Wow, I hadn't planned to post anything else Twilight so soon, but this was just kind of one of those things. I've always had this fascination with complex, seemingly rude female characters (maybe that tells me something about my own underlying personality... ;) and I finally found the medium with which to explore Rosalie's character. I always end up using Bella third-person-limited, and I don't even like her, but whatevs. I don't own Twilight! TT Enjoy!
Oh, and thanks to Stephixoxo for catching my oversight, so I can add this minor note:
Rosalie does say on page 163 of Eclipse that she never spilled anyone's blood because she knew that she wouldn't be willing to resist. I made the necessary changes to the story, but it still has the same effect. :)
Edward and Alice had gone off hunting, and it was the most boring weekend imaginable in Forks. At least, as far as Bella was concerned. Not that Edward spent quite as much time as usual hanging around her room lately anyway. It got terribly quiet without him, but he was being old-fashioned again as the wedding approached. Evidently it was not a good practice for the groom to spend too much time with the bride in the last few days before the ceremony.
Was it really only four days away?
It seemed as though the last few months had passed with terrifying speed. Alice gave her the dress, Edward gave her the car, and then it was just… waiting.
She thought time was supposed to pass slowly when you were waiting.
With a stab of guilt, Bella remembered that the last time she'd tried on the dress; she'd tripped on the hem and ripped one of the seams a little bit. It would probably be a good idea to make sure that was fixed. Alice was miserable with a needle and thread and had planned to ask Esme, but Esme was always so busy. Odds were good it hadn't gotten done yet.
Bella didn't care so much about the perfect wedding, but she thought it would be a little unfair to have a messed-up dress after all the hours of work her dutiful maid of honor had put into creating the perfect human nuptials. And going to the Cullen's would give her something to do for the afternoon, anyway.
"Hey Charlie!" she called as she changed into some jeans and a slightly newer, less-baggy t-shirt. "I'm headed over to work on some stuff at Alice's house!"
She had found that the reaction was better if she referred to it as "Alice's" house. Things were still on the mend between Charlie and Edward.
"Okay Bells – drive safe!"
That had always been Charlie's goodbye. What a dad thing to do. It hardly mattered at this point with the new car, but something about the sentiment was still endearing.
It took less time than usual to drive over; the traffic was light even on Forks' meager standards. When Bella arrived, she unlocked the door with the key Carlisle had given her and placed her umbrella in the entryway.
"Hello?" she asked, finally having gotten out of the habit of yelling, despite the size of the Cullens' house.
"Bella!" Emmett called. "C'mon in. Your maid of honor is out with your groom. But don't worry, they're just friends."
"I know," Bella replied, laughing. "I just came to work on the dress."
"It's in Alice's room," Rosalie replied, not even looking up from the kitchen table as Bella walked into what would have been the eating area, provided the kitchen was actually stocked and put to use by anyone other than herself on rare occasion.
Bella often wondered how Emmett could be so friendly to her while Rosalie, his wife, was never anything more than civil, and even that was obviously just because Edward demanded it. But things were as they were. Emmett seemed to try to stay out of it as much as he could.
As Bella walked into Alice's room, she thought she heard the garage door opening. Maybe Edward and Alice were back. That would be nice. Then at least she'd have someone to talk to.
Carefully, Bella reached for the zipper to the hanging bag that held her perfect wedding dress. As she tugged it and the bag slowly opened, she could immediately tell that something wasn't right. That lace didn't look like hers; it seemed much older and looked slightly yellowed. The satin felt stiffer than she remembered. Confused, she pulled the dress out of the bag and gazed at it. Her eyes widened in shocked horror.
Edward was there to catch Bella right before she hit the ground in a faint.
The way Edward said the name was level, but the fury was hardly contained.
"She's down here, Edward," Alice replied, her ordinarily light voice equally terrifying. Bella came to as Edward gently put her down on Alice's purple velour sofa and left the room. Numb with fear and shock, Bella stood shakily and followed him. The century-old bloodstained wedding dress remained on the floor in a heap where Bella had dropped it.
From the top of the stairs, Bella watched the horrifying scene play out before her.
Edward had paused at the bottom of