I sat in my old, worn chair, staring at the television screen; not even a Seattle Mariner's documentary was holding my interest. I was more concerned about Bella. She had been married for a little over a month and a half, and for the past several she'd been in an intensive care center somewhere, with a rare tropical disease. Carlisle kept telling me that it was for the best I didn't see her, that he and everyone else was doing their best to treat her, so she could get home to Forks.
All I wanted to do was see my little girl; hell, woman now. If only I was able to talk to her, or hear her voice, it would take the edge off my nerves and allow me to sleep better at night.
Sitting forward in my chair, I took a deep breath and wiped my face with my hand, and ran it through my hair. More thoughts of Bella raced through my brain, and a switch flipped inside of me. I had to see her and I was determined to.
A knock suddenly broke through my thoughts, and I jumped a little. Looking over my shoulder to the front door, I didn't see an outline of anybody there. I got up and walked towards it, but then the knock came again, clearly coming from the kitchen. Changing course, I heard the door open and I stopped near the coat rack where my gun was holstered in my belt. A familiar, but long overdue voice filled the room.
"Charlie, are you here?"
Breathing a sigh of relief, I walked to the kitchen and rounded the corner. "Jake, what're you doing here?" I did a double take; the only thing he wore was a pair of jean cutoffs, no shirt or shoes.
Closing the door Jacob said, "Uh, I've come to talk to you about Bella, actually."
My demeanor turned even sourer than it already was. "Well, she's god knows where with some horrible tropical disease. I can't see her, can't talk to-"
"She's back," Jacob cut in.
"What do you mean she's back? The Cullens were supposed to call me first thing the moment something happened!" I couldn't help that voice got louder towards the end. I could feel my face begin to turn red with anger at the situation.
"You may want to take a seat, Charlie." I watched Jacob take a seat, and after a moment of contemplation, I took one as well. "This is going to come as a bit of shock to you, it took me a bit to come to terms with it myself. You see, something did happen to Bella on her honeymoon, something neither of them thought could ever happen. Carlisle was right, Bella was very sick, and he was the only one that could save her."
"Okay, what are you getting at?" My voice sounded around the room, becoming slightly more frustrated.
"Bella has been home for the past several weeks. Her illness was not some rare tropical disease."
I stood up, my hands curling into fists. "They lied to me? Jake, you need get out now." I rounded the corner and headed towards the rack by the front door, grabbing a flannel and slipping it on over my shoulders. As I reached for my keys, Jacob was suddenly in front of me.
"I need to talk to you Charlie. Trust me, Bella is fine now, you can go see her once I have told you want I need to tell you."
"Then spit it out!" My final nerve had unwound.
"Let's go for a walk. Come on, fresh air could do you some good right now."
I took a calming breath. "This better be good." I turned and walked the last couple of feet to the front door.
"Let's go out the back," Jacob said. With a swift turn he was headed towards the back door. My eyes drifted to the front door. Just beyond it was my car, my way to see my little girl. But against better judgment, I followed Jacob out the back door.
When we were several yards in Jacob spoke to me, "This is a good place to stop."
Stopping, I scanned the circular clearing and found a fallen tree trunk; Unsure as to what was about to transpire, I took a seat; Jacob remained standing. With just a look from my direction, Jacob began to talk.
"Remember back in February when I came down with mono?"
I nodded. It had been another horrific time for Bells. How could I forget?
"I didn't have mono. Tribe legends have been passed down for generations, stating that Quileutes are descended from wolves, and that our magic awakens when our only natural enemy, the cold ones, comes around. After the movie that night, I didn't feel right. I went home and my dad immediately knew something wasn't right, and knew what was about to happen. Sam came over, and he carried me into the woods. All I could do was lay there as the rain pummeled my body, and wish for the pain to end. It felt like my entire body was being broken down and rearranged. Next thing I know Sam isn't near my anymore, and a huge wolf stood in his place. The pain built up, my body split opened and the sound that came from my mouth was not a scream, but a howl. I didn't know what to do, or what to think. I stood before the black wolf, my scent, sight and hearing magnified, as a wolf. I heard him inside my head telling me not be scared, that this was who I was, my destiny and that I was now a protector of humans."
