Jasper and Rosalie Hale live a simple life in Forks with Carlisle and Esme. Both of their lives are rocked, however, by the appearances of love in their lives. JasperBella, RosalieEmmett.
2. The Lynx and the Bear
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“So,” she said, walking to the butler’s pantry in a secluded nook of the kitchen. “What’s her name?”
“Isabella,” I said reluctantly; I wanted to share my feelings with someone, but Esme would surely dissect all my words and relate them to Carlisle and, if I knew her at all, Tanya over the phone. “Bella, actually. Bella Swan.”
“The police chief’s daughter? How nice.” She laughed. “If we were still in my time…” she wrinkled her nose, and remembered that I was, in fact, much older than her. “Well, if were still in our times, you two would make a fine match socially.” She sighed and looked upwards dreamily. “I could see it now: the police chief’s daughter married to the doctor’s son.”
My eyes widened in considerable horror. “Please, Esme, don’t get ahead of yourself. Rosalie may look to you as a mother, but I’m afraid that too many comments like that on your part and she’ll be behaving far less than daughterly.”
Esme only laughed. “Rosalie, violent? Please. She’s just spirited, that’s all. I was when I was a girl.” She looked a little smug.
“She’s not lying,” said Carlisle. He shut the front door quietly behind him and placed his medical bag on the foyer table gently. “Once, when she was a young girl, she fell out of a tree and broke her arm.”
“Yes,” Esme said. “And my hero, here, came to the rescue and made it all better.” She smiled warmly at him. “Oh, it feels like yesterday that climbing in trees like a little monkey with my young friends was as complicated as life could be… things were so different then.”
“Yes,” I said. “And so much worse. Just think: if people still behaved socially the way they did then, you’d be forcing me into marriage with Isabella by next Tuesday.”
“I’m considering it,” Esme said wryly. “Knowing you, it will be another year before you even talk to the girl.” She looked at me archly. “That won’t get you anywhere, you know. If you’re interested in Bella, try to get closer to her. Win her over. Make friends with her friends and you’ll see – it won’t be long before she’s the one fawning over you.”
“I’m not fawning,” I said forcefully, though it sounded petulant even to me. Esme tried to suppress laughter, and so did Carlisle.
“Excuse us, Jasper, but we know you rather too well,” Carlisle said, before he composed himself further. “Believe me, son, you won’t have any problems getting the girl. Who is she, by the by?”
I tuned Esme out as she explained who Bella was. Rosalie was still annoyed, I could feel that; she was throwing clothes hastily into an overnight bag to, I supposed, take a trip to Denali for the weekend.
Sure enough, she came stomping down the stairs after a few minutes. “I’m leaving,” she said, huffing. “I can’t tolerate him in the same household for another two days; Tanya said she would be glad to have me. Would you like to come, Esme? Carlisle?” She willfully abstained from looking at me.
“No, thank you,” Carlisle said. “They have me scheduled to work two twelve hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday night. No weekend excursions for me.”
“I’ll be busy as well,” chimed in Esme. “I was really planning on getting some domestic work done…” She looked around her forlornly, like there was an actual multitude of tasks set out before her; I doubted we even had any mice in the vacuous walls of our home.
“And what of me, fair sister?” I said teasingly. She turned her head slowly to me, regarding me with an incensed glare.
“Don’t patronize me, Jasper. I won’t stand for it. Besides, you hurt Kate’s feelings so badly last time we visited; I doubt they want you anywhere near their residence.” I cringed, remembering Kate’s all-too-forward advances to me.
‘Oh, lighten up, Jazz…’ She’d baited me unsuccessfully for nearly a month straight on my ‘summer vacation’ the previous year; I could do nothing at the time but hope my silence would be hint enough to her that I was not interested.
“Please,” I said. “She probably forgot all about the week after we left. Those women are forever tormenting the mountain climbers and fishermen up there. They’re dreadful.” I shuddered, glad that only Kate had tried to woo me, that her sister had not decided to join in.
“What’s wrong with a little fun?” Rosalie pouted to me, despite herself. She was incredibly vain; she couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to make her opinions known, loud and clear, even if she wasn’t supposed to be speaking with me.
“You enjoy yourself,” Esme said. It was a farewell, but it was also a dismissal. Rosalie picked up the few – by few, I meant two suitcases and a toiletries tote bag – bags she had packed and headed for the garage where, I was positive, she would slide into her audaciously red BMW convertible. Some things never change; Rosalie is one.
