:D :D :D That's my face right now. This story just came third place in the Twilight round of The Canon Tour contest.
Thanks to my betas Silver Sniper and JHorizon for making it the best it could be.
The All-Seeing I
I should have come in the truck. There would have been less room for Bella's stuff, but now I'm wondering if she might find it embarrassing having her old man pick her up in a cruiser.
Well, it's too late now. Her flight's already landed; I'm just waiting for her to collect her bags. At least it's not freezing out.
I'm about to have a seventeen-year-old girl live with me full time. Granted, that girl is my daughter, but suddenly I've got a cold sweat down my back. I have no idea how to be a father to a teenage girl. Why did I agree to this? I spend too much time at the station. I can't cook. I'm fairly sure she hates sports. The house is too small. I've lived alone for years - I'm a creature of habit. What if she ends up hating me?
"You're her father. She's supposed to hate you. If she does, she'll grow out of it."
Billy's advice wasn't really all that helpful. I don't want her to hate me – she's a good kid. She's my only kid. I don't want her to run off as soon as she's old enough like both of Billy's daughters. Maybe I should have grabbed the chance to speak to Sue before Bella got here.
I think that's her coming through the doors now. Going to have to find the time to panic later. Oh, she's in a parka. She must think it is cold.
Is that all she brought with her? I thought she'd own more. Did Renee arrange for more stuff to be sent separately and forget to tell me?
Should we hug?
That was awkward. I don't have much cause to be hugging people often. Guess I'm out of practice.
We should probably go.
She's quiet. Is she waiting for me to say something first?
What can I talk to a teenage girl about? No point asking about boys and school since she's about to start over, and I don't want to hear about her sex life anyway.
I really hope she doesn't have a sex life.
She wasn't too impressed when I told her about the truck. Everything Billy has said about being a parent is going to be ignored from now on.
I think she likes the truck - kinda hard to tell. Strange how she looks so much like a young version of her mom, but she isn't nearly so expressive. With Renee, it was easy to tell if she was happy or not, and I was as clueless as any twenty-something guy would have been. Bella, though, I can't read. Just wish I could have afforded something nicer for her. But it'll keep her safe, and that's what's important.
I didn't know what to do with her room before she arrived, so I left it pretty much as is. I'd better give her some space to get settled. There are things I don't need to see her unpack.
Damn. She probably needs a shelf in the bathroom cupboard. I didn't miss having to look at Renee's, er, bits and pieces, when she left. I won't have to talk to Bella about that stuff, right? She's seventeen. They must have covered that in school by now, right?
God, I won't have to buy Tampax, will I?
Turns out she can cook. I guess that's a good thing since I won't have chance to give her food poisoning and we won't be going to the diner every night. I feel a little guilty about it, though. I don't expect her to cook for me. Wish I'd learned how to do more than bacon and eggs, but there was never really any call for it. I even forgot to go to grocery shopping before she arrived, and now I'm really worrying. I have no idea how to take care of her.
She was real quiet last night. I think she was reading - I know she likes books – so I decided to give her space. I figured if she wanted my company, she'd come find me. Besides, I had an early start today. I hate leaving her alone on her first morning, but I'm covering a deputy's shift so he can spend a little time with his wife before their first baby arrives. They have a nursery to paint and not too long to do it.
These are the things I never gave a second thought to before, but maybe now I need to ask Bells before I make any decisions.
I did ask her about her first day of school when I got home, but I don't think she wanted to talk about it. She went to bed pretty early, too. Starting over must be tiring.
I've lived in a small town my whole life, and I still can't get used to the way people talk about each other. Bells has been here two days and already seems like she's heard rumors about the Cullens. I tried to put her straight before that nonsense could creep in. Anyone who has witnessed Carlisle Cullen working in the aftermath of an RTA knows he doesn't deserve the whispers.
She still didn't have much to say about school. She didn't seem so enthusiastic about gym class - can't say I blame her there.
On the other hand, I've never seen the pantry so full, and she cooks a mean steak.
I'm going to give it a few weeks, and if she doesn't settle in or seem any happier, I'm sending her back to Renee. She was happy in Phoenix and the only thing I really do know about being a parent is that her needs have to come first. I like having her here, and Renee likes her freedom, but I don't want her resenting us years down the line for spending her high school years in a town she hates.
I am going to have Crowley's license.
Bella just about seemed to be settling in. I was kind of excited for her first snowfall, since she's only ever been to Forks in the summer. Maybe seeing everything in the snow, something she could never experience in Phoenix, would change her mind about the place. I put snow chains on the truck to make sure she was okay to drive before I left for work, so the last thing I expected was a panicked call from the school.
I've seen the worst when it comes to road accidents, and usually I'm the first person on the scene. I may not be the most imaginative person, but on the drive to the hospital all I could see in my mind's eye were the most gruesome parts of scenes I'd been called to in the past. Even though I knew Bella was up and walking, it was hard not to see her as a smear of blood and flesh on the asphalt.
