A/N: All belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
"What are you doing, Rosalie?"
"Nothing," I hissed at Edward. I was irritated that he had found me. I flicked my hair over my shoulder.
"So I am annoying you?" He sounded amused. I clenched my teeth. I kept forgetting about his little trick.
"No more than usual," I answered, turning my back to him so I could continue watching the house. "Leave me alone, Edward."
I made a show out of taking a comb and compact out of the pocketbook that I still carried out of habit. I knew how shallow he thought I was. Maybe I could disgust him enough that he'd want to leave. I expertly clicked open the compact and gazed at my reflection. Even I had to admit, I was more beautiful than ever.
"What are you going to do for all eternity, comb your hair? Honestly, Rosalie," he chided gently.
I allowed myself a small grin of triumph. I liked knowing I could get under his skin just as much as he got under mine. My victory was short-lived, however; he gracefully folded himself next to me.
"Why do you do this to yourself?" he persisted.
"You know what I mean."
I looked away, back through the bright, tiny window in the distance. My friend, Vera, was there in the light. I'd watched them around the family dinner table, her husband gently teasing her for her overcooked pork roast. He'd pulled her in tight next to him, a hand on her hip, making her blush. The baby – he was more of a toddler now – pounded his high chair tray with a spoon, sending peas and mashed potatoes flying.
I sighed. "I don't want to forget what they took from me."
I felt Edward's hand on my shoulder. A little puff of breath rose from him. I remembered how odd it had seemed the night I realized I didn't have to breathe. Breathing was optional. Remembering was not.
"It would be better if you just let go, you know."
I shook my head crossly. What did he know about it? He would have died anyway. I had been robbed.
"I still didn't choose, Rosalie. My future is not exactly what I had thought it would be, either."
I didn't acknowledge him. I didn't care what he said; it was still different. A tinkle of laughter floated from inside the house. They were pushing away from the table.
"Don't get too attached, Rose. They'll be gone one day."
His words surprised me. I wasn't attached. I was jealous. Didn't he know the difference?
I turned to face him, a sharp retort on my lips, but he was gone. I settled down, alone in the trees for the night, willing myself to watch the life I would never have play out in front of me.
There had been a big fuss at first, of course. The clock hadn't even struck midnight when my father had dragged out the constable. It didn't take long for them to find out when I'd left Vera's house. Nor did it take long to find the blood and the brass buttons scattered in the street. Even though the snow kept falling, it was too much to cover.
Royce's parents swore up and down that he'd been at the Club and came home early, like a dutiful boy. He swore up and down that he would find me; he even posted a big reward to anyone who could provide information.
No one did, of course. The only reason I even knew any of this was that Edward had assiduously watched and listened, afraid that somehow the fact that I was known would make it easy for them to find me, exposing the Cullens' little secret.
But no one looked too hard. Both of my parents were ashamed. Deep down, my father knew what had happened. He didn't know who had done it, but he knew what they'd done. Who would want me after that? It was better if I didn't come back; better to be dead. My mother somehow blamed me.
Both of their dreams of social glory were snuffed out by the furtive glances and stares of pity that met them wherever they went.
Neither one of them could look Royce's parents in the eye.
After a few months of handwringing, they quietly erected a monument in the Rochester cemetery and held a quiet memorial service. The minister talked about eternal life and I, from the woods in which I hid, snickered. What was so great about eternal life if you had to spend it alone?
Then everyone went home and went about their business of forgetting. After a few more months, Mr. King had quietly suggested that my father retire from the bank. My mother put away all the photos of me, her once golden-haired favorite. My things were packed away in boxes and given to charity. It was as if I'd never existed.
I could barely fathom this. How could anyone forget me, Rosalie Hale? My future had been stolen, and so had my illusion that I mattered, that I was loved. Even my past was being swept away by people eager to forget.
And all the while, Royce's black heart sang with joy that it had been so easy.
That is when I knew, I vowed, that I would make him pay.