We arrived at Charlie's just after Billy, Sue and Seth. Charlie didn't handle a houseful of seven foot boys very well anymore, so they would come over a few at a time, when Sue was making a special meal.
Sue liked cooking for Charlie. It was something she had always enjoyed doing for Harry before he passed away a few years ago. And luckily for her, Charlie loved to eat. The two complimented each other so well. And, thanks to Edward, I knew the special spark that was growing between them.
I found it rather cute, but didn't speak of it to anyone. Edward told me they weren't ready to admit anything openly yet.
Leah wasn't able to make it; busy with other plans Sue said, but she wished me a happy birthday. We had tried to put our differences aside, but tensions would always be there. She was a part of Jacob's pack and I had hurt a member of it. That doesn't go away all too soon. Even though her and Jacob's relationship was improving, he had imprinted on Renesmee, and I was one hundred percent devoted to Edward…I'm afraid her and I would have to be a little more patient still.
After Seth left to go meet up with Quil and Embry, a while later, we made our way out on to the porch to watch Jacob give Renesmee rides around on his back. He didn't phase in front of Charlie; not since that night when he almost gave him a heart attack, showing him what he 'was'. And my dad hasn't spoken of it since. Actually, he hasn't spoken of anything out of the ordinary since. My father was still on a need to know basis. And as long as our lives didn't involve any one getting hurt or anything illegal, then he was fine living within his own world of work, Sue, Renesmee…and fishing. Of course 'legal' in our world, meant something very different when it considered doing what we had to do to 'exist'. It was safer for everyone that those things remain secret.
"The chemistry between those two never ceases to amaze me," Charlie said watching how gentle Jacob was with Renesmee. "And, she's gotten quite big hasn't she?" he noted with a certain trace of curiosity that caught my attention.
Edward pursed his lips before forcing a smile at Charlie last comment.
I didn't like when we talked about Renesmee like this…how fast, how impressed or how well. It was a constant reminder to me of the lie we were living for my dad. Charlie had always wondered about Renesmee, about us and about Jacob; but never acted on his suspicions. He'd gone over all the things he could think of in his mind—most of them mythical of course, thanks to Jake. But all he knew was what he'd seen in movies and on TV. And lucky for us, we didn't follow most of those myths. Charlie wasn't sure what to make of us…so he stopped wondering after a while.
Edward immediately caught my attention when he subtly stiffened in his chair.
"Want some cake kids?" Charlie asked in another suspicious tone.
"Uh, no thanks, dad." I shook my head, wondering why he'd asked. He knew we always ate before we arrived anywhere, and were always too full to put anything else in us. So our story goes.
"No thank you, Charlie," Edward declined, and something about his tone was off now, too.
Charlie had only been inside the kitchen for a few seconds before Edward's eyes jumped wide open. He looked at me quickly in a panic.
"We have to go!" he whispered a shout.
"What?" I whispered back. "Why? What happened?" I didn't smell or hear anything out of the ordinary that would cause us any alarm.
"It's about what's going to happen," he warned, keeping his voice as low as possible. "It's very important that we leave now!"
I pulled my eyebrows in at him and his pleading expression. Not understanding.
"Bella, please, trust me…"
"Okay," I said still confused, not liking the idea of skipping out on Charlie and Sue like this.
And then my phone rang. "It's Alice."
"Don't answer that!" Edward shouted a little louder this time. But I had already flipped the phone open before he could get all his words out. What was wrong with him?
"Hi Alice, what's up?"
"Bella! Did he ask you yet?" She sounded frantic.
What was going on with these two? Edward and Alice were always good warning signs, so I followed their instructions, but this was odd, I couldn't catch on.
"Who? Ask me what?"
"Alice, who?" I gritted through my teeth, waiting for an answer.
"Is Edward by you?" She tried to sound calmer.
"Yes, he's right here."
"Put him on. Hurry!"
"No, Alice," I growled. I wasn't in the mood for games and passing secrets around on cell phones. "You tell me what's going on, right now!"
