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.

Second chapter, what what? I blame the Rosalie-Edward interaction at the end of the last part. It kind of haunted me. This bit is much less angsty- or is it?

NOTE: This one has some more intense language than the last chapter and surely earns its rating- don't read it if that sort of thing bothers you, please.

Hope you enjoy the unexpected sequel…I had fun.

oOo

Rosalie was watching the bird, and the bird was watching Rosalie.

She liked birds, although the only one she had ever willingly admitted it to was Emmett. She had tried to touch one once, a little robin she had found trembling on the ground one early spring. She had reached out a slim white finger, just once, to touch its feathered wing as it flittered in fear. The frantic beating of its heart had increased dramatically. Adrenaline. Life. She touched the wing and heard its heart explode.

She didn't try to keep birds anymore. She just watched them, sometimes.

She made a face at the sparrow, crinkling her nose in a way that always made Emmett laugh and kiss her, if they were in private. In public he knew better.

It broke the spell, anyway, and the bird took flight in a rustle of feathers. She was glad for it. Rosalie had better things to do than moan over birds.

It bothered her that she was up in her room.

Being up here implied some sort of self-imposed exile, and she had done nothing to deserve it. She was sitting by her window, knees curled up in front of her, looking out. Being up here was usually a sanctuary, but today it felt as if she was hiding. She bristled at the thought. She wasn't afraid of anything- anyone, for that matter, and if Edward thought she was doing this to avoid him he could go-

Not that Edward had any reason to think that she would avoid him.

Why should she?

She was here to recover from the mall- from shopping. That was it. It had nothing to do with anything else. In fact, who cared? About anything, anyway? She was fine.

The groaning roar of a Volvo, still far away, startled her and she jumped off the seat.

To go to vanity.

Right.

She peered into the mirror, frowning, and the sight of her own reflection immediately calmed her. She tapped the end of her perfect nose as the roar rose in volume. Edward was back.

She half-heartedly picked up a hairbrush- never really needed, actually, her hair didn't tangle easily- and put it down again.

If she stayed up here, he might think she was hiding from him. That was tantamount to an admission of guilt.

She had to go down.

Dammit, dammit, dammit.

She flung the door open a little forcefully, moving quickly down the stairs, but not quick enough to miss stomping therapeutically on a few of them.

Jasper was sitting on the couch, reading a book. He hadn't looked up as she came down, and she felt annoyance claw its way up her chest. So she was just something to be ignored, was she?

"Where's Emmett?" she said sharply, the words feeling high and tight in her throat.

Jasper looked up slowly, raising an eyebrow as his curly hair fell half into his glasses and she felt dim-witted. Jasper had a way of doing that, making you feel unreasonable when you had all the reason to not be reasonable.

"He's with Carlisle," he said with a smile. "He wanted to do some more hunting. I think he was missing you."

"Ha!" she retorted. She strode over to the bookshelf. Jasper watched her. Rosalie picking up a book would be a new, interesting development in the Cullen house.

She grabbed the nearest one and flipped through it harshly, then deliberately dropped it on the floor and glared at Jasper, daring him to say something.

He didn't even flinch. Rosalie let an exasperated noise escape her and sat down in a winged armchair, glowering at the window. Slowly, Jasper stood and walked over to where the fallen book lay, half open. He picked it up and vigilantly brushed off the pages with long fingers, carefully sliding it back into its proper place on the shelf.

She watched him do it. He probably had them in fucking alphabetical order.

"Is something the matter, Rosalie?" Jasper said chivalrously.

His voice was easy, slightly sardonic. She chose not to answer. Let him be ignored.

Jasper observed her carefully, and inwardly sighed. He didn't need any of his talents to read this particular mood. Rosalie could be quite…volatile, at times. He wondered vaguely how he could get her out of the room, or if it would be better just to retreat to his study.

"How can you read with that racket outside?"