I enjoyed the way the wind blew through my golden waves immensely. Other drivers unwittingly slowed down or even craned their heads out of their windows to get a better view of me. Silly fools, I thought to myself. Can’t resist, not even for a moment.
It was almost too easy. Fast-paced Brazilian dance music pulsed through my car’s speakers. I’d decked out my car with a brand-new Italian engine and speakers imported on the side from Japan; my car was an international commodity. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel, speeding up just a bit when the road cleared of almost all cars; it was liberating.
I reached aside and dug through my brown suede handbag for one of the slim silver cell phones Carlisle had gifted us all last Christmas. I punched in Tanya’s number in less time than it would have taken a human to hit speed dial, laughing lowly to myself.
“Hello?” she said. Even if Tanya was one of my best friends, I could never quite get over the way that her extreme age made her voice sound as wise and graceful as I imagined the Volturi’s did.
“Hey, Tanya, I’m on my way now.” I shifted gears and sped up; the switch was needless, but something in the action and the vroom sound it produced was enjoyable.
“Are you running down pedestrians, as usual?” Tanya said. I could hear Carmen talking quietly in the background; she had always been more sedate than Tanya and her sisters.
“No can-do; there is a shortage of pedestrians along Washington’s more secluded highways – what a tragedy.” She laughed softly.
“And Jasper isn’t coming with you? Or Esme and Carlisle?”
“No,” I said, a little sharper than I’d intended. “No.” I amended, more gently this time. “I didn’t feel like dealing with Jasper’s moodiness; Carlisle had to work; and Esme has some kind of housework to do.”
“Oh, well, tough break. I’ll see you when you get her, OK?” I snapped the phone shut and tossed it into my bag. I started to bob my head in time to the music, humming in a fast-paced soprano along with the tune.
Tanya, Kate, and Irina are waiting for me when I arrive. They all dashed out of the house, so fast they were an indistinguishable blur, and pulled me out bodily to hug me. They kissed me and touched my hair and whined that I hadn’t brought Jasper.
“You know I’ve always been partial to Jasper,” Kate said mournfully. “Why didn’t you bring him?”
“He was being terribly snotty,” I said, holding my chin defiantly in the air. Just thinking about Jasper incensed me.
I noticed Carmen, standing patiently and quietly next to Eleazer, off to the side a little. Out of touch. With Carmen and Eleazer, it was always like that. They almost reminded me of Esme and Carlisle, with their unspoken devotion. It seemed wrong to me; if I had someone to love, I would announce it to the whole world and remind them about it every day.
“Hello, Rosalie. It’s so nice to have you here again,” Carmen said, the light snow landing picturesquely in her hair. “We’ve missed you so.” It was almost impossible to detect the light Spanish accent in her voice, and in Eleazer’s.
“Yes,” Eleazer said. “But I do wish you had brought Carlisle.” He laughed softly. “It would be nice to have some male companions around her other than the ones the girls bring around here, for a change.”
Tanya, Kate, and Irina mocked horror and shock. “Excuse me, Mr. Uptight; we have a reputation to uphold.”
So quietly, so softly, that I wasn’t sure they could hear, Eleazer murmured, “Barely.” I giggled to myself.
“Shall we take your luggage inside, and then go for a hunt? I imagine you’re very thirsty after the trip,” Irina said.
“That would be lovely,” I said, borrowing Esme’s favorite adjective. For Esme, it seemed lovely was a state of mind, which could be applied to all situations, no matter how unpleasant.
When Tanya told Carmen and Eleazer our plans, they decided to stay behind. The rest of us set out at a brisk run for the Denali Wilderness, very close to where they resided.
After reaching our destination, we soon split up. Tanya, Kate, and Irina were more than old enough – and powerful enough – to render hunting in numbers completely unnecessary; Tanya said she found her sisters to be more of a hindrance than a help, as they might try and steal her prey.
The first scent I came across once alone was something very rare; a lynx. They were not rare themselves, per se, but it was uncommon to come across one so quickly. They were shy, and secretive, only infrequently venturing out from under the crevices and ledges they inhabited.
I almost felt guilty, hunting something so serene, but I was thirsty, and a lynx was far easier to catch when running than a deer; they weren’t used to being prey, and never made much of an attempt to run away.
