I know that prudence should dictate that I actually wait a day before I post the next part of Twitlight up, seeing as how I've put another fic up yesterday. But with chapter 3 finally finished and almost begging me to be posted I couldn't resist temptation... especially not when it finally manifests with Rosalie having not just one but two rather fraught encounters with the Cullens. And for one reason or another, our favorite family of vampires that sparkle in the sun came out just a little bit more sinister in this conception than in the original canon...

And as always, reviews, comments and constructive criticism are very much appreciated. I really enjoy just knowing people are reading this so if you are (especially on fanfiction-dot-net), please review. It truly does help keep me motivated in the writing process!

And much much much much much beta-ing love goes to moontear and especially safiregriffon for their help with dialog between Rosalie and a certain Cullen. Thank you both for making the process of writing this far more enjoyable and far less torturous than it could have been.

Title: Twitlight, Chapter 3
Fandom: Twilight
Series: Twitlight
Characters/Pairings: Rosalie/Edward, Rosalie/Emmett, Japser, Alice, Cast
Rating: Hard R, Later NC-17
Summary: Sometimes it takes a bitch on heels with an axe to grind and an aversion to sparkles and sunshine to get the job done. An AU of the first book with Rosalie being cast in Bella's placeā€”and being asked to solve a mystery that the original book never had.
Note: Beware harsh language, sexual innuendo, later sexual actions, and the possibilities of insatiable vampire hunger being temporarily stopped by hard rubber mouth gags.

From the last chapter:

And that was the first time Rosalie met the Cullen brothers.

Regrettably for her own health, that wouldn't be anywhere near close to the last.

There were three of them, three brothers Cullen, with hair that ranged from a midnight dark to a bronze-burned brown to a shade of pale and honeyed blond that rivaled her own locks for outrageously-over-described beauty. Heads bent studiously over their books, eyes lowered to meet their own clasped hands, they could have been monks from another life, were it not for their unbelievable and unnatural delicacy. And even though she was rooted to her spot in the dingy school cafeteria from a distance that was somehow both strangely far and unbearably close, she could see that they were all enchanting, extraordinary, nerve-shatteringly exquisite-- a person could pick their preferred adjective with abandon, without fear of overstating the splendidness unfurling before her eyes now.

If she had been able to speak, she might have turned to Alice and asked the girl to give her the number to their plastic surgeon. But for reasons even she couldn't quite grasp, she stood rooted to her spot, her tongue still in her mouth, her knees already beginning to waver in front of her feet.

For there were three of them, three brothers Cullen, grouped around their cheap metal tables with the ease of a trio of young gods gracing the people around them with some sort of obscure and unnerving charity. Even from half-way across the room, with her throat burning and her eyes beginning to tear as she tried to look away from them, she could capture every detail of their appearance, as though they had long been branded in her and were only now escaping.

"So what do you think?" Alice murmured into her ear, soft lips lightly brushing against prickling skin, pixie fingers a cool counterpart to a rapidly flushing cheek. "Wouldn't you say that they're worth the price of any admission? And maybe even the trip you've made here?"

And perhaps Rosalie would have even agreed, if something hadn't paralyzed her even further, robbing her not only of her ability to speak or act but even to even think clearly.

Because just then, one of the brothers Cullen-- she didn't know which one, she didn't know their names, however much a few jumbled words felt as though they were trying to escape-- raised his ethereal eyes to hers. And somehow, for all the distance they had incurred just then, it felt as though something

tired of trying to

was trying to

perfect, unyielding

claw its way

exactly my brand

through her

if i could dream

goddamn ribcage--

and then there was brilliancy

Desire held the moment still and only the fear that slammed into her was enough to shatter it afterwards.

Afterwards, in whatever patch of secluded school property she made her way to first, she found that her hands were trembling too hard to light the cigarette she had raised to her lips already. It didn't matter that this was one of the last left in a pack that she'd have to ration for god knows how many more weeks. It didn't matter if her hands trembled so hard that she knocked her own lighter over thrice or if her hair was barely veil enough to protect the shivering flame from being snuffed out

If she have needed a good, decent, brain-melting drugging, it was now. And because whatever it was that had happened back in the cafeteria she had left behind hastily... Whatever it was that had happened in the building she still felt too ridiculously cowed to go back into... Whatever was going on in her own mind that she couldn't control or keep contained...

