out with Nessie, but we’re going to register her at Richmond Middle School in Hanover. Right now, Renesmee’s working on an IQ test for middle and high school students that Carlisle had whipped up, to see which grade she most likely belongs in.
I’m not going to let it go about Dartmouth. I think it’s fundamental that Bella gets her full education as an immortal, but I have the realization that she’s not ready for it yet. I hope that, with time, she will lighten up to the idea. I’ll be excited to go with her to college.
I’ll be sure to keep my diary updated on what happens to Renesmee at her new school.