-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Bella and I fell into an easy pattern in the week leading up to our drive to Forks. She was still on summer break, so it was easy to rearrange her plans around my schedule. She cooked and brought me dinner at the hospital and waited up for me when I worked late. We hung out as much as we could, continuing to get to know each other and learning all of those things that only come out when you spend time with someone.
We told stories about growing up, and I was constantly amazed at how little of a childhood she’d had. Her mother left when she was a toddler, and though her father tried to let her be a kid, he still relied on her to help take care of the house. She learned to cook at an early age, joking that Hamburger Helper and tuna casserole were her specialties until she was old enough to shop on her own. Most of the stories about her parents made my chest hurt, wishing that she’d had an easier time, that she had laughed more and been a little irresponsible.
She told me about trick or treating in a snowsuit because Charlie had forgotten to get her a costume. All I could think about were the elaborate, and certainly expensive, costumes my mother had bought us every year.
“Wow, that’s sad. Your childhood was… Practically non-existent.”
“You’re so dramatic.” She shrugged. “At least Charlie tried to let me be a kid, you know? He gave me a curfew and even grounded me a couple of times. I’m sure he thinks I’m a virgin and that I didn’t see an R rated movie until I was seventeen.” She gave a wry laugh. “When I visited my mom, she didn’t seem to care what I did. She let me swear, introduced me to every guy she dated, and let me see totally inappropriate movies. I found her vibrator on the couch when I was twelve.”
“Oh my god!” I laughed in shock and disbelief. “Did you even know what it was?”
She raised an eyebrow. “It was a rubber penis with an on/off switch; I made an educated guess. I never sat on that cushion again.”
“Jesus. That’s just…Wrong.” I shook my head. It was so hard to imagine her living like that— motherless.
“It’s what I knew. I heard people talk about how great their moms were, and I didn’t have anything to compare it to, you know? She was never like a mother.”
“I’m so sorry you missed out on that. My mom is crazy, but she’s everything to me.”
“It’s hard to miss what you never had.” She stretched out on the couch, wedging her toes under my leg. “The ladies in town sort of stepped in when my mom left. I stayed at the neighbor’s house before and after school when my dad had to work. She was this little old lady who gave me stale cookies and made us fruitcake at Christmas. I had Angela’s mom for, like when I got my period and stuff. But Angela’s a PK, you know? A preacher’s kid? So her mom was a total Pollyanna.”
She paused and chuckled as if she was remembering something. “She didn’t let us swear or drink pop, and she made us volunteer at the food pantry in the summer. It was totally foreign to me. Ang would complain, but I just wanted to be like, ‘You don’t get it – your mom gives a shit!'”
Her cheeks were pink, and I could tell she was getting upset. Her mother was a topic that rarely came up, so while I took advantage of the opportunity to learn a little more about their fucked up relationship, I knew it was time to lighten the mood and change the subject.
“Well, you’ve won over my family,” I teased, “so count my mom as another female role model.”
She grinned. “Oh yes, Wonder Vodka Woman is a strong role model.”
“You can only hope to be an alcohol infused super-hero like her.”
“It’s a long-term goal of mine.”
“Then let me fix you a drink.” I moved to stand, but she grabbed my hand, shaking her head.
“Stay here with me.”
She pulled me towards her, adjusting our bodies, so we were stretched out on her couch facing each other.
“What’s up?” I brushed a lock of hair over her shoulder and trailed my finger down the line of her neck.
She shrugged again. If there was one thing I had learned about Bella as we got to know each other, it was that she was a shrugger. They meant all different things—I don’t know, I don’t care, who knows, whatever. They were never really ambiguous, and usually accompanied by a few words or an expression on her face that made her meanings clear.
“I just needed a hug.”
“Mm, can’t argue with that.”
I slid an arm under her and pulled her into my arms. She snuggled into my chest, and I ran my hand through her hair.
“Perfect,” she sighed.
I listened to her breathing even out and kissed the top of her head before falling asleep with her, wrapped up together in the late afternoon sun that streamed through her window, warming my back.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
“Do you really think Charlie will like me?”
“Don’t call him Charlie. Call him Chief.”