She sighed heavily.
"Charlie's going to confront you Bella. Ask for the truth. No more 'need to know'."
I looked over at Edward in terror. That's what made him stiffen. That also explained the cake and tone that caught my attention. Edward had heard it coming, and had no way to warn me with my father sitting right in front of us. Alice had seen it too, and was calling to check on us.
Edward made a 'come on let's hurry' gesture to me.
"Get, Renesmee," I whispered, holding the phone away from my mouth.
"You have to get out of there," Alice was frantic again. "You know he can't know!"
"I know, Alice. We'll see you soon." I hoped as I hung up the phone.
Humans, who discovered what we were, only had two options after finding out…according to Volturi law: vampire life…or eternal silence, of the dead kind. I didn't want my father to end up in either one of those situations.
We needed to run, now.
"Jacob, bring Nessie…we have to hurry!" Edward hollered across the lawn.
Immediately they both stopped playing and looked at us, but ran over as fast as they could. They knew us well enough to know that something was wrong, very wrong.
Jacob sniffed around then shrugged his shoulders at Edward. "What is it?"
Renesmee jumped into my arms, scared. She sensed the panic and could see it in my eyes. She buried her face in my neck, under my hair. She still did that when she was afraid. It was her comfort spot.
"Charlie's…" Edward began before my father walked back out the door, carrying three pieces of cake with him.
Edward eyed me. He knew what was coming, and so did I. He always remained very calm in these situations, but today was different. He was as worried as I was.
"Bella, Edward…I brought you some cake anyways." Charlie sat down, handing two sugar filled plates out to us like a dare.
Jacob's eyes widened when he saw what Charlie was doing.
Slowly, we took our seats, trying not to look as frightened on the outside as we felt on the inside. We always declined and my father knew it, he was testing us.
"Hey, can I have those, Charlie?" Jacob tried to intercede, sounding like he was anxious for more, even though he'd already had two huge pieces earlier. "I know these guys already ate, and I always have room." He patted his tummy.
"No," Charlie barked without looking at Jacob, still holding the plates out in front of us.
"May I have them, grandpa?" Renesmee asked charmingly as she removed herself from under my hair. She didn't like that he was being so forceful with the cake, and wanted to help, too.
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but these two pieces are for mommy and daddy. Would you like mine?" He handed his over to her not taking his eyes off of us.
"Uh, thank you, grandpa." She looked down at the cake, back at us, and then at Charlie.
Charlie shoved our plates closer.
"Go stand by Jacob, honey," I said as I placed Renesmee on the ground.
She handed her piece to Jacob, who ate at it nervously, waiting to see what was going to happen.
Edward and I grabbed the cake from my father while he waited with glaring eyes. "Alright, Charlie, thank you," Edward said kindly.
I looked at him. Was he really going to eat it? There was no blood or anything in there, and it was covered in icky sweet frosting.
But he'd do anything to keep Charlie safe…and so should I.
We each took a tiny forkful and put it in our mouths. I nearly vomited before I could even close my mouth around it. So I pulled the fork back out with the cake still on it, holding back a gag. "I'm sorry, dad, but I'm just so full and not hungry in the least."
Charlie shot me an evil glare.
Edward was trying, but all I could see him doing, was moving his piece around in his mouth, pretending he was chewing, and probably hoping to get a chance to spit it out soon. But he would have no luck with Charlie staring us down.
Edward's eyes looked like he wanted to throw up, too, and that suddenly made me angry.
"Spit it out, Edward," I told him.
He looked at me like I was crazy, but I'd had enough of this charade.
"Spit. It. Out!" I hissed reaching for his plate, waiting.
Edward spit the piece out on his plate, set his fork down, and handed it all over to me.
"Dad, that's enough." I said as I placed both our plates on the table next to me.
