The plane landed just after seven o'clock. Emmett spotted them first and took a step forward. The family stood off to the side, away from the other passengers and their families so as not to make them feel uncomfortable.
Bella and Edward passed through the security gate. Both looked a bit tense, which Carlisle thought was understandable considering. They were home and it was time for the next step. Time for Bella's change.
As they made their way to the cars, Carlisle silently asked Edward if everything was alright. Edward gave a slight nod in response missed by the rest of the family.
They arrived home. A few things had changed at the house since the wedding. Once Edward had notified them they were coming home, the family had begun preparations for the move. The new house was fifty miles from the Denali coven; farther away from the human population than they were. The extra distance was to give Bella time to adjust without unneeded temptation.
Everything was packed and ready to go. The only thing left was for Bella to say goodbye. It would be hard for her; the first goodbye. It always was.
Bella stood in the foyer just looking around. There were white sheets covering the furniture. The house in Forks would be sold since The Cullen's would never be able to set foot here again after breaking the treaty.
Edward moved to stand behind Bella, resting his hands on her shoulders. "It gets easier."
She took a deep breath and leaned against him. "I hope so."
He wanted to say something; remind her she still had an option but he knew better than to suggest it. She'd told him more times than he could count she'd already made her decision. Edward had accepted that.
With another deep sigh that lifted her shoulders, "We should go say goodbye to Charlie."
The family stood in various areas around the entrance; each doubting the wisdom of this. Edward and Bella ignored them. They were in their own world. They had talked about this and agreed. Bella would see Charlie one last time.
With a brief glance around the room, Edward reached down and took Bella's hand. "We'll be back before midnight."
Carlisle was the only one to nod as they all stood silent watching the two walk back out the door.
Edward and Bella stood at the front door each lost in their thoughts. Finally, Bella reached up and knocked. This wasn't her home anymore. She was a Cullen now.
Charlie's footsteps could be heard heading toward them. The door opened and the smile that lit his face and the embrace that followed caused a strangled moan to release from deep in her throat. Charlie released her quickly, thinking he'd hugged her too hard. Edward knew better. This was killing her, knowing this would be the last time she saw her father. Her pain was tearing him up inside but there was nothing he could do to spare her from it. The only other option than the one she'd chosen was for him to leave her and that was not something either could live with.
The house had not changed much in the two weeks they'd been gone other than a bit of dust. Even before Bella arrived Charlie had kept the place neat. Housework was not his thing, but he did pick up after himself.
Sitting in the living room, Bella told Charlie where they had been. Her father, of course, had been impressed and even more so when she'd told him about their several snorkeling experiences. Two hours later, the stories were done on both sides, with Charlie catching them up on what they'd missed in Forks.
As the conversation began to die, Bella felt a sudden urge to clean. She resisted it at first, fidgeting in her seat. When Edward gave her hand a gentle squeeze, she knew it was time to act. "Dad, do you still have the cleaning supplies under the sink?"
"Why sure, Bells. Why?" he asked.
Bella stood and began heading toward the kitchen. "Consider it a goodbye gift."
Charlie sat stunned for a minute before responding. "When are you leaving?" The question was directed at Edward.
Keeping his voice even, "Tomorrow morning. We need to get the house set up before school starts."
Edward saw Charlie swallow hard and both watched and heard his heart rate accelerate. They both remained silent though.
Bella cleaned the entire house with the exception of the living room in just under two hours. It was a record but she was motivated. This was the only thing she would be able to leave her father. The only way for her to show him how much he meant to her, how much she loved him.
At eleven thirty, Edward stood as Bella came back into the room. Coming to her side, he placed a small kiss on her temple. "I'll be outside."
Bella nodded and watched him go before turning back to her dad. Charlie stood only a foot in front of her, arms down at his sides. "I'm gonna miss you, Bella."
Without hesitation, Bella wrapped her arms around her dad's waist. Tears started flowing and she didn't try to stop them. "I'll miss you too, dad."
They stood stock still for several minutes before Charlie took a step back, clearly uncomfortable with her tears. "I'll see you at Christmas okay? You make sure that husband of yours takes care of you," he said with a slight smile.
"He will, dad."
Backing out of his embrace, she moved to the door. With one last look behind her, she mentally said her final goodbye to her father before making her way to where Edward was waiting in the car. As she slid inside and shut the door, the tears again began to fall. "Bella…"
With a deep breath, she turned to face her husband tear stained face and all, "I'm ready."