This is a story I've been working on for many, many months now. I created this as a one-shot for a contest, but I never ended up submitting it. So now, I decided to take the plunge and make this a multi-chapter fic! I have about ten chapters pre-written, and hope you guys will like it!
This is a Rose and Emmett love story, because we deserve more fics with Rose.
As always, thanks for reading!
BIG thanks to everyone working on this with me: my beta (maniacalmuse), prereaders, and ladylibre because she loves Rose just as much as I do.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!" I angrily kick the stainless steel rolling cart holding my tools.
"What's up, Spice?" Garrett's head peeks out from under the hood of the Corolla he's working on.
I turn around, facing Garrett, and see the irritating, sly smile on his face. "What do you think?" I say, motioning to the front of my faded, red overalls, covered in oil.
"Ah fuck." Garrett winces like he's in pain and throws the rag he was holding on the top of the yellow Corolla.
"Don't move; I've got you." Garrett thinks fast, running over to the corner to fetch a bucket full of scalding water and a mop. He grabs the bottle of industrial-strength degreaser and puts more than the recommended amount in the water.
"Hands," Garrett barks, nodding his head to the bucket as he wipes the floor underneath my feet. He finishes by wiping my work boots.
The water is scorching hot, but I know if I don't rinse and scrub immediately, my hands will be stained black for the next two weeks.
"Are you okay? It's like your head's not attached to your body today," Garrett remarks, a concerned frown on his face.
I unzip my overalls, rolling them down carefully so I don't mess up my clothes underneath.
"I'm fine," I snap, instantly regretting my tone. After all, Garrett only wants to help. He's the greatest boss I've ever had, and he has been nothing but kind to me.
Garrett holds up his hands as if to surrender and looks at the big digital clock on the wall.
"You can just go home if you'd like. It's almost five, anyway, and you've been doing too much overtime lately." He smiles.
"Oh, seriously?" My eyebrows arch in surprise. It was a busy month at the shop, and we're severely understaffed since Riley quit a few months back.
"The new guy is coming in on Monday, so you should take the half hour of free pay I'm giving you and relax. I'm sure your girl won't mind having you home sooner than expected." Garrett winks.
I roll my eyes but smile. I know Garrett's right, and Irina will be over the moon if I get home early tonight, especially since we haven't spent a lot of time together lately. Between me working so much overtime and Irina running for promotion at her law firm, we can use some TLC.
"Welcome, Spice. Give her a kiss from me." Garrett grins.
"You're such a creeper, Gar." I shake my head.
I make my way out of the shop, strutting off to the locker room in the back, twisting the combination on the lock.
I carefully peel the soiled overalls from my body and reach for a bin liner on top of the lockers. Stuffing the messy fabric inside, I briefly contemplate just throwing it in the trash. Then again, if I did, I'd have to walk around in size XL men's overalls until Garrett orders me a fresh pair. "Fuck this," I curse. There's no way I can save them without ruining my washer.
Garrett comes into the locker room, toeing off his heavy work boots before he sits down on the stool next to the sink.
"Gar, will you order me new ones, or do I have to get them myself?" I ask, looking over my shoulder to face him. I peel off my stained work T-shirt, swapping it for a long-sleeved, black turtleneck.
"I can't get it by Monday, so maybe just stop by the Outfit Factory yourself. Put it on my tab."
"Sure, I'll stop by tomorrow."
"Say hi to Kate for me," Garrett says, rubbing his neck nervously.
"Dude!" I exclaim. "You still haven't put a move on her?"
Garrett's face turns all sorts of shades of pink as he tries to figure out what to say.
"She totally digs you, Garrett. I can see it in her eyes every time we're over there together." I pull the hair tie that secures my ponytail out of my hair and put it around my wrist.
"What do you see, then?" Garrett wonders, biting the inside of his cheek.
"Oh, please. Can't you tell by the way she looks at me? The woman hates me. It's like she might actually start shooting laser beams out of her eyes and go all Superman on my ass." I cross my arms in front of my chest, glaring at my boss until he gets my point. Kate always seems to think Garrett and I are more than friends, but we're coworkers and it's just ridiculous for her to see anything else between us.
"Does she think we...but you're...and I don't…" he mumbled.
"Exactly, genius. Use the brain." I laugh.
"I might friend her on Facebook tonight and start some kind of conversation."
It's adorable that Garrett seems so timid about the whole Kate subject. Garrett is very good-looking. He's got dark brown hair hitting his stubbled jawline. At work, he always pushes it back with some product or covers his locks with a cap or beanie. He has soft, toffee-brown eyes that always seem to give away what he's thinking. Garrett's looks, combined with owning a successful business and being the hard worker he is, essentially make him a freaking catch.
"What's wrong?" He reaches out, his hand touching my bare forearm. I pull back with a scowl, pulling down the sleeves of my shirt furiously. My cheeks glow bright red as I avoid his eyes. I know he means well, but I can't help it.
I wasn't prepared.