"No, Bella, I've had enough." He raised his voice as he stood up in frustration. "I can't do this anymore!" He looked at Renesmee and held his hands out. "Look at her! She's only one, and yet acts and looks like she should be in kindergarten. And you two…" he trailed off motioning his hands out in our direction.
My eyes widened.
"Charlie, please don't," Edward asked, "what you're about to do, about to say…please don't do it."
"How would you know what I'm about to say?" He glowered at Edward.
My previous anger quickly turned to worry as I placed my face in my hands. "Dad, I know what you're doing. And it's not safe. Please, stop…"
"Not safe?" He challenged, totally unaware of what he was getting him self into. What he was getting us all into. "Not safe for who?"
I sighed, my stomach sinking.
"Not safe for you, dad," I warned him.
Charlie needed to know how important it was, even now, that he keep on pretending.
"How is knowing about my own daughter, and granddaughter, not safe?" he said crossly and somewhat confused.
"Listen, Charlie…" Jacob interrupted.
But Charlie cut him off. "Don't, Jacob!" He pointed a stern finger back at him.
Jacob crossed his arms and tightened his lips while Renesmee gave her grandfather an angry look for his tone.
"Jacob, can you take Renesmee inside please?" I asked as calm as possible.
"Bella…" He said with firm caution.
"It's okay. I just don't want her to hear anymore. Please?" I motioned my head for him to go inside.
"Alright," Jacob huffed as he grabbed Renesmee's hand and headed for the door.
"Put a movie in," I requested just before they went inside, "and turn it up loud."
"Fine." He scowled at me, knowing he'd be missing the rest of the conversation.
I looked to Edward for help once they'd gone in. He could cut Charlie's thoughts off and know what to come up with before my father could get anything out.
Edward opened his mouth to speak.
"Stop! Stop it right there!" Charlie held a hand out and yelled. "You…and you!" He pointed a finger at Edward, and then at me. "It's my turn to talk. I don't want to be redirected, and I don't want to be interrupted by either one of you! Is that understood?"
The police chief had just shown himself in my father, and he was obviously very irritated with his suspects.
"Alright then," Charlie calmed with a quick gust of air out his mouth.
He looked down at the ground while he rubbed harshly at a clenched fist; appearing to be contemplating where to begin his line of questioning.
Just then Sue popped her head out. "What's going on out here, and why is Jacob insisting this movie be so loud?"
"Sue, Charlie wants to know 'stuff' about us…" Edward eyed her. "We didn't think it was a good idea for Nessie to hear. So, Bella asked Jake if he could keep it loud for her. I'm sorry for the noise, but, it is necessary for the time being."
Thank goodness Sue catches on quick.
"Leave the kids alone, Charlie." She cocked her head and leaned against the door, trying to sound like things were no big deal.
"No!" he snapped back at her and her face hardened. He'd be apologizing for that one later, but right now he was focused.
"Charlie," Sue tried again, trying to remain calm, "you don't understand…"
"I don't understand what?" He cut her off like the rest of us. "Why my daughter and her husband don't ever eat, or drink, or go outside on sunny days? Why every time she hugs me, it's like she just walked out of a freezer! And why Renesmee went from a baby," he held his hands a few feet apart, "to that of a five year old in just one year?" He then motioned to her inside.
The three of us froze.
"No! You're right! I don't understand." Charlie heaved himself out of his seat, throwing his hands up in the air. "And I can't take it anymore!"
None of us knew what to say. And anytime we tried to divert things, Charlie cut us off. So we sat quietly, watching him pace in thought, hoping he would stop right there.
"Bella," Charlie eventually sat back down and bent over to me. Edward's fists tightened instantly, and I was scared for what was coming? "Is… Is she yours?" he asked as calm as possible, causing Sue to go back inside to give us more privacy, and sheer panic shot through me.
"Who, dad?" I pretended not to understand, trembling inside, knowing exactly who he was talking about.
"Renesmee," he stared at me with his intimidating fatherly eyes, "is, she yours?"
Charlie had already known the answer to that from the first time he'd laid eyes on her, but he'd never confronted us. I had to stick to the story.
