Disclaimer: We still own nothing except the “awesome” dads and their attitudes. ;)
“Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS
“Don't Dream It's Over” by Crowded House
Charlie’s face had paled after he hit Bella. But with my words, his face reddened and I prepared myself for what was to come.
“This is all your fault, Cullen,” Charlie shouted at me.
“This,” Bella pointed to her now swollen cheek and eye as she moved to stand beside me. “This was all you, Charlie.”
“Bella, you will show me some respect. I am your father,” Charlie told her.
“Right, well, today definitely earns you a nomination as father of the year, Daddy.” Bella squeezed my hand and looked up at me. “I’m ready to leave now, Edward.”
“You are not going anywhere with him young lady,” Charlie screamed and moved towards Bella again.
“Enough!” Billy’s raised voice surprised us all as he turned his chair to face his best friend. “Charlie, look at where we are at. My son just watched the love of his life be buried and look at how you are acting.”
“Billy, he has absolutely no right to be here-- at all!” Charlie said.
“Actually, Charlie, Edward has more right to be here than you do. My son invited Edward to be here. He is Jacob’s friend and Jacob wants him here. Bella wants him here. I want him here.” With each word out of Billy’s mouth Charlie looked as though he had been hit.
Charlie looked at Jacob and Billy who had both moved closer to Bella and I.
“Bella, you said you are ready to go.” Bella nodded to Billy at his words and he looked at me.“Edward, can you please help me to the car?”
Jacob wrapped his arm around Bella’s waist as I moved behind Billy and began pushing his chair.
“This isn’t over, Cullen,” Charlie said.
“Oh, it is most definitely over, Charlie.” Bella’s words were ice cold to her father. I saw Jacob rub his hand over her back to comfort her.
After a lot of maneuvering, I was able to get the chair to the car and Jacob and I helped Billy inside. As I moved to put the chair in the trunk, I felt his presence before he uttered a word to me.
“This has to end, Edward. You and Bella cause nothing but pain for each other. You will stop seeing her now,” Carlisle told me.
“The only people that I see around here causing people undo pain are you and Charlie Swan. Bella and I are together. Nothing you or anyone says or does will keep us apart again,” I told him.
“Listen, Edward,” my dad said as he reached for me.
“No, Dad, you listen. This is not the time or place for this. You all may not be happy with the decision that Bella and I have made to be together again but you are not us. We are living our lives the way we see fit. We are living our lives in a way that truly makes us happy. I think that Bella and I have had enough interference from our families to last a lifetime,” I said.
“Edward, you do not want to do this, Son,” Dad said harshly.
“It’s done, Dad. Nothing you can do or say can ever tear us apart.” I moved passed him and slid next to Bella in the backseat of Jacob’s car. I pulled her close to me and she rested the uninjured side of her face against my shoulder.
I turned my head and looked back at our parents as we drove away. It looked like time did not heal all wounds. Our dads already had their heads buried together. At least our mothers looked somewhat ashamed of what had just transpired.
“Well, that so was not how I pictured today turning out,” Bella murmured against me.
I kissed the top of her head and moved her hair out of her face to look at it more closely.
“Damn, Baby, that has got to hurt,” I told her.
“It definitely doesn’t feel great, E.”
“Bella, are you and Edward up to going to the wake with us?” Jacob asked.
“Jacob, as much as I would love to be there with you, I think I have had as much excitement as I can take today,” she told him. “I think that this would bring too many questions and too much unwanted attention,” Bella said as she motioned to her face.
“I understand. I really don’t think that I am up for all of those people either,” Jacob told us.
“How about if you drop us off at our hotel for now, Jake? We need to get some ice on Bella’s face before it gets any worse. You can feel free to come by and join us for some dinner later if you are up to it,” I said.
“That sounds great, Edward. Thanks.”
“How in the hell did this happen,” Carlisle yelled at me.
“I have no idea. As far as I knew, Edward and Bella hadn’t seen each other since January,” I told him.
“So it’s true then,” Esme spoke up. “You two made up the story about the restraining orders?”
“We had to do something, anything. She almost killed our boy, Esme. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. The next time we could have been standing over our son in the morgue because of her stupidity,” Carlisle said.
“Edward was not the one who was being hurt time after time by Bella physically,” I said through gritted teeth. “Renée, you’ve been awfully quiet over there. Don’t you have anything to say about this damn mess of a relationship that our daughter seems to have found herself in again?” I waited what seemed like forever for her response. Renée was never one who would stand up and say what she was thinking unless she was prodded for it.
“I’m as surprised as the rest of you that she is seeing Edward. She told me that she met someone at OU that she had started seeing and that they hit it off well. She seemed so happy when she was talking to me on the phone. I can’t believe she would make up a story about where they met,” she told me.
“Where did you say Bella is going to school?” Esme asked.
