We were still at the doorstep, Carlisle walked through first and we all switched onto human mode. Our paces slowed as we stepped into the living room.
Bella was right; this was painful, even for me. Charlie was ill, his face was white and crumpled along with his body that clung onto the sofa, and his eyes were red. His breathing wasn’t clear, his heart beating faster than it should. He then coughed and sighed after, it must be extremely painful. I then focused on his mind as he saw us in the doorway.
Oh, thank goodness, its Bella. I have missed her. And, oh Carlisle is here. There is little chance he can sort me out, I am going to die. I am going to die. Look at Bella, she is a mess. Worrying about me I suppose. The other day she was so happy, and now I put three thousand tons of weights on her shoulders and she goes crashing down. I am a stupid man, I am ruining her... I would do anything to make her happy, to see her smile right now. But I am going to die, and I am going to hurt her so much. But I will talk to her, before I die and tell her that I am sorry, that I will always love her...
I felt so sad. Listening to this almost made me cry-if I could cry that was- Charlie planning his death speech. Why did this event have to occur? It was traumatic.
“Hello, Charlie.” Carlisle said with judiciousness.
“Hi everyone” Charlie croaked. I could hear sue in the kitchen, she was crying now. She was cooking soup for Charlie. The poor woman, all the men around her were dying at her feet. She will finally be alone. But at least she had Seth and Leah and she could always go and see Billy. What was I thinking? There was still hope...
“I’ve come to see if I can help” Carlisle said. Bella and I sat on the other sofa as Carlisle walked towards Charlie and got on his knees, opening his bag and putting it on the table.
“Ok” He croaked in a different tone to his usual, the old voice had expired.
I looked at Bella, her face was the same as before but her bottom lip was wobbling, she bit it.
“Relax, it’s ok” I murmured, only Bella would be able to hear that. She tilted her head so that she could see me and slightly nodded, returning her focus to Carlisle and her father. Watching her I could see the intensity in her eyes, she was clinging onto the seat with anticipation as Carlisle figured out what was wrong.
We sat there for a while, watching Carlisle do his magic- watching his fingers work with ease and perfection. He then lifted them and faced us.
“He has phenomena. It is quite severe. But there is hope, if we act on it now.” Carlisle’s face was serious but calming. Bella’s face softened at first, knowing what was wrong but then hardened a second later.
“What do we do?” She whimpered in a hurt voice
“I don’t want surgery” Charlie said, his voice cracking halfway through.
“Bella. I'm old anyway.” She flinched at the words.
“I don’t want you to go” She whispered, the pain injecting her again, her voice almost whimpering.
“Bella. I don’t want you to have to look after an old man. You have a happy life now.”
“You are part of it” her tone was pleading.
“Bella. I want to die now. Look at me, what are the odds?”
“The odds...” Carlisle muttered
“Dad... what about Sue?” She was trying, but not succeeding.
“She will be fine. She can live on with her life. Bella, I do love you. And if I was younger then I would have something done... but it will happen sometime... and fate tells me it is now.”
“Dad-” Was all she managed to get out
“I will be fine Bella. Don’t worry about me. I will always love you, I remember watching you grow, and that is what I will take with me to the grave. Who knows what will be next in this life?”
“Dad, there is another option...you won’t ever have to die”
“Bella,” I cautioned her “Are you sure?”
“Anything to save him” She muttered, holding my hand.
“Bella, what’s going on?” Charlie croaked again, confused.
“Dad, have you ever wondered what I am? That I am something else? Why people down at La Push hate the Cullens?”
“Oh. Oh. You are something, alright Bella. But I don’t know what.” He flinched at the memories of Jacob strip in front of him and phase.
“Dad... I'm... a.... I'm a... I'm a vampire dad. Please don’t be scared. We are fully controlled. Please don’t be afraid.”
“A... vampire?” Charlie’s thoughts were confused... mesmerized.
“Yes” Carlisle mused.
“That explains a lot... but... the danger you put my daughter in when she was human! How could you?” The colour in his face changed slightly and then cooled back.
