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The Intricacies of Dating

Title:  The Intricacies of Dating
Author:  snuggle_muggle
Rating:  G
Category: Fluff
Prompt:  #2  Charlie is dating someone.
Summary:  When your father informs you he's got a girlfriend, what're you and your vampire fiance supposed to think?
Warnings: None really.
Notes:  Any Bella OOC-ness at the beginning is explained, so please don't give up on her quite yet.

The Intricacies of Dating

 

Edward and Bella were sitting at the small kitchen table with Charlie and Bella was slowly eating her ravioli when Charlie cleared his throat. "So, uh, Bella. I’ve, uh, met this girl, well, woman really. She would like to meet you. And Edward, of course. And, uh, so I thought maybe, you know, if you’re not busy, um, well, uh, we could go to dinner. Together. All of us." Bella glanced at Edward, trying to control the dawning horror she felt. He had managed to hide quite a lot of his ravioli in his napkin and so he couldn’t use it to cover his face and she would have sworn he was trying not to laugh. She, on the other hand, had never felt less like laughing.

"Dad? When you say you met someone . . . Do you mean, like a girlfriend?" Bella prayed that she had misunderstood, that this was just some work acquaintance, or a neighbor or something.

"Uh, yeah. Sort of. I mean, we’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks now, and –"

She could no longer control herself. She stood up, throwing her napkin onto the table and not even flinching when her chair fell over backwards onto the linoleum. "You can’t be dating someone, Dad! No, no! It’s not possible! I would have noticed!"

"Bella." Edward put his cool hand on her suddenly overheated arm. "There’s no reason to scream, love."

Charlie stood up, too, facing his daughter across the table. "You would have noticed if you were around, ever! And I’m perfectly capable of meeting someone and dating her! I really am not asking for your approval, Bella, I’m just-"

But she was gone. She didn’t want to hear any of Charlie’s rationalizations for his behavior. She slammed her door shut and threw herself across the bed, burying her head in her pillow. As she had fully expected, Edward joined her via the window about 10 minutes later. "Bella?"

"I don’t want to talk about it, Edward."

"But I do. You seem a little overly upset about this."

She sat up, pushing her hair out of her hot face. "Wouldn’t you be upset? I mean, if your dad was, was, ...I don’t know. Maybe you can’t relate."

"I can’t, but I don’t see that Charlie’s done anything so horrible."

"He’s dating someone, Edward. And it’s serious, isn’t it? I know you can tell." She tried not to sob, but she was pretty sure that he could hear it in her voice..

"He’s fairly serious about her, yes. She seems nice, at least he thinks so. I’d have to actually meet her to judge for sure. But I still don’t see-"

Bella buried her head under her pillow again, not wanting to hear the cool logical voice of her fiancé spelling out exactly how she was messed up and illogical and stupid. Because she knew it in one part of her brain, but the other part of her brain just wanted to scream and hit something. After a few minutes, she pulled her head out from under the pillow because it was just to hot in the room to stay like that for long. Edward was still sitting there, calmly, and Bella sighed, turning her face away from him. "When is dinner, then?"

"I told him that tomorrow should work fine."

"Tomorrow? I can’t possibly meet her tomorrow! That’s completely out of the question. Maybe next week or something."

"Tomorrow." He took her hand. "You don’t have anything going on and we may as well get it over with. No use putting it off. Once I meet her, I can give you my opinion."

"Okay. Tomorrow." Edward gently lay down next to her, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him. She turned her face into his cool shoulder, trying to relax. After a few minutes of Edward’s humming softly to her, Bella finally felt like she should say something else. "I’m being sort of silly."

"Well, it is a little strange, you have to admit, and this from a vampire, keep in mind."

"I know."

"I mean, your mother gets married and not only are you okay with it, you’re happy about it. Happy enough about it that you ship yourself off to Forks, Washington so that she can trot around the country with her new, younger, baseball-playing husband." Bella laughed a little. "But then, your dad goes on a couple of dates and you lose it. Explain the difference to me, please, because I’m really confused."

"I don’t know. I really don’t."

"Hmm. Well, you’re a smart girl. Why don’t you think about it and maybe you’ll come up with something."

Bella snorted inelegantly and sat up. "I’m going to get ready for bed. Maybe something will come to me tonight. Will you listen if I start talking?"

"I always listen, love. Always."

