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TV With Charlie
Charlie attempts to get Bella to watch TV with him. However, it has unintended consequences...
2-shot only, set during New Moon, Charlie POV
1. A Fateful TV Show
Word Count 1191
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Eleven weeks and four days had gone by. Eighty-one nights of screams. Almost three months of anti-Bella.
I hated it. I hated this utterly lifeless Bella, always flinching at random sounds, always holding herself as if she were constantly in fear of a blow. I hated tiptoeing up the stairs at night, listening outside her locked door, making sure she was okay.
But most of all, I hated him. That idiot boy, leaving my besotted daughter like this. I wanted to see his smug superiority wiped off his face, preferably at the point of my gun. I wanted him to see what he had done to my Bella.
I hoped he was suffering, wherever the hell he was. I hoped his family had given him hell when he hadn't called, or emailed, or anything.
I slowly walked through the light rain, stomping my boots together before walking into the house.
She didn't answer. I sighed and turned the corner to the kitchen. I was greeted by the smell of ground beef and the sight of my daughter hunched over the stove, stirring something. Her face was hidden by her hair, and she looked impossibly broken, as if she might collapse at any second.
"Bella," I said again. She slowly turned to face me, keeping her head down and her eyes on the floor.
"Hi, Dad. I didn't hear you some in. How was work?"
Her voice sounded apathetic, and I knew she wouldn't really be listening if I told her. So I just said, "Fine," and left the kitchen.
What could I do? I'd had Renee come to take her to Florida, hoping that if Bella were out of this town's dark shadows, she would snap out of whatever was with her. But she'd refused, and I'd realized that she was afraid to forget. But remembering caused her so much pain... it was a vicious circle, and she was at the very center of it.
I'd considered having a therapist come talk to her, but I knew Bella well enough to know that she wouldn't talk. So that wouldn't work.
Maybe she needs a stronger parental guide. Should I ask her to watch TV with me? I could have laughed at myself. The last thing Bella would want to do is watch TV. But it was the only thing I had.
I broached the subject at dinner, glancing worriedly at her over my hamburger. "Bells?" She lifted her head slightly, to show that she was listening. "What are you doing tonight?"
She raised her head more, looking at me with the dead equivalent of surprise. "Homework," she said flatly. "I'm going to go get started."
She slowly got up from the table, though she'd eaten less than half of her burger. My brow furrowed, wondering how to ask her. Oh, to hell with it. Just say it.
"Bella." My voice was firmer, and she registered the difference, pausing on her way to wash her dish. "When you're done, I'd like you to watch TV with me." Her expression didn't change, so I tried to tease her. "I promise you, I won't turn on any sports."
She nodded once, then left me alone. Well. She might just come down. Bella wasn't one to break her promises.
An hour and a half later I was halfway into a show on the Discovery Channel. I'd always found mythical creatures fascinating, and vampires were by far the most kick butt. The show was debating whether it was possible for vampires to exist. So far, the vamps were losing.
It would be totally awesome to be a vampire. Well, except for the killing people part. And the lack of society. Although it would be kind of hard to hide the fangs in everyday company.
I heard the stairs squeak, and stood up to see Bella coming into the living room. She fell onto a couch, staring blankly at the screen.
"Thanks for hanging out with me," I told her. "Being with your old man isn't so bad, is it?"
She looked at me and gave me what might have been a smile. It looked like a grimace. I let it go, turning my attention back to the TV, but surreptitiously watching my daughter.
She didn't appear to be looking at anything. Her eyes were glazed over, as if she was watching far more pleasant images off in the distance.
"More damning – excuse the pun – evidence that vampires cannot exist is the fact that it is impossible to live on a diet of blood alone. You body would..." Bella's head snapped up, and I stopped listening.
She stared in horror at the TV, shaking her head wildly. "Bella?" I was scared. How the hell could vampires cause such a reaction in her?
"I – I have to – to..." She stood up quickly and bolted for the stairs, but I stepped in front of her.
"Bella, what's wrong? Please, talk to me!"
"I have to go!" she shrieked at me, and pushed her way past me and into her room.
I was right behind her, but I couldn't reach her fast enough to stop her from locking her door.
I pounded sharply on it. "Bella, come out, now."
She didn't answer, but I heard a thump on the other side of the door, and realized she had crumpled to the floor.
"Please... go away," she muttered.
"No, I won't. What's the matter? Do vampires scare you?"
I heard her scramble to her feet, and then the door opened. She looked awful. If she'd had fangs and red eyes, she could almost pass for a vampire herself.
"No," she hissed at me. "No, I am not scared of vampires. I was merely appalled by what that stupid show was saying. What do they know, anyway? Burned by the sun, sleeping in coffins, killing people!" She fell silent for a moment. Then she gazed at me in all seriousness.
"They don't all kill people,"she whispered
Her face dissolved in tears, and she shut the door again.
I leaned against the wall next to it, wondering what she'd meant. She obviously believed what she'd said. I slowly walked down the stairs and to the couch, where I turned my gaze to the TV.
"Coming March third, and exclusive special on the Discovery Channel, Werewolves and Their History..."
Hmm. Maybe Bella would appreciate humans turning into wolves at the full moon. I mused over the oddities she'd spoken about vampires. She'd almost scoffed over some of the most well-known vampiric traits. Burned by the sun, sleeping in coffins, killing people!
What if...? I shook my head. Not possible. Too many years of too many myths were ingrained into me. The only thing she'd said that might have had a ring of truth to it was her saying, They don't all kill people. Her face had been fervent with belief as she'd said that. Maybe...
And maybe I was reading into things I shouldn't. Try to forget it, I told myself sternly. No use puzzling over unimportant things.
Still, I thought as I turned off the TV. I would make a great vampire.