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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:


26. Chapter 26

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3183   Review this Chapter

What a strange dream...was it Jacob? No, I knew Jake's howl. This was Seth. How odd, I don't recall having ever dreamed about Seth before- in human or in wolf form. There it was again, getting louder, a warning. I could now see points of light breaking through the black of my dream. I gasped in sudden awareness. I wasn't dreaming. It took me half a second to remember that I was in my old room, in the tiny cottage hidden away in the woods surrounding Forks. I shot out of bed and ran into the living room.

"Mom! Something has happened. Didn't you hear Seth? What's going on?" I let my questions trail off as I saw my mother sitting quietly on the sofa, a tattered old book spread open on her lap. She didn't look concerned in the least. In fact, she looked suspiciously happy...the cat who ate the canary. She knew something I didn't.

"Seth is fine. You know how he is, always quick to raise an alarm without thinking. Your father ran out to make sure it all got smoothed over before the pack surrounded our guests."

Guests? Who would be coming to visit us in Forks for Thanksgiving break?

"Tanya!" I shrieked. Before my mother could answer me, I was out the door, following my fathers scent into the woods. I didn't even bother to change out of my pajamas. It had been forever since we'd had a visit from the Denali clan, eighteen months at least. It seemed like a long time to me, only being 8 years old...time meant more. To them it probably felt like a week. Regardless, I'd missed my extended family.

I hurdled to a stop in a small clearing, watching the group approach through the trees. Garrett had his arm slung around Seth, in human form, while Kate, Tanya, and my dad followed behind. Only Seth would be so comfortable walking through the forest arm in arm with a vampire.

"Ah, no harm no foul friend!" I heard Garrett tell him. "You were only doing your job."

Dad smiled at the friendliness between them and apologized for not informing the wolves of the visitors. "I wasn't expecting any of you to be out running patrols," he said.

"I wasn't. I was just running,” Seth replied. “No one else is phased right now, it's nice to run with only your own thoughts sometimes. You of all people should understand that!"

My dad laughed. "As true as that is, you better phase back now and explain...I'm sure they heard you. The whole pack will here in a few minutes, thinking you're in some kind of trouble."

Seth nodded, taking off into the woods as I darted across the small space that separated me from my friends. "Tell everyone I'll be by later today!" I shouted after him.

"You're that eager to get away from us already?" Kate laughed.

I flung my arms around her, pushing my hand into her face so she could see just how happy I was that she was here.

"I missed you too, Nessie, darling."

"No hogging her, Kate!" Garrett exclaimed, grabbing me up into a hug. I giggled and touched his face as well.

"Where are Carmen and Eleazar? And why did no one tell me that we were having guests!" I asked my father.

"They're in Spain for a few weeks, and we wanted to surprise you. Obviously we did," he said, eying the tiny pink shorts and skimpy black tank top with distaste.

Tanya laughed and shook her head. "You are such a daddy, Edward! Who would have ever thought!"

"Yes well, even though she's grown she still needs someone to tell her to get dressed in the mornings. Why don't we all go back to the main house, Nessie go put something decent on and tell your mother where we are." He rumpled my hair and grinned before I turned to run back to the cottage, so I knew he wasn't too put out by my appearance. I giggled as I sprinted back home.

_______________________________

Jacob spent the previous night at Billy's, but I found him waiting in living room at the main house when Mom and I ran in. He was deep in discussion with Garrett about some aspect of wolfdom that must have fascinated the one time nomad/adventurer. I went and sat down next to them, not really listening to the conversation, just enjoying Jake's warmth. He was only slightly warmer than me, but it was enough that I could notice the difference. Enough that it felt nice on this cool morning. He smiled at my arrival and put his arm around my shoulders.

I didn't mind. I might as well enjoy the last bits of affection he had for me. I hadn't told him about Owens decision yet, and I was positive that the affection, if not the love, would surely disappear. I felt my eyes tear at the thought. Hopefully Owen could wait until next summer, then I'd have a little time left before Jake had to go (he wouldn't stick around to watch me with someone else, would he?). And I'd have time to make sure he was happy with Rory. I was going to try my hardest to help that relationship along, even as the voice in my head screaming at me to stop it got louder and louder.

I sat there thinking and half listening to the conversations around me for awhile. Long enough to hear that Tanya, Kate and Garrett were coming back to stay at our new place for a week or two. I was glad, having them around was a fun distraction. Garrett especially. His stories were fabulous, and Owen would definitely get a kick out of him.

"I need to head back to the rez," Jacob said, snapping me out of my daze. "You coming down?" He asked me.

"Yeah, I'll come this afternoon. I'm going to hangout here for awhile and then go see Grandpa Charlie. Come pick me up later?"

"Sure, just call."

I watched him run across the backyard, leaping over the river and into the woods, oblivious to the watching eyes of those around me.

