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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:


23. Chapter 23

Rating 5/5   Word Count 4667   Review this Chapter

The pain medication Owen had taken at the hospital was doing its job, and he quickly drifted off to sleep. I wanted to fall asleep all curled up in bed with him, but didn't want to leave his nasty bruises unattended. So every thirty minutes like clockwork I shifted the ice packs and made sure he was as comfortable as possible. I had been keeping up the ritual for nearly two hours when I heard a car turn into the driveway. I could tell immediately that it was the Jetta and I wondered what had taken my father so long to bring it by.

Careful not to wake Owen, I slipped out of bed and made my way out to the front yard. I was surprised when it wasn't my father waiting for me by the car, but Uncle Jasper. Why was he here? Dad had seemed quite intent on bringing the car back and supervising us for awhile, why had he changed his mind?

"Hey Uncle Jazz, where's Dad?"

"Uh...well.." he mumbled.

I couldn't tell if the discomfort I was feeling was my own, or being projected by Uncle Jasper. Something definitely felt wrong though.

"What is it?"

"Edward told me not to say anything, but I feel like you should know. Maybe you'll know where he went."

This couldn't be good. "Where who went?"

"Well..."

"JASPER! Spit it out, I'm starting to freak a little bit here!"

A torrent of words starting rushing from his mouth, even with my exceptional hearing I had a hard time catching it all. "Edward and Carlisle confronted Jake about today. When he found out what he'd done he was really upset...more for you than Owen, of course, but upset none the less. He got in the rabbit and drove off, we've been looking for him for hours."

Three deep breaths, and then three more to keep myself from hyperventilating. Jake driving off in a huff wasn't something that had never happened before. If my family was so worried about finding him there must be something else that Uncle Jasper wasn't telling me. I knew Jakes moods better than anyone, maybe he wasn't as upset as they all thought. "What exactly did Dad and Grandpa Carlisle say?"

"They asked him what he was thinking, doing that in front of so many witnesses. He didn't know he'd hurt Owen so badly and he asked if you were okay. Edward said him you were, but then pretty much told him what was what."

"What do you mean by 'told him what was what'?"

Uncle Jasper took a deep breath and I could feel my anguish being projected back at me, along with his guilt for revealing what he wasn't supposed to. "Edward told him that he was pushing you further into Owens arms by behaving that way, and if he continued to act like a hormonal bullying teenager he didn't deserve you."

Not that this wasn't bad enough, but I could tell there was more. "Anything else?" I asked.

Jasper grimaced and continued, "Yeah...he said that he'd always been pulling for Jake to end up with you, but after today he wasn't so sure. Even though Owen wasn't blameless, today he had acted more like a man worthy of his daughter."

The panic was back in full force. What was my father thinking?! Of course saying that would push Jake over the edge that he was already barely holding on to. It took me less than a minute to formulate a plan. First things first, call the pack. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed Leah's number.

"Hello?" I heard her satiny voice say through the receiver.

"It's Nessie, have you heard from Jake?"

"NO. Your mother has been calling every 20 minutes. He's not in wolf form and he hasn't called. What is going on?"

"My Dad pissed Jake off and nobody has been able to find him for a few hours, I just found out. Call me if you hear anything okay?"

I hung up before I heard her reply. I didn't really have time to listen to her gripe about my family hurting Jake...again. The next call I made was to Wren's house, perhaps he'd gone there.

She answered after the first ring, "Bella?"

"No, it's Nessie. Has Bella been calling you?"

"She called once, looking for Jake, and sounded really worried. Does this have anything to do with him kicking the crap out of Owen in gym?"

"How do you know about that? And he didn't beat him up or anything...he just knocked into him a little too hard once or twice." That wasn't exactly the truth, but the truth would be too hard to explain.

She snorted into the phone, "That's not what everyone at school was saying."

"Great, well...I really have to go. Call me if you hear anything!"

I hung up and started racking my brain for places Jake might go. I could think of only a few, most of them spots out in the forest where we would go to spend a few quiet hours. He wouldn't have needed his car to get there, though. I'd have to go look anyway.

