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.
5. Chapter 5
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 845 Review this Chapter
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Charlie Swan sat in the driver’s seat of his cruiser, mustering the strength to step out and walk up to the familiar front porch of his best friend’s house and knock on the door.
He’d contemplated this conversation in his head countless times over the last three days, imagining different ways to begin – and different directions it could turn. He really wasn’t sure how Billy would react.
The light outside had faded from a bright blue to a soft violet; one of those rare and glorious sunny days on the Olympic Peninsula was turning to dusk. Charlie glanced at the watch on his wrist. He’d been here for 17 minutes. 18 minutes. The hands kept ticking by.
Exasperated with himself, Charlie finally hoisted himself from the cruiser and marched up the front steps as quickly as possible. Trying to force himself into action. He raised his fist over the door to knock, but hesitated.
Too late; it didn’t matter. Someone had heard his approach and the door pulled open lazily, squeaking on the hinges. Billy Black rolled into view. “I was starting to wonder if you were just going to sit out there all night,” he said jovially, moving back to let Charlie pass.
Charlie chuckled nervously and followed Billy into the house, sitting on the well-worn sofa. He looked around, noting the borrowed casserole dishes piled in the sink. “I guess Jake isn’t back, huh?”
“He’ll be back when he’s ready,” Billy said, wary now. He and Charlie had fought over this already.
But to Billy’s surprise, Charlie just nodded. “Yep, I suppose he will. Can’t really fault him for running away, can you?”
Billy’s eyebrows shot up. This turn of conversation was completely unexpected.
“I mean, I can’t really blame the kid,” Charlie continued. “I mean, after all, here he is dealing with all these changes … and then the girl he loves, or thinks he loves, chooses to marry a vampire instead of running off with him. Though I don’t really think choosing a werewolf would be all that much of an improvement.”
“Wh-what are you talking about?” Billy said, fumbling over his words as he feigned ignorance.
Charlie just shook his head sadly. “I know,” he said. “And I’m not here to talk about secrets and why we keep them. I get it.”
Billy narrowed his eyes. “Then why are you here?”
Charlie sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. In that moment, he felt old. And he was tired. But this was something he needed to do – for himself; for his daughter. “I’m here to negotiate,” he said, finally. “I think it’s about time we revised that treaty you’ve got.”
“As I understand it, when my daughter becomes part of the Cullen family, they’ll be breaking the treaty. And well, to be honest, I think that’s just nonsense – considering that this is what she wants.”
“You … you mean …” Billy was still in shock. He couldn’t fathom how Charlie had come to know the truth about the Cullens and the werewolves and the treaty. But what left him even more flabbergasted was the perfect nonchalance with which Charlie spoke about the whole matter.
The police chief scratched at a patch of dry skin behind his ear. “I mean, when my daughter becomes a vampire. When Edward Cullen … bites her … I can’t say it’s the sort of life I would ever choose for my daughter. And I don’t think it would be her first choice, either. Hell, she gets sick at the smell of blood. But I know my daughter. I know her heart and her mind, because she’s part of me. But these are the cards life has dealt her. She didn’t choose to fall in love with a vampire, but she did. And now this is what she wants and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure she has that – without having to fight off a pack of angry werewolves.”
Billy sat silently for a very long moment, absorbing this information. Letting it all sink in. He rubbed his forehead, picking absently at a scab along his hairline with the nail of his pinky finger. “So … what exactly did you have in mind?”
“A compromise,” Charlie said. “Just a small revision.”
“To the treaty?”
“Sure,” Charlie said. “Because if this is what a person wants – to be bitten by a vampire – then who are you to deny them that right?”
Billy drifted into silence again. He turned his head to look through the partially open curtains, to where the window had darkened. The colors outside had nearly faded. Twilight was nearly over; soon it would be night. Billy could already see his reflection forming in the glass panes. He turned back to Charlie, who sat anxiously at the edge of the sofa cushion. And he smiled. “Charlie, old friend, I think we might be able to arrange that.”
And Charlie grinned back.
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