I KNEW I WAS BEING SELFISH.
I mean, Seth was kidnapped, his life in danger, and yet here I was in my room, crying. But what else could I do? The love of my life….had loved my mother. I heard the frantic beating of Jacob’s heart close to my window. He hadn’t left yet. What did he want? Maybe losing two Bella’s was too much for him, I mean, if he didn’t have his replacement Bella what would he do?
The spiteful words sent ice down my spine. I knew the only reason I thought them with my bitter, cold mind. And that was because I loved him. The anger was the only way to mask the pain. I felt more tears spill down my cheeks and a sob escaped my lips. Outside I heard Jacob-wolf whimper. What did he care if I was in pain?
“Get out of the way, Psycho!” I heard his growl. Psycho? That was one of his his…er….endeamrents for Rose. I felt a smile flicker across my face, she was guarding the house. But the smile disappeared; he was human again.
“She doesn’t want to see you, dog. And trust me I’d me happy to take you away from the house.”
“Shut up, Blondie!” Jacob snarled. I hated the fact that his voice made my heart beat faster.
“Nessie, please, I know you can hear me. Please.” I looked down at my hands, they were curled into fists.
“I said go, mutt!” Rosalie hissed.
“I’m not going anywhere until she answers me.”
I sighed and flopped back on my bed, toning out their fighting. Memories swirled around in my head, as they had since I had locked myself in my room.
Jacob, pleading with my mom as she discovered what had happened….that he had…imprinted on me. I had no idea what it had meant, I was so young.
“You said we belonged in each other’s lives, right?” He had been there before my birth.
And then…there was the stories I had been told. About how my mom and dad had met when she was still human….about what had happened leading up to me….and…the parts with Jacob were always…hurried over. I had just assumed he played a rather unimportant part in my parents love story. That he was just the best friend/werewolf. But what if….it was hurried over, glossed over, because that whole time he had loved my mom? The words shot nausea twisting through my stomach.
Loved my mom.
He had loved her right up to my birth. He was only there for my birth because he thought I would kill Bella. He wanted to get his last moments with her before she died.
What was worse was that I knew he loved me too. But not the right way, he had imprinted. Leah said….that meant he was forced to fall in love with me? Some kind of werewolf survival method was the reason he loved me. Not just me. He had fallen in love with my mom.
“Please, Jacob, she is very confused right now.” My head snapped up, my dad was there now?
Go away! Make them all go away and then leave! I shouted in my mind.
“She wants us to leave.” My dad murmured.
“I’ll leave when this mutt stops trying to break the door open.” I heard my dad sigh.
“I’m not leaving.” Jacob growled. He was just making this harder. Why wouldn’t he leave?
“Jacob, please, she wants us all to leave. We’re making this worse.”
Rose was helping.
“Oh, I believe she wants to thanks Rose.” I heard Jacob growl and I could imagine Rosalie’s face.
“What is she thinking about me?” Jacob asked, almost pleaded.
That he should get the hell away from me.
I tried to think that, and not that I was hurt beyond relief and that I still loved him.
“She is….confused, like I said. She doesn’t really want me to talk about it, she’s quiet sad though. We should respect her wishes”
Thanks, dad. I thought sarcastically.
I heard him grumble something under his breath. It sounded like “….not my problem...”
“Fine.” I heard Jacob whisper, his voice broken. My heart throbbed as I heard the pain in his voice. I groaned as soon as I heard his heartbeat at Rose and my dad’s breathing fade away, then I flopped back onto my bed and squeezed my eyes shut, praying for sleep.
I sighed and reached out my hand and felt along my bedside table until I found my MP3. I pulled it over and stuffed in the ear buds, turning it on and shuffling down to Claire de Lune. When the first soothing notes started to drift into my head I closed my eyes again. Soon the music helped lull me to sleep……
* * * *
“Nessie?” My eyes flew open when I heard someone call my name. I sat up and looked around wildly.
My heart started beating erratically while my teeth pulled over my lips. Jacob was standing at the foot of my bed, his eyes wide and his hands trembling slightly.
“Get out of here!” I hissed at him. A spasm of pain crossed his face for a second before he composed his features.
“No. I’m not leaving, Nessie. We need to talk.”
“I don’t need to do anything! Now go!” He held out his hands in a peaceful gesture. I had the urge to grab them and pull myself against his chest. Crap, crap, crap!
“Please, Nessie. I can’t be away from you anymore; I can’t stand you hating me.” Hah. I wish I could hate him. I pulled my knees up to my chest and glared at him.
“Fine. Say what you have to say. Then leave.” He nodded and then moved until he was sitting at the foot of my bed, he crossed his legs and tried to ignore the anger on my face.
“Listen, Nessie. You have it all wrong-“
“Oh, so you didn’t love my mom?” I interrupted. Jacob looked into at me, his eyes fierce.
“I’m not saying that’s un-true, because it was true at one point. I’m so sorry I never told you, I shouldn’t have kept this from you. You should have known the whole story so you couldn’t over-react like this.” I narrowed my eyes.
“Yeah, Jacob thanks. I’m feeling so much better now.”
“Just listen. A long time ago, I did fall in love with your mom. But she loved your dad and it never worked out, we just kept hurting each other. I…..really did love Bella. I thought I’d never love anyone like I loved her…but then….I met you. I realized then that the way I felt about Bella wasn’t even love compared to the way I felt about you.” He reached out and put his hand on my cheek. I wanted to pull away but I couldn’t, desperate to believe what he was telling me.
“I’ve been thinking about it, and I know why I couldn’t leave Bella. Every time we said good-bye I kept coming back. And that was because of you. If I had left for good, if I really had never seen Bella again, I would have never seen you. When Bella was pregnant with you I couldn’t leave her, because you were there. You have to believe me, Nessie. It’s always been you. It will only be you. Forever.” I looked into his deep black eyes, they were totally sincere. I didn’t realize there was tears in my eyes until Jacob swiped them away with his thumb.
“But….but….Leah said…imprinting….you were forced to fall in love with me.” Jacob’s eyes had narrowed at the mention of Leah’s name, but when I finished they softened.
“Leah was wrong about everything. Imprinting… it…well…it’s hard to explain. But…and this is gonna sound real stupid….we were always destined to be together. Imprinting is the way werewolves find our mates…our…soul mates.”
It was totally silent after he was done. Both of our hearts were beating faster. After a few seconds he grinned tentatively.
“So…..do you forgive me?”
I leaned in closer to his face and pressed my lips to his. I pulled away for one second and smiled.
Then I kissed him again.
I WATCHED AS JACOB WALKED INTO THE FOREST TO PHASE. HE WAS GOING TO TALK LEAH TODAY.
I hadn’t wanted him to. But he said she was his “beta” and that this was the right thing. I didn’t like it though, Leah was pretty much ready to kill. I turned back and faced the living room. My dad and mom were whispering to each other about Seth. It had been a few weeks since he had disappeared, and it was still worrying everyone. Well, not Rosalie, but she was never a fan of wolves. Also, it had been a few weeks since I had gotten over the whole Jacob loved my mom thing. My mom had told me the whole story….it made sense, I suppose. And now that aspect of my life was back to normal. But there was the constant black cloud of Seth’s kidnapping. Who had done it? And why? We had run over idea and idea, ad yet nothing fit. My dad had thought that perhaps the Volturi were after guard dogs...but then why take just one? My head hurt from trying to think of reason and my heart hurt from knowing that innocent little Seth was out there someone with some form of sadistic vampires.
“Nessie, stop worrying. We will find him.” My dad murmured suddenly. I nodded; of course he could hear my worries. My mom frowned and blurred over to hug me. I rested my head on her shoulder and sighed, the sick churning in my stomach had not ceased. And that was partly on the account that Alice had seen that I may not be in the picture very much longer. My dad’s face got all pinched up when he heard that. It was almost like a taboo in our house now, something to painful to discuss openly. I lifted my head and turned towards the window again. When would Jacob be back?
“I cannot hear his thoughts, he must be a few miles out.” My dad said soothingly. I sighed, now I had no way of knowing how he was.
“Leah may be mad but I don’t think she’d harm him.”
[i]Yeah right. [/i] I thought sarcastically. We all knew that Leah wasn’t beyond violence. I broke away from my mom and darted over to the window. I waited.
Finally I heard what I’d been waiting for; a heartbeat. I tensed when I heard a second one too. Leah was with him? Or…who?