A half-hour later Bella was feeling warm and comfortable in her sheets. Edward was stroking her arms and back in that calm comforting way he had when she was feeling upset or confused. She was trying to think about what had changed between when Renee started dating Phil compared to now. Maybe she was different. Maybe being in love with Edward and knowing Jacob and all the trouble with the Volturi and everything made things different. "But that should have made me more tolerant, shouldn’t it?" She said out loud. Edward didn’t reply, just hummed softly in response. "You’d think that my being in love with you, and everything would have made me more understanding of other people who might be in love." Edward smiled in response and Bella kissed his cheek.

"Logically, yes. But emotions are rarely logical, Bella."

Bella tried to think back to the day Renee had told her she was dating Phil, tried to remember what she had said or done at the time. She hadn’t been upset. She remembered that. She had been doing homework and had barely even noticed or cared that her mom was going out, even when her mom had gone on for a bit about how great Phil was. She remembered wishing her Mom would hurry and finish telling her the story so she could get her assignment done. "I thought Phil was just another one of her things."

"Her little hobbies?" Edward knew exactly what she meant and Bella was glad that she didn’t have to explain further.

"Yeah, you know, macramé one week, health foods the next week, yoga the week after that. And Phil was just one of those things."

"And when she married him?"

"I didn’t think it would last very long."

Edward nodded. "Makes sense. She is definitely flighty."

"But my dad isn’t like that."

"No, he isn’t. They are complete opposites in that way."

"My dad never stopped loving my mom. I thought. Until now. I guess it’s still hard to accept the fact that they’ll never get back together. I used to imagine sometimes the two of them meeting and falling in love again."

"That’s not fair, Bella. It’s not fair to Charlie to think that he needs to stay stagnant, like a monument or memorial to your mom, when they’re not really even good for each other. He’s a person and he has a right to love and be loved. He shouldn’t have to play some role in your childish dreams."

Bella sighed. "I know. You’re right. And with our getting married next month . . . "

"He’ll be alone. Or he would be, without this new person."

"What’s her name?"

"Sarah."

"That’s pretty. She’s not anything . . . different, is she? Like a goblin or zombie or anything? Just a normal human?"

Edward laughed quietly. "As far as Charlie knows. But I’ll keep my mind open for the possibility at dinner, make sure she eats and things." He kissed her forehead. "Seriously, though, she’s youngish, about 30, I’d guess from her face. She’s fairly attractive. She’s new here in town, works at the library. He likes her sense of humor. He thinks she’s smart, like you, and he’s really scared you won’t like her."

Bella pulled away from him and looked up at him in the darkness. "He still cares about my opinion?"

"Of course he does. He loves you, Bella. Even when you are a pain in the butt."

"Maybe I should go apologize now. I don’t want him to be upset all night about this."

"If you want. But if it matters, he’s not that distressed. He told me that he sort of thought you might take it hard. He’s thinking of calling her in a minute, so he probably doesn’t want to be interrupted." He stroked her face gently. "Go to sleep. You can talk to him in the morning. That’ll be soon enough."

"It’s still early. I want to talk more to you."

"Fine. But I’m not telling you anything else about Charlie’s thoughts. Anything else you want to know, you can ask him yourself."

"That’s mean."

"Well, there’s not much more to tell. He’s anxious for you two to meet. If you discourage him, he’ll stop seeing her. He would miss her, but you’re more important to him."

"Okay. I’ll be nice. Hopefully, she’s as great as he deserves." Bella rolled over and settled into her usual sleeping position, waiting for Edward to curl up behind her. "Besides, when you finally make me into a vampire, it’ll be good for him to have someone else to love. You know, to make things easier."

"I don’t think anyone will ever be able to replace you, Bella."

She felt the tenseness in his arms that was present every time she brought up the subject of her eventual transformation. "I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that he won’t be all alone here in this empty house, missing me after we’ve moved away."

Edward pulled her closer to him. "Now you sound more like my Bella. Calmly discussing your death and worrying more about Charlie than yourself," he whispered softly in her ear.

"I’ll have you, Edward, and that’s all I’ll ever need." He started humming her lullaby and she drifted off to sleep, content with things exactly as they were.


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
75percentoff
Mar. 13th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
The characterization was spot-on! This was a good read :]
snuggle_muggle
Mar. 13th, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the comment! I had several reviews for this story on ff.net, but none here, so I was feeling sort of bad about that. I am glad that you liked the story and I really appreciate your taking the time to mention it. I was worried people wouldn't like Bella's characterization and I appreciate your mentioning that you thought it was well-done.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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