|And Yet So Far
Author: LyricalKris PM
When he found out he was a father to baby daughter, Edward had to grow up too fast. With a baby involved, nothing is ever as simple as what he wants. But after he met Bella, it always seemed like happiness was so close, and yet so far. Written for FAGE4Rated: Fiction M - English - Friendship/Drama - Edward & Bella - Chapters: 15 - Words: 50,718 - Reviews: 1,706 - Favs: 1,286 - Follows: 1,050 - Updated: 11-18-12 - Published: 05-31-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8170355
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Happy Father's Day to all you fathers and single mothers out there. Thought I'd give you some Not-So-Teen Daddyward for Father's Day. MWAH.
It was a very nice thing that his apartment was so near both his job and Bella's. The proximity made it a convenient place to meet for an afternoon tryst.
With as little free time as they had, being in a new relationship was difficult. They couldn't keep their hands off each other, but try explaining that to school, work, and an inquisitive six year old. So Edward and Bella stole what moments they could.
Edward breathed the heady scent in deep, keeping his eyes closed, feeling the warmth of Bella's skin against his. They were sitting up in bed in the aftermath of love making, still cuddled together, her arms about his shoulders and his wrapped around her waist. Though neither spoke, they were talking, reveling in each other and this newfound intimacy through shared touches and tiny kisses.
Her lips breathed warmth against his arm, over his ouroboros tattoo, and she lifted a single finger to trace the endless loop. "This is so perfectly you, you know."
He turned his head to the side, nuzzling her cheek with his nose. "How's that?" he asked, his voice a low rumble.
"The cycle of renewal and rebirth. You're constantly reinventing yourself."
Edward snorted softly, kissing her with small movements. "As usual, you give me too much credit." He leaned in again to kiss her, but she pulled back slightly.
"As usual, you don't give yourself enough." Her eyes flicked down to his lips and with a sigh, she kissed him again. "You're good at this."
"What's that?" He drew his fingers up and down her back, memorizing the dips and curves of her skin and muscle.
"This," she gestured around them.
His smirk spread slow and lazy across his face. "What? Sex?" He pressed her onto her back, hovering over her. "Yes, I got that impression when you were screaming earlier," he teased, peppering her face with kisses.
She giggled. "Not that. Well. Not only that." Tenderly, she stroked his cheek with her knuckles. "I mean all of it. Loving me."
His heart felt full to bursting, stretched taut with the sweetest pressure. He lowered himself down on her, kissing her with reverence.
He understood what she meant. They'd both feared that they didn't know how to be lovers. But it was needless worry, as they'd fallen into an easy rhythm with each other. He never felt foolish, no matter how ridiculously sentimental his declarations got, or just how naked he was in front of her, clothed or not.
"You make it effortless, Bella," he mumbled against her lips.
She sighed into his mouth, not breaking their kiss, but holding him closer, her fingers running lazily across his back.
Breaking their kiss reluctantly, he rested his forehead against her. "We have to get dressed."
"I know," she said in a quiet voice, but she made no effort to move.
"Must I always be the responsible one?" he said with a dramatic sigh, rolling to the side.
She clung to him, snorting against his back. "Oh, sure. Or was it someone else who pushed me up against the door a few days ago when we were already ten minutes late?"
They came together again with soft, unhurried kisses. When they parted, they were both smiling. "Back to reality?" Bella asked.
He didn't answer right away. Without taking his eyes off her, he grabbed for her shirt, tugging it over her head. "This isreal."
She smiled, a gorgeous smile, and kissed him again.
Bella jumped a little, startled. She looked down to find Heidi, a three year old little girl with an adorable pout, staring up at her.
"I'm sorry, Heidi. What did you say?" she asked, dropping down to one knee.
"Is your lips hurt?" the girl asked curiously. "You was rubbing 'em."
Bella smiled ruefully. "No. I was just daydreaming. What did you need, kid?"
Heidi's expression turned apprehensive. She crept closer. "Dat lady scares me," she whispered.
Looking up to the front of the day care, Bella's stomach twisted uncomfortably and her throat tightened uncomfortably.
There was indeed a woman standing at the front of the daycare, just inside the door. She looked like she was trying not to be as horribly out of place as she was. Her arms were defensively crossed over her chest, and she was looking over the kids, searching.
She had wild red hair that Bella was familiar with.
"It's okay, Heidi," Bella said, stroking the girl's hair. "Why don't you go play and I'll take care of it."
Heidi was agreeable to this plan.
Clearing her throat and taking a deep breath, Bella walked over, reminding herself of the need to be professional, keeping whatever this might be separate from her personal life.
"Hello," she greeted the woman, keeping her tone even. "Can I help you?"
The woman swung her head to look, her eyes instantly narrowing, sweeping Bella from head to toe.
She had to be wondering.
Bella forced herself to keep a placid expression.
"I'm here to pick up my daughter," the woman said. "Leona Cullen."
"And your name?" Bella asked, though she knew damn well who she was talking to.
Her lips twitched, an expression of annoyance flickering across her face. "Victoria Damon."
"I really do apologize, Ms. Damon but I'm afraid you're not on the list."
