The next day Rosalie pulled herself from her car, her mind on the car she was going to build and where exactly she could get the frame. This was her thought process every day as she stepped onto the high school campus because – and sure enough – before she had even stepped from the parking lot and onto the quad, the smell that was less of a smell and more of a sensation was there. It was light in the morning mist that fell like dew on her face. It wasn’t raining yet, but she wished it was. It was better on the mornings where the rain washed some of the lingering scent away. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her brother of sorts and... her sitting on a bench beside the quad.
“Hey, Ed—” Emmett’s greeting cut itself off in surprise when she squared her shoulders and disappeared into the crowd.
It had been two weeks since Edward had brought Bella to the house for the first, and so far only time. Two weeks and she had been handling it. Even after the... thing had happened, she had been handling it.
She had no idea that it had been in her power to make it worse. No one had told her - not that there would have been any reason for anyone to do so. She hadn’t known and so, like an idiot, she had made it worse. Anger boiled in her when she thought about it, even after all of this time. Stupid. It had been a stupid, foolish mistake that should not have happened.
The week before she had rounded the corner just after that the stupid couple had stepped out of their shared class, and she hadn’t been able to get past them without doing something outside of human abilities. She had walked fast, her head down, avoiding, trying to push gruffly past them but they had stepped in front of her like a slow-moving van in the fast lane. And so she had been stuck. She hadn’t liked it, hadn’t liked being that close. It was the closest she had been thus far. So when Be – the girl – had tripped she had been right there to see it. She had stifled the natural reaction to reach out and catch her, leaving that to Edward, who had moved to steady her with quick ease. It had, however, meant that Bella had turned to see what she had tripped over and instead her gaze had first been caught by Rosalie’s red Alexander McQueen’s and had moved up her body until she was staring wide-eyed into her face. She had looked so much like a startled deer or some kind of baby animal that it had almost, almost been endearing. Rosalie had thought... she had just glared back... Their eyes had only connected for a second, if even that before glare had dropped into blank shock as suddenly it had all changed. She had made eye contact with the stupid girl and now... the scent/feeling was everywhere. She could smell it when she stepped out of her front door, although the girl was miles away. And now... there was a feeling.
But she was handling it.
She stomped passed a group of giggling girls, Emmett reappearing at her side and just for good measure, she glared at them when one looked at Emmett with appreciation. All three paled, and that helped a little.
She was handling it, damn it.
Rosalie walked into the lunchroom, as she always did, as if she owned it and with Emmett at her side.
“They say the climb is really dangerous, but, ya know,” Emmett grinned and Rose smirked back, understanding the hint that the danger meant nothing but a little added fun for Emmett and Jasper.
He grabbed two trays and handed one to Rosalie, still chattering away happily. “Jasper thinks if we went on Saturday that we could be back by that night, which is like way faster than most take the climb.”
“I’m sure you’ll kick ass, babe,” she said, her mind only partially on her words.
The cafeteria. She hated this room these days. She thought she would hate any enclosed room where she was stuck with her. The moment she walked in she was greeted with something she wanted to ignore. The room, despite all types of people with all types of scent, was filled with it, swirling around her in a mist she felt as though she could almost see.
Just as absently she picked up food for her tray and paid, completely unaware if she had bought a sandwich or three bowls of pudding.
Car. She forced through thoughts of the car, desperate to get her mind on something safe. She had looked in the local paper as well as Seattle’s, Portland’s, and Vancouver and she had found the frame of the Camaro, so she thought that made up her mind for her. She flicked a glance at Edward across the room, but he, apparently, was too busy to hear much of anything.
“Hi, Rose.” Alice smiled at her as she took her seat.
Rosalie gave a grunt, letting the forced thoughts fade with a wary stiffness.
“How was the trig test? I hear it was hard.”
She scoffed, rolling her eyes at Alice’s amusement. If the teachers here only knew about some of her degrees, they would be very surprised by her middle of the road grade point average.
“So, bro, the climb.” Emmett began and that was enough. The other three easily fell into their conversation about what game might be nearby there, leaving Rosalie to her thoughts.
The scent was thick, maddening in a way, calling to her, asking her to look, to turn, to acknowledge. She picked up half a sandwich, looking at it with disgust and dropped it again. She clenched her jaw, refusing the beckoning. She would not listen to their inane conversation. The last time she had listened to Edward and Bella it had been about favorite holiday seasons which had felt provincial, like a made for TV teenage movie. So she did not look at her. She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t risk eye contact again, unsure of what it would do.
“Come on! Right, babe?”
Rosalie smiled at him and gave his thigh a rub, her answer easy. “Of course I think you would bag the most, babe.”
“Ha!” Emmett grinned.
“Well, of course, she would say that!” Alice laughed. “She’s your Rose.”
“That’s right.” Rosalie nodded through grit teeth.
Jasper looked up suddenly as if she had called him, his eyebrows drawing together.
He could feel her strain, of course, he could.
Her eyes were on her. She could feel them. She looked the opposite direction, out the window, but she could feel them. God damn it. She gripped the metal fork in her hand tightly. Why was she looking at her? What the hell did she want?
