[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[The line, "No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet," is pure Twilight, as is the fact that Bella is using it to hide the truth about where her feelings lie.]
"No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet," I said, which was true enough but the 'yet' was misleading.
"What about the girls?" he asked.
"Dad!" I shouted in shock.
"If I knew that's all it would take to get you to call me, 'Dad,' I'd have asked ages ago," he said. I think there might have even been a smirk involved.
"How could you-- I mean-- What!?" Words: they were not coming.
"I know you think think of me as just some small minded person from the provinces, but I'm not a bigot and I wish you'd feel comfortable opening up to me because I'm here for you whatever you-"
I sputtered a bit at this point.
"I didn't know how to break the subject," he said. "I should have done it better but I didn't know how. I'm sorry to blindside you but it breaks my heart to see you pretending to be someone else every day."
The shock was starting to wear off but I still didn't have any words.
"So much of what you do is a performance you put on that I can't tell the real you from the act and I... I wish I could because I want to tell the real you that I love her and the act to go away. Not in public, not if you don't feel safe, but in this house I want you to know that you're free to be yourself. I'm not going to-- that's not true. I've already judged you, I hope you know how highly I think of you, and nothing is going to change that."
Enough of the shock wore off for me to realize something disturbing. Secrets: I cannot keep them.
When I found my way to a chair, feeling my way as much as looking where I was going, there was a strange numbness in my hands. Then I collapsed into it.
Charlie looked afraid. His speech was over and he had nothing left to say. Two things were clear, one was that he'd practiced it a thousand different times and probably as many ways. The second was that he had stuck to none of it and more or less improv-ed his way through.
The silence was broken when Charlie said, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything." He stopped. Then started again, "I'm so, so--"
I cut him off, "I think Jessica and Angela are into each other and as near as I can tell all the other girls I know are straight."
It was Charlie's turn to be shocked. When he found words they were, "Does this mean that you trust me enough--"
"You suck at bringing things up."
"Never surprise me like that again."
"I'll try not to."
"How the hell did you know?"
"I haven't seen you in years. Living with you has been like living with a stranger and it shouldn't be. I'm your father; I'm supposed to know you. I've been doing my best to pay close attention."
"Do you think anyone else knows?"
"No. I don't know. Maybe. I think Billy's been trying to get Jacob's hopes down and I wonder if it might be-- but I don't know how he would have found out."
"My first crush was his eldest daughter," I said. Billy was family. Sort of. In a way that didn't make me having a crush on his daughter squicky. But he was as close as family. If I could trust Charlie I could trust Billy. But what if someone else knew?
I collected my thoughts.
"Ok," I started, and it took longer than I intended to continue after that. "You really, really sucked with how you brought up the subject, but the fact that you accept me is good to know and a huge weight off me so... thank you. Sort of. I guess.
"I'm not ready to be out. Don't tell anyone."
"I won't," Charlie said.
And now came the important part. "You have to tell me every single thing that gave me away because I need to stop doing all of it."