Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight.
A/N: This is a series of one-shots that for one reason or another, I chose not to include in my final version of 'Eternal Dawn.' If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend you to read it first, or else this one-shots will have very little meaning for you. Just click on my name, and you can find 'Eternal Dawn' there.
For those of you who are familiar with my story, judging by the title, I'm sure you can guess what scene this is. It takes place after Charlie's phone call with Bella in Chapter 36, "When it Rains." She has already had a bad day, discovering what Edward's mission really is (to kill Jacob), and Charlie's phone call is just the cherry on her day. She runs, knowing Jacob and Edward's situation is more dire than Charlie's coming. This scene is what happens when Charlie arrives in Sweet Home. Hope you enjoy!
GARLIC AND HOLY WATER
A six hour drive would be of long enough duration to clear anybody's head. However, put a level-headed man in a precarious position, torture him for a few months, and proceed to rip his heart out through his throat, and we're talking about a whole other ball game. For Charlie, he had just about had enough.
Hastily gathering what supplies he thought he'd need, he jumped into the cruiser and hit the road, a map of Oregon occupying the passenger seat beside him.
At first, his mood had been nothing short of a fiery rage. He wasn't sure if it was the knowledge of having finally tracked her down, or hearing her voice for the first time in over a year that now allowed him to be so angry. If that indeed was the reason, he knew he had a right to be furious. And he was. Very.
That is, until he had driven nearly two hours, and reached the outskirts of Aberdeen. By then, the burning storm inside of him had mellowed to a sizzle, and his mind was left to wander. Like all victims of circumstance, he had begun to blame himself. Had he said something to her that fateful day, making her want to run? It had been a normal day, seemingly like any other. No fights, no misunderstanding. He couldn't think of anything that would make her take off like that, with only a handful of email declaring she was still alive.
And then, like so many times before, knowing that it was not himself to blame for the situation, promptly became outraged again, gritting his teeth and strangling the steering wheel.
What the hell had she been thinking?! Since the beginning he questioned her story about travelling all over Europe. Something just didn't seem right about it. The letters he had received just didn't seem like her... He knew something had been wrong then, but it seemed that no matter how be begged for her to come home, the same unfeeling response quickly followed. She had other places to be. More important places. Glamourous people to meet. Exciting things to see and do. Nothing like Forks.
Again, it made him sad. He felt like he had truly lost her.
It wasn't until June that he had finally had enough. He had known that whatever forces keeping his daughter from him, he must fight on and face it if he were to have any contact with her ever again. He had to fight fire with fire. It was at this time that he began policing his own daughter.
He didn't know why, but he knew she was in America. For months now, her emails sang of a different tune. They seemed more 'her.' Whether it was that gut instinct that drove him forward, he didn't know. But he made a decision, and stuck with it.
In fact, it was Dr. Cullen he searched for, not Bella. The fabricated story the hospital told him came to nothing. Instead, he used his skills and expertise, contacting every hospital in every state, one at a time. He began with A. Alabama. By the time he had reached 'O', he had just about given up hope. But, when the receptionist at a hospital in Corvallis confirmed that there was a Dr. Carlisle Cullen working there, he knew he had hit the proverbial jackpot.
From there, it was easy to get the doctor's home phone number, as well as an address. With a shaking hand, he dialled.
And after all was said and done, Bella was there. After all this time of confusion and unease, she was still alive. And close. Just six hours away.
Now, as he drove toward her, his emotions continued to go through a staggering variety of flux. One minute he would be ready to spit fire. The next, worried what sort of sick and twisted cult she had fallen prey to. Had he been a better father, he would have insisted she stay away from the Cullen boy. After what had happened previously, her running after him and falling through a window, Charlie knew one thing about him. He was trouble.
And now there was this bizarre new twist that Billy mentioned. Talk about your fighting fire with fire! The old friends hadn't had a row like that in over forty years. And what would come out of it in the end? Before, Charlie would have thought a plate of fish-fry and a bottle of beer. Say the word 'vampire', and it changes things.
Six hours passed all too quickly for a man seemingly in a rush. He still wasn't sure what he would do when he got there. After all, Bella was of age. Legal. No longer a minor. She could stay with the wackos if she wanted, and he wouldn't have a say. He couldn't force her to come with him. He knew he had no legal right. But he wouldn't let that stop him from seeing her; from getting an explanation.
As he pulled up to the large old house with its wrap-around porch, he double and triple checked the address. This was the place, alright.