I crept silently around the edge of the forest, sniffing around for the lynx’s trail. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across its trail; the second wave of scent smelled even sweeter than the first had. Hungrily, I began stealing through the trees, making no more sound and disturbing no more nature than a whisper would.
But then, as I ran, a branch snapped under my foot. I hissed a curse as the lynx took flight. I picked up pace then, trying to keep up with the lynx, which was running faster than I had anticipated it would. In the distance, I could see the lynx darting behind an outcropping of rock that formed a cave. I slowed down as I neared it, unfamiliar with the scent that was emanating from the cave.
While I stopped, the lynx took the opportunity to make a getaway; it jumped out from behind the cave and took off. I ignored it; whatever was inside the cave held my interest now.
I took a single step forward and the beast came out.
It was a bear, the biggest I’d ever seen. Of course, the ones I’d seen had all been on the Discovery Channel, but I was sure that this one was abnormally large. When it noticed me, it roared and reared up on its hind legs fiercely.
I didn’t think a bear would be much harm to me, but I was going to have to be careful. I edged around it, planning to leap onto its shoulders and snap its neck; the bear saw me coming. He swung his claws down in a wide arc around his body and uppercut me in the side. I felt myself flying through the air, shocked, and into a tree.
The small tree snapped under my weight, dropping me to the ground. I rose from the floor uninjured, but dizzy and in shock; how could a dumb creature have bested me?
Angrily, I ran head-on at the bear, screaming savagely. Anticipating me almost preternaturally, the bear caught me in a sort of hug with his paws and forced me to the ground. The bear put his full weight into me through his paws, clawing at my body and shredding my clothes. It pushed the air from my lungs in a loud huff. Realizing quickly that the bear was going to rip me to pieces, despite any vampire strength I had, I began to scream.
“Help! Tanya, Kate, Irina, please!” I didn’t know if they could hear me; they could be dozens of miles away, caught up in the hunt. “Please, anyone!” The bear roared in my face, his putrid breath assaulting my senses.
I closed my eyes as the bear reared up once more, for a final blow. When a force hit me, it didn’t come from the direction I expected. I opened my eyes quickly and looked around. The bear wasn’t on top of me; it had been pushed to the side by… a vampire?
The breath I had been meaning to let out stuck in my throat; this wasn’t just any vampire. I recognized the huge muscles, the soft-looking curly brown hair, the kind, good eyes… it was Emmett.
Pain jolted through me, quick and hot, as I watched him battle the bear valiantly. He was standing in front of him, dodging the bear’s blows and baiting him like a championship boxer. He was trying to make the bear tired, I realized.
When the bear’s attacks began to become slow and lazy, Emmett became lethal. He successfully jumped onto the bear’s back, as I had tried so pathetically, and snapped its neck. Emmett leapt smoothly away from the bear as he staggered and fell to the ground.
He turned slowly to me, deliberately. I tried to cover myself with the scraps of my tattered shirt, but it was useless. So what if he could see the lacy, nearly see-through bra I had bought from Victoria’s Secret? I tried to convince myself I didn’t care, but the way I crossed my arms over my chest and my face heated led me to believe I wasn’t fooling anyone, even myself.
His eyes were wild as they darted over me, every inch of me. I felt completely naked as he looked me over, so hungrily. “Rose,” he whispered roughly.
I walked slowly over to him, shaking violently. I saw that he was shirtless and shoeless, clothed only in a pair of jeans, faded from repeated wash and wear. I was afraid. Would he hate me for what I had done?
When I was only a few feet away from him, he finished closing the distance himself. I cringed as he came to me, fearing he would tear me to pieces. I would have deserved it if he did.
But he didn’t. He enveloped me in his arms, kissing my cheeks, my hair, my throat – but never my lips. “I thought I was going to lose you,” he said, gasping and sobbing dry tears.
I was still frozen in place. Why would he even be concerned about me, after what I had done? “I… I think I’m made of tougher stuff than that, Emmett,” I whispered, rattled.
He stopped hugging me as I said that, holding me out at arm’s length to inspect me again. I tried to cover myself again with my hands, but he shook his head. “No,” he said. “I want to see you.” I let my hands drop slowly, nervous the entire time.
He closed his eyes and smiled. “You have no idea how good this feels. I’ve thought about you every night for seventy three years, Rose. The way you smell, the way your hair catches the light…” He sighed, but it caught in his throat as a moan at the end. “Just you, Rose. It’s always been you.”
I sighed in contentment as he gently pressed his lips to mine.