"Well, yes, dad," my voice slightly shook, "we adopted her, remember?"
"Bella," Charlie's voice hardened. "Is, she yours?" He asked again, then paused to look at Edward, "and yours?"
Oh no! Oh Charlie, please don't!
"Dad, we adopt—" I aimed to repeat myself, but…
"Damn it, Bella! You know exactly what I'm asking!" Charlie hollered beyond frustration.
I swallowed nervously.
"Did you and Edward conceive that child together?" He pointed again towards the living room, where Renesmee was.
My eyes stared at him in shock and I was unable to answer, floored that we were actually discussing this.
Charlie glared at me uneasily, waiting for an answer. An answer to what should be an outrageous question—a truly outrageously, correct question.
I looked over at Edward, not knowing what to do, but his eyes were closed and his fists still clinched. He looked like he was praying for this conversation to end, and I hoped that he was.
"Why would you ask that?" I raised an eyebrow, trying to play his question off as a ridiculous one.
Charlie sighed heavily. "Well, by my calculations of her growth spurt, and how long you were 'sick' after your honeymoon…the numbers…they can add up."
I looked at Edward again. I wanted to stick to our adoption story, but my father was handing so many facts at us, I didn't know which truth to stick to anymore.
Edward grabbed my hand after a moment, turned gently to my father and sighed. "Yes, Charlie. She's ours. Bella and I are Renesmee's biological parents."
Shoot! was all I could think as I watched my father's face drain of all its blood.
Charlie sat back in his chair and put his hands on top of his head, as if to help him process his correct guess better.
"Well, how in the world…? Did Doctor Cullen try some new procedure on you guys?" he wondered with much discomfort.
I knew Charlie was in a slight bit of shock at that point. To honestly think we'd be part of a 'procedure' that would produce an abnormally quick growing child?
"No, Charlie, she was conceived…the old fashioned way. No procedures, no special pills," Edward replied.
My dad's puzzled expression jumped back and forth between us, while a bunch of two lettered sounds sputtered themselves out without being able to form a single word.
We waited for him to gather his thoughts.
"So, let me get this straight." Charlie looked at me. "You go away on your honeymoon not pregnant." He eyed me, asking if that was correct. I nodded once that it was. "And then you suddenly have a child…all within a few months time?" His face twisted in confusion.
I nodded my head 'yes' again, ever so slightly, waiting to see how quickly he'd get this.
Edward took another deep breath when my father looked at us strangely, like he was going to ask a question that he had to, but didn't want to.
"Edward…" Charlie eyed him cautiously. "What are you?" His words were whispered out.
"Dad!" I yelled. But Edward held up a hand to me, signaling me to wait.
"What do you think I am, Charlie?" He questioned a little condescending.
My father thought for a minute, going through all the things in his head.
"Well…after seeing Jacob, and watching you and your family this past year…" He shook his head like he couldn't believe what he was getting ready to say. "You, have some of the basic characteristics from myths and legends of…of a vampire, if I had to guess. But that would be silly, right?" He obviously hoped.
"No, Charlie, that wouldn't be silly," Edward was serious when he answered. And it wasn't silly. It was down right frightening. How much more of this were we going to do?
"It wouldn't?" Charlie muttered.
"You've seen what Jacob can do. What would be silly about you thinking I could be a vampire?" Edward laughed a little through his nose, giving Charlie the impression that his guess might just be that, silly. He was hoping my father would second guess him self, maybe even feel a little foolish.
Charlie's face stiffened. "Edward, because I've seen what Jacob can do, and what he told me when I first came to see Bella…is exactly why I can believe you'd be a vampire." He then glared at me.
Crap! This was exactly why my father was Chief of police. He had glares that could burn through anyone, nearly pulling the guilty right out from them.
"Well, I guess it's settled then." Edward leaned forward without admitting anything. "That's what you think of me."
Charlie shot him a dirty look, got up, opened the door to the house, and yelled inside, "Jacob, get out here!"
