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.
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“Behave, Renesmee,” Dad smiled as he passed by, holding a large silver platter, decorated with numerous different cheeses of numerous different colors.
“Smile,” Emmet grinned ear to ear and snapped his thousandth picture of me. In this one, I held up a strong, distinct middle finger.
“Put that down!” Alice demanded, indicating my finger. “You’re a lady.” She brushed by me.
“Yeah, you’re a lady,” Emmett nodded, mockingly.
“Mom!” I pounded into the kitchen, where the family was setting up the most elaborate spread that my friends would ever see.
“What’s wrong, honey?” she murmured, distracted. “Did anyone thing to get drinks?”
“Taken care of,” Alice sighed. “Honestly, when will you learn?”
“Mom,” I said again, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Honey, you shouldn’t be in here. You’ll get something on your dress,” she nodded.
“This is too much food, Mom. There’s only a few people coming, and we had to pay seventy bucks for those prom tickets, and that included food, so I’m sure they’re going to want to eat that food—“
“Renesmee,” she sighed. “I get it. I hated this when I was your age, too, but you’ll be glad you did it later. Trust me.”
“Tanya’s running a little late, but she says she’ll be here soon,” Carlisle said, putting his cell phone in his pocket.
He smiled and shrugged, “She insisted.”
“Oh, and Zafrina sends her regrets but made me promise to send pictures,” Dad smirked, enjoying this a little too much.
“Seth’s on his way,” Mom nodded.
“My, God! Was there, like, a bulletin somewhere?” I flung my arms in the air. “Did you invite the Volturi, too? They should be here to witness this happy occasion!”
“Nessie,” Carlisle called after me, but I refused to listen. I ran outside to the deck, which had been decorated to the nines. I plopped myself down in a lawn chair with white ribbons tied on it.
My friends would start arriving in about a half hour, so I figured I could hide outside until they got here. At least, then, my family would have to act normal.
I was dying to see Jacob. He was still up in his room, getting ready. It wasn’t that it had taken him that long; it was just that Rosalie had insisted that she do my hair hours in advance so that she could make sure it could endure prom. It was all ringlet curls, half of which were secured back in a beautiful clip. I’d been waiting around, wearing my dress, with my hair done, and high heels on for two hours.
“My God. Don’t you look stunning,” Jacob smiled from the doorway, and I leapt into his arms. He chuckled, hugging me back, “Oh, my little drama queen.” At that, I pushed away and sat back down. He followed me, “Come on, now. It can’t be that bad. What’s got you out here all by yourself?”
“They invited the National Guard to this!”
Jake chuckled, “Well, good. You’ll feel very safe.”
I gave him a little smile as he sat down across from me. “You look nice,” I told him. He had not let me pay for his suit—which, in fact, was a tux! I was very impressed. Emily was lucky to have him for the night.
“I thought I did,” he shook his head. “Until I saw you. Now, I’m not so sure. I might need Blondie to work some kind of miracle on me.”
“I wouldn’t talk to Rose right now. She’s not in the best mood,” I groaned.
“What happened?” he smirked.
“I was a little too impatient for her to finish my hair, I guess. She hasn’t spoken to me since she finished,” I sighed. That wasn’t entirely true; she had mumbled something about an, ‘ignorant brat’ before giving me one last squirt of hairspray and leaving in a huff.
He smiled, “Are you excited?”
I shrugged, “I’m excited for Prom. For the actual prom, that is. This whole thing,” I indicated the house, “This is torture.”
“I hear ya,” he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “At least you know your date. I’m going to be standing there for hours, taking pictures with this girl while the family tries not to laugh in my face.”
I laughed, “It won’t be hours. Don’t be melodramatic.”
“It’ll feel like hours,” he narrowed his eyes at me.
“Well, then, I guess I’ll just have to make the actual prom that much more fun for you,” I shrugged.
“I guess you will,” he said, unable to keep from smiling.
“Are you going to be nice to Justin?” I pointed to him.
“I’m always nice to Justin,” he pretended to be offended.
“Jacob Black,” I raised an eyebrow at him.
He rolled his eyes, “I’ll be nice. I give you my word.”
“Nessie!” Esme peeked her head out and smiled. “A young man has arrived for you.”
A chill flew up my spine, and I smiled, “He’s a little early.”
“That’s good,” Jake nodded and stood. “It means he’s nervous.”
