Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the Saga…I do own a kick ass pair or Converse courtesy of my brother.

Chapter 13 – Edward

When Charlie Gets His Gun

"You should know a couple of things about Charlie." Bella informed me. I glanced at her from the corner of my eye and returned my concentration back to the road.

"Like what?" She shifted in her seat and planted her feet directly onto the dash in such a casually familiar manner that it almost made me too happy to register that HER FEET WERE ON MY DASH. I reached out my hand and rubbed up her shin, for some reason she was wearing shorts. It was nearing October and she was too hot, apparently, to wear something that wouldn't distract me while I was driving. They were little jean shorts, made out of an old pair, that let me ogle her thighs more than I should when in control of heavy machinery.

"Well, he's Chief of Police."

"I knew that." She stretched over and cupped her hand around the back of my neck, softly stroking the sensitive skin.

"So, he's good with guns." My heart stuttered. "He's killed before."

"Has he killed a boyfriend before?"

"Not to my knowledge." She frowned and tilted her head. "But I never did see Tyler again after our date." She rolled her eyes at me.

"Very droll." I replied, rolling my own eyes.

"He's a member of the NRA. So am I, by the way."

"Do you own a gun?"

"I'm a woman who lives alone, my father is a cop. Of course I own a gun."

"You can't even throw a balled up piece of paper in a trash can accurately." I snorted, thinking about how awful an aim she must be.

"Honey, I'd be able to outshoot you any day." Her fingers squeezed the back of my neck affectionately. "Anyway, he'll probably clean his guns in front of you just to freak you out."

"Thanks for the warning."

"If he asks you what teams you support you can say anything so long as it's the Seahawks and the Mariners. He does not take kindly to people who don't support Emmett." She smiled. "Neither do I, mind you."

"I'm pro Emmett, don't worry."

"If he asks you how we met, maybe we don't say it was a one night stand?"

"Have you already come up with a story?"

"No, just…I don't want him to think I'm a whore." She mumbled, tucking her chin down to her chest with a sigh.

"Bella! You are not a whore. You say whatever you want about how we met, I'll back you up."

I almost pulled the car over to sternly lecture Bella about the corrosive effects of calling yourself names but she peeked through her lashes at me with a small smile and I knew she didn't need it. I had no idea just how much information was going be imparted during our drive to Forks. Our bags were bundled carelessly in the back, Bella had control of the music and I was more content than I had been in a long time. The sacrifice required to manage a cluster of days off together was going to be worth it.

"I've informed him that you will not be sleeping on the pull out bed downstairs."

"So, you do actually want him to shoot me on sight?" She laughed at my worry. I really loved making her laugh. The sound of it sent happy messages to my brain.

"He's got to get used to the fact that I'm an adult. Besides, when he learns he is going to be a Grandpa his belief in my virginity is going to be pretty shattered."

"And his belief that I am the defiler of his precious virgin daughter will increase. Do you see the correlation, Bella? Are you trying to kill me off for the insurance?"

"Pft, like I need your money." She waved her hand in the air like it was the last thing in the world she needed. "There are things I'm more attached to than your bank balance, Cullen. I'm pretty sure my own actually matches yours anyway." She held her breath, waiting for my reaction to her comment.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. I'm a trust fund baby." She admitted and I wasn't surprised. Her house, car and designer wardrobe were indicators of access to more money than an accountant would normally make. Plus, I was bored one night and Googled her. Along with Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie.

Jasper has some pretty terrifying fan sites dedicated to him.

"I already knew that, and I also know that money isn't something either of us cares very much about. Maybe because we have money we can say that, but it just means we're truly on an equal footing." She beamed at me in response.

"I tried to give Charlie money, to buy him a new house and things but he refused." She shook her head. "He said it was my money and he didn't want a dime. I've been transferring money directly into his bank account for the past ten years."

"He probably hasn't spent a cent."

"Probably. Can I have your phone?"

"Sure, it's in my pocket." She waited for a second before raising an eyebrow at me to encourage me to hand it to her. "My hands should be on the ten and two positions at all time when the vehicle is in motion. You want my phone? You dive in and get it yourself."

"Your eyes should also be on the road at all times, but they've been transfixed by my legs for the past thirty minutes." She plunged her hand into my pocket and rummaged around slowly on purpose, her fingers searching and brushing against my thigh and dick.

"You're right, I'm pretty distracted. I should pull over and take care of that."

"Do whatever you need to do. If you need to pull over and take yourself in hand you do that." She sniggered at me, waving my phone at the side of my face. I heard her slide the lock open and watched as she started pressing the screen and smirking.

