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Author's Chapter Notes:

All of these wonderful characters DO NOT belong to me...but I can dream, right!

Thanks for birdee18 for all her help.!

Twilighted beta: vjgm

The next thing I remembered, I was in the shiny, silver Volvo, racing through the scenery, towards what I assumed to be the Cullens house. I turned to meet the gaze of my husband, and to my surprise, he wasn’t the one driving. I turned to look at Alice in the driver’s seat.

"Are you feeling OK, Bella?" Alice said with an uneven voice.

"My head just feels a little strange. What happened?"

Edward took my face in his hands and caressed my face. "My love, you passed out. Hopefully that is a trait that you don’t take with you when you cross over." He smiled that same smile I loved so much.

It came over me like a flood, the memory of what just happened.

I was standing in the reception hall. Alice had the glazed look that the family knee all too well. The Volturri were coming back to Forks. Charlie. Renee...

"Don't worry my love; they will not harm your family."

I gazed into his fading topaz eyes and knew that he was telling the truth.

“I love you, Edward. More than I ever thought possible.”

He took my face in his granite hands and leaned forward and gave me a kiss on my forehead. To my surprise, I felt the butterflies again and the faintness that I was becoming so accustomed to. It was strange. Our kiss at the wedding was the most passionate kiss we had shared, but there was none of the faintness. It all seemed to disappear. It was very awkward that I would start to feel that way again.

I felt the car leave the main highway; I was still quite groggy from fainting, so I didn’t even attempt to sit up. The car swerved up the enclosed driveway. I could see the limbs above us, racing by. Then, a thought crept into my mind, a thought that seemed to be seeping through the thick haze that covered my senses.

I never got the chance to say goodbye.

“Edward, did you tell my parents why we left so fast?” He looked at me with a great amount of grief and sorrow in his eyes.

“I’m sorry my love. I couldn’t risk someone else finding out about us. We are running too big of a risk as it is.”

I was instantly furious. How could he take me away without even giving me the chance to say goodbye to the ones I love? How could he be so selfish?

“Take me back to the wedding, now Edward.” I had never been so angry at him.

“I’m sorry Bella, everyone is gone,” Alice said with a look of sadness in her eyes. “We have very little time left. The Volturi are on their way as we speak. Your family is in no danger; they have no clue what we really are.”

I felt the car come to a stop, and to my surprise, the rest of the Cullen family were waiting on the front step. Somehow, I found the energy to lift my head off Edward's lap, but I was still quite nauseous.

Esme looked at me and turned to Carlisle. They went into the house and closed the door behind them.

I found that to be quite strange since the Cullen family had no reason to keep secrets any longer. I looked at Edward; his face was unreadable. I glanced at Alice; I could tell she was having a vision. Her eyes were glazed over, and she had no expression on her angelic face. I hesitated. Edward looked down on me with his beautiful fading topaz eyes.

“What is she seeing, Edward? “

“I can’t tell. When she is having visions, her mind is totally closed to me. Just give it a minute. She will come out of it.”

Carlisle and Esme came out of the house.

I glanced back to Alice. Her face had not changed. My mind started to wonder. Was I doing to right thing? Was I really ready to give up my life for Edward? Visions flooded my mind of my parents mourning my “death”. Was it really worth it?

I looked over at my husband. He was the most beautiful person I had ever laid eyes on. His features were sharp, like they could cut even the hardest rock. His eyes were a beautiful topaz color of which was almost unnatural. I knew I was totally and completely in love with him; nothing could change that.

“It has to happen today, doesn’t it?” I was shaking.

Edward sensed my fear of it all. “I’m sorry, Bella. It has to happen today.”

“Can you please take me to my house? I have to see Charlie one more time.”

Edward looked at me, and I knew he was going to tell me that there wasn’t any time. I felt my heart sink to the lowest part in my chest. I saw him glance at Carlisle. Carlisle nodded his head.

“Come on, Bella. We don’t have much time left.”

Edward helped me to the car. As I watched him glide over to the driver side of the silver Volvo, I realized something. I really was ready; I loved him so much that I knew it was the right thing. I made up my mind right there in the passenger seat, I was going to tell Charlie everything.

The ride was quick and silent, as if he knew what I was planning. I couldn’t bear the thought of his anger when I told him what I was going to do.

“Edward. I know you don’t want to expose your family, but I have to tell my father. He can’t think I really died.” His expression was unreadable, but then he looked at me and smiled.

“I know, Bella. Alice said that you were going to tell your father. The family agrees. It wouldn’t be right not to tell him the truth about everything. Alice said that he’s going to take it amazingly well.”

I felt as if a huge weight was lifted from my chest and I could breathe again. I hoped Alice was right. We turned off the main road and made our way up to the house. I could feel the butterflies coming up in my stomach again. We got to the house, and Charlie was outside already. It was like he knew we were coming.

