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So I Hope You See (That I Would Love To Love You)

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Rosalie’s fingers tightened around the baseball until she heard the sound of stretching leather. Her pointer finger and middle followed the pattern of the bright red stitching, her thumb bending back around it. The ball was brand new, only just taken from its little box and therefore cleanly white and without a scuff. It wouldn’t stay that way. One hit from any of them and it would dent slightly. Baseballs were tough, but not that tough. By halfway through the game it wouldn’t even be worth saving, which was why beside Esme there were two other small Rawlings boxes.

Overhead the sky rumbled again and she glared at it. If Alice was wrong, she was going to be grumpy. She wasn’t in the mood for wet hair and chafing jeans.

Okay, she wasn’t in the mood for any of this and she hadn’t been for a while now.

Absently she tossed the ball high into the air and caught it again.

It had been almost a week since that stupid night at the house, a very long, very tense, very slow week. It had been a week that had definitely had some consequences. Rosalie was tired, more tired than she knew she could become as a vampire. Perhaps it was because it was a mental tired, overwhelmed and constantly stretched too tight in her worry.

And Bella… Bella looked a little like butter stretched too thinly over toast. Her face was a little drawn, or at least Rose thought it was probably only a small difference. To her, and clearly to Edward – people who had eyes that picked up on more than the average human, the change seemed huge. There were bags under Bella’s eyes as if she hadn’t been sleeping. The skin around her face was a few shades lighter than usual, which spoke volumes because her skin was always pale. What was worse, what made Rosalie feel worse, was that though she doubted Bella could even tell, Bella had lost some weight.

Seeing all of this, watching it happen, had been Rosalie’s own torture that week.

Bella had become cold, not only to her but in general. She had been somewhat removed, quiet with the rest of the family.

She glanced across the field, and then away again, turning her back on the approaching couple.

“If they try, they might make it here before next year,” she grumbled.

Not that it mattered if Bella was interested in women or not. Not when she refused to allow things to change.

Edward, it seemed, had begun to notice the difference in Bella too. His eyes had become sharp, watchful. He touched her now carefully as if she were moments away from breaking under his fingers. His eyes were always worried, and the day before Rosalie had even overheard him asking Carlisle what exactly he should do should Bella get sick with a cold or the flu.

It was funny to see Edward squirm.

It was not funny to see Bella so upset.

“Come on, let’s start a game of catch!” she called to the field at large, doing her best not to feel Bella’s slow approach.

Emmett held out a hand in front of his chest, a universal ‘throw it to me’ and so Rosalie did, the ball leaving her hand at speeds that would have shocked any MLB team. The ball smacked into Emmett’s bare hand, no need for a glove, and shot back at Rose, who plucked it from the air with a scowl on her face.

Usually, she liked baseball, always interested in a game. She just… she couldn’t shake her mood.

She was feeling grumpier and grumpier the closer Bella got.

The last thing she had wanted to do was drag Bella into this. She had just… her skin in the moonlight had been so beautiful, and she had been looking at Rose with such awe, and she had just been there, so close to Rose, being so… whatever. She had lost her head. And she didn’t like to feel weak. Her eyes drifted over to the couple still far from them.

Her heart simultaneously ripped open in pain and swelled bright and warm.

There was nothing like being told you couldn’t have something, couldn’t even talk to it, to make you want it so much more.

Far off at home plate, Jasper had stepped up, ready to begin a few warm-up swings until everyone else was in place. The bat fell off of his shoulder as he chuckled, giving her a look that she refused to allow herself to read.

Rosalie responded by throwing the ball at full speed at his head. Which he caught with an open smirk.

She rolled her eyes.

She couldn’t help how she felt. She couldn’t help that she was feeling a lot more these days. Something had begun to change in those few evenings they spent together, even if they had rarely spent time together, and now on the other side of the kiss, everything was different. She was feeling, had to maybe admit that she had been feeling before.

Bella was back to ignoring her. Which was fine because Rose was ignoring her too. No, she was ignoring her first. She had gone back to how things had used to be, which suited her just fine… mostly. She had gone back to ignoring everything that had to do with Bella, and Bella it seemed, had decided to follow suit. The thing was, Rosalie was far better at it than Bella. Though they hadn’t spoken, though Bella and Edward had stuck to their lunch table across the room, Bella’s eyes seemed to always be on her.