"What's going on with them?" Tanya asked my dad under her breath.

I could see him looking at me warily, unsure of what he should tell her...With me sitting here listening at least. I saved him the trouble and rested my hand against her cheek, showing her the past several months in quick flashes. She gasped at all the appropriate moments and shook her head in disbelief when I was through.

"Only Edwards child..."

"Would fall in love with a human," I finished for her, rolling my eyes. I'd heard that before.

"In love with a human?" Kate and Garrett said at the same time. I rolled my eyes again and showed them the same thing I'd shown Tanya. They both sat stunned when I was finished.

"What is the big deal!?" I exclaimed. "I am half human!"

Kate cleared her throat. "It's not the human part that has me surprised really. It's...well...we all expected Jacob..."

"You and everyone else," my mother interjected.

"And this Owen, he wants to be changed?" Tanya asked, even thought she's seen his decision in my memories. Her question wasn't directed at me, however. She wanted all the dirt from my father, to know his feelings on the matter.

"He does. We've discussed it with him, now we're just waiting for he and Nessie to decide when."

"And you're okay with this?"

I started growling internally. It was driving me insane, listening to them talk about me as if I wasn't even here.

"I don't really have any other option," Dad started. "She chose him. I'm not going to drive her away by trying to take that choice from her. And how can I deny them what they want, when I've been in such a similar situation? I'm trying very hard not to be hypocritical. It is difficult, I'll admit," he said when Tanya and Kate raised their eyebrows in unison. "But they do love each other, you saw that in her thoughts. I can't dictate the direction her life goes."

Tanya snorted, "You've mellowed considerably."

"After you nearly lose everything, you learn not to sweat the small stuff. As long as my family is happy and safe, I'm content." He smiled warmly at my mother and I, making it hard to be irritated with him.

"We're due over at Charlie's soon. We better get going," my mother said to my father before turning to Tanya. “The rest of the family stayed behind. You can head that direction if you'd like, we'll be home tomorrow.” They nodded and headed out the back door, going the way my father pointed out on a map. After they were out of sight we made our way to the Volvo.

"What time is dinner tomorrow?" I asked as we drove. "Don't forget that I have to be at Owen's by 6."

"For the hundredth time, Renesmee, we know. We'll have you on his doorstep by 6p.m." My mother sighed.

We were having Thanksgiving dinner at Grandpa Charlie's house with the Sue, Billy and the pack. My mother, father and I would be the only Cullens in attendance...there was still too much tension with some of the wolves for it to be a very comfortable, homey gathering if we were all crammed into such a small space for several hours. Owen had invited me to his house to meet his extended family, so I'd be speeding from one dinner to the other. I hoped we were eating early at Grandpa Charlie's, I didn't want to have to cut my time with my friends here short.

Grandpa was ecstatic to see us, as always. He had Sue make piles of hard boiled eggs because he knew they were my favorite. I sat and munched on them while I listened to the stories about my mother as a child for the umpteenth time. After a few hours of chit chat and exploring Mom's old room like I always did, I called Jake to come pick me up.

I fell into the comfortable pattern of my old life here, and the afternoon in La Push passed quickly. Walks on First Beach, motorcycle rides with Jake, sitting out in the shed talking with he, Seth, Embry and Quil. I missed it more than I had known.

I slept long and hard that night, a totally dreamless sleep. It was the most restful night I'd had in a long time. I woke up excited for the coming day. A note was stuck on the mirror of my nightstand when I got up. Your outfits for today are in a garment bag in your closet. The more casual is for this afternoon, the other is for tonight. I'll know if you don't wear them, so just humor me. - Aunt Alice. I laughed as I unzipped the bag and found new pair of brown trousers with a cream shirt, obviously my 'daytime' ensemble. The chocolate colored suede skirt and cream sweater meant for evening was nearly identical, only slightly more dressy. Did she run all the way here just to put those in my closet? That is definitely something she'd do. It had probably taken her less than an hour to get here and back anyway.

I rushed to get ready, eager to get to the party that was probably already underway. Less than 20 minutes later we were on our way. It was about eleven in the morning and the smell of Thanksgiving hung in the air. My sensitive sense of smell could pick up turkey cooking in nearly every house we passed. It didn't appeal to me at all. Sue knew that I didn't really enjoy human food, but I'd eat a few bites to be polite regardless.

The party was already in full swing when we pulled up to Grandpa Charlie's, members of both packs overflowing from the small house into the front yard and driveway. Emily, Claire, Rachel, and Kim rushed from inside to greet me. Liz, the newest imprintee hung back by the door. I still made her uncomfortable.

"Hey vampire girl," Emily said to my mother after she'd looked me over like a protective aunt. Mom laughed and gave the beautiful, scarred woman a hug.

"It's so not fair that you grow fast, Nessie," Claire whined. "I'm over 3 years older than you and look at us!"

