|A Rose By Any Other Name
Author: Niamh929 PM
Rosalie and Emmett’s story. Rated M for sexual content and strong language.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 3 - Words: 15,411 - Reviews: 94 - Favs: 44 - Follows: 67 - Updated: 04-28-08 - Published: 03-13-08 - id: 4129410
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rosalie and Emmett's story: Left for dead by a vicious and unloving fiancé, will Rosalie ever find what she so desperately needs?
Disclaimer: Obviously, I own nothing. If I did, I would be rich.
Song for the Chapter: "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead
I remembered that first morning. It was to be the morning of my wedding. I should have been in my mother's home, fretting over my wedding dress, my hair, the caterers, how much Royce had drunk the night before, the flowers. I should have been walking down the aisle to a string quartet playing the Wedding March. It should have been the beginning of my life as a King.
Instead, that morning, a pale face peered down at me from above, searching my eyes for signs of life. Others moved in the room though I could not see them.
I could feel the sheets beneath me grate over my skin like a course sandpaper. The linen was soaked through with perspiration and an acrid tang held firm in the air. Body sweat, urine, vomit, possibly. All were thickly present and noticeable to my nose.
Moments before, the pain of the previous days (or had it lasted months) seemed to lessen for the slightest moment. Then the world, stopped. Like my chest had been gouged with a rusty ice pick, it seemed to deflate, momentarily, before violently exploding out.
Now, in the darkened room that held the world as I knew it, I lay unmoving.
"You might as well see if everything is working," a voice spoke to my left. I swiveled my head slowly, afraid of the pain that I had been so used to feeling in recent times. None came. Not even the twinge of a sprained muscle.
"Where am …" the question caught in my throat. Edward Cullen sat before me on a couch of black leather.
Edward Cullen, the bane of my existence, watched me. Was it possible that I was in hell? All that I had endured could have easily been an initiation into the ranks of the damned.
With a smug, holier-than-thou attitude, Edward Cullen sat, leaning back, hands clasped behind his head, one ankle propped upon the knee of the other. "Good morning, Rosalie," he greeted with an edge of annoyance.
"Where am I?" I began, again. Movement seemed to come easier the less effort I put into it. I pulled myself upright on the bed. Around me, I heard the linen shift and chafe, sounding like so many thousands of drill bits boring into sheets of rock. Looking to the sound of the noise, I noticed stains, some older and some more freshly made.
"Did I do that?" I wondered touching the bright crimson stain by the pillow. A supple pool of liquid had gathered and leeched through the top sheet and into the mattress, feathering outward like a star burst, though irregular in shape.
A chuckle came from the couch where Edward still sat, splayed out as if waiting for something.
"Miss Hale, I'd like to welcome you to the Cullen summer house," he said, his voice dropping with sarcasm. "Wolfeboro, New Hampshire." I shot him a glance wondering why he was mocking me. Did he expect me to believe that we were no longer in Rochester but 400 miles away on the banks of Lake Winnipesauke?
He smirked as if I had voiced my question. The hairs at the back of my neck stood on end. Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. Where was my family? Where were my brothers? Where was Royce?
Edward's posture noticeably stiffened as the image of my finance, my lover, popped before my eyes. "Royce," I whispered, as my body became rigid. Flashes of a dark sky, a rain slicked street, a group of men holding uncorked champagne bottles danced in my mind as the visible world about me spun.
"Carlisle," Edward called out, rushing to the side of bed I lay on. "Come quick and bring some valium."
The carousel-like movement of the room gained momentum. Flashes of memories popped and sizzled before my closed eyes. Hands, all over my face, my chest, my … A dry sob wracked my chest.
"Hurry," someone shouted and as arms encircled me. Royce's face taunted me, and I felt them again. Hands, all over me, hold me down, tearing off my blouse, pulling the pins from my hair. Royce's words, slurred under the influence of a bottle and a half of booze.
"CARLISLE! DO SOMETHING!" the voice in my ear shouted. And my hands shot from their mooring at my side, slapping, slashing, balling into tight fists and pounding those arms that held me.
I felt someone else walk in the room. "Hold her, Edward. She needs you," a soft feminine voice spoke. "Carlisle can do nothing for her. She must ride this out."
The arms, I realized were Edward's, wrapped around me more forcefully, holding me firm against him. "No, please," I begged. I needed to be free. I needed to run. Arms held me fast while imaginary hands roamed the length of my torso.