The thought made her smirk into the misty afternoon. Bella and her gay ass.

Not that she was assuming Bella was gay, of course, but if they were mated then some part of Bella should be wearing a rainbow flag and listening to Ani Difranco.

There had been no communication between them at all after their game of tag around the Cullen property. Well, nothing except two very long, and for Rose gut-wrenching looks. Both had been intense enough to sear themselves into her memory, a secret shared between them that felt as large as an elephant.

The first had been just a day after their chase game.

Rosalie hadn’t decided yet how she was going to play things. This was her fault. She owed Bella an apology, a big one. More, she owed it to her to make it up to her, and she would. She was determined because she was Rosalie Hale, yes, but Rosalie Hale was not the bad person that everyone expected … or at least she tried hard not to be. All right, she was a work in progress, but that was at least something.

She had been running a little late that morning and so, purse over her shoulder, she was rushing down the hallways, trying to make it to class before the bell rang. After all, the school had its eye on her right now. She felt Bella before she even saw her. She turned the corner and breathed in deeply, her chest filling with that longing that she had to immediately tamper down. It made her nervous. Edward couldn’t usually taste the feeling of her thoughts, but what if –

She looked up and here she came. Walking the opposite way down the hall, Rosalie’s eyes drifted to her and stuck. Bella’s eyes had already been on her, despite all of the people between them, and Rose found that she couldn’t look away. It was as though she had been caught. She kept walking on autopilot, trying to read every flicker of Bella’s eyes, struck by the cacophony of things that passed across her face.

Bella… her mind had whispered. Bella, Bella, Bella…

She had stopped breathing as Bella’s rich brown eyes held hers. She had wanted too much, to say so much, to hug her. She had never hugged her and she wanted to know what it was like. She wanted to feel Bella.

Rose took another step and she and Bella drew even, side by side for a fleeting moment, Rosalie staring down at Bella and Bella looking up.

Rosalie’s head want swam with want. She could see Bella holding her breath and so Rose did the same in response.

They looked at one another, the rest of the school forgotten, the gaze heavy and speaking of so much.

Then she had taken another step, putting her just past Bella and the spell had broken.

It was as though the world had been doused in cold water. She blinked, feeling vaguely empty, and had rushed off at top speed, unnerved by the power of what she had just felt.

She had only gone a few steps before she ducked into an empty classroom and leaned against the wall, not breathing, not blinking. She had worked so hard once on her human façade, on not looking like a vampire, but at that moment, her teeth had been bared, her body too still, her eyes too wide. The desire to go back, to steal her, to carry her away just so she could keep her close had been overwhelming.

It had taken her a very long moment before she could be human again, and even longer moments before she could pull the mask of I-don’t-care back on.

That was when the fury came. That was when she had decided that she would no longer acknowledge Bella.

It was dangerous.

How dare she make her want her so badly. How dare she do this to her mind and body. She had groaned against the wall, imagining so many things, and then she had cleared her head and stomped off to class.

The other time had been much of the same. She had been sitting at the Cullen table, as usual, the first to arrive. She hadn’t intended to look up when she felt her enter, and yet her body and mind seemed to do nothing she requested anymore. She had looked up and caught Bella’s eye. Just like the time before, she had been stuck like a bug on fly tape. The weight of everything unspoken was too much, making their gaze heavy.

It had only ended when Emmett, noticing her lack of breath, had snapped his fingers in front of her face.

That had been it.

That would always be it.

They weren’t friends anymore.

That one moment of weakness when Rosalie had allowed, that one moment where she had wondered if there could be more, that was over too.

And now she was back to this. The Christmas break had come, cutting off her access to Bella, and she had been both furious and thankful.

She snarled as the ball went whizzing right by her ear, so close that it stirred her hair. Her eyes snapped away from Bella’s face and back to Alice.

“Hey, I wasn’t paying attention!”

“Yeah, I saw that!” Alice shot right back at her, a look of anger on her face barely hidden under her faux laughter. The message was clear: I see you looking at Edward’s girlfriend. Stop it.

She threw the ball back, harder than necessary, glowing as Edward and Bella finally making it to the group.

“Bring it in, guys!” Carlisle called and as a group, they made their way to Esme.

