Author's Apology:

Tequila: oh, we are SO sorry!!!

Justin: it has been waaaay too long --cringe--

Tequila: but justin was hospitalized with a severe case of real life…

Justin: and Tequila's just a spazz, sadly…

Tequila: --mmph-- i don't see anything sad about it!!

Justin: so, yeah. We're sorry. Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: nope. don't own. don't own any sense of time management either :S


I was sitting underneath my Frazier, tinkering with the axle—it had been acting up lately—when it happened. Emmett walked in, as irritatingly confident and handsome (damn it! No! Not handsome…) as ever, and leaned down. I was expecting a predictably unintelligent comment, undeniably inevitable, that would work very nicely to distance myself from him…

But that's when it happened.

"That's the Mercury, right? 206 cubic inches, gets up to 65 horse, great transmission… it's a great car, angel."

I swallowed.

Oh, God.

Oh, perfect.

In an instant—in less than an instant—I was out from underneath the car, leaving my tools and greasy rags behind, leaving the car up on jacks and opened to the air, leaving Emmett with his eyes (still that deep, bloody red that pulled me in and repulsed me all the same) wide and uncomprehending, leaving my confusion and pain far, far behind.

Before a full ten seconds had passed, I was out of the house and running furiously, faster than was really wise, unheeding of the terrain or climate, only desperate to run run run run run run run run.

He liked cars.

He knew cars.

He was handsome—and as shallow as I was, that was important to me. He was more than handsome, really. He was nearly as perfect as I was.

He was kind.

He wrote horrible poetry and brought me beautiful roses.

His laugh was… pleasant. More than pleasant.

His smile was as gentle as he could be, and yet, all the same, held all of his recklessness.

And his eyes did something to me that I could not understand.

Was that enough? Was that too much? What was it about him that distressed me so, that made me want without knowing what it was I wanted?

It was nearly sunrise by the time I returned to the house. I found Emmett and Esme gone—hunting—and Carlisle at the hospital. And Edward lying in wait in the living room.

"What is it, Edward?" Leave me alone.

"You know I can't do that, Rosalie. I cannot help what I hear, and what it… drives me to."

"Well, try. I don't want your help. I don't need your—"

Faster than a human's eye could have followed, he was on me, gripping me tightly about the arms, restraining me—I struggled, furious, how dare he—hug me?

"What the hell are you doing, Edward?"

"Just be quiet and accept a little help for once, Rosalie Lillian Hale. Just… just be."

I held still, warring with the instincts that told me to fight, to flee, to do something.

"Rosalie. It's alright. He… he really cares, he's not going to hurt you—his thoughts are so… careful with you. Like he thinks you're going to break."

I'm not—I won't—break.

"You're coming closer than you think, Rosalie."

I yanked myself out of his arms. "Thanks for the advice, Edward, but I'm fine."

He just nodded. I went upstairs to my bedroom and sat down on the bed that had never been slept in. What would it be like, to sleep again? To dream? My human memories, so precious, were dim and faded; I could only see them as an old sepia photograph or a black and white film. I could not remember what it was to forget, to sleep, to drift…

I wished with all my heart, dead as it was, that I could have, just for one moment, the feeling of my own heart beating, my lungs moving, my pulse rushing, my cheeks heating in a blush. If I could remember that, even, then perhaps I would know—how were you supposed to 'follow your heart' if you couldn't even remember what it felt like to have your pulse race, your heart throb?

I placed a hand on my stomach, over my forever barren womb. How could you love when there would be noting to show for it? How could any woman—how could anyone—

I could no longer cry. I found a bitter smile from deep within. Tears had always ruined my complexion, anyway. Even if I could cry, I wouldn't. I was Rosalie Lilian Hale, dammit, I was the most beautiful woman in the world.

I could do this. I could do anything. I was Nemesis, I was the eternal avenger, I was Rosalie, I was a goddamn immortal vampire, for the Lord's own sake. I was perfection incarnate.

I would not be defeated by my own insecurities, my own foolish fears and confusions. What was my heart, after Royce King? What was it about this dead piece of desiccated flesh that I could not conquer as effortlessly as I had everything else.

I stood up again… and I could hear Edward laughing.

By the time I was far enough into the forest that Edward couldn't eavesdrop, the nosy lummox, it was nearing dusk, and pouring rain. The forest was going to sleep for the night.

I would never sleep again.

But I would have to learn to live with that.

I stared into the woods, seeing but not registering the tall trees, the grass and underbrush, the falling water and deep cobalt sky. It was beautiful. I shut my eyes. "What," I murmured, "do I want? What do I really, really want?"

I waited, eyes shut, listening to the rain and the rustling and the tiny heartbeats of the living forest. My mind could only come up with one image, hovering tantalizingly just before my still-closed eyes.

Emmett McCarty. Staring at me—with those damn eyes, still they drove me to I knew not what—and smiling.

"Well then." I tilted my head up and let the rain wash through my hair, pooling and puddling on my skin, sluicing me clean. Of what, I wasn't sure, but I knew I felt lighter. Freer. Loose and liberated from some dark, clinging emotion.

"Well then. That's… that's that."

And I turned and ran back to the house.

He was waiting. Of course.

"Hello, Emmett."

"Hey angel. How've you been?"

His smile was wide and infectious. I felt my lips stretch into a smile, almost against my will. "Better now than at other times."

"Glad to hear that, Rosalie." He looked about. "I liked Michigan. What I've seen of it… good forests. Different from home," his face grew shadowed, "but good all the same."

I nodded. "Not too different from Rochester, either. Although I always lived in a city."

He grinned once more. "No cities for the McCarties… we're country folk through and through."

I laughed, just a little. "Well, I don't think a Hale has lived anywhere but a city since we came over to America."

He raised a hand, slowly, reverently, as if he thought I would vanish any moment, and touched the side of my face, my cheek, my hair. I moved forward as if bewitched, drawn by something I could not explain until I stood so close I could smell him, sweet musk and rich tree sap and molasses.

Slowly—God, so slowly, so torturously infinitely slowly—his lips came down until they brushed against mine.

It was barely a kiss, a mere bussof the lips, chaste and gentle and in most every way understated—not my style at all.

But I still swear, to this day, that the earth moved.

Sometimes, it felt so good to surrender.

Author's Second Apology:

Tequila: we're still here…

Justin: and we're still sorry…

Tequila: to anyone waiting on House Party or Awakened… coming soon—

Justin: we hope!