AN: I've finally found to time to start writing Charlie's story. I can't promise weekly updates like I did with My Sacrifice and Knowing That You Love Me but I do promise not to go months without updates.
The title of the story along with the chapter titles are all songs by Journey. Yes, I'm a HUGE Journey nerd. The songs don't necessarily reflect what happens in the chapter but the titles fit quite nicely.
I hope everyone enjoys my interpretation of Charlie and Renee's love story from Twilight. While I'm trying to keep this canon please know that I'm not keeping this a T rated story. Charlie and Renee are both adults and I feel their story needs to be treated as an adult story.
As always, thanks to my beyond amazingly awesome beta birdee18. My stories would be a complete grammatical nightmare without her super red pen ;) You are wonderful, bb!
Thanks to my pre-readers TheSpoiltOne, Footroza, and Confetirainfall. You can't imagine how much your comments set my mind at ease about this story and posting it.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. Sadly I do not. I just adore Charlie and think everyone should love him :)
I took in a deep breath as I started the engine to the police cruiser. It was my first day on the job as a Forks police officer. Who would've thought the screw up of the class of '82 would end up one of Forks finest? I definitely got into my fair share of trouble in high school. I had a permanent seat in detention all four years. Mrs. Avery, the teacher in charge of detention, actually shed a tear when I served my last day. I never got into trouble with the law because I didn't want to face the wrath of my father if I'd actually been arrested. My offenses were minor, such as cutting class, smoking in the bathroom, getting caught with a flask, and my personal favorite, my fist getting acquainted with Crowley's face. I swear he loved to irritate me.
Luckily, my high school antics didn't get in the way of me getting hired by the City of Forks. After graduation I spent the summer doing odd jobs around town trying to decide what I really wanted to do with my life. I was no good with cars, so mechanic was out of the question. I tried logging for a few weeks and decided there was no way in hell I could handle doing that day in and day out for forty years. I refused to bag groceries at the Thriftway, so my only other option was law enforcement.
Deputy Bailey was more than happy to fill me in on the best way to get hired. He suggested I enroll at Peninsula College and earn an AAS in Criminal Justice, then put in my application with the Forks Police Department. Once I was hired I would then attend the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Law Enforcement Academy, or the Academy as everyone called it. That September I was officially a college student, which totally blew my parents away. My dad always assumed I'd end up at the Forks Police Department; he just thought it would be as a permanent resident in one of the cells. He and Mom were both ecstatic that I finally had a plan for a future with a promising career.
The classes for my degree were fairly simple and I could've easily received my degree in a year and a half by taking summer classes, but I didn't graduate until May of '85. You had to be at least 21 to enroll in the Academy so I took my time and made sure I easily passed all of my classes at Peninsula. I graduated with top honors and a 4.0 GPA, which ensured me a job on the force. The Chief was impressed with my dedication to my studies.
I started attending the Academy July 29, 1985. The next six months in the Academy were brutal. The physical training was like boot camp. I was always in pretty good shape, but the cigarettes had done a number on my lungs. With the help of a few friends in my classes I kicked the habit and was finally able to keep up with the rest of the cadets. By the time graduation rolled around I was top of my class. No one could beat me on the obstacle course or at the shooting range.
I had never seen my parents prouder than the day I received my letter officially welcoming me to the Forks Police Department. My first day on the job would be January 6. My mom had tears in her eyes and my dad actually pulled me into a hug. I couldn't remember the last time Geoffrey had offered more than a handshake or a pat on the back. The joy I felt at my parents' reactions was overwhelming.
My first day as a rookie on the force was very uneventful. I spent the first hour cruising through town and the roads that led out of town reacquainting myself with the layout of town. I found a few good spots to set up speed traps. I had a feeling my favorite would be behind the Welcome to Forks sign leading into town on the 101.
Driving through town on the way back to the station I noticed one of the guys from the La Push Reservation stumbling down the sidewalk. I flashed my lights and pulled over to check on him. He stopped long enough to scoff and roll his eyes at me before he resumed his stumbling.
