I woke to the smell of yeast-risen dough and golden-brown crusts, as I had done every day - except Sundays - since Jake and I had been living together in the one bedroom apartment above Patty's, La Push's only bakery. We had our own entrance through a weather-beaten wooden staircase and platform, worn to a shade of seasick green by years of salty ocean winds, that wrapped around the East side of the shop.
But the smell never bothered with official entrances. It permeated through the tiniest of cracks in the windowsills, through the floorboards that creaked now, as I got out of bed and saw my Jacob sitting at the breakfast table.
I never got over how good he looked in his blue work overalls, even though he'd been working at Uley's Auto Shop for a good six months now. He had insisted on getting a proper job to pay for our own place, even though Momma and Dadward – as Jake affectionately nicknamed my father these days – were more than happy to pay for anything we could want for: a mansion with two shiny new Ferrari's on the driveway or a cottage with a ten mile wide forest barrier to hunt in, like the one my parents still lived in.
But we wanted to do this 'human thing' on our own, without any 'vampire financing', as Jake called it. This was our adventure. This was our story. And we were going to write every word of it with our own bought and paid for ink.
When he noticed me standing there, looking at him, he flashed his famous sunshine smile at me - bread stuck between his canines since he rarely bothered swallowing before using said smile: "Morning, Ness. Saved you two croissants."
Another reason why Jake fell in love with this apartment – the first was the sunset view of La Push Harbor that I didn't think I could live without anymore – was that we had fresh bread in abundance. It was one of the only human foods I could be prevailed upon to eat every now and then, so naturally Jake encouraged I'd have as much bread as I could stomach before feeling that nagging need to hunt something more vivid than baked goods set in again.
"And how much of them did you get?" I asked teasingly, as I did most mornings. He made his fake thinking face and finally held up both hands as his answer: ten croissants. "Gosh, so you only ate eight this morning? Do I need to worry?" I said as I sat down, crossing the length of our tiny table to put the back of my hand to his forehead. Of course it felt as hot as any fever. But then again, it always did.
He took my hand from where I had lain it across his forehead and kissed my knuckles, one by one. That was all the intimacy we had time for this morning, since Uley's Auto Shop opened at 8:30 sharp and he needed to get going, but it was more than enough to fuel my heart throughout the day.
I'd be plenty busy myself today, since I was going to go shopping with Claire for her prom dress. So I hastily buttered and ate one of my croissants – saving the second for Jake, knowing he'd be to hungry to wait for dinner when he got home from work at 16:30 – and went to get dressed.
I put on a pair of cheap jeans I had bought myself two weeks ago and one of the ridiculously expensive tops Aunt Alice had delivered to the apartment on a regular basis.
This one was a midnight purple with sparkly embroidery along the neckline and hem. The price tag was still on it, but I ripped it off without looking, knowing very well it could probably pay our rent for a month-and-a-half.
Claire and I had become close friends the last couple of years – being in the same imprinting boat will do that for you, I guess.
Quil had practically begged us to double date with them those first couple of times they went out after her coming of age, before they slowly fell out of their brother-sister roles and into the roles of loving partners that had genetically been laid out for them.
The first four or so were as awkward as I remembered mine and Jake's first official date being. But I had helped her work through her conflicting feelings thanks to some solid firsthand experience, and now they were as much in love as Emily and Sam, Paul and Rachel … Jake and I.
I still remember laying in bed at the cottage a couple of years ago, bawling my eyes out for reasons I didn't fully understand at the time. Momma would come sit with me, and somehow she knew. She said: "It's okay if your feelings for Jacob are changing. It's okay if your affections for him are growing … more demanding."
And one time she had a bedtime story to go along with it: "It is said, that Fate itself ties a red thread around the little finger of soulmates. Your pinky is tied to Jacob, it always has been. Even when you were still a part of me." She rested her hand on her stomach to illustrate her meaning, and I rested mine on her cheek to communicate what I dared not speak aloud.
"Yes, Nessie, you and Jake will be like Dad and I someday. When you're ready", she answered my unspoken question.
I was halfway out the door when I remembered I'd forgotten the cellphone Dad had bought me for my eighteenth birthday. He insisted I kept it on my person at all times, but the thing had a nasty habit of hiding under my pillow or in between the couch cushions along with bread crumbs and lost pennies.
"Come on, come on …" I mumbled to myself as I twisted my arm in the nooks and crannies of the couch. Something sleek and cold met my searching fingertips, just out of reach. Then someone called – probably Claire, to ask what was keeping me – and it vibrated closer, just close enough for me to grasp.
"Gotcha" I said, but the call had just ended. I unlocked the touch screen, where twelve new messages were flashing: seven missed calls from Aunt Alice and three more from Auntie Rose.
Strange, I hadn't heard from either of them in weeks, not since they'd all gone on an extended hunting trip to Alaska with the Denali's. Uncle Emmett craved to set his teeth in something from the Ursus family, ever since the grizzly population of Washington was running dangerously low and Grandpa Carlisle forbade him to disturb the natural ecosystem any further this season.
Emmett even dreamed of going up further North and having a real life polar bear on the menu, but I had begged him to not to: they were endangered enough as is, without any supernatural predators on the prowl.
I was just about to read the first of the two text messages I had also received – both from Alice – when a rap at the door demanded my attention.
"Just a second!" I called out. Who could that be? Surely Claire couldn't have come all this way in the mere ten minutes I was running late?
I opened the door, hoping it wouldn't be the landlord – Patty's husband, Frank – who had a tendency to endless conversation before getting to the point, like "Oh yeah, by the way: your electricity is being cut off for the remainder of the day".
But the person standing statue still on the platform in front of our door wasn't Frank. It wasn't Claire either – it wasn't even human. I vaguely remembered his name from the one time he had saved my life, and that of my entire family: "Nahuel" I said, surely not hiding my shock at seeing him after over sixteen years too well.
That must've been what all the calls were about, I realized: Alice must've seen him decide to come visit me.
"Hello Renesmee" he greeted me. It sounded like he had practiced a decade on correctly pronouncing my name, though the slightest accent still lingered on this tongue.
He sort of reminded me of Jake: his caramelized honey-colored skin, his muscular build – though Nahuel was a tad taller - his dark hair in a ponytail and his eyes as warm as Jake's.
But where Jake conveyed emotion with his lips, either with that sunshine smile flashing brilliantly against the tan planes of his skin or with the unhappy pucker he usually hid quite well from everyone except me, Nahuel conveyed emotion through his eyes.
The emotion I recognized in them was as apparent as it was frightening: a centuries old longing for someone like himself.
Someone like me.