“As Bella said, we are very controlled” I said. He was taking this very well. In everything he was afraid of the past! Ha! What about now? Why wasn’t he afraid? His thoughts were very simple and plain, understanding. This shocked me, I expected him to run away, but then again that would explain where Bella got it from. He knew Bella was fine and that was all that mattered to him.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked
“I don’t need any. I only need to know the basics. So, if I became a ... vampire I would never die?”
“Unless you were cut up and burned”
“I don’t want to become... one of you. Like I said, I want to die now.”
“Please think about it dad. You’re in pain...” Bella whispered
“Honey, there is nothing to think about. It is time”
“What about me?”
“You will be fine. And very happy. I will always love you, of course. And looking at you, you are in pain. I am sorry, but it is the only way... of course it will be hard at first, but you will be fine, love. I promise. I will be watching you”
Bella said nothing, her wide, beautiful eyes were so sorrowful. She looked almost unhealthy; her skin was tight over her cheekbones, her face even paler. I didn’t know such a thing was possible.
“Absolutely,” Carlisle said “We will do what you want. But would you like any painkillers while you are... like this?”
“I'm a tough man, I can live through it” He attempted a grin and coughed. Bella straightened up.
“Dad, do you want me to get you anything?” she attempted a valiant face.
“No thanks, love.” I could tell he was fighting the pain back, like his daughter.
“Are you sure? Do you want me to get Sue?”
I can’t believe she is a vampire! It makes so much sense but it still is... confusing. Oh well, at least she is alive and well. That is all that matters now, I can leave her knowing she will be fine and live an extremely long happy life. It explains a lot. I’ve discovered there is more to this life than people expect.
Sue came in that moment with a bowl of soup in her hand, her eyes were wide and red, and her face was tight but she was trying to pull herself together. Attempting a smile, she laid the bowl in Charlie’s lap and he started at it.
We all sat there in silence, watching Charlie eat noisily, slurping up the tomato soup. It was a rather uncomfortable silence; Carlisle was slumped on the floor, Sue was next to Charlie watching his every move and Bella and I sat on the other sofa, my eyes on her, her eyes on me.
Once Charlie was finished, he attempted to get up but Carlisle stopped him quickly
“Charlie, you need to rest.” Charlie nodded absentmindedly and crouched back down onto the sofa in an uncomfortable position. Bella and I heard a car come to a stop at exactly the same time. She got up and opened the door as they approached the house. Billy was in his wheelchair with Jacob pushing it. Both their faces were hard and mournful. Billy glanced at Bella fist, his eyes sorrowful and then darted to me. He nodded his head as they came further in. Jacob just looked at Carlisle with curious eyes.
Wonder what’s wrong with the poor man. What the hell is doc gonna go to help him? Does he know about vampires yet?
Jacob was looking at me and I nodded my head
How did it go?
That’s good. How is Bella?
I looked at him, my face hard and cold.
Thought so. Poor girl, she doesn’t need this. What’s Charlie gonna do?
“Excuse me, I just need to talk to Jacob alone,” I looked at everyone “Don’t worry love, I’m just going outside” I said so low that only she could hear. She nodded and let go of my hand as Jacob and I walked out slowly from the now-crowded room. When we were far enough, I turned to face him.
“He has pneumonia” I said
“Oh.” He looked down at his feet.
“And we have given him the choice, he could have surgery... die or become one of us, but he wants to die. He thinks that it is time.”
“Silly man. But I do get his point”
“But he took it very well, the vampire part. He was mainly worried about the past, when Bella was human. He wasn’t worried about the danger right now”
“Hmmm... and Bella?”
“Worse. It’s hard to see her like this... and when he is gone, which will be quite soon I think, it will break her. And I don’t know what to do.”
“Don’t fret, man. We have been through this kind of thing before, right?”
“But maybe it won’t work out this time”
“You two have forever, so don’t worry.” He grinned at me and placed his hand on my shoulder. That was a first.
Bella and Carlisle came out then, both looking sad.
“We are going Edward” Carlisle said, gloom in his voice.
“Ok. Talk to you later Jacob”
I walked away and put my arm around Bella as we went to the car. She sighed as she looked back at the house and we drove away.
A minute later we were in front of the house. Alice and Olivia were standing in the porch, their eyes intrigued.