"Excuse me, sir; do you need help getting somewhere?" Even though this kid wasn't any older than me, I remembered that I was on duty and tried to keep a professional demeanor.
"I don't need shit from someone like you," he slurred.
"I need you to join me over here, sir," I said, gently nudging him toward my cruiser.
"Keep your damn hands off of me, ocifer." The drunken man was swaying from side to side.
I took a few steps closer to him and could smell the alcohol oozing out of his pores. This man was beyond drunk. "Sir, I'm more than happy to escort you home but if you refuse to cooperate with me I will have to run you into the station for public intoxication. The choice is yours."
The man had opened his mouth and looked like he was ready to give me a piece of his mind when he dropped to his knees and started hurling on the side of the street. The smell was so horrible that I almost lost it. I quickly covered my nose with a napkin from the front seat and waited for the man to stop. After a few minutes of dry heaving, the man was fairly disoriented and I decided it was the perfect time to get him in the car. He only fell on his ass twice before I was able to help him into the back of the cruiser. Luckily his stomach was empty and I didn't have to worry about cleaning up the cruiser once I got him out of there.
Deputy Bailey's eyes grew wide when I dragged the drunken man into the station.
"Well I'll be damned. How the hell did you manage to get Uley in here without a fight?"
"You mean this guy?" I asked, pointing at the drunk.
"Yeah, that's Joshua Uley. He lives on the rez but has a nasty reputation in town for drunk and disorderly conduct."
"I found him stumbling down the sidewalk in town. He was clearly intoxicated so I attempted to put him in the car. He tossed his cookies all over the road and I helped him in the car shortly after," I shrugged.
"Throw him in lock up. We'll let him sleep it off tonight and then take him back to the rez tomorrow. I'll give Quil Ateara a call and let him know we've got him." Deputy Bailey shook his head at the situation.
Uley was passed out so I just laid him on the cot in the cell and locked him in. I grabbed a cup of coffee and glazed donut from the box the Chief had brought in that morning. Bailey was finishing up his conversation with the rez when I sat down at my desk. Apparently this kind of behavior was fairly common for Joshua Uley.
"Swan, we'll have you take Uley back to La Push tomorrow. Might as well let you meet Quil since Uley does this quite often." Bailey shook his head in disgust.
"So, what's his story?"
"Joshua Uley is a trouble maker. Always has been. He likes to drink and sleep around. His sleeping around finally caught up to him and he got Anne, a girl on the rez, pregnant. The tribal council insisted he marry her or be banned from the rez. After he married Anne, his drinking got worse. You would think a wife and a baby that was due any day now would settle a man down."
I couldn't believe what Bailey had just told me. I never could understand all the guys in school who jumped from girl to girl. I dated my fair share of girls in school, but I couldn't imagine using them the way other guys did. It disgusted me. This Uley guy was lucky enough to have the love of a woman who was going to give birth to his child any day and he wanted to throw it all away. Maybe the guys on the rez needed to beat some sense into him. That would be something I would've loved to participate in.
The rest of my day was uneventful. I was grateful for an easy intro into the world of law enforcement but secretly hoped it wouldn't always be this slow. I couldn't help but smile when I walked into the house and smelled Grandma Swan's stroganoff cooking. It was my favorite. My mom beamed when she turned and saw me walking into the kitchen.
"Did you have a good first day, sweetie?" Mom wrapped her frail arms around me and squeezed with all of her might. I couldn't help but feel like something wasn't quite right with Mom. She looked like she had lost weight in the past few weeks and her eyes looked tired.
"Hey, Ma. I had a very uneventful day so I would say that's good. Dinner smells great. You didn't have to make my favorite. I know it's not the easiest thing in the world to cook."
Mom stepped back to the stove and stirred the stroganoff. "Don't be silly. I wanted to make your favorite to commemorate your fist day on the force. Now go put that gun away and get cleaned up for dinner. It should be ready in about twenty minutes."
