Bella's wedding goes without hitch. But Renee's presence brings out a new side of her father that induces some problems. Alcohol and anger leave Bella devastated and wondering if things can ever be right again. Twenty years later, life meets death. (AU) One-shot. ExB. REVISED.
Charlie is pretty nice in the books, but we get a lot of little insights that tell us that he never really got over Renee. What if he had chosen the wrong way to try. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
With that phrase, so succinctly and perfectly coined, I was swept in up into the most glorious kiss of my life.
There was nothing left to worry about and fret over: Victoria was gone. I was to be changed in a few days. I had Jacob's blessing, or as good as, and we were on good terms. What more could I ever ask?
A few whistles and cat-calls sounded from the audience and Edward relinquished my lips, grinning broadly.
Charlie – thank god, I'd been able to convince him that his gun would have been inappropriate at a marriage – looked murderous. Although, what chance would a gun have again Edward's diamond-imbibed skin: the dents would have been impossible to explain – dents in the bullets, that is.
My high school friends – if anyone of them could really be called that – poured out from their seats and formed a gi-normous entourage around us.
But before we could make our escape, Alice came before us, brandishing a cameraman. "You'll thank me later," She monitioned, too blithe to attempt a frown in front of a camera "Especially as it gets increasingly unsatisfactory after the twentieth time you marry him," she added, sticking her tongue at Edward daintily.
"Jasper tells me his woes," he shot back.
Alice flipped him a blindingly fast bird and then pulled my parents from seemingly out of nowhere, replacing the beer in Charlie's hand with a glass of wine. She handed one to everyone else, as well, and ordered a picture of the toast to the newlyweds. Next, Emmett hoisted me over his shoulder and made of show of carrying the bride away – I think Edward took that one a little too seriously.
"Alice," huffed Renee, after the umpteenth photo. "I really think that this is enough." She motioned to the ever increasing mound of filled film canisters on the floor by the harried photographer. "And besides, Bella has Edward to remember this day by."
Alice pouted. "Last one, alright – I promise – gather around with your spouse everyone."
She handed off the camera to the photographer and then threw herself down next to Jasper on the floor, sitting up with the support of one hand so she could pose kissing his cheek.
Emmett leaned Rosalie close to the ground in the quintessential waltz pose; their gaze, not even close to the camera lenses, never wavered.
Esme, fighting the urge to run off the set and cry out of chagrin seated herself neatly in Carlisle's lap.
Edward grinned at me, and my heart very nearly stopped as he gave me a mischievous wink as he rested his head against my bosom, reminiscent of harlequin romances.
Renee and Charlie hemmed and hawed, both looking around for Phil who was busy at the open bar.
"Oh, stop it. If we can all be mature about this, so can you," Alice said with a touch asperation.
She positioned them behind Edward and I, with Charlie's right hand on my – my heart jumped with joy – husband's shoulder and his other around Renee's shoulder. They both looked uncomfortable with the quite platonic gesture.
"Done," The photographer said, sighing in relief when Alice walked away.
Edward found me a chair and got down on his knees. "Ready?" He whispered.
I gulped quietly. "Do we have to do this in front of everyone? Charlie's looks apoplectic."
Edward whispered, "Trust me, everything's worth it when you're human."
I sighed. "Do your worst!"
He immediately ripped off my garter, lightly kissing my knee as he did so. The men laughed rowdily. He locked eyes with me and threw my garters up. The cheering heightened and then exploded in a burst of pandemonium. We both looked for the hapless soul – well, only I considered him hapless.
Jacob Black held my garters. He was grinning from ear to ear.
His brothers made catcalls and whistled at me.
Edward, looking livid, started toward him, until Jasper grabbed his shoulder. "Cool it, Edward. Nothing of the sort is going to happen. It's only a coincidence."
"Coincidence, my foot," he snarled.
Jacob hurried toward me. "Ha! What say you now, Bella?" Edward growled quietly at him, but Jacob only laughed, "Very good, Edward. Hate is a passionate emotion, isn't that right, Bella? Why don't you show me some passion right now?" He teased, putting words in my mouth.
