Four times when Rosalie saved Emmett (and one time she let him be the hero).
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Stephenie Meyer and are only used for fan related purposes. The lyrics included at the top of the chapters are © 2005 to Nickelback; no copyright infringement was meant.
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Well I'm terrified of these four walls
These iron bars can't hold my soul in
All I need is you
Hoquiam, Washington, 1936
The way I figured it, being a vampire wasn’t all that bad. You lived forever, you were as fast as lightning and strong as heck. Nope, couldn’t think of any real downsides.
Well, except for the whole drinking blood thing, of course, the thirst.
The thirst was bad, and sometimes it was really bad. Nothing mattered to me at all when I felt the thirst—I became every inch of the monster that I was. Venom rising in my throat, my eyes blazing red, I was a vampire and I wanted blood.
Carlisle—the leader of my coven and, unfortunately, not the Lord—told me again and again that I’d grow past the temptation in time. I wasn’t exactly sure I believed him. Actually, I thought he was pretty much full of it.
It was easy to see how I’d mistaken him for a merciful god, though. He gave me a new life and was patient and understanding as I sinned. The sins were coming farther and fewer between as my first year—the toughest of the many that would follow, Carlisle had explained—finally came to an end, but sometimes it was just too much.
Animal blood was good enough but it was no substitute for the real thing. To thirst for human blood was a craving, a constant burn, and it took all my strength to resist it.
I was strong but I wasn’t that strong…
It wasn’t even my fault, not really. I’d hunted only last weekend, joining Carlisle and Edward in the Cascades. Edward had his fair share of a careless mountain lion; I enjoyed every bit of the first grizzly I’d come across. And I was home, snug in our sanctuary. Why was it suddenly so damn tough?
They never said, but I knew the Cullens—my new family, now that I was dead as a McCarty—had moved when I was turned. I was just glad to be away from all the humans around Tennessee. Sometimes on these sleepless nights, when I stared into the starry sky, I wondered what I would have done if I met my mama again. I tried not to think about it much; despite the care and support I got from Carlisle and Esme, I’ve already got too much blood on my hands.
Our home in Hoquiam was beautiful but, thank the Lord, very secluded. We were given quite a berth by the rest of the townspeople; it was strange to see how our prey reacted to our presence. We were damn good looking to them but hell if they didn’t stay away from us.
But not all of them. The foolish ones, the ones who thought themselves brave… they came. And I was thirsty.
I ain’t all that sure if I caught their scent first, but they were scents I couldn’t mistake. Two humans on the edge of our land. Unprotected—and utterly delicious.
Edward was playing his piano. I watched as my new brother tensed but he never looked away from the keys. Carlisle and Esme were sitting together, hand in hand, whispering to each other. Ordinarily I could make out their hushed words but not then. There was too much on my mind and they were casually ignoring my pain.
The burn was becoming unbearable.
I was aware, as always, of Rosalie’s presence in the far corner of the parlor. She was sitting, still like stone, on some fancy chair. A mirror was in her hand and her golden eyes were fixated on her reflection. In a brief moment of relief from the tantalizing smell of warm human blood, I longed for her to look my way. But she didn’t; no matter what I did, or how hard I tried, my angel only had eyes for herself.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I was out of my seat like a shot. The old, wooden chair rocked on its back feet, almost lifted off of the floor with the force of my exit. I was already out of the house, flying through the forests that surrounded our home, before it fell.
There was so much venom in my throat that I could it welling up under my tongue. Like some feral beast, like a wild animal, it dribbled out of my open mouth, small splatters of drool flying behind me as I ran toward my prey. I could almost feel my teeth sinking into their flesh—the way my lust for their blood would be slaked.
In that instant, it wasn’t man versus man; it was monster versus victim. I was a vampire, Carlisle be damned. The bear had done nothing for me—I needed to feed.
