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Choice

Summary:
Choice by Marauder by Midnight Rosalie Hale hates who - and what - she is. The fact that she is a "vegetarian" offers little relief. On one of her usual hunts, Rosalie encounters something most unusual. Soon she is faced with a difficult decision. Will her choice be the right one? Part four of the Afterlife series. Emmett's transformation.


Notes:
Pour four of the Afterlife series.


1. Choice

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1601   Review this Chapter

Choice
by Marauder by Midnight

I creep closer and closer to the brown huddle on the forest floor. If I am not who I am, I could never have spotted it; the bear is cleverly camouflaged by the foliage of the woods. My pulse accelerates as I close in on the unsuspecting prey. I cannot wait.

Just as I prepare to pounce, a gunshot echoes in the woods like thunder. The bear I should have been drinking is startled, as am I, picks itself up, and prances away from me with fear. It should have been no trouble at all to go after it, only the ferocious roar and horrified scream that follows stops me in my tracks.

“HELP!”

I curse; another dumb human has interrupted my meal. Any normal hunt, I would have calmly headed toward another part of the forest. Yet something keeps me rooted to the spot.

I hear the sounds of a furious struggle not far from me. Before I could react, the scent of blood – human blood – wafts toward me. It smells of strength and endurance, like oak. I do not know what has come over me, but instantly, I am attracted. I move toward the sounds.

Another bellow, only this time, I cannot distinguish human from bear.

I travel only a short distance before I catch sight of them. A large male black bear is clawing at a rather large human at its feet. I cannot help but feel impressed as I see the human, a burly man, is not only still alive but fighting back. A silver glint lashes up at the bear who lets out another roar of pain and anger.

Now I smell the familiar scent of bear blood mixed with this strange human’s. Any hope I had of rescuing one and feeding off the other is dashed. I cannot enter the foray without risking the human’s life. In my hunger, I have learned, I cannot easily tell the difference between two animals once blood has been spilled. I am, once again, rendered useless by who I am.

I murmur an apology to the man before turning my back quickly on the scene. The smell is getting to me; I must feed elsewhere.

“PLEASE, HELP!”

I turn on impulse, and my eyes lock on wide, hazel ones. The man has seen me. His face is undistinguishable, and his dark hair is coated with blood either from him or the bear. His clothes, a well-chosen shade of brown and green, obviously served him no good on this hunt and are now tattered pieces of cloth.

In his attempt to capture my attention, he gives the bear enough time to attack him once more. I watch with horror as a well-aimed claw comes down on the man’s torso. The fear in the man’s eyes is quickly replaced by surprise. Then, I can see no more, for his eyelids flutter shut.

The next thing I know, I am hurtling past the trees and launching myself into the bear’s side. My supernatural speed and strength catches the bear off-guard, and I slam him into a tree with ease. My anger toward this bear is unfamiliar to me; never have I felt such a need to kill. My teeth sink in despite the thrashings of the large bear. I feel the coat under my fingers and smartly snap as many bones as I can. I barely hear the howls of the bear as I work quickly to inflict as much pain as possible. I drink messily, ignoring the spatters of blood on my designer clothing. The bellows die down to a meager whimper, and finally, I snap its neck.

My chest is heaving, not from lack of breath but from the wave of emotions that has washed over me. The bundle lying at the base of the tree is unrecognizable. I would’ve shuddered at the sight if it isn’t for the rage I feel for it; instead, I turn with cold disdain and walk toward the broken human not far away.

Remarkably, he is still breathing. I examine his wounds. There are three gashes on the side of his face from where the bear’s nails had scratched him. They are deep; blood continues to gush out. There are countless blows on his body and head. The injuries to the head had been inflicted first; his black hair is caked in dry blood. His clothing is nearly nonexistent, the skin peeking out from underneath, making visible the numerous cuts that mar his tanned skin. The most serious of them is from the bear’s last mauling. The skin in his stomach area is torn completely away, revealing a gaping red hole.

The blood of the bear is not enough to sustain me. The scent of this man’s life-fluids overwhelms me. I must act before it is too late.

Carlisle.

He can help. He has always been first and foremost a doctor.

I stand straddling the man’s torso and lean forward to pick up the man’s arms. I sling them around my neck and struggle to adjust the body on my back. I feel the blood seep through my clothing, but I ignore it. This desperation to save his life has bolstered my willpower. The man is much taller than me, a full six inches, so I lean forward to afford him some more surface area. Once I have him as securely as I can manage, I run as fast as I can down the mountain and toward the city of Cleveland.

For once I am glad to live on the outskirts of the city; I encounter no one as I rush to the small home we own. It would have been difficult to explain how I can lug around such dead weight on my back with such ease. I enter the house and say, “Esme.”

Instantly, the woman who has come my mother shows up at the door. Edward, my brother, follows her. Esme’s eyes, usually warm and inviting, flashes with concern and wariness. Edward, so much stronger than Esme and me, seems unperturbed. In the enclosed space of our hallway, the smell of the man’s blood grew exponentially unbearable. Desperately, I let the images of what happened on the mountain run through my head. Edward scrutinizes me as he sees what I had seen.

It is Edward who breaks the silence. Of course – he has seen this more times. “I’ll call Carlisle and tell him to come down immediately.”

Esme is snapped from her thoughts as well. She hurriedly covers her nose and mouth and jabs a finger toward the living room. She helps me settle the man on the couch before bustling away. Alone with a man, whose blood is now staining the couch, I struggle not to act on impulse. My thirst has been somewhat satiated by the bear, but our instincts have always been to drink human blood.

After what seems like hours, Carlisle, followed by Edward, enters the room. His golden eyes are filled with unease as well though it is no effort for him to resist the call of blood. I move aside to allow Carlisle room. He perches himself beside the dying man and examines the wounds. His eyes grow more and more severe, and even before he speaks, I know it is not good news.

“He is beyond saving, Rosalie.”

I should have been prepared for that, yet I am not. I feel the wind leave my lungs with a whoosh. My legs feel shaky, and if Edward did not catch me, I would have fallen to the floor. This desire to save a mere mortal is painful, and my heart, which has stopped beating long ago, suddenly aches.

“There are other ways, Rosalie. It’s not too late to – “

“No.” The word comes out harsher than I would have liked. I could not wish this upon him. I am still striving to come to terms with who I am; I cannot force this on one who has a choice to live or die. Unknown by all, except perhaps Edward, I watch the humans interact with one another and cannot help but envy them and think that maybe, it would have been better if I had died.

These same thoughts run through my head now, and I feel Edward stiffen beside me. His next words surprise me, “A second chance, Rosalie. This human might be your happiness.”

I think of the way Carlisle and Esme look at each other. My happiness. Is this man truly my escape from my dissatisfaction with what I had become? Can he make me feel what I had been unable to feel even as a mortal? Can he be my Carlisle?

I look at Edward cautiously; I know I had been brought to this family initially to be with him, yet our attitudes toward each other are only brother-sisterly. We have become close but never lovers. I hope my thoughts do not crush his dreams…

His encouraging crooked smile puts me at ease as he listens to my concerns. I embrace him and think, Thank you. He nods in acknowledgement.

“Carlisle…”

Carlisle smiles as well. "Say no more." I stand with Edward as Carlisle makes two swift bites, one on the neck and one near the man's heart. As I watch, my heart swells as I know I have made the right choice.