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Life is Easy, Death is Harder

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Alice froze as she walked up the stairs on the porch. Jasper was quick by her side after seeing her standing out there with the look that she only got whenever she got a bad vision.

“Bella, it’s Charlie,” she said with concern.

Though Bella and Edward were nowhere near the house, having spent the evening at the cottage, they were quick to rush to her side.

“What is it, Alice,” Bella asked with concern in her voice.

“We don’t have time, we have to hurry,” she said with urgency.

“Renesmee,” Bella said with a quick thought though knowing she would be fine.

Edward placed her hand on her back, “Jacob’s got her. She’ll be fine.”

Bella nodded and the four of them went to get into Alice’s yellow Porsche 911 Turbo. Not caring about the speed limit she drove as fast as she could.

“What’s going on, Alice?”

“He’s about to have a heart attack,” she finally said.

“What, when?”

“I’m driving as fast as I can. Just hold on.”

“You know I can’t get hurt.”

“You know that’s not what I meant.”

*****

It didn’t take long for the four of them to arrive at the diner just as Sue and Charlie were smiling and walking out. It was Saturday evening, date night for them. They’d been married for ten years now and still, they always made sure to have an evening to themselves, which of course they did anyway but Saturday nights were special, Charlie always wanted to make sure of it.

Just as Sue was talking to Charlie, he suddenly felt weak, feeling his legs about to buckle. His hand clasped his chest and just as he went down Edward jumped out of the car, quick enough to catch him but subtle enough so no one would notice his speed.

Bella ran to him at a human pace.

“Dad, dad,” she said.

“Charlie,” Sue said in fear.

This could not be happening to her again. Her first husband had died of a heart attack, Charlie couldn’t be either.

Jasper walked over, “I called Carlisle, he’s waiting at the hospital. Go, I’ll ride with Sue.”

“So will I,” said Alice, “we need to hurry.”

Edward picked Charlie up in his arms. Bella would have done it herself but under these circumstances, she had to play the role of a human woman. And no human woman could lift an over one hundred fifty pound man unless you were a power builder which she certainly was not.

Bella sat in the back, Charlie’s head resting on her cold lap. Edward put the car in gear and sped as fast as the car would allow.

“Hang on dad,” said Bella, “Carlisle is waiting.”

It did not take that long to arrive at the hospital. Already Carlisle was waiting with a gurney where Edward placed him down.

“How long has he been down,” Carlisle asked.

“Six minutes,” said Edward, being specific.

Already Charlie was hooked up to a monitor, his heart rate starting to level off.

“He’s crashing,” said Carlisle. “Paddles, now!” He was given the paddles from the defibrillator. “Clear!”

Bella hugged Edward tightly.

“Clear!” he said again. “Come on Charlie, hang in there.” After a couple of seconds, there was a beep and then another. The monitor showed signs of improvement. “Okay let’s go, let’s move him.”

Bella took a breath, not that she needed to since vampires didn’t breathe.

“Edward?” Bella said with fear in her voice.

Edward held onto his wife and placed a kiss on her head. “He’s going to be okay.”

“You don’t know that but Alice does.”

“Can you get something from her?”

Edward shook his head. “It’s touch and go. Alice can’t see a direct future for him right now.”

“Bella,” Sue said as she found her daughter-in-law waiting in the hallway with Edward. She went up to Bella and hugged her. When she pulled back she asked, “How is he?”

“We’re not sure,” Bella replied.

“I should be in there with him,” she said both in the tone of a concerned wife and as a nurse.

“Carlisle is good at what he does,” said Edward.

“So am I,” Sue shot back. She shook her head, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

Alice looked at the group, “We should all wait in the waiting room. Carlisle will come to get us.”

Sue nodded.

As they walked over Edward and Jasper remained standing while Alice took a seat next to Sue, rubbing her back to comfort her. Just then Bella’s phone rang and she walked to a corner to answer.

“Jacob, hey.”

“Everything okay,” he asked on the other end, “Esme said you guys rushed out of here pretty quickly.”

“It’s Charlie. He’s um…he’s had a heart attack.”

“What? Well do you want me to come over there, I could get Seth and Leah and…”

“No, don’t bring them. It will probably just upset them.”

“Well is Sue there?”

“Yeah.” Bella sighed, “Fine, tell them. But Jacob, let me make one thing clear, do not tell Renesmee.”

