Daddy, I need a Makeover
Nessie's growing up, and Edward is having a hard time accepting it. When Nessie wants to wear make-up, it sparks the biggest fight she's ever had with her dad. From Edward's point of view.
As always, Twilight and any related characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
1. Daddy, I Need a Makeover!
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As I sat at my piano this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how much my existence had been altered in the last year alone. In the weeks and months that followed Renesmee’s first piano lesson, Bella and I were both tried and tested as parents. The teenaged streak that I had seen in my daughter on that day at the piano had begun to fully develop. Of course, I had received no sympathy from any of my siblings or from Carlisle and Esme, as they all insisted that they had dealt with my own teenaged attitude for the last eight decades; therefore, it was about time that I received my due.
I resisted the urge to deny their claims upon my past behavior, as I knew that would only lead to their dredging up every memory of my adolescent insolence throughout the years. Rosalie was particularly fond of articulating every bout of frustration that I felt over my daughter’s behavior with a similar reaction that I had had myself in the course of my family’s many years together. Had I truly behaved so abominably? Perhaps I ought to send Carlisle and Esme to Isle Esme for a month for their ninetieth anniversary.
“That’s an excellent idea, Edward! Esme would love that,” Alice called from her and Jasper’s room. Suddenly my pixie-sized sister was in front of me. “Why the anniversary plans? Their anniversary isn’t until the spring; we should be thinking about Nessie’s fifth birthday! I’ve been driving myself into a migraine trying to plan a party for her, but I just can’t see anything!”
This was exactly what I had been avoiding in my own thoughts. Renesmee turning five ought to be a joyous occasion; and, I tried to tell myself, it was. But I could not deny that I was overcome by a certain melancholy whenever I thought about my little girl turning five. While most parents of five-year-olds shed tears as they prepared to send their children to kindergarten, I wished I could shed tears as I prepared myself to give my daughter the dreaded “Talk” as my five-year-old pre-pubescent began to mature into young womanhood.
My daughter was at this moment sitting in Rose and Emmett’s room watching her aunt go through her mostly-superfluous beauty regiment. Rosalie was, as usual, pondering which of the newest cosmetic fads would compliment her non-existent skin tone. When she looked over to my daughter and noticed that Renesmee was holding a small cosmetic item, I could see the thoughts churning in her mind even as she attempted to keep me out.
Nessie has such beautiful skin…what’s she holding? Ooh…she’s got my new burnt sienna eye shadow…that would really bring out her eyes…it would go nicely with the brown of her eyes and the bronze of her hair.
I narrowed my eyes, cursing the fact that Bella and Esme had gone into town when I needed the support of my wife the most. I found myself at Rosalie’s open door before I had fully realized that I had moved.
“Absolutely not,” I said in a quiet, firm voice. Ness hadn’t a need for such things. She was most assuredly beautiful enough in her most natural form. So like my Bella.
“Oh, Edward, it’s 2011, not 1911. Stop acting like such an antiquated prude,” Rosalie snarked at me. Her remark stung; though I had to admit, her tone lacked the vitriol that her words would have been laced with five years previous.
“What are you talking about?” Ness asked curiously. Her curiosity was tinged with annoyance, though.
Now I know what Jake means when he complains about hearing only half the conversation.
Though Ness’ thoughts were purely internal, they burned more than Rose’s words had a moment before. I looked to my daughter, my mouth open in shock, as she sat on the bed inspecting the large case of cosmetic products in studied indifference.
“Your Daddy doesn’t want you wearing make-up yet, Ness. We can have the slumber party we talked about when Daddy talks to Mommy about it,” Rose said. Actually talkto Bella on this one, Edward…Ness is hitting puberty hard and she’s going to come out with claws if you don’t realize that she’s growing up.
I managed to shut my mouth with a click of my teeth. “Ness doesn’t need make-up, Rose. She’s not old enough to be painting her face with this…stuff…she’s only five!”
“Do I look five to you, Dad?” Ness asked me impertinently. Never had she used such a disrespectful tone, nor had she ever called me simply “dad.” What happened to the little girl that looked at me with utter adoration and hung on my every word as though they were golden?
