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

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It wasn’t all of the time, but on occasion, Rosalie deeply missed the ability to sleep. It was such a handy way to reset emotional states. She had seen humans do it. She had seen them go to bed in a state of emotional wreck and wake up like magic as if nothing had happened. She envied that. Unable to find an emotional reset, she had spent the night curled up, first in her window seat, and then under the blankets of her bed, her thoughts sad and slow.

She had finally risen when the sun was high, the day ready to begin. She had slowly dressed and gotten into her car for school because it was what she was supposed to do. She didn’t feel any better.

She couldn’t shake it.

There was just no way to know, was there? That was the worst part of this. There was absolutely no way to know.

Could she trust anything Bella said she felt? Could she trust the amazement Rose had seen on her face when she had leaned down and kissed her the day before?

She got out of the car in the parking lot, her face still stony, her stomach stressed. Emmett had tried to find out what was wrong on the drive over, able to sense it if not place it, but she had just shaken her head.

She didn’t want to explain. She didn’t want him to tell her not to think that way, because the promises that she would hear from him that Bella’s feelings were real were all empty. He didn’t know any more than she did. None of them really knew the toll the mate bond took on an unknowing human.

Her heels made wet clicking noises on the asphalt as she started toward the sidewalk, her chin high, her shoulders squared despite or maybe because of the feeling of unease.

For once it wasn’t raining and Rosalie was thankful. She already felt bogged down enough without having to worry about an umbrella or her hair.

She stepped onto the sidewalk along the parking lot and spotted Bella wrapped up in a thick coat and waiting under an awning just to the side of the quad.

For the briefest of moments, Rose considered not going to her. Her feet paused in their steps. There would be no way for them to move through their day together like usual without this coming up. It was impossible.

She swallowed thickly and started toward Bella. She would just have to do her best.

“What, no silver beauty this morning?” Bella asked, her grin a little crooked.

“What?” Rosalie frowned. “Oh.” She glanced back at the parking lot, understanding that Bella was asking after the fact that Rose drove the M3. “No. I don’t trust teenage drivers not to scratch her.”

Bella just nodded, her eyes trained on Rosalie’s face. “You okay?”

There was a shrewd look on Bella’s face, she was seeing everything that Rose was trying to hide.

Her jaw worked as she stared back at Bella. She supposed that she wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding it then.

How could she?

The thought that everything with Bella might be empty was ripping her insides apart.

Bella’s face slowly drifted from curious to uncomfortable as Rosalie remained silent, her grip on her crutches becoming too tight for comfort. Rose watched the slow change, at a loss for words. She was doing a bad job at this, and her heart ached for it. The problem was, her heart ached more at the thought of everything between them being empty.

“Did I do something yesterday?” Bella finally asked, her jaw tight.

Rose sighed, pulling her gently down onto the bench beside them. “No, Bella, it’s not that.” She glanced at her and then away, her thoughts burning her. What would she do if this were true? The more she thought about it the more she thought it was inevitable. She was a perfect monster, made to draw Bella in. She winced, her teeth biting down on the inside of her cheek. Her eyes dropped with the weight of her sadness, looking down at her hands clasped in her lap. “It’s… complicated.”

Bella glanced around. “Try me? We’re mostly alone. I don’t think anyone would hear. Or we could go back to the car.” She shivered a little and Rose smiled a little.

“Is that just an excuse to be in my heater?”

Bella smiled a little, but the smile did not reach her eyes. “Maybe a little bit.”

Rosalie nodded, trying to force a smile. Instead, she looked at her again, long and sad.

“Rose…”

She sighed and leaned back against the wall, head turned toward Bella. “I don’t know how to talk to you about it, Bella.”

“Just try. Please?”

Just try. It wasn’t hard, and yet it was. “It’s just hard to know, I think.”

“What is?”

Eyes avoiding her mate, she did her best. It wasn’t fair. She wasn’t a bad communicator, but this felt like an accusation as much as it felt like a worry. “Sometimes I wonder if a human can really…” but her words trailed off. Bella sat, waiting and so Rose tried again. “Do you miss Edward?” She ignored the alarm on Bella’s face and pushed forward. “I know it’s only been a few months, but do you?”

The small worried smile that was on Bella’s lips faded, her eyes searching Rose’s. “Is that what this is about? Him?” Her face said that she hadn’t thought this was on Rose’s mind at all, which was fair because what it came down to was that it wasn’t. She just had no idea how to ask if Bella was just enthralled with Rose because she was a beautiful and inviting vampire.

The silence grew as Bella’s pinched face looked back at her. It seemed to swell with Bella’s non-answer.

Finally, slowly, with a thick swallow that was audible to Rose, Bella nodded once.

Rosalie just looked back at her, both surprised and hurt. It hadn’t been what she meant to ask, but now she was glad she knew. She didn’t want to know, she didn’t like the answer, and the answer hurt. But she knew now. Surely if it had just been Edward’s ability to draw in his prey that had enthralled Bella then she wouldn’t miss him, correct? Yes, it was true that the ability to enthrall rested predominately with Rosalie. That was what her beauty did for her. But there had to be enough there that Bella would have felt it from Edward too.  

