She was different, but not so much. A little longer again, her proportions drifting from babyish to childlike. Her hair was longer by a quarter inch, the curls bouncing like springs with every movement. I'd let my imagination run wild
on the trip back, and I'd imagined worse than this. Thanks to my overdone fears, these little changes were almost a relief. Even without Carlisle's measurements, I was sure the changes were slower than yesterday.
Renesmee patted my cheek. I winced. She was hungry again.
"How long has she been up?" I asked as Edward disappeared through the kitchen doorway. I was sure he was on his way to get her breakfast, having seen what she'd just thought as clearly as I had. I wondered if he would ever have noticed her little quirk, if he'd been the only one to know her. To him, it probably would have seemed like hearing anyone.
"Just a few minutes," Rose said. "We would have called you soon. She's been asking for you - demandingmight be a better description. Esme sacrificed her second-best silver service to keep the little monster entertained." Rose smiled at Renesmee with so much gloating affection that the criticism was entirely weightless. "We didn't want to... er, bother you."
Rosalie bit her lip and looked away, trying not to laugh. I could feel Emmett's silent laughter behind me, sending vibrations through the foundations of the house.
I kept my chin high. "We'll get your room set up right away," I said to Renesmee. "You'll like the cottage. It's magic." I look up at Esme. "Thank you, Esme. So much. It's absolutely perfect."
Before Esme could respond, Emmett was laughing again - it wasn't silent this time.
"So it's still standing?" he managed to get out between his snickers. "I would've thought you two had knocked it to rubble by now. What were you doing last night? Discussing the national debt?" He howled with laughter.
I gritted my teeth and reminded myself of the negative consequences when I'd let my temper get away from me yesterday. Of course, Emmett wasn't as breakable as Seth___
Thinking of Seth made me wonder. "Where're the wolves today?" I glanced out the window wall, but there had been no sign of Leah on the way in.
"Jacob took off this morning pretty early," Rosalie told me, a little frown creasing her forehead. "Seth followed him out."
"What was he so upset about?" Edward asked as he came back into the room with Renesmee's cup. There must have been more in Rosalie's memory than I'd seen in her expression.
Without breathing, I handed Renesmee off to Rosalie. Super-self-control, maybe, but there was no way I was going to be able to feed her. Not yet.
"I don't know - or care," Rosalie grumbled, but she answered Edward's question more fully. "He was watching Nessie sleep, his mouth hanging open like the moron he is, and then he just jumped to his feet without any kind of trigger - that I noticed, anyway - and stormed out. was glad to be rid of him. The more time he spends here, the less chance there is that we'll ever get the smell out."
"Rose," Esme chided gently.
Rosalie flipped her hair. "I suppose it doesn't matter. We won't be here that much longer."
"I still say we should go straight to New Hampshire and get things set up," Emmett said, obviously continuing an
earlier conversation. "Bella's already registered at Dartmouth. Doesn't look like it will take her all that long to be able to handle school." He turned to look at me with a teasing grin. Tm sure you'll ace your classes... apparently there's nothing interesting for you to do at night besides study."
Do not lose your temper, do not lose your temper,I chanted to myself. And then I was proud of myself for keeping my head.
So I was pretty surprised that Edward didn't.
He growled - an abrupt, shocking rasp of sound - and the blackest fury rolled across his expression like storm clouds.
Before any of us could respond, Alice was on her feet.
"What is he doing? What is that dog doing that has erased my schedule for the entire day? I can't see anything] No!" She shot me a tortured glance. "Look at you! You neec/meto show you how to use your closet."
For one second I was grateful for whatever Jacob was up to.
And then Edward's hands balled up into fists and he snarled, "He talked to Charlie. He thinks Charlie is following after him. Coming here. Today."
Alice said a word that sounded very odd in her trilling, ladylike voice, and then she blurred into motion, streaking out the backdoor.
"He told Charlie?" I gasped. "But - doesn't he understand? How could he do that?" Charlie couldn't know about me! About vampires! That would put him on a hit list that even the Cullens couldn't save him from. "No!"
Edward spoke through his teeth. "Jacob's on his way in now."
It must have started raining farther east. Jacob came through the door shaking his wet hair like a dog, flipping droplets on the carpet and the couch where they made little round gray spots on the white. His teeth glinted against his dark lips; his eyes were bright and excited. He walked with jerky movements, like he was all hyped-up about destroying my father's life.
"Hey, guys," he greeted us, grinning.
It was perfectly silent.
Leah and Seth slipped in behind him, in their human forms - for now; both of their hands were trembling with the tension in the room.
"Rose," I said, holding my arms out. Wordlessly, Rosalie handed me Renesmee. I pressed her close to my motionless heart, holding her like a talisman against rash behavior. I would keep her in my arms until I was sure my decision to kill Jacob was based entirely on rational judgment rather than fury.