With You, Without You

Charlie/Renee

Bella picked up the phone and dialed the familiar ten digits. Although I rarely called that number, I memorized the tone of each number dialed. My eyes drifted to the sparkle coming from my daughter's left hand. For the most part, I tuned out her conversation with my ex-wife and thought about the day I asked her to marry me.

I had just graduated from the State of Washington's Police Academy in Port Angeles and I was hired back in my hometown of Forks. There was a position open, and I knew no one in my graduating class would apply for it. I wasn't much of a city boy anyway, so I was relieved to find out the news. I was anxious to share the news with my girlfriend of two years, Renee, but I had a lot more on my mind that day. I wanted to make the cute waitress at the diner mine forever.

My longtime friend Billy Black suggested I propose to her at the Space Needle, cause girls liked romantic stuff like that. I had everything planned perfect. Except I was a horrible liar and it took a lot not to make Renee suspicious. With the Christmas season upon us, I figured if I said we were going to Seattle for the weekend, she would just think we were going shopping.

I was a nervous mess the whole afternoon, but Renee was too excited to be in the big city to notice. We went in and out of stores all day, and by the end of the day- I was ready. We took a taxi uptown to the Space Needle, where I had reservations and thankfully, we were both dressed for the occasion.

Dinner trudged by slowly, but all my nerves were gone. Before I knew it, the dessert came out and I was up to bat. I reached across the table and took her left hand.

"Hey, Renee…?" Maybe the nerves weren't gone just yet. She eyed me suspiciously and raised a brow. I frowned slightly and then she laughed.

"Charlie? Is everything okay?" She asked, as a look of concern spread across her face. I nodded and gave her a reassuring smile.

I looked into her eyes and took a deep breath as I got out of my seat. I wasn't very good with words, and what came out of my mouth next proved that point. "Renee Higginbotham, make me the happiest man in the world?" I pulled the ring from my pocket and held it out to her with a smile.

"Oh, Charlie!" Renee's eyes began to water and she nodded slowly. "Yes. Yes, Charlie. I love you. I love you so much!" I grinned from ear-to-ear as I slid the band on her finger. I stood up, and kissed her gently. Those that witnessed the event around us broke into applause and I knew that Renee was absolutely the woman I wanted to spend my life with.

Bella hung up the phone and shot me a smirk, "Well Dad, I think you just lost this argument."

I snapped out of my daze and looked back at her, "So your mom's okay with it? Huh, how 'bout that?" I sighed softly, frustrated that Renee gave in.

"Charlie, do we still have your blessing?" Edward asked, polite as ever. Ugh, they were so sickeningly happy.

I nodded, and before I knew it- they were gone, and I was left alone to my own thoughts once again. I played with the piece of metal on my left hand absently, and walked over to a familiar spot on the wall. My fingers danced along the left side of the frame, tracing the white fabric I knew so well. Memories flooded my mind as I closed my eyes and replayed the familiar scene in my head.

"C'mon Charlieeeeee… the photographer wants to take our picture," Renee giggled and tugged me near. I gave her a lop-sided grin and tried to turn in the other direction when she grabbed me by the coattails.

"I think that it's a bit too late for that, Charles Swan…" She said as I turned around with a huff, mocking defeat.

"I guess, I'm stuck with ya then, Renee Swan." I pulled her close and dipped her back, kissing her deeply. A grin spread across my lips as I heard the camera's shutter click and captured the moment forever.

"Charlie? Charlie, are you there?" A familiar voice pulled me from my trance once more. I swallowed the thick lump in my throat and glanced at the machine where the voice was coming from. I was clearly in no condition to answer the phone at the moment. It was then that I realized whether she was Renee Higginbotham, Swan, or Dwyer, she'd always be the one that I loved and lost. But I'd keep loving her: with, or without her.