Rosalie opens the door, tying her robe around herself as I push past her.
"You won't believe who I just saw!" I have to get this out before I burst.
"What the hell is he doing here?" Rosalie's boyfriend asks as he appears at the top of the stairs in just his underwear.
"Fuck you, Royce," I spit back.
"Hey! Enough!" Rose bundles me across the hall and into the kitchen, closing the door behind us. "Sit there, slow down and start over," she tells me, yanking a dining chair out from beneath the table and directing me to it. She sits opposite, folding her arms on the table and looking at me until I do as I'm told. I sit down with a sigh.
"I ran into Izzy Swan at the park," I begin.
"No." Rosalie raises her finger and jabs it toward me. "You're twenty-one now, Edward, not seventeen. We're not doing all this teen-angst bullshit any more. You hear me?"
I do hear her, and I would agree, except for one small detail.
"Rose, she had a kid with her. A boy, around four, maybe five years old."
Rosalie leans slowly back in her chair and rests her palms on the table. I watch her go through all the same thought processes I covered myself, and come to the same conclusions.
"You think he could be …?" She can't say the words, which is fine by me, because I don't want to hear them.
"I don't know, he looked just like her. I think there has to be a good chance though."
"And she didn't say anything about him?"
"He got stuck on the climbing frame before she got a chance. I lifted him down and then I pretty much made my excuses and left."
"Shit, what a mess." She sits forward, elbows on the table and massages her forehead with her fingertips. "What do you want to do?" she asks, looking up at me. "I mean, you don't have to address the situation right now. She might only be in town for a few days."
"She's moved back, she told me that."
"Then she probably has her own plan in mind for how she's going to deal with it. She knows she can't keep something like that quiet in a town this size. I'm guessing she had just as much a shock as you, when she saw you."
I absentmindedly trace the ink on my arm. Rose's eyes follow the path of my fingers and her face softens.
"Edward, go home. Don't do anything stupid, wait for her to get in touch; you know she will. And in the meantime try and think of what you'll say if you run into her again before that."
A yell comes from upstairs.
"Please can I kick him out?" I ask, staring angrily at the ceiling. The guy's a fucktard and I cannot stand him. I'm yet to figure out what Rose sees in him, but she insists she's happy.
"Edward," she scolds, but says no more.
He makes his way noisily downstairs and throws the kitchen door open, strolling through in just his boxers.
"You still here?" he asks abruptly. Rose shoots a warning glare at me. I stand and walk over to give her a hug. We've always done this, but I linger an extra moment, purely to antagonize him. He hates me as much as I hate him.
"I'll see you later," I tell her as I make for the door.
"That better have been a figure of speech, because she'll be busy later, I'll be making sure of that!" he calls out. I'm a fraction of a second too late to miss the spanking sound and the playful squeal Rose lets out. I slam the door behind me, hoping that one of these days she sees sense.