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Eighteenth Story

Summary:
Four times when Rosalie saved Emmett (and one time she let him be the hero).


Notes:
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.


4. Control

Rating 0/5   Word Count 2563   Review this Chapter

--

Show me what it's like

To be the last one standing

And teach me wrong from right

--

Fairview, Oregon, 1958

It was raining again. Big surprise.

I paused in my wanderings, claiming shelter under the striped awning of the local grocer. Like an animal, I shook myself, trying to force most of the rainwater off of me. I could feel it dripping down my neck, dampening my shirt and staining my pants. How annoying. Alice hadn’t mentioned anything about rain when I said I was going out to take a walk. Then again, when it rained almost every day in Fairview, I guess it was something she didn’t think she had to mention.

There was a little old lady standing just inside the store, sweeping the floor. I watched as she looked up at me, a gentle smile switching to an expression of terror as she tucked the broom under her arm and scurried away. I snorted. She probably thought I was some big juvenile delinquent, looking for a place to get out of the rain, but then she got a better look at me and was afraid.

As she damn well should be.

But I was the furthest thing from a cruddy JD. Still, I easily dwarfed her, a fact I’m sure she was aware of. And not only that—despite the beautiful nature that came to one of my kind, there was definitely something alarming about any of us. Unless there was something seriously wrong with her, there would be no reason why she’d offer me refuge; if anything, she needed refuge from me.

My throat burned as it always did when I was so close to a human but, after almost twenty-five years, I could control the fire. I barely noticed it as I stepped back out into the rain; instead, I let the cool rain fall into my face, squelching the flames.

Of all the places I’ve lived in since being changed, I think I hated Fairview the most. I couldn’t explain it, either, not when Rosalie asked, or when I felt Edward probing inside my head. There was something about the city that made me uneasy, and that uneasiness made me worried. I was Emmett McCarty Cullen—I never got uneasy.

Ever since we relocated, ever since we came to this rinky-dink town, I’d felt… off. I hadn’t told any of my family, though. Carlisle got a good job just outside of Portland, and Fairview was small enough that the temptation wasn’t that bad for the rest of us—especially Jasper. We’d made a stop off in Alaska a couple of years back and, now, we were trying to get along in a more populated area. My newest brother was trying his best to behave.

Funny, but it was me who was having the hardest time here. It wasn’t the thirst so much—I’ve been hunting more frequently with Edward, just in case—but a… an apprehensive feeling. Like I was waiting for something to happen.

Rosalie, as much as I could get her to understand, said she understood. When I felt like the house was getting too crowded, she let me go out to get air. She talked with me through the night, discussing the temptations she’s overcome. She knew me too well; she knew a storm was coming and she was trying her damndest to help me through it.

With my angel at my side, I could overcome anything. I just wish I knew what was coming.

Absently, I rubbed my throat. The burn wasn’t subsiding.

The rain was slowing but I knew not to be too glad. The clouds didn’t look like they were letting up anytime soon. I’d be lucky if I just dried off before the rain started to fall again.

I’d hoped my walk across the town might’ve made me feel more comfortable. Compared to this strange, antsy feeling, the rain was nothing. But, as the rain stopped and I stepped out onto the street—I’m pretty sure that old lady heaved a sigh of relief to see me go—the bothersome feeling only grew stronger.

It was pointless to continue. It was getting dark out as it was, just past twilight, and I’d been out since early morning. Rosalie went hunting with Alice and Jasper—he went hunting even more than I did—and she had to be home by now.

There was a park across the way and I headed towards it. Our new house lay on the other side of the acres of trees, protecting us from prying eyes, protecting idiot humans from thirsty vampires.

Eager to see my Rose, I started to run through the park. It was late and it was rainy. No sane person would be out in the park on a night like this—I could travel through the wooded area at any pace I pleased, confident I wouldn’t be soon.

I was wrong.

The smell hit me at once, overpowering me in a way I was unaccustomed to. I was normally too strong, too used to the heady scent of blood, to falter but, suddenly, my strength didn’t mean diddlysquat.

I wish I could explain how it made me feel. Clichés didn’t do this sensation justice.