"Uncle Jasper, I've got to make another call inside. Go help look for him okay?" Better if I didn't tell him I was going out alone, my father wouldn't like that at all.

"Ness...what are you up to?"

"Nothing, I just need to get back to Owen. Talk to you later." He gave me a look that told me he knew that I was going to be doing something I probably shouldn't, but left anyway. I tore into Owens house and began flipping through a notepad by the phone in the kitchen, looking for Karen's cell phone number. It was nearly 7 o'clock, why wasn't she home yet!? I found what I was looking for and dialed quickly.

"Karen? It's Nessie," I said as soon as I heard her pick up.

"Nessie? Whats the matter?"

"Well, I was planning on telling you or John when you got home, but I expected you earlier and I've got a bit of a situation at my house to deal with, so I have to leave. Owen was hurt in gym class at school today. It's nothing too serious...he looks much worse than he actually is," I lied.

"What happened?" She didn't sound terribly concerned, boys hurt themselves all the time playing sports. Maybe I should prepare her for what he looked like so she didn't freak out as soon as she opened his door.

"A game of basketball got a little too rough. He fractured a few ribs and he's really bruised up. My uncle saw him and said that there really isn't anything that can be done. He'll be up and moving around in a few days, and fully recovered in a couple of weeks. I'm so sorry, I should have called you earlier."

"Oh my God! Fractured ribs? I'll be home in 15 minutes, I just have to pick up Amanda from a friends house. John is in Seattle for a meeting tomorrow or he would have been home." She sounded appropriately worried now.

"Owen is okay right now, he's sleeping. I've got to head home, so I'll leave a list of instructions in the kitchen. I should be back sometime tonight, and was planning on staying the weekend to take care of him. If that's alright with you."

"Of course, hon. You're welcome to stay anytime. Tell Carlisle thank you for me."

I wrapped up my conversation with Karen and scribbled out a note to leave for Owen. I told him enough so that he'd know what I'd said to his mother, but not so much that I'd give anything away if she found the note first. I rushed upstairs to leave it on the pillow next to him. I pushed a soft brown curl off of his forehead and gave him a kiss. "I'll be back before you know it," I whispered.

I groaned inwardly when his eyelashes fluttered open and he asked in a rough sleepy voice, "You're leaving?"

"Yes, sweetie, but just for a little bit. Something has come up and I've got to go, but your mom is almost home and she'll take care of you."

"But I want you to take care of me."

I was torn between feeling guilty for leaving and wanting to laugh at how needy sick men could be. "I won't be gone long, okay? Just go back to sleep."

His eyes drooped closed and I doubted that he'd even remember this conversation at all. I tiptoed back downstairs and left the pamphlet and bottle of pain pills Grandpa Carlisle had given me on the kitchen counter for Karen.

Before long I was deep in the pitch black forest where Jake and I hunted. I ran to a small waterfall he found several months ago. He'd called it a peaceful place, so maybe he'd decided to return. No luck. I ran to no fewer than 10 places where we'd been before and might carry some sort of significance, still I had no luck.

I was almost positive that he wasn't in the forest, so I made my way into town. I checked all his favorite restaurants, a few car dealerships he liked to browse through when we had time to kill, the gym that we were members of but never used, I even went to the mall. He wasn't anywhere.

I'd been looking for over an hour, and felt confused and dejected. Where had he gone? I wasn't ready to give up yet, but I didn't know where else to go. I was walking at a human pace down a nondescript neighborhood street a few blocks from the shopping center when I saw it. The Rabbit was parked in a driveway a few blocks down. I looked more closely around me and realized that I had been down this street before, only once, when Jake and I had taken Rory and Luke home from Wren's one night. I must have been subconsciously walking a route I knew.

I was curious as to why he'd chosen to come here, of all places, when he was so upset. He and Luke were friends, but that extended to car talk and hanging out at Wren's house...not much further. He'd always seemed to like Rory better anyway.

