Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
"Being happy doesn't mean
everything is perfect.
It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections."
"I don't even get a diploma." I complained as Edward walked me out of my room. "Seriously, I worked my ass off to get sober and I don't even have a certificate to wave in front of people's faces."
Edward rolled his eyes.
"I'm serious Edward! If you worked your ass off to get sober you would want something to wave around something in front of people's faces while you yell 'look at me! Look at me! I can spend years doing drugs and still be a member of society!'"
"What medication did they give you in there?" Edward asked laughing.
"I had too much coffee," I admitted, calming down. "I got nervous so I ate my weight in donuts and coffee."
"I can tell." Edward smiled at me. "So I have a surprise for you."
"Please don't tell me that you decided to make the grilled cheese and chili sandwiches." I begged. "No offense Edward, but you can't cook. You burn cereal."
"You've been talking to Alice again, haven't you?" Edward grimaced.
"That's not the point." I avoided the question. Alice had told me about the time that Edward was cooking breakfast for Esme on Mothers' Day. He decided that if oatmeal tasted good warm than cereal would taste even better. He filled a bowl with cereal and put it in the oven for thirty minutes. The end result wasn't edible, so Carlisle took everyone to IHOP for breakfast.
"That's not what the surprise is." Edward smiled. I stopped in the middle of the hallway and frowned at him.
"Than what is it?" I asked. I had begged and pleaded with him not to get me a gift. I wasn't much of a gift receiving person and he had already paid for my stay in the rehabilitation center, which I had to convince him, was a good enough gift.
"I didn't buy you anything." Edward cleared
"You didn't paint another painting of me did you?"Realization had hit me. He said he didn't buy me anything, he didn't say anything about painting something.
"No," Edward shook his head. I let out an audible sigh of relief. "I found your parents." He added quickly. My eyes widened and my mouth drop. I turned around and started to walk back to my room. "Bella," Edward sighed in frustration. "Where are you going?"
"I'm going to put my stuff back in my room because I'm staying here for few more weeks." I didn't turn around to look at him.
"Bella," Edward's voice was closer than I expected. "They want to see you." He grabbed onto my arm and spun me around. I looked at him and swallowed the lump in my throat. The tears that were building up inside didn't waste any time to pour out of my eyes and crawl down my cheek.
"I can't see them Edward." My voice was just a low breath that sounded like words. I swallowed the sob that was building up in my throat.
"Bella," Edward frowned at me. "Renee flew in from Florida to see you and Charlie took a day off of work."
The thoughts of my dad and mom sitting across the table with Edward Cullen talking about my drug problem made me sick to my stomach. There was so much that I wanted to protect my parents from and it looked Edward had ruined my chances of convincing them that I had led a normal and productive life.
"They want to see you." Edward tried to convince me.
"Have you told them…?" I trailed off because I already knew the answer. Edward nodded. I fought the urge to whimper. My heart raced faster than I wanted to so I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. "Let's go," I tried to sound braver than I felt.
Edward smiled at me as he grabbed me a little too tightly on my waist. I followed next to him as he held me close to him. We were going to meet my parents. I fought the urge to take off running. I wasn't going to run away. Not again. That's one of the things that they taught me in therapy. I had a tendency to run from things that scared me. And I wasn't going to do that anymore.
"Bella," Edward warned as he pushed me closer to him when I tried to turn around to run away.
"Can we do this when I'm not recovering from a drug addiction?" I asked. Edward shook his head. "Can I at least have a cigarette?" I begged.
"I thought you quit?" Edward raised an eyebrow.
I grimaced. He was right, I was quitting. "Fine," I took a deep breath. "I'll go."
"You act like you had a choice." Edward laughed. I growled at him as we rounded the corner to the lobby. Just like Edward had said, they were there. Charlie, my dad, was dressed in his uniform and kept on staring at his nails. Renee, my mom, was mindless flipping through a magazine. I turned around but Edward grabbed my arm and pulled me farther into the lobby.
"Bella," Edward hissed in my ear.
I frowned up at him before taking a deep breath. Renee was the first one to see me. Her eyes grew into saucers when she noticed me. Something caught in my throat and I went teary eyed again. She hit Charlie's arm and pointed towards me. His head shot up and his eyes widened just like Renee's. I smiled at him before taking a step forward. Edward let go of my arm.
"Bella?" Renee asked her covering her mouth. I nodded. I couldn't say anything. "Oh Bella!" Renee screamed as she threw herself off the chair and ran towards me. Her arms out stretched.
"Mom," I smiled back at her. She locked her arms around my back and pushed me into her body. I slammed into her soft chest and wrapped her arms around her. She kissed my head and rocked me to the side. I snuggled into her chest and pushed her closer to me. Her perfume was just how I remembered it. The sweet smell of Jasmine and vanilla clouded my nose as another strong pair of arms wrapped me and Renee into a tighter hug.
Charlie had never been the hugging type, so it caught me off guard when he hugged me along with his ex-wife. I pulled one my arms away from Renee and awkwardly hugged my dad along with my mom. He gave me a rough kiss on my forehead as he pushed me closer to him. I couldn't tell if I was having a hard time breathing because I was sobbing so hard or because Charlie and Renee were holding me too close.
"Don't ever do that to us again Bella." My dad warned me, not pushing me away but pushing me closer.
"I won't dad." I whispered into his chest. "I promise."