“You can’t be serious?”

“Do I not sound serious? I mean it, Jacob, this is something she should hear coming from me.”

Jacob sighed on the other end and reluctantly listened to Bella even though he didn’t want to. He wanted the world for Renesmee and yes he sometimes overstepped but he had to remember that she was Bella’s daughter so that over-ruled everything, despite what he wanted to give her.

“Okay, I won’t tell her.”

“I mean it, Jacob,” she said again.

“Bella, I promise, I’ll listen to you on this one. Charlie is your dad so it should be you that she hears this from. As much as I want to tell her, at the same time I don’t want to upset her either.”

“And you think that’s what I’m going to do?”

“No, no, I just meant that it would be easier on her if all of us were there, at least the three of us anyways,” Jacob said meaning himself, Edward, and Bella. “This way it’s not so hard, kind of make her understand and make sense of it.”

“I’m still trying to make sense of it.”

“He’ll be okay Bella. Charlie’s always been as healthy as a horse, remember? I’ll call Seth and Leah and fill them in.”

“Thanks, Jacob. And thank you, for not telling Renesmee.”

“You’re my best friend too, Bella, you know that so if what you need is for me not to say anything about this then you got it.”

Bella could smell Carlisle as he made his way from the emergency room. “Jake, I have to go,” before Jacob could get in another word, Bella hung up the phone.

“They’re running some tests,” said Edward, beating Carlisle before her father-in-law could get the words out.

“What kinds of tests,” Bella asked.

Carlisle explained some of them. “We just want to cover our bases. The good thing now is that he’s stable. We’ll keep him over night and see how he does before we decide to discharge him.”

“Can I see Charlie?” Bella asked.

Carlisle smiled, “Of course.”

Bella turned to Jasper and Alice. “Uh, Seth and Leah should be coming soon.”

Alice smiled lightly, “We’ll wait for them. Go.”

Bella took Edward's hand and held it tightly. It went without saying that Sue went with them as well.

*****

As they entered the room Charlie was slightly sitting up though he looked very weak. He smiled when he saw Bella enter first.

“Hey, Bells.”

“Hey, dad,” she said as she walked over to his right side. Edward walked in and took a spot next to Bella and Sue took a spot on Charlie’s left.

Charlie could see the look on his daughter’s face. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. I’m here aren’t I? I’m…”

“Healthy as a horse,” Bella said finishing the sentence for him, “but dad, you’re in here.”

“False alarm.”

Bella kissed her father’s hand.

“You scared us to death you know that,” Sue said as she placed a kiss on Charlie’s lips.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You can’t do that to me,” said Sue, “not after…”

“Hey, I’m not going out the same way Harry did. I won’t, I promise.”

Though Sue’s former husband had been deceased for nearly eleven years, the thought of him hit sometimes, now especially since he had died of a heart attack and Charlie was in the hospital because of one.

“Sorry I won’t get to see my granddaughter this weekend,” said Charlie.

“I can bring her here if you want,” said Bella.

“No, don’t want to scare the little girl.”

“I’m sure she could handle it.”

“Maybe, she is a Cullen after all but still, I think it would be best for her to see me healthy as I have been.”

Bella nodded.

Edward and Bella looked up towards the door. “Dad,” Seth said as he entered the room, Leah following close behind.

Being in a hospital room where her step-father had just had a heart attack was slightly harder on her. She still carried some of the guilt over her own father’s heart attack. Had she not phased in the living room then he would still be alive.

At age 31, Leah had given up her wolf form a year after the confrontation with the Volturi. It was getting slightly difficult to move around, her belly swollen with twins. Her husband had stayed over with Sam, Emily, and their son since Leah wanted to go to the hospital with just Seth.

Seth was one of two members in Jacob’s pack. He loved being a wolf so much that he never wanted to give it up, so he remained at age fifteen. And he had not imprinted on anyone so it made it that much easier. Even if he had, he could not imagine giving up the wolf regardless even though that’s what it seemed the others were destined for, well everyone besides Jacob, who would forever remain sixteen.
It hadn’t taken long for Seth to start calling Charlie ‘dad’. Sure he missed his father but with time it had gotten easier for him and Charlie made his mom happy so that’s what mattered.

After the group talked for a while, Leah finally said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”

She walked out of the room.

“I got it,” said Sue as Seth was about to get up after her. “Stay with Charlie.”

Seth nodded.