I wanted to know what was going on, so instead of knocking on the door or calling my family to tell them I'd found Jake, like I should have done, I crept around to the backyard. I knew I'd have to be careful or he'd hear me, and thankfully it was too cold to have windows open or he would have smelled me by now. I couldn't hear anything other than a TV commercial coming from inside. I rounded a corner and was finally able to see through a pair of sliding glass doors into the living room.

I nearly fell over backward. I had expected Luke, maybe Rory, and Jake to be lounging around watching some stupid show...basically doing what they always did at Wren's. Instead I found just Jake and Rory, no one else appeared to be home. He was laying across the couch with his head in her lap, looking intently into her eyes while she had her fingers tangled in his hair. What the hell.

I couldn't explain the complete unbridled rage that overcame me just then, but it took all I had to reign it in. My mind was warring with itself, like it so often did. I went back and forth between calling Rory every dirty name in the book, to reminding myself of all the things I really liked about her.

'What is that bitch doing touching MY Jacob?!'

'Don't I want Jake to be happy with someone else? Rory would be wonderful for him.'

'MY
Jacob, MY Jacob' kept rattling around in my brain. I knew deep down that this was beyond selfish of me, I'd made my choice. But I'd never known anything other than Jake being completely devoted to me. Now that it was looking me in the face, the idea of not having Jake around was much less appealing than it once was. A million questions followed this revelation I'd just uncovered. How long had this been going on? Why did neither of them tell me? Could he ever even really love her, if I was still his imprint? Had he kissed her?

I shuttered and knew that one person would know the answers to at least some of those questions. I took one last look, rushed quietly back out to the street and ran home at full speed. I saw my father sitting on the front steps as I approached the house.

"Your thoughts are particularly loud tonight, I heard you coming from quite a distance," he told me when I stopped right in front of him.

"What did you know, Dad? What weren't you telling me?"

"I don't know as much as you think I do. Nothing must have happened before tonight. He's never been over there before, other than that one time with you. I never even thought to look for him there, so obviously I don't know much."

"There must be more than that," I said to him.

"Well...I have heard her in his thoughts, wondering what would happen if they could be more than just friends. It was never more than just idle daydreaming though, that's why this is rather surprising." He paused for a moment and and motioned for me to sit down. "You seem to be taking this hard."

I didn't want to sit and chat. "I need to get back to Owen. I'm still planning on staying all weekend if you'd like to come spy on us," I said with more vitriol than necessary.

"No, that's alright, I need to call everyone and tell them the hunt for Jake is off. And besides, I'm not worried anymore. Would you like a ride?"

"I'll run. I just need to grab some stuff first." I ran upstairs and threw a few days worth of clothes into a bag and raced out the front door without stopping to speak to my father again. I took off down the drive, cursing under my breath as I heard him say happily after me, "Have fun!"

I knew what he thought. He thought this was some kind of turning point, and now that I'd seen Jake with someone else, I'd realize what I was missing and blah, blah, blah. I couldn't confront those feelings right now. I pushed them down to deal with at a later time, when my head was clearer. Right now I just needed to focus on Owen.

I knocked lightly on the Ross's front door and Amanda answered. Instead of greeting me, she merely pointed up the stairs and walked back to the television. Her cold shoulder would have normally bothered me, but not tonight. I just needed to see him and I'd know if I was doing the right thing.

I walked up the stairs and stood with my back pressed against the wall of the hallway outside his room, giving myself a moment to gather my thoughts and take my requisite three deep breaths. I finally sucked it up and went to open the door. I guess I was expecting him to be asleep, so it took me off guard when I walked in and he was sitting up in bed reading a book while his mother thumbed through a magazine at the desk.

"You're back!" His face lit up so beautifully when he saw me that I felt bad about having any doubts at all.

"Of course I'm back. You look so much better! Obviously your mom is a better nurse than I am," I laughed.

"Doubtful," Karen said, "I've just been sitting here rotating ice every so often. He asked for you the second he woke up."

"Nessie can take over now, Mom. Thanks for keeping me company."

She laughed and gathered her cell phone and magazine from his desk. "I guess that's my not so subtle cue to get out. Let me know if you kids need anything."