I never made it to the edge of the land, to where the foolish humans waited innocently to meet their doom. So preoccupied in making sure that I reached them before I drowned in my own thirst, I hadn’t realized that I’d been followed. I didn’t notice until an abrupt force barreled straight into me, hitting me harder than I thought was possible, and knocking me to the dirt.
My vampire reflexes were amazing, something that I’d finally gotten used to. Only a second past between me being hit and me flipping in the air, landing warningly in a predatory crouch, and I was mad. I bared my teeth as, through my bloodlust, I searched out the idiot who was coming between me and my supper.
She stood there like an avenging angel, her long wavy hair flying around her, settling now that she’d stopped running. Her arms were on her hips and she was frowning like mad. I’d never seen anything so beautiful, yet so terrible.
It didn’t even occur to me to marvel at how fast she’d given chase, or why exactly she’d follow me. I didn’t know how someone as thin as Rosalie could knock someone as huge as me down. I was too consumed by her presence.
For all these months I’d watched her, joked with her, tried to get her to feel one smidge of the affection I felt for her but, apart from the time when I changed—when she never left my side—I barely got her to look my way.
She was looking now—and I could that she didn’t like she saw.
The hair on my arms was standing up as I realized I was still crouching down. My thirst coupled with pain and rejection made me stupid. I didn’t rise; I stared at her, snarling under my breath.
She didn’t move.
“What are you doing here?” I growled, trying to get some sort of response out of her.
Rosalie blinked but said nothing. Her frown deepened, though, and I would have wagered that was a look of shame on her face. She was ashamed of me.
The weight of her stare was heavy and it felt even more like a monster. I wished Carlisle had been the one to chase after me, or even Edward, smug bastard he could be. Anything was better than seeing Rosalie—than letting my angel see me when I was so darn weak.
Esme told me once that Rosalie, in her newborn year—and after—had never tasted human blood and there I was, desperate to kill again just so I satisfied my own needs. It was no wonder she looked so ashamed. I was ashamed too, and I was angry.
The anger rose up out of nowhere and I was angry for no other reason than I was so ashamed. I wasn’t worthy of this goddess standing before me.
What I did next made me even more worthless.
I challenged her.
My roar was low and guttural but it grew in both size and pitch. I heard a couple of birds squawking and their wings flapping in panic in response to my cry but Rosalie… she didn’t even flinch. And that’s when I lunged at her.
I was strong but she was quick. My thirst made me careless, my anger made me distracted and my swings were wild. She dodged my blows effortlessly, determination etched into every line of her beautiful face.
She hit me once with such force that it knocked me back down to the ground. I spat out a mouthful of venom, surprised at the strike. But not as surprised as I was to see the way she was looking at me now.
Rosalie was still frowning but there was a softer look around her eyes. It reminded me of the very first time I’d laid eyes on her, the time when I fell madly in love with her.
But she didn’t love me.
I had to look away from her. It hurt too much to witness her heavenly beauty and I was already battling other desires—I couldn’t afford to lose myself in her again.
My head shot up at the sound of her voice. I couldn’t speak, for shame and anger, and only managed a growl back at her.
She lowered herself into an answering crouch, staring me down. Her words were clipped, short and hard, as she yelled, “Forget the humans, Emmett, and remember the treaty Carlisle made. You know you can’t do this. The dogs will kill you!”
Her words were meaningless to me just then. I wasn’t afraid of the werewolves, and what did I care if Carlisle had made that treaty with a flea-bitten pack? I was a vampire, too, and I needed to hunt.
“I don’t care,” I rumbled, baring my teeth again. In the heat of my anger, I let my passion for Rosalie fuel the fire. What did it matter to her if I died? Maybe that’s why she ignored for so long now. Did she regret saving me in the first place?
“You don’t,” she snapped back, breaking the composure I’d never seen her without, “but I do!”
I wasn’t sure that I heard her right. Or, I did hear her but I didn’t understand what she meant, not one bit.
