Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise, I just use their creations to have my wicked way with them. No copyright infringement is intended.
This one will be very short with most chapters ending somewhere between 1 and 2k. It has already been completely written and beta'ed and some of you may have read it already as part of the Fandom4Tsunami compilation. I might add a few bits and pieces here and there along the way, though.
As always, my beta The Real Teacher worked her magic on this chapter and made it look pretty. Thank you!
An Absolution outtake.
By Miss Baby
~ Part one ~
"Where do you want these boxes?" Charlie's gruff voice called out from behind a stack of moving boxes, the muscles in his arms straining as he swayed into the kitchen.
Bella rolled her eyes, "what does it say on the box, dad?"
"How the hell am I supposed to know?" Charlie complained. "I can't lift and read at the same time!"
"Just drop them over there, in the living room," I offered, fearing Charlie's arms were going to give out if he had to lift that shit any longer. "We'll have a look at them later on."
"Good man!" Charlie grumbled, breathing a sigh of relief when he finally put the boxes down next to the coffee table, his usual gruff demeanor changing into a look of triumph as he studied the labels. "Well what do ya know? They were supposed to go here anyway."
Bella sighed, shaking her head as we watched Charlie walk back out the front door, almost barging headlong into a pair of movers bringing in the sofa. "Why did we allow him to help again?" she groaned.
"Because his little girl is moving to the other end of the country to live in sin with her big bad boyfriend," I shrugged. "He wants to do what he can to stay involved in your life."
I could see why Charlie wanted to be involved in this move. It wasn't going to be easy for him to part with his kid – the one he'd only gotten to really know over the last couple of years – so shortly after he'd almost seen her killed. If it had been me, I wouldn't even have let her go.
Letting him help us out was the least we could do, even if he'd been horribly in the way all day and the movers were getting sick of his constant interfering.
"Psah!" Bella huffed, crossing her arms in front of her chest as Charlie stumbled in with a new – though slightly lighter – load. "He could have done so from a distance."
I chuckled, kissing the top of her head. "Just let him have his fun, sweetheart. You're going to miss him when he leaves tomorrow."
She sighed, grumbling something under her breath about how I was completely and utterly wrong, even though we both know she was going to miss him terribly once he and Sue made their way back to Washington.
This was a fresh start, for all of us, but that didn't mean it didn't come with certain sacrifices.
The past couple of months had been brutal. Between the final proceedings in the Volturi trial, my dad going into and coming back from his stint in prison and Bella graduating from college, we were all completely wiped out and eagerly awaiting our return to normalcy.
It had taken a toll on all of us; most of all on Bella seeing as she not only had to relive what had happened to her at the hands of Aro and his cronies but also had her family history dragged into the limelight when Renee took the strand to testify against the Volturi leaders.
When Esme announced, shortly afterwards, that the Mary Hart Foundation, which had offered her a job when no other charity in town had wanted to taint their name by having it associated with the Volturi, had offered her a promotion that would force her to move states to sunny California, we'd all jumped at the chance to escape the city that had been tainted forever.
"It's funny how it only takes a little over an hour for people to offload your entire life," Bella mused as we stood on our front lawn and watched the moving truck drive away.
I chuckled, turning towards her. "Does this mean that we don't have that much baggage after all?"
She giggled along with me, her eyes shining radiantly in the afternoon sun. "I wish!"
I sighed happily, kissing her lips chastely before pulling back. "I love you, did I tell you that today?"
"Only about a dozen times!" She made a show of rolling her eyes at my corniness, though I could see by the color of her cheeks and the hint of a smile on her lips that she loved every single time I spoke the words. "I love you too, by the way."
"You'd better!" I huffed. "You know as well as I do that a catch like me is hard to come by!"
She shook her head, something she appeared to be doing an awful lot of that day, as she nudged me in the ribs. "Arrogant ass!"
I brushed the tip of my nose against hers before pressing my lips to it. "Let's get inside before your dad decides to remodel our entire home…..or before I lose my cool and take you right here on the front lawn."
She blushed a fierce scarlet, a flash of satisfaction coursing through my body as I noticed her sway on her feet for a couple of seconds before she found her footing again. "N-no," she stammered. "We wouldn't want that. What on earth would the neighbors say?"
"Later," I promised her, protectively wrapping my arm around her small body as we walked back up to the house. "I hope you got a good night's sleep last night, sweetheart, because as soon as our parents have left tonight, I intend to christen this house good and proper."
I leaned in, my confidence raising another few points as Bella shivered against me while I whispered into her ear. "And I do mean every room of the house, angel."
And with that, and another quick kiss, I left her behind dazed, confused and properly flustered.
We spent a few hours unpacking boxes and turning the house into a home before Sue and mom arrived with food and a whole lot of other shit we didn't need; my dad having stayed behind at the apartment he and my mom had bought when they moved out here a months ago, right after the trial had ended.
I had to admit it, I was glad he did. Things were still kind of strained between us even though they were better than they had been in over ten years.
Seeing him in a hospital bed, pale as a sheet and fighting for his life after he'd taken a bullet to save my girl, had finally made me forgive him, even though we both knew it would be a long time before I would be able to forget the role he'd played in the shit we'd gone through. We were trying to work things out, just like he and mom were trying to do, but we still had a long way to go before we could be in the same room without feeling uncomfortable and on edge again.
