Turning Gold to Dust

When she tells you she's getting married—tells you, doesn't even ask what you think first, doesn't want your advice—you wonder, briefly, if this is the world's idea of a cruel joke. You don't think that maybe you heard her wrong, that maybe there was actually a never or a just kidding, Dad behind her words; and you know for a fact that she wasn't mumbling, because you've never heard a clearer proclamation in your life.

Well.

Except for once.

But even after this has had a chance to sink in, you won't be able to decide which one stung the most.

You blink at her, mouth dry. She tells you quickly that she doesn't expect you to be happy for her, that it's okay if you're angry. But there's a look in her eyes, one you're sure she's trying to disguise, that's hoping, pleading, for your approval, because you're her father, and isn't that what you're supposed to do?

But she's your baby—just a baby—and you're not willing to believe that this boy—the one who broke her and left a shadow behind—is going to be the one to steal her away. The one who'll take her hand and leave an empty cradle in her place.

More shadows to haunt you every day.

More reminders that you've failed as a father, even after your second chance—the chance you didn't deserve in the first place, since your Judgment Day had already come and gone. It's a chance you're starting to wish you'd never been given. You're starting to wish that Bella had never come to Forks, that you'd never been so weakened by that selfish hope you'd felt when she'd called and said, maybe in not so many words, that she'd needed a change.

Because then she'd be far away in Phoenix.

With Renee.

Renee, who'd find the words to tell her that she's making a mistake. Renee, who'd say, hey, don't you think you should live a little first? Wait a little, then decide? Renee, who'd have told her this all her life until she'd understood it, who'd keep her away from boys who say I love you too early on in life.

This boy. Far away, unwittingly and by default.

And everything would be fine, and you'd never have to think that there's any reason not to sleep at night with ease.

Because even though she's your baby—just a baby—you've never really known her much until now. You've never been attached—Daddy's Little Girl was only something to dream about.

It's ironic, how you wish you'd never tried to draw her close. But you should have known better, anyway, because you're the antithesis to Midas—you touch everything that's gold and watch it turn to dust.

You should have known better.

And maybe you did.

But maybe you thought that, just this once, things would be different. Maybe it would be worth it just to try, just to test your luck—to defy nature itself just to see what would happen.

Now she's getting married, far too young, and there's really nothing you can do that will ever change her mind—there's that determined look on her face, the one you can't deny anything at all.

And it's horrible, as you stand there staring at her with that boy on her arm, because you know, deep down, that there's no way on earth this isn't all your fault.