Chapter 15

Bella lay in bed trying to listen for any sounds of Charlie moving about the house. It was already ten AM and she had promised Edward she would be at the cabin first thing in the morning. She knew how awkward and hurtful it would be if she didn't show up. It was at times like this she wished she knew his phone number.

She peered out the window and watched as the rain started. She and Edward had planned on having a picnic outside. The rain would ruin their plans.

She groaned in frustration. It seemed like everything was working against them, first Charlie and now the rain.

She stared at the ceiling and tried to concentrate on listening for Charlie. She wasn't in the mood to see his face, especially after the night before. His reaction had scared her. She was sure he was going to slap her. He was in enough of a rage to do it. Charlie seemed to be getting worse and worse as time went by. He was always hot tempered but these days it was getting out of control.

"Alright, that's it," she said frustratingly, as she flung her legs over the side of the bed. "I need to get out of here."

She picked up her packed backpack from the corner by her desk and headed downstairs. She had almost made it to the door before Charlie stopped her as he stepped into the main hall.

"You're not going anywhere Isabella." His voice was steady and cold.

"I have to go to –" she began to explain.

"Don't even think about saying you're going to Newton's because you and I both know that's a lie," he said angrily.

"Dad."

"When were you going to tell me you got fired?" he asked with a humorless laugh. "What the hell has gotten into you? You don't lie. You always told me the truth."

She stared at him not knowing how to respond.

"Damn it, Bella. Answer me," he half shouted.

"I don't know," she said through clenched teeth. "You're not the easiest person to tell things."

"Are you kidding me? Where the –" He was interrupted by a light knock on the door. Bella whirled around to face the door. She didn't hear a car pull up. She was about to peek outside when the doorknob turned and the door pushed open.

"Mom?" Bella stared at her mother in shock. "What are you doing here?"

Her mother's eyes drifted to her father before landing back on her. She looked just as shocked to see Bella, as Bella was to see her. "How are you sweetheart?"

Bella rolled her eyes at her mother's question. "I'm perfect. Just great," she said sarcastically.

"Good." Renée smiled. Her smile didn't reach her eyes. Bella could tell she was nervous about something by the way she kept wringing her hands together. She looked back at Charlie and could see him glaring at her mother.

Bella looked at Renée. She was a black cocktail dress and her long chestnut hair hung in loose curls. Unlike the last time she was wearing makeup.

"Well it's about time you got here," Charlie said breaking the long silence. He looked at Bella and she almost thought he would send her back to her room. There was apprehension in his eyes. "Let's take this to my office."

"I'm afraid I don't have much time Charlie," Renée said meeting his eyes. "I have a meeting in Port Angeles after this. Can we keep this short?"

"Sure," he said coolly looking her over. "Whatever you want Renée. I know how busy you get."

"Charles, let's not do this now," she said warily.

Bella looked between her parents trying to discern what was going on. Renée looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there and Charlie looked livid.

He turned on his heel and marched up the stairs to his office. Bella and Renée silently followed, one more annoyed than the other.

"Your mother and I are separating," he said once he was seated. He didn't waste any time, he got straight to the point.

"Divorcing," Renée corrected.

Charlie shot Renée a cold glare. "Things are apparently not working out for her so she's leaving."

Renée turned to face Bella. "I'm so sorry sweetheart. Things are just not the same anymore."

"I know. I could tell," Bella said quietly trying to avoid looking at her father. "I'm fine with it though."

She placed her hand over Bella's. "I'm so sorry sweetheart. I hope this doesn't cause you any pain."

"I said I was fine with it Mom." She pulled her hand away. She needed her space.

Renée stared at her for a long moment, probably trying to read her expression. "Okay," she said. She snuck a glance at her watch. "There is something else too. I'll be moving out."

Bella's head snapped up in panic. She knew this was coming but she didn't give much thought as to what would happen with her.

"I know you're eighteen and it's your choice what you want to do but if you want to come live with me for a while. Things haven't been the best lately and I want to fix our relationship. We can have some quality girl time. Your father would like for you to stay here but I hope you consider visiting or…"

Her eyes moved between her mother and her father. This was turning into a very uncomfortable situation. She would want nothing more than to leave Charlie's house but she was afraid of what his reaction would be. He had been especially unpredictable lately.

"You don't have to make up your mind now," Renée said. "And my feelings won't be hurt if you stay or if you want nothing to do with me."

Bella wasn't sure if her mom was trying to appear neutral or if she just didn't want her to move in and was making sure she didn't feel forced. She glanced at Charlie and shrunk back a little at his cold glare. She really didn't want to stay with him. Not after what he did the night before.

"Where exactly are you moving to?"

"Not too far," Renée replied. "It'll be here in Forks. It's a nice place and It's on a river. I love it there."

"Okay." That was good. I didn't want to go too far. "I think I'll come with you," she said. "It's not too far and I…can see Dad." She said it for his benefit but had very little intention on doing so.

"That's great," Renée said with a bright smile. "We have an extra room that leads out to the river and the view is spectacular. You will love it. It's relaxing."

"Are we living with someone else? You said we."

"Um…yeah. We're staying with my…friend Phillip." Renée suddenly looked nervous.

"Friend?"

Bella looked towards her father at the sound of his voice. She had almost forgotten he was there.

"You are quite the piece of work Renée," Charlie laughed. "We both know he's not just a friend. He's your little fuck buddy. You're such a classless whore. The boy is half your age."

"Seven years Charlie," she spat. "We're only seven years apart. That's hardly half my age."

"It's still disgusting," he sneered. "I didn't want you to expose Bella to that but it seems she will be more like you." He looked at me. " Don't worry, you both will come crying back to me. She will only drag you down to her level. You can leave with her. It's fine with me, but mark my words, it is a mistake."

