Emmett sidled up next to me, folding me into his arm. "Penny for your thoughts?" He growled low in my ear.
I looked up into his eyes and wondered what he had been thinking through the whole ceremony. Sure, he'd cracked jokes, but had he been recalling the same things as me?
I'd been surprised how much I'd gotten caught up in the emotion of it. I still disapproved of what Bella and Edward were planning. It was so dangerous. And she was so foolish, throwing away her life. But seeing them recite their vows had touched me. And it brought all those old memories flooding back.
"Remember our first wedding, Emmett?"
He wiggled his eyebrows at me. "And our first honeymoon."
I poked him in the ribcage and pouted prettily for him. "Be serious."
He pulled a poker face. "Serious as a heart attack, Rose."
"Yes, of course I remember," he said, squeezing my shoulder. "I was thinking about it during the ceremony."
I lay my head on his shoulder, reveling in his strength.
"You were as beautiful as an angel, and about as nervous as a cat on hot tin roof, I recall," he continued, a wicked grin stealing across his face. "But we seemed to have gotten pretty well past that by the end of that first night."
I let my mind drift back to that first night in the cabin Esme and Carlisle had bought just for us. "Reverse psychology. Very smart of you. I still say Edward put you up to it."
He played hurt and laid on the thick Southern accent he'd abandoned so long ago. "Give me some credit, Rosalie. I may have been mountain folk, but I had to deal with some ornery goats in my time. I knew how to make a critter want to do something. Even a critter as stubborn as you."
He chuckled to himself. "And that house…."
"What was left of it," I added, my tinkling laughter twinning with his chuckle as we began to walk, holding hands.
We steered away from the crowd, careful to maintain human speed for the benefit of Bella's friends and family. The music of the reception faded into the background. The humans shivered in the late night wind and pulled their clothing close about them; to me, though, it felt like a summer wind kissing my skin, warm and gentle, and I reveled in it.
Emmett stopped and pulled me around to face him, his massive frame looming against the night sky.
"You're even more beautiful than the day we married," he said solemnly, rubbing his thumb across my chin.
I raised an eyebrow skeptically. "That's impossible, Emmett. I haven't changed a bit."
"You have," he insisted, his voice rough. He lifted his fingers and brushed a stray hair off of my forehead. "The shadows are gone from your eyes, Rose."
I caught my breath. Just when I'd thought he was going to come up with another joke, he'd managed to say something so sweet, so sincere, that it left me speechless.
He was both right and wrong. I still longed for the human things I'd lost. No matter how many weddings Emmett and I had, we would always be just the two of us, and there was a space in me that could never be filled as a result. But I had come to live comfortably with that emptiness; it was my companion almost as much as Emmett was. The pain of first knowing -- pain that had twisted into my soul like a rusty knife -- was buried deep now. And the memories of being brutalized by Royce and his friends, though burned into my memory, were something I mostly locked away. They did not define me anymore. I was so much more than that. It took Emmett to help me set aside those memories; it took him to help me see past that hurt and see what I still had inside of me.
I tilted my head and looked at him. "You chased the shadows away, Emmett."
He grinned down at me, the same mischievous, simple smile that had taken my breath away long ago on a mountain top in Tennessee.
I threw my arms around him and buried my face next to his silent heart. "You chased them away."
A/N: So, this is the end of Rosalie's Revenge . Thank you all so much for having stuck with it for so long and for all your faithful reviews, which gave me lots of inspiration and lots to think about ... I never knew when I set out to write this fanfic that it would take us this far, but I have really enjoyed writing for you and hope you enjoyed the reading. I am probably taking a break from FanFic for a while (going to write some original fic), but if you have any ideas for me, feel free to send them my way. I'm sure I won't be out of the Twilight universe for long:) Best wishes, and Happy Holidays -- Monica