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The New Kids

Summary:
The Cullens start high school for the first time since Bella has been changed and Renesmee has been born. Will Nessie learn to love Jacob the way he wants her to? Or will she meet someone at school and repeat the history that brought her Mom and Dad together? The sequel to this story - Nothing But Time- should be up ASAP! Keep a look out for it!


Notes:


12. Chapter 12

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2682   Review this Chapter

"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!"

I groaned and rolled over to see my whole family standing around my bed, singing to me. It took me a moment to register it all, I was still in a haze from the night before. Had it all really happened? Owen and I on the couch, him driving me home, hugging me tighter and longer than he normally did as he walked me to the door, was I dreaming it? No, I was 90% certain that it was real.

"Jake, are you okay?" I asked him sleepily, suddenly remembering his stomachache from the night before.

He grinned, "Yeah, I'm fine. Too much pizza I guess."

I rolled my eyes, Jake could never get enough food, so I didn't believe that for a second. My mind finally wandered away from last night onto today. My 8th birthday. Only my family knew that this was my real birthday, all of my documents listed my birthday as March 10th. That's when I would be turning 15.

"Are you ready for presents?!" Aunt Alice jumped up and down so fast she was blur.

"Already?" I said glancing at the clock, "It's only 8am! On a Saturday!!!"

"We're leaving for Forks at Noon, Nessie. Charlie is expecting us." Aunt Rose explained.

That's right! We were spending the weekend in Forks! I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs into the living room where piles and piles of wrapped gifts sat waiting to be opened.

"Half of these are for Mom, right?"

"They better not be," she grumbled, "You all know how I feel about birthdays."

"We aren't celebrating your 27th birthday, Bella. Besides, that's not for another 3 days. We're celebrating your 8th vampire birthday! You can't object to that!" Aunt Alice pouted.

Mom sighed and sat next to me. We spent the next hour tearing open package after package. Everyone really went overboard, as always. I got a whole new wardrobe from Aunt Alice and Aunt Rose, a new state of the art sound system for my room from Uncle Jasper and Uncle Emmett, several extremely valuable first edition volumes for my growing personal library courtesy of Grandpa Carlisle, and an amazing painting from Grandma Esme. I stared at it for several moments before it struck me.

"Oh! This is in our garden!" I looked at it closer. It was a perfect rendering of my favorite spot, my Eden. The place where I used to lay alone and read, and where I now often sat with Owen. I ran across the room to hug Grandma Esme tightly, "I love it, thank you so much."

I went back to my seat to open my second to last gift, from my father and mother. I gasped when I opened the tiny box.

"Mom, this is yours...Why are you..?" I held the glittering diamond heart up to the light.

"It was my mothers," Dad started, "we thought it was time you had it."

My mother smiled kindly at my confusion, "I've intended on giving this to you for a long time. You're old enough now to appreciate and take care of it. When you look at it, just remember that your family loves you, that you're our heart."

"I...I don't have anything to wear it on," I stammered. Jake handed me his small box with a grin.

"Oh Jake! Its perfect, it looks just like Mom's!" I pulled the silver bracelet out of the box and looked at the reddish wolf carving that hung from it. Then, for a moment, I hesitated remembering the last bracelet he had given me. The one woven of leather that sat in a jewelry box upstairs, the 'promise' bracelet. My father nudged me softly and shook his head so slightly that no one else would notice. I relaxed, it must not mean anything so serious.

"Thank you Jacob, I love it. Help me put it on?" He attached the heart from my parents and then latched the bracelet securely around my wrist.

A few hours later I was giddy in the backseat of my fathers car. We were slowing down as we drove into the Forks city limits. Our last visit had been right before school started, a little over a month ago, but it felt like ages to me. My family had lived in Forks longer than anywhere else they had ever settled, and should have moved on shortly after I was born. But everyone knew leaving would hurt Charlie, and me, so we stayed much longer than was admissible.

Mom, Dad, Jake and I drove straight to Grandpa Charlie's, while the others went to the house to make sure everything was in order for our weekend visit. Dad honked the horn loudly as we pulled up in the driveway.