He tried very hard to concentrate on his book. Funny how it had seemed easier ten minutes ago.

The front door swung open and slammed shut in the foyer and Rosalie shot out of her chair like a scalded cat.

"About time," she snarled, exiting quickly with long strides.

Well, focusing on Polidori would be nearly impossible, now. He sighed in frustration and tossed the book- gently- down beside him.

"I foresee- a great conflict," a musical voice announced with a lilt of amusement, and he felt some of the aggravation seep out of him. Alice slipped into the room.

"I could have predicted that."

"I think a rock could predict conflict when Rosalie's around."

He smiled at that. Alice perched herself on the armchair of the couch, careful not to disturb his pile of books. "She and Edward are going to have words."

"Probably fists, too."

"That's not nice, Jazz."

"Mmm," he agreed, eyeing her.

Alice grinned. "They need kind, respectable friends to play referee."

"It's very good that we are neither kind nor respectable then, isn't it?"

His hands shot out and grabbed hold of her waist, dragging her down on top of him. She laughed.

"Very," she whispered, and kissed his ear. He closed his eyes, loving the feel of her, and her mouth moved lower down his neck. His breath caught in a soft gasp. Alice's short hair brushed against his forehead and his eyes flew open, reveling in the small motions of her. She always smelled so damn good.

Rosalie burst back into the room, trouble on two legs. "He's still in the driveway!"

Jasper exhaled loudly, Alice reluctantly shifting away from him.

"Oh?" said Alice, looking a little exasperated herself. "Are you looking for Edward, Rosalie?"

Rosalie glared at her nastily. "Of course not."

That was it. Jasper looked at her, letting an aura of serenity settle over him and the room. "I'm sure everything is fine, Alice."

Rosalie still looked irritable. "Of course everything is fine."

At least her voice had gotten less shrill.

The front door slammed and a few seconds later, Edward strode into the room with an air that said he was the furthest thing from serene. Jasper mentally said a sad goodbye to quiet. And, also, what probably was impending sex. He still quite cross about the sex.

"Hello, Edward," he said wearily.

Edward gave him a curt nod, his shoulders stiff. The entire line of his body seemed almost forced into sharp, focused angles. Rosalie knew the look- after nearly a centaury of knowing Edward, of course she did. She shot back her best disdainful stare. She wasn't avoiding him.

As if she had a reason to.

He twisted around suddenly and looked at her, eyebrow raised imperiously.

"You bastard," Rosalie swore coolly, her hands crossing gracefully in front of her bodice. "I told you to stay out of my head-"

He just looked at her. Maybe he needed reminding.

"The death threat? To your car? I thought you would have at least given a thought about the car," she said in mock surprise. "Even if-"

"It's natural for me," Edward cut her off with a shrug, completely unapologetic.

"That doesn't mean-"

"Could you stop your…gifts?"

She opened her mouth, and closed it again.

He smiled slightly. Now he was openly mocking her. And he was probably still perusing her thoughts like random radio channels.

"That would explain the bad reception I'm getting, then?".

LA LA LA, mmm, Emmett in a TOWEL, she mentally shouted, her shoulders flying back, glaring at him. Oh, WHAT A NICE BACKSIDE he has-.

Edward made a face. "No need to get lurid," he said softly, looking at her over long lashes.

She felt petulant, but she didn't care. "You stay out of my thoughts."

He shrugged, turned away. Jasper and Alice, sensing a clean getaway, had slipped out of the room.

Elusive little vampires lately, weren't they?

"So," he said with a sarcastic attempt at joviality; "How was shopping?"

"Sad we didn't pick you up another nice sweater?" she asked innocently. "I noticed the apparent subscription to Metrosexual Weekly you've been getting. Tell me, is it the first or second commandment that your shirt must match your shoes?"

"Third," he responded acerbically. "The first and second are about proper hair and teeth care."

"Right. Such a shame you haven't mastered those yet."