I kissed my mom on her cheek and headed to my room. I made sure to unload my service revolver and lock it in the box I kept in the top of my closet. I didn't want to take any chances of my mom grabbing my gun and it accidentally going off. That would be my worst nightmare. Living with my parents was inconvenient at times but necessary for a while. I needed to get a few paychecks in the bank before I could even think about finding my own place. Mom and Dad were more than happy to let me stay with them while I saved up enough to find a suitable place.
Once my guy was secure I took a quick shower and headed down stairs just as Mom was putting dinner on the table. Dad was already seated at the head of the table with a beer.
"Charles, would you like a beer or tea with dinner?"
"A beer would be great. Thanks, Ma."
"So, rough first day, son?" Dad asked with a smirk. I rarely drank in front of my parents. I was old enough, but it still felt strange seeing how many times I got in trouble in high school for drinking.
"It was actually pretty tame. My only excitement was a public intox from a guy from the rez. He's sleeping it off tonight and I'll take him back to the rez tomorrow." Dad simply nodded as Mom gave me a beer and took her seat.
The rest of the dinner was passed in silence. Dad didn't believe in a lot of chit chat during a meal. He wanted to enjoy his food while it was hot. I wasn't a conversationalist to begin with so I was more than happy with my dad's insistence on a silent meal.
I did the dishes for Mom and insisted she take it easy. She was looking even more tired and pale by the time she took her seat on the couch next to Dad. Something wasn't right with her and it worried me. I made a mental note to talk with Dad about it next time we were alone.
The evening never gave me a chance to talk with Dad. I went to bed worried that something was seriously wrong with my mother and fell into a restless sleep. Dad was already at work by the time I made it into the kitchen ready for work. Mom seemed better after a good night's rest. Maybe last night was just the result of a long, hard day. I decided to keep a close eye on her and talk to Dad if she continued to look ill. I left the house after kissing Mom on the cheek and wishing her a good day.
Bailey was already at his desk when I walked into the station. He looked like he'd been there all night.
"Swan, you look like hell. Rough night or just long night?" Bailey asked, waggling his eyebrows.
I shook my head and laughed. "Just had a hard time getting to sleep. Unfortunately no way to have a long night under your parents' roof."
"Man, you need to fix that pronto. You'd be amazed how many women you can get wearing that uniform. Women love a civil servant."
"What does your wife have to say about all of these women lusting after you, Bailey?"
"JoAnne is one woman you don't want to cross. She nearly broke the hand of a woman that got a little too friendly with me in the store and started to rub her hand up and down my arm. After that, word got around that I'm married to a jealous, psychotic woman and I don't get a second glance anymore." Bailey looked disappointed and a little fearful at the same time.
I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of five foot tall JoAnne Bailey manhandling some woman pawing her husband. It was always the little ones you needed to be careful around.
My laughter was interrupted by the Chief. "Swan, you need to take Uley back to the rez. Take him to the Tribal Office. You should find Quil Ateara there."
"Yes, sir. I'm on it." The chief nodded at me and shut his door again.
Uley was quiet during the drive back to LaPush. He was sober but no more friendly than the day before. He seemed to get tenser the closer we got to the rez. He obviously didn't want to be here. I could only assume he felt trapped by a wife and child he really didn't want. It disgusted me. I parked in front of the Tribal Office and escorted Uley into the building. A couple of Quileute guys were sitting in the lobby. One of the guys was about my age and the other appeared to be about ten years older than me. The sound of the door closing got their attention and they both shook their heads when they saw Uley.
"I'm looking for Quil Ateara."
The older guy stood up and stopped a few feet in front of me. "Quil's not here today. I'm Harry Clearwater. What did Uley do this time?"
I extended my hand and he shook it firmly. "I'm Charlie Swan. I'm an officer with the Forks Police Department. I found Mr. Uley intoxicated on the sidewalk downtown yesterday. We kept him locked up overnight so he could sober up. The Chief said you guys would be more than happy to deal with him."