“DAD!” I flew out of the Volvo and ran to him as fast as I could. The way he embraced me, I could tell he knew something was going on.

“You are here to tell me something, Bells?”

I looked at him with confusion written all over my face. “Yes, Dad. We are.”

“Go ahead, Bella.”

I turned to look at Edward. I could tell in his face that he knew I didn’t know what to say. He bent down and whispered in my ear. “Do you want me to tell him?”

“No, I can do it.”

I looked at Charlie and his face was very calm. “Dad, there’s something I need to tell you about Edward and his family…”

Edward and I followed Charlie into the house and into the living room. Charlie sat in the chair as Edward and I sat on the love seat. Charlie had been a lot nicer to Edward since he figured out that there was nothing he could do about us being together, but the air was full of tension now.

I didn't know where to start, but I had to start somewhere...

“Dad, I want you to take what I'm fixing to tell you with an open mind, and don't jump to any conclusions. You know how Billy Black is pretty superstitious sometimes? Well there are a few things that are more than just superstition...”

Charlie looked at me with a look of utter confusion. “What do you mean, Bella?”

I tried to find the words to say that wouldn't make him explode. I decided to take the route that Jacob took when he told me what the Cullens really were.

“Has Billy ever told you the legend of the cold ones?”

That question made both Charlie and Edward nervous, but I had to tell my father, I couldn't leave him without telling him the truth.

Charlie shifted in his chair uneasily, “I remember hearing something like that from Billy. But you know how he is, Bella. You don't believe those stories, do you, Bella?”

I stiffened up at his answer. I thought about how I was going to break it to him that Billy was more than just superstitious. “Well, Dad, I really don't have a choice in believing it. What I'm trying to tell you is that the Cullen family...they are the ones that Billy was referring to in the story. They are the cold ones...the vampires.”

I felt Edward too, stiffen up at my side. Charlie stood up and started pacing the room. I looked at Edward; he was directing all his attention to Charlie. A few silent moments passed. Charlie returned to his chair and faced Edward.

“So tell me, Edward. My daughter is telling me that she just married a vampire? Is that correct?”

“Yes, sir. Please let me explain my family to you--”

“And why should I let you do that? You lied, Edward, to me, to Bella, to the entire town.”

“With all due respect, Charlie, we have the same survival instincts as you, and I never lied to Bella. Just please let me explain myself and my family. I think if you let me do that, you might think differently.”

Charlie looked suspiciously at Edward and finally answered him, “OK then, I guess I should listen to your side of the insanity.”

Edward shifted in his gaze to the floor and started to tell his family's secret. “Carlisle's way of life was different than what you may have about vampires. He has never drunk human blood. He tried in so many ways to kill himself after he realized what he had become. But because there's not many ways you can kill one of us, he failed every attempt. He was hiding in the forest when a group of deer got too close. He didn't think twice about it. He jumped on the deer and quenched his thirst. It was then he realized that there was an alternative to human blood and it still kept him alive, in a sense. Over many, many years, he learned how to control his thirst for human blood. After that, he could do what he loved most, helping people.”

Charlie looked at me with a confused stare.

“This is my story. It was 1918, and I was 17 years old when the Spanish influenza hit Chicago. The flu had already taken my parents away from me. I was sick in the hospital, on the verge of death. A doctor there, by the name of Carlisle Cullen, worked feverishly to help all the victims of the epidemic. I was unconscious when my parents passed. My mother seemed to know that he was different, that he could safe me in a way that others couldn't. She begged him to help me. Carlisle had been fighting within himself for a long time about whether or not to make himself a companion. After my mother died, he was sure that it was time. He took me from the hospital and went and changed me at his home.”

Charlie’s face was unreadable as he listened to Edward, in complete silence.

“For three days, the pain was unbearable. There's nothing that could ever compare to that pain. I stayed with Carlisle for a few years after he changed me, but then I went on my own. I was bitter about what I had become. I never took an innocent life. I could hear the thoughts of my prey, which made it too hard to bear killing the innocent. I thought if I only killed the bad people in the world, there would be a way I could live with it. But after a few years, I returned to Carlisle and begged him to let me come home. Carlisle welcomed me with open arms. I noticed that he had someone with him, Esme. He had found her almost dead after jumping off a cliff after losing her son. Carlisle was so lonely for a mate that he changed her.”

Edward glanced over at me, and I gave his hand an encouraging squeeze.

