Something in Rose felt different the next day.
As the sun had come up, Bella asleep curled into her side, she had felt things settle. She jogged home the following morning, feeling somewhat off balance. She was so used to swallowing her pain, her anger. She put up a wall around herself, allowed herself to be called a bitch, and that was that. Even Emmett, who had loved her so well, had never gone so far as to simply hold her. But Bella had. She had held her head in her lap until the worst of Rosalie’s feelings had faded, and then she had insisted that Rose crawl under the covers and lay with her for a while. She had wrapped herself around Rose, holding her tightly as if she were something precious, and they had stayed that way, talking quietly until Bella began to shiver from her nearness. Even then, Rose hadn’t left. She had instead put a movie on so low that Bella could barely hear it, and she had stayed by her side.
The pain was still there. The truths that Rosalie knew deep within herself still existed. And yet, she had been cared for.
Bella had reminded her that she was hers.
There was no arguing with fate, apparently.
So much of her pitied Bella. She was stuck with a rotten apple. Yet, so much of her felt blessed.
As she jogged, she looked up through the trees, unsure. Forks was never exactly a bright and sunny place, however, as summer approached the skies brightened more often. The Cullens often missed more and more school toward the end of the year because it became more and more unsafe for them until finally summer was there and they could leave the public eye.
She might be rotten, but she felt better, and that was amazing.
She paused just outside of the house, standing in the sun and debating who she wanted to be. She could let herself sleep into her darkness, could sink into a pit of pain, or she could allow what had happened through the night with Bella to lift her. She sighed and clicked on a smile.
“Good morning,” she called as she entered, hearing her family all standing together in the living room.
They all turned, returning her greeting. All but Edward, who seemed to be unaware that she had entered at all. He sat at his piano, her fingers moving gently, playing the song he had written for Bella.
That was fine with her. She didn’t want to speak to him, to even notice him.
“So what do you guys think?” She asked, aware they had been discussing what was on her mind.
“I’m not sure,” Carlisle admitted. “I think I will go into the hospital since I will be indoors all day, but for you guys, I can’t say.”
“It’s not quite bright enough,” Alice offered, but even she seemed unsure.
“Yes, but is it still too bright?” Esme asked, studying the sky.
Alice tried to look into the future, her face going slack. “I can’t see much. There will be a few looks, but I can’t tell if they are from the sun or if they are the usual looks we get.”
Hand on her Esme’s waist, Carlisle nodded. “I think each of us should make up our own minds today. You all know best. If you’ll excuse me.”
Behind Rose, the piano stopped abruptly as Edward stood. “I’ll see you all later.”
“Edward, it’s a bit early for school, isn’t it?” Esme asked but Edward didn’t respond.
Rose snarled as she watched him go through the front doors and out into the woods. Her skin prickled when he was near. She didn’t know what would happen, but it had only been hours before that he had threatened her with his teeth at her neck. The bite mark on her leg had finally stopped burning, however, the fact that there was a bite mark in the first place was a very significant thing to her. The only time she had ever bitten any of her coven members was the one time she had bitten Jasper as Bella lay dying, and she hadn’t done it purposefully. She hadn’t realized he was there, nor that it was her brother.
She glared after him.
His words still bounced through her head, and she hated that.
How was it she could know that he had only said it to hurt her and yet still feel they were true?
She stared after him.
Was there a way she could not be poison?
If she fought hard enough and long enough, was it at all possible to change what her past had made her?
She wanted to. She wanted to be more. She wanted to heal.
The house, too, seemed to reflect her uneasy mood. There had been no hiding what had taken place the night before. From her bedroom, Rose had seen Esme step out to survey the damage, her hand over her mouth in horror. Emmett had been beside her, discussing how they would fix it and she had made eye contact with him from a floor up. His look had told her that they knew that something had happened between her and Edward. Still, whether Jasper had been able to feel the leftover violence or Alice had seen it, no one had bothered to ask what had happened. They all just seemed to know.
It made her uneasy. Did they think she had started the fight? What would they do, what would they think if she told them that Edward had attacked her, had bitten her, had possibly hurt her mate? Would they support her, insist that Edward was out of line, talk to him about moving on? Or would they give him sympathetic frowns and remind her that he had recently had his heart broken?
She wasn’t sure, didn’t trust that they would be on her side, and so she didn’t ask for support.
Instead, she put in headphones, feeling somehow isolated from the rest, and began to clean up the broken wood, plaster, and glass.
The rest of her family seemed to split in half about whether or not the sun was too bright for them that day. Alice and Jasper decided to go to school, whereas Emmett – who didn’t often get called beautiful and might be noticed if the sun hinted at his extra beauty – decided to spend the day with his gaming console. Rose, having had enough of the tension in the house, decided it was for the best and dressed and went.
She was almost late as she pulled up, having put the decision off until the last moment, and so she was honestly surprised when she glanced over the quad and did not see Bella standing there waiting. Was she so late? She glanced at the clock and saw that there were still four minutes before the bell rang.
She frowned and, hoping she wouldn’t seem desperate, casually passed by Bella’s classroom. If she was inside then Rose couldn’t hear her, and her scent seemed old.
She went to her morning classes somewhat bemused.
