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Bonding with Daddy

Summary:
Edward, Nessie and Jacob are left alone at the house; Nessie requests a piano lesson, and Jacob asks Edward how he deals with his gift. Post BD


Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


2. Fatherly Pride

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2455   Review this Chapter

Traffic. Nothing could be worse than the Monday morning metropolitan madness known as rush hour in Seattle. I tried to keep my face neutral; Ness…Renesmee…was more perceptive than any other child her age. Her car seat, which was top-of-the-line even though her body could probably withstand a crash without it, put her in just the right position to watch me in the rear-view mirror. I looked up briefly to observe her take in the sights of the city. Her car seat really was large; it occupied nearly half of the back seat in my beloved Volvo. I cringed when I thought about the indentations that would be present in the leather after she out-grew her seat.

Still, I was reluctant to give up my Volvo. I argued that it had excellent safety features, thus needed to be kept. Bella had agreed with me, though Emmett was still teasing me with glossy brochures for “family-sized cars.” I shuddered when I imagined cruising along the highway…in an eight-seater minivan. I could only imagine the vibrations such a behemoth would have beyond eighty miles per hour. I reminded myself that Renesmee’s days in a five-point restraint were limited.

Were she a normal human infant, she wouldn’t even be facing forward, let alone commenting on the passing scenery. Renesmee was only eight months old; though she easily looked about two and a half years. June was upon us, and couldn’t believe that it had nearly been a year since my daughter was born. The thought still gave me a nearly unmatched feeling of awe. Only Bella’s affirmations of her love came close to the wonder and amazement I felt when I remembered that I was a father. Thinking of her, I looked up and smiled at my little girl in the mirror, listening to her amazed thoughts as we pulled into the city.

For the most part, we had worked hard to keep out of the public eye. We couldn’t have the concerned citizens of Forks believing our “ward” to have some sort of genetic anomaly that allowed her to grow at a faster rate. Truth it may be, but easily accepted it was not. It hurt enough that no one could know the reality behind my proud demeanor. That Bella and I were the proud parents of a unique and special child. We didn’t want to risk the Volturi’s involvement should they feel their fears for her ability to keep our secrets became reality.

Ooh! Look at all the tall buildings! Could you jump to the top Daddy? I smiled at her imagining of me holding her on my shoulders as I had once carried her mother, and jumping to the top of the space needle. I chuckled.

“No, sweetheart, those buildings are higher than even I can jump,” I said. Bella looked at me in amusement from the passenger seat. She and Jacob and Emmett had shared a good laugh the other night when Renesmee had asked me to play dress-up with her. I had reluctantly agreed, on the condition that I would not wear any dresses. Renesmee had assured me that my choices were much better than that. She had declared that I was “Super Daddy” and asked me to don a cape that she and her Aunt Alice had fashioned from an old set of red silk sheets. When I politely declined, she brought out a spandex suit that Alice had bought on the sly. Renesmee had cheerfully told me that I climbed trees just like Spiderman, so I should dress like him too. Given my options, I chose the cape. Carlisle and Esme had come home to find Ness and I at play; me in my flat sheet cape, and my daughter swathed in a pillow case cape. Carlisle still thought of it every time he looked at me. I wasn’t very pleased with Emmett or Jacob for introducing Ness to comic books.

And here I was thinking that spandex suit would look rather sexy on you, Edward. Bella thought about what I would look like in the red spandex nightmare, causing me to grimace before her shield snapped back and she gasped from the effort. It was slowly becoming easier for her to share her thoughts with me, though we had decided to keep her new skill to ourselves.

Watch it buddy!

Learn how to drive!

Hang up the phone and hit the gas!

I hate that song…

Hey moron! Red lights are for stopping!

I hated driving in rush hour traffic. Aggravated drivers tend to scream their thoughts, making them much harder to ignore. I pushed my hands through my hair in annoyance. Bella instantly rubbed her hand from my elbow up past my shoulder and into my hair. Her skilled hands massaged my marble scalp until the irritating voices faded into the background. These petulant children having license to drive made me cringe to think that my daughter would be behind the wheel of a car within the next decade.

