Author's Note: This is my first Twilight fanfiction. I have written other fanfictions, but never in this category. Anyway, I really hope you like it! Any reviews are greatly appreciated!


By: Alexandra Lucier

Chapter 1: After Graduation

"So, Bella," I knew Charlie was struggling to make casual conversation as dinner drew to a close, "what are you planning on doing after dinner?" He knew perfectly well what I was planning on doing, but he still tried his best to ignore the inevitable truth. I chose not to let it bother me tonight.

"Edward's coming over, Dad." I reminded him for what must have been the thousandth time. It was a tradition now, it seemed. The same thing happened after dinner every Friday night. And I always got the same reaction from Charlie. He didn't try to hide the fact that he didn't like my boyfriend. On some level, I suppose I didn't blame him. After all, in Charlie's eyes 'that Cullen boy' had hurt his little girl pretty badly. Almost to the point of death. I acknowledged this, but I had long-since forgiven him. After everything that had happened, how could I not? He deserved much more than my forgiveness after all, but at the moment that was all I could give him…or rather, all he would let me give him.

Charlie raised both eyebrows meaningfully. This always drove me crazy. "What time?" He asked, criticism and disapproval reigning supreme in his tone.

I did my best to match his authority with my own tone. "Any minute now." I retorted strongly, glancing up at the clock as I said so. My heart leapt at the thought. I was certain he wasn't far away as it was…he was never far away. I couldn't help but smile at this notion. I knew it was true. Dear Edward was never far from my side, even if he appeared to be for a little while. It wasn't in his nature to leave me unprotected. Unsupervised. I was sure that if I were to hang my head out the kitchen window right this second and call his name, he would be there, waiting to be invited in.

But before I could say another word to Charlie on the matter, there was a brisk knock at the front door to our small, two-bedroom house. A familiar knock. I knew that knock. And smiled.

I practically leapt from the table and made my way to the door, stumbling only slightly as I did so. Charlie stood as well, but didn't come to the door as a polite father-of-the-girlfriend should. Instead he commenced the nightly ritual of clearing the table while I answered the door alone. I knew he wanted nothing to do with Edward. That was okay…because I did.

Grasping the doorknob, I flung open the door to reveal that perfect figure that belonged to none other than Edward Cullen standing in the doorframe, one hand leaning against it coolly. He was in his leather jacket; my favorite to see him in, and he grinned broadly when he saw me. All at once I was lost in his eyes yet again. "H-h-hi." I stammered through strained breaths as he smiled my favorite crooked smile.

"Hello." He responded casually and stepped through the doorframe and into the front room. Taking a step toward him, I angled my face upward to kiss his lips, but he stopped me, lifting his head out of reach and using it instead to glance around anxiously. "Where's Charlie?" He asked, his velvety voice self-conscious.

I smiled, understanding now. "He's cleaning up dinner."

Edward chuckled softly and bent his head down towards mine again. "Oh," he breathed airily, his cool breath sending a cascade of chills down my spine as it grazed my skin, "well, in that case…" He let his voice trail off as his lips touched mine finally, softly brushing against them for the briefest moment before he pulled away. I wanted to hang on, but I knew if we took too long Charlie would come looking for us.

Taking Edward by the hand, I led him into the kitchen (Charlie would never allow us out of his sight) and sat him down at the kitchen table, which he quickly vacated again for me. I sighed and rolled my eyes in defeat, but did not sit down. I had something I needed to ask Charlie anyway. My father hadn't even acknowledged Edward's arrival; not so much as one word so I knew there was little chance of my suggestion being taken seriously.

"Um, Dad?" I started uncertainly and Charlie merely grunted in reply. "I was just wondering, today's the fourth of July and, well, they're having fireworks out on Baker's Hill tonight. I always loved the fireworks. Ever since I was little…" I was beginning to run out of words to stall with. I would have to get to the point sometime. I just wasn't sure if now was the time to be asking a favor of Charlie. "And I was just thinking, it might be fun for us to go. You know, me and you. Father and daughter again."