About halfway through, his story got completely ridiculous; my doubt was clearly written on my face. "Jake, did you suffer some sort of brain hemorrhage from the fever? There's no such thing as werewolves. Your tribal legends are intriguing, but seriously, come one, this right here is almost certifiable," I finished my speech with a bark of laughter. "Well, thanks for wasting my time." I got up and started to walk back towards the house.
"I'll show you."
I rolled my eyes, my stance immediately becoming one of annoyance. I pinched the bridge of my nose, and that's when I heard something happening. Turning around, I caught the tail end of Jacob's jean cutoffs ripping to pieces and falling to the ground. Mortified, I took quick steps backwards and tripped over a root. It took one blink and suddenly before me was a large, russet colored wolf. I rubbed at my eyes with the heels of my palms, trying to comprehend what I was seeing, but my mind refused to believe it.
"Maybe I should have slept more last night," I mumbled to myself. "This isn't real."
Jacob the wolf looked at me; his mouth opening in what almost appeared to be a smile.
"Great, now I'm seeing my daughter's bestfriend turned wolf, smile at me." As if to answer his monologue, the wolf howled.
"Can you…understand me?"
Jacob the wolf gave a small bark.
"That's it." I got up.
In another blink, an entirely nude Jacob stood before me, and I turned my head quickly away.
"You are putting some clothes on, right?"
Jacob laughed a little. "Yeah, I stashed an extra pair on cutoffs over here."
I compose what little sanity I had left, and went back to the fallen log I had occupied a few moments before, while Jacob grabbed his pants. Once dressed, he sat next to me, but on a rock just the right.
*"Charlie, you don't live in the world you thought you lived in. The good news is, nothing has changed-except now you know. Life'll go on the same way it always has. You can go right back to pretending you don't believe any of this."
I sat there and thought about what I'd just seen, and what I was just told. Werewolves were real. Jacob is one of them. Bella knows.
"Charlie, Bella was very sick. And in the process, she changed a little to get better."
My head snapped up. "What do you mean, changed, what happened?"
*"In order for her to get better she had to change. So rather than looking like Renee, she looks a little more like Esme."
I tried to wrap my head around what he was saying, but it was all too fanciful. One word, however, stood out more so than the rest, change.
"You didn't happen to knick her with one of your claws did you? Does she turn into a wolf?"
Jacob's laughter startled me, but then his answer came.
*"She only wishes she was that cool!* You see, were-"
*"No, no, no, no, I'd rather not know the specifics."
A million questions raced through my head, a few more persistent. "Did she know what she was getting herself into when she married Edward?"
*"Sure, she's known all about this for years, since she first came to Forks."
"Oh, my poor Bells. What has she gotten involved with? Why didn't she just meet someone normal? I wish I could have gotten rid of that Cullen kid long ago, wish he and his sister never came back here."
I got up and walked around the clearing, thinking about what my baby girl had done, why should would do such a thing. What I did know, was that something had happened to her and she had to change because of it.
"I want to see her, now."
"Give me a few moments to get there and explain to them. I'm sure everything will be fine in the end."
I nodded. "Also, I want to be told as little as possible about all this. If I don't need to know it, don't tell me."
"I'll be sure to let them know."
I watched Jacob turn around, his hands going to the buttons of his pants, but then he turned around.
"One more thing, Edward and Bella have a new mouth to feed."
That shocked me almost to the point of being speechless. *"They're adopting her, like a daughter? Like I'm some sort of grandfather?"
*"Yes, congrats, Gramps."
Something inside of me flooded open, and I could feel the corners of my lips tugging up into a small smile.
*"She's more special than all of us put together. Trust me; you don't want to know about this. But if you can ignore all the strange parts, you're going to be amazed. She's the more wonderful person in the whole world. If you could deal with that, Bella and everyone else can stick around for a while, and you can get the chance to know her. If that's too much for you, they'll leave."
In a matter of twenty minutes it felt like I had been indicted into some sort of weird cult, but I would do anything to be able to see my Bells again, and dare I think it, granddaughter. *"As long as no one forces too much information on me, I'll deal."
"Okay, give me ten minutes to get there and warn them and everything will be a go."
I watched until he was out of sight, and I turned to go back to the house. Once inside I grabbed my keys and flipped the front porch light on for when I got back home. Without stopping for anything else, I was out the door and in my police cruiser. My mind was a jumble of mixed emotions:
Relief that my girl was alright; anger that I had been lied to all this time; confusion as to what the hell was going on; and finally pride, that in a small way I was now a grandpa. But it did strike a little strange that it had all happened in less than a month's time.
