"We're splitting up," Emmett answered. "Rose and I are hunting for nomads."
"You'll have your hands full here," Carlisle said. "Tanya's family will be here in the morning, and they have no idea why. First, you have to persuade them not to react the way Irina did. Second, you've got to find out what Alice meant about Eleazar. Then, after all that, will they stay to witness for us? It will start again as the others come - if we can persuade anyone to come in the first place." Carlisle sighed. "Your job may well be the hardest. We'll be back to help as soon as we can."
Carlisle put his hand on Edward's shoulder for a second and then kissed my forehead. Esme hugged us both, and Emmett punched us both on the arm. Rosalie forced a hard smile for Edward and me, blew a kiss to Renesmee, and then gave Jacob a parting grimace.
"Good luck," Edward told them.
"And to you," Carlisle said. "We'll all need it."
I watched them leave, wishing I could feel whatever hope bolstered them, and wishing I could be alone with the computer for just a few seconds. I had to figure out who this J. Jenks person was and why Alice had gone to such
lengths to give his name to only me.
Renesmee twisted in Jacob's arms to touch his cheek.
"I don't know if Carlisle's friends will come. I hope so. Sounds like we're a little outnumbered right now," Jacob murmured to Renesmee.
So she knew. Renesmee already understood only too clearly what was going on. The whole imprinted-werewolf-gives-the-object-of-his-imprinting-whatever-she-wants thing was getting old pretty fast. Wasn't shielding her more important than answering her questions?
I looked carefully at her face. She did not look frightened, only anxious and very serious as she conversed with Jacob in her silent way.
"No, we can't help; we've got to stay here," he went on. "People are coming to see you, not the scenery."
Renesmee frowned at him.
"No, I don't have to go anywhere," he said to her. Then he looked at Edward, his face stunned by the realization that he might be wrong. "Do I?"
"Spit it out," Jacob said, his voice raw with tension. He was right at his breaking point, just like the rest of us.
"The vampires who are coming to help us are not the same as we are," Edward said. "Tanya's family is the only one besides ours with a reverence for human life, and even they don't think much of werewolves. I think it might be safer - "
"I can take care of myself," Jacob interrupted.
"Safer for Renesmee," Edward continued, "if the choice to believe our story about her is not tainted by an association with werewolves."
"Some friends. They'd turn on you just because of who you hang out with now?"
"I think they would mostly be tolerant under normal circumstances. But you need to understand - accepting Nessie will not be a simple thing for any of them. Why make it even the slightest bit harder?"
Carlisle had explained the laws about immortal children to Jacob last night. "The immortal children were really that bad?" he asked.
"You can't imagine the depth of the scars they've left in the collective vampire psyche."
"Edward ..." It was still odd to hear Jacob use Edward's name without bitterness.
"I know, Jake. I know how hard it is to be away from her. We'll play it by ear - see how they react to her. In any case, Nessie is going to have to be incognito off and on in the next few weeks. She'll need to stay at the cottage until the right moment for us to introduce her. As long as you keep a safe distance from the main house ..."
"I can do that. Company in the morning, huh?"
"Yes. The closest of our friends. In this particular case, it's probably better if we get things out in the open as soon as possible. You can stay here. Tanya knows about you. She's even met Seth."
"You should tell Sam what's going on. There might be strangers in the woods soon."
"Good point. Though I owe him some silence after last night."
"Listening to Alice is usually the right thing."
Jacob's teeth ground together, and I could see that he shared Sam's feelings about what Alice and Jasper had done.
While they were talking, I wandered toward the back windows, trying to look distracted and anxious. Not a difficult thing to do. I leaned my head against the wall that curved away from the living room toward the dining room, right next to one of the computer desks. I ran my fingers against the keys while staring into the forest, trying to make it look like an absentminded thing. Did vampires ever do things absentmindedly? I didn't think anyone was paying particular attention to me, but I didn't turn to make sure. The monitor glowed to life. I stroked my fingers across the keys again. Then I drummed them very quietly on the wooden desktop, just to make it seem random. Another stroke across the keys.
I scanned the screen in my peripheral vision.
No J. Jenks, but there was a Jason Jenks. A lawyer. I brushed the keyboard, trying to keep a rhythm, like the preoccupied stroking of a cat you'd all but forgotten on your lap. Jason Jenks had a fancy website for his firm, but the address on the homepage was wrong. In Seattle, but in a different zip code. I noted the phone number and then stroked the keyboard in rhythm. This time I searched the address, but nothing at all came up, as if the address didn't exist. I wanted to look at a map, but I decided I was pushing my luck. One more brush, to delete the history___
I continued staring out the window and brushed the wood a few times. I heard light footsteps crossing the floor to me, and I turned with what I hoped was the same expression as before.