30 Days of Night
I own absolutely nothing. Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer and 30 Days of Night belongs to Steve Niles.
Notes: Sorry for the delay folks. Moving is quite a stressful thing and not conducive to the flow of creative energies. And I know virtually nothing about the medical field, so if anything I say down below is wrong, my apologies, I'm just going off what I've seen on ER. Also, this will be the last chapter. I wasn't planning on this being the last chapter, but it seemed to end just right, so there it is. I hope you all enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Chapter Thirty-Two: After All Is Said and Done:
Had I still been human, I wouldn't have noticed the subtle changes hinting that something was about to happen. I wouldn't have noticed that Charlie's heart sped up just a little or that his eyes started rolling faster underneath of his eyelids. I wouldn't have seen his hand curl slightly, as though he was trying to make a fist, and perhaps I wouldn't have heard his muffled choking as he tried to breathe on his own and found that he was still hooked up to the ventilator. I hit the button on the wall for the nurse and moved over to his bed, glad now that Charlie was waking up that Sam had finally decided to give us some space.
"It's okay, Dad," I said, leaning over him and smiling, hoping to God that I didn't look like a shark smiling over a struggling fish. "A nurse is coming."
His eyes were glued to my face and he nodded. He was probably wondering why I was wearing sunglasses indoors. My cover story was that I had developed sensitive eyes, but I wasn't sure how many people were buying it as most of the hospital staff had taken part in treating me for numerous injuries in the recent past. I had overheard one of the nurses gossiping about how I probably had a shiner underneath of my sunglasses and, while I was itching to correct her and clear Edward's reputation, I couldn't risk anyone noticing that my eyes were still burning red.
The nurse came in and said something that I didn't even bother listening to as she went about removing the ventilator so Charlie could breathe on his own again. "There you go, Chief Swan, that feel better?" She asked and he nodded. "Okay then. I'll be a few minutes getting the doctor," she added, looking over at me. I suppose she guessed by the way I was bouncing back and forth on my feet that I was eager to have some alone time with my father now that he was awake.
"Thanks," I said as she whisked back out of the room. Silence fell between us; there was so much to say, so much that needed to be said, so much to explain, but I didn't know how to begin. "Need anything?" I finally asked.
Charlie's eyebrows shot up when he heard my voice for the first time since I had been changed. I forgot how different it would sound to him. "Some water, maybe?" He asked. His voice sounded raw, as though he had been silently screaming ever since he lost consciousness.
I nodded and walked over to the bathroom, perhaps moving more quickly than I should have, but I was so nervous I couldn't seem to get a grip on myself. Charlie was my father and I wanted to believe that his love was unconditional, that even though I was a vampire now he would still be able to find a place in his heart for me. Yet, that little nagging voice of doubt in the back of my head kept saying over and over that he would never be able to love a monster, that I wasn't really his daughter anymore, and that there was nothing left for me in Forks. My hand shook as I filled a plastic cup with water and carried it back to him. He had managed to pull himself up into a sitting position while I was in the bathroom and he smiled gratefully when he took the cup from my hands.
I let him drink, watching the muscles in his throat move as he swallowed, listening to the steady stream of air moving in and out of his nose as he breathed. "You feeling okay?" I asked when he put the cup on the bedside table.
"A little disoriented," he answered, "but I guess that's normal."
"Yeah," I said. "Probably so." The room fell quiet again and I started to worry that I would never find the courage to say what I needed to say.
"Listen, kiddo," Charlie started, just as I opened my mouth and said, "Look, Dad."
We both paused, Charlie chuckled, and motioned for me to start. Clearing my throat needlessly, I scooted my chair closer to him and leaned my elbows on his bed. "What do you remember exactly, you know, about when you were attacked?" I asked.
Charlie smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "I think I know where you're going with this."
"Humor me," I said dryly.
"Okay," he nodded. "There was a woman with red hair. She knocked on the door, said she was having car trouble and wanted to know if she could borrow my phone."
"Dad," I interrupted, rolling my eyes, even though he couldn't see it through the glasses, "please tell me you didn't fall for that."
"What?" He asked, shrugging his shoulders. "I thought it was a little funny that she didn't have a cell phone. I mean heck, all you kids have one these days, but I figured maybe she had lost it or the battery died or something. Anyway, I let her in," he continued. "She made her call and came back out into the living room to wait."
