Disclaimer: Twilight and all related elements © Stephenie Meyer and Little, Brown and Company 2005. All characters and situations—save those created by the author for use solely in this fan fiction—are copyright Stephenie Meyer and are used without permission. No profit is made off this story and is for entertainment purposes only.
A.N.: Now reuploaded for your viewing pleasure!
My personal little response after reading so many "Bella is changed" fics. Personally, I think the vampire thing is more tragic than romantic. This is heavily based on some of my own theories about the Twilight 'verse, although some have them have been shot down due to certain updates on the TL. However, since I thought they'd particularly parallel Rosalie's line of thought, they remained.
The sun was setting through the filmy windows and over the tops of distant buildings. Streetlights sputtered to life with an ozone hum, casting shadows on the half-full parking lot. Little clusters of insects flitted desperately to the new heat source, lit brightly as they pathetically beat themselves against the burning glass. Rosalie decided she hadn't ever seen a more depressing sight.
Other than the selection at this pitiful little boutique, that is.
"You know, I think they may have more wearable things in the men's section," she said dryly to her companions, dragging her mind off useless creatures that were drawn to things that killed them. The pick of the little boutique was certainly useless; although the store did have a certain charm- Esme would have thought it was adorable. It had been her idea for the shopping trip- a girl's night to get to know each other, she had said. Which meant Rosalie was trapped within the company of one Bella Swan, walking tragedy. And Alice, of course.
"Come on, Rose!" Alice cheered, her voice muffled. Alice Cullen was presumably trapped between rows of clothes, swimming in a sea of polyester blends. It was rather tragic, Rosalie thought, eyeing her comrade, although she couldn't seem to completely stifle the urge to join her. Finally reemerging, Alice gestured towards the door with a turquoise top that even on the hanger seemed to swallow her whole. "We can always go to another one, if you want."
Rosalie made a non-committal noise in the back of her throat. Alice seemed to thrive on the alien smell of shopping malls.
"Seriously, have you found a single thing?" Alice added, not to be dissuaded by Rosalie's seeming lack of interest- she knew her too well to believe that. Her perfect nose wrinkled. "I thought you wanted to find-"
"You've found enough for the both of us," Rose interrupted, amused. They both looked down at the small mountain of clothes Alice had draped over her arm. Alice shrugged happily, balancing on the balls of her feet.
"You should go try them on before this place closes," Bella cut in with a smile, pushing past her own pile of discards.
"You're probably right," Alice conceded, giving her armful a generous theatrical heft. Rosalie looked at Bella through narrowed eyes.
Self-conscious, Bella moved almost imperceptibly closer to Alice and tucked a strand of hair under her ear; and Rosalie hated her for the gesture, such a human gesture. My, how insane we are lately, said a voice in her head that sound strangely like Edward, enough that she had to remind herself the vampire was nowhere nearby. He, of course, was ridiculously still in Forks with Jasper and Emmett, and she was stuck here shopping in a little clunky store with Alice and Bella.
"I'm going to go try these," announced Alice. "Are you trying anything?"
Rosalie shook her head. "I'm going to keep looking."
"I'll come," Bella said brightly, trying to cover her earlier discomfort. "I didn't find anything, but…"
"I think I'll be okay," Alice said decisively, appraising the mountain of clothes with an arched eyebrow. "This might take a while."
"Oh," she stated, surprised.
"You should help Bella find something, Rosalie," Alice said innocently, and Rosalie turned to glare at her as Bella looked slightly perturbed at the idea. She should have suspected a set-up.
"And be nice," hissed Alice as she passed, soft enough that only she could hear. Rosalie rolled her eyes. She looked over at Bella and let out a small suffering sigh. She could be nice. But it didn't mean she needed to talk.
They sorted through the racks in silence. A fly buzzed against a window, punctuating the swoosh of fabrics and Rosalie began to wish Alice would just pick something as the dead, dull stillness began to weigh in on her. She listlessly pushed away a gaudy yellow shirt. It had been Bella's idea to come here. Well, Alice had spotted it and wanted to go but Bella had agreed. Her fault.