By lunch, when it was clear that Bella wasn’t there, she was worried.
“Have you guys heard from Bella today at all?” she asked the table at lunch. Both Alice and Jasper shook their heads. Edward, it seemed, had also decided to play hooky.
Concerned, she excused herself and headed toward the parking lot.
She was about to slide into her car when a voice rang out.
“Ms. Hale, we do not offer off-campus lunches.”
Rosalie straightened, stepping back out of the M3 that she needed to remember to list soon. She snarled a little to herself. Her mind hadn’t been on the surrounding campus, too worried about Bella, and so she hadn’t listened for teachers. She turned, a huge Rosalie-Hale-smile on her face that was both polite and simpering at once. She found her Calculus teacher descending on her with a foreboding look on his face. “Good afternoon, sir. How are you?”
He snorted, apparently not appeased by her courtesy. “Kindly explain to me what you’re doing. I know for a fact that you have my class in an hour and a half. School has not been canceled.”
“Of course! And I’m sure I’ll be there. However...” Lying wasn’t hard when you lied about every facet of your life and so the lie slipped off of her tongue with ease. “I have an appointment with my father. He called a few days ago to inform the school.”
Her teacher frowned.
“Don’t worry, I plan to do my best to be back before Calculus.” She grinned, putting all of her charm into it.
“I wasn’t informed of this.”
She shrugged a little. “I’m sure someone meant to inform you, sir.”
His eyebrows rose and the stern loon on his face broke. He chuckled and reached forward to pat her shoulder, his hand lingering for just a moment. “Ah, well…” he sighed, looking a little like he suddenly felt dizzy. “What is being a senior if you can’t leave campus now and then, huh? It will be our little secret. Mind you make up your assignments though.” He insisted with a waggle of her finger.
She beamed at him, fluttering her eyelashes. “Of course, sir!”
He smiled down at her as she slid into the car and turned over the engine.
“Now don’t say I’ve never done anything for you, my dear.”
She smiled up and him and slowly pulled out. The moment she was out of the lot, she let the bullshit smile fade.
She supposed it was dramatic to go to Bella’s house simply because she wasn’t in school, but she had spent the entire night with her and Bella had never mentioned anything. That gave her the feeling that something had gone wrong.
Bella’s truck wasn’t in the driveway when she parked, still she knocked. Nothing.
Should she worry? The night before had been so chaotic, so dramatic that she could understand if perhaps she was being driven by her emotions that day.
Disconcerted, she got back into her car and started home because she wasn’t sure what else to do. She knew that Bella’s boot was coming off sometime soon. Had she forgotten the date?
Had something happened to her on the way to school? Should she perhaps go by the station and speak to the chief?
Her confusion only grew as she pulled up to the house, ready to follow the road around it toward the garage, and she saw that Bella’s truck was parked out front.
“Bella?” She called as she entered the house.
Esme stepped from the library, a book in her hand. “She’s upstairs. In your room.”
She didn’t like the look on Esme’s face at all. “What is it?”
Esme didn’t answer. Instead, her lips just pressed into a thin like.
Worried, Rose nodded a little. “Thank you.” She turned and headed up the stairs.
“Bella?” she asked, opening the door to the bedroom.
At the edge of her bed, Bella sat, face drooped, staring down at the floor.
She rushed to her, pleased to see that her arm was still in the makeshift sling that Rose had put it in. Had she hurt herself trying to keep her arm tucked and be on her boot? Bella was walking well on the boot now, but had she done even more to get Bella hurt? “Bella?” she asked again. “Are you okay?”
Bella shifted and her face turned toward her.
Alarmed, Rose froze. Her face was splotchy and red, her eyes swollen. She had no idea what had happened, but Bella had clearly been crying for a long while. “Oh my god! Bella! What’s wrong? Hey, what’s wrong?” She tried to pull her into her arms but Bella resisted. “Bella?” She frowned as Bella looked into her face and she saw that her eyes were hard. She leaned back on her knees, confused.
Bella sniffed thickly and rubbed at her nose.
Rosalie froze like ice, staring back at Bella’s ruined face. “What?” she breathed, unable to believe she had heard those words. Those words had been so long-awaited and yet they were impossible. She couldn’t have heard that correctly. Those words weren’t supposed to exist in reality.
“We’re mates?” Bella said again, her voice stronger, an accusation.
“That’s what Edward told me, at least.”
Bella ran her fingers through her hair, her hands shaking as she breathed out. “Is that just like the Cullen go-to line with human girls?” Frustrated, she ripped off the sling and threw it on the bed, running her hands a little easier.
Rosalie’s mouth dropped open. She was having trouble following, too numbed by her shock. They were there. Bella knew. They were there. And Edward had told her? Edward?
“Wait, go back. I don’t understand. What did Edward say?”
“Is it?” Bella bit, her chin jutting with her anger.
“What? No, that’s not what we tell all the girls.” She waved that off. “Please, tell me what happened.”
Sniffing again, Bella’s hands balled in the sleeves of her jacket, fisting into her lap. “He came up to me when I first got to school and asked to talk. I told him no, not after last night, but he didn’t really give me a choice. He kind of just carried me out into the woods.”
