The Twilight Saga

  Chapter 2:  The beach is the best place to go in the summer

 

            I was practically jumping out of my seat as the little square house came into view.  The red paint was so faded it looked more like a rusty color than red and the thin windows made it look a lot like a little barn.  But it still had a lot of charm to it.  As I looked over at Jacob, I tried to picture how he was able to cram his freakishly huge body in there.  The little house didn’t even look like he could stand up straight. 

Well maybe it wasn’t that small, but still, Jacob is pretty big.

            I had never been to La Push.  While Jacob was finishing high school, when he wasn’t in class he spent most of his waking time at our house.  Since Jacob was always at our house, the pack or Billy would just come over there.  And…well…mom never went back so I never asked to go even though I was secretly dying to visit Jacob’s home.  But I never dared to ask, I sort of figured the whole ‘use to be mortal enemies’ thing kind of put a damper on all future visitations; even though the Cullens and the Quileute pack were on much better terms. 

            So the first thing I wanted to do when we moved back was go to La Push and see Jacob’s house.  And since mom and dad left this morning for their second honeymoon all summer long, it was the perfect time. 

            We were in dad’s Volvo since Jacob absolutely refused to drive his Maserati here or let me take my Ferrari.  It had taken Jacob most of the morning to figure out his poor old Rabbit just had nothing left to give.  And it took me nearly as long trying to convince him that the car had gone to a better place and we should just take the Volvo.

            I actually felt really bad.  He had built that car with his own hands from scratch.  I mean I didn’t know he honestly thought it would work after pretty much sitting stagnant for close to four years, but he genuinely seemed upset about it.   I guess he got more attached than I thought.

            Then an idea struck me.  Maybe there is some way we could get it running again for him.  Oh he would love that. And I was certain he would let me help so it would be a fun little project for us to do.  I mean I wasn’t really into the mechanics of cars.  As long as they were fast and pretty, I could care a less how they worked.  But I would be an excellent little assistant; I was a quick learner. 

            This is going to be so much fun.  

            I’m not sure why, but the image of a shirtless Jacob bending over the open hood while I brought him lemonade in a cold glass popped into my head but I quickly dismissed it.  Seth’s stupid movies were affecting my imagination.  He would never admit it but he secretly liked romantic comedies.  He was convinced that’s how girls wanted boys to act so he claimed he was “taking notes”.  But I liked watching them too so I let him use that excuse without teasing him about it. 

            While Jacob rolled the Volvo into an open patch of dirt, I opened the door and jumped out.  I thought it was fun to get out while the car was still moving but everyone else didn’t really agree.  That was usually why I ended up in the back seat sandwiched in between Jacob and someone else when we drove places. 

            I landed perfectly on my toes and even closed the door behind me, as usual.

            “Nessie, you could have waited that whole two seconds for us to stop.”  He said with a little agitation in his voice.  I rolled my eyes as I glanced back at the car.  I failed to see what the big deal was.  He put the car in park and turned it off. 

            “Yeah, but what would be the fun in that?”  I asked as I rounded the car and grabbed his hand, grinning. 

            “Well, it’s about time you came to visit your old man.”  Billy called from the front door.  Jacob ignored him as we walked up to the little house.  “Well…look at you Nessie; all grown up and absolutely stunning.”  He smiled warmly at me and I couldn’t help but smile back.  I could see where Jacob got his smile from.

            He had actually aged a lot since I had seen him last.  He had more grey strands now, giving him a salt and pepper look, and the creases around his eyes and mouth were more prominent. 

            “Hi Billy!”  I said as I bent down and kiss his cheek, wrapping my arms around his shoulders and squeezing them gently.  “It’s so good to see you again.” 

            I felt bad because it had been so long since the last time I saw him.  Wow was it really almost two years ago?  He hadn’t made it out for Jacob’s graduation and last summer we had only been in Forks a week.  I had been out shopping with Alice when Jacob went to visit Billy.

            “So tell me why you are still hanging out with this ill mannered beast over here?”  He asked, still smiling as he jerked his thumb at Jacob, who rolled his eyes.

            “Missed you too dad.”  Jacob said sarcastically.

            “He kind of grows on you.”  I shrugged teasingly.

            “Eh, I suppose.  Well, to what do I owe the honor?  I didn’t think I’d actually be seeing you again, now that you are a college graduate and all.”  Billy said wheeling himself back into the house for us to enter.

            “For some strange reason, Nessie wanted to come to LaPush and see you.”  Jacob answered.

            “I’ve never been here before.” I protested.  “And I’m going to take classes at Forks High School so we are back in town for a while.  I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve seen you Billy.  I feel just terrible about it.”  I said looking a little ashamed.  I really liked Billy.    

            “Oh well you’re here now, all’s forgiven.”  Billy said smiling at me.  He turned and looked at Jacob.  “And she’s always welcome, even if you may not be.”  Billy winked at me and I giggled.  “So, Fork High School huh?” 

            “Yeah, I figured it was about time I quit slacking off and did something with myself.  You know…be more like Jacob.”  Jacob snorted, rudely as it was my turn to wink at Billy.

            I wondered if that radiating happiness was a family trait.  Jacob and his dad always seemed so happy all the time.  It was actually hard to be anything but happy around them in return.  I didn’t remember any other Quileute boys having such a warm inviting air about them.  

            As we entered the house, my eyes quickly scanned the room.  Most of it was kitchen.  There was a sofa against the far wall, a TV to the left of that and one old, warn out arm chair against the right wall.  Combined with the table, most of the space was already taken up with furniture. 

            I found myself wondering if any of Jacob’s pack brothers had ever tried to squeeze in here together.  I just couldn’t picture them fitting in any combination of two or more.  Mathematically speaking it was possible of course, but it was still hard to picture.

            “So, do I get a tour or do I just have to roam around aimlessly hoping I’ll be able to find my way out again?”  I said folding my arms with mock annoyance.

            “There is the living room,” Jacob grinned and pointed to the sofa.  “And you are in the kitchen.” 

            I became slightly annoyed.  “Oh, ha-ha, are you here all week?”  Jacob laughed and grabbed my hand, towing me toward the hallway.  He opened a door on the right and I peeked in from around his arm. 

            “And all of this is my room.”  Jacob made a grand movement using his whole arm, sweeping it from left to right.

            I smiled up at him and slipped under his arm into his room.  I sort of felt like I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing by simply walking into his room.  Like I had entered some forbidden place I’m not allowed to go into. 