"There's my almost birthday girl!" Grandpa Charlie bellowed as he hurried down the front steps and gave Mom a huge hug. "27! You're making me feel so old, Bells. But you don't look a day over 18!"

Jake laughed and then turned it into a cough as my dad elbowed him in the ribs. Grandpa Charlie knew more than he let on, but pretended well, to save his sanity, I assumed. He didn't know that today was my birthday, we tried to give him the public story as much as possible. This visit was so he could see Mom for her birthday.

"Hey Kiddo!" he said, hugging me next and then greeting Dad and Jacob with slaps on the back. We went inside the small house, and I immediately ran up to my mothers room to retrieve her old photo albums. I never got tired of looking at these pictures of my parents when they were still dating, my mother still human. Anyone who saw me, and had known her back then, would know that she and I were in some way related.

I laughed at a picture of her tripping on a curb and my father holding her arm to keep her from falling. Their prom picture was just as amusing, Dad looking like a movie star, Mom all flushed and wearing a huge cast on her leg. There were a few in here of Jake, before his werewolf days. He looked so young and happy, I wish I could have known him then. I flipped through a few pictures of a trip my parents had taken to Florida, stopping to look closely at Renee. My mother had visited her a few times, when Aunt Alice had predicted a rare rainy weekend there. She knew a little bit about me, but not much, and I had never met her. I knew that made my mother sad, but she didn't want to expose anyone else she loved to a world that could be so dangerous.

I heard Jake talking to Charlie in the kitchen, "I hope you don't mind too much, Charlie, but Nessie and I are going to head down to La Push for the evening. She wanted to see everyone while we were here. We'll be around all day tomorrow though, for Bella's big birthday celebration."

My mother glared and him and growled softly.

"You ready to go, Ness?" he asked as I skipped into the room.

"Sure! I can't wait to see Billy, lets go!"

My father tossed the keys to the Volvo at Jake and told us to have a good time, with a look on his face that I couldn't quite place. Slightly amused, but with a hint of sadness. Hum, odd.

As we sped into La Push, Jake looked sideways at me as he drove.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked.

He exhaled with a huff, "Just about how fast you've grown up. I remember this day eight years ago so clearly. I thought it would be the worst in life, I never would have guessed that it would be one of my best."

"Ha, you made a rhyme!" I laughed in an attempt to lighten the mood.

"So grown up..and yet sometimes the 8 year old in you breaks through!" he teased back as we pulled into the driveway of his old house. I had expected to see people when we pulled up, or at least a few cars, but the place looked deserted. We got out and Jake began walking toward the big old shed where he and my mother used to hangout.

"Why aren't we going to the house?"

"There is something in here I want to show you first."

Just then I heard soft whispers and ruffling sounds coming from inside the prefab building. There were people in there. Why? A light bulb clicked on in my head and I laughed out loud. "You were going to try and surprise me Jake? Really?"

From inside I heard Quil yell at Seth, "Man I TOLD you not to move! She hears as well as we do, I KNEW she'd hear that!!!"

I had to bend over and hold my sides I was laughing so hard. I missed the wolves so much, and this was the reason. Nobody could make me laugh like they did. Jacob swung open the large doors to reveal my surprise. The large space looked totally different from the last time I was here, all the tools and spare parts had been moved out, the floors were swept and streamers and balloons were tied to the edges of a long table that held enough food for a small army. A large banner was hung on the back wall that said "Happy 8th Birthday, Nessie!"

All the wolves were there, from both packs, with their imprints in tow. Billy and Sue Clearwater were also in attendance. There was a new face among the crowd, Embry had imprinted since we'd moved. Her name was Liz and I'd heard all about from Jacob and was excited to meet her finally. I couldn't help but grin hugely at the gathering of all my friends. I saw Liz grimace and move slightly back at the sight of my full grin, everyone else here was used to my vampire qualities, but I could see how it might make her a bit apprehensive.

Billy rolled forward in his chair to greet me, "Hey there, Nessie. Happy birthday! We sure have missed you around here."

