Jacob had slightly grown out his hair – lucky him, he still tends to grow hair. In what places, I would never feel the need to know. That would be forever his personal information, and to Edward’s dread, likely Renesmee’s. His dark, chocolate brown hair was long enough for Renesmee to wind her fingers through, with the strands actually staying rather than springing back into place like bendable pencils. I didn’t think he had cut it since last Christmas.
The wolf stood in the corner of the room, Renesmee holding his hand from the back, attempting to tug him away but apparently he wasn’t moving. He stood like a … like a vampire, ignoring Renesmee’s chances of escape.
‘Hi.’ I said firmly, grinning through clenched teeth. Edward was stiff, still with his back to Jake and his eyes darkening. I hated it when he did this, made a completely uncomplicated situation complicated.
I locked eyes with my daughter and she looked from me, to Edward and back again. I nodded and she ran off down the stairs. Despite it probably killing Jacob that she’d run off, he remained and was walking towards me. I raised a hand for him to stop and stepped out from around Edward kicking his shin whilst giving him an irritated look. He turned around and looked anywhere but at my best friend.
‘Um, how are you?’ I asked nervously, feeling chilly even though it was in my nature to be constantly cold. I had to be careful when I went to visit my father and Sue that I was always wearing a piece of clothing which covered my arms. Unfortunately, I could never where a scarf over my face, and Charlie had to believe that I was cold every time he hugged me goodbye or something else. Which was not always a lie, Edward did inform me that during the first years of immortality a newborn could notice the cold more than any other vampire that had lived for hundreds of years. But most of the time, I forced myself to say the words and forever sulk over the guilt of constantly lying to the closest biological member of my family.
‘Pretty good. The pack’s doing well, we’ve got a few new recruits and Sam finally got Adam settled down after his rage. Luckily, no one got hurt.’ Jake had his hands in his front pockets and was rocking to and from the balls and heels of his feet. If I were human and didn’t enjoy standing frozen still so much I daydream of it, I would be doing the same thing. This particular situation, with Edward being weird and Jake trying to lighten the mood, was becoming slightly awkward.
‘I’m glad. How many now?’
‘Well, Paul’s still deciding whether to take off or not. Sam’s trying to convince him to stay but he flips every time he tries. But, if you include him, twenty-three.’
I named off all of the ones I knew Sam Uley, Paul, Jared, Embry, Adam, but got lost somewhere and had nearly half that I couldn’t name. The new wolves must be young or strangers because Jake had never mentioned them before. Actually, we didn’t really talk about his wolf life, because most of the time, Renesmee was near and she didn’t like to think that so many wolves were packed together in one large group.
‘So, what’s the deal with Alpha? Is it Sam or you, or are Leah and Seth still in a separate pack with you?’ I padded over to the couch and he followed me, Edward remaining perfectly still, his eyebrows crumpled together as one. I could tell he was having the same issues as I had earlier: trying to figure out who all these new wolves were.
‘It’s complicated. Sam doesn’t want me to be under him but he also doesn’t want to give up his leadership. But even still, I’m not sure I want to be Alpha. Leah and Seth are my best buds and we were all sort of working together. Well, Leah and I were because Seth-‘
That was when Edward coughed and butted in, defending Seth. The young Clearwater was his favourite wolf and probably the only one he liked. Quite regularly they would race in the woods when they ran into each other because Jacob’s pack – the formation of three wolves – were still allowed in Cullen territory. Leah kept her distance, Jake nearly never left and Seth was half and half.
‘If I were you, Jacob, I wouldn’t underestimate the young wolf. He would have some skills that not even you would know of. It’s called immaturity.’
Jake chuckled and stood to challenge Edward. I gulped and felt the venom rushing around under my tongue. I swallowed down the fiery, sweet liquids and focused on keeping both of the boys I loved in one piece.
