IC Time: September 7th 2007, dinner time
Location: Swan Household
Synopsis: Bella explains to Charlie why she was gone so long.
Submitted by: Staff

So Bella called Charlie and let him know that she and Edward were finally back from their extended honeymoon. That things happened on the honeymoon that she needed to talk to him about, but to not worry too much. Which would no doubt start a parent to worrying. So as the sun set this evening she arrived alone in Edward's Volvo. No use scaring him too much with her fancy car just yet. Even though it is a bit warm, for Forks anyway, she is wearing jeans, long sleeve shirt and a hat over her hair which is hanging loose about her shoulders. She sat in the car for several minutes, getting the courage up to do this before finally walking up the path.

Charlie is in the kitchen, which is rare. He isn't cooking, that's a small comfort. He stands over a box of pizza, transferring a slice onto a paper plate and wiping his hands on a napkin. Hearing a car out front, he pauses anxiously, and then moves to grab another plate for his daughter, whom he'd been expecting. Afterwards, he moves toward the door, drawing in a breath before pulling it open to greet Bella. At first glance, he blinks. She looks different, somehow. Still beautiful, that's for sure, but was something… off? His brow furrows with worry. "Good to see you, Bells. Come in, I ordered pizza," he says, shifting awkwardly.

"Hey dad…” Bella says in a low voice, trying to make it more like the old Bella. Hide the 'musical tenor' that it carries now. She has had months to practice. "Sorry…I already ate…but go ahead and eat, don't let that stop you." She responds hurriedly as she steps in for a quick hug, careful not to let her skin touch his. One of those quick awkward hugs well too familiar between the pair, though maybe this one lingers just a moment or two longer. "How are you going dad? Sue still looking after you?"

It's rather lucky that Bella isn't facing Renee. Charlie wasn't ever the most observant. As he leans down for the hug (awkward as ever), he doesn't notice the coolness of his daughter's skin, though there is that persistent feel that something is very off. "Oh, well, it's alright. I'll put it in the fridge for later," Charlie notes, closing the door behind Bella as she enters. There is a pause before he smiles sheepishly. "I'm doing good. Been working pretty hard lately. I mean, the crime's slowed down, but the ranger's been calling me about that wildlife issue. Sue? Oh." He pinkens a bit, "Yes, she's been around quite a bit. She's got a good heart, you know?" He heads down the hall for the kitchen. "Come sit down anyway, Bells." His voice suddenly grows stern. "What's this you wanted to tell me? Is Edward treating my girl right?"

Bella tucks her hands into the pockets of her jeans as she follows her dad to the kitchen, her head tucked down a bit. Even now thinking over what she is going to tell him. She takes a deep breath as she sits down, though she closes off her breathing real quick as she gets the scent of her father. Strong and human. Heartbeat and blood. "So Sue…that’s good to hear. Hopefully she is cooking for you on occasion? Hate to think you are only eating Pizza without me here to cook for you." At the question she looks down to the table briefly before looking up, "Of course dad…Edward…is wonderful. Better than I can even have imagined…" Her voice sounds more than sincere as she speaks of him, her features softening.

Charlie chuckles, plopping into one of the chairs at the kitchen table. "Oh, yeah. She's real good to me, sends home meals and everything. I like pizza on occasion though," he says, shrugging and grabbing his slice. He chews thoughtfully, his expression shifting from easy-going to defensive and fatherly in moments as she mentions Edward. "Good. I got to say, I'm jealous he's got you to cook from him now," he laughs. "You sure you don't want any? Your favorite place!" He offers the box toward Bella, eyes crinkling in a warm smile at the corners. "Hmm. So then, what's up? You thinking of moving? Are you…" He turns several shades paler and can't get the word 'pregnant' out.

"Good…I am glad she is taking good care of you." Bella responds with a nod of her head before taking another tentative breath. She does not have to work hard at not staying still; all she wants to do is fidget right now. She gives a half smile at the mention of cooking, "Oh Esme does most of the cooking around the house and well Edward cooks well enough, I hardly cook at all these days." Well none of those are lies really. Skirting around the truth maybe, but not lies. "Nah, dad, really I am full, I could not eat another bite." Well not of pizza anyway. "I don't know…we would…if Carlisle got a job elsewhere…well we might move." She says haltingly, her gaze shifting down to the table again.

Charlie eats quickly, perhaps out of nerves. He finishes off his current slice after nibbling on the crust, his eyes never leaving Bella, and the feeling that something is just a bit different about her never failing to leave him. In fact, as she talks, it only increases as he notices the luminous glow of her skin. "Ah. Shame, I should get you over here cookin' for me again on some days," he teases. The news about the move, however, sobers the man. "Oh." He fixes his gaze on the pizza. "Is that what this is about then? He's looking?" Pause. "Bells? You look great," Charlie offers suddenly. "Real pretty. You so something with your hair?"

"Maybe I could do that…" Bella says with a nod to him, "Now that I am back now." She nods again and looks around the familiar kitchen then back to him. "Make sure you are getting fed proper and all that." She bites her lip and looks down with a shrug of her shoulders, "Well…not yet, but well…Edward and I have talked about going off to University. Community college is ok for the first couple years, but.." As he asks her about her looks, she reaches up a hand to touch at her hair, "Well you know Alice…make up and hair parties day in and out. I can't hardly escape it these days."