Thank God it was Carlisle Cullen who treated her. I'm not sure I would have trusted anyone else.
"You told Mom!"
Of course I called her mother. What was she expecting?
I don't like having to speak on the phone. I like having to speak to my ex-wife on the phone even less.
"She's hardly saying anything in her emails, Charlie! That's not like Bella at all. You have to tell me honestly if you think she isn't settling in."
If it had been anyone else, I might have told her that Bella still did seem a little unsettled, especially after the accident, but this was Renee. Something in her tone of voice just got my back up.
"She seems fine to me. She's made friends and she's doing well in school."
I can't help but eavesdrop on Bella's calls with her mom. When Renee tries to get Bella to confess she's unhappy, Bella just tells her she's fine. It's hard for me not to get back on the phone and tell Renee that if she really cared, she wouldn't have gone gallivanting off with the new guy anyway. But this is Bella's choice. She's already years more mature than her mom was at her age. I'm not going to start making decisions for her.
Doesn't mean I can't keep an eye out for her.
One positive of living in a small town: it's easy to find people and ask questions. I know now who is in the junior class with Bella, and through a little small talk over dinner, I know who she hangs out with at school: Jessica Stanley, Angela Webber, Ben Cheney, Mike Newton, and Eric Yorkie. They've been friendly with each other all the way since kindergarten and luckily, they're good kids with no history of trouble.
When I've accidentally ran into them over the last few days – at the gas station, at the grocery store, at the diner, at the bank – they and their parents have all been happy to talk about Bella. They say she's quiet, but at least she has friends. In fact, a few of the boys (and their mothers) talk about Bella with a familiarity I don't like. That Tyler kid has got another thing coming if he thinks he has a chance of dating Bella after the van incident.
Not that I would ever interfere. Publically.
After speaking to a few people, I've got the general picture. She might not be ecstatically happy here, and I think the weather has a lot to do with that, but she's not alone either. That has to be a good thing, right?
I've about had it with Billy Black and his pettiness about the Cullens. He isn't normally a superstitious guy, and as far as I know he's never even met Carlisle, but he refuses to go to the hospital to get his meds checked.
I told him not to bother calling until he'd removed his head from his ass.
Despite Renee's worries, Bella does have a social life here. I worry, sometimes, when I leave her to go fishing - not that she ever protests. But today she's taking advantage of the sunshine and heading to First Beach with her friends from school.
Although apparently she won't be going to the school dance. I didn't mention it to Renee because she'll probably insist that Bella does go, and I understand completely why she wouldn't want to. Don't want to give Renee ammunition or a chance to pester. Rumor has it, though, that Tyler and Mike both have a thing for Bella and have asked her to go to the dance.
I've got the date marked. Bells say she's going to Seattle that day and while I don't have any reason to doubt her, I don't have any reason to trust those boys, either.
She was shouting in her sleep last night. I want to ask but I have no idea where to start. What if it's just a regular nightmare? God knows I have them myself sometimes.
I had a lot of time to mull it over while I was fishing with Harry. I even missed a bite, which amused him no end. Didn't want to ask him for advice though, because while I don't think this is entirely Harry's fault, Leah seems to have been on the warpath lately, after that whole thing with Sam. She's the exact kind of moody teenager I want to avoid Bella turning into.
If it was a bad dream, it doesn't seem to have affected her much tonight. She volunteered to watch the Mariners with me, though I couldn't tell you how much of the game she actually paid attention to. I listened out for any more noise tonight, but she was quiet.
She did mention that she'd heading up to Port Angeles with some girlfriends of hers. I'm going to let the deputies up there know, just so they can keep an eye out for her.
Sometimes you see something on the news that you were glad you were nowhere near. It's all over the breakfast bulletins this morning - some sick son of a bitch was arrested in Seattle. He was a serial rapist and murderer who'd fled up here from the south. Thinking about how close he'd been to the Olympic Peninsula - to Bella and her friends - is making me feel seriously uneasy. Crooks like that tend to stick to the big cities, but I'm glad they caught him.
Bells came home earlier than I expected last night, and I was relieved when she did. Port Angeles isn't that far away, and it's a safe town as far as these things go, but I still felt anxious knowing she was out there in a strange place. She didn't have any shopping when she got home. Don't girls like shopping? But I suppose it doesn't strike me as odd when it comes to Bella.
She was on edge though. Wonder if she had a fight with her friends. Girls that age always seem to fighting over something.
Bells is really tired this morning. Kid can barely keep her eyes open. Did she have another bad dream? I didn't hear her shouting, but she has seemed restless lately at night.
Time to broach a subject I really don't want to, but it's at Renee's insistence. Seems Bella told her about the dance. She should have known where this would lead.
"Are you still set on going to Seattle?" After that rapist guy got arrested, I'm really not happy about her going. I want to put my foot down and tell her she can't go, but I've seen how well that works when Harry tries it with Leah. "And you're sure you can't make it back in time for the dance?"
