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Bless the Broken Road

Summary:

Thanks to lunamoon for the awesome banner please show her some love Bella and her family are con artists. Her path crosses with Edward and the opportunity is too great to pass up, making him her next mark. Edward is blissfully unaware, and it will take a lot of mistakes to finally lead him back to Bella and the truth.


Notes:
No copyright infringement intended. All things Twilight belong to SM


7. Second Chances

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3737   Review this Chapter

Chapter 10 Second Chances

BPOV

“Excuse me? I don’t know what you’re talking about? Who’s Renee?” I was using all my abilities at this point to make sure he believed me, but you can’t con a con man.

He looked at me intently and said, “Oh come on now, Bella Dwyer, surely you recognize me? Or do you prefer being called Kristen Stewart? How about Chloe Carter? What about Bella Volturi? I’m sure you prefer that one.”

Holy shit! How did he know all my aliases? Okay don’t panic, just figure out how you know him and get rid of him! Play dumb, this may be a set up!

“I’m sorry, again, I don’t know what you’re talking about and who you are. I don’t recognize you.” I tried my best to look confused and innocent.

“Look kid, meet me at my hotel room after your shift ends and don’t think I don’t know when that is. Got it?” he asked with an eyebrow raised. All I could do was nod and stay frozen in place as he left.

There was only half an hour left before my shift ended, and I was dreading it. Who was this guy and how did I know him? I was going over the past eight years since we moved from Florida trying to remember who would know me. Any of my former husbands would have a vendetta against me if they found out they got scammed, but we always made sure there were no traces of us after we left. So who was this prick?

My shift was over and I drove to the hotel where the prick was staying. I was so nervous, I wanted to call Renee but choose not to, hoping I could handle this all on my own. I knocked on the door and a muffled voice told me to come in. I hesitated before going in, trying to remember how to hurt an attacker, just in case things got ugly.

“Bella, so nice of you to make it please sit,” he said as he motioned to the bed.

“Look I don’t have all day, just get to the point already. What the fuck do you want?”

“Be nice, I’m here to offer you a way out,” he said, calmly.

I gave him a once over and decided that he actually meant it. I just couldn’t understand why.

“A way out? Out of what exactly? Who are you?”

He seemed genuinely confused at my questions and said, “I thought you would know who I was and that’s why you came.”

I shrugged and waited for him to respond.

Realization hit and he finally spoke, “You came here without knowing who I was? That is very irresponsible. Apparently, Renee didn’t teach you everything. I’m Charlie Swan, your father.”

Holy shit! I had never given much thought about Charlie; Renee had never showed any pictures or talked about him. I couldn’t even recognize him when he walked in earlier. Then real panic struck. What if this guy was lying trying to get close to Renee or con me out of money.

“My father, you’re not my father. Prove it,” I said, defiantly.

He got out his wallet and took out a picture of a younger looking version of himself, Renee, and what appeared to me as a baby.

He really was my father. The one Renee left long ago. Wasn’t he supposed to be out of the con business? Reformed and shit, what was he doing here??

“Okay so you’re my father, what do you want?” I let out a sigh of relief.

“Do you know a Rosalie Hale?”

“Yes, she’s an acquaintance, what about her?”

“I’m a private detective, and as luck would have it, she hired me to dig up some dirt on you. Who would have thought that I would find my long lost daughter,” he stopped to give me a devious smile.

I rolled my eyes at him. He was really starting to bug me, but he didn’t matter right now. Rosalie was a bigger threat than I had given her credit for. I needed to talk to Renee and formulate a plan to get back at her. This was unacceptable, and I wasn’t going to take her crap.

“She came to me a couple of weeks ago. I am the best private investigator money can buy. I am very exclusive with my clientele. I only take clients who are referred by other clients. But I digress, she had me tail you. She wanted to make sure you weren’t cheating on Edward.”

He handed me pictures of myself, going to Edward’s place, to Renee’s, to my job, and even the bar I was at last night.

“So I followed you for a few days and I had my suspicions about you. I never thought you were my daughter, although the resemblance is kind of obvious now. I had already dug up as much information on you as I could and it didn’t seem legit. After those few days, I spotted you with Renee, and I knew you were my daughter.”