I frowned at Edward and then at Jacob.
"For your information, Jacob Black, I didn't say a thing about the unlikelihood of your matrimony. I only commented on the unfortunate, unknowing soul who would share it with you."
He scoffed. "Nice try. You only wish you were Mrs. Jacob Black." He turned to my - I blushed even as I thought it - husband. "Oh, and Edward?" Edward met his eyes, steeling himself. "Congratulations."
Edward's mouth dropped open – apparently his telepathy hadn't picked this up. He stumbled for speech. "Thank...you," he muttered, mouth tight with surprise.
Jacob nodded and walked away with a new spring in his step.
Finding my posies, I called out a warning, and threw it with both hands into the awaiting throng of women. Despite the manic glint in Jessica and Lauren's eyes, Angela caught it. She rushed over to me and we embraced.
"Congratulations, Ang," I whispered. "Only, promise me one thing. Don't marry Jacob Black."
Edward came up to us, too, ad wished her congratulations. I allowed myself to be led away until I realized we were headed onto the dance floor. "Speaking of which, Edward, you never did tell me what you wrote in that letter to him." I said, stalling.
My husband snorted. "Oh, that: 'Dear Jacob. I win. In all sincerity, Edward.' Now, come on, Bella."
I shook a finger at him. "That's not at all nice."
He rolled his eyes. "It's an improvement at all that we're on speaking terms at all. Come now, Mrs. Edward Cullen." My heart melted at my new title.
Mostly I danced with Edward; I also danced with Carlisle, Emmett, Jasper, Charlie, and a few times with Jacob, but mostly with Edward. He didn't like it when I was more a foot away from him.
Most of the music consisted of his own creations. Emmett and Jasper had spent most of the last week, using software to record Edward's pieces in pertinent order and had finally succeeded in replaying it. The only problem they had encountered was that every time the computer did something wrong or something unexpected happened, Emmett usually ended smashing it.
As the party wound to a close, we cut the cake. (Esme had insisted in spite of me pointing out how a reception made up mostly of vampires didn't quite need a cake.) Edward cut the first piece of the expertly Esme-designed cake and managed to cram two square inches of pure devilish delight in my mouth.
Smiling innocently, I cut an even bigger slice and motioned threateningly at him. The humans chuckled and the vampires stuffed their fists into their mouths. He put the spoon in his mouth and feigned swallowing.
But Jasper shook his head at me from behind Edward's back.
"Swallow," I hissed at him.
"Bella..." He pleaded, trying not to gag.
I hit him in the gut, bruising myself in the process. He swallowed, coughing as it went down.
"Yeah, Bella!" Cheered Emmett. "Wrap him around your finger!"
After the reception, where I received a lot of present that were unsuitable for the life I would lead in a week or so, we climbed into the car with the cans attached to the Ashton Martin's bumper with strings – Edward cringed – and sped off to the Cullens' house.
But as soon as we had turned the corner, Edward pulled over and got out of the car, his face pained.
"What's wrong?" I asked anxiously.
He bent double and vomited on the side of the road. Turning back around and wiping his mouth on his sleeve, "You're awfully small to be so hugely irritating."
I rolled my eyes. "Serves you right."
When we reached the house, Edward picked me up ran up the stairs. Unfortunately, we only had until the evening and then we were leaving on our honeymoon which brought the world to scale.
"I would say, let's grab a 'quickie'," Edward said, his face contorting with a mixture of disgust and amused contemplation. "But, that sounds so vulgar."
"Call it whatever you want," I said, wrapping my arms around him. "It's all the same to me."
Edward followed me around to my side and opened the door for me. I gauged the distance to the seat and prepared to jump for it. He sighed, and then lifted me in with one hand.
"Why are we using Emmett's jeep again?"
"Unfortunately, my cars are being transported to our villa."
He looked disbelieving. "Surely, you didn't think we were going to rent a car on our honeymoon. Of all the atrocities..." I rolled my eyes. When I tried to put on my seat belt, there were too many buckles.
"I think all that sex is making me simple-minded-."
"Too much, hm? Should I stop?" He teased.
