Rose supposed, as she stepped out onto the porch listening to the truck rev and grumble down the drive toward their house, that she should have expected some change after the night before. She hadn’t thought of it, but now it seemed obvious and she was pleased.
Bella’s grin was sheepish as she parked and hopped out. Well, hopped as much as her booted leg would allow, which wasn’t much.
Rose smirked, leaning against the column of the porch, her arms crossed. “Couldn’t stay away, huh?”
Bella’s eyes rolled, her feet dragging a little in an embarrassment that wasn’t quite strong enough to get her feet to stop moving.
“All right, babe!” Emmett called from inside making them both chuckle.
“You busy?” Bella asked, her hands digging into her back pockets.
“Of course I’m busy,” Rosalie smirked, bratty. “You should have called first.”
Bella’s shoulder rose and fell, her posture leaning a little to the side as her nose scrunched at her. “I still don’t have your number.”
Rose shrugged and didn’t answer. Instead, her teeth bit her lip, looking Bella up and down without shame, remembering all the ways she had touched her the night before.
Bella went pink, but she didn’t look away.
“So you’re busy then?” Bella asked as she joined her on the porch, her attitude telling her that she didn’t believe it for a second.
“Of course. Curing cancer, and all.”
“Uh-huh,” Bella nodded, still holding her eye contact.
Rosalie’s already large smile grew, challengingly holding the gaze that hadn’t yet been broken.
Bella’s eyebrows dropped into a line, tight as if Bella wasn’t sure exactly how to greet her. It made her bite a little harder on her lip hoping to hide the smirk that couldn’t be hidden. Throwing her a bone, she reached out a hand. Looking relieved Bella took it, and Rose intertwined their fingers. “How about a movie?”
As expected, Rose felt the blush more than she saw it. It made her laugh. “One we actually watch.”
Rose gave their hands a little tug and then let them go so that Bella could navigate, ignoring the smug looks on Alice and Jasper’s faces as they caught sight of the two of them.
She paused in the living room for a fraction of a second, debating. Her first instinct was to take her up to her movie room, but if they did that then there was no way they would watch the movie. That wasn’t bad, but she also thought she might not be able to stop herself as Charlie’s interruption the night before had so succinctly done and Bella’s maiden — Bella’s first time deserved more attention and preparation than that.
“Take a seat,” she said with a smile, gently pushing Bella toward the couch across from the TV.
First, she went to the freestanding fireplace just beside the couch and crouched. She was far too into Bella’s personal space, leaning with her body touching Bella’s so she could reach for the gas. She looked up, aware that Bella was looking down at her from a close distance. Feeling something crackling between them, Rosalie winked.
Across the room, there was a smack as a book fell from Esme’s hand, her face gleeful.
Fully aware of Esme’s shock, Rose then went to the kitchen and popped a bag of the microwave popcorn that Bella loved so much, only growling at its stink once. With vampire speed, she ran up to her room while it popped and picked a DVD, the first she found that sounded good.
She handed it to her with a smile and then pushed her a little, so she was as close to the glass that incased the fire as possible and then she sat beside her.
They didn’t touch, and yet Rosalie could feel the zing passing between them when she pulled up her legs and crossed them, putting her knee an inch from Bella’s leg.
“So this is The Philadelphia Story,” Rosalie told her. “It was released in 1940 with Kathrine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, and Cary Grant.” Bella nodded while Rosalie gushed. “It’s an amazing cast.”
The credits began to roll and Rose couldn’t help but notice that as Bella took a bite of popcorn and leaned back, she also leaned a little closer to Rose. Warmth pressed against Rosalie’s arm, making her chew the inside of her cheek to hide her smile.
Esme, coming back out of the library, paused just inside the door. She didn’t try to hide her appraisal, making Rosalie feel like they were on display.
She pretended not to notice, instead sighing as Kathrine Hepburn came on screen. “You know,” she leaned a little closer to Bella, scooting in so their bodies were flush, “there’s something about her that’s just so… sexy.”
Swallowing a bit of popcorn down, Bella laughed. “You know, Rose, you’re pretty gay for a woman who has never been with a woman.”
From upstairs there was a loud booming roar of a laugh that could only be Emmett’s.
Tinkling her own laughter, Alice skipped back down the stairs. “Movie?” She asked and folded herself into the far end of the couch. “Oooh, Jimmy Stewart.”
Bella gave her a side look that Rose was sure was meant to point out that as a woman who had only been with men, that’s what she should have sounded like.
