Small Victory

by Melissa Treglia

I slid into the cab of the truck and, after closing the door, slid the key in the ignition.

Nothing happened. Instead of revving up, all I heard was a click. I frowned. My truck had been just fine a few hours ago...

I heard a thump and suddenly I wasn't alone in the cab. I instinctively jumped in surprise, and forced myself to relax when I realized it was just Edward.

He had a dark object in his hand. Not being mechanically minded, I didn't know what it was... but it was easy to assume it was probably a part taken from the engine of my truck.

I glowered at him briefly, but realized that would get me nowhere. "Edward," I queried with a saccharine tone. "Did you do this to my truck?"

He was staring at the engine part in his hand rather than me. "Alice called. She got nervous when your future rather abruptly disappeared five minutes ago."

Alice? Oh great, so he has his undead quasi-sister future-stalking me now?

"So, you decided the best way to protect me from seeing Jacob, who's never done anything to hurt me, is to take a part out of my fucking truck?!"

He flinched. "Bella, lower your voice and please watch your language."

"Fuck you, Eddie. You're not my Daddy. And even if you were, you'd still have no goddamn right to mess around with things that belong to me, without my permission." I was glaring at him now, my anger increasing at his lack of concern for my opinion on the matter. "Now, put that part back where you found it this instant, or I'll tell Charlie how you've been trespassing on our property for the past year."

"Bella-" Just from the way he said my name, I knew he was about to come out with some patronizing bullshit, and I exploded.

"Ok, that's it. I'm sick of this! You have no fucking right whatsoever to tell me what to do. You have no right to forbid me from seeing my friend, and you have no right to take back the presents you gave me on my birthday or dismantle my truck that my father gave me as a gift! I've fucking had it, Edward! Whatever this" - I gestured from him to myself - "is supposed to be is now over. Put my fucking truck back in working order and get lost, you sparkly dildo!"

I got out of the truck, Edward pleading with me to be reasonable. I realized that was going to happen, as he'd never taken me seriously. Ever.

And realizing that made me realize he'd never truly loved me. Love is about respecting boundaries and personal space, not... whatever the hell Edward thought he was doing. Controlling me.

But no more. I would not be a pawn in his games anymore. It was time to unshackle myself from my willing subservience and find my own happy ending. One that wouldn't require a guy to make me happy.

But baby steps, first. I'd have to learn how to walk before I could run.

So I went back into the house, shouting for my dad. Charlie came down from his bedroom so quickly that, if I didn't know any better, I'd have thought he had vampire powers too. "What's wrong, Bells?"

"Edward dismantled the engine of my truck, and now he won't leave."

Charlie immediately went over to the gun cabinet and got out one of his hunting rifles. When I stepped back out with my dad, Edward was still seated in the passenger side of my truck.

"Cullen, get out of my daughter's vehicle now," Charlie barked in I'm-a-cop-so-don't-fuck-with-me mode.

Edward slowly got out of the truck. The realization that even sparkly bullet-proof vampires weren't above the law was extremely satisfying.

"If you do not put my daughter's truck back in working order now, I will arrest you for trespassing and defacing private property."

Edward glared at me coldly, before popping open the hood of my truck. Leaning in, he placed the part back where he presumably found it. He slammed the truck hood a little too hard, denting it. I winced at my poor baby taking such abuse, but was comforted in the knowledge that Jake could fix it... and whatever else Edward might have done to the truck that escaped my notice.

Charlie nodded in satisfaction. "Now I'd be much obliged for you to leave the premises, Cullen. And make no mistake, I will be contacting your parents to inform them of this little stunt you pulled." A pause, then he added, "And I'm sure the Quileutes will also have something to say about it."

Edward vanished.

I turned to Charlie. "Dad, I-"

His smile was tolerant. "Bells, I'm a cop. It's my job to know about the folks who live in this town." He wrapped an arm affectionately around me as we headed back inside. "I know you're a smart girl. I guess I was hoping you'd see it all for yourself. Vampires aren't good company to keep, but the Cullens're tolerated due to their treaty with the Quileutes."

That was the most he'd ever told me in... well, ever. And I could see the unspoken questions and the worry in his eyes. "You don't have to worry, Dad. I broke up with Edward before I got you to show him out. He's history."

Charlie grunted. "I hope so, Bells. That boy is..." He abruptly stopped talking, presumably biting his tongue against criticism of my now ex-boyfriend.

"An asshole?" I added wryly. "I just wish I'd seen it sooner. And you have no idea how sorry I am for everything I put you through while dating him, Dad. I just... wasn't right."

"I know, baby. I know." I felt his mustache brush against my forehead, as he dropped a kiss there. "You're my little girl no matter what."

I instantly felt better. With Dad there for me, I'd be all right. I'd have a lot of apologizing and amends-making to do with the friends I blew off for Edward, and make contingency plans for when he decided to disobey my get-lost order (and I knew he would; it was only a matter of time).

But for now, I was going to enjoy this small victory.