“I was so mad at him! I don’t know what he said to you, but I knew it was something and I wanted to tell him that he was wrong.”
“He was, Rose. You don’t have to tell me what he said, but he was.” Bella’s throat worked as she swallowed. “But then he told me that he wanted to be with me. And that the mate bond didn’t matter. He said he knew of vampires that had ignored the mate bond so they could be with someone else of their choosing. He said that we could go away together.” Bella punched her lap a little, her anger barely contained. Rose wanted to reach out and stop her but she was too frozen in her shock. “He said that’s what you think. That we’re mates.”
Bella looked at Rose, waiting, and she just looked back, not breathing, not blinking, not moving. Her mind, usually so fast, felt stuck in the mud. She sprang to her feet and turned away from Bella, her hands pressing into her temples.
Edward. Edward. She paced fast. He hadn’t. Surely, he couldn’t have… her brother… Pain lashed through her. How could he?
“He said you weren’t going to tell me which proves that it isn’t true.”
Rosalie swung around. “That is not true! Ugh, the fucking asshole!” She exploded. “That fucking asshole! I wanted to tell you, but—”
“But you didn’t!” Bella suddenly shouted, leaping to her feet as well. Her fury rolled through the room like thunder. “So is that it? The big secret? We’re mates? Huh? Like Alice and Jasper and Esme and Carlisle? Huh?” She demanded, her face burgundy with anger.
“Oh come on, Rose,” Bella scoffed. “You guys are about as subtle as a bulldozer. I knew there was something. So is this it? Is it true? Is he right?”
Rose winced, unsure of exactly what to say. She had no interest in outright lying, but this… this was not how this was supposed to go. No one else was supposed to tell her. She was supposed to find the right time. She was supposed to know what to say. She didn’t know what to say yet. She wasn’t ready. “What else did Edward say?”
“Is there more that he should have?” Bella shot back.
“No! I mean, I don’t know,” she amended. Was there more? She wasn’t even sure she knew.
Rose shrank back under her glare. She whimpered a little. And what if Bella decided that this was too much? God, what if she didn’t want to be tied to her this way? She looked at Bella, her eyes furious, daring her to lie and she couldn’t. “Yes.”
“Yes? Yes, it’s true?”
Bella just stared at her. Rose swallowed and twitched.
“Bella, I—” she tried, but Bella didn’t seem to want to hear from her at that moment.
“God, what is it with you Cullens and your secrets?” She shouted. “Is this even real? I mean, that is what Edward told me, so —”
“Of course it’s real! Bella!” She stepped toward her but Bella jumped back, snarling. She stopped, her hand falling limply to her sides. “Bella, of course, it’s real. I – I knew that Edward wasn’t your mate because I knew you were mine. It’s why I never approved. It wasn’t because I didn’t like you. It was because I wanted you.”
Bella blinked at her with eyes as wide and round as dinner plates. “Do you have any idea what this feels like? Huh? I’m so tired of always being treated like the stupid human who can’t handle your stupid vampire stuff! This is exactly how Edward treated me. You should have told me! I had the right to know that, Rosalie! I had a right to know something this big! I deserve to be told things!”
“But Bella, don’t you understand? That’s exactly why I couldn’t tell you!” She groaned and sat heavily on the bed, her face in her hands. “What could I say? Hi, we’re destined to be bound for all time, and oh, by the way, I’m Rose. Or oh hey, I’m Rose, and I don’t hate you, by the way, I think you’re beautiful. And also my brother is wrong. Or just maybe hey, you’re not Edward’s mate random girl that I don’t know, and I know this because you’re mine.” The sarcasm was dripping heavily in her words now as she spit them, all the frustration overflowing.
“You’ve known for that long?” Bella shouted, her voice so loud that it cracked in the middle. She stepped forward, her eyes hard as she got in Rosalie’s face, fuming. “When? When, Rosalie?”
She looked back at her, knowing she was about to dig her own grave. She was so beautiful, she thought mournfully. Even like this… especially like this… she was a beauty. Oh, she didn’t want to lose her. She didn’t think she could handle losing her. She licked her lips. “When you came over to meet us… the first time.”
Bella frowned deeply. “But you weren’t there that time… I remember… you weren’t even there.”
“I was.” She shook her head. “I was until a second before you walked in.”
The look of shock and horror on Bella’s face felt like a slap. This was her fault, she knew that. God, if she had only just told Bella from that day… she had left Bella open to this confusion. But… she just couldn’t seem to regret that choice, not fully. It was so much to learn. It was so much to deal with. She knew that Bella could handle it, but what it came down to was… could she, Rose, handle it?
Bella staggered back, blinking furiously. “Are you kidding me?” She gasped.
“Bella, it’s a lot to tell someone.”
“I can’t believe you’ve known this for that long. I can’t believe you’ve been keeping this from me!”
“There are reasons!” She snarled and then crumpled. “Bella, I’m so—”
“No!” Bella’s hand went up and Rose recoiled from the finality in her voice. “No, I’m so sick of this. I’m so sick of everyone knowing things that I don’t. I’m so sick of being the stupid human.”
“Bella,” she tried. She reached for her, but Bella snapped her hand away with a glare.