The other guy was shaking his head and laughing as he walked up to join the group. "I'm Billy Black," he said extending his hand. He too had a firm grip. "Quil won't be too happy to have to deal with Uley yet again. If it wasn't for Anne and that baby you would be out of here, Joshua."
Uley simply scoffed and slumped down into a chair. I gave him a disgusted look and turned back to Billy and Harry. "Do I need to sign anything or do I just leave him here?"
"No paperwork needed. So, how long have you been on the force, Charlie?" Harry asked.
"Today is actually my second day. I just graduated from the Academy last month."
"Hey, Billy, we hitting the Clearwater River this weekend?"
"Yep. Sarah's making us some sandwiches and she's planning on spending the day with Sue."
"Think she'd mind making a few extra sandwiches?" Billy smiled when Harry asked that question.
"She wouldn't mind at all. What are you up to?"
"Charlie, you like to fish?"
"What man in his right mind doesn't like to fish?"
"Great! Why don't you come fishing with us on Saturday? You can bring your girl along and she can spend the day with Sue and Sarah. I'm sure they'd love having another woman around."
I felt the heat in my cheeks when he mentioned my girl. "I'd love to fish with you guys but I don't have a girl."
"Oh, sorry man. I just figured you would have one." Harry slapped my shoulder. I just shrugged. "Anyway, just meet us here about six on Saturday morning."
"Can I bring anything?"
"If you could bring the beer that would be great. Sarah and Sue will take care of lunch for us," Billy smirked.
"Great. I'll see you guys Saturday." I shook the guys' hands again, made my way back to the cruiser, and headed back to Forks.
It was great to make some new friends. All of my friends from school were either off at college or moved away. I hadn't been fishing since I was in high school, and I missed the serenity of just being out on the river. I had a feeling Saturday was going to be a great day.
The morning had been fairly slow at the station. I responded to a call at the Thriftway. Some teenager thought he could get away with shoplifting. The owner didn't want to press charges. He simply wanted to give the kid a good scare. I drove the kid back to the station and threw him in a cell. He was so terrified he was shaking. He didn't want me to call his parents. Once I closed the cell door, Bailey took over handling the scared kid. I'd just sat down at my desk and started my report about Uley when the Chief's door opened.
"Swan, Mrs. Johnson over at Forks High just called. They caught a kid with some weed, a flask full of alcohol, and a switchblade. I need you to go down and bring the kid in."
"Of course, sir. Do they have him in the office?"
"Yeah, just go to the office. Mrs. Johnson has all of the necessary paperwork ready for you."
The drive to the high school only took a few minutes. It felt strange pulling up in a police cruiser instead of being driven out in the backseat of one. I couldn't wait to see the look on Mrs. Johnson's face when I walk in there in uniform. She was always my biggest supporter at school. When I would walk into the office, she would shake her head at me and say, "Charlie Swan you are so much better than this. You could do great things if you would only apply yourself and quit causing trouble."
I pulled open the office door and heard a gasp. Mrs. Johnson's eyes were bugged out and her hand was over her mouth.
"Dear Lord in heaven, is that Charlie Swan I see before me?"
"Yes ma'am. I understand you're having a bit of a problem with a student," I said in my most official voice.
Mrs. Johnson jumped to her feet and came around her desk like her chair was on fire. "Boy, get over here and give this old lady a hug."
Before I could even blink, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a bone-crushing bear hug. It felt like she could've cracked a rib. I breathed in a painful sigh of relief when she released her death grip on me.
"I can't believe you are a police officer. Didn't I tell you that you could do great things if you only applied yourself?" she chided.
"Yes, Mrs. Johnson. You were right as usual." I winked at her and she blushed.
"Well, now that the reunion is done let's get down to business. Mr. Mallory was caught with marijuana, a flask of bourbon, and a switchblade. Principal Harrison has him in his office. I have the confiscated items in this bag." Mrs. Johnson handed me a brown paper bag with the Thriftway logo printed on it. I peeked inside to find a sandwich baggie half full of marijuana, a black handled switch blade, and a plain silver flask. I closed the bag up tightly, winked at Mrs. Johnson, and knocked on the door of Principal Harrison's office.
