The Shadows In Her Eyes
Vera, Rosalie's best friend during her brief time as a human, recounts her last encounter with "Rosey" before she leaves her old life behind forever.
1. Chapter 1
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Shadows, shadows all around... shadows moving, changing shape. They jumped out of the darkness and swallowed something up... there was a scream. I knew the voice... I saw her eyes... they opened, wide as anything, and then they became still. They looked at something although they did not see it... they were empty... and then they began to change colors. They became shadows, too. They went black as that which had surrounded them, and I could not tell if it was merely the reflection of the shadows or... or...
“Rosalie!” I gasped, suddenly bolt upright in bed.
I felt Mathew stirring next to me. “Shh,” he murmured, turning over to look at me. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and the reached for me. I was quick to enter his arms. They would send the nightmares away as nothing else could. “You’ll wake the baby,” he whispered in my ear.
“Oh, Matty. I had the most horrible dream. Rosalie... something got her,” I sighed, “I don’t care WHAT she says, I know what caused this. I do not like that Royce King,”
“Vera,” I could hear the smile in his voice, “You are not the one who has to marry him. If he makes Rosey happy, then I say live and let live,”
I looked back at my Mathew in the darkness of our bedroom. He was everything I could have ever dreamed of in a man. He was kind, sweet, loving, and he could always make me laugh. I had been so lucky to find someone whom I truly loved. Especially when I think of Rosalie...
Poor Rosalie, my dearest friend. Everyone always says that she has everything. Money, looks, and brains enough to get by. But she is too vain for her own good. Royce fawns on her, and she thinks that is enough... I think I must be the only one in the world that pities Rosalie Hale.
“I just have a bad feeling about him. The wedding is in less than a week, but there is still time. If she just-“
“Vera,” he purred again, “What do you think? Your word alone will change her mind? She is, among other things, stubborn as a mule. And this is all that she, and more importantly her family, have always dreamed of. A royal family. Imagine the possibilities,” he said, a tone of skepticism thrown in for good measure.
“But will she be happy? Once she marries him, there will be no going back... a point of no return,” and the phrase echoes in the cold winter air that always seems to find a way into out little house. A point of no return. Isn’t that the story of my life?
First I had chosen my Mathew, against my parents’ wishes. I nearly lost my dowry in that decision, but I would do it again exactly the same if I had the chance. And having Henry... we had been afraid we would have to give him up with our landlord demanding the rent every other day and Mathew’s work barely making ends meat... it seems as though my life is nothing but a jumble of those. Points of no return.
But my stories have all turned out fine in the end. We did get married, my parents learned to accept my Matty, and with their help we managed to get Matthew a fairly stable job. We payed our debts off and little Henry was born. My life started to look more and more like a fairy tale.
But what about Rosey? Where will her choice lead? To a fairy tale? Or to something more along the lines of my nightmare...
I shudder and Mathew, thinking it a shiver, pulls the blankets around us tighter. “Please try not to worry, Darling. Rosalie will be fine. We spoke to her just three days ago, and she was perfectly happy then. Do you want to call on her tomorrow? Will that put your mind at ease? You are her maid of honor, after all. You will need to stop by the Hale’s anyway. She will want your help with all of the preparations,”
I felt comforted with Mathew’s words, even though I knew they would probably solve nothing. If I even got up the nerve to tell Rosey that I objected against Royce, she would not listen to any of it. As far as she was concerned, Royce was her ‘prince charming’ (her words, not mine) and anyone who thought otherwise was just jealous. But I was still contented enough in my Matty’s arms.
I sighed once again and snuggled in for the night. It was only minutes before I fell asleep again, but I had another nightmare. There weren’t any moving shadows, but it scared me all the same.
I was in Rosalie’s bedroom. I was helping her put on her wedding dress. I had one on, too. Mine was a little tattered, a little dirty, but Rosalie’s was brand new and white as the snow falling outside the window I glanced out of as I helped adjust her veil. In the window, I saw something move, but I did not pay attention to what it was. My friend needed all of my attention. Then, suddenly, Rosey found a loose thread on her dress. She pulled on it and the seams began to unravel. She kept pulling and pulling and soon the entire thing had fallen to the ground, mere pieces of white stain fabric in a heap at her feet. She looked as if she were about to cry, and then the pile of snow white fabric turned red... as red as blood...
I woke up again with a start, but I was careful not to move. I did not want to wake Mathew, or, worse, little Henry (it might take hours to sooth him if he got riled up).
