This story started out as an extra to first light, but it stands very well on its own. This is how Bella and Edward broke the news of their wedding plans to her parents. As always, Stephenie Meyer owns all things twilight; no money is being made from this writing, and no copyright infringement is intended.

Thanks so much to vnfan for her wonderful beta skills! It is a true pleasure to work with such a talented author.

In Bella's voice.

Verbal Engagement

The decision to finally accept Edward's proposal had come easily enough, but as I looked at the ring on my finger I frowned. Now came the hard part: breaking the news to Charlie that we were getting married, and soon. All the way home I tried to find the words to say, but found nothing. How would I tell him?

I was fixing myself lunch when Charlie came in from the morning's fishing. Edward sat at the kitchen table quietly.

"Hello Edward; Bells," Charlie said conversationally as he went to hang up his dripping jacket. Well that's a good start, I thought.

"You're back early. Would you like a sandwich, Dad?"

"That would be great, Bells. The fish were not cooperating today." Charlie planted himself at the table across from Edward. "What did you two do this morning?" I glanced over my shoulder to see him turn toward me as he spoke. Suddenly my nerves kicked in and I felt like I was vibrating.

"We hung out at Edward's for a while and then took a walk." And we decided to get married, I thought, but couldn't voice the words.

"Did you get caught in the rain? It was really coming down there for a while."

"No, Charlie, we made it back before the worst hit," Edward said easily. He smiled at me when I glared at him over my shoulder. I took a deep breath.

"You okay, Bella? You look a little jumpy," Charlie observed.

"No, I'm fine," I said quickly. My hand was trembling as I reached across the counter for the mayonnaise to my left. Suddenly Charlie inhaled sharply, getting full view of the ring glittering brightly on my left hand. I quickly pulled the jar in front of me and froze. No words were needed now.

The silence was deafening as I tried to compose myself and finish Charlie's sandwich. I looked over my other shoulder to see Edward staring intently at Charlie. With the plate in my right hand I turned around slowly. Charlie was looking straight down, staring at his hands folded on the table in front of him. His face was turning bright red before my eyes. Uh oh…

"Here you go, Dad." The pitch of my voice was unnaturally high. Charlie didn't move.

Edward now unfroze and looked at me. "Bella, would you excuse us for a moment, I'd like to have a word with your father alone."

My mouth opened as I tried to read Edward's face, but he just tilted his head toward the back door. When I didn't move he smiled at me and winked. "It's okay," he mouthed.

I opened the door slowly and looked back at my father as I stepped out. Charlie was looking at Edward now, his face a mixture of anger and defeat.

"I love you, Dad," I said weakly. Charlie barely nodded and I walked out into the yard.

My hands were still shaking as I stood in the middle of the yard. The rain had stopped for now, but the clouds still filled the sky, ready to open up again at a moment's notice. I turned back to the house, listening. Nothing… that's good, I guess; Charlie's not yelling… or shooting… I wish I had a watch. How long was this going to take? What I wouldn't give to have vampire hearing right now…

I thought about pacing by the door, but being that close made my trembling even worse. My truck was in the driveway, so I decided to go inspect it.

After circling it twice and deciding that I really needed to clean the windows, I heard the front door of the house close. Slowly I turned around and faced my father.

Charlie looked calm, his face was a normal color and his eyes were relaxed. He walked across the lawn and stopped in front of me. He didn't say anything; he just looked down and picked up my left hand, bringing it up to his face.

"That's quite a ring," he said softly, peering at the array of diamonds set in golden lace on my third finger.

"Yes, it is." I didn't know what else to say.

Charlie looked in my eyes now. "Edward asked for my permission to marry you. Is that what you want?" His voice was still quiet, but even. There was sadness in his eyes, but there was more… I could tell that Charlie truly wanted me to be happy. It gave me hope.

"Yes, Dad, it is. Edward and I have been through a lot, and I know it's been very hard on you, but I truly believe we are meant to be together. I love him, Dad." I said the words quietly but firmly, not moving my gaze from his eyes.

Charlie sighed, and then put one hand on my cheek. "Bells, you're so young… don't you want to wait a while longer?" His voice carried the weight of experience; the memory of his own young mistake.

