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With his daughter’s wedding only a few scant weeks away, Charlie Swan suddenly finds himself in the line of fire. And in the seconds before he’s facing down the barrel of a gun, he is filled with dread that he will almost certainly not live to walk his daughter down the aisle. Not unless someone intervenes; someone strong enough and fast enough to beat a bullet.

There are a few chapters to this story, but not many. It was just a tadd too long to make a one-shot.

1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 889   Review this Chapter

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The shot rang out, the noise clear and loud in the morning air. The sun was hiding behind the clouds that day, like most days, with a thick layer of dense gray clouds blocking even a sliver of blue sky from showing itself over the Olympic Peninsula. But it was a clear morning, no fog or mist, and the sound echoed in the atmosphere – bouncing off the trees and cliffs nearby.

In the moments after the shot rang out – after the trigger was pulled – time slowed down for Charlie Swan.

His life did not flash before his eyes, but moments flickered through his thoughts. He remembered when he and Renée had been happy – a time when there had been smiles and laughter; when they’d first wed. When their daughter had been born. There were other happy moments after Renée because of their daughter. The weeks when she would visit, grumbling about the rain and gloom. Their trips to California. And the day she moved in with him, exiling herself to the tiny town of Forks to spend her last years in high school with him.

Charlie’s heart pounded in his chest. He’d heard the shot ring out. He could almost see the bullet loading into the chamber and twirling from the gun barrel – spinning towards him with deadly accuracy.

This wasn’t supposed to be happening.

He was in Forks. Nothing happened in Forks. As police chief, the most he ever did usually was bust some kids for smoking pot or give out speeding tickets. The occasional crackpot in the parking lot was a rare occurrence, but if they were ever armed it was usually with blunt objects – or maybe a knife. Never a firearm.

Charlie hardly ever brought his gun belt with him to work.

That’s just the kind of place Forks was. Small. Secluded. Safe.

But somebody had opened Pandora’s Box, and the evil it unleashed was unexpected. Armed gunmen did not come to Forks. They did not hold up the Forks Federal Savings & Loan – not armed with shotguns and semi-automatics; not armed at all. They did not hold seven people hostage inside the bank. They did not issue demands or insist the police chief, himself, come inside to negotiate.

Charlie Swan had been a police officer for a long time, but he wasn’t ready to handle something like this. He wasn’t equipped to deal with it. His hostage negotiating skills were rusty, something he’d learned only as part of the standard law enforcement training. He’d been in Forks for so long … and these things didn’t happen in Forks.

That’s what he kept telling himself.

Then he found himself facing down the barrel of a loaded gun, cringing as he waited for the shot to ring out.

At least the hostages had been set free. At least there were no witnesses. The armed gunmen had dragged Charlie Swan out the back door, to the alley behind the bank. Only the gray sky, the cement wall and a green dumpster would stand witness to whatever happened next.

“Please,” he said, eyes averted to the pavement below his feet. “Please, it doesn’t have to be like this.”

His daughter’s face flooded his vision. He blinked back tears; police chiefs didn’t cry. Not like this; not staring down the barrel of a gun.

Charlie Swan didn’t want to die in the line of duty. He wanted to live to a ripe old age and pass away peacefully in his sleep, after being doted upon by his daughter and a gaggle of grandchildren. He wouldn’t even mind if Edward Cullen was their father. Charlie almost forgot why he disapproved of his daughter’s fiancé. After all, Edward made her happy and he’d put a nice ring on her finger, even if Charlie thought it was a little soon; a little fast.

Charlie wanted to walk her down the aisle; he had to be there to give his little girl away. It was his duty as a father; it was his right. He could not be denied this opportunity.

The man whose finger tightened on the trigger apparently disagreed.

“Please,” Charlie begged again, looking back up with as much bravery as he could muster. He meant to stare at his killer – meet the man’s cold-blooded gaze directly. But he could not see past the barrel of the gun.

The shot rang out.

The bullet spun forth.

Then something leapt between Charlie Swan and the deadly projectile.

Charlie cringed, anticipating the fatal impact – but it never came.

“Get down!” someone shouted, and Charlie dropped to the pavement instinctively. His heart thudded erratically, and his eyes darted furiously around the alley, trying to figure out what had happened. He’d seen the bullet spiraling towards him, but something had stopped it.

That’s when he noticed the figures struggling in front of him. Or rather, one figure struggling – while another, stronger creature beat it down. Then the creature attacked the other armed robbers, knocking their weapons away as casually as if they were toys. Single-handedly, the stranger dealt debilitating blows until the armed suspects had all fallen to the ground.

That’s when Edward Cullen turned, and saw Charlie Swan staring at him with a different kind of dread.

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