Summary: a follow up to the one shot - (Chapter 7) being there for Bella - from A Time for Conversations.

Note: I would like to thank emily-0192010 for giving me the kick I needed to get this written. The top part in italics is the ending of the chapter this is based on.I would like to think my Beta reader Wayne Kelley for being my friend and fixing the many mistakes that he found in this due to me writing this 3am. I own nothing, hope you all enjoy this and if you want to you can read the story this is based off of! I own noting except the plot…enjoy!

Inner Strength

By: potterfan2006

"When Charlie got home, he had a few beers and then started to just get angry and started blaming me for her leaving," she said as she stared to shiver; whether it was from the cold of his body or her emotional state, he did not know.

"Bella, why don't we get you inside the house and warm you up, and then we can talk more about this," he suggested.

She nodded her consent, and he helped her out of the truck and into the house, where they sat and talked well into the night until Bella fell asleep in his arms.

Carlisle held onto Bella as she slept, his mind playing her words over and over again, "He blames me for my mom leaving him."

How could anybody blame their child for a failed relationship, especially one as young as Bella was when it happened? Part of him understood what set Charlie off, though; every time he lost a child, it hurt him very deeply, but that did not give a parent enough reason to blame a child for a spouse leaving.

As he looked down at the resting Bella, he gently wiped away the tears that remained on Bella's face and wrapped the blanket more securely around her. He would do anything to protect her; after all, even as a human, he thought of her as his daughter already. Even though Edward and Bella where not married yet, he would do anything to insure that she was happy. At that moment, that meant holding her and then later getting hold of Charlie and talking this out with him. He felt that he had to know that he had hurt Bella deeply.

After awhile, when Carlisle was absolutely certain that Bella was truly asleep, he carried her upstairs to Edward's room and tucked her into bed. Before standing back up, he brushed her hair away from her forehead and placed a gentle kiss there. Walking to the door, he looked back at her one more time and then walked out, leaving the door open just a bit so he could hear her if she began to stir or show any other signs of distress.

Walking to his office down the hall, he sat down at his desk and picked up the phone, dialing Bella's home. He waited and wondered if Charlie would pick up the phone. After three rings, a very weary sounding Charlie came on the phone.

"Hello?" he said groggily.

"Charlie, this is Dr. Cullen. I was wondering, do you have a few minutes to talk?"

"Yeah, sure, what do you want to talk about?" he said gruffly.

"I wanted to talk about Bella."

"Bella's not here. She ran off after I said some things out of anger."

"I know, she came here."

"Is she okay?" he asked quietly.

"She will be," Carlisle assured him.

"Good," was the short reply, after which Carlisle heard him taking a deep breath and then sit down on the couch.

"I really messed up with her, Dr. Cullen," he said as he ran his hands though his hair. "I messed things up with her mother, too, and now, not only did I drive her mother away, but I also drove Bella away."

"You haven't driven her away Charlie, but clearly there are some unresolved issues that you need to talk to someone about, because what you said really hurt Bella."

"I know, I know," he sighed, "I just don't know how to make this right. I didn't know how to fix it then, and I really don't know how to fix it now."

Carlisle sat back in his chair with his legs crossed, "Just talk to her Charlie. Bella is very understanding, and I know she loves you very much, or else your words would have not hurt her the way that they did."

"I wish I never would have said those things to her. I was just under a lot of stress. I hate domestic abuse cases."

"I know, we all do," he empathized. "But that is still no excuse."

Charlie sighed again, "You're right, it's not; I just need to make her see that. Is it ok if I talk to her for a few minutes?"

"Actually, Charlie, right now she is resting. She cried herself to sleep." He left out the part that she fell asleep in his arms.

"Okay, I will let her rest. When she wakes up, will you tell her I said I was sorry?"

"I will do that." He nodded his head, even though Charlie could not see him. "And Charlie, if you ever need to talk about anything, you can call me."

"Thanks Dr. Cullen."

"Please, Charlie, call me Carlisle."

"Okay, thanks Carlisle."

"Anytime."

"And thank you for taking care of my little girl."

"It was my pleasure. I will let Bella know that you want to talk to her when she wakes."

"Okay, thanks. Good bye, Carlisle."

"You're welcome. Good bye." Both of them hung up the phone both feeling better after the conversation.

"You can come in now, Bella," Carlisle called out. The girl had been standing outside his office door since the middle of the conversation, when he'd heard her approach.

Bella blushed when she walked in the door after having been caught, "I guess I should have known I could not sneak up on you," she said with a hint of humor in her voice.

"It's okay," he assured her and stood up from his chair to sit on a couch in his office. "Why don't you come have a seat next to me, I want to talk to you."

"It's about Charlie, isn't it?" she asked as she walked over to the couch and sat down next to him.

"Yes. He said he is sorry about what he said to you."

"I know he is," she sighed. "I know he didn't mean it. I just wish sometimes that he would understand that he wasn't the only one hurting when they split up. I mean, I lost a dad, and had to learn to take care of a mother who was more like a friend than a mom. I spent my time being pulled between two homes, two families, when all I really wanted was my mom and dad together in one house."

Carlisle pulled Bella into his arms again. "Have you ever told Charlie this?"

"I tried a few times over the years, but the words never came out."

"You know what it seems like to me, Bella? Both you and your dad need to sit down and talk. I know both of you are very private people, but I think it would do you both a lot of good just to get things out in the open."

"I know you're right. I just don't know how to start," she shrugged.

"Well, why don't you start with the words that he said to you today? Tell him how they hurt you, and then move on from there?"

"I guess I could," she acknowledged hesitantly.

"I know you can, and it should be sooner rather than later," he smiled encouragingly.

"Thanks, Carlisle," she smiled.

"Anytime, honey, you know that." He pulled her closer and kissed her on the head.

Bella rested her head on Carlisle's shoulder for some time, just soaking up the love she felt.

After a while, she pulled away and looked up at him. "I guess I need to go home now and talk to Charlie then?"

"Only if you want to, sweetheart. You know you can stay here as long as you want."

"I know, but I think you're right. He and I should talk sooner rather than later."

Carlisle smiled and stood up when Bella did, and he embraced her, "I am so proud of you. You are so strong."

"I'm not strong. I just know what I have to do."

He wisely kept his mouth shut, nodded, and watched as she turned and walked out of the office and down the stairs to her truck.

"I love you Bella," he whispered, after he heard the truck start and then head back towards Charlie and a conversation he knew they needed to have. He wished that she could see the strength in her that he did, and he vowed to himself that one day, he would help her see that strength.

The End