A/N Twilight and its characters are not mine, no matter how much I might like to find Edward climbing in my window one night. They all belong to Stephenie Meyer of course, lucky girl.
This is set after Breaking Dawn, during one of Charlie's visits to the Cullen house. I always wanted to know how Bella might explain Edwards leaving, and everything that happened once Charlie knew the Cullen family weren't your usual small town family. After all, come on, once he got over the shock, he was bound to ask, right?
There's a couple of chapters – all finished already, I'll post it all inside a week. Please tell me what you think – good or bad.
"Bells, Can I talk to you....about something? Just us, for a few minutes?" Charlie voice was hesitant as he scuffed the toe of his shoe on ground, not quite meeting Bella's gaze.
"I can't tell you any more that you already know about this Dad, it wouldn't be safe for you."
"No, I know. I don't want to ask about what you are, I just want to be sure in my head that you are ok, that you are happy being whatever you are.
Bella's face softened, Charlie may not have spent much time in her life being her Dad, but since she'd moved to Forks he'd tried damned hard. She hadn't made it easy on him.
"OK Dad, let's sit down over there" Bella pointed to a fallen tree in the Cullen's yard that made a convenient place to sit, and with the light breeze she could ensure Charlie sat downwind from her, reducing the pull of his scent and making it slightly less painful for her poor throat.
Charlie sat next to her, fidgeting, refusing to look at her. He stayed silent.
"Dad? I can't answer your questions if you don't ask them, I can't read your mind."
"Hmph. Just...Well...Shit, oops sorry....Umm. Jake told me that you knew about all this strangeness before you married Edward. But – I really need to be sure. Edward didn't coerce you into this? You knew well before hand what you were getting into?"
"Oh Dad, you don't need to worry about me so much. Yeah, I did. Of course I did. Edward would never have let me marry him if I didn't."
"When did you know?"
Bella smiled softly to herself, her now strangely flat brown eyes seeming to look into the past, liking what they saw there.
"I knew something was different about Edward the day he rescued me from Tyler's van crushing me."
Charlie lifted an eyebrow questioningly. "How?"
"Let's just say no human could have saved me that way Dad. He really shouldn't have done it – he risked exposing himself and his family by doing what he did. Luckily I was the only one who noticed something wasn't right."
"That long ago? But you never said anything, why didn't you?" Charlie sounded a little put out as he asked her this. "It's not like you were seeing each other then, were you?"
"No we weren't. But he asked me not to Dad. He wouldn't tell me why, not then, I didn't know why Edward was different, just that he was. But he'd just saved my life; there is no doubt in my mind I would have died. When I saw that van coming toward me I knew I was dead, I saw how I was going to die and I knew there was no escape. Then Edward...was just there. How could I not keep his secret?"
Charlie was silent for a few moments. Then "Bella, you know how grateful I am to Edward that he did save you, but...Well, how could he not save you if he had the chance to. Or save anyone else for that matter? It was the right thing to do. Most people would do it."
Bella looked into Charlie's eyes, hoping to really make Charlie understand what Edward had risked in saving her. "Dad, what he did may have been morally right. But you need to understand that in risking people finding out he was different, in risking someone guessing what he was, he risked the lives of every single member of his family including his own. In letting me live afterwards, they all risked their lives. If anyone else had found out, he, his family and I would all have been killed."
Charlie looked bewildered. "Letting you live? You have to be kidding Bells, that's just a bit melodramatic isn't it?"
"Yes, it seems that way I suppose. And I can't explain to you why it is this way, it's part of what we can't tell you. We risk ourselves even in you knowing just what you do now Dad. We all trust you with our lives by allowing you to know there is something different about us. We don't dare let you know more than that. And I know and love you. Edward really didn't know me at all when he saved me. Not then."
"And you know this yourself. This isn't just some story you've been fed?" Charlie was still sceptical.
"No Dad, it isn't just a story. I have seen first hand what happens when our kind risk exposure to...others." Bella shuddered, remembering the speed with which justice had been meted out to Bree, the newborn who surrendered during the fight with Victoria's newborn army. "I've seen it with my own eyes, and I know I cannot risk you knowing any more. It is for our safety yes, but also for yours, and for the safety of anyone else you come in contact with."
"But Jake showed me what he is. I already know things I probably shouldn't". Charlie was stubbornly sticking to the belief that the secrecy wasn't completely called for. At least when it came to him. Bella couldn't help but grin. They were so much alike sometimes.
"Dad. He also told you I didn't turn into an animal. And I don't. I'm not what Jake is. Nor is Edward or any of his family."
"But Jake obviously knows what you are. Why isn't he in danger then?"
Bella sighed. Explaining this without letting Charlie know any more than he already did was not an easy task. It would be so much simpler just to tell him.
"But Jake is not like you or me. There is nothing preventing us from telling him because we are not telling him or the Quileutes anything they don't already know. By virtue of what they are, they already know what we are. We would be unable to hide it from them for even a moment. And that is all I will say on the subject Dad."
