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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.


5. Hero

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1886   Review this Chapter

--

These city walls ain't got no love for me

I'm on the ledge of the eighteenth story

And oh I scream for you

--

Forks, Washington, 2004

“Rosalie?” My voice echoed throughout the front room of the house, but there was no reply. “Rose?”

Huffing, I took a detour through our prop of a kitchen, cut through the living room and even poked my head in the den. There was no sign of my blonde angel.

Her absence made me anxious. My hands curled into tight fists as I took to the stairs. Taking them two at a time, I headed upstairs in search of Rosalie.

She’s insisted on straying home from school that morning, despite the overcast skies, for reasons of her own. I couldn’t handle spending the whole day without her so, during lunch, I’d skipped out myself. Alice saw nothing out of the ordinary happening to Rose, and Edward suggested I leave her alone, but she was my wife—my other half. It made me crazy—crazier than normal, some would say—to be apart from her; it made me tense not knowing the motives behind her decision.

Edward refused to tell me, but he had to know. He had the ability to get into all of our heads, so I knew he had some idea why Rosalie was acting so anti-social all of a sudden. I’d threatened to knock the answer out of him at lunch but he’d just smiled that infuriatingly smug smile he had and said that Rosalie wanted to be left to her own devices and, if I really wanted to know, it was up to me to ask her.

It was her business, he said.

Ha! Edward had no idea. When he finally got off his high horse and found a girl he loved even half as much as I loved my Rose, maybe then he would understand that anything that was her business was my business too. I bet if it was his girl who was acting strange, he wouldn’t even hesitate to read her mind and find out what was wrong.

Me, I had to handle it the hard way. Sneaking out of school, running all the way home—Edward wouldn’t give me the keys to his precious Volvo—and hoping that she would be there when I arrived… that was what I was doing.

Except I didn’t think she was there. I couldn’t find her anywhere on the first floor, and I hoped to hell she was upstairs.

Despite my rush, I kept my step light on the staircase. I didn’t want to sound like an elephant thundering up to the second floor; if she was avoiding me, or anyone, I didn’t want to send her running in the opposite direction.

There were a great many rooms on the second floor—Edward’s room, Alice’s room, Carlisle’s office…—but I knew where to start my search: mine and Rosalie’s room. If she was anywhere in this house, I was certain she’d be in there.

The door wasn’t locked and I took that as a good sign. Even though I’d tried to be quiet on my way up, I’d already run around the downstairs calling her name; if Rosalie wanted to keep me out, she could’ve very easily locked the door. Not that that would have stopped me from getting in—it wouldn’t have—but at least I would’ve known that she wanted me out.

Turning the handle, I opened the door. And there she was—sitting on the edge of our bed, Rosalie was right inside.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I didn’t know what I would’ve done if she wasn’t in there.

“Emmett.” She didn’t even look up at me; her attention was on something resting on her lap. I narrowed my eyes and, surprised, I recognized what it was: an old, yellowed with age, wedding dress. What was she doing with a wedding dress? “What are you doing here?”

There was no warmth in her voice. Taken aback by her greeting, I hovered in the doorway. Maybe it wasn’t such a brilliant idea to run home to check up on her.

“I was worried about you, Rose. It’s not like you to just skip school.”

As soon as I said that, I felt foolish. What did it matter, really, if she didn’t make it to Forks High School every day? We missed a handful of days every few weeks because of the rare sunshine—what was one more? We’ve already graduated from high school so many times that I’ve lost count. One day off wouldn’t do any harm.

My siblings tell me that I can be very impulsive, and I know they’re right, especially when it concerns Rosalie. I would do anything for that woman and sometimes my reason and judgment can be clouded by my love for her. As she remained sitting on our bed, her eyes purposely not meeting mine, I was beginning to think that this was one of those times when I should’ve just listened to Edward.

“Do you know what day today is?” Her voice sounded very far away as she patted the fabric she was holding on to.

My first instinct, in a normal situation, would be to say it was Friday and then make a joke about the question—but I didn’t. I knew Rosalie well enough to know when she was in a joking mood and a “say the wrong thing and I’ll rip your head off” mood.

She was in that kind of mood.

So, quite unlike me, I stopped to think about the answer as I hesitantly approached her. It wasn’t her birthday, and I knew for sure that it wasn’t our anniversary. I’d forgotten our anniversary once and only once—and I’d never do that again. But the wedding dress had to be a clue to her strange mood, but I was absolutely positive that it wasn’t our anniversary, not any of them.

