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Farewell, Forks

Summary:
Please review or rate! The Cullens, Jacob, and Seth move to New Hampshire, where a new vampire comes into their life; but not before a devastating car accident alters Bella's family forever. EXCERPT: Edward sat back down on the bed next to me, and held the neatly-wrapped package out to his daughter. “This is from your mother and me; happy birthday,” he said gently. While her eyes were transfixed on the package, I shot him a silent thought. What is this? He just smiled and left me hanging. Renesmee slowly turned and walked towards the package, thrilled at the prospect of an unexpected treasure. She took the box and carefully untied the ribbon. When she lifted the top of the box, she revealed a stunning gem in the shape of a heart. It was identical to the one Edward gave me after graduation, but instead of a flawless and colorless diamond charm meant for a bracelet, it was a blood red ruby attached to a delicate, silver chain and meant to be worn around her neck.


Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. Bella's POV


10. Goodbyes

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2310   Review this Chapter

“Mamaaaaaa,” Renesmee wailed. The despair in her voice was another punch through the hole in my chest, and I saw that it had the same effect on Edward and Jacob. You didn’t need to be Jasper to feel the grief, shock and confusion radiating out of my daughter. This made no sense to her. She was immortal. Her family was immortal. When we told her we would be together forever, she believed us. She knew my parents were different, but we never talked about the fact that their differences would eventually lead to their death. Losing Renee and Phil, and maybe Charlie; it was a shock strong enough to shift her entire world onto a new axis. Over and over again, she called out to me as I carried her exhausted body into the house.

Esme, Rosalie, Emmett and Jasper were waiting for us inside. Alice went straight to Jasper and he took her into his arms. Emmett and Rosalie stood together, motionless. Edward gently took Renesmee from me and held her in his arms, kissing her head and whispering into her ear. Jacob grabbed me and hugged me hard. Esme went to Edward and Renesmee and embraced them both.

When Jacob finally let go, I looked at Renesmee, and began to feel some semblance of inner strength begin to surface. I couldn’t let myself go under, not when both my daughter and father needed me to be strong. I looked at Jasper, and gave a nod towards Renesmee.

He gave me a defeated look. “I’ve been trying, Bella. Her feelings are so strong.”

I looked at my sobbing daughter. “This is with your help?”

He nodded.

“Okay, thanks for trying.” I looked over at Esme. “Has Carlisle called?”

She was just about to answer when her phone rang. Esme pulled the phone out of her pocket. We could all hear Carlisle’s voice telling her that they were ready for us.

I took a deep breath. I didn’t know how I was going to survive seeing Renee and Phil, so I pushed it aside. “Jacob, have you talked to Billy, Seth and Sue?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I thought I’d go get them and take them to see Charlie, if that’s okay.”

“Yeah, of course it is.”

“I’m so sorry, Bella,” he said sorrowfully, and then he left.

Edward drove Renesmee and me to the hospital. Renesmee calmed down during the drive, quietly humming a tune she and Charlie would sing together. The lobby of the hospital was full of Charlie’s deputies and colleagues from the police station, county sheriff’s office, fire station and rescue squad. They all went silent when we came through, and like Moses parting the Red Sea, we made our way through the crowd.

I could see shock mixed in with their worry and concern, and I remembered I hadn’t seen any of them since my wedding. I didn’t have it in me to care about my appearance, my amber eyes, or the mystery child who looked exactly like Edward and me, but also looked far beyond three years of age. Some of Charlie’s friends looked at us with wide, disbelieving eyes, some simply nodded solemnly, and a few quietly said my name as I passed. As we passed the entrance to the waiting room, we saw more of Charlie’s friends from town and the reservation waiting for word on his condition. Edward put his arm around me, and kept me walking. He didn’t want to give anyone too long to think about how I must look to them.

We found Charlie’s room and went inside, closing the door behind us. Carlisle was alone with him. Charlie looked exactly like he did in Portland. I had secretly hoped I would find him awake, telling me not to worry, but then I remembered the medication he was given to keep him in a coma. I went straight to my father and kissed him, whispered again in his ear. “I’m here. I love you, Dad.”

Renesmee reached out for Charlie, and Edward picked her up and carried her towards him. “Be gentle, Ness. Your grandpa has lots of cuts and bruises, and he doesn’t heal as quickly as Jacob and Seth.”

He sat Renesmee on the edge of Charlie’s bed, and she instantly took her hand and placed it on Charlie’s face. Some of the monitors began beeping faster than they had.

Edward gently took her hand. “Renesmee, I don’t know if that’s a good idea right now.”

“But Dad, he needs to know how much we love him. He needs to see.”

“Tell him in his ear, sweetie.”

Renesmee was indignant. “It doesn’t work like that. He can’t hear us, but he can see my pictures.”

Carlisle sat down in a chair. “Renesmee, come see me for a minute.”

Looking contrite, she slid down off of the bed and went to Carlisle. He took her hands in his. “I think Charlie would love to see your pictures while he is sleeping, but not until the swelling on his brain goes down. Right now, the only thing his brain should be doing is trying to heal itself. As pretty and happy as they are, even your pictures are too much for him right now. I need you to wait until I tell you he’s ready. Understand?”

Renesmee nodded, and looked down at her feet. Tears started to fall down her cheeks again. “Can’t we just make him like us?” she asked quietly, her eyes never leaving the floor.

It was like she dropped a silent bomb into the room. Her words hung in the air, a carrot dangled. Can’t we just make him like us? The thought hadn’t occurred to me even once since the accident.

I touched Edward’s shoulder and pushed my thoughts into him. Give me a minute.

Edward and Carlisle remained silent. Minutes passed, and not even Renesmee spoke a word.