Nostrils flaring in an attempt to breathe in more of that damn delicious scent, I stopped running immediately. Instead, I crouched down, eyes wide as I prepared to hunt.

I couldn’t stop it.

There were no obstacles between me and my intended. I dodged easily, effortlessly through the trees, desperate to find the source of the scent. Determined to have a taste.

Even in the haze of this sudden bloodlust, I recognized this state. It had happened once before, this feeling of irresistible temptation. The rich, sweet scent of the blood calling out to me, begging me to drink it.

I’d still been weak in those days and I succumbed to the siren call of the blood. I hadn’t been able to control myself and I’d devoured the poor elderly woman before she’d had the chance to scream. There was no pain and, while I’d been a sloppy eater all my life, I hadn’t spilled one drop of the precious blood.

I only noticed what I’d done when the drained corpse of the woman hit the dirt with a soft thud. When there was nothing left to devour, the hunter fled and Emmett returned.

I was forgiven, of course, when I confessed to Rosalie and Carlisle. I wore the shame in my blood red eyes and, when the scarlet finally was replaced by the gold I knew all too well, I swore I’d never lose my control again.

I lied.

She was sitting on a bench, her back to me, when I found her, alone and entirely vulnerable.

Good, the monster inside me though, only one victim.

This girl was a hundred feet away from me—I could hear her heart beating from place amongst the trees—and I was already imagining her dead.

With the temptation this strong, she was dead. There was no other choice; not for me, not for her. I had to feed on the sweet, sweet blood.

I didn’t growl as I stalked the girl because I didn’t want to frighten her before she died. Make no mistake—I was going to kill her. But it would be quick. Painless.

She never saw me coming.

It wasn’t until I’d drunk ever last drop of this poor girl’s blood that I saw the face of my kill. She was a young girl, no more than sixteen, with skin as pale as mine. In another time, I might’ve thought she was pretty with her delicate features and long brown hair, but it just made her look like the pitiful victim I’d reduced her to.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. Her eyes—big and green—were not shut. They were wide open, in fear and in shock, as she stared accusingly at me.

She was left lying on the ground before the bench, an open journal and a pen strewn on the dirt beside her.

Appetite slated, the monster was satisfied—he had no reason to stay. Emmett returned my sense returned and I had only one response to the sight of the dead body: I had to get away from those eyes.

I started to run then, and I didn’t stop.

We’d only been in Fairview for a little while. In the decade that followed Alice and Jasper joining our little family, us Cullens have had to move much more frequently. It wasn’t a good idea to stay in one place for too long—for one thing, it was getting harder and harder to explain us all. Three married couples and an Edward… we were one strange bunch, and yet we were forever trying to pass as relations.

Humans could be so gullible—and so trusting.

Wide green eyes staring up at the never ending dark sky…

I roared, putting on an extra burst of speed. But, no matter how fast I ran, the realization of what I’d done kept up with me. The demons were hot in pursuit; the guilt plagued me. I’d killed again, something I’d sworn I’d never do, all to satisfy my hunger.

Without making a conscious decision, I ran in the opposite direction from home. There were a couple of rivers in this area and, if I made it to them, I could wash some of this stench off of me.

Stench… I say stench but, even with my belly burning with the warmth of that girl’s blood, I was delighting in the sweet, savory scent. I was a monster, I was well aware of that—if I had the chance to do it again, I would. In a heartbeat.

I think that—that certainty mingled with remorse for my actions—was what made me howl this time. I howled as I ran.

And I didn’t go home.

--

“Emmett Cullen!”

Rosalie found me as I’d known she would. I couldn’t leave her any more than I knew she could resist hunting me down. I was hers as much as she was mine; it was no surprise that, only two moonless nights since I lost control, she’d found me.

I didn’t even have to look up to know how I would find her. Like she had during my weak moments as a newborn, Rosalie would be standing above me, her hands on her hips and her expression stern. The image from those times was burned in my mind—and, more often than not, I’d been able to resist.

Twenty-five years a vampire and I’d failed. I fell off the proverbial wagon… I’d lost control.