My movement became sharper, more violent. I needed to be free. Why couldn't these people understand?
"I can't hold her much longer. She's far too strong," his voice raised above my thoughts.
"Newborn," a feminine voice intoned as if stating a fact.
"Rosalie," a whispered plea reached through the wall of haze my mind had thrown up in defense. "Rosalie, I need you to stop. You are safe."
Safe. It was such a relative term. I had felt safe at home. I had felt safe with Royce. I had been wrong. So, so wrong.
Edward's arms around me. I tried to focus on them and them alone.
"That's it," he said. "Now, breathe deep and clear your mind."
Images of the deserted street fled me to be replaced with the memory of the boy who was currently holding me. Edward walking through the park the edged my parents' property, his head was held high like a prince, his feet finding a sure and measured footing, his clothing, his manner, all immaculate.
I hated him.
He was everything I wanted, everything I envied, everything I would never be.
The squeak of the bed woke me from the memory. Edward had released me and was standing with a woman.
"You remember me…" he said, half statement, half question. He searched my features as if I were an open book for him to peruse. "We don't usually remember after …"
"We?" I interrupted.
"Where are my manners? Rosalie Hale. This is Esme Cullen," Edward motioned towards the woman to his side.
Even through the windowless darkness of the room, I could see her. Swaddled in a simple shift, she glowed. Esme Cullen. She must be the reclusive sister that I had heard about. She was truly beautiful. A beauty I could never hope for. It was a singular beauty that oozed out of her pores. And what disgusted me the most was she had no idea.
"Miss Cullen," I nodded my head and extended my hand in a reluctant greeting. Something was off here.
She smiled and moved to my side. "Mrs. Cullen, dear. But please, call me Esme," she asked.
"Missus?" I asked in confusion. "I thought you were Edward's sister?"
She smiled. Devastatingly perfect lips drew back over the most gorgeous teeth I had ever seen. Edward laughed.
"I am and a mother, of sorts."
"I remember her better than my own mother. She is all I've known," Edward admitted as the two watched each other. The smile they shared was that of a parent and a child not brother and sister. It was warm and inviting. It was a smile I'd never given my mother. A smile I'd never received in return.
Until, Esme turned to me. The smile remained. "Rosalie, my husband, Carlisle, will be here momentarily, but we need to talk. We need to explain … this," she finished, gesturing around her to the darkened room.
"Yes," I said crossing my arms and standing from the bed. My legs screamed as I stood. Not in pain but as if every cell, every fiber of my being was suddenly awake.
"Stretch," Edward commanded. "It will ease the tension in your muscles."
I paused and thought about his words. Without hesitation, I adopted second position and shift my weight to the balls of my feet. As if an instructor had barked "revelé stretch" in my ear, my arms lifted above my head, my calves and thighs pushing the floor downward. Finally, my well toned legs sighed. Years of forced ballet lessons had certainly paid off.
"A ballerina," Esme sighed. There it was. In that breath of a comment, I found it. Esme was jealous. A smile crossed my face and just as quickly guilt surged within me erasing all other emotions. It tightened into a knot in my stomach.
"For years, my mom thought I should have lessons. She liked me to be … on display," I admitted.
Esme nodded. Behind her in the door way, I caught a flurry of movement. Edward and Esme swiveled.
"Rosalie, Carlisle," Edward introduced.
In the doorway, poised like a model straight out of a catalogue, stood a devastatingly handsome man. Most captivating of all were his eyes. Golden, blazing eyes watched me from their home in the ivory hued face of the man. "Good morning, Miss Hale," he said. The fluidity and breathy tone of his voice added to the lilting British accent.
"Would you like to explain to me why I've been kidnapped and tortured?" I asked, propping my hands on my hips. Slender before, they felt even more voluptuous.
"I wondered when you would notice," Edward chuckled.
"Notice what?" I asked.
"Miss Hale …"
"Rosalie, please," I insisted.
"Well, yes. Rosalie, then," Carlisle began again. "I have some explaining to do."
I waited, watching him as he paced back and forth. Edward and Esme must have slipped from the room when I wasn't watching for it was not until now that I noticed that they were missing.
"Rosalie, you see, I have to make my apologies to you. Three days past, I was walking home from my office at the clinic. I was thinking about … dinner … when I heard the low grunts of men. A group of them, in fact. But above all that, I could hear the dying cries of a woman. Over and over again, all she said was 'no' …'"
"Was she alright?" I interrupted.
