Carlisle reflects on his feelings about his youngest daughter.
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As I walked into my study I sighed. I’d just has to resolve another conflict between Emmett and Jasper, something about a bet to see who could eat the most potato chips in one sitting, it was infantile. It was not something I expected from Jasper, but Emmett could be quite clever when it came to instigating petty feuds despite popular opinion.
This thought led me down a path I’d taken many times before, but now there was a new twist, my youngest daughter. Strangely I often felt I knew my children better than most biological fathers knew their off-spring. I knew exactly how to make Rosalie smile, how to force Emmett to calm down, how to help Jasper when he felt all hope was lost. I knew just the right words to say to Alice to get her to leave her siblings alone, though I’d learned that it was a defense to be used sparingly or it lost all effect. I knew Edward had dark places he didn’t like to share with anyone, and that sometimes he just needed some time to himself, or more recently with his wife.
I had thought that Edward would never find someone to love, it had saddened me, but somehow my family still felt complete. And then Bella came into our lives. She is sweet, gentle, a fast learner, and unafraid of anything except losing my son. I’d subconsciously started thinking of her as my daughter from the first time she came through the door to my home.
Out of all my children she was the most like me. She was constantly trying to see the good in everyone where many in my family had turned cynical in the events leading to their deaths, or seeing the world through immortal eyes. She never responded to anyone, even Edward, when she was in the middle of a book, always holding up one hand in a “hold on a minute” gesture that I recognized as one frequently used by myself. She often knew just what to say to put a smile on any member of my family’s face. She was incredibly shy, something I’d gotten over after a time, but had been none the less. And perhaps most importantly, though she did not share my religious convictions, she had hope for my family. As I’d told her once, it was impossible to look into the eyes of my son, and not believe that there was something better for him out there.
And yet for all that she was like me, and for all that I was ready to embrace her, she was not my daughter, and I knew she wouldn’t be for quite some time. I knew that one day she would accept me as a surrogate father, the same way she’d already accepted Esme as a surrogate mother, a product of being so far away from her biological mother. But right now, she had Charlie, and I tried not to encroach upon that relationship. I didn’t want Bella to think of me as her father just yet, not while she still had someone she could legitimately call “dad.” I wonder if when Bella does come to accept me as a father figure, probably not for another century, what effect it will have on our relationship. I know Edward tries to model himself after me, as does Jasper, while Emmett sees me as more of a decision maker. Alice and Rosalie seem to have more of a tender response than the boys, we have our moments, but I do not believe I am the first one they come to with their problems, or even the second or third person on the list. For some unknown reason, I think Bella will be different, that she’ll come to me more, it seems sometimes that she already does, though it is often for medical help.
The truth is, Bella is the closest thing I will ever have to a real child. I am able to see her change and grow, to watch her find herself in a new world. Yes, she is the closest thing I have to a daughter, and yet, she will never know this until it is too late for it to matter. For as much as I love her, she is not mine yet, but with the help of the hope that is shared between us, one day she will be.