This is a continuation of my one-shot, It's Time. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
It's time. Time for you to realize that starting today, I control my own life and my own future. So fuck you, Edward Cullen.
The first time I saw Edward Cullen, I was thirteen years old. It was Easter Sunday and instead of waking up to a basket full of sugary treats; I spent my morning helping my drunk father sober up by making two pots of strong, black coffee. Taking care of Charlie was nothing out of the ordinary; my mother had died during childbirth, so I learned early on how to cook, clean and even pay the occasional bill. Dealing with his growing bouts of inebriation, however, was something entirely unexpected and new. Charlie drank the occasional beer while watching the game on Sunday, but his sudden habit of coming home plastered, and even on some nights, not coming home at all, had me concerned and confused.
Charlie and I did not have what I would consider a close father, daughter relationship. I'm sure he loved me in his own quiet way, but he was a private, stoic man who lived entirely for his career. His position as Deputy Chief of Police was stressful and time-consuming, but he always made sure I had the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. It was the emotional part of being a parent that Charlie struggled with; when it came to expressing his love, a pat on the back was all he could usually muster.
Fortunately for me, my grandmother, Marie lived with us until her death when I was nine years old. She was the one who taught me how to bake a cake, develop a budget and do a load of laundry; most importantly, she showed me how it felt to be cherished.
It had taken Charlie six cups of coffee before he remembered he had to be downtown for an appointment. He ordered me to get my things together quickly and head over to Mrs. Cope's apartment for the afternoon; she was our seventy-year-old neighbor who kept an eye on me when Charlie had to work. I grabbed a book and my backpack and went across the hall. When she didn't answer, I ran back home to let my father know. Even though he regularly broke parenting rules, Charlie never left me home alone.
"Shit," Charlie swore, rubbing his hand across his stubble covered chin. "I forgot she was going to her son's for the holiday. I'm already running late, so you will just have to come with me. Bella, you need to do exactly what I say today. Am I making myself clear?"
My father's voice was stern and authoritative. He rarely spoke to me using that tone, so I knew he meant business; I nodded my head and put my jacket on as I followed him out the door.
I found it peculiar when we took a taxi to the restaurant instead of Charlie's Toyota, but upon reflection, realized my father was still not coherent enough to drive. When we arrived and entered the lobby, Charlie pointed to a plush, red velvet sofa that sat against the wall and told me to sit and wait for his return.
I was alone in the room, so I took advantage of my isolation and meandered around, admiring the photographs that hung on the surrounding walls. They were of famous people who had eaten at the restaurant and had signed pictures to commemorate their visits. It was plain from the numerous photos; Orso's was a celebrity hot spot.
As I heard the noise of the crowd floating in from the adjoining room, I wondered if any celebrities were among the diners. My curiosity got the best of me, and I foolishly decided to take a quick peek.
I attempted to remain cool as I strolled casually into the room, but my shoe caught on the plush carpeting, causing me to lose my balance and topple straight into a table. To make matters even worse, I managed to knock over a glass of wine as well.
As I surveyed the damage caused by my mishap, I gazed upon the most mesmerizing face I had ever seen. The man appeared to be in his twenties; he had thick auburn hair and eyes the color of fresh June grass. With his godlike features, I assumed he was either a model or actor. With my face ablaze with humiliation, I muttered an apology.
My misfortune promptly drew the notice of Charlie, and I knew I was in for it as soon as we left the restaurant. To my surprise, however, we remained for lunch, and I sat directly across from the handsome man whom I later discovered was named Edward Cullen.
Edward and I had little interaction with each other during the meal; not that I expected him to pay any attention to an awkward teenage girl. I stole glimpses at his perfection throughout the luncheon and even attempted to make conversation, but failed miserably.
During dessert, when I reached for a tart and accidentally grabbed his fingers, I awaited the familiar stirrings of mortification; instead, a jolt of what felt like electricity erupted throughout my body. My reaction to Edward Cullen was perplexing; I wasn't the type of girl who got easily distracted at the sight of a cute face, but there was something innate drawing me to him. I didn't have long to ponder the connection, however, because Charlie and I left moments later; my father even more incensed than before the beginning of the meal.
After an intense ride home, Charlie rushed us into the apartment and assured all the bolts on the door were secure. He then retrieved his lockbox where he kept his diverse collection of guns and pulled out five pistols along with what I considered enough ammunition to annihilate the inhabitants of a small country.
"Isabella! Get away from the windows!" Charlie screeched in a gruff voice as he loaded each pistol and then stashed them in various spots around the apartment.
My father then extracted a large manila envelope from the box and ordered me over to the kitchen table. He spent the next five hours showing me photograph after photograph, many portrayed the very same people we had just eaten with, including, to my dismay, Edward Cullen. Charlie explained they were dangerous criminals who committed the most heinous of crimes; scenes of Edward murdering faceless men flashed through my mind, and a chill passed throughout my body. My father interrupted my pensiveness and warned, if I were to come across any of them again, I should quickly flee to a safe, public area and contact him.
Satisfied with his impromptu lecture on all things Cullen, Charlie sent me to my room for the night and drank himself into another stupor. The next morning, he began a new routine of driving and picking me up from school. On the third day of this new observance, the school counselor, Mrs. Goff, met us at the door. She asked Dad to join her in her office to discuss an important matter; she explained how she had applied for an academic grant on my behalf to Miss Porter's Boarding School for Girls in Farmington, Connecticut. She wanted to share the exciting news that I had received a full scholarship.
Charlie was dumbfounded; he was perturbed that Mrs. Goff had applied for the award without first consulting with him. However, after a few moments of consideration, he stood and thanked her profusely before asking how soon I could depart.
I left the very next week. Charlie drove me to the train station and carried my one suitcase of belongings into the depot. Before I boarded, he reminded me of our Easter afternoon conversation; he then gently patted me on my shoulder and returned to his car.
I didn't know it then, but that was the last time I would ever see my father.
Thanks to my Beta, SunflowerFran. Words can't express my gratitude.
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Much love to my readers. Your kind words and encouragement have meant everything.