            I sat down on his bed, which took up pretty much the whole room, and he leaned against the doorframe, which he pretty much took up most of.

            “So, there’s your tour.  Unfortunately the gift shop is closed today and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.” 

            “Well I’m a little disappointed I can’t get a T-shirt but I enjoyed it none the less.”  I said meeting his eyes.  They were playful and I pulled myself into the middle of his bed.  I felt little butterflies in my stomach as I suddenly found myself hoping he would come and sit next to me.

            I curled my knees up to my chest and felt my cheeks getting hot.  Oh no, am I blushing?  Ugh, how embarrassing.  I turned my head to look out the window so he wouldn’t see my face.  I saw a little structure out in the back. 

            “What’s that?”  I asked pointing to it and turning back as he shifted.

            “Oh, that…um, that’s just my garage.”  He said scratching the back of his head and looking awkward, kind of like a kid embarrassed that his friend just found an old baby toy.

            “Your garage?  I wanna see it.”

            He shrugged and reached for me.  I was up and holding his hand in one movement.  He led me through the kitchen, out the back door and onto the deck.  It looked like someone had taken one side off two different sheds and nailed them together.  It wasn’t much to look at but it looked pretty sturdy.  But then again, if Jacob made this, it must be great.

            …like everything else he does.   

            As we walked into the little makeshift building, I took in every detail, appreciating the craftsmanship.  Jacob must have put a lot of hard work into this.  He was so talented but he never gave himself any credit.  Which always bothered me because he didn’t think anything he did was good enough.

            I smiled to myself as I thought about all the little handmade items I had gotten from him throughout the years: the assortment of bracelets and necklaces and my collection of wooden animal figures.  He had always thought I was silly for making such a big deal about them, but I loved them all.  And I loved that he made them just for me.  I guess that’s why he still did.     

            So naturally I loved his garage.

            “So…this is my garage.”  Jacob said.

            I smiled.  “This is awesome Jacob.” I didn’t need to add any excitement to my voice.

            “You don’t have to act like everything I do is the greatest thing ever.  I’m actually surprised this thing is still standing.”  He said as he walked over and sat on what looked like the front seat of an old truck pushed up against the wall. 

            “I’m not.  You made it so I know it will last a really long time.  And you know, it gets really annoying arguing with you about how talented you are.”  I said crossing my arms and trying to look irritated.   

            He grinned at me.  “Oh good, it’s about time you admitted I’m right?”

            “Um…sorry no.  I’m still very right.  I just wanted you to know how annoying it is always being right and having people argue with that.”  I stuck my tongue out at him.  He snorted and leaned back in the seat.  Then my eyes fell on a pair of motorcycle in the corner – one red one black.

            “Motorcycles?”  I walked over to them.

            “Huh…haven’t seen those in forever.  I‘m surprised Billy didn’t get rid of them.”  He looked at them a moment then added.  “The red on is actually your mom’s.”

            “Mom’s!  Mom had a motorcycle?”  I looked at him.  No one ever mentioned to me she had a motorcycle and it wasn’t like anyone forgot that little fact.

            “Yeah, before she got married.”  That was Jacob’s way of saying before she became a vampire. 

            I eyed him skeptically then looked at the red one closely.  Some of the paint was rusting off and the parts looked like they had been abused, but otherwise it looked like it had been put together very well, like a professional had done it.  I brushed my hand across the length of the bike – handle bars to seat – thinking it probably would still run after a little TLC. 

            “While she was human…” I was a little shocked.  It was hard to picture mom with a motorcycle.  She just didn’t care about fast moving vehicles.

            “Yup.” 

            “How did she get Grandpa to agree to that one?”  I couldn’t picture Charlie allowing my teenage mom to get anywhere near a motorcycle, let alone own one. 

            “That’s why she kept it here.”  He said stretching his legs out and putting his arms behind his head.  I could see his chest and stomach muscles flex underneath his nicely fitted t-shirt as he took a deep breath.  I was suddenly distracted from the conversation.  I wanted to touch them.  “So Charlie wouldn’t find out.”  

            Find out what?  I forced my eyes to look at his face.  Oh right…motorcycle.

            “She actually rode them?”

            “Sure I guess you could call it that.”  Jacob chuckled.

            “I’m surprised she didn’t kill herself.”  My understanding was my mother as a human was accident prone…to put it mildly. 

            “Oh she tried…more than once.” 

            “So how did she get them?” 

            “I think she just found them.  I helped her get them started and then tried to teach her how to ride.”  He said quietly.  I looked over at him and he smiled at me.  “She wasn’t a good learner.”

            “Maybe you just weren’t a very good teacher.”

             “I was an excellent teacher.  I couldn’t help it if she was born with absolutely no motor shills whatsoever.”  His face grew serious as he watched me.  I got the impression that he was debating something; maybe whether to tell me something more.  The mood shifted slightly as Jacob became lost in his thoughts.  

             I walked over and sat on his lap, his warm arms wrapping around me.  I inhaled and relaxed into his warm chest, listening to his heart.  I absentmindedly toyed with my bracelet feeling slightly disgruntled.  Why had no one mentioned that mom had a motorcycle?  Even if they were old, rusty and didn’t work, we could have gotten a new set and gone riding together.  I had always wanted one…they were really fast.  But I had had no idea she would even ride one.  

            I looked up at Jacob’s face but he was staring off out the open garage door.  I found myself staring at his lips again.  I wanted to reach my hand up and trace my finger along them.  I could see my hand lifting when he suddenly squeezed me tighter and kissed the top of my head.  He didn’t look at me, so I guessed he was thinking about something else. 

            I looked around the little garage again, my interest in his lips completely gone.  He really was amazing.  He had built a car, two motorcycles, this garage, all under the age of sixteen, and he could still make something as small and delicate as my little figurines.  I looked down at his hand resting on my thigh.  I reached out and started tracing little eights with the tip of my figure tip.

            “You know, you’re amazing.”  I said watching my finger as I traced a straight line up and down his arm.  He snorted and looked down at me.  That kind of irritated me. “Well I think you are.”  I said sourly.  “And I’m never wrong.”  I looked up and kissed his jaw.       

            “Jacob!”  Quil suddenly called from somewhere near the house. 

            We looked at each other and Jacob frowned.  “Crap.”  He muttered under his breath.

            “Yo Jake!  We know you are in there.  We can smell you from here.”  

             About five seconds later, Quil and Embry entered the garage. 