“After a few years, Carlisle found Rosalie on a street on the verge of death. He changed Rosalie in hopes that she could be my mate, but, I never grew any type of attraction to her. Sure, she is beautiful, but she wasn't right for me. Years later, Rosalie was hunting in the woods and found Emmett. He had been mauled by a grizzly bear and was clinching to life. She carried him home to Carlisle and begged him to change Emmett. They later became mates. Alice is kind of a different scenario. She's not sure of who changed her, and she can't remember anything of her human life. She also has extra powers like myself. She can see the future. Her power isn't an exact science, though. As the person changes their mind, their future changes too. She was the one that saw Bella jump from the cliff...”

“WHAT! YOU JUMPED FROM A CLIFF??” Charlie was staring at me in terror.

I rolled my eyes, “I wasn't trying to kill myself, I was cliff diving. It's a recreational sport in La Push. Quit freaking out, Dad, I'm perfectly fine. Now, just listen to Edward.”

Charlie looked at Edward again, “Sorry for interrupting you, Edward. Please continue.”

Edward nodded his head and cleared his throat. “So anyways, Alice saw our family and decided to find us. Along the way she found Jasper. Jasper was in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was changed, living the typical life of a vampire. He eventually broke away from his family and went out on his own. That's when Alice found him. We all eventually became each other's family. I know it’s a lot to take in, but I love Bella with everything that I am. And I believe that Bella has something else that she would like to tell you.”

Edward looked at me with reassuring eyes. I looked over at Charlie; he was fidgeting with his shirt, looking like he was deep in thought. “There is one more thing I came here to tell you, Dad. Remember when I left with Alice because Edward was in trouble?”

Charlie nodded his head slightly.

“Well, Alice and I went to Italy. There is a family there called the Volturi. They are the most powerful family of vampires in the world. When Edward found out about me jumping off the cliff, he thought I was dead. So he went to the Volturi and asked them to kill him. They denied his request, so he was going to expose himself for what he really was in the square in the middle of Volterra. Alice and I got there in time to stop him, but we had to face the Volturi. They were amazed at the fact that the Cullens would co-exist with a human as closely as they do with me. They let us go on one condition...”

My voice broke. I didn't know if I could tell him that I had to be changed. This was the hardest thing in the world I had ever had to do.

Edward leaned over and whispered softly in my ear, “Can you do this, Bella? I can tell him if you think you can't handle it.”

“No, Edward. This is something I have to do on my own, I owe it to him.” Edward kissed my hair and I attempted to gather myself and tell Charlie...

“...the one condition is that I have to be changed.”

All the color in Charlie's face was gone. Tears started to pool in his eyes. I couldn't tell if he was mad or sad.

After a long minute, Charlie turned and looked at us, his eyes filled with hurt. “So you're here to tell me that I'm going to lose my baby?”

I felt the tears start to pool in my eyes as well, “Yes Dad, I'm so sorry I couldn't tell you. You have no idea what it's been like for me, to tell you lie after lie. I love you Daddy, and I hope one day you can forgive me for this. I love him, Dad, and I know that I will be happy with him forever. Please just try to understand. Understand, that he wasn't the one that got me into this. I did this to myself. I was the one that was persistent in pursuing this. It's not Edward’s fault.”

Charlie looked into my eyes, a tear rolled down his cheek.

“Bella, I'm not exactly sure what to think about this. But I know that you love him with everything you have. And I know that he loves you. That's very evident. I'm just sad that I will never see you again.”

Edward looked at Charlie, “The first few years are always the hardest for us. That's when our senses have completely taken over. The more time that goes by, it's easier to be around humans. Maybe someday she will be strong enough to be able to see you. If that is what she wants, then I will try my best to be able to let her do it. I just want you to know that I'll be there for her.”

Charlie stood up from the couch and started pacing again.

I stood up and walked to him and gave him a massive hug, he was sobbing almost uncontrollably.
I looked up at him and smiled. “I love you so much, Dad. More than you will ever know. Please forgive me and never forget me.”

“I could never forget you, Bella. I love you more than anything else in this world. Just promise me that this is what you really, really want. Because that's all I want from you is to be happy.”

Edward cleared his throat and shot me back into reality.

“My love, I'm sorry but it's time to go.”

I threw my arms around Charlie and cried on his shoulder.

Charlie turned to look at Edward. His expression was unreadable, his voice shook as he spoke. “Edward, please take good care of my baby for me.”

“I promise you, Charlie, nothing will ever happen to Bella.”

I turned to look at Charlie one last time.

“Please tell Renee that I love her, and that I'm sorry.”

With that, I turned and ran out of the house, sobbing uncontrollably. I had to get out of there. I couldn't stand to see the hurt on Charlie's face anymore. Edward was at the truck before I got there. I crashed into him and slowly sank to the ground, crying.

Edward lifted me up and put me into the car.

As we backed out of the driveway, I looked at the place that I called home, for the last time.
Chapter End Notes:

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