Four Related One-Shots
1 of 4: Meeting Mom ~ Edward remembered, too late, that his eyes were blood red these days. Her scream reminded him. 2 of 4: Family ~ His arms reached for her slim waist without any input from his brain. Her cool fingers were in his hair. This time it was her thought process that broke him out of it. He has to love me. He just HAS to! 3 of 4: A New Addition ~“I think you’ll be alright, though. You look pretty tough.” Edward said this flippantly, and then wondered at the wisdom in choosing that tone of voice. Through his pain, the huge, bedridden man SMILED at him. “Wait’ll I’m out of this bed, and I’ll show you tough.” 4 of 4: An Overdue Apology ~ "How did you know it was me?" Edward asked, opening the door with a smile. It was a familiar question, but he never got an answer. He never had, in all these years.
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Edward, lost in his guilt over deceiving Carlisle, missed hearing Rosalie's thoughts for just a moment. He closed the door behind them and locked it against the coming dawn. When he turned back into the room, Rosalie surprised him. Her lips were on his before he could prevent it. She pushed him against the door, which was even more shocking. He gasped involuntarily, and then kissed her back. She was, after all, one of the most physically attractive people he'd ever laid eyes on.
For just an instant, he forgot his annoyance with Carlisle for bringing her into the family to distract him from his depression, and he forgot that really, she had the most shallow personality he'd ever encountered, and he just enjoyed the feel of her perfect lips against his. And then she pressed her body closer, and he tensed up again, taking her by the shoulders and holding her at arm's length. "Please don't do that," he said evenly, his voice cold with tension.
Predictably, rather than embarrassment, as Edward thought should be natural in a woman as forward as she'd just been, Rosalie got angry. "Why not?" she demanded. "Why don't you want me, Edward? Carlisle intended for us to be together and -" She cut off abruptly, her black eyes narrowing even further. On anyone else the expression might have diminished her beauty. Anger only made her more attractive. "Is it because I'm damaged goods?" she asked darkly.
Edward forced himself not to roll his eyes, knowing that would really infuriate her. As if anything that had happened when she was human could possibly have a bearing on the reality they both faced now. "Don't be ridiculous. I'm a murderer and a hypocrite, Rosalie. If either of us is damaged goods, it's me. You should save your affection for someone who deserves it."
This brought her up short. Apparently throughout the last year's worth of subtle rebuffs, it had never occurred to her that he might not want to saddle her with his own baggage, which was considerable. He had only returned to Carlisle a few years before Rosalie was changed. He was still dealing with the guilt caused by the choices he'd made when he'd had no one to guide him; when he'd convinced himself that his body's natural hunger justified the killing of humans. He released her abruptly. She was still puzzling over his words. "You're too hard on yourself." That was her conclusion, because she felt no guilt at all for the murders she'd just committed. This time he did roll his eyes. Their situations were entirely different in his mind. The people he'd killed, though they HAD been vile, had never done anything to harm him, personally.
"If I'd been a little more strict with myself none of that would have happened."
"And if none of that had happened, would you have helped me?" she demanded. Again, it was all about her. He looked at her, weighing her reaction to this next revelation. The truth was, no. He probably wouldn't have offered to help her murder her murderers if he hadn't already been intimately acquainted with murder. But he would have seen her determination to do the deed, and he wouldn't have let her go alone in any case. He would have followed her to make sure she didn't do anything regrettable, but he wouldn't have enabled her the way he had. He decided she didn't need to know she was right. She was insufferable enough as it was.
"If it had been up to me, Carlisle and I would have killed all of them while you were changing." His voice was cold again, and she did manage to pick up on the fact that it was his anger at her attackers instead of any residual annoyance over her kiss. She stepped toward him again and he winced, turning away quickly.
"Edward?" If he hadn't been thinking about the fights he and Carlisle had had while Rosalie was going through the change, he would have figured out what she was up to. He turned back toward her, preoccupied, and she was kissing him again.
Lust was not something he'd dealt with much in his life. His relationship with Carlisle, the first romance his life had afforded him, had been short lived, and had not included much more than kissing. He had, after all, spent less than twenty years on the planet to Carlisle's two hundred. It made sense that the older man had moved slowly. Rosalie didn't seem interested in moving slowly. Again, he couldn't seem to prevent himself from kissing her back. His arms reached for her slim waist without any input from his brain. Her cool fingers were in his hair. This time it was her thought process that broke him out of it. He has to love me. He just HAS to!. Because the truth was, he didn't love her. Desired her, certainly. Who wouldn't? But he didn't - couldn't - love her. He was panting as he thrust her away from him, probably a lot harder than necessary. She stumbled backward. "STOP IT."