"What does that mean?" There was definitely a note of irritation in her tone.
"You have to be authorized by a parent in order to leave with a child," Bella explained.
The glint in Victoria's eyes became sharper, more deadly. "I am her mother; I already told you."
"I understand, but you're not an authorized party."
"Look, I know Edward is tied up at work. He said he was going to call so I could pick her up instead of him having to."
"I apologize. It doesn't look like there's a call on record here."
For a long, heavy moment, the two women stared at each other, neither backing down.
"What's your name?" Victoria demanded.
Here we go.
"I'm Bella Swan. If you'd like me to check with Angela, I can-"
Victoria's mouth dropped open just slightly. "You're Bella Swan?" She chuffed, her eyes once again traveling the length of Bella's body in clear assessment. "I see what this is about."
"I'm not sure what you're referring to. These procedures are-"
"Jesus Christ, will you cut the crap?" the other woman hissed. "I've got no interest in playing ridiculous games. Bring me my daughter."
"Like I told you-"
"Dammit!" Victoria took a threatening step forward. "Enough. Bring me my fucking kid!"
"You are upsetting the children, and you need to leave," Bella said firmly, standing her ground.
"Excuse me. What's going on here?" Angela said, stepping over to them.
"Who are you? Are you a manager or a supervisor or whatever? God, please tell me you are."
"My name is Angela Weber. Yes, you could say I'm a manager here."
"Well, this little bitch," she gestured at Bella, "is playing stupid fucking games, trying to keep me from my kid. This is my time, dammit!"
"And your child is?"
"Leona Cullen," Victoria shouted.
Out of the corner of her eye, Bella saw Leona, who'd been happily playing outside to that point, look in their direction.
"Ms. Damon, correct? I can assure you Bella isn't playing any games. Until Edward adds you as an authorized-"
"He said he'd call," Victoria shrieked. Bella winced at the shrill sound of her voice, all too aware of the tiny kids who were beginning to make distressed sounds all around her.
"That is well and truly beside the point. Authorization can only be given in writing and handed over to us personally," Angela said, her gentle, placating voice turning hard. "Now I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You're upsetting the children."
Acting quickly, Bella stepped to Leona's side, pushing the girl behind her just before Victoria got to her.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Victoria seethed. "Get away from her!"
"Ms. Damon, I'm calling the police right now," Angela warned, the phone already in her hand.
"Victoria, if you take her now, it would be considered kidnapping," Bella said quickly, keeping her eyes locked on the red-headed woman. Behind her, she felt Elsie grip the back of her jeans tightly. Her heart twisted, knowing she was scaring the little girl. "You're making this a bigger issue than it needs to be."
Victoria's glare was not unlike a wild animal. Instinctively, Bella reached behind herself, assuring that Elsie was there.
"Mommy, you're scaring me," Elsie whined, whimpering a little. "I don't want to go with you right now."
A look that was pure pain crossed Victoria's hardened features, and she took a step back.
The room was tense and silent, some of the younger children weeping a little. Outside, Conner, the other daycare worker, was keeping the kids who weren't inside busy and distracted, but he was watching, ready to intervene if things got physical.
Victoria's eyes narrowed at Bella. "Who ison that list?"
"Are you on that list?" Victoria demanded.
Bella didn't answer, but she didn't need to. Her face had always been an open book.
"Yeah," Victoria scoffed under her breath. "This isn't over, you stupid twit."
With that, she turned on her heels and stalked from the room.
Bella slumped, releasing a long breath. "Call Edward," she barked.
"Yeah, that's what I'm doing right now," Angela said, the phone to her ear.
Turning, Bella knelt and gathered Elsie into a tight hug.
What the hell? Angela mouthed over Elsie's head.
Bella shook her head, incredulous at what had just happened.
"Edward? Hi, I'm sorry, but we just had a bit of a situation here..." Angela began, and Bella turned her attention to the very upset little girl in her arms.
When Charlie came to visit a week or so after the incident with Victoria, Bella took most of the day off work. They didn't live so far apart, but Bella's life had been hectic of late, so it had been a while.
And Charlie didn't know about Edward yet.
Remembering how he'd overreacted when she was 18, Bella was nervous about the whole situation. It had been a stressful week, and she didn't want to add arguing with her father into the mix.
"You look stressed, Bells," Charlie observed casually. "Something going on at school?" Bella shook her head. "Work?"
Bella took a deep breath.
"Did you know Edward moved down here this summer, too?" she asked.
He glanced up and nodded. "Course I did. I wrote him a letter of recommendation for his job."
"You did?" Bella's voice squeaked a little. "I didn't know that."
Charlie grunted. "He worked hard. Anytime I had business at the prison, he was always the most competent." Eyeing her, he laughed. "Don't look at me like that. I told you back then, just because I didn't want you to date him, doesn't mean I didn't like him."
"We weren't trying to date."
"Ha!" Charlie snorted. "It was just a matter of time."
"Well, I guess you were right about that."
Her father blinked, letting that settle in. "You and Edward are dating?"
"It's a little more serious than that, but yes."