I pulled my gaze away from my sister’s wide eyes to meet my daughter’s unwavering stare. Her features took on an extremely familiar look of determination. When I had refused to make love to Bella after our first foray into intimacy had left her covered in bruises, her brow had set into the exact shape now upon my daughters face. I felt my own features harden as I processed her disrespectful words.
“You needn’t use that tone with me, Renesmee. Furthermore, your physical appearance isn’t my point, Ness; I realize that you don’t look five,” I began, in an attempt to keep things rational and calm. My own infamous temper was boiling just below the surface. I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose in an attempt to keep in control.
Nessie huffed at my apparent dismissal of her. I cringed when Ness shoved images of her and Bella and my sisters shopping for Ness’ first brassier into my mind. That was not an image that any father wanted to imagine, let alone have forcefully implanted into their mind by the very daughter wearing the undergarment in question. “That was completely unnecessary, I do not wish to see that, nor is it acceptable for you to force it on me like that,” I said sternly, straining to maintain control.
Renesmee’s ability to share her memories without touching me had always been something special between us. I could tune out most of her thoughts with concentration, even when she was projecting to someone else. But when Ness wanted me to hear or see her thoughts, I could not ignore it. It didn’t matter what I was doing or that she wasn’t touching me; I did not even have to be in the same room as my daughter. The force of her thoughts surpassed even Bella’s mental shield; my open mind had little chance of stopping her.
That fact had frustrated Bella and me during the nights when Nessie had disruptive dreams. More than once I had been overwhelmed by Renesmee’s dreamed recollection of an eventful day or even her terrifying nightmares of our stand-off with the Volturi when I had moments before been passionately worshiping my wife. Emmett was more than overbearing when Jasper had let slip the source of our poor attitudes after such a night.
Renesmee finally relented from her mental slideshow, allowing my eyes to focus on her once more. She stood next to the bed now, her arms folded and her hip jutted out.
“Five year olds don’t need those, Dad,” she asserted.
“That was never in question, Ness, and I would thank you not to do that to me again,” I said, my voice becoming tenser. Rosalie shifted nervously on her feet. I never meant to instigate this, Edward. I’m sorry. Her thoughts, unfortunately, were a little late.
“I want a makeover for my birthday, and I want to wear make-up, and shave my legs, and do all the things that women do!” Ness declared with a stamp of her foot.
“Ness, twelve year old girls don’t do those things,” I reasoned.
“Twelve? You think I look twelve? The ladies at the boutique thought I was fourteen!”
“Ness, twelve or fourteen, it’s not much difference when you have an eternity before you,” I tried again.
“Dad! How old will be old enough for you? Will I be fifty before I can do anything?”
I didn’t voice the fact that fifty was still rather young in an eternal perspective. Instead I was counting to a million in my head in an attempt to keep my cool. I didn’t want to instigate an adolescent shouting match between the two of us. Not for the first time, I felt my permanent youth had left me woefully unprepared for parenting another teenager, when technically, I was barely seventeen myself. Of course my many years of existence and education had matured me further than the average seventeen year old male, but my body and my brain were still ruled by teenaged responses.
I realized that I was over my head in this argument. Ness and I could debate this back and forth until we were both screaming at each other, and that was not something I wanted.
“That’s it, isn’t it? I’m going to have to be an antique like you before I get to do anything fun! I hate you!” Ness shouted before she burst into tears and ran from the room thinking I need my Jacob.
I was stunned. Frozen. Speechless. Mute. My mouth was opening and closing like a dying fish. My dead heart had shrunk at my daughter’s words. Antique…I hate you…Heartbreak.
I hadn’t realized that I was on my knees until Rosalie shook me hard. Esme was suddenly there behind me, pulling me into her arms as Rosalie guiltily wrung her hands. I hadn’t even heard her or Bella return home.
She didn’t mean it, Edward, she loves you very much. Bella is speaking with her now. I looked up at my immortal mother and saw the pain that was etched into her features, merely because she could see my anguish reflected plainly upon my countenance.