Without saying anything, Emmett came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. Rose was thankful. Emmett, for his part, had been amazing all week. He had held her a lot, without asking for more. She was thankful for the support, both literally and metaphorically as she leaned back against his broad chest.

“Sorry it took us so long,” Edward grinned at them, Bella by his side. “Human pace.”

Bella flushed but said nothing.

Rosalie rolled her eyes, annoyance spiking. She didn’t know why she was annoyed that Bella was there, but the annoyance was sharp as her eyes fell back onto Bella’s face, unable to stay away.

She studied her, watching Bella not look at her, the same feeling that had sprung up every time she was on her mind for days now beginning to filter in.

Anger.

Anger was something familiar to Rose, she felt it often, but this week, she wasn’t sure she understood it. She felt it, as sure as she was 5’9 and blonde. But why? She didn’t know.

Her eyes flicked back to Carlisle, who was separating them into two small teams, and then back to Bella, another feeling climbing up.

Longing, and ugh, annoying and ridiculous happiness. She was happy she was there. She was angry she was there.

Bella’s eyes shifted away from Carlisle and directly, fiercely into her, glaring at her in a role reversal so startling that Rosalie’s gaze dropped.

She turned, her look suddenly turning into a hard glare that the whole family saw, and walked away as if Bella joining them had been too much for her delicate sensibilities.

Which, it was, but that was beside the point.

“Rose, I haven’t put you on—”

“I don’t care whose team I’m on!” Rosalie bit back at Carlisle. He looked startled by her sudden venom.

“Rose!” Esme chastised. She just picked up a baseball bat and swung it, feeling those warm eyes on her. It was a fitting feeling, she thought. Bella’s eyes made you think of warmth. Chocolate melted on your fingertips. Earth, warm from the sun. Soil, rich with life and nutrients. Freshly brewed coffee, strong and smooth. It was fitting that she felt them on her like a warm caress.

She swung the bat again and again, putting herself first in the lineup as the rest of the teams sighed at her behavior and started to their assigned areas.

Behind her Bella sat beside Esme, listening as Esme chattered on and on about Edward’s talent on the field.

She wanted to gag.

She could so take Edward. Yeah, he could see her thoughts, and yeah, he was probably the fastest, but that didn’t help during the game. He had no finesse.

In the outfield, Edward shook his head, offended.

‘Suck a dick, Edward’, she thought which made him stumble in shock.

She smirked. ‘Oh, let me guess. A lady doesn’t speak in such a way, right?’

He stared back at her, his look saying that yes, that was exactly what he thought.

Her hands on the bat, she stepped up to the plate, ready to prove that Edward didn’t have anything that she did also have. She glanced back, sending the two referees a cocky grin. She had moved fast when she looked back, could move far faster than Bella and so it took Bella second of time before her eyes moved… from Rosalie’s ass in her very tight baseball pants.

Elated, her grin grew.

Bella’s look was startled as it moved up to her face. She saw Rosalie’s grin and the expression on her face changed. It grew cold, hard.

Rosalie’s smirk faded. She wasn’t hurt, she insisted to herself, she wasn’t.

She turned back to Alice on the pitcher’s mound. “Can’t fucking do anything without her joining us,” she grumbled, knowing it had been loud enough to carry, lashing out to hide her knife wound in her chest.

“Don’t listen to her,” Esme promised Bella behind her. “We’re all happy you’re here.”

Rosalie scoffed.

The ball came at her and, definitely not trying to show off, she whacked it for all it was worth. The ball soared through the air, making Edward take off toward the trees.

 


 

She was not trying to show off all game. She wasn’t. If she felt herself wanting to purr every time that Bella’s eyes watched her instead of Edward then it was just coincidence. If she fought against Edward harder than usual, specifically hitting so he couldn’t catch it, running harder when he was the one on base, it wasn’t for any real reason.

Thank god, Edward for his own point, was trying desperately to show off for Bella, because her thoughts kept slipping to Bella as they played.

She turned and ran, seeing that there was no way that Emmett’s hit would stay close to home. She ran for all she was worth, hearing the ball flying through the air. She hit the trees, tearing through them, her hand outstretched. The bell fell into it with ease.

“Out,” Esme called the moment she stepped through the trees. Rosalie smirked at him.

Even though she had just gotten him out, he grinned at her, proud of her skill.