Grabbing the bag off the floor, he rummaged through, looking for his supplies. He could not help but feel supremely idiotic about one item in particular. A long string of garlic cloves which he had tied into a ring forming a necklace. Slipping it over his head, the papery-skin of the garlic chafed against his neck. He felt very nearly as stupid as he knew he looked. All the same, two things prevented him from taking it off.
One, it had been Billy who had said it to him. There had been no joke in his eyes, no teasing laugh. He spat out the word as though merely saying it brought a foul taste in his mouth. He had meant it.
Secondly, Bella hadn't denied it. He asked her, fairly straightforwardly, and yet, she didn't say, 'Dad, are you crazy?!'. She had gasped, saying she could explain. For real or make-believe, the garlic was staying on.
He climbed out of the car, and checked his gun. The bullet magazine was full. Reaching into the bag, he pulled out a small, green squirt gun. He had felt like a total fool filling it up at the local Catholic church, but like the real gun, it was just a precaution. He slipped it into his left hand jeans pocket, feeling like a ridiculous vampire-fighting cowboy.
The last and final effect he took with him was now clutched lightly in his hand. He didn't have to go rummaging through grocery stores or churches for this. Despite not being overly religious, his mother had given it to Bella at her birth. A small cross, cast in gold. It fit snugly in his hand.
Always the cop, he was making a mental list of everything he saw. Licence plates and make of cars in the driveway. Lights on both upstairs and downstairs. The smell of fresh paint. The new welcome mat by the door. Someone must be home...
Inside, Charlie noticed the curtains suddenly move as though caught in a breeze. It struck him as odd, as even outside, the air was cool and still.
Before he could even knock, the door opened, and a familiar face was there to greet him.
"Dr. Cullen," Charlie said stiffly, his eyes sweeping behind the pale man standing before him.
"Chief Swan. Welcome to our home. Please, do come in," Carlisle said with a kind smile, and stepped aside.
Charlie stared warily at the man. Any sane person would've enquired as to why the Chief of Police was wearing a necklace of garlic cloves around his neck. But Carlisle hadn't. In fact, he hadn't even batted an eyelash, a detail which did not escape Charlie's perspicacious eye.
He stepped inside, his hand instinctively moving toward his gun. "Where's Bella? Call her down for me, please. She and I need to have a talk."
Carlisle closed the door, and took a breath as though about to speak. Just then, Esme swept into the room, saving the day. "Chief Swan!" she said brightly. "What an unexpected surprise! We're so happy to see you in Oregon. Was it a long drive?"
Charlie looked upon this new addition to the conversation with distrust. She was as beautiful as she was hospitable, but his senses were on high alert. "Yes, it was," he replied sharply. "Where's Bella?"
Carlisle's aura immediately changed. He became the doctor telling a patient they were about to die. His eyes were sad, and his words soft as he uttered, "I'm very sorry to tell you this, Chief Swan, but Bella isn't here."
"What?" Charlie replied incredulously, his blood pressure rising. "I just spoke to her a few hours ago!"
"If you'll just follow me," Carlisle said, "I'll explain everything to you."
"Like hell you will! Where are you hiding her? Bella!" Charlie shouted up to the ceiling.
"I assure you, sir, we're doing no such thing. If we can just sit and talk, I'm sure you will..."
But Charlie cut him off. "What, sit around and chat like vampires? I'm not sure what kind of sick cult you've got going on here, but you can't stop me from seeing my daughter! Bella!" he called again, this time bolting for the stairs. He ran up them, two at a time, in a desperate attempt to distance himself from Carlisle's hot pursuit. Astonishingly enough, Carlisle did not follow him.
Somewhere, the phone rang, but Charlie barely even heard it, he was so focussed on his duty. Charlie lunged into each bedroom, casting open closet doors in search of her. He continued to call her name, and continued to not receive any response. Upon the third room, he merely stuck his face in, ready to move on, but something pulled him back.
Like a memory, her essence was there in that room. He could smell it. He could smell her. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was her room. Both boy and girl's clothing hung in the closet, and on the dresser, a photo of her with Edward. He picked it up, blinking at the stranger in the picture. It was Bella, but it wasn't. She was different. Pale. Refined. Beautiful. Without a second thought, he slipped the photo into his pocket.
And there, on the floor beside the bed, was something that he did not expect to see. Something that he had thought about for the last five months. Something that always made him wonder...