My daughter. The thought still made me wonder at the way my existence had so abruptly changed in the last four years. Not only had I found Bella and made her my wife, she had given me a daughter. I wondered how long it would take before my disbelief was suspended and I accepted the reality that I had fathered a child.

In our previous excursions into Forks, we had used the same story that Charlie was told; that Nessie was my long-lost brother’s daughter. As much as it pained me to deny that I was her father, it was necessary to keep up appearances. I’d had hope that with our next move, Bella and I could retain our status as a married couple with a child, possibly living close to but not with the rest of the family. Bella’s reluctance to leave Charlie, and his own reluctance to be separated from his only grandchild had kept us in Forks for too long. Renesmee’s rapid growth rate and my youthful appearance weren’t conducive to the general belief that I was her father, regardless of the current teen pregnancy rates.

Bella was only marginally more easily accepted as Ness’ mother. Nearly nineteen wasn’t an unusual age for a new first-time mother, though it still wasn’t common. Though Bella was now running into the same issue; she was starting to lose the credibility that her two additional human years had given her, and strangers around us were starting to assume that we were the babysitters rather than Renesmee’s parents. This trip to Seattle would be a test for my patience as we battled the ignorant populace and their assumptions.

Why did Alice insist we come here? What was so important about matching mother-daughter shoes? Charlie and Sue didn’t want a huge fuss over their wedding, since it was a second wedding for the both of them. I wished that someone would tell that to Rose. If she and Emmett got married again before we moved, that would put their count to twelve. Of course, with Renesmee available to be a flower girl, Bella and I were sure to be in another wedding party soon.

***

“Bella, love, I think Alice must have sent us on a wild goose chase,” I grumbled as I held my sleeping daughter on my shoulder. Bella sighed and crossed another store from her printout of retailers that carried the designer line of matching mother-daughter shoes off of her list.

“I think I’m done with searching, Edward. I don’t care about matching shoes, and I know that Charlie won’t. I mostly just wanted to come to Seattle today to spend some time together. It seems that we just don’t get time enough to spend as just the three of us. Let’s just forget the dumb shoes and go to a park.”

“I love you, Bella. That is the best idea I’ve heard all day,” I agreed. Renesmee stirred in my arms, lifting her head and yawning.

“I wanna walk now Daddy,” she mumbled. I gave her one last squeeze and a kiss on her brow before I put her down on her feet. She looked around at the new surroundings that she found herself in since she had fallen asleep an hour ago. Her body language gave away her discomfort.

Renesmee was more than at home running through ferns and trees in the forests on the Olympic peninsula, but here in the streets of Seattle with loud, obnoxious cars and steel and glass high-rise buildings, she was uncharacteristically reserved. My daughter looked up into my face curiously and showed me a memory of Forks’ main street.

“Yes, it is very different here, sweetheart. Seattle is a very big city compared to Forks.”

“Edward, almost any city is big compared to Forks,” Bella laughed. I had to smile at my wife’s playfulness. We both knew that she loved Forks, despite her facetious comments.

“Mommy, can we do something else now?”

“Of course, Ness,” Bella responded. I raised my eyebrow at her; though she had grudgingly accepted the nickname that Jacob had given our daughter, she used it far less often than anyone else in the family.

“Isn’t that the plan, Edward?” she asked innocently. I merely gave Bella her favorite smile, and turned to our daughter.

“Yes, Mommy’s right. We decided to go to a park. Would you like that? You would have to pretend to be human, because there will be lots of other kids there with their mommies and daddies. Can you do that?”

“Oh, yes, Daddy! I want to go to the park! I’ll be the best human girl there!”

“Of course you will,” Bella and I said together.

Ten minutes later, Bella and I walked at a human pace, with Renesmee between us. She was gripping my left hand and Bella’s right as she hopped over the lines in the sidewalk. Several other pedestrians had observed us, though their thoughts had disappointed me.