After another couple of hours, Sue had since returned while Leah waited in the waiting room.

“You guys should go,” said Charlie.

“Dad, no,” said Bella.

“I’m going to be fine. I just need to catch some sleep. It’ll be okay, Bella. Go, go home. Check on your daughter. I’m sure she’s worried.”
“I’ll be back first thing. Just don’t leave me.”

Charlie smiled, “I promise.”

“I love you, dad.”

“Love you too, Bells. Always have, always will. Go on home.” Charlie looked over at Sue and Seth. “That goes for the both of you.”

“I’ll be back first thing as well,” said Sue. “Get some rest.”

*****

When they got back to the Cullen house Jacob was already waiting in the living room for the group as was Esme.

Esme walked over to Bella and hugged her.

When they pulled back Bella asked, “Where’s Renesmee?” even though Bella didn’t need to. She could hear her daughter’s heart upstairs but she had to ask the question anyway.

“Asleep in Edward’s room,” Jacob answered, “Rose is with her.” Bella nodded. “How’s Charlie?”

For the first time all evening, Bella couldn’t bring herself to speak. If she could cry she would have. She’d been wanting to all night.

“Hey,” Jacob said taking her in his arms in a platonic way, the way it had been for nearly a decade. “Charlie’s a fighter, he’ll make it through this one. I just know it.”

“I’m fine,” said Bella.

“Liar but okay. You know I’m always here for you, right?”

“I know. Thanks, Jake. I’ll be okay, really.” Bella looked over at Edward, “Renesmee…” Bella said with concern.

“We’ll tell her in the morning. She can stay here for the night since it’s already late.”

“I should go check on Seth,” said Jacob.

“What about…”

Jacob smiled, “I’ll be here when she wakes up. Goodnight you guys.”

“Night,” the three of them said in unison.

*****

"No," said Charlie, "No hospitals, I mean it."

"Charlie," said Sue, "Stop being stubborn, what if..."

"If something happens? What good would going to a hospital would do me? If it comes to…that…I’d rather be at home.”

"Charlie please."

"Sue, I love you but please respect me on this one. I just want to be at home. I don't want to be hooked up to some machines or whatever."

Sue sighed. Charlie was stubborn but he was basically telling her at this very moment that he did not want a do not resuscitate order. It wasn't in writing, yet, but she had to listen to Charlie's wishes and that pained her. She had already lost one husband, she wasn't sure if she could risk losing another.

*****

A day later, Bella half-smiled when she entered her dad’s bedroom. She was rarely in it that often. She had vague memories of being a child running to her parent's bed on occasion but those memories, like most of her human memories, were fuzzy.

Charlie smiled, “Hi, Bells.”

Bella smiled and walked over to the edge of the bed. Her smile faded, “Sue says you’re getting worse, Carlisle too.”

“Guess they’re not as good as I think they are. I feel perfectly fine.”

“Don’t make jokes right now. There’s got to be something we can do.” Bella shook her head, of course, there was. “No, no there is. I could…I could…”

“Bells, Bells, stop. It’s not your job to save me or any of the other Cullen’s.” Bella looked at her dad. “Bella, I know.”

“You know?”

Charlie nodded, “About what you are. I’ve known for a while now.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” At the same time, another thought came into her mind. “Why didn’t…”

“Edward tell you?” Charlie let out a half-smile. “You’re not the only Swan he listens to. As hard as it was for him I asked him not to. Alice too. I didn’t want you to have to deal with me knowing especially given that I knew how hard a secret it was for you to keep. You’ve never been a good liar, Bells.”

Bella let out a small laugh, “I don’t know I did keep the truth from you before.”

“Maybe but even then I knew you weren’t being entirely honest with me. I knew there was something you were keeping to yourself. Don’t be mad at Edward or at Alice, it’s what I wanted.”

“I’m not. I get it. So if you know, then you know I could, that Carlisle or Edward, any one of us. You know this life, it’s actually pretty good. You wouldn’t have to…we could be okay…we…”

Charlie placed a weak hand on his daughter’s cold one. “Bella, Bella stop. That’s your life, it’s not mine. You’ve always belonged to that world. I always knew you were different, even as a kid, somehow I just knew. After Renesmee was born, I just knew your world was always different than mine or your mother’s. I don’t want you to change me, Bells.”

“But we could be together forever,” Bella said as she could feel herself begin to cry but in a way that only vampires could.