"Weak, very weak, Rosalie. How was the ride back to town?"

"Fine," she said bracingly.

"Alice didn't seem to think so."

"Alice thinks any shopping trip that doesn't end with her coming home with half the store is a failure."

His eyes were hard. "That's not what I meant, and you know it."

"No, I don't," she retorted.

He raised an eyebrow at her. Damn telepaths, damn them to hell.

"I doubt that," he said.

All this angry sneering she was doing was probably very unattractive, but she was so inspired. Doin' a little dance, makin' a little love, GET DOWN TONIGHT, she thought fiercely.

He almost seemed to flinch, and scowled at her. "I truly hated the 70's, you know."

She smiled so all her teeth showed. "Oh, believe me, I know."

He narrowed his eyes at her. Rose hummed a few verses to herself lightly in caution, watching him beadily.

"I want to know," he said flatly, "exactly what you said to Bella."

Finally cutting to the chase. She dropped her 'best hits of 1975' act unceremoniously. "I didn't say anything that didn't need to be said."

"You mean, in your very informed, mastermind opinion," Edward snarled. "Are you that threatened by a human, Rosalie?"

"You're besotted, aren't you?" she spat. "Here I was thinking it was the girl who was being idiotic. Now I see that, while she is, undoubtedly, very stupid, it's you who's completely blind."

"You don't know anything," he said dangerously.

"Funny how none of us seem to."

He pressed his mouth into a thin line. Rosalie could be so infuriating, at times.

I hope he knows he looks very constipated when he does that.

All the time.

"Not all of us are clueless, Rosalie," he grated.

"Just you, then?"

He opened his mouth to make a scathing retort, but Rosalie, now in for the long haul, plowed on recklessly.

"Don't you understand, Edward? Don't you get it? She's not…she can't- she's not one of us. And unless you have the balls to make her one of us, what the hell are you doing?"

That was enough. He moved so quickly his own limbs were a blur and caught her arm in a vice-like grip. "Don't…ever…speak of her like that. You don't understand."

Her other hand came out of nowhere, pushing him so hard he stumbled back a few steps. Rosalie looked furious.

"I don't understand?" she spat. "Then please, Edward, enlighten me. What's your grand master plan? To leave her? To change her? Because I, for one, would love to know. Don't you understand how hard this is for the rest of us?"

"That's right, Rosalie," he said coldly, "I expected we would get back to your favorite topic of, oh- you."

"Instead of the constant, Edward's-In-PAIN" monologue, you mean?" she sneered. "Let her leave or let her die, Edward, but don't keep her. Keeping living things will always end badly."

"Like you would know," he said softly.

BITCH.

They stared at each other. Edward's eyes narrowed dangerously in a mask of anger, half torn in amusement. Rosalie's nostrils flared. It was remarkable, he thought, how it made her look like an enraged bull.

Suddenly the laughter bubbled up in spite of itself. He snickered.

She looked furious.

"Bitch?" he said, feeling a full grin break out in his features.

Her mouth might have quirked in a smile, then again, it might not have. She gave an almost imperceptible shrug. The tension had seeped out of the room.

"Well," she mused. "You are."

For a second he had the incredible urge to either think of something more inflammatory or pull her hair. Maybe it was the same thing. He chuckled, half turned.

It wasn't over, of course. For Rosalie, it wouldn't be until she won. That was Rosalie.

But there could be a truce. For now.

"Stay away from my girlfriend," he stated plainly, "And I'll try and keep out of your head."

Rosalie watched him for a long moment, and immediately he had to catch himself from perusing her thoughts. Old habits were very hard to break.

"Edward," she said slowly, "you don't know what you're doing."

There was almost sympathy in her voice- a new turn of events, and a new tone for her. But there was a hard edge in it, too- she was still Rose, after all. He turned away from her.

"That's my choice," Edward said to the door, and walked away. He didn't look back.

oOo