It was winter. There were feet of snow on the ground. Charlie would have loved to go outside and make a snowman. The snow was his favorite thing in the world besides his family and his job. I played with the idea of bringing his stretcher outside. I had heard that people in a coma could sometimes still feel what was going on around them. It had been confirmed, the coma. We didn't know when Charlie was going to wake back up again.
Slowly, I began to lift out of my depression. This certain day I got up from beside Charlie to look out the window. The sky was gray and quilted. Pristine snowflakes floated down from the sky, landing on the ones already settled. I stood there for hours, the feet turned into yards as a blizzard took place.
Finally Renesmee came over and stood next to me. At first I didn't move to look at her, and she understood. She stood still next to me, giving me the space I didn't need but desperately wanted. After a few minutes I took her in my arms and sobbed into her amber-brown hair. She hugged me back and whimpered into my shoulder. Then Edward came over and cradled the two of us, and I felt somewhat whole again. Not completely, but a bit better.
Jacob and Billy visited that night. Esme made stew with the food she had left over from the previous month. No one had been to the grocery store in a while. I attempted to make small talk while Billy picked at the dinner and Jacob stuffed his mouth. I laughed when Jake burped and the bite of food he had just taken exploded out. Nessie sat on the couch until Jake was finished, then he went over to her. I took his place next to Billy.
"Hi, Billy." I couldn't look him in the eye, and he didn't try to catch mine.
"Hello Bella." He took a breath, like he wanted to say something more, but shut it again.
"Yeah, we think he's in a coma," I answered his unspoken question. His face turned a ghostly white. Slowly he picked up his crystal wine glass and took a tiny sip of water. He sniffed and cleared his throat before talking again.
"So what are you going to do?" I toyed with the idea of letting him know our plans. Then I decided it was better to tell him the truth than letting him make his own conclusions.
"We were thinking about staging a funeral for him." Billy's face became translucent. "We were going to have to do something, Billy. We couldn't have just let him roam around town being what he is. Newborns are extremely dangerous. So we decided that this would be the best way to keep him, and everyone else, safe." And by we I meant Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Alice, Jasper, Rose, and Emmett. Nessie and I were the only ones that believed Charlie would pose no threat when he woke up a newborn vampire. If, he woke up. I looked at the granite tabletop below me, feeling ashamed. Billy hadn't said anything. Maybe it was the wrong thing to tell him.
"Bella," Billy suddenly started then stopped, as if the words were stuck in his throat. "Bella, you know I don't blame you, right?" This was not what I had expected him to say.
I didn't answer him, because I really did think he blamed me for what happened to Charlie. Ever since I began going out with Edward, I felt his respect and trust of me falling away. He knew about Edward and tried to warn me, but I didn't listen. He shouldn't still respect or trust me, I reminded myself. He had no reason to. Basically, I had betrayed his family, his religion, his way of life, hisself. Anything that was possible to betray, I had done it. And now, he was trying to forgive me for doing those horrible things?
Like father, like son. I didn't deserve their unconditional love.
I opened my mouth, wanting to speak, but not knowing what to say. The silence was deafening as I looked shyly into his wise eyes. There were decades of wisdom swimming around in those eyes, and yet I chose to disobey them. I laughed at myself for being so foolish.
Then I wondered, what would have happened if I had listened to and appreciated Billy's wisdom. If I had learned to live without Edward, my love, my other half. If I had been with Jacob? Would I be happy? Was being with a werewolf as, satisfying as being with a vampire. Would being with Jacob have been as good for me as being with Edward was?
Many times I had thought of this, and every time I had come to the same conclusion. We would not have had peace. I would not have had both my best friend and greatest love in my life. I wouldn't have had my Renesmee either, and that in itself was a painful thought to bear.
So when I answered Billy, I wholeheartedly tried to make my lie sound like the truth.
"Yes Billy, I know." By his reaction, I knew he didn't believe me. But we let it go for the time being when Carlisle came down the staircase, dark purple rings under his black eyes. Billy started to back up in his chair to bring his plate to the sink when Esme interjected, taking the plate from his hands with a sweet smile. Billy nodded once his rough lips attempting to mirror her expression. Esme could charm even the toughest of them.
