Her body was slightly longer. Just a little bit slimmer. Her face wasn't quite as round; it was more oval by one minute degree. Her ringlets hung a sixteenth of an inch lower down her shoulders. She stretched out helpfully in Rosalie's arms while Carlisle ran the tape measure down the length of her and then used it to circle her head. He took no notes; perfect recall.
I was aware that Jacob's arms were crossed as tightly over his chest as Edward's arms were locked around
me. His heavy brows were mashed together into one line over his deep-set eyes.
She had matured from a single cell to a normal-sized baby in the course of a few weeks. She looked well on her way to being a toddler just days after her birth. If this rate of growth held...
My vampire mind had no trouble with the math.
"What do we do?" I whispered, horrified.
Edward's arms tightened. He understood exactly what I was asking. "I don't know."
"It's slowing," Jacob muttered through his teeth.
"We'll need several more days of measurements to track the trend, Jacob. I can't make any promises."
"Yesterday she grew two inches. Today it's less."
"By a thirty-second of an inch, if my measurements are perfect," Carlisle said quietly.
"Be perfect, Doc," Jacob said, making the words almost threatening. Rosalie stiffened.
"You know I'll do my best," Carlisle assured him.
Jacob sighed. "Guess that's all I can ask."
I felt irritated again, like Jacob was stealing my lines - and delivering them all wrong.
Renesmee seemed irritated, too. She started to squirm and then reached her hand imperiously toward Rosalie. Rosalie leaned forward so that Renesmee could touch her face. After a second, Rose sighed.
"What does she want?" Jacob demanded, taking my line again.
"Bella, of course," Rosalie told him, and her words made my insides feel a little warmer. Then she looked at me. "How are you?"
"Worried," I admitted, and Edward squeezed me.
"We all are. But that's not what I meant."
"I'm in control," I promised. Thirstiness was way down the list right now. Besides, Renesmee smelled good in a very non-food way.
Jacob bit his lip but made no move to stop Rosalie as she offered Renesmee to me. Jasper and Edward hovered but allowed it. I could see how tense Rose was, and I wondered how the room felt to Jasper right now. Or was he focusing so hard on me that he couldn't feel the others?
Renesmee reached for me as I reached for her, a blinding smile lighting her face. She fit so easily in my arms, like they'd been shaped just for her. Immediately, she put her hot little hand against my cheek.
Though I was prepared, it still made me gasp to see the memory like a vision in my head. So bright and colorful but also completely transparent.
She was remembering me charging Jacob across the front lawn, remembering Seth leaping between us. She'd seen and heard it all with perfect clarity. It didn't look like me, this graceful predator leaping at her prey like an arrow arcing from a bow. It had to be someone else. That made me feel a very small bit less guilty as Jacob stood there defenselessly with his hands raised in front of him. His hands did not tremble.
Edward chuckled, watching Renesmee's thoughts with me. And then we both winced as we heard the crack of Seth's bones.
Renesmee smiled her brilliant smile, and her memory eyes did not leave Jacob through all the following mess. I tasted a new flavor to the memory - not exactly protective, more possessive - as she watched Jacob. I got the distinct impression that she was glad Seth had put himself in front of my spring. She didn't want Jacob hurt. He was hers.
"Oh, wonderful,'71 groaned. "Perfect."
"It's just because he tastes better than the rest of us," Edward assured me, voice stiff with his own annoyance.
"I told you she likes me, too," Jacob teased from across the room, his eyes on Renesmee. His joking was halfhearted; the tense angle of his eyebrows had not relaxed.
Renesmee patted my face impatiently, demanding my attention. Another memory: Rosalie pulling a brush gently through each of her curls. It felt nice.
Carlisle and his tape measure, knowing she had to stretch and be still. It was not interesting to her.
"It looks like she's going to give you a rundown of everything you missed," Edward commented in my ear.
My nose wrinkled as she dumped the next one on me. The smell coming from a strange metal cup - hard enough not to be bitten through easily - sent a flash burn through my throat. Ouch.
And then Renesmee was out of my arms, which were pinned behind my back. I didn't struggle with
Jasper; I just looked at Edward's frightened face.
"What did I do?"
Edward looked at Jasper behind me, and then at me again.
"But she was remembering being thirsty," Edward muttered, his forehead pressing into lines. "She was remembering the taste of human blood."
Jasper's arms pulled mine tighter together. Part of my head noted that this wasn't particularly uncomfortable, let alone painful, as it would have been to a human. It was just annoying. I was sure I could break his hold, but I didn't fight it.
"Yes," I agreed. "And?"
Edward frowned at me for a second more, and then his expression loosened. He laughed once. "And nothing at all, it seems. The overreaction is mine this time. Jazz, let her go."
The binding hands disappeared. I reached out for Renesmee as soon as I was free. Edward handed her to me without hesitation.
"I can't understand," Jasper said. "I can't bear this."
I watched in surprise as Jasper strode out the back door. Leah moved to give him a wide margin of space as he paced to the river and then launched himself over it in one bound.
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