"Seriously?"

"Yup." She waved my phone at me again. "Jasper says hi."

X~X~X

"You'll run down the battery." I griped, swiping at my phone as Bella batted my hand back to my side of the car.

"Ah, shut up already." She grinned playfully but put the phone down. "Do you think you can tell yet?" She rubbed her still flat stomach. "I think I'm getting a little bit pouchy." She pursed her lips as she poked her belly.

"I don't think you are." I put my hand on her stomach, spreading my fingers wide and feeling no difference from the first time. "It's weird, I feel like I should be able to feel his heartbeat through your tummy."

"I know, I keep thinking I should be able to feel it too." Her other hand came to rest on top of mine. "There's a turning coming up, take it. I want to show you something."

I did what Bella told me to. I took the turning instead of following the road straight to Forks. I couldn't get over how green everything was here. There were trees and moss and grass and every other thing that comes in variations of green and brown in nature. I was a city boy, the only time I encountered this much green was the time in college when Jasper and I experimented with becoming stoners.

The proper road ended pretty quickly and turned into two bald stripes in the grass. I followed Bella's directions and eventually we found ourselves at the top of a hill. She pulled me out of the car and pointed across a forest. If I squinted I could just make out the tops of houses in the distance.

"That's Forks." She held my hand and leaned into my side, her head resting on my shoulder. "Back this way is Seattle." She turned us around and pointed back the way we came while I nodded and waited. We stood in silence, her body leaning against mine and trusting that I would keep her upright. The sun was only occasionally blighted by white clouds as we stared into the distance.

Bella squeezed my hand before wrapping it around her waist. Her arms encompassed my waist and she hugged me tightly.

"When Emmett went away to college I used to come up here a lot. I could still see home, but I used to stare in the direction of Seattle and wonder what he was doing and whether he missed me as much as I missed him."

"I'm sure he did." I told her, kissing the top of her head.

"Yeah, I know he did. He came home every second weekend and he never would have done that if I wasn't here. He knew I needed to see that he wasn't leaving me the way my Mom did. Our other friends never really understood, they didn't get it. They thought I should be over it already, but none of their parents had looked them in the eye and told them they loved them only to up and leave that afternoon."

I made a mental note to buy Emmett anything he wanted to thank him for seeing how much Bella needed him. I would happily spend every day doing his bidding for taking care of her before I was in her life.

I knew I would never take his place in Bella's life, I didn't want to. I was carving my own unique place and I meant something different to her. Not something better, but something new and just as good.

"Emmett is my favourite person." I admitted to her while we stared at the passing clouds. "He took care of you and I can't ever thank him enough for doing that."

"I don't really need taken care of, but it's nice to know people love me and would do anything for me. I know that if I told Emmett and Rose I had killed somebody their first question would be about where to hide the body."

"Is that a warning?" I laughed nervously, remembering the afternoon I was left with Rosalie on Bella's birthday and her telling me if I fucked around with Bella she would kill me herself. It was such a clichéd best friend threat but I had looked into her blue eyes and seen the truth. She wouldn't hesitate in ending me if I hurt Bella.

"Don't be silly." She laughed and shook her head, tapping my chest with her hand.

Bella pulled me across to my car and she sat on the hood, tugging my belt and pulling me between her legs to hold me tightly. I shrugged off my horror at her sitting on the hood of my car and hooked my hands under her thighs to shift her down so we could fit together better.

"You're freaking out about me sitting on your car, aren't you?"

"No." I squeaked and cleared my throat. "No, not at all."

"Liar." She giggled against my chest. My hands slid up her thighs and stopped as I hit the denim of her shorts. As soon as the thought crossed my mind I couldn't shake the image of me screwing her as she sat on my car. I felt myself go hard and I knew she could feel it. I knew this because she started shifting her hips against me.

"Did you used to bring boys up here?" I pushed my hips against her and she pushed firmly back.

"No." She shook out her hair and tipped her head back, staring back up at the clouds. I pushed my hands under the hem of her t-shirt and rolled it up under her breasts. I bent my head down and kissed her stomach, hoping that Simba was having a nap because ever since that conversation with Jasper I couldn't help but be worried whenever I went near where he was going to come out.

"This place was always mine." She told me when I licked across her skin. I popped open the button on her shorts, pulling down the zip and she mirrored the action on my jeans without taking her eyes away from the sky.

"Bella, look at me." She pulled her head forward and smiled serenely.

