May 2, 2013
March 16th, 1917
I tried my hand at my grandmother’s recipe for chocolate cupcakes today. She was right: There was no secret ingredient. God, I remember the way I used to pester her for that one thing that she somehow always managed to slip in before the cupcakes were served.
As it turns out, my mind was clearly deceiving me. The cupcakes always seemed that much more delicious because of my belief of the presence of a secret ingredient in them. Today, when I tasted them, they seemed the same as every other time I had baked them.
Speaking of deceit, that is what I should use to describe my offspring. I swear, Edward’s antics are increasing in notoriety by the day. I remember him from when he was six, and he had broken my deceased mother’s antique mirror. When the remains of the poor artifact were discovered, he had very smoothly tried to put the blame on our dog.
What my darling son had clearly forgotten was that our dog could not possibly have moved a cupboard that heavy, let alone climbed upon it to chase a cat.
Also, when the mirror had been found, it had very discreetly been put together so as to deceive the eye. I still remember his sheepish expression when we had asked him how the it had managed to fly above and perch itself on the top of the cupboard once again. What had been even more incredible was his answer:
“The dog did it?”
Anyway, that was the past. I had expected him to grow out of his ‘phase’. Oh, how disappointed am I now! How foolish in thinking that my son, for once, would show traits opposite to that of his father. No, Anthony and Edward are the same to the core, even when it comes to mischief.
To think that poor Rebecca had to be his latest victim!
I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t particularly like the girl. Her father dotes on her excessively, and her mother has spoiled her to the point of incorrigibility. She seems to think that beauty and money are the only things worth having in the world. Truly, I feel legitimately sad for such children.
Apparently, Edward does too. He is just, shall we say, a little more vocal about it.
It so happened that Rebecca and her group of friends (needless to say, girls like her) had decided to defy their mothers and go bathing in the nearby lake . . . in the . . . exposed state, to put it mildly.
I swear that to this date I do know how my son sneaks out of the house without me and Anthony knowing, but he does.
I think everyone would know what is about to happen in the story hereon after. Edward Anthony Masen Jr. tiptoed out of the house on a spring night, and along with his friends, stole the girls’ clothes and hung them up on the highest tree. (I am suspecting the climber in this case had been Joshua Parley.)
Poor girls were almost frozen and catatonic by the time they were found, because my son and his friends had, by then, vanished from the lakeside after creating disaster.
I rebuked Edward, of course, but I am suspecting that it might not have had much effect. I saw the father and son sniggering together after my hour long lecture on how whatever Edward had done had not been gentlemanly behavior.
I swear Anthony has a big hand in spoiling our son, even though he won’t admit it.
Well, my son is, as of last week, grounded. And that, using his words, is ‘utter hell’, since it levies a ban on morning strolls, baseball, and excursions with friends. He has been sulking the entire day, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he will try to sneak out again tonight. No worries, though. I have told him in no ambiguous terms that I will have his door guarded tonight . . .
I shook my head as I read what my mother had written about me in her diary.
This particular fiasco had already slipped my mind, but much of it had been recalled by what my mother had painted through her words. If I remember correctly, I had tried to sneak out that night. But Elvis, our butler, had very gladly acquiesced to stay back and guard my door. My punishment had been extended by three weeks after that.
In my defense, I did not believe that my mother could go to such drastic measures. She had always been very cautious, very mindful of her image in society, and very careful about the matters of her household. God forbid if Elizabeth Masen ever stepped out looking less than perfect, or if her house had even a speck of dust at any point in the day.
Imagine the irony when her son had been the devil incarnate.
Even as a child, I had been a handful. I was stubborn, compulsive and a bit of anti-neat freak. Everywhere I went I created a mess. There had been times in my childhood when my mother had almost had a mental breakdown. Maybe that was why my parents had never had other children. They could not have, under any circumstances, handled two Satans under one roof.
Compared to me, my daughter was an angel.
Bella and I had never had any trouble with Nessie at all. She’d slept through the nights, and her potty training (Bella told me not to call it that, but I find it very funny) had gone extremely well. She only ever fessed up regarding her clothes, which she wanted to be perfect to the T.
I remember the time when she was around a month old, a little before the ominous arrival of the Volturi.
She had been looking like a three year old by that time, and we had yet to teach her things except spellings and numbers. She had thrown up a major fit when going grocery shopping with Bella.
My darling daughter had been wanting to wear green, even though she didn’t know what the color actually looked like. So, every time Bella pulled out an article of clothing green in color, she had thrown it away saying, “No, mommy, I said green!”
Finally, the argument had ended with her wearing yellow (which she insisted was the right shade—of green) and a loud proclamation about Bella’s intellect, “Mommy, you don’t know anything.”
Then there was the stint with chicken pox. Oh, that I remember well.
A little after the Volturi had left—we were still in Forks—Nessie had returned one day, with Emily in tow, saying that she saw what she thought were pox on Nessie’s arms.