             “Hi guys!”  I sang excitedly as I hopped off Jacob’s lap.  I hadn’t seen either of them in over a year.  I almost knocked over Quil with my hug I was so excited.

            Jacob cleared his throat and Embry and Quil quickly shifted back a step.

            “Hiya Nessie,” Quil said still smiling though.  “Long time no see.”

            “Hey Nessie,” Embry said.   

            “Look,” I lifted my arms and twirled once for them, “I completely stopped growing about four months ago.        I’m going to look like this forever.”  I said smiling at them.

            “Not a bad look to have for forever.”  Quil replied.

            “So what do you guys want?”  Jacob asked.  He didn’t sound exactly pleased so I bounced back over and sat on his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck.  His arms were around me instantly. 

            “We heard you would be in La Push today, so we decided to come pay homage to our fearless leader.”  Quil answered. 

            “Well, take a good look cause you will be leaving in about ten seconds.”

            “Nessie, did Jacob tell you Sam is a daddy for the second time?”  Embry asked. 

            “No.  He didn’t even mention Emily was pregnant again.”  I frowned at Jacob.

            “Oh…yeah, well I guess she technically isn’t anymore.”  He glared at Embry but looked back at me sheepishly.

            “What did she have?”  I looked back at Embry.

            “Another bouncing baby boy, Benjamin…about two months ago.”
            “Two?”  I glared back at Jacob.  He should have told me.  “Poor Emily…no little

girls.”  She had Levi almost two years ago and I still hadn’t met him.  Maybe we could go today.

            “Poor Emily nothing, she was thrilled they were both boys.  She was a nervous wreck the whole time thinking they would be girls. Quil here really scared her with Claire.”  Embry elbowed Quil in the ribs. 

             I looked at them confused a moment but then remembered I hadn’t seen Claire in forever either.  “How’s Claire?”  I asked changing the subject.  The last time I had seen her we were the same size, only she was five and I was almost two. 

             Quil’s face lit up as he spoke about her.  “Oh Claire’s great.  I’m headed over there now.  We are going to the beach for the afternoon. ”  

             I wanted to see her.  I looked at Jacob hopefully.  I knew he was thrilled that my parents were away and he had me to himself.  He sighed.  “Nessie wants to see her.”

            I didn’t think it was possible for Quil’s smile to get any bigger, but it did.  “I’m sure Clare-bear would really like that.  Why don’t you come with us to the beach?”  He suggested. 

            I discretely pressed my hand to Jacob’s neck because I really wanted to go see Emily and her babies first.  I saw Jacob’s expression go flat, but I figured if he was willing to share me this afternoon I would see as many people as I could.

            “We’ll meet you in an hour.”  Jacob said.  I smiled and kissed his cheek.      

            “Great, we’ll see you guys then.”

            “Bye.”  I waved as Quil and Embry turned and walked out.

            I turned back to find Jacob’s disappointed face looking back at me.  

            “We don’t have to see the babies.  I guess it was kind of a stupid idea.  Sam and Emily probably don’t want me anywhere near them anyway.”  I suddenly remembered that I was a Cullen and Sam use to be the alpha of Jacob’s pack.  It probably would make him very anxious to have a vampire in his home and that close to his family, even just a half vampire. 

            “Of course they won’t mind.  What makes you think that?”

            “Well…you know, I’m a Cullen and Sam doesn’t really like me.”

            “Sam likes you just fine.  They both do, Nessie.  Everyone who meets you loves you.  You are completely irresistible.”  Jacob said giving me a kiss on the cheek. 

            I wasn’t convinced.  “But these are his children. Plus you gave me that look.”

            “What look?”

            “The ‘I don’t really like this idea’ look.”

            “That’s because I never get you to myself not because they don’t want you near their kids.”

            “Aw, have I been neglecting you?  I’m sorry.”  I asked teasingly and kissed his nose.

            He rolled his eyes.  “Let’s go before I change my mind.” 

 

            Jacob grabbed my hand as we pulled up to Sam’s house.  

            “You know I’m not going to hurt myself right.”  I grumbled at him.

            “Well, Bella is your mother.  I can’t take any chances.”  He glanced at me. 

            I rolled my eyes and sat there pouting as he stopped the car and turned it off.  He even held my hand a second after, just to annoy me.  We climbed out of the car at the same time Sam opened their front door.  He folded his arms and I gulped, not moving from the side of the car. 

            This was suddenly not a very good idea, he didn’t seem pleased to see us.  Although every time I remembered seeing Sam he had a hard expression.  Of course that could have had something to do with the fact that all those times he had been inside a house full of vampires.  But it was only a guess.

            Standing there looking between the two of them, a thought hit me.  How was it that Jacob and Sam had both been alphas?  I mean I knew there were two packs, but from what Billy told me of their history, there had only ever been one.  My eyes flashed back and for the between them but I wasn’t about to ask.  It just didn’t seem like quite the right moment for a question like that. 

            Jacob rounded the car and grabbed my hand gently leading me to the door.

            “Hello Jacob…Renesmee.”  Sam nodded.  Well, he didn’t sound angry.  But I was watching him intently because he hadn’t shifted his stance, that of blocking the entire door way.

            “Hi Sam.  We just wanted to come and congratulate you.”  Jacob said as we walked up to the house.  I nervously shifted sideways putting myself slightly behind him as we walked up the four porch stairs. 

            “Well thank you.”  Sam reached out his hand and Jacob took it, shaking it a couple of times.

            “It’s nice to see you again Sam.”  I tentatively smiled at him as he shook my hand.  “These are for you.”  I handed him the packet of diapers we picked up on the way over.  From what I heard, babies always needed diapers. 

            “Well, thank you again.  Please come in.”  He said smiling; his face seemed to soften.  He stepped aside and gestured for us to enter. 

            I clung to Jacob’s hand practically walking on his heel as I follow him into the house.  I could feel the butterflies protesting fiercely in my stomach.  Not because Sam could do anything to us, after all he no longer phased, but I didn’t like upsetting people.

            As soon as Sam closed the door the smell of baby filled my nose.  It was like nothing I had ever smelled before - so new so clean. 

            It was wonderful. 

            A soft cooing noise came from the living room and I craned my neck around Jacob to see what had made that beautiful sound.  I could feel the smile spreading across my face as my eyes fell on a tiny little round face cradled in his mother’s arms.  I hoped it didn’t look like I was thirsty because I really wanted to go over for a closer look.  I had never seen a baby close up before, let alone one this young.