“OU, the University of Oklahoma. They offered her a variety of options in journalism-related fields and she had to move halfway across the country to do it,” Renée said.
“She isn’t lying about where they met up again then. Edward is going to OU and working towards a degree in physical therapy,” Esme shared.
“They must have been plotting and planning this whole time to find a way to be together. I can’t believe that we didn’t know about this sooner. Together they are toxic. We can’t allow them to continue to be together,” I said.
“While I don’t agree how you went around it, Charlie, I don’t want to see Bella hurt again anymore than you do. When you told me about what she did when she caught Edward cheating on her,” Renée shook her head. “I don’t want to lose her and I will do anything to keep her safe.”
I looked at Carlisle and Esme looking for their support in this.
“I agree with you and Renée. We have to keep them apart. Edward does not need Bella in his life. He was just turning his life around. I don’t want to see him be sucked into that black hole of lifelessness again,” Carlisle said. He looked at his wife. Esme looked extremely emotional.
“I just can’t,” Esme said. “I can’t support this conspiring and plotting against our own flesh and blood. Did anyone actually listen when Bella was talking?”
“She isn’t thinking clearly. Edward has always caused her not see things as she should,” I told her.
“Listen to yourselves,” Esme said. “How many times did we hear them fight and say nothing to them? How many times did we notice the odd bruises on Bella and say nothing? How many times did we let them get so into each other that they didn’t know how to exist without the other? Carlisle, we watched our son spiral down into such a deep pit of depression that he started taking drugs so he could forget Bella. Edward told us that he needed her and you lied to him that she didn’t want a thing to do with him. Carlisle, you might as well have poured a bottle of those pain pills down his throat by the pain that you caused Edward by telling him that Bella did not love him and wanted nothing to do with him. We, as parents, messed up along the way. Bella and Edward seem to see it and I am obviously the only one who saw this but those were not the same kids that we saw in January. While Edward and Bella being together may not be what we want for them, it is what they want. They are legally adults. It is their right to be together if that is what they want, if it makes them happy, if it isn’t causing them harm. The only one that I saw that caused anyone harm here today was you, Charlie.”
“It was an accident!” I shouted. “I would never hurt Bella on purpose. Are you with us or not, Esme?” I asked her. Protecting my child from Cullen and the violent rages I knew he could have were more important to me than anything else.
“I am with our kids and their happiness. What you three are planning will only hurt them and they do deserve to live their own lives without interference from us,” Esme said as she walked towards their car.
“I’ll talk to her, Swan. Edward and Bella together is no good for anyone. I will make her see that,” Carlisle told me. I reached out to shake his hand.
“Thanks, Cullen,” I said.
“Thank you for letting me know about this situation. We will end this. I have no doubt,” Carlisle told me.
He walked to meet his wife at their car and I turned to look at Renée and we began to leave.
“So, any ideas on how to make this thing happen, Renée?” I asked and she nodded at me while she picked up her cell phone.
“Yes, Charlie, if she won’t cut her ties off from Cullen, I know exactly what needs to be done,” she said.
My eye and face was still throbbing from where Charlie hit me. Even with the ice that Edward had insisted that I use to reduce the swelling didn’t do much. My eye was almost swollen shut.
We were curled together on the bed trying to relax after the confrontation that we had at the cemetery with our parents. I still can’t believe that they had the nerve to do that when I was saying goodbye to my best friend forever.
Edward must have felt my tension increase. He shifted and wrapped his arms tighter around me and gently touched my face.
“Are you in a lot of pain, Baby?”
“Not a lot, no. I was just thinking,” I told him.
“Thinking about what?”
“Today, everything. I just can’t believe them.” Edward kissed my cheek and hugged me tightly.
“We just surprised them. We knew this was going to be difficult.”
“I know, Edward. Is it really that difficult for them to see that they don’t have anything to do with our relationship?”
“B, I don’t think parents could ever stop trying to protect their children. Ours just have a shitty way of showing it,” Edward said as his finger ghosted over the swelling on my face. He kissed my forehead as my cell began to ring.
“Hi, Mom,” I said hesitantly.
“Bella, I’d really like to see you,” she told me.
“Mom, it has been a very long and an extremely emotional day. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” I almost begged. I didn’t want to deal with anymore family drama and with Renée’s few words I heard the drama that was destined to fall from her lips soon.
“Phil and I are heading back to Arizona in the morning. I wouldn’t do this now if it wasn’t important. It won’t take long, Baby. Can I stop by your hotel to see you?” I rolled my eyes.
“Are you coming alone?” I asked with bitterness in my tone. “I am not in the mood to see Charlie right now.”
“Yes, Bella, it’s just me coming. I can be there in five minutes,” my mom said.
“Okay, see you soon,” I said as I got up out of the bed. Edward propped himself up against the headboard.