I stared at the pictures, unclear of what all this meant. Clearly, he knew everything and was showing me his evidence for a reason.

"So what do you want a medal or something. It took you 24 years to find me and now you’re here… for what exactly? Do you want money for your silence?"

He didn’t respond so I continued.

“Oh wait, you said you were giving me a way out. Tell me, Charlie, how are you going to accomplish that? What makes you think I even want a way out?” I said to him sarcastically.

“Bella, please, Renee hid herself very well. You and I both know she has got some great connections. I’m leaving town soon, come with me? You won’t ever have to worry about money. I can see it in your eyes; this life isn’t what you wanted. You’re not like her, you can pretend all you want, but you know there’s more to life than just scamming people out of their money. It’s the same look I had when I realized I didn’t want this for me or for you.”

I turned my gaze away from him and tensed at his words, attempting to block the impact they were having but it didn’t work. I considered his proposition for a few minutes and realized that he did have a point; this life wasn’t for me, at least not anymore.

I must have been taking too long, because he began to speak again. “I also see how you are with Edward. You changed for him, immediately I noticed your change in posture and demeanor. It’s no longer an act for you, along the way you’ve let your guard down and have become the girl you’re pretending to be. I’m betting on that love that you have for him, for you to leave this life. The way I see it, you only have two options; you leave him without going through with your plan, giving him an opportunity to be happy. Or you can tell him the truth and let him decide no matter the end result.”

Behind his words, I could see hope and yearning in his eyes. I knew he meant well, but my destiny had been chosen a long time ago. I was starting to get angry, his words were true and as much as I wanted, I couldn’t change it. So I yelled at him, like I would Renee or Vanessa.

“I can’t believe you, Charlie. I’ve known you for less than one hour and you ask me to uproot my life, change everything I know, and leave my family! Are you insane?” I screamed.

I was angry with him. He thought he could just walk in and save me, when really I didn’t need to be saved; at least that’s what I kept telling myself.

“Bella, think about it, do you really think you can have a real relationship with this man? You’ve lied to him about everything. Do you even think that Renee would allow you to settle down at the peak of your career? Don’t you want something more?”

“Charlie, please don’t do this.” My resolve was breaking, and I wanted to give in but the little voice in my head that sounded like Renee stopped me. “I am what I am. I can’t change that, what you’re offering is too little too late.”

“It’s never too late to change, I did it. You’re still young, you can go to school, get a real career, earn your money, honestly, and start fresh,” he pleaded.

"I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m not that girl. This is the only way I know how to live. I calculate, I lie, I distrust others, and I love money. That’s just me,” I said, shrugging.

The clock ticked as we stood there in silence, waiting for one of us to give in. I looked Charlie straight in the eye, never looking away. It was he who finally broke our staring contest; he bowed his head and sighed.

“Okay Bella, I can see you’re not ready yet. I made contact with you too soon. I’ll leave you alone, but if you change your mind here’s my card. And I promise to give Rosalie the right information,” he said, defeated.

He walked over to me and gave me hug. “If you change your mind I leave tomorrow at six in the afternoon, or you can call me anytime.”

I nodded back and grabbed my purse ready to go. The moment was awkward and uncomfortable. I began walking away and stopped when he spoke again.

“Wait, I just want you to know that it’s never too late to get know each other. I really wish I had gotten the chance to see you grow up and take care of you,” he said, as he got closer, and gave me another hug.

"Bye Charlie,” I said, as I broke the hug.

I left the hotel and drove for hours. I let my mind wander for a while, at first I couldn’t understand what just transpired. I had a father and I was in love with Edward.

I kept trying to deny Charlie as my father, but I couldn’t ignore his words and what he was trying to do for me. But he was wrong, it was too late for us. I was an adult now; I made my bed and had to lie on it. I tried telling myself I wasn’t in love that I was just getting in too deep, that the pressure of the scam was getting to me.

I came home and slept through the afternoon. I got dressed and ate some cereal, without much effort. Since I didn’t have to work, Edward and I were having some alone time at his place, and he was making it difficult for me to keep my focus. I was cooking for him, again, and I hoped that we wouldn’t have to talk too much but all too quickly the conversation strayed my way.

