Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga belongs to Stephanie Meyer, no copyright infringement intended. No plagiarism intended either but I did use some quotes from the books and movies. Sorry. Please don't sue me.

Author's Note: I was actually just going to leave this story at two chapters, but you, the readers, demanded more. So here is chapter three. Enjoy and Review.


Homeward Bound (Ch. 3)

"Mmmm . . . Edward."

I smiled at Bella's sleeping form. She was laying on top of me on the old sofa in her living room. There were better things for her to lie on then the hard, misshapen pillow that I no doubt was, but when I had tried to move her to a more comfortable position she had moaned and unconsciously held on to me.

I twirled a lock of brunette hair between my fingers. Bella looked so beautiful when she was sleeping peacefully. It was hard to believe that she was mine.

In the background, the Turner Classic Movie channel was showing The Great Gatsby. It was a nice leisurely way to spend an afternoon. It hadn't taken long for Bella's eyelids to grow too heavy for her, a repercussion of me keeping her up all of last night to simply stare into her eyes.

"Edward . . . love you."

I felt elated. I whispered into her ear. "I love you too, Bella. So much."

I kissed the crown of Bella's head. Unfortunately, her peaceful slumber was interrupted too soon. Bella jumped started awake when George Wilson shot Gatsby.

Now more or less awake, Bella shifted and stretched like a little kitten. The right side of her face was pink from resting on my rock hard chest. Bella moaned and ran a hand through her hair, only semi-conscious.

"Hello, Sleeping Beauty."

Bella blinked a few times, groggy from sleep. Suddenly, she was alert. No doubt remembering today's events. "Oh! How long have I been asleep?"

"Only about an hour or so." I wish she had slept longer.

"Why didn't you wake me up?" Bella tried to shift into a sitting up position, but my arms kept her reclined.

Because you need to sleep. I traced under her beautiful eyes; the sleepless shadows had faded. I smiled. "You didn't miss anything except for a movie you have already seen."

"I missed being with you." Bella arched her back. A line of pops sounded along her vertebrae.

"I was right here." I would always be right beside her. "Watching you sleep. Counting each heartbeat."

Bella snorted. "Doesn't sound like a fun pastime."

"On the contrary, it was the best time I've had in months." As opposed to a wild goose chase and wallowing alone.

"You never did tell me," Bella ventured, "what you've been doing since . . . since September."

I froze. Could I tell her? Would I be able to tell her how useless and depressing I had been in that never ending moonless night?

I decided I couldn't.

"Nothing too terribly exciting."

Bella quirked an eyebrow. "What does that mean?"

What could I tell her without scaring her about my exploits in the south and with Victoria? "I was . . . hunting."

Bella wasn't convinced. "Hunting? For seven straight months?"

Why wouldn't she let this go? "I wasn't hunting for food . . . I tried my hand at tracking. I'm not very good at it."

Bella looked at me curiously. "What were you tracking?"

"Nothing of consequence."

"Edward," Bella sounded a little exasperated. "You can tell me, you know."

I looked into her eyes again. Those deep brown pools stared back at me, waiting patiently and understandingly. And Bella said that I dazzled her.

I had to tell her. I couldn't keep giving her half-truths. She was my other half and she should know. "I was after . . . Victoria."

"You were hunting Victoria!" Bella cried in horror.

"Not well," I admitted.

Bella now looked bewildered. "Why would you just go after Victoria?"

"Because she helped James to . . ." I snarled the name and I couldn't finish that sentence. No one hurts my Bella. "And now I know that she tried to come after you."

I would rip that woman apart. And I would make it painful. It scared me how close she had come to hurting my Bella. "I was down in South America, while she had come back here." I groaned. "I wasn't even on the right continent, for crying out loud."

I pulled Bella tightly to me. "She is going to die."

Bella looked up at me. "Whoa, let's not be hasty."

Hasty? Was she defending Victoria? "Bella, she was coming after you. I will not let her get away with that."

"Maybe Jacob and the pack scared her off. And with you and your family coming back, I doubt she would try anything again."

I doubted that. She was on a vendetta for her mate, she wouldn't stop. Just like I wouldn't stop hunting her. But unlike her, I was part of a large coven. No one in my family would let that she-devil anywhere near Bella.

And then there were the werewolves: a problem that might be advantageous. My family and I would take over protecting Bella from now on but at least we now know it is unlikely that Victoria would attack from the coast with a pack of dogs roaming those woods. It was only a matter of time before we could get her.

"Just stay here with me. Don't go after her."

Ah. She didn't want me to go after Victoria and leave her behind. "I'm not going anywhere, Love. I'm staying, but Victoria is going to die soon."