Bella and I had been beside ourselves. Frankly, we hadn’t ever thought that our little girl could get sick. She hadn’t ever even caught a cold. That night, Carlisle had explained to us that while Nessie’s vampire traits resisted small health problems like the common cold and the occasional fever, she was, after all, half human. Apparently, her vampire traits were not strong enough to resist the attack of pox.
I have never had a tougher time taming my daughter than I did in those two weeks. Because she was a stranger to any kind of illness, Nessie’s six year old physical self had been more annoyed and sadder than usual. The itching and scratching had kept her up late at night, and the fever had been strong. She had tried to resist, really. But eventually, the innocent mind had suffered a breakdown.
She’d spent the night crying and wailing in my arms, pleading with me to stop the itching. I had never felt more helpless in my entire hundred years. It seemed that coolness of my body was doing little to soothe her. Bella had spent the entire night running in and out of the room, trying to do little things to keep our baby happy. Alice and Rosalie had told her her favorite stories, and Emmett and Jasper had stayed up playing Super Mario Bros with her.
Anyway, that was the past. We were all very thankful when it had passed, for we knew that our little angel would never have to go through that again.
Said angel had, today, turned five. (She told us not to call her that, but when have I listened?) Physically, she looks almost fifteen. So, we were guessing that the next two years of her life, till she gained maturity, that is, would be somewhat normal—close to other teenagers her age.
As it turns out—and it would probably be best for me to remember it—Nessie does not share Bella’s dislike of parties. She is almost as social a being as Alice, although she does know when things are getting out of hand.
Therefore, to celebrate her birthday, we had all decided to throw a party for our daughter. Her entire class had been invited, and Alice was currently in the main house with the other ladies, having embarked on a mission to turn our house into the next Four Seasons.
The guys were presently hauling the stereos and decorations from the attic. Alice had ambushed our backyard. Her theme this year was all things natural. Tea lights, lanterns (Japanese, nothing less than that), floating lamps, diyas were all being slowly put into place. Hammocks were set up on each tree. And blankets, mattresses and sofas had been laid out under numerous canopies. Each had its own lighting in a separate color and its own scent. The dance floor in the middle was a carpet of soft, artificial grass, and on Rosalie’s suggestions, we had even put out several of those thingies in tubs that people get in and squish under their feet (They look disgusting, by the way.)
I had to say, even though Alice had an ever present tendency to go all out, the pixie did do a hell of a job when she was done with something. By the time we were finished, the place looked like a scene out of The Swiss Family Robinson.
Once the preparations came to a glorious culmination, everyone was whisked off to get ready for the party. The celebrations started at four, and it was already two. (Okay, the girls went off to get ready. The guys decided to kill time, because, frankly, we didn’t need two hours to get pimped up.)
Although we given strict instructions to be the last ones to give our gifts, I decided that whatever I had planned for Nessie could not wait.
You’re a douche, you know. Alice said to me.
I chuckled a little to show her that I heard her, but didn’t give a care anyway.
I’ll send her to you in fifteen minutes. And you have to send her back in ten. Otherwise, I’m storming your study.
“Yes, ma’am.” I did a little curtsy to annoy Alice and then sped off towards our cottage, through the door and into the library/study. I had already it prepared: Nessie’s gift. Well, this was only a part of it. The other part was to be presented to her at the stroke of the midnight hour.
Now, Bella has, on many occasions, wondered whether I have one of those trapdoors or secret passageways in my study that seem to be a fetish for vampires. She has even tried to ransack my library in search of one.
Let me make it clear, in no ambiguous terms, that I do have a trapdoor in my study. Only it is hidden so plainly in sight that everyone has, on several occasions, ignored it.
I went up to the Treasure Trove of Terrors (Bella’s words, not mine)—which is situated in my study table’s second drawer (it has a deeper compartment that opens behind and under the footrest)—and pulled out the gift that I had planned on giving to Renesmee.
“Daddy?” I heard her knock on the door.
“Come in, sweetheart.” I put the article out of view and called her in.
She opened the door and peeped in, and in the next moment was in front of the fireplace next to me.
“Yes, I did, honey. I needed to give you your gift.”
She frowned, but the starting of a smile at the corners of her lips could be seen by me.
“I think Aunt Alice said that—”
“I know what Alice said, honey, but do I ever care?” I grinned, unrepentant.
She laughed and linked her arms with mine. “No. Not ever.”
We went up to the table, in the top drawer of which I had kept her gift.
“Is it a car key?” Nessie piped up from next to me.
“No.” I rolled my eyes. She had been asking for a car for quite some time now, arguing that she had much more sense and dexterity than the average teen.
Granted, she was right, but she was a teen, not Suri Cruise.
“Dang,” she groaned.
Teens, they never learn, do they?
I opened the drawer and pulled out her gift.
She looked at it curiously for some time, running her hands over the wool covered structure and the charm attached to one of its arms.
“Daddy, it’s beautiful,” she cooed, “. . . but what is it?”