Quil walked up behind her and playfully grabbed her ponytail. "Don't be in such a rush to grow up, silly girl. I like the rate you're going."

We all laughed as she playfully stuck her tongue out at him. I felt so at home here, surrounded by my old friends. I felt a sudden stab of fear as I wondered if I would still see them again, after they all knew everything. Right now, they were only privy to the information that Jake had...which was far from the whole story. They must know about Rory, though. That made me a little uncomfortable.

"Come on in kids! Food will be ready soon!" Sue called from inside the house.

I laughed out loud when I walked through the door. There were several round card tables set up throughout the living room and kitchen, food covered nearly every inch of counter space...even the mantle over the fireplace had overflowing platters set on top of it. There was enough food to feed 100, and it probably still wouldn't be enough to feed the pack.

Mom, Dad, Jake and I sat at a table with Billy, Grandpa Charlie, and Sue. We were squeezed shoulder to shoulder, but it was perfect, happiness and family filled every inch of the space. Billy even kept Grandpa distracted so my parents could slip bits of food into their napkins. I braved a few bites of turkey, but mostly stuck to deviled eggs. I needed to save room for all the unpleasant things I was sure to have to eat tonight.

"So," Grandpa Charlie started. "How is school going, Nessie?"

"Fine," I replied. "It's pretty boring most of the time, but I don't mind."

"Why, you got a boyfriend?" he teased.

I held my breath as the whole house fell silent, waiting to hear what I would say. Grandpa looked bewildered at the sudden tension in the air, he had no idea about the awkward situation we were in. Half the eyes in the room were trained on me, the other half on Jake. I could hear low shallow breathing coming from those sitting at tables in the other room...waiting.

"Um...yes, actually. I'll bring him to meet you sometime."

I heard a low growl coming from the kitchen. Leah, of course.

'Daddy, help me out here!' I thought.

He cleared his throat loudly. "Er..so, Charlie. Any luck out on the rivers lately? Catching much?"

Grandpa immediately began regaling us with tales of his latest fishing exploits, but no one was really listening. Though Mom and Dad were nodding and smiling, they were really watching me. Watching me watch Jake. His hands were clinched into tight fists, and his eyes never looked up from his lap. I could feel the eyes of the pack boring into the back of my head. I'd never felt so exposed.

I could hear Seth in the other room, always the peacemaker, trying to calm Leah and keep her from making a scene.

"But she would bring him here?!" she hissed quietly. "And just parade him around in front of all of Jakes family? Doesn't she realize she's killing him?"

Tears welled in my eyes, and I got up from the table without excusing myself. I couldn't have spoken without the tenuous hold on my composure slipping. I walked quietly up to my mothers old room and curled up on the bed, praying that no one would follow me. I should have know that was too much to hope for.

"What's wrong? Did I say something?" I heard Grandpa Charlie ask.

"Don't worry about it Charlie," my father told him.

"Someone should check on her, I'll go apologize for whatever upset her." His chair started to scrape against the floor.

"I think she'd rather be alone right now."

'Thank you, thank you, thank you, Daddy.'

"I'm going up," I heard my mother say.

UGH. I closed my eyes and turned my back to the door. She ghosted in and sat on the bed next to me.

"Are you alright, sweetie?"

"What do you think?" I whispered. "I'm killing him. I know Leah didn't mean it literally, but still. She hears his thoughts, she knows how he really feels. Will this torture me forever?"

"It might," she answered honestly. "But that's just something you'll have to live with if you really think Owen is the one for you."

"He's willing to change for me. How can I doubt that kind of commitment?"

"Jake would do it for you too, if he could."

"I know he would.” I sighed. “I guess I know who's side you're on."

"I'm on your side, no matter who you choose. You know that. Of course I'd love for you to be with Jake. It's taken me nearly this long to get used to the idea, only to have it pulled right out from under me, but if Owen is who you want I can't force you. I've been in a position not far from yours, and I know how hard it is. But you need to do what's right for you, it's the only way to be fair to both of them."

"I don't know what's right for me."

"Well, then I think you need to have an honest talk with Owen. If you're not one hundred percent positive, changing him anytime soon would be a mistake."

She was right, of course. But I was afraid of how Owen would react to my moment of indecision, would he doubt my commitment? If he were willing to give up his entire existence for me, the least I could do is be honest with him. I wanted us both to be sure beyond all doubt that we were doing the right thing. It was the only way.

I was content with my sudden resolve to be totally honest about our delicate situation. I wiped my eyes, straightened my clothes and walked back downstairs. I didn't even acknowledge the less than pleasant looks I was getting from a few members of the pack. They didn't know the whole story, I told myself. But I did realize something because of those looks of anger and disappointment. If I were to choose Owen after all, things would never be the same here. I would no longer be a welcome member of this extended family I loved as much as my own.