Coming up the main road to Get Away B&B wasn’t smart, Rosalie realized as she approached through the woods. She supposed being this far on the outskirts of Port Angeles without a car would be eye-catching, but she hadn’t driven. She hadn’t even planned on coming. For god sake, she had only been home for a few days since her last disappearance. None of this was planned. It was ridiculous that she could be made to leave Forks so easily. Shame and anger accompanied the thought, but she had no idea what to do about it, which only angered her more.
Growling to herself, she cut around the back of the old well cared for Victorian, around the side, and to the front door so that she wouldn’t be seen.
She didn’t even have an overnight bag.
Normally she didn’t care much. She was fine being the aloof stranger that left one with more questions than answers, but this was her place. This was her personal sanctuary. She had discovered it several years before when she had felt the desire to move on from her previous hotel. She had come to stay the once and had fallen in love with it. It was a bed and breakfast, so she had assumed the first time that she would have the owners constantly meddling in her business. That was always how it was in films, anyway. She had booked her stay with hesitation, arriving with her guard up as to be ready for the questions, the comments, or small notices on the part of the staff. If the place was great then dealing with that would have been worth it. Instead and to her pleasure, she had found that once the owners understood she liked to be left alone, that was exactly what they did. She had told them she had a very specific diet, so they didn’t try to bring her food either. She was left with a beautiful old house, a very comfortable bed, a huge tub, let alone a water heater that had to be broken because the water there got very hot, or at least hot enough that her bath grew cold slower than at home. It was the place she went when she needed a little quiet and that, she thought as she pulled the front door open, was exactly what she needed.
“Good morning, Ms. Mckay.”
The elderly business owner looked up from her book and smiled warmly. “Ms. Hale, so good to see you. Back in town on business?”
She nodded. As far as Ms. McKay knew she was from New York and worked for a large lumber company. The lie was small but did explain how she could continue to come back again and again.
“That’s good, dear. I’ll let Harold know and he’ll make up the room for you.”
“Thank you.” Rose smiled, already feeling better.
Ms. McKay glanced around her and toward the door. “No bags?”
“Oh no. They lost my luggage.”
“Oh no!” The elderly woman’s face fell into horror.
“I’m sure they’ll deliver it soon.”
She would have to go into the city that evening, not only for some clothing but also for some entertainment. Usually, when she stayed she caught up on a few books, watched a few films. There was a little book store on First street, in fact, that she wouldn’t mind stopping by. She was sure she could find a bag somewhere. Thank god she had her purse.
Five minutes later Mr. McKay joined them, laughing about the ease of his job without bags to carry and Rosalie was let into her usual room, the one overlooking the garden.
She thanked him and gently closed the door behind him, the key dangling in her hand. She turned to the room, at a loss.
Now, what should she do?
Usually when she stayed at the Get Away it was for no longer than a night or two. You could do a lot of refreshing when you didn’t sleep half of your time away, after all.
This visit, however, it was a solid week before she was back in the front office with her bill.
She had read, working her way through nearly ten books in the time. She had rewatched many of her favorite movies as well as mindlessly watched whatever was on TV far more than she normally did. But these numbers weren’t even close to her records. She had once finished five books in forty-eight hours. She supposed that was because what she did more than anything else was sit and think.
And it had been useless. It had been miserable. She had been miserable.
She was not bound to this, that much she knew. She refused to be. She refused to be forced to notice someone she cared nothing for. Yet, she had no idea what should be done about it. There was no one she could ask, no text or volume she could read. She had considered a trip to Italy because if anyone would have her answers it would be the oldest of them, but she was sure that doing so would somehow come back to bite her in the ass. She had to figure something out. She had been away more than home lately. She was sure her family had noticed and soon the school would notice too.
After a week she had realized she had to give up her endless meditation. The only answer she could come up with was to run, was to go somewhere else until Bella’s life was over and she was free again, but how could she do that without telling the truth about why she needed to. That itself had sent her into a tailspin because as soon as she had thought it, she wondered if it were true. The family had understood when Alice and Jasper had taken a few years away so Alice could get a degree in fashion in Paris because there had been an open reason but had protested deeply when Edward had tried to run when he first met Bella. But she didn’t have the same relationship to the rest of them. Perhaps they would mourn Emmett, but would they protest if she told them she wanted to leave?
A deep part of her hoped they would. She supposed all she would have to do was explain that she was leaving for Edward’s sake and the protests would stop.
That thought had sent her into a long bout of self-reflection on exactly how she had become the black sheep of the family, which always came back to the same thing: her unhappiness in this life. She was the only one of them genuinely unhappy. She knew it concerned Carlisle and Esme. She had even once heard them talking when they had thought she was gone, speculating if it was her nature, the lingering effects of the way she died, or because she was one of the only ones in the family that hadn’t mated.