"As I approached, the men had already wandered off. There were empty champagne bottles smashed about the girl. I worried that I was already too late when I noticed shards of glass embedded in her skin, driven deep under it. Her lip was spilt open and oozing. She had been punched so hard that the men had broken her orbital bone, and her eye hung precariously loose. She was missing teeth, and those that she had, were clipped or broken at the gum line. I can't even begin to explain what they did to the rest of her body. But though everything, she never stopped speaking. With each raspy, blood filled gasp, she managed to say "no … no … please stop…"
He paused, gauging my reaction to his tale. I listened, staring at my hands perfectly manicured, waiting to hear the inhale of his breath. When it came, the sharp intake drew my attention back to his face.
"Please stop … Royce."
Numbness crept through my body. "Royce? Mu …" I caught myself and exhaled the breath I had been holding. "My Royce? My Royce hurt someo…."
I never finished my sentence. The look in Carlisle's eye told me everything. The hands on my body, the hard blows to my back, the slickly sweet breath in my face, everything had been real. It wasn't a dream.
"My God," I heard a male voice bellow from outside of the room.
"Edward, privacy please," Carlisle chastised, in a quiet yet soothing voice. "Can you take Esme out for a while? Perhaps a walk?"
With the close of an exterior door, Carlisle turned his angelic face back to me. "There's more. You see, medically, there was nothing I could do for her … err, you. Even I am not that good a doctor. Medically, you were just bidding your time until death found you. I thought … I guess I supposed …"
He trailed off.
"How am I here? How am I alive?" I asked, sincerely confused.
"That is the thing, isn't it? You aren't technically … alive," he answered, ashamedly. I tried to catch his eye but he didn't raise his gaze from my feet where they had dropped at Edward's outburst.
"I'm confused," I admitted.
"Yes, well …" he paused. "As it is, Rosalie, we are … vampires. Which would … make you a vampire, as well."
Was he serious? Did he expect me to believe this tripe? "Ok, then why are Edward and Esme outside IN THE SUN?!" I shouted.
He smiled, taking my anger in stride. "Where did you hear that? Been reading Bram Stoker again? Silly Irishman. I always knew that book would become the bane of my existence. No, Rosalie. We can go outside in the sun. It doesn't hurt us. Our skin is like marble or diamond and because of the composition of it we tend to … um, sparkle like polished glass."
"So, you expect me to believe all this? Just to take your word for it?" All he was telling me sounded like a load of bull. I had been kidnapped. That was the only explanation.
He reached for me, slowly, moving with the grace of a skilled surgeon. "I'm just going to take your hand, if you'll allow me?"
I nodded and his hand continued towards me. Grasping mine, he moved towards my chest, finding a final destination at my breast plate. "Now, can you feel that?"
I waited. I felt nothing, and said as much. "Exactly," he smiled. "Where is your heart beat?"
His hand left mine which still clasped at my chest. Nothing. There was no beat beneath my palm. The reality of it slammed into me like the attack of a wild beast, vicious, swift, and stunning in the same breath.
"I'm a vampire?"
"I'm a vampire," I repeated.
"Rosalie, I'm sorry. I really am. There was no other choice," Carlisle's eyes filled with remorse but no moisture glistened on his eye lashes.
"No other choice? You could have let me die. You could have left me there. You could have …"
His eyes, tainted with the black edging of black, glowed gold. "Would you rather I had? I do regret taking the choice from you. This is true, but I do not regret changing you."
"You changed me." I did not ask. I accused.
"Yes," he answered, unrepentant.
"I see," I paused to think.
"Carlisle?" I heard a door close once more and Esme and Edward appeared in the doorway. "Will you be joining me for … dinner?"
"She knows, dear," Carlisle explained taking Esme by the hand. "Do you feel the thirst yet? Like a scratching at the back of your throat? Something you might have written off as a sore throat or a cold just a week ago?"
I nodded. My throat was parched and dry. The saliva pooling on my tongue did nothing to alleviate it.
"Venom," Edward stated.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"It's not saliva. It's venom."
"How do you …" I began.
"I can hear you, them," he said pointing to his 'parents.' "Everyone. Constant voices. Your every thought. I guess you would call me telepathic. Though, I like to call myself 'cursed.'" He cracked a smile.