She swallowed and looked out into the quad, the pain of it burning her insides. As she watched the first few drops of rain began for the day and the kids on the quad scampered. It was funny how squeamish they could be for living in a city where it rained daily.

She could feel the intensity of Bella’s stare on the side of her face. It was like a physical touch, prodding her. But she didn’t look back. She wanted the hurt out of her eyes before she did. “That makes sense,” she told the quad. “You love him.” Had Bella noticed the way that her voice had broken? She hoped she hadn’t.

From her periphery, she saw Bella shift.

She loved him. It had been something that Rosalie had forgotten. I hadn’t been long since Edward left, and she had thought they were progressing well, but she had forgotten the horrible detail that Bella had… did… love her brother. That horrible, sickening, disgusting, heartbreaking detail. God, she wanted to curl up under her blankets again and hide. She wanted to disappear into something safe and warm, into a movie she loved, or perhaps into a meditative state, the closest to sleep she could get. She wanted to hide from that one little nod, from that truth she wanted so badly to deny.

“You love him,” she said again, softly, heavily. She said it as a reminder, as a roadblock to keep her own emotions in check. When she had kissed her the day before she had forgotten that in the end, she was Rosalie Hale. Life didn’t have many good things planned for her. Her life, her existence was punishment for who she was as a human, starting with her brutal death and continuing now with an ever-punishing vengeance.

“I don’t know.”

“What?” Her head whipped around, perhaps a little too fast for normal human abilities, startled by that response.

Bella wasn’t looking at her, but instead at the ground, her shoulders slumped.

“Bella, what do you mean?”

She sighed down at her knees. “I…”

Rose waited, not daring to hope.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot since… you.” She glanced up at Rose, her face twisted as if she would rather not be having this talk, and yet she didn’t try to evade it. “I think that if I miss him, it’s because he gave me something I’d never had before.”

The sneer that ripped across Rose’s face was hard and harsh. Had she been wrong? Had Edward touched her? Had he given her something that Rosalie now couldn’t? Had he taken something from Bella and therefore taken it from Rose?

“Oh,” was all Rosalie could think to say.  

“But I don’t know if that meant I was actually in love with him, Rose.” The words spilled out of Bella fast, tumbling over one another in their hurry to get out.

“I thought…” Rose stammered, hating herself for doing it. “I thought that he had refused.”

Bella glanced at her, wide-eyed. “No, not that!” Her cheeks went red. “He didn’t – we didn’t - No, I meant, ugh, I meant like…”

Rose was frozen on the bench beside her, eyes on her hands in her lap, waiting to hear what Bella would say.  

“Like, I’ve been thinking about it a lot since you kissed me. …The first time. …So even before he left and something just… I don’t know, it didn’t feel right.”

Rose didn’t move.

Bella turned a little in her seat so she was facing her, sudden desperation in her voice as if she needed Rose to understand. “We were supposed to be mates, right? That’s what Edward told me. Like Alice and Jasper and you and Emmett. We… what?”

Rose didn’t realize she was shaking her head until Bella mentioned it. She stopped, a little embarrassed, distraught.

“What is it?”

“Emmett and I were never mates, Bella.”

“Oh.” Bella’s eyebrows furrowed into confusion. “But…”

Rose just shook her head again, realizing as she did that this was something that she had never talked to Bella about. For all Bella knew, she and Emmett were still together. For all that Bella knew…

“Wow,” she mumbled to herself.

“What?”

“Bella, I’m sorry, I never thought to talk to you about this. Emmett and I were never mates. We always chose to be together, but we knew that there was a chance one or both of us would meet our mate one day. I used to think it would never happen, but now I think it was an inevitability.” She glanced at Bella, who seemed stunned. “Emmett and I don’t even share a room anymore. Not since… well, it’s been a while.”

“Oh.”

She glanced at her again, appraising. “So Edward told you that you were a mated pair?” she prompted, unwilling to let the topic be lost.

“Yeah, he did. But, I don’t know. Have you ever seen the way that Alice and Jasper look at one another? Nothing else exists for them.”

“And?”

Bella shifted again, wrapping herself tighter in her jacket. She was obviously cold. She debated with the back of her mind agreeing to move this back to the M3. The heat would be nice for Bella and would help calm her too, but she worried if they moved it would break Bella’s spell of honesty.

“And I think about you a lot.” It was only a whisper, but Rosalie’s ears picked it out over the rising sounds of other students around them easily. Before Rose could respond, Bella barreled on.

“About me?”

“Yes?”

Rosalie swallowed. “Since when?”

Bella squirmed, her face losing its color, going white with the gravity of her answer. “Since that first day I saw you guys in the cafeteria.”

Rosalie rocked back a little, dazed.

“I’ve always had to be responsible, you know?”

Bella looked up and Rose was delighted and startled to see that steel in her face, the one that always so pleasantly surprised her.

“I’ve always had to make sure my mom was taken care of because she couldn’t do it herself. My dad too, especially since I got here. He just never stopped being sad that my mom left him and so it was my job to make sure he was okay when I was here.”

