Charlie wonders if it's his fault.
Is their family doomed for heartbreak? Will they always have hearts that wander off in far-distant places for people who have long since forgotten them? If he could find the words, he would ask her.
His beautiful daughter is broken, vacant eyes and a mouth that moves but doesn't speak. There's a subtle difference between the words, he thinks. He wishes that she would –
She is different from him, this strange creature that is his flesh and his blood, and yet not. He can't begin to fathom how her mind works, in what foreign lands her soul is wandering now.
(Probably wherever that Cullen boy is, he thinks, and a scowl appears on his face.)
He remembers pain, of course. He begins every day with the hollow ache where his heart used to be, before Renee came and stole it away. Even after so many years, there are times when Bella looks too familiar, too much like her mother, and then the wound flares to life.
It's his battle scar, he thinks. His badge of honor for making it through those first, terrible months when it seemed his entire life was over. Will Bella ever have a scar of her own? Or will the gaping hole sit and fester, aggravated by too many poisoned memories?
She sits across the table from him. Her eyes are unfocused, staring at everything and nothing at once. Her movements are dull, sluggish, as if every action must be executed from a great distance.
His own fork stills as he watches her. He sees the unconscious strain it puts on her to eat a single bite. He needs this to stop. He can't take it anymore.
"Damn it, Bella," he snaps. "Would you just snap out of it already?"
Predictably, there is no response. She continues her methodical dance of fork-to-mouth, swallow, fork-to-mouth-again. It's as if he had never said anything at all.