"Do you know how gorgeous you are?" She blurted and I felt my face flame from the unexpected compliment. "Did you just blush?"

"No. Shut up." I mumbled, letting my jeans fall to the ground and kicking them aside. Bella jumped off the car and tossed her shorts on top of my jeans. She pushed me onto the car and straddled me without warning, pushing down onto my cock and wrapping her arms around my neck.

My hips jerked up, pushing me fully into her, and my mouth attached to hers. I slid my tongue into the mouth I knew so well, our moans being lost to the breaths managing to escape and disappear into the breeze. She moved against me, finding a rhythm that could easily see me lose my shit well before her. I buried a hand into her hair, anchoring her to me, while I buried fingers into her folds and provided her with some extra friction.

We came together, under the blue sky and on top of my car. Bella's forehead rested on mine as we fought to regain control of our breathing. Her cheeks were a light pink and the sun illuminated the hidden spectrum of colour in her hair. Her lips were swollen slightly from our kisses and moisture pooled in her eyes.

"What's wrong?" I brushed the hair away from her face. "Did I hurt you?"

"No." She shook her head and laughed. "Of course you didn't hurt me." She cupped my face in her hands and fluttered fresh kisses against my lips. "I never knew it could feel this way, this new and this important."

"What?" I wasn't sure if she meant sex or not. I knew it had never felt so gratifying for me with anyone else, but I didn't know how it felt to her.

She shook her head before she answered, an almost self-conscious smile played on her lips and she sighed before looking back up at the sky then back at me.

"Love."

X~X~X

I parked the car beside Bella's Dad's police cruiser. I removed my hand from her knee because he could probably see us sitting in the car and I didn't want it to look like I was feeling her up in front of his house.

"Are you nervous?" Bella grinned at me.

"No." I shook my head.

I was terrified.

It's an entirely different emotion.

"Come on." Bella sprang from the car before I could stop her. I watched her run up the stairs and cross the porch in two steps before throwing open the front door and running straight into her father's already open arms. They hugged for a few seconds before pulling apart and smiling at each other bashfully, obviously not used to showing quite as much emotion.

I got out of the car before I looked like an asshole just sitting and staring at them. Bella pulled Charlie down to meet me, introducing us and elbowing her Dad to take my outstretched hand. He eyed me up without shame, trying to ascertain without me saying anything other than "nice to meet you, sir" whether or not I was good enough for his only daughter.

"You took your time, Tink."

"Edward's a careful driver, besides, I wanted to show him my hill." She smiled and he nodded in recognition.

"Any time I couldn't find her in the usual places she was on top of that hill." He told me gruffly from underneath a Magnum P.I looking moustache. Not a lot of people can carry off a 'tache of that magnitude but he wore it impressively well.

We were roughly the same height, about which I was glad. He couldn't try to do the "intimidation with height" thing that some Dads try. I don't even know why I was so nervous about meeting the man. I was an adult for god's sake.

But I knew that if Simba turned out to be a Nala then I would be threatening any man's testicles if they came within three feet of her when she was old enough to date.

Yes, I have double standards. Shoot me, at least one person in this house wants to.

That old enough to date thing was going to be specified quite early on. It would be when she was thirty, and the prospective date had passed the many and varied pre-date tests I would set.

Charlie took Bella's bag from the car and left me to get mine. She shrugged at me and took my hand, walking me into the house she grew up in. It was modest, three bedrooms at most, and one that I wouldn't have minded growing up in. We sat at the kitchen table and I listened as Bella and Charlie talked. She was glowing at being reunited with her Dad and excitedly told him that Emmett and Rose would be along in a few days because he said it wasn't fair that she was getting to visit home without him and insisted Rosalie take some long overdue holiday hours.

Bella and I didn't discuss when exactly she would tell him about the baby, I trusted her to tell him at the right time.

Apparently the right time wasn't within the first hour of being home. She nodded at my bag and picked hers up, telling Charlie we were going to freshen up. He glared at me when I walked past and I felt his eyes on the back of my neck the entire walk up the stairs. My neck tingled and shoulders tensed.

I was waiting for the bullet to shatter my spinal cord.

I shook out the tension when Bella closed her bedroom door and looked around her room. It was a fairly typical teenager's room. Charlie obviously didn't want to mess with the sanctity of a woman's room by changing anything about it.

There were posters tacked up on the wall, mainly featuring Nirvana, Pearl Jam and bands who had been signed to SubPop. Her bed wasn't a full size double but at least it wasn't a single. I would have insisted on the couch had it been a single.

"Like my room?"

"It has been years since I was in a teenage girl's room."