I froze when Edward stared at the ground, clinching his teeth, his face tightening.
Jacob showed up quickly. "What's up?" He tried to be playful. But now was not going to cut it.
"Tell me something Jake, because Edward pretty much has…what is he?" he demanded and Jacob took notice of Edward's slight head shake to the floor.
"What do you mean, Charlie?" He played dumb, avoiding the question.
"Jacob, I just went through this circle of questions with these two…do not start with me either! I know what he is, and I want to hear it from you. Right now!"
My father was beyond angry. You never lied or played stupid to a police officer. That one in particular.
"Uh…what is he? You mean like a Virgo, or a Scorpio or something?"
Jacob was digging his own grave. My father locked up smart-alecks like him when they resisted too much. Jacob was in a panic though. He looked down at Edward and thought a question, but Edward shook his head 'no' again.
"Jacob!" Charlie was done playing. "You've got to the count of two, to tell me what you know. Or you will not be welcomed in this house again." My father paused to cross his arms angrily in front of him. "Do you understand the question now?"
I knew Jacob wouldn't turn us in, but I couldn't let him suffer this way for it, not banned from Charlie's house and coming here with us. So, I saved him.
"Yes, dad, it's true!" I jumped in before he had the chance to start counting. "All that you've said, it's true."
"Bella, no…" Edward looked at me in alarm and furrowed his eyebrows at what I was doing, and Jacob followed suit.
I glanced at Edward, then Jacob, then back to my father, ignoring their warned expressions.
"Edward is a vampire, dad," I reluctantly confessed. "He doesn't eat food and he doesn't drink human drinks. He doesn't go out in the sunlight because of what it does to his skin. I found out about him a few months after I arrived. He didn't want me to know, he did everything he could to keep it from me, for my safety, but, I pursued it; just like you're doing now."
And I was a vampire for it.
Charlie tightened his lips then paced steadily behind his chair. Stopping every once in a while to glare at Edward…and then at me.
Jacob went back inside, anxious to get back to Renesmee, and their loud movie.
"It's okay, dad." I tried to calm him. "What he was didn't matter to me. It was who he was that I fell in love with. We made it work," I grabbed Edward's hand, "and it was working well…and, still is." I said nervously, waiting for Charlie's reaction.
Jacob had told Charlie that I was more like Esme, before the first time he saw me like this, than how I used to be. My confession of Edward…was also a confession of me.
Demetri couldn't find me for telling if I should have to run with my father. And I'd shield my whole family forever if that's what it took. Charlie wasn't going to give up, and I knew it.
My father froze, his expression changing from anger, to that of sudden uneasiness.
"But…don't, vampires kill people?" He asked, alarmed, gripping at the back of his chair as if he could use it as some sort of protection.
Edward cleared his throat. "Yes, I'm afraid most do Charlie, but I and my family do not. We survive only on the blood of animals. No humans harmed," he replied almost boastfully, not giving up any information on his 'past' feedings.
"I see." Charlie swallowed the lump in his throat, keeping his focus on Edward, trying to hide the fear that was evident in his eyes. I think finding out for sure that someone was a vampire, and that that someone was sitting right in front of you, and that that someone could kill you at any moment, made Charlie very nervous. It had made me nervous before too. "And, how long…have you been this way?" Charlie inquired, holding the chair with tighter tension.
"I was changed in 1918. Carlisle saved me to this life, in a promise to my mother, when I was just a few moments away from dying of influenza."
"Carlisle?" Charlie's eyes widened.
"But…he's a doctor, at a hospital, around all that blood." My father, still in surprise, was going through the same reactions I'd had when I found out about the Cullens.
I closed my eyes to compose myself when Charlie mentioned 'all that blood', picturing it. My mouth swarmed with venom and I swallowed immediately, taking in short quiet breaths to ease the burn in my throat.
Edward squeezed my hand twice to get my attention. And when I opened my eyes, Charlie was staring at me.