She didn't know what it was. She didn't know what she was doing. She didn't even know how she was going to explain what she had done to Alice or to her father or to her teachers or even to any of the students who had watched her run from the building as though all the Boschian imps of hell had been chasing at her heels.

Hell, she didn't even know how to explain what she had done to herself. And perhaps that was the most terrifying thing.

All she truly knew was that if she had stayed in that building for even a second longer, whatever thin line of sanity she had managed not to cross and whatever armored shell of indifference she had managed to construct around herself would have shattered with the perfect clarity of a crystal in the face of such...

their perfect faces duplicated as though by threes


none of them akin to each other


but all of them near frightening in beauty

Such keening familiarity...

Fuck did she need a lit cigarette. She'd never even seen any of them before and... God, if only there was some way to get a decent nicotine fix in this never-ending rain, she'd be willing to get down on her knees...

And then, Rosalie rediscovered the full meaning of the proverb that warned people to be careful of what they wished for when the pearl-dull drizzle above her was interrupted by the stately sweep of a dark umbrella, and an elegant hand curved in front of her side, to offer her a lighter gallantly.

It was a gesture that could have come from another century, it was so chivalric in its simplicity. Somehow, though, she had a feeling that she would have appreciated it a lot more if it didn't startle her so much that her cigarette had slid right past her hand to the slick grass below her, leaving her with nothing more than a desert-drenched mouth and far-from-stable knees.

More than anything, she had a sudden compulsion to run again.

But for one reason or another, she had an idea that she wouldn't be allowed to stray too far from here.

There was, perhaps, only one thing left to do. But thankfully, it was something she tended to do superbly.

"Hello stranger," she whispered with a voice gone hoarse and high all of a sudden. "Do you have anything to say to me?"

For a long, dreamy moment that lingered like a burning line of liquor at the back of her throat, she actually found herself hoping that the boy (or man)

or creature?

behind her might leave her be entirely. After all, perhaps he had gone into the rain merely for a whim as well-- not to hunt her down like a cultured wolf, to pin her to her back and press his muzzle to her throat and rip whatever secrets he could excavate out of her body. Perhaps he had come here for his own cigarette break. Perhaps he had a habit of cutting class. Perhaps he enjoyed the sensation of depriving others of nicotine while pretending to help them acquire it. Perhaps he liked the feel of wet grass clumping under his feet. Perhaps he...

"So many things," he murmured, voice soft and liquid and near melodic as it caressed the inner curves of her ear, penetrated the marrow of her bones and the tendons of her flesh. "Only I'm not sure where to begin... or even who you are, truly."

Rosalie had to forcibly suppress the urge to ask him if he had to take acting classes to cultivate a voice deep enough to put Barry Manilow's to shame. It was either that, or give into her urge to leap right out of her prickling skin and run into the hills screaming.

With all the self-control and self-possession she had ever had, however, she desisted. Instead, she slid another cigarette out of the pack with hands that almost didn't disgrace her and held it out to the man who had shifted behind her, keeping her eyes focused on the grass before her soaking heels. Somehow, she had the feeling that keeping her composure while actually looking at him would be about as effective as trying to keep from turning into a pillar of salt while fleeing a city condemned in the old Testament.

So instead, she pretended to be fascinated by the dew below and forced herself to speak in a tone that might pass for normal if he was a bit deaf. "You know, usually people don't have to stalk me to get my name. A simple 'hi, how are you, how do you do' does the trick pretty well, actually."

A chuckle came from unnervingly close to her, stirring the hair curling around her ear softly. "Ah," the creature behind her murmured, "you must forgive me. We have just been introduced-- or are about to be, at any rate-- and already I'm bungling matters throughly. Shall we, then, say hello properly?"

So he could know who she was? So he could try and form a relationship of some sort with her? So he could even follow her home sometime soon, and ask to be let in?

She had never met this man in all her life before but somehow... somehow, given what she had just gone through, she had the idea that keeping her distance from him would be ideal.

