I would be moving in with my father for the first time ever on a permanent basis. Renee had announced that her and Phil would be going on a holiday cruise for Christmas. Not wanting to intrude on their time together and also not wanting to spend the holiday alone. I decided to head up to Washington about a month ahead of schedule
I would surprise Charlie for Christmas. After all, I had never spent that particular holiday with my father.
Renee, Phil and I parted ways at the airport. "I love you mom. I'll miss you," I said hugging her
"I love you too Bella. All you need to do is call when you want to come home." She smiled
"Mom, I'll be fine. Merry Christmas." I said as I headed to the plane
When I arrived in Port Angeles since I was going to be surprising Charlie, my mom had given me some extra cash for the cab ride to Forks. Soon I had hailed a cab and was on my way home.
When the cab pulled up to the house, I noticed that the patrol car was not in the driveway. I waited for the driver to leave as I pulled the key from its hiding place under the eves, letting myself in.
I took in the sight and smell of the home I had only experienced previously on summer vacations so many years ago. I soon noticed that the home was void of any holiday paraphernalia. No tree, no lights, not even a holiday candle graced that home. It was December 22, there was no way he had put off his decorating until now. Had he always done this? Not even bothered to even get a tree. A pang of sadness washed over me as I realized how lonely he truly was.
I picked up the phone and dialed the police station, Officer Johnson answered and I asked for Chief Swan. He wasn't in the office, but he wanted to take a message in case he checked in.
"Just tell him Bella called. I have a surprise for him." I said
"Bella?" he asked surprised "As in his daughter?"
"Yes." I said a bit annoyed
"So you're still coming home next month? Your dad is getting really excited about your stay?" he volunteered
"Well, that's kind of the surprise. I came early."
"You're here now? Do you need a ride?" he asked nervously
"No. I'm all set. I just wanted to surprise Charlie, that's all. Thank you." I said and hung up the phone.
I looked around the living room. This was not acceptable. We would certainly need a tree, and light at least. I thought to myself. But I would need help pulling this off. I thought of my last summer here, and my friends Becca and Rachel. I could give them a call and pull them in as accomplices. I found the number for the Black's and dialed. I was sure they would help me. They were always so fun.
"Hello?" a male voice answered
"Hi, may I speak with Becca."
"Sorry, she isn't here."
"How about Rachel?" I asked hopeful
"Nope. They both moved out last year," he said
"Shoot." I muttered
"Who is this?" he asked with a suspicious tone
"Bella Swan." I replied, "Thanks anyway."
"Hold up Bella, it's me Jacob."
"Jacob?" I questioned trying to remember
"Little annoying tag along kid." He laughed
"Oh, yes! I remember you. Hey Jacob, how is everything going?"
"Great. Hey, were you calling to talk to your dad? I could get him. He's out talking to my dad."
"No! No!" I said frantically
"Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine. I was just looking to enlist some help to surprise my dad."
"I can help." He insisted " do you need me to get something for him? You'll be here next month right?"
"No" I said as I heard him sigh
"I'm already here. That's the surprise."
"Oh, that is great. He's going to be so excited. He has been talking about you practically none stop!"
"The thing is Jacob. I'm at the house and noticed that there isn't a tree or anything-"
"I get it. I'll be right over." He said happily and hung up the phone
About 45 minutes later there was a knock at the door. I asked who it was.
"It's me silly! Jacob."
I opened the door to see a huge pine tree. "Jacob, let me help" I insisted as we attempted to maneuver it into the family room
Soon it was in place and Jacob stood up and turned to face me.
He was a giant. Over 6 feet tall at least and I gasped "Little Jacob Black?" I stared in awe
"Not so little anymore." He smiled a glorious smile. I practically melted
"I brought a few lights too." He said, heading back towards the door picking up a box
I watched him watch me, "Charlie should be home in an hour or so. I told Billy about your surprise for Charlie so he will keep him occupied."
"Thanks!" I said relieved
"No problem. Now let get this tree decorated." He chuckled
The lights were soon strung and it looked beautiful. I always loved a Christmas tree.
"Thank you Jacob." I said placing my arms around him to offer a hug
He willingly accepted my gratitude and he held me a bit longer than necessary.
I pulled away, my face tomato red. We heard a car pull up.
"Go hide." Jacob suggested as we heard Charlie enter the house
"Whose in here?" he called out " I have a gun!" he added
"Hey Charlie, it's just me Jake."
I heard Charlie walk towards the family room and Jacob flipped the switch and the tree illuminated.
Charlie seemed to take it in and then addressed Jacob. "Jake, it's nice but you know I don't do Christmas without-"
"Hi Dad." I said from behind him
Charlie turned and immediately pulled me into a tight embrace
"Oh God Bells! I've missed you so much." He cried
"Missed you too dad!" I said as he hesitantly released his grasp on me as if I'd vanish from in front of his eyes. He looked at my face and placed a kiss on my forehead
"This is going to be the best Christmas ever!" Charlie beamed "So I take it you've already met Jake."
"Thanks again Jacob. I couldn't have done this without you."
"No problem. Just promise the two of you will come over for diner tomorrow. I'm sure Bill will be happy to see you Bella." Jacob said
"Sure thing" Charlie replied, "So, have you had dinner yet?" he asked first looking at me then to Jacob
"I haven't, but I'm fine." I said quietly
"Fine?" he questioned, "Look at you, your skin and bone." Charlie teased
"Dad!" I blushed as I looked at Jacob, who just smiled
"How about I order a pizza? Sound good to you guys?"
"Sure." Jacob said
"Fine" I grumbled
We sat at the table and chatted around the pizza
"So, what are you going to do tomorrow while I'm at work? Charlie asked curiously
"I was thinking I'd find the hospital, see if they have a volunteer program."
