Rites of Passage

Chapter 1

It's an ordinary day in the Cullen manor, nothing special going on. Mom and dad, or Bella and Edward like Nessie is supposed to call them in public, are curled up in the couch talking quietly; Aunt Rosalie and Alice are internet shopping, while Emmet and Jasper play their own version of chess that includes several boards; Carlisle and Esme are both at the hospital, working. Nessie is busying herself daydreaming and letting her mind wander.

"Renesmee, have you called Jake today?" Bella asks, pulling her out of her own imagination.

Nessie takes a moment to answer because she suddenly finds herself wondering what Jake, her imprint, might be doing back in Forks, Washington. He had moved to Alaska along with the Cullens when they left Forks because the imprint made it a necessity for him to be around Nessie. He would go back every now and then to take care of his pack duties since he was still an Alpha. It used to make Nessie way more uncomfortable to be away from him, but now it was a bit of a relief.

She had always known why Jacob was always around her and why she felt so possessive over him, but she hadn't always known what that actually meant. If it hadn't been for Emmet's indiscretion, she might not have found out by this point. For some reason, the idea of him being hers forever and being forced to stay by her side by some magical bond that not even the shapeshifters understood completely just didn't seem fair to her. And it was beginning to frustrate her that every time she saw a guy that was good looking or a girl that was eyeing her at a café she felt guilt by even thinking about another person other than Jake.

"I haven't, but I will tonight." Nessie says. She notices Edward is staring at her with a slight frown, probably listening to her thoughts. He's never been a fan of her and Jacob's relationship because he can't fathom the thought of his daughter belonging to someone else, even if it isn't romantic at all, but he's come to terms with it by now.

Sometimes, Nessie does wish Jake would ask her out. She's not oblivious to the fact that he's incredibly good looking and probably the coolest person she's ever known, but he doesn't seem to realize that she's not the little baby he imprinted on almost eight years ago. He doesn't exactly treat her like a child, but he doesn't treat her like an adult either. She thinks that maybe if he did show an interest in her then maybe she won't have to feel like he's wasting his life sticking by her side and not dating anyone else, or moving forward with his life.

"You know, it's not like that" Edward says, responding to her last thought. Suddenly, six pairs of eyes are fixed on Nessie's face and she feels her face get hotter as she blushes.

"Eavesdrop much?" She retorts, a hint of annoyance in her words. "It's a bit disturbing that nothing is really private in this house"

"I can't help it sometimes" Edward offers her an apologetic smile and she mimics the expression.

"Be nice, Ness. You know Edward needs to know EVERYTHING about everyone, especially his hormone-driven-sort-of-teenaged-daughter" Emmet has a way being funny, sarcastic and incredibly inappropriate without even trying.

"Could you try and show me a little respect in front of my daughter sometime, or is that too much to ask?" Edward and Emmet soon go into a back and forth banter and Nessie takes the opportunity to quietly slip away and take a stroll through the forest behind their house.

Nessie broke into a run as soon as she entered the forest and when she was sure she was out of her father's hearing range, she settled down with her back against a tree and let her mind wander again. The sky was a faded grey and the cool breeze felt like a soft caress against her skin. She could only hear the sounds of the forest and her own breathing coming in and out of her lungs.

She found herself thinking about that cold winter all those years ago, the only time she had ever seen her family in danger. She wasn't exactly sure what triggered that memory, but for some reason the thing that stood out the most to her wasn't the impending doom that hung upon them, it was the people. All the witnesses her family managed to gather to aid them against the Volturi. Nessie had seen some of them from time to time throughout the years, specially the Denali coven because they lived close by now. But the coven that had interested her most, the one she still had dreams of, was the Amazon coven: Zafrina, Senna and Kachiri. She remembered Zafrina's gift, similar to her own but different in the sense that she didn't have to physically touch someone in order to project images inside their heads. Nessie envied her because it had been so hard for her to learn how to control her own gift and for the longest time she wasn't allowed to even shake hands with anyone she met because it was dangerous.

