Summary: Edward Masen is a single father, ex-con, and an ex drug user. He and his child move to Forks for a fresh start. Bella Swan is a straight edge young woman. When these two people meet, the attraction is inexplicable. AH/M.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Stephenie Meyer and Summit own the right. I just play around with the characters.

A/N: As if I need another story swimming around in my head. I totally don't, but this one would not go away! Long story short, this came to me when I listened to Natasha Bedingfield's "Soulmate." Go listen to it on YT and you'll get it...I hope.

Thank you to my beta acrosstheskyinstars for cleaning this up and for sharing how cute Dadward is! Trust me, I didn't plan for him to be Dadward, but like I told her, it worked. :)

Also, thank you to Reamahar and ShowtunesJesus from PTB.



"From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being."

-Ba al Shem Tov

I glanced at the sleeping child in the backseat. The child…my child made it so…I still couldn't get used to the idea of me being a father.

Vanessa Carlie Masen was two years old, and I barely knew her. In fact, I only met her a few weeks ago. I hadn't even known I was a father.

It wasn't until my mother visited me last month that I found out my ex-girlfriend gave birth to a girl. She couldn't take care of the child, and I didn't expect her to. Kate and I weren't made to be parents. We were irresponsible as fuck, and we used way too much for us to be capable parents.

A couple of years ago, I got busted for drug possession and drug dealing. I had an underground methamphetamine lab, so what? Okay, I shouldn't have that callous attitude. It was childish, and I served my time. I was clean now. I'd been clean for nearly two years.

Anyway, my parents and Kate kept Vanessa a secret from me. They reasoned that it was better if Vanessa had stability and a nurturing home instead of the fucked up life Kate and I would have given her.

When I my mom eventually told me this, I asked why if she had never planned to tell me in the first place, she said it was because she knew I was going to be released soon, and that I deserved to know.

I guess I had to agree with her. If someone fathered a child they would want to know, wouldn't they?

At first, I'd had my doubts that Vanessa was mine. Kate and I fucked a lot, but I was one hundred percent sure we used protection every time. I knew condoms broke and that protection was never completely accurate, but shit.

My mom said she had Kate take a paternity test just to make sure the child was mine, and indeed, the child was mine. If that didn't persuade me, then the light, green eyes of Vanessa did. She looked like Kate, but she had my eyes and my smile. I couldn't deny that the little girl was my daughter.

While I was still incarcerated, my mom and I agreed that Vanessa would stay with them. She was already staying with them, but we agreed that I'd ease into parenthood. I wasn't completely ready to be a father, and my mom knew that. I may have been clean but I wasn't paternal.

When I was released from prison, I moved into my parents' downtown condo in Hancock. I'd have the place to myself since they moved Vanessa into their home in the northern suburbs. That was where I grew up too, and I liked the idea of my daughter growing up where I did.

My daughter…I was still getting used to calling her that. She was mine, but it was still surreal.

My parents wanted me to get my life back on track. Being clean wasn't enough to placate them. I had to keep on the straight and narrow.

I was a twenty-five-year-old college dropout with no prospects, and no real talent. I was going to Roosevelt for music, but that didn't work out since I decided to make and sell meth.

Drugs fucked up my life. I couldn't really tell you why I got into them because now even I didn't remember. But the thing was that I did get into them and I learned my lesson.

I was off drugs for good. I didn't need them. I didn't crave them. I couldn't now that I had a two year-old little girl who depended on me.

You're probably wondering why I had her now. The story was tragic and sad. I still couldn't believe it.

I had been out for a few weeks. I was trying to get a job at any place that would hire me. I applied to diners, coffee shops, music stores, and Wal-Mart.

While I kept trying to do something with my life, my mother took care of Vanessa. Sometimes, she'd call me up and we'd all meet at the park.

It was strange to play with Vanessa. She was still a baby in many ways, so she couldn't really play on the playground like older children could, but I did put her in one of the baby swings. I pushed her, and it wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be. Vanessa laughed and giggled, and that made me smile.

Vanessa was a cute and sweet child. She trusted easily, and when she met me, she instantly clung onto me and wouldn't let go. Holding her was not weird at all because she was bigger, and I was confident I wouldn't drop her.