“Esme, I am eternally regretful for anything I may have said to you or Carlisle in a fit of anger.”
Surprisingly, Esme laughed. I was lost. Her thoughts gave nothing away. “Oh, Edward, parenting is never easy; you suffer their every pain and heartache, their every sorrow and upset. But you also experience every wonder and miracle, every joy and triumph, and especially their love. It isn’t easy; but it is worth it. And you’re doing an excellent job with Renesmee, regardless of the hurtful things she just said.”
Embarrassingly, I realized that I was still crumpled on my knees in Emmett and Rosalie’s bedroom with Esme crushing me to her. I pondered on how to gently extricate myself from her without asking her to release me; I didn’t need Emmett to hear that and begin his “momma’s boy” routine again. As though she were reading my thoughts, Esme released me.
“I’ll keep Renesmee here; you and Bella go to your house and talk this over. This is an age that needs to be met with a united front; Ness will walk all over you if she senses any disagreement between you and Bella,” Esme said.
‘Thank you, Esme,” I murmured before I got up in search of my wife.
When I got downstairs, Ness was sitting at the piano, playing an intense piece. I did not recognize the composer, until I realized: like father, like daughter. This was a piece of her own spontaneous composition, designed to let me know that she wasn’t happy with me, yet she was trying to express it in less hurtful means. Her thoughts were in turmoil. Bella had most definitely spoken with her already, though she was waiting for Bella and me to discuss her punishment.
My angel was suddenly there at my side and I pulled her to my chest and stifled the frustrated gust of air that threatened to leave my lungs.
“Come on, Love,” Bella murmured, tugging me by the hand. I looked one more time at my little girl pounding on the keys of the piano when Renesmee looked up. I saw my expression through her eyes; my face was pained. My brow pulled together, my lips pursed into a grimace. My eyes though, looked dead. Were I human, they would have been glazed with tears. For the first time I saw Renesmee’s angered expression falter, and she drew her lip into her teeth much like her mother had done as a human.
Bella pulled me by the hand just as Esme came down the stairs and seated herself at the piano bench beside Ness. Soon we were running through the stand of woods that separated our home from the big house, and then we were there. Bella knew instinctively what I needed; her arms surrounded me and her lips claimed mine before we made it across the living room.
After a few moments, Bella lifted her shield as she pushed me into our favorite leather armchair and sat in my lap.
You know she didn’t mean that, right?
I took a deep breath. “Intellectually, I am aware that it was adolescent posturing, but my heart died again when she said it,” I admitted.
“Oh, Edward,” Bella said aloud before she crushed me to her chest much as Esme had; I assumed it to be a mothering instinct. However, I didn’t want to be mothered by my wife. I pulled away and looked into my Bella’s eyes.
“How much did you hear?” I asked, hoping she heard enough to not have to explain the entire painful ordeal again.
“Honestly, I only heard the last three words,” Bella said, unable to repeat them. I nodded, wondering where to start.
“Ness and Rose were in Rose and Emmett’s room; Ness was watching Rosalie apply make-up and style her hair, that sort of thing. Rose thought about putting some eye shadow on Renesmee, and I went up there and said absolutely not. Ness didn’t know what I had heard…”
I had gotten to the first hurt. I explained the whole situation to Bella, including Ness’ forced mental images. “Ness and I have always been comfortable with our gifts; she said once that she liked thinking with me, that it was easier. I was stung that she had thought negatively about my gift for the first time. The old feeling of freakishness reared its ugly head and then I was blindsided by those three words,” I finished.
“I’m so sorry Edward. I wish that you hadn’t ever had to hear those words from her. Renesmee was already sorry for saying it by the time I stopped her in the living room. She’s was just too proud to admit it just then.”
“Am I truly so unreasonable?”