She remembered those days with bitterness, but they were behind her now. She was in control of her thoughts and her gift and she had even made human friends in school that had no idea of the Cullen's secret. To the outside world, the Cullens were just a bit strange but nothing else. Nessie sighed and looked down at her shoes. Expensive designer flats adorned her feet and every other clothing article she was wearing was also expensive and meticulously picked out by Alice. She wondered what it would be like to have to work hard to buy anything like most humans she knew had to. She was privileged, things like money and luxury were never a big deal to her because she was used to it. She wondered about the coven again and how they dressed with animal skins and fabrics they'd probably found throughout the years.

Next thing she knew, she was calling Jacob from her cell phone. He answered after the first ring, as usual.

"Nessie! I was just about to call you!" This usually happened between them. They would call each other at the same time or text each other the exact same thing. They were connected somehow, after all.

"Why am I not surprised to hear that?" She heard Jake's loud chuckle on the other end and couldn't help but smile. "What did you wanna tell me?"

"Nothing special, I just hadn't heard from you today. I miss you." There was the guilt again. She felt bad for not checking in on him sooner because she knew that he'd be waiting for her call. She was surprised by the hint of anger that flared up inside her. Why did she have to feel guilty?

"I miss you too Jake, but you know you don't have to check up on me all the time. I know you're busy down there" Nessie knew the answer he'd give her even before she had finished that sentence.

"You know I'm never too busy for you" Of course he wasn't. His life revolved around her, after all.

"Maybe you should be" The words escaped her mouth before she could stop herself. They were followed by a pause on the other end.

"Uh… Are you okay, Ness?" He asked awkwardly; causing her to mentally kick herself.

"Yeah, sorry about that" She shook her head as if he could see her.

"You sure? You know, I'm coming back up there in a couple days but I can come sooner if you need me to" She was getting exponentially more and more annoyed and she knew she was being a brat. What was wrong with her? Anyone she knew would kill to have someone like Jacob at their side no matter what. She just didn't want to feel like she owned him anymore, not unless they were involved and she knew that wasn't going to happen any time soon.

"Jake, you have duties down in La Push and I'm absolutely fine on my own. School's out in a couple days and after that I'm free all summer. We can spend all the time in the world together then." She still had no idea what she wanted to do during the summer, but with her family and Jake she had plenty to be busy with anyway.

"Well… Ok, then. Just call me if you need anything, no matter what time it is."

"Will do. Say hi to everyone for me, yeah?" By this point, Nessie was sitting cross-legged on the ground with her back against the tree.

"I will. Love you, Nessie!" He said.

"Love you, too" They usually said goodbye like that, for as long as Nessie could remember. She was so used to it, that it came naturally to her, she didn't even think about it when she said it. It wasn't until one of her friends from school overheard her talking on the phone with Jake and asked her if he was her boyfriend that she even noticed they had exchanged "I love you's". After that, she always remembered that moment and it wasn't so second-nature anymore.

Nessie looked down at her phone as the call ended and noticed she'd been out in the woods for over three hours. "Shoot!" She quickly got up and started for the house; a little surprised that no one had come looking for her. Her family kept close tabs on her round the clock and if she didn't check in every couple hours or so, they'd come find her, unless she was with Jacob.

She entered the house just after 8 o' clock and surely enough everybody was in the living room, waiting for her. She sighed heavily and mumbled 'sorry' as she walked passed them towards the stairs. Bella's concerned eyes followed her.

"Can we at least know where you were for the past three hours?" Edward asked from behind her. Nessie turned around, trying not to roll her eyes and gave her family a brief summary of what she'd done. She edited out the Jacob frustration because that's why she'd stepped out in the first place.

Everyone resumed their personal activities afterwards and Nessie went down to the basement. It was her favorite place in the house because she and Esme had completely remodeled it when they first moved in. It wasn't just a basement anymore; it doubled as a music studio and a dance studio. It was Esme's idea because she'd always wanted to create a space for Nessie to dance freely that was both inside the house and soundproofed. Nessie had the idea of making it double as a music studio since it would already be soundproofed and that way she's have a place to hang her guitars and other music equipment. It was a pretty awesome project and it turned out perfectly.

Nessie was in the middle of the last solo part of Hotel California, when she heard Jasper open the door. She didn't have to look up to know it was him, being completely used to his scent and the sound of his footsteps.

"Sounds good" He said from the bottom of the stairs. He leaned against the railing and smiled down at her.

"Can't go wrong with classic rock, right?" She set her guitar aside while he walked towards her. He sat down on a chair beside her.