She was breathing heavily as well, but it didn't seem to be the same. He was dealing with desire. She was dealing with something entirely different. He tried to quiet the clamoring of his own admittedly deplorable thoughts long enough to get what she was thinking, and abruptly realized that he'd finally managed to hurt her feelings. Those gasps were sobs. Brilliant. Carlisle would forgive him for letting her kill eight people long before he'd forgive him for hurting her feelings. He wondered in passing if it would ever be about anything but Carlisle's approval, in his mind.
Rosalie turned her back on him, mortified that the one person whose attention she'd ever actually sought wasn't interested. "Rose." He tried to sound less breathless than scolding, and really didn't succeed. Fortunately, she was too upset to notice. "Whatever Carlisle thinks, you're not for me."
He tried not to grit his teeth as she ignored him. But her thoughts were as good as conversation. If he won't have me, there's nothing left for me. I got my revenge. Now there's nothing. Nothing.
He couldn't take her back to Carlisle and Esme in this state. He took three steps towards her, but she heard him approach and darted away to put the tacky floral couch between them. That her mind registered it as tacky and floral in the midst of this mortifying argument almost made Edward laugh, but he restrained the urge. He was getting better at restraining his urges - first with humans, then with Carlisle, and now with her. He swallowed unnecessarily and faced her from the opposite side of the couch.
"You aren't a newborn anymore. I can catch you if I have to," he warned, aware that she wanted to bolt. The last thing he could allow was a distraught Rosalie Hale wandering around the city, when she was supposed to have died a year or so previous.
"Why bother? What is there to keep me with you? It isn't as if you want me. There's nothing left for me, now. I have nothing." She was gasping again, and though she clearly had more accusations to throw, she couldn't maintain the venomous tone, her voice falling to a hoarse whisper. For the first time, Edward actually felt bad for not loving her. It wasn't that she wasn't lovable, he was sure. He just needed to come to terms with himself before he could be expected to learn to love someone else. And really, after what had happened with Carlisle, he wasn't certain he ever wanted to fall in love again.
"You have a great deal more than nothing," he said quietly, trying to let a little of his guilt color his voice, knowing that would get her attention. It was his indifference that bothered her, more than anything else about him, and he well knew it.
Sure enough, she let him walk around the couch and wrap his arms around her as platonically as he could manage. "You have Carlisle and Esme, who will be better parents to you than your own ever were. They'll never take advantage of your beauty for their own gain. Never use you to bring them wealth or influence. And you have me -"
"Do I?" she asked in a small voice. He was astounded at the vulnerability in her tone and kicked himself for not speaking faster. He didn't want her to think he was giving in, and she was clearly getting that idea already.
"You have me, as a big brother," he said firmly, "to make sure that the man who does earn your heart treats you as gently as you deserve."
She turned her face up to his and stared into his eyes for a long time, her gasps calming as she let that sink in. When she finally started to smile a little he added, "So you've got to stop trying to seduce me, alright? It just wouldn't work out." And then, finally, she laughed. It was a bitter sound, but better than the dry, gasping sobs. His guilt ebbed a bit, thankfully. He wondered abruptly if this is what Carlisle felt, knowing that he had Esme while Edward had no one. No wonder he'd changed Rosalie, if that was the case.
He let her put her arms around him and squeeze until his defunct lungs completely compressed, then they both laughed as instinct made him force her away to take an unnecessary breath.
Rosalie disappeared into the other room to change out of the ridiculous wedding dress she'd insisted upon donning for this final expedition. Relieved, Edward turned on the tiny black and white television, hoping for a baseball game, though of course, it was much too early in the day. He settled for the news. They'd watched a lot of news and baseball during the days, and Rosalie had been alarmingly happy with the vague reports on the murders she'd committed. He’d decided it was worth paying so much extra for a room with a television, if it kept her sane while all this was going on.
He, himself, had not killed a single human on this particular hunting trip. Rosalie had been reveling in her newfound strength, and wanted to avenge herself, rather than BE avenged. She'd wanted to know that she would never have to feel as powerless as she had on her last night of humanity. His only function had been to prevent her tasting human blood, and it hadn't been a difficult job. After only a year and a half, she was remarkably well disciplined. He'd gathered from her thoughts that the concept of feeding from these particular humans was horrifying to her. Perhaps that's what got her through it.
He watched the news, taking in the information without really paying attention. Instead, he turned his mind to the problem of what they were going to say to Carlisle when they returned home. Surely by now, he'd figured out what they were up to. Edward sighed. It always seemed to come back to Carlisle.
When Rosalie emerged, as stunning in her usual dress as she'd been in the gown, he made room for her on the couch and they waited out the day, talking little. But something had been accomplished between them in those hours that might otherwise have taken decades. This expedition had made them family in a way they hadn't been before, and Edward was astonished to find that he was glad of it. He grinned at the baseball game that finally came on and relaxed on the couch for the first time in years, trying not to laugh at his new sister's impatience as she waited for the evening news.