“You call him Charlie.”
“I’m his daughter.”
“Yes, so you should call him Dad.”
“You call Carlisle, well, Carlisle.”
“I call him Dad, too. I wouldn’t call him Doctor.”
She turned on her blinker and checked the mirrors before changing lanes. We were about halfway to Forks, heading west on US101, and I was getting increasingly nervous.
“Do you think he’ll have his guns out?”
“If it’s not already on his hip.”
She sipped a Diet Coke and fiddled with her iPod until I grabbed it out of her hand.
“Let me do this, you’re driving.”
“Fine,” she rolled her eyes and laughed. “Find the mix called ‘Road Trip.'”
I clicked and scrolled through her iPod until I found it and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon came on. I grinned, remembering when I stole an earphone on our flight to New York and found the same playlist full of songs she and her dad had listened to together.
She glanced over at me before looking back at the road. “You okay?”
“Yes. No.” I ran my hand through my hair and let out a deep breath. “I can’t imagine this is going to go all that well.”
“He knows I went to New York with you. I’ve only introduced him to one other boyfriend, and that was in high school. And really, he already knew Eric. Forks is small, and with Charlie being Chief, he knows everyone. He knew that Eric had tried to shoplift a toy truck when he was in elementary school—I didn’t even know that.”
“So, what you’re saying is that the Chief has most likely run a background check on me, and I shouldn’t lie about that public urination ticket in college?”
She laughed, her hand coming off the steering wheel and covering her chest. “Oh my God. No lying, and we’ll get back to that story, but maybe? I told him not to look you up, but he’s sort of a loose canon. He probably did it anyway.”
“I’m just kidding. It wouldn’t be on my record. Shit. I mean I didn’t get the ticket, but I was there when Riley did.”
She gave me a raised eyebrow, and I knew I had to explain.
“It was all Riley, really.”
“I’m sure it was. Spill, Doc. You better tell me before Charlie does.”
“Alright. So, Saint Patrick’s day in New York City is kind of a big thing.” I glanced over to see her holding back a smile. “The first year Ry and I were twenty-one, we went to this Irish pub in Manhattan, McSorley’s. It’s kind of touristy, but it’s like, the oldest continuously open saloon in the city or something, so it’s a landmark too. Anyway, Riley decides that it’s the place we have to go for Saint Patty’s, and he convinces a bunch of our frat brothers to go, too.”
“This isn’t going to end well,” Bella deadpans.
“You already know the punchline,” I laugh.
“Yes, but the build up is giving me anxiety. How the hell did he get a ticket?”
“We started drinking really early, like before noon, and eventually made our way to the bar. It was like, hours of drinking Guinness and doing shots of whiskey with no food in our stomachs. We were having a blast. I don’t remember exactly what was going on; I just remember how much fun we were having—like it was on track to be one of the best days we’d all had together.”
“Yeah, until I realize just how drunk my cousin is. The dude could hardly stand. He was wobbling and slurring his words, staring down some girls shirt at her cleavage, so I decide it’s time to head home. I mean, we had friends practically passed out at the table, but I was trying to be responsible-”
“But you were drunk, too.”
“Right, but not that drunk.”
She gave me a look that said she didn’t believe that.
“Alright, I was shit faced too, but I was aware enough to know the day needed to end. So we sort of stagger towards the subway station and Ry decides he has to go to the bathroom.”
“He did not.”
“Oh, he did. Whipped it out and took the longest piss known to man on the side of a building. He took so damn long some cops came around the corner and busted him. We tried to get them to call Emmett, but it was just too busy—Saint Patty’s and all. Anyway, he lucked out, and it got thrown out of court on a technicality. It’s not actually supposed to show up on his record, but I don’t know what the Chief has access to.”
She laughed so hard she had to wipe away tears. “I’m so glad you and Riley are friends again.”
“That’s what you got out of that?”
“Shut up!” She reached over and smacked my chest with her hand. “I mean it though, I’m glad you worked things out or whatever. And don’t worry about Charlie, it’s not like we’re asking his permission.”
I groaned. She wasn’t helping.