Esme laughed elegantly. “He’s in the living room talking to your father; you may want to interfere.”
“Oh, God,” I sighed, and moved back into the house.
Jacob turned to Esme, chuckling, “And she was worried about me.”
“Well, I mean, I’ve been looking at some websites and stuff—“ I heard Justin’s unsure voice, trying to sound more adult.
“For which schools?” my father sounded like an attack dog.
“Loch—Uh, Nessie,” he exclaimed when he saw me. Mom narrowed her eyes a little at his near slip.
He looked very gentlemanly, dressed up in his suit, with his tie matching my navy blue dress. I couldn’t help but smile. “Hey, Justin. Uh, welcome.”
“Thanks,” he tried to smile. He was a nervous wreck; it was unbelievably sweet. “Uh, I’ve been talking to your brother. He’s, uh, very welcoming.”
“Ai’nt he, though,” I smiled. Could we maybe save the interrogation for later? “Why don’t you come in and, uh, meet my parents?” I indicated the kitchen and inwardly groaned at the display on the table.
“Sure,” he shrugged and moved deeper into the house.
“Sorry,” Dad whispered, too low for him to hear. “I just worry.”
“I’m not marrying him,” I whispered back. “Just relax.”
“It—it’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Cullen—Dr. Cullen!” Justin was not far off from a paralyzing heart attack. “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Carlisle smiled. “It’s very nice to meet you, Justin.”
“Thanks,” he breathed, and I stepped to his side. “And, uh, Mrs. Cullen,” he turned to Esme.
“Nice to meet you,” she smiled warmly.
“Your—your house is lovely,” he nodded, trying again to sound like an adult. I laughed gently.
Esme shot me a quick glance, then turned back to Justin, another smile gracing her face, “Thank you very much, Justin. What a kind thing to say.”
The rest of the family had gathered by then, and I could tell Justin was feeling a little claustrophobic. “Why don’t we head--?” I began to suggest we take the party outside, when the door burst open.
“Hello, loves,” Tanya burst through the door with a flourish. We all turned to look instinctually.
I noticed Justin’s face fall. “Is she a friend of yours?” he asked nervously.
“Family,” I shook my head.
“More family?” he sounded amazing.
“Yep,” I shrugged.
“So she’s not coming with us, then?” he seemed relieved.
“No,” I shook my head and smiled. Tanya could be a little overwhelming.
“Nessie, you look gorgeous,” she smiled at me and kissed me on the cheek after greeting Carlisle. “And look at you, Jacob! So debonair.”
“Thanks,” Jacob tried not to laugh.
“Well, uh, why don’t we move outside? It’s getting a little cramped in here,” I suggested, pulling Jacob’s arm towards the back door.
Slowly, but surely, everyone followed.
The rest of the pre-prom guests arrived in the next few minutes. Seth ran up from the woods, and I tried to block my friends from seeing him. He apologized for being late and explained that Leah would have been here if she hadn’t had class.
Seth and Leah were both in school. He was studying cinematography at the local community college. Leah had gone south to California to spend some time at a sunny beach. In fact, she’d liked it so much that she’d stopped phasing for a year, but freaked out when she found she’d grown an inch and phased back. She was studying philosophy at UCLA.
When everyone was there, we all lined up with our respective partners. Emily wore a pretty green dress that hugged her curves well. She looked beautiful, and she’d looked pleased with Jacob.
We took an endless amount of pictures with my family and the families of my friends sending out flashes of light all at the same time. No one knew where to look. We stood on the deck, on the stairs, near the outside of the house…
“God, I’m exhausted, can we please go dance now?” I sighed when my father finally put his camera down for a second.
Dad looked to Carlisle, who smiled, “All right, everyone. There’s a surprise in the front of the house. Would you like to see it?”
All the guys cheered in excitement and began moving towards the front of the house. I narrowed my eyes and moved over to Carlisle, “Not a huge fan of surprises.”
Dad laughed, coming up next to me, “A spitting image.”
“Come on,” Carlisle held his arm out to me, and I took it suspiciously.
“Holy shit!” one of the guys exclaimed, and I began to walk faster.
Jacob came up to us. “She’s gonna kill you,” he smiled to Carlisle.
“Geez,” I took my arm back and ran around to the front of the house and found—
“A limo!” Justin was ecstatic, along with the rest of my friends.
