Emmett wants Rosalie to be happy.
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“Heard you talked to Bella today,” Emmett comments the minute Rosalie enters the room. He’s seated on their bed, elbows across his knees and hands dangling between his legs, head down, staring hard at the carpet. He’s been thinking.
“Yes,” she responds carefully; this has been an uneasy subject for weeks now, ever since she voted no to Bella’s impending vampirism.
“I had an uncle. Can’t remember his name,” Emmett says. Rosalie frowns, confused at this seemingly random statement.
“I remember he used to drink like a fish, though – but he was the sort where you’d never tell, you know? Unless you knew him, really. Drank so much he didn’t get drunk anymore; just got mean when he wasn’t drinking.”
“You remember so much,” Rosalie remarks quietly, unable to keep the envy out of her voice.
“So this uncle of mine, he had a son – my cousin, I guess, though he didn’t spend time with the rest of us the way – well, there’s other faces I remember that go with the word ‘cousin’, and his isn’t one of them. He was Uncle Whatever-the-hell-his-name-was’s son, that’s how I remember him. Skinny, bug-eyed kid – I guess he looked like his mom - I guess he had a mom, though I don’t remember her.” A pause. “Maybe she died. That’d make a lot of sense, actually. Anyway, point being, he looked nothing like his dad, acted nothing like his dad, pretty much just shamed the hell out of his dad by way of existing. And Uncle What’s-his-name beat the shit out of him for it on a fairly regular basis.”
“Why’re you telling me this?” Rosalie asks faintly. She’d thought she knew all about his human family, but this is a story she’s never heard before.
“Because we’d be better than that,” he says, looking up at her, chin set. She doesn’t follow, and he sees that quickly enough. “We’re not the Brady Bunch, Rose, I get that, but a kid could do worse. A lot of kids do have it worse, by no small margin.”
“I don’t understand,” Rosalie manages to choke out around the sudden lump in her throat. She knows he would never deliberately cause her pain, but can’t fathom why else he could possibly be discussing children - what sort of home they could give the children they’ll never have. “I’m sorry if – if what I said to Bella -” she offers, cringing.
“You did what you needed to do,” he interrupts, dismissive of it – too casual, and she knows she did hurt him. “Look, Rose, I’m just saying – well, why the hell not? If you need this to be happy, then the hell with it, let’s do it. I want you happy, Rose.” This last said in a tone of sorrowful determination.
“I – I don’t understand,” she repeats, almost desperately; she can’t cry, just one more thing she can’t do, but she can feel her face contorting with the absence of tears. “We can’t –”
“Why not?” Emmett presses. “There’re people who just throw their kids away, every goddamn day. Literally. Babies in trash cans.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Rosalie demands, voice higher and beginning to be angry. “You think I don’t know that? That I don’t know that every – every stupid teenaged girl and homeless drug addict can do what I can’t ever -”
“So we get Alice to watch for one,” Emmett interrupts again.
“We beat that, Rose,” he says, as if she’s argued, as if she’s capable of that degree of coherent thought. “So it won’t have anything like a normal life, fine, that’s true, but it’ll have a life. We beat starving to death in a dumpster.”
“We – we can’t,” she breathes, the reasons why all tumbling together in her head with a sensation like a headlong fall. “Children – children skin their knees and bloody their noses and – Jasper – and Bella! A newborn -”
“So we’ll go off by ourselves for a while,” Emmett insists, chin jutting stubbornly. “I can handle it. I know you can handle it. We’ll make it wear long sturdy pants when we visit. No skinned knees.” He tries for a lopsided grin but his eyes are still deadly serious.
“And when it grows up?” she protests, unable to believe she’s let her thoughts get so far, so quickly. “We’ll – we’ll be all it’s known – its whole family -”
“When it grows up, it gets to choose,” Emmett says firmly, watching her as if he expects this to be a point of serious contention. Rosalie flinches, unsure which idea is more horrifying – watching her child grow old, or seeing her child trapped as she is trapped, never aging. She doesn’t argue, though, just walks over to the bed and sits down beside him.
“You’ve been thinking about this longer than just tonight,” she observes.
“We can’t,” she repeats, very quietly, still feeling like falling through darkness, the ground rushing at her unseen.
“No, the thing is, we can,” Emmett says, just as quietly. “If you don’t want to, then fine, I can live with that. But the hell with this ‘can’t’. We damned well can. Hell, we can have Alice watch for some blue-eyed, curl-haired boy-child if that’s what you want. If that’s what would make you happy.”
And just like that she’s not falling anymore, she’s crashed and shattered into a million pieces, squeezing her eyes shut and able only to see the image he’s painted inside her mind. A child – a son – with dark curly hair. Suddenly their hypothetical child isn’t an it but a he, and he is all too painfully possible and real.
“Rose?” Emmett asks, sounding alarmed, as she lets her head fall forward into her hands, shoulders shaking. She’s still not crying – she never will be crying – but her body can’t help but remember the motions.
They could have Alice watch for – for their child, she thinks.
“Oh damn,” she murmurs, because just like that, she knows it’s as good as done. He could be out there. Their son. How can they not just ask Alice to watch? She’s suddenly nauseous and horrified by the very possibility of not watching, not saving him – the possibility of missing him.
“Look, maybe this wasn’t the time to -”
“No, it’s -” she blinks hard, repeatedly, and looks up into his worried face. She tries to smile for him, but has the feeling it comes out very broken, because his expression grows only more concerned. “It’s just . . I feel all the sudden like . . like he’s out there.”
Emmett just watches her warily.
“It’s wrong,” Rosalie pronounces, but in a voice that wavers, defeated. “It is wrong, to bring a child into this life, if you an even call this life, but . . but now I can picture him and I feel like he’s out there and he’s ours and if we don’t look for him, like we’re abandoning him too.”
He reaches out and pushes a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Isn’t that ridiculous?” she asks desperately.
“A bit,” he allows, watching her so closely that it’s almost a physical sensation, like being held. His lips quirk upward. “On the other hand, I sort of like it. I put the idea of him into you.”
Rosalie blinks. Emmett grins, somehow simultaneously abashed and unrepentant.
“The idea of him,” Rosalie repeats.
“Best I can do,” he offers, shrugging, and she doesn’t know how it’s possible to be so infuriated – that he can joke about it! – and so utterly, overwhelmingly in love with someone at the same time. She can feel her face crumpling again, and he cups one large hand around her cheek, thumb under her jaw, keeping her from ducking her head.
“So we’re having a baby?” he asks.
“We’re having a baby,” she repeats back, dazed and disbelieving and yet suddenly, utterly sure.