            Still smiling, I looked up at Emily for permission and she smiled at me and nodded slightly.  Okay, they seemed to be fine with me here, but I had better be careful not to do anything to freak them out.  I slowly walked, even for human standards, over to the couch. 

            But I heard Sam move and I froze. 

            Oh no, did I look like I was going to do something?  I wasn’t thirsty.  I went hunting with my parents last night before they left.   But had he picked up on something?  I couldn’t exactly see my own face there weren’t any mirrors.

            I felt awkward just standing there stranded in the middle of the room.  I didn’t want to go forward but I didn’t want to suddenly retreat and give them the wrong impression. 

            I stood about four feet from Emily watching her eyes.  They flashed over to Sam and then down and then back to Benjamin.  They were calm.  In fact I could now hear five hearts beating in a calm, steady rhythm.    

            I looked at Benjamin.  He was sweet and so small and so helpless.  I could never even imagine hurting him.  But I wasn’t exactly something that should not be around innocent tiny babies either.

            As if he was confident nothing would happen, Benjamin’s little arm came out of the blanket and reached toward me.  I felt myself inhale sharply.  He was positively irresistible…not in a meal sort of way or anything.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I went straight over and knelt down in front of Emily.  She was smiling down at him.

            “Oh, I’m sorry my manners.  It’s nice to see you again Emily.”  I almost whispered afraid I was going to spook the baby.

            “Hello Renesmee.  My you’ve really grown.  I think the last time I saw you, you were only a little bigger than Levi is now.” 

            Benjamin was watching me.  “Hello Benjamin it’s nice to meet you.  You are such a beautiful baby.”  I said smiling at him.  He smiled back at me and gurgled.

            “Thank you.”  Emily said.

            I couldn’t stop smiling.  He was absolutely adorable.  He was the tiniest person I had ever seen.  Which was amazing considering his daddy was only slightly smaller than Jacob.  Benjamin had big round brown eyes that were so dark they almost looked black and took up most of his little face.  His skin was a lighter tone of russet than his parents and he had a full head of black hair, which was my favorite part. 

            Benjamin smiled at me again and I slowly lifted my finger to brush it against his cheek, thankful for once to not be as cold as the rest of my family.  “You are such a smiley baby.”  I looked back at Emily.   

            “Yes,” She was beaming.  “Ben is a very happy baby.”  Emily seemed okay with me touching him so I brought my finger down and tickled his round little belly.

            He grabbed my finger.  “Oh my…and strong too.”  I was a little shocked.  I had no idea someone so small could have such a firm grip.  I wondered if the phasing thing was going to show up in the next generation.

            I bet Jacob would make the most beautiful babies.  I reflexively looked back at him, still smiling.  He returned my smile.  Oh yes, absolutely beautiful babies.

            But before my imagination could get away, I saw a small movement to the right.  My eyes flickered over and were met by another pair of big black brown eyes.  Levi stood clutching his dad’s leg and looking at me curiously. 

             Oh my.  And I thought Ben was adorable.

             Levi stood just to the middle of Sam’s thigh.  His black hair hung down past his little ears and his cheeks were rounder than the rest of his face.  His little body was taking on the leanness of a toddler so he was not as round as his baby brother but his little tummy bulged like he had just eaten.  I was surprised by how much he looked like an exact miniature of Sam except his eyes, which were Emily’s.   

             I smiled at him.

             He smiled back and toddled away from his dad toward me.  I froze but Sam didn’t move to stop him.  Levi was about two feet away from me when he lost his balance and wobbled.  My hand instinctively flashed out and I caught him before he even started to fall.  I look up at Sam but he was just watching his son.  I looked back at Levi who was still smiling up at me. 

            His little arms reached for me and I heard myself asking. “Can I hold him?” 

            “Of course.”  I heard Emily say.

            I slowly lifted Levi up.  He weighted absolutely nothing so I was super gentle with him.  I didn’t want to squish him accidentally.  I froze my right arm so he was just sitting on it and held my left hand a centimeter from his back to keep him balanced.  Normal humans were fragile so I imagined babies were even more so. 

            He giggled and started chanting "Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!". 

            “That’s Levi’s favorite word at the moment.”  Sam informed us proudly.

            “Hi Levie!  I am very pleased to meet you.”  I said to him.  He grabbed a lock of my hair and started tugging.  “Oh I think you’re hair is more beautiful.”  I replied as I caressed his dark hair.  It was so soft and smooth and smelled like baby powder.  He seemed to like it because he let out a high pitched squeal of delight and clapped his hands together.  I giggled in return.  I wonder if all babies smile this much.   

            The hour went by too fast.  I sat there next to Emily with Levi in my lap pretty much the whole time.  I even got comfortable enough to kiss his little cheeks, which he seemed to love.  And every time I put him down he would climb right back up and play with my hair, my clothes, or my face while jabbering away.  He was so cuddle and wiggly.  I was having a blast…babies were so much fun.

            But I didn’t hold Ben.  He was too small and I didn’t want to push my luck.  So I just watched him and caressed his soft face or arms or tickled his little belly.  He seemed to like it because he would smile at me every time.  I wondered if it was because he was mimicking the rest of us or because he was actually happy.  I didn’t really know how babies worked.  No one in my family could have one and even thought I could remember being a baby, I hadn’t exactly been a normal human baby.

            We left with permission to visit again.  I was hoping tomorrow wouldn’t be too soon.  I was already completely in love with Ben and Levi.   

            Jacob placed his hand on my thigh and I started playing with his fingers as we drove to meet Quil and Claire at the beach.  I found myself watching him and thinking about how pretty his babies would be.  His son would be the cutest baby ever, no offence to Emily and Sam.  He would be the most beautiful baby boy and his name would be Caleb.  I liked that name.  And Caleb would have big round beautiful eyes like Jacob’s and the same russet color skin and a full head of black hair too.  And of course Jacob would let me play with him all the time. 

            I felt my cheeks pull up in a smile. 

            My Jacob…my Caleb.

            “What?”  Jacob asked.

            Oh carp, did I say that out loud?

            “What?”  I tried to look at him innocently but I could feel my cheeks warming with embarrassment.

            “Do I get to know what is making you smile from ear to ear?” 

            Oh thank goodness, that would have been completely embarrassing. 

            “Oh, I was just thinking how much fun I had.  Do you really think they meant it when they said I could visit again?”     

            “I don’t see why not you are a natural with kids, despite having never been around them.  They were smiling the whole time.  I don’t think babies normally do that.”