‘I think parts of Seth are much stronger than you, but let us not go into detail-‘
‘Boys,’ I growled, stepping in between them with one hand on Edward’s cold, hard chest and Jacob’s warm and heart-beating chest. It was amazing to feel the difference immediately radiate through me. I felt the skin on my hand, which touched Jacob’s thin shirt and dress tie wobble slightly and I dropped my hand feeling a touch of pain. Funny, would be a way to explain it because since the change, I’d never experienced anything like this. I wasn’t sure I liked the feeling and released Edward almost as quickly as I had Jacob as so not to let either one know I was struggling.
‘Bella!’ Alice screamed in her high voice from below. I shook my head in anger and stomped my foot dramatically. Both boys laughed and I scowled at them, individually. At least Jake had been kind at first – I’d quarrel with Edward later. I knew I wouldn’t get very far before the sound of his voice changed my mind and his kisses stopped me from saying anything else, but with this new vampire strength I could restrain a little more than before I was pure evil … Edward’s words, not mine.
‘Fine. I’m coming. Jake, I’ll see you at the wedding?’
My wolf friend nodded and grinned at me. I hugged him briefly and rushed off downstairs to face Alice and her toolbox of fashion equipment. I didn’t even turn back to look at Edward. The guilt swelled over me as soon as Alice sat me down and began rattling on about Sue’s dress.
An hour later, Alice was through with me. She’d painted on a new face and dressed me in a black dress which I thought wasn’t very traditional seeing as it was a wedding. I felt bad for Sue because she was wearing a white wedding dress and with this lace piece Alice bought for me, I’d catch all the attention. I wanted to curl up underground and sulk but my father was about to get married.
Being the daughter of the groom, I unfortunately had to stand beside my father and smile for a whole half and hour while the old man babbled on about love – all things I’d heard before. The human version was strange to hear, however. It wasn’t ‘as long as we both shall live’ but ‘until death do us part’ and it wasn’t a vampire kissing a human into the rest of their lives, but just Charlie kissing the former widow Sue Clearwater.
I caught Edward’s eye at the back as he videoed with a hand camera and he winked. I struggled to remain still, as the sneaky things he did never failed to knock me off of my feet, and when I looked at Renesmee sitting beside Jacob their hands were entwined atop Jake’s leg. That made me smile and I bent my head down to smell the flower bouquet Alice had ordered.
The backyard looked similar to how it had been a good year ago when Edward and I got married, and as much as I frowned back on the memory, I couldn’t help but thank Edward for enforcing it – it truly was the start to the rest of our lives. Alice had reused the fairy lights, it wasn’t just I that this surprised, and had strung them from tree to tree over our heads. Because the wedding was running a good fifteen minutes late, the sun had set during the long final kiss and Alice was disappointed with the lighting for the newly weds’ photo. I gave her a convincing thumbs up and made my way to Jake and Nessie. I’d grown on her little nickname.
Seats were in lines of five and nearly the whole population of Forks was crowded in them. There were enough chairs for everyone, after Jasper had counted the attending list three times, but it was a tight squeeze. I tried not to think of my old friends and continued on to Renesmee. People would be wondering who my new friend was … more like my new daughter. Charlie would be suspicious seeing as he didn’t know the girl who looked my age but her mind was fifteen years too young. How would I wind my way out of that one?
Thankfully, the day had cleared up for the ceremony and the rain held back so that the wedding wasn’t totally ruined. On the ground, Alice had ordered Esme and Rosalie to sprinkle flower pettles everywhere and even though when Sue and Charlie walked back down the aisle they caught on Sue’s trail, the ground was still beautiful – as nice as ground could look. Everyone had Alice to thank for that.
Within minutes, the hundreds of chairs in perfectly straight lines were soon around the same tables used at my very own wedding and everyone found their way to the name tags on the tables. I searched with Renesmee and Jake for our’s but when I found that it was only Jake and Renesmee at the table next to Charlie’s, I got worried. I guessed I was sitting with Edward and searched the yard for him, but when I did see him I nearly choked on my venom. Because in the other five chairs at the table, were my old friends. Jessica, Angela, Tyler, Eric and Mike. All wide eyed and staring at me.