“Hi” Alice said, still a bit gloomy. Olivia looked dead-like too.
“Guys, you don’t need to be sad just because Charlie is dying. Life goes on, right?”
“Bella, try to be happy. Please.” I asked her
“I will try.” I squeezed her hand as we walked closer to the two girls.
“Bella, I said you should talk to Olivia. Let’s go downstairs”
“Ok” She said as we followed them. We walked down the stairs to the long oval table. Olivia and Alice sat on the left side and we sat on the right.
There was a short silence, and Alice ended it.
“Bella, this is Olivia, Bella, Olivia” She gestured. The girl smiled at her and then me.
Bella seems a nice girl, I could become good friends with her, oh and she is lucky. Edward seems a really nice guy. Her daughter is beautiful. I would like to get to know her. Alice said I would like her.
Olivia was a nice girl, she would get along with Bella. Her thoughts were sometimes complex and a little sour but mostly kind. Her light brown hair hung past her shoulders. She was rather pretty. I realised she was staring at me as I was looking at her funnily, her wide eyes confused.
“Hi Bella. It’s nice to properly meet you”
“I love your home. It’s perfect! And Renesmee is beautiful”
“She is very special,” Bella grinned, that was a first. “So you can... time travel?”
“I can. It is an interesting ability. In my human life I focused a lot on the past and the future and... Here I am!”
“Can you go back to any time?” she said, riveted.
“Any time until the person changes, like I can only go up to when I was changed to a vampire. But if someone dies then, yes, that works. What about your ability? That seems interesting” She was being very kind.
“It’s like a mega shield thing. It’s... useful,” She smiled again which made me happy. “Do you mind... showing me your ability? I'm curious”
“Sure! Ok, everyone place your hands in the middle of the table” Everyone did and she grasped her long fingers over the ball of hands and closed her lids almost gracefully. Then I looked at the clock, it was two minutes ago. We all laughed in unison
“That was interesting” I said
“It’s extremely powerful and interesting,” Alice said “Olivia’s ability and mine make a brilliant match. To see the future and go there at the same time... it makes everything stronger.”
“But using everyone’s abilities here... we would make an indestructible team. It would be excellent. So don’t worry Bella, if something comes for you we will be ready. And if its needed, my powers will save us if we let it slip” He face and thoughts were still optimistic as the words that came out of her mouth. And surprisingly, Bella took her word and trusted her. I could tell this was going to be the start of a strong friendship. Emmett came through then and sat down at the top of the table
“Hey guys. Err, what are you doing?” He said, grinning at me. My favourite brother always made me smile back without thinking about it.
But my mind was somewhere else, Bella was happy. Well at least her new friend made her happy. That was good enough for me. Maybe my frozen sun was gradually melting again, everything would be back tomorrow. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Alice’s
Oh Yay, ten days until the party! I better get a move on there will be a lot of guests... I need to go shopping with Bella tomorrow, and maybe I could invite Olivia. It will brighten Bella’s day. Ha-ha. I need to buy a lot of flowers; I don’t want to touch the ones in the meadow. I need to buy a dress, some new sprays to use... oh so much!
We had ten days. My question was how long did Charlie have? And he wouldn’t be able to come to the party anyway. To be honest, looking at him he looked like he only had a week. That gave Bella three days to be sad, and hopefully she would have perked up by the party. Three days.
Charlie, the burly Burn brother then strode in
“Hey, Emmett! That was not fair! I declare a rematch!” he said playfully. Emmett chuckled broadly and stood up
“Talk later” He said as he closed the door. Alice was looking at me, she looked happier now too. Bella and Olivia were talking to each other quietly while Alice continued to make arrangements.
“Hey Olivia, Bella, will you come shopping with me tomorrow?”
“Where?” Bella asked.
“Paris? London?” She shrugged
“Oh ok. New York it is then” she laughed as she looked into the future “Oh yes, that dress is beautiful Olivia!”
“You are showing me which one tomorrow” Olivia laughed
“Hey, Edward? Can I go see Nessie now? It’s been a long time” she smiled again and my mind went blank for a quarter of a second.