"Sure! I mean, wouldn't hurt to visit your old man once in awhile, huh?" Charlie ventures, flashing a wry smile and grabbing another slice of greasy, cheesy pizza. He smiles at Bella. "Well, it looks nice," he says again, in that same, awkward way. "So, I get you for a few more years then? Good. I completely agree though, 'bout the college." He chews thoughtfully. "Peninsula College is great, but you're a smart young lady, Bells. You could probably get into a big name school." He pauses. "You talk to your mother since you got back?"

"Nah…Sorry we took such a long honeymoon..Just well we got a bit sick when we got down there and once we recovered we figured we hadn't yet had a proper honeymoon." Bella says in a rush of words, but not so fast he probably couldn't make them out. Her hands rub at her thighs as she looks up at Charlie, "Yeah, well taking a term off then…probably finish out my second year before we head off. So you got me for a little while longer at least." She nods at his question. "Yeah, called her after I called you. She was of course in a panic that we were out of touch so long."

Charlie nods pensively, finishing off his next slice and then reaching to close the box. It will surely be his next two meals. "I was worried," he confesses. "But I did try and keep in contact with Dr. Cullen and his wife, and they reassured me. I was real glad when you called, though," he offers somewhat awkwardly, standing up to avoid actual weirdness between the two. It is not like Bella and Charlie to be overly emotional. "Well, it sounds smart, Bella. I'm glad you've decided to go back. Did you think of a major yet?" he inquires, grabbing the box in order to stuff it into the barren fridge. "Ah, yeah. Renee called here a few times." He sounds a bit thoughtful, though the recollection of the conversations aren't exactly great.

"Sorry dad…I figured they would keep you up to date. I told them not to worry you with us being sick and all. Hardly anything you could help so far away." Bella responds as she rubs her hands together under the table. Fidgeting in her own way. She lets the awkward silence fall between them, for them at least it is natural. "Literature I suppose…get an arts degree." She gives a little shrug at that. Well she did always like to read the classic. Despite the contacts she does try not to quite meet his eyes, dark brown they are, not quite her shade of 'chocolate', but better than the auburn her eyes are at the moment.

Charlie nods. "They did," he assures her with a bit of a grunt, leaning against the fridge and eyeing the living room, quietly pondering the baseball games that are on later. "You're here now, that's all that matters." He allows another warm smile at his daughter as he watches her fidget. "You always did like to read. That sounds nice," he offers. There is a pause as he considers his next word choice, sighing before he does so: "So, you're okay? Things are looking up? When you called and said you wanted to talk… I didn't know what to think. But you seem real good. Just — you look different," he says again, squinting his eyes. "But good."

Probably one reason she didn't bring Edward with her so he wouldn't make direct comparisons. Bella nods to his question, "Yeah, doing well. Getting better every day. Well I just didn't want you to worry and all…" She sighs and bites her lower lip again looking down at the table. "Probably from being sick, lost a bit of weight, a bit of color…" She gives a nervous little laugh, "Though I suppose I could ill afford to lose either. The Albino from Phoenix…eh?"

Charlie laughs a little, though for a moment, he does not seem fully convinced. "Alright," he says finally, moving from the fridge to the counter, where he leans against it, eyeing the sink full of dishes. "Hey. How about me and you grab lunch this weekend at that restaurant you like so much?" He smiles. "We used to go there a lot back before…" Before she was married. He couldn't help but feel that Bella was different now, somehow. He walks over to rest his hands on her shoulders. "Billy's coming by. You still talk with Jacob?"

As he moves away she looks toward his back, a sense of longing and loss briefly in her gaze though she drops it before he turns around. "Well…since I have been sick, my appetite has been a bit off…I don't eat like I used to." Bella replies to the offer of lunch, "I could come over and watch a game with you or something?" She offers hurriedly to give him something else to focus on. As his hands rest on her solid shoulders she takes another little breath and nods quickly. Resisting the urge to reach up to him. "Yeah, of course Dad…we made up at the wedding…He has got Charlene now."

The clothing prevents Charlie from feeling that cold skin, though it isn't exactly warm. He does notice, bless his soul. "Really? Edward's got you into sports?" Charlie's eyes light up as a chuckle escapes his lips. "Well, that sounds like a plan. But I want you eating more, I'm going to talk to Dr. Cullen," he insists stubbornly. "Speaking of which. Uh, the game's starting, you want to join? Or…?" He shifts awkwardly, clearly wanting the TV to help make things more comfortable. "And good. Jacob is a nice kid. Billy told me about that Charlene."

"I would not go that far, we have taken to…running though. With him beside me I do not seem to stumble as much anymore." Bella responds as she closes her eyes to these little half truths. Well he is safer this way. Better than anything else she could tell him. She gives a little nod, "I suppose I could stay a little while longer…" She rises up from the chair, sliding her hands into her jeans pockets again. Not to offer him the temptation of grabbing one. Not the right time of year to get away with wearing gloves. "I will just call Edward and let him know I will be staying a bit longer."

"Sounds good," Charlie says absently, but happily. His lips curve into a satisfied smile as her consider the game, Bella, and Billy: three of his favorite things. "Running?" A brow raises. "Yeah, just make sure he watches you… and stick to flat surfaces," he teases, about the running. "Alright." A hand raises to scratch his head. "I'm going to go turn the game on, come and join me when you're ready. Billy'll be here soon enough." He smiles over his shoulder and then heads into his favorite spot, his recliner in front of his television.

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