“It’s Leah.” My dad replied to the thoughts in my head. I nodded and waited as first Jacob (in his human form) and then Leah (also in human form, surprisingly) walked from the trees. I darted out of the house and across the lawn, barreling into Jacob’s arms. He trailed his hand through my hair, and as usual we both forgot everything around us. Including the angry werewolf behind us. I lifted my face to kiss him and he leaned down.
“Ahem.” Leah said….well she pretty much snarled it. Jacob rolled his eyes but turned to face her.
“Leah.” He said warningly. I placed my palm on his neck and showed him the time I had waited. What had happened while he was gone? Jacob stroked my cheek with his thumb.
“Hold on.” He murmured. I frowned, patience was not easy right now.
“Er...Leah?” He asked. Leah crossed her arms and black fury crossed her face.
“I said no way in hell was I apologizing.” She growled. Jacob sighed but shrugged.
“I’m going back to the house, have Embry tell you where we’re running.” He said. Leah rolled her eyes and then turned on her heel and stocked back into the woods. I pushed my hand back to Jacob’s neck, harder this time. I showed him what I had before, this time with impatience. He grinned and tugged on my ponytail.
“Relax, Ness. Nothing happened really, we just talked, and I convinced her to come back to my pack.” I glared at him.
“I wanted details.” He sighed, I knew he would tell me eventually.
“Fine, I talked to her for a long time about how we’re going to find her brother and how it’s not really the vampires fault…blah blah blah.” I sighed and laid my head against his chest.
“You’re a horrible story teller, you know that?” He chuckled and then took my hand.
“Come on; let’s go back to the house so I can get some food.” I pressed my hand against his cheek and showed him what we were doing before Leah “coughed”. He grinned and then leaned down, his lips pressing against mine. I was lost in the sensation of his body pressed against mine, the way his lips felt. I broke off suddenly, Jacob looked at me, confused.
“My dad.” I whispered. He rolled his eyes and kissed me again. When we broke apart for air he grinned at me.
“Edward’s just gonna have to deal.” He murmured, his lips against my cheek. I smiled and took his hand.
“Yeah, but he’s not your dad; it’s not as embarrassing. Come on, let’s go feed you.”
That night I was staring out the window, watching the stars start to come out above. Suddenly I heard a shift in the outside; I glared out at the forest, apprehension twisting through my stomach. Was it someone dangerous? The figure drew closer…I could now make out long dark hair, and a slim body with a tight fitting tank top and shorts…..Leah. I watched in shock as she got closer. Once we were about three feet apart she stopped.
“Hey bloodsucker…I want to talk to you.” She said quietly. I nodded numbly and then darted through my house, hoping that this wasn’t some kind of trick to get my killed. Once I was outside Leah started walking to the forest.
“Let’s walk.” She said. I followed her silently, waiting for her to talk. After five minutes she spoke.
“I’m…..sorry…about what I said. I was….angry.” She muttered. My eyes widened in shock, and apology? From [i]Leah?[/i]
“Uh………..thank you. And I understand…..I miss Seth too, and you’re his sister.” I said. Leah nodded, her face sad.
“He’s…one of the only things I have left. Once my dad died…..I mean….I try to take care of him. It’s my goddamn job to make sure she’s safe and…..I.....I failed! I let him get kidnapped, it’s all my fault. If only I had been there, I could have protected him! And now….now….he’s gone.” Her words came out in a rush, switching between anger, sadness, and pain. I was pretty much in a coma by now. Leah was opening up to me? Where was the camera? I was silent for a second as I mulled this over then I turned to her and shook my head.
“It’s not your fault, Leah. The person who took Seth could have killed you……Seth must have put up a great fight….he’s a good fighter and I know that if there had been a chance of escape, he would have been able to take out the vampire. If you were there it wouldn’t have made a difference. Yu do a great job protecting him. Don’t let this ruin you.” She was quite for a very long time. I was afraid I had really pissed her off, but then she spoke.
“Maybe you’re right……. Either way though, I should have been there. Anything to help him.” She said, the ending came out through her teeth. I shook my head.
“You shouldn’t do that, living in the past…..saying “what if” “could have” “maybe” it’s just going to keep hurting you. The only thing to do now is look the future and how you can change what happened.” Leah looked over at me. She stopped walking and then stared at me for awhile.
“Your right. I’m not going to be able to help Seth if I keep moping. I need to do something, to try and help find him.” I smiled at her, and after a second she smiled back.
“You know for an annoying bloodsucker, you’ve got some good advice.” She said. I grinned at her. “Thanks…I guess.” She looked out into the woods.
“I’m gonna go now….thank you…Renesmee.” I nodded.
“Anytime. And don’t worry, we’ll find him.” She closed her eyes and sighed.
“I hope so.” Then she was gone.
I hoped so too.
IT WAS CHRISTMAS EVE. THE ENTURE HOUSE SEEMES TO TWINKLE WITH LIGHTS, AND I WAS REMINDED
of being a kid again. I drifted over the enormous tree and inhaled its piney scent. I know Christmas seemed like a strange tradition for a house full of vampires, but we had sunk into it as more a celebration of family instead of anything religious. So every year Christmas came to the Cullen’s, and not one holiday could escape Alice’s notice. I giggled at the over-elaborate tree. I usually loved this holiday; spending cheesy-family time around the tree was something you really couldn’t top. But this year….I don’t know….I felt off. I suppose it was because Seth had been kidnapped and we had no leads. But…there was the other thing. The fact that this could very well be my last Christmas was hanging rather heavily on my shoulders. Also the fact that so many years ago…Christmas had been only a little while before the Volturi came. My locket was proof that my mom thought she were going to lose me forever. I sighed and sat down on the couch, watching as my pinched face was reflected in hundreds of bright baubles on the tree. It was in this huge reflective mirror that I saw Jacob walk in through the back door.
“What’s wrong, Ness?” he asked, sitting down next to me and taking me in his arms. I snuggled my face into his chest and closed my eyes.
“I’m not sure.” I said quietly. Jacob chuckled lightly and trailed his fingers through my hair.
“Well that makes it hard to cheer you up.” He said. I looked up and saw that he was smiling, but his eyes were serious and his eyebrows were pulled into a worried line over them. I reached up and smoothed out his forehead.
“It’s just…Well...I guess part of it is that Seth is gone. And…” I hesitated, looking down. Jacob took my chin and moved my face back to meet his eyes.
“And…?” He prompted. I bit my lip.
“And…I guess….well….I’m worried….about…well….Alice’s vision.” Jacob’s arms tightened and he put his lips to my ear.
“No one will ever hurt you Nessie. Ever. I won’t let anyone cause you pain ever again. I promise.” He whispered fiercely. I closed my eyes.
“But….that….I’m not too afraid for myself...I mean of course I am but…I’m afraid for you to. It would hurt me more to lose you, or for you to get injured, then it would if someone burned me or anything like that.” Jacob smiled and kissed me softly for a second.
“I’ll be fine, Ness, don’t be so worried all the time. If your mom could age she’s be lined like crazy by now from all the worrying she does. It’s downright scary.”
“I HEARD THAT JACOB BLACK!” My mom shouted from upstairs. Jacob snickered and shifted me onto his lap.
“I’m serious though, Nessie , I’ll protect you. I won’t let anything happen to you. I’ll make sure your safe.” I smiled and closed my eyes, hoping that nothing could disturb me so I could listen to Jacob’s beating heart forever.
“Renesmee Carlie Cullen!” My head jerked up and I saw Alice’s pixie face glaring at me.
“Jeez, what is it Mary Alice Cullen?” I snapped back. Alice rolled her eyes.
“Why do I not see a present for me under the tree from you?”
“’Cause you never see me?” I said half-heartedly. Dammit, busted.
“March, Missy.” Alice said pointing in the direction on my house. I sighed, stood up and then leaned in to kiss Jacob intensely-I knew this would bug Alice- and braided my fingers in his hair. I heard Alice sigh behind me.
“Real mature, Nessie.” She muttered. I pulled away from Jacob and grinned at his dazed expression before brushing some of his hair away from his face.
“Looks like I have some present wrapping to do. See you later.” I started for the back door and I heard Jacob mutter “should make her leave more often” to Alice. I rolled my eyes and hen skipped through the back door.
[i]I felt Jacob’s lips run down my neck. I turned to kiss him and found he was gone. I shifted myself so that I was sitting up. I was in a cold, dark place. I stood up shakily and felt a crushing emptiness settle over me. I stumbled forward and tried to claw on to something.
“Renesmee.” Someone breathed, I whipped around and saw Aro standing behind me, I gasped and leaped back, only to ram into something hard. My scream was choked off as Felix curled his arms around me and placed his hand over my mouth.
