Based on the characters created by Stephanie Meyer, in her Twilight Saga series of books
HOME BY TWILIGHT
"It's time, Charlie."
Charlie choked and spit out the bite of the sandwich he had started to eat. Something told him not to answer the phone. "Hang on," he managed to get out. He covered the receiver, looked up, then closed his eyes before he sat down at the small kitchen table. "What about Renee; she'll..."
"I've already talked to her. She's leaving it up to you," the female voice continued.
"Please don't make me do this," Charlie ran his free hand through his unruly hair. "You don't know what's happened."
"I know exactly what's happened," the female voice became tight with controlled anger. "And it's been far more than YOU know. TELL HER!" the voice began to soften, but only slightly. "There will be a plane waiting for her on Wednesday. This Wednesday. It leaves at 6pm. She can bring all her friends; in fact, I insist," and the phone went dead.
Charlie sat at the table, staring at the receiver in his hand. The buzzing changed to the familiar "If you would like to make a call..." recording. Charlie got up and slammed the receiver back on its wall cradle, and began to pace the kitchen.
" Being Sheriff sure hasn't helped" he muttered as he tried to think of a way out of this trap he felt closing in around him. "Wednesday" He glanced at the calendar. "Two days" Tears began to fill his eyes, but refused to fall. "Two days," and he reached for the phone.
"I have to talk to Bella," Charlie struggled to get out.
"Charlie?" Alice answered. "Is everything alright?"
"I need Bella," He choked out, then cleared his throat. "There is something important I need to talk to her about."
"She'll be there soon," Alice told him and hung up the phone.
Charlie wandered the empty house, trying to find the words he needed. He couldn't stop the memory from slipping forward. The hospital, Renee, the doctors. Those words "...stillborn...", and "...nice couple but, well to bad..." He heard Renee's screams as she struggled to deliver that dead thing that had almost killed her. The cries. He remembered the fear that Renee would lose her mind just as she had lost their baby.
The front door slamming open brought Charlie out of his memory of the nightmare, that was the night Bella was born. His Bella... Their Bella. And there she was. The daughter he loved. His little girl all grown up. He reached for her, and she grabbed him in a safely snug hug. Charlie looked behind her to Edward, who was holding his grandchild. HIS GRANDCHILD!
"No matter what," he whispered, "You're my little girl"
"Charlie?" Bella held on to him, as she turned him toward the front room. She walked arm-in-arm with her father as they went to sit in the couch.
"Charlie," Bella looked up at her husband, who had taken up post behind the couch. His eyes were closed and his lips drawn in a tight line. He knew what it was all about, but would be no help. When she looked back at her father he had composed himself.
"You have to understand," he started quietly. "Renee was very fragile back then, when you were born." He caught his breath before he continued. "We made a promise. She said that all our lives depended on us keeping it. That the time would come when it would be safe enough, that we would have to tell you the truth. She called today. Just a few minutes ago. She says it's time."
"Who called?" Bella looked up to Edward again. He still refused to help. "Time for what?" Bella was beginning to get a little angry.
"Your biological mother" Charlie spit it out.
There was a long silence before Bella slowly rose from the couch.
"You're not making any sense," she spit out between her teeth. "I'm calling mom"
"NO" Charlie yelled to stop her. Bella turned to look at him. "She got the first call. You don't know how much this is going to hurt her. As long as you don't call her, she can believe that it hasn't happened. Please Bells," Charlie begged. "Let me try to explain. But first, you and the Cullens, probably Jacob too, are to be at the airport Wednesday. A private plane will be there. It leaves at 6pm."
"We'll be there," Edward answered before Bella could explode. He gave her a stern look and she appeared to calm down.
"O.K.," Bella sat back down on the couch. "I'll listen"
Charlie took a deep breath and blew it out slow, before he started.
" Renee had trouble from the first,"" his mind drifted back 20 years.
" I don't feel well," Renee complained, as Charlie drove her home from the game. "I think I'm going to be sick".
Charlie looked over to see her turn a slight shade of green, then throw-up all over the floor of his father's car. He pulled to the side of the road as fast as he could, jumped out and opened the door for her. "Baby! You got the flu or something? We didn't have to go tonight. We could have stayed at your place and watched T.V., or something."
"I don't feel like I have a fever," She allowed Charlie to help her out of the car, slowly, and leaned against it for support. After helping her out of the car, Charlie got into the trunk for paper towels and spray cleaner. "I just suddenly felt sick." Renee took a few deep breathes and began to relax. "I feel better," she smiled at him, then suddenly doubled over and vomited on the grass.
"Nachos on the car floor," Charlie mumbled as he used a large wad of paper towels to collect the mess in the car. "Hot dogs on the grass," he frowned as he stood up, and sprayed the interior of the car with a deodorizer. "Where's the root beer?" and up it came.
Charlie began to open his mouth, but Renee grabbed him by the front of his Fork's Spartans jacket, breathed heavily into his face and said "Shut up Charlie" and he had the good sense to obey. He helped her back into the car, with the windows now down all the way, and spun the car around.
"I thought you were taking me home?" Renee asked weakly.
"Hospital," Charlie responded.