I'm happy that she doesn't seem to have any interest in the guys I know hold a candle for her, but I don't trust her. There's something in the way she answers. What isn't she telling me? Does she think I wouldn't let her go to the dance if she asked?
In the end, I don't have anything more to report to Renee than Bella didn't want to ask any of the guys here.
Not sure what Billy's deal was tonight. He and Bells hadn't seen each other in years, and Billy's usually the nicest guy - unless you're a Cullen. Tonight he was just weird. He was fine all day, until we came back to the house to watch the game.
He really needs to get those meds checked.
I half expect Bells to burst into song this morning. I don't think I've ever seen her this cheerful. Good thing is that she's changed her mind about going to Seattle. Can't say how relieved I am about that. And she's still adamant she's not going to the dance.
Maybe she really is finally settling in. I'm still keeping my eye on those boys.
For a girl who claims to not be going to a dance, she's awfully eager tonight. That whole pyjamas and shower routine was obviously meant to say she's not going anywhere. If she's planning on sneaking out, I don't think it's to go to this dance.
I'm unclipping her battery cables, just to be sure.
Harry Clearwater's homemade fish fry. Can't beat it. I think Billy dropping some off was meant as an apology since he's been on another anti-Cullen bent lately - one I haven't been listening to.
Thinking of Harry makes me think of Sue, and that puts me in a good mood. Bella seems like she's in a good mood, too, but she's a bit fidgety. She's picking at her fish, but then I guess she's eaten an awful lot of fish lately.
"What did you do with yourself today?"
"…And this morning I was over at the Cullens'."
Well…that was not the answer I was expecting. But the Cullens are good kids. Rather Bella hangs out with them – I think one of the girls is her age – than with that idiot Newton or Tyler Crowley or that creepy Eric kid.
"Well, I sort of have a date with Edward Cullen tonight…"
The universe has a sick sense of humor. I need a beer.
"He's too old for you!"
Didn't mean to shout that loud. I know shouting doesn't really work, but I can't see her with that big brute of a bear. He's too old. He's too big. He's going to be too arrested if this carries on.
"Edward is the youngest."
Holy crow. My little girl has a boyfriend. At least it's not the big one. Might not hurt to run a background check on them just to be sure – they seem like good kids, but if they were all in foster care, who knows what's happened in the past?
Wait, Bella's playing baseball? The universe really does have a sick sense of humor. At least I'm the one laughing this time.
Still running that background check.
She's late home. I know I didn't set a curfew, but she has to know that this is too late. I'm giving it five minutes, then driving out to the Cullen place to fetch her.
What the hell was that? I've never seen Bella shout before. She's not that kind of girl. She's rational and quiet and responsible.
Was Harry right all along? Is this what boys do to girls they date? Shit, I don't want another Leah on my hands.
She won't tell me what's going on. What am I supposed to do?
"It didn't work out, okay? I really, really hate Forks."
I was an idiot to let her drive off like that, no matter what she said. I've had worse thrown at me in bar fights.
Mind you, the drunks are never your daughter throwing the words of your ex-wife back in your face.
Perfect. Renee isn't answering her phone or returning my calls. At least I can alert cops between here and Phoenix to keep an eye out for her. Get them to turn her around and send her back.
Answer your damn phone, Renee.
I really hate getting calls telling me my daughter is in the hospital.
Cullen was involved in it, too. I know that Bells is capable of just being that clumsy, but I don't buy it. Just like his background check was squeaky clean. This is too perfect.
I'll know when I speak to Bells whether she's telling the truth or not. She can lie to the hospital staff, she can lie to her mom, but she can't lie to me. Might be time to have a word with Billy and see why the Quileutes distrust the Cullens so much. Do they know something I need to?
It might take me some time, but I'm going to unravel this.
At least it's ended okay. She's going to be alright, and she's coming home.
What's this clown doing on my doorstep in a tux?
"Wait there, I'll call Bella."
Looks like Crowley didn't give up, though even I know Bella's going steady with Edward, or whatever the kids call it these days.
Of course, calling Bella means having to call Cullen because she doesn't have a cell phone, yet. Think I might get her one for Christmas. I don't like her being out of reach, especially not when she's out and about with him. The other Cullens are one thing, but I worry about her being alone with him.
I'd like to think I'm not just a paranoid father, but what do I know? Maybe this is me being overprotective. I just can't trust him. I owe his father a kidney for saving Bells, and I owe his sister the other one for helping the last few weeks, but him I owe nothing apart from suspicion. Something's not right here, but all Billy will say is, "We have our reasons."
Tyler's gone packing after whatever Cullen said to him. I stop in front of a new photo on the fireplace, taken by Alice. It's of the pair of them a few weeks ago. Bella's smiling and as close to him as she can get. Something about him needs explaining. I'm going to get to the bottom of it, whatever it takes. One foot out of line, and I'll be there.
I've got my eye on you, kid.
Charlie always reminded me of my own father - he's a cop too - so when I was writing this and struggled to find the right words, I imagined how my dad would say it. I totally stole 'kid' from him.
Thanks for reading, and for voting in the contest if you did!