Rose sent her a dry glare that could only read, ‘do you really want me to sound like that?’
Bella’s nose scrunched and she looked back to the screen.
Soon Jasper joined Alice, scooting her so that she was cuddled into her lap. Then Esme joined them, sitting on the floor until Jasper insisted took their spot on the couch. It was strange, so much of Rose was annoyed by this. She supposed if she wanted time with Bella then she should have put the movie on in her room after all. And yet, there was something nice about this too. She thought that maybe she understood now why Edward had insisted so often on bringing Bella over. It was kind of nice to have her mate, though that wasn’t the title they were using so, her girlfriend… perhaps… with her family.
With a somewhat nervous glance, Rose reached over and carefully took Bella’s hand.
Bella beamed at her.
Things did indeed change from then on. The next day, Rosalie met her on the porch again, though they had made no plans to spend more time together. Bella approached looking nervous and anxious and it made Rose wonder. Had the kissing changed something? Could Bella feel that pull now, that desire to be near? Or was she just coming over because they were almost dating?
The next morning she parked the M3, missing her other baby dearly, and found Bella standing in the rain just beside her truck. Her face was almost buried under her hood, but she could see her well enough to see the smile on her face.
Rose pulled out her umbrella and went to meet her, watching Bella rock back and forth from good toe to heel.
“Morning,” she smiled at her.
“Hey.” Bella twitched.
This they hadn’t figured out yet. When Bella had arrived the day before, Rose had simply taken her hand again. But today, on campus, things were a little different. Bella’s hand rose for a moment, faltered and fell as if she had wanted to reach out and touch Rose.
It was nice, she had to admit, to see Bella showing signs of feeling how Rose had always felt.
However, until Bella was ready for their relationship to be in the open, she was going to have to settle for something like this. She looked down at her and Bella looked up, their eyes locked for a long full moment.
Then they began to walk and it was almost enough.
There was going to be gossip, Rose knew. There was already gossip that at that point was just unsubstantiated, and she knew that Bella was aware of it now, but what teenagers thought was happening and what actually was, often was very different.
Walking shoulder to shoulder, their arms brushed in a flair of static electricity now and then. It made Rose’s skin tingle, it made her feel alive.
“Hmm?” Bella’s hooded head turned toward her as they stepped onto the curb, Rose pushing back up her a little when her boot nearly slipped.
“Would you like to go to prom with me?”
There was a yelp as Bella’s boot caught on something that Rose hadn’t noticed. With a shout, she began to fall. Rose caught her with ease and set her back on her feet yet again, but the expression on Bella’s face was one that made her think that Bella hadn’t even noticed her near fall.
“Prom? With you?”
“That’s what I said. It’s this upcoming weekend.”
The look on Bella’s face only grew more alarmed. Her skin had gone somewhat grey like she felt sick.
“No, I really don’t.”
Rose’s feet paused only for a moment, but it was long enough for Bella to notice.
“Not because it’s with you or because I don’t want people to know or anything!” Bella went on fast. “It’s just… I don’t want to go. I’ve skipped all the other dances this year and I was hoping I could skip this one too… maybe… please?”
Worried, she looked into her face for a sign that Bella wasn’t being truthful. She wasn’t sure of what exactly she would do if she found it, but thankfully as far as she could see, it wasn’t there. Instead, she just saw dread. Rose nodded. “All right.”
“Wait, do you want to go?” Bella asked, spinning toward her so fast that once more Rose had to steady her.
“Bella, until you get that boot off, perhaps you need to be a little more careful on your feet.”
Bella didn’t seem to care about that though. “Do you?”
She shrugged. “I would have gone if I were still with Emmett.” It was true, they would have gone. They had always gone to school dances before as an excuse to dance.
This time it was Bella who stopped walking, her face crestfallen. “So are you not going to go because of me? Or, oh, or do you want to um still go with—”
Rose smiled at her, a hand raising to cut off her stress. “Bella, I’ve been to so many proms that I can’t even remember them all. I’m okay missing this one.”
Bella looked like she wanted to argue.
“Would you like to do something instead? We could go to the movies or—”
“In Port Angeles?” Bella asked, her face suddenly alight.
“Yes.” Bella nodded once. “Yes, let’s do that.” Looking relieved, Bella began walking again, a smile on her face.
That night, Rose found herself leaning against the counter in Bella’s kitchen, watching as Bella dipped fish in batter and tossed it into the pan.
“Ugh, see, that smells better than that,” Rose insisted pointing first to the fish then to the pot of potatoes.