"Sounds good!" Charlie smiled at me and I took a small bite of my pizza
"I can show you around if you like." Jacob said
"Jake, I'm sure Bella would like that very much." Charlie answered for me
"Thank you, that would be great."
"Well, I better get home and check on Billy. Bella, I'll see you in the morning and Charlie, I'll see you for dinner."
"9:00 AM?" I suggested
"That was just what I was going to say," he said with a laugh
"Night Charlie thanks for dinner. Good to see you again Bella."
"Night!" we said in unison as Jacob left and Charlie placed his arm around me.
"I just cant believe you're really here," Charlie said " where are your bags?" he looked around
"I put them in my old room. Is that okay?" I asked
"That's fine, sorry the room isn't in better shape. I was going to have it painted and ready when you came next month." He said
"It's okay dad. Now it will be a project that we can do together." I said as I let out an involuntary yawn.
"You must be exhausted from traveling all day. Get up to your room young lady." He teased
"Yes sir!" I laughed
I quickly got ready for bed. Rushing a shower, changing into my PJ's and combing my wet hair as I looked out my window into the pitch on night.
This was a new beginning for me. A fresh start, and I was going to make the best of it.
I awoke in the morning to a dull light streaming in from the window. I heard a faint knock in the distance. My eyes darted to the clock, 9:00 AM. Oh great, it must be Jacob and I wasn't ready.
I flew down the stairs, tripping at the bottom. "Just a sec!" I yelled, making my way to the door. I flung it open and saw Jacob looking at me with a wicked expression
"Um, Bella don't get me wrong. I love what you're wearing. But I think you'd going to need a few more clothes than that." He smiled
I glared at him, then turned away pulling up my hair and began searching for elastic in the junk drawer Charlie always had.
I saw elastic held out in front of me. " Thanks." I said, taking it and pulling my hair up into a clump on top of my head
"Hungry?" I asked as I headed for the fridge
"No thanks. I'm all set." He smiled
I shut the door and got a glass of water
"Aren't you having anything?" he asked curiously
"Not hungry" I responded heading for the stairs "I'll be down in a second"
I quickly washed my face and brushed my teeth. Tossing on some jeans and a Harvard sweatshirt
"Ready to go?" I said as I noticed Jacob looking at the pictures on Charlie's wall
"Sure, Sure" he smiled as he took me in
"Where to first?"
"The hospital?" I asked hopeful
"Okay." he looked a bit surprised and we got into his car. As we drove I watched all of the green forest pass by as we sat in silence.
"Over there is Newton's Outfitters" and I looked in the direction he pointed, and soon we were at the hospital.
We made our way to the lobby and I asked if they accepted volunteers. The woman at the desk looked at me like I had three heads.
"Yes, but most of our volunteers are older."
"Is there an age restriction?" I inquired
"No, it's just most young people- well never mind." she said
"I'm not like most young people, I am very interested in helping others"
"Fill out this form and have a seat. Since this is such a small facility, one of our Physicians on staff helps coordinate the volunteer program."
"Do you mind Jacob?"
"No, not at all. Take your time," he said as I quickly filled out the form returning it to the nurse.
"Dr Cullen?" she said into the phone "We have a young lady here that is interested in volunteering, if you have a moment."
I watched as a young Doctor came out of the office and picked up a folder
"Miss Swan?" he called
I got up and moved toward him "Yes, please call me Bella" I said extending my hand to him.
He shook it and gestured to the office. I followed him and took the seat he offered.
He looked at me intently and then began "Now, Bella. What is you reason for volunteering? First off, I must say that you are much younger than our average volunteers."
I always got nervous explaining my reasoning but over the years I came up with what seemed like a normal explanation without having to go into my personal information
"Well, I think you will find that I am nothing like your average volunteer." I smiled "I want to inspire the younger patients that there truly is hope. That life is worth living. I've had several personal experiences, but I'd rather not talk about them."
"We do have a small pediatric area, and I think you would be a great addition Bella." He said as his phone rang
"Excuse me" he said as he picked up the phone "Yes, I'm sorry. I'm with-" he stopped and his eyes flashed to mine "Oh- Really?" he said, "Yes, okay."
"I'm sorry for that interruption. My daughter, Alice." He smiled and looked away
"How old?" I inquired, thinking she was probably 4 or 5 at the most
"She is your age, 17" he managed to say
"Oh" was all I replied looking confused. He seemed too young to have a daughter my age
"My wife and I have several adopted children." He said answering my unasked question
"That's very nice of you" was all I could think to say
"So, we'll see you tomorrow at 10:00 AM?"
"Yes! Thank you Dr Cullen." I smiled as I shook his hand but this time I noticed the coolness of his touch. I felt almost like a spark of electricity
"Sorry" he said, pulling away
He walked me out to the lobby and Jacob saw me coming. As he got up, I noticed another person walking in the lobby.
It was a boy around my age, he was incredibly beautiful with is bronze colored hair.
"Dr Cullen, your son Edward is here." The nurse at the desk said
"Edward?" Dr Cullen said with surprise as his son turned to face him.
Our eyes met briefly and I noticed he seemed to freeze.
I was curious about his reaction, but Jacob was already placing his arm around my waist.
"Bella." He breathed, " how did it go?" he asked as he pulled my toward the door
I turned to see the boy called Edward watching me intently. His father seemed to snap him out of his trance by touching his shoulder.
"Come into my office now Edward" I heard in the distance as Jacob and I left
"Well, I start tomorrow at 10:00AM" I chirped
"Are you some kind of Saint or something like that?" Jacob chuckled
"Something like that!" I smiled hesitantly at my new friend