I smiled nonchalantly to ease his curiosity, but the glare of his narrowed eyes, told me it probably didn't work. He'd seen my struggle.
"Carlisle's been a doctor for a while now, Charlie, and he has never harmed a human. And he doesn't intend to. He's built up a tolerance to blood, almost immune to it really. It has no affect on him. You have nothing to worry about," Edward said.
"Mhmm," Charlie noised. Knowing there was a vampire working at the hospital, definitely changed things for my father. I suspect he'll be watching Carlisle a lot more closely from now on.
This conversation was de-javu to me. So many questions I'd had once too. The wonder—the fascination—and the terror if it all, really was a lot to take in. But, Charlie was a cop. It was his job to ask questions and take in answers that were difficult for a normal person. I knew he'd probably have twice as many questions as I did, and would handle them all hopefully as well.
My father began moving his eyes around and bobbing his head, like he was thinking, or… counting.
"So you mean to tell me, Edward, that you're around ninety years old?" Charlie pulled his eyebrows in, and I couldn't tell if he was more fascinated, or freaked out by the thought.
"Well, if you go by my changed date, then yes, that's how old I would be. But I was seventeen when it happened, so technically, I will always be seventeen."
"You're one hundred and seven?" My father completely ignored the 'always seventeen' part.
"You could say that, too." Edward nodded.
"Mmm," Charlie growled then glared at me. Did he just realize we were celebrating a birthday today that didn't hold true anymore too? Or was it the fact that Edward would be more than twice his age…if he were human today? Or, was it that I too would be one hundred and seven some day?
I bit my lower lip, wondering if it was my turn for questioning.
"And, Renesmee?" He asked Edward again, avoiding me all together. I sighed slightly in relief.
"She is half human and half immortal vampire. Blood runs through her, and her heart beats. We figure she'll be fully adult between the ages of four and seven. When she reaches her mature adulthood, she will not change or age any further."
Charlie's reaction was shocked, but he recovered well after a few moments. It was the 'immortal vampire' that just about turned him as pale as me.
"Did you know, Bella, that you'd be getting married and having a baby a month later?" Charlie pursed his lips at me, sounding bothered.
"No, dad, I promise. None of us had any idea it was possible, or, even considered it being possible. Edward and I, we were…unique." I stopped right there.
"Mmm," Charlie growled louder, and then looked at Edward. "None of you huh?"
Edward clinched his fists again.
What was my father getting at? Did he think I was lying, or that Edward knew what would happen…or Carlisle?
"So, how many are there, of your kind?" Charlie asked curtly.
"I can't be sure really," Edward answered politely through his anger. "There's my family, and I've crossed paths with others throughout the world, most of who are probably still around."
"Probably still around?" Charlie raised his eyebrows. "Aren't you immortal?" He said rudely, making quotation marks with his fingers when he said the word immortal.
"Yes, but we can be killed by another immortal, if they were stronger." Edward gritted his teeth then stared out the tops of his eyes at Charlie.
Something was building in my father. I could see Edward didn't like it. And neither did I.
"Really… By another immortal, huh?" My father looked quickly towards Jacob inside, sounding rank and down right offensive. I caught his glimpse towards the wolf and narrowed my eyes. Surely he didn't think Jake would ever hurt Edward in that way, not Renesmee's father.
Charlie was seriously pushing it.
Edward restrained himself, holding tightly onto the arms of his chair. He knew what Charlie was thinking. And by the look on both of their faces, so did I.
