2. Surprise Visit
Three days had passed since Renesmee's birthday and no one made mention of the fact today was September 13th. The day I was supposed to turn twenty. I could read it in their eyes though. They wanted to utter something, but they all knew I was more interested in counting my immortal years instead; knowing it would be leaving me at the ripe old age of eighteen forever.
It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when the Cullen's phone rang.
"Good afternoon, Charlie," Carlisle beamed pleasantly into the phone. There was a moment's pause and then the next sentence Carlisle spoke caused us all to freeze in whatever we were doing. "What do you mean Renee is here?"
My mother? My mother was, in Forks? I got to Carlisle very quickly, listening more to what Charlie was telling him.
"Yes, and Phil too," Charlie said. "They were in town and wanted to surprise Bella for her 20th birthday. They stopped by to let me know they were here, and wanted to know how to see Bella without the warning of a cell phone call. What would you like me to do?"
I looked at Carlisle with hysterics in my eyes. Renee and Phil were too far removed to see me how I was now. She had guessed something was different a while ago, and that was just over the phone. This…this would be in person.
No, no way, I shook my head at Carlisle. I had to be out of the country or something, and it had to be now.
Edward reached calmly for the phone. "Carlisle, may I?"
Carlisle handed the phone over.
"Charlie, can you have Renee give you their information, tell them that you'll give it to me, so I can help them surprise Bella tonight?" he said with absolute calmness.
If my eyes could have popped out of my head at that moment, they would have. What was he saying? He was encouraging this? I backed up then, got a firm hold on the closest thing I could, ready to hold myself in place all night if that's what it took.
"Look," Charlie said, "I don't know how to play around with all this 'need-to-know' stuff and I don't want to mess anything up. So I'll get the information and get out of the way. I can celebrate with Bella tomorrow."
"Understood," Edward said, "and thank you for calling, Charlie."
"You're welcome." Charlie sighed loudly. "Good luck. I'll call back in a few minutes with the details."
Edward hung the phone up and glanced over at me, knowing he was going to have to pry my hands off this banister to get me to be anywhere near Renee and Phil.
I glared back at him, gripping tighter in rebellion.
He was in big trouble and sighed as if he knew it when he walked over to me.
"Bella, are ready for show time again?"
"Uh, no! Are you kidding me, Edward? Renee misses nothing! And when she suspects something, she hounds and hounds until she figures it out, driving the person absolutely insane in the mean time!" I was frantic now. If I could have a heart attack, I probably would have. I wished for a frozen one. Anything to get me out of this mess would be welcomed.
"Calm down, love," he said as he stroked my cheek. Oh how that distraction constantly seemed to work. Jasper being in the room helped, too. My breathing was relaxing. But I didn't want to relax, I wanted to be angry. My anger was what I was depending on to hold me right where I was. "As soon as Charlie calls back, we'll meet up with your mom and Phil, spend some time together and get caught up. No mention or sight of Renesmee, okay? We'll keep the visit simple and sweet. You can do this, you know." He ran his hand through my hair, causing me to melt into his touch.
Then, in a sudden panic at a new thought, I blurted out very quickly, "But my eyes, my new looks and cold skin? Not to mention the burning erupting in my throat the whole time. How do I hide it all from…her? Charlie knows there's something up with us, but Renee…she reads eyes..." I couldn't finish from the anxiety that rose up in me again. "What if I attack her, or Phil?" Sure I had super vampire control, but what if...?
Alice was at my side. "Don't worry, Bella, you're going to do fine, trust me." She winked. "Now remember, contacts and bathroom breaks. A long sleeve shirt will help with your skin, don't breathe if you don't need to, but move your shoulders, and I'll help play down your looks, okay? Human Bella's in there somewhere, I'll find her."
"Thank you, Alice," Edward said warmly, "that will be a huge help."
I couldn't concentrate. My mind was going a million miles an hour. I was terrified. She couldn't know, she couldn't suspect…and I suddenly couldn't breathe! Which was pointless anyway.
"Bella…Bella," I heard a voice say then felt a touch on my arm. Edward was trying to get my attention. Jasper calmed me again against my will and I gazed into Edward's eyes.
"I'm sorry." I shook my head to gather myself. "I just need to get my thoughts together. Give me a minute, I'll be okay, I hope." I swallowed nervously.
"Anytime you feel stuck, just look at me and I'll help with the answer. There's no need to worry about what to say. We'll go over our own questions in the car as well."
The phone rang again and I about jumped out of my skin.
"I'll get it." Edward smirked.
Alice laughed then tugged on my arm, eager to get me upstairs. "Come on, we need to get you ready. You'll be going to dinner in about an hour."
I stopped immediately and tugged my arm back, her hand still attached and flinging her with it.
"Dinner? What?" My panic began again.
"Well, your mother's not that clear, but I can somewhat see the four of you sitting down in a restaurant somewhere together. And you're right, she's most insistent. How difficult that must be?"
"Yes," I said sarcastically, "how difficult to be around someone who's very insistent all the time…"
"Be nice, Bella, or I'll send you in looking like a supermodel and really get your mom going." She scowled.
"Okay, okay," I said with my hands up in apology. She would do it too, and I knew it.
Edward came back into the room after getting all the information from Charlie.
"What do we do Edward? Alice says we're going out to dinner? Do we be disrespectful and arrive full?"
"Yes, but if it saves the evening to have to eat, then we eat," he said like it was nothing.
My stomach suddenly wasn't feeling so well. Can vampires throw up without eating? Luckily, we had just hunted last night so there was no need to hunt before this evening, but it still worried me. I hadn't tested myself with this many people around. This could be bad, very bad.
"What do we eat?"
"We order the rarest steak possible. The slight trace of blood left uncooked, will help. Just remember to chew," he said with a chuckle. "Then remove yourself as quickly as possible after finishing. Your stomach won't be able to hold it down, so you'll need to go into the bathroom and vomit it back up."
Now there was a great vision.
"This just keeps getting better and better," I said with disgust, throwing my hands up. I turned and started heading upstairs so Alice could get to work on dulling me down.
"I'll call your mom to set things up and see what we can do to get out of eating. But since I've met your mom…I'd start practicing my chewing," he hollered up my way.
"It could be you, Edward." I turned and paused from the top of the stairs. "In fact…I just might be full after two bites and then you'll have to finish the rest of my steak, as well." I grinned, liking that idea the more I thought about it.
He didn't have anything to say after that because he knew it was true. I'd happily hand my dead, cooked meal over to him. Then we'll see if he ever tries to take me out to dinner again.
Jacob woke up from his nap in time to hear the mention of the word steak. "Can I get some steak?" he asked rubbing his eyes, then stretched.
I raised both eyebrows to Edward at the idea of taking Jacob, the human garbage disposal along with us. He'd easily finish all three of our steaks; Edward's and mine handed piece by piece under the table.
"No," Edward said, firm in his answer.
"Ugh!" I shouted in frustration and stormed upstairs to meet Alice.
"What's going on?" I heard Jacob ask.
"Renee's in town to surprise Bella for her birthday and we have to go out to dinner…and eat."
Then Jacob fell off the couch in laughter.
Oh yeah, if we pull this off, it will be a miracle…