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On her return, Bella tells Edward she went Christmas shopping for Renesmee. She even shows him a gift that she got for Renesmee: a golden locket containing an inscription in French: "More than my own life." She senses that Edward knows she's keeping something from him, but that he doesn't know specifics.
To give Renesmee and Jacob the best chance of making a getaway, Bella decides to put up a good fight. She wonders even if there will be any kind of afterlife for her and Edward on the other side.
Edward, Bella, and Jacob spend Christmas with Charlie, and include the entire werewolf pack. They all seem to be excited for the fight.
Jacob gives Renesmee a promise ring. In contrast to Edward, Bella no longer feels bothered by Jacob's commitment to her daughter, since she knows she'll soon be giving her to him for safekeeping.
Bella also realizes that this might be the last time she'll see Charlie. She hasn't seen Renée since the wedding, but believes that her mother is too fragile to know about her new world. She plans to include a letter for her and Charlie along with the identification documents, and a letter for Renesmee herself.
When they return to the house they learn that one of their friends, Alistair, has left. Amun also wants to leave, but not without Benjamin. He accuses Carlisle of stealing him away. Benjamin argues that he chooses to be with the Cullens.
Eleazar's idea that the Volturi might manipulate their sacrosanct laws to gain more power causes heated discussions.
The Romanian vampires don't care either way, but they express their concern that if Volturi win the fight, they'll leave with more power than they came with – there are many skilled vampires they'll be able to acquire from the Cullen team. The Romanians hold that they all must stand against the Volturi before that clan becomes too powerful, and they announce that they'll stand with the Cullens if it comes to a fight. Their pronouncement propels other friends to declare their allegiance in war as well.
With the Volturi's arrival pushing closer, Bella worries about her ability to control her shield. "This thing I do, it's faulty, it's erratic! There is no rhyme or reason to it" (32.136).
When she realizes that Renesmee can get into her head, she panics that her shield might have holes. Edward, on the other hand, believes that either Renesmee's mind runs on the same wavelength as Bella's, or that their daughter's gift is that no mind can keep her out.