Rose nodded. It was something she had already noticed. “No one has ever taken care of you.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I love them,” she insisted, a little frantic.

Rosalie nodded again. “I know. Don’t worry. I know.”

Bella cleared her throat, her eyes dropping again as the panic left them. “I think Edward felt good because he… did.”

Rose just grunted, unwilling to voice her own opinions.

Bella’s lips twisted into a small smile. “Yeah,” she agreed with Rosalie’s unspoken words. “That’s the thing, isn’t it?”

Rose watched her with interest. Bella’s mind was such an intriguing thing. It never worked exactly how Rose expected it to.

“He didn’t just take care of me. He controlled me.”

Rosalie’s lips thinned into a tight line.

“I couldn’t make any choices. I couldn’t think for myself. I just blindly did what he told me because he expected it and because if I didn’t then he got mad or sarcastic.”

“You went from one extreme to the other.”

Bella shrugged a shoulder, her body language uncomfortable. “And then he left. I thought he loved me, but he left without any problem.”

Rosalie nodded, looking away again. She had no idea what to say to that, other than that she would never do that. And Bella didn’t need to hear that just then. “Did you and Edward ever break up, Bella?”

“You mean, officially?”

Rose nodded. She had been there for those last conversations. In her opinion, they had constituted a breakup, but she had never asked Bella what she thought. Had they been courting when Bella still considered herself Edward’s?  

Bella’s bottom lip pushed out as she thought. “I guess we didn’t say those words exactly, but yeah, there was a conversation right after the hospital.”

Rose nodded absently.

“Even if we didn’t officially break up though, I think it was over. I think I was ready for it to be over. But he left. That’s a breakup moment, right?”

“Don’t ask me,” Rose scoffed, the venom in her voice a little too sharp. She winced but Bella didn’t seem to notice.

Bella laughed a little. “Gee, thanks.”

Rose gave her a small side smile, the mood breaking a little. That was good, Rose thought, the campus was beginning to fill. The bell was going to ring any minute. Did she feel better? She wasn’t sure.

“Did you have fun yesterday?”

Bella’s response surprised her. Rose stared as Bella’s cheeks went from pink to red, to purple under her gaze.

Her mouth dropped open, half in a laugh.

A few guys walking by caught the look on Bella’s face and began to laugh, making her squirm.

Rosalie glared at them. Their smiles dropped and they moved a lot quicker.

“What, are you feeling shy, Bella?”

“Oh my god! Shut up!” Bella cried, covering her face.

“Is it because we kissed?” Rose teased, knowing full well it was. Something Bella had said must have made her feel better because teasing Bella now felt too good. “Is it because you kissed me?”

Bella groaned a little behind her hands.

“Don’t’ be shy!” Rose cried, pulling her hand from her face. “It was good.”

Bella’s hands shifted so owlish eyes could stare at her.

She shrugged. “It was. I liked it. You’ll never hear me say that kissing yo- err, that kissing isn’t fun.”

Bella, it seemed, had heard her near slip though. She beamed at her.

Rose smiled back.

After a long pregnant moment, Bella finally blinked, breaking their eye contact. “Right. So. Um. About that. I was wondering. I mean, I wanted to ask, um, what are you doing tonight?”

Rose just shrugged, doing her best to look nonchalant whereas inside she was bouncing up and down. Was Bella about to ask her on a date? Or even just to spent time together outside of school? “Curing cancer,” she teased.

Bella’s face fell into stunned confusion. “Wait, really?” She sounded almost panicked, as if the thought of the Cullens coming up with the cure for cancer in their living room was more than Bella would be able to handle.

Rosalie rolled her eyes. “Obviously not.”

“Not obviously!” Bella cried. “You never know with you guys!”

“What did you want, Bella?” Rose asked, putting her back on track, laughing as she did.

Bella’s eyes widened a little again. “Errr. Right.” She began to fidget in her seat. She stood, wrapping her jacket tighter around herself again and shifted from foot to foot as best her boot would allow.

Rose looked up at her from her seat, suspicion growing. She had this wrong, it seemed. What the hell could be making Bella so nervous? “Is something wrong with your truck?” She asked, guessing.

“What? No. No, I’m not trying to ask you to work on my truck. Ugh, I’m – I was wondering, do you want to – I mean, wanna come over tonight? To, err, my house. With me.”

Rose eyed her. “Sure…” she said slowly, not understanding exactly what the big deal was. There had to be more.

Bella’s shoulders slumped, taking a deep breath for the first time.

“What time?”

“Err, after dinner? Like six?”

Rose just nodded. “Okay.” She said slowly. “I’ll be there at six.”

Overhead the bell went off and Bella jumped.

“Awesome. Err. Okay, great. Yeah. I should, uh, get to class.”

Soundlessly, Rose just nodded. She watched Bella rush off, still wondering why exactly an invite over should make Bella so nervous. It wasn’t because she was asking over, well, Rosalie-the-one-who-hates-her, right? They were past that, surely. Still, even though Bella had turned the corner and her wobbly fast pace had slowed a little, she could hear her heartbeat which was much too fast, much too hard.