"I'm thankful for that knowledge." She grinned and began pulling her clothes out and piling them untidily into drawers.

"Does your Dad always look at your boyfriends like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like he's looking for the kill shot?" I sat on the edge of her bed, smoothing out the sheets beside me and looking at the rocking chair in the corner of her room.

"To be honest, you're only the second proper boyfriend he has met." She turned her back to me and punched down the clothes she shoved in the drawer to get it to shut. "He knew the first one since he was a kid so it wasn't really an issue." She admitted.

I dropped onto my back, bouncing on the mattress a little and I stared up at her ceiling. Why it had never occurred to me to question Bella about her past boyfriends I have no idea. From the brief information we had imparted regarding past relationships I had assumed there was no one of note from her past. There never seemed to be a major boyfriend figure, but we still knew so little about each other's lives before we became a unit.

I should have told her about Irina, she should have known that I had a failed marriage. It's laughable to even call it that, but written in black and white it's what it was. In reality it was a six week exercise in prolonging the inevitable. Being young could be used as an excuse, but I was an adult nonetheless and knew exactly what I was doing.

Such an asshole.

The mattress moved under me and I felt, rather than saw, Bella kneel on the bed and straddle me. My hands went to her hips to steady her and I continued to stare at the ceiling. There were white dots all over the deep blue paint and I struggled to make the dots connect.

"What's that?" I pointed up and Bella followed the direction of my finger.

"It's the sky at night." She bent down and laid her body on top of mine, her head tucked under my chin. "They light up in the dark and you can see the constellations. It helped me get to sleep after Mom left. I used to gaze up at them, memorising the patterns and counting them until I could get my mind to stop and finally fall asleep."

"Can we do that to the baby's room?" I liked the idea of our child watching the sky.

"Of course. We should go get dinner. Charlie's probably having kittens about us being up her alone." She giggled and sat up, smirking at me as she rubbed her groin against me for no other reason than to be evil. The bed squeaked at the movement and I groaned. I had no intention of actually having sex with Bella while under her father's roof the squeaks of her old bed had completely prohibited that, regardless of my intentions.

~X~X~

We spent the next couple of days hanging out with Charlie. Bella didn't mention the baby and I kept my mouth shut. I tried to impress him with my limited knowledge of fishing on the first morning when we crammed ourselves into his boat. Bella rolled her eyes at me when she speared a worm on a hook and I gagged a little.

"You're a doctor." She snickered, throwing Charlie a look that he replicated perfectly.

Fishing, it turns out, is just sitting in a boat, holding a rod and drinking a beer. I slapped the water and watched the fish dance to ripples of us, but I was quickly chastened by Charlie so I didn't do it again. Occasionally Charlie would haul in a fish and it would be ritualistically slaughtered on the floor of the boat as I hung over the side and couldn't watch. Mostly we were silent, Bella would make her Dad chuckle with stories of the crazy things Emmett had done and the ways he had pissed Rosalie off, then we were silent again.

I made a mental note to let them go alone the next morning.

The second night we were sitting in the kitchen, eating a lasagne I had thrown together from the ingredients I had found by rooting through the cupboards while they had been out fishing again. I'm surprised Bella had come home with no fish hook holes in her. She had jumped into my arms in greeting and Charlie looked at me like he was thinking about beating me to death with a kitchen chair.

"This is very good." Charlie conceded, his moustache twitched and I registered with shock that he had just smiled at me.

"Glad you like it."

"Dad?" Bella began nervously and my stomach turned to lead. I knew this was the moment and I hoped to all that was good in the world that I was going to make it out of this conversation alive.

"Yeah?"

"Edward and I have something to tell you." She grinned happily, trying to mask her nervousness but her hand was restricting the blood flow of my own.

"What's that?" He looked at us expectantly. "It can't be a wedding because he hasn't asked me about that like a proper suitor would."

"Well, number one, he wouldn't have to ask you about that because we no longer live in the 1800s and I don't have a dowry." She rolled her eyes and I shook my head at her in a silent plea to not piss the man off. "Number two, it isn't about a wedding."

"What is it then?"

"I'm…well…we…I'm pregnant." She blurted then slammed her free hand over her mouth like she was shocked the information had managed to free itself.

"Congratulations." His moustache twitched at Bella before he stared at me with blank eyes. "Excuse me." He stood up casually and walked from the room. We listened as his boots thumped along the hall, as the jangle of keys echoed through the silence, as a lock was unlocked and a door was opened.