“No, Rose! I can’t do it anymore! I hate this!” She turned on her, a finger out and jabbing. “You need to make up your mind! If you’re going to treat me like Edward did then I have no interest in this.”
“Do not compare me to him! I was going to tell you! I just—”
“Either this stops or we stop, okay? I’m not stupid or frail because I’m still human.”
“Bella, no!” She tried, unsure of how to progress.
“I know you’re not! I never meant to make you feel—”
“No!” Bella snapped and Rosalie’s mouth closed. “Just… think about it. When you want me to know everything… if you want me to know everything then come and let me know. Otherwise, just leave me alone.”
Rose didn’t move, stunned as she watched Bella slam the already cracked door to her bedroom and stomp down the stairs as best as her boot would allow her. She could chase after her. She could apologize, but she didn’t. Was there more? Maybe one other thing. Maybe that she loved her. But that was implied, wasn’t it?
The truck roared to life and Rose moaned, her face in her hands again.
How had she let this happen? How had she allowed things to get to this level without telling her? She had taken the easy way out and she knew it. She had known it as she was doing it.
A small knock made her look up, distraught. Her look turned cynically into a glower the moment she sat that it was Esme.
She could have at least warned her.
Rose’s lips pressed together. “I’m sure it was unavoidable since she was screaming at me.”
“He told her?”
“After doing this!” Rose waved at the wall. “He fucking bit me, Esme! He came home early from hunting, found Bella and me together and attacked me.”
Esme sighed and Rosalie was alarmed to see that her look didn’t say that she was surprised in the least. “Are you okay?”
She scoffed. What was she supposed to say to that? No. She wasn’t okay. How was she supposed to be okay in the face of the last twenty-four hours?
“Rose, you need to fix this.”
She leapt to her feet, her constant emotional rollercoaster whipping her from one direction to the other. “Yeah, I know that, Esme, thanks!” She stormed at her, was about to pass her when Esme’s hand shot out, grabbing her by the arm.
Rose snarled, willing to turn on her, to yell, to hurl horrible words. She felt like she was bleeding from the inside. Before she could do any of that, Esme pulled her in, wrapping her up tightly in a hug.
Rose gasped, shocked. She stood against her, stiff, unsure despite the crushing hug.
“Why didn’t you tell us that he turned on you?”
Rose scoffed, her breath blowing out of her in a rude noise filled with uncertainty.
Esme pulled back but didn’t let go, her face waiting for the answer.
“Because everyone prefers him.”
Esme just shook her head, her eyes sad. “Rose, you don’t seem to understand, so I’m going to say it. We respect your relationship with Bella and your right to have it.” Esme’s hand wandered up, cupping Rose’s cheek. “You didn’t do anything wrong, sweet girl.”
Rose stared, staggered.
“I think you need to stop assuming that no one is on your side.”
She had no idea what to say. She had done exactly that, hadn’t asked for help or told anyone after Edward had attacked her. “He told her because he’s trying to get her back,” she admitted in a low voice. “He said... he said horrible things to me. About who I am... and who I used to be.”
“I hope you didn’t believe him.”
Rose looked away, shrugging.
“Rosalie Hale, you are not a bad person.”
Unable to answer, she just stood there. She didn’t know what she thought anymore.
Esme nodded. “I promise, I’ll talk to him.”
She swallowed, Esme’s hand on her cheek comforting and oh so disorienting.
“Come here.” Esme pulled her back into a hug and this time Rose melted into it, holding on tightly. “I do love you.”
Rose just sighed.
“Now. Go talk to Bella.”
“Don’t be withdrawn!” Esme called after her as she fled down the stairs. “Tell you how you feel!”
Rosalie moved out of the house, determined. Esme was right. She did need to fix this. She paused at the garage, decided against a car and set out on foot.
The trip was quick and easy. Halfway there, she heard the spluttering roar of the truck as she passed so she knew Bella wouldn’t be home yet. And as she came up through the woods behind the house, the driveway was indeed empty. Nervous, she pulled herself up into the tree and started toward Bella’s always unlocked window when she smelled him.
Her face shot up, sniffing the air with anger. Edward. The scent was new, was too fresh to be anything other than current. She turned, balanced perfectly on the branch, her hair fanning in the breeze, ready to attack and to not care if she did. A hundred yards away she saw him standing under a tree, his hands in his pockets, watching her.
Anger like a whip crack shot through her and she only just managed not to shatter the branch she was touching. She stared at him, unbelieving, and he stared back. “You need to leave.” She didn’t yell this time, bolstered by Esme’s words. Besides, she knew that he could hear her.
Edward didn’t move, didn’t blink. “I’m waiting for her.”
“You’re going to be waiting a long time then.” She snarled as, behind her, the truck angrily pulled up. She looked at him for another long moment, wondering how the hell their relationship would ever be fixed at this point and then climbed into the window. She had more important things to worry about. Let him stay there. Let him hear. She was going to be honest with Bella, going to tell her everything. All she needed was that chance to do so. Her stomach swirled with nerves as she waited by the window, half expecting Bella to throw her right back out of it.
Downstairs the door slammed forcefully with a grunt of what sounded like frustrated anger. “Charlie?”