The answer to this rock and a hard place situation had to be there. Surely she was not bound to fall in love with a girl who was stupidly in love with her brother. Surely she was not bound to fall in love with a girl she didn’t want.
With a few smiles and a promise that yes she would be back, Rosalie paid her bill including her usual large tip. Then under the premise of waiting for a car to come to get her, she snuck around the side of the building and started back on foot. She had, at least, bought herself a pair of running shoes, her old ones for hunting had recently been clawed anyway, and a bag for the new books so the run was easy.
And it was easy… until she arrived.
It seemed like some type of universal joke, Rosalie thought, as she began to near her home. It was late afternoon so she hadn’t expected the house to be quiet as it often was. They didn’t sleep, but night hours were often the hours dedicated to quiet activities or outings that left the house empty. She had expected to hear lively chatter, yes. She just hadn’t expected to hear her voice coming from inside, her voice laughing with… she snarled, with Emmett. The traitor had immediately taken to Bella, telling her once that he thought she was funny.
What the hell was she doing there? This was her space. This was her home and she was invading it.
She came to a stop just outside of the backdoor and snarled, her teeth grinding hard. This was unfair. Why couldn’t she catch a break?
She stepped quietly through the door, knowing what would greet her as she did and sure enough, she stepped into a haze of swirling, deliciously fragranced misty scent. She wasn’t sure how long Bella had been there, but their human free place no longer smelled human free.
It felt like an intrusion. It was an intrusion.
She paused again just inside the door and because it had been a week without this, she closed her eyes, centering herself.
She was not at the mercy of an eighteen-year-old girl. She just wasn’t.
She turned a little to look into the hanging decorative mirror. She was wet from having run in the rain and she had leaves and a twig in her hair. Fuck, her mind hissed, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. She pulled out the latter and tried to smooth her wet hair, running her fingers through it gently until it laid smooth. She wiped the water from her face as well as the small drop of mud that had splattered beside her jaw. Her jaw set when she had done her best and she stepped through the back and into the living room, her face blank.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” she asked in the driest and most impassive voice she could manage. She thought it came out exceedingly well and perhaps deserved a pat on the back.
The whole room turned and the difference in each face was almost laughable. Emmett beamed at her as did Esme. Edward’s face was as dry and blank as her own. Alice and Jasper both looking mildly wary. Above all else though, her eyes watched the change on Bella’s face, watched as the laughter that had been there drained away, turning instead into pale sickly nerves.
Her eyebrow slowly cocked in response and looked away, deciding she would simply ignore her.
Behind her, Edward’s eyes rolled.
“Rose!” Carlisle stepped out from the library with a welcoming smile on his face. “You returned just in time. We were just speaking to Bella of our plans.”
“Plans?” she asked with disinterest.
“Yes. From now on, she will be coming to stay with us once a week.”
Her tongue clicked. So he had done it. He had convinced this girl to allow herself to be babysat by a bunch of vampires.
God, what was wrong with her? She didn’t understand this extreme level of passiveness. Didn’t she have any backbone at all? Was she really this pathetic? Disgust and disappointment warred in her. She could never like a person like that, someone so weak.
“Yes,” Edward smiled, his eyes however like flint. “I’ve explained and she’s agreed that this is the best way to do things.”
Did you tell her about how we were doing it before? She asked in her mind.
Edward either didn’t hear or didn’t respond, she couldn’t tell which. Instead, he carefully leaned down and brushed his lips across Bella’s soft-looking cheek.
“Oh, Rose!” Esme cried.
She blinked and realized the small flip phone that had been in her hand had just shattered into a million pieces, not just broken but decimated. She looked down at it in her hand, wide-eyed.
Slightly embarrassed, she pretended that it hadn’t been an accident, tossing the phone aside carelessly. The pieces clattered making the trembling doe of a girl in the middle of a group of vampires jump like she had been pinched.
“We were just spending some time getting to know Bella,” Carlisle explained, his brows still furrowed, his eyes still on the phone.
“You’re getting to know her?” The dryness in her voice able to age wine.
Bella’s wide eyes shot to her and then away again.
“Yes, why don’t you come and join us?”
She knew without ever having to decide that there was no fucking way she would be doing that.
Bella had looked away a moment after she had arrived, her eyes downcast on her shoes, but now she looked up, her eyes over wide and something else there that Rosalie couldn’t understand.
Bella’s eyes met Rosalie’s and Rosalie, pleased to notice there was no shock or any other sign of the contact, let out a bestial snarl, loud and ferocious.
