It didn't take me long to fall asleep. Holding Bella in my arms, knowing she was going to be mine for the rest of our lives, knowing we were going to have a wonderful life and were going to raise two beautiful children together… knowing she no longer wanted anything from Cullen, not even his money – something that even I had to admit would have made our lives easier – made me the happiest person in the world, happier than I had ever been.
When I woke up, I looked over at the clock and realized I'd only napped for about an hour. I wondered what had woke me up, because I still felt pretty tired. However, after a second, I heard a loud knock on the door and realized that must have been what had pulled me out of my sleep. As gently – but as quickly – as I could, I pulled myself out from under Bella and pulled a sheet over her. I practically jumped into a pair of cutoff jeans. The pounding on the door became a little more insistent, so I didn't bother putting anything else on. It didn't matter. Whoever was at the door had most likely seen me like this anyway – I hardly wore a shirt, and even more rarely wore socks and shoes, unless I was going into town for some reason.
I slipped out of the bedroom, easing the door shut behind me, and silently sprinted to the front door, flinging it open.
Charlie Swan – chief of police, father to the naked woman in my bed – stood on the front porch, hand raised for another knock. We both stared at each other for a moment, before I stepped outside and shut the door. He looked at me questioningly, and I said, "Um… Bella's asleep…. I don't want to wake her up."
He nodded, turned around, and went to sit on the porch steps. I followed suit, putting my elbows on my knees and leaning my chin in my hands.
After about five minutes of silence – neither one of us wanting to be the first to speak – he broke the silence with a sigh.
"Why didn't you just come and talk to me, Jake? You and Bella? Why didn't you two just… sit down with me and tell me everything that was going on?"
I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything. I just shrugged.
"I mean," he said, going on, "I'm not saying I'm exactly happy about how everything played out, but Jake – you know I've always loved you like a son. I'm overjoyed that Bella wants to be with you. You two… complement each other a hell of a lot better than her and Edward did, and I can tell you're going to be able to make her very happy. You'll have me to answer to if you don't," he said the last part teasingly. "But I don't like being kept in the dark, especially about something as important as this."
"I'm sorry Charlie. I… didn't mean to shut you out, I don't think either one of us did. Things have just… been happening so fast, you know?"
"Oh, I think I completely understand. Things have gone pretty fast for me too."
We both laughed a little bit, and I decided now was as good a time as any to break the new and wonderful news to him.
"There's… something else too," I said, tentatively, feeling the wide grin spread across my face. I looked over at Charlie and saw his brows furrow, probably wondering what the hell else could have happened, confusion at what was making me so happy. "It's good news, I promise. The best, in my opinion."
"I can tell," Charlie said, smiling himself despite the confusion, and gesturing me to continue.
"Um… Bella got a call from Carlisle this morning." Charlie's confusion deepened, so I decided to explain. "When he found out… about me and Bella… he decided to run a paternity test. He had to do some kind of test, what did he call it… and amnio or something? But he was able to test the genes and find out who the… the father is."
"I think I know where this is going," Charlie said, his smile widening. "I'm guessing congratulations are in order?"
I chuckled a little and ran a hand through my hair. "Yeah." I looked up at him with a tentative expression on my face, though I was smiling.
"Congratulations, son." He gave me a hug, which surprised the hell out of me, but I returned the hug, happy that I wasn't getting my ass chewed out by him. He pulled back from me then, though, his expression turning serious. "Well, now I have to get to the hard questions, don't I?"
This time he was the one to run his hands through his hair. "It's okay, you can ask me anything you want. Frankly, I'm just happy that you're not mad."
He chuckled a little before saying, "What are your intentions?"
I didn't have to ask him what he meant, because I already knew. I looked down for a moment before looking back up at him. I figured it would probably be better if I were to look him in the face for this one. "I plan on getting my GED, which really shouldn't take me long. I'm going to start my own car shop, and I'll start right away by just working out of my garage for right now. I can do that while I'm getting my GED and I'll be done before… you know… the babies come. I think we're planning on staying here with my dad, he needs my help around here."
"That all sounds like a good plan – really great, actually – but that isn't all I meant."
He gave me a semi-stern look, and I knew he was going to make me say it. Trying to – laughably – be all formal, I stood up and moved in front of him and said, "Chief Swan, I am in love with your daughter. She is the only one I will ever want. I will love her, cherish her, protect her, and spoil her for the rest of her life. I will give her everything she deserves and more. I would love it if you would do me the honor of giving me your blessing… I would love to ask her to marry me."
Charlie seemed a little taken aback, but recovered quickly. "Sit down, son," he said, a slight smile on his face. "You didn't have to go to all the theatrics, you know," he said, jokingly. After another short silence fell over us, he said, "Are you really already thinking about marriage?"
"Well… we've got a couple of kids coming, Charlie. I'm seventeen, so legally I'm an adult her on the rez. I'm going to get my GED, I'm planning on starting a business, there's nothing really holding me back."
Charlie nodded for a few minutes, looking thoughtful. "Is this what Bella wants?"
