Disclaimer: all characters and copyright belong to Stephanie Meyer.
A/N-this story is co-authored by Augustdarkstar.
Bella parked her rental car behind Charlie's police cruiser and switched off the engine. She made no attempt to get out of the car, just sat back and stared at the house in which she had lived with her father during the most intense and dramatic years of her young life. Nothing seemed to have changed in the twelve months she had been gone, the same curtains still hung at the windows, her father still hadn't got round to touching up the chipped paintwork and the front lawn was overgrown, a sign that Charlie had not been spending much time at home since she left.
A cry from the back seat made her turn her head; Bella glanced down at her son, he was waking up now that the car was no longer moving. "Hey sleepyhead." She cooed as she finally made a move to get out of the car. Bella opened the rear door of the rental car and carefully lifted her son out of his car seat. He was so light in her arms, he was small for a five month old, having been born premature. He was slowly gaining weight though and, as soon as Bella had felt that he was fit enough to travel, she had brought him back to Forks for his first official visit with his grandfather.
Charlie had travelled to Jacksonville to visit them both just after her son's birth and he had stayed for two weeks while she recovered. It had been awkward for him though having to see how happy his ex-wife, Renee was in her new life and when he returned back home he had thrown himself back into work.
Bella rocked her son in her arms as she walked up the steps to the house and knocked lightly on the front door. It took a few moments before it was answered and when the door began to open she put on a bright smile, ready to greet her father. It dropped from her face instantly when she saw it was Billy Black who had opened the door and not Charlie. His dark eyes opened wide in shock when he saw her standing there.
"Bella? Is that you? I don't understand." His voice faltered as he spoke.
Bella's son let out another little cry and she tore her eyes away from Billy to gently whisper to him. "Hush Ethan, it's okay."
Billy's eyes travelled to the baby that Bella was cradling in her arms and then back to her. "Whose baby is this?" He asked in confusion, still trying to come to terms with the fact that the girl that everyone thought was dead was now standing alive in front of him, holding a baby.
Bella glanced at him and sighed. "He's mine. His name is Ethan."
"Yours? But that's impossible." Billy shook his head to clear it. "A cold one cannot father a child. Did you adopt him?"
Bella managed to quieten Ethan down. "No, he is my natural born son." She said defiantly, irritated by his questions. "Where is my father?"
"Charlie has been delayed at work. He asked me to wait at the house, he told me he was expecting a visitor, but did not tell me it was you. Never in a million years. Is your husband with you?"
"I am no longer married. Look can I please come in. Ethan is due for a feed." Bella said bluntly.
Billy nodded, moving his chair aside so that she could enter the house. Bella swept past him into the living room and sat down on the sofa. Billy followed after her, still not able to comprehend that she was really there. Bella was uncomfortable under his intense scrutiny, she wanted him to leave. He still hadn't got a look at Ethan properly, once he did there would be no hiding from the truth. It would be plain as day. She was livid at her father for allowing this to happen and a part of her guessed that he had brought Billy here deliberately so that he would find out. When Charlie finally made his entrance she was going to have words.
"So you and..." Billy hesitated for a moment as Bella rocked Ethan in her arms. "Cullen are no longer married. Did you cheat on him with another man?"
Bella's eyes flashed fire as she glared at Billy. "You could say that." She said sarcastically. "Although he was quite willing to bring Ethan up as his own. Edward was always too forgiving."
Billy grimaced. "If you say so. You made the right choice, a human child cannot be brought up in a house full of vampires."
"Quite." Bella snapped. "Now if you don't mind I need to..." She stopped speaking as she heard Billy gasp. Her eyes flicked down to her son, Ethan had raised his arms above the blanket, exposing his skin colour to Billy for the first time. She shut her eyes in despair.
"Who is the father of this child?" Billy demanded as he rolled his chair over to the sofa. He leaned over and got his first good look at Bella's son. Ethan stared up at him with eyes the exact shade of his own, his full lips opened in a yawn. Ethan's skin was the same tan colour as Billy's, along with the silky black hair that adorned his head.
Bella sighed and sat back on the sofa. "You know who his father is." She said simply.