"Oh, shit." Bella jumped up, pulled me to my feet and shoved me behind her with a nervous giggle. "He won't, but he'll make you think…" She muttered cryptically as Charlie came back into the room.

"Bella, please move out of the way."

"Charlie Swan, put that back in the cupboard right now and I'll forgive you." My eyes hadn't left his hand, the shiny metal calling to me like I was a magpie. I nudged Bella out of the way and edged her behind me.

"Sir, this is entirely unnecessary. I realise that this is a shock, but shooting me isn't going to change the fact that I'm in love with your daughter and she is carrying my child…your grandchild."

"Ah, dammit son…you couldn't have just acted a little more terrified?" He chuckled, leaning the shotgun against the wall. "Hell, it isn't even loaded." He reached out and shook my hand.

"Quite the joker, aren't you Dad?" Bella rolled her eyes.

"She told me when we were out on the boat earlier, but I wanted to play with you a little."

I laughed incredulously. They set me up. Absolute bastards.

"Jasper said you'd be fine with a practical joke." Bella grinned.

I was going to put my hands around his throat and squeeze hard when I saw him next.

"I don't like you and Jasper being so tight." I grumbled before hugging her to me in relief. "You don't want to kill me then?"

"I wouldn't go that far, but Bella hasn't been this happy in a long time. You're the reason, you and the baby, so why would I want to be an asshole about that?" He asked, perfectly logically. "Congratulations."

"Thank you." I nodded sincerely and with gratitude that I would be leaving Forks with both my testicles intact.

~X~X~X

Emmett and Rosalie arrived early the next morning, stopping by the Swan house to say hello to Charlie before heading off to the other side of town to his parent's house. News of Bella being pregnant spread quickly through the town and the phone rang off the hook with calls of congratulations from old school acquaintances and family friends.

Before the morning was over a party was planned for that evening down on the reservation where Bella spent a massive amount of time at as a teenager. The majority of her friends lived there through school and a few had moved back after college. It was home to the half-naked guys in all her pictures and I was eager to not meet them. After all, I had fantasised about breaking their fingers for daring to touch her.

Bella drove us onto the reservation. I was squashed in the back being the Edward meat in an Emmett and Charlie sandwich. My own reticence at being here was increasing as Emmett and Bella talked excitedly about seeing people they hadn't seen in months. I was being jealous and a bit ridiculous but I couldn't help but worry that I was going to want to physically harm people if they actually touched her.

Judging from the pictures that lived in Bella's house they were a touchy feely group of guys. They had every right to hug their friend, but I was only used to seeing Bella with Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice.

We stopped outside a bright red wooden house, the air smelled of burning wood and smoke curled through the air from the back of the house. The noise of the car had attracted attention and a group of people appeared from the side of the house. As soon as Bella was clear of the car she was swept away from me in a sea of hugs and whoops of congratulations. Rosalie stuck close to my side, her hand slipping in to mine in an act of reassurance.

"It's weird, but you need to hold it together." She muttered under her breath as she too was swept into hugs and laughter.

I hung back and watched as hand after hand rested on Bella's waist and countless mouths pressed kisses to her cheek and mouth. Her head turned, the breeze catching the ends of her hair and making it swirl around her flushed with happiness face. When she saw me still by the car her arm stretched out and she wiggled her fingers at me to take them. I took her hand and she pulled me into the middle of a circle with a grin.

"Guys, this is Edward." She leaned into me, my arms wrapped around her automatically and I gave a mini wave. "Edward, this is Sam, Emily, Embry, Seth, Leah, Quil, Paul and Jared."

"I'm never going to remember all that." I told them.

"Don't worry, we're going to passive aggressively call you Edmond all night anyway so it's all good." The tallest one told me with a wink before he nodded his head towards the back of the house. "Come on Bella, Billy can't wait to see you again…neither can Jacob." The way he said Jacob cautiously piqued my interest.

"I can't wait to see Billy either." Bella replied, ignoring mention of this Jacob guy completely and pulling my arm across her shoulders while we walked around the house.

As we turned towards the back Bella pulled away from me and rushed to a man in a wheelchair. I could only assume this was Billy, she waved me over and hugged him tight, smiling as something he whispered in her ear. Rosalie pulled me aside before I could reach Bella, her eyes on Emmett as he approached one of the biggest guys I had ever seen in my life. He was just as massive as Emmett, his skin a golden russet colour, his hair jet black and pulled into a ponytail that hung down the centre of his bare back.

His eyes hadn't left Bella since we turned the corner.

"That's Jacob." Rosalie muttered.

