Chapter one – Engaged

I was lying on the long black leather sofa in my room, Claire De Lune played softly in the background. To those who didn't know any better in would seem as if I was sleeping, but I never slept. As I waited for the sun to set below the horizon my thoughts drifted, and as always, they drifted to my Bella.

I smiled at the thought that she had to drive to town today. I knew her car was almost out of gas and I also knew how much she didn't want to drive that car where anyone who knew her could possibly see her.

The deal was the when her monstrous truck died, I would be allowed to replace it. While shopping for the appropriate car I came across the cherry red Ferrari which now sat covered in the garage that would be her car after she became a vampire. The one that she was driving now was much more equipped to protect her fragile body. The Mercedes Guardian would keep even someone with the worst of luck sage. Someone like my Bella. If a meteor fell out of the sky and landed on the highway it would definitely aim for Bella, and this car would protect her. I hope to God she never found out or I would never hear the end of it.

On the tail end of the thought I remember the morning that the truck wheezed it last wheeze. Bella had gone out to start the truck and …. Nothing. Okay, so maybe the poor truck had a little assistance on my part, but really, the thing was almost as old as me. Well, not really, but I was immortal, trucks aren't made to last forever like vampires are.

I looked over at the calendar on the wall. Before I met Bella time meant very little, it was just something that went on and on and on. In such a short space of the never ending time I had become obsessed with it. With her in my life time seemed to fly by at a supersonic pace. For this past summer it became even more of a factor as eager counted the days till August 13th. Each day was carefully ticked off on the calendar as I waited for the day to arrive. Today was the 10th. Just a few more days and I would take the beautiful Bella Swan as my wife.

Again my thoughts drifted to the night we had told Charlie, and again I smiled. He had taken the whole thing much better than I had thought he would.

******

As soon as we heard the cruiser pull in to the driveway, Bella tried to shove her left had into her pocket to hide the ring. I held on to her delicate had to keep it front and center.

"Stop fidgeting Bella. Please try to remember that you're not confessing to murder here."

"Easy for you to say."

When the keys rattled in the front door I had to bite down on the insides of my cheeks to keep from laughing a Bella's expression, she looks absolutely terrified.

"Calm down, Bella," I whispered.

When door slammed against the wall Bella shot almost a foot out of the chair. Again I tried to keep from laughing.

"Hey Charlie," I called.

"No!" Bella said under her breath.

"What?"

"Wait till he hangs his gun up!"

This time I couldn't help the chuckle that escaped. I ran my hand through my hair to try to cover it up but I knew she still heard it.

Charlie came around the corner then and I saw Bella eyes go straight to the gun that was still in the holster, and still strapped to his hip.

"Hey kids. What's up?"

"We'd like to talk to you," I said. "We had some good news."

Charlie's expression went from friendly to suspicious so fast I thought he had vampire speed for a second.

"Good news?" Charlie growled and looked directly at Bella.

"Have a seat, Dad," she said.

Charlie move and sat stiffly on the edge of the seat on the recliner.

After a moment of high tension silence Bella said, "Don't get worked up, Dad. Everything's okay."

I grimaced at the word okay. I seemed like such a mundane world for what this was. It was so much better than okay. It was amazing.

"Sure it is, Bella, sure it is. If everything is so great, then why are you sweating bullets?"

"I'm not sweating."

Bella cringed into me and sure enough she wiped at her forehead to clear away the perspiration that was there.

All of a sudden Charlie shouted "You're pregnant! You're pregnant aren't you?"

Charlie's eyes suddenly bored straight in to me and I didn't miss the fact that his hand moved slightly toward the gun on his hip. Again I had to fight a laugh at all the good that gun would do him when it came to me.

"No! Of course I'm not!" Bella yelled.

Charlie seemed to believe her and relaxed a bit. "Oh. Sorry."

"Apology accepted." Bella said.

I waited a few moments for Bella to say something. When she looked up at me with nothing short of sheer panic in her deep chocolate eyes, I knew it would be up to me to deliver the news. I smiled at her, straightened my shoulders, looked directly at Charlie, and spoke the best news I thought I would ever speak. At least to me.

"Charlie, I realize that I've gone about this out of order. Traditionally, I should have asked you first. I mean you no disrespect, but since Bella has already said yes and I don't want to diminish her choice in the matter, instead of asking for her hand, I'm asking for your blessing. We're getting married, Charlie. I love her more that anything in the world, more that my own life, and – by some miracle – she loves me that way too. Will you give us your blessing?"

Charlie sat there, still as a statue, for a moment, and then his gazed traveled to the ring on Bella's hand. For a few more moments his skin changed to so many different shades I wondered if I was seeing in Technicolor. When Bella would have gone over to him a told her to give him a minute.

Eventually Charlie seemed to come to life again.

"Guess I'm not that surprised," Charlie grumbled. "Knew I'd have to deal with something like this soon enough."

"You sure about this?" Charlie asked.

"I'm sure about Edward."

"Getting married, though? What's the rush?"

I saw Bella hesitated at the question, trying to come up with a plausible lie to cover up the whole truth of the matter.

"We're going away to Dartmouth in the fall, Charlie," I reminded him. "I'd like to do that, well, the right way. It's how I was raised." I shrugged at the end trying to appear like the answer was obvious. After all, I was how I was raised.

"Knew this was coming," he muttered. Suddenly I heard him come to a revelation. Let them tell Renee. That ought a be a good one.

"Ha!" Charlie exploded, causing Bella to jump again. "Ha, ha, ha!"

I again found myself trying really had not to laugh.

"Okay, fine," Charlie chocked out. "Get married." He laughed again." But…"

"But what?" Bella demanded, obviously worried.

"But you have to tell your mom! I'm not saying one word to Renee! That's all yours!"

******

I was still smiling at the memory as I thought of Renee's reaction. Of course, after seeing her last spring I knew she already thought we were engaged and was pretty okay with it. To Bella this was a huge shock.

Rousing myself from me thoughts I looked out the glass wall. The moon was rising in the sky and I knew Charlie would be going to sleep soon. I flung myself out the open window and landed lithely on the ground three stories below. Taking in the night around me and ran through the trees towards Forks, towards Bella, towards my destiny.