I stared at Charlie as I thought about what Renesmee asked. We had the power to keep him forever. I had the power to keep him forever. I looked at my father, trying to picture him living in our world. For every wave of optimism that surged through me, a thread of doubt ran through it. I sifted through the folds of my mind, trying hard to picture just one single scenario in which Charlie would be truly happy in our world, but I couldn’t find one.

I pictured him fishing; an eternity of fishing, without ever eating another fish. I pictured the man who had lived in the same town his entire life having to move every five to ten years. I pictured him hunting with his bare hands, drinking blood directly from the jugular vein of a wild animal. I pictured him as a typical newborn, raging with thirst and wanting to kill the very people he had lived his life to protect. Changing Charlie would thrust him into his own private version of hell. I searched on and on, but with every picture came the thread of doubt.

Finally, I shook my head, my decision set. “No.”

“Why not?” Renesmee demanded, exhaling as if she had been holding her breath, waiting for my answer.

“This existence is not for Charlie. He couldn’t handle it. He would be miserable.”

Renesmee’s eyes darkened. “You’re wrong.”

Edward spoke up. “Ness, sweetie, your mother knows Charlie better than any of us, and she’s right. Charlie wouldn’t want to be like us.”

“How do you know that? Did he tell you that?” she asked.

I wondered if this was how Edward felt when I was so determined to become a vampire and he was just as determined to keep me human. How do you explain the benefits of mortality to someone who can only see immortality as a gift?

I kneeled down on the floor beside her and tried my best to explain it. “Sweetie, Charlie knows we are different from him. He does. He knows we are special. And even though most humans would be afraid of us because we are different, Charlie is special, because he loves us just as much as we love him. But Charlie belongs here, in Forks. He’s never wanted to leave, not ever. He could have left a long time ago, but this is the life he chose, this is where Charlie felt he belonged. We can’t choose another way of life for him. Changing Charlie would take away far more than it would give him, and it would make him very, very sad.”

“But what if he dies like Grandma Renee and Phil?”

The hole throbbed with her question. As I struggled with how to answer that question, there was a knock on the door.

Jacob, Billy, Seth and Sue came in the room. Renesmee ran over to Jacob and grabbed his hand while Billy and Sue hugged me close, whispering their condolences. Then Sue went straight to Charlie and took one of his hands in hers.

I decided I was ready to go say goodbye to my mother and Phil. “Renesmee, Jacob is going to take you home in a little bit. Your dad and I have some paperwork to go over with Carlisle, and it might take a little while.”

“Okay, Mom. I love you. I’m sorry I got angry earlier.”

Jacob raised an eyebrow at me. I shook my head at him.

I bent down and took her in my arms. “I know, honey. I love you, too.”

As Edward and I followed Carlisle down to the morgue, Edward put his arm around my shoulder and held me close to him. “You handled that very well. I have to admit, I didn’t know which way you were going to go. Once again, you surprised me.”

I shook my head. “The idea of never losing Charlie is incredibly tempting, and I have to admit I searched every corner of my brain for a way to make it work. But no matter what I came up with, it was still Charlie as a vampire. It’s just… wrong. He would hate it.”

“He would,” Edward agreed.

When we got to the morgue door, Carlisle stopped us.

“Bella, I must warn you, Phil is pretty banged up. I’ve already identified him, so you don’t have to look if you don’t want to. It’s up to you, of course.”

I felt the hole in my chest begin to throb, and I swallowed hard. “And Renee….?”

“She looks…. peaceful,” he replied.

I nodded, and then grabbed Edward’s hand. “Come with me, please,” I whispered.

He squeezed my hand, and together we went in to say goodbye to my mother.

***

The swelling on Charlie’s brain went down without incident, and Charlie woke up after three torturously long days. Once Alice could see that he had a long, healthy future ahead of him, the rest of our family made the decision to go ahead with the move to New Hampshire, while Edward, Renesmee, and I stayed behind in Forks until Charlie returned to work a month later. As grateful as he was for our help, it didn’t take long for Charlie to get sick of my hovering over him and treating him like an invalid. But I was insistent that we stay until he was back into his normal routine.

Charlie had no memory of the accident, and hearing the news about Renee and Phil was especially hard on him. Even though he hadn’t done a thing to cause the accident, he still felt responsible for their deaths. Sue was ever-present during Charlie’s rehabilitation, and I knew that when Edward and I left for New Hampshire, she would be there to love him and feed him and make sure that he didn’t let his guilt get the better of him.

As for Renee, when I went down to the morgue, I decided to say more than goodbye to her. I told my mother everything I hadn’t been able to say to her since I moved to Forks. I talked to her for hours. I told her about meeting Edward and his family, about him saving my life the first time, the second time, and every time after. I told her about James and Victoria, about Italy, about Jacob and his pack; I told her about the unexpected pregnancy and the birth, about Edward saving me once again with his venom, and Jacob’s unbreakable connection to Renesmee. I told her about the confrontation with the Volturi. I told her how much the Cullens loved me and how much I loved them. I told her how I felt like I had finally found the place where I belonged, that I would always be loved, and how positively blissful my life had become with both Edward and Renesmee by my side. I told her we would live forever, and because of that, so would she.

As I recalled all of our adventures, Edward stood patiently by my side, and eventually joined in on the storytelling. Moving through our history, our tale went from one of challenges and obstacles to one of joy, and we actually found ourselves laughing as we told stories from the past two and a half years. While I shared the truth of my life with my mother, I felt the hole in my chest begin to shrink. It was still there, but manageable. When I was finally done telling her everything I ever wanted to say to her, I kissed her cheek, took a lock of her hair, and went back upstairs to sit with Charlie.

The next day, I sent her and Phil’s bodies back to Florida, to be laid to rest in the sunshine, where they had been so gloriously happy together. One day, I would take Renesmee to see where her grandmother lived and found so much joy.