"Why is he looking at Bella like he owns her?" My hands curled into fists and relaxed again.

"He was her first boyfriend. He still thinks he has a claim on her." My eyes narrowed as he looked over at us with a sneer.

"I'll happily set him straight on that one." I growled, eager to make it perfectly clear he wasn't to go near Bella by punching it into him.

"Edward, settle down. Male aggression freaks Bella out. Trust that Emmett will keep him in line."

"Male aggression freaks Bella out but she loves watching Emmett play?"

"I don't know how her mind works, Edward, just keep it in mind and keep your fists uncurled." She nudged her hip into mine with a grin and stalked over to Jacob and I swear I saw him wince as she approached.

Bella put her arms around me and nestled her head on my back between my shoulder blades. She swayed me as we stood until I turned round and kissed the tip of her nose because, well, it's an adorable nose.

"Come meet Billy, he wants to make sure you're good enough for me." She rolled her eyes. "I told him it was the other way around but he wouldn't listen."

Bella made the introductions and I was interrogated for a while before he finally gave me the nod and I felt like I had passed some sort of test. We sat around the fire that burned brightly in the darkening light listening to some of the elders tell us stories of their ancestors who believed in some crazy ass shit. Occasionally Bella would whisper the words of a story in my ear, telling me it was one of her favourites.

From time to time one of her friends would sit themselves down beside us and I would listen as they caught up and chattered about people I didn't know. I would stare as the flames of the fire made shapes in the air, the orange and blue disappearing into the sky in a crackle of beauty. I could make Jacob out across the divide, his eyes rarely leaving us and I could feel the hostility rolling off him in waves.

I told Bella I was going for a drink and left her talking to Emily, I was finally remembering some names. Emmett stood over the cooler and jumped a little when I approached, like he was caught in the act.

"Jeebus, I thought you were Rosalie." He chuckled before looking around shiftily.

"Am I going to have to tell on you?" I asked, arching an eyebrow at him.

"Nah, I just promised I wouldn't get wasted tonight and was about to shotgun another can. One more can't hurt, right?" I laughed at his grin and nodded.

"Count me in, I haven't shotgunned in years." Emmett shook two cans and nodded his head towards the side of the house. "So, Jacob?"

"You don't have to worry about him. I warned him."

"Warned him not to do what?"

"He sees Bella and he remembers what he has lost. She's never brought someone home before and he's threatened by you. Plus, she's pregnant so he's acting all protective all of a sudden. So, I warned him that if he caused a scene I'd kick his ass."

"Douche."

"Yep." He handed me a beer and we stabbed the cans, spinning as the bitter liquid rushed into our mouths. "Also, Rosalie told him she'd sneak into his house and chop off his hair if he so much as looked at you wrong."

"Remind me to buy her something pretty." I laughed. The wrong side of Rosalie was somewhere I never wanted to be. I was thankful that she had accepted me so willingly. One foot out of line when it came to Bella, however, and I wouldn't be able to sew myself back together once she was finished with me.

We pulled open another couple of beers and silently watched the party until my phone shattered our peace. I managed to read a text from Alice before it began to ring in my hand. I paused for a second, wondering whether to answer the call from my parents before deciding it was the right thing to do. I nodded at Emmett, drained the rest of my can and walked a polite distance away before finally hitting the button.

"Edward?" My Dad's voice made me wince before I had the chance to say anything.

"Dad."

"Do you want to explain the paper?"

"No." I sighed. There was no lead in with that man. If he was pissed off you knew it straight away. Why bother with bullshit niceties when you have a reputation to protect?

"You will. Who is this girl? Why didn't you warn us about this? Your Mother had to field some intrusive questions."

"I'm sorry Mom was pulled into this."

"Why is the quarterback for the Seahawks involved in this?"

"You know what? This is too much to explain over the phone. Most of that article was bullshit."

"Don't swear at me."

"I didn't swear at you. I swore. There's a difference." My frustration was building and my inner petulant teenage boy was rising to the surface. Alice's text told me to keep calm, but as with any conversation I've had with him in the past fourteen years it was almost impossible.

"Don't get pedantic with me. Most of the article? Tell me the true parts."

"I have a girlfriend, we went on a date…."

"Is she pregnant?" I paused and that's all he needed to realise it was true but he waited for me to confirm it.

"Yes." As soon as the word was out of my mouth the sky exploded in colours. Fireworks deafened me. Bella stood with Rosalie laughing in delight, her mouth making oohs and ahhs as I watched her.

"Where are you?"

"Forks, meeting Bella's family."