That seemed to do nothing to calm Bella's fears. Her voice was quiet when she spoke. "What if she hurts you?"

I couldn't help myself. I laughed, making Bella incredulous then angry with me. Bella had a psychotic vampire after her and her only thoughts were for me. "Bella, you are always worried about the wrong things."

"Excuse me for worrying about you." Bella twisted her body on the couch so that her back was to me, but she didn't get up.

Did Bella ever think of herself? I sighed and wrapped my arms around her waist again bringing her back towards me. I whispered in her ear, "I'm sorry I laughed. But between the two of us you should be worried about herself for once."

Bella never could stay mad at anyone and turned back around towards me. "I just don't want to lose you again, in any way."

"And you never will," I promised.

She muttered under her breath, "That's not true." I looked at her curiously. "When I die, I won't be with you then. But if . . . "

We were right back to where we were in September. She wanted something terrible from me. She didn't understand. "I just can't do that to you, Bella."

Bella shook her head. "You can't keep me human forever."

"That's what I fully intend to do. Bella, it's the only right way."

"What about when people think I'm your mother? Or your grandmother?" Bella asked in horror.

"It doesn't matter to me in the slightest. You will always be the most beautiful thing in the world to me."

"But–"

I put my finger over her lips. "Don't worry about this now."

We would probably be arguing about this point for a long time so we would have plenty of time for this later. And just as Alice had told me today before she left us, Bella quietly dropped the subject and was just happy to be with me as she was.

It wouldn't last though, if I knew Bella. She was just so stubborn. I hoped that I could show her. Anyone of my family members would give anything to have their humanity back. I wanted to be a human so badly for Bella. I wished I could grow old with her, have a family with her, and give her everything I couldn't now.

I felt Bella's heartbeat through her chest into mine, giving the illusion that I too had a beating heart. We were in sync. I brought my lips to hers. The most beautiful thing in my world.

I heard the sound of Carlisle's perfectly tuned Mercedes coming from a mile away. I looked over at the clock on the wall. 5:59 pm.

"Alice is on her way, and Charlie will be here after her."

Bella cringed. "What do we tell, Charlie?"

I frowned. I hadn't even begun to think about explaining our sudden, unanticipated departure and return to Charlie. All I could do this afternoon was watch Bella sleep. I pondered for a moment.

"What if we keep it simple? Esme got tired of living in L.A. and wanted to move back to a small town."

"And, um . . ." Bella hesitated with her question, "if Charlie asks why I never got any form of communication from you?"

Bella refused to meet my eyes. I knew that this would be an important part of the story. To move away was one thing, but to drop off the face of the earth was something completely different. To drop off the face of the earth and leave the love of your life heartbroken and believing whole-heartedly in a lie was on a completely different plane of existence.

This time I refused to meet Bella's eyes. I cleared my throat unnecessarily. "Shall we say that, since long distance relationships usually don't work out, I thought leaving you completely behind was better for the both of us."

If I were human, that would be absolutely no excuse. But Bella knew my real reasons, although they had been no excuse either, she accepted them. My Bella would probably have found a way to forgive Joseph McCarthy and his witch-hunt.

Bella nodded. That was probably the best story we would come up with in the few short minutes we had. It was easy to tell that already Bella was very uncomfortable with the idea of facing Charlie.

"It's going to be alright, Love." I gave her a small kiss, although that seemed to wire her up more rather than calm her down. I light knock sounded on the front door, signaling the arrival of Alice. Bella got up to answer it with me beside her the whole time.

"Hi, Bella. Hi, Edward." Alice cheerfully greeted and came into the foyer once the door was open. In her hands were two boxes of pizza. "Here."

Alice handed Bella the pizza boxes. "Oh, dinner!"

"I saw that you forgot, and I figure some food for Charlie will help our case."

"Thank you so much, Alice. You are the best." Bella went to put the pizza in the kitchen.

"I know," Alice giggled after her before turning to me. I've done as much as I could back at the house. Our utilities are now back online and the house is spotless for Esme. "So, what's the story?"

I shrugged. "Esme didn't like living in L.A."

Alice stared at me blankly. "That's it? That's the story? You had five hours since I've been gone getting the house in order, you didn't come up with anything better?"

"Excuse us for not talking strategy the entire afternoon."

Alice huffed. "Well, I guess that will just have to do."

Bella had now joined us back in the foyer. Her arm wrapped around my waist, and mine went around her shoulder pulling her to me. Those movements were practically automatic. It was like we needed to be this close. She was the sun and I was a mere object in her pull. That seemed to be an accurate description to me.

Wow, looking at those two it almost looks like we never left.