"I've missed you all too! So so much," I gushed as I ran forward to give him a hug. I went around the room giving hugs and hellos to everyone there. When I reached Embry he proudly introduced me to Liz.

"Hi, Liz. It's so nice to meet you! I've heard so much about you." I walked forward to give her hug without thinking. I felt her tense up at our embrace. Oops, I should have known she would be uncomfortable.

After I moved a few steps back she turned to Embry, "She's not cold at all!"

He and I started laughing and she just looked confused. "Should I explain or would you like to?" I asked him.

"I've tried, but I obviously haven't done a very good job, so go ahead," he told me.

"I'm only half vampire, though both my parents are now. I'm genetically a lot like the wolves, so they think that's why I'm warmer than normal."

"Oh, well...uhh. Okay," she said, clearly still totally confused and slightly frightened.

I wasn't at all offended by her reaction, I'm sure she had heard a lot of negative things about my kind. Hopefully, once she'd spent a little time around me, she'd see that I wasn't the scary monster that appeared in the Quileute legends.

I made my way over to the corner where Leah stood, we had always gotten along well when I lived in Forks. She had been unusually quiet today, so I went to see how she'd been doing in the month since I'd last seen her. But before I could open my mouth to ask, she spoke.

"So, I hear you've made some new friends."

The bitter tone in her voice told me all I needed to know. I should have been expecting this! Of course she has heard some of Jacobs thoughts over the last month.

"Oh Leah, I'm so sorry. But you've known. You've known for years that I only see Jake as a brother and a friend. It's tearing me up to hurt him this way, I know you know that."

"I know."

"Does Billy know anything?" I asked, afraid of her reply. I loved Billy, he was family, and if I hurt him too I wouldn't be able to stand it.

She looked at me with no emotion on her face, "I don't think so. Jake wouldn't want Billy to worry about him, or dislike you."

That stung. "And what about you, Leah? Do you dislike me?"

Her expression softened a very little bit, "No, Ness. I don't dislike you. I just hurt for Jake. He loves you too much for me to be too upset with you."

If not for the jubilant mood of everyone around me, this conversation would have brought me down considerably. I spent the rest of the evening catching up with my old friends and generally having a wonderful time, despite the guilty feeling for hurting their brother. I took an obligatory bite of cake, much to the amusement of those around me and the proceeded to be showered with even more gifts. I was truly the most spoiled person alive, or the most spoiled vampire in existence...either sentiment worked just fine.

Most of the gifts were made and reflected the giver, I loved them just as much, if not more, than the expensive gifts I'd received at home this morning. I got to the last box and looked at the tag. 'To: Nessie, From: Billy, Rachel and Jake'

"Jake! You already got me something! You shouldn't have done anything more."

"Chill out, its mostly from my Dad and Rach, but they insisted I put my name on it. It's kinda a family thing."

That piqued my curiosity. I opened the heavy package and wasn't sure what I was looking at. It was a cedar box, with a rough wolf scratched onto the lid. I opened it and inside was a delicate copper hair barrette, in the shape of graceful whale.

"They were my mother's," Rachel said quietly, "she made the box herself when she was a child, and she wore the barrette in her hair when she married Dad."

I was speechless. I could see tears in Billy's eyes and it sent me over the edge, "Thank you so much," I blubbered as huge tears rolled down my cheek. Jacob came and wiped them away and whispered in my ear.

"They wanted you to have them, to have something to know my mother by. It's not meant for our wedding or anything, so don't worry about that."

I touched my hand to his cheek and let him see what I had been thinking when his sister spoke. It wasn't worry about the meaning of the gift, it was total happiness and love for the people who had become my family over the years.

We were in the old shed well into the morning. Billy and Sue left hours before, but the rest of us, the young ones, stayed behind talking and laughing. I was starting to get tired, my eyelids drooping slowly shut as Sam told funny stories from when the two packs were all one. I fought to keep them open, not wanting the night to end, but of course Jacob noticed.

"Time to get the birthday girl home," he said as he scooped me up.

"Bye guys," I yawned, "Thanks..everything. Best birthday..."

The last thing I heard before I fell asleep was their laughter as Jake carried me out to the Volvo.