“So I guess we are getting ready to have a visitor, huh?” Edward said as he ruffled his hands through his bronze hair. My girlie bits squealed just a little bit seeing that sex hair take form atop his head. Those girlie bits wanted to be included in the sex with Edward factor very badly at that moment.
“Yes,” I said as I went to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my hair. I saw Edward come behind me in the mirror and he wrapped his arms around me and I leaned back into his body.
“Are you ready to talk to her, Bella?” He said as he made contact with my eyes in our reflected images in the mirror. I covered his hands with mine and nodded.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” I smirked at him. I turned to him and smiled. “How do I look?” I pointed to my damaged face.
“Bella, you look beautiful, always beautiful.” He leaned down and his lips met mine and I sighed into his mouth as he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. I gently bit his lower lip and our kiss slowly intensified as our tongues began to stroke in and out of each other’s mouths languidly. With each stroke of his tongue against mine, the stress of the day began to slowly melt away and honestly all I could think of was that I wanted more parts of Edward stroking more parts of mine. Edward started slowing the kiss down more until he was barely touching his lips to mine. His forehead leaned against mine and his hands squeezed lightly at my hips.
“Thanks, Baby. I needed that,” I told him as he took his turn to smirk at me.
“You’re definitely not the only one,” he said as there was a knock at the door.
“It’s show time,” I said as I went to open the door for my mother.
“Oh, Bella,” my mom said as she reached for my face and I moved out of her reach. “How badly does it hurt?”
“Well, I can barely see out of my eye at all mom, so I am just peachy,” I told her. Edward came up behind me and whispered to me.
“Baby, try to play nice. She is your mother.” He looked up to my mom and said in his normal voice, “Hello Mrs. Dwyer. How are you?” My mom didn’t say a word to him as he went to grab his wallet off of the dresser.
“I’m going to run to the diner across the street and pick up some dinner, B. Anything in particular you want?” He asked.
“Surprise me,” I told him with a smile as I reached up to kiss him on the cheek as he headed to the door.
“Sure thing, Baby. Mrs. Dwyer, will you be joining us for dinner,” Edward asked.
“No, no I won’t,” Mom told him emphatically.
He closed the door behind him and I took a deep breath.
“So, what did you want to talk about, Mom.” I sat down on the foot of the bed.
“Bella, how long has this thing with Edward been going on?” She asked as she sat down in the chair across from me.
“Mom, we ran into each other one day at school a few months ago. We were totally surprised to see each other.”
“Oh, I bet he was surprised to see you,” she murmured.
“Mom, Edward and I have not just started where we left off. I will be the first to admit that he treated me like shit when we were together before. He was an asshole and when I first saw him I knew that I didn’t want a person like that in my life ever again.”
“Then explain to me exactly how it is that he is in your life, Bella. I need to understand this.”
“I didn’t want anything to do with him at first. He has more than proved to me that he isn’t the same person that he was.”
“Bella, people like Edward, they don’t just change overnight.”
“Mom, I had the same thoughts, but trust me. I know what I’m doing. He is different. It is possible for a person to change.”
“He’s just pretending to be what you want him to be so he can suck you into his life again, Baby. I don’t want to see you hurt ever again and this thing with Edward is destined to end badly.”
“Mom, think about what happened today. The Edward that hurt me, who almost thrived on hurting all of those around him, wouldn’t have been able to hold back if he saw a punch coming his way. He just stood there, Mom. He just stood there with Charlie’s fist flying at his face and he did nothing. He did absolutely nothing,” I said adamantly.
“Bella, you will just never see him clearly at all. Please stop this before you get hurt or worse,” she pleaded with me.
I reached over and grabbed her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. “Mom, he isn’t going to hurt me. I know that for an absolute fact.”
“I just can’t sit back and watch you be destroyed by this boy. You almost killed yourself over him.” Those words were like cold water being poured over my body.
“I am fine now, Mom. Like I told you earlier today, Edward and I were both messed up. I am not denying that at all. We have changed. I am happy. He makes me happier than I could ever imagine.”
“I can’t support you if you are going to be with him. I just can’t,” she told me. “If you won’t stop seeing him, you leave me no choice.”
“What do you mean, Mom?”
“All of those bills that you have been using my credit cards for every month for your household expenses, school, everything else, your father and I both will not help you financially while you are with that boy.” I couldn’t say that I was surprised that my parents would stoop to an all-time low.
“So, basically, you are telling me to choose-- between being able to stay in school and staying with Edward?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying, Bella.”
“Well, the answer is simple then. It’s Edward. It’s always been Edward. It always will be him.” I got up and went to my purse and removed the credit cards that she had given me at graduation. “Here, Mom. Take them.” She put the cards in her purse and headed towards the door.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, Mom. Edward is a good person. I wish you could see that like I do.”
“Bella, I love you too much to stand by and watch you destroy yourself.” Mom said as she shut the door and walked out of the room and by the way her words sounded to my ears-- out of my life.