Warning: This story will contain non-sexual spanking of a consenting adult. If you find this disagreeable, please don't read.
Disclaimer: All the characters remain the intellectual property of Stephenie Meyer, she just lets us borrow them. They will all be returned in much the same shape that I found them, maybe just a little worse for wear and wiser. ;-) I promise not to leave them out in the rain or hot sun.. since sparkling is not allowed around the house.
AN: Well, guys, I was a bit blindsided by this one. Chronos-girl sent me a plot bunny (so you can blame her), and the blasted thing won't leave me alone. I had to start it, but I'm currently working on a "Schooling" update, so this one will be a little slow coming along. I think that I can do it justice. It's going to be a little different since Carlisle's relationship with his "miscreant" is so far from what he's used to. I know right where I want this to end up, but getting there might be trickier, so please bear with me.
A slamming door alerted the Cullen matriarch to the arrival of her children. Glancing up from the forms and blueprints that littered the kitchen table, Esme gave a little sigh. How had she managed to so completely lose track of time? A quick inventory of the events of the day provided the answer to that question, and turned her sigh to a groan.
It had started out like any other day. There had been the normal rush to get her brood of to school. The misplaced jackets, disappearing left sneaker, missing car keys, and Emmett's 'lost' homework were all part of a typical morning. Carlisle had been called to the hospital at three a.m. due to complications with one of his patients, so he hadn't been around to help herd their teens out the door, but that wasn't out of the ordinary either. Nope. The day appeared rather run of the mill before the deer came crashing through the living room window.
Most animals avoided the area around the Cullen home, and with good reason. Forest creatures were constantly on alert for danger, and a den of seven apex predators would certainly qualify as dangerous. Still, the young buck had felt the need to pay Esme a little visit that she could have done well enough without.
Clearly there had been something wrong with the animal as he staggered about. An irrational fear of rabies, a hold over from her human existence, had led the woman to a short period of inaction which proved costly. Had she taken immediate action, the damage done to her house would have been minimal, but during Esme's indecision the deer managed to blaze a trail of destruction through the living room that rivaled Emmett. To make matters worse, after its initial bid for freedom, the deer decided to head for higher ground.
Now, had it not been her home, the little brunette would have found humor in watching a two hundred pound deer attempt to ascend a spiraling staircase, but the sight of a pale rump and flagging tail bounding up the first flight was enough to break Esme from her fear frozen state.
Charging after the animal, she quickly latched onto a fine boned rear leg and dug her heels in. Bellowing in fear, the beast began to buck and kick out wildly at its attacker. With his eyes rolling back in his head, the panic stricken buck fought harder, but Esme was not letting go. Snorting loudly, the deer stamped its forefeet, but a misplaced hoof on the slick polished step brought it to its knees and wedged his head and right shoulder beneath the banister. Bawling and blowing, the deer flailed his legs in an attempt to secure some sort of footing while he arched his neck against the solid handrail. Esme turned her face away and tightly shut her eyes as she winched in response to the sickening cracking of bone before a heavy silence filled the room.
Releasing her hold on the animal's leg, the matriarch turned to look out on the large open room below. A breeze blew in through the shattered window pane to send bits of fluffy white pillow fiber sailing through the air like drifting snow. The television laid face down on the hardwood floor, imprints of sharp hooves decorating its hard plastic casing and denting the boards around it. Toppled tables, broken lamps, trampled photos in splintered frames, soiled and ripped carpeting — all laid out before her eyes reminding her of the scenes from the aftermath of a hurricane she had seen on the news so many years ago. How could a single animal create so much damage?
In response to her fleeting thought, her mind conjured an image of her boys and the destruction they had caused over the years. Sighing deeply, Esme rubbed her eyes. "It could always be worse."
After extracting the deceased deer and depositing it outside, she spent the better part of her morning returning her house to some semblance of order. A trip to Port Angeles this weekend would be required to replace the television and several of their home furnishings, but she salvaged what she could and was reasonably pleased with the results.
A call to Carlisle confirmed her suspicions about disease. While he didn't believe that rabies was to blame, he informed her that some members of the local hunting club were reporting deer, moose, and elk exhibiting erratic and uncoordinated behavior. Game management has issued a warning about the threat of chronic wasting disease in the area herds. While not a threat to them, and only minimally an issue for humans as long as precautions were taken, the infection was easily transmitted through the hoof stock herds. They would have to make sure that the infected body was carefully disposed of to help suppress the spread of the disease. Carlisle considered sending a wildlife agent to collect the animal, but that would lead to a number of humans tramping through their property, and that was something they really didn't want to have happen. In the end it was decided that the best course of action would be for the boys to take care of the disposal that evening. Until then, the bloody, broken body would simply have to decorate their front porch; a situation the matriarch didn't appreciate at all.