Instead, she smiled coyly at her own feet, playing the coquette even though it should be impossible for him to see her face. Maybe unveiling a little bit more of her true self would make her all the less alluring.

"Oh," she crooned, summoning all her time in proper society brunches long past up, "must we? But I find these things so tiresome. I came to Forks to get away from social obligations, not create new ones already."

He gave a noise that was not quite a sigh but shared the same dimensions as one, even as she heard him opening his lighter to finally provide her cigarette with a lasting light. "Mmm, that's an interesting response. I must tell you, when I usually offer to give my name, most people don't turn down my offer. Especially when they share your gender or age."

Cocky bastard. She might not know his first name and she refused to look his face for fear of the breakdown that could still be coming... but she was already taking a dislike to him. Did he seriously think he was going to fluster her that easily?

Never mind that he already had; she was perfectly willing to overlook reality when it came to guarding her own overburdened ego. And she'd embarrassed herself enough for the day to try and hold her own finally.

Snapping her fingers back to finally bring the cigarette he had lit to eager lips, Rosalie tossed her golden curls back imperiously. "Well," she said coldly, "you know my type of girl. We like to cultivate a sense of mystery."

The man behind her shifted his stance in response, though his breath didn't quicken in the slightest. In fact, looking back, Rosalie realized that though he was pressed quite close to her, she couldn't recall hearing him breathe.

But she was hearing him laugh again after a moment's pause, softly enough to be taken for a breath. And on the heels of it, he spoke once more. "Your type of girl? And what, precisely, does that mean?"

He wasn't saying anything she hadn't all but invited him to say, but her lips tightened in to a firm, white line anyway. "Don't worry. Listen to the gossip when it comes around to me and you'll see. I mean... unless you like that sort of thing?"

Bastard just might, actually. It'd be just her luck if he had a fetish for bad girls, or something.

The creature made a considering noise, as though trying to decide that matter for himself now. "Now that is a particularly bleak innuendo. Are you trying to drive me away from your tarnished virtue or..." And clearly he did breathe, because she could now feel him doing so near the curve of her ear, as though sampling the fragile skin there. "Or... perhaps drive me to seek you out more eagerly?"

She sucked on her cigarette spitefully. Fucking cocky bastard. If she could have turned around to look him in the face without immediately running away, she would have been tempted to slam her knee against a very delicate part of his anatomy.

Instead, she fixed her best sneer on her face, sure he would get the message even if he couldn't see her. "So this is normal for you-- girls sniffing after you or doing their best to make you sniff after them?"

"Well," he replied, voice rather droll, "it is somewhat more normal than to have them run from me."

Oh, poor baby, her heart really bled for him. Which must have been why her voice was now full of sugary sweet sympathy. "Perhaps you just never found the right sort of woman to do that for you?"

From the amusement in his voice, he had clearly understood her hidden meaning, and possibly even agreed. "No, not until now. Which means, of course, that in more ways than one... our meeting today must be serendipity."

She could feel her lips tightening again, the blood draining from her face slowly. "I have absolutely no idea what you mean."

And for the first time in all her life, his fingers found his way to her, lightly falling on the trembling curve of her shoulder, as though trying to be soothing. "Maybe not," he whispered, sounding almost sad. "But do you really believe that mere ignorance will actually alter anything?"

Her mouth worked for a very long time around her cigarette after that, without a word escaping.

"Why did you follow me out here?" she finally asked, when she could speak without the help of smoke. "Why do you even care about me?"

The quiet elegy in his tone faded away, leaving merely questions floating in the air, none of which he answered directly. "I came because I saw you were in a state of distress my family caused, though I do not quite understand why yet. And whatever else I may be, I am not yet scoundrel enough to leave a damsel in distress by herself."

She had to smile at the seeming sincerity of those words, however bitter the curve of her lips might be. "Trust me, I'm not in distress. At least, not in any way you can help. And usually, I'm the damsel distressing."

His fingers contracted for a moment against her shoulder, as though he were silently laughing. "That depends on the perspective from which you stand, really. And the perspective I've been allowed to take now has been quite... interesting."