I turned my eyes to Alice. Had we really fallen back into sync that quickly? To think, if I hadn't been such an imbecile we could have been given seven more months of this. I swore that I would never to that to Bella again.

Just don't be stupid again.

I laughed at my sister's thoughts that nearly mirrored my own.

Bella looked up at me curiously. I said nothing and merely kissed her forehead. I led the way to the living room. Alice and I may not mind to stand for long periods of time, but Bella's leg would get tired. All three of us sat on the sofa; Bella was between us with me and my ever present arm wrapped around her and Alice hanging on to her best friend's arm on the other side, chatting on with her about trivial things in Bella's life. Bella didn't have that much to say about school or her human friends. Apparently, she mainly hung out at La Push nowadays. My arm unconsciously tightened around her.

"Alice," Bella began quietly, "how is Charlie going to take this?"

Charlie was screaming his head off in the kitchen, his eyes flitting between me and the knife drawer.

Bella noticed as I winced, making her heart pound in her chest.

Alice patted Bella's hand comfortingly. "We'll see if we can make this situation easier on everyone. Okay?"

Bella nodded in agreement. She knew Alice. Charlie had always been putty in her nimble fingers.

"Well, get ready," my sister said. Alice held up her right hand and then slowly, one by one, she curled each finger into her palm.

Five, four, three, two, one.

Immediately, the front door open and the chief of police made his entrance, shaking off the rain from his coat. Bella jumped as the front door slammed shut behind him.

"Bella?"

"I'm in the living room," Bella's nervous voice squeaked. I laced our fingers together giving her some silent encouragement.

I heard Charlie put his coat on the hook in the foyer. "Bella, whose car is out front?" It looks so familiar, but I just can't place it.

Bella's heart kept a pounding pace. "Yeah . . . about that. Dad, we have some visitors."

"Oh?" Every step of Charlie's boots seemed more ominous than the last. Charlie rounded the corner and stopped in his tracks when he saw us. I'm seeing things. I know I am.

Charlie's mind was trying to process what he was seeing. His mind was quiet not sure what he was feeling. Like the calm before the storm. Something was building, though.

"Look who's here, Dad." Bella forced some cheer into her voice, but that did nothing to calm down Charlie.

"Hello Charlie." Alice spoke first. She flashed Charlie with a blinding smile.

"Alice? Alice Cullen?"

Alice and I patiently waited for Charlie to get over his shock seeing Alice after seven months. Bella began to fidget not liking the suspense. I rubbed circles on the back of her hand with my thumb. She turned to me and offered me a little smile. It was an uneasy smile, but you should take what you can get.

After a while I figured it was my turn to greet Charlie.

"Hello, Chief Swan." I decided it was better if I kept my words formal and respectful.

His gaze turned to me with a vengeance. All delight in seeing Alice was gone in the blink of an eye. No way in hell. Why is HE here? After what he did to Bella? Wait one minute! Are they holding hands?

Our hands were displayed prominently on top of Bella's leg with our fingers interlaced. Charlie's hands closed into fists. His mind went into a string of profanities directed towards me. It probably wouldn't calm him down that much if I let go, so I didn't. Beside, holding hands was calming Bella down to some extent.

He is just sitting there like nothing ever happened! Does he know what he did to my little girl?

I saw Bella being carried out of the forest by a tall Quileute man. I saw Bella refusing to talk or eat. Slowly, I saw the woman that was my beautiful Bella wither away. A wilting flower.

My shoulders hunched forward slightly for the onslaught of Charlie's thoughts. Each memory was a weight powerful enough to crush my body into the outdated area rug. Luckily, Charlie was so mad that he didn't even notice my reaction, but Bella did. She squeezed my hand. I looked into her eyes. Now I was the one being comforted.

Charlie now found his voice. "What are they doing here?"

"Real polite, Dad." Bella muttered so Charlie couldn't hear.

Alice took hold of the conversation. "We're moving back to Forks, Charlie." She smiled at him again.

"Um, yes, well . . ." Apparently, Charlie could be dazzled by Alice. Leave Bella without a word and then just come back? "So, you just leave and then show up one day out of the blue?"

Wow, he is mad. Alice kept her smile in place, as her charm seemed to falter on Charlie. "Yes. We thought that we could visit Bella before everyone moved back."

"How considerate of you." Charlie said sarcastically. Where were they when Bella needed them? They just dropped her and left. Left the rest of us to pick up the pieces.

It would probably best if I told him the story. "Chief Swan."

I don't want to hear that asshole say a word. Come into my house after breaking my daughters heart and have the audacity to act like nothing is wrong. "You don't even want to get me started on you, Boy. How dare you even show your face here after what you did!"