I blinked a few times, my eyes adjusting to the darkness once again and my eyes stayed on the window across from our bed. Outside it, as I continued blinking out the nightmare, I saw something move. Just as it had in my dream, it did not seem to have a defined shape. It was a shadow... I leaned forward, squinting to try and make it out. It was probably just a horse or maybe some stay animal. A poor lost cat, forgotten and alone. Perhaps even a man out for a midnight stroll... but as my eyes finally made out the shape, it had long hair... longer and wilder than a civilized man’s hair should be...
I recognized the silhouette. It was familiar, yet strangely different. But there was no mistaking it... “Rosalie?” I whispered to myself.
I was careful to squirm out from Mathew’s hold as I stepped across the creaky floor and over to the window. I opened it slowly and not too wide, or else Matthew would wake.
“V-vera?” Rosalie’s voice asked me. She sounded odd... and more scared than I’d ever heard her in all of our years together.
I shook my head, “Oh, Rosey. Have wedding jitters really gotten you so worked up as to walk the streets alone at night? You will surely catch your death... is that what you want? To miss your own wedding?” The idea appealed to me, but as a good friend I knew I should want what would make her happy... and Mathew had said, Royce seems to do just that.
She laughed without humor and said simply, “No, Vera. I do NOT think that I will catch my death... and as for missing my wedding? That seems the obvious choice, now...”
I was shocked. Had she meant that... that she was not going to marry Royce King, after all? “Rosey, what is the matter with you? I... I thought that you loved Royce?”
“So did I,” she mumbled, thinking I did not hear, “I only just... I just needed to see you one more time... once more before I cannot... before I must go,”
“Go? Where on earth are you going? Tell me what is going on here, Rosalie! I rather think I am becoming frightened,”
“I do not want to frighten you, Vera. That is why I should... why I MUST... I must go far away. I love you like a sister, my dear friend. I cannot allow myself to lose what is left of...” she shook her head. I wished I could open the window more than just a crack so that I could see her face and not just the shadow of it. It brought my nightmare from earlier that evening back with startling clarity.
“Rosey, please. It does not have to be this way. If you do not wish to marry Royce, no one will think any less of you. I have never liked him much myself...”
“Always a good judge of character, you were,”
“No. I am sorry, Vera. Forgive me...” and she began to walk away from the window, her shadow getting smaller and smaller as she got farther down the road...
“ROSALIE!” I shouted, all at once yanking the window as wide as it would go. Several things happened simultaneously after that. First of all, Henry woke up in the next room and his bawling echoed in every crevice of the house. Secondly, Mathew woke with a start and rolled off of the bed, falling to the floor with a thump. And finally, an errant gust of wind blew my hair out of the window and ruffling Rosalie’s long golden locks as well. I felt as if the wind was helping me, prodding my friend as I could not, Rosalie being out of my reach.
The most surprising thing, though, is how just as she turned around, looking at me with overwhelming sadness, her expression suddenly altered. Her eyes sprung wide open and she bared her teeth. I thought I even heard a hiss escape her lips and then she made a motion as though she were about to come back to the window. Then she stopped and fear replaced the anger. She hit herself hard across the face with one of her hands, and her shoulders shook, although I saw no tears escape her eyes... oh, and her eyes- but then she was gone, as if she had simply disappeared into thin air.
It was later that night as I rocked Henry back to sleep and explained what had happened to Matty and lay in bed, trying to fall asleep even though the sun was due to rise any minute... it was then that I thought of Rosalie and what she had said... what could it mean? What would happen in the morning when I came to see her? Would she be there? Or was it all a dream? Just another nightmare...? One thing seemed to convince me of that alternative.
Rosalie’s eyes, as I’d stared at her face bathed in the light of the streetlamps, had not been the light, airy sky blue they usually were. Instead they had changed... they were black as the night sky, and exactly as they had appeared in my dream. I soothed myself with the thought that when I got up, I would see my friend as happily frazzled as always, doing last minute preparations for her wedding. I closed my eyes and tried to think good things for Rosalie so that I would not have another nightmare. Three was enough for one night. I thought of her being happy with Royce and having a baby girl with her blue eyes and blonde hair. A little girl that would be friends with my Henry. Maybe one day they, too, would marry, and then Rosey and I really would be family.
I thought of Rosey smiling and laughing, not a shadow to be seen... I hoped against hope that Rosalie would finally get her fairy tale come true.