"Need help?" I looked up to see Charlie coming out of the house, a beer in each hand, as he joined me on the back porch. "I've been around the block with those things more times than I care to remember."
"Yes, please!" I groaned frustrated, stepping away from the barbecue. "I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to be doing with this shit."
"Didn't do a lot of barbecuing in fancy Woodway, did ya?" Charlie grinned, his hands making light work of getting the fire started.
"Nope," I grinned. "We had our lackeys to do all the menial tasks for us."
He looked back at me, his eyes tightening as he tried to make sure I was kidding before he broke out into a loud guffaw. "I might have been wrong about you, son," he chuckled, slamming me on the back with one hand while offering me one of his beers with the other. "You may not make such a bad son in law after all!"
"Thanks!" I beamed. His high opinion still meant a lot, knowing how close he and Bella had always been even in spite of the fact that they didn't spend that much time together. Over the past weeks, as the Volturi trial had progressed, he and I had been thrown into each other's company quite a lot and, after the rough start we'd had, had come to some kind of understanding between the two of us. He'd never gone out and given me his blessing, though. This…..it was huge.
"I still retain the right to change my mind, though, mind you," he warned me. "San Francisco may not be next-door to Forks but when my little girl is concerned no amount of distance is going to keep me from having it out with ya if you ever hurt her feelings."
I nodded, taking a sip from my beer. "Duly noted but wholly unnecessary. I have no intention of hurting Bella any more than I already have."
He grunted, his eyes tightening again as he gave me the once over. "Then tell me, Edward. When do you suppose you're going to make an honest woman of her?"
The chug I'd just taken from my bottle sprayed all over the pristine new deck as I stared at him in complete shock. "W-what?"
He stared back at me, cool as fuck. "I'm the girl's father, Edward. Do you really think I like her living in sin?"
I shrugged. "I suppose not."
"I may not have been around for part of her childhood but I held that girl as she took her first steps into this world and I promised that I would do my damndest to make sure she was well protected," he grunted, his brown eyes – so like those of Bella's – watching my every move with a hardness that came from years in the police force. "I don't like her moving all the way to California one bit, even though I see why you both need this change in your life, since it makes looking out for her a hell of a lot harder than it would have been, had you two still been living in Seattle. Harder, not impossible."
I nodded. "I can see why it would be hard for you to let go but….."
"Call me old-fashioned but I do prefer to see a ring on my baby girl's finger before she's shacking up with a man," he pressed on. "I'm sure you have every intention of growing old with her but that kind of romantic crap only gets you so far. I want to see proof – signed, sealed and avowed in front of a priest and a civil servant – that you're going to take care of her for as long as you live."
He leaned back against the wall, sipping his beer as he waited for me to respond.
I scratched my head, trying to come up with words that weren't going to get me yelled – or shot – at by father or daughter. "I….erm…..we," I scratched my head, fumbling on my words. Man this shit was hard! "We've never really discussed marriage, Bella and me. We…."
I held up my hands in surrender as Charlie let out a low grunt, obviously displeased with my words. "We've only been together for under a year and I thought we should take our time to get to know each other…..not rush into things, least of all important things like marriage….you know what I mean?"
His eyes narrowed again as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Keep talking."
Good. At least if he wanted me to keep talking, he wasn't about to shoot me.
"It doesn't mean I don't intend to marry Bella one day," I scrambled one, "It's just that right now is….too….soon?" I looked up to gauge his reactions, seeing no change – good or bad - in his demeanor. I wasn't sure whether I liked that or not.
"So you do intend to marry her?' Charlie interrogated.
"Yes, sir," I nodded.
"Just not right away."
"Hmmm," he pondered, obviously having to ruminate on that. "Can you give me a timeframe on that?"
Right. "I don't know,' I shrugged, feeling very nervous all of a sudden. "Maybe a year or so?"
"A year," Charlie repeated. "I guess I can live with that."
"Good." I breathed a sigh of relief. "I promise not to let you down, sir."
"You'd better not," Charlie threatened. "Oh and son?"
"If you get her pregnant before you put a ring on her finger, I'm going to kill you."
I swallowed hard, making a mental note to stock up on just about every contraceptive that had ever been invented. "Duly noted, sir."
It wasn't until late that night that our guests finally left, both mom and Sue taking an almost sadistic pleasure into helping Bella and me get settled into our new home and prolonging their stay in our house when they'd so obviously outstayed their welcome.
At least, as far as I was concerned.
Bella didn't seem to think our parents' prolonged stay in our home was as annoying as I held it to be, her cheeks flushed as she animatedly discussed the pros and cons of having curtains instead of blinds.
And what was even more messed up was that I found myself listening in on their conversation and trying to follow their line of reasoning.
I was so fucking whipped.
What the hell had happened to me?
I chuckled, taking a chug from my beer bottle. 'Old Edward' would never have stayed around to listen to that kind of shit. Hell, 'old Edward' wouldn't even be shacking up with a girl in the first place. Old Edward was all about the 'fuck and run' mentality.
Old Edward was dead.
He'd been slowly withering away from the moment Bella had staggered back into my life but it hadn't been until I had been lying on a cold marble floor, bleeding from a wound that could have killed me that he had really kicked the bucket.
The funny thing was, I didn't miss him at all.
Aww. Edward has come such a long way, hasn't he?
Please let me know what you think about this one.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!