Rosalie smiled a leering grin, satisfied. “I’m getting into the shower.” She turned, ignoring the slight hiss of disapproval that could only come from Esme.
She was still chuckling when she stepped under the hot spray of water a minute later.
The hot water felt nice as she carefully took care of her precious hair, washed the mud off of herself, got the blood out from under her nails from the buck she had taken down on the way home, and then got out. Below she could still hear laughing, their voices all seeming genuinely pleased that Bella was there. A jag of annoyance rushed through her. How long did they need to spend getting to know her? She dried, combed and styled her hair, dressed and then stood in the center of her room, unsure. She felt all at once restless. After a week away from it, the scent was thick, distracting her. Undiluted like this, its effects were strong. She decided to finish up her book. Going to her bag, she sat on her bed in her second favorite reading spot in the house. The book had been good enough that she had considered staying at the B&B until she had finished it. Now she wished she had. And how was she supposed to read with that noise? She started the paragraph again, her attention jarring away from the words as Emmett laughed, teasing Bella about her answer to a question of Esme’s. She tried again but again found her mind wandering. After yet another attempt, she growled to herself and stood. That was obviously not going to work just then. So she gathered her new books, leaving behind the one she wanted to add to her personal bookshelf in her room and started down to the first floor. She had to pass through the living room to get to the library and so when she did she kept her head high, her shoulders back, not looking at anyone there. She quickly added the books to the already full shelves, putting them into the usual alphabetical order and then paused. Behind her, Bella was telling a story about her father in an awkward disjointed voice, as if she would rather not be speaking about herself.
“I don’t know what he thought,” Bella chuckled a little awkwardly. “Probably that I had lost my mind.”
Heading back up to her room, she spared only a second of a glance toward Bella and was not surprised to see that Bella’s eyes were on her already. She pretended she hadn’t seen her.
She moved a little faster. Upstairs she picked up her book, settling with her legs under her in a chair and opened it again. She read the same sentence three times before she realized she still didn’t know what was happening in the search for Mrs. Massey’s killer. Something about a letter that had been found she thought but… Soundlessly she rose and started down the stairs again. The car frame had been delivered while she was away. Or at least it should have been. She needed to see its general condition. Even the ad for the frame had used the term ‘beaten up’ so she could only imagine. She descended the steps, her nose high. She wouldn’t look at them. She had no interest in this.
Her eyes fell on Bella, who once again, was already tentatively looking.
Could she not walk into the room without her staring? Did she have no manners?
The frame was in the center of the car bay, already in exactly the spot that Rosalie liked to work on new cars. Emmett was the perfect man, she thought with pride, knowing exactly how I like it.
The frame was indeed in bad shape. It would need a solid degreasing, as well as banging out quite a few dents and patching a few small rust holes before she could get started. It was a good foundation though, and that would make for a good day the following morning or maybe even later that night. She had, however, just showered.
She lingered, sweeping the car bay, reorganizing her tools in a matter of moments, stalling.
Finally, there was nothing left to do, and after all, she didn’t want to be out there.
She turned and headed back toward the house.
In the living room, she walked as she had been all night, her nose in the air, her back straight, projecting an air of arrogance.
She was halfway across the living room, moving at a human pace, when the anger hit. The group hadn’t acknowledged her, listening to Esme tell Bella about their cousins in Alaska.
“So it’s Tanya, Kate, and Irina?” Bella asked.
Bella hummed, turning something over in her mind.
“What?” Edward asked.
“Oh, nothing. I was just thinking that I like the name Kate.”
Rosalie scoffed, ripping her furious eyes away as she mounted the stairs.
Rude. Just so rude. She hadn’t even acknowledged her. Wasn’t it polite to nod or at least look at a person when they were passing through your space? Was she raised by monkeys? There hadn’t been once glance, one notice, and Rose would have seen it. She would have seen if Bella had looked up.
She had just made it up to her room when she remembered that she had borrowed a bag from Esme the week before, just before she left. She should probably get that back to her. Snatching it off the bed, she turned on her heels and in stiff angry strides, she descended the stairs to leave the bag on the dining room table where Esme would see it.
She didn’t look at the crowd, but she could feel eyes on her as she passed through the living room yet again.
“Hey, babe, come here for a sec.” Emmett reached out for her hand across the room. “I know you’re busy, with all the walking back and forth, but come sit.” She turned and saw that his face was amused, as was Jasper’s beside him. In the center of the circle Bella’s face was… what? Hopeful? That was ridiculous.
She glared and turned away again. Maybe it was the perfect time to start on the car.