For a while, I'd go out during the day and apply for jobs. Later, I'd meet up with my family. I'd spend time with Vanessa and although I never told her I was her dad, I think she knew.

One day, I had just gotten back into the condo when my cell phone rang. It was the cops, informing me that my parents were in a car crash downtown.

The only thing I thought about was Vanessa. When I asked about her, they said she was in the backseat, strapped in and for the most part, unharmed. It was a miracle she wasn't hurt other than a few cuts and scrapes from the glass.

I had to go downtown and identify my parents' bodies.

Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Head Surgeon for the Children's Hospital and his wife, Esme Cullen, were killed by a drunk driver.

Oh, yeah, I was adopted. Well, it was a long time ago. I didn't even remember my birth parents. I had always used the Cullen last name, but I changed it when I turned eighteen. I was a rebellious teen and I sought independence in any form. It hurt Carlisle and Esme, but they eventually let it go.

After making funeral arrangements, I had to see what would happen to Vanessa. My parents were her legal guardians, but they did leave her to me. I was her birth father, and their will stated I was her legal guardian if anything happened to my parents.

After I had Vanessa sorted out, I had to see what would happen to my parents' belongings and properties.

According to their will, everything was mine, but there was one catch.

My mom wrote me a letter.

September 2010

Dear Edward,

If you're reading this then you know we are no longer living.

Your father and I have left everything to you. It was always going to be yours. There was no doubt in our mind that you would come back to us whole.

We are so proud of you for trying to be the responsible young man we raised you to be. We know the past few years have been difficult, and we want you to know that we love you very much and couldn't be prouder of the decisions you are now making.

Vanessa is a gift. She is our joy, and I know she will be yours too. She loves you very much, and she knows you are her father. We didn't have to tell her, she just knew.

I know you're probably a little lost now. You may not know what to do, or how to do it, but I trust that you will do what is right for both you and Vanessa.

The money is yours. The cars are yours. But the house and condo need to go on the market. Have Jenks help you with that. You're probably asking why sell the house and condo?

We want you to start over. You deserve that. Vanessa deserves that. Do you remember when your father and I purchased that retirement home in Washington State? We have a home there-in Forks, Washington. Go there and start over.

That is the only thing I ask of you, Edward. I know that will be a good place for you and Vanessa. Please go there as soon as you can.

All I want is for you to be happy, you and your precious baby daughter.

We love you both.

Mom and Dad

My mom was right.

I was lost. I didn't know how to raise a child. I could barely look after myself!

But it was her only request, so I respected that.

I called Jenks, the family lawyer, and we had the condo and house put on the market. They would no doubt sell for a lot of money, so I was relieved that I could move to Forks without stressing over money issues. Vanessa and I could live, but I'd still have to go on with my life, and I wasn't sure how to do that.

The first thing I did was pack up our things. All our clothes, Vanessa's toys, and my belongings went into boxes, ready to be shipped off to Washington.

Jenks helped me acquire the keys to the Forks house, and he made sure that it was ready for me and Vanessa to live in.

After those arrangements were made, I had to settle on selling or giving back the many cars my parents owned.

My dad's Mercedes was going back; mom's Lexus sedan, the SUV, and the Vanquish were all going back. The only car I kept was the silver Volvo. I figured it was a "Dad car", appropriate for my and Vanessa's new life.

And that was how my daughter and I found ourselves on a flight from Chicago to Washington State.

Jenks had the Volvo shipped before us, so I was able to get it from the Sea-Tac airport.

Vanessa was asleep in her car seat. She was cute, even when she was asleep. Her short, blonde hair was messy from the flight, and her flowered dress was wrinkled a little, but she was still my cute baby girl.

I smiled to myself as I acknowledged her as mine. I knew she was, but the more I said it, the more I felt comfortable in being a dad. Yeah, I was young, a mere twenty-five, but so what? Vanessa knew she was mine. She already started to call me "Daddy." It was still kind of strange, but it sounded so sweet when she called me that.

