The two men made quite a contrast in the driveway leaning against their respective cars.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen had a hand casually on the hood of his sleek Mercedes. Despite the mist and the worn raincoat he had on, he still looked every inch a model.
Opposite in the driveway, Charlie Swan looked distinctly lackluster against his mud-spattered cruiser. Charlie glared with grudging respect and veiled suspicion at Carlisle. The lust in his eyes was obviously directed at the Mercedes Carlisle leaned against.
The rains started in earnest, and Charlie — by now halfway to the porch — turned to Carlisle and gestured to the door.
"Come on in Dr. Cullen," he said awkwardly. Charlie smiled — grimaced more like — obviously trying to diffuse the tension that was becoming clearer by the moment. Carlisle sighed inwardly, wondering if Edward could have been more specific about Charlie's suspicions.
He's getting a little antsy about us Carlisle - you might want to talk to him.
Well, Charlie did have more exposure to them than most humans in Forks, outside of hospital staff. He was bound to get a little skeptical about the consistent absence of all the Cullen's on sunny days; the way they looked eerily similar despite the fact that the Cullen kids were allegedly adopted.
You've done this before, soothed suspecting humans. It's not big deal; this'll blow over easily.
Still, Carlisle didn't like lying, however necessary. He stepped inside and stood stiffly as Charlie took off his jacket and gun holster. Carlisle looked about the small dark room, saturated with the smell of his son — and of course Charlie and Bella.
"Erm — I suppose we should sit down," Charlie cleared his throat nervously and gestured at the small kitchen table.
I hope he's not too suspicious … Carlisle, just as stiff and awkward as Charlie, took a chair.
"I suppose you know why I wanted to talk to you?" Charlie asked, looking at the tablecloth.
Carlisle nodded, apprehension rising. I hate lying to Charlie — particularly with Bella scheduled to become one of us.
"Edward has spoken to me a little bit, " Charlie began. "But I'd like to know from you what you think his intentions towards my daughter are."
Edward hadn't told Carlisle he'd talked to Charlie. He seems to know — well, altogether too much to be safe.
"Edward's talked to you?" Carlisle exclaimed, wrong footed for a moment. "You're probably a little skeptical then, I'm not sure how much you know … but let me assure you that Edward's best interest is to keep Bella safe."
Charlie's face got slightly red. "How much I know? I can guess a great deal, if you mean what I think you do."
"If you're worried about their physical relationship, Edward and Bella are being very careful." Carlisle closed his eyes briefly. This was not going as well as he had hoped.
"Of course I'm worried about their physical relationship. I don't want my daughter to end up a teen pregnancy statistic!" Charlie said firmly.
Carlisle wrinkled his brow. "Didn't Edward explain? Even if they were … active, Edward can't get Bella pregnant. It's physically impossible."
Charlie actually seemed stunned by this piece of news. Edward must not have explained things very well.
"Oh … well then," Charlie sputtered. "You're quite sure?"
"Quite — Vampires can't have children," Carlisle said reassuringly.
This statement was met with complete silence, followed by an odd progression of expressions flitting across Charlie's face. First his face registered relief, draining quickly to bewilderment and then shock.
"Vampires? Your son is involved in vampyrism?" Charlie looked utterly floored.
"You said he'd spoken to you. Didn't Edward explain?"
Carlisle had the feeling that he'd made a very big mistake, judging by the puzzlement and returning suspicion in Charlie's voice.
"All he talked about were his feelings towards Bella, and he assured me that they were both planning on waiting until marriage before getting very physically involved with each other or anyone else. You're telling me Bella's dating someone who believes he needs blood to live?" Charlie's face was getting increasingly purple as he talked.
Carlisle dropped his face into his palm. "He wanted to talk to me about our children's sex lives," he muttered. Looking back up at Charlie he almost felt like laughing. No wonder Edward had been cagey about pinning down what Charlie wanted to talk about — and when he'd said "us", he'd meant him and Bella, not the whole Cullen family. There was an awkward silence, filled with mutterings of Charlie that did not sound promising.
"I'm quite sorry Charlie, there's been a bit of a misunderstanding," Carlisle finally said. "I'm sorry, inside joke that slipped."
To Carlisle's dismay, Charlie looked skeptical. "So —" he began.
Carlisle cut him off. "They aren't doing anything inappropriate Charlie, don't worry. I fully understand your worry, and believe me, I've talked to Edward about limits and what is acceptable."
"Vampires," Charlie shook his head, but looked moderately calmer.
"If we're done here, I need to get back to the hospital," Carlisle said, standing up.
"Edward can't have children?" Charlie asked again. "Does Bella know?"
Carlisle tried to resist smirking. That's not the worst thing about Edward. "Yes, Bella knows. She's known from nearly the beginning."
"And she still won't choose Jacob," Charlie murmured softly, obviously not meant for Carlisle to hear.
"Well, if that's all I need to be going." Carlisle said, anxious to leave before more awkward questions, and possibly awkward answers.
He was halfway out the door when Edward and Bella came driving up in the silver Volvo, Bella predictably blushing about some thing or another.
I hope you're happy Edward. Carlisle thought. I'm leaving you to fix this slip. Warn me next time please. He laughed mentally as Edward's face changed to unwilling amusement while he listened to Charlie's thoughts.
"Honestly Carlisle …" Edward said quietly.
"Edward, what's so funny?" Bella's eyes narrowed slightly. "Charlie isn't going to give me another 'virginity talk' is he?"
Carlisle laughed suddenly. "He won't be giving you that talk again — but he will be talking, I assure you."
Bella blushed again and looked apprehensively at the porch where Charlie was leaning against the door staring narrow-eyed at Edward.
"I'll be getting back to the hospital now," Carlisle said hurriedly, and fairly fled into his Mercedes.
He watched from the tinted windows as Bella and Edward stepped up to the house and went inside.
"Bella, you are aware that you and Edward won't be able to have babies together," Charlie started with an awkward sound to his voice and cleared his throat numerous times.
Carlisle put his face in his palm and started the engine. He didn't envy his son and Bella that conversation with Charlie.
haha, not quite what you were expecting at first, was it ... :P
Thanks to the lovely j3nn for a wonderful beta-job!