“Bella, dinner was amazing, thank you for taking care of me,” he said once we had finished eating.

“Thanks, you know I love you - spoiling you,” I said, stumbling over my words.

“I love you too,” he said, giving me a soft kiss.

We sat in the living room, each with a glass of wine, the fireplace was lit, and the music was playing softly in the background. It was a scene out of the movies, but I couldn’t shake Charlie’s words out of my head.

I then had a case of temporary insanity and asked a stupid question, “Edward, why? Why do you love me?”

He chuckled, “You don’t see yourself clearly do you?”

I shrugged and said, “Enlighten me.”

He cupped my face and looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re smart, strong, brave, and so giving. You have a rough exterior that you use to protect your heart, and slowly you’ve let me in. I know there’s a lot I don’t know about your past but that doesn’t matter, because I see you for who you are. Despite all your bravery and courage, you’re still this fragile human who needs to be loved. By some miracle you’ve let me in. This guy who’s felt so lost and alone for so long. He didn’t even realize how much he needed you until you showed him the way. That’s why I love you.”

My gaze never broke away from his, it was impossible to do. The way his green eyes danced with so much passion and conviction, it was like he was repeating his words, with his gaze. In that moment I knew that I loved him and I blurted out, “I love you too.”

For the first time, I finally meant those words. The problems in my mind were stored away, even if it was temporary, and I let myself be with Edward.

I relaxed and let myself enjoy my time with him. We talked about our day, our hopes and dreams growing up, and we talked about the future. He wanted many children and surprisingly so did I.

When it was time for me to go, he asked me stay and I did. We didn’t have sex, no, instead we fell asleep holding each other. It was exactly what we both needed. To feel each other close, tomorrow forgotten, and today embraced.

The next day he was gone, he had left early to go to work. He did leave me a note that said:

My dearest Bella,

I wish I could call in and stay in bed with you. Embrace your warm body next to mine, the scent of your hair smothering me, and the feeling of belonging I feel when I’m with you. Unfortunately, the real world is calling, and I have to go. I will be counting the minutes until I can see you again.

Love Edward.

Although his note made me feel warm inside, I couldn’t get past the phrase, “the real world is calling.” My bubble had burst and my trip to cloud nine had ended.

I checked my phone to find several voicemails from Renee and Vanessa, all urging me to call them back. Of course, when I did I got an earful for spending the night. My word obviously held no meaning and they thought I slept with him.

I got home and more screaming ensued.

“Bella, what are you thinking? Sleep-over’s are not allowed!” Renee screamed.

“Yeah, Bella, that’s a pretty skanky move,” Vanessa agreed.

“We didn’t sleep together! How many times do I have to repeat myself,” I screamed.

Renee sighed and said, “I hope for your sake you’re not lying to me. Although-“

“Although what?” I asked, annoyed.

“I don’t know, there’s something different about you, almost a glow,” she said, eyeing me suspiciously.

Was my love for Edward that obvious?

“What? No there isn’t, can we please just move on, why did you call me?”

“No reason, just wanted to go over the back story one more time,” Renee said.

"That can wait. Let me take a shower at least,” I said, heading for my room.

I showered and put on some sweat pants, much to Renee’s dismay. We practiced all morning and afternoon. The more I practiced the more I realized that this was who I was. I wasn’t the girl who got to ride off into the sunset and be happy. I was the one who got all the money and pretended to be happy.

Once Renee was gone, I locked myself up in my room. I had been receiving text from Edward all day, but hadn’t bothered to check them. All of them expressed the depth of his love, and it made me angry.

I became angry at everyone. I was mad at Renee for training me to become a soulless, greedy, bitch, but it was partly my fault because I had agreed. I was mad at Charlie for taking so long to find me, for trying to repair a damage that was 24 years in the making. I hated Vanessa for going along with everything that Renee said, for accepting this life, and for being able to enjoy it. I hated myself for allowing this, for becoming this pathetic excuse of a person. I didn’t deserve to be loved.