Carlisle pranced into the sitting room and fell gracefully onto the plush sofa, burying his face in his hands. Esme, Edward, Renesmee, Jacob, Billy and I stared at Carlisle as he sat in silence. We all stood still for minutes, no one making any movements, not even Billy or Jake. It was silent aside from the slow, constant beats of Billy and Jake's hearts and the fluttering heartbeat of Nessie's. I looked at Carlisle mournfully, urging him with my eyes to say something. Finally he looked up- directly at me.
"I'm so sorry Bella." I gasped and Edward's head snapped towards me at the sound of my breath. His arms were around me in an instant, but I was fine.
"I'm fine," I mumbled at him, "just a little surprised, that's all." I didn't take my eyes of of Carlisle's for a second. "You didn't find anything? Nothing?" He shook his head solemnly. I thought for a second. "What about Alice and Jasper and them? Maybe they-"
"I've already called them. They've had just about as much luck as we have," he interrupted. I frowned. How could this be happening? I supposed I had been building myself up for when Carlisle found a cure, that I hadn't prepared myself for the possibility of him failing. And yet, I refused to give up. I desperately clung to that tiny bit of hope that everyone else had forgotten.
"But what about," I stopped dead in my sentence. "Did anyone else hear that?" I asked, looking around the room. 6 pairs of eyes looked me down curiously. I jerked up from my seat and ran to the dining room where Charlie still lay on the table. I check the heart monitor. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't speak. I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't feel Edward's hands trying to pull me away from the table. I didn't want to.
"Yes!" I hissed through my teeth. I spun around to face my family as my lips broke into a huge grin. I bared my teeth when they didn't realize what was happening.
"Yes!" I cheered, throwing my arms around Edward, all at the same time lifting my shield so he could look into my mind at the past few seconds. His body didn't become frozen because of what I was doing; he was used to that by now. It was the shock of realization that froze him.
"Could it be true?" He murmured to himself, but I didn't miss the hint of triumph in his voice. His lips slowly began I spread into my favorite crooked smile as he looked down at me, his eyes full of wonder.
"You never lost hope for a second, did you?" He asked, his expression victorious. I shook my head and hugged him, then craned my head up to kiss him. The minutes passed by, and I was only barely aware of what was occurring around us.
When we were finished, both of our breathing ragged, I saw that all the tubes previously attatched to Charlie in various places, were now attatched to the inside of the garbage can. Carlisle and Jake were working visciously on the equipment while Esme had excused herself to the kitchen to call Alice on her cell phone. Edward and I filed back in with Nessie and Billy on the outskirts of the room, so we wouldn't get in the way.
Everyone could hear it now. The uneven thrumming of a changing heart inside a hollow shell. I was exuberent and I tried to contain my excitement, but my foot wouldn't stop tapping. My breath wouldn't stop catching, my emotions couldn't contain themselves as a huge grin spread across my face.
The humming became faster and faster, beating a thousand times harder than helicopter blades. I thought the heart would burst out from Charlie's chest if it got any faster.
And then, in a moment, it stopped. The room became still. Not even a heartbeat was heard. There wasn't a single movement. Then Carlisle stepped forward, gingerly, silently, to reach for Charlie's arm. His touch was light on his skin, not to scare him. And then he spoke softly and low, so that even I could barely hear him.
"Charlie, are you awake?" Nothing. Absolute silence.
And then, one by one, Charlie's eyelids fluttered open, exposing their hot red iris's. Well, I thought, I guess Nessie's the only one with our eyes now....
"What?" Everyone looked at the table. Charlie lay there, his eyes wide open, staring directly at me. His face was tired, yet dramatically changed. The wrinkles around his eyes were gone, and the color from his cheeks was drained. The cheekbones in his face bore out dramatically, framing his face. There were dark purple circles under his long lashes, and his lips were the lightest shade of pink. But somehow, underneath all of these new characteristics, he was still my father.
If I could cry, I would have been bawling in happiness. I carefully approached him slowly to stand next to Carlisle. My cheeks grew warm when Charlie smiled up at me, though I couldn't blush. I held Charlie's hand firmly and let him grip mine. That is, until he squeezed so hard I could feel the bones pressing together.
"Ouch, Charlie. Ow," I complained, pulling my hand away and shaking it out. His face immediately became worried and he hopped up, backing away from me. I reached my hands out, trying to stop him.
"No, it's fine Charlie. I'm okay, really." But his face just became more pained as he looked down at his hands in horror.
"What is going on?" He moaned.