“A limo?” I whispered tensely to Carlisle, who kissed my temple and sighed.
“Be a teenage girl for the night, Nessie.”
Dad laughed and squeezed my hand, “Have fun.”
Mom appeared at his other side, “Be safe.”
Jacob smiled at me, “I’ll take good care of her, I promise.”
Junior Prom smelled like fish.
“Ugh,” I wrinkled my nose immediately as the group of us stepped into the darkened room.
“It’s the aquarium, Carlie,” Jacob smiled and whispered to me. “What were you expecting?”
The Student Body had thought it was a joke when they’d gotten the voting ballots used to pick the location of the prom and Olympia Aquarium was an option. Most people circled it in an attempt to go along with the joke. I hoped they were laughing now.
“Air freshener?” I shrugged.
“Loch Ness, look,” Justin pointed up to the ceiling. The whole group looked with me. I gasped when my eyes met thousands of shimmering lines of faux fish hanging from the dome ceiling of the aquarium’s lobby area. They were a beautiful and unique chandelier replacement, and I couldn’t help the impressed smile that grew on my lips.
“Leave it to Brianna Frost to turn a fish tank romantic,” Emily shook her head, disbelieving.
“Who’s Brianna Frost?” Jake turned to her.
“She’s—“ I started to say without thinking.
“Student body President,” Emily answered, cutting me off. “Since Freshman year.”
Justin laughed, “That’s the Junior class for you—terrified of change.”
“Or we could say loyal,” Jacob shrugged, smiling.
The whole group laughed lightly. I leaned over discreetly and pinched Jacob’s arm.
He shot me a quick glance, and then turned to Emily and offered his arm, “Why don’t we find a table? Then commence with dancing?”
“Sure,” Emily smiled coyly and wrapped her arm around his. The two of them started walking, and the group followed. I caught Justin nervously glancing at me, probably wondering if I expected an arm. I just smiled at him and followed Jake and Emily.
They claimed a table near the back of the room, and we all placed our belongings down to mark our territory. We sat boy-girl-boy-girl, me between Justin on my left and Jacob on my right. “There’s a cool view here,” Jacob had said, indicating the wall, which was actually a gigantic fish tank. “You guys like it?”
I smiled at him, proud that he was being so friendly. My friends all agreed that the table was great, and that the wall was, indeed, very cool. “Well, all right, here we are,” Melanie shrugged as we all sat around the table, no one speaking.
“Anyone hungry?” Scott suggested, but no one responded.
“Wanna get pictures taken?” Emily tried.
“I think that’s the line,” Justin pointed to a long extension of gowns and suits. It had looped around the dance floor already.
“Eesh,” I shook my head.
“Let’s wait ‘till the line dies down a little,” Melanie nodded.
A few more moments passed. Jacob raised an eyebrow at me, already doubting my promise of fun. “Well, okay, then,” I pushed myself up, out of my seat. “Why don’t we dance?”
“No one’s out there, yet,” Emily shook her head.
“Well, someone has to start it, right?” I shrugged.
“I’ll go if you go,” Justin smiled.
“I’m going!” I declared, pulling him up by his arm—careful, always, not to touch skin. “Who’s with me? Jake?” I turned to him.
“You know I’m willing to make a fool outta myself,” he smiled. “But I’ve got gentlemanly responsibilities tonight, so you’ve gotta convince this one.” He smiled at Emily.
“I’m not making a fool out of myself,” she smiled back at him. “You go ahead and do it, though.”
“Oh, come on, Em,” I begged. “Be a nonconformist.”
“Nonconformists don’t go to prom,” she smirked.
The table laughed. “All right,” Melanie stood with her date. “We’ll go.”
“Excellent!” I turned to Scott. “How ‘bout you, Scotty? Wanna participate in life or just sit and let it pass you by?”
Scott laughed and looked to his date, who gave a little smile, “Well, when you put it like that.”
“Ah!” at last, I turned back to Emily. “Come on, Emily. Everyone’s in but you.”
“Then I’d be conforming, when you think about it,” she crossed her arms over her chest.
Justin laughed, “C’mon. Let’s just go. She’ll feel so ostracized, she’ll have to join us.”
He went to take my hand, but I wrapped my arm around his. Jacob shot me a look, and I kicked him under the table. “Sounds perfect,” I smiled at him and let him lead me to the empty dance floor, leaving Jacob and Emily alone at the dark table in the back of the room.