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
A while later, we pulled into a driveway behind a City of Forks Police cruiser. The house was a two story bungalow, well kept, and only a few blocks from the city center.
Bella shifted the car into park and reached over to squeeze my hand. “Ready?”
I was as ready as I was going to be, so I nodded and climbed out of the car. We walked up to the house and went right inside.
We followed his voice to the living room, where I saw her father in person for the first time. I had seen pictures of him, and Bella clearly had his hair and eyes, but seeing them together it was obvious they were related. He sat on the couch, legs spread and elbows on his knees. It was what I called Bella’s sports watching pose, and it was clear she had inherited it from her dad.
“You made good time.” He was still in his uniform shirt, but his gun belt was off, along with his gun, sitting on the coffee table.
“Jesus, Charlie.” She ignored his attempt at small talk and shook her head before grabbing the gun, thoroughly freaking me out. She held it carefully and levelled an evil eye at her father. “Now.”
“Aw, Bells, it was a joke.”
“Not funny. Lock it up, and come meet Edward.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled as he stood and disappeared down the hallway.
She turned to me and put her arms around me. I hesitated for a second, the fear of pissing off her father warring with my own need to be close to her, before giving in and hugging her back.
“I’ll remind him to behave.”
“It’s okay. I expect him to grill me.”
“Grill you, yes; be a total cliche, no.” She sighed. “Why don’t you freshen up real quick? The bathroom is at the top of the stairs.”
I cupped her cheek. “You don’t need to do this.”
“Go upstairs. When you come back my father will be relatively normal.”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
Bella and the Chief were waiting for me when in the kitchen when I came down the stairs. She introduced us, and he sheepishly apologized again. We went out for a late lunch at the local diner and managed to make small talk while avoiding the reason for our trip.
When we made it back to the house, Charlie headed straight for the living room and turned on the TV. Bella grabbed him a beer from the kitchen and, after handing it to him, turned off the television and stood in front of it.
“Charlie, we have something to tell you.”
His face got visibly pale.
“It’s not that. Jeez, Charlie. I’ve been on birth control forever.”
“Okay, that I don’t need to know.” He pointed his beer at her and gave me a quick look before training his attention back on Bella. “What’s this ‘we’ business about?” .
I cleared my throat and put my arm around her. “We came to visit so that I could meet you, and so we could tell you in person that I’ve asked Bella to marry me.”
His eyebrows went up, and he looked hard at his daughter for a second. “You’re engaged?” She nodded. “To be married?”
“That’s usually what it means.”
“Don’t sass me, young lady.” He took a long drink of his beer before rubbing his hand over his mustache and looking at me. “Your family okay with this?”
“They are,” I answered, nodding. “They love Bella.”
“Of course they do.” He snorted, as if it was impossible to think someone wouldn’t love her. I had to agree with that, actually.
“Hmpf. You two hardly know each other. I never heard you talk about him until he was taking you to New York. You sure you’re ready to get married?”
“How long did you know mom before you knew you wanted to marry her?”
“Bells, that’s not really a relationship you want to model your life after, and you know it.”
“Chief, I know we haven’t been together long, but,” I glanced down at Bella, “we just know it’s right. I want a future with your daughter, and I want it to start as soon as possible.”
Charlie rolled his eyes and Bella sniffed beside me, wiping her eyes. Did she not get that? I thought I’d been pretty clear. If there was one thing I saw in my future, it was her.
“I realize you kids feel like you’re head over heels in love, or whatever, I felt that once too, and look how that worked out.”
“You had Bella,” I said firmly as I felt her body stiffen. “I’d say it was one of the best decisions you ever made.”
Bella’s arm tightened around my waist, and she turned slightly, so she could rest her head on my chest.
“Don’t put words in my mouth. I don’t regret having Bella at all. She’s the best thing I ever did, but,” he sighed, “watching my marriage fall apart was a nightmare. I just don’t want you kids to go through that.”
“Charlie, what happened between you and mom was bad,” Bella said sadly. “I get that but please, don’t compare us to you two. I think Edward and I have both proved that we’re more responsible than Renee has ever been. Neither one of us will walk away without giving it everything we’ve got.”