The whole dad thing wasn't so bad. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, nor did I know what to do, but I had a feeling I'd be able to manage with Vanessa. It wasn't like she was a brat, because she wasn't.

On the contrary, she was a very easy to care for child, and for that, I was grateful. I had no doubt my mom instilled some great character attributes to Vanessa. No wonder she was an angel for me.

I drove along the two lane streets to the outskirts of Forks. So far, it looked like a really small town. It had that small town charm, and it looked quiet. I was beginning to think that this would be a good place to raise Vanessa.

When I pulled up the long driveway, I snorted out loud.

Of course my parents bought this house. It looked huge. It had three floors, big, windows, and a front and backyard that went on for miles.

Some retirement home, this place looked like a spa or a beach house, minus the beach part. It looked great. I knew my mom must have chosen the house. She had an eye for detail and simplicity. And the house was simple; it just looked big for a place like Forks.

I parked the car in front and took the keys out of the ignition.

I glanced at Vanessa again and smiled.

We had finally arrived at our new home.

I got out and opened the back door. I leaned forward, moved her favorite toy, Ellie, the stuffed toy elephant that she never went anywhere without, and unfastened Vanessa's seat belt. She didn't even stir when I lifted her in my arms to pick her up.

"Vanessa," I cooed as I tried to wake her up gently. "Baby, we're here. We're home now."

I unlocked the front door with one hand and carried her and Ellie over my shoulder with the other.

Once I had the door opened, I stepped through the foyer and gently closed it behind me.

Vanessa was still asleep, and I didn't have the heart to wake her up anymore. As I bounded up the stairs, I felt glad that Jenks took care of everything so that Vanessa and I wouldn't have to worry about anything. All her stuff was here. Her princess bed, her furniture, and her toys and clothes were already put away and placed in her room.

From the e-mails Jenks had sent me, I knew her bedroom was the one closest to the master bedroom.

I pushed open her white door and walked to the end of the room where her princess bed was located. Her bed was facing the door, with the window behind it.

I crouched down and gently placed her in the middle of the bed. I grabbed a blanket and pulled it over her little body. I remembered Ellie, and I nestled the stuffed elephant right beside her.

I gave her a kiss on her forehead and whispered, "I don't know what I'm doing. I don't promise that I'll be perfect, but I'll try my best to be the best daddy for you."

I was scared. This was uncharted territory for me. I was a single parent with a shitload of issues and baggage. I was the least likely person to care for this little angel girl, but circumstances in life brought me here. I couldn't back down. I couldn't hide.

For the first time in my life, someone needed me. Like, really needed me.

My daughter wasn't a druggie looking for her next hit. She was my flesh and blood. My only living family member. She was everything.

I pushed some of her hair away from her face, and then rose to my feet. I left her to sleep with the door open so I could hear when she woke up.

I took a tour of the house. It was huge, but it was great for us. I was used to huge place; I grew up in a big house, and this was no exception.

The place didn't have any food. I made a mental note to go out and do grocery shopping when Vanessa woke up. We also needed to think of getting her into day care or a sitter for when I ended up working.

Hmm, I'd have to work. I had to take care of Vanessa, but I had to get a job too…all that responsible shit…my mom would have wanted me to.

I loved my mom. I knew exactly what she expected from me, and I was going to try to live up to her expectations. God knows I had made her suffer a lot over the last few years, what with my drug addiction, incarceration, and Kate.

The only good thing that came out of my old life was Vanessa.

I did love her, but I was still unsure of my ability to raise her. I didn't know the first thing about children, let alone my own. I was getting to know her, but I still didn't know enough. Well, now we'd have plenty of time to get to know each other.

I was going back upstairs when the doorbell rang.

That was strange. I didn't know anyone here…I doubted my parents knew anybody.

I turned around and walked to the door. When I opened it, I saw a little pixie of a woman. She was short, probably not even five feet, with a short black bob, and icy blue eyes.

"Hello!" she said cheerfully. "I'm Alice Whitlock, and I'd like to welcome you to the neighborhood!"

I noticed she carried a basket of muffins or cupcakes. I had to stifle a laugh. This was too funny. It was like being in an episode of Desperate Housewives when a new family moved into town.