"Don't even think about it," I warned him, putting my finger to his temple in imitation of a revolver. "But, really, what's all this?" I asked when he opened the driver's side door.
"It's an off-roading harness."
I froze. A few memories came floating back. Of James, Edward, and Renee. All the deception, and horrible miscalculations. My fight with Charlie. The letter. I bit my lip.
He watched me thoughtfully. "On second thought, come here, Mrs. Cullen." He slid back his seat and seated me in his lap. "This is much more practical, isn't it?" I only hoped Charlie wouldn't see this – he'd have a cow. He wrapped one arm around me and started off at the insane speed on his. "Mrs. Cullen. We will be taking a flight tonight that will take us to Venice tomorrow. After that we're headed to..." He started to rattle off our itinerary.
I didn't care as long as it consisted of us, together, alone. On that tangent, I started to kiss his throat. I slowly, unbuttoned his shirt and slid my hands along his smooth, cool chest.
"Rome...Greenwich. We have a...cottage there..." He took a deep, uneven breath and attempted to continue. I ran my hands down his chest, following with my lips. "I wanted to go to Chicago to show you my – Bella, what are you doing?" I looked up at him.
"Is something wrong?"
He sighed, exaggerating the motion to stop his quaking chest. "Honestly, I don't know if I can not crash this car if you don't stop, you little siren."
I giggled and settled down. "I'll behave."
But he wouldn't.
By the time we arrived at Charlie's, I was glad that the rain was too heavy to see past the porch. I gave up trying to make him behave and focused on not hyperventilating.
"Let me go," I panted. "I have to see my father for the last time."
That sobered him up. "I'll wait here."
"Dad?" I called, unlocking the door with the key from the faux wisteria. The house was dark. I tripped over something. When I picked myself up, I realized it was a wine decanter. I also noticed that Renee's shoes were gone. "Oh." I sighed, a little saddened. I walked into the living room and checked the kitchen. No one. Renee's stuff was gone, too. She'd left for Florida. "Dad?" I checked the garage and his car was there. I went upstairs and checked my room and then his.
And there he was, sprawled across his bed. Several bottles of wine and gin shared the sheets. "Dad?" I asked, disbelievingly. He opened his eyes.
"What?" He asked dourly.
I was taken aback. "Dad, Edward and I are leaving soon. I wanted to say good-bye."
"Goodbye?" He snorted. "After all that I did, you're leaving?"
"Dad?" I patted his hand. "I love you, but I love him, too."
"Leave me alone, Renee. I thought you were never severe enough but little did I know."
"Get out, Renee! You broke my heart once, you aren't doing it again. Just because I held you this morning, because Alice told me to, doesn't mean I love you anymore." I stood up, biting my lip.
"Dad, it's me, Bella."
"And you! You little harpy! He left you and you're so desperate you're running back to him after what he did. Leaving Jake in the dust. You're pregnant aren't you? That's the only reason you're marrying him."
"Dad, stop it! I'm not pregnant! Jake doesn't love me anymore. We're friends now."
"After all I did for you. You're throwing you life away for that...boy. He probably doesn't even love you."
"Dad," I attempted evenly. "Stop it. Stop it."
"I thought I told you to get out!" He shouted, standing up. "You little whore!" That stung like a fresh slap across the face. "I know what you've done. Why you sent Bella over here every summer. You're just a little slut!"
"Stop!" I yelled.
"I begged you not to leave. But you left. And you took my daughter with you. She should been with me! You didn't take care of her. She had to do it all. You don't know what it was like, Renee. Iloved you! I gave everything away to marry you. And to what? You left after she was born. You said I didn't love you.
"The truth was, you didn't love me. I loved you more than you could bear." He dropped a bottle and it shattered when it hit the floor. "And when you married Phil, you sent her here. That was the best thing that happened to her and the worst. She was never happier nor sadder when she was here. And when he left, this place felt like a dungeon. It was like going back to when you left me. I didn't want it to happen to her. But now we had shared the pain. I'd never loved my daughter more."
"Dad, I'm sorry, but -."