            “Well, it’s easy to let them do whatever they want.  They are so freaking cute.”                      

            “Nah, I’m thinking it’s because everyone who meets you loves you.  Like I said earlier, completely irresistible.”  He squeezed my hand.

            Thankfully we arrived at the beach because I could feel my cheeks growing hotter.  Unfortunately Jacob notice and ran his finger along them.  He leaned over and kissed them, which only succeeded in making me blush more. 

            We got out and I grabbed his hand as we walked out to find Quil and Claire. 

            It was easy to find the direction they were in we could hear them from the car.  They were a little ways away from the main tourist crowd.

            As we walked I caught sight of a woman staring at us.  I looked back up at Jacob.  He was slightly smiling and looking ahead.  I guess we did look like an odd pair; Jacob being six foot seven inches with black hair, dark eyes and tan skin and five foot four me with bronze hair, brown eyes and extra pale skin. 

            I let go of his hand and wrapped my arm around his waist.  Well so what.  I didn’t care how out of place we might have looked, Jacob was perfect the way he was. 

            “Watch this Quil!”  Claire’s high-pitched voice sang out above the roar of the waves.  She seemed to have grown much taller since the last time I saw her, which was not surprising since she must have been ten by now.  But it was hard to tell since my view of her was partially blocked by Quil.   

            “Be careful of the rocks.”  Quil warned.

            We walked up to find Quil standing with a tank top hanging out his back pocket, his hands in his front pockets and Claire a few steps away.  

            “Hey guys.”  He said without taking his eyes off Claire.  I was stunned by the was he was looking at her – like a man who was looking at the sun after being in the dark for too long.  I knew Quil was very fond of Claire, I had heard the term imprinted thrown around before, but I wasn’t exactly certain what that meant.  No one ever wanted to explain it to me and after a number of failed attempts at asking I just quit.  I looked over at Jacob who was smiling at Quil.   

            “Wow Quil, been working out?”  Jacob teased.

            “Yup, just for you big boy.”  He made kissing noises and then burst into a full applaud.

            “Wow that was awesome Claire.  When did you learn to do that?”  Claire had just done a perfect cartwheel. 

            “I just did it one day.”  Claire said grinning from ear to ear as she turned to Quil.  Her eyes fell on me and she seemed to shrink back.  She stopped smiling and her head tilted down slightly.  She bit her lower lip and put her hands behind her back. 

            Wow, I didn’t think she would be scared of me?  I found myself scooting behind Jacob again.  Did she know what I was?  Why would Quil suggest us meet them if he knew she would be afraid of me?  He should know better.  I started to tug gently on Jacob’s arm.       

            “Hey Claire.”  Jacob said ignoring me.

            “Hi Jacob.”  She said in a small voice.

            “Claire, this is Jacob’s Nessie.”  Quil said holding his hand out to her.  She went to him instantly, like a magnet.  “You’ve heard me talk about her before.” 

            Claire nodded.  She stood up to Quil’s chest and was slender except for her round face.  Her black hair was past her shoulders and tied back at the nap of her neck.  Her skin was a darker shade than Quil or Jacob’s but it looked more like she just had a tan.  She was wearing little jean shorts with butterflies on them and a purple shirt  with a matching butterfly on it.

            “That was amazing.  You are going to have to show me how to do that.”  I said trying to reassure her.  Her eyes widened, her little cheeks turned pink and she looked down and started shuffling her foot back and forth.  Then I realized she was shy, not afraid of me.  Well that certainly makes me feel better.

            “Thank you.”  She said quietly.  “It’s nice to meet you Nessie.”  She said with a little more confidence now that she was holding Quil’s hand.  She seemed to really trust him.                

            “It’s nice to meet you too Claire.”  I had completely grown up since the last time I

had seen her so she probably didn’t connect the dots.  She looked at me again and I couldn’t help but smile.  Her shyness made it hard not to instantly like her.

            She smiled back at me. 

            “They are going to hang out with us at today.”  Quil informed her.  Despite her first reaction, her eyes seemed to light up.

            “You’re going to have to show me how to do that cartwheel.  It was really cool.”  I said again.   

            “Oh it was nothing.  They are really easy.”

            “What do you mean nothing?  That was awesome Claire-bear.”  Quil repeated. 

            She beamed at his complement.  It was fascinating to see how he knew exactly what she needed to hear.     

            We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach.  Claire was shy at first but once she warmed up to me, she talked nonstop.  After about ten minutes she was holding my hand and we were walking a few paces in front of Quil and Jacob. 

            She told me how she just turned ten and going into the fifth grade.  She went on about all the subjects she would be taking and that science was her favorite.  She was going to spend the entire summer with her Quil at the beach and her annoying little sister wasn’t allowed to play with them.  I chuckled to myself at how possessive she was with him. 

            Her favorite color was purple and that was the color of her bedspread.  She wanted to have her room that color, but she shared a room with her sister whose favorite color was yellow.  So they had a boring tan wall.  But when she grew up everything in her house was going to be purple.

            I heard Jacob elbow Quil and laugh.  “Hope you like purple man.”  He said in a low voice so Claire wouldn’t hear.  I looked back at them, not sure what they meant, but they both only smiled at me and Jacob held up his hand and waved his fingers at me. 

            Then Claire launched into a succession of questions about me.  What was my favorite color?  What did my room look like?  Could she come see it?  What was my favorite subject in school?  What grade was I in?  Did I have any annoying little sisters?  What was my favorite subject?  And on and on.

            “Do you have a boyfriend?”  She asked after momentarily pausing.   

            “Oh er…um…no.”  Her question caught me off guard.  And here I just thought she had run out of questions.  Boy I was wrong.

            “Really?”  She looked at me skeptically. “You are really pretty and pretty girls always have boyfriends.”

            “Oh well thank you but…”  This was getting really awkward and I needed to quickly change the subject, especially since Jacob was right behind us.  I’m not sure why but I felt very nervous knowing he was within earshot of this conversation. “Wanna race?”  I asked.   

            “Okay.”  She said and took off.  I caught up with her but stayed just behind, letting her lead without letting her get too far away.  She ran faster and I trailed behind feigning being tired.  We had gone far enough from Quil and Jacob.  Jacob wouldn’t care but I wasn’t sure if Quil wanted her running all the way over to the cliffs.

            “You are too fast for me.”  I called after her.