“Babe!” Emmett whispered, taking the now useless twist of metal from her hand and jamming it into his pocket so no one would see that it had shaped itself to her fist as easy as putty.
This wasn’t new. Bella often looked over at the table, as if she wanted something from them, and more specifically as if she wanted something from her. She had been told, as Rosalie had overheard one day, that she had been the only person to vote no on her in their lives. Which was true... in a way. That seemed to bother Bella deeply.
Rosalie did her best to ignore the fact that it made her uncomfortable to know that it bothered Bella.
The feeling of being under her gaze faded and Rosalie took a breath. Her shoulders hadn’t even had the time to fully relax when the weighty gaze was on her again.
After the third furtive glance Rose snarled to herself. There was no point in sitting across the room with Edward if she was just going to keep looking at her like this. What the hell was her problem?
“I’m done,” she announced to the table. There would be enough of her that night. She sure as hell didn’t need to take more now. She rose and swiftly moved across the room, her back straight, her mind white noise of aggravation.
She wasn’t feeling any cheerier about the situation that evening as she threw on some hunting clothes. Despite the downpour, she wouldn’t be cold, but still out of habit she dressed in a thick coat, a scarf, and raincoat. She also wouldn’t be hot and should anyone see her, she wouldn’t stick out.
God, hopefully no one saw her standing outside of the Swan house like an idiot.
That’s all she needed, another person to think she was obsessed with this girl, like the rest of the town.
Because she wasn’t.
The movement behind her caught her, someone coming up the stairs and her thoughts shifted.
“So, you will be —” Edward’s voice cut off the scrambled and forced thoughts about the car.
“Yes, Edward, I will be outside. I heard you. I get it. I’m going.”
Edward nodded, but still, he lingered.
“Was there something else you need? Should I fluff her pillow for her too? I’m sure I can sneak in without her noticing and be sure it’s nice and fl—”
“Thank you.” Edward cut her off. “Rosalie. Thank you.”
Rosalie’s teeth clamped, grinding. The only thing worse than his incessant moaning was his sincerity. “I still think there are better ways to do this.”
Edward didn’t answer, but instead, he gave a small nod and started back down the stairs and out into the night.
Rosalie glared, watching him disappear into the trees through the large window over her window seat. She sighed. She could go on foot and she debated as she slid into her car a moment later. Her car was slightly eye-catching as it was red. The last thing that she could allow was being seen doing this... thing. Maybe going on foot would be a better plan. But as quickly as she debated it, she turned the thought down. There was no way she was going tromping through the mud any more than she had to. Instead, she parked two blocks away, turned into the forest and jogged at a quick pace through the woods.
A wet and foul scent caught her as she was nearing the Swan house, a scent she had smelled previously but not for a very long time.
Senses sharp, she stopped on a dime, not coming to a skid but instead sticking as if she had suddenly sunk into glue. That smell. She turned a little, her body falling into a half crouch. Looking deep into the forest and seeing far, she saw nothing that made her cautious. She stood immobile, waiting.
After a long moment and senses still sharp, she started the last few yards to the Swan house.
Interesting. The smell increased as she got closer to it.
She had thought that Edward was being dramatic when he had said that Bella had gotten herself surrounded by wolves. It seemed that Edward was right. Not that she would ever think that if Edward were within hearing distance. A wolf or someone in very close contact with a wolf had been here within the last few hours. Her nose twitched. It was a foul smell, one that she knew she would find on her clothes once home again, like smoke stuck to clothing fibers making it smell even after it was washed.
Fine, she would just throw these away before she reached her home.
Did she need to worry? That was the real question. She crouched, reluctantly breathing the scent in and decided that she didn’t. The wolf hadn’t stayed, as much as walked by. Perhaps checking on the elder who must have been by that evening. Perhaps the elder himself after a meeting with a wolf.
She set herself up, leaning against a tree just off to the side of the house where she would be unseen. She turned, and with her back to the house, she began her wait for the dawn. She refused to notice the occupants. She didn’t want to think about her. The scent seemed to trickle down to her, swirling as it did, letting her know that the scent owner was there.
As if she needed the stupid reminder. This was ridiculous. She set her jaw, her arms folded and stopped breathing. This was absolutely ridiculous. She refused to be cowed. She had already made up her mind, had already decided that this meant little more than nothing. What it came down to was that this didn’t matter, this new… development. She was happily committed. She had been with Emmett for all of her new life, and she loved him. How could she not? She was a bear of a man, with a silly sense of humor that paired well with her caustic nature. He knew when to invade her space, and when to give her a wide berth. And the sex was fantastic. It had never wavered, never not been great. His penis was great. It was huge and talented, and what was even better was that his mouth and hands were just as talented. She didn’t need anything else. She certainly didn’t even want a woman. Why would she want a woman? Why would she want a human girl? Why would she want someone who simply bent to her will, to weak and simpering to speak her mind? She wasn’t Edward or any other man of their day. Obedience wasn’t a turn on, mentally or physically. Rosalie didn’t understand Edward’s obsession with this.
And Emmett cared about her. He was always there, loving her. Emmett was her man, and that was never going to change.
So, no. She wouldn’t. She... she...