He looked spiteful. "You're leaving, aren't you? Alright. Leave!" He picked up another bottle and waved it toward me. "Leave!" I backed away from him. "Leave!" He shouted. He chased me into the hallways. "Get out!" He almost slipped and I tried to help him but he growled at me and smashed the bottle against wall. "Don't touch me!" I backed into my room. He glared at me. "I loved you Renee. And when I got over you. I loved Bella so much more. You want to leave? Leave! Get out!" He slammed my door closed and locked it. "I never want to see you again." I gasped in fright as he started back to his room and dropped to the floor. Edward picked me up – his eyes were livid – and, without a word, hopped gracefully out of the window.
"What've I done?" I moaned quietly. He didn't answer. He strapped me into the harness and we shot off toward the airport.
We never spoke of it.
"Alice, what have I told you? Bella doesn't want you watching Charlie." I heard Edward and Alice bickering downstairs.
"But what if he dies or something? I think Bella would want to know."
"Charlie's too young to die. He's still only seventy-four." I came down the stairs.
"Oh Bella, thank god. Ixnay on the upidstay, Edward…Bella?" She waited until she had my attention. "The 'blue jay' has flown the coop," She monitioned carefully. "The 'blue jay' forgot to 'watch the game'..." She made sure I understood. "...so you need to 'catch the score,' okay?"
"What are you talking about?" Edward asked, looking from her to me.
"Ixnay on the upidstay," I giggled.
Edward frowned at me. "Who do you think you're calling upidstay, Mrs. Cullen?"
I laughed again and then turned to Alice. "Alice dearest, may I borrow your Porsche?"
"Of course, darling. Brother dear, I have a bear to pick with you, come." She linked her arm through Edward's and began to walk toward the kitchen.
"Bella?" He called after me incredulously.
Ignoring my husband, I started up Alice's car - I'd never quite come around to Edward's point of view when it came to speedy vehicles and preferred my feet to the pedal - and zoomed on to the highway, but if I had ever had any qualms about speeding they were all gone.
"Faster. Dammit. Faster!" I muttered, urging the car on.
Will he still be alive when I arrive?
Lincoln was at least a hundred and mile away. It was at least an hour and a half.
Will he remember? Is he sane or is he delusional?
I'd faked my death ten years ago. The entire ordeal had been traumatic; Renee crying her eyes on my empty grave and my poor father not coming out of the house for weeks on end. Eventually I pleaded Billy and Jake to put him on his feet again but I hadn't heard from either since.
What will he think if he sees me? Would the sight give him a heart attack? He would think he was crazy? If I saw my daughter who had been dead for ten years, I would think I was insane, too.
The hour passed by, agonizingly slow. I gnashed my teeth and slowed way down as a cop's car passed by; I couldn't afford to waste time. If Charlie hadn't taken his medicine, who knew how much time I had?
I eased into the neighborhood of Forks, noting the house that loomed tantalizingly a few hundred meters away before I noticed that the police cruiser was no longer parked in the driveway. He had retired several years ago.
It was just after two in the afternoon.
Charlie would be asleep in front of the TV mostly likely. Even if he were awake, he wouldn't hear me.
I went up the tree that still stood feet away from my former bedroom window. Then I scaled the side of the house and climbed in. The room was deserted.
Nothing had changed. It was as though I had left yesterday. My clothes from when I was eighteen still cluttering up the closet. The rescue graduation outfit Alice had bought in my time of crises still hung from a hanger in the closet.
As I was carelessly going through my old things, fraught with wonderful memories of my human life with Edward, I inadvertently knocked over a vase. It seemed to fall with untimely grace and arrogance, breaking into piece and shards with as much noise as it could proudly elicit.
Of course, I would still be clumsy as a vampire.
Then, there were hobbly, quick old-man steps that rattled the stairs.
"Who's there?" Charlie called. "Bella, is that you?" He gave a hacking coughing that went too deep in his chest and nearly broke my heart. "Bella, if that's..." He slid to the floor and I heard a thump. "If that's you, you can come home, honey. I miss you like hell. I'm sorry about what I said. I never got to say I was sorry."
Then my father started to cry.
I wanted to cry, too.
