Leaving Behind the Rain
AU - Renee hates Forks. She takes her baby and leaves. This is the story of what Bella's teenage years would have been like if Charlie had followed them.
Disclaimer: This is fan fiction.
Rating 4.2/5 Word Count 1142 Review this Chapter
Renee stood in front of the house with an open diaper bag slung haphazardly over one shoulder and her little girl on her hip. Behind her, the trunk was open, and the back door as well. The taxi driver was hefting a suitcase the size of a small New Hampshire town, but she didn't turn around to see what all the thumping was about.
The house looked beautiful shining in the sunlight, but it symbolized something other than beauty. It symbolized freedom. And as much as she'd wanted freedom, it suddenly scared her quite a lot. Freedom meant she could live in the perpetual sunshine of Phoenix, and that she could go to whatever parties she pleased. But it also meant she'd be raising Isabella alone. And it meant no Charlie. She'd only been away from him for three days and she missed him already.
The driver lugged her over-stuffed suitcase passed her, muttering under his breath, and she snapped out of it, smiling down at her daughter as she followed the man to the door and unlocked it for him. He shot her an annoyed glance for making him wait, since she could clearly have had that done already if she hadn't been standing on the front path gawking at the house.
She made to follow the man into the foyer but couldn't. He'd stopped abruptly on the step, and she couldn't see around him at first. "What is it?" she asked curiously. She hoped it wasn't a roach. Phoenix was fabulous, of course, and she'd always loved it there, but the roaches were not one of the high points. The man staggered out of her way, dragging the suitcase sideways to reveal someone else already in the house.
Charlie wasn't in uniform, for once. His jeans and flannel-covered tee-shirt marked him as being from out of town just as surely as the uniform would have, though. He clearly wasn't dressed for the heat. But then, Charlie Swan had never ventured outside of Washington State, and she'd been under the impression that he never would. No one said anything for a long moment, but little Isabella's chubby arms were already reaching for her father, and she was gurgling happily. Renee made an effort to close her mouth, and then the cabbie coughed. "Oh, of course," she said absently, handing him far more money than his attitude should have earned him. She didn't even see him leave.
Charlie stepped up to her, and she caught her breath. He looked very intense, and she wondered what there was left to say between them. He'd been married to his job long before he'd married her, and Forks was the most depressing place on the planet. She wasn't going back there, no matter what he said.
But Charlie wasn't a man of words. He'd never been. He looked into her eyes for another long moment and then took Isabella from her arms. She would have held onto her, if she hadn't been so shocked. Charlie had played with Isabella on the floor and on the couch, and in her crib, but he almost never held her, himself. She watched him as he clutched the baby to his chest, and then turned her eyes away abruptly. It occurred to her for the first time that she hadn't just left him. She'd taken away his baby. Somehow, she'd never quite got it through her head that Isabella belonged to them both. When she looked back, Charlie had strode off into the other room and was setting Isabella down gently in her play pen, which he'd clearly brought with him from Forks. She didn't notice the wetness about his eyes until he straightened up again.
"Charlie, I –"
"Don't. You said what you wanted to say. Now it's my turn."
Renee knew she hadn't given him much chance to reply when she'd run out the door and into the pouring rain to escape Forks, so she fell silent. He already knew why she'd left. He had no time to spend on her, much less Isabella – he was always working or fishing or watching baseball. And day after day she'd stood in that dingy little kitchen and watched the rain. She didn't want to live that way. She couldn't. But it wouldn't hurt to hear what he had to say, in case there was a chance that something might change....
She should have known better than to expect a decent conversation about the matter, though. He took three steps forward and put his hands on her shoulders and kissed her. She cursed her own impetuousness for the first time in years and couldn't determine whether she did it because she'd left him, or because she was kissing him back.
"Please come home," he whispered, when they finally pulled apart. Her arms were tight around his neck by this time, and he'd buried a hand in her hair, while the other was at her lower back, pulling her hard against him. He let his forehead rest against hers, and waited, but she didn't reply. "It'll be different. Please come home."
They kept the house in Phoenix, as Renee had really got an excellent deal on it. Her best friend from summers spent with her grandparents had become a realtor, and she'd really come through for her. They summered there every year – Charlie splitting his time between the police department job in Forks and a security guard job in Phoenix. He learned that fishing was not for every weekend and he got to see more baseball if he took his family to the games. Renee loved to go out, and baseball was as good an excuse as any. She even found that she could enjoy it.
She got to be very good friends with Elsie Newton, who had a little boy about Isabella's age, and Elsie was the premier socialite in Forks. Consequently, Charlie also learned to endure parties, as they were invited to all of them. Renee learned to dance in the rain, and she taught her daughter to, as well. Of course, it was apparent early on that little Isabella wasn't made for dancing. She fell more often than any toddler Renee had ever seen.
Eventually, Renee learned to love the tidepools near First Beach, and Isabella loved them from the very beginning. Charlie got to fish more often whilst Renee took Isabella, along with Rebecca and Rachel Black, to watch the fish, and they all picnicked together afterwards on the beach. La Push was a daily part of life.
Fourteen years, and another child later, and Renee was surprised to wake up one morning and discover that she was perfectly content in Forks, Washington. It was difficult for her to believe that she had ever seen it as a place from which to escape.