The next week we took Charlie out to be in the snow for the first time. He was surprised when we said he didn't need a coat (since it was 12 degrees Farnheit out) but he quickly understood when we were outside.
Edward caught me as I was walking out the back door. Everyone else was outside, but he lead me into the kitchen my my elbow. I looked at him, my eyes full of question. But he didn't hesitate.
"Bella, this is killing me." I stopped.
"What do you mean?" I asked him carefully, evaluating his expression. It was hard, his eyes dark and a crease in between his eyebrows. I was surprised how much anger he displayed, and I definitely did not like it. I crossed my arms across my chest, suddenly feeling defensive.
"Bella," he whispered, almost silent, "I cannot hear your father." I relaxed my stance a bit.
"Yes, I cannot hear his thoughts." Edward looked away to the window, but didn't turn his body from me. I was puzzled.
"So what? Charlie has the same power as me." I waited for him to say something, but he stayed in position. I gripped his shirt and tugged him around to look me in the eyes.
"What is the problem? You make it seem like that's a bad thing, that Charlie can protect himself. Do you really need to be in control all the time?" I could feel the anger welling up inside of me now. What was the issue here. Sometimes I felt like I didn't know my husband at all, and that's the last thing I would have expected. Edward and I were connected more deeply than by any mortal facade. We were not just in love. We were one inside, and I never doubted that anyone could be more than we were. But lately he had been acting shady. I didn't understand it. I couldn't even read his expression now, it was so distant from me. He almost glared at me, his face intense and stance intense.
"Bella," he started. "Bella I-" his voice cracked. What was so hard for him to say to me?
"I can almost feel a, a negative energy coming from him." His hands balled up into fists. He looked over my head. I reached out and took his hands, uncurling them and entwining them into mine. If I didn't stop this now, I could tell it would become a fight that I didn't want to have.
"There is nothing negative about Charlie," I reassured him. I lifted the back of his hand to my cheek. It felt cold.
"Mmm," he sighed, moving to hug me. He kissed me lightly on the top of my head. I laid my head on his chest, breathing in his scent that never failed to get me dizzy. I stumbled backward a few moments later. But to my surprise, the dizziness did not stop. I shook my head, trying to clear it, but it felt as if it was in a deep haze. Suddenly there was a stabbing pain in my head, ten times worse than the pain of a migraine. I grabbed the sides of my head, pulling on my hair. I could feel Edward's strong hands pulling at mine, trying to pull them away, but the pain was too much. I fell on the floor and curled into a ball. Edward kneeled beside me.
"Bella, love, what's wrong?" I couldn't answer his worried plea. I just pulled harder at the strands of hair.
"Bella, please!" He begged now. "Carlisle!"
I heard footsteps around me, and the pain increased. I didn't dare open my eyes, though I longed for Edward's beautiful face to calm me. I had to bite my tongue to keep from screaming. I felt the venom seeping through the bites.
"Bells? Are you okay?" A concerned voice asked from beside me. This burst of pain was just too much. I screamed, rolling away from Charlie. I felt a table collapse as I barreled into it, the wooden pegs falling around me. I prayed it wasn't Esme's antique. As quickly as the pain had started, it ended, and I fell into blackness.
I awoke to bright lights which didn't help what was left of my headache. I sat up and rubbed my head. I recognized the tight fibers of the sitting room couch underneath me. I heard Edward's steady breathing before I opened my eyes and saw him. He was staring at me, his eyes wide in fear. I smiled wearily at him, because I knew all traces of out argument from before were gone.
"I'm fine," I assured him, and he reached over to hug me hard.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered sadly in my ear. I leaned back and shook my head.
"I'm fairly sure it wasn't your fault." But even I could hear the hint of doubt in my voice. Then Carlisle crossed the room and sat next to me, looking into my eyes.
"How are you," he wondered, his doctoring skills surfacing. "Any headache, nausea?"
I rolled my eyes. "Just a little headache." He pursed his lips and stared me down.
"Good." I waited, but he said nothing. Then Jacob bounded around the corner into the room, followed by Nessie and Charlie. My head started throbbing the moment I laid eyes on Charlie, and I fell back onto the couch, squeezing Edward's hands. His other hand was cold on my forehead, and I could barely hear Carlisle ushering the others outside. I could feel myself slipping again. The darkness was an inch away when the pain started dissolving. I heard the click of the back door sliding shut.
"Bella, Bella?" said Carlisle's panicked voice. I opened my eyes to see Carlisle and Edward hovering over me. I hissed and jumped away, crouching against the opposite wall. When I realized what I had done, I hung my head and fell down to the floor.
"I'm sorry," I moaned. "I didn't mean to. You just surprised me."
"It's completely understandable, Bella. There's no need for an apology." Carlisle was always so forgiving to me, even when I messed up big time. I smiled at him and stood up, walking back over to the couch. Carlisle started right back up with the questions.
"Are you okay Bella?"
"Yeah," I lied.
"When did the pain begin?" he asked, taking my hand and holding his two middle fingers to my pulse. Should I tell him? I thought, looking down at my wrist. A slight stab of pain reminded me.
"When Charlie came in the room," I sighed, regretting the words as soon as they came out of my mouth. Carlisle's head snapped up. Edward's grip tightened on my other hand, and I heard a low growl from deep in his throat. I turned to grimace at him, then turned my attention back to Carlisle.
"But it probably doesn't mean anything," I tried to cover up. He let go of my hand and thought for a minute before saying,
"Well that's a possibility. But I still think we'd better find out what Charlie is capable of, just to be sure." I nodded once and followed him outside. The air wasn't cold, but I began shivering anyway. Edward had his arm around my shoulder and I leaned into him, willing myself not to faint again.
"Charlie!" Carlisle called out. He suddenly appeared from behind a tree, wide-eyed at us. Then Nessie jumped up onto his back and yelled, "You're it!" He grinned and took a giant leap over the river, landing silently in the snow on our side of the bank, Nessie still on his back. She jumped off and skipped over to where I was standing. I felt stronger the instant she was at by side. Charlie started to follow, but Carlisle said, "Emmett," and my big brother put a hand on Charlie's chest. Charlie glared at him, but didn't make any attempt to continue.
"Listen, Charlie," Carlisle began in a voice no louder than a normal talking voice, "Bella has been having some troubles. We don't know if they have anything to do with you, but we would just like to make sure. So we're going to perform a couple of tests to see if you have any, well, gifts. I wouldn't doubt it if you did," he added. "But you may not." Charlie nodded and began walking the stream. He put one foot in, then the other. He took a few more steps until he was waist deep, then faced us and shrugged.
Carlisle and Alice stood next to each other now, both of their mouths hanging open.
"Well, that's two," Alice muttered. Carlisle laughed bleakly.
"What, what's going on?" I asked, rushing to Alice's side. She didn't look at me when she answered.
"Edward can't hear him, so I'm going to assume that's the same power as you. And he just heard Carlisle, so he has Edward's power." I stopped breathing. So Charlie was the "Ultimate Vampire"? Two gifts? I let out a shout of exultation and jumped up and down while hugging Alice.
"Edward, did you hear that?" I spun around. I caught a look at his face just as I was about to hug him. It was dreadfully grim. He didn't meet my eyes, and I went back to Alice's side to watch Charlie.
At the end of the day, we learned that Charlie has 4 amazing and very dangerous powers.
1. He can block others from his mind.
2. He can hear other's thoughts.
3. He can sense other's around him without seeing them or hearing them.
4. He can block senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. They are immobilized, sort of like Alex's power from the Volturi. But his victims can feel one thing, and one thing only. Pain.