A/N: I was feeling quite sentimental today, as it is my ninth wedding anniversary with my own personal Edward;) And I needed an excuse to have my two favorite Twilight dudes converse:)
Thanks for previewing this, Gleena!
It wasn't that I thought this day would never come. On the contrary, I was fully cognizant of the inevitability of this day and the event that had taken place merely ninety-minutes previous. I only wished that this day hadn't come so soon. Throughout my musing, my eyes remained fixed on the couple in the center of the dance floor.
I was a father-in-law.
To a dog.
Not to say that I opposed their marriage, or their relationship. Rather, the timing. It was too fast. It seemed like a mere blink to my immortal mind. That and the combination of the cloying sweet vampire scent and the wet, oppressive scent of my son-in-law's pack was nauseating to those whose stomachs had long since ceased to function.
Even Bella's and my wedding hadn't been so heavily attended by members of the undead. Renesmee's charisma had never ceased to charm several of our nomadic friends, thus many of them made the effort to be here today. Our Denali cousins and Garrett, Peter and Charlotte Benjamin and Tia, and Charles and Makenna had all sat on the bride's side. The groom's side had consisted mainly of the packs and their imprints, along with a few of the tribal elders who had made the journey for their rightful chief. Sprinkled throughout were some of Jacob and Ness' friends from school.
Few of the human guests present were aware of the enmity that had once again been dissolved for the occasion. One who did know, and who had rather uncharacteristically sympathized with me on this of all days, had just pressed a kiss to my Ness' forehead and headed straight towards me.
"Edward," he nodded in acknowledgement as he joined me in the corner of the silk scent-capturing monstrosity that Alice had insisted was necessary.
"Charlie," I said in return.
"Tough day, huh kid?" he asked as nonchalantly as though he were casting a line with his buddies on the lake. I fought to contain the mirthless scoff that tried to escape my lips. It came out as more of a grunt.
"Yeah, I know that feeling," Charlie mused. "It's a hard thing to realize when your little girl doesn't love you best, any more. Even worse to hand her over to the cretin who took your place and trust him to take care of her."
I wasn't sure if I should be insulted by Charlie's choice of words, considering that from his perspective, I was said cretin, or if I should nod and agree that Jacob Black fit that description.
I settled on the nod.
"I know now, why you left her," Charlie suddenly interjected. I was stunned. His thoughts were just as intermittent as ever, but he usually couldn't surprise me with something of that magnitude, especially while sitting right beside me. To be fair, I had been very distracted of late.
"Is thirteen years the prerequisite to forgiveness?" I asked, hoping to prompt him to explain further.
"No. It was the look on Bella's face this morning, when you walked Nessie down that aisle. And the way you looked at Bella after you gave your daughter's hand to Jake. Under all that joy was incredulity. You never thought Ness was possible; you didn't want to take that joy that was all over Bella's face this morning away from her."
I couldn't speak. My father-in-law had just succinctly summarized the greatest mistake of my existence and brushed it under the proverbial rug. Forgiveness for leaving Bella was not something I had ever expected from the quiet man beside me. Grudging acceptance, yes; but not forgiveness. Though I supposed I ought not to have been so shocked. He was Bella's father, after all.
"One thing I just can't seem to understand though is why you came back, if you wanted her to have a normal life."
And there was the crux of the matter.
"I couldn't stay away any longer," I finally managed to choke out. Charlie's doubt was evident to me, even without Jasper's gift. "When a vam-" I halted mid-word at the look on his face. "When one of my kind finds their mate…"
"Please! Don't use that word in reference to your relationship with my daughter." Charlie shivered. Makes it sound like a bunch of wild animals doing a mating ritual, he thought with a grimace, unwillingly picturing the men of my family with large peacock feathers that we somehow hid from the general public. I wisely withheld my laughter as I remembered exactly what ritual Bella and I had been up to the night before. No need to scar the man for the rest of his life- well, more than he was already. I made a mental note to never mention the peacock feathers to Emmett.
"As I was saying, when one of my kind finds their…intended…there is an undeniable pull, a need to be with them always. Those months I spent away from Bella were the hardest in my life. I was very literally as useless as a rock."
Charlie nodded, his curiosity pacified. Neither one of us wished to revisit those terrible days before my return, so we brought our attention back to the party. Just as we did, Bella cut-in to claim Jacob for a dance.
Jacob's eyes widened and he asked my wife, "Are you sure? I know I heal fast, but I don't feel like nursing a broken foot tonight."
Bella's playful glare was enough to stay his argument. "I'll have you know, Jacob Black, I've been dancing gracefully for twelve and a half years." Charlie was unaware of their conversation, but he chuckled at the expressions on their faces. Renesmee turned with a smile of her own as her eyes scanned the room, landing on me before she grinned ever wider and began her way to our corner. I made to stand to meet her, but she thought, No, please stay where you are.
Curious, I raised my eyebrow at her, but she just grinned mischievously and made a running leap for my lap, just as she had done as a little girl when she begged me to read Dante to her.
"Daddy? May I have this dance?" She asked quietly, wrapping her arms around my neck and pressing a kiss to my cheek.
That is so bizarre… I couldn't help but laugh at Charlie's reaction. Even I couldn't deny that a seemingly twenty-something woman sitting on a teenager's lap and calling him 'daddy' was more than a little strange. But I wouldn't change it for the world.
"Sure sweetheart. You can even stand on my feet," I promised. Renesmee's chiming laughter was all I heard as I danced my first dance with my married daughter.
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