"How much more serious?" Charlie's eyes were narrowed, and Bella bristled.
"We're not getting married if that's what you're asking." There was a long pause where neither of them spoke. Charlie appeared to be processing. Bella cleared her throat. "You're not going to tell me I'm ruining my life getting involved with a guy with a six year old?" She kept her tone light, trying not to be as antagonistic and defensive as she felt.
"Life derails your plans well enough on its own," Charlie said with a laugh. "I don't know many people whose life turned out exactly as they originally figured. That's just not the way it works."
He drummed his fingers on the table top. "Really, there's no right or wrong answer to happiness. If I'd let happen what I saw happening between you and Edward..." He looked off, taking a deep breath. "Well, if there was anyone mature enough to make it work, it would have been you."
"You act like I would have given up everything, all my plans, to be with him," Bella said, shaking her head.
"And you don't realize how easily that could have happened." He tilted his head, staring at her intently. "Do you remember that you applied to UDub?"
"When did you apply? Do you remember?"
Bella looked down at the tabletop. "It was a smart thing to do. I needed to have a back-up plan."
"I agree that applying to more than one university is smart," Charlie said patiently. "But to that point, you never mentioned UDub as an option. So... when did you apply?"
Bella was silent.
Charlie nodded knowingly. "I know it probably wasn't something you thought of consciously. I can tell you from experience, that's the way it happens sometimes. You follow your heart, and before you know it your life is unrecognizable. And that's fine. It's a valid choice, and you can be happy. I don't regret marrying your mother or having you, for example. I don't regret being a cop, though I never thought about being one until it was an option to keep food on the table.
"But you wanted more, and I wanted more for you. There's nothing wrong with more either." He smirked. "I'm your father, and I still had authority. I made an executive decision. That was my job then."
"But you can't now," Bella surmised. "And if you could?"
Charlie raised his eyebrow. Bella didn't blame him. Deep conversations weren't exactly standard for them.
He gave a little shrug. "I'm not going to say I'm not worried about it. You've got a lot going on in your life - just starting a career and continuing with school. Every relationship is complicated. Bringing a six year old into the equation is just one more thing."
"It's not the six year old that's complicated," Bella muttered.
She told her father about Edward's struggles with Victoria.
"And now she's making my life miserable," Bella groused when she was done filling in the blanks. "She's filed a complaint with the community college the daycare is attached to. She's been raising all kinds of hell with the social services department, trying to get them to make Edward yank Elsie from the daycare and complaining about me nonstop."
"Aren't those the people you want to work for in a couple of years?"
"Exactly," Bella said with a sigh. "It makes me look so unprofessional: Getting involved with the father of one of the kids I take care of. And of course, Victoria insists on blowing everything out of proportion. Though, Edward doesn't exactly make things better. He gets very protective of me, and they end up in shouting matches."
Bella's expression turned from stressed and irritated to slightly sheepish as she looked up at her father. "Sorry. I didn't mean to fly off the handle. It's just been an interesting time, that's all."
Charlie shook his head. "And you haven't even gotten to the hard part yet."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you said you haven't let the little girl in on your relationship, right?" He waited for Bella to nod. "So in less than half a year, she's had to adjust to losing two parental figures in Carlisle and Esme, getting her mother back when all she's ever known is her father, and then she's going to gain another parental figure in you."
"I'm not her parent," Bella argued.
"Well, you're not going to be able to hide your relationship from her forever," Charlie pointed out. "And then what? You're going to have to figure out how to be a parent to her."
"Whoa. You are getting way ahead of things right now." Bella ran her hand nervously through her hair.
"Am I? I told you a long time ago, Bells, kids change everything. There is no simple."
For the whole day after her conversation with her father, Bella was distracted, deep in thought.
She and Edward had been taking their relationship one day, almost one minute at a time, trying to juggle their responsibilities and still find time for intimacy. Their relationship was still very new, and they were learning the best ways to support each other.
But Charlie was right. She'd been ignoring the bigger picture. New as she was to the world of relationships, Bella understood that part of loving Edward was loving the life he brought with him.
Looking around at all the kids she supervised, Bella struggled with the difference between being a daycare worker - a person in a position of authority in those children's lives - and being a parental figure. If she stayed with Edward, she couldn't opt out of playing a part in raising Elsie.
What an enormous responsibility.
In her schooling, she'd read countless books about the subject - combined families and the effects of a stepparent on a child.
As new as her relationship with Edward was, she couldn't not think about those things anymore.
Hadn't he told her from day one, he couldn't offer her uncomplicated or easy?
It was overwhelming, especially when she had so much else going on. Still, if she wasn't ready for the responsibility, she had no business being with him.
And that was what had her on his doorstep at nearly midnight that Friday evening.
She called him so the doorbell wouldn't wake Elsie up. He answered the door, his expression confused.
"We need to talk," she said.
A/N: *whistles innocently*
Thanks so much to my girls and dizzygrl28 who has been visiting me this weekend and beta'ed this chap for me. Weee. I love her so.
Remember, if you want an outtake from me, bit . ly/ptblkris ... hit it up! Great cause!