Dear one, you must be so tired. You had such a long journey.” Aro whispered, he stepped forward and grabbed my locket. I tried to pull away but he held fast. In one smooth motion he tugged the locket from my neck. I tried to cry out but I couldn’t speak; Felix still crushed me to his chest. Aro laughed softy as the locket popped open, showing my mom and dad and me.
“Such foolishness, Renesmee. We are your family now.” He clenched his hand and my locket turned into dusk. No! I cried in my head. Aro took another step forward and then placed his hand on my cheek.
“Welcome home, dear one.” I heard a wolf howl and shock pierced through me. I craned my neck to see where it as coming from. Suddenly Aro and Felix disappeared; I was staring at a crumpled form on a dark, stone floor. The person looked up at me and I saw bruises and blood dripping from the mouth. A scream ripped from my lips.
It was Seth.[/i]
I awoke with a gasp and sat up. I was in my room. My heart hammered out a chaotic rhythm against my ribs and I realized tears were dripping down my numb face. I reached a shaky had to my beck and found my locket where it should me. I took a steadying breath and then sank back into my bed. What a nightmare. Seth’s face, tortured and hopeless, swum into view and I cringed. I realized that it was dawn. Christmas morning. I flipped off the blankets and made my way to my closet. I pulled on clothes without seeing them and then sank to my knees. Aro’s face terrified me. But not as much as his words.
[i]We are your family now [/i]
I shook my head and put my face in my hands. I needed to act normal for my family. For my Jacob. I stood and then sat on my bed with my eyes closed. Waiting……waiting……suddenly my door was pushed open. I screamed again. It was Aro. He smiled at me and then stepped closer. I shrank away from his horrible eyes and started shaking.
“No…please…please….please.” I whimpered. I never got to see Jacob again. He reached out on of his hands and clamped it onto my shoulder. I screamed and screamed.
“Nessie wake up!” Were the words he spoke. He sounded like…like...like my dad? My eyes flew open and I saw my dad’s golden eyes boring into mine. It was a dream. I had fallen back asleep…it was a dream. I sighed in relief and put my arms around my dad.
“Nessie, what was it? You were screaming….what were you dreaming of, love?” My dad asked as he pulled into a sitting position… I felt my mom’s hand on my back, rubbing soothing circles over and over again.
“It was….nothing……Seth. I dreamed of him. I’m sorry I was screaming.” I had to lie. They must now know how much I feared Aro. My dad sighed and kissed my forehead.
“Sweetheart, don’t be sorry. I’m sure you’re very upset about losing Seth. We all are….maybe you should rest for awhile…..?” I shook my head and pushed their hands away, standing up.
“No. Let’s go. Come on, it’s Christmas!” I said, faking enthusiasm. My dad smiled weakly.
When we entered the main house cries of joy welcomed us. Alice pulled us over to the big tree where we were hugged my everyone.
“Come on!!! Present time!!!” Alice squealed. My mom rolled her eyes but passed Alice the one from her. Soon we were all exchanging gifts.
“Aw, I love them, Nessie!” Alice crooned, holding up the silver go-go boots I had gotten her. I giggled.
“I knew you would.” I replied. I passed Rosalie the wrapped red silk cocktail dress Ihad gotten her. My dad passed we a small package.
“From your mother and me.” He said simply. I opened it curiously and then let out a cry of elation.
“CAR KEYS!” I yelled. My dad gestured at the garage.
“Shall we?” He asked. I was about to take a step forward when something crossed my mind.
“Where’s Jacob?” I asked, realizing in the blur of presents I hadn’t noticed his absence.
“Right here, Ness.” I whipped around and saw Jacob stepping through the back door. I gasped in surprise before rushing over to hug him.
“Merry Christmas, Jacob!” I said. He chuckled. ‘Merry Christmas, hon.” I looked up to his face and saw he was looking over my shoulder. I turned and my eyes followed where his were fixed. My dad started back at him and then he nodded. Jacob slipped his hand into mine
“I want to give you my holiday present, Nessie.” He murmured. I nodded, expecting him to hand me a package. Instead he took a step to the door.
“Er..Jacob?” I asked. He grinned and tugged gently on my arm.
“Its outside. Come on.” I followed him, in a daze now. Where was he taking me? We walked deep into the woods, following some unseen path Jacob was taking. Finally, when we cleared the trees and ended up in a snow covered meadow, he stopped. He turned to me and took my hands in one of his, with his other one he reached up and curved his palm to fit the side of my face.
“Do you remember this place?” He asked. I thought for a second before it came to me.
“Oh! This is where we told each other we loved one another for the first time!” I said. Jacob smiled and nodded before closing his eyes slowly. When he opened them again they were smoldering.
“Nessie I have something to ask you.” My breath stopped. He took a deep breath before continuing.
“Now this is gonna get real corny, alright? So bear with.” He took another shaky breath and then stooped down on one knee.
Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.
He looked up at me and smiled softly.
“Renesmee…..I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything else on this Earth. I didn’t know this feeling was possible until I met you. I can’t imagine my life- or this world without you. Please say that you’ll spend the rest of our lives, the rest of forever, right next to me, because I don’t belong anywhere but next to you. Nessie….will you marry me?” He reached into his pocket and then took out a small box. He opened it and I saw ring nestle among the silk. It was white gold with a square ruby set in the middle and two smaller square diamonds on either side of the glistening red stone. The world had slipped away; the only thing left was Jacob’s sincere, beautiful face. I felt silent tears slip down my face and I knew a smile was stretching across my face. Finally I found my voice.
“Y…yes. Of course I’ll marry you, Jacob. I love you.” A smile broke across his face and I thought I saw some sparkling tears in his eyes too. He slipped the ring-my ring- on my finger before standing up and taking my face in his hands.
“I love you too, Nessie.” Then he leaned in and kissed me. The kiss was long and sweet and I lost myself completely. I was so happy, every vain, every cell in my body was singing with joy. When we finally broke apart we simply stared into each other’s eyes for a very, very long time. And I never wanted to look away.
“White? Pale pink? Gold? Copper? Light blue? Come on work with me!” Alice was shoving different
swatches of color in my face. I tapped my chin.
“Well if it’s just Rosalie and you then I’d have to say pale pink. I think it would look best on both of you.” Alice nodded and then started sketching out a dress with lightening speed.
“Okay…so I’m thinking earth tones for the theme. Bella had a really white wedding, but I mean come on she was marrying a vampire so we’re obviously more elegant…but Jacob is a werewolf so I’d think we could go on a different route with this, a little more…..natural, right?” After growling at her I grabbed a pad.
“I was thinking a pale fern green and then a tan mixed in with a kind of a silvery white. Make the flowers green and white, etc. etc.” I said, pointing to different points on my drawing. Alice nodded and made a few adjustments here and there. As Alice started drawing out my wedding dress I let myself sink into my memories of when I had first walked in the door with my ring….
I took a deep breath and squeezed Jacob’s hand.
“Don’t be nervous, Ness. I mean Edward already knows.”
“What a comfort.” I whispered dryly as we neared the door. Jacob kissed my cheek before sliding it open and indicating that I should go first. I smiled, hissing “har har” through my teeth before turning to face my family. Their expressions varied from surprise, suspicion, excitement, and pure calculating joy (that was Alice. Apparently my blurry wedding just got a hell of allot blurrier.) I took a step closer and then held out my shaking left hand. Eight pairs of eyes trained instantly on my ring. Gasps echoed through the room and then I was suddenly being hugged…or crushed may have been a better word.
“Nessie! Oh honey I’m so happy!” Mom.
“Congratulations, love.” Dad.
“How wonderful!” Esme
“I’m so happy, Renesmee!” Carlisle.
“Didn’t I tell you? I told you. Oh I have so much work to do….” Alice.
“Er…I’m happy for you….both.” Jasper.
“Hah! In-laws with a mutt!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!” Emmet.
“Oh Nessie, a wedding! Why must it be with that stinking animal?” Rosalie.
Their words of congratulations swum around my head but I could onl really focus on Jacob’s face. A wedding. MY wedding. I couldn’t believe it…..
“Nessie? Nessie? Snap out of it! This is not time to daydream!” Alice’s voice broke me from my reminiscence. I blinked and then looked down at the pad of paper she was tapping on my left leg. I was frozen momentarily when I saw what was drawn onto the ivory paper. It was a wedding dress. My wedding dress. The most beautiful dress I had ever seen. It had a tight bodice that hugged the drawing-me’s torso until it reached her-my-waist. There it flared out into a wide silk skirt, seed pearls sewn together to look like flowers crisscrossed the skirt. A silk cord looped from the bodice and then around my neck, making a beautiful necklace shape. I traced my hand over it and then looked up at Alice.
