(A/N :This story goes through the day Bella goes missing and lets you see what it was like to live with Bella after Edward leaves. I love Charlie and wanted to see if I could imagine properly what was going on in his head during all this. You also see what happened between him and Renée [which was as much as I could gather from S.M's interviews]. The four month gap made me curious to see what it was like living with Bella. I would've done it from her POV but I thought it was kinda wrong in my eyes, especially as S.M had left that four months out. So here's my first fan-fic and I hope it's good enough for you incredible Twilight fans.)
I drove home from work at the usual time, wondering what Bells had cooked for dinner today. Last night's pizza had been great but now I'd grown used to not eating takeaway's all the time. Still, I'm sure I could rustle something up. Though it seems I'd forgotten all my cooking skills when Bella had moved in.
I rode onto my street and parked in my usual spot. Bella's truck was in the driveway, looking sleek in the rain. I noticed Edward's car wasn't here, as it usually was. I guessed he'd already gone home, or maybe he was coming round later.
I got out and ambled up the pathway, wiping my boots on the welcome mat before I unlocked the door.
"Bella, you home?" I called out as I stepped into the living room.
I headed into the kitchen, expecting to see Bells despite the fact I couldn't hear anything. But the yellow kitchen was empty. Maybe she'd fallen asleep upstairs? I considered the possibility that she might be with Edward. That was a better explanation then sleeping. Although, she had looked pretty worried this morning, kind of zoned out almost—as she had been for the past few days. Maybe it was her arm? Perhaps Edward had taken her to Dr. Cullen?
I hung my jacket and belt up and then headed for the fridge. I poured myself some orange juice and went back to the living room. I kicked my boots off in the hallway and flopped onto the couch. As I reached for the remote to the TV, something caught my eye. It was a note and I recognised Bella's handwriting on it as I picked it up.
Going for a walk with Edward, up the path
Back soon, B
Yeah, I'd guessed right. I smiled to myself as I turned the TV on. It amused my how outdoorsy Bella could be when Edward was in the picture. I was real worried when she got here: I knew Bella wasn't really in love with Forks.
My stomach sank a little as I remembered when she ran away a few months ago. I shuddered. Losing Bella like that… it was like Renée had left me again.
My mind drifted back to the days when I first met Renée, Bella's mom. I was so young. I'd fallen for Renée like a tonne of bricks. Her smile, her bouncy nature, the beautiful blue eyes… she brought colour into Forks. My parents loved her too, though they had been so weak at the time of our relationship. Before Renée, caring for them had been all that I ever did. It was my job.
But when Renée came into my life, it was like a new world had started. She was alive and...what's the word?—spontaneous, and soon we were walking down the aisle. A year later, we were holding a baby in our arms. If I thought I'd loved Renée, I loved her even more when Bella was born. Mom and Dad were so proud of us. But having a daughter was just the top of the mountain. I couldn't get my head around the fact I was a Dad.
But I was always exhausted. There was a baby in the house and I had two sick parents and a wife I was unintentionally neglecting. I wanted to be with my family but I couldn't seem to find time for all of them equally. I could see Renée getting tired with me; I gave so much more time to my sick parents.
One night, Renée and I had a massive argument. Barely months after Bella had been born—six months to be exact— and she wanted to leave. We had barely started our life together. She wanted to take my daughter; she wanted to take everything from me. How could I let her leave me? She was my wife! Bella was our daughter! But how could I leave my parents? They depended on me.
When it was clear I couldn't leave my parents, Renée stormed out. A cold spread through me and I felt… sunken. I took care of Mom and Dad as usual but the skies stopped smiling. My parents told me to go after Renée, who kept in contact with pictures and letters but how could I leave them? They were too weak. I missed my wife and daughter like hell: I'd never felt so helpless.
I hoped every night that Renée would come home with our daughter, but she didn't. Then the divorce papers came through.
When Dad died, I was ripped from the inside out. Renée came back for a while and I nearly had a break down when I saw her. Bella was already toddling on her feet but she barely recognised me. Then I was in hell.
I tried to see Bella and Renée as often as I could but Mom's condition got worse. With the loss of Dad, she didn't have an urge to survive. She died almost a year after he did.
I'd lost so much in so little a time. A few good friends of mine supported me: the Black's and the Clearwater's. But it took a good couple of months to realise that I had to get back on my feet, even if I had nothing to stand for.
By the time I realised I could be a good husband and father again, Renée was in sunny California. I visited a lot but could see my girls were happy there. Renée had moved on.
I still tried to be as supportive as I could. We set up an account and I had money put into it every week, for Bella. She spent the summers in my house but was pretty quiet. Renée assured me she was just like that but I was worried she was just like that with me. But as I got to know my daughter, I found she was like that. I also found that she wasn't such a great fan of Forks either. She was used to the heat and dry land: she always had the sniffles when she stayed over. She didn't really relate well to girls: you could taste the awkwardness when she played with Billy's daughters, Rebecca and Rachel. Her tantrums were proof of that.
It's still so hard to believe Bella's been with me for seven months. Sometimes I wanted to just give her a hug, tell her how much she means to her old Dad. But, like me, Bella isn't so big with open affection. After all those years of being alone, showing affection became a ghost with me.
I zapped out of memories and focused on the TV. Soon, it was time for dinner and Bella wasn't home. I wondered where she and Edward had got to. Maybe they'd hiked all the way to his place.
I went up to my room and changed into more comfortable clothes. I trudged back down the stairs and stood in the kitchen awkwardly. I soon spotted some bread and put a few slices in the toaster. I raided the well stocked cupboards and settled with a less complicated can: beans. I took the lid off expertly and poured it into a bowl, and then put it in the microwave.
