Disclaimer: Beginning of Story
Hey, everyone! I'm still alive! This is a bit of a filler with a push of the plot towards the end, and it's a bit short, but I looked at my account the other day and realized it's been over a YEAR since I last updated. Hopefully this makes up for it just a little bit, and I'll try to get another chapter update soon.
Thank you for sticking this out with me! Love you all!
I sat next to Charlie on the couch. He had his second beer in his hand as he watched Kate and Irina verse Paul and Sam in a video game. I glanced from the corner of my eye at Charlie. He seemed to be taking it all in rather well as he processed everything. He mostly nursed his beer in silent thought.
I shifted my weight on the cushions and an arm draped over my shoulders. I jerked my head to the side as Charlie lightly pulled me towards him. I smiled lightly as I fell under his arm and rested my head on his shoulder.
We sat for a moment and simply watched the chaotic game in front of us. Kate was throwing a stream of insults at Paul and Sam who were more than happy to give as good as they got. Irina took advantage of the boys' distraction…which resulted in more chaos as she pulled her and Kate's team ahead in the match.
Charlie sipped at his beer, swallowed, and took in a deep breath. He let it out slowly and gently jostled my shoulders. "So, you're gonna be a vampire someday, huh?"
"Yeah…that's the plan, at least."
"And that means we won't need to worry about the cancer?"
He made a strange sound in the back of his throat I'd never heard before. "Good." When I looked up, I swore I saw the briefest flicker of moisture in his eye. "That's good."
I pursed my lips. "Are…are you doing okay?"
"You're not freaking out at all?"
He chuckled. "Oh, I am. I just think all of this is…kind of awesome." He waved around the room with a smirk.
"That about sums up everything, yeah," I grinned.
He cleared his throat and set the butt of the bottle on his thigh. "Does this mean I can shoot Edward and Tanya like every father dreams of doing, and no harm will come out of it?"
The room burst into laughter.
I reared back in horror and slapped his arm. "Dad!"
He held up his hands in surrender. His eyes widened in feign innocence. "What? It was a purely innocent joke…mostly."
"Not fucking funny, old man."
Tanya smiled as she drifted across the room to sit on my other side. She gently took my hand in hers and twined our fingers. "While I don't want to be shot," she said, "I wouldn't protest to a round or two being used on Edward. Might be good therapy."
Charlie smiled. "Oh, Tanya, you have just risen yourself to the top of my list."
I groaned and buried my face into her shoulder as the others laughed around us. "This is seriously not how I expected today to go. At all." I felt Tanya's shoulders shake and an adoring kiss pressed into my hair.
"It's good, though," Emmett said excitedly, "because now we know just how much it takes for us to get on your father's good side. And I personally wouldn't mind having my brother in your crosshairs for a while, Charlie. You know, I could probably make bullseye we could strap to his chest. Moveable target practice, you know?"
Charlie burst into laughter. "I like you, kid. Come through on that target and I might be willing to extend the fatherly approval."
"Dad!" I shot my head up from Tanya's shoulder to glare at him. Charlie held up his hands in feign innocence with the worst what-did-I-do look I'd ever seen before.
Jacob scooted closer on the floor. "Hold up. If Charlie can shoot Fuckward with no reprimand, does that mean we're allowed to do the same thing?"
Leah perked up. "Ooh, I like the sound of that."
Charlie frowned and shot Jacob a curious look. "Fuckward?" The boy shrugged, and Charlie smirked. "I like it."
Tanya rolled her eyes with the smallest pout. "I think Charlie's the only one who gets that pass, Jacob. I'm her mate, and I don't even have the right…and I even asked nicely." She grumbled the last part under her breath low enough for me to nearly miss it.
I leaned forward. "What was that?"
She sat up quickly. "Nothing!"
Jake poked at my knee. I shot my foot out and landed a solid kick at his wrist. The wolf didn't even flinch as he just pouted. "I'm your brother-slash-bestie. Doesn't that count for something?"
Sue sighed loudly and pinched the bridge of her nose. She looked ready to take the keys and just leave the house. "You don't even own a gun, Jacob."
"He can borrow mine," Charlie offered.
"Alright, alright…Tanya can borrow it first to make sure he understands safety, and then Jacob can have a turn."
The blonde beamed. "Thank you, Charlie."
Sue groaned and the man just smiled at her as Jake grinned. "Problem solved." He paused and cocked his head. "I'd get a whole cartridge, though, right?"