Silence and so Bella’s feet began hobbling up the stairs.
Rose took a deep breath, turning so she faced the door. She could do this. She could do this.
The door swung open and before Rose could say anything there was a piercing scream. Bella tripped backward, stumbled over her feet and would have fallen if Rose hadn’t caught her.
“The fuck?!” Bella shouted, struggling out of Rosalie’s arms. “What the fuck, Rose, how did you get here so fast?”
Rose paused, frowning and wondering if it was a real question. “Vampire,” she finally answered when Bella just glared.
Stomping into her room, Bella turned on her. “What are you doing here, Rose? Did you not just hear what I said?”
Rose sank onto Bella’s bed, her chest heavy, her breathing shallow.
She was scared. She was woman enough that she could admit that to herself. She felt honestly scared. Carefully she pulled her legs up to her chest and hugged them. It was hard to know exactly where to start. She pressed her cheek into her knee, her mind feeling sticky and stuck.
“If you’re just going to sit there then—”
“I’m not,” Rose promised.
Bella glared, Rose could feel it, but still, she stared at nothing. She wasn’t looking at her, so her voice, when she spoke next, was startling. “Your hesitation is because of me, isn’t it?”
Rose looked up and her heart ached at the look on Bella’s face. The anger had gone, and in its place, Rose could see a soul ripping pain. “What does that mean?”
Bella shifted. “You guys all feel the same, I think. You want me, but I’m not good enough, right?”
“What?” Rose gasped, dropping her legs. What could that even mean? She dreaded to know what that meant.
“Ugh!” Bella cried, obviously frustrated, her hand jerking in Rose’s direction. “You! God! Look at you! You’re beautiful!”
Rose flinched back, speechless.
“You like beautiful things! Your cars, your clothes! Your bedroom looks like a freaking palace!” Bella’s face was agonizing to look at, ripped through with pain and horror and anger like it was. “And then there’s me. One of these things is not like the other, right? So you can’t. Or you don’t want to, whatever.”
Rose stared at her, confused. This line of thought didn’t make any sense. She didn’t understand where it was coming from, nor what she even meant. “But you’re beautiful.”
If she felt confused, it was nothing to the look on Bella’s face. She frowned deeply, lines appearing in her face that Rose had never seen before. She blinked once, twice, her shoulders slumped and she shook her head. “Not enough for you to love though.”
Rose frowned. When had she gotten to her feet? She didn’t remember standing. Bella too looked alarmed at the sudden change. She had no idea what she wanted to do now that she had stood. Should she demand, should she be gentle? “That’s not it,” she insisted, coming out somewhat between the two. “You don’t understand.”
“Then explain it to the stupid human!”
“Bella, please,” she begged. “Please, stop saying that. I don’t think that at all. That’s not why I didn’t tell you. This is so much more complicated than that! Don’t you understand what this means?” She dropped back onto the bed, her hands rubbing her face then scratching through her hair. “This bond. It means you have to like me. You have to love me. Your choice would have been taken away from you the moment I told you, Bella, don’t you understand?” She knew she was pleading, she thought she should be embarrassed by that fact, but all she could feel was desperation. You deserve your free will! You deserve the choice! You deserve not to have to feel this pressure because it is pressure. There would have been so much pressure for us to be together because Edward told you what it means to be mated and you’ve seen the mates in my house.” She looked up at Bella, wishing desperately that she wasn’t so far away. She wanted to touch her, to be near her, she wanted reassurances she knew she couldn’t ask for right now.
“And?” Bella cried, her arms flapping out and slapping back into her thighs. “The universe forcing me to be happy isn’t such a bad thing. You’re the only one, Rose, who could be upset with forced happiness!”
“But then I’ll never know!” she roared back, offended. “Don’t you get it? I’ll never know if you actually cared about me or if I’m just a vampire that drew you in or if it’s the mate bond!”
“Nothing good can come from it anyway,” Rose moaned, folding over so her face could rest on Bella’s bed.
She shot up, not liking the tone that Bella had just used.
Bella had sat in the computer chair, her eyebrows high, her face pale. “Wow, Rose. Wow.”
“No, no, Bella, what I mean is that there is no way for this to work. What can we have? A short life together before you die? It’s all wrong. It’s not how it should have been!”
“That’s not the only choice,” Bella said in a soft voice.
Rose’s teeth grit. And here they were. It hadn’t taken long.
“No, you listen to me!” Bella cried, having seen Rose’s expression. “Right before James happened, Edward and I had this talk.”
“I already told him that I wanted to join your family! That hasn’t changed. I assumed it was still happening. Didn’t you?”
Oh. A few of Bella’s comments suddenly made more sense. Of course, that was what she had been thinking, how had Rose not seen it?
“No.” She insisted. There was no room for negotiation in her voice.
“No. I’m not taking what is not mine to take.”
“But aren’t you telling me that it is yours to take?” Bella shot right back with ease.
“I don’t want that,” she insisted, shaking her head fast. “I don’t want this life for you. I don’t… I don’t want that.” The pain the thought filled her with must have been obvious because Bella rose from her chair and went to her, pulling her so her face settled against Bella’s stomach.
Rose wrapped around her, holding tightly, drinking her in.