"You see some of us have special powers. It's not as common as you would think, but there are a few. Want to hunt?"
"Now or later," Edward answered. "Whenever you are comfortable."
"Yeah," I paused trying to take everything in. I'm not sure at what point in the morning my mind had disconnected from my emotions but I was desperate to process everything. "I just … I just want to be alone for a while. Is that alright?"
"Would you like to see your room?" he asked, genuine interest in his face.
"This isn't it?" I asked, gesturing to the small room which I had awoken in. The damp taint of bodily fluids hung heavy in the air.
"No," he answered, curling his nose against the smell. "Unless you'd like it to be?"
"Most definitely not!" I cursed. A smile broke out across his face.
Edward extended his hand. Soft and warm, I took it. Weeks ago, I would have baulked at his touch. But in this foreign world that I had been thrown into, I clung to the familiar.
His lip curled back. "Do I repulse you so much that even now you find it hard to be near me?" he asked as we began up a flight of stairs.
"No," I answered honestly. My words fell like I drank a truth serum. I knew that even if I didn't speak them, he would "hear" them nonetheless. "It's just that … you always thought you were better than me."
My words halted him in his steps in a room that had to be a kitchen. Mid-morning light streamed in through two large bay windows flanking a scrub board table. He turned to me, staring right into my mind with his flickering ochre eyes. "Yes," he confessed. "I did."
I nodded, knowing I had sized him up right from the beginning.
"Did you notice that I used the past tense? I did. Now, I know better."
I watched him shifting, changing positions as he stood. He looked nervous, conspicuously nervous.
"You know?" I asked.
Ashamed he looked away, "yes."
"How much?" I had to know. What had he seen in my head?
"Everything, even the parts you won't remember?"
I walked to kitchen sink and turned the spigot on cold. The water ran over my skin but I could not feel the temperature. "I remember everything," I whispered.
Edward sighed. "Believe me, Rosalie. You can't have remembered anything. The pain from the change erases all but the most indelible human memories."
I turned in a snarl of teeth to face the boy before me. The sun glinted off his porcelain skin, glowed in his bronze hair, and reflected in the granite surfaces around us.
"I remember everything," I roared. "Every touch. Every slap. EVERYTHING!"
Using my new found knowledge of his mind-reading skills, I shot my memories. Unlike a movie, closer to a slideshow, Edward saw the whole brutal attack from my perspective, felt the different sets of hands slide under my dress, smelled the liquor on their breath, tasted the blood on my lips, and heard the grunts and the blows of pavement on flesh.
He stumbled backwards, grasping the wrap-around countertop. "I saw before but I didn't think you knew. I didn't think you'd remember," he babbled.
In a blink, he rushed forward, taking my hand in his, and pressing his arms around me in an embrace. Like someone had flicked a switch into the "on" position, electricity charged through my brain as my emotions caught up with me.
"Oh GOD, Edward," my body shuttered with dry heaves against his. "He tried to kill me. He let them kill me."
Edward remained silent allowing me my moment of insanity. His response was to tighten his arms around me.
I screamed, crying out the Lord's name, over and over again. In my rage and grief, I wracked my brain, trying to recall a name to call out, someone to hold in my thoughts while I sobbed. Oddly, the vision of Vera's son stuck in my head, his black curly hair unruly and wild as he played on his mother's lap. No one was as precious to me as Vera's son was to her. Still, I could think of no one to comfort me. I had no one.
"You have me," Edward said. "You have Esme and Carlisle. They will love you like a child of their own blood."
I gasped, short of breath from sobbing. "And you?"
"I'll always be here for you, Rosalie," he said, stroking his boy's hand over my hair. It felt good to be soothed, to be tied to someone.
"Shower?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, pulling away from me. "Your bedroom is upstairs."
I followed him up a second flight of steps. At the top, we turned right. "This is the master bedroom," Edward said, gesturing to the large room to the left.
We walked on. "This is my room," he explained, pointing to a closed oak door. "And this is yours."
I nodded at my own door in acceptance.
At the far end of the hallway, Edward stopped before a closet, removed two fluffy yellow towels, and handed them to me.
We walked on and stopped before an open door with a cross hanging above the frame.
"What's that?" I asked, pointing to the wooden icon.
"Carlisle's legacy," Edward answered, matter-of-factly. I nodded.
"Can I go in there?" I couldn't help but wonder if the cross would keep a vampire out of a room.
