Summary: Charlie and Liz are good friends, so when Charlie informs Liz of the strange attacks occurring in Forks, Liz sends over one of her best council members to deal with the vampires—Damon Salvatore. Damon goes to Forks after Elena begins her transition. He expects a boring road ahead of him, but soon realizes he was too quick to judge when he meets Chief Swan's daughter, Bella Swan, who has some secrets of her own.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything belongs to CW, L. J. Smith, and Stephenie Meyer.
The Bloody Dilemma
Not ten minutes had gone by since Bella had entered the X-Ray room that Charlie had returned with two cups of coffee and a disgruntled look on his face. Damon—who remained seated on the uncomfortable waiting chairs—was quick to notice it.
"What is it?" Damon asked, as he accepted the coffee from Charlie's hand.
Charlie gingerly placed himself in the seat, careful not to spill his cup of coffee, and blinked. "I just got a call from Deputy Mark." Charlie exhaled deeply. "Jennifer Ford—the girl who broke Bella's ankle—well . . . her parents called the station; apparently they haven't seen her all evening." Charlie turned to look at Damon, his eyes flickering with emotion. Damon was quick to read what was going on behind the Chief's eyes.
"You think she killed by the vampire." Damon had no tone in his voice. He was simply stating what Charlie was thinking.
Charlie quickly snapped his head from side to side. No-one had heard a thing. Once he realised they were alone and in their own bubble, he turned back to Damon had sighed, nodding solemnly. "The signs are there." Charlie leant forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. "The parents found a trail of blood leading to the window. They think she's been kidnapped." Charlie sighed heavily. "I'll need to go check it out."
"Why don't you go? I'll stay here." Damon gestured to the door, where Bella was inside this minute, being X-Rayed.
Charlie chuckled, though there was little humour in it. "You've only been here a few days and you're already turning into a babysitter. It's not what you're here for Damon." Charlie flickered his eyes in Damon's direction. "I need to be by my daughter's side this time, Damon. If I leave my daughter's side one more time, people will start to think I'm neglecting her—Hell, even I'm starting to think that." Charlie exhaled, dropping his head low in shame. "This vampire is taking everything out of me, Damon. I feel like I'm coming to a dead end. Soon, animal attacks won't be a good enough excuse—at least, not onc everyone hears about Jennifer Ford's disappearance."
Damon was silent momentarily. "Then don't make excuses anymore." Charlie looked up, wide-eyed. "Tell them it's murder." Damon shrugged casually. Charlie looked conflicted. "What harm is it going to do? People are already speculating that its murder anyway. Might as well tell them the truth, before they catch you in the lie." Damon placed the coffee cup on the seat beside him and stood.
"Where are you doing?" Charlie asked with furrowed brows.
Damon, who was walking down the hall, turned to face him. "What I was sent here for—I'm going hunting." Damon grinned, giving Charlie a tantalising finger wave before turning back on the spot and striding down the hallway. Charlie watched him until he had finally disappeared at the end of the corridor before exhaling deeply and shook his head.
Damon Salvatore was an oddity, indeed. Charlie thought as he took a large gulp from his cup of coffee.
Charlie waited—his foot tapping impatiently on the linoleum floor—for Bella to finish in the room. Another ten minutes had gone by when suddenly the sound of heels clicking on the floor sounded, growing louder and louder with every step, as the person ascended down the corridor—towards him. When the sound came closer to him, it slowed gradually.
Charlie snapped his head up. It was Esme. She was now standing a foot or two away from him, holding her notepad and pen. "Esme." Charlie realised he had practically ran out of Miss. Mallory's room when he had heard Bella was in the ER. He also remembered the fact that Bella was only in the room opposte them. Just like he remembered Esme was his ride. And the person Bella had come to the hospital with had left.
"How is Bella?" Esme asked after a short while.
Charlie's eyes flickered to the X-Ray room. "Okay—I think—broken wrist, not complaining much, but that's just Bella being . . .well, Bella." Charlie crackled an awkward smile. Esme didn't smile, rather her eyes moved towards where Charlie's eyes had flickered—to the door where Bella could be walking through at any minute.
Esme inhaled and pulled her eyes away from the door, back to Charlie's. "Well, I ought to be on my way. Officer Stanley called informing me about the disappearance of Jennifer Ford." Esme spoke in a clipped, professional tone. "We need to start taking drastic measures, Charlie. People are beginning to talk." Esme glanced around carefully and took a step forward, speaking in lower tones. "Miss. Mallory's case is strange. Her recollection of encountering Cora's body has changed in the past hour. It's not natural to change your entire memory like that. I've been speaking to her—something's not right; it's like someone—something—has. . ."—
Esme stepped as soon as she heard the voice.
Charlie turned her head to see none other than Bella standing in the doorway. The nurse whom was beside her, excused herself, as if sensing she was interrupting something. Bella didn't seem to notice the absence of the nurse for her eyes were trained on Charlie. "Where's Damon?" she asked, moving her eyes slowly, cautiously, to the person who stood with him. "Who's this?" Bella asked sweetly, innocently, completely unaware of who she was due to the fact she could only see the side of her face.
Charlie could see Esme's face tighten from his angle.
Esme slowly turned around and faced the one person was adamant on keeping away from in her stay. "Hello, Bella."
Bella stared at her, her entire face dropping of all emotion. "Esme." Bella couldn't tear her eyes from her. She looked exactly how her childhood memories pictured her, except—well—she was more beautiful than she remembered. When she was little she always used to think she looked exactly like Snow White with her snowy white complexion, dark eyes that were identical to her own, dark hair, and pinkish-red lips. Her hair was different though—she'd cut it. "What—what are you doing here?" Bella managed to stutter out.
It had—after all—been ten years since Bella had last seen her.
How did she barely look like she had aged?
Esme gave her a tight smile. "I'm here on business. I'm working with your father."
Bella's eyes snapped to Charlie.
Charlie's face was filled with dread. "Bella, let me explain . . ."
"This isn't the first time you've seen her—is it?" Bella was surprised at how angry her voice was. "Is it?"
Charlie tried to compensate words, but nothing would come out. How could he explain everything without telling her everything? He couldn't, that's how. Obviously Charlie's failure to produce words did not go down well with Bella for the next thing Charlie knew, she was running down the corridor. "Bella!" Charlie bellowed after her. "Bella!" Charlie went to run after her, but a hand quickly reached out and grabbed his arm. It was Esme. "No!" Charlie snapped, yanking his arm from Esme's grasp. "This is because of you. Why couldn't you have keep your mouth shut?"
Charlie quickly ran down the corridor, after Bella, shouting his name as he did so.
Esme stayed where she was, her feet rooted to the ground, her eyes watching Charlie disappear—dwindled with an emotion akin to pain.
Her cell beeped.
Esme tore her eyes away from the spot where Charlie had disappeared at the end of the corridor and read the message.
It looks like not much has changed in 10 years. You're still in love with him and he's as oblivious as he was ten years ago to this day. Guess things will never change. He's still hopelessly in love with his dead wife and you're still hopelessly in love with the man you can never have. You're both pathetic . . . Do what you were sent to Forks to do, Esme. Don't mess this up.
As soon as she had finished reading the message, red-hot tears swelled in her eyes. She deleted the message with shaky fingers and tensed her shoulders to stop them from shaking and supressed the sobs sitting at the back of her throat. But as soon as the message was deleted, another had come through.
Oh, and keep away from her, Esme. This is your first warning.—Love, R.