After her eventful morning, Esme did her best to ignore the reminder on the porch as she settled into her usual routine — a few loads of laundry, scrubbing down the showers, and working on her project for the drafting course she was taking.
Cleaning the showers had been easy enough, but the exhibition to recover Emmett's dirty clothes took much longer than anticipated. Esme caught herself wondering why her bear had a dirty clothes hamper to begin with since clothes were the only things that couldn't be found in it. She was going to have to sit her son down for a little chat sometime soon and explain how these things worked. Then where was that other little matter she felt the need to bring up. Crawling under Em and Rose's bed to retrieve a pair of jeans was bad enough, but finding a crushed squirrel stuffed in the pocket was just too much for the woman to take. What was her son thinking?
The disposal of her gruesome find complete, she loaded up the machine and retired to the safety of her clean, animal free kitchen to work on her project.
While carefully plotting out her blueprint, Esme found her concentration being disrupted by an annoyingly periodic and incessant beeping.
Throwing down her pencil, the irate brunette stalked towards the laundry room while mumbling obscenities under her breath. The scent of chlorinated water and detergent assaulted her nose before she had opened the door, but the sight that awaited her still came as a shock. Ankle deep water capped with billowing mounds of suds filled the room, while on the far wall the washing machine shrilly emitted its morse code style distress call as the light in the drum flashed in time.
Pinching the bridge of her nose firmly, a habit picked up from her husband, Esme waded through the warm soapy water and pushed the power button to turn the machine off. When the beeping cry continued to sound, she let out a fierce growl and ripped the cord from the wall, finally silencing the infuriating machine.
An hour and a half later, after a hunt for a disease free meal and a call to the appliance repair shop, the matriarch had finally returned to working on her project.
Sitting up, she stretched her back and rubbed her eyes then looked over her hard work. All things considered, she had managed to get a great deal accomplished and was quite pleased with the results. It had been one hell of a day, but now that her children were home she could count on things vastly improving. No matter what life threw at her, the smiling faces of her children were always the perfect balm for the mother's soul.
Standing to go greet her babies, Esme found herself suddenly startled as the kitchen door flew open with a bang.
"Then fix it your own damn self!" Rosalie screamed. "I've got better things to do anyway. It's not like I really want to work on that eyesore."
"She wouldn't be an eyesore if you hadn't taken her all apart and sprawled her bits across the flaming driveway," Jasper countered while his dark eyes flashed with anger.
"Rosalie? Jasper? What's going on?" Esme asked with concern.
"She broke my blasted bike is what's going on, Momma, and now she refuses to put it back right."
"I didn't break anything. The engine had a miss, and I just wanted to help, but your son decided that I wasn't doing it right and now there are parts missing. I can't work with that kind of interference. He obviously doesn't want help so he can just take it to the damn shop and pray that one of those two bit wolves doesn't completely trash it."
"You've already trashed it!" the soldier barked. "The engine wasn't missing until you messed with it. Papa told you to keep your hands off of my baby, but you always know better than everyone else. Rosalie Lillian, the infallible. Wouldn't listen to another soul if her life depended on it."
"Fuck you, Jasper!"
"Rosalie, there's no need for that sort of language," her mother rebuked mildly. "Just calm down. I'm sure that you're both blowing this out of proportion."
"Esme, stay the fuck out of this! It doesn't concern you!"
"Simmer down, young lady, and don't you dare take that tone with me," Esme snapped as she felt her ire begin to rise.
"I'll take any tone that I damn well please. You don't own me. I'm not a child, and I don't care to be spoken to as if I am."
"Rose, stop. You're mad at me, not Momma," Jasper piped in. "Don't start trying to shift blame on innocent people because I called you out on your bullshit."
"My bullshit? What about your bullshit, dear brother? Oh wait, that's bullshit in itself, isn't it? I have had enough of this sham of a family. I'm tired of playing the lap dog to everyone. You all just want me around for what I can do for you, but what do you do for me? You treat me like shit and expect me to just take it. Well those days are over."