Edward laughed. "Watch," he instructed. He stepped inside the blue tiled room and then out again. "In, out. In, out. In, out," he repeated with each movement.
I looked inside the room without stepping in. It was smaller than the private bath I had had at hom … in Rochester.
"This will be your home," Edward said, reading my thoughts. "If you want it to be. If you can accommodate our lifestyles, you shall always be welcomed with open arms."
"Lifestyle? There is a subculture to vampirism?" I asked with a smirk.
"Now, you believe us?" he said smirking right back at me. "Yes, we, Carlisle, Esme, and I, don't hunt as regular vampires do. One of the few things humans have gotten right about vampires is that they are our main food source."
I sighed. I knew it would come to this. I would be a monster like the books I had read.
"No. You won't. We are 'vegetarians'," he said with a slight chuckle.
"Vege-what?" I asked.
"Vegetarians. If you were a human, you'd only eat vegetables, no animals."
"No meat?" I asked. I had heard about vegetarians in other towns but I'd never met one.
"If you were a human," he corrected. "Being that meat is a huge portion of their meals, we equate humans to meat," he said pausing.
"Then, as vegetarians, you eat …?" I waited for his answer.
"Drink … we drink from animals. It's a moral choice and one which you can decide upon on your own. We will not think any less of you if you do not choose to follow our ways. It's your prerogative. So, think about it."
I blinked trying to take in the ethical and moral dilemmas the choice offered me.
"I'm not going to lie to you. You are going to want to drink from humans. You will salivate at their smell. More than likely, you will have to be held back. We will be there, though. I promise. We will be there for you," Edward finished, his slight hand resting on my own.
"Thank you," I said with sincerity and Edward turned to walk off.
"You're welcome," he answered. "If you need anything, just call out."
I took the towels and placed them on the closed lid of the toilet. Turning on the tap in the shower, warm mist began to fill the air. My dress, stiff with dried blood, sweat and excrement, dropped from my frame. I pulled off my stockings, ripped and bloodied, throwing them, along with my dress, panties and bra, into the rubbish bin.
Pulling back the cloth curtain, I stepped into the stream. Different from the cold water of the kitchen tap, it felt good against my skin which was parch and tight over my bones. At my feet, water colored with the run of from my body, pooled at the drain.
I scrubbed at my hair, figuring that cleaning from the top down would be the most logical step. Matting fell loose as the sticky adhesive of dried blood sloughed away with the suds of the shampoo that I found under the sink. I watched as the tresses between my slender fingers turned from burnt umber to its golden blonde. As soon as it was dry, it would curl and shine.
I rubbed my hands down my shoulders and over my arms, trying to grate the grime free with sheer force of friction. Down the planes of my body, I noticed an obvious change in what I was feeling.
Firm before, my body could easily be called glorious now. Tight stomach muscles rolled upward to the pert rosy buds of my breasts. Creamy skin followed south, as well, to the lighter hairs that disappeared between my thighs. I allowed my fingers to roam over my body, searching for any dirt, any speck of the violation that might remain. The cleaning became ritualistic and cathartic.
The flick of my fingers against my skin was magnified. I felt every pore open to the steam and inhale the soothing fragrance of the soap I scoured across my flesh. I wondered if I would ever truly come clean.
After what seemed an eternity, I stepped out of the tub and began drying off my body. A movement to my right drew my attention. Above the sink, there was a face that I almost recognized.
Ghostly pale, the apparition was surprised to see me standing in front of her, completely naked. She glanced over my body, while I took in hers. She was beautiful and unreal. Jealously, immediately, reared its ugly head and I turned to look away. She mimicked my actions. A hand reached up, touched the china doll skin of her face and moved to push the sparkling golden hair away from her vibrant red eyes.
I reached out and touched the mirrored looking glass. She followed suit.
It was me. The gloriously beautiful woman in the looking glass was me. Royce had tried to take everything from me and had succeeded. His one failure was this: he hadn't taken away my beauty.
I rubbed the towel against my face watching the mirror image of me copying and I smiled. I thought of Royce and let the rage build deep in the pit of my stomach. It turned over and multiplied with every passing second. Thoughts of my family waiting in Rochester, the life I would never lead built up and threatened to spew forth like an erupting volcano. Royce had taken away my world, my future, my life.
So help me, I'd see to it that the last thing he saw before he died would be my beautiful face.