I made the drive to the Cullen's house very quickly, anxious to see Bella. I pushed the speed limit, glad that I knew the ins and outs of the roads. Finally, I came to the turn off and headed towards the house. I pulled up to the mammoth structure, staring at it for a few moments before willing myself to shut the car off and see me daughter.
I wondered briefly how she had changed, why she had to change in order to live. Jacob was not of help to me in that area. But then again, I had told him if I didn't need to know, don't tell me.
I killed the engine and opened the door. I took several deep breaths before my feet moved, and I crossed the grass and made it to the porch. One final cleansing breath and I knocked. This was it. I was finally going to see her.
A moment ticked by, then I heard rustling on the other side of the door. The knob turned and Carlisle's face showed shock at who it was on the other side.
The nerve he had to play me.
*"Carlisle, where's Bella?"
Then I heard her, but did I hear her? Her voice was all wrong, too high; precise and perfect. I walked a little more in so I could see her. She was sitting on the couch, a bundle in her arms with Edward by her side.
But that wasn't my Bella, was it? She was too pale, paler than before and that was saying something. Her eyes seemed a little off as well. This must have been what Jacob meant by her having to change, but what had she changed in to. My poor little girl, she was here in the flesh, but so wrong. I took in her appearance. Jacob had said something about his only enemy being 'the cold ones', but the Cullens weren't like the ones they protected people from. Cold ones, what sort of creatures are cold? Looking at her, somewhere in my brain a thought came forward, but there was no way she could be that.
Looking around the room, I noticed all of them. Same complexion, same eyes; there was no way this was just by chance, these genetics all coming from different people only to be adopted out by this seemingly normal family. My god, what had she'd done. What had they done to her?
Swallowing I focused again on Bella. It had to be her, I've seen her bite her lip too many times like that, but I still had my doubts. *"Is that you, Bella?"
Her reply came in that eerier voice again. I watched as she winced, obviously still not used to her own new voice.
Then another voice followed, *"Hey, Charlie. How're things?"
I looked into the corner where Jacob sat. I shuddered as I remembered what he had shown me, what he had told me just a little while ago. Shaking my head, I walked closer to Bella. Her skin was too place, too smooth. I looked at Edward then to Bella.
She replied, *"It's really me. I'm sorry dad."
*"Are you okay?" I walked a few steps closer, further processing her change with what Jacob had told me.
*"Really and truly great. Healthy as a horse."
Right. *"Jake told me this was…necessary. That you were dying."
I watched as she clutched the bundle closer to her and leaned into Edward. She took a breath. While I could only see half of her face, the look that crossed it looked like she was in pain. Edward wrapped an arm around her and hugged her closer.
She pulled up and away from him. *"Jacob was telling the truth."
*"That makes one of you."
My heart fell. Why, how could she lie to me? I was her father; she should have known she could have come to me before making such a big decision.
Suddenly, the bundle in Bella's arms moved and she looked down at it, I followed her gaze. Oh, that's right, their new mouth to feed.
*"Oh, this is her. The orphan Jacob said you're adopting."
*"My niece," Edward replied.
I started the interrogation. They were too young for this. Newlyweds, with children, just didn't work out most of the time. I know. At one poinr during the talk, Renesmee removed her head out from under Bella's hair. My heart nearly stopped. She was beautiful.
*"Jacob says you call her Nessie?"
Bella's reaction startled me, like a lioness with her cub she corrected her name.
*"Her name is Renesmee."
Bella was possessive, almost as if she was her own. I settled into the fact that I was about to be Grandpa, a young one at that. They made sure to throw Carlisle into the fray, he was younger than me, I supposed, and he too would be a grandpa as well.
One thing was for sure, she was gorgeous.
Renesmee leaned forward from Bella, her head turning towards me and I gasped.
Her eyes, they were my eyes staring back at me, Bella's once beautiful brown.
Suddenly I couldn't breath. In my head I counted how long they'd been together. How long since the wedding, their honeymoon and how long she'd been sick; just barely a month my mind was telling me.
A warm hand patted me on my back and Jacob's voice broke through my hysteria. "*Need to know Charlie. It's okay. I promise."