"Bella? We expect to see you when you return, Edward, we have things to discuss."

"We have nothing to discuss." He had already hung up the phone before I could explain to him that he would sit and listen and be nothing but polite to the woman I loved when he met her. I let out a roar of frustration, trying to dispel the bad feeling he always left me with. I tossed my phone to the ground in anger and flinched when fingers locked around my wrist.

"Hey, what's wrong?" I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes and scrubbed my face. Bella ducked under my hunched over body and pushed me upright, brushing back strands of hair from my forehead.

"My father, that's what's wrong." I groaned, shaking my head and biting the inside of my cheek. When I could finally look at her she was watching me warily and I remembered Rosalie telling me earlier about Bella's aversion to male aggression. "Shit. Sorry. I'm fine."

"Yes, you are." She winked and I couldn't help but laugh. "But your phone isn't." She picked up the broken carcass and eyed it sadly with a pout. "Now how can I kick Jasper's ass on Words with Friends on the drive home?"

"Sorry."

"Quit apologising and come back to the party. I miss your face." She reached up on her toes and kissed me tenderly before pulling me back to the crowd. "I love you." She whispered, the words immediately lost to the noises that surrounded us. "I love us."

That's all I needed, I realised. With three words Bella had eradicated all of my frustrations. She believed in us, she believed in me, and that meant everything.

"I love us too." I pulled her back, spinning her under my hand and gripping her waist to stop her when she was facing me. Our lips touched just as another round of fireworks exploded in the sky, we clung to each other under the blues, reds, purples and greens that illuminated the people around us.

"Wow, stars and fireworks? You're on fire tonight." She mumbled against my lips before closing the infinitesimal gap and allowing me to be lost in her again.

It's all I would ever need. Bella and the baby.

Everything else was just the icing on the cake.

X~X~X

Bella was seriously grumpy when we left Forks. The entire drive home was fraught with tension because I didn't know what to say to alleviate her mood and she was heartbroken about leaving Charlie behind again. Instead of trying to force conversation I gave her time to stew, knowing that she would talk to me when she wanted to.

An hour into the journey she prised one of my hands off the steering wheel and placed it on her thigh. I raised my eyebrows but no objections and she caressed the back of my hand with a sigh. Her forehead was pressed against the window and she watched as the green began to turn to grey the closer we got to home.

"I just, I feel like crap whenever I leave him. I feel like her." She told me and I knew who she was referring to. "He gives me a hug and acts all brave, like me leaving him doesn't carve a new mark on his heart."

Silence filled the car again because I didn't know what to say to that.

"I look like her, which makes it worse."

"You look like Charlie too." I told her. "I'm thankful that you didn't inherit his moustache." She giggled and slapped my hand.

"Funny. I didn't tell him about the letter." She chewed on the inside of her cheek. "It would have…I don't know how much he knew. Like, if he had known about her being pregnant he would have told me that, right?"

"It would have been the right thing to do, but you were young. How do you think you would have handled that news on top of everything else?"

"It would have made it worse." She replied immediately, obviously having thought it through.

We lapsed back into silence and I spent a good half hour cursing Bella's Mother. The love I already felt for the baby far surpassed any other feeling I've ever encountered. We hadn't even met yet, but I would kill for my child's safety. I couldn't comprehend leaving him behind. To walk out the door and never see him is something I would never consider, no matter what happened between Bella and me.

When I looked at Bella I saw my future, there was nothing else for me. It had hit me out of nowhere but I could do nothing but embrace it. Taking the baby out of the equation I would still have fallen in love with her, of that I had no doubt.

I looked across at her, her forehead was still pressed up against the cool glass of the window and her eyes were shut against the sunlight. She had thrown her hair up into a bun and little wisps had fallen free and framed her face. I wanted to be able to take her pain, set fire to it and dance in the ashes with her in my embrace.

"Keep your eyes on the road and leave me to wallow." She mumbled quickly before sighing.

"It's not my fault you're so easy to look at."

"It'll be your fault if we crashed because you couldn't keep your eyes facing forward." A hint of a smile ghosted across her lips. "You're coming back to mine when we get back to Seattle?"

"I need to go home, to check my mail and messages."

"I want to see your place, can I come?"

"Sure." I shrugged. It never felt strange that I was always at her place. I was so comfortable there that it didn't occur to me that we could be at my apartment. It didn't make sense to me when she loved her house and I did too. My place was cold and impersonal, my personality wasn't anywhere to be found when I walked through the door, compared to walking into Bella's and seeing her stamped all over the house.