After hearing a gruff "come in," I opened the door and was met another shocked look from my old principal. "Well I'll be damned," I heard him mumble. Obviously this town wasn't so small that word of the old high school screw up being a cop hadn't quite reached everyone.
"Morning, Principal Harrison. I understand you have a student that needs to taken in."
"I don't believe it. Charles Swan is now a police officer? They actually pay you to carry a gun?" He looked terrified for a moment then burst out laughing.
"Yes sir, they do," I smirked.
"It's good to see you made something of yourself." Mr. Harrison clapped me on back.
We spent a few minutes going over the details of how Brad Mallory was caught with the items I now held in the Thriftway bag. The bell had just rung and the hallway was filling with students. I stopped dead in my tracks when I looked to the locker bank to my right and saw the most beautiful brunette I'd ever seen leaningd against the lockers staring at me. My heart sped up and my throat went dry. It took me a minute to realize I was staring at a high school student. I quickly shook off my stupor and escorted Brad Mallory to the back of the cruiser.
I thought about the beautiful girl all the way back to the station. I was surprised I didn't cause a wreck with my complete lack of attention to what I was doing. I sat Mallory in front of Bailey's desk and gave him the bag of confiscated items. I watched and learned all about the booking procedures as Bailey photographed, printed, and placed Mallory in a cell. Brad's father was a prominent lawyer in the Port Angeles area and had his son out on bail within three hours. I was pretty sure Brad would get off with no more than a slap to the wrist before all was said and done since his father was close friends with the Clallum County DA.
By the time Brad Mallory left the station with his father, my day of work was complete. I was more than happy to end the day and drive home. I walked into the house and found my mom in the kitchen cooking as usual. I leaned against the door frame and watched her. She seemed to be moving slower than usual. Her hands shook a bit more than I was used to seeing. Something was definitely not right with her. I cleared my throat and startled her.
"Charles, you scared me half to death. Don't sneak up on your mom like that," she scolded.
I wanted to cry for my mother when she turned to face me. Her face was extremely pale and the circles under her eyes were darker than the day before. I forced a small smile. "I'm sorry, Ma. I wasn't trying to sneak up on you. Can I do anything to help you?"
"Don't be silly, dear. I've got dinner almost done. Go change out of your uniform and dinner will be ready when you come back." She gave me a tired smile and squeezed my hand.
I reluctantly nodded my head and ran to my room to change. I was only gone ten minutes and came back to find dinner on the table and Mom and Dad waiting for me. Dad was looking at mom with the same concern that I felt. We dined in our usual silence. The silence was not welcome that night. I was dying to know what was wrong with my mom and found it hard to keep quiet and enjoy my dinner. By the time my father had finished eating and left the table, I realized that I hadn't eaten a single bite. I'd simply moved my food around my plate. I glanced at my mother to see she had done the same thing.
"Ma, are you feeling alright? You didn't touch your dinner."
"Charles, I could ask you the same question. Moving your food around only makes a mess."
I blushed and looked down at my plate. It was rather disgusting looking. "I'm fine, Ma. It was just a long day and I'm worried about you."
"I'm fine, dear. I've just been a bit tired lately and lost a bit of my appetite. Nothing to worry about." She winked at me and started clearing the table.
I jumped up and grabbed the dishes from her hands. "Ma, if you're that tired please let me clean up. You should go relax with Dad."
My mom gave me the dishes and kissed me on the cheek. "You are such a sweet boy. One day you are going to make some lucky lady the happiest woman on earth."
Mom's mention of me making a woman happy made that brunette girl from the high school pop into my head. Why the hell couldn't I get that girl out of my head? No matter how beautiful I thought she was, there was no way I could date a high school girl. With my luck she was a fifteen year old freshman.
I shook my head to clear it. I needed to get the girl out of my head. I had more important things to deal with right now. Something was seriously wrong with my mother, and I intended to find out what it was.