I pulled into an open spot and looked up at a tastefully subtle sign that read JASON SCOTT, ATTORNEY AT LAW.
The office inside was beige with celery green accents, inoffensive and unremarkable. There was no scent of vampire here, and that helped me relax. Nothing but unfamiliar human. A fish tank was set into the wall, and a blandly
pretty blond receptionist sat behind the desk.
"Hello," she greeted me. "How can I help you?"
"I'm here to see Mr. Scott."
"Do you have an appointment?"
She smirked a little. "It could be a while, then. Why don't you have a seat while I - "
April!a man's demanding voice squawked from the phone on her desk. I'm expecting a Ms. Cullen shortly.
I smiled and pointed to myself.
Send her in immediately. Do you understand? I don't care what it's interrupting.
I could hear something else in his voice besides impatience. Stress. Nerves.
"She's just arrived," April said as soon as she could speak.
What? Send her in! What are you waiting for?
"Right away, Mr. Scott!" She got to her feet, fluttering her hands as she led the way down a short hallway, offering me coffee or tea or anything else I might have wanted.
"Here you are," she said as she ushered me through the door into a power office, complete with heavy wooden desk and vanity wall.
"Close the door behind you," a raspy tenor voice ordered.
I examined the man behind the desk while April made a hasty retreat. He was short and balding, probably around fifty-five, with a paunch. He wore a red silk tie with a blue-and-white-striped shirt, and his navy blazer hung over the back of his chair. He was also trembling, blanched to a sickly paste color, with sweat beading on his forehead; I imagined an ulcer churning away under the spare tire.
J recovered himself and rose unsteadily from his chair. He reached his hand across the desk.
"Ms. Cullen. What an absolute delight."
I crossed to him and shook his hand quickly once. He cringed slightly at my cold skin but did not seem particularly surprised by it.
"Mr. Jenks. Or do you prefer Scott?"
He winced again. "Whatever you wish, of course."
"How about you call me Bella, and HI call you J?"
"Like old friends," he agreed, mopping a silk handkerchief across his forehead. He gestured for me to have a seat and took his own. "I must ask, am I finally meeting Mr. Jasper's lovely wife?"
I weighed that for a second. So this man knew Jasper, not Alice. Knew him, and seemed afraid of him, too. "His sister-in-law, actually."
He pursed his lips, as if he were grasping for meanings just as desperately as I was.
"I trust Mr. Jasper is in good health?" he asked carefully.
"I'm sure he is in excellent health. He's on an extended vacation at the moment."
This seemed to clear up some of J's confusion. He nodded to himself and templed his fingers. "Just so. You should have come to the main office. My assistants there would have put you straight through to me - no need to go through less hospitable channels."
I just nodded. I wasn't sure why Alice had given me the ghetto address.
"Ah, well, you're here now. What can I do for you?"
Tapers," I said, trying to make my voice sound like I knew what I was talking about.
"Certainly," J agreed at once. "Are we talking birth certificates, death certificates, drivers' licenses, passports, social security cards... ?"
I took a deep breath and smiled. I owed Max big time.
And then my smile faded. Alice had sent me here for a reason, and I was sure it was to protect Renesmee. Her last gift to me. The one thing she would know I needed.
The only reason Renesmee would need a forger was if she was running. And the only reason Renesmee would be running was if we had lost.
If Edward and I were running with her, she wouldn't need these documents right away. I was sure IDs were something Edward knew how to get his hands on or make himself, and I was sure he knew ways to escape without them. We could run with her for thousands of miles. We could swim with her across an ocean.
If we were around to save her.
And all the secrecy to keep this out of Edward's head. Because there was a good chance that everything he knew, Aro would know. If we lost, Aro would certainly get the information he craved before he destroyed Edward.
It was as I had suspected. We couldn't win. But we must have a good shot at killing Demetri before we lost, giving Renesmee the chance to run.
My still heart felt like a boulder in my chest - a crushing weight. All my hope faded like fog in the sunshine. My eyes pricked.
Who would I put this on? Charlie? But he was so defenselessly human. And how would I get Renesmee to him? He was not going to be anywhere close to that fight. So that left one person. There really had never been anyone else.
I'd thought this through so quickly that J didn't notice my pause.
"Two birth certificates, two passports, one driver's license," I said in a low, strained tone.
If he noticed the change in my expression, he pretended otherwise.
"Jacob... Wolfe. And... Vanessa Wolfe." Nessie seemed like an okay nickname for Vanessa. Jacob would get a kick out of the Wolfe thing.
His pen scratched swiftly across a legal pad. "Middle names?"
"Just put something generic in."
"If you prefer. Ages?"
"Twenty-seven for the man, five for the girl." Jacob could pull it off. He was a beast. And at the rate Renesmee was growing, I'd better estimate high. He could be her stepfather....
"I'll need pictures if you prefer finished documents," J said, interrupting my thoughts. "Mr. Jasper usually liked to finish them himself."