Renesmee sighed as she entered the room. She hated this time of day - the time when Edward and I finally made Jacob leave. Nessie - or so everyone had begun to call my daughter - would spend every waking moment with Jacob if she could. But she was still growing - at an extremely fast rate, mind you - and needed her rest before she had her lesson with Edward in the morning. Edward and I had decided that it was probably a much safer idea to home school Nessie rather than send her to public school where she would be a second grader at the age of two.
I was overjoyed that Jacob made my daughter so happy, and it pained me to see that being away from him hurt her. I wanted to cheer her up, but I got the feeling that only Jacob could do that now.
I got up from the couch and walked to where she stood, her head leaning on the doorframe. I bent down, grabbed her around her waist, and swung her over my shoulder. I knew it was a futile attempt, but I figured I could at least get a giggle out of my usually bubbly girl. Nope. Nothing. She just sighed again as I swung her down into my arms and sat down on the couch again with her on my lap.
"I know you miss him, but you spent thirteen consecutive hours with him today," I said, a small smile forming on my lips. Jacob always made Renesmee so happy. The smile that placed itself on her face when he was around was so genuine and joy filled that it could light up the entire continent.
But it was gone now, and I missed it terribly.
"It's still not enough," she said half-heartedly.
"I know Ness, but you'll see him tomorrow. And you know what they say. 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'" I smiled encouragingly. She smiled at the thought but as quickly as her face had brightened, it became very serious.
"Uh, mom? Don't be mad at Jake, ok?" She was silent as she lifted her hand and placed it lightly on my cheek. Now I was scared. What would Jacob have done to make me mad at him? Her hand touched my cheek and Jacob's image filled my mind. I was sure that this was Nessie's memory, but it looked oddly familiar. Jacob was leaning in on the memory, and the memory was leaning towards Jacob. Now I realized where I'd seen this before. This was the image that filled had filled my soul the day Jacob kissed me. But this wasn't my memory. It was my two-year-old daughter's memory.
"Edward! Get up here!" I shouted. I didn't need to, because he would've heard me anyway, but I needed to scream or I felt I may punch through my favorite coffee table.
"What is it, love?" he whispered next to me. I took Renesmee's hand off my cheek and placed it on Edward's
"Show daddy what you just showed me." I tried to say it calmly, but my voice cracked with slight hysteria towards the end. Renesmee's gift was incredible. I wasn't sure if I would ever get over my astonishment of her fascinating ability.
I watched Edward's perfect face contort with confusion then rage then serenity - false serenity.
"He kissed you?" he tried to keep calm but his voice had the same edge that mine had.
"Not on my lips. Just my cheek.” she said innocently. It was times like these that I wished Maggie had stayed around a bit longer. I wanted to believe Nessie, but knowing Jacob....
Edward looked like he was ready to kill. It was only then that I realized my hand had entwined with his and that he was probably reading my thoughts right now. It was such a natural reaction - whenever Edward was near my hand seemed to snake its way into his. I put my other hand on his arm. "Not now, Edward. We need to talk in private.” I met his burning gaze and nodded firmly.
“Alright Miss. Cullen, did you finish that essay yet?” I asked, so obviously trying to take Edward’s mind off the situation for a moment. She looked so grateful for the fact that I changed the subject that I had to fight off a laugh.
“No. But I only have one more paragraph and it isn’t due until next Wednesday. Right daddy?” she replied in a very knowledgeable tone.
“Yes that’s correct Miss. Cullen. But today is Tuesday and it eight o’clock at night,” said Edward smiling my favorite crooked smile.
“Crap,” she muttered. She’d obviously thought she had more time.
“Yeah, why don’t you go finish that while daddy and I talk about . . . grown-up things,” I said in my ‘maternal’ tone. I looked to Edward who was looking at Renesmee then jerked his chin towards her room. She hurried out, happy to avoid being part of the following conversation. I watched her go blissfully. She was so young and so in love. I was seventeen before I found out that happiness such as the one I felt with Edward could exist – forever.
Those past years at Forks High School seemed so far away now. That first day that I had met Edward I was almost … frightened by him. He had seemed somewhat …. intimidating. It was exceptionally hard to find Edward frightening now. Just the thought of it made me want to laugh. Edward? Frightening? A small laugh did escape my lips this time.
Edward’s face turned fierce – deadly fierce.