Edward was often gone these days, trapped in his obsessive love for Bella, and so she could have time to think, but this was the first time that she had actually been alone in the last two weeks. And so, for the first time, she let herself think.
She took a small breath and the scent that was less of a scent was still there, of course it was.
So what? Her mind demanded. That smell, that meant that she was just supposed to fall in love for the stupid human girl? The one who gave her brother the sappiest eyes as if she had no mind of her own? She was just supposed to fall in love with her now because she was her perfect mate? Because she was predestined for her? That was ridiculous. No stupid ancient vampiric bullshit was going to tell her who to love. She was already in love. We’re she and Emmett mated? No. But it had always been enough for them. He was her best friend. She would never hurt him like this. They might think of her as Rosalie the bitch, but she wasn’t, not really. She just lived life entirely sick of everyone else’s bullshit. She would never hurt him. She was just wrong, that was all. It was as easy as that.
She took another breath and head dropped forward, unable to stay up under the weight of this.
She wanted so deeply to decide she was wrong. She wanted to simply be jealous of the fact that another member of the family had been mated. This wasn’t real. This couldn’t be real.
She closed her eyes and took a long, deep breath.
The scent washed through her, comforting, and alluring. Without permission, her head turned toward the house, her eyes still closed. She felt the sensation like an outside observer, hating the comfort, the desire, the interest, all still casual in nature. She had a feeling if she weren’t careful, the feeling wouldn’t remain casual. She took another breath, mentally holding the scent at bay. Still, it curled around her, inviting, whispering the truth, whispering of promise.
No, she wasn’t wrong. She wanted to be, profoundly. But with the scent, she felt two things. Desire, a genuine and honest desire, and knowledge.
Carlisle was right. There was no mistaking it. Smelling it, feeling it, that was understanding. It told her what had happened.
Out of habit, she shifted against the tree with her swaying emotions.
She couldn’t hurt him.
The anger she had felt since that stupid day at her house cracked and broke, letting in her deep sadness.
Emmett deserved the world.
Sorrow, black and barren and hideous plunged through her.
She stopped breathing, and that was a little better, the emotions inside of her settling.
Behind her, she heard a snorted laugh that could only be Bella’s and her lips curled back into a snarl.
She hated her. She hated her for coming here. She hated her for interrupting her life. She hated her for being born.
The evening drew on while Rosalie stewed in her hate and eventually turned to night. The sounds of the house settled until it was just the scribbling of a pencil and the television.
Eventually her father, the chief, said good night and went to his room.
Rosalie didn’t move, frozen in her lingering anger.
Night animals began to emerge in the forest, keeping their distance from her. Crickets and grasshoppers began to sing.
Through the trees, rain fell like music to the ground.
Still, she didn’t move, her arms crossed over her chest, her jaw tight.
She liked the night noises of the forest. It was calming. She turned her head and looked up, but she couldn’t see the stars there from under the thick canopy of trees. She let her head rest against the soft bark of the tree, her thoughts quieting as the town quieted. The anger slipped away as she listened to the melody of the forest, listened to the rain, to the animals, to the bugs. She didn’t notice, not at first that she had begun to breathe again, slow and deep. Eventually, her eyes closed, her senses stilled, her emotions at peace. She took another slow deep breath in and realized that her breathing pattern matched the soft sleepy one upstairs.
In the darkness, she slowly became meditative simply listening to the steady breathing coming from the upstairs of the house. The wolves didn’t come back. The rain doesn’t stop. She just stood like that, still as stone, simply listening all night.
When the morning alarm went off Rosalie gave a start, feeling refreshed herself, warm and content. That thought immediately sent a shiver of anger down her spine.
Eyes rolling, her hands balled into fists. She had been snapped out of whatever spell she had been under and she was thankful… and she hated it.
“Damn it,” she grumbled. She turned and started back toward her car.
She would never let that happen again. She would never come back. She would not. Would not.
Yet, the following week when Edward spoke to the family to inform them that Jasper would be going to watch Bella that night, Rosalie’s skin chafed. That evening, Jasper changed and was about to start out when Rosalie stopped him.
“The house is too loud.” Which was true. Alice was on a throat singing kick again and the two tonal noise was nonstop. “I want to read. I’ll go.”
She tried her best to ignore the surprise on their faces, instead turning her thoughts to the car frame, mentally skimming through towing companies she could use as she turned and went up to her room to change herself.
It wasn’t until she was under the window, beside the tree again that she let herself ask why. She didn’t know why she had insisted. She didn’t want to be there. Except, standing there after the house’s occupants had fallen asleep had been... she remembered the soothing calm she had felt bitterly. It had been intimate, too intimate and she couldn’t let anyone else do it. The thought of Bella’s breath at night, it had been like a song that had fed something in her, something deep and dark and as of yet buried. It wasn’t at all that she fought all day to avoid Bella, to act as though she didn’t exist and so it was relieving to simply allow herself to be near her. It wasn’t like putting ice on a burn.
Not surprising her at all, it was raining again as she stood under the tree, soaked, not feeling the cold but feeling the annoyance of chafing jeans. She stood there, and she just tried not to think.