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The Elder

Summary:
The father finds his worst nightmare swinging from the ceiling; what will become of him? Fifth story in the Finally Free series. Excerpt:"But I'd hear her at night, crying and screaming...I would usually only let one tear slip."


Notes:
Hopefully sad little one shot on what happens to Charlie. Enjoy.


1. My Angel

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1826   Review this Chapter

The station was slow today. Not that I minded. It allowed me some time to get to know the workers. Which is why I knew everyone in the station, their wives, their children, their grandchildren, their pets, and their hobbies. Forks was not a crime filled place.

So there I sat, currently grinning like a madman. Here, we bet shifts. Harold, a newbie, had bet three, meaning that if he lost, I would give him three of my shifts. And I, at that point, had a royal flush. I had set it down, and I just grinned as he stared in shock.

"H...how...?" That seemed to be all he could get out. My grin widened as I raked in the cards.

"Ah, Harry boy." I felt a pang in my gut at the familiar name of my dead friend. "It's all in the skill of bluffing. Now, if you would accompany me to the board..."

The board was a whiteboard that we wrote shifts on in dry-erase marker. I had to make sure we exchanged shifts now, I had a horrible memory.

He grumbled, but began to lift himself out of the chair. I laughed, and walked around to my desk, putting the cards away. I turned back, to see him slinking toward the exit. I don't think so.

"Ah, ah, ah..." I tutted him. "Where do you think you're going?"

He sighed dramatically before laughing, and I joined with him. But our giggling like school girls session was cut short as the phone rang. I didn't even check the caller id.

"Hello?" I made my voice sound quick and authoritive.

"Ch...Charlie?"

"Jake?" I was assaulted with memories of my daughter, and my eyes pricked with tears I would only let fall when she was fast asleep. She never knew just how much I worried about her, I wasn't much of a heart-to-heart guy. But worry I did, a lot. I would watch her when she wasn't looking, during conversations. I saw just how much she flinched at random words.

I always saw the sadness in her eyes. She was my daughter, it was my job to know when something was wrong with her. I was attuned to her, though I hadn't been around her so much. I could see the sadness in her eyes. And that made me terribly sad.

Also, it made me angry. Apparently, that Edward kid didn't want her, and they broke up. He had no compassion, didn't want to try. He could have let her down gently, or stayed in touch. Something. Yet instead, he brings her into the middle of the woods, breaks up, and abandons her.

She tried to feed me some crap about only going so far on the trail, but that was so obviously a lie. She tried to say that he took off into the woods, but she tried to follow him, getting lost in the process. But those woods around our house went the opposite way of the Cullens, and even if he could find his way, it was dense, and we had dogs. There was no way he wasn't still wandering around alone, he had to have tricked her.

I hated him, and his whole family. They broke my little girl, and she deserved so much. Yet I could constantly see what was left of her heart shattering slowly. It wasn't something every father wanted to see.

She had finally started to get a little bit better. She was still broken, but when she was around Jake, her pain melted away. I knew it was never gone, waiting for him to leave, but for a while it could be forgotten. At first, he just seemed to be a distraction, but soon he was more. They were the best of friends, inseperable.

But suddenly, he was gone. Not answering calls, nor calling back. He never visited, and was never there when she went over. Or, at least, that's what she told me. She just probably didn't want me mad at him. But I'd hear her at night, crying and screaming about him slamming doors in her face or glaring at her, about him trembling, yelling. I would usually only let one tear slip.

I limited myself as crying went, I had to make sure she was asleep. I would be ashamed, yes, but it was more than that. I needed to be strong, for her, to help her. She was my baby girl, my sunshine, my angel.

I suddenly became furious at the world, throwing so much at her. My little girl. She deserved love and happiness coming out the kazoo. And yet, here her friends were all breaking her heart. Her soul, killing her slowly. She never ate much in the beginning, but now she barely got a crumb through her lips daily. She didn't get too much sleep, nor did she get out. My baby was dying, and I was too much of a coward to admit it out loud and try to get her help.

She began to put on her signature mask of indifference, and became an actress. She fooled everyone but me. I could see that everything she said and did was fake. That sparkle, the friendly gleam in her eye that made my Bella, Bella...it was gone. She was dead inside, and her outside was soon to follow if she didn't snap out of it.