I nodded and shook my head. I got closer to the two on the couch. Something deeper than what was on the surface was happening. *"I don't want to know everything, but I'm done with the lies!"
Edward's smooth voice told me that I needed to know the public story more than the truth. That if I was going to be apart of this secret, this story was the one I needed to know. If I could do this, then they wouldn't have to leave so soon.
*"You might've given me some warning, kid," I spoke to Bella, but it was meant more so for Edward.
*"Would it really have made this any easier?"
I got down on my knees in front of the couch. Renesmee tried to reach for me, but Bella held her hand back for some reason, her other hand reaching out to Bella. How could this infant be so…I don't know, mature?
*"How old is she?"
They told me she was three months, or rather the size of a three month old. Still, this was way too much for her to be doing at such a young age. As I looked at her and her at me, she waved right at me, no doubt about it. From my left Jacob elbowed me, telling me something, and I took a step the right.
Jacob reminded me that he was the same person as before, just could turn furry at the drop of a pin at will. I couldn't believe that I had been friends with Billy for ages and some how not known that any of this sort of stuff existed. I guess that's why they're secrets, so the normal people don't lose it. The events of months prior; however seemed to click into place.
The mysterious disappearances, all the killings in Seattle, and let's not forget the huge wolf sightings.
*"Everything is going to be great, Charlie. Just try to not believe anything you see."
Abruptly, one of the Cullen kids, Emmett, gave a holler, rooting on the Gators. And just like that, the atmosphere changed. Nothing was odd, nothing out of place. There was not such things as werewolves and…I couldn't bring me self to say the word. I got up and headed to a nearby chair, relaxing as much as I could in to it, and got the game stats from Emmett.
As the day winded down to dusk, I got up and stretched my legs. Sue Clearwater was cooking for Billy and me.
Saying good bye to Bella was one of the hardest things for me to do. Se reassured me that if I didn't talk to anyone, well anyone not in the know, they would be around for a little while. Still, it felt as if I was never going to see her again, that I would never see my granddaughter grow up. I tentatively leaned in and awkwardly hugged Bella.
*"Keep close Bells. Real close."
Her body was cold and hard. My heart ached at what she had done, but at least she was alive.
Looking at Renesmee I couldn't help but feel a little proud. While I wasn't used to it, and most definitely did not like the idea of Bella being nineteen, married and a mother in a span of a month, in my heart I knew she was happy, that she would always be happy with her decision.
We both agreed not to tell Rene what had happened, for obvious reasons. Bella told me about her name choices, and my heart skipped a little when she told me Renesmee's middle name, Carlie.
Before leaving I got the chance to hold the little bundle. She slept peacefully, her curls surrounding her face, the long lashes dusting her cheeks. In that moment, I didn't care what had become of Bella, I was holding the most beautiful thing, more so than Bella dare I say it. She had reduced me to a gawking fool complete with cooing, and she as asleep.
My stomach growled, and Bella told me to go and eat and that she would still be here tomorrow. I nodded and handed Nessie back.
Looking past Bella I observed what I could only imagine was the daily life of the Cullens.
Alice and Jasper were on the bottom step inside the house. She was running her fingers through his hair, staring down at him and into the same colored eyes as her own. Carlisle was reading and his wife, Esme, was sitting nearby humming to herself while sketching. The sounds of piano music filled my ears; no doubt that was my son-in-law playing. I chuckled to myself as I watched the 'older' Cullen kids setting up what was going to be a colossal house of cards.
I shuddered at how different things were now, than from the time I first got here. *"See you tomorrow, Bella."
I still couldn't come to terms with how much she had changed, out of my head. It was mainly the physical part the disturbed me so much. *"I mean, it's not like you don't look…good. I'll get used to it."
With that last parting remark, I turned and walked to my car. I started my engine and glanced once more at Bella, and I noticed that Edward was now standing in the doorway. Revving the engine, I put the car into gear and drove back down the way I had entered this seemingly magical place, where things of fairytales and lore really did exist and roam the world.
As those thoughts faded from my head, my stomach once again gave a rumble. I smirked to myself as my tires hit the paved road, and I made a left to head towards Sue's house. I still didn't know if I would ever discuss openly what had happened this afternoon, but I was glad that I had a close friend that I could talk to with about it.