"That was the night we found out that Renee was pregnant," Charlie returned to the present. "I need..." and Edward was holding out an open beer for him. He stared up at his son-in-law for a moment. "How do you... forget it," then he returned his attention to Bella. She had put her feet on the couch, and wrapped her arms around her legs. "The whole pregnancy was like that. She was in and out of the hospital. On bed rest for the rest of the time. She lost so much weight, I thought she was going to die. Our parents wanted us to get married. They didn't insist, but they did make sure we both knew that it was the right thing to do.I wanted to. I loved her, baby or not. So we did. I think Rene would have waited except for her mother pushing her. And then, suddenly it was time" Charlie's eyes began to glaze over as, once again, he drifted into the past.
"What a storm," Charlie kissed Renee's cheek as he took off his raincoat. He looked around at the spotless house his parents had helped them buy after the wedding. It had been more of a bribe than a wedding gift, the co-signing of the loan. Charlie had to promise to join the police force after high school, but it was worth it. "Was mom here today" he asked as he washed up for dinner.
"Who's?" Renee called from the kitchen. "Your's or mine?"
"Either" he called back, "Both" he mumbled to himself.
"Nope," she smiled at him as she set the tiny table. Renee looked around the small rooms with pride. "I did it." she beamed. "All by myself." she put her hands on her hips. "I really felt good today."
Charlie had gotten use to the house being in a state of disarray. Renee seldom felt good for an entire day, and tended to become exhausted easily. He couldn't help but smile. He jumped out of his chair, pulled hers out for her to sit, and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll get the rest of dinner," Charlie announced, and bounded into the kitchen. He had just picked up the bowls of mashed potatoes and gravy when Renee screamed for the first time that night. The dinner parts mingled on the kitchen floor, with the bits of broken china, when the second scream finally caused him to move.
The floor under Renee's chair was wet and water and blood dripped from the the chair seat. As Charlie charged to her, he took in these things that seemed wrong. He lifted her from the chair, and rushed her to his car, as she screamed again.
"The baby was already dead," he looked at Bella's hands, so white against her black jeans. "She just kept screaming." Charlie wiped his face with his hand, making sure to include his eyes. "It was... ohhh, it doesn't matter what it was." He leaned back on the couch. "Renee stopped screaming when they sedated her, then went in and took it out."
Charlie stood up and began to pace the small room. "They said that it would be "unwise" for her to try again. To much damage to her insides. They said the next try would kill her for sure; that it would be best if the option was taken from her. Her mother made that choice. We all knew that she would try again if given half a chance. So they took it from her. I think she always blamed me, but that's O.K.. I blamed me too.
There were no private hospital rooms back then. When I finally got a chance to get to the room, there was another woman there. She had a girl, but she didn't look to happy. When I walked in the room I thought she was going to attack me or something." Charlie turned to look out the window and was gone again.
"I'm sorry," she smiled. "You look a lot like someone I use to know. His hair was kind of curly like that too."
"The father?" Charlie asked.
"I think he's dead," and she turned her head toward Renee. "I think she's waking up."
And Renee began crying. Charlie wrapped his arms around her and tried to comfort her. Nothing helped. Charlie stayed with her all night. The nurses tried to make him leave, but he refused. Renee's roommate finally had to step in and ordered the nurses from the room, complaining that they were bothering her more than Charlie.
"O.K," the woman pulled a chair up to Renee's bedside. "I think it's time to make a deal."
"I'm sorry but, who are you?" Charlie asked quietly. "The nurse called you Jane?"
"Doesn't matter," she responded. "Jane will do for now. They think I was in that boat wreck off the coast. I told them I didn't remember my name. When you're in labor, they tend to glaze over the details till a more opportune time." she paused for a moment . "So, here's the deal. I work for people that would like to have anything they can use, to hold over my head. I already know that they are going to try to prevent me from leaving when my contract is up. They don't know that I was pregnant. They don't know that I now have a baby. And they can never find out. At least not until she's able to protect herself."
"What the hell are you talking about," Charlie was beginning to get angry.
"A baby girl?" Renee was awake. "My baby girl?"
Charlie looked at the strange woman, then back at his wife. "What do you want?" he demanded.
"I will arrange everything. No one will know. She will be yours."
"But Renee's parents, mine. The doctors, nurses. They all..."
"You're not listening to me. This is vital. No one can know anything different. If anyone finds out then they will definitely kill the both of you and maybe the baby as well.
All our lives will depend on you keeping the secret."
Charlie turned back to look at Bella. "We both agreed. The next morning, Renee was holding you, feeding you. She asked me if I liked the name Isabella. Her room mate was gone. No one even remembered her ever being there. It was as if the whole thing had been a nightmare and it was you who had been born to us. Over the years I guess I had convinced myself that it really had just been a bad dream" Charlie stopped, unable to think of a single word more to say.
"And mom?" Bella asked.
"I'm not sure she remembers any of it. I don't want her to ever have to relive any of it. I think that's why she left Forks. Why she left me. So she could forget."
Bella pulled he knees closer to her chin. She couldn't believe what Charlie had just told her.
Edward was lost in his own memories. Renee's pregnancy sounded so much like Bella's that he couldn't help but feel his father-in-law's pain.
"We have to go?" Bella had trouble finishing her thought. "I have to meet her?"
"She expects everyone to go meet her?
Bella began to get louder.
"She just expects everyone to just drop everything, and jump when she says so?
"YES!" Now it was Charlie's turn to get loud.
"And if I don't?"
"Then she will probably come here," Charlie gave a small shiver, and would say no more.