The beans were slightly overheated but they'd do. I sat down with my dinner and chewed in comfortable silence.
Soon it was late. Bella would usually call or something if she was going to be home later then nine or something. I decided to give her a little longer. But what if she and Edward had gotten lost in the woods? That was hard to picture: Edward lost. That boy had an extremely confident air about himself. He looked a lot older then he seemed too—probably why my daughter was so head over heels for him.
Well, it wasn't hard to see why she was attracted to him. Edward was a pretty handsome kid, I guess. So were his entire family, despite the fact none of them were related. They all had the same snow-white skin and mysteriously light eyes.
Bella actually fitted in well with them too. Her skin was as pale as a new born baby's butt, which had always confused me some. She'd been living in the sun for years and years. She said she had inherited a lot from me. Still, she was a beautiful little thing—something I was constantly reminded of when she first got here. Boy, the attention I heard she'd been getting from some of the boys around here.
But she wasn't here right now. She said she'd be back soon. I know she'd gone to school today but it was already nine.
After fifteen minutes, I picked up the phone and punched in the Cullen's number. I waited as the phone rang, nervous, hoping Bella wouldn't get annoyed with me checking on her. But the phone kept ringing, and ringing, and ringing.
Mystified, I tried again. It was a school day; they wouldn't have gone out somewhere, would they? When nobody picked up after three calls, I felt pretty edgy. Where was Bella?
I didn't want to come across as a nagging old fool, but I headed out into my back yard. Some light came out from the kitchen, but not much. I doubled back and got a torch, and a jacket. I shrugged the jacket on and switched the torch on.
"Bella," I called out, ambling up the lawn. "Bells, are you there?"
Nothing greeted me except the wet rain and the icy wind. I hoped she wasn't there. It was very cold and Bella didn't like the cold—hence why we'd spent our summers in California from when she was a teen onwards. She'd made her dislike to the cold world of Forks pretty clear.
I walked right up the edge of the trees. I shined my light in and walked a little way up the path. "Bella," I yelled. "Edward?"
I headed back home after five minutes of calling. I felt like I was overreacting but something in me felt like something bad was going to happen.
I tried the Cullen's place again. And again, no one picked up. So I tried the hospital.
"Forks Hospital, Jenny speaking, how may I help?"
"Hi, it's Chief Swan. Is Doctor Cullen around?" I asked.
"Oh…" she paused. "Doctor Cullen has left, Chief Swan."
"Oh, right... thanks," I hung up, confused. If he'd already gone home, why wasn't anyone picking up at the house?
I sighed to myself and realised they must have all gone out to a restaurant or something. Or maybe I'd gotten the Cullen's number wrong?
"Overreacting," I mumbled to myself as I sat back down. I hoped I was.
But as I sat there on the couch, seeing but not watching the people on TV, I couldn't help but be worried. Where was Bella? Why wasn't she home yet? She really should've called. I was going to have some stern words with her when she got home and Edward too—even though he was as responsible as an adult.
The minutes ticked by on, going by extremely fast. Soon the clock had reached ten thirty. I was starting to get very edgy.
I rang the Cullen's place again. I kept ringing, and ringing, and ringing. Where was Bella?
I shoved my shoes and jacket back on and headed outside again with the torch.
"Bella," I yelled furiously. "Bella, are you out there?"
What if they were injured? What if Bella's stitches had come out? What if Edward was too hurt to get help? Or had they been taken hostage by someone crazy? I couldn't think of anyone that would want to hurt my daughter, but then the Cullen's weren't exactly loved by everyone. Admired certainly, but everyone was very wary of them. But then I remembered the Quileute's. I snorted to myself. Yeah, right: the people on the reservation gave the Cullen's a very, very wide berth. Something to do with old stories and legends about zombies or something…
"Bella, Edward, can you hear me?" I yelled, going deeper up the path. It had started to drizzle with rain.
I listened out carefully for any sign of anything. But I couldn't hear anything besides the rain and wind. I ran back to the house and grabbed the phone, dialling the hospital's number agitatedly.
I cut the receptionist's greeting. "Where's Carlisle?"
"He's not here—"
"Where did he go?" I pressed anxiously.
"I'm not sure I should say," she hedged nervously.
"I want to speak to someone who can then!" I fumed.
I heard a rustling and some low voices.
"Dr. Gerandy speaking, how can I help?"
"Doctor Gerandy, its Chief Swan." I said tersely. "Where's Carlisle?"
There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence.
"Doctor Cullen, er, resigned—"
"What?" I nearly yelled. "But—how—when?" I spluttered.
"He handed in his notice yesterday. Charlie, is something wrong?"
"Carlisle resigned? Are you sure?"
"Yes, sorry, what do you need him for? Perhaps I can help?"
"Bella's missing but she left me a note, saying she'd gone for a walk with Edward, up the path, in the woods. She said she'd be back soon but it's been more than eight hours and…" I took a steadying breath. "When did they leave?"
"I can't be sure," He said. "I merely know that he quit yesterday."
"Anything else?" I asked.
"Not that I can think of, Chief Swan."
"Right, thanks," I hung up.
I dialled the Cullen's one last time but was again greeted by nothing. Not even an answering machine!
I grabbed my keys and hurried out the door. I jumped into my car and started it quickly. There wasn't much traffic around: I didn't need to use my siren.
Carlisle resigned? What for? But they couldn't have left, could they? What about Bella and Edward? Were they moving away or had he simply quit his job for something else?
I got to the station quickly and nearly ran inside. Where was Bella? I kept thinking frantically, over and over.