I don't own the Twilight series, nor do I own any of the characters within. I'm just borrowing them for the moment.
"I am not touching that, Edward," Rosalie grimaced at me and folded her arms. She was still getting used to my mind reading abilities and preferred to say things, instead of think them at me. Her thoughts were just as disgusted as her tone.
"Come on, Rosalie," I protested, "This will be fun."
"It's a rusted piece of metal." Rosalie rolled her eyes, "How much fun could it be?"
"It's a Model T Ford!" I exclaimed, trying to get her interested, "This will keep us busy for weeks! We can pull it out and take it back to the house. Fix it up."
I knew it was a long shot, but Carlisle had asked me if I would try to keep Rosalie occupied. He had come back from night shift at the local hospital and found her sitting at her mirror, just staring, more than once. Carlisle and Esme also thought that even if I wouldn't accept Rosalie as a mate that I should at least try to befriend her.
When I found the old car that seemed to have crashed on our property, right off the road, it seemed like an ideal project. I had been given glances into Rosalie's real character through my thought reading. Her mind was well equipped to understand mechanics of things, whether it be Rochester society or the engine of an old car. I knew that she could do it. I just had to figure out how to get her interested.
"What if I picked it up and took it to the house and cleaned it off?" I asked. She may have looked bored on the outside, but she was considering it.
It probably would look nice once we fixed it up. It reminds me of someone's old car back in Rochester.
"Stop reading my thoughts!" she exclaimed at once, realizing why I was silently watching her, "I guess if you got it to the house and cleaned it off I would help you. There's nothing better to do around here."
She tried to be flippant about it, but after I made a day trip to the city library to pick up a few books about Model T's, she was completely ensconced in fixing the car up. She read the books cover to cover and then began instructing me on what parts and tools we were going to need to fix it up.
Soon rebuilding the car was completely underway.
"No," she frowned at me from overhead, "It is not possible to put the carburetor in that way."
I was situated under the engine of the car. We had pounded out all the dents and made the frame completely sound. The engine was giving us trouble. With the war raging in Europe we were having trouble finding parts. We had taken to building our own.
It seemed that even with the pictures, measurements, and sharp vision we still had a ways to go before we would become car part manufacturers.
"Well, should I try to twist it the other way?" I asked, trying to be patient.
"I—" she bent her head, looking at the picture in the book. I saw it through her mind and did twist the carburetor to fit where it was supposed to be, "No! It should be the—" she looked down into the engine and saw I had already twisted it.
Why does he have to read my mind? She scowled
I was not sure whether she wanted me to hear that thought or not.
"Would you like to do this?" I asked, from my spot on the ground, feeling a bit testy, "Because I could just work on the suspension and go into town to try to find wheels. You could rebuild the engine."
"That is not a woman's place." She replied automatically.
Rosalie had been saying this the entire time we had been working on the car. Whenever I offered to let her help, she always declined, using her upbringing as a means to politely pass off the work to me. I was beginning to wonder if she was guarding her thoughts enough so I would not know she really wanted to get hands on experience, though.
"Rosalie," I sighed, sliding out from under the car and standing up in one smooth motion, "We need to talk."
"About what?" she asked, her face a mask. I could tell, even if she was blocking my mind reading by citing Ms. Pettigrew's rules of engagement in her head, she knew what I was talking about. She diverted her eyes and ran her hands along the spine of the book she was holding.
"It would be one thing if you were truly against getting your hands dirty, Rose," I pulled the book away from her, so she would look at me, "But it is like you are reciting something straight out of Ms. Pettigrew's etiquette book."
"Stop reading my mind!" Rosalie shouted, "It's not like I can just change because I want to. This is how I grew up. Girls were supposed to be prim and pretty and the men were supposed to get their hands dirty."
"That's the beauty of it," I laughed mirthlessly, "You can be whoever you want to be. Esme, Carlisle and I are not going to judge you if you want to shimmy under an old car and get your hands dirty building an engine. We only want you to be happy."
"You want me to be happy?" Rosalie gave me an incredulous glance, "All you have ever done was hole up into your room, playing your precious piano. You never cared about my happiness. I am still not sure you care about Esme and Carlisle's happiness, the way you brood sometimes."
This was not the time for my temper to flare, but she was testing my boundaries. I had been enjoying our time together—not that she would ever be anything more than a sister. This was ruining our fun though.
"Rosalie, whether you realize it or not, there are several thousand women who are getting their hands dirty, just a few miles from here. They are a new revolution of women who are working at a factory in their husbands' place. They are calling themselves Rosie the Riveters. I believe they are helping manufacture airplanes for the war." I informed her, leaning against the car's frame, "It is not taboo to get your hands dirty whether you are here or out in society anymore."
"Really?" she asked, glancing at the direction the city was in. We could not see any of it for the tree lines, but we knew it was there. I could just hear the hum of the city with my sensitive hearing.
"Yes," I nodded, "As much as I do not like to admit it, times are changing. Women are being liberated more and more every year."
That was the wrong thing to say. Rosalie's thoughts turned indignant.
"You think that liberating women is a bad idea?" she narrowed her eyes at me.
"No. That's not what I meant," I sighed, "I meant that the ways that you seem to want to hold onto—the ways that I also prefer—are fading away and making way for a new type of society. It's inevitable."
Rosalie was silent. Her thoughts were unguarded, but they were just a soft buzzing, trying to sort out what I had said.
"We don't have to like it, but we can use it to our advantage?" Rosalie half smiled.
"Exactly," I nodded, "So if you want to work on the car, work on the car!"
"You are not very good at it, anyways," she snickered. I knew it was coming. She had been thinking it for awhile.
"If you feel that way, show me what you can do." I motioned down at the ground under the car.
From that day on, Rosalie seemed to spend less time staring into the mirror. She would always have a preoccupation with her looks. That was a part of her. But working on that first car had given her a freedom that she'd never known before. The freedom to be her own person. I wonder how I missed it—how long she had been locked inside the idea that she was an inferior creature. Maybe her tenacity had kept it at bay—the insistence that she was just a girl had been ingrained in her as a child and carried over fourfold when she was changed.
No matter what, I felt a measure of gratification at helping her.
A/N- The only reason that I call this Edward: Before Bella Remix is because I was inspired by my own writing in the Edward: BB two-shot that I wrote a few days ago.
There will be four in this series I think. They are all pulled out of vague descriptions that were in Edward: BB. And they aren't necessarily in chronological order. So look forward to an actual glance at scenes from Edward's life before Bella, instead of just descriptions.