A Day At the Park
A cloudy day like this wouldn’t be the ideal time to have a park picnic for most people. For my family though, these cloudy days were the best time to go to the park. And as an added bonus, there was quite a bit of wind today so I got to bring my kite with me. Jake had finished it just last night, so this was to be its maiden voyage.
“Renesmee,” my father called back to me, “You need to stay with us until we decide where to set down our blanket.” I looked away from the play area full of children and teens, and saw that everyone had moved ahead of me while I daydreamed. I sighed and walked a little faster. I thought Dad worried unnecessarily about my falling behind, but then again he’d only been a father for seven years. He learned fast about not smothering me, but he still had those fatherly instincts that said to keep his baby girl close.
Jake, my lovable, constant shadow, came up on my left and whispered, “Don’t worry. Once the blanket’s down we can ditch them and test out your new kite. Today’s the perfect day for it. And maybe we can do other things while we’re alone.” He waggled his eyebrows.
“I heard that Jacob,” Dad called to us, making me laugh. “Don’t even think you can try anything. It doesn’t matter if Alice can’t see you; I’ll still know what you’re up to.”
Jake and I finally caught up to the group, just as they were setting the blanket down in a small grove of noble firs. Grandpa Charlie and Mom spread the blanket on the grass, while Uncle Emmett and Grandma Esme pulled containers of food out of the picnic basket. I’d never met my other grandmother, the erratic Renee, but I bet she can’t cook as well as Grandma Esme. Nobody, expect maybe Mom, compares to her cooking.
I had just started to eat when I heard Jake’s low warning growl. I looked around and saw that three teen boys had sauntered over to our group from the playground. All three had their jeans belted halfway down their thighs, a style I detested. Jake knew this and always made sure he had a belt handy when he changed.
I kissed Jake’s cheek and whispered, “Ignore them and maybe they’ll get the hint to go away.” Unfortunately, past experience told me, this probably wouldn’t happen. I’d grown into a fairly attractive young woman and my red hair shown like a beacon to idiot boys who wanted to try their luck at picking up a “hot chick”.
To me, their interest was inconsequential, an annoyance that was just part of life. To Jake though, it was a personal insult and we’d been temporarily exiled from a couple different places because of brawls he started. He usually had a good rein on his temper, but when it came to me, he was as territorial as any wolf.
“Hey sweetheart,” said the boy in the middle as he leaned, oh so causally, against one of the firs, “why don’t you come hang with us on the swings?” Ooo swings, I thought. How can I resist? I also thought the kid had some pretty noble ambition, to try and take me away from both my boyfriend and my family. Beside me, Jake’s growling intensified.
I rubbed his knee and said to the boy, “Tempting as that sounds, I’m having lunch with my family and boyfriend” I emphasized the word “right now. You’ll have to find someone else.” I turned away from him to make my point. Jake’s snarl told me they hadn’t left and then I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Don’t be li-“ The boy broke off when Jake grabbed his arm and twisted it up behind his back. Mom pried Jake off him as I felt a wave of peace, like a cool breeze, wash over our group. Uncle Jasper was trying to cool the tempers of everyone in our group, not just Jacob. Jake may have been the most aggressive with his anger, but everyone in our group objected to the boy laying a hand on me. No matter how old I looked, I was the baby and not to be touched.
“Jacob,” Dad said, laying a hand on Jake’s shoulder as Mom held him back, “leave them be. They’ll be going now,” his voice making the phrase an order rather than a suggestion. Although from the looks on the boys’ faces, they had no intention of sticking around.
It must have looked odd to any passersby to see a teenager talking with power and authority to boys who were at least his age, if not a little older. But whether or not Dad looked adult, he was parent clean though and he didn’t let his little girl be manhandled.
The boys walked off, shooting dirty looks back over their shoulders. Mom kept her hand on Jake until they were back by the playground. Likewise, Dad stayed in front of me until they were gone. Then he moved back to his spot by Aunt Alice and Mom let go of Jake. I grabbed Jake’s hand and kissed him, as I pulled him back to our spot. Then I looked around at the people on the blanket.
I had gotten so lucky when whatever omnipresent power existed gave me my family. They were always going to be there for me, literally forever. They had a permanence that normal families lacked and everyone one of them loved me so much.
Jake leaned over, breaking me out of my reverie. “You still want to try out that kite?” he asked. I grinned and we went off to fly my kite, the bright green shining against the gray of the clouds. When I looked back over my shoulder, I saw my entire family smiling with love. And I knew I would never be alone.