"Did she say anything?" I asked.
"She asked if I had a daughter," Charlie replied. "Of course, I said yes."
"And then?" I prompted.
Charlie looked down at his hands. "She wasn't human, was she Bells?" He asked after a moment's pause.
I blow out a breath that I didn't know I had been holding and shook my head. "No, she wasn't."
"She got pretty angry when I said your name," Charlie explained. "Start ranting about some guy named James." My stomach dropped and I couldn't help the shudder of fear that rocketed through me when I thought of the vampire that had almost killed me in Phoenix. "So you knew him, huh?" He asked, noticing my reaction.
"Yeah," I answered. "I knew him."
"Well, she had some pretty crazy ideas about what happened to him and how you were involved," Charlie said. "She said she had come looking for you, but since you weren't around, I would do just fine."
"Dad," I started, feeling more nauseous by the second, but he held up his hand, interrupting me.
"It's okay, Bells," he replied. "I would go through Hell to keep you safe. I'm glad she did all this to me and not to you." Tears pricked at my eyes again and I cursed my inability to cry. I knew that Charlie loved me and that he would do anything for me, but he wasn't a man of many words. Hearing him say how much he cared for me moved me in ways that I didn't expect. "I won't go into the details," he said quietly. "I'm sure the doctors have told you plenty."
"Yeah," I replied. "They all say you're lucky to be alive."
"Well, I probably wouldn't be if not for Jake," Charlie said.
"Right," I said, clearing my throat again. "About Jake."
"You mean about how he exploded into a wolf right in front of my eyes?" Charlie asked.
I couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah, about that."
"He's a….what, werewolf or something?" Charlie asked and I nodded. "And so the woman was…"
"A vampire," I supplied.
"A blood sucking, creature of the night kind of vampire?" Charlie asked.
"Blood sucking yes, creature of the night, not so much," I clarified.
"How do you know about all of this?" Charlie asked, his eyes narrowing.
"Well, you know how the Cullens are kind of…different?" I asked.
"Yeah," Charlie replied slowly.
"They're vampires too," I said. "But they only drink animal blood," I said in a rush when Charlie's eyes bugged out. "So they're perfectly safe." Charlie just stared at me and I could see the mental wheels turning in his head. He had always defended the Cullens, but now I wasn't quite so sure he would. "Dad?" I asked after several minutes had elapsed.
Charlie rubbed his chin absently and nodded. "That does explain a few things."
"You're okay with all that?" I asked.
"I can't say I like the fact that vampires are living in my town. I don't like the fact that my best friend's son can turn into a giant wolf either" Charlie replied. "But I suppose if they're, you know, good or whatever, I'm okay with it."
"Good," I said, "because there's more."
"More?" He asked tiredly.
"Yeah," I said, my throat suddenly getting dry. I clasped my hands together on the bed to keep from fidgeting. "So, Barrow…wasn't such a great time," I hedged.
"What happened?" He asked. "Too boring?"
"No," I replied, "it definitely wasn't too boring."
"Too exciting?" Charlie countered, smiling indulgently. He really had no idea what I was going to say. The problem was that I really had no idea what I was going to say either. Instead, I opted for saying nothing. Actions would speak louder than words. Sighing, I reached up and slowly removed my sunglasses. Charlie didn't seem to notice anything at first, but then he paled as he focused in on my eyes and noticed for the first time that they were glowing red, just like Victoria's.
The doctor chose that moment to come into the room and I quickly slipped the sunglasses back onto my face, moving across the room so that the doctor could better speak to Charlie. He tried to answer the doctor's questions as best he could, but his eyes were locked onto my face and I knew that he was thinking about what he had just seen. Finally, the doctor turned to me and said, "He needs to get some more rest. He'll be less confused as time goes on."
"I'll try to get some sleep in a few minutes," Charlie promised. "I just need a little more time alone with my daughter."
"Alright," the doctor said. "But make it quick," he added, speaking to me.
I nodded and waited until he had left the room to move back over to my chair. Charlie didn't say anything at first and I didn't want to push him, so I waited. "Do you…," he started, but stopped. "I don't know how to ask this," he said, looking down at his hands. "I mean…"
"I don't drink human blood," I answered quickly, "if that's what you're trying to ask."