“I can’t do it. I love you, Bella, always have, always will but you have to let me go.”

“I’m not ready to.”

“None of us are but it happens to us, humans anyway. I want to stay human."

"But what about Sue, what about mom?”

“They’ll be okay.”

“I won’t be.”

“Sure you will. You’ve always been a strong kid. Stronger than me, stronger than your mother. You can get through this and you won’t be alone. You’ve got Edward, Jacob, and the rest of your family. It’s going to be okay. Let me go like this, Bella.”

Bella took an unnecessary breath. There were quite a few traits she inherited from her father and his convictions and stubbornness were one of them. Once he set his mind to something, like her, there was no changing his mind. Had that been the case then Bella would have given up on the life she wanted with Edward after he left her so long ago. No, Charlie knew what he wanted and she had to honor that.
Bella could see tears start to well up in her father’s eyes. He rarely cried, at least in front of her.

He smiled, “I’m okay.”

“Dad, thank you. You know for everything.”

He nodded with a smile, “You’re an amazing mother, Bella. I’m proud of that, I’m proud of everything you’ve become. “I love you Be…”

Bella looked at her dad. His heart was no longer beating. “Dad, dad. Dad wake up!”

Without even having to look Edward was right beside her. He knew Charlie’s heart had stopped too.

“He’s gone, Bella. I can’t hear him anymore.”

“No, no there’s got to be something we can do.”

“You know he wanted to leave like this.”

“I’m not ready to lose him. I can’t.”

“I know.”

If Bella could cry, she knew she would be raining heavy tears by now. She leaned over and placed a kiss on his forehead. She could already feel him beginning to get cold.

“I love you, dad.”

In one swift move, Bella went into Edwards’ arms. He held her for what seemed like hours but was only half that.

Once she and Edward were downstairs they were greeted by their small group: Renesmee, Jacob, Carlisle, Sue, Seth, Sam, and Alice. No one spoke for a moment. There were tears from Sue.

Renesmee walked over to her mom. “Is grandpa gone now?”

Bella let off what small smile she could. She knew she had to be strong for her daughter. “Yeah, baby, he’s gone.”

Without a word, Renesmee ran upstairs.

“Renesmee,” Bella called out.

Edward placed a hand on her shoulder. She and Edward were upstairs in an instant, Jacob coming in a minute later. They watched as Renesmee placed a kiss on her grandpa’s hand and then hugged him.

“I love you, grandpa.”

After that she walked over to her mom and Bella could feel the tears from her daughter.

“He loved you too, honey,” Bella said.

The small family stood for a moment together, Edward hugging both of them tightly.

*****

Later that night Bella sat in front of the fire at their cottage. Edward sat beside her, arm wrapped around her, holding her close. Jacob sat against the wall. Though he often stayed over, now more than ever Bella was grateful that he was here, not just for Renesmee but for her as well.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to tell my mom, how I’m going to tell her. I know I talk to her over the phone but it’s not the same. I haven’t seen her in ten years.”

“She understands why,” said Edward.

Bella shook her head, “Right, all of our constant travelings and moving around.”

“Where does she think you guys are now anyways?” Jacob asked.

“Back in Alaska. Speaking of which I should probably call Tanya and Kate and…”

“I can do that part,” said Edward.

Bella nodded. “I need to get with Sue too and figure out what we’re going to do for Charlie’s funeral.”

“Bella, you don’t have to do all of this alone. I’m here and so is everyone else.”

“Likewise,” said Jacob, “We’ll help in any way we can. Charlie was family to us too.”

Even after all these years, sometimes it was still strange to hear Jacob talk in plurals, all part of the pack collective but still.

Bella simply nodded.

Later that night, Bella and Edward lay in their bed, Renesmee across the hall in her own room.

As she lay there Bella’s mind was spinning. At the moment she was glad she wasn’t letting Edward in. She needed to be alone with her thoughts.

She was used to being independent, and she still had that independence but there were times when the loneliness would creep in and it did so now. Her dad had been her entire world, even as a kid. Though she’d lived with her mom and only visited him every now and then, she still considered herself a daddy’s girl and he often thought of her that way too.

Now though it just seemed so surreal. She knew that she would outlive her father but not this soon. She believed nothing could touch him. He seemed invincible to her. What she wanted most now more than anything was for him to have made a different choice, to have turned so they could be together forever. That was one of the hard parts, knowing he was gone for good. If there was an afterlife, even for vampires, would she ever see him again? And if vampires and werewolves existed, then surely ghosts had to as well, right?