"I'm sorry, Rose." Garrett sighs, knowing the gesture throws me off, even when it's this innocent.
"No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have reacted like that." I let my head fall forward, loose tresses of gold covering my face like a safety guard for my expression.
"I have to go; Kate's is closing soon." In a hurry, I stuff my belongings into my oversized leather tote before throwing on my denim jacket. The denim feels rough against my neck.
"I thought you were going tomorrow?" Garrett's brow lifts, questioning my sudden change of plans.
"Yeah, well. I might as well just do it now. It's only a ten-minute drive from here, anyway. Irina isn't expecting me until six, so she's probably still at work," I mutter, knowing Irina takes every chance she can to get more done.
"Have a great weekend, Spice. And I'm sorry." Garrett stays behind in the locker room. I can tell he feels guilty for overstepping the boundaries I set when I started working for him. He knew my story, and he vowed to protect and care for me in this douchebag-littered garage.
Now I feel like a bitch.
"It's fine, don't worry about it, boss. See you on Monday." I manage to crack a smile and put a hand on Garrett's shoulder because I feel brave and want to put him at ease. It's never about me touching them; that's just fine. It's about them touching me, but I know Garrett isn't like that. Not one bit.
I walk over to my cherry-red Dodge Challenger, the air crisp, the sun already setting. Winter was one of my favorites, but the early nightfall has a way of triggering me, often flooding me with thoughts about that one night.
I walk to my car, leaving work, the high-end car dealership owned by the Kings. We sell and import expensive brands only the one percent can afford. The pearly-white, sleek Porsche Cayenne is my pride and joy, and I feel blessed. I'm dating the eldest son, Royce King, which is the main reason for me owning this beauty. Royce kept me out of the greasy shop and in the state-of-the-art showroom instead. My life was all designer pantsuits and tailored skirts now, along with champagne and exotic coffee beans. I'm always smiling, carrying myself with skillful poise while possessing the knowledge of a seasoned mechanic. I benefit from my family's genes and physique quite often, but I feel like I hit the fucking jackpot with Royce King.
It's just after six pm when I leave, making sure the showroom is closed and secured for the night. The red light of the alarm system blinks soothingly as I leave.
Night has already fallen since it's well into December. My heels click loudly on the cement of the parking lot behind the building. The big, motion-activated spotlight isn't working, and I fumble in my purse, looking for my phone, using its flashlight to guide my way to my car.
"Hey Rosie," a deep voice calls out. I smile, recognizing my fiancé's voice.
"Royce," I sigh, slightly startled, and I walk up to him. My brow furrows, eyes darting toward the crumpled paper bag that hugs the obvious shape of a liquor bottle.
"Have you been drinking?"
Royce's expression is hazy, his eyes glazed and his usual smile a scowl. His hair's unusually messy, his jaw unshaven. It's not like him to look this disheveled.
"Like a horse after a race," he bellows, his loud voice echoing through the evening air, bouncing back from the dealership's white outer walls.
"What are you doing here?" I question.
"I was coming from the company meeting I told you about. We were supposed to close a deal; we were supposed to get the contract to take care of all their cars and vans." Royce sighs heavily.
"Oh no, it fell through?" My smile slides off of my face. The shop needs the extra cash since I just recently discovered the pit of debt they're in because of King Senior's gambling addiction.
"They're still undecided." A wicked grin graces Royce's face as he watches me intensely, his eyes gliding up and down, from the crown of my head to the heels of my knee-length, high-heeled leather boots.
"How did you get here?" I ask him, reaching out to take the disguised bottle from his hands. Royce pulls away, glaring, looking at me dirty.
"Rosie, you have to do something for me, darling." Royce's smile is all teeth, but there's no all-too-familiar gleam in his gray eyes.
Without waiting for me to answer, Royce wraps one arm around my shoulder, nuzzling my neck. I pull away; it's clear that he's drunk off his ass.
"Royce, you reek." I scrunch my nose, the disgusting smell of hard liquor making my stomach turn. "Let's go home."
Royce doesn't want to hear any of it. He clings to my body like I'm his lifeline.
"We're going on a trip, Rosie. Get in the car," Royce says curtly. My fist closes around the Porsche's key fob in an attempt to shield them from Royce's view.
"You're not driving, Royce. You've been drinking." I'm angry and cold. I want to go home, take a bath, watch television.
"Tsk, tsk." Royce cocks his head and watches as if he's waiting for me to apologize. "You shouldn't talk to me like that, Rosie. You're far too pretty to get into trouble." His hand glides over the softness of my coral wool coat, stroking my arm upwards until he reaches the white, fake-fur trim around my neck. Royce dips his fingers inside, tracing the pendant on my necklace. His fingers are cold and make me shiver.
I feel like I'm hearing my obnoxious father-in-law instead of my fiancé mocking me, treating me like a weakling, like a child. It infuriates me.
"If you don't want to listen to the man who's becoming your husband in two months, you should learn the hard way." Royce yanks my hair, pulling me to the car, the death-grip he has on the back of my neck rendering me incapable of resisting. Tears burn in my eyes, but I refuse to let them out.