 


 

She was in the outfield as it happened. Carlisle had just stepped up to the plate, the bat delicately clasped in his hands. She was bent over, ready to run any way the ball came, so she was at a far enough distance to see perfectly the moment Alice suddenly rose from her spot as catcher.

She knew before anyone else reacted that something had just gone very wrong.

Alice ripped her mask from her face, dropping it without notice as she staggered to Jasper, who had appeared beside her in the blink of an eye.

She stayed in the outfield for a little longer, watching her family form a huddle of panic, unable to move.

She could feel it, could feel it in her gut. It was about Bella. Suddenly and without question, Alice had seen something and now Bella was in danger.

“Came you make it?” Carlisle hissed.

Dread wormed its way through her, making her glance between their faces, but most of all making her look at Bella.

The strangers that Alice had seen, they were coming.

Oh god.

She took a shaky breath, something like panic swirling.

“No, not carrying.”

Rosalie’s eyes snapped to him from her spot far from the rest. What? Of course he could. He could! Bella wasn’t hard to carry. If he took her now, they could be back at the house before anyone arrived. She wasn’t so breakable. She could handle an intense speed for ten seconds or so. She wasn’t so breakable, damn it, and god, she was so breakable.

She looked into Bella’s face, suddenly unable to ignore how thin her skin looked compared to theirs, or the blue veins that ran this way and that. It would take so little to break her, so very little.

He should run. He could run. He could get her safely out. He could go the opposite direction, deeper into the forest and away from the threat until it passed or even circle around through the town before heading back to the house. He could hold her differently. He could run faster. He had to do something, her mind shouted. He had to do something because Bella was in danger. She was in danger, and Rose… Rose could do nothing about it. Protecting her, it was on him. What did he mean he couldn’t get her out safely? What did it say about him?

Her legs finally unfroze, propelled by her desperation, and she raced to the huddle. “But—”

Beside her, Carlisle heard his answer and nodded slowly as if it were sage wisdom.

But he could, her mind shouted. He had to. He had to!

From beside her, she felt a wave of soporific calm wash over her. She fought it, glaring at Jasper. She didn’t want to be manipulated. She didn’t want to be told how to feel. Bella wasn’t safe! She wanted to reach forward, to take her. She could make it, even if Edward couldn’t. Her hands went out, ready to snatch her in her panic. Another wave hit her and Jasper shook his head a little.

Her hands, frozen in midair dropped back to her sides.

He was right, she thought, the sanity that had so suddenly left her, coming back. If she did that, everything would be out in the open. They would want to know why. Edward wouldn’t allow her to go. She would have to prove that her claim on Bella outstripped his own.

Agitated, she shifted from foot to foot.

“You catch, Esme,” Edward instructed.

The rest of the group began to move back to their positions but Rosalie didn’t, couldn’t move.

She couldn’t understand this. They were going to simply hide her in plain sight? Was he stupid?

“Rose,” Emmett called and she jumped, tearing her eyes away from Bella.

She couldn’t do anything.

From across the field, Bella met her eyes.

What did she see in them, Rose wondered. Did she see how much she wanted, needed to protect her?

“Take your hair down,” Edward said in a low voice and Rosalie shifted again.

No, stupid boy! No! He was being so dumb, she groused. Didn’t the idiot understand? Her face was hidden now, but her scent, that wonderful intoxicating, beautiful scent was so much stronger as the wind caught her hair.

The game started again, but it wasn’t only Rosalie who couldn’t focus. How was she supposed to do this? She felt herself shifting her place constantly without a thought, moving toward Bella and coming in far too close for the outfield. No one seemed to care.

Jasper hit the ball softly and it rose into the air and then fell, bouncing once. She caught it with ease and tossed it to Emmett, her eyes barely leaving Bella’s pale face.

She was scared.

Why was no one doing anything about the fact that Bella was scared? Edward was right there, so close to her. He could reach out to her, he could hold her. Instead, he sat with his eyes scanning the trees, his back to her.

The ball was hit again and Rose plucked it from the sky, sending it back to Alice so fast and hard in her agitation that it smoked a little when it struck her palm.

Bella’s face, half-hidden behind her hair, was stricken.