"She told me earlier she wants to get married. Said she'd be happy with just a small ceremony on the beach with a few close friends and family. I mean… I don't know if she's ready right this minute… she just got the divorce papers from Cullen and all – "
"What?" he said, looking a little shocked.
"Yeah, she just got them… in the mail today."
"Well that must've been a pretty big shocker."
"She was actually… relieved, glad even."
"Really." He seemed surprised, but happy about it, too.
After a moment, I said, "He gave her a check."
"Yeah." I looked away.
"Did he say why?"
"No. I think he just wanted to make sure she was taken care of, though."
"Dare I ask how much it was?"
"Um… I don't think you really want to know… considering she ripped it up."
"She… ripped up the check? Why?"
"She said… we didn't need money to make us happy, especially not his. She said she knew going into this we wouldn't have the nicest things, but neither one of us have ever had really nice things, so we wouldn't be missing out. She said we'd have each other, and we'd have all the things that are so much more important than money, so we didn't need it and she didn't want it."
"Wow. So… now I really have to know. How much was the check?" He seemed to brace himself a little for the answer, and I knew he was thinking about how much money the Cullens always seemed to have.
"Um… ten million dollars," I all but mumbled out.
I looked over at him, and he seemed stunned. After a few minutes he seemed to snap out of it, and whistled low. "Wow. And she just… tore it up?"
"Yup. Right here on this top step. I was just as shocked as you are, believe me. She came out here after she opened up the papers. He didn't send a letter or a note or anything. Just the papers and the check. She just sat out her and thought about it for awhile. She said it was tempting, but I think she just didn't ever want to feel like she… owed him anything, you know? She wanted it to be… finally over."
"Well… that's good. I think, all in all, that's probably the best thing she could have done." We were silent for a minute. "And you guys want to get married, huh?"
"Yeah. It was… her idea, actually."
"Yeah," said a voice from behind us.
I turned swiftly around, and so did Charlie. Bella must have heard us talking outside, because there she stood in her t-shirt and jeans, barefoot and a hand placed (I suspected) unconsciously on her stomach. Her hair was still a little mussed, but I could tell she'd done her best to straighten it out with her fingers. She was radiant, her face glowing.
She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen.
"Hey, honey," Charlie said. "How are you?"
"I'm good," she said, coming over and sitting beside me on the porch step. I put my arm around her, squeezing her gently, and kissed her on the top of the head. "Really good, actually."
"I'm… I'm glad."
"I heard a lot of what you guys were talking about," she said. "I'm sorry, dad. I should've called you this morning… or something."
"It's okay, Bella. It's… not exactly the easiest thing for a person to talk about."
"I'm glad you know everything, now, though."
"So am I. It's good to know, to not be in the dark anymore. I've been really scared for you the past few weeks, and I'm glad you've… finally found some real happiness. You look… happier than I think I've ever seen you."
We both just smiled, and Charlie got up from the step.
"I've got some things to get done at the station, but I'll catch up with you guys later." He turned to me. "I'd like it if… the four of us could have dinner tomorrow night. My treat at the house. I'll order pizza, and you can tell Billy there's supposed to be a pretty good game on, though I'm pretty sure he already knows."
"That sounds good, Charlie," I said, smiling.
He blushed a little and turned away, causing both Bella and I to get a little confused until he said, "I… uh… don't expect you home anytime soon, Bella, but just… make sure you call. Jake… um… you're welcome at the house anytime…. You know that, right?" I knew the implications behind that statement, but as much as he was accepting of everything, I doubt we would ever put him through the knowledge that we were having sex in his house. My dad was such a sound sleeper, though, it wasn't a problem here at home.
I just nodded at him, smiling now, and was very surprised when he held out his arms to me. I got up and gave him a hug, and he said, "Welcome to the family, Jacob." He took a step back and said, "Officially." We both laughed a little. "You've always been part of the family, though."
He motioned for Bella to join us in the hug, and as corny a moment as it was, it made me happy. When we broke apart, Bella said, "Hey, Dad, could you do a favor for me?"
"Sure, Bella, anything."
"We'll probably be hanging out at Emily's tonight, we haven't got around to telling them much of anything" (I knew she meant the Pack, but couldn't exactly label them as such in front of Charlie, though I could tell by the look on his face he knew she meant my "extended family"). "Could you call Mom and Phil for me? See if they could make a trip down here for a couple of weeks? There's… a lot of things I need to… talk to Mom about."
He ran a hand through his hair and said, "That's right, she still thinks you're… well… sure, Bella, I'll call when I get to the station. I'm sure she'd be more than happy to see you." He smiled and walked to his cruiser. I put my arm around Bella, kissing her on the top of her head again.
"So," she said, after Charlie was gone. "You think the Pack would be up for a little bonfire tonight? I want to celebrate."
"Celebrate what?" I asked, leading her back into the house.
"Celebrate you. Us. That the babies are yours. I want to celebrate everything that's finally good and right in my life."
"Well, I think we can arrange that," I said, smiling. "Besides, aren't they always up for food and good news?"
We both laughed, and I couldn't imagine anything that would make me happier than being her with her.