Royce throws me against the passenger's side of the car hard, as he tries to take the keys from me. His fingernails scratch at my wrist, hurting me.
"Don't be so fucking difficult," Royce spits, towering over me, gripping my elbow and opening the passenger door, shoving me inside. I pull my hands as close to my body as I can to prevent them from being smashed by the door as he slams it shut without looking.
Panic and anger flood my senses. What the fuck is wrong with him? Why is he acting like this? He's painfully different from his usual charming self. I have no clue what's going on, but warning bells blare inside my head. I recall everything Royce classified as gossip; the tales of the Kings, the macabre, and macho King-family with their ties to certain less than legal activities.
Royce isn't like that.
Royce is sweet, a true gentleman.
He always stands up to his family.
I start crying when he revs the engine.
"Royce, don't; you've been drinking. Just let me drive." I try, but it's no use. Royce doesn't even glance my way when he turns his attention on the road and takes a right turn out of the lot.
"Royce, where are we going? I just want to go home," I plead. The car swerves over the road unsteadily, the engine groaning when Royce doesn't shift into third. I dig my fingers into the edge of the white leather seat beneath me until my knuckles turn white.
My heart beats wildly in my chest. I feel uneasy; my stomach is in knots, my mind all over the place. What on earth is wrong with Royce? He's driving too fucking fast and shifting too late. He's reckless and dangerous.
Royce hits the brakes like a mad man. My body jerks forward, just inches away from the windshield. I feel lucky I'm wearing a seatbelt, or right now, I'd be facing an entirely different kind of trauma.
"Royce," I try again, but he ignores me like he has been doing for the entire ride. We haven't been driving for long, ten minutes tops, so I try to figure out where we might be. We're not heading home; home is easily twenty minutes away from the showroom.
I feel shaky, lightheaded, but somehow I do my best to hide it from him. I hate it when I appear weak. He gets out of the car, the engine still running. Shutting his door aggressively, he rounds the car and opens the passenger door with as much gusto as he closed his.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I spit angrily. I have had it with Royce's behavior. His head whips around to look at me before he grasps my chin roughly between his thumb and forefinger.
"You really need to shut your pretty mouth, darling, or it might not be that pretty for much longer." His voice is quiet, threatening; the hairs on my arms stand up on edge.
"You're hurting me, stop it!" I shriek when Royce grabs me by the arm and yanks me from the car.
"Now you're going to shut the fuck up and listen to me, okay?" Royce shakes me forcefully, my hair flying all over the place, my eyes wide and teary.
"I owe someone a lot of favors. Since Daddy dearest won't hold up his end of the deal, I need you on your best behavior, darling." Royce smooths my hair, wipes it out of my face, and presses a cold, hard kiss onto my lips.
I shudder and feel fear.
Something is up.
Royce leads me into the dark, deserted building and throws an arm over my shoulders, steadying himself and holding me close. It makes walking a tad difficult and makes me anxious. I don't know where the fuck I am, and my phone is in my bag, in the car.
"Ah, atta boy." I hear a deep voice from the darkness. As we approach, I can distinguish three silhouettes, disguised in the shade of the poor, dim overhead light.
"Damn, you didn't exaggerate one bit, King." A chuckle follows, one man stepping into the light. His hair is dark; he wasn't that big, slightly less tall than me.
"Told you she was a looker," Royce slurs as they get closer.
"Hard to tell with that many clothes on." Another voice booms, the echo of his laughter bouncing off the dirty walls. My heart thumps erratically, making me feel dizzy. I want to scream, but something tells me that will only make this worse.
"You leave my fucking father alone after this, understood?" Royce has always been charismatic; it's one of the traits I always loved about this man. Though tonight, it makes me feel sick to my stomach, his cold behavior and his manhandling turning me off for good.
"Then I suggest she better start stripping." One of the men smirks at me, crossing his arms in front of his chest as he leans back, his weight on one leg.
"Are you out of your mind?" I shriek, attempting to pull away from the other one's grasp. I fail and he pulls me closer. I can smell the alcohol on his breath. I'm disgusted.
"Just shush and look pretty."
I fight back when hands unclasp my coat, burning tears leaving my vision blurry.
Fabric tears and hands grab at anything they can find. They muffle my screams with a wad of dirty handkerchiefs.
I feel sick.
They pull at my hair, and an icy gust of wind tells me some part of my body is uncovered, vulnerable, and I wish I were dead.
"Spice, you okay?" Garrett waltzes out of the shop, his backpack in hand and a scarf wrapped around his neck.
"I thought you'd left by now, car troubles?" Garrett smirks, but he has no idea what's going on in my head until I turn around. I'm sure he can see mascara running down my cheeks in thick, black tracks before my finger tries to swipe them away.
"It's fine. I'm fine." I hide, casting my face down. I can see my reflection in the window of my car, daunting me.
When the fuck did I become this weak little creature?