“Of course. See you later” I said to them both. We entered the living room where Esme sat with Nessie. She looked up at Bella and me with anticipation, her eyes burning with love. She reached out for Bella and she was then in Bella’s arms. She grinned at her showing her milky white teeth. Bella grinned back and sat down snuggling Renesmee closer to her.
“I have missed you” Bella whispered
“I missed you too momma. Where have you been?”
“To see Grandpa Charlie”
“Pa pa Charlie? What is wrong?”
“He is very ill”
“Oh no. What can I do?” Nessie always wanted to help, like her Mom.
“Nothing sweetie. But Pa pa Charlie is leaving us soon”
“Up to... heaven?”
“Yes” She said, her voice brittle.
“He will be happy there” she said with confidence.
“Don’t worry momma.” She placed her hand on her cheek showing her Charlie grinning. Bella smiled.
“I will miss him a lot”
“Yes but you will know he will be happy!”
“Yes I do.”
“Good. Momma, I am here. I will look after you” she said in such a sweet tone nobody in the room could help from chuckling.
“I love you Nessie” She grinned, kissing her on the cheek. Renesmee started playing with her hair and showed her that she wanted to play hairdressers. Alice was in here in a flash with a box of hair bands and bits, grinning widely, Bella winced and grimaced. I chuckled again.
“There you go, Nessie!” Alice said
“Thank you” she said as she started to brush Bella’s thick hair elegantly and getting out the bright coloured bands. Her light fingers started making braids in her hair and in a few minutes she was done. Bella’s hair looked like it had been done by an adult- not an almost one year old!
“Beautiful!” I praised Renesmee, winking at Bella. They both smiled at me, Esme giggled with Alice.
“Bella, one thing. Don’t take them out tonight, your hair will look beautiful tomorrow” She grinned.
“Oh god” she sighed playfully and Renesmee giggled in high soprano. It was three o' clock, the day was fading quickly, but the evenings were always something to look forward to.
“So Nessie, what have you been doing today?” I asked her with high spirits
“Playing with Grandma Es-e-me,” she said. She could speak properly but she enjoyed calling people other things. “We played lots of fun games outside and we played hide and seek!”
“That was fun” Esme said lightly. I smiled at her and then looked back at Renesmee, the beautiful child on my lap. She was playing with the pocket on my shirt.
“Careful” I cautioned, grinning. She grinned back effortlessly.
“Daddy, are you worried about Momma?” she asked when Bella wasn’t listening. I loved how she called me daddy. It was nice.
“Yes. But she seems happier today. She has made friends with Olivia, and seeing you happy makes her happy. You made her more confident today” I grinned at her. She smiled back at me.
Jacob then walked through the door with a wide smile upon his face.
“Jacob!” She called, reaching out to him. He took her quickly into his arms.
“Want to go play wolfie?”
“Hi, be careful with her”
“You think I would let her get hurt?”
“Of course not”
They both then ran outside. Jacob was in his wolf form with Renesmee running behind him. He then swung her onto his back and they were running. Bella was sitting watching television with Esme, talking at the same time. I was very happy today, Bella was suddenly so much happier; my sun was melting at last. Each time I glanced at her dazzling face a piece of stone was breaking off, her smile was more powerful.
The day flew by quickly and with grace, Renesmee and Jacob were home at five and we took her back to the cottage at seven as she went to sleep. Bella and I spent our evening happily.
“I’m glad to see you happy” I said at one point in the evening. She kissed me.
“It feels good to be happy again, to not worry for once about the future.”
“You never need to, love. You are always safe with me. Charlie is ok, and that is all that matters. Renesmee told you that.”
“I know. I will let him go, as much as it will hurt. Maybe it is his time.” She winced.
“It is. Don’t worry about anything. While we are on this subject, is there anything else bothering you?”
“Having to go shopping to New York tomorrow!” she giggled and moaned.
“You know Alice.”
“I sure do. We have to leave at seven because apparently ‘we are going to shop till we flop!’” She said, copying Alice’s voice almost perfectly. I laughed at her sarcasm.
“What about you?” She asked, her voice quiet but beautiful
“I am glad really, seeing you happy again. You don’t know how painful it was to see you like that. But I am slightly worried about what Alice is going to do to you tomorrow."