"We talked about that, a lot, actually, but we decided that there wasn't a good reason to wait. Our plans for college haven't changed, and in fact it will be less expensive if we live together. We have no plans for children, either." Charlie flinched; I didn't know if it was because he missed my childhood, because of the thought of grandchildren, or because he remembered the sex talk he'd tried to give me.

I lowered my voice slightly. "Our situation is very different from what happened to you and Mom. This is the way it is supposed to be, I can feel it." Charlie's face didn't change as I spoke, and he concentrated intently on every word.

I finished, and after a moment Charlie released my hand and then gathered me in a hug. "That's exactly what Edward said." He squeezed me tighter. "Can you read each other's minds?"

We both chuckled at his words, Charlie unaware of the irony in his joke. "No, we can't. I guess we both just feel the same way." I paused, and the laugh died away. "How do you feel, Dad?"

Charlie sighed. "I can see how much you two care for each other, and I've known for a while that you would probably end up together one way or another in the end. I'm just not ready for it to be now." Charlie released me and looked in my eyes. A small smile crept across his lips. "It'll take me a little while to get used to the idea of Edward as my son." His tone was lighter now, and I knew that he'd given Edward his permission.

"Can you do just one thing for me Dad?"

"Blessing your marriage isn't enough, eh?" My heart leapt at his words and a grin spread across my face.

"Would you please give me away, Dad?" I asked.

Tears started to form in Charlie's eyes and he pulled me close again. "Of course I will, Bella. I love you."

"I love you, too, Daddy." As he held me, my tears started flowing and I could barely see Edward standing on the porch, smiling.

"Good luck telling your mother…" Charlie smirked.

After things went so well with Charlie, I thought that Renee would be a piece of cake. She'd seen how we were together; even though we'd tried to hide the affection we felt for each other, she'd picked up on it – especially when we'd visited her a few months ago. If Charlie had guessed that we were headed toward the altar, surely she had too.

Charlie left again to head over to the police station, and I picked up the phone and went to sit on the couch in the living room.

"Are you ready for this?" Edward asked as he rubbed my shoulders gently.

"I think so." I took a breath and dialed. I'd always been able to tell Renee anything, well with one large exception. Edward smiled at me as I dialed.

"Hello…" Renee answered after only one ring; she must be on the other line.

"Hi Mom…" I waited; I wanted to make sure I had her full attention.

"Hang on a minute, I'm just finishing up with Phil." I heard a faint click as she switched over. I rolled my eyes at Edward, and he gave me his crooked smile.

"So what do I owe this phone call too? Is everything all right?" Her voice started to rise in pitch.

"Fine Mom, everything is fine. Better than fine, actually…" I stopped as I realized my words were starting to sound a little hysterical.

"Fine. Right." Renee sounded suspicious now. "And…"

I took a deep breath, looked at Edward and said quickly, "Edward proposed to me, Mom, and I said 'yes'." The rest of the air came out of my lungs in a big whoosh. I watched Edward's thumb stroke the back of my free hand as I waited for her response. There wasn't one…

"Mom, are you still there?" A soft exhale on the other end of the connection told me she was. "Mom, say something." Another breath, louder this time.

"You want to get married?" she said evenly. I recognized the tone, it usually preceded punishment when I was a child. This was not going well. Edward now picked up my hand and kissed it.

"It'll be alright, Bella," he whispered softly. I shook my head. This was going to be very bad.

"Yes, Mom, I love him," I said, waiting for the question that would put her over the edge.

"So you are engaged," she croaked. My hand was shaking in Edward's now. It was like waiting for a grenade to go off.


"And when…" she paused as her voice broke again, "…when are you planning the… event." There it was, the question I was dreading. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.

"This summer," I said slowly.

"What! You want to get married this summer? Did you forget what happened to your father and me? How could you do this – after the pain that boy put you through? Bella are you insane? WHAT DID YOUR FATHER SAY?" Renee finally had to take a breath, and I decided that only the last question was worth answering.

"Charlie gave us his blessing. He knows that we are meant to be together and I think you do…" CLICK "…too…" I dropped the phone, pulled my hand out of Edward's and covered my face. She'd never hung up on me before, it hurt much more than I would have ever thought.

