After he left, I thought I would never recover. Something inside me broke and I wasn't really sure why. What happened to that independent girl who moved to Forks to give her mom space? That learned to cook and pay the bills for her flighty mother? That old soul who felt so out of place in high school?
The days bled into weeks, months maybe. I'm not really sure how much time passed. Charlie never left my side and I could see the pain it caused him. Even as I started to robotically go through the steps of life, he knew something was wrong. Finally, he hit his breaking point. I can remember it clearly.
I didn't think it was a particularly special occasion. I fixed dinner like I had every night. I focused on the task at hand, stirring the sauce like second nature. Charlie entered, home from work, hanging his gun belt in the usual spot, but then things changed. Instead of going to turn on the TV, he came over and took the spoon from my hand. I was taken aback but looked down to see that I had been stirring an empty pan. Had I lost myself that much?
"Bells," he started. I broke down crying, face tucked into his chest. He just held me close, stroking my hair and let me cry it out. I cried for hours. Not over Edward. No, for the girl I lost when I met him. The me that moved to Forks in the first place. I mourned her, and her strength.
Charlie ended up ordering pizza, and that was the first night I actually talked about what I was feeling and let him in. I didn't tell him they were vampires, he didn't need to know. But I told him about what it was like with him. The feeling that I was never going to be perfect enough for his family, and everything that I did to change. As the tears came in waves, Charlie was there to comfort me through them all. That stoic man that was my father sat there and let his daughter cry as she realized the depths of the toxic relationship she had been in.
Of course, Charlie wasn't enough. I started going to therapy. Slowly but surely, I returned to the strong girl that moved to Forks. My grades picked up and by the time graduation came around, I was there giving the valedictorian speech. I had made up my mind in the time that I refound myself and decided that I wanted to give back to this little town. And so I went into the medical field. Going to UW for undergrad I applied to every medical school possible. And even though it killed me, I went across the country to Harvard, receiving a full-ride scholarship. I worked hard and pushed myself.
It has been eight years since he left. And now I return home, to Charlie, to Forks. Finished with my residency I am looking forward to helping people all that I can.