I looked at the wedding dress that was in nestled in her lap. As I watched, she was absently stroking the decades old material. It was of a simple style, not as outlandish as some of Rosalie’s more recent wedding gowns, and, no matter how long I stared at it, I couldn’t even remember ever seeing her wear it.

In fact, I didn’t recognize it as one of Rosalie’s dresses at all.

And that’s when it hit me. I knew exactly what day it was.

How could I have been so damn inconsiderate?

Rosalie seemed to know the exact moment when I had my revelation, though I didn’t say a word. Without lifting her head up, she began to speak.

“Seventy-one years now, and counting,” she murmured, resting her hand in her lap. Nimble, pale fingers clutched at the dress as if it was a life preserver. And, to Rosalie, I guess it was—it was one of the only ties to her human past that had left. “And I’ve never once regretted what I’ve done to them.”

Them. The humans who attacked a beautiful young woman, beating her and leaving her for dead. Letting her bleed out on the street, where a compassionate vampire came alone, took pity on her broken body and changed her into my angel.

And they call us monsters…

“They deserved it,” she continued, her voice as hard as steel and just as sharp. “But it never should have happened the way it did. None of it.”

There was a daring note in her voice, like she was daring me to say something about the way she’d stayed home on today of all days, clutching a relic of her past and wallowing in what had happened to her. She lifted her head up, but she didn’t meet my eye; she presented me with her profile as she stared at something across the room.

There was nothing daring about her face, though. Her lips were turned down, her eyes hesitant. There was a softness surrounding her features and I knew then that there was nothing across the room that she wanted to see—she just didn’t want to look at me. Despite sounding cold and emotionless, she was hurting, feeling the pain anew. And, worst of all, she was trying to keep me from it.

My heart was breaking as I saw the vulnerable look on her beautiful face. I had the feeling that, if she could cry, she would be tearing up. That wasn’t like her at all and I felt my hands tremble in justified rage. What I wouldn’t have given in that moment for Royce King to be alive so that I could kill him.

I hadn’t known Rosalie when she was Rosalie Hale, the violet eyed beauty of Rochester. I didn’t meet her until she’d been changed, the violet turned to gold, and the warmth of her humanity cooled to a bitter chill.

But it didn’t matter. Confronted with the pain of her past—pain that she chose to suffer alone, tucked away in her bedroom on the anniversary of her death (and rebirth)—I wasn’t thinking rationally. I was thinking like the protector I’d vowed to be when I married her.

It didn’t matter that, when she died, I was living in Tennessee, unaware that my soul mate was suffering. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t have done anything to change what happened to her…

It only mattered that my angel had been hurt and I hadn’t been able to save her.

Though, in the deepest recesses of my mind, tucked away where even Edward wouldn’t find it, I knew I was, as sick as it sounds, partly grateful for Rosalie’s tragedy. Without the betrayal of that King scum—I couldn’t even bring myself to think of him as her fiancé—I would never have met her. Emmett McCarty would have died in 1935 at the hands of an irritable grizzly, alone and without ever knowing the greatest love he’d ever known.

I never told her that I wouldn’t change a thing about our pasts, even if I was able to, if it meant that we never would have met. Now, with that yellowed, thin, out of date dress lying in her lap, I silently promised both of us that I never would make that admission.

Instead, I told her what we both needed to hear.

“You saved me, Rose, but no one was there to save you. I wish I could’ve been there, I would’ve ripped him to shreds,” I said, almost growling my anger. That part was undeniably true. “I would’ve saved you.”

For the first time since I found her in our room, Rosalie looked right at me. I don’t know if that was regret in her eyes, or curiosity, the look was that fleeting.

She remained quiet for a moment, and I wondered if I’d said the wrong thing. I never wanted to hurt her and I was beginning to think that intruding on her today might’ve done just that.

But then, slowly, she picked up that stolen bridal gown that she’d been clinging to and set it down on our bed. Her eyes never left my face as she stood up and approached me.

“But you have, Emmett. Don’t you know that? In every way possible, you saved me.” Her mind was still heavy with the memories, but she was able to offer me a ghost of her smile as she tilted her head back invitingly. “You’re my hero.”

It was a good thing that Rosalie was a strong, sturdy vampire. Otherwise, there would’ve been no way she could survive the bone-crushing bear hug I gave my wife.

My angel.

My hero.