Edward immediately wrapped his arms around me and pulled me on to his lap. "I'm sorry this is so hard. If you'd rather…"

"Please do not ask if I'd rather wait. If I hear that again I'm going to scream," I snapped. Tears were starting to leak out of my hands. I turned my face into Edward's shoulder and started to sob.

He stroked my hair as he spoke. "Shhh, Bella. I was going to ask if you'd rather I talked to her." He held me tighter and I started to calm down.

"No, I don't think that will help." I took a deep breath and looked up. Edward gently wiped away the tears on my cheeks, then looked into my eyes. I couldn't help but smile at the beauty of his face. "Renee has to calm down and actually think about what I said. I guess I didn't realize how shocked she would be. She'll call back…" I hope.

I settled back into Edward's shoulder and closed my eyes. The day had been an emotional rollercoaster, and it was starting to take its toll. I started counting the seconds as they passed in my head. She needs time, I told myself, and forced my thoughts elsewhere.

My mind wandered back to the wedding dress in Alice's closet, and I tried to picture myself in it. Edward's perfect figure then appeared next to me in a vintage suit with a long morning coat and ascot tie. I concentrated on the image closer and realized we were standing on something white and fluffy. The picture started to shrink, and I realized we were standing on top of a wedding cake.

Just then the phone rang and I woke with a start. "Take your time and wake up, Bella, I'll answer it," Edward said gently. He still held me close with one arm as he reached for the phone next to us on the couch. I rubbed my eyes, trying to clear out my brain and sort out the dream from the reality of this intense day.

"Swan residence," he said smoothly. "Hello Renee. Yes, she's here, but it will be just a minute." He paused, listening. Edward looked down at me briefly, inspecting my expression.

"Bella was a little… startled, yes, but she is doing fine."

I nodded and held my hand out for the phone. "Here she is, Renee." Edward smiled and winked at me – Renee must be doing better, too.

"Hi Mom. I'm sorry if I took you by surprise, I didn't know how else to tell you." I tried not to sound desperate, but failed miserably.

"Bella, I should be the one apologizing, I was very rude. I'm sorry." She inhaled roughly, and I could tell she'd been crying, too.

"It's okay, Mom, I really do understand. It's very fast, I know…"

"You're so young, Bella. How do you know Edward is the one?" she asked.

I took a breath and relaxed now that Renee was starting to come around. "I'm not sure I can describe it, Mom. When we're together I feel complete, alive. It is more than love… it's like finally coming home after being lost for a very long time. With Edward is where I'm supposed to be."

Edward wrapped both arms around me now and kissed the top of my head. "Yes," he whispered.

"That's beautiful, Bella," Renee said softly. I didn't know what to say…

"I called Charlie, and he was very supportive of your decision." She paused again, and I could tell that she was trying to decide what to say next.

"Bella, I can't truly say I'm happy about this," her voice was apologetic.

"I know Mom, I really do," I said, hanging on her words now.

"But I think that Charlie is right. You two do seem destined some how to be together, and it is what you believe will make you happy. I will try and get more comfortable with that fact before the big day, okay?" Renee's voice wavered at the end.

I looked up at Edward with a smile on my face. "Thank you, Mom. I love you so much."

"I love you too, Bella. So do you have a specific date set yet?" Her voice faded at the end, but she took a deep breath and I could guess she was trying to relax.

"No, but it will probably be in August. As soon as we have more details I'll call you, okay?" I waited, hoping that she wouldn't explode again.

I heard her take another deep breath. "All right, Bella. Thank you for calling to tell me, sweetheart, and give Edward my best, okay?"

"Okay, Mom. I'll call you soon. Love you…"

"Love you, too, Bella. Good bye."

"Bye, Mom." I clicked the phone off and set it back on the couch. Edward pulled me close and I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "We did it." I said, relieved.

"Yes we did, Mrs. Cullen," he said with a chuckle, then turned and kissed the nape of my neck.

His words sent a shock through me and I inhaled sharply. "I think I like the sound of that, Mr. Cullen," I said as his lips found mine.

When we separated he smiled crookedly. "Now all we have to do is endure Alice…"