Loch Ness Monster
I believe that every teenage girl feels like a freak at some point on the road to adulthood. I, however, am a real freak. Nessie's story.
2. Open Mind
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“I’m hideous,” I nodded to my reflection in the full-length mirror in my bedroom. “I’m just completely hideous.”
“Well, that’s just not true at all,” Alice giggled behind me, lying on her side on my bed.
“Alice,” I sighed, turning around. “He’s going to be here in a few hours, and I look like a washed out mouse with weeds for hair.”
She smiled and shook her head, “You look beautiful, Nessie. You always do.”
“You’re not helpful!” I threw my arms up and fell next to her on the bed.
“So dramatic,” she mumbled, sitting up.
“Alice,” I sighed, staring at the light blue ceiling. “What if he doesn’t like me?”
“He does,” she shrugged. “But if he doesn’t then…then he doesn’t. I don’t see why you’re making this such a big deal.”
“The last time he saw me, I was fifteen,” I sat up. Actually, I had been five—it was a year ago. “I was too young for him to have any kind of, you know, romantic feelings…”
“And now that you’re six it’s okay?” she smiled.
“I’ll be done growing in six months, Alice,” I crossed my arms across my chest. “And, yes, now it is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s…expected.” She rolled her eyes and stood up, moving over to the mirror to look at herself. “If it’s going to happen; it’s going to happen this visit.”
“Ren,” she adjusted her shirt. “Maybe you shouldn’t put so much stress on Nahuel. There are other guys in the world.”
“No one like Nahuel,” I sighed.
She tilted her head to the side, “Not exactly, no. But there are other guys…guys who really, really like you, who would do anything for you.”
“Of course there are,” I rolled my eyes.
“Rogue,” Emmett smiled and stopped at my door. “Your father wants to see you.”
I flopped back down on the bed, “He can wait. I’m having a crisis at the moment.”
Alice laughed and shook her head, “Go talk to him. He’ll distract you.”
I sighed and sat up. “Did he say what he wants?” I asked Emmett.
“Not to me,” he shrugged. “Maybe he wants to tell you about the birds and the bees.” I shuddered as he winked, then laughed and walked away.
“Nessie,” Alice was smiling. “Go. Take your mind off things. He’s in the woods.”
I’d always been close to my father. As my family tried to get me used to sharing my thoughts verbally, he quickly became the only one who still knew what I was thinking.
I guess that also sounds like a nightmare to most teenage girls—to have your father have total access to your thoughts—but he had been around teenage girls for more than a century, so he was really more understanding than intrusive, giving me privacy and staying out whenever he felt his presence was inappropriate.
“I’m having a heart attack,” I sighed after I found him sitting against a tree in the forest behind our house.
“That seems fairly unlikely,” he smiled.
“Really,” I sat next to him. “The suspense is killing me. What was so important that it couldn’t wait?”
He laughed gently. The few of my friends who had met my father did not know him as such. Seeing as we both looked seventeen—though he was much older, and I was much younger—it would be impossible to explain without interference from the Volturi. To avoid that, my parents were introduced as my siblings, along with my aunts and uncles. Jacob was the only member of the family who refused the “adopted” story and told people he was a foreign exchange student from exotic Canada.
I didn’t mind having parents the same age as me until people began to tell me how attractive they were and asking about their likes and dislikes and trying to get me to set them up. After a few weeks of that, it was decided that they would no longer metriculate in the same high school as me, which was no problem as it was a very acceptable story that they chose to attend a private high school. Most people found them a little snobby and standoffish.
“It isn’t all that important,” he shrugged. “I suppose it could wait if you have something else to do.”
“No,” I shook my head. “It’ll distract me. What’s up?”
“Well,” he reached behind him. “I just picked this up, and I thought you might like to see it.” He pulled something rectangular from behind his back. It was a book.
I narrowed my eyes and took it from him slowly, examining the cover. On it was a young woman in a window with her face in her hands. Above the picture were neatly printed words:
The Norton Anthology of Short Stories: Eighth Edition
“Oh!” I gasped, bringing the volume to my chest. “Dad! Oh, my God! The eighth edition?!” I shook my head, “This isn’t even out yet! How’d you get this?!”
“You like it?” he beamed.
I stopped and raised an eyebrow, “You didn’t steal this, did you?”
He chuckled, “Of course not. I just have a friend in publishing who owed me a favor. I could think of no better way to use it.”
I sighed at my new book with awe and wished I could read it right away. “Thank you,” I whispered.
“You’re very welcome,” he said. “What’s stopping you from reading it?”
I looked up at him with a little smile—as if he didn’t know. “We have company coming today. “
“Nahuel’s an old friend of the family, Renesmee,” he shrugged. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you—“
“Dad,” I groaned. “I sort of want to be present for his visit. I’ve sort of been anticipating it for weeks.”