            She stopped and laughed.  Panting, she waved me to her.  “Can I tell you a secret?”  She whispered and glanced back at Quil and Jacob.  I knew they could still hear us, but of course they pretended they couldn’t. 

            I wonder to what extent Claire knew what Quil was and what that meant.  Jacob told me everything about the pack but I was older than she was.  Well, development wise…technically I had been born almost seven years ago.

            “Okay.” I whispered back and leaned down. 

            “Quil’s going to be my boyfriend some day.”  She whispered out of breath.  

            I fought to keep my mouth from dropping open.  Wasn’t she too young to be thinking this?  She had just turned ten.  I mean when I was at that stage I never thought about having a boyfriend.  Heck, I had never even thought about that now.  I felt a little uncomfortable but she was looking at me hopefully. 

            “Well, he is really cool.  I think he’ll be a good boyfriend someday…but, aren’t you a little young to have a boyfriend?”  I whispered back.

            “Oh I don’t want him to be my boyfriend till I get to high school because that’s when you have boyfriends.  But you can’t tell him.”  She got all serious.

            “I promise I won’t say a word.”  I held my finger to my lips.

            “And don’t tell Jacob because he’ll tell Quil.”

            “Not a word to anyone.”  I pretended to zip my lips, lock them and throw away the key.       

            She glanced back at Quil and her little cheeks turned pinker.  He and Jacob had turned off and were looking at the water.  I could hear they weren’t actually saying anything but I could see the smile playing on Quil’s lips. 

            I felt my face frown with disapproval.  Shame on him, he shouldn’t be listening in.  I looked over at Jacob as he looked at me with an amused look on his face.  I knew he heard the entire conversation too and I had no idea why but it made me feel very self- conscious as he smiled at me. 

            I never felt that way around Jacob before.  I didn’t really like it.

            “Hey, climb on.”  I turned for her to climb on my back and I carried her back to the guys.  She was only a few inches shorter than me, but of course I was much stronger than a normal human so she weighed nothing at all. 

            As we approached she dropped off and ran to Quil. “Now my Quil.”  She leapt onto his back and he went racing off. 

            It looked like fun so I hopped up onto Jacob’s back.  I didn’t want him to go racing off so he just walked slowly toward where Quil had run into the water with Claire squealing and giggling on his back. 

            My mind drifted to the topics of boyfriends.  A boyfriend?  The thought had never even crossed my mind before.  But as Claire just pointed out I was now in high school, I guess it was time for me to start thinking about it. 

            I wonder if Jacob ever thought about having a girlfriend.  Of course I couldn’t picture him with anyone…he was too good for all the girls I had ever seen him near.  But couldn’t help but wonder if he even wanted one.  I guess it would be okay if he did but I hadn’t ever really seen him look at girls let alone pay any attention to them. 

            I couldn’t believe that Claire thought about this.  She was ten.  I mean it was really cute…she was really cute…but still.  I hugged Jacob tightly and laid my chin on his shoulder, thinking about how it would be nice to have a little sister to share these thoughts with.  I knew my parents couldn’t have kids anymore so I would forever be an only child. 

            As if he knew where my thoughts were, he turned his head and kissed my arm.  I inhaled.  I could think about that later.  I would just pretend Claire was my little sister for now, obviously she was eager to talk about things.

            “I’m getting hungry.  Aren’t you Claire-bear?”  Quil asked.  She stood there quietly eyeing him, probably debating whether she was ready to leave the beach or not. 

            “We can come back after.”  He coaxed.  I couldn’t help but smile, he really cared about her.  She would have stayed out here all day not even thinking twice about eating and teenage boys, no matter how long they have been teenagers, weren’t exactly the most responsible group of people. 

           “Are Nessie and Jacob coming with us?”

            “Oh honey, we promised to eat with Billy.”  I lied; that was not something she needed know about.  But her little face fell so I added.  “But we will come back and play with you again tomorrow.  And I promise you can come over to see my room another time.”  When my vampire family was out hunting so Quil wouldn’t have a heart attack. 

            “Alright.”  She said and grabbed Quil’s outstretched hand.

            We dropped them off at Clair’s house.  Jacob wasn’t thrilled when I told him my idea of having Seth, Embry, Quil and Billy over to cook for them.  I hadn’t done that in a while and I liked to. 

            We headed for his house to get Billy.

            “Oh great.”  Jacob said as we pulled up next to an older white Honda Accord parked in the front of his house. 

            “What?”  I asked.  Of course I had no idea who the car belonged to.

            “Rachel and Paul are here.”  He groaned.

            “Really?”  Rachel was one of Jacob’s older sisters and Paul was one of Jacob’s former pack brothers.  I had never met either sister and I only had seen Paul twice and one of those times was in his wolf form.  For some reason there was tension between him and Jacob.  I guess it was because of how Paul married Jacob’s sister. 

            They had both moved to Seattle when Rachel got a job.  I think they both worked up there now too.  They also got married there at some courthouse without telling anyone and only two of her friends as witnesses.  That didn’t sit well with Jacob or Billy.  But Jacob never talked about it so I never brought it up.      

            “I wonder what they want.”  At least he didn’t sound angry.

            I just shrugged even though I knew he wasn’t expecting me to have an answer.  I wasn’t my dad…though dad would have been handy to have right at this moment.  He could have told us but I didn’t bring that up.  Jacob seemed annoyed enough.

            Jacob grabbed my hand as we entered the house.  Paul was sitting on the couch flipping the channels and Rachel, I deduced through my superb reasoning skills and the fact that she was the only other female in the room, was sitting at the kitchen table with Billy.  She was fidgety but Billy seemed to be completely at ease. 

            He was probably just happy to see his daughter.

            Her features were long and thin compared to Jacob’s.  I guessed she looked more like their mother.  She was actually very pretty the longer I looked at her.  She had a more reddish tone to her skin and she was tall and slender; real graceful looking even though she was sitting.  Her long black hair hung loosely down past her shoulders.

            “What are you two doing down here?”  Jacob asked without taking another step into the house beyond the initial step we had already taken. 

            “That’s no way to greet your sister.”  Billy said.  

            “Whoa…this is Jacob’s Nessie?” Rachel’s eyes widened as she looked me over ignoring Jacob’s lack of manners.  Actually, it felt more like sizing me up.  I felt my face growing hot and I slid closer to Jacob.  After all Jacob was her baby brother, what if she didn’t like me?  “How did you land her Jake?  She’s way out of your league.” 

            Paul snorted from the couch.