"Rose, you know that's not..."
"ESME, SHUT THE HELL UP! The last thing I need is another bitch in my life trying to play the part of my mother. Why don't you just go back in your delusional world where everything is perfect — perfect husband, perfect home, perfect family, and you can even be the perfect student with your fucking perfect architecture crap!"
"Rosalie, no!" Jasper cried, but it was too late.
The furious blond latched onto the first thing to catch her eye and in seconds Esme's project was little more than a sprinkling of confetti raining down on the kitchen floor.
The matriarch stared disbelievingly through jet black eyes at the empty table top where her blueprint had been. Looking around at the shreds still floating through the air, she felt anger blazing in her chest. All of the frustrations of the day came crashing down over her in an icy wave that even Jasper's soothing gift couldn't penetrate. Gritting her teeth, she turned to look at Rose through narrowed eyes.
The unrepentant woman raised a brow as she glared at her mother. "Oops," she remarked before smiling smugly.
The loud report of a slap echoed through the kitchen before Esme realized what she had done.
Venom pooled in Rosalie's eyes as the stinging sensation engulfed her left cheek, but she refused to allow her tears to fall.
Esme's eyes widened in horror. She had just struck her child, her baby. Bitter venom rose like bile in her throat. She felt like she was going to be sick. "Oh my God, baby. I'm so..."
She reached a hand towards her daughter, but Rose jerked away.
"Don't touch me! You think an apology will fix this? I don't want to hear it, and I don't want you anywhere near me. To hell with you. To hell with all of you!" Rosalie shrieked as she shoved pass her mother and raced up the stairs, slamming the door to her room.
Staring after her daughter, the matriarch felt numb. What had she done? Tears rolled down her face, but she made no sound as she wept for the injustice inflicted upon her poor Rose.
A light hand touched her shoulder, and Esme automatically looked up into the worried face of her southern son. For several seconds she did nothing but stare into his soft dark eyes, then impulsively, she leaned into Jasper, her head pressing against his chest.
The Major protectively wrapped his arms around his mother while he rested his cheek on top of her head. Cooing to her gently, he rubbed her back as her tears drenched the front of his shirt.
"It's alright, Momma. It's all gonna be alright," he promised, as he sent waves of calming comfort over the distraught woman who began to shake her head violently against him.
"No, it's not, Jasper. It will never be alright again. I should never — Oh, God. My poor, poor daughter. My poor, sweet Rose."
"Aw, Rosie, come on. Don't be like that. You know it had to have been some sort of misunderstanding," Emmett called, as he sprawled across the foot of the bed watching his mate shove her belongings in a suitcase. He was used to Rosalie's fits of temper, but had never seen her angry enough to pack up and leave without a word to their family. The bruin blamed himself in part for what had happened. If he hadn't landed himself in detention, he would have been there when Jasper and Rose got into their argument, and just maybe he would have been able to defuse the situation before their mother landed in the middle. Still, he couldn't believe that his sweet, little Momma had actually slapped his wife. Rose was not prone to fibs, but the entire thing was just utterly absurd. There had to be more to the story.
"Emmett, there is no way to misunderstand a slap in the face. I will not stay in a place where I'm mistreated. Don't you think I've delt with that enough in my life? I'm not about to let Esme treat me like this. She can go pick on someone else if she wants, but I'm sure as hell not going to be her whipping girl."
"What did she say, hon? There has to have been some sort of reason for her to act like that."
Rosalie stopped packing and turned to her mate with a stunned expression.
"What reason can there ever be that would make it alright for Esme to slap me?"
"I...," he began with a shrug, but his wife quickly cut him off.
"She's always claimed to love me. Well that's not something that you do to someone you love, so she's been lying all this time. She might not even realize that she is lying, Em, but she is. I've never really been appreciated around here. We'll be better off on our own. There's always much less drama when it's just the two of us, anyway. There's no need for us to play the part of dutiful children anymore. We can just be like any other young couple in love, striking out to mak a life of their own. The only rules that we have to follow are those that we set for ourselves. Freedom, Emmy. That's what is out there waiting for us. Don't you want to be free to do whatever you want?"