As soon as we started dancing, more people began to file onto the floor, until it was full and a healthy amount of sweat was added to the fish odor. My friends were having the time of their lives, and I was trying to join them, but Jake being elsewhere distracted me. Even with phenomenal hearing, was a little difficult for me. Justin didn’t seem to notice how distracted I was, as it wasn’t hard for me to find the beat of a song and move my body with it.
“You know, I have a friend named Emily,” Jacob was saying, leaning in to her so that he could be heard over the music.
“Really?” she nodded. “From your high school?”
“No,” he shook his head. “A friend of the family.” A few moments of silence passed. Justin and Scott made the other girls laugh by dancing like idiots. I smiled, too, trying to seem in the moment. “She’s a great person,” he nodded. “Really sweet. She’s pregnant, actually.”
I bit my lip, trying not to laugh at Emily’s reaction to that. No doubt, she had been imagining someone our age, and now she was caught a little off guard. “Oh! That’s great.”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “She’s very happy.”
She nodded with him. “I feel like I’m ruining your night. You can go dance if you want.”
“No, don’t be ridiculous. I’m here with you,” he shook his head. “I mean, if you want to go dance, I wouldn’t object, but it’s totally up to you.”
She smiled, “I’m really glad Nessie set us up.”
I froze at that. Set you up? I did not set them up. He was doing me a favor…
“What’s wrong, Loch Ness?” Justin was still dancing. “Intimidated by my moves? That’s okay. I’ll try and ugly ‘em up for you,” he joked.
I smiled at him, “No, I’m just going to go check on Jake—make sure he’s behaving himself, you know?”
He stopped, looking a little concerned, “Okay…you want me to come with you?”
“No, no,” I shook my head. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” he nodded, “I’ll be here.”
I made my way through the crowd, careful not to touch anyone and leisurely made my way to Jake and Emily, saying hi to friends and complementing dresses and hair. Eventually, I got to them, and Jake starred up at me, smiling, “Hey, Carlie. How’s the dance floor?”
“A lot more fun than sitting here,” I put my hands on my hips. “I can promise you that.”
“We’ve been getting to know each other,” Jake shrugged. “I think we’ve had some fun.” He turned to Emily, questioningly. She smirked and nodded.
“Well, that’s great,” I said, sounding oddly tense. Suddenly, I was overcome with the desire to talk to Jacob alone. It was the strangest thing—like I’d felt whenever I’d seen a girl hold her guy’s hand or when I’d seen the look of joy on people’s faces when they ate something and enjoyed it. I was…jealous? What?
“You okay, Carlie?” Jake stood, looking concerned.
“Fine,” I told him, eyes wide. “Just..uh, Emily?” I shook my head and turned to look at her. “Would you mind if I stole your date for a few minutes? I just…I need to talk to him about something.”
“Sure,” Emily said at the same time as Jacob put his hands on my shoulders and whispered, “Carlie, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I took his hand, but focused on showing him nothing, “Just come talk to me.” He nodded and pulled me away from the table. I looked back and threw a quick, “Thanks, Em,” back to a confused looking Emily.
Jacob pulled me into one of the coves of the aquarium that was roped off so that the faculty to keep tabs on everyone by keeping them in one area. It was very dark, but we could see each other. A light blue was reflected onto our skin from the nearby tanks. If I hadn’t been so emotional, I would have appreciated its beauty.
“You’re freaking me out, kid,” Jake shook his head once we were alone. “What’s going on?”
“That’s just it,” I shrugged. “Nothing’s going on. I’m going crazy.”
“Did something happen?” he asked.
“No,” I shook my head. “I was just dancing and then I was listening to you and Emily, and I was…I don’t know…I just really wanted to be around you…and…is something wrong with me?”
He paused for a second, then, slowly, a smile began to grow on his lips, “Nothing’s wrong with you…”
“I feel…weird, Jake,” I couldn’t put my feelings into words. I wanted to…to touch him. I wanted to hold him close to me and never let go.
“It’s okay,” he promised. Why was he smiling like that? What was going on?
“Jake, I…” I leaned into him, feeling his warm chest under my palms. I looked up at him, and wanted more than anything for him to lean down…
“Carlie,” he sighed, laughing gently, and bent his head down into a perfect kiss.
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- 20 Mar 09
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