"Charlie!" I shouted. "I won't stand by and watch you treat Edward like this. I love him because he's kind and considerate and has nothing but mine and Renesmee's best interest at heart. Don't you get that? He would do anything to keep us happy and safe. And he has done that." I reached over and put my hand on Edward's angry grip. "I'd have been dead a month after I got here, but Edward saved me, from the van…remember? I should be dead after Renesmee, and should not have survived that kind of birth, but Edward saved me…again!" I was getting heated now. "You owe him your respect, and your gratitude, dad. Stop being a jerk! He has endured more than anyone should from you. We didn't know that a child was possible, you have to believe that. And you can't hate him for all the things that have happened. He loves me more than anything else in the world, next to his daughter. You've got to let him off the hook, once and for all! Or you will not be welcomed at our house anymore, just like you were going to do to Jacob." I crossed my arms and finished with a loud huff through my nose. I loved my father, but I wouldn't choose him over my husband.
Charlie stared at me for a moment. But my facial expression and body language stood firm. I was angry, and he knew it. And I was right.
He'd better know that, too.
I noticed Edward unclench his fists and loosen his teeth a little. I hoped he wasn't angry at me for going off on my father, but Charlie was asking for it.
My father was taking in and processing everything I had just said with many different expressions. And after a few moments of thinking and calming down, he humbly walked over to Edward and stuck his hand out.
"Bella's right, Edward. I was being a jerk. I owe you an apology. Please forgive my behavior."
Holy crap! It worked?
Edward knew my father was being sincere.
"Yes, Charlie, of course." He grabbed his hand, shaking it. "Thank you. It's quite understandable, though, having a daughter and being very protective myself." I caught him glance slyly in Jacob's direction.
He did understand, all too well. And I'm sure someday, Renesmee will be giving him the same speech I just did to my father. Minus the almost being dead parts…
"Bella." My father sat back down across from me. "I owe you an apology too. I should have trusted your decisions better. It's not fair of me to treat you like the little girl you're not anymore."
Talk about a one-eighty change in behavior.
"It's alright, dad," I said as I tossed my arms around him gently. "I know you meant well."
My thoughts kicked into vampire mode then, it's what I knew, and what my instincts had always reminded me of. I thought of Charlie's safety and the risk I just took against his life. No vampire outside of Forks could know that Charlie knew about us.
I stood up to head inside, wanting to check on Renesmee and Jacob, and wanting to leave this scene.
"Bella," Charlie caught my attention, and so did Edward when he placed his face in his hands. "One more question."
"Uh, sure, dad." I sat back down, nervous again. I didn't like the way he said my name, Edward's reaction, and 'one more question'.
"I just want to make sure I understand something," he said as he fumbled his hands around themselves.
"Well, you were human when you left? And you were human when you gave birth?" he paused to wait for my answer.
"Yes," I replied apprehensively.
"What happened? When did you change? And…why?"
I knew it was only a matter of time before we got to me.
"Umm, that's three questions, dad," I replied a little panicky. "Which one would you like me to answer?" I smiled politely, not wanting to answer any of them.
"Well, actually…" he paused again, looking like he had another question he didn't want to ask, but had to.
Edward moaned lightly as he pulled his hands down his face, covering only his mouth now as he watched Charlie closely.
"…what kind of birth did you have; that you shouldn't have survived?" Charlie grimaced at his own question.
Oh good. He'd picked a whole new question—one that was going to sum up all three of his previous ones.
I sighed. "Edward, can you help me?"
He pulled his hands away from his face and put one on mine for comfort. "Of course, love."
Edward took a deep breath, knowing this was going to be a tough story for my father to hear.
"The womb wall that Renesmee was in was too tough to be broken, Charlie, to give birth through naturally. When she was ready to be born, she pushed on the lining and against Bella's body. Renesmee had to be taken immediately by C-section [by vampire teeth] because by that point, she was then suffocating. We got her out in time, but…Bella's condition continued to deteriorate. She'd lost a lot of blood, and her spine and ribs had been cracked in the struggle."
Charlie put his hands over his mouth in anguish of what he was hearing about me, about what I went through, and what had to be done to save his granddaughter.
"Remember the only reason I was 'changed' Charlie…was to save my life?" Edward gently spoke. "Bella wasn't going to make it, no matter what we did. She was fading too fast."