Bella almost felt bad for her father. As ill tempered as he may be, it was obvious that Renée broke his heart. Neither one had come right out and said it but Renee was obviously cheating with this Phillip person. A younger man. That must have hit Charlie hard. She smiled.

"Charlie can we please not do this now?" Renée said. "Things didn't work out. Is it too much to ask that you remain civil?"

"Civil? You want me to be civil when you've been fucking another man? When you're on your way to making me a laughing stock?" He shot up from his seat. "What the hell happened to you? We used to be perfect together."

"Don't act like you weren't cheating too," she retorted. "You've been doing it for years and I knew about it. I turned a blind eye. I pretended like it wasn't happening. We were supposed to be the perfect family, but we're not. We both deserve happiness and it's not with each other. I found mine with Phillip and I hope you find yours too."

"You bitch," he chuckled humorlessly. "You…You…I loved you. I loved you so much. You're the reason I'm here. My love for you kept me back. If it weren't for you I would be great."

"I loved you too. I still do," Renée said standing up. Tears flowed from her eyes. "But loving you isn't enough. I'm sorry."

"Me too." His voice was thick. "Do me a favor and don't let Bella's love for you keep her back. She can do great things."

Renée didn't respond. She gave him a small smile and looked down at Bella who was curled up in her seat wishing she were anywhere but there.

"I have too leave now to make my appointment," she said. "I'll be back later to pick you up. Pack some things."

Bella nodded.

"Goodbye Charlie," Renée said. There was finality in her words. It was a permanent goodbye. Although they would surely see each other again Renée's goodbye signified the end of their relationship. She was letting him know they were truly and permanently over.

Charlie was still as a statue as Renée walked out of the room and out of his life.

Bella wasn't sure if she imagined it or not but she heard a faint sound from Charlie's mouth as he watched her mother leave.

"Bye."

~I~

"So what do you think?"

"I love it," Bella said. "It's beautiful and tranquil." Bella genuinely liked Renée's new place. It was a huge change from their old home.

She was surprised when Charlie gave her no problems about leaving. After her mother left she promptly went up to her room and began packing. Halfway through, she heard Charlie pull away and he never came back in time to see her leave. She felt relief.

The house was very spacious one story that it sat before the Sol Duc River. Renée had told her Phillip had a boat and they could take it out sometime. That made her thin of Edward and what he must think of her for not showing up. She made a silent promise to go see him the very next day.

"That's what I love the most. My head feels so clear here," Renée sighed. "I didn't think you'd come."

"Why?"

"I thought you would hate me for breaking up our family. It was a rotten thing for me to do. I should have just left when things started going bad. There was no use in prolonging the hurt."

"What happened is between you and Dad. I don't agree with what you did, but it's none of my business. That's not why I'm here. I'm not picking sides. I just needed a change of scenery. I plan on leaving once the school year is up." At that point Bella didn't like either of her parents very much. She only went with Renée to escape Charlie's temper and controlling ways.

"I'm sorry."

Bella didn't respond. She wasn't ready to give forgiveness just yet.

"I hope you forgive me some day."

"Maybe I will," Bella said. "But not for the reasons you think. Like I said before, what went on with you and this Phillip person is between you and Dad. I really don't care. And you need to stop saying sorry for things you're not sorry for."

"Alright sweetheart," Renée said softly. "I'm going to go get dinner ready. Do you want to help? It will be like when you were younger."

"Sure." Bella fought the urge to roll her eyes.

Once in the kitchen they got to work silently. Bella chopped the vegetables while her mom prepared the sauce for their vegetable stir-fry.

"So, how are things?" Renée asked. "I know I've been a little off lately but I promise I will get back to normal soon."

"I got fired from Newton's," Bella said casually.

"Really?" Renée gasped. "When? Does Karen know about this?"

"Of course she does, she's the one who fired me. Apparently she was mad about me punching Mike."

"So this happened a while ago?"

"Yep."

"Why didn't you say anything?"

"Seriously Mom?"

"What?"

"You know how Dad gets."

"But I'm your Mom," she said. "You can talk to me about anything."

"Sure I can," I snorted.

We continued working in silence, and after Bella finished with the vegetables she watched as her mother prepared the food. Renée seemed so much lighter and carefree. It was amazing to watch.

"What's going on with you? You seem so distant these days." Renée looked over at her.

Bella shrugged. "I don't know. I feel like same old me."

"I just want you to know that I'm here for you if you need to talk," she said sincerely. "You can tell me anything."

"Yeah I actually –" The front door slammed and Bella's head snapped towards it. Bella heard heavy footsteps approaching before a tall dark haired man rounded the corner. He seemed to be in his early thirties and he wore dark jeans and a blue button down jeans.

"Hey," He said leaning against the frame of the entryway.

"Bella," Renée said looking between her and the man with a large grin. "This is my boyfriend Phillip. Phillip this is Bella. My daughter."

"It's very nice to meet you," he said offering his outstretched hand for her to shake. "Renée has mentioned you. You're staying with us, right?"

"Yeah," I said awkwardly stepping forward to shake his hand.

"Is dinner ready Ren?" he asked looking towards my mother.

"Just about," she smiled at him. "Bella go set the table."

As Bella left the room Phillip walked over to Renée and she heard her mother giggle as he greeted her with a kiss. Seeing this made her think of Edward once more. She wondered how he was doing and she hoped he wasn't mad at her for not showing up. It probably looked like she was ditching him.

Things were relatively quiet when she sat down for dinner with Renée and Phillip.

"So how did it go after I left?" Renée asked after a few minutes of silence.

"Great,'' he said smiling up at her. "I already have the job. All that's left is to make the arrangements."

"Great. I think it will be good for us."

Bella let their conversation drown out as she focused on her food. She didn't understand what they were talking about and didn't care much.