I own nothing. Everyone who appears here belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
…"It's time to tell Charlie."…
This story picks up at the end of Eclipse. Edward and Bella have just left the meadow, Bella is wearing the ring, and they've picked up the Volvo to drive over to Charlie's house.
The drive home was quiet. I fidgeted nervously in my seat, trying to rehearse the forthcoming scenario in my head and explore all possible outcomes so that I'd be as prepared as possible. It wasn't working. Everything I came up with ended in Charlie either having a heart attack or trying to shoot Edward. Edward, meanwhile, just smiled reassuringly while he drove and repeated, "It's going to work out fine, trust me." over and over again. The fact that he couldn't come up with anything else to say let me know that he wasn't entirely as confident as he was trying to put on.
As we pulled into the driveway I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself. Edward opened my door, pulled me gently into his arms, and whispered into my hair, "I promise, everything is going to be OK." I sighed and looked up at him, "Let's just get this over with before I lose my nerve." He took my hand and led me to the door, pausing on the threshold to give me a brief squeeze. "Courage, love, I'm right here with you." We stepped inside.
"Dad?" I called.
"Yeah, Bells. In here" came the answer from the couch.
"Dad, can we talk to you for just a minute?"
"Sure, honey. What's up?"
"Um, well, we just have something we need to say." My tone made him cautious. He put the TV on mute and looked up with concern.
"You have my full attention. What is it?"
I took another deep breath to steady myself, and Edward squeezed my hand. "Dad, the thing is, well…Edward-asked-me-to-marry-him-and-I-said-yes." The last part came out rushed together like one long word. Bracing for the worst, I half-cringed, held my breath and waited for Charlie's answer. Total silence. I counted to thirty in my head but there was still no response. Oh dear, what could this possibly mean? This is way worse than yelling or keeling over or chasing Edward with his service revolver. Why isn't he having any reaction at all?
"Dad?" I could barely whisper in anticipation and alarm. Obviously stunned, he sank back into the couch, closed his eyes, and finally said, "Bella?"
"Are you pregnant?"
"NO! Dad, no! Seriously, it's nothing like that! I've told you before, Edward and I aren't…um…like that…." I trailed off, too embarrassed to form a coherent sentence, staring at the floor and blushing furiously. Edward came to my rescue.
"Charlie," he began in a quiet, confident tone, "I know you are worried that we're too young. I know that you must have a thousand different worries swirling around in your head right now," he glanced at me and smiled, "but Bella and I are in love. We've talked this through; we've discussed the pros and cons. I promise you that I can support her, take care of her, and that this will not interfere with college." I nearly scoffed at that remark. No, the marriage wouldn't interfere with college, but me turning into a bloodthirsty newborn vampire might put a little damper on it. Before I could say anything though, he gave me a stern look and continued, "In fact, sir, I asked her this several months ago and she's been putting off answering me because she was worried about what you and Renee would say."
Charlie looked up at that remark, his shocked expression slowly turning to resignation. "You two are bound and determined to do this?"
"Yes, sir." Edward replied confidently.
"Bella?" he turned to me. "You really aren't in any kind of trouble?"
"No, Dad! Really! It's just what Edward said. We know that this is what we want, we're planning to go to college together anyway, and we really don't see any reason to put it off. I've just been afraid to tell you and Mom."
"Honey, are you absolutely certain? You know what happened with your mother and I…." this time he trailed off, unable to finish his thought out loud. I moved to sit beside him on the couch.
"I know, Dad."
"And you want to do this anyway?"
"More than anything." I smiled at Edward. This was going far, far better than I'd expected.
"Well, all right. I suppose I was expecting this, just not quite so soon." Charlie sat up then and faced me, putting on his best 'fatherly' face. "But you're telling Renee."