“It’s so beautiful.” I whispered. She smiled at me. “I know.”
A little while later I was sitting on one of the stairs and fiddling around on a laptop, looking at flower arrangements. I clicked on a site that looked pretty crappy and filled with popup accidently. I was just about to go back to the search page when an ad on the side of the website caught my eye.
Unexpectedly pregnant? Call the toll free number below to find help!
I stared at the ad for a long time. Finally the sound my computer made whenever a pesky popup ad tried to infiltrate my zoning helped shake me from my reverie. I snapped the laptop closed and then drummed my fingers along the smooth grey outside. I hadn’t thought about this before. But now things started to come back to me. The fact that my mom was sure she couldn’t have a baby with my dad. The fact that here I was, the genetic offspring of them. The fact that I wasn’t entirely human yet not entirely vampire either. The fact that I had a period one day every month. The fact that I was about to get married.
Oh, my god.
I jumped to my feet and darted p the stairs and into Carlisle’s office. There he was, sitting at his desk and writing in a notebook. He looked up when I entered the room and smiled at me.
“Why hello, Nessie. Its good to see you.” I smiled back but my stomach was still twisted. Carlisle seemed to be able to read my facial expression and his eyebrows pulled down.
“Is something wrong?” He asked. I exhaled a long gust of air and then sat down in the plush char that circled the desk.
“Well….I’ve been thinking….could I….er…..um…get…..pregnant?” I stuttered out, blood flushing to my face and coloring my cheeks a neon red. Carlisle smiled softly and nodded, his face thoughtful.
“I’ve been thinking about that myself and….well I’m really not sure. My opinions change from day to day and I’m still undecided. The facts could favor each answer and so I really have nothing concrete.” I could tell this annoyed him allot.
“Well what are some of the facts in favor of yes?” I asked.
“Well, you have a varied form of a Menstrual Cycle…and also, even though you are now frozen in time, your heart continues to beat. So if that organ continues to function then why can’t the others? Also I’m sure that you and Jacob are very compatible genetically, because of your chromosome count.” He shrugged. “But it seems like all these answers could have negatives.” My throat is very, very dry by now so I try to choke down some spit before answering.
“What are the…negatives?” I finally manage. He stares out the window, obviously calculating something before answering me.
“Well…I don’t know if the fact that you have some form of a Menstrual Cycle is enough to predicts that you could become pregnant…also, even if all your organs function normally then will your body still be able to change to accommodate a child? I’m just not sure…” He sighed regretfully and then looked up at me.
“I am sorry, Nessie, I wish I had any kind of answer for you.” I smiled at him and shook my head.
“Don’t worry about it, Carlisle. Thank you for giving me the answers you have.” He nodded. “Of course, my dear.” We talked for a little longer, but soon it was time for me to meet Rosalie, Alice, and my mom for a wedding planning session. Already the boys of the house were out hunting to save themselves from the frilly talk of our meeting.
“Hello?” I called when I got into the dining room. No one answered. All our plans, sketches, and catalogs that we had accumulated were spread across the table but none of my family sat at the chairs. I followed my mom’s scent out of the kitchen, into the living room, and out into the back yard. It was there I saw them. Alice was telling Emmet, Jasper, Jacob, and my dad something, her eyes wide and hallowed with fear while my mom’s head whipped back and forth, her expression pained , and Rosalie was crouched low as if expecting an attack.. I ran up them and they all froze when they saw me. My mom wrapped her arms around me and I could feel her shaking.
“What is it? What’s going on?!” I asked, panicked. I felt Jacob wrap his arms around me from behind and I turned to look up at him, his face worried, scrunched up and wild. Alice turned to me and her chin trembled, when she spoke her voice was a whisper.
“I can’t see anything. It’s all blurry…..but I can hear you. You’re screaming…..all I can hear…just one scream…and then everything silent. Then everything’s clear…..”
And that means I’m gone.
I LOOKED OUT ACROSS THE WOODS AS THE SUN SET, DYING THE ENTIRE FOREST IN DEEP HUES OF RED
and orange. The rest of the sky was starting to become a soft purple-blue. I sighed and grit my teeth together. I was frightened all the time now. I was paranoid. Every shadow looked like a Volturi guard, and every whisper of the wind sounded like Aro’s voice.
“Damn.” I hissed under my breath. This was no way to live. I closed my window and then walked into my darkening room. My parents were at the main house and I knew that Jacob was prowling around the forest, making sure there were no gaps for anyone to get in. I wished he was in here with me though. Wished I could wrap my arms around his neck and listen to the reassuring sound of his steady heartbeat. I switched on my light and took a book out of my shelf. I barely glanced at the cover before cracking it open and starting to read. It turned out to be The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. The light slowly dwindled outside but I didn’t look up from my book. I felt much safer in the book world then I did in mine. My parents still hadn’t come back from the house, and I’m sure they were discussing Alice’s vision. It had pretty much been the main topic of the house (whenever they thought I wasn’t in earshot, when I often was) my wedding was still important, but it was almost halfhearted now. Everyone was on edge, Jacob’s pack included. My mom and dad were always shooting each other worried looks and often my dad would snap at someone for having a particularly gloomy thought about the future. I was quieter than usual, staying even closer to Jacob then usual and I often jumped whenever an unexpected noise caught me off guard. Jacob never let his pack off patrol around my house. However despite all of this, I still didn’t feel safe.
Alice took the brunt of this new paranoia even worse. She was always huddled somewhere with her hands pressed to her temples muttering about how everything was blurry. Nothing was concrete and yet she could sense that something was going to happen.
“Why can’t I see them?!” She finally cried one day. My mom’s eyebrows knitted together.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“This shouldn’t be like this!!! I should be able to see whoever or whatever threatens Nessie, just not her. But I can’t see any of them!” Her breath was labored as the end, her anger directed inwardly as well. That set my mom and my entire family to thought. And me as well…why couldn’t they see whoever was trying to hurt me? I had no ideas.
An hour or so later I was yawning and ready for bed. I slipped on my tank top and boxers and flipped back my blanket. It was then that I heard the rustling noise. Ice shot down my spine and my stomach flipped over. I tried to reassure myself that it was nothing. Just the wind. Maybe a squirrel. No vampire could make that noise.
But then it happened again.
It sounded like something was being dragged.
My heart started pounding. What if this was a repeat of Seth? What if it was Jacob this time?
“NO!” I whispered fiercely. I dated out of my room and tried to ignore the way the room swum around me. I dashed out of the front door and followed the dragging sound until I was deep enough in the forest to slow down. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I could smell wolf….but also a new smell. It was sweet alluring…a kind of floral smell with hints of cinnamon…and when this scent hit my nose my throat scorched; human blood. The blood pounding in my ears marked the time. It was a slow dragging minute before the pale figure emerged from the shadows. It was a woman in about her twenties. Her skin was as pale as any vampire’s but it had an olive tint to it. Her eyes were large and a deep red, she had shoulder length black hair and she was smiling at me like a hunter would smile before shooting his prey.
The smile sent daggers of fear into my heart.
“Jacob.” I whispered. The vampire gestured behind her.
“He had to take a nap. The rest of his pack decided to sleep too.” Her voice was high and melodious. When she finished talking she laughed, a peal of a bell.
“Who are you?” I whispered. The woman took a step towards me and my breath caught tin my throat. If I ran she would catch me. But what if I shouted for help? My mouth opened but just as I was about to scream I felt a cold hand slip over my mouth. I shouted and tried to twist away, but someone held me from behind. I twisted around and saw the leering face of one of my nightmares.
I froze and went limp in his death grasp. The woman darted over to us and laid her hand lovingly on Felix’s arm.
“Well sweetheart, my names Gianna. And I came here to run a little errand for my master. You see, he wants to meet you so very much, and since you never came to visit we decided to come and get you.” The blackness of night crushed down on me. I could barely focus on the face of the cruel vampire in front of me.
Aro was her master.
Aro had sent for me.
I was going to die.
“We should get going before your pesky family hears us, right dear? Let’s go Felix.” Something was wrapped around my eyes, eclipsing everything. It smelled like stones. I felt myself being bound my chains, very strong chains that coupled with Felix’s strength was able to hold be, gagged and then slung over Felix’s shoulder. He started running. I don’t know how far we traveled before I was finally able to get the gag far enough out of my mouth to make any noise. I knew this was a wasted attempt because already it was too late. Alice’s vision had come true. Only one last thing to make it complete.