Why didn’t anyone tell her that this wasn’t her fault? Why didn’t anyone tell her that this would have been tricky even without her? She looked so upset. New vampires in their area was always a delicate matter. More vampires meant the treaty with the wolves became even more strained. Asking newcomers to refrain from hunting nearby was always hard as it usually ruffled feathers. They would be nervous either way, why didn’t someone tell Bella that?

She shifted a little closer, hating the feeling on her skin. She was antsy, wanting to move but unable, locked into her pretense.

She had no idea who was winning now, her competitiveness forgotten. She only caught the ball when it came toward her and threw it back, the majority of her mind on other things.

She heard the moment that the newcomers stepped into their hearing range. Everyone stiffened. Emmett hit the ball lightly when it was thrown, but the hit was so soft that the ball barely made it to third base. He didn’t even try to run.

She could hear the unfamiliar feet behind her, the leaves barely crunching under their steps. It spoke to who they were that they barely made a sound. They were nomads, yes, but they were also hunters. The steps came closer and Rosalie turned to look with everyone else, fighting her desire to run to Bella.

Bella, her mind chanted, Bella, Bella, Bella…

But after all, Emmett had been right. As they stepped through the trees and into the grey light, Rosalie felt herself breathe again. They didn’t seem at all equally matched. In fact, they were tiny compared to Emmett, and graceless compared to Esme.

The Cullens all drew in, near to the bleachers where Bella sat but also a safe distance away. Rosalie scooted in as close as she could without anyone noticing, just needing to be near her.

Rosalie watched with sharp eyes as they spoke, going steadily to Bella, between the newcomers and back.

Bella was trying not to cower behind Edward, Rosalie thought, but she was also trying to remain completely unnoticeable. She was succeeding and that helped settle Rosalie’s nerves.

She could almost breathe, could almost step away from Bella’s side when the wind blew.

She knew even before the stranger reacted, how it was going to go. He curled down into a crouch as if to spring and Rosalie couldn’t help her reaction. She hissed, hot and fast. She couldn’t help it, couldn’t stop the reaction. Her teeth bared as he called her a snack. She wanted to launch herself at him, to wrap her legs around his neck and squeeze, pulling his head off and throwing it across the field. He would not touch her. Around her, the rest of the Cullen’s did something similar, her reaction lost in theirs. Unlike the others, she didn’t relax from the edge as Carlisle talked things down, didn’t step away from the moment when she could kill him, even as they made a plan of what to do next.

“We’ll show you the way. Jasper, Rosalie, Esme?”

Rose’s head whipped up as Carlisle called her, feeling wild, feral in her rage. She had just taken a step toward Edward and Bella, ready to protect her, unable to leave her side. She stared at her father figure in disbelief. He wanted her to escort these strangers back? Her animalistic golden eyes shot to him, to Bella, to Edward, to the strangers, to Bella. Her lips were still curled back in the tiniest snarl, more vampire than human.

Edward seemed entirely unaware of her. He turned, nodding toward Carlisle. His hand on Bella’s arm too tight and she let out a small squeak of pain.

The sound shot into Rosalie, a bestial reaction to her pain, even so small, was almost impossible to stop.

Edward pulled Bella, his hand gentler as he ushered her back the way they had come.

She watched them retreat, sick. She had protected her. She had to be with her. She couldn’t just let her walk away. In agony, she swallowed a moan, desperation and longing rippling through her. She had to protect Bella. She was her mate. She had to keep her safe. She had to be the one to keep her safe.

“Rose?” Carlisle called, his voice very measured. He was waiting for her to show these monsters back to her home, but she couldn’t fucking move. She looked to Alice beside Bella and saw that her face was resigned as if it had already happened, as if Bella were already lost.

It made her want to scream.

She wanted to trade places with her, to go. She was assigned as far away from Bella as she could be and she knew why. Everyone thought she hated her.

She couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe.

Emmett, his body half hiding Bella, glanced back when Carlisle called her again. She met his eyes, with panic.

He saw it and he seemed to understand. His eyes grew soft, warm, but all at once fierce. His teeth bared, and Rose understood. ‘Don’t worry, babe, I got this’ his look said.

Emmett. Beautiful, wonderful Emmett.

“Rose.” This time it was Jasper. He stepped up and touched her elbow, instantly calming her.

Her stiff shoulders slumped, the panic that blinded her softened and she was able to look away.

“Come.”

She nodded at him and with one last glance she turned to escort these monsters that wanted her Bella.