She blinked hard at that, her fists tightening and inadvertently crushing her cigarette, more flustered than she wanted to be. But as interesting as this encounter had been, she was more than ready to move on to another person, place, and possibly country. "So now I know you've followed me here and as you can see, I'm very dramatically taking a smoking break. So really, you can leave now. Shoo. Run along to your pack. I think I can already hear them howling."

His laugh was nowhere near silent now, as his hand slid off her shoulder to trace the air about her arm, pointing to the stubborn flame of the cigarette left dangling near her knees. "Wrong archetype, I'm afraid, though I do love the imagery. And truly, I cannot bring myself to go back until I am allowed to escort you to your next class as well. I'm afraid my conscience will settle for nothing less chivalrous here."

Never mind that she still wouldn't turn to look him straight in the face. Never mind that she had run away him and his family in the first place. Never mind that she wouldn't even turn to see which one of them she was talking to, for fear of whatever had happened to her taking over once more-- and perhaps worse than ever, due to his new-found proximity.

And perhaps it was allowing all of the above and more that made her do what she did next. After all... whatever she was, she wasn't a coward. She had never given up without a fight before and she wasn't about to start here.

So she tapped her her remaining pack meaningfully and sighed out her next few words. "Sorry, lover, but I might be ditching whatever class comes next. Nicotine's really habit forming, and all. Or at least, that's what the surgeon general tells me."

"I'm afraid," he murmured, sounding petulant for the first time since she'd met him, "that I have not the honor of bearing that title yet, madame. And though I'm sure that general knows what he speaks of, I can't leave until you tell me what truly distressed you. Especially if I don't know if..."

And there he was, suddenly so intimate, with something that resembled shuddering breath close to her ears--with fingers that felt more alive than even her own skittering up and down her aching arms, chasing the light of her cigarette burning...

"...If such an act of passion between us will recur frequently."

Somehow, he had the gift of making a meltdown in a dingy cafeteria sound as sensual as a tussle between the sheets.

She croaked her answer through a voice that was far, far dryer than it ought to be. "Absolutely not. As long as you give me some damn space. Otherwise--"

And at that, she turned, fingers clutched around her cigarette and her lips pursed, throat burning steadily at the smoke that weaved through the intimate interiors of her body-- only to be released in a dark plume of smoke, towards where he had been previously. And those eyes that she had been careful to keep closed tightly opened only at the touch of his palm coming again on her shoulder, with his lips once more lightly murmuring into her ear.

"I'm afraid you may have missed me--" was what he said, voice sounding almost sincere.

She found that her eyes, sparkling with satisfaction, opened themselves effortlessly.

"I wasn't trying to aim for you," she said at last, still blinking at the suddenly open expanse of bright light before her-- at the air cleansed by the rain that had just stopped drizzling, and the clear blue sky finally free of the damp, black canopy that had once shielded her. Had the world always been so beautiful? Or did her own sense of relief transform it temporarily?

"I was," she murmured softly, "just trying to clear some room for myself."

And then she walked away from him, her legs working for all they were worth as she took step after step after precious step from him, not even turning her head to look back at the stony face of her phantom and unknown Eurydice.

"Don't call me," she said. "I'll call you. As soon as I give a damn about what happened here."

And his soft laughter punctuated every step she took afterwards, as though he knew something she could not know, and would not even dare dream of.

Author's Note: Does anyone want to venture a guess as to which Cullen Rosalie had her encounter with? In any case, I had a hell of a lot of fun finally bringing them into the picture-- and am looking forward to building up both Rosalie's mystery and her connection to them and to Alice. And as always, I have a few questions for my readers, if they don't mind answering them. ;)

1) Which Cullen did Rosalie have her encounter with? And of course, did you find their talk together interesting? Sinister? Creepy? Sexy? (My beta-reviewers disagreed on this point so I wanted to know what you thought!)

2) I think I've been developing a very distinct character for Rosalie as this series goes on-- in fact, though there are similarities, she has a far sharper edge than most of the other female characters I've written before. How do you feel about her so far? Do you really think she's as much 'bitch' as she portrays herself as-- or that she's using the term as a sort of protection against being hurt by anyone who comes into contact with her?

Thank you ahead of time for being so patient with me!