“How do I know what he’s proved?” He threw his hands up. “This is the first time I’m meeting him!”
“I have an undergraduate degree from Columbia, and I went to medical school at Hopkins. I’m in my final year of residency for emergency medicine, and I’ve lived apart from my family for almost ten years. If anything, I feel like my life has been on hold for years, like I needed to find something before I could truly start living. I’ve found it—her—and I don’t see the point in putting it off. I want a life with Bella. If that’s not enough proof…”
I shook my head and looked down at Bella, who had tears running down her face. I wanted to pull her into my arms and never let her go. She reached up to cup my cheek and stretched on her toes to give me a quick kiss.
“Bella, let me have a word with Edward.”
“What?” Her head whipped around to face him, and her entire body tensed again. She wiped at her face and huffed. “He just explained-”
“I know what he said,” Charlie’s voice was sharp, and he sighed before speaking again, softly, “and I appreciate it, but I need to talk to him man to man for a minute.”
“It’s okay, Bella.” I moved my hand up under her hair and rubbed the back of her neck with my thumb. “He just wants to talk.”
Fuck, I hoped that was all he wanted to do. I hoped I had said enough that he didn’t want to shoot me.
Bella gave her head a quick shake, flipping her hair back over her shoulder, and stood up straighter.
“Fine. I’m going to go upstairs to call Angela. I’ll be back in about ten minutes.” She paused and put a hand on her hip. “There is no reason for you to get anything out of the gun case, correct?”
Charlie pursed his lips and rolled his eyes at her.
“Whatever. Ten minutes,” she repeated.
She gave me a squeeze around the waist and made her way up stairs, leaving me alone with the Chief, who still didn’t seem excited, or even mildly happy, about our engagement.
“Have a seat,” he said as he stood, confusing the hell out of me.
He walked to the kitchen, and I heard the refrigerator door open and close. Returning with two beers, he handed me one and sat back down on the couch.
“Sit.” He motioned towards a well-worn Lazy Boy, and I took a seat.
He sighed and took a sip of beer but kept his eyes on me the whole time.
“I understand that you’ve gone to school, and you’re going to be a doctor, but what makes you sure marriage is the way to go? Why not date her for a little longer and be sure?”
“That’s just it, sir. I am sure. I’ve been sure almost since the moment I met her. It scared the hell out of me, but it’s the truth.”
He continued to watch me with no real expression on his face. The man had to be a hell of a poker player.
“I saw the ring on her finger. Your family has a fancy beach house, but you couldn’t buy her a diamond?”
Not for the first time, I wanted to shoot myself for not giving her Grammy’s ring sooner.
“It happened so fast, the proposal wasn’t really planned,” I explained. “I want her to have my grandmother’s ring, but I hadn’t gotten it yet when I jumped in and proposed. I got it last week though, and I’ll give it to her soon.”
“What are you waiting for?”
I sat my beer on the coffee table and wiped my hands on the coffee table.
“I’m waiting for the right time. I mean, we’re officially engaged already, but I still want it to be special, I don’t want to just hand it to her. I want it to mean something. That sounds ridiculous, but I have a plan. I’m giving it to her soon, I swear.”
“Look, I don’t know you. I won’t lie and say I didn’t look into you when she told me your name, but the only thing on your record is a parking ticket. So I know you’re not a serial killer or you’re quite good at covering your tracks.”
I snorted and he raised an eyebrow before continuing.
“I’m not thrilled about this, but I’m not an idiot. I know I can’t tell her, or you, that you can’t do this. You’re engaged, and I’m just going to have to get used to it. While I appreciate you coming up here and telling me face to face, I wish I could have gotten to know you before the two of you got engaged.”
“I understand. And thank you, for realizing that we’re going to go through with this.”
“Shit, I know my daughter. Once she gets something in her head there’s no changing her mind.” He chuckled, and I swore I saw the corner of his mouth lift into a smile for a second before it straightened back out. “You’re gonna have to give me a little time to get used to this, alright?”
“Of course.” I could give him all the time in the world if it meant he wasn’t going to shoot me.
“You’re going to take good care of her?”