“There is absolutely nothing humorous about this.” He snarled at me. I smiled and got up. I locked my arms around his neck and pulled myself up so that I could peck him on his lips.
“What? You knew this was going to happen eventually, and it was just her cheek.” I added kissing his cheek. I clung to him as he led the way down the stairs and through the hallway to our room. He paused outside our doorway and put his hand on my cheek and said, “Yes Bella, this time. This time it was just her cheek. But you know Jacob. He’ll just keep pushing, pushing, and pushing his luck until…. He’s going to go too far one of these days.” He was right. I did know Jacob and I knew how persistent he would be. I took his hand off my cheek and placed it in both of mine.
“Look, I’ll talk to him. I know I can get through to him and set some clear lines. Such as none of that kind of physical contact until she's physically 16. I’ll make sure he gets it straight before anything else has a chance to run through his head.” I said stepping closer to Edward. I molded myself into him and inhaled his sweet smell. “It’ll work out.” I promised into his chest.
“I know it will,” he whispered into my hair. He took my chin in his hand and pulled my face up so that our lips were centimeters apart. His breath shattered my thoughts. Nothing in my head was coherent except for the fact that the love of my existence was a mere inch from me and he wanted me just as much as I wanted him. I completely lost my concentration. All the thoughts of Jacob and Renesmee were washed from my head. All that mattered was the perfect creature that stood in front of me. He brought my lips to his and kissed me the way I loved. No limitations, no boundaries, and best of all, no caution. My mortality wasn’t an issue now, so he didn’t have to worry about hurting me when he kissed me. It felt remarkable to feel that magnetic pull that drew me to him when he kissed me this way. I’m sure that if it could’ve my heart would’ve been beating twice its human rate.
We stood there for a few moments as his lips moved effortlessly with mine. When I finally broke away, we were both breathing hard.
“He-hem,” a small sound came from the base of the stairs. “I was coming down to tell you that I finished my essay, but if you two are busy with something….. I’ll come back later.” She smiled and began turning towards the stairs.
“Nice try, Nessie. Let’s see it.” I held out my hand and she placed her essay in front of me. I took it and began reading it over. It was good, very well summarized. She had been assigned to write about one of her family members. She chose her father. I nodded my approval and handed it back to her.
“Comma there and a hyphen here, but other than that it’s very good.” I smiled and kissed her on the cheek. Edward took my hand and I took Renesmee’s. She looked extremely nervous, but followed us reluctantly into our room. I sat on our bed and pulled Renesmee into my lap.
“Now listen. We’re not mad at you – nor are we mad at Jacob. It’s just that… well technically… you’re only two, Ness. And quite frankly we don’t want Jacob…kissing you yet.” I said honestly. This was much harder to do than I thought it was going to be. “It’s just that –“Edward put up his hand to silence me.
“Guess who’s here?” he said, a smile in his voice. I groaned. Time to set him straight. If I thought it was hard talking to my own daughter about this, I could only imagine what it would be like to talk about it with Jacob. I took Edward’s hand and let my shield down. What am I going to say to him? ‘Gee Jake could you not kiss my two-year-old anymore?’ help!! I needed more time. Edward squeezed my hand.
“Relax. It’s not him. It’s –“ then we heard the doorbell ring and Renesmee went to answer it.
“Alice!!” she trilled. Thank god. I started breathing again. Alice would help me find the right words to say to Jacob when the time came. And in the meantime, she was always so fun to be around. I went downstairs to greet her.
“Bella!” she called excitedly. “I just thought I’d pop in. it’s not a bad time is it?” she asked curiously.
“It’s never a bad time when you’re here Alice. You know you’re always welcome.” I smiled and put my arm around her shoulder. I loved when Alice came over. She was always the best company. She made you forget all your problems and focus in on the present. I almost completely forgot about Jacob and Renesmee in the thirty minutes that we sat in the living room conversing. Then she switched topics suddenly.
“So what are you going to do about the mutt?” she inquired, suddenly serious. How had she… well she was Alice.
“We’re simply going to lay down the guidelines and if he can’t comply… he’ll have to deal with me.” It strange how threatening Edward could sound when he remained so calm. Alice frowned.
“You had better be ready to lay them down fairly quickly then. He’ll be here in a few minutes to see Nessie.” I froze. A few minutes? That wasn’t long enough. I needed more time. I grabbed Edward’s hand. Help!!!