“It answers so many questions.”
Rose chuckled once. “Does it?”
Bella nodded, running her fingers through Rose’s hair.
She sighed, a sound of pleasure much like a cat purr coming from her chest. “I like that.”
Bella didn’t respond, but her fingers scratched her scalp a little harder.
“What does it explain?”
Bella gave a sound of frustration, her fingers snagging in her hair a little. “After we kissed, it was really hard not to be near you.”
She chuckled with a nod. That was definitely something she had experienced.
“And… I think about you all of the time.”
Smiling a little, Rose tried to look up at Bella but Bella’s arms held her down. Rose instead turned her head, nuzzling into Bella’s stomach.
“I feel more comfortable when you’re here. Like, um, complete, maybe?”
Rose only nodded again. Her eyes closed, her body tingling into response as Bella’s fingers moved and begun scratching down the back of her neck as well. She could tell she was using a lot of pressure, but it only felt good. Somehow, it was comforting, relaxing, and erotic all at once. She shifted a little, aware of her body.
“I want you. All of the time.”
Those words shot through her white-hot, searing everything they touched. Her teeth ground together, her hands balling. Holding her by the hips, Rose leaned back, breaking Bella’s firm hold on her. Bella wasn’t looking at her. Instead, she was staring straight ahead, her face red, but also set into something fierce. “Carlisle thinks that the bond is trying to…” How to put this?
“Seal the deal?”
Rose laughed, her hands moving from Bella’s hips down to her legs and back up, holding her tightly by the high backs of the thighs.
Bella cleared her throat, her face going a deeper red, her heart suddenly picking up pace.
“Yes, exactly,” she admitted. Carefully, she lifted Bella’s shirt a little and let her lips run across Bella’s lower belly.
Bella’s breath shuttered.
To her very high satisfaction, far enough away that Rose almost couldn’t hear it, branches snapped with the clear sound of vampiric feet moving fast away from the house. Edward. They were alone.
Smiling to herself, she let her tongue flick out, quickly brushing the soft skin of Bella’s belly. Bella’s hands were back in her hair, on her neck and it made Rose hum.
“Bella, I don’t want this for you. I don’t want this pressure for you. I —” Bella’s nails scratched hard and her voice broke, not with upset but with the sudden arousal that she couldn’t stop herself from feeling. She coughed out a grunt, closing her eyes to steady herself for a long moment. “I just want things to be normal for you. I want… I want to be human with you.”
Bella’s hands clamped down hard, pulling Rosalie’s hair with a pressure that should have been painful.
Her mouth popped open, letting out a strangled cry. “Jesus wept.” Bella’s nails raked down Rosalie’s neck hard enough that Bella gave a small grunt of effort. Rosalie squirmed in her seat, trying to bite back the sound of pleasure that she couldn’t exactly cut off in time.
“Well, you can’t. So let me be a vampire with you.”
What did she say to that?
Leaning down, Bella kissed her forehead. Rose turned to meet the kiss before it touched her head, met it with fire, sizzling through her body.
Emphatic, Bella crawled into her lap, straddling her as she did so often. She pressed into Rose, her tongue flicking against Rose’s lip and then aggressively against Rose’s own.
Rose moaned, feeling her body react fast and hard as it did whenever Bella behaved this way. Her hands slid up Bella’s back under her shirt.
They had more to talk about. They had a lot to talk about, in fact, but Rose could feel it this time. She could feel that this was going to be the time and to her surprise, she wasn’t nervous. She didn’t feel worried that she would forget and bite her. She didn’t think she would hurt her. Bella’s mouth moved to Rose’s neck, placing fumbled open-mouthed kisses under her jaw.
Rose’s eyes closed, every brush of her lips felt everywhere. “Bella, I don’t want you to feel like you have to now.” She tried to open her eyes, but the feeling of Bella’s teeth on her neck was driving her crazy. She swore a little as Bella sucked hard. Her hands dropped from Bella’s back and to her own tights, pressing down. “Ahh-ahhh,” her voice broke.
Bella’s pulled her hands back up, shaking her head. “Uh-huh,” she instructed, placing them on her waist.
Rosalie moaned. She had to pull it back in. Bella was just doing all of the things that drove her insane.
“I didn’t know yesterday, and I wanted this.” Bella pulled back and Rose’s body gave a long and hard pull of longing. Bella’s lips were already pinker, her pupils blown wide, and though she was smiling, there was something very serious in her face too. “Or have you forgotten?”
She chuckled. No. She definitely hadn’t forgotten.
Carefully, slowly, barely able to control her speed, Rosalie drew her hands up Bella’s stomach, taking her shirt with her. She watched as she pulled it over Bella’s head, intrigued by the soft downy skin, so pale and flawless in the early afternoon light.
She groaned. The warmth from Bella’s suddenly exposed skin was delightful, the sight of her like this crawled over her was one she wanted to see more of.
She wrapped her arms around her, wishing deeply that she could bare herself to soak her in. Instead, she let her hands move up her back to her bra.
Try as she might, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm and there was a ripping sound a second later.
She watched Bella’s jaw drop as she looked at the piece of fabric in her hand.
“I’m sorry!” Rosalie cried, but Bella just laughed.