Renee let go of me first. I looked up at her. She was wiping away from her mascara stained cheeks. She smiled at me, europhic from the reunion we were sharing. Charlie pulled away next, his eyes were red with the tears that he had cried. I was pretty sure my face looked similar to his. I smiled at them before turning around. Edward was leaning against the wall, looking everywhere but at us. I smiled at him.
"Have you met Edward yet?" I asked my mom and dad. They both turned to Edward. He pushed himself off the wall and smiled at them.
"Chief Swan," He held out his hand for Charlie. Charlie grabbed it and let go quickly. I had a feeling he wasn't too fond of Edward. "Renee," Edward quickly turned to Renee when Charlie released his hand. Renee wrapped her arms around Edward's neck and gave him a tight hug.
"Thank you Edward." She whispered. Edward hugged her back. I smiled at them – grateful that at least one parent liked him.
Edward pulled away from Renee and stood next to me. Charlie – who had by now wiped away his tears and looked normal – glare at Edward. Edward took a large step away from me and put his hands in his pocket. I furrowed my eyebrows. Apparently, I had missed a very important part of this situation.
"I can't believe you're living together." Charlie voiced his lament. My eyes widened.
"Charlie," Renee growled at him. "You promised."
"You told him?" I screamed at Edward.
"You're living with a boy!" My head shot back to Charlie. "And not just any boy, a boy that's older than you!" Charlie's voice wasn't laced with humor, he was seriously angry at the fact that I was living alone with Edward. Forget about the fact that I ran away from home and just spent three months in a rehabilitation clinic getting help from my drug problem, I was living alone in an apartment with a boy.
Renee frowned and shook her head. "I'm so sorry Edward." She apologized to him. I looked up at Edward. He was obviously intimidated by my dad. I frowned back at him before turning to Charlie.
"Dad we didn't do anything." I made sure to get that out of the way. "He's waiting till marriage." I pointed my thumb at him. Charlie's eyes widened with horror. I realized what I said. "And so am I!" I added quickly as I put my hands on my chest. His eyes narrowed at me.
"Please," Edward tried to lighten the situation. "Let me take you out of lunch. It'll be my treat." I couldn't help but giggle as a very over used expression came to mind. The closes way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I kind of wandered if that would work on Charlie or not, especially since Renee wasn't a very good cook, and Charlie still had feelings for her.
I grimaced at the thought that we weren't going to have the chili cheese grilled sandwiches, but I was still excited about the fact that I was getting to spend the afternoon with the people I loved. Word got around fast in the Cullen family, so I had a feeling that there was going to be more guests for lunch.
I knew that the conversation about my drug addiction was going to come up eventually, but at the moment everyone was doing everything they could to avoid it. This wasn't the moment to talk about the negative things in our lives but to look at the positives, even if Charlie doesn't see me and Edward living together as a positive.
"Too close," Charlie stepped between Edward and I, even though weren't even close to touching. I looked at Edward around Charlie and mouthed a very dramatic 'I'm sorry.' Edward shrugged and smiled back at me.
"So shall we get going, Charlie?" Edward took a risk by saying Charlie's name.
"Chief Swan," Charlie corrected quickly. I rolled my eyes. "And we should. Bella you can ride with your mother." Charlie told us our seating arrangements. "And Edwin," Charlie put his arm around Edward. "Will ride with me."
"Edward," I corrected him.
"So Edwin," Charlie ignored me. "Have you've ever ridden in a backseat of a cruiser before?"
"No sir." Edward shook his head.
"Well you're about to." Charlie pushed Edward forward as he led him out of the hospital. I gave Renee an anxious look. She smiled politely at me before grabbing my hand. I turned back to Edward and Charlie. They were already out of the door.
"He really loves you Bella." Renee whispered next to me. I turned towards her.
"I know," I sighed. "But he's my dad. He's supposed to love me." I smiled at her.
"Not Charlie," Renee shook her head. "Edward."
My eyes widened and I shook my head. "Edward doesn't love me." I tried to convince myself more than her.
Renee shook her head. "Bella, love is blind and that boy is blinder than a bat when he's around you. He even went up against Charlie." Renee defended her first statement. "But enough about that," She waved her hand in the air to clear the situation. "We have to get going or we'll be late for lunch."
Renee led me out of the hospital to her rental car – which was conviently parked next to Charlie's, who was helping Edward into the back seat of the cruiser. I put my hands on Edward's window after Charlie had closed a door. Edward laughed at me before putting his hand on his side of the window. I fought the urge to kiss the window. I didn't want to piss of Charlie.
"I want him back in one piece." I glared at Charlie. He gave a shrug. "He pays my rent," I reminded him. Charlie frowned at me before walking around his car to the front seat. I stepped away from the car and leaned against Renee's. Charlie pushed a bunch of items onto his driver's seat so it looked like there was no room for Edward in it. I rolled my eyes before turning my attention back to Edward. He was sitting in the back seat with his arms over his chest with a smug expression across his face. He was enjoying this more than he should.
"Ready to go Bella?" Renee asked, opening the door to the driver's side for me. I nodded as I took my seat and quickly buckled my seatbelt.
Edward Cullen was in love with me. The most beautiful man on Earth was in love with a girl that had just come out of a rehabilitation clinic. This moment was too good to be true. There was no way that he was in love with someone like me. I was awkward, clumsy, and had a tendency to lie. He was beautiful, graceful, and always honest. And even if it was true and Edward really did love me, the question still remained: did I love him back?