I didn’t say anything, and I didn’t move. I kept my place in the dirt, on the ground. It was a secluded alleyway I’d found, my home for the past few days. I didn’t know where I was, or how far I’d run, but she found me. I knew I should rise, stand up and hold onto Rosalie, but I couldn’t. She was far too good for me; I couldn’t sully her with my filth.

I stayed on the ground. It was the only place I deserved to be at—silently groveling, entirely guilty at Rosalie’s feet.

“Emmett, look at me,” she ordered. There was steel behind her voice, but also heartfelt emotion.

And I was powerless.

I lifted my head, suddenly wishing my mess of black curls was long and thick and straight instead. Maybe then they would hide the truth of my sin.

I saw the vivid red, the twisted burgundy of my eyes reflected in the serene gold of Rosalie’s own. I don’t know how she could stand to look at me. I couldn’t and, out of frustration, I smashed the stagnant puddle that was at my side. I didn’t want to risk spying my own reflection in the dirty water.

She sighed and the sound was like a dagger to my heart. “I’d hoped…” she began before shaking her magnificent head. “They found her body, Emmett. It’s been assumed she was mauled by a bear that strayed from the mountains.” Snorting, she added, “Humans can be so blind, but we knew better.”

I don’t know what repulsed me more: my actions or the fact that I wasn’t being held accountable for them. Well, I was—Rosalie, my family… they knew what I’d done.

Rosalie looked down at me, a sad smile on her face. “Why?”

My voice was low and rusty as I answered her; I’d have plenty of time these last two days to understand my mistakes. “Remember New Brunswick?” In a vain hope, I wished she would say no. If Rosalie thought that this was the first time I lost control of myself, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

But she would know—vampires didn’t forget.

The small intake of unnecessary breath was obvious. “Again?”

“It was stronger this time,” I admitted. I couldn’t explain any more than that. I didn’t want to. At least the woman in New Brunswick had been old, had lived her life. This girl was just a child.

Quickly, before I saw those green eyes flash before my memory again, I asked, “How did you find me?”

“Alice.” I should have known. “She saw you here. Edward wanted to come but I refused them both, I came alone. I didn’t need them,” Rosalie said, her voice warming up considerably—for the first time in days, I felt hopeful, “I’d find you anywhere. But I shouldn’t have had had to.” And now came the scolding; it was inevitable. “Why did you run?”

I’d asked myself that same question in the two days I’d hid. Like a dog, I was licking my wounds. I’d sworn I’d never lay a hand on a human again and I’d gone back on my word. I didn’t deserve to stay with the Cullens.

I tried to explain that as best as I could to Rosalie, watching the way her beautiful face did not betray what she was thinking at all. Most of what I was saying sounded like garbage, even to me, but I wasn’t in the habit of talking about my feelings. It was a good thing that it was only Rose who came—I don’t think I could face Edward, or any of the others right now.

When I finished talking, I waited for Rosalie to say something. I was still on the ground, refusing to move, and it surprised me when she lowered herself so that we were eye to eye.

“Perhaps,” she said finally, “we should leave the family and live on our own.”

It gave me more hope that she’d said ‘we’. “You’d do that for me?”

“Of course I would. I love you, Emmett. No matter what you do, or where you go, I’ll be with you. Always.”

I was on my feet, my arms tight around my angel, before she’d known it. The guilt was shoved aside as nothing but love and adoration filled me. I didn’t deserve Rosalie—but I was going to hold onto her for all I had.

“It might do us some good to take a small vacation from the others,” I rumbled, my mouth against her ear. “We never got a real honeymoon, right? We’ll find them later, meet up with them after they’ve… moved on from here.” I was grateful for Rosalie’s nearness; I craved it, and it kept the ghost of the green-eyed girl at bay. I wouldn’t forget my weak moments but I didn’t have to live as the monster, the hunter.

I would be Emmett again. I’d been forgiven before and I was forgiven now.

Rosalie laughed then, a seductive sound that warmed me to the core. “As long as we’re together,” she promised, “I’ll follow you anywhere.”

Rosalie, my saving grace.

Rosalie, my angel…

She took the words right out of my mouth.