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Part One: Rosalie
I was staring in the mirror again. There was no trace of tears, although there would have been plenty of them had I been human. So beautiful. I was so very breathtakingly beautiful. But beauty was somehow not enough.
I traced my outline against the cool of the mirror. No streaks. As a vampire, I could not leave fingerprints, because I produced no body liquid or oil. Just one more thing that separated me from the world I wanted to be a part of.
My reflection was just as unapproachable as I was. Cold, impersonal, distant, and somehow less. If you turned the mirror, the reflection would vanish as if it had never been. And maybe I was more like the reflection than I knew.
It had meant everything to me, the way I looked. But I had always thought that my beauty had been the key to my happiness. It seemed to have had the opposite effect. It had driven away the only chance of happiness I had.
So now I was locked in the only bathroom. Not that anyone needed it. I was the only who cared enough to use the mirror. Esme only had eyes for Carlisle, and never cared about how she looked except to make him happy. Maybe it would be different if there was another female in our family, but for now, this was my sanctuary, the place I could be alone to think.
What could I do about Emmett? I loved him. He loved me. And I couldn't bear to be near him. For a family with no secrets, I had one that was big enough to build a wall between us I wasn't sure could be torn down.
It had been only months since Emmett had been changed, though it felt like much longer. I saw the way his eyes followed me when I moved, and the way he relaxed when I came into the same room with him. He needed me just as much as I needed him. But I was too afraid, too proud and vain, to let him see the effort it took to let him even touch me.
Not that he ever touched me inappropriately. A hand on the shoulder, a brush of fingers against my back or my hair. That was all. And that was all that I could bear. For each and every touch reminded me of a different kind of touch, shadows of a darker memory Emmett had no idea existed.
I remembered, better than anyone, the last night of my human life. Edward classified the transformation as a human memory; I did not. My life had ended before the venom ever entered my body. It ended the night that my fiancée, Royce King, decided that he didn't have to wait for a wedding, or for my approval. I could still feel his hands, his mouth, touching me, soiling me, murdering me.
I never flinched when Emmett touched me, even when he managed to surprise me. It didn't affect me that way. But it was a shock when I turned to see Emmett's red eyes meeting mine instead of Royce's shockingly pale blue ones. And it hurt Emmett to read the fear was in my eyes, even though he hid it well.
Maybe I looked like the angel Emmett thought I was, but if he knew what had happened, if he knew what I had lost, knew I was not the angel he loved, he wouldn't love me anymore. How could he love me when I could do nothing more than hate myself?
My beauty was nothing more than a façade. There was nothing deeper, nothing more that made me unique different, lovable. Inside, I was nothing.
I did everything I could to make up for the horrible emptiness I felt. I made sure I always looked my best, and that I wore flattering clothes of the newest and the most expensive variety. Maybe if I appeared to have everything all together, I would somehow be whole again.
There was a knock on the bathroom door.
I gripped the edges of the sink, composing myself. "Yes?"
"Can I come in?"
It was Edward. I should have known that he would have heard what I was thinking. "No." I preferred to speak out loud to him, to treat him as though he was as normal as the rest of us.
"You can't need the bathroom. So I don't see why you shouldn't wait for your turn." I knew that wasn't why he was there. Why did he have to intrude? Did he want to interfere in my personal life the way Carlisle had interfered with my death? Surely he knew that I would resent it just as much.
"I didn't ask to be able to hear what you are thinking. I can't help it. And I know you don't want advice."
"Then just go and leave me alone," I ordered, making my voice as cold and hard as my reflection.
Edward sighed. "I never spoke to you sooner because I thought you would work past it on your own. But you and Emmett are both hurting from this. He needs to know. You need to tell him."
"You don't know anything," I hissed from behind the doorway. "You can't know if that would help or hurt him more." I didn't want Emmett to know. I didn't want to see the look on his face when he turned away from me for the last time.
"Emmett loves you," Edward said softly. "He won't leave you. He needs you. You need to let him know. He'll be there for you, if you are willing to let him. I hear this, these thoughts you have, this conflict, every day, Rosalie. I probably know better than anyone here. Soon, you'll hurt him too badly for him to stay."
"Then you tell him!" I cried, anguished. "I can't, Edward. I can't do it. I can't make him live through my nightmares."
"Then let Emmett make them stay in the dark. You need him, too."
I sank down onto the edge of the bathtub. "I know," I whispered. "But I can't."
"You have to. And soon."
"Did you think I didn't tell him because I was too proud? Because I couldn't bear to see him lose his perfect image of me?" Edward was silent.
"You did, didn't you?" I laughed, and broke off the sound, aware of how hysterical it sounded. "But it isn't that at all. Every time I speak about it…" My voice gave out and I finished the thought mentally. I bring out the nightmare again. If Emmett is hurting now, how much more do you think it will destroy him to hear my story?
"He's strong in more ways than one, Rosalie."
"Then you tell him, because I can't."
Part of me hoped that he would. I was sincere in telling Edward that I didn't want to do it, that I couldn't. But part of me wondered how careful he would be about telling Emmett. I knew that Edward didn't exactly like me; he'd made that perfectly clear from the day that we met. And I didn't blame him.
"I won't tell Emmett," Edward said after a moment. "It's too important. I don't know if I could do it as gently as need be, not if you're worried about that."
I laughed again. "You have your faults, Edward, but a lack of tact is not one of them. And you can be very gentle."
"But perhaps Carlisle would be better." He wasn't denying that he could be tactful and gentle, and that knowledge hung in the silence between us. He was considering my reaction to the news I had given him.
"Perhaps," I whispered. And I closed my eyes, remembering the stinging sensation that tears caused before they flooded over.
After a while, Edward left, sensing that I wished to be alone. I wondered what he was going to do, and how Emmett was going to react. My stomach contorted into a painful knot. Maybe it was necessary for Emmett to know. But Edward's words were not as comforting as he had meant them to be. Because no one except Emmett knew how Emmett would react. And I feared the worst.