"But he that dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose."

Installment 1 – Prologue

If she could dream, undoubtedly, it would be of him. Her prince. She would picture their life in minute detail, every aspect. She imagined the lavish wedding that had been only a week away and would be the talk of Rochester for considerably longer, the magnificent house they would share that had every luxurious accommodation one could imagine—she even knew how it would smell. Like the roses and violets that had crowded her room in the days of their short-lived courtship. Her children would have his eyes which were a watery blue that rivaled the sky and his flaxen blonde hair, but they would have her peaches and cream complexion and rounded features. They were destined to be the epitome of wealth and beauty. Royce King was the man she had always dreamt of. She could grow old with him, enjoying everything the world had to offer. Nothing would be denied her.

But those fanciful dreams would rapidly twist into a grotesque scene. A nightmare. Rosalie would be walking down the empty streets with little more than the dull fluorescence of streetlamps to guide her way. It was chilly and she would have to bundle up in her jacket. It wasn't too far of a walk, but her cheeks would be a rosy pink before she could arrive home. She could only hope that the weather would improve before her wedding day. It would be a pity to have to move the ceremony indoors.

Then she would finally notice them—a group of boisterous men. Drunk. One would call out to her and even through his slurred speech she would recognize him as her fiancé. She was a fool to approach him, but this was the man she was going to marry. Surely nothing would come of it. Perhaps she would even be able to coax him into coming home with her instead of making a fool of himself. He had a reputation to uphold after all.

Normally she would blush at what he said about her to his newest friend—that she was more beautiful than any of his Georgia peaches. It was a flattering comment, but something was amiss. So instead of smiling she would take an instinctive step back as the man, John, sized her up with unfocused eyes.

"It's hard to tell. She's all covered up." Her ears would struggle through the jumbled syllables that tumbled from his clumsy lips.

That was the phrase that should send her sprinting for some sort of safe haven. Royce would prevent such actions. What could she possibly do? It was impossible to reason with drunkards. His sluggish fingers would finally manage to tear open her jacket, scattering the brass buttons onto the ground.

And if she really could dream, that would be the point where she would wake screaming.

She knew what followed it equally as well. They would descend upon her like a pack of wolves upon a newborn deer. When they were finally satisfied, they would leave almost as if they had never been there to begin with. A few words would be exchanged jokingly about Royce having to find another bride. Then Rosalie would be alone, bleeding severely and no one to save her.

But this wasn't a dream at all. It was something far worse—a memory. It was all she was capable of dwelling on now, and she was content with that. Rosalie clung to it in her first days and allowed all other memories to slip away into obscurity. It was her hope that if she nurtured the pain—kept it alive—then she would never lose the motivation she needed to claim her revenge. And revenge she would have.

A/N I apologize for the shortness of it. The next chapter should be up in a day or so. Reviews are much appreciated.