A/N: What was Charlie thinking before meeting Edward for the first time? This outtake takes place between Chapters 22 & 23.
I'm going to Seattle with Edward. Sorry to leave you this note instead of saying goodbye in person. Don't worry, everything is okay and I'll see you soon. Thanks for letting me stay here.
I set the note back on the table where it has sat for the past week and glance around the room. It's funny how this old house felt like a home again for the three days Bella was here. Without anyone but me it feels empty. Somewhere to sleep and eat and store my fishing tackle during the weekdays, but not a home. I feel very fortunate to have had Bella stay with me for a few years, but every time she leaves it brings back the memories from when Renee left with her so many years ago.
Bella is an adult now and is going to make her own decisions. Still, my initial reaction when I found out she was gone was to find her, drag her home, and ground her for the entire summer. I knew she was running around with this Edward fellow, and from what Jake told me last weekend, she's only known him for a few weeks. I don't like the idea of her driving across the country with some stranger, but at this point in her life there's really nothing I can do about it. Honestly, I assumed she was done with him when she showed up here alone, that she was having some sort of rebellious period after breaking it off with Jake and it finally ran its course. She didn't talk much about anything, and by the way she moped around… well, I wasn't sure which one of them she was sulking over.
Jake's a good kid—a bright boy with a good head on his shoulders—but he's not taking their breakup very well. I tried to talk to him about it. I told him that first loves aren't always meant to be, especially when one person doesn't feel as strongly as the other. I also told him that, although it hurts now, it will get easier. He's young. It's better to move on than to stick around for the wrong reasons and hope things improve, because when things fall apart later on it will only be worse. Especially if there are kids involved.
He wasn't too keen on taking my advice, even though I was speaking from personal experience. I can't really blame the kid, though. He's 18 and stubborn, and I didn't listen when people told me I was rushing into things with Renee, either.
Still, as much as I like Jake, I don't like it when he tells me that Bella is making a big mistake. My daughter is perfectly capable of making her own decisions. I'm sure if she called things off it wasn't without good reason, and I don't appreciate him thinking he knows what is best for her.
Not that I think this Edward character is best for her. Bella keeps running off with him and I'm worried about how it will affect her future. I'm not sure if he's to blame for her flightiness, but if he is, I don't like it. And I don't think very highly of a boy that comes to my house twice and doesn't stick around long enough to introduce himself. It makes me wonder what he's hiding. Drugs? Arrests? I damn well hope they are being safe.
It's late when Bella calls to say she and Edward are coming here tomorrow. She tells me not to cancel my weekend plans and asks if it's all right if they stay for a few days. I assure her that she's always welcome here and she makes me promise to be nice to Edward because "he's important."
What I want most for Bella is for her to be happy, and if this kid does that, then far be it from me to stand in their way. If he's important to Bella, the least I can do is give him a chance. If I don't approve of him, I'll let her know, but leave it at that. Anything more will drive her away. That's just the way teenage girls are. Of course, all this is a nonissue if he doesn't show up with her.
The first thing I do when I get off the phone is let Billy know I won't be fishing with him tomorrow. I may not be in control of this situation, but I can still make something go my way. If I am at home tomorrow, Edward won't be able to hide any longer, and I'll be able to see just what type of person my daughter is spending all her time with.