Soon the hatred became sadness. I couldn’t be the girl I wanted to be, and I missed that opportunity. I couldn’t get to know my father because of the life I lived. More importantly, I couldn’t be with Edward. I finally met someone who made me feel, who loved me flaws and all, and who wasn’t like every other male in the world but I couldn’t have him. I tried to reason with myself that maybe I could tell him part of the truth and we could be together. Maybe even convince Renee to let me stay married he didn’t need to know everything.

Yeah right, she would never go for something like that.

All I could do was keep moving forward. I made my choice and I had to stick by it no matter how much it hurt. I wasn’t brave enough to face my reality, not now, not ever.

The rest of the week went by uneventfully. Vanessa, Phil, Renee, and I spent most of our time practicing our cover story. I hated going through all this, but I really didn’t see another option. Any chance at a normal life was long gone. It hurt knowing I was going to be leaving Edward soon. If things were headed in the direction I knew it was going, I wanted him to have a normal life after me.

The following night Edward came over, and I was extremely nervous. This night was going to be important for us. He needed to buy into the picture we were painting. He arrived on time, made friendly conversation, and charmed my family. He was his perfect self. I fell in love all over again, the way he carried himself with so much grace, poise, and self confidence was hot.

Of course, my family played their roles a little too well. Renee seemed like she was on drugs rather than easy going, fun loving mom. Phil hardly spoke, I almost forgot he could speak, and when he did he sounded awkward and strained. I was pissed that Vanessa was late, but when Renee mentioned a new guy, it meant a potential new target. I couldn’t piss and moan at her for doing her job. When she finally did arrive, she looked and acted like trailer trash, embarrassing me further.

Renee didn’t hesitate to embarrass me, and Edward was his courteous self. He defended me when Renee got too touchy about her food, and I loved him even more for that. He really cared about me, it was jaw dropping that someone as perfect as him would fall for scum like me.

Right before we left Renee’s, Vanessa took me aside and gave me her “props” for picking a winner. She said she would enjoy fooling around with him. I was disgusted with her and with myself.

Edward was driving me home and I was lost in my thoughts when he interrupted my reverie. “Your family seems nice.”

"Err... Thanks,” I said awkwardly, because really how else could I respond. We both knew they were lunatics.

I don’t know what came over me, maybe another case of temporary insanity, but at that moment I wanted Edward to love me for me, so I began to tell him my story, the real one.

I closed my eyes and began, “Edward, there’s a lot about my past I don’t like talking about, mainly because it brings back memories of things I can’t bear. When I was born, Renee took off with me. She married a wealthy man named Aro, and he was really sweet to me. He and my mom married and soon after had Vanessa. We lived a pretty great life, but then in junior high he had a heart attack and passed away. Most of what Aro owned belonged to the company he had with his brothers, so Renee had no money. My uncles set up accounts for us so we could go to school.”

I glanced at Edward and saw his expression, he really cared about me, he had bought into the farce, and I couldn’t continue.

The thoughts of that night with Charlie came to me, so I did what I always did I lied. “My Uncles didn’t like Renee so they cut all ties and just gave us that money so we could move one. But Renee, she didn’t handle our finances very well and we were broke after a year. So we moved here, hoping to have better luck and began working. As soon as Vanessa was old enough she began working as well.”

I let the tears fall and continued, “We’ve had the worst jobs one could ever think about but we did it. We had to survive somehow… It sucks you know, having this perfect life one day and having the worst the next. I wish I could have done something different and maybe I could be good enough for you.” I was in pain and he knew it. It didn’t take long for him to start comforting me.

“Bella, you are perfection, you are my life now, nothing can change that. I love you more than my life. I want to take care of you, love you,” he said, and began to kiss me.

I kissed him back with all my might. I could feel the love he was giving me in those kisses, and I couldn’t bring myself to stop just yet. I knew he probably put me on a pedestal that I didn’t belong on, but I needed to feel his love.

I wanted desperately to save his love, seal it away all to myself. I kissed him back, savoring his sweet lips, his warm touch, and the love that radiated off of him. The need I felt when I was with him was indescribable. I had to be with him. No matter the cost.

Maybe this could work, I thought, I’ll just go to Renee and convince her it’s for the best.