She moved through the rows hanger by hanger until she felt her brain go numb to everything but brand recognition.
"What's your favorite color?" She cracked. She hated quiet.
"Huh?" Bella, ever so eloquent.
"Color. Favorite color."
"Oh," she sounded slightly flustered. Rosalie didn't care. Anything to break the damn silence. "Um. Blue, I suppose, today."
Rosalie rummaged through a row until she picked out a few different pieces that didn't look too hopeless. "Here. You're a size…?"
"Those are fine."
She handed them to her. "Thanks," Bella responded, a little warily. The clicking of the hangers sounded incredibly annoying. Was there no one else in Washington who needed tacky tops?
Rosalie blinked, sidetracked off her mission to craft mean-spirited diatribes. "My favorite color?"
"No- yes. And your size."
"Oh," she said, thinking. "Red. And small. It's always small."
"It must be nice…never to change size," Bella volunteered.
Startled, Rosalie looked at her incredulously. Bella looked stung, and nervous, but she didn't back down.
Rosalie was still staring. God, where did she get these things? The silence lapsed between them again for a few moments. Bella was looking at her, no fear in her gaze, just honest, hopeful curiosity. Rose finally let out an unladylike snort and went back to her sifting.
"I mean, I know, it's hard. To be…like you." Was she still talking?
"You can't know," Rosalie said, her voice dull. "You can never honestly even hope to comprehend-"
"But I can," she retorted earnestly, "I want to know-"
"But that's just it," Rosalie shot back hotly. "You don't." She was suddenly angrier than she had been in months, angrier than she had been when Edward had brought this human into their world, into her home.
"You," she spat, "are an ignorant, foolish child."
The harshness of her own tone surprised her, despite her anger. Bella caught herself in a half step as she instinctively moved away. Rosalie could almost taste the adrenaline that automatically coursed through her body. A fight-or-flight reaction, and she was obviously too stupid to flee, for her face grew hard a half a second later.
"I am not a child."
"You're a child if I say you're a child, Bella," she spat. Bella made an angry defensive sound, but Rosalie ignored her. "It's a very romantic notion, isn't it, eternal life? Eternal beauty, eternal love, they all go hand in hand in this choice of yours." Her tone turned mocking. "You'll be young forever. Unchanged, forever. You'd be with Edward, forever. You can hold hands and lose yourself in each other as the world passes you by. Years, after years, after years, forever. Never to grow older, to see your children, to get old, to bleed, to die." Her voice, she knew, was full of bitter venom.
Bella was silent, her gaze focused on Rosalie. In that moment, Rose hated her. She just didn't understand. No one understood, until it was too late.
"You tell me how Edward loves you," she continued in a contemptuous half-whisper, slightly turning at the waist to run her fingers down a piece of cloth. "How much of it, do you think, is because you're human?" The human seemed to flinch, but Rose didn't wait for her answer. "He loves the warm smell of you, the way the blood runs through your veins, the way you blush, the way you're so alive."
She was blushing now, the color high in her cheeks not from embarrassment, but from anger. "I-"
"I'm not finished," Rosalie's voice cracked like a whip. "Before you give yourself over to your endless throes of romanticism, I want you to think about something." This time, she looked at her straight in the face, and it was Bella who looked away. "How long do you think forever is, Bella? And how long after that? Do you have any idea of what encompasses forever? How a person can change in twenty years? In a hundred? In a thousand?
Edward needs you because you remind him of his humanity. He's been dead for nearly a hundred years. We are the walking dead, and part of him loves you because you make him believe it isn't so. Esme and Carlisle have their empathy; Alice has her visions, Jasper holds on to his ability to touch human emotions." And Emmett and I have the brief moments where we can just feel and forget, she thought, but didn't say it out loud. "We aren't human. We can't ever be human again. We feed on humans. Are you just willing to abandon the human race? Your family?"
"I wouldn't abandon them," Bella replied stiffly. In the opposite row, Rosalie could hear another customer approach, slow down to accidentally-on-purpose eavesdrop. She gave a hard metallic wrench to a hanger, and the woman scurried away.