I opened the door and stepped out. "Daddy?"
He looked up and his eyes widened fearfully. "Bella?" I nodded and slid down next to him. "But...you're dead, what are...?" He rubbed his eyes.
"I'm not dead," I said slowly and quietly. "I came back for you."
He started and then tears began to slide down his ancient face. "I'm sorry, Bella." I took his hand. "I didn't mean any of it. I was drunk and upset and stupid."
"I know. It's okay. I forgot everything."
He hiccupped. "How've you been, honey? Where've you been all these years. Renee thinks you're dead."
"I know. I am, sort of," I explained vaguely.
"You look so pretty, Bella. Not a day older than twenty." He took my hand and pressed it between his hands. "You feeling alright? You're awfully cold."
"I'm fine, dad. Let's go downstairs and talk." I helped him down the stairs and into the couch.
He smiled reminiscently. "I remember when you couldn't walk down the stair without tripping twice. You're all grown up now, aren't you?"
I smiled sadly; those times felt an eternity ago. "How've you been, dad?"
"Me, fine. Haven't been getting out much since I retired. Seems every time I went to Billy's, whenever I saw Jacob, I'd think of you. Pretty soon, I couldn't go there anymore." He sighed.
"You're sick, dad."
"Yeah. A little. The old is catching up to me. How's Edward?"
"Wonderful. I still love him. He's perfect for me."
"I knew it'd work out. Tell him he'd better take good care of you." My breath caught in my throat. I wanted to cry so badly. "If he even lays eye on another woman, I'll shoot him!" He shook a finger to make his point. "How's little Alice?"
"She's great. She wanted to come down but she thought she might intrude."
"Alice, Alice, Alice. Tell her to come visit me; it's been a long time." He smiled at me. "Bella, I was afraid I would go before I ever saw you again. And to think that the last thing I said to you was 'I never want to see you again.'" I scooted closer to him and hugged him. "How're my grandchildren?" I bit my lip. "Do they look like me or Esme and Carlisle?"
"We have two of them. A girl, has brown hair like me and eyes like Edward. The other one, a boy, looks exactly like you, dad. He even wants to be a cop when he grows up. I've told him all about you," I fibbed, feeling treacherous.
He smiled and his smile almost broke my heart. "That's great honey." He started. "Oh, you must be starving. I'll go rustle up some grub."
"No, no. I'll make something." I was partially afraid that he would rustle up some real grub.
He laughed. "Still haven't got you talent for cooking." He lay back and closed his eyes. I dashed into the kitchen and used my celerity to throw something on the pot.
According to Alice, it would happen sometime about…now. I ran back out and tiptoed to a stop and sat down next to Charlie. He was asleep. I shifted his weight so he leaned against me, his head falling heavily to my shoulder.
"Bella..." He whispered.
"I'm sorry." His eyes didn't open.
"I can't believe I missed ten years of your life." Charlie sleep-talked, too. So that's where I got it from, I almost smiled. "I love you, honey."
"I love you, too, Daddy."
"I'm never going to leave you again. I'll be there, just like when he left."
"Don't leave me, Bella."
His face settled and every muscle relaxed. A sigh rose from him and all the air came out in one big whoosh. All the air, the life, and the soul.
Charlie Swan was dead.
Roll out the yellow caution tape, everybody.
I closed my eyes and pressed my lips together to the sadness from escaping. I would not go to pieces here.
"Bella?" Came a soft voice.
"Edward..." The word loosened my lips and all my tears came tumbling out. I wept into him and he held me. But through my cries, I could feel the one powerful emotion coursing through me: happiness.
When I was spent, Edward saluted the chief and then took my hand and pressed it to his lips.
As much as I was unhappy that he had died, he had died happy as we had both been forgiven: he for banishing me. And me for leaving him.
So I hope that you guys enjoyed Daddy. Everyone seems to hate on Charlie because he's not a very good dad. And while he is a little (okay, a LOT) negligent and frankly obtuse (although I maintain he knows, he just likes the ignorance), I like to think it's because he has his own demons and we're too busy worrying about Bella / Edward / and Jacob. Silly us :P Review.