"Yeah, problem solved."
I shook my head and let go of Tanya's hand. "You three are ridiculous, you know that?"
Charlie chuckled. "You still love us, though, right?"
I rolled my eyes and sulked away from the couch. I made my way towards the sectional where Alice leaned against the arm with her sketch-pad in her lap while Emmett and Rosalie sat on the far end. I lifted the pixie's feet, sat down, and plopped them into my lap. "Do I really have a choice in that?"
Jake smiled, if a little uneasily from my position, and shook his head. "Not really, no."
I huffed and caught the hidden smiles of the Cullens around the room. Alice was tucked behind her pad with a grin she was doing her best to conceal. I was surprised to find that unlike when the Cullens first arrived, the Denalis showed no outright disgust to the position.
Maybe things were turning around after all.
We had spent the rest of the day at the Denali house, and it was surprisingly smooth. There were no fights—not including the very loud disagreement between Kate and Emmett as to who could shot put a boulder the furthest—and there were no insults exchanged. Everyone seemed to be in a pretty good mood.
My dad and the Cullens even had a small heart-to-heart near the end of the day. Well, it wasn't really a heart-to-heart as it was a small talk with some raised voices and expression of feelings that been long since repressed, but afterwards it appeared the family and my dad were seeing more eye-to-eye than before. So, technically, it was a pre-heart-to-heart.
Still, it was progress, and progress was good.
Charlie had, surprisingly, taken everything in stride. I figured some of it had to do with the fact he'd already had so much change for him in the past two years. He had probably learned to adapt quickly after the cancer news hit, and I could only imagine how fast he'd had to change his ways and mind on several things—like being able to cook without burning everything he touched—after that. Maybe he'd just learned to go with the flow and not question things as much like he used to.
I frowned as I stared up at my ceiling. Leah was snoring softly next to me as she snuggled into my side. I had been staring at my ceiling since the clock turned to 1:00 a.m. thirty minutes ago, and I hadn't been able to stop thinking since. My head was full of what had happened today and what was to come, and it wouldn't shut off.
My dad found out about vampires and believed it, we told him everything about the wolves, Sue and Charlie were going to get married (though Charlie had yet to really propose), and I threw up in the Denali sink in front of everyone. That part, I had to admit, I wasn't too keen on remembering.
It was strange how everything always happened at once, though. It seemed that every time something happened to me it came with reinforcements to keep me on my toes. Every time an obstacle fell another came in to take its place before I was overwhelmed and left to hack my way through. Then I'd come to the no man's land—still and silent. I would take a small break, catch my breath, get some water, and just barely gain my energy back before I suddenly had a second wave coming—bigger than the one before it.
A part of me really wondered if it was trade I had made with the universe before I had been born. My life was made a living hell but would in turn I would get a family to love and eternal life. Or maybe a gambling match I'd lost?
I could see my dumbass doing that.
I shook my head with a small snort and sighed as I felt my bladder give the familiar tug. I rolled my eyes and tossed the cover off me. I looked at the wolf clinging onto my arm. I grabbed onto her hand and pulled enough to make her let go—albeit reluctantly—of my arm to slide it out of her grasp before dropping her hand. I pushed myself up and out of bed.
Quietly, I padded out of the room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. I shut the door behind me as I turned on the light. I glanced at myself in the mirror and stared at my hollowed out features. I felt like I looked paler than usual—sicker than usual. I frowned at my reflection and quickly cast the thought aside as I headed for the toilet.
It was in the middle of washing my hands the familiar roil hit my stomach. I tensed as my stomach churned. I glared at my soapy hands and tried to will my stomach to settle.
I'd had a rough day.
I was stressed.
Maybe it's just a trick of the mind.
The nausea slammed into me like a ton of bricks. I scrambled to lift the toilet's lid. My soapy fingers kept slipping off in my haste as bile rose in my throat. Finally, I gripped the edge and thrust it up just as my body gave the first heave. My hands struggled to stabilize me on the floor as my body jerked and wretched with a mixture of dry heaves and vomit.
I was grateful for the running water drowning out the sound.
Finally, the episode stopped. Tears streaked down my cheeks and my arms shook violently beside me on the floor. I gasped for air as spittle dripped down my chin into the bowl.
Slowly, I raised a quaking hand to the lever and flushed it. I wiped my mouth with a piece of toilet paper and closed the lid. I rested my forehead against the porcelain and closed my eyes.
I'm fine. I'm fine.