"Charlie Swan was one of the best people in this town," the man whose name in the past fifteen years I had forgotten. After I had been changed I hadn't bothered to relearn everyone's name. We were going to leave soon after, so it didn't matter too much.
And now I was back in the small, rainy town I never thought I would visit again. Yes, Jacob and Renesmee lived here still, but they usually visited us. We had moved around four times since leaving Forks, so it was hard for her to reach us when he died.
The man stood down from the podium, and it was my turn to say something about my father. I walked up, never looking up. Everyone had commented on how I hadn't changed at all in the past fifteen years, especially my friends from high school.
"Charlie was a great parental unit. He didn't hover, he knew when to say things and when to just stay quiet, and he never let me down," I said. I had planned to say something more, something closer to the heart, but I just couldn't seem to continue. I looked at Edward, praying silently for him to come help me. I let down my shield, thankful I knew how to do it now. He nodded and made his way to my side quickly, bringing me into his arms. If I could cry, I would surely be doing it now, but all I could do was let out tearless sobs onto Edward's shoulder.
He started speaking, so I tried to keep it down. Instead, I looked out at the faces of everyone in the crowd. They all had mixed expressions on their faces. The most prominent one was grief. Everyone had known Charlie, had talked to him on a few occasions so they were all taking this pretty hard. Others had shock on their face. I guessed it was because Edward and I were still married and our bond was as strong as ever. Which I was thankful for. I wouldn't have been able to get through the death of my father without someone there to hold me when I wanted to cry, and someone to tell me it was going to be alright.
Edward had gone through decades of people he knew dying, and he was still here. Right now I just wanted to fade away. Charlie, though quiet and reserved, was the second closest person I had had in my human life. We didn't get in fights, and I had hurt him so much because of Edward and the dangers in my life at that time. Yes, I had apologized to him, profusely, but I had still felt bad about doing that to him.
And after I was changed we had still been able to talk to each other, thankfully. I was so prepared to say goodbye to him at that age, and now that I truly had to say goodbye, now that I knew I would never have the option of speaking with him again… it was almost too much to bear. Nessie and Jacob were in the front row, both looking up and Edward (who was still speaking) and I with worried expressions, and Carlisle and Esme were in the back, sad expressions on their faces.
And Renee was there, front and center with Phil holding her hand. In some way, my mother had always loved my father. She had just found a stronger love somewhere else. But I always knew that they would attend each other's funerals or any other ceremony if the other was asked to attend.
She hadn't come up to say anything, and by the way she was trembling she wasn't going to. Edward finished with his speech, and we proceeded to go towards the back to sit with Esme and Carlisle. Esme, as always, was the first to move, and she was the only one who would ever be able to let Edward let go of me.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly in my ear. I smiled as she pulled away. Edward and Carlisle were speaking about something I'd rather not listen to right now, so I continued the conversation with my mother-in-law.
"Thank you, again. I'm sorry for having you come with us. You didn't have to," I said yet again. On the drive here we had talked about how she didn't have to come with us. There would be, and were, too many questions on how the Cullen's attained their perfect skin, and how we hadn't changed since we last saw everyone. Complications.
Rosalie and Emmett hadn't joined us, just like Alice and Jasper. Alice, of course, had wanted to go, but Jasper's uneasiness had made her stay behind. I didn't blame Rosalie and Emmett, they hardly knew Charlie as it was, so what business would they have at his funeral? Alice had told me to give her sympathies to everyone for her and Jasper.
"Oh dear, don't worry about it," she said, putting her hand on my shoulder. She gave me a small smile, which I returned.
No one else got up to speak, so it was assumed over. Edward took my hand and led me to his car while Carlisle did the same with Esme. He opened my door for me, and then closed it. When he got in I knew where we were going. Home. Not our current residence in Canada, but the house we used to live in here in Forks. It was my first house as a vampire, and it had become my home. And of course, Renesmee and Jacob would be there as well.
As we pulled up, the house looked the same as ever except for the obvious wear and tear that nature had done. The house was still beautiful, and the meadow in the front was a luscious as ever. As I got out of the Volvo I looked up at the house, taking in its beauty again. Carlisle and Esme were already at the front door, and Edward was walking slowly with me. The door was open when we got there, and Carlisle and Esme were already on the couch. Edward went to sit on the loveseat opposite them, but I made my way upstairs.
No one followed me, and for that I was thankful. I needed some time alone with my thoughts. I heard them start talking, but ignored the conversation. And soon after that I heard Renesmee and Jacob pull up. I arrived at Edward's old room and looked at the bed he had gotten for me all that time ago. I sat down, looking around at the now bare walls, remembering what used to cover them. Just like with my father was now, the house was void of any personality.
How could that happen? One day, someone is breathing, their heart is beating, their mind is thinking about the ones they love and other things, and then the next day none of that is happening. No breathing, no heart beat, no more thoughts for them to share with the world.
I remembered talking to him just the other day. I had called to check in to see how he was doing. And he said everything was fine. He told me there was nothing to worry about. And he was right. At the time there was nothing to worry about. He had had a heart attack just after he had gotten off the phone with me. And I didn't even know it until the next day. Alice was hunting, and her phone was at the house, so of course she couldn't tell me as soon as it had happened.
But my father, the one who had brought me to Forks, the one who brought me to Edward, was gone. And I had never thanked him for being such a good father. I had ever thanked him for always being there fore me even when I was being a horrible daughter. I had never fully apologized for running away to save Edward, or for trying to save him. I had never said sorry for being nonexistent when Edward had left me.
Yes, I had said I was sorry, but I had never told him just how much it meant to me that he was there for me every time I came back. I could have treated him so much worse, and he would have still held my hand as I walked down that isle.
And now he was gone, I would never get that chance to thank him, I would never again get to tell him how much I loved him, and how thankful I was that he was my father. I would never get another chance to do that. And for once I regretted moving away for Forks. I should have stayed with him until he didn't need me anymore, though he never really needed me.
No, he had always needed me. No matter how much he said differently, he would always need his little girl. And I had just left him the first chance I got. I missed him, a truth that didn't hit me until just then.
I heard Edward's soft footsteps coming up the stairs and got to the door before he did. I opened it and there he was. He looked at me with a look of understanding and took me in his arms. My arms found their way around his waist and we stood like that for an unknown amount of time. I didn't mind, not even when I heard Carlisle and Esme say goodbye to Jacob and Renesmee. I heard them leave soon after, no doubt giving us our privacy. I finally looked up at Edward.
"Let's visit our cottage," I said softly, with a smile on my face. He returned the smile and led the way.
By the time I figured he had gotten some of what my depressing mood was about, and I was right.
"He may be gone, but we won't forget him," Edward said, not looking at me as we made our way to our old bedroom.
"That much I know," I replied, squeezing his hand as I did so. "I just wish I could have told him how much I loved him, and how much he meant to me," I sighed, looking at Edward. He returned the look.
"He knew, Bella. He always knew," he replied, giving me a soft kiss. I smiled. He always knew what to say.
"Thank you," I said, not needed to explain what exactly I was thanking him for.