MY MIND WAS NUMB WITH FEAR AND SADNESS. I COULDN’T THINK, COULDN’T FEEL. ALL I DID WAS LIST-
en to the footsteps of my captors as they traveled through the wilderness to what I was sure would be an airport.
“I wish we could drive.” Felix grumbled at one point in our journey.
“We’re switching to a car soon, we just want to give them enough of a trail to keep them busy for awhile.”
“But we already went through that lake, we won’t be able to catch a real trail after that.” Felix muttered.
“Very true, sweetheart, but Aro said we run for as long as we can. We don’t want any of them to catch on before we get to the airport.” Them. My family. My family would try to find me and they wouldn’t be able to.
Pain shot through my chest and I winced. Felix didn’t respond in any way. The most I was able to think through my grief was this; the next time he let me go I would fight. I’d rather die trying then become Aro’s pet…or die far away from home.
At least my parents would find my body.
I heard the sounds of cars now. We traveled for a little while before Felix stopped and set me on my feet, still holding me.
“Let’s get in the car. I’m sure their close on our trail now.” Felix said. Gianna nodded and turned to brush aside a few branches that camouflaged a sleek black Porsche. Felix dragged me to the door. I tried to kick, squirm, or anything to free me. His grasp stayed like steel against my hands.
It was hopeless.
I was in the back seat of the car. My hands and feet were still bound, and my mouth was still gagged. I might have been able to escape if Felix hadn’t strapped me in and wound one of the steal chains that circled my hand around the bottom of his chair. The windows were dark. No one could see me. We traveled for a long while, the highway whipped past us, the trees turning into a blurry line. Felix and Gianna were talking quietly in the front.
“…we’re very lucky this worked. Aro certainly planned this well.” Gianna was saying to Felix.
“Yes….blinding Alice Cullen like that….” My head snapped up from where it had lolled against my shoulder. What did they mean?
“Hmph, yes you’re right. A shame we weren’t able to see Edward and Belle though, I know that Bella thought I’d never last this long!” Felix chuckled.
“You’re lucky Aro wanted to try it out, otherwise we may have never discovered your little talent.” Gianna giggled and then they started talking about flight plans. My head fell back on my shoulder and I felt tears start to seep out of my eyes.
Jacob I love you so much. I’ll always love you and I know you can’t hear me right now but it doesn’t matter. No matter what happens to me I’ll always consider myself your wife. Please don’t try to come to Italy. I don’t want you to get hurt.
I kept reciting “I love you” over and over in my head. I didn’t want to think about anything, to imagine my fate. If I just could keep thinking about Jacob I could stay strong. Strong enough to face whatever awaited me with my head held high.
I don’t how long it was until we reached signs of Seattle. Ah. So this is where they were taking me. Gianna turned in her seat and smiled at me. I hated her.
“Dear, when we go to the airport, you are going to pretend to be our daughter. Do not try to escape. Do not call attention to yourself in anyway. Do you understand?” She reached out and snatched the gag from my mouth. I rolled my mouth around, trying to get rid of the numbing sensation left behind from the gag. When I was sure I could answer I took a deep breath.
“I understand you two are kidnappers with no personality and who’s only purpose in life is to lick Aro’s shoes.” Gianna’s face contorted into a scowl, and a hiss escaped her lips.
“Then I hope you understand the fact that if you don’t do what we ask then your beloved family will pay the price.” She snarled. Felix chuckled. Pain twisted through my stomach. So this was how it was going to be. I comply or they die. My lips pulled pack over my teeth and a vicious growl ripped up from my throat. Gianna smiled.
“So I take it we have a deal.” I called her a bad name but I nodded. I wasn’t going to do anything that might endanger my family. It was the only thing I could do now.
When we got into the airport parking lot Felix parked the car and then un bound my hands and feet.
“Gianna, she’s going to need some kind of clothes. She’s in a nightgown.” He seemed to find this funny. I found the image of his head on the ground also funny. Gianna tapped her chin and sighed.
“I’ll be right back.” She disappeared. A minute later she returned, but this time she had a pair of jeans and a zip up sweatshirt slung over her arm. Felix raised his eyebrows.
“I stole them from someone’s luggage.” Felix laughed and then leaned down to kiss her. I made a gagging noise and then snatched the frumpy cut outfit from Gianna.
“Next time you steal and outfit at least try to have a fashion sense.” I snapped at her. I went back into the car to slip on the jeans and sweatshirt that was too long and had skull and crossbones on the front. The jeans, on closer inspection, were much to baggy and had a patch on them that read “death metal” a smile flickered across my lips as I thought about what Alice would say if she saw these. The smile turned into a grimace though. I would probably never see Alice again. When I got back outside Felix handed me something. A passport. I peered down at it. It had my picture (how the hell did they get that?!) And all my proper information. Something struck me though…..my middle name. Annalisa. A fierce sense of hope surged through my veins and closed my throat. I remember so long ago going through the small backpack that my mother had packed for Jacob and me that we could flee after the Volturi slaughtered the Cullen’s. The middle name on my passport. Vanessa Annalisa Wolfe. I remembered how I giggled at the strange middle name, and how my mom said she had told “J” to put something generic in. J Jenks. Jason Jenks. Jason Scott. The man who supplied our family with fake ID’s and passports.
Could it be?
“Wow, this is a good one. Where did you get it?”
“Some Jenks guy…” Felix shrugged and Gianna shot him a glare. Apparently she realized that my mom and J were on speaking terms. A smile crossed my lips and this one stayed. Gianna glared at me as if to say “don’t get any ideas”. I looked up at the cloudy sky and felt a raindrop hit my cheek. I now had hope that perhaps, the trail wasn’t as dead as Gianna and Felix thought.
Felix, Gianna, and I walked through the crowded airport. I kept my head down, my bronze curls shadow my face. Even if people saw my face it wouldn’t matter…it wasn’t like my parents would be able to put up an Amber Alert or anything. The news wasn’t going to put out an issue for my return…..The Forks police wouldn’t be looking for me. Mom wouldn’t tell Charlie. It’s not like they could actually tell them what happened.
“Oh she was kidnapped by a sadistic coven of vampires who live in Italy.” Yeah right. Besides, any human who came to look for me would be killed, and then probably become Gianna and Felix’s snack. I shuddered and sat down next to Gianna as we waited to board our plane. I would have to face this alone. If I got hurt I would have to suffer through it and fight the best I could. But there was no way in hell that I was going to let my family risk their lives for me.
I lost track of how many times we transferred planed. I was numb again, just following Felix and Gianna and staring down at my feet (Gianna had stolen me a pair of black high-tops. Spiteful little…) and ignoring the world around me. On the plane itself I just looked out the window and tried to ignore the dull ache that hammered through be with each heart beat. Every beat meant that I was farther from home. Each second signified more space put between me and Jacob.
Once, while we were on our third or second plane (we were getting uncomfortably close to Italy now) Gianna had leaned over to me and hissed “try not to look so forlorn. I said not to draw attention to yourself!” I then had leaned over and told her to go jump in a fire pit, and then I pointed out that, due to my clothes, I looked like the kind of girl who would be forlorn. She seethed after that, but sense I made sense she didn’t bring up the topic again.
“Benvenuto in Italia! Grazie per l'aria Italia di volo e prego goda il vostro soggiorno!!” My stomach heaved and suddenly my surroundings swum around. I felt Gianna’s eyes on me and I tried to breathe. I had to stay strong. For my family. For me. For Jacob. When the plane landed and the passengers started filing out Gianna grabbed our small luggage (they had stowed some carryon in the car) and waited for to stand. I did so woodenly and then started walking down the aisle. My mind was reeling and butterflies fluttered around in my stomach as it twisted into uncomfortable patterns. I barely took in our surrounds, barely noticed as Felix drove around a rented car. Didn’t feel as I was herded into the car. When we started driving though I couldn’t help it; the tears overflowed from my eyes and sobs started to hiccup through my lips. Gianna sighed and patted my hand absentmindedly, I jerked it away and cowered in my corner of the car, tears still sliding down my cheeks.
“Oh good Lord, girl! Aro doesn’t want to kill you, not yet at least. So stop crying and try to be presentable….mmm, maybe we should pick you up something a little fancier. What do you think Felix?” He grunted. Gianna sighed “men” and then turned to look out the window again.
“Just act natural, alright? The Masters won’t kill you if you do what they ask.”
“Well whatever happens I am to become a puppet with no free will, who feeds on humans and will never see my family again. I suppose ‘love’ isn’t necessary a term in your viper pit, but trust me, I will not let go of my family without a fight.” Gianna’s face flashed with fury, but then she smoothed her features and sighed.