“I know, “ he grumbled. “It’s made you a nervous wreck.” He shook his head, “I wish you wouldn’t put so much pressure on yourself. You’ve somehow convinced yourself that Nahuel is your only option.” I sighed, having nothing to say to that. My father, as understanding as he was, held a fairly steady mantra about me and members of the opposite sex. “I just wish you would keep your mind open—“
“Mind open,” I finished with him. “Yes, I do recall you mentioning that before.”
“Well, you’ve never listened,” he smiled. “Totally inflexible. Just like your mother.”
I rolled my eyes. We’d had this discussion before. Next, I was to mention how being stubborn had worked out for my mother in the end. Then, he was to remind me of all the sacrifices she had to make. Then, I was to say how sacrifices did not matter when one valued the reward higher than the risk, etc., etc. I did not feel like having that conversation just hours before Nahuel arrived.
“I just don’t see,” I bit my lip. “Why are you all so dead set against Nahuel? What’s so horrible about him? Do you all know something I don’t?” The entire family had been sending me little hints recently that I should not limit myself to one romantic partner. They’d do little things. Emmett had pretended to forget his name. Carlisle had nonchalantly brought up the uncomfortable gap between our ages. And most recently, my mother had warned me to focus on what I really wanted. She’d said, “It’s very possible to be totally in love already and not know it. Trust me. Just keep an open mind.”
He just laughed, “Of course not. It’s just that you’re still very young, and it’s difficult for us to imagine you with a life mate.” He twitched the slightest bit, uncomfortable with his own wording.
I let out a little chuckle. Mate, reminding me of Emmett’s idea about what my father had wanted to discuss with me.
“Yes,” he shook his head. “I’ll have to talk to him about that later.”
“Oh, don’t bother,” I shrugged. “It was funny.”
“Hmm,” he glowered. “If you say so.”
“I say so,” I smiled and inhaled deeply, taking in the smell of the woods. It was so peaceful there. I could smell a group of deer grazing a few hundred feet away, but I wasn’t thirsty. They were pretty brave coming so close to the household of vampires. I closed my eyes. The concept of bravery triggered an image in my head.
“She’s with Grandpa,” he answered my unasked question.
I shook my head solemnly. Grandpa was sick. Prostate cancer. It wasn’t anything serious, according to Carlisle, but Mom was not taking any chances. She made the hour trip back to Forks frequently to check up on him and Sue and even the Quileutes if she had the time.
We’d moved right before I started middle school to Aberdeen, as no one wanted to move too far away from Forks. It was far enough that no one had heard of the infamous Cullen family or the more infamous Isabella Swan, who had vanished from Forks after her wedding with some horrible disease, never to be heard from again.
“How is he?” I asked meekly, unsure if I really wanted to know.
“Alice says he’ll be fine, though, of course, she’s not sure how long it will take for him to get there. But they found it early, there shouldn’t be any problems getting it out.”
I nodded absently. Illness terrified me, as did age, though neither frightened me more than death. In that way, I suppose, I was somewhat normal. However, I feared them for different reasons than most. I feared them, because I could not stop them from hurting the people who I grew close to. It was a morbid worry that I kept constantly in the back of my mind whenever I met a new human friend. Will I become good friends with them? Will I sit at their funeral?
It was a terrible thought, I knew, so I tried to focus more on my inhuman friendships. I would never have to witness the death of either of my parents, never watch as Jacob deteriorated before my eyes, never stand by helplessly as Nahuel lost his life.
“Don’t worry,” Dad smirked. “She’ll be home soon. She doesn’t want to miss Nahuel, either.”
I smiled lightly. There was no need to focus on such depressing things. There was nothing I could do about them. “I should help set up,” I sighed.
“Alice will do it,” he shook his head.
“Nessie,” he held a hand up. “Don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine.”
“I’m just so horrible at waiting. I have no patience,” I shook my head.
“Sounds familiar,” he smiled.
I traced the figure on the cover of my new book. She looked so heartbroken, so beaten. It made me want to read her story. I thought vaguely about Persepolis.
Dad shook his head, “This is better.”
I laughed, “Isn’t it your fatherly responsibility to ensure that I read what is required first?”
He laughed with me, “I suppose it is. But I refuse to lie to you. You’ll enjoy this more.” He indicated my new Norton. “Could I fulfill my fatherly responsibility by reading the comic book for you?”
“I don’t think that’s how it works,” I narrowed my eyes.
He paused for a moment, looking out into space. “Well, then, how about I just tell you that you are an amazing daughter, a phenomenal person, and that anyone who gets the chance to know you is among the luckiest on earth.” He smiled, “Does that make me a good father?”
“No,” I shook my head, trying to keep a straight face, and then threw my arms around him. “It makes you the greatest father in the world.”
He laughed and kissed my temple, “Whew.” When I pulled back, he narrowed his eyes, “So, did I succeed in distracting you?”
“For a while you did, yeah,” I nodded, happily. At least I was a few minutes closer to Nahuel’s arrival. “Now, I just need to find something else to distract me until he actually gets here.”
“Well,” he smirked. “I don’t actually think that will be needed.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He smiled, “Nahuel’s just arrived.”
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