After she closed the door behind her I dropped my stuff on the floor and went to inspect Owen. Though he was awake and appeared to be feeling well, his body looked just as awful. "How are you doing?"

"Eh, the pain pills are good, so I'm alright as long as I don't move much. The ice has stopped making anything feel better, though."

"We can lay off the ice for tonight I think," I said as I set myself down gently onto the bed next to him.

"So where'd you have to go?"

I hadn't really thought about what I was going to tell him, but the truth had been working for me lately, so I might as well stick with it. "My father made a few unpleasant remarks to Jacob, and he took off. No one could find him for a few hours, so I went out to help look."

"Did you find him?" There seemed to be genuine concern in his voice, though how that could be possible was beyond me. If I were Owen I'd be saying 'good riddance' to all things Jake.

"Yeah, I did. He was at Rory and Luke's house."

"Oh, weird that he went there instead of Wren's."

"Not really," I told him. "I think he and Rory have something going on."

"You've got to be kidding me!" The anger in his voice surprised me. "After all the crap he put you though, making you feel guilty and knocking me into a pulp, it was that easy for him to go find someone else? What happened to the 'I'm never giving up' crap? Not that I want to have to fight him for you, but what kind of moron is he to give you up so easily?"

"I don't really think it's like that. I don't know what's going on, but I do know that this can't be easy for him. Besides, I'm not even 100% sure that anything is going on at all." I realized that I sounded a little defensive, and saw that he noticed it too.

"Are you upset that he might be interested in Rory?" He asked so quietly that I barely heard him.

Yes. But how to explain it without freaking Owen out, when I could barely explain it to myself. "You have to understand that Jake has been with me, exactly how he his now, pretty much everyday since I was born. There's only been this odd tension between us for the past year or so, before that he was my absolute best friend. He's friends with my mother, and his pack mate, Leah...but for eight years, I've been the girl in his life. It's difficult for me to imagine not being that girl anymore, even though it's what I've wanted."

I wasn't sure how Owen was going to react to that, the expression on his face was so difficult to read. He looked at me for a moment, his brow furrowed...in anger, confusion, frustration? I didn't know.

"I want you to be the girl in my life. I can't promise you eternity, I'm not immortal, but I can promise you that I'll be here as long as you want me. I know I'm normal and dull in comparison, but I love you as much as he does. I'm sure of that."

I didn't know what to say. Not only because what he said was so achingly sweet, but because his love and Jake's love were so different. I knew that they were both pure and intense, but still different in a way that Owen could never grasp. Despite that, for the first time I felt the acute desire to make Owen immortal so that I could keep him forever. Right now, I was secure in my choice.

"I love you so much," I told him with the emotion thick in my voice. I moved my body closer to his, careful to avoid pressing against his bruises.

"Damn bruises," he muttered.

"I was just thinking the exact same thing," I laughed. I would have been content to lay there for awhile but he yawned hugely."Are you getting tired?"

"Yeah, I took some meds right before you got here, they're definitely starting to take effect."

I helped him scoot further down under the covers and then left to change into my pajamas, happy that I'd grabbed my favorite cotton shorts and clingy black tank top. I went back into his room, glad that he was still awake for a few minutes at least. When I flipped the light off, I felt the flutter of butterflies in my stomach. What was that about?

"Are you sure that you don't need anymore ice?" I asked from across the room.

"Yeah, I'm sure."

"Anything to drink?"

"No thanks, I've got a glass of water."

"Do you need any extra pillows?"

"Nessie! What is the matter? I'm perfectly comfortable, will you just come to bed already?"

I was inexplicably nervous. Obviously we wouldn't be doing much other than sleep, since Owen could hardly move, but this still felt like something big. How many times had I stopped to take three deep breaths today? This was my 15th time at least.

I crossed the room and pulled back the covers, climbing into bed next to him. He reached his arm out and grabbed my hand.

"You don't have to stay all the way over there you know."

"I know," I said without moving.