He breathed out a sigh of relief. "Okay," he said. "Good. Animal blood?" He asked.
"Yeah," I replied. "The Cullens are helping me."
"The Cullens are back?" Charlie asked. His eyes narrowed and I just knew that he was thinking of Edward.
"It's okay, Dad," I said, smiling at him. "They saved us."
"Eben and Stella are here too," I answered. "We sort of had an…incident in Barrow."
Charlie nodded. I wasn't certain how much he wanted to know, so I let him ask the questions. "Was it bad?" He asked.
"Yeah," I replied quietly. The faces of everyone who died flashed through my mind in an instant. I would literally never forget any of them.
"Did it hurt?" He asked, looking into my face. There was such pain in his eyes that I knew I had to lie to him.
"No," I murmured. "It didn't hurt. It was quick. I barely knew what happened."
He studied my face for a long time before he nodded, evidently satisfied that I was telling him the truth. "And you're gonna be okay now?" He asked.
"Yeah," I replied. "I'll live forever," I said and shrugged. "It's not such a bad deal."
Charlie snorted. "I guess I don't have to worry about you getting hurt anymore huh?" He asked. "That red haired lady seemed pretty tough."
"You could say that," I replied. I reached out, nodding at him to feel my skin. With tentative fingers, he circled his hand around my arm and squeezed.
"You're like rock," he commented, his voice awed.
"No more hospital bills," I joked, trying to lighten the mood. A flicker of sadness crossed Charlie face as he let go of my arm. "What is it?" I asked.
"You can't stay here, can you?" He asked. "I mean, you could for a while, I guess. But people would start to notice right? Because you won't age?"
"I can't stay here," I confirmed, my voice breaking.
"Will I be able to see you?" Charlie asked. His eyes looked glossy and I realized that my father was about to cry. I had never seen him cry.
"All the time," I answered, trying to smile. "We won't be far. Alice said we'll be moving to Alaska."
"Alice," Charlie said fondly. "She's here?"
"Yeah," I replied.
"She's taking good care of you?" He questioned.
"The best," I replied.
"Good," he said. He blinked a few times, struggling to regain his composure.
"You should get some rest, Dad," I said, reaching out and taking his hand. "Doctor's orders, remember?"
"How long will you be sticking around?" Charlie asked.
"I'll stay as long as you need me to," I promised.
Charlie nodded and I let go of his hand as he settled back down on his pillow. He didn't close his eyes for a long time, just gazed at my face, perhaps trying to see all of the differences, but his eyes finally slipped shut and his breathing evened out. I waited until I was certain that he was asleep before getting up and moving out of the room. I could still smell wet dog, but I didn't see Sam in the hallway. I was surprised to see Edward instead. He was leaning against the wall at the very end of the hall, looking down at his shoes, with his hands stuffed in his pockets. When he heard me start walking toward him, he looked up. For a brief moment, I felt like I was seeing him for the first time all over again and he took my breath away. I smiled; he still had the power to dazzle me, even now, even after everything we'd been through.
"What?" He asked, confusion spreading over his features.
"Nothing," I said, shaking my head and running a hand through my hair. "What're you doing here?"
He shrugged. "I thought I'd come see how Charlie was, but then I heard you two talking, so I decided to wait."
"Thanks," I said, leaning against the wall next to him.
"You okay?" He asked.
I nodded absently. "Charlie's awake," I reminded him. "That's all I wanted. He seems to be doing fine and I think he's accepted everything."
"He's a strong man," Edward replied. "In many ways, you're very much like him. He doesn't care what you are, so long as you're still you."
We stood silently for a while, two inhumanly beautiful statues, until I started to get agitated. I wasn't sure what I wanted. Part of me wanted Edward far away, but another part wanted him to wrap his arms around me like he would have before he left. I wished he would do something, instead of just standing there. I chanced a peek over at him and frowned. He wasn't standing nearly so still as I thought. His hands were trembling. I realized then that he was nervous; he didn't know how I would react to whatever it was that he wanted to do, so he was waiting, trying to feel me out. Sighing, I inched over to him and leaned my head against his shoulder. He froze for a moment before slowly pulling me closer and wrapping his arm around me.
"We okay?" He asked. His voice sounded so hopeful, so much like a seventeen year old.
"Yeah," I said, smiling into his arm, "we're okay."