The contest is over and there were a lot of great entries. It was my first contest, and I didn't place, but I enjoyed the experience. Here is the long version that I originally wrote and then had to whittle down to 1000 words or less. This one was around 1400 words.
As always, it's all Stephenie Meyers.
Fatherly Conversations – long version
Charlie wasn't home yet, but I was expecting him any moment. Dinner was in the oven bubbling away and Edward was out with his brother's on a two day hunting trip. I was lost as for what to do till dinner. I searched the kitchen for a spot to wipe up or a dish to wash, but I had already accomplished all of those tasks. My eyes swept the living room for anything, but still, all the dust was gone, the cushions were in place on the sofa and the mail was on the coffee table waiting on Charlie. I was really starting to take up Esme's habit of nervous cleaning. That's when I spotted my worn and battered copy of Shakespeare. It was a book with Romeo and Juliet and sonnets. I picked it up and carried it outside to the small porch and the swing that was there. The sun had been out for most of the day, thus the hunting trip away from Forks. The last rays of sun were filtering through the edges of the nearby forest, but there was still a sunny patch in the backyard that crept its way towards the swing. I kicked my shoes off and curled one leg under me and left the other dangling so I could push the swing with my toes.
I flipped through the book until I found my favorite part of the play, the balcony scene and began to read. It wasn't long before I had engrossed myself completely and had not heard the cruiser pull into the drive nor Charlie calling me from inside the house. The slam of the screen door caught my attention however and I jumped, letting out a soft yelp.
"Sorry Bells, didn't mean to scare you." Charlie padded across the porch and looked at the book in my hand. "Dinner smells great, is it ready?" He asked, anxiously. I knew he didn't want to push me, but I knew he had grown quiet accustomed to having dinner ready when he was home. He didn't expect it, it was a gift that offered him.
"No Dad, sorry. But it'll only be a few more minutes."
Charlie nodded. I saw him eye the screen door again and then the spot next to me on the swing. I could see the wheels working. I sighed quietly to myself. He was working his way into a conversation.
"Umm, mind if I join you out here for a few minutes then?"
"Not at all." I untucked my foot from under me and scooted into my corner of the swing to give him the rest of the bench.
Charlie sat down and for a few moments we just sat there, him pushing us back and forth.
"Been a pretty day today."
"Yeah, it has." I replied back.
"So, what did you and Edward do today? Or did Alice kidnapp you again all day?"
"Actually, Edward and his brothers and father went off on a camping trip for a few days. I'm not too sure where Alice is, so I packed a bit."
I saw Charlie wince slightly as he nodded. I should have left the last bit off. The wedding was approaching and the closer it got the quieter and grumpier he was becoming. I tried not to directly mention the wedding or anything wedding related unless absolutely necessary.
A few more moments of awkward silence followed. I decided I would leave Charlie to his thoughts.
"I think I'm going to go and check on dinner." I went to get up but Charlie placed his hand on my arm before I could move.
"Umm, can it wait a moment Bells?"
I eyed him cautiously. "Sure Dad."
I settled back into my corner as Charlie stilled the swing and turned slightly toward me.
"Now, I know I was probably more gracious with the whole acceptance of you and Edward getting married than you thought I would be."
I nodded remembering him trying to play the Renee card on me.
"I'm not taking any of that back, but I…." He stopped for a moment seeming to gather his thoughts.
"Yes Dad." I prompted him.
"I just want to make sure this is your decision. Edward isn't forcing you into this is he?"
I shook my head. Yes, Edward had been persistent, however, I knew now that this was totally my decision. The one that I wanted to make regardless. It didn't mean that I wasn't nervous about the wedding per se, but I was sure about Edward. That decision was iron clad and had been so for a long time now.
"No Dad he's not. He would wait on me forever or would take me to Vegas tomorrow if I wanted it. Trust me, this is my choice. Actually, I'm the one that insisted on the wedding date."
I wasn't too sure I should have told Charlie the last part, but it was true and I hoped it reinforced to Charlie my choice.
"It's just so soon Bella. I don't mean, you two couldn't go to college together, you know date. There'll be a lot more people there than here you know. You don't know who you're going to meet."
I flushed with agitation for a moment. I knew Charlie was just posing these questions because he loved me and wanted what's best for me. I don't think he's ever understood why I forgave Edward so easily. After all, there might be blank spots in my memory from those first initial days after my 18th birthday, but there wasn't any for Charlie.
"No Dad, Edward is my choice. He's my only choice. I could meet every man or boy on the face of this planet and Edward is still my choice. You know….." I started and blushed for a moment before turning to face the yard so I didn't have to look at my dad when said this. "I'm his only choice too." I knew this as strong as I knew anything. We were meant to be with one another. Edward felt that meant that a wedding ceremony needed to be involved. I just knew I needed him.
"Sure, sure." Charlie stated and I smiled to myself weakly. He had spent a lot of time with the Blacks, even before I came to Forks. I wondered if they picked the phrase up from Charlie or he from them.
"You're very sure about this?"
"Yes Dad." I stated a bit exasperated. This wasn't the only time he had asked me that particular question and I was tired of answering it.
"Ok." He stated again, in the same almost dejected tone.
My heart sunk a little at his tone. I knew he felt dejected, like I had come to Forks to live with him, but in the end choose someone else. That he was losing me all over again. I knew he was. Even if he didn't know it for fact right now, I did. After I left with Edward, I was leaving permanently.
"Dad…." My voice wasn't much above a whisper as we both stared out at the backyard.
"You know I love you too, right?"
"Mmm, Hmm." He stated and nodded.
"I chose you too, you know. When I came to Forks initially, when I returned to Forks and when I decided to stay. I…..I know that it may seem like that especially the last two that I might have been doing so for Edward alone, but you know I made those choices for you too. I….actually wish I would have decided to come and live with you earlier. I'm going to miss living with you, but you know that won't stop me being your daughter."
Charlie nodded again, his features were starting to be hidden by the lengthening shadows as the sun began to sink lower behind the trees.
I couldn't tell if he was crying or not. Probably not, but he turned his face in the opposite direction from me for a moment.
"I know Bells, I know. And even if it kills me, I have to admit, that boy loves you. I bet there isn't anything he wouldn't do for you. Am I right?"
I was the one just nodding this time.
Charlie pushed us a few more times on the swing before letting it still on its own.
"So, what was smelling so good in the oven?"