A soft blush crept up Bella’s body, making Rose pause. The shy blush was a good reminder to be slow, to be gentle. It was Bella’s first time.
She shoved the ruined bra under her to hide it and lightly, she ran her hands down Bella’s sides, taking her in.
Bella shivered and her nipples hardened to small little points.
“Oh, Bella,” Rose whimpered.
Still seeming shy, Bella gave her half of a smile.
“Are you sure?”
Bella didn’t answer. Instead, her hands reached down to take Rose’s shirt off too but Rose held onto it.
Like a bucket of cold water, Rose’s smile fell away. All at once, all of the things that Rose hated about herself popped back into her head. She might look beautiful to Bella, the perfect shape for a woman to have, but her skin would be hard, her breast that would feel like marble… she couldn’t stand it. “No,” she said gently. “If I do, then you’ll be cold.”
Bella frowned, obviously doubtful so Rose leaned forward and gently began to suck on the underside of Bella’s breast.
They had been somewhere close to this before, but everything felt so new this time. When she moved up and took one of her nipples into her mouth, she felt the rush of hot breath that Bella expelled, making her body respond by arching into her. When she twisted them, laying her down on the bed and carefully stroked Bella’s stomach, her chest, her face. She could feel Bella shivering, but she was sure it wasn’t from the cold.
She trailed her cold mouth across her breast, down her stomach, up her neck, over her mouth, needy to touch to taste. It was Bella, however, that reached down and unbuttoned her jeans.
She paused, watching Bella’s do it, listening to the nervously excited pace of Bella’s heart.
Bella’s fingers fumbled with the jeans as though they had forgotten how they worked, unable to get the button to release.
Taking pity on her, Rosalie pushed her hands away and unbuttoned them. Then she leaned back and pulled them off, exposing the pale creamy skin of her tights.
“Oh Bella,” she sighed, immediately leaning over so her lips trail down the side of Bella’s thigh. She had never thought of Bella this way. Of all the ways she had pictured Bella, and there had been many, she had never thought of her laying on her bed in nothing but her panties, her body shivering.
She wanted this. She wanted this badly.
With soft fingers, she pulled Bella’s panties away.
Hands in the blankets she was on, Bella’s face turned, the blush returning.
Rose turned her face back, shaking her head. “Don’t do that. You’re beautiful. Don’t hide from me.”
Bella frowned, something Rose wasn’t sure she liked. Holding her chin, she kissed her long and slow. The kiss was tender, warming Rosalie’s cold interior. As she kissed her, Bella seemed to settle again. Her hands came up as she moaned lightly into Rose’s kiss. Her soft legs shifted, rubbing together, clenching and releasing. Rosalie was too focused on Bella’s reactions, on her nakedness, her responses. She didn’t notice when Bella’s hands came up and brushed against Rose’s clothes breasts.
The kiss broke as Rose gasped, surprised by the intensity of the sensation.
Bella smiled a little, her hands growing firmer, her thumbs moving across Rose’s nipples in the same way that Rose had done to her.
Rose’s mouth dropped open, a soft grunt falling out of her. It felt good, too good, even though her clothes.
Hungry, she wrapped her lips around Bella’s nipple, sucking until Bella’s hips were canting, her breath in obvious gasps. She released, letting her teeth slide across Bella’s skin for Rose’s own pleasure. Her hand moved down Bella’s hip, around and cupped her bare backside and squeezed.
Bella let out a small cry and Rose knew, a little sadistically, that there would be fingerprints on Bella’s ass the next day. She smirked, which quickly turned into a gasp when Bella bit her neck, hard. Her whole body stiffened, her moan strangled. She pressured her forehead into Bella’s, dizzy with want.
“Are you okay?”
“Good,” Rose choked out. Carefully, she let her fingers wander, tangling in the soft patch of curls between Bella’s thighs, fingers sliding down and through her for the first time.
Bella bucked, her hands balling in Rose’s shirt as her mouth dropped into an O.
Instantly, Rose’s eyes snapped shut, a moan that was less sound and more a broken exhalation coming from her. She was so warm, so slick, so—
Bella nodded again, kissing Rose’s cheek, face, throat, chest. “I know you don’t want me to touch you.”
She pulled back, her eyes searching Bella’s. Had she been so obvious?
“But, if you’re going to touch me like this, then can I too? Please?”
Emotions passed through Rose in a dizzying wave.
Unsure, she looked at Bella for a long time before she nodded.
Eager, Bella cupped her breast.
She whined and that seemed to encourage Bella. She tried to push her back, but Rose resisted, letting Bella kiss her, testing what she could reach. “That’s good, Bella. That’s good.”
Panting, she began to stroke her.
Bella shook. Soon both arms wrapped around Rose’s neck, her body bending into Rose, and that was okay with Rose too.
“Should I keep going?”
Crying out a little as Rose gently circled Bella’s clit, she buried her face into Roses shirt, nodding, her noises muffled. So she held her close, her own deep rich hunger building in her as she continued to stroke Bella. Her body shook in Rose’s arms, her sounds so light, so surprised, so deliciously sexy. Her mouth moved, taking a nipple into it, sucking and slightly purpling Bella’s throat.