I closed my eyes, suffering again at the memory I'd managed to bury over a year ago, focusing my thoughts then on Renesmee, and the happy ending that followed. When I opened my eyes, they immediately went to Charlie. And I watched as a single tear rolled down my fathers' cheek.
"Edward?" I looked at him, at my father, then back to him again.
"He's okay, Bella. Just taking it all in the best he can. It'll be alright."
"Okay," I worried. It pained me to see my father this way. Shocked and probably feeling so helpless.
Charlie sniffed then wiped his cheek. "No, Bella, it's okay, I'm alright. Umm, continue Edward, please."
"Yes sir," he said in a way of a man giving his utmost respect to his superior. Five minutes ago my father didn't deserve it. Edward was nearly seventy years older than Charlie, but to him, my father was his elder.
"We carry venom in us," Edward continued. "The venom makes its way around the body, sealing all the veins and heart, right where they are; healing and stopping anything that is broken or bleeding…if caught in time. It freezes us where we are, just a heartbeat before dying."
I shuttered at his description and the memory of my own burning. And I felt that if I reached down and touched my skin, it would be hot, very hot, on fire. I wanted Edward to hurry past this part.
"So, you bit her?" Charlie sounded a tad queasy.
"To save her… yes. She knew that was the backup plan if anything should go wrong. And it did. Very wrong. Like I said, we had never seen anything like this before. We watched her 24/7 Charlie. Carlisle, Esme…all of us."
I was thankful Edward didn't go into detail about the venom shot directly into my heart and the bites he'd placed all over my arms and legs. Charlie didn't need to hear that.
"And…you were okay with that, Bella?"
"Yes, dad. I'd been begging Edward to change me since junior year. It was what I wanted, to be with him always. And if becoming a vampire was what it took, for forever, then I wanted it. But he fought me 'a lot'. He's very noble if you haven't figured that out yet," I said with a bit of sarcasm.
"Yes, I am figuring that out." Charlie glanced at Edward then hung his head for a moment. "I want to thank you for saving my daughter, and granddaughter Edward." He sounded a little torn. Maybe because, even though the outcome was good, and he was thankful, he knew it had also forced a change in me. A change that I had wanted and one he would have argued with from the beginning, had he known.
Edward nodded his head in respect. "I'm sorry, Charlie. I didn't want to do it if I didn't have too. But it was the only option I had left…to keep her here."
That was true. Edward didn't want to change me. But we had an agreement. I would fulfill his demands of marriage, and then afterwards, he would fulfill mine of a human experience—even though we'd both considered each other's requirements a little ridiculous at the time. But I could honestly say, I love being married. And I know Edward loves that we can 'do more' together, forever.
"No, it's, um...alright, Edward. I think I understand it all now. I appreciate you telling me. And I appreciate you doing what you had to do."
"Of course..." Edward dipped his head.
And for a second, there was silence, while both the men in my life appeared to be sad. I know Edward was feeling guilty. My story would never get any better; no matter how many times we'd have to tell or look back on it. And Charlie, well, he was busy just trying to come to grips with it all.
If someone told me I could trade it all to be human again…I'd bite em.
"Bella?" Charlie looked at me.
I glared at him in warning. He'd already asked his one question.
"So, you're really okay? And happy?"
"Absolutely, dad!" I beamed as I reached over and grabbed Edward's hand.
Edward shot up from his chair suddenly, narrowed his eyes and looked back towards the woods. "Jacob!" He shouted.
"I'm on it!" Jacob hollered as he ran out the front door, letting it slam behind him.
I turned and caught a whiff of it myself. "Edward, what is that?"
"I don't know." He grabbed my arm and pulled me up behind him, looking around. "It's not something I'm familiar with around here."
I remained completely still while Edward took a few more deep breaths and glared off into the forest.
The new scent burned at my nose and down my throat, making it feel all scratched up and raw inside. As if I had come down with an immediate case of severe tonsillitis.
"Bella, take your father and stay inside with Nessie. Jacob and I will check it out," he ordered before taking off into the back woods...