He laughed lightly and then sighed, "Ness, how many times have we laid in this bed and taken a nap? What is it about doing the same thing at night that is making you so uncomfortable?"

"It just feels different, don't you think? Like this takes us to a whole different level or something."

I could see his face clearly in the dark, but I don't think he knew that, because I saw him roll his eyes heavily. "Not even 15 minutes ago I said that I love you so much I would spend my entire life with you, and laying next to each other in the dark feels more momentous than that?"

I saw his point when he put it that way. I was being silly. I scooted closer to him and rested my hands lightly against his chest. "Does that hurt?"

"The opposite actually. The heat feels wonderful after having ice on it all day."

I slowly felt my way down his chest and to the hem of his t-shirt, sliding my hand underneath it and to the worst of his bruises. He sighed contentedly as the warmth of my hand relaxed him. I took my other hand and rested it against his cheek, feeling him shudder as he felt my emotions and saw what was on my mind.

"You can't do this to me when I can't move. It isn't fair," he said in a voice even raspier than normal.

"You don't have to move," I whispered into his ear before kissing it lightly. I turned his face toward mine and pressed our lips together, letting my other hand brush over his chest. I could feel his heart rate accelerating and it caused mine to do the same. He cringed slightly as he moved his arm around me and pulled me closer by the small of my back.

"Don't hurt yourself. I told you that you didn't have to move," I said against his lips.

"But I have to touch you," he mumbled back. His lips began to crush into mine with an intense need, and I gladly gave into them. I didn't mind that we were getting carried away, I wanted to get carried even further. To his obvious astonishment, I positioned my body over his in one quick movement, careful to keep my weight off any of his sore spots.

He started to say something to stop me, but just let the words trail off into silence as I bent my head down and started kissing his neck. He moved his hands to my waist then down under my shirt to my hips, his thumbs sending chills through me as he massaged small circles in my skin. This was heaven. Every move was careful and deliberate, almost in slow motion, as I tried not to hurt him.

How far was he going to let this go? How far would I let it go? I decided that the ball was in his court...I wouldn't stop if he didn't. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my phone light up from the bedside table, a half second later I heard the trilling ring. I was tempted to just throw it against the wall, but I knew who it would be, and I hated to think who she might call if I didn't pick up.

"Hold that thought," I told Owen in a low voice, swinging my body back onto the mattress and picking up the offending cellphone.

"Hello, Aunt Alice." I laid back into the pillow and watched Owen as she began to shriek at me.

"Renesmee Carlie Cullen!! What do you think you're doing!? Do you have any idea what I just saw?"

"I have an idea. Was it any good?" I said, only half joking.

"This is not funny. I should have never stayed out of town. I can't believe this....what would your father and mother think? I cover for you all the time because you are a responsible, mature girl and this is how you repay me...."

I tuned out the endless stream of judgment and put my focus back where it belonged. 'I love you' Owen mouthed silently, a smile playing at the corner of his lips. I raised one eyebrow coyly, 'Do you?' I mouthed back. He nodded, and with an amused look on his face he leaned into my neck, kissing and nibbling down to my collarbone. I giggled as he brushed his hand across my stomach.

"That's IT!!" I heard Alice screech. "If this vision in my head does not change in the next 5 minutes I'm calling Edward!"

Well that definitely put a damper on things, not that he wouldn't find out about this anyway. I hung up the phone and tossed it back onto the table.

"I take it Alice isn't too happy?" Owen said into my hair.

"Nope."

He looked up at me and his eyes were confused. "Would you really have let it go that far?"

"I was going to let it go as far as you took it," I told him.

"Funny...I was doing the exact same thing." He paused for a moment and then grinned. "How long do you think your father would have left me alive?"

"Long enough for you to suffer greatly."

He knew I wasn't joking, but he laughed anyway. The phone call from Aunt Alice had put an end to the mood, so I guess it had served its purpose. It was probably a good thing anyway, today had been an emotional day, and any decision was likely to be made a little irrationally. Maybe some other time would be better. Owen was already drifting off to sleep in a haze of pain medication, so I curled up against him and let his steady heartbeat lull me to sleep.