Renesme Carlie Black (nee Cullen) isn’t stupid, blind, or deaf, even though she pretends to be all three.
And so she isn’t surprised when Embry tears into her house, swearing a blue streak and tripping over words to tell her that he had found her husband and her mother rutting like animals in the middle of the woods. His face is red, he’s sweating with rage, and he looks like he’s waiting for a word from her to go and tear his Alpha to shreds.
Nessie asks if he would like some tea.
Really, she insists to the gobsmacked man, she knew already, knew long before there was a ring on her finger or a werewolf in her bed. How could she not hear his moans at night, see the burning glances Jake and her mom tried to hide, feel with every kiss and every touch that her husband’s heart was somewhere else?
She tells him to calm down, to go home and think before he did anything rash, before he hurt a man he’s called friend since before he was old enough to talk.
And he does, reluctantly, after checking over and over that she really was fine (wolves are nothing if not loyal, and she was his Alpha surely as Jake was), and she closes the door behind him, and goes about scrubbing the kitchen floor.
And because Nessie isn’t stupid, because she saw the look in Embry’s eyes as he walked out her door, she is prepared when he announces at the bi-monthly Pack/Cullen meeting that Bella and Jacob are having an affair. Her vampire family goes stone still the way vampires do when they are surprised, and she wonders how they didn’t know, when it was so obvious to her. Her grandparents look ashamed, her aunt and uncles disgusted (though Alice is raring herself up to proclaim Bella’s innocence) and her father looks relieved, which Nessie supposes had something to do with the human girl he’d been stalking lately, and hadn’t told her mother about.
At the other side of the room, fur is flying, people are growling, and her wolf-husband is doing his best to tear out the throat that had let loose his secret. And then Sam is hauling Jake off Embry, and they’re shrinking back to human forms, and Leah is glaring at her one-time boyfriend as if this were all his fault, and Quil is hushing a babbling Seth.
Her mother stands, gaining the attention of everyone in the room, and looks around, meeting each and every pair of eyes. At Grandmother’s “Oh, Bella” though, she’s gone in the blink of an eye, and no one goes to follow her. Instead, with Jake huffing in the corner, all eyes turn to her, the grieving soon-to-be-if-his-pack-has-anything-to- do-with-it widow.
She shrugs. “I already knew.”
And then everyone is talking over each other, throwing out questions and screeching over answers. Her father looks rather uncomfortable at all the pity he’s getting, and she just waves off her family’s concern and sets about cleaning up the broken furniture. It’s not until Leah loudly demands to know how the hell are you okay with this fucked up shit? that she tries to put her feelings into words.
Yes, she knew Jacob’s love for her was less imprint and more knowledge that she was the only piece of Bella’s he could call his own. Yes, she had known her mother was having an affair with her then-babysitter before she could properly talk. Yes, it was weird and screwed up and unnatural but what about her wasn’t? Everyone else in the room had lived lives as blissfully ignorant humans before the supernatural came and bit them in the ass. She hadn’t. Her first meal had been human blood. She had lost her virginity when she was six and a half years old. Her grandfather told her stories about his childhood in pre-industrial Europe. Her first memory was of wrestling a werewolf. Everything about her life was strange, why would her marriage be normal?
She looked at her husband’s pained eyes. She would have told him long before, if she had only been able to find the words. Part of him did love her, she knew. A significant part. But she hadn’t married him for love. Oh, she loved him, alright, but... she had always known she would marry him. It was one of those things that never had to be explained to her, was just always there, like how they were different, and how to hide secrets, and that the Cullens and the Pack might get along, but they still didn’t like each other.
It had never occurred to her that she might have had a choice until long after the honeymoon. Jacob had imprinted on her, so someday they would get married. It was as simple as that. Never mind he still loved her mother, never mind she’d only seen him as a sort of hybrid brother/favorite uncle/best friend.
But by then the damage was done, the vows were said, the affair had begun, and Nessie thought it best to let things play the way they would.
And so she left her family sitting there, with bristling fur and stone faces, the agonized face of her husband, and went to look for her Mother. When she found her, Bella was sitting in a meadow (The Meadow), staring at the sky. Nessie announced that the two of them had a plane leaving in two days for France. That they needed to learn they had control over their own lives. Bella said nothing, but stood, and hugged her daughter close.
For months after that the Family and the Pack received postcards from all over the world - sometimes from both Bella and Nessie, sometimes from them individually as they split up and met up, and split up again in their travels. Nessie came home first, sporting a tan (never looking less like a member of her own family) and hauling suitcases of souvenirs for everyone (Aunt Alice was proud). Jacob tried to talk to her, but she told him calmly that the two of them couldn’t resolve anything until he and her