"Hi," I said, smiling. "I'm Edward Masen. Thank you for the welcome?"

She laughed. "You're welcome! I just wanted to give you these." She handed me the basket and said, "They're from my bakery. Fresh this morning, and if you eat them with coffee or milk, they will taste ten times better."

"Thank you," I said, somewhat overwhelmed by her kindness. "My daughter will love these."

"Oh, you have a daughter?" she asked excitedly.

"Yes, I do," I replied. "She's a tiny, little thing. She's napping right now, but I'm sure she'll enjoy these."

"How sweet," she gushed. "Well, if you need anything…or if you need help, just come by the bakery. You can't miss it – it's called The Flower Pot. I'd love to meet your wife and daughter."

"No wife," I said, clarifying things now. "It's just me and my baby girl."

"Aww!" she sighed. "How cute! Well, drop by sometime. Everyone will be dying to meet you, especially the single ladies. Be careful, you're a good looking guy; the vultures may try to get you."

I laughed. "Why don't you show me the ones I should avoid?"

"Will do!"

"I'm just kidding," I said, still chuckling. "I'm off women for now."

"Oh, you're gay?" she asked, but I could tell she was kidding with me.

I shook my head. "It'd be easier that way, but I'm not."

"Well, Edward, it was nice meeting you. I'm looking forward to meeting your daughter."

"Thank you, Alice. I'm sure we'll like the muffins."

"You're welcome!" she said again. Alice waved as she got into her car.

I closed the door and laughed. That was fun. Alice seemed genuinely friendly and I was glad she had stopped by. The muffins were a good welcome gift too…not for me, but for Vanessa.

One thing that Alice said that alarmed me was her comment on the single women here. I never had trouble getting laid or getting a girl, but that wasn't my life anymore.

I didn't generally sleep around. My last relationship was with Vanessa's mother, Kate.

When I was in prison, I lived without getting any. Kate didn't visit me, not that I wanted her to, but it just went to show how unfulfilled my personal life was. I had no one. And sure, a good fuck would do me some good, but no, not really. Not in the long run. I couldn't go back to my old, single life.

I was kind of worried now. There were single women here…and I could only imagine what Alice would report to them.

I shook my head. No, Alice didn't seem the type to gossip. I doubted that she was actually friends with all of the single women whom she referred to as vultures.

I was off women now. I just didn't have the time, and I didn't want things to get any more complicated than they were.

After putting the muffins away, I went to check on Vanessa.

She was waking up, and when I squatted down beside her, holding Ellie, she rolled over to her side to face me.

"Daddy," she said, only it sounded more like "dadee!"

"Hi, angel girl," I said. "You want a snack?"

She nodded and tried to rub the sleep from her eyes. I took her hand away from her face, using a tissue instead.

"Still tired?"

Vanessa was over two years old now, not three yet…she still had a few months to go. She had a pretty good grasp on speech, hardly any baby talk.


I smiled. "Okay, snack first, and then we'll go grocery shopping and get dinner so you can sleep early."

I didn't know why, but I often spoke to Vanessa as if she was much older. Surely a two-year-old wouldn't understand everything that I said, but this was how Vanessa and I were. She seemed to understand some of what I said, so that made me feel better, and not like some fool who didn't know how to speak to his own child.

She sat up and opened her arms for me to carry her. I picked her up, and she gave me a sweet baby kiss on my cheek and then rested her head on my shoulder.

She was my angel girl. Yeah, I'd be okay.

A/N: Well, I'm sorry for killing off Carlisle and Esme. They did not deserve that, but for the sake of this story, it needed to be done. Edward is a reluctant father, he comes of across as a natural, but he really doens't know what the hell he's doing. I find, in my humble opinion, that it's always the reluctant parent (s) that make the best parents. I do have experience with caring for a child like Vanessa, and yes not all children baby talk. You'd be surprised how well a child can talk and communicate.

This story will alternate between Edward and Bella's POV. So the next chapter is Bella's. I'm warning you now, her story isn't any happier than Edward's.

I find myself writing more angst for this. TBH, in my past stories, I haven't really written any angst. I guess I need to rectify that. :)

Till next time.