Author's Note: I don't have a specific time frame, so let's call this some time in the not too distant future...


Epilogue: Edward Cullen

Charlie Swan scared the shit out of me. Add to that the fact that he didn't like me and it took his intimidation to a new, more frightening level. He didn't talk much, but he had so many guns that they required a safe, that was warning enough for me.

After a very awkward first meeting and dinner, Charlie made it clear I would be sleeping on the couch. Bella, however, made it clearer that I would not. He grumbled something under his breath, but didn't argue. I followed Bella up the stairs, wondering if he could hear both sets of footsteps.

His loathing aside, I liked Charlie. He loved Bella in that unchangeable way I could understand.

Bella shifted on the narrow bed we were sharing, throwing one of her legs over mine. I pulled her closer, trying to fall asleep.

I'd just gotten off the phone and I knew I wasn't hiding anything when Bella walked in the door and immediately asked, "What's wrong?"

She came over, sitting on the arm of the couch. I didn't want to bother her with it, but she started running her fingers through my hair and I couldn't not say it.

"I called my dad today."

When Bella shifted again, I got up, feeling restless. I wanted to stay under the blankets with her, but I couldn't turn my mind off. This new life, while mine, came with a lot of uncertainty that I was just barely learning how to deal with.

She slipped down so she was sitting on the couch itself, facing me. I kept my eyes off her because if I looked, I'd never be able to get it all out. She waited quietly, giving me space.

"His wife answered…her name is Esme." I shrugged. "She's nice." I fidgeted, but didn't notice how much until Bella's hand covered mine. "Oh…yeah, sorry."

"She's a school teacher. They've been married for uh – three years."

Bella scooted closer. "Edward…,"

I shook my head. "It's alright." But it wasn't, not really. I'd missed this whole part of my dad's life, the part where he'd moved on without me.

The rain fell in heavy drops outside. Bella told me to get used to it while we were here, but I'd gotten too familiar with dryness and city noises. I leaned my forehead on the window, hoping for a police siren or a car alarm. Instead, I heard the soft rustling of blankets behind me.

"Edward?" She asked, leaning up on her elbow.

"Hey, baby."

"Can't sleep?"

I was still wide awake, but Bella looked adorable half asleep the way she was. She lifted the covers for me and I crawled in next to her; she shivered against me.

"Your skin's so cold." Despite that, she pressed closer, pulling the blanket up over her head.

I wrapped my arms around her to feel the heat.

"Edward?" She mumbled.

I kissed the top of her head in response.

"It'll get better. You'll see."

"I talked to him…my dad. It was…," I didn't know what to say about it or how to deal with the shit I was feeling. So instead of trying to analyze it, I just told her what happened.

He'd been so fucking happy to hear from me. What was I supposed to do with that? I wasn't used to happy unless it was coming from Bella. So I got mad. I yelled at him. I accused him of things and told him everything I'd done, how many people I'd hurt to survive and how many people I'd hurt because I was good at it. I laid it all out. I wanted him to hurt too.

And then he called me son. He told me my mom's death wasn't my fault. It sounded like he'd been waiting years to say it.

He said he was sorry and I knew there wasn't really anything he had to apologize for and I wanted to say it back, but I couldn't. So I made up an excuse to get off the phone.

"Wait." He'd said quickly. "Will I hear from you again?" He said it with so much fucking hope that it broke me.

"Yeah," I promised. "Yeah…Dad."

Bella woke up before I did. I felt her fingertips on my stomach and I kept my eyes closed because I was afraid she'd stop if I moved.

"I know you're awake," she said.

I grinned, but kept my eyes closed.

"Gonna play it that way?" She said mischievously. Her hand moved lower, tracing the waistband of my pants before just barely slipping inside. Everything tightened under her touch.

I swallowed, trying to remember what game we were playing.

Her hand was a little above where I really wanted it to be and her lips were on my neck. Yeah, whatever it was, she won.

I opened my eyes and grabbed her wrists, pinning her underneath me. I kissed her, tasted her, like we had all the time in the world. My hands loosened their hold and she wrapped her arms around me. I felt one slim leg curve over mine, her foot pressing into the back of my calf. She pulled on me; she said she liked to feel my weight, but I was always afraid of hurting her.

There was a creaking on the stairs. Bella didn't seem to notice.

"What was that?"

"Huh? Oh, my dad probably." She put her hand on my face, trying to redirect my attention.

I wanted to, holy shit I wanted to, but I couldn't. "Bella…I'm not having sex with you in your dad's house."

"Why not?" She pushed her hips up and I groaned.

"Trust me," I said, my mouth at her ear. "There's nothing I want more than to be inside you…," I trailed off, distracted by the idea and by her soft curves in my hands. "But…uh…," I heard the sound of a faucet running somewhere. "I can't…,"

"He won't come in here," she said quickly.

She felt so good around me.

"You kids up?" A loud voice called from the other side of the door.

I pressed my face into the crook of Bella's neck as she said that yes, we were awake.

We got ready and met Charlie downstairs in his half ripped out kitchen. That was Bella's gift to him; she paid off his house and tried to pay for renovations as well, but Charlie wasn't having it. He insisted that if she was going to spend money on him, he would do the renovations himself. Privately, Bella said she was giving him two weeks and one trip to the hospital before he called a contractor. We were here for a few days to help and to make sure he didn't hurt himself.

"What's the plan today, Dad?" Bella stepped further into the room while I lingered behind her in the doorway, trying not to take up any space.

"Well, I want to take these out," he knocked on a cabinet near the fridge. "And the countertop, gonna replace it with this." He went to the kitchen table where some granite samples sat. "It's called 'giallo' something," he explained.

"Hmm, looks good." She glanced in my direction, noticing that I hadn't moved.

Charlie looked at her for a second and then at me. His gaze was appraising, but there was no anger there. "Edward."

It was the first time he'd called me by my name.

Bella watched him, her face encouraging.

He hesitated. "…feel like giving me a hand?"

"Uh…yes…sir, yeah." I stepped forward, waiting for directions.

Bella smiled behind her father's back. See? She mouthed.

God, I fucking loved this woman. And she loved me back.

Me, Edward Cullen.

end


Author's Note: jedigirlsc, SabLuvsLogan, and SydneyAlice, your help and words of encouragement made this a better story, thank you. Lasergirl20, holy smokes, I couldn't have done this without you. Whether you realize it or not, your financial knowledge inspired SO much of the narrative. I hope you liked being a good guy :) And to everyone that read, reviewed, recommended, alerted, and so on, well...I sorta love you all. This has been one of the best writing experiences I've ever had, thank you for that.

So...what's next? Well, I've just started writing my next story. The plot is a secret :) But I'll tell you this much: There's romance, possible insanity, a lot of mystery, an island, and a bad guy, or guys, or girl. Put me on alert if you'd like.

'Til next time :)