The hulking youth shifted around as he scratched his head and pondered the question. It was true that he enjoyed their brief breaks from family life, but even when away from the rest of their clan, Rose still stuck to Carlisle's rules, so that much never changed. He wouldn't have to deal with the mind numbing task of going to school, but it always seemed that after a brief period of sowing their wild oats and traveling, they would settle down somewhere and he would be expected to get a job. It wasn't that he minded the work, but every job he had ever held had been much too serious for the happy go lucky boy. People just didn't know how to let loose and have fun. While school was boring, it was one place that he wasn't expected to be serious all the time, and that made the role of son a bit more entertaining when compared to the role of working man and provider.
"I don't know, Rosie. We sorta already do what we want."
"Maybe you do, but look at what I just went through. I'm not even allowed to speak my mind. I expressed my views and was slapped for them. I'm being suppressed. You know that's isn't how things should be."
"No," he agreed. "That wasn't right for Momma to do, but maybe you should wait and talk to Pops. He's good at sorting things out. He'll be back from work soon and you can tell him about your afternoon. You know he can make it all better. It's what he does."
"He'll side with Esme. He has no choice. No matter what he thinks, he has to side with her regardless. They're mates, and mates stick together, Em," she reminded her husband as she gave him a pointed stare.
"I know, but it's Pops that we're talking about. He's fair, Rose. If Momma was wrong, he'll say it. He not about to hide something like that."
"If she was wrong? If? Whose side are you on?"
Emmett was on his feet in an instant, his arms wrapped around his wife's slender frame as he hugged her close.
"I'm always on your side, babe. Always. You know that, but it's just not like Mom to do something like this without a damn good reason. Don't you think there's more to it? I mean really more going on?"
"It's just her true colors finally coming out. That's all there is to it. She's always sided with Edward over me, and now she's doing the same with Jasper. It's because she had and lost a little boy. She's always held boys in higher esteem. In general, Esme thinks of girls as second class, and she thinks even less of me."
Emmett was about to disagree when Rose pulled away from her lover's embrace and went back to packing.
"I won't stay where I'm made to feel inferior. I just can't, Em. No one can ask me to do that, not even you. I want you to come with me, but I'm going with or without you."
"I would never let you go off on your own," he firmly stated. "You're my life, Rosie — my angel. I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for you. I'll miss our family, I'm not gonna shit ya about that, but I'll follow you to the ends of the earth if that's where you want to go."
Rosalie gave me husband a brief smile. "I wasn't thinking about going that far. How about we start in Germany? It's been a really long time since we've visited there, and you've always enjoyed it."
The bruin nodded as he quickly fell in line and began to bag his things, suddenly finding himself wishing that he had put his wash out for Esme so he would have had more clean clothes to take. "And after our trip we can come home and things will be like they were before," he tacked on hopefully, while sniffing a dingy pair of socks.
Rose froze for a moment, before continuing to carefully folding her undergarments.
"I don't know that things will ever be like they were before, but we'll see."
That was good enough for Emmett. As long as Rosalie was open to discussing mending the fissure between she and Esme, he knew that they would eventually find themselves back home. It would be a grueling task, but the bear was determined to see to it that his wife and mother made up and put whatever happened today behind them. He hated to see his family fight, regardless to who was at odds, but to have the women that he loved at each others throats ... Well, that was just unbearable.
Heaving a sigh, he stuffed a few more shirts into his duffle before looking over at his determined mate. Rose was a hard nut to crack at the best of times, but he could do this. He had to. She needed support right now — support and understanding. She needed him, just like Esme needed Carlisle and together there wasn't a thing that the four of them couldn't over come when they put their minds to it.
"I think so. Now, you're really sure about this?" he tried once more, but the look on his wife's face was all the answer he needed.
"I'm sure," Rose replied with a toss of her head, but her mate detected the slightest of hesitations in her tone. She didn't want to leave any more than he did, but her pride demanded it, and with Rosie, pride was often everything.
Throwing his duffle over his shoulder, he grabbed the handle of her suitcase in one hand while he caught her hand in his other and gave it a comforting squeeze. "Ready."
The stubborn blond took one last glance around their room before giving her mate a quick nod. There was no point in staying any longer. She wasn't wanted here so she would simply have to find somewhere more agreeable to call home. Taking a breath, she pushed aside all the growing regret and pain that tore at her heart as she reminded herself that this was Esme's fault. It was obvious that the matriarch didn't want her around so she was just making things easier on the woman by leaving before she was asked to leave. This way was better and less stressful for them all.
"Let's go, Emmy. Our future awaits."
With that statement, Rosalie and Emmett swiftly departed their home leaving their family and corresponding troubles far behind.