AN: It's been months, I know, and I'm SO sorry! I was in Spain for a while, then I had college apps, THEN I got in a car accident, and everything's just been a mess. I feel awful, I'm so sorry. ): There's a very important author's note at the bottom, please read.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all of this. She's the author of the Twilight saga, in case ya didn't know!
"This is great Bella," he said into my ear. "I'm really proud of you for finding a way to explain your addiction in a more understandable way to us vampires."
"And I think that it's a good thing Bree is here," Alice chimed in. "Not only are we helping her, but Bella, she might be able to help you in a way. You two are both working towards bettering yourselves. I know Edward won't let you anywhere near her for a while, but I still think it's perfect."
She was smiling at me greatly, her perfect white teeth almost glowing in the light of the room. They were finally growing to accept the fact that I'd turned to drugs in their absence. And now they could truly help me.
I was completely wiped out from the events of the day, but instead of returning to bed, Edward thought that now would be the perfect time to go over the fact that I slept with other men, again. As much as I'd rather not talk about it, I had told him that we'd talk about it later. And it seemed that later was now.
"I thought you understood what I said earlier," I sighed.
"Yes, I understand…but it's still shocking," he explained. "My sweet, beautiful Bella Swan isn't a virgin… I can never be her first."
"You'll be the first one I'll be able to remember," I joked, trying to get him to smile. His nostrils flared, telling me that my attempt at humor had failed. "That's a joke, Edward. Well, sort of. But really! I wasn't myself when I was with them, I told you that. You will be the first one to sleep with me. The other men slept with another woman entirely."
He raised one eyebrow, but otherwise seemed to understand.
"How I wish I could read your mind sometimes," he murmured.
I smiled. "I know, it must be brutal."
He pulled me forward and planted a kiss on my forehead, but I wasn't done. When I'd told him that we could take about it later, I hadn't meant that we would just talk about my sex life from when he was gone.
"Edward, do you trust me?" I asked him.
He pushed me back and stared at me. "Of course," he whispered.
"So then why are you making a big deal out of this?" I asked. "I know that it sucks, but honestly, I think it sucks a bit more when the love of your life walks out on you. I'm not trying to make you feel bad or play the pity role, and I'm sorry if I'm coming off that way. But if I can trust you after that…then you're going to need to trust me, too."
His eyes closed and he was breathing deeply for a few minutes. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked at me so lovingly I was breathless.
"Bella, I trust you with everything in me. I think I was just…shocked. Even though I knew you had changed tremendously, I still couldn't believe you had been with another man, much less men. But I can understand what you mean about how you were another person entirely. It's hard, but I understand. I'm just so sorry that I wasn't there."
"I forgive you. I forgave you a while ago, you know that," I reminded him. "Please stop worrying."
He smiled – it was a small one, but a smile nonetheless. "I can't; it's my nature."
I laughed out loud at that one. "That's so true."
We lay in bed for a while, and he hummed my lullaby to me while I drifted off. I could feel him tracing my arms, tracing the various scars, trace marks, and bruises, but I knew that he was just coming to terms with what happened. He wasn't angry anymore.
He woke me up with a start, shaking my body lightly. "Bella, we need to go."
"Mm, no. I don't want to," I rolled into him and smiled as his wonderful scent drifted into my nostrils. "Five more minutes Edward."
I expected him to give into my demands as usual, but he continued to shake me. "No, Bella!" His voice was unexpectedly harsh. "We need to leave. They're bringing Bree into the house."
Still confused in my sleepy state, I could only look at him with confused eyes.
He smiled slightly, kissed me, and said, "I'll just carry you, love."
He jumped out of his window and I curled into his body more as the cool wind hit us. "Where are we going, Edward?" I mumbled as he ran.
"Our meadow," he replied as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"Of course," I giggled.
He wrapped a blanket around me, and we spoke about absolutely nothing, yet everything at the same time. He whispered sweet nothings in my ear, and everything felt alright for a little while. But of course, we couldn't stay for too long.
I could feel Edward's phone vibrating in his pocket through my blanket.
"Yes?" he answered.
"Edward, the Denalis want to take Bree out soon," Carlisle's voice rang through the speaker phone. "They're considering taking her home with them to teach her. They're further away from civilization, and they've done this recently with Laurent. Plus, it would help us to help Bella if we didn't have to worry about teaching a newborn…especially with a human in the house."
The bronze-haired vampire next to me nodded, although his father obviously couldn't see. "That makes perfect sense," he agreed.
So that we wouldn't have to worry about Bree finding us in the woods, we headed back home again. I really hoped that the Denalis did take her with them, because I definitely did not want to keep doing this.
When we got home, though, Edward and I were both surprised to find everyone at the dining room table.
"What's going on?" Edward asked.
Huh. They must have even been blocking their thoughts from him.
"Sit down, please," Carlisle said seriously.
I looked up at Edward tensely, wondering what had happened. Was someone hurt? Leaving? Did I do something? Was it Tanya?
My thoughts continued to spin as Edward and I sat and he squeezed my hand under the table. I could tell from his frustrated expression that they were still blocking him.
Alice was the first one to speak. "We've been thinking about the next step of your recovery," she said slowly.
"No," Edward growled. "Not yet."
Alice's eyes flashed to him defiantly, but she didn't say anything to him.