He looked me in the eye, and I held his gaze.
He gave a quick nod. “Do me a favor, ask Bella to come down here, and give me a minute to talk to her? I need to smooth things over before you head back to the city.”
“Thank you, Chief, for giving us a chance,” I said as I stood.
“You mean for not shooting you.” He huffed. “Her room’s next to the bathroom.”
“That too,” I called over my shoulder as I went up the stairs to Bella’s room.
I knocked twice, and Bella invited me in.
“You survived?” she laughed.
“I did, but it’s your turn.”
“It’s okay,” I cupped her cheek. “I think he wants to apologize.”
“How did the two of you leave off?”
“That he’s bummed he didn’t know me before you agreed to marry me, but he’s willing to get to know me.”
“That’s a good start.”
“I thought so, much better than sending me packing at gunpoint.”
She licked her lips and smiled, her eyes getting dark as she stepped closer to me.
I swallowed, hard. “I have no idea what you think is hot about that, but if you don’t stop looking at me like that I’m going to throw you down on that tiny bed and make you scream my name.”
She whimpered, her mouth falling open. .
“Not helping.” I took a step back. “Go talk to your father, the Chief, with the guns.”
She laughed as I turned her body and physically pushed her towards the door. I listened to the stairs creak as she made her way down, then let myself finally take in what was her childhood bedroom. It was full of all things Bella—movie and concert ticket stubs, pictures of her and Angela, a Mariner’s pennant and a Forks Spartan’s bumper sticker. There were some books on a shelf in the corner, and I made my way over to look at the titles.
I thought about our little road trip. It had gone better than I imagined. I didn’t seriously think her father would shoot me, not really, but after a week and a half of joking about it, it had been a faint possibility in the back of my mind. I was glad, more than that, ecstatic, that Charlie was accepting of our engagement and willing to get to know me. I didn’t know how Bella would have reacted if he had put his foot down and tried to talk her out of things.
Suddenly, I realized it was entirely possible that was what he was downstairs doing. He was a schooled investigator and clearly a master at masking his emotions. Maybe he had just let me believe he was okay with everything and he was down there telling Bella to break things off.
I walked to the doorway and put my hand on the knob, freezing when I realized I could hear them.
“Do you love him?” Charlie asked, and I could hear the concern for his daughter in his voice.
My heart pounded in anticipation of her answer. Bella and I had yet to say ‘I love you.’ That was something else I needed to take care of, and soon. I needed Bella to know that not only was our engagement real, so were my feelings for her.
“Daddy,” she sighed, “I agreed to marry him.”
“Don’t try to distract me by calling me Daddy for the first time in forever. You didn’t answer the question.”
There was a long pause, and my throat felt so tight I could hardly breathe.
“I love him.”
My forehead fell against the door with a quiet thud that I prayed they couldn’t hear. I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath. She loved me. I grinned, and her father said the same words that were running through my head.
“Then that’s all that matters, baby.”
-x-o-x-Accidentally in Love-x-o-x-
A/N: In the end, that’s all it’s really about, right? Love. *sigh* I wonder what Edward is planning?
Thanks so much for reading. You guys rock my socks. I’m honored that you’re all along for the ride. See you in two weeks!
Rec’s – both are hidden gems, IMHO
The Distance In Between by Sunflowersongs (WIP 13 chapters so far)
I’ve mentioned my love for Civil War fics, right? Not gonna lie, the last update left me a little sobby.
Edward Cullen, a Union cavalry officer during the Civil War, is found wounded and healed back to health by Bella Swan. Perhaps something even more precious is found and lost in the process.
Corporate Affairs by chocaholic123 (WIP 20 chapters so far)
Unionward and consultella have some UNFy chemistry. I’ll warn you there’s talk of Bella with another boyfriend…but he’s a douche and the story is E/B focused. MKay?
Bella is a Management Consultant who works hard and plays harder. Edward is a Union Leader who fights for his workers’ rights. She is brought in to change things at the Car Factory. He won’t let her. The fight is on, attraction becomes obsession, and the lines between love and hate are blurred. BxE, AH, OOC. Rated M