I laughed at her expression. “It’s a God’s Eye, Renesmee. I learned how to make it in Mexico, where it originally hails from. The indigenous tribes of Mexico start making these right after the birth of their children. Each year, another piece of thread—or wool, in this case—is added on the child’s birthday, signifying the passage of another year.
“It is gifted to the child on his or her fifth birthday. It’s said to bring good luck for the child. I know you look fifteen, but technically, you’re still my baby girl.”
Nessie held the charm in her hand, looking at it, then at me.
“Daddy . . . you made this?” she whispered. “You’ve been working on this for five years?”
I shrugged. “Bah, it was really no problem, darling! I worked on it in my free time.”
Nessie didn’t answer, instead, she kept fondling the artifact in her hand, turning it over and watching the intricate web beneath it.
The structure was made of straight bamboo sticks set later in a wooden frame. I had used a plethora of colors to decorate it. I’d originally meant to go for a rainbow theme, but then decided against it on the grounds that it would have seemed cliched, and inadequate.
I won’t say that my life was colorless before my daughter came into my life; that would be unfair to Bella.
Having a child is like switching from cable to high definition. I’m not saying that Bella is Cable and Nessie is my high-def: My life had been complete, fulfilled, colorful before Nessie. Then, Bella was the only one that my life began and ended with. It was replete with happiness, contentment and more love than I could possibly imagine.
Having Nessie had been . . . an upgrade of some sorts.
My already colorful life became that much more vibrant with the arrival of my daughter. Feelings I didn’t know I harbored were awakened in me. Colors I didn’t know existed were added in my life. It was like another piece of decoration added to an embroidered tapestry: it’s subtle, but it enhances the beauty of the masterpiece. It fits in perfectly.
After Nessie’s arrival, my world didn’t divide. Rather, it started being shared. Now, my life began and ended with Bella and Nessie.
My family: one I didn’t know I could have.
“Daddy, it’s perfect . . . ,” crooned my daughter as she threw her arms around me. “I love you, you know that? You are the most perfect, most awesome dad in the whole world.”
I’ll save this for later: to remind her whenever we fight again about Jacob and rooms and dates.
I rolled my eyes. “I love you too, darling, and I really wish someone would ban that word.”
“Awesome. It seems it is the only word that teens’ vocabulary has limited itself to nowadays.”
“You are not going to stand here and give me grammar lessons, are you?” She dismantled herself from my hold, her chocolate brown eyes giving me tired looks.
“I would have, but I am sort of hard pressed when it comes to time.” I grinned, and cue the eye roll. According to Bella, that was a trait that Nessie had picked up perfectly from me. I could see why. We looked replicas of each other when we did that.
“Okay, now I have already given you the first part of your gift . . . we should go.” I bobbed my head, to clue her in that there was more.
Really? I am getting something else? Car keys?
By six o’ clock, Nessie’s birthday party was in full swing.
Everyone who had been invited had showed up, and we knew our efforts had not been in vain when we saw the wondrous looks on their eyes.
No shit, we played the Cullen Style. Insert rock hand sign.
The atmosphere in the place was infectious. There was rap music (Seriously, when did music come to that?) blaring from the speakers that we had strategically placed in the trees, so as to allow the music reverberate, but to keep them hidden from sight. Contrary to what I had initially thought, a lot of teens were jumping up and down in the tubs of full of squishy thingies (it was some sort of spa set, I was told. The ladies and their cosmetics . . .)
I spotted some teens lounging under the canopies that we had set up, taking in the aromas and ambiance. Bella was with some other girls from school, and I stuck mainly with Jasper, since we were both supposed to be Renesmee’s siblings and not parents.
Alice had gotten a mile high birthday cake of red velvet, chocolate and vanilla. I saw Jacob and Seth with pained faces before the cake was revealed.
“What is it?” I asked Seth.
“There’s a lot of food.” He shook his head at me, whispering in my ear.
“We haven’t eaten anything. We’re making space for the cake. It looks delicious. I really wish she’d cut it soon. I’m starving,” Jacob whined from beside me.
I could only look to the Gods for help.
Finally, when the cake was cut, we’d had to keep Jacob and Seth in tow and ask them to attack the other eatables, which they did. As for us, we walked around with glasses of soft drinks the entire night, eventually dumping them out of sight and going out for “refills”.
I was filling up my glass with a drink when I saw it: Alice’s vision.
Quite literally, the glass slipped from my hand and the containment spilled on a classmate of Nessie.
“Sorry,” I murmured, feeling out of it, searching for Alice in the crowd.
When our eyes met, I could see the same horror of mine reflected in her.
Edward, I swear, I didn’t know how. I wasn’t watching him. He said he wouldn’t be able to come! What are we going to do? I heard her frantic whisper in my head.
By this time, everyone in the family knew, from the commotion and the expressions on our faces that something was wrong.
“Edward, what is it? What’s wrong?” I heard Bella’s voice beside me, and inadvertently, my hand gripped hers.
“Bella. . .” I could barely get the words out, “Charlie’s here.”
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