Reaching down, he picked up the old, tattered copy of Wuthering Heights with a yellow post-it note as a bookmark tucked inside. He'd have known that book anywhere. Everyday after he came home from work, he would go to her room, sit on her bed, and look down at the floor. That book had always been there to greet him. That is, until one day, it vanished. Thinking himself crazy, he actually searched for it, but it was gone.
That is, until now.
She had been there. She had been in Forks all those months ago. Sick of the lies and secrets, outraged for always being pushed aside, kept in the dark, he roared her name.
"Charlie," Carlisle said softly, "she's not here." His sudden appearance startled Charlie to the point of him jumping, dropping both the book and the gold cross. He turned about to see a very apologetic looking man standing in the doorway.
"She's my daughter! You can't hide her from me!" Charlie snapped.
Looking down at the tiny glistening cross on the floor, Carlisle bent down and picked it up, holding it out to him. "I swear to God, I would not lie to you."
Horrified, Charlie stared down at Carlisle's hand, awaiting the bolt of lightning or for his hand to burst into flame. When nothing happened, he asked, "Are you, or are you not...a vampire?"
Carlisle brought down his arm, his eyes never wavering from Charlie's fearful face. "I am."
Charlie couldn't think straight, couldn't breathe. He only wanted to find Bella and get the hell out of there, away from the nutbars from the insane asylum, and back to Forks where they belonged. And so, he did what any man taxed to death with an overload of inconceivable nonsense would do. He bolted.
Carlisle moved, giving the pitiful man space in the doorway. Charlie's motions became more erratic, and everyone in the house (and possibly even their close human neighbours) heard the continued hollers for Bella as they became louder and more desperate sounding as each one returned unanswered. Charlie staggered down the stairs, nearly tripping on the second last step. He was again startled to see now three people standing in the living room, Rose and Emmett coming to see what all the commotion was about.
"Woah, there, Charlie! You alright?" Emmett said, going to help him as Charlie gripped onto the bannister for dear life.
"Get away from me!" he hollered, instinctively pulling out his guns. Both of them. Desert Eagle and little plastic squirt gun. It may have looked ridiculous, but no one found it remotely funny. "Stay there! I want to see Bella! Bring her here, NOW!"
"I'll be honest with you, Charlie," Emmett said, holding up his hands, "I would if I could. Ya know? But I can't, 'cus she's not here. Capiche? She's probably somewhere over the Atlantic by now."
"Atlantic?" Charlie repeated, shaking his head, beads of sweat flying off in the process. "What the hell are you talking about?!"
Knowing that there was nothing he could say that Charlie would believe, Emmett reached for his phone in his pocket. "Look, if you don't believe me..."
Charlie fired both guns at once. The streak of water fell short of the intended target, but the bullet did not. It hit Emmett squarely in the chest, as both Esme and Rosalie let out small surprised shrieks.
His breath caught in his throat, Charlie was shocked at what he had done. Twenty-two years on the job, and not once had he ever had cause to fire his weapon. Now, he had done so on an unarmed man.
Emmett stood there, looking down at his wound. Charlie expected him to keel over, and for the flurry of activity to begin. But, Emmett just stood there, and even went so much as to poke at the hole. "Aw, damn it! I really liked this shirt!"
As Charlie's eyes widened, it was Emmett (who should be dead) looking concerned at his welfare. "Hey, Charlie. Lookin' a little pale, there. You okay?"
Charlie was not okay. It was all too much. He blacked out.
At first, there was nothing. In the aftermath when one passes out, there is no sleep. Only darkness. And, occasionally, voices.
"You gotta admit Bella took it better than him..." a young male voice said.
"Bella discovered the secret herself," a more dignified gentleman replied. "These were hardly ideal circumstances. Reaching into your pocket..."
"I was gonna get my phone! Who'd have thought he would shoot?" the young man's voice replied.
"Like she could pick up the phone anyway, Emmett," a girl's voice replied with a sharp tone to it. "If she's on a plane, she can't use her cell phone."
"Would you two stop it?" a motherly voice said. "He's waking up."
Charlie opened his eyes. At first, he saw nothing but a sea of white, and then realized he was looking at the ceiling. He raised his head, orientating himself. He was lying on a couch, and standing several feet away on the other side of the room were Carlisle and Esme, holding hands. "How are you feeling?" the good doctor enquired.
"Okay," he said, pulling his memories out of the fog. Charlie continued to gaze at his surroundings. The ring of garlic, both guns, and the tiny gold cross were all piled together at arm's reach. "I thought there were four of you?"