I had been testing the waters, preparing to send her to a...mental facility. It hurt to think about it, and so I avoided it. But I had been asking random things, seeing how much she pays attention. And, turns out, it wasn't much. This way, I could feed her some random lie, then turn and take her...where she could get some help. I was trying.

Yet, here was a boy that had a hand in destroying my daughter's heart. I felt guilty not being nasty, like I would if I ever got a hold of Cullen, but I reasoned that Edward was most to blame, not Jake. Anything to get the searing guilt in the pit of my stomach to fade. It didn't work.

"Yeah, Charlie, you need to come see this..."

I decided to give him a bit of a hard time, just to ease my mind. I wouldn't be outright mean, it wasn't in my nature, but a little trouble never hurt anyone.

"Oh, Jake, glad you called. Haven't heard from you in a while. Feeling better?" He knew as well as I did that his "bug" was long gone by now. I could almost hear him flinch.

"Charlie...please...it's an emergency."

That pricked my ears.

"Where are you, what's going on?" My voice became raspy, I didn't want Jake hurt.

"I'm at the l-Cullens. But...it's more personal. I just need you to come. Hurry." There was a click and then dial tone. I was dumbstruck. What had Jake at the Cullen's? I thought his father would have forbidden him, being that Billy hated their guts. He had never said it out loud, but by the way he talked about them...he wished them all dead.

And, why was he trespassing? He should know better. I shook my questions away and breezed out the door wordlessly. Jake seemed pretty urgent, and if it was something deadly, I needed to get there soon, to control the situation.

It was quite a long drive, but eventually I got onto the side road. I continued down a ways, and saw Bella's truck in the distance. Glee filled me. They were seeing each other again? Trespassing be damned, Jake and Bella were friends! Maybe there was no need for a mental facility! I inwardly sighed at how I could think the word without a cloud of dread looming around me.

I pulled up the long drive, and began to wonder briefly what made the Cullens stay so secluded. But the stray thought was gone when I saw the look on Jake's red and puffy face. Tears were streaming out of distant eyes. He gazed at me unseeingly, lifting an arm. Inside his huge hand was a piece of paper, edges fluttering smoothly in the slight breeze.

I stopped the car, panicking once again. Jake was always so happy, always seeing the good in things. A glass half full kind of person. There was only one other time I saw him this way, and it was at a funeral...

I snatched the letter from him, reading the lines quickly. With each word, my eyes blurred more. In the last paragraph, the implications were clear. I heard an agonized scream, and was dimly aware that it was me as tears leaked from closed eyes. I felt the ground hit my knees, the outsides of my forearms, my forehead. I was pounding something, presumably the ground.

Slurred screams echoed through the trees as a feverishly warm hand patted my back, scalding hot droplets hitting my back. The only thing I heard was, "I'm sorry Charlie, I loved her too."

And suddenly, something inside me snapped. The tears dried instantly, white hot fury, pure rage, flooded me until it spilled over. I whirled around, and glared daggers upwards. The difference in size couldn't phase me now, nor could the pain searing up my arm as my fist collided with a stone jaw. He just stood, staring at me as if I had four heads.

"IF YOU HADN'T HAVE IGNORED HER, SHE WOULD BE HERE!!! DAMMIT! WHY?! WHAT THE FUCK DID I EVER DO TO YOU, LET ALONE HER?! THERE WAS NO REASON! BECAUSE OF YOUR AND EDWARD'S ACTIONS, MY LITTLE GIRL IS DEAD!"

The moment it left my lips, I stopped short. It was true. I had crossed some unseen barrier of reality with admitting it out loud. It actually happened.

He hung his head, and continued to sob. There was slight remorse, but I hadn't the time. I rushed through the busted door, up the stairs, and to the last room on the top floor. The door was open, and in the dim light of the moon, I could just see a faint silhouette, suspended from the ceiling. I gasped, my whole body freezing. This was no sick joke, this was no misunderstanding. My Bella was gone forever.

I felt a shooting pain in my neck, traveling down to my waist, passing through my arms, resting uncomfortably in my chest. I began to sweat, the room swam and spun, and was suddenly nauseas. I fell over, and heaved. Everything was turning grey, and the tight discomfort in my chest grew in intensity. I clutched feebly at it, but slowly blacked out to the sounds of sirens and shouting.