            For some reason that irritated me and I frowned.  How could she say that about my Jacob?  “No one is good enough for my Jacob.”  I snapped.  Rachel lifted her eyebrows and I could see the corner of her mouth twitch.  Did she think I was joking?  I felt my eyes narrow.  Jacob squeezed my hand and I instantly looked up at him hoping I hadn’t started growling without knowing it.  That would have been really embarrassing. Rachel was his sister.

            “Rachel has some news for us.”  Billy said quickly trying to defuse the situation.

            “Yes,” Rachel said turned to smile at Billy.  “Dad, I’m pregnant.” 

            Oh wow and I didn’t think it could get any more awkward in here.  I saw Jacob’s mouth drop out of the corner of my eyes.  I know they were not expecting this…who would be? 

            No one said anything and I could see Rachel’s face fall as her eyes darted back and forth between Jacob and Billy. 

            All of a sudden I felt bad for her.  She was obviously really happy about her news…and this was very exciting news.  They shouldn’t ruin this for her by holding some silly grudge about her and Paul getting married without telling anyone. 

            That was just wrong.

            Without thinking I rushed over to her, wrapped my arms around her shoulders and kissed her cheek.  “Congratulations!”  I didn’t have to put that much excitement into my voice, I really was happy for her. 

            “Oh my.” She gasped. 

            I let go.  “Oh I’m sorry.  Sorry baby.”  I said craning my head down, which made Rachel giggle a little.  

            That seemed to break the silence.

            “Well, how do you like that…I’m going to be a grandpa again.”  Billy said smiling hugely.

            “Please tell me Kim isn’t pregnant too.”  Jacob grumbled.

            “Jacob.”  I snapped.  Sometimes he could be just plain rude.

            “Not that I know of.”  Paul said walking into the kitchen.  He placed his hands on Rachel’s shoulders and started rubbing them.  They looked at each other and I smiled…they seemed so happy.

            “When are you due?”  I asked knowing Jacob and Billy wouldn’t know the right questions to ask.

            “Early December.”  She said.   

            “Have you thought about names yet?  Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?  What if you have twins?  Does that even run in your family?”  I couldn’t stop myself.  I was actually giddy.  I didn’t know why, though, it was not like the baby was related to me or anything.

            “Well um, we haven’t really thought a lot about it.  We were kind of in shock until now.  But I’m pretty sure we won’t be having twins.  And we still won't know the gender for a few more weeks.”  She lifted her hand and placed it on Paul’s.

            I was glad the rest of the afternoon was filled with chatting and laughter.   

 

            I climbed onto the couch next to Jacob after having finished cleaning up the kitchen.  Esme was thrilled to have everyone over and together we cooked a huge eight course meal, which was completely gone.  I asked if Rachel and Paul wanted to come to dinner but they said they needed to get going before it got too dark.  Apparently being pregnant makes you sleepier than usual.

            After the guys were all done, I told Esme I would clean up everything and made her go upstairs.  I could hear her now humming at her design table.  Carlisle was in his study, Alice and Jasper were hunting, and Emmet and Rosalie were playing chess.  Billy sat quietly in his chair as the guys put on some action movie.  They loved the surround sound. 

            “You are a mighty good cook Nessie, considering your diet.”  Billy chuckled as I nestled myself under Jacob’s arm.

            “Thank you. Grandma Esme and my dad taught me.”  I had actually made them teach me after I had seen that awful stuff they tried to pass off as food at the cafeteria at Jacob’s college.  It was worse than regular human food and I just couldn’t let him eat that.  But since he preferred to hunt with me, I rarely got to cook for him. 

            “She’s the best.”  Jacob said rubbing his stomach and kissing the top of my head.  He had eaten about five heaping plates full.  I rubbed my hand over his stomach and was shocked…and a little pleased…to feel how hard his muscles were.  I had never noticed it before, not like this anyway.

            What was that saying…like a washboard. 

            I had never paid much attention but Jacob had a really nice body.  Aside from being freakishly tall, he had nice long lean arm and leg muscles.  He wasn’t at all gangly like tall people can be; he was completely proportionate.  And he moved so gracefully.  His shoulders were broad and muscular too, making his waist look slim and giving his torso a slight upside down triangle look. 

            I looked up at his face.  He kept his hair slightly shaggy and kind of spiky, which I really liked.  I had seen a lot of the guys at his and my parents’ colleges with his hair style.  If I didn’t know that he just looked like that, I would have thought he had purposefully styled his hair like they did. 

            And he had a beautiful golden tone to his skin.  I glanced at Billy.  His was reddish like Rachel’s.  So Jacob must have gotten his skin color from his mom. 

            But his eyes were what I loved the most.  What was it about them that made it hard to look away?  I stared at them until he looked at me, smiled, and kissed my forehead.  To my embarrassment, I realized my hand was still tracing the shape of his stomach muscles.

            I pulled it away and felt my face grow hot.  I looked down but couldn’t stop myself from thinking about how nice they were and that I wanted to keep touching them.  I wonder how it is that his stomach didn’t bulge like little Levi’s did even though he had eaten a ton.  But then I guessed none of the other guys did either so it was probably a wolf thing.

            “Jacob,” Thinking of Levi made me suddenly remembered I wanted to ask him about the two alphas.  “How did there end up being two packs?  I thought there was only suppose to be one.”  Everyone grew suddenly entirely still.  I even noticed Esme had stopped humming upstairs. 

            I sat frozen for a moment straining to hear something, but couldn’t hear or smell anything unusual.  Okay, did I say something wrong?  I looked around at everyone.  Rose and Emmet were staring at each other and Quil and Embry were looking at the floor; even Seth and Billy were just staring at Jacob. 

            What was going on?  Was I not supposed to ask that?  Jacob always told me everything about that pack.  He never said I couldn’t ask him anything.  I even knew that Embry was Sam’s half brother. 

            I looked at him and he had a weird look on his face. 

            “Um, well…Sam and I never…we ah…” Jacob fumbled over his words as he lifted his hand to scratch the back of his head.  “Well you see Sam was the first one of us to start phasing.  So it just made sense he was the alpha.  But since my great grandfather Ephraim Black had been the last chief of the Quileutes, technically that right was supposed to pass to me.  I hadn’t wanted it at first and was happy to let Sam have it.  But then we got into an…um, a disagreement.” 

            “A fight?”  I asked.

            He shrugged.  “The alpha thing is kind of permanent.  We can’t really turn it off or anything.  Since he was already the alpha and it was my birth right it just kind of happened.”  Jacob answered. 