“I’d be careful what you say, girl. Aro may not take too kindly to insults. And even if he’s not quick to harm you, there are others he is not so careful with.” I slumped in my chair. She meant my family. I knew they could protect themselves…but still…I wasn’t going to take any chances. If anyone could threaten my family, it was the Volturi.
Dread seared through me when I saw the sandy colored walls of Volterra come into view. I could feel Gianna’s eyes on me, testing my reaction, so I kept my held up high and tried not to scream.
“Oh, I was wondering, do you glitter in the sunlight?” Gianna asked. My hand lifted from the seat and I was about to show her a picture of me in the sun when I suddenly realized what I was doing. I snatched my hand back and turned to the window.
“No.” I said bluntly. I could tell Gianna was amused and a little curious about my hand thing…it was an automatic reflex. But I couldn’t-wouldn’t- show anyone my talent. Of course I had already used it with Aro…showing him the faces I loved….but I wouldn’t anymore. I know it wouldn’t make much a difference, but any power I held over them was a good thing.
We neared the gates and I started to panic. In mere minutes I would be in the heart of Volterra. I was going to die, be tortured, or be forced to become one of them.
And I didn’t think I was going to have a choice.
Felix pulled the car into the gates and talked with the guard briefly. I couldn’t focus on what they said. We pulled slowly into the city, every inch twisting my heart into knots. Finally we were there. Volterra. I looked down at my hands, which were clasped in my lap, trying to steady my breathing. It was enough that both of my kidnappers could hear my heart thumping out erratic patterns. Felix was inching down the cobblestone streets as we twisted our way through the bustling city. Soon we came upon a darkned alley.
“Alright. Now, do we have to tie you up again, girl, or will you come quietly?” I weighed my options, I wouldn’t be able to run…but at least I could walk into Aro’s lair with some kind of dignity.
“I’ll come.” Quietly was not a promise. Felix picked up on this but said nothing, he pulled the car deeper into the alleyway and then stopped the car. Gianna was the first to throw open her door and jump out.
“Ahhhh, it’s so good to be home!” She trilled, stretching. Felix opened his door and then went around the car to open mine; he thrust his hands in and grabbed me. He pulled me out next to him and then circled his arm in an unbreakable grasp around the top of my arm. I stared down at the sand colored ground and tried to calm myself. It didn’t work though. Jacob I’m so sorry. I love you. I’ll love you forever. Mom I love you so much and I always have. You’re the greatest mom anyone could ever ask for and I’ll miss you so much. I love you so much, Dad, and I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been stronger. Alice…. I said my silent goodbyes as Felix (dragging me) and Gianna walked down to the end of the alleyway. They stopped suddenly and Felix laid his hand on the brick wall. I could see now an outline of a door. Felix trailed his hand down the stone and stopped at a brick that stuck out farther than the most. He pulled on it, and with a groan the door swung open to reveal a long black tunnel. I suppose no human would have the strength to open that door. We walked down the long black corridor and I couldn’t help a whimper escape my lips. This was it. The Volturi had me. I knew this was going to happen. This was my fate from the beginning. How stupid to think I could avoid it.
After the long hall we reached a narrow winding stair case. Felix shoved me onto the first step.
“You first.” He said gruffly. I started walking. The staircase seemed to go on forever. I wished it would. I wished that I was all human so I could throw myself down the stairs and die before I could reach the top of the stairs and open the door into my own personal hell. My wishes were not to be granted though, for after about twenty-five minutes we had reached the top. A regular looking wooden door awaited me.
“Open it.” Felix said behind me, his lips twisting into a cruel smile. I took a deep breath and reached out my hand. I brushed it against the cold silver knob and then twisted my fingers around it. I heard Felix snicker behind me and I gritted my teeth and twisted.
The door swung open easily and I felt a rush of relief when I saw the room. It was normal….kinda like a waiting room. Blandly decorated with prints of the Italian countryside on the walls.
“Oooh, scary, right?” Felix mocked as he grabbed hold my arm again.
“Not as scary as your ugly face.” I muttered. His grip tightened and I squirmed uncomfortably. Wewalked up to a desk with a woman behind it. I was astonished to smell the fact that she was human. She looked up at me and her brow crinkled. She was Asian and she had milky skin and celery green eyes. Her hair was black and it waved to the middle of her back.
“Hello, Kokoro.” Gianna said pleasantly as she breezed past the desk and through the door near it. Felix dragged me after but I kept my eyes fixed on the woman. I could see pity on her eyes. It was probably because I looked partly human…..but why did she care? She was in the lair of vampires. But judging by the way she bit her lip stared back at me with such sorrow, maybe she wasn’t entirely happy here. I kept her gaze until Felix shoved me through the door and into a intricately gilded hallway. Then I turned my head around and gasped, fear shocking its way through me.
She smiled an angelic smile at my obvious terror.
“Good job, Felix, you got the freak.” I snarled at her. She raised one of her eyebrows. “Hm…I’ve been so looking forward to this revenge.” She purred.
Then I was on fire.
I scream ripped through my lips ad fell to the ground, writhing. So this was what Jane’s gift felt like. I had been told of its strength, but I never imagined this. Fire licked my every vein, I was screaming for mercy, but none came. I had told myself I could be strong, but I didn’t know what to expect. Finally the pain vanished. I lay on the ground panting.
“Hah, your father didn’t scream at all. I suppose you’re not as strong as him.” Guilt and anger washed through me as Felix tugged me back up, a smirk on his face. Suddenly a door disguised as a wall opened up next to us. I whipped around and saw a tall blond vampire looking down at me.
“I can’t believe it. It worked! Excellent job, Felix, I thought for sure the Cullen’s would kill you.” Felix chuckled.
“No, we didn’t even see them. Now, excuse me.” Demetri (for I now I had placed him) stepped aside and let Felix drag me into a small stone chamber. Another door opened and we walked into a wide stone tower.
My breath caught in my throat.
They were there.
Aro. Caius. Marcus. All sitting in large wooden thrones. I took it their expressions one by one. Caius looked like Gianna had; like a hunter who caught their prey. Marcus looked bored. My eyes inched over to my worst nightmare. Aro. His eyes wild with triumph and greed. My muscles locked and I felt like I was spinning down a tunnel of despair.
It was over.
Aro stood from his chair, his mile wide and menacing.
“Renesmee! Oh, how happy I am to see you!” I couldn’t speak. He took a few steps forward and held out his hands , palms up.
“You look beautiful, dear one! Oh how long as it been since we have met?” Still I couldn’t talk. Aro frowned at me, a twinkle in his eyes.
“Come now, Renesmee, I wish you no harm. I’m sorry about the unsavory way we had to bring you here. But I have wanted to meet you again so….and your family is really so hypersensitive. And…” He took a step closer “I’ve been so hoping that perhaps you could be persuaded to join our little family here.” Finally I found my voice.
“I don’t think get a choice.” I breathed. Aro chuckled.
“Oh, don’t be silly. Of course you have a choice….although sadly; I don’t think you’ll be able to return to your family. For you see we could still use your many talents….and I really believe you will want to join.” He looked at someone behind me.
“Bring him in.” I was frozen. Who? Who did they have? I heard footsteps and I terribly familiar smell hit me. I gasped and whirled around. Shock hit me like a train and I felt my knees wobble as if I was about to collapse. The reddish brown skin….the messy black hair…the warm black eyes….so familiar.
“Seth.” I whispered, my voice cracking. The whole room disappeared and then I was running, I heard some protests, silenced by Aro but I didn’t care. Seth. Seth was here. I wrapped my arms around his neck and started sobbing. His arms wrapped around me and I sobbed even harder. I couldn’t believe it….why? Why had they taken him? Was it bait? Or……
“And even if he’s not quick to harm you, there are others he is not so careful with.”
I took a step back and looked at Seth. For the first time I really focused on his face, and what I saw made bile rise in my throat.
They had hurt him.
His face was covered in bruises and thin gashes, some of them healed and scarred over, others, like the one by his eye, were still oozing blood. His bottom lip was puffy and cracked. I looked down at his bare chest and saw that it too was gashed and bruised. All my sadness was suddenly consumed by the rage that exploded within me. I whipped around and glared at Aro, anger making my breath shallow and labored. He seemed amused.
“You sick bastards!” I snarled, my voice ringing through the cavern. I stepped out from Seth’s embrace, but he grabbed my hands and pulled me back. I didn’t care though. I wanted to kill all of them! Aro raised his eyebrows and then chuckled.