"Are you okay?" Jasper never missed a single flicker of Nessie's emotions. He was probably the person she talked to the most, besides Jacob and her mother, but at the moment she wasn't exactly looking for a conversation about her feelings. Talking about what was going through her head at the moment could turn out really badly.

"Why does everybody keep asking me that? I'm fine." She reached over to her amplifier and switched it off.

"You've been feeling incredibly annoyed today and that's out of character for you" He explained with a slight shrug. "Who's everyone?"

"Jake asked me the same thing when I called him earlier." She stood up and paced a bit, running her fingers across the keys of one of the keyboards next to the wall. "I'm really fine; I just want everyone to lay off a bit. You're all kind of suffocating me, to be honest." Jasper gave her a sheepish smile and she couldn't help but giggle a bit at his expression.

"I will do my best to give you some space. I can't make any promises for the others, though." He walked up to her and kissed her forehead. "Get some sleep, ok? You have finals tomorrow."

She scoffed. "Yeah right, like I'm gonna be worried about that". Jasper laughed and shook his head at her. He headed for the stairs and left her alone after that.

Nessie turned in for the night soon afterwards. She didn't need as much sleep as a regular human, but she still needed a good four to five hours a night to stay energized. That night she didn't sleep all too well because she kept waking up in the middle of the night, having nightmares. She finally fell into an undisturbed sleep at around 4 o'clock in the morning, only to be shaken awake just shy of two hours later.

She groaned as she turned over, away from whoever was waking her. "Why are you waking me up? It's too early yet". She wasn't focused enough to notice who it was, but the warm hand should've been a dead giveaway.

"Actually, it's just past six and you're usually up by now." Her eyes shot open and she sat up at lightning speed.

"Jake?" His huge grin showed all of his pearly white teeth. He looked ecstatic, radiant even. "What are you doing here? You weren't supposed to come home for two more days".

"Jeez, talk about a welcome home." She was still trying to figure out if it was all really happening or if she was still asleep. "You sounded kinda weird on the phone so I shifted and ran up here as soon as we hung up. I got here about an hour ago." She was starting to get really angry at this point.

"What about La Push? Did you even say goodbye to your dad or the others?" She could not believe he'd literally dropped everything to run back home just because he thought she sounded "kinda weird".

"They knew as soon as I shifted, it was no big deal" He said dismissively. Nessie could feel her face getting hotter and hotter by the second. She didn't even know exactly why she was getting so angry, but she couldn't help it. "No need to get all red, kiddo. You know I'm always here for you." That was the tip of the iceberg right there.

Nessie was out of her bed in less than a second and she pinched the bridge of her nose while she spoke through her teeth. "Jacob did you not hear me when I said I didn't need you to come up here? And, oh my God" She glared at him as hard as she could and said "Did I just hear you call me 'kiddo'?"

Jacob's face was so surprised it was almost comical, but nothing could possibly seem funny to Nessie at that moment. "Uh… I heard you, but I thought-"

"You thought what?" She snapped at him, throwing her hands up in frustration. "That I didn't sound like you wanted me to sound? So you just dropped everything and came up here? That's really irresponsible of you Jacob!" The pained look on his face almost made Nessie feel guilty, but then she got angry at herself for having to feel guilty.

Jacob walked over to her and put his hands on her shoulders. "Nessie, honey, I'm telling you it was not a big deal. I'm sure Leah and the others are totally fine without me right now." He shrugged and shook his head at her. "Really, they say I'm no fun to be around when I'm away from you because I'm constantly thinking about you." She wasn't as angry as she was uncomfortable by his words. He always did that; he'd call her some sort of little endearment and say things that would leave her feeling confused for days.

She brushed his hands off and moved away from him. She noticed the house was silent and realized everyone had to be listening in to their conversation. "You're suffocating me" She whispered, remember her exchange with Jasper the previous night.

"Well, I'll leave you alone for a while. You need to get ready for school anyway." Her back was turned to him so she couldn't see his expression when he said this, but by his tone she knew he hadn't understood what she'd just told him. It was such a strange feeling, so foreign, having him not understand her for once.

"No, Jake." He stopped at the door and gave her a confused look. She closed her eyes so she wouldn't see his face as her following words came out. "I need you to give me some time away".


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