"Chief Swan, please I–"

"I don't want to hear it. Get out of my house. Now!" If he doesn't leave soon, I'm going to get my gun. Can't do that in front of Bella.

"But Dad–"

"But nothing. You!" He pointed at me. "Get out of my house."

Charlie had completely shut down to the point where he wasn't going to listen to another word anyone said. There was nothing we could do tonight. There was nothing Alice or Bella could do. It was a losing battle. I had better give Charlie a chance to cool down before trying to give him an olive branch.

I stood up to leave, Alice followed suit and Bella stood up too, being the only person left on the couch. "Yes, Chief Swan. We'll leave you two alone now."

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

"No!" Bella cried.

I put my lips to her ear. I spoke so quietly that Charlie would never be able to hear it. "I won't be far."

I put on chaste kiss on Bella's forehead, but even that proved to be too much for Charlie. What the hell did he just do? Does he have a death wish? "Out. Now."

I unwillingly pulled myself away from Bella. Alice was already waiting for me at the front door and I had Charlie and Bella on my trail.

Charlie held the door open for Alice and me. As I walked out the door he whispered harshly to me so Bella couldn't hear. "You will never set foot through this door again, Boy."

I wanted to tell him that it was up to Bella, but she was standing right there and there was no need to get her upset over this. I just kept walking forward with Alice. It was one of the hardest things I could possibly do. I felt like I was fighting gravity, moving away from Bella. A siren's song was calling me back to her. But right next to her was Charlie.

I would be back with her, but not at this precise moment. Once the car was out of sight I could run back to Bella's room in no time. But for now it was best to get away from Charlie and allow him to cool down.

Alice moved to the driver side door before I could.

I'll drop you off around the corner and take the car home.

I could only give Alice a tight nod. I stared back at Bella and Charlie watching us from the porch. Charlie turned to usher Bella inside for a talk, just the two of them. Bella seemed to unwillingly take her eyes off us and follow her father.

As their front door closed, Alice put on the gas. I didn't stay in the car too long at all. I waited until we at least rounded the corner and I made sure no thoughts in the neighborhood were noticing our car.

See you tomorrow.

I didn't even acknowledge Alice that time. With no one looking, I bolted out of the still moving car and ran into the forest, just deep enough so no one could see me if they happened to look out their window, and made my way back to the Swan residence.

I scaled the side of Bella's house and slipped through her window in no time. I took a seat at the end of Bella's bed. I wasn't a sure I wanted to hear what Charlie had to say about me, but I needed to. I needed to know what I was up against to hopefully win Charlie back and have an easier time being around Bella. I listened to the conversation in the kitchen and tuned into Charlie's thoughts. I could tell already that I really wasn't going to like this conversation.

" . . . And so Edward thought that a clean break would be better than trying to keep up a long distance relationship. But as it turns out, neither of us fared that well."

"So he's back then?"

I saw Bella nod in Charlie's mind. "They all are. Edward and Alice came back early to see me."

I don't care if they are back; that boy is not hurting her again. A new memory of a catatonic Bella appeared in his mind. Each different memory was a stab to my dead heart. "I want you to stay away from him, Bella. I don't trust him. He's rotten for you. I won't let him mess you up like that again."

"Dad–"

"It was hard enough the first time, Bella."

More memories, more stabbings.

"Dad, we've already made amends."

"Not in my house!"

The knife was being twisted.

"Fine." Bella said.

My head snapped up. The knife in my heart had turned into an entire sword.

What? After everything that happened last night, I thought she had wanted me. I should have known I wasn't forgiven, despite what she had said. But what would I possibly do now? No, no, no. I needed Bella.

I buried my face in my hands. Oh, my Bella. Why?

"Oh." Charlie said surprised. "I thought you were going to be more difficult." I'm surprised, but I can't really complain, now can I? She'll stay away from Cullen and she won't go down that dark road again.

The sword thrust through my heart again and again. "I'm so sorry, Bella." I whimpered out to the darkness of her room.

"I am." Bella said matter-of-factly. "I meant fine, I'll move out."

My head snapped up. I was both thankful and alarmed. My Bella did want me. I exhaled a breath that I had no idea I was holding, not that it made much of a difference to me. As happy as I was, would Bella really leave her father?

Charlie was as surprised as I was. He actually had to process what she had said before continuing. What? No? She would leave me for him? The asshole that left her without a word?

I was thinking the same thing in different phrasing. Would Bella leave her father just for me? I doubt she would, it was just a scare tactic. Bella would never think of hurting her father like that. She was much too selfless.