“Oh what a fiery spirit you have. Please don’t think less of us, dear Renesmee…young Seth merely had to be….put in his place at times.” I lunged forward again but Seth yanked me back sharply. I took five deep breaths and then my shoulders slumped.
“Why? Why did you take him?” I whispered.
“I was getting to that, my dear. You see…..I have had this plan for awhile, but I knew I couldn’t really develop it with Alice-“ his voice turned into a caress around her name “with Alice always being able to see what I was doing. But of course I know the holes in her vision…so I sent out a few of my coven to go and spy on your family, without making any contact. Alice did not see and I was able to gather valuable information.
“Some of the most helpful information was the fact that she cannot see these shape shifters. This gave me the idea that eventually formed into this plan.”
“You kidnapped Seth so that your actions would be invisible to Alice.” I whispered. Everything fit. Everything made sense now. My mouth went dry and I looked up into Aro’s eyes. The full depth of what he was capable of sunk in slowly. I took a deep breath and then sank in closer to Seth.
“You are a very good player, Aro. It seems as if this was barely a challenge for you. I have one question though.” Aro, who had smiled and my compliment cocked his head good-naturedly.
“Yes, dear one, and what might that be?”
“When Gianna and Felix…came for me, my father should have heard their thoughts. We weren’t in hearing range of the house, but my father would be able to hear what we were all thinking. And if he could have my family would have been there in seconds.” Aro smiled and then took Gianna’s (who had come to stand closer to him) hand.
“Ah, well that is all thanks to this wonderful woman. You see she was one of the humans we kept here, one who wished to become a vampire. I wasn’t sure of her ability but I decided to take a chance and change her. As it turns out she has a rather unique talent that was latent as a human. She can, in so many words, make the voices that your father and I hear mute. She can numb out our thoughts so that they can’t be heard. It’s a rather mutated form of the shield your mother has. It has proved quite useful.” He leaned in and kissed Gianna’s cheek. I took all of this in. My shoulders slumped and Aro sighed.
“Oh please, dear Renesmee, I know you will like it here.” He stepped forward and held out his hand to me. Again I sensed that I had no option but to take it. I filled my head with as much white noise as possible and then took his hand. He bowed his head as all my thoughts rushed into his head. Seconds passed, then minutes. I could hear Seth’s heartbeat pound behind me and I focused on that. When Aro finally let go of my hand his eyes zeroed in on my ring. No I breathed in my head. He lifted my hand and smiled.
“Engaged to the wolf that was beside you on that day we met. Jacob was it? Oh how wonderful! What joy, dear Renesmee!” I didn’t say anything and Aro fingered my ring. “You know, it’s a shame that we had to separate you from Jacob…perhaps we should bring him here?”
“NO!!!” My shout was followed by stunned silence and then Aro smiled sadly.
“Well I suppose then there’s really no use for this, is there?” In one deft movement he slid my ring from my finger and then dropped it into a pocket that lay in the folds of his cloak. His eyes calculated my expression, which I tried to keep calm. Dozens of emotions flickered inside of me, and I was unable to pinpoint one. Finally I settled on locking my gaze with Aro’s, trying to keep my face dead.
“What do you plan to do with me?” I asked without inflection. Aro smiled warmly at me, but before he was able to answer Caius spoke for the first time.
“If you do not join us today, then you will be kept with your mongrel friend here in some of our less pleasant conditions.” He leered. Aro clicked his tongue.
“Really, Caius, there is no need to be so brash. But I am sorry to say he is telling the truth, my dear Renesmee. You will be staying with young Seth just until we can be sure no one is coming after you, then you will be free to roam this wonderful city as you please, for I can see that you are no bound by the sun as were are.” He laughed. Marcus lifted his head suddenly.
“Aro, they are coming.” He said simply. Aro nodded and then took my hand again. “My dear, I know that your family has set you on the way of abstinence, and as you know we live quite a different life here. So if you do not wish to watch us feed, then I suggest you accompany Demetri and Seth.” I nodded vigorously, knowing that whatever horrors awaited me I could not witness the death of humans. I felt a hand on my arm, once again pulling me out of the room of death. Aro smiled sadly at me.
“Don’t worry, dear one, soon you will be part of the family.” Part….part…part of the family. The room swum in front of my eyes and I felt my knees give way. The last thing I knew before the blackness overcame me was Marcus’s eyes locked on my face.
Then everything went away…….
When I awoke I was in tight, dark cell.
“Nessie?” I heard a familiar voice whisper.
“Seth!” I cried, I could see his outline now in the corner of the cell. I crawled over to where he was and threw my arms around his neck, I started crying again.
“Oh, Seth! Oh, I’m so s-s-sorry! This is all my fault that you’re here and you’re hurt and I’m so sorry!” I wailed. Seth started rubbing my back.
“Shhhh. Shhhhh, Nessie. It’s all right. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ask these wack jobs to kidnap you or me. Please don’t be upset….it’s okay.” I kept sobbing wordlessly, for how long I wasn’t sure. All my pent up emotion, all the pain and anger, grief and confusion bubbled to the surface and I couldn’t do anything but cry. Seth sat with me, rocking me gently, and even though I was sickened by the fact that he was here too, I was glad for the company of my brother. After a long, long time I finally quieted down. Seth and I stayed silent for awhile before my cracked and dry voice broke the gloom of the chamber.
“What happened that night, Seth?” He sighed and shook his head slowly.
“It was so fast…one minute I was running patrol, looking forward to the change in shifts so I could sleep, and the next minute I’m attacked by that big vampire they call Felix before I even had time to smell him.
“It wasn’t a close fight, not at all. Felix and that Demetri had me out cold in under a minute. When I woke up next they were dragging me across the forest. As soon as they realized I was awake they made me phase back so I wouldn’t be able to talk to the pack.”
“How did they make you phase?” I whispered.
He was silent for a moment before “they said if I didn’t that they’d…that they’d kill Leah.” His voice broke on the last two words. Anger rolled through me again.
“I had to choice then but to phase…and then we traveled…here.” I could tell by the reluctance in his voice that he didn’t want to re-live his trip to Italy. I stroked his battered cheek with my thumb and sighed.
“I’m sorry you were dragged into this, Seth. So sorry.”
“Don’t worry, Nessie, this isn’t your fault…..” he trailed off. “Do you think that maybe…..they’ll try to come for us?” I knew he meant our family. I shrugged.
“I’m not sure….they probably expect that it’s the Volturi…but they know that if they tried to attack them here, here in their home, that they’d get massacred. So I don’t know….” I sighed. Seth sighed too.
“I hope they don’t. I don’t want them to die.”
“I know, Seth. Me too.” He slumped down the wall slightly and I repositioned myself so that his head rested in my lap.
“I didn’t want them to find you, Ness…..I really wished that they wouldn’t. When Felix and that which girl went out to find you I went crazy…man this sucks.” I placed my hand on his neck and closed my eyes; slowly I started to show him everything that had happened after he was kidnapped. He laughed and parts of it, sighed at others. When I got to my wedding he shook his head.
“You guys were gonna get married without me? Thanks allot!” I laughed.
“We were planning to find you, Seth.” He shrugged and I continued with my story. When it was done with were both silent, relishing in the last memories of our family. A family we may never see again. I put my hand on his neck started to show pictures of any happy things I could think of…like a slide show….over and over again…until we both slowly drifted off to sleep.
TIME SEEMED TO BLEND TOGETHER HERE. THERE WASN’T ANY SECOND I WASN’T IN PAIN. BUT THERE WAS NO
way to tell one second from the next. Seth told me that they fed him scraps occasionally.
“I wouldn’t be much use if I was dead, you know?” He had said cheerfully. I stared out across the muted blew light of the dungeon and swallowed, the burn searing my throat. Seth noticed my grimace and sighed.
“You’re thirsty, huh Ness?” He asked. I nodded morosely.
“I’m sorry…..I don’t know where you’d find any animal. ‘Cept the rats in here but I know you wouldn’t want that.” I opened my mouth but then shut it quickly. I was about to say that I’d just have to eat human food, but how could I do that to him? I wouldn’t starve, but he would.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be totally fine.” I changed the subject.
“So……what happens here? What do you do all day?” Seth snorted.
“Absolutely nothing. I’m in here all day unless…..never mind.” I narrowed my eyes.
“Nothing, nothing.” I crossed my arms at scowled at him.
“Seth, I have nothing to do all day but interrogate you until you spill. So we can do this the easy way or the painful way. What’s it gonna be?” Seth sighed and then shrugged in defeat.