Bella just laughed. “That’s because a fish at least had blood at one point.”
Rose gave a small nod of accent. “I still can’t imagine eating it.”
Bella gave a snort. “Yeah, well, I can’t imagine eating your favorite food either!”
Teasing, Rose gave her a snarl of a smile that showed all of her teeth. “Don’t knock it until you try it.”
Bella shook her head a little, placing another piece of fish in the pan. “I’ll let you know,” was her dry response.
The front door opened, and Charlie stepped in looking tired.
“Good evening, Charlie.”
Unaware that Rose had been there, Charlie’s face went a little slack, his eyes blinking rapidly.
Bella made a noise of displeasure.
“Err, hello.” He nodded in her general direction, eyes averted.
Rosalie coughed a little to hide her laugh.
“Smells good, Bells. I, err, I’m gonna get changed.”
Arms crossed, Bella turned on her the moment Charlie’s bedroom door closed. “Can you stop doing that to my dad?” she hissed.
“What?” Rose cried, already feeling caught. “I’m just sitting here!”
“I know!” Bella cried, exasperated.
“What would you have me do exactly?”
Bella eyed her, continuing her dinner prep. “I don’t know. Can you put a bag over your head or something so my dad can function around you?”
“A bag?” Rosalie dryly bit, her vanity deeply offended. Her arms crossed, her jaw jutting. “You want me to put a bag over my head?”
“Yup.” Bella nodded, popping the P. “That way you’ll stop being every guy’s fantasy.”
Licking her lip a little, suddenly far less offended, Rose leaned across the space between them so she was just beside Bella’s ear. “Am I your fantasy?”
The audible gasp and shiver were the perfect reward and punishment, add to it that Bella’s heart literally skipped a beat and Rose was satisfied. Gently, she brushed her nose against the shell of Bella’s ear. The warmth that radiated from Bella’s face was dazzling.
“Shut up,” Bella grumbled.
Rose grinned when she realized she could smell that scent again, very lightly and yet there. She had aroused her, and she loved that fact. That was going to be a useful tool.
She hummed, wanting to pull her in again, but just before she could, Charlie’s footsteps started toward his door. She stepped away, her eyes still intense on Bella who was pretending she didn’t notice she had been zeroed in on like prey in the woods.
When dinner was finished cooking and Rose excused herself up to Bella’s room with the excuse that she had already eaten.
As she waited, she finished her homework for the day, a necessary evil and then she rested back against the bed, thinking of that scent, of Bella’s skipping heart until she heard Bella’s feet on the stairs.
She didn’t wait when Bella entered the room. The second she was in, she wrapped herself around her, pushing her up against the door and kissing her soundly.
She hummed. Bella had apparently stopped by the bathroom before coming in and her taste was minty and Bella.
Bella hitched out a small moan and melted as Rosalie kissed her hard enough to make Bella’s head bang a little on the door behind her.
Rosalie laughed a little, only pulling away enough to rub her nose across Bella’s soft cheek as she had wanted the day before.
She groaned a bit too loudly as her tongue ran across Bella’s throat.
Bella chuckled, shushing her while pressing herself harder into her.
Perhaps it was that she had been aroused for the last bit of time, perhaps it was just that this was their third time doing this now, but the desire rose in her fast this time, hitting her hard. She snarled, clamping her mouth closed. She wanted to bite, to snap, to force part of her into her.
Startled, she yanked away.
Hands still in Rosalie’s hair, Bella looked startled and guilty. “What’s wrong? What did I do?”
Rose smirked, trying to play off her sudden nerves. “You’re messing up my hair.”
“Oh.” Bella gently pulled her hands from the hair.
“I’m just teasing, Bella.” She smiled, kissing her again, and then again, her tongue gently brushing Bella’s. Her hands came up, running first over her waist and then up her ribs, planning entirely to cop a feel if Bella would let her.
Bella’s head fell back and then suddenly sprang forward, hissing.
“What’s wrong?” Rose asked, alarmed at the pain on her face.
“Nothing, I just bumped into something.”
“Really? How bad — Bella!” Before Bella had been able to protest, Rose had lifted her shirt to see where she was hurt.
Under one side of her bra, covering her ribs was a sizable purplish bruise.
Rosalie gasped, pulling away despite Bella’s arms trying hard to restrain her. “Bella! Oh my god! This is from me!” She remembered the moment clearly. She had known she had hurt her a little, but there was a clear mark here of a hand.
“I don’t mind!” Bella insisted, trying to pull her back but Rose wouldn’t go.