Bella could feel herself wanting to cry and if she were human she could.

“Talk to me,” Edward said, as he rubbed her arm that Bella had across her stomach, Bella focusing on every inch of the ceiling.

She sighed. Of course, she wanted him, Edward was always the person she wanted most but right now her mind was twisting and going in so many different directions and though she had clear control of her thoughts, the speed at which they were moving seemed to make her dizzy and give her a headache though she had never experienced a headache in this body.

“Was it this hard for you,” Bella asked him as she turned to look at her husband, “you know when you lost your mom?”

“A little. My mom had just died before me so sure it hurt but it wasn’t that bad.”

“And the others?”

“It hit Emmett the hardest. He knew he could never return home again and his life was on the verge of being perfect. He never said anything about it…”

“But you knew.”

“Yeah. He couldn’t be there for his parent's funeral or his brothers, except at a distance. And even then I know how much it hurt the day they eventually died.”

Bella just nodded.

“You don’t have to go through this alone, Bella, you know I’m here for you, right?”

Bella smiled at him. “I know, I just don’t know what to do or how to feel. He died so soon, so suddenly. I don’t know, I guess I just thought I would have more time with him.”

“I understand. I know he wasn’t fond of me at the beginning but he did warm up to me some.”

“Are you kidding, after everything that happened, he came to love you like a son. You know that.”

“I know,” he said with a small smile, “but it hits me differently the way it does for you. I don’t think anyone can fully understand what you’re going through, Bella, and I wish that I did, that we did. Only you know how to feel and I want to be here for you, I just don’t know how to or how much? I don’t want to push you.”

“You’re doing it, Edward, you’re here, that’s all I need.”

“I know, I just wish there was more that I could do.”

“Me too but having you is more than enough. I have my husband so that’s all that matters to me.”

The two smiled at each other and then lightly kissed.

“I’ve kind of been thinking about Charlie’s funeral. I think we should have two separate ones.”

“Why?”

“Well one for us, for the packs, and for Billy and Sue. And then a second one for the town. I want his friends to get the chance to mourn him too.”

“And your mother and Phil.”

Bella sighed, “Yeah. I know they still can’t know about us but at least she could have the chance to get to say goodbye.”

Edward smiled.

“What?”

“Always put others first. You continue to make others happy when you’ve already given away so much.”

“Well, at least that’s one thing that hasn’t changed about me.”

“Nothing about you has changed. You’re still you, you’re still my Bella.”

“Can you do something for me now?” Edward nodded. “Just hold me,” she said as she tightened her grip on him.

“That I can do. I’m here, Bella, forever.”

“I love you,” she whispered.

*****

The funerals were simple, exactly as planned.

The first funeral was with Bella and her family that included the Cullen’s and the wolves. If she could cry she certainly would have been. The sounds and sights of tears came from Renesmee, who stood between her parents. Sue and some of the others were also in tears. It was Billy who presided over it since they couldn’t exactly get a priest or a minister or whatever there was. Charlie wasn’t exactly religious and never went to church.

It had been raining, go figure. When Billy finished the eulogy Bella walked over to her dad’s casket, which had been closed. She placed a hand on top of it. Earlier when the casket had been open, she put his favorite baseball inside with him. It wasn’t much but that was the main, mundane possession he care most about in the world. Charlie and his baseball.

Bella could feel herself wanting to cry though she couldn’t. “I love you, dad, always.” She then smiled a little, “and thank you.”

As she said her goodbyes, Renesmee walked over and then jumped into her mother’s arms. That was the good thing about Bella’s vampire strength, no matter how much Renesmee grew, she would always be able to hold her and she was glad Renesmee was still at the age where she wanted to be held.

Renesmee dug her head in her mother’s shoulder and hair tears streaming down her face. Bella and the others knew how hard this was on Renesmee. Charlie loved his granddaughter unconditionally and spoiled her like crazy. She was his miracle, one he had not expected or really thought he would ever get the chance to have, especially at the age Bella had gotten pregnant, pregnant at eighteen but age didn’t matter when you stayed at that age forever. A granddaughter had been the best gift Bella ever gave him.