"Oh?" Rosalie raised her eyebrows. "Then, what? You'd try and turn them, too?" She could see a hot bubble of protest form in front of her and waved a hand nonchalantly to silence her.
"You want to know what it's like?" She demanded and was somewhat gratified to notice how Bella's upper body seemed to stiffen. "You'd smell your mother, your father. You'd hear them, full of supple, warm humanness, you'd marvel at how alive they were. You'd crave to touch them, feel their warmth against you. And most of all, you'll wonder how they'd taste." Her voice turned soft, almost caressing. "If they'd struggle, at all, if you were to come into their rooms, one night…smelling them, feeling their warm presence, feeling every single wave of their heartbeat on the air…touch them with cold fingers like you used to, kiss them with cold lips as you used to, until…"
Bella was standing shock still, like a mouse caught in the eyes of a snake
"You would dream about it," she continued, stepping closer to the girl. "The way your father would say your name once, just once, begging you to stop as you killed him. Pleading for mercy. You'd think about your mother's strong, sweet blood pumping into your cold body, filling you, running through your veins. It would be like being reborn," she hissed softly.
Bella's breath was coming shallower, her face even more pale than before. She almost looked like one of them.
"Think about that," Rosalie finished, smiling terribly. "Think about what you'll lose before deluding yourself about what we are. You have a choice. I didn't."
"Well, I couldn't find a single thing!"
Alice's voice cut into the room, shattering Rosalie's spell. With a jerk, Bella broke away from her stare and slid another hanger away.
"Did you find anything, Bella?"
"Oh…no." Bella slid the few blue things Rosalie had found back on the rack. Rosalie let out a long suffering sigh.
The trip back had been nearly silent, with only Alice breaking the silence with a quip once in a while, trying to stir up conversation. Bella had sat quietly in the back seat, Rosalie broodily swerving through traffic, fielding Alice's attempts halfheartedly.
"Bella? Bella, did you hear me?" Alice asked as they pulled into the Cullen driveway.
"Edward told me he wanted to take you home. Something about having never trusted Rosalie's driving." Alice smiled pleasantly and Rosalie made a face.
"Oh," Bella said. "Yeah, I know."
Alice caught Rosalie's eye in a knowing and disapproving look. What did you say? She mouthed. Rosalie shrugged.
The Volvo was parked halfway up the driveway and Rosalie maneuvered the convertible around it, resisting the urge to skim close enough to mar the paint job. He had parked that way just to annoy her.
She put the car in park and Bella slid out of the back easily, walking towards the curb, smiling weakly as Edward stepped out of the car. Rosalie watched as he opened the passenger door for her and suddenly, whipped around to stare at her through narrowed amber eyes. He ducked into the Volvo to say something to Bella and walked towards the convertible with liquid, feral grace. She thought briefly about rolling up the window.
"What happened?" he said in a smooth tone that belied the steel behind it. She looked accusingly at Alice, who shrugged.
Get out of my head, Cullen, she warned him mentally, and he gave her a grim little smile.
"What?" she said, annoyed.
"Alice thinks Bella's upset about something," he retorted, his eyes now gone hard
Alice turned in her seat to look at her. Suddenly she felt tired and apathetic about anything concerning Edward, at all. Ridiculous, overdramatic prick.
"I told her what you were all afraid to," she stated aloud, not caring if Alice heard. "What she had to hear." And get out of my head and away from my car, or I'll disconnect your break lines the next chance I get, she thought fiercely.
He looked angry, but turned around sharply, the set of his shoulders tense. "We'll talk about this later."
"I'm ecstatic just thinking about it."
"Stay away from her."
My pleasure. Watching him move smoothly to the opposite side of the Volvo, she silently willed him several dents and a transmission failure.
Seconds later, the Volvo revved to life and backed out incautiously, speeding away, roaring the streets as if it, too, was challenging her. She waited until it disappeared amidst the other cars before stepping out, avoiding the expression on Alice's face.
She couldn't help it; she turned and looked at her. Her expression was an odd mixture of understanding and sympathy, and Rosalie pushed the thought of either away, preferring anger. An unexpected wealth of sadness sprung up around her, and for a minute, she let herself just feel.
It felt good.