Charlie turned from the dishes now and looked at me, a suspicious glint in his dark eyes. Raising one eyebrow, he sincerely seemed to consider the idea for a moment before answering, shaking his head no as he did so. "I don't know, Bells." He replied cynically as he turned away from me and back to the dishes. (Just the fact that he was doing the dishes was a testimony to how mad he truly was). "July's a busy time for us down at the station and I'm on duty tonight." He then glanced over his shoulder at me, feigning a disappointed expression. "Sorry, honey."

But before I could answer, Edward stood, a hopeful look on his perfect features. "I'll take her, Charlie." He offered kindly. My heart leapt at the prospect. Edward and I alone together under those colorful, blasting lights. It could be very romantic…although I had been hoping to go with Charlie so that I could make amends with my father while he was in a good mood. And what better way to put him in a good mood than to offer to spend some quality time with him? But now, it seemed, that possibility was out, and so I grinned up at Edward before he draped one arm across my tiny shoulders and both of us looked at Charlie hopefully.

But Charlie turned from the dishes now, a frustrated expression on his normally mellow face. He pointed one, rude finger in Edward's direction. "It's Chief Swan to you." He corrected, his tone losing all traces of politeness.

"Dad!" I scolded, but before I could continue, Charlie had turned his pointed finger on me. "And you," he started again, more stern than I had ever heard him before, "you aren't going anywhere with him. You know the rules. No exceptions." Shoot. I had really been looking forward to seeing the fireworks for the first time since I was quite little. And having Edward there would have been a delectable bonus. But that wasn't going to happen now.

Edward removed his hand from my shoulder and held up both hands in a non-threatening surrender. "I apologize, Chief Swan." He told him, genuinely polite. "It was not my place. I shouldn't have said anything."

This made my heart double its time with rage. Why was Edward always so polite in the face of those who weren't? Didn't he know that he didn't only have to be a gentleman to my father? Why wouldn't he stick up for himself? Of course, I knew the answer to all of these questions. It was simply in his nature. Still, sometimes it was difficult to understand. Then Edward went a step further. "Well, I'll leave you two in peace." He diplomatically dismissed himself and headed for the door, clearly seeing that he was no longer welcome here.

I followed him, desperate that he stay. "Edward, you don't have to go." I told him as firmly as I could manage as we reached the door and he stepped out onto the porch, but then he leaned down and whispered in my ear those four words that always made me fall in love with him all over again. "I'm never far away." That said, he turned and disappeared into the rain, before I had a chance to say goodbye. But that didn't matter. I was still smiling anyway. And only I knew why.

Charlie and I spent the evening in silence. I excused myself to go upstairs to my room the moment I thought all suspicion would be gone from my father's head. I told him I was going up to finish some homework. Fortunately for me, Charlie was watching one of his precious games on T.V. and didn't seem to process the fact that I had already graduated and summer had started. I didn't have homework. Still, when he didn't comment on the lie and merely nodded absentmindedly, I thanked God and took the stairs two at a time up to my room, careful not to trip.

I was disappointed when I didn't find Edward there, but then I knew why. I heard the stairs creek outside my bedroom door and was certain Charlie was listening in, if not spying somehow. Edward was not about to get me in trouble. And so I spent the rest of my before-bed time reading my favorite book, writing an e-mail to my crazy mother and finally, showering and putting on my tank-top and silky pajama pants. When I returned to my room, I could hear the television blaring downstairs and new hat Charlie would not be coming back up tonight to check on me.

Grinning, I clambered into bed and switched off the light. That's when I heard them. That magnificent sound…I sighed somewhat longingly. I wanted to go so badly. I could hear the fireworks blasting in the distance. They must have just started, I assured myself as I tried to block the sound out so I wouldn't be disappointed at not going, but before I could so much as close my eyes, two cold lips pressed themselves to my hair and one cold, hard arm wrapped itself around me. Smiling comfortingly, I snuggled up so my back was against his chest. I should've known he'd be here before long.

He kissed my neck, my jaw-line and then finally, the hollow beneath my ear. Then I heard his smooth, velvety voice as it whispered in my ear, "Wanna go to the fireworks?"