Never having been with a woman before, Rose had thought she might feel lost when they finally made it into bed together. Now that they were there, Rose was pleased to find that she didn’t. Though she had only been touching Bella for a few minutes, she could tell it wouldn’t take long.
She envied her this. What was this like for her? What was it like to have her first time be sweet and tender?
At the thought, Rose leaned down and kissed Bella’s face, her closed eyelids, her cheeks, trying to make her touches as gentle as Bella could need them to be.
Bella cried out suddenly, her whole body stiff, her arms clutching Rose.
“That’s it,” Rose whispered when she was sure Bella was falling into her first climax. “I’ve got you.”
Bella’s strangled cries fell from her as her body bent off the bed.
“There now,” she purred in Bella’s ear, her fingers still carefully swirling. “There now. That’s a good girl. I got you.”
She didn’t stop as Bella’s wooden body relaxed, her arms moving so it was only her fists balled in Rose’s shirt. Instead, she traced her lightly and then slid first a single finger inside of her and then a second.
Bella stiffened again, crying out.
“Relax, kitten,” she hummed.
“Kitten?” Bella laughed.
Rose frowned, her nose scrunching. She wasn’t sure why that was what she had said, but now wasn’t the moment to care. She swirled her finger very carefully once and Bella stopped laughing.
As if desperate to touch her too, Bella’s hands began to fumble, pressing between Rosalie’s thighs.
She cried out as Bella brushed against her. She groaned against Bella’s lips, rocking against her hand as her fingers began to move inside of Bella in earnest.
She expected the quick second wave of orgasm from Bella. What she hadn’t expected was what it would make her feel. Bella’s walls clenched around her fingers, the fingers that played lightly with Rose stiffened, pressing hard. Bella’s hips stopped rocking and instead jerked up once, pressing her into Rose, she cried out in shock and need at the power, the need she felt in her own body. She ground down into her fingers, panting at the sensation of Bella, holding her close. She cried out as something within her changed. Bella’s sounds doubled, echoing Rose.
Bella went slack under her a moment later, her body tight against Rose’s, her eyes still closed. From up close, Rose stared at her in awe, studying her face, studying this new feeling when she looked at her. Why had she waited? This... nothing about how this felt was bad. Holding her close, she crooned to her until she felt Bella begin to shiver. Then she tucked Bella under the blankets, keeping herself on the outside. She laid back, her body still aching with want, her mind remembering all that had just happened. She wanted to bask in this feeling. Carlisle was right. She felt different. She felt very different. That hadn’t been like the sex she had with Emmett, not at all. She had always enjoyed, even really enjoyed sex with Emmett but that had been so much better, so much more exciting. There had been something in it that she hadn’t known she had craved, a whole new component thanks to the fact that Bella was a woman. She smiled to herself. It had felt so different to touch her mate. She felt at peace, she felt warm, she felt oh so happy. Unable to help herself she laughed a little. “I can’t wait until we get good at that.” Grinning, she turned her head toward Bella.
Beside her, Bella was not smiling.
“Oh, no, sweetheart,” she cried, leaning up. “I just meant it takes time to learn one another’s bodies.”
Bella nodded, but there was still no smile, no sign that Bella felt anything that Rose was. She cringed. She felt light. Whole. Happy. She wanted Bella to have that too.
“You might have to let me touch you for that to happen, kitten.”
Whatever happy words Rose had been about to share died in her throat, hurt. “What?” she squeaked. Panic rose as she looked into Bella’s blank face. She hadn’t enjoyed herself? She felt… but things were different now… everything felt different, like the world had shifted. “Bella…”
Bella turned and, in a move that shocked Rose entirely, she rose from the bed, holding the blanket to herself. Rose watched her walk around and sit down beside her. Rose sat up, wrapping her arms around herself in protection, honestly scared.
It was a beautiful sight, Bella sitting there, the blanket draped over her, her back exposed, the small bruising that Rose could see. It was powerfully arousing. But the look on her face, the unavailability. It was like Bella had closed herself off behind a wall.
“Did I do something wrong? Did I hurt you?”
Bella looked at her for a long moment and then leaned over.
Rose met her in a searing kiss, hot and ready for round two if that’s what Bella wanted, ready to fix whatever she had done wrong. The kiss was long, deeply stroking. She growled a little as Bella pulled away, letting in the space that Rosalie desperately didn’t want.
“You need to go.”
“Huh?” Rose asked stupidly.
Bella nodded, kissing her again before she turned away. “Nothing has changed, Rose.”
Rose spluttered something unintelligible.
“Nothing has changed, Rose. You have to think. Please. Go.”
Rose just stared at her as Bella rose and left the room.
A moment later she heard the shower turn on.
She stood, shaky on her legs, staring at the door where Bella had left.
She glanced around Bella’s room, unsure of what to do. Did she leave? Did Bella really want her to?
Did she not feel this?
She rubbed at her chest, gasping.
What should she do? She didn’t know.
Panicked, she tried to think.
Emmett would say to leave. She could almost hear him saying it. He would tell her that Bella had told her what she wanted, and that was right. She had.
Unable to believe the turn of events, the harshness, Rose righted herself and, because what else could she do, she left.