“Nooo, don’t mind,” Bella whined, stepping back into her space and kissing her neck. Rose didn’t move, didn’t respond, horrified and so Bella gave up. “Come on, I’m okay!”
“You’re injured! I injured you!”
“Hey!” Bella cried, wrapping her tightly into her arms.
Rosalie gasped, taken aback. This was new. Bella had never… and it was impossible not to melt into the embrace. She was holding her. She had just stepped up and wrapped her up like she was allowed to, which, she was, but even Bella seemed to understand that. Her head dropped to Bella’s shoulder, guilt making her stomach sick. “I hurt you!”
“It’s okay. You’re still getting used to me being human.”
She shifted, turning her face so it could bury against Bella’s throat. “You’re so fragile,” she sighed.
Rose wasn’t listening. She was going to have to get better at this. She couldn’t hurt Bella that way.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she thought that maybe Bella had said: “Not forever.”
It wasn’t long after that Rose started for home, leaving Bella to do her homework in peace. Bella protested, insisting that she wasn’t all of that hurt, but Rose wanted some time to think.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she promised, kissing her lightly and headed down the stairs.
The house was quiet when she walked in, everyone beginning their nightly activities.
She passed Alice and Jasper’s room on the way to hers and paused at their open door, knocking.
Alice looked up from the floor where she was playing a card game and frowned, “I no longer see you and Bella going to the prom.”
Rose chuckled a little, leaning against the door frame. “I asked her and she didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to make her. We’re going to the movies instead.”
Alice beamed. “Oh, she’ll enjoy that a lot more.”
Rose shifted in place, the habit to appear human so ingrained in her that she hadn’t even done it purposely. Worrying her lip, she asked, “Will she?”
Alice looked up again, her smile kind. “She will. She likes Junior Mints, by the way.”
Rose nodded, making a note of that, but still didn’t leave the doorway, playing with her fingers somewhat anxiously.
“What is it?”
She cleared her throat and stepped in, nodding a little at Jasper sitting on their large couch with a book. “Can I ask you a question?” She asked, sitting down on the opposite side of the couch beside her sister.
Jasper closed his book as Alice nodded.
These two were not the best to give her the answers she sought. After all, neither had been with a human. However, someone who had at the Cullen house was in very short supply. She thought that Tanya had been with a human once, but she didn’t think it had ended well with him. Plus, she and Tanya weren’t the type to exactly talk on the phone, given they didn’t like one another.
In a low and embarrassed voice, she told them about the desire she kept comping across, the desire to bite Bella.
“But I thought you didn’t want her blood?” Jasper asked, confused. “I’ve never felt that from you.”
“I don’t!” She insisted quickly, appalled at the idea of falling into the same category as Edward had. “I’ve never felt that.”
“Then I don’t—”
“It’s not about drinking from her.” She insisted. “It’s more like the physical act of sinking my teeth into her. Like...” While she couldn’t blush, she could feel the emotion behind it and she ducked her face as she admitted to her knees, “like I want my venom inside of her.”
Alice and Jasper exchanged a look that didn’t make Rose feel any less embarrassed. Alice’s head cocked. “Carlisle?” She asked in her normal speaking voice.
A second later he stepped, into the doorframe, scratching at his chin thoughtfully. “I’m not sure, Rose.”
She wasn’t surprised he had heard. She knew he was somewhat fascinated with the topic of she and Bella, and it wasn’t as though everyone in the house wasn’t able to hear her.
She ran a hand through her hair, huffing moodily.
“As Esme told you before, this situation is somewhat —”
“Unprecedented,” Rose, Alice, and Jasper said all at once.
Carlisle chuckled. “I guess I’ve said it on one or two occasions, have I?”
Rose chuckled darkly. “Just once or twice.”
“The problem I face is that while I know this has happened in the past, I personally have not seen it and so a lot of my thoughts are just speculation.”
“So, if you had to guess? Is it just that she’s never really going to be safe from the monster in me?”
Carlisle smiled a little at her, not put off by her bitterness.
She snarled at him.
“Rose, you are the most rigidly controlled of us. If there is ever something that you can’t handle, then none of us would be able to.”
She looked away. That wasn’t what she was asking.
“If I had to guess, I would say that it’s the mate bond,” he said in his gentlest voice, his eyes shining with understanding.
“I think that it is the vampire in you wanting to fix the problem of Bella’s humanity.”
She was on her feet in a second, her teeth bared in a sharp hiss. “Bella’s humanity is not a problem!”