“Well….I tried to make a break for it…twice. Those vamps are fast though, and they cheat. The first time I….was given a…warning. The second time….well the second time made the first punishment look real fun.” I felt sick again and I put my hand on Seth’s cheek, showing him all the injuries I had cataloged when I first saw him.
“Yeah, that’s what happened. I’m lucky though because they had to hold back to keep me alive, one punch could have probably shattered most of the bones in my body, but since Aro needs me alive The Hulk had to go easy on me.” Rage twisted through me and I snatched back my hand before images of me ripping Felix into a million pieces entered Seth’s mind…not that he would care.
“They broke some bones though, didn’t they?” They couldn’t have held back too much if even with Seth’s super healing scars still remained. The ones that had been bleeding yesterday were gone now, but that made me realize just how fresh they were.
“A few…I healed up fast though…you remember when Bella broke my collarbone, it healed in about two hours. I slept ‘em off.” I swore several times and then turned to face the door again.
“They’ll come for me. I know they will. I think Aro wants me to become a part of the lifestyle. He won’t leave me here to rot for long. But of those monsters think that’ll I do anything they want then they’re stupider then they look.” Seth chuckled and squeezed my hand.
“I think you inherited your mom’s stubbornness.” I sighed. Mom. What was she doing right now? What was my family doing? They must be so worried…
My morbid thoughts were interrupted by a grating sound, suddenly light flooded into the room and Seth shrank back into cell’s corner automatically. I saw Alec approach us. I stiffened. He could make people blind. I had only experimented that once when Zafrina had been testing my mom. It was a horrible sensation.
“What do you want?” I asked coldly. Alec smiled and I winced, ready for the blankness. Nothing happened.
“Aro would like to see you in the throne room.”
“Well you tell Aro that he can shove his invitation where the sun doesn’t shine.” Woah. Leah must be rubbing off on me. Seth snickered behind me and I could tell he had made the same connection. Alec raised one of his thin golden eyebrows and then smiled slightly.
“I would suggest you take Aro’s invitation. If you do not, maybe he will start to think that this mutt is holding you against your will….and then he’d have to punish him wouldn’t he?” His voice became velvet soft at the end. Fear shot through me and I felt myself standing up.
“Fine. Let’s go.” I said stiffly. Alec smiled and then opened the cage door with an old fashioned skeleton key.
“Have you tried breaking out yet?” He asked conversationally as we walked through the twisted insides of this monstrous castle-like that housed the Volturi.
“The bars are made out of steel. I cannot break them and neither can Seth. Besides, I wouldn’t try to break out. I won’t do anything to endanger my family, you pig.” Alec chuckled and shook his head.
“Aro was right; you are entertaining.” I clenched my fists and looked down at the ground. God how I would love to rip his head off.
“Renesmee! What a pleasure to see you again, dear one!” Aro sang when I stepped into a gilded and lusciously decorated throne room. Again Marcus was looking bored, the throne that should have been occupied by a wife was empty. For some reason that empty chair filled me with a crushing sadness. Probably because, except for Seth, my life too was empty now.
“And how was your night in the cell, girl?” Caius asked with a sick smile. I smiled back pleasantly.
“As long as I didn’t have to look at your face I was quite content.” Caius’s face twisted in anger, as did his wife’s. Aro on the other hand chuckled and I could swear I saw some kind of emotion flash through Marcus’s cold, dead crimson eyes. Aro slid off of his throne and then walked over to me and took my hand. His eyes flickered with all the new information from my mind. Aro’s eyes got that greedy hunger that had haunted me for so long. He was obviously watching my memories of showing Seth our family. Damn, damn, damn, damn! He looked up at me and a different smile carved across his powdery skin.
“You really must show your little gift to the rest of us, since only I have been able to see just how wonderful it is.” I shook my head and took a step back. No way. Never. Aro sighed and shook his head, but he didn’t press the point. Instead he drifted back to his throne.
“Demitiri, would you be a dear and fetch Kokoro for us. She can show Renesmee around our home today.” My spine stiffened. I didn’t hear Demtiri leave but a breath of cool wind blew into the stale room so I knew he must have opened to door. I looked at the ground, at my feet encased in the gross hightops. If I closed my eyes they would go away. But I couldn’t make everything else go away by closing my eyes. Tears battled against my will and I tried to swallow my sadness. I had to stay strong.
“I hope that you will be able to join us soon, dear Renesmee. It saddens me to think of you in that pitiful dungeon.”
“Sure, sure.” I replied offhandedly. Jacob’s laugh resounded in my head; I clung to it until it faded into the recesses of my memory. I also knew that from my memory Aro would recognize the exact tone of that phrase. Good. His eyebrows did raise a little, but I suspected that was from amusement. A flurry behind me caused my head to turn. I saw Demtiri standing with a cowering Kokoro by his side. Two things hit me simultaneously. One, Kokoro looked about nineteen, so young. Two, Demtiri stood slightly in front of her, as if he was protecting her, and when she glanced at him a new light filled her panicked eyes. Oh, how sad. She was in love with him. And it looked like, judging on the nervous, jumpy look in Demitri’s eyes, coupled with his protective stance, that he cared for her too. Despite his better judgment. Oh Aro would never allow this….
“Kokoro, would you mind showing Renesmee around our home? Give her the grand tour!” Aro exclaimed happily. Kokoro nodded and then gave a swift bow, her black hair eclipsing her pale frightened face. Aro smiled and clapped.
“Delightful! Go on, dear Renesmee, have fun my dear!” He trilled. Kokoro gestured for me to follow her as she turned from the room. I did so, watching as Demtiri followed her receding back with sad eyes. I followed the woman down the hall and watched as she watched only her feet. Saying nothing.
The silence continued as we walked slowly through the caverns of the ‘house’. I suppose it was beautiful but I didn’t see any of the statues, rich tapestries depicting mythical creatures and gorgeous scenery. Didn’t see the immaculate halls and rooms. All I could see was the black hair of my guide. I didn’t want to see the rooms of the people who had captured me. It was all a prison.
Finally we reached a very low floor where I was sure no one could hear us.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked in a flat voice. Kokoro stiffened at my question and then her shoulders slumped.
“It was an accident.” She whispered. “I stumbled upon what they were when I was visiting here on vacation….they were going to kill me but I begged them to spare my life. Aro decided that I could become their new secretary…..so I lived.” She breathed quietly. I knew it….she did resent this life.
“They’re going to kill you anyway, though.” I said bluntly. She shuddered and then put her ace in her hands, so when she spoke her reply was muffled.
“I know. Of course, I know now what I did not know then. Every day I curse myself for being such a coward that day and not excepting death. Now I have to watch as my fellow humans are paraded down that hall into that room to be slaughtered.” She shivered again. I felt pity for her roll through me. She must be in a living hell everyday….except….
“What about Demitri?” I asked coolly. Her head snapped up and I saw fear in her eyes. I held out my hand in a peaceful gesture.
“I’m not on their side. Think of what they did to me. I just want to know.” I said softly. Kokro sighed and nodded, tucking her hair behind her ears.
“So you noticed…yes, I was scared to find myself falling in love with him. Terrified. But it happened…and now I will love him forever, I know. There is no way to reverse the way I feel. I cannot explain it even to myself.” She sighed.
“You know he loves you too, right?” I whispered.
“If I allowed myself to believe that then I wouldn’t be able to handle my fate. I ignore it. Pretend I’m what I should be to him; dinner.” I could see now exactly now how her life lay. She loved a vampire, and the vampire loved her. But she is destined to become little more than Aro’s meal, so she didn’t allow herself to think that he loved her back.
“That’s horrible.” I breathed. She nodded but said nothing. I pointed to myself.
“Do you know what I am?” I asked.
“Yes. I overheard Aro talking about it. Half a vampire, and half human. I didn’t believe it until I saw you…the beauty of a vampire…and yet the eyes of a human.” She smiled weakly. “You should have had a great life, Renesmee. I’m sorry that this is also your fate.” I nodded, then a thought struck me and I clapped myself on my forehead.
“Damn! Aro’s going to see all of this!” Kokoro laughed bitterly.
“Aro will pay attention to me only when his teeth are in my neck. And as for your mind-“another bark of laughter, “do I really look like someone who wouldn’t wish for death?”
That night, as I try to fall asleep curled next to Seth in our small cramped cell, Kokoro’s tortured face comes once again into my mind. I feel so sorry for her. I want to help her. I want her and Demitiri to be able to be in love. I sighed and rolled over, I guess, what I really wanted, for me and the people I care about, is a happy ending.
Although right now that seemed impossible.