“Well, fourteen isn’t an unreasonable age to start wearing some make-up Edward. We can set limits on it. We wouldn’t let her walk out of the house looking like a disreputable woman,” Bella said, her tone was teasing me. I thought about allowing Renesmee some cosmetics, and felt my face mold into a grimace once more. I had never thought make-up was wholly necessary; it was seen as a scandalous frivolity through most of my youth. I vaguely remembered my great-grandmother Masen giving my mother a lecture on the impropriety of the cosmetic industry. She had ranted in her senility that only the tarts that had the audacity to blush needed powder to hide their infamy. Though if I thought harder, I could also recall a fuzzy memory of my mother preparing herself for a society function; she had rouge and pale powder and my father had teased her for her scandalous nature.
Bella lifted her shield again. We can’t keep her in a bubble, Edward, no matter how tempting that thought may be.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at Bella’s thoughts. “All right, I suppose I would agree to some rouge and powder,” I conceded.
“Rouge and powder? Have you not paid attention to Rose or Alice in the last ninety years?”
“Well, that is usually what I tend to ignore…why would I care about rouge and powder?”
“Because then you would know that these days it’s called blush, and that powder now comes loose or compacted in a multitude of colors to match skin tones, rather than just pale white for everybody,” Bella said.
“You sounded just like Alice there, Love,” I teased.
“Well, everything I know came from her; you know I never could have told you that before Alice had lectured me three times over it,” Bella laughed. Her joke made me think of Renesmee’s desire for cosmetics. Why was she so intent on growing up so quickly, when she was growing up too fast already? When I voiced my curiosity, Bella only looked at me with an incredulous expression.
“Girls do tend to mature faster than boys, especially when it comes to emotions,” Bella started. That still made no sense to me. “I think that she’s starting to…feel…a certain way about Jacob,” Bella explained.
She’s my little girl.
Yet, I knew it was true. Her thoughts had been preoccupied as of late with the love shown daily amongst the married couples of our family. I knew that she wanted what we had, she had always said as much. Yet her age was holding her back. I knew that feeling all too well, and I suddenly couldn’t begrudge Ness her attitude. It harkened me back to my second time through med school back in the early nineties. I had been called “Doogie” more times than I cared to admit to Emmett or Jasper. Yet, even though I was a medical doctor of two specialties, I would never be able to practice. Bloodlust was nearly insignificant anymore- but my physical age didn’t recommend me to the profession. No one reacted well to a doctor who, for all intents and purposes, still ought to be plagued with acne.
Youthful and understanding I may be, but I was still her father, and her impertinence had to be addressed. Bella and I agreed on a course of action and made our way back to the main house at a slower pace.
Esme was in the kitchen cooking dinner while Ness sat alone in the living room, staring remorsefully at her hands. As Bella and I approached her, Nessie looked up at us; there was evidence of freshly dried tears on her face. Instantly, she was off the couch and in my arms.
“I’m sorry, dad. It was very rude of me to make you see those things, and to say what I did. I don’t hate you.”
“Thank you, Ness. I’m sorry I don’t always appreciate that you’re growing up. Your mother and I agreed that you can wear some make-up, though what you apply must be approved by your mother or me until you’ve shown that you can handle this privilege,” I warned her.
“Thank you, Mom, Dad. Does this mean that I can have a makeover slumber party for my birthday?” she asked us.
“I think that would be fine,” Bella answered her. “But, in order to do so, you will have to help Grandma Esme here with all the cleaning and you will have to help prepare meals for you and Jacob for two weeks.” At the mention of Jacob, Nessie’s face lit up noticeably.
“When can I go out on a date?” Renesmee asked while blocking her thoughts to me. One got through though.
Would slate eye shadow make Jake notice my eyes more than the burnt sienna?
My eyes widened in shock; Bella had been right, as usual. “Six,” I immediately blurted out.
“Six, what? O’clock?” Renesmee asked hopefully.
“No, six years.”
Renesmee’s face fell.
“Relax, Ness-honey. Six is only a year from now, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable age. You couldn’t date Jake as a fourteen year old anyhow. Time will fly by before you know it.” Bella reasoned.
It wouldn’t do to tell them that I had meant six years from now, rather than six years old. Ness took a step back from Bella and once again allowed me to gather her into my arms.
“I love you, Daddy” she whispered.
“I love you, too, Nessie. I love you, too.”