Billy raised his eyes to meet hers. "Jacob? My son is the father? But when...I don't understand."
"Look I'm sorry this has all come as a shock. No one was ever meant to know. I came here for a short visit with my dad like I promised him." Bella stroked the soft hair on her son's head.
"Charlie knew all about this?" Billy questioned, his anger beginning to build up. "And he kept this from me?"
"Will you please stop shouting?" Bella retorted as Ethan began to get upset at the raised voices. She rocked him again. "The only person who knew was my mom. She was the one who took it upon herself to tell my dad when I gave birth earlier then I expected."
"You have been in Jacksonville this whole time?" Billy asked her, just about managing to keep his temper under control.
"I had nowhere else to go after I left Edward."
"You could have come straight home and told my son the truth. Why would you keep something like this from him?" Billy just couldn't understand her reasoning.
Bella clammed up. She held Ethan tight to her chest and avoided Billy's gaze. "I would like to be alone now if you don't mind."
Billy shook his head. "On no, Bella Swan you have some explaining to do. I am going to call my son right now and get him down here."
Bella shook her head vehemently. "No Billy, please don't."
"He has a right to know." Billy would not be swayed.
"Does he?" Bella said, her voice broke as a tear rolled down her face. "Think about it Billy. Jake is going to imprint one day, right? It's not going to be fair on him or his...his imprint if he learns that he has a son already. I have already put Jake through so much, let him move forward in his life in peace." She begged.
Billy paused. "Is that why you never told him? You feared he would imprint?"
Bella sighed. "It's a certainty, Billy. You know that."
"I don't want to know all the details, Bella. Jake was absolutely devastated when you married Edward and left. I had no idea that you had both been together in that way. Did your fear of imprinting make you go ahead with your marriage?" Billy asked her, his voice soft.
Bella avoided his eyes as she looked at her son, love shining in her brown eyes. She stroked Ethan's chubby cheeks as he slept. "I didn't know I was pregnant until we reached our honeymoon destination. I had been feeling a little off colour...then I got sick." Her voice tailed off. "When it was confirmed, Edward brought me straight home. He was upset, I know he was, but he forgave me anyway. Like I said, he wanted to adopt Ethan as his own, but I couldn't raise a child within a house full of vampires. It would be too risky. So I left and went to my mom's."
"You didn't answer my question, Bella. Did you leave my son behind because you were scared that he would imprint?" Billy asked her again.
"Yes," Bella breathed the word and Billy had to strain his ears to hear her response.
There was silence for a moment as they both gazed at Ethan as he slept. "He looks like Sarah you know." Billy finally spoke.
"I thought that too when he was born." Bella confessed, a slight smile tugging at her lips. "If he had been a girl I would have used her name."
Billy wiped at his eyes. "Thank you." He said huskily. "Can I hold him?"
Bella nodded. She carefully handed Ethan over to Billy, who held him expertly in his arms. "My first grandchild." He said proudly.
Bella watched him for a moment, regret over keeping her son a secret weighing heavy on her mind. Seeing Billy looking so proud made her doubt her decision. It had seemed the only option at the time. "I'll be here for a week. You are welcome to come see him at any time." She found herself offering.
Billy glanced up at her. "What about Jake, Bella? He deserves to know."
She shook her head. "No. It's not fair on him. He's moved on with his life."
Billy frowned. "You don't know what he has been..."
Bella shook her head. "Please I just can't. If you tell him I will be forced to leave right now."
Billy gaze at his grandson sadly. He didn't want to lose the chance to get to know him. Maybe if he agreed for now, he could hopefully persuade her over the next few days to let him tell Jacob. "Okay, Bella. If that is what it takes to get to see Ethan."
"Thank you. I'm sorry Billy, it's for the best." Bella gave him a relieved smile. "Will you be alright with him while I get his bag out of the car?"
Billy nodded. "Of course." He watched Bella leave the house and then turned his wise eyes back onto Ethan; still marvelling just how much like Sarah he looked. "Don't worry, Ethan. I will make sure your daddy gets to see you." He whispered.
Ethan opened his eyes briefly and smiled before closing them again as if agreeing to every word he said.
A/N-thanks for reading!