            Well that seemed like a flimsy reason.  I frowned at him but he just watched me without saying another word.  “What were you fighting about?”  This time I saw Emmet and Rose look at Jacob. 

            Seriously, what was going on?

            “Jacob had a hard time following the rules.”  Seth answered.

            “Only the crazy ones.”  Jacob mumbled.  I blinked at him then smiled.  That sounded like my Jacob.  He had a small issue with authority figures. 

            “Yeah I can see that.  Poor Sam probably had a heck of a time with you.”  I poked Jacob in the ribs and he noticeably relaxed.  I heard Esme start humming again and Rose moved her piece and called check mate.

            “You don’t know the half of it.”  Quil said.  Jacob shot him a glance. 

            “What kinds of things did you do to upset Sam?”   

            “Well for one thing he told Bella about us after we had a direct order not to tell anyone.”  Embry piped up.

            “She figured it out.”  Jacob protested.

            “Yeah, after you told her.” 

            “Hey, how was I supposed to know the legends were all true?”

            They went back and forth like that for a little while and then went back to watching the movie.  I noticed Rose and Emmet go quietly upstairs while this exchange was going on.  I heard them talking with Carlisle and Esme but I couldn’t hear what they were saying.  I got the distinct impression there was something they didn’t want me to know about Jacob’s story.  After straining to listen I gave up.  I learned a while ago that if my family didn’t want me to know something there was a slim chance I would find out. 

            After the movie, everyone went home and I sat alone.  I had not moved from the couch, waiting for Jacob to return from taking Billy home.  My mind was going over what happened when I ask Jacob about the alphas. 

            Why did everyone act so weird like that?  I mean they were all there I’m sure they knew how there ended up being two packs.  It couldn’t have been that long ago from what Jacob was saying.  Maybe since the pack and my family weren’t friends at that time and they were not privy to that information.

            I knew Jacob had told me the truth.  I could read his expressions like words on a page after all…most of the time anyway.  He did have a really good poker face.  But his eyes were clear…well aside from that bizarre look that flashed across his face at first.

            I had never seen that expression before.  It was like a mixture of pain, anger, fear and embarrassment all rolled into one.  It looked like a lot of emotion was behind it.  Maybe I should be more careful when I asked questions like that.  I mean I know we didn’t keep secrets in this family but I didn’t like how hurt he looked.      

            His face flashed into my head and I shook my head to get it out.  No, I definitely didn’t like the pain mixed in there.  So to distract myself, I started planning the rest of the summer.  I wanted to go to La Push as many days as I could.  We definitely wouldn’t have many sunny days as today - those were few and far between – but it would still be fun.  I wanted to see my adopted little sister and my wonderful little babies as much as I could.

            I heard the Volvo pull in the driveway.  Oh and we would have to get Jacob’s old Rabbit started again. 

           Jacob walked in about a minute later.

           “What took you so long?”

            “Billy wanted to chat about being a grandpa.”  He walked over and plopped down, laying his head on my lap.  I rested one hand on his chest, which he instantly grabbed, and started combing my fingers of my other hand through his hair.  His eyes half closed. 

            “So, are you excited about being an uncle?”  I asked.

            “I don’t know.”  I felt him shrug.  “I guess I don’t really have a choice.”  Translation, I don’t really like the fact that Paul married my sister in the first place and like it even less that she’s knocked up.

            “They seem really happy.”  I pointed out.

            “Yeah I know.”  He paused a moment then the corner of his mouth pulled up into a half smile.  “I guess it will be kind of cool to be able to play with this niece or nephew.”  Jacob’s other sister lived in Hawaii so they didn’t make it to the main land all that often.     

            “Of course it will.  You’ll be the best uncle too.”  I smiled down at him and kissed his forehead.  “Oh and I planned out the entire summer.”

            “I know you did.”  He smiled up at me.  He was use to that particular character trait of mine.  I had planned out every class for every semester he was in school.  Of course it was so I could spend the most time with him, but I never told him that.  “So what are we doing?”

            “Well, I was thinking we need to go see Ben, Levi and Claire as much as possible.”  He stopped smiling at that.  I knew he wasn’t going to like the idea of spending a lot of time in La Push.  “But, first we are trying to get your old Rabbit started again.  I could help.  And if it doesn’t work then we can just build a different car since you have a problem with driving your Maserati to La Push.” 

            “Now that’s a great idea.”  His smile returned.  He sat up and in one quick movement picked me up and lied back down with me wrapped in his arms.  He kissed my cheek twice.  “But then any plan where I get to spend more time with you is a great plan.”

            We talked a while before falling asleep on the couch like that.   

 

            The rest of the summer went exactly as I had planned.  We started by rebuilding Jacob’s old Rabbit.  I had to bribe Rosalie with some hot off the runway Versace to keep her out of the garage till we finished.  I actually wanted Jacob to enjoy this. 

            I thought we would be using all new parts and had all kinds of websites pulled up but he insisted we go to the dump to see what we could find first, much to my surprise.  And even though we had gone tromping around in ankle deep mud for two whole days, I actually had a great time.  Most of that was because I loved seeing how happy this made him.  But then I always had a great time with him so I really shouldn’t have been surprised. 

            Once the car was done, which took us about a week, we were either at La Push or we were taking my Ferrari or his Maserati for a drive along the coast.   

            Emily and Sam were happy to have us visit and didn’t seem to mind that we were there pretty much every other day.  I had even convinced them a few times to let us baby sit, much to Jacob’s shock and dismay, so they could go and have date night.

            And Claire was attached to my hip whenever we saw her, which I loved every moment of.  We even had two slumber parties when, my family wasn’t there of course, that lasted all weekend.  Quil stayed over too.  Claire would fall asleep in his arms every night and I carried her up to my room.  She had woken up that first night with a bad dream and asked me to stay with her.  After that she slept curled up in my arms whenever she stayed over. 

            Those were the only nights I stayed in my own bed without Jacob, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t sleep then anyway.  I watched Claire’s innocent face, which amazingly looked even younger while she slept.  I would lye there wondering if it would ever be okay to tell her what I really was.  

            It was dangerous for normal humans to know about us, but being so connected with the pack she might actually be okay.  She knew about the pack, of course, she just wasn’t told everything yet.  And she certainly didn’t know about my family.  I really hoped that didn’t change when she found out.

            Even if I was what her nightmares were made of, I really loved her.

 

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