"Rosalie and Emmett left. We didn't want you to feel like we were ganging up on you."
"Can I get you something, Charlie?" Esme asked. "I'm afraid we don't keep a lot in storage, but I can make some coffee. Is black alright?"
"Coffee's just fine," Charlie replied, and watched Esme stroll out of the room as gracefully as he had ever seen a woman move before.
"May I sit?" Carlisle asked, now alone with Charlie.
Pulling himself upright, Charlie replied, "It's your house, isn't it?"
Now they sat opposite each other, neither sure where to begin.
"Did...did I hurt the boy?" Charlie said, struggling at the thought that he might've killed someone.
"Oh! No," Carlisle said with a gentle smile. "Emmett's fine."
"But...how can that be? I shot him. He wasn't more than ten feet away from me."
"We are...stronger than you might think. Don't worry. You didn't hurt him."
"So...you all are really...vampires, then?" Charlie stared at him earnestly.
Charlie's next question seemed attached to his lips, not wanting to be asked. But all the same, he had to know. One way or another, he needed the truth.
Carlisle had always known this day would come. He had felt the connection between father and daughter since the accident with the truck. "Yes, Bella, too."
So, that was it, then. That was the secret that she had long been hiding. It all made perfect sense now. Digging into his pocket, he pulled out the picture of her with Edward. He looked the same as he always had. A good-looking kid with an anaemic complexion. But now, so did she.
"Where is she?" Charlie asked, his voice cracking.
At this, Carlisle sighed. There were no easy answers here. As much as he wanted to be frank with Charlie, too much information too soon would just upset him. "Edward's in trouble. She's gone to help."
"Trouble, huh?" Charlie said, his face darkening. "With the law?"
"No, nothing like that. It's...complicated."
Charlie knew there was much more to it than what Carlisle was letting on. He wondered if the vamp thought he couldn't take it. But, judging by how he reacted thus far, he couldn't condemn the man for that thought. "Is she in trouble, too?"
"Strangely, no. For once, Bella is free from getting herself into mischief. Or, as far as I know, she's not."
Looking back down at the picture, he didn't mind saying what was in his heart. He couldn't say it while looking at Carlisle, but he could say it to Bella's picture. "Can't help but feel like she left 'cus she knew I was coming."
Just then, Esme walked in with Charlie's hot cup of coffee. "She was scared," she said, setting it down on the side table, and then taking a seat beside Carlisle. "She worries about your and Renée's reaction. I'm not entirely sure why she left, but I don't think it was because of you."
Charlie nodded his head, not looking the least bit convinced. "So, is it true about the blood?"
"Unfortunately, yes," Carlisle admitted. "As gruesome as it is, it's true. However, our family is different. We feed on animals, not people, and have for a very long time."
"So, the whole 'undead' thing is true?"
Charlie seemed sad, and both Esme and Carlisle knew that he was only thinking of Bella. No one would wish this fate on their child...
"It is true," Carlisle confirmed. "We do not die, unless killed by something as strong as ourselves. We do not sleep. We do not age. We are...frozen in time, forever existing."
"And, can you never go back?" Charlie asked, his heart aching. "Can it be reversed?"
"If there is a way," Carlisle said, "I am not aware of it."
Nodding his head again, Charlie slipped the picture back into his pocket. He picked up his other effects, returning the gun to the holster, and the cross to his pocket. The garlic and Holy water he left behind.
Rising up, he said, "Well, I guess I'd better be going. Long drive back to Forks."
"Would you like to stay?" Esme offered. "You must be tired."
"I'll be alright," Charlie said, nodding his thanks. "Got a lot to think about."
He strode to the door, opened it, and was about to leave when he turned back to Carlisle. He was surprised to see them so close, as he hadn't heard them move. "Can you tell Bella something for me? Tell her...to call me? Tell her...we can make this work..."
"I will," Carlisle replied, and held out his hand.
Staring down at it, Charlie shook it, feeling the cold stone grip in his hand. It chilled him to the bone to think that's what Bella's hand would feel like.
He turned down the walkway, got in the cruiser, and headed back to Forks alone.
A/N: So, what did you think? I chose not to include this scene, and merely have Esme mention it to Edward in passing, because I didn't want to take the attention away from the drama unfolding in Europe between Bella and Edward.
Right decision? You tell me!
Enjoyed it despite the case? I'd love to hear your thoughts!