Please review or rate! The Cullens, Jacob, and Seth move to New Hampshire, where a new vampire comes into their life; but not before a devastating car accident alters Bella's family forever. EXCERPT: Edward sat back down on the bed next to me, and held the neatly-wrapped package out to his daughter. “This is from your mother and me; happy birthday,” he said gently. While her eyes were transfixed on the package, I shot him a silent thought. What is this? He just smiled and left me hanging. Renesmee slowly turned and walked towards the package, thrilled at the prospect of an unexpected treasure. She took the box and carefully untied the ribbon. When she lifted the top of the box, she revealed a stunning gem in the shape of a heart. It was identical to the one Edward gave me after graduation, but instead of a flawless and colorless diamond charm meant for a bracelet, it was a blood red ruby attached to a delicate, silver chain and meant to be worn around her neck.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Bella's POV
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1481 Review this Chapter
Knowing that my mom and her husband, Phil, were staying in Edward’s old room, we used the excuse to walk extra slowly from our cottage to the main house.
Edward’s phone rang.
He took it out of his pocket and, without looking at it, handed it to me.
Alice. I opened the phone.
“Seriously, Bella! This is our last party in Forks. There is still a ton to do and we have to take pictures in an hour and a half. How can you waste a minute of this day?”
“We’re on our way, Alice,” I growled under my breath and snapped the phone shut.
“How did Alice convince everyone else to come out for a picture at 7:45 in the morning?” Edward asked.
“You should know better than I do! Have you ever met anyone who can say no to Alice when she’s on a mission?”
As I slid the phone back into his pocket, Edward looked around us at the place we would soon leave behind.
“I’m going to miss it, too, you know.” said Edward, a bit wistfully, “It’s our first home. It will always be special. I’ve moved so many times since Carlisle took me in. Even when I lived here before, it never truly felt like home until now... until you.” He smiled and pushed a lock of hair behind my ear. “And, before you know it,” he continued, “we’ll be back.”
Yeah, in 80 years, I said silently.
Edward teased. “What was it you were just saying about time flying by so quickly?”
I playfully punched him in the gut. I wasn’t going to let myself think about what it would be like to live here with no Charlie. Not today.
We passed the immense fort and tree house Jacob built for Renesmee when she turned two, and crossed the footbridge that we built over the river when Renesmee was just a few months old. Once Jacob figured out how to bring Charlie into our lives, we realized that jumping or swimming over the river to get to our cottage was not going to be an option for my dad, not like it was for the rest of us.
Charlie, true to his word and his nature, asked no questions and remained a constant presence in our lives. If he ever fell prey to his suspicions and researched the Quileute legends or myths about vampires as I had after meeting Edward, he never spoke a word about it.
But I don’t think he did. Charlie was no dummy, but when it came to the radical changes I underwent in becoming a vampire, he was happier in a state of ignorance.
As predicted, Renee proved trickier than Charlie. I knew her innocent and insatiable curiosity for all things unusual would make it difficult to bring her back into my life. Renee couldn’t not ask questions. Like me, if her curiosity was peaked, she wouldn’t let it go until she found answers.
And there was no doubt that the minute she saw the surefooted, golden-eyed and bell-voiced beauty that replaced her clumsy, vulnerable, brown-eyed daughter, her alarm bells would ring into the next universe.
Once again, it was Jacob, along with Charlie, who made it possible for me to have my human family in my life. Renesmee showed Jacob that she was sad that she hadn’t been able to meet her other grandmother. Not being able to bear a moment’s sadness in Renesmee’s life, he went to Charlie and they formed a plan to fly to Jacksonville and sit down with Renee and Phil.
While they were gone, I was a nervous wreck. Edward wasn’t much better. Bringing humans into our lives was a dangerous prospect. We could live among humans as long as they were content to truly believe our camouflage. But if they began to listen to their instincts, it could have disastrous consequences.
Jacob’s account of their visit didn’t do much to settle our nerves.