In that moment, the red of my bloodlust faded, only to be replaced by gold. The gold of her hair, the gold of her eyes, the gold of her goodness… I was staring at her, and there was something in her eyes, something I couldn’t figure. I assumed the worse and spoke my mind.
“Why did you come?” I demanded. “If you regret making me a vampire so much, why did you come?”
Even in my current senseless state, I couldn’t miss the look of hurt that danced across her face. It was as if a mask had cracked and, for the first time, I was seeing the real Rosalie.
But I was an idiot who didn’t know when to keep my trap shut. It hurt me to be so close to her when she was all I ever wanted. It wasn’t about supper anymore—I don’t think it ever had been. When I was alive, I’d had a habit of eating when I was down; that habit seemed to be just as strong now that I was a vampire. It hurt me and, without meaning to, I took my suffering out on her.
“Yeah, regret. Don’t tell me that ain’t pure regret I see in your eyes.” It was a bluff. I didn’t know what it was that she was hiding from me but, once I started yapping, I couldn’t stop. Those humans I’d been so keen on eating were a memory as I stared back at her. I growled again. “Maybe we would’ve both been better off if you let that bear get me.”
It was lies, all of it. Even if I had to spend the rest of my existence wanting but never having, I would do it, I knew, just to be near her. I would even try to deny my urges for human blood if it meant I could stay with her.
Of course, I didn’t tell her none of that. Unlike Edward, Rosalie couldn’t read minds. I sure wished she could—she wouldn’t known I didn’t mean a word of what I’d said. It was my temper talking, that was all.
My words did something then that my strength couldn’t do: they hurt her again. She hadn’t been able to dodge them.
She wasn’t like an ordinary dame. Even if she wasn’t a vampire and could cry, I don’t she would have shed a tear at the heartless way I was treating her. I had the sudden desire to tell her I was sorry but I never had the chance. She moved too fast for me to see but I sure felt it when her open palm, heavy as a rock, slammed straight into the side of my face.
Rosalie slapped me.
I was so surprised by her action that I didn’t even remember my new reflexes. I didn’t land on my feet; instead, the ground shook as I landed on my back.
“Never,” she said, her voice high and clear as she moved to tower over me, “say that to me again. I haven’t, not for one minute, regretted taking you with me, having you changed. If anything, I’m just sorry that I stole your humanity. You deserved better, and I was selfish… but never regretful.”
If it wasn’t for the fact that I’d already died, I would have sworn my heart stopped then and there.
I didn’t move from the ground. Suddenly reminded of that first time I’d met Rosalie—the time that I died, the first time she saved me—I couldn’t find the strength to move. As if I hadn’t known it before, from that first time I laid eyes on her, she had me entirely under her spell.
I would die (if I could) before I hurt her again. There was a physical ache I felt, more pain than I’d been in since my transformation, and it was all because of that reaction she’d had. Rosalie had looked pained, had looked hurt, and that made my heart hurt.
“Rose, no…” My voice was hoarse, my throat dry. I couldn’t figure it, but the venom that had tried to drown me was gone. “It’s me, I’m sor—”
She shook her head regally, cutting me off before I could finish. The mask was back in place, beautiful and cold, unbreakable. If it wasn’t for the memory of her hand upon my cheek, her voice ringing in my head I might’ve thought I imagined the whole exchange.
“Get up, Emmett,” she ordered then, her voice firm yet soft. “We’re going home.”
Obediently, I got to my feet and, in one bound, I was beside her, my head hung in shame. The thirst was still there—Edward told me once that it would always be there—but it was nothing compared to the feelings I had for this woman. She scared me, excited me, humbled and amazed me. Plus, she had a slap that could knock your cheek right off your face.
Her ruby red lips were drawn and her jaw was set. But, this close, I could see her eyes and there was fire in them. I didn’t know quite exactly what that meant and I was pretty damn sure that she wasn’t about to tell me, not after the stunt I’d just pulled.
But that was all right. I had all eternity to unravel the mystery that was Rosalie Hale.