"Wait," Edward said, his voice harder now. "Remember what you hear, what you smell. Renesmee is not what you think she is."

"There are no exceptions to this rule, Edward," Tanya snapped back.

"Tanya," Edward said sharply, "you can hear her heartbeat! Stop and think about what that means."

"Her heartbeat?" Carmen whispered, peering around Eleazar's shoulder.

"She's not a full vampire child," Edward answered, directing his attention toward Carmen's less hostile expression. "She is half-human."

The four vampires stared at him like he was speaking a language none of them knew.

"Hear me." Edward's voice shifted into a smooth velvet tone of persuasion. "Renesmee is one of a kind. I am her father. Not her creator - her biological father."

Tanya's head was shaking, just a tiny movement. She didn't seem aware of it.

"Edward, you can't expect us to - ," Eleazar started to say.

"Tell me another explanation that fits, Eleazar. You can feel the warmth of her body in the air. Blood runs in her veins, Eleazar. You can smell it."

"How?" Kate breathed.

"Bella is her biological mother," Edward told her. "She conceived, carried, and gave birth to Renesmee while she was still human. It nearly killed her. I was hard-pressed to get enough venom into her heart to save her."

Tve never heard of such a thing," Eleazar said. His shoulders were still stiff, his expression cold.

"Physical relationships between vampires and humans are not common," Edward answered, a bit of dark humor in his tone now. "Human survivors of such trysts are even less common. Wouldn't you agree, cousins?"

Both Kate and Tanya scowled at him.

"Come now, Eleazar. Surely you can see the resemblance."

It was Carmen who responded to Edward's words. She stepped around Eleazar, ignoring his half-articulated warning, and walked carefully to stand right in front of me. She leaned down slightly, looking carefully into Renesmee's face.

"You seem to have your mother's eyes," she said in a low, calm voice, "but your father's face." And then, as if she could not help herself, she smiled at Renesmee.

Renesmee's answering smile was dazzling. She touched my face without looking away from Carmen. She imagined touching Carmen's face, wondering if that was okay.

"Do you mind if Renesmee tells you about it herself?" I asked Carmen. I was still too stressed to speak above a whisper. "She has a gift for explaining things."

Carmen was still smiling at Renesmee. "Do you speak, little one?"

"Yes," Renesmee answered in her trilling high soprano. All of Tanya's family flinched at the sound of her voice except for Carmen. "But I can show you more than I can tell you."

She placed her little dimpled hand on Carmen's cheek.

Carmen stiffened like an electric shock had run through her. Eleazar was at her side in an instant, his hands on her shoulders as if to yank her away.

"Wait," Carmen said breathlessly, her unblinking eyes locked on Renesmee's.

Renesmee "showed" Carmen her explanation for a long time. Edward's face was intent as he watched with Carmen, and I wished so much that I could hear what he heard, too. Jacob shifted his weight impatiently behind me, and I knew he was wishing the same.

"What's Nessie showing her?" he grumbled under his breath.

"Everything," Edward murmured.

Another minute passed, and Renesmee dropped her hand from Carmen's face. She smiled winningly at the stunned vampire.

"She really is your daughter, isn't she?" Carmen breathed, switching her wide topaz eyes to Edward's face. "Such a vivid gift! It could only have come from a very gifted father."

"Do you believe what she showed you?" Edward asked, his expression intense.

"Without a doubt," Carmen said simply.

Eleazar's face was rigid with distress. "Carmen!"

Carmen took his hands into her own and squeezed them. "Impossible as it seems, Edward has told you nothing but truth. Let the child show you."

Carmen nudged Eleazar closer to me and then nodded at Renesmee. "Show him, mi querida"

Renesmee grinned, clearly delighted with Carmen's acceptance, and touched Eleazar lightly on the forehead.

"Ay caray!"hespit, and jerked away from her.

"What did she do to you?" Tanya demanded, coming closer warily. Kate crept forward, too.

"She's just trying to show you her side of the story," Carmen told him in a soothing voice.

Renesmee frowned impatiently. "Watch, please," she commanded Eleazar. She stretched her hand out to him and then left a few inches between her fingers and his face, waiting.

Eleazar eyed her suspiciously and then glanced at Carmen for help. She nodded encouragingly. Eleazar took a deep breath and then leaned closer until his forehead touched her hand again.

He shuddered when it began but held still this time, his eyes closed in concentration.

"Ahh," he sighed when his eyes reopened a few minutes later. "I see."

Renesmee smiled at him. He hesitated, then smiled a slightly unwilling smile in response.

"Eleazar?" Tanya asked.

"It's all true, Tanya. This is no immortal child. She's half-human. Come. See for yourself."

In silence, Tanya took her turn standing warily before me, and then Kate, both showing shock as that first image hit them with Renesmee's touch. But then, just like Carmen and Eleazar, they seemed completely won over as soon as it was done.

I shot a glance at Edward's smooth face, wondering if it could really be so easy. His golden eyes were clear, unshadowed. There was no deception in this, then.