Fallen pretenses

I didn't care enough to shame his comment, I was just hoping that the "bloodsucker" was Edward. I needed him now, I needed him more than words could express. 

By the time I twisted around on the ground to see who was here, Edward had his hands on my shoulders, softly trying to pull me back. I turned around fully and fell into him waiting arms, sobbing without tears. I hated that Nessie had to see me like this, but I couldn't stop my reaction. It was simply too painful. There was pressure on my head, and I felt Edward's lips on my hair.

I could hear the faint whimpering of my daughter, though it was muffled. I peeled myself away from Edward to see her clawing Jacob's shirt, her body pressed closely to his. He had his arms around her, the muscles in his shirt rigid and tense. Nessie turned to look at me, her face contorted in pain. The next thing I knew a broken moan escaped from below me. Charlie's eyes rolled forward, where before they were white and in the back of his head. Alice was leaned down to his chest, and I saw the blood and flesh of his now open wound. My mouth fell and eyes grew. And audible gasp climbed out of my throat. Edward leaned down to my ear.

"Carlisle was right behind me. Get Nessie out of here. Now. She's about to lose it." My eyes found his black, stone eyes. I was afraid for him, but he seemed to be under control. I was at Nessie's side the next second, my arms forming a cage around hers. I carried her away and Jake followed, a protective arm around his girlfriend the entire time.

When the two of them were far, far away I went back for the hooded man. It was extremely hard not to kill him right there where he sat. So hard....

But by then Carlisle was there.

"Remember who you are, Bella," he murmured to me, the same words he had said to Edward so many years ago in the ballet studio. A faint memory of when he had James in his hand, pressed up to the mirror, a memory that was so hard to see, not only because it was human, but because of the pain of the venom that had been cursing through my veins at the time. James's venom.

I tied the man up with a tire chain I found on the street nearby. He groaned in pain, probably because I had tied it just a bit too tight, but I ignored him. He would suffer until the police go there, and by then we would be gone with Charlie. 

Alice had called the house before we got there, warning everyone to get out. I was the first up the stairs from the back door, holding it open for Edward who was holding Charlie's limp body in his hands. But the room was still crowded. I recognized Rose, Emmett, Jasper and Esme around the dining room table, which was now covered with a white sheet of plastic. Edward went there at once, not hesitating at all. I ran o Esme as he lay Charlie's body on the table.

"Esme, your favorite table," I began, remembering the day I had first arm-wrestled Emmett. I had wanted to challenge him on this very table, but had been redirected outside, for, apparently, this table was an antique. Her eyes were kind as always.

"It doesn't matter. Carlisle's study is not equipped anymore, and we needed somewhere to put your father. Anything for Charlie," she added as she looked down at him with compassionate eyes. I wrapped my arms gingerly around her neck and leaned my head down against her shoulder. Emse had become more of a mother to me these past few years. She had accepted me in my human form and in my new vampire form. This was too much to ask from her.

"Thank you so much. You have no idea...," I couldn't finish. I lifted my head up to see Carlisle working over Charlie. Then I heard something. A soft moaning.

"Charlie! Charlie!" I gasped at his side. His eyes were foggy and distant, but his arms were outstretched and reaching towards me. His voice was a cracked whisper.

"Bella." I placed my hands in his. I could tell he was trying to squeeze them, so I squeezed his back gently. His skin was translucent. He looked much like I did when I was pregnant with Renesmee. The bleeding from his heart still hadn't stopped, and Carlisle's hands were wet with blood when he tried to pull my father's fingers from mine to stick an IV in his hand. Charlie now looked at me. His white, chapped lips pulled up into a pathetic smile. I tried to return it without success. 

"Kiddo," he began before he coughed. Esme wiped up the blood with a towel. "Bella, if-" he sighed, his eyes slightly twitching with the pain. "If I don't make it, don't be too sad." His eyes closed and my chest heaved. "Don't be too sad. I don't want you to be sad...." he trailed off. I could hear his breathing slow. My eyes closed also, the sight just too much to bear.

"Carlisle," Edward murmured behind me. I fell into his chest and flung my arms around his waist. My head reached the bottom of his neck. His skin was warm against mine and I counted his even breaths. One hundred one, one hundred two, the silence seemed to go on forever.

"I'm sorry, Bella," he whispered, his voice soft and broken also. He sighed deeply and then I heard a soft sob. Alice was buried in Jasper's arms, her face covered by her hair. I was sure she could see what was coming next. Then I felt a calm feeling wash over me. My sobs faded away. 

"Thanks Jasper," I aknowledged his presence. I turned out of Edward's arms to face Carlisle, who was hunched over Charlie's body. I stood next to him, looking at my weak father. This was the first time I had thought of him as weak. Usually, in my eyes, he was the strong, police officer father that watched over me and protected me from harm. And now look, I was the one who couldn't protect him even with my new strength and abilities. I laughed at myself. What good was being a vampire if you couldn't protect the ones you loved? I felt an arm wrap around my waist. I glanced next to me. Renesmee's eyes were puffy and red. Her lips were in a taut line as if she were trying not to cry. Now I remembered my reason fo rbeing a vampire. I tightened my arms around her, pulling her close. SHe laid her head in the hollow of my shoulder. I wondered how much longer she would be able to fit there, she was getting so tall.

"It's alright, sweetie, it's going to be fine." If I hadn't become what I am, I would never had gotten to see my daughter grow up. I would have never heard her sing her first song or seen her dance her first dance. I would have never been able to fall in love with Edward all  over again, which was something I did daily. I looked up at Carlisle.

And why was Charlie so special, that he would never be ab

"Carlisle," I demanded, my voice sure and strong


The End

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