From beside her, Alice’s expression changed to open startle. “Of course it is.”
Not wanting to hear it, Rose started toward the door. She hadn’t actually had this conversation with anyone other than Jasper, but she could smell it in the air. She wasn’t having it.
She wasn’t taking Bella’s life. That was the end of that.
“Rose!” Carlisle called after her, but she just politely clicked her door closed on them.
The next day, despite her upset of the night before, Rose found herself in an outrageously good mood. It was impossible not to be. She had realized something that morning that had shaken away her sour mood completely.
As she had met up with Bella for lunch, the second time of meeting her that day, she realized that they were dating.
Yes, it was without the official girlfriend title, but never the less, they were dating. Bella waited for her in the mornings, Rose picked her up for lunch. Bella had a bruise on her body from their kissing, and they were finally spending time together.
She was in such a good mood that when she arrived home from school that afternoon, for the first time she didn’t feel sad when she looked at Emmett’s empty side of the room.
She dropped her bag just inside her bedroom door and surveyed the empty spaces. Then she went to her small stereo. “Anyone mind if I put on some music?” she called and put in a CD when everyone said they didn’t mind. She pressed play and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours began to play.
“Booooo,” Emmett called from his room down the hall, but Rose ignored him.
She hummed along as she began to move things around. She had liked sharing a room with Emmett, but as she looked around she found herself planning a shopping trip. She had always refrained from feminizing the room too much, not wanting Emmett to feel uncomfortable but now she could as much as she wanted.
She began to dance as the next song came on. With ease, she shifted her dresser, lifting it and putting it where Emmett’s used to be.
She moved paintings, pulling a few out of storage to hang over her bed. She moved the recliners that had previously been for Emmett’s sake, taking one to Emmett’s room and the other out to the garage to get rid of. She would create a book nook instead with soft comfortable and beautiful chairs.
Picking up the table with one hand, she turned, ready to place is somewhere new and let out a yelp.
Her favorite song of the album had come on, Christine McVie’s voice a little rough as she sang Songbird and without any thought, Rosalie had sung along. What she hadn’t expected, however, was to turn around and see Emmett there grinning widely with Bella on his back. She froze, her mouth snapping closed around the half-sung lyrics, the coffee table still in one hand.
“I snuck her up!” Emmett cheered, looking smug.
“I see that!” She snapped, setting the table back down.
Bella slid off of his back unevenly, her eyes wide. “Jesus, Rose, you have an amazing voice!”
She glared, first at Bella then at Emmett.
“Hey! She wouldn’t have seen this for at least fifty years if I hadn’t.”
“Wow,” Bella mumbled, her eyes still trained on Rosalie’s face. “How come I didn’t know that?”
Emmett grinned at her. “Rose is shy.”
That made Bella snort which made Rose glare all over again.
“Will you sing some more?”
They glowered at one another.
“Fine.” Bella finally gave in and turned, backpack in hand.
Emmett just grinned again.
When Rose was done with her room she started down the stairs and joined Bella who was in the dining room at the table doing her homework.
Pulling out her own, Rose sat down as well. Homework was always a somewhat quick venture with them, as Rose had been through school so many times and Bella was simply smart. Still, they were there long enough for Rose to notice a pattern of her family walking by and grinning.
She glared each time, but as she did she couldn’t deny that she felt lighter and lighter.
She felt much of the same when, coming from school, she and Bella exploded from the cab of the car, their voices raised as they shouted at one another.
“You can’t possibly know!” Bella shouted, her face red with fury as she maneuvered her way on her crutches.
“What do you mean?” Rosalie scoffed, yelling loudly back. “I’m a vampire! Of course, I can know!”
They continued shouting at one another, heedless of the people that had all gone stiff as statues in the living room. They moved through them, their fight only picking up in intensity. Rosalie ignored her family, intent on proving that she was right, ignoring the way they all only moved their eyes to follow them up the staircase.
“Just because you’re a vampire, doesn’t mean you know everything about human nature, Rosalie!”
“That’s exactly what it means, Isabella! Mike Newton is going to lock you in a hole in the basement and make a coat of your skin!”
“That’s insane! You’re insane! You’re just jealous and I don’t even know why!”
“Ugh, you’re so annoying!” Rosalie cried as she slammed her bedroom door closed.
From the floor below, Rose heard first Carlisle and then Jasper begin to laugh.
“So I guess Bella and Rose are in a relationship, huh?” Carlisle said in a low voice and even though she was furious with her just then, Rose felt as though she could walk on air.