"I want it," Rosalie breathed.
She ran a cold, rock hard hand along the body of the Cadillac 355E. Her long skirt fluttered a little in the wind, distracting her. This was good. The scent of the salesman's blood was growing harder and harder to resist. She ought to hunt more often.
"She's a beauty," he exclaimed, smacking a hand against the hood. "Streamlined. Very similar to the D model from last year."
The wind came again, blowing the salesman's scent across once more. The points of her jaw ached, outweighed only by the burning in her throat. Surely it wouldn't hurt, she thought. My track record's clean. And he does smell so good…
Edward cleared his throat. Rosalie scowled, painfully reminded yet again that he was privy to all her thoughts. She tried to contain herself.
"I think it's a little out of our price range," Edward murmured.
The salesman inclined his head. "Of course, sir. But if your wife wants to take it for a drive…"
"She's not my wife," he snapped. Ouch.
Rosalie shot a glare his way. Even more infuriating than the outright rejection was knowing he could hear her infuriation. She'd thought that, after two years, she'd be used to the constant invasion of privacy. She thought she'd be used to the dismissal itself.
The salesman eyed them for just a moment, incredulity evident on his face. But either he chose not to press further, or the palpable change in atmosphere had frightened him. Rose reminded herself to ask Edward later.
Not bad, she thought to herself. I could have walked away with a lot worse.
Edward growled from the passenger seat as they crawled through the Tennessee streets in the Cadillac. "When will the guilt tripping end, Rosalie?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Rose lied.
He raised his eyebrows, a mirthless laugh escaping his lips. "You may have Carlisle and Esme fooled, but there's no use trying it on me."
"It's a damn car, Edward," she snapped. "If Carlisle's so upset, I'll find work to pay it off."
"We're in the middle of the Great Depression. What work are you going to find? Even Carlisle's pay has dropped."
Rosalie was quiet for a moment. She hadn't known that. Guilt nagged at her stomach — was the wealthy doctor, practically her father, in trouble?
"How much?" she asked.
Rosalie winced. Suddenly, she felt sick with guilt at the purchase. If she'd almost bankrupted Carlisle and Esme on a stupid whim, she'd never forgive herself. But she shook such thoughts from her mind — for good reason — and hummed tunelessly, hoping it would be enough to distract Edward from hearing her thoughts.
"You need to stop punishing him," he murmured, so quietly none of the gaping humans on the sidewalk could hear. "You need to stop punishing all of us. It's been two years, Rose."
"So you keep reminding me," she hissed. "What about my punishment? When will that end?"
Edward didn't answer.
They wove their way through the farm, along the driveway to their expansive home. The separate two-bedroom cottage stood a little way away. Carlisle had originally intended for Edward and Rosalie to live there, but Edward had made his feelings on the matter perfectly clear. As had she, though it angered and humiliated her to be continually rebuffed. To make matters worse, this was 1935. The community was full of christian southern women, who dedicated their lives to raising their children, tending to their husbands. Keeping their homes. Rosalie had once turned her nose at the weird doctor and his weirder son. Now, she was one of them. And though her beauty carried her so far, and though people at least assumed she and Edward were wed, Rosalie was an outsider.
She supposed she'd need to get used to it.
"And what are you going to do if the thing breaks?" Edward asked as they got out of the car. "Waste more of Carlisle's earnings on an Auto Mechanic?"
Rosalie shot a look of death his way. "I'll fix it myself."
Edward erupted into peals of laughter. "And risk breaking a nail?"
Rosalie growled. She eyed him viciously, wondering which of his limbs she would crush first.
"I wouldn't if I were you," he warned. "Esme's coming to see us, and you know how she hates when we fight."
"This isn't over," she said, storming her way to the porch faster than any human could.
She knew it was foolish. Carlisle was always warning them of the importance of discretion, and how the glance of a stray mailman or poacher could blow their cover. But she needed to get away from Edward before she really would attack, and hurt Esme's feelings.
The redhead in question was beaming from the front door. Her hair was perfectly curled, and she wore a sun-dress with sleeves to her elbows, the skirt hem falling to her calves. She was so sweet and motherly, though Rosalie had tried to hate her at first, it proved to be impossible. And it was exhausting hating everyone. Esme had become her only friend, and a kinder mother figure than Rosalie had ever known. It was for this reason she felt a twinge of guilt at her impulse purchase.
"Did you have a nice time in the city?" Esme asked, placing a hand on Rosalie's shoulder.
"Rose bought another car," Edward answered.
She scowled at Edward. "And he just about blew our cover to the salesman."
"He didn't suspect a thing," Edward said, though he lowered his eyes.
Sadness flashed through Esme's eyes, but she recovered quickly. "Well, that sounds like a nice time. How does the car run, Rose?"
They entered the house, now in the final stages of building. Esme was doing most of the construction, out-sourcing only the plumbing and electric work. She had to be careful when hiring contractors. If they spoke amongst themselves, and put together that the one woman had built an entire six-bedroom ranch in just a few weeks, they would be sure to ask questions.
"It runs great," Rosalie answered. "Though Edward has some concerns about the engine."
He rolled his eyes and quickly vanished to his room. This was standard for him. As always, Rosalie felt the cool rejection. Screw him, she practically screamed in her mind, furious as ever that her thoughts were not her own. Selfish, mopey jackass.
"Is everything alright?" Esme asked quietly as she could, busying herself with paint.
Rosalie couldn't answer truthfully. No matter how quietly they spoke, or even if they communicated with nothing but glances, Edward would see. Sure, he liked to pretend he respected their privacy and ignored as much as he could, but Rose knew he kept tabs on her. Sometimes he'd let details slip in conversation, or reference something before he realised he was revealing the truth of how closely he listened. It angered her more than anything else.
Esme seemed to understand. "Would you like to join me for a hunt? Carlisle will be working late, and I'm dying to get another taste of those white-tailed deer."
"Sure. I need to hunt anyway," Rosalie said.
They walked calmly to the tree-line bordering the property. Rosalie prayed with each step that she was far enough away Edward could not hear. And she prayed that Esme would not be too invasive in her questioning. Because every now and then, completely unintentionally, Rosalie found words containing small glimmers of hope leaving her mouth. Hope for her and Edward. She shuddered at the thought and pushed herself to a sprint, hoping to keep too busy feeding to talk much.