X~X~X

I was nervous for some reason, when I unlocked my door and let Bella into my apartment. It was like unveiling the most private part of me. Few people were allowed past my threshold. She skipped in behind me, her mood had improved much to my relief because she was almost back to being the Bella I knew. I could put up with who she sometimes devolved into, but they were mostly held back by the radiance of who she was at her most stripped back.

I led her by the hand through the almost completely empty rooms.

"This is not at all what I expected from you." She told me, peering round the bathroom door.

"What were you expecting?"

"I don't know, not something so…sterile."

"I am a doctor."

"I forget that sometimes, like when you're gagging at me hooking live bait." She smirked and skipped away from me, her arms up defensively.

"We can't all be at one with nature and the circle of life and all that crap." I threw one of the generic throw pillows from my couch at her, missing on purpose.

"You're a shit aim, Cullen." She stuck her tongue out at me and stepped behind the couch, keeping space between us.

"I wasn't trying." I stared at her, dropping my shoulders and stalking her around the room. I launched myself at her across the couch, she squealed and took off into my bedroom, throwing the door shut behind her.

"You're being a bit sexy right now." She called through the door and I laughed.

"Is that right?"

"Yep, and as much as I wouldn't mind hopping on the good foot and doing the bad thing I'm actually starving and you need to feed your child."

"Damn." I dropped my forehead onto the door with a thump. "Fine, what do you want?" The door opened an inch and her face appeared in the space.

"Take-out." She pouted and I shook my head. "Please?" The door opened fully and she tugged on my shirt in supplication.

"I'm not feeding my child crap."

"Honey, I really, really, really want a peshwari nan and some korma sauce to dip it in." She kissed my jaw and my resolve weakened because I'm easily swayed when it comes to Bella using her lips. "Think about it." She lowered her voice seductively. "Taste it on your tongue."

"The only taste that I want on my tongue is yours." I told her, making her eyes widen in surprise.

"Easy there, lover boy. Get me food and then we'll talk about getting you some other things to taste." She winked.

"Fine."

I picked up my mail and checked my messages quickly before grabbing some more clothes to put in my drawer at Bella's. We stopped to get her the food she wanted and she gloated the entire time.

"I can't believe you gave in so easily." I didn't tell her that I would always cave when it came to what she wanted. She could have asked me to find her mouse cheese and I would have trawled the globe for it.

It helped that I was so hungry that my stomach was complaining with gurgles and I was almost in pain from the need to eat.

When I parked outside her house we noticed someone sitting on her doorstep. She sighed and rolled her eyes. Ever since that stupid piece in the paper was printed we had both been pursued by reporters looking to make a story out of nothing.

"Ignore her." I told Bella. We pulled the bags out of the car and marched up to the door, fully intending to ignore the woman on the doorstep but as I walked closer the more familiar she looked to me. I glanced back at Bella to make sure she was ok, she smiled pensively and nodded before passing me her keys.

"Bella Swan?" The woman asked, who in actuality was more of a girl now that I was closer and could see her better. She chewed on the inside of her cheek and impatiently tossed her brown hair away from her face.

"Bella." I stopped, staring at the girl while Bella pressed in close to my side and stopped at the tone of my voice. She looked up at me confused and I nodded back towards the girl.

"Bella? I'm Charlotte." She was waiting for a spark of recognition that her name would never afford her. Bella hadn't made the connection and I wanted to pick her up and run because I knew this going to rip open even more pain that Bella should never have to deal with.

"Look, I'm not giving you an interview or a quote. I'm sick of this and would appreciate being left alone." She told Charlotte confidently. She let me take her hand, my fingers squeezing to get her to look at me.

"Bella, I think you want to talk to her." I murmured.

"Why?" Her forehead crinkled in confusion and she shook her head slightly.

"Sorry, I'm Charlotte Dwyer. I guess you don't really know about me, I mean she told me she told you but I don't know how much she told you, so…." Charlotte rambled and I sighed.

"Bella, Charlotte is your sister."

X~X~X

Hearty hugs of gratitude to everyone who is reading this, I hope you liked the chapter and if you did why not leave me a review?

Ladyeire3 is my pre-reader and she helps me a heap, so big hugs to her too.

My Edward has been dubbed Sweetward by Liciapooh25…which I think is awesome.

If I get organised I'll post the first couple of paragraphs of the next chapter over at Fictionators Teaser Monday which is…tomorrow!

Recommendations are the same as last chapter…I haven't had time to get hooked on anything else lately.

Thanks again for the support folks :D xx