A/N: This is for _argustar , who wanted to see more of this scenario (which, by the way, was hit out of the park by monroeslittle in Then It's Your Choice, so if you like the concept go check that out). It wound up being a good place to put all my frustrations from the aborted Charlie Drabbles. I'll return to this series whenever the mood strikes (that is, whenever I need a little break from other projects), but it has no set end, so don't think of it as a WIP.
Also, yes, in time there will be baby!Jake as well as baby!Bells. He has to be born first though.
Pieces of the Memories
After She Left (Sarah)
"I'm going to kill that bitch," Sue seethes. (That is what Sue does - she seethes.) "I'm going to hunt her down and snatch her bald-headed."
"Hush," Sarah murmurs. (That is what Sarah does - she murmurs.) And she nods towards the doorway. "Little pitchers." Peeking out of the hall into the living room are three small dark heads. Two of them have already started repeating everything they hear; the Swear Jar in the Blacks' house paid for Sarah's new microwave.
"Oh. Right." Sue's daughter isn't talking yet, so she doesn't know what it's like to say Finish your peas and hear Hell noback. (The Clearwaters' Swear Jar will make the Blacks' Swear Jar look like pocket change. Billy is awful but Sue's mouth could curdle cream.) "Girls, this is grown-up language," Sue says firmly. "We don't say 'bitch' until we're thirteen. Understand?"
Sarah has known Sue for all of their twenty-three years, but sometimes she still doesn't understand how that woman's mind works. She adds, "Rachel, Rebecca, go back to your room. Show Leah your Care Bears, okay?"
Rachel and Rebecca are nineteen months old. They still manage to give Sarah identical eyerolls. It's a very Billy expression. But when Sarah frowns at them, they grab Leah's hands - nearly pulling the baby off her unsteady feet - and disappear down the hall. A moment later a door slams, not entirely blocking the sound of very elaborate Baby English explaining the nature of a 'Care Bear Stare'.
Sarah shakes her head and turns back to the shell-shocked man sitting on her couch. "All right, honey. Did she say where she was going?"
"No." The word is dry, and Charlie swallows. "She just said... she said it didn't work out. She said she really hates Forks. I would've moved anywhere she wanted to go..."
Sue snorts. "What, she's too good for this place? Fuck that." Sarah shoots her a severe look, and Sue throws up her hands. "Fine, fine. But this is nothing that some tire-slashing wouldn't solve."
"Go make coffee, Sue." Ignoring the grumbling from the kitchen, Sarah sits down in Billy's recliner and tries to catch her friend's eye. Charlie's as much a part of her family as Harry and Sue are and it hurts to see him in pain. "Maybe she just needs to get away for a weekend. You know, after the girls were born I thought about running away sometimes. If I'd been awake enough to operate a car I might've headed to Seattle for a few days and gone to a spa or something."
"She gave me this, Sarah," Charlie says hollowly. He pulls something out of his pocket and holds it out; Sarah takes Renee's wedding ring, stunned. "She said she didn't feel right about keeping it."
That bitch. (Just because Sarah doesn't say these things out loud doesn't mean she doesn't think them.)
Charlie's white face is even whiter than usual. "What am I supposed to do now?"
Sarah is spared coming up with an answer by the opening of the front door; Billy walks in, stomping snow off his boots. "Hey, Charlie, saw the cruiser out front, I thought you were-" He trails off as Sarah gives him a significant look. "What's going on?"
"That bitch left him." Sue comes out of the kitchen with two cups of coffee. "You're better off, Charlie. I always hated the woman."
"Billy, where's Harry?" Sarah says, looking at her husband a little desperately. Someone needs to rein Sue in and Harry is the only one who knows how.
"He's picking up stuff for fish fry." Billy is glancing between Sue and Sarah and Charlie, and his eyes widen. "You're not kidding."
Sarah shakes her head.
Billy's face reddens, and he mouths That bitch to Sue. Sue nods vigorously. None of them had thought the marriage was a good idea but it never occurred to Sarah that Renee would do something like this...
A loud wailing breaks the silence, and Charlie looks down in terror at the bundle in his arms. "I- I don't-"
"Billy, there's a can of formula and some bottles in the cabinet over the fridge," Sarah says calmly as she stands. "Six ounces will probably do it. Sue, please get one of Leah's diapers out of your bag, they're a little big but they'll do for right now. I'll go find a warmer blanket. That dress is too thin for this weather, Charlie."
Charlie looks crushed in too many ways to count. "It is? I just... I put her in something and came over, I didn't think-"
"It's fine, it was a good choice," she assures him. "It's just gotten colder since you arrived. Don't worry." Any tiny criticism might shatter him right now. Charlie needs to believe he's capable of what he has to do... because in spite of her words, Sarah doesn't really believe Renee is coming back.
The wailing lessens as Charlie awkwardly lifts his infant daughter over his shoulder and pats her back. "It's okay, Bella," he whispers. "Don't cry. It's fine. It's gonna be fine."
Sarah hopes so.