Renesmee placed her hand on her mother’s cheek. Through the memories, she saw Renesmee’s memory of when she first laid eyes on her grandpa and when she was held for Charlie for the first time. Bella was glad that memory would stay with her daughter forever. Bella then placed a kiss on Renesmee’s forehead when she put her down. Taking her daughter’s hand, the two walked over to Edward where he held them both tightly.

Jacob stood off to the distance. He knew that Ness would need the time with her parents, as much time as she wanted. He would know when she wanted him near. Right now, he wanted to give the Cullen’s the space they needed, and right now they all needed that time of intimacy with just the small family of three.

*****
Over the next few days, Sue, Billy, Jacob, Seth, and Leah all took care of the funeral that was set for the town since they were most known in Charlie’s inner circle didn’t include a whole pack of wolves and a coven of vampires.

Words were exchanged, people commenting on how good Charlie had been, a boss, a friend, and everything else, what an excellent man he had been in the community.

As people began to leave, Renee, with Phil by her side, walked over to Sue. When Charlie had told her that she and Sue were first seeing each other, Renee was thrilled. She had always wanted someone to make Charlie happy. She never wanted him to be alone after their divorce. It didn’t surprise her when Charlie announced that he and Sue planned to get married.

Renee tapped her eyes with a tissue. She slightly smiled at Sue.

“I am so sorry,” she said as the two women embraced.

“Thank you, me too.” When the two pulled apart, Sue said to her, “I’m glad you could come.”

“Me too. I just hate the circumstances in which we got to see each other again.”

“Yeah.”

“I know he loved you very much, Sue. I’m glad he had you.”

“Thanks.”

“I just wish Bella were here. I was hoping I would get the chance to see her.”

“I think it was just too much,” Sue said, knowing part of what to say. “She loved Charlie but saying goodbye to him, was harder on her than any of us could have imagined.”

“I suppose you kind of know what that’s like.”

Sue nodded as Renee made a reference to her ex-husband who had died years ago from a heart attack.

“I’m just glad that Charlie treated your kids like his own. I know he adored Leah and Seth. I’m glad they got to be here. Still, I can’t help but wish…”

“Bella was here.”

“Yeah. Where is she anyway, I haven’t heard from her in a couple of weeks.”

“She and Edward needed time away.” Sue didn’t mention Renesmee since, after all these years, Renee still knew nothing about her. “You can’t exactly get reception where they’re at and I think Bella just wants to be alone for a while too.”

“I’m just glad she has Edward with her so she’s not dealing with this alone. That’s all a mother can really ask for, right?”

“Right.”

Renee took a breath and did her best to compose herself. “You just never know do you, how much time you have left. Makes every moment that much more precious. I just wish I could see my daughter rather than emails, phone calls, and texts.”

“I know but at least you know she’s okay. I would tell you otherwise, I promise.”

“Thank you. And how are you, Sue? This can’t be easy.”

“I’m trying to hang in there. I never imagined losing him this soon. After Harry died, Charlie was there for me and that was the moment I began to fall in love with him. I’ll be okay though.”

“Well you’re strong, I know you will be. Sue, if you ever need anything, let me know. I mean it okay? Anything and I’ll be on the first flight out here.”

Sue nodded, “Thank you, Renee.”

The two women went in for another hug.

*****

From a distance in the woods, Bella watched the funeral through a break in the trees. She watched and heard as Sue and her mother talked. She so badly wanted to be there with her mom, to see her, to hug her, anything. Bella had not seen her mother since the wedding and that’s as far as it could ever go. At least she got to see her mother and stepmother together and that was enough, that was the closest she could be to Renee.

Bella turned away and as she did so Edward stood there in an instant with a small smile.

“I knew you were out there,” Bella said to him.

“I wanted to give you some space.”

“Thanks.”

“You okay?”

Bella walked over to Edward and he held her. “I don’t think I will be for a while.”

“Well, I’m here. Whatever you need, Bella, just tell me and it’s yours.” Bella nodded. “You ready to go home?”

Again Bella nodded, but then turned around to where people were leaving and Sue was walking away with Seth and Leah.
“Goodbye, Dad,” she whispered.

Edward gave Bella a kiss and the two held hands as they walked in the woods.

There was no rush to get home and Bella didn’t want to. She wanted to walk, hand in hand, with Edward. The leaves rustled and in some way Bella could only hope, that it was Charlie’s way of saying he was with her. That would have to do.