"Bella, we think it might be a good idea for you to see Charlie," Esme softly recommended.
My eyes widened and I turned to Edward with shocked eyes. He wasn't looking at me, though. His eyes had gone pitch black, and he was glaring at Alice.
"Whose idea was this?" He said so ferociously that I was almost scared.
"Mine," Esme said.
Edward turned to her with surprise written all over his expression. "Why?" He whispered. "She's not ready."
"I think she can speak for herself, bro," Emmett reminded him. "She's matured a lot recently. She can make her own decisions."
I cut in this time. "I couldn't before?" I was only half joking.
"Of course you could!" Emmett amended. "But I think it's about time Edward recognized that fact."
I sank lower in my seat. See Charlie again? I didn't know if I was ready.
I shook my head. "Not yet, Esme. I want to see him, I really do. But I can't yet. I want to know for sure that I'll be perfect. I can't disappoint him more. Looking back, it kills me what I did to him."
Esme's face was warm as she regarded my thoughts. "But Bella, don't you see? You'll disappoint him if you don't go back soon. He must miss you like crazy."
Looking down, I muttered, "Not the Bella he remembers me as."
"So show him you've changed," Rosalie said. "This is your chance. Even if you aren't as far along as you want to be, you're getting there. I'm more than willing to bet that he's struggling without you. It'll make him so happy to see you again."
I looked to Edward for advice, but his expression was blank and his eyes unseeing. Whether he was upset at them for bringing this idea up, or if he was just trying to let me make my own decision, I was unsure.
"When can we go?" I finally said.
Esme smiled and was at my side instantly. "I promise this will be a good thing," she whispered in my ear.
Edward came with me to Charlie's – my former – house. His cruiser was in the driveway, so I knew he was home. After a few deep breaths, I gained the courage to go to the door, Edward at my side the entire time.
I paused at the doorstep before knocking. Edward squeezed my hand, assuring me he was there and he wouldn't leave without me telling him to. I closed my eyes and knocked.
The sound of the television stopped, and I could hear Charlie's slow, heavy footsteps as he came towards the door. After fiddling with the lock a bit, he opened it and gasped when he saw me.
"Bella," he exhaled.
"Daddy," I whispered, trying to decide whether it was better to look at him or my shoes. "I'm so sorry."
Before I knew what was happening, I was in his arms.
"Bella, Bella, Bella," he kept saying. "I missed you so much. I thought I'd lost you forever to those drugs."
"Never," I promised.
He eventually pushed me back a bit to look at me. "You're looking…better," he muttered, still smiling with tears in his eyes. "Still a bit too thin and not what I remember you as, but… Oh, honey, this is such an improvement."
I smiled. "I've been getting better. I've been getting a lot of help from the Cullens…" I trailed off as Charlie saw Edward standing by me for the first time.
"What are you doing?" My father hissed at Edward.
"Sir," Edward nodded his head a little. "I know an apology would never be enough, but –"
Before he could finish, Charlie cut him off. "No, it couldn't. Bella, please don't tell me you're back with him."
My mouth opened and shut a few times before I could form words. "Of course," I whispered, tears welling in my eyes. "Daddy, if it weren't for him –"
"If it weren't for him, I would have never lost you. If it weren't for him, you wouldn't have ever felt the need to use drugs."
Edward flinched, and I knew that he had been telling himself the same thing. Great, now I'd really have to work on that with him.
"Dad, if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have gotten better, either.
He took a deep breath. Apparently deciding being with me again was more important and putting up with Edward, he invited us in.
Sitting on that familiar couch brought back so many memories. This is where Edward and I watched Romeo and Juliet before he left, I told myself. I was so different then…no wonder Charlie was so miserable.
I finally took the change to look at my father. He looked so worn out and tired. He had bags under his eyes and his messy hair had been graying more and more. He seemed to slump a little, something he had never done before. Had I done this to him?
"Daddy, I missed you so much," I said. "I feel awful. I can't believe the way I treated you."
"Oh Bella." He was by my side quickly – the opposite side of Edward, that is. "I forgive you. Of course I forgive you, you're my only baby. You're my everything."
I gave him a kiss on the cheek, and he hugged me again. We weren't perfect again – we were far from it. But he'd accepted me back. And that was more than I could ever ask for.
As the three of us sat on the old, tattered couch, I explained to him how much the Cullens had helped me since their return. He listened closely, nodding and smiling and frowning randomly.
"Thank you," he whispered over my head to Edward. Shocked, I held my breath. "I can't thank you enough. I've only been blaming you for hurting her…but you fix your mistakes. You've helped her more than I, her father, ever could."
"I love her, too, sir," Edward said.
Charlie smiled, and pulled me into his arms. It was a bit awkward since Edward wouldn't let me go, but I began to feel whole again.
I had my father back, my family back, my Edward back. My life was definitely getting back on track.
AN: Alright, so don't kill me, but this story is being put on an indefinite hold. I'm so sorry to do this, but it's better than making you guys wait for something that isn't coming, I think. I tried to at least leave you with something good; I hope it was good enough. I'm so sorry guys! :( I just feel so…detached from "Getting Better" lately. I might write other stories in the mean time, but I'm just drifting from this one entirely. Again, I'm SO sorry. But it's not forever! (I don't think….) so don't hate me too much! It's being marked as "complete," but I don't think it is.