Like he told Charlie, Jacob explained to Renee and Phil that the illness I contracted on my honeymoon was fatal. It was certain that I was going to die. He said the Cullens used their extensive resources to find and provide me with a long shot treatment. He described it as a hail-Mary pass in the last second of the final quarter of the Super Bowl.
“She was really that close to dying?” Renee asked, tearing up.
“Yes, and it literally came down to a window of a few seconds.” confessed Jacob, quietly.
The memory of the night I died and was reborn was still hard for him to recall.
Jacob went on, “Against all odds, the treatment worked. But it came with a catch. Well, two catches. First, the treatment has to remain a secret. The people who helped Bella made it quite clear that if word of it ever got out, all of our lives would be in grave danger. So Bella can’t talk about it. None of them can talk about it.”
“What’s the second catch?” asked Phil.
“The second catch is that the treatment sort of... altered Bella’s appearance.”
“Altered? Altered how?” Renee asked, worry flowing through her.
Charlie spoke up. “She’s still Bella, Renee. She’s just less... I don’t know, less fragile or something. And her eyes and skin are different.”
“Different, how?” pressed Renee.
Charlie stood up and paced. “None of that matters, Renee. You have to be willing to just let it go, completely.” He paused. “It wasn’t easy at first, but when I look at her now, I just see Bella.”
Renee huffed, “Well, of course it doesn’t matter. People change all the time, life-threatening diseases or not. I don’t expect her to stay my teenage daughter forever.” said Renee.
Jacob hid his face in his hands.
“Renee, whatever they had to do to save her, I don’t care anymore,” Charlie confessed. “It just doesn’t matter. She’s alive, by some sort of miracle. Isn’t knowing that enough? Do you have to dissect it?”
Charlie looked out of the window.
Jacob took over. “Bella misses you, Renee. She does, she hates keeping her distance. But she’s been trying to protect you because she knows you’ll ask questions she can’t answer, and she’s worried you’ll try to figure things out on your own. She can’t risk you doing that.”
“Why not?” asked Renee.
Jacob realized she just wasn’t getting it.
“Okay. That’s it,” he said and stood up.
Charlie must have known he was about to phase, because he put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder and pushed him back down on the couch.
“No,” Charlie said with finality, and took his seat again.
Jacob looked at Charlie, frustrated he couldn’t take the easy route. “Renee, I don’t want to sound like a freak or anything...”
Charlie rolled his eyes.
“...but the world we live in, it still holds secrets; powerful secrets. There are people out there who will do anything to protect those secrets. The Cullens, in their determination to do anything to save your daughter, they tapped into one of those secrets. But it comes with a price, and that price is silence. That’s all I can tell you. That’s all anyone can tell you. Before you ever see Bella, you have to decide if you can live with that.”
As Renee instinctively shook her head, always wanting answers instead of ultimatums, Phil gently took her hand and said, “Babe. Listen to him. You can do this.”
A couple weeks later, Renee called and said she was coming to Forks. I still had no idea whether she was prepared to follow our rules, but Jacob was confident and so was Alice.
When Renee first saw me, I panicked. When she looked into my golden eyes, and hugged my unyielding body with its pale, cool skin, matched perfectly to Edward and the rest of the family, her only reaction was fear. All of the signs she had blissfully ignored during the wedding, all of the markers that warned the human subconscious that we were different – dangerous - came flying at her in a rush of clarity.
Edward said her only coherent thought was, “What have they done?”
But just when I thought she would either run screaming from the house or faint to the floor, Renesmee came into the room. She went straight to Renee, hugged her legs, looked up into her eyes, and said, “Nana Renee! I’ve been waiting so long to meet you. Did you know my name comes from you and Nana Esme? Do you want to see my room? It’s in our cottage. I have a picture of you by my bed.”
Renee was forever lost to her granddaughter’s charms.
Two years later, Renee hadn’t asked a single question, and she and Phil were here for their last visit to Forks, sound asleep in the Cullen house.
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