But if Bella did decide to move out, Charlie knew there was no way to stop her. She was eighteen, legally old enough to get her own place. Although, I would love it if we were together in a place of our own.

"Dad . . ." Bella said softly, she was trying to comfort him. "I don't want to move out. I love you, I know you're worried, but you need to trust me on this. And you're going to have to ease up on Edward if you want me to stay. You do want me to live here, right?"

"You know I want you to stay."

"Then be nice to Edward, because he's going to be where I am."

Charlie was fuming. I wonder if from Bella's point of view she could see smoke coming out of her father's ears.

"Just think about it? But keep in mind that Edward and I are sort of a package deal," Bella said calmly to Charlie.

"Bella-"

"Think it over." she insisted. "It's kind of been a long day and all, I'm turning in early. Pizza is in the kitchen if you're hungry. Night, Dad."

Before Charlie could say another word, Bella was already making her way up the stairs. I heard Charlie huff loudly and stomp his way to the living room. But I doubt even the Mariners' game could calm his nerves and quiet his livid thoughts towards me.

How could she? How could she just forget everything that jerk put her through and welcome him back with open arms? No one treats my baby like that! But . . . I do want her to stay. Would she really pick him over me? The world is upside down!

You have no idea, Charlie.

My mood didn't brighten even though my Bella entered her room. From last night I knew Bella hadn't fared well in my absence but Charlie's memories added a whole new dimension to the situation. It was foolish of me to think that Bella was like every other transitory human teenager. Bella was like no other human I had been around.

Bella saw my mood as she came in and stopped for a minute, unsure what I was exactly feeling, before continuing toward me. She sat down on my lap and I wrapped my arms around her middle. For all I had done to her, I was still so selfish and I didn't want to let her go.

"Sorry about that." She whispered. She knew I had been listening.

"I deserve far worse." I cringed at Charlie's memories of Bella and what I had done to her resurfaced. I had made a decision affecting both of us out of fear. No matter what Bella said, her father was right about me. "Don't start anything with Charlie over me, please."

"I will start exactly as much as is necessary, and no more than that." Bella's eyes flashed down to her feet for a split second. "Or are you trying to tell me I'd have nowhere to go?"

I raised an eyebrow and frowned. I thought that was just a scare tactic towards her father. "You'd move in with a house full of vampires?"

She only smiled up at me. "I'd move in with you."

Despite the seriousness of the situation, I smiled. She still wanted to be with me. I captured her face between my hands and kissed her softly on the lips. When I pulled away I could feel Bella straining in my hands to keep the contact with my own lips. Must I always be the responsible one?

I chuckled. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Kiss me again," Bella replied, raising an eyebrow at me, almost daring me to deny her. As if I could.

My lips moved with hers and I almost felt warm with the kiss. I sighed in contentment when finally we pulled apart.

"Thank you," Bella said breathless.

"Anytime."

Bella quickly got up. "I'll be right back."

She grabbed her pajamas that were hanging on the back of the rocking chair. It was just past six thirty. "You are getting ready for bed already? I thought that was just to get away from Charlie."

"I'm going to have to do it sometime and I don't want to do it later when I'm too comfortable." When she's content in my arms. I smiled at her. She returned the gesture before slipping out the door.

I laid back on her bed. Against my best judgment, I knew in my gut that everything would work out okay. I just had to find someway to get back on Charlie's good side, stay away from the new werewolves at La Push, and make it up to my family. Easy, right?

But in the end the only thing that mattered was Bella. I could live with Charlie's hatred, fight with the wolves, and I would even deal with alienation from my family. All for the love of my existence.

I smiled. I hadn't smiled in so long, and yet in Forks it was all but plastered on my face. I used to think of my existence as an unending purgatory, but could this truly be heaven?

Not long after that, Bella came into her room in her pajamas with a slight minty smell from her toothpaste. I opened my arms, which she readily curled into.

"I hate that tomorrow is Monday," Bella muttered. For humans, Mondays tended to be particularly tedious. "Will you be at school tomorrow?" she asked hopefully.

"No, we have to reregister at Forks High first and I don't think they would let Alice do that. We'll have to wait for Carlisle or Esme tomorrow."

"Tuesday, though. Right?"

I laughed at her insistence. "Right."

Bella's eyelids were growing heavy: a mixture of a sleepless night and arguing takes a toll on you.

"You can sleep now, Bella. You have indeed had a long day."

"Don't go anywhere," Bella said sheepishly.

"Don't worry, Love. I'm going to be right here when you wake up." I kissed her sweet, full lips as if to reinforce my point. "I love you."

Bella smiled. "I love you."

I smiled back at her as I began to hum her lullaby.