How sweet for such a handsome boy to include his little sister on a date…

They don’t look old enough to be her parents…a niece maybe?

They’re wearing wedding bands…she cannot be theirs…

Wow, he’s hot…too bad he’s stuck with her and the kid…she can’t be theirs; they are so young.

Maybe they’re just babysitting, for his mom…that’s got to be it…she’s his late-in-life sibling…

Pity their mother… I wouldn’t want to have kids that far apart in age…There’s got to be at least fourteen, fifteen years between them…built-in babysitter though…

I was beginning to lose my poker-face. These childish humans were incredibly shallow, and I was becoming more disheartened with every passing thought. It would be incredibly ironic for me to exist for more than eighty years under the impression that I was incapable of fathering a child, only when my assumption proven wrong, my very nature prohibited me from claiming my own child.

Bella lifted her shield at the look on my face. What’s the matter? You look as though Jasper is toying with your emotions again. I looked to my wife’s concerned face, and followed her gaze to our cheerfully oblivious daughter skipping between us. I sighed, and tried to choose words that would be appropriate for my daughter to hear.

“There seems to be some confusion on our ages, and who Ness’ parents are,” I grumbled. Bella smiled in sympathy. She was, at least, above saying, “I told you so.” But I couldn’t deny my disappointment at never being able to tell anyone that she was my daughter. That had been the brightest part of the tension we had suffered through back in January. I never tired of introducing Renesmee to our witnesses; declaring her to be the fruit of my marriage to Bella. I had gotten used to that feeling, and I didn’t like that I had to give it up to keep up my human charade.

“Don’t worry, love. We know who we are, and who Ness’ parents are. So does our family. That’s what’s important. Not these strangers, Edward.”

Once again, I was grateful to my wife’s wisdom and her wonderful perspective on our situation. I smiled at her and felt my mood lift. Then, Bella and I were pulled out of our introspection by an elderly woman exiting a shop to my right.

“Oh, dears, you have such a delightful daughter. You must be so proud,” the woman gushed.

Words would not come. My proud expression answered the woman’s statement, and she smiled at me. So refreshing to see such a proud papa…never see enough of them these days…

If only this angel would think of her name, I would send her on a cruise for a month.

***

I was soaring high on my elated thoughts when Bella put on a collection of rock and roll classics about five miles from the house. Elvis’ Ku-U-I-Po emanated from the Volvo’s speakers; it reminded me of the most intelligent woman that still had a pulse. I wondered if one Marilou Benson had ever been on a cruise to Hawaii... I appreciated my wife’s endeavors to indulge my music tastes, and I smiled to show that I noticed her effort. Bella's smile was somewhat smug, though I wasn't sure why. It didn't matter; I was too happy to dwell on it. I thought that our experience with the woman in the street had been the highlight of the day, that is, until we got back to Forks.

Then, Alice’s wild goose chase made sense. Walking into the house, I was at first confused by the silence, before I realized that it was only silent in my mind. I could still hear my family moving quietly in the living room. I looked to Bella and raised my eyebrow in response to her overly-innocent look. Why was she shielding my family from me?

Renesmee squealed and hopped out of my arms, running for my family. Bella urged me forward, and the sight that met my eyes nearly caused tears to stream from my forever dry eyes. My family was assembled beneath a banner that read, Happy Father’s Day, Edward and Carlisle.

Bella crushed me in a hug, and my family soon followed suit. Alice jumped to my side, nearly vibrating in her excitement. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to have a surprise party.

“I know we haven’t ever celebrated this holiday, but I thought that it was fitting to celebrate your first Father’s Day!” Alice trilled.

“You didn’t insist on this for Mother’s Day,” I accused, only half serious.

“Only because I promised to feed her credit cards to the shredder if she did,” Bella laughed. “Esme was content with her celebratory hunt with Carlisle. She and Carlisle get to be ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ wherever we go, no matter who we say we are. You don’t get to be ‘dad’ except when it’s just us, and I wanted to make it special for you.”

Once again, I was speechless.

“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy,” Ness declared as she jumped up into my arms.

And it was.