Charlie clenched his jaw. Bella knew he wasn't comfortable with the whole werewolf thing, but she also knew that NOT knowing the whole story had to be just as hard on him as her not being able to tell him was hard on her.
"Ok Bells. I won't complain about it. But you said you knew he was different then. When did you know the whole story, and if it was so damned dangerous why did he risk your life by telling you?"
"Oh Dad, I didn't give him any choice – I dug around until I came across the truth. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I didn't already know how different Edward was. And he tried to stay away from me at first so I wouldn't have the chance to ask him questions or give himself away, well, at least partly. But that was never going to last for long." Bella was laughing softly in remembrance.
"Why not? He should have tried harder!" Charlie was still obviously not convinced that this had all been the best thing for Bella. She could see it in his expression.
"We were both falling in love even then Dad, even with not talking to each other. I was obsessed with him, dreaming of him every night, watching him every day at school. Desperately trying to think of a way to make him like me. And he felt the same. Even though we didn't talk, it hurt us both when we didn't see each other. We were both uneasy when the other wasn't around." Bella's voice was filled with the love she felt for her husband, the wonder that she still felt that they were together forever now.
Charlie's sceptical expression twisted like he'd bitten into a lemon. Bella smiled behind her suddenly upraised hand. Charlie obviously wasn't ready to hear any mushy stuff from her. Fair enough, shethought.
"Hmm. So, when did I know for certain? Do you remember – probably you won't, but I went into Port Angeles one night with Jessica and Angela to get dresses for the dance, that girl's choice dance - the first one after I moved here? As I remember you thought I was going to sneak out to it and kept checking I was in my bedroom!"
"Huh! Yeah, I remember. I eventually disabled your truck so you couldn't leave, so I could get some sleep. I remember wondering what on earth I'd gotten myself into, having a teenage daughter in the house. I never realised how much a father would worry about...well... situations... where boys might be involved until I had you living with me. It drove me nuts." He smiled ruefully.
"Only 'cause you remember yourself at 17 Dad. Admit it!" Bella thought this was just slightly hilarious.
Charlie just coughed and looked at the ground, his cheeks turning a deep brick red.
"Well anyway. While we were out that night, I left Jess and Angela buying their dresses and went to a bookshop – that was the reason I'd wanted to go in the first place you see, to visit this bookshop. I was going to meet back up with the girl later for dinner. I hadn't meant to be very long. So I went, and I got what I wanted. But on the way back I ran into three men. They were drunk, and wouldn't leave me alone – I was terrified. There was no one else around – I knew I had no chance against three of them."
Charlies face had lost it's red colour and was slowly draining to ashen white. "Bella? Did they...?"
"It's ok Dad." She hurried to reassure him. "Nothing happened. Edward saved me... again. His car came careening around the corner though I didn't realise at first it was him, I just knew whoever was in that car was going to stop – I was going to leap in front of the car and make them. But it slowed down and stopped anyway, and I heard his voice telling me to get in and I knew he'd made me safe again."
Charlie took a deep breath. "It seems I have more to thank him for than I knew."
"More even than that Charlie, though I will never be able to tell you all of it. But, so much more than that. That was the night I told him that I knew what he was. The night we admitted to each other how we felt, though we didn't actually come right out and say it then. I told him what he was didn't matter to me, and it didn't matter, you know. It never has. He's always been just Edward to me. What he is made it difficult sometimes, for us both, though harder for him I often think. He overcame so much to love me."
She chuckled somewhat pensively, Charlie looked at her curiously. "What?"
"He called me his danger magnet, and he was serious. I used to manage to get into so many dangerous situations, without ever intending to, well, most of the time I didn't mean to."
Charlie's eye narrowed in suspicion. "That day you fell down the stairs and through a window in Phoenix? You didn't really, did you?"
"No Dad, I didn't. I can't tell you what happened really, and I'm sorry for that, we all hate lying to you. But no, I didn't fall down any stairs or through a window. Edward and his family saved my life that day – twice. I didn't leave because I hated Forks like I told you I did. I just...had to tell you something quickly so I could get out and away without you following." Bella sighed sadly. She still regretted having to hurt her Dad like that.
"I couldn't tell you the truth, but to stay would have likely meant my death, and possibly yours too – kind of collateral damage I suppose. Edward got me away while he and his family tried to make it safe for me, and for you again, but the danger caught up to Alice and Jasper and I in Phoenix. Edward, Emmett and Carlisle arrived just in time to save my life again. It...wouldn't have been a pleasant way to go. They were only just in time."
Bella let her words trail away, and sat looking into branches of the trees above her. They swayed gently in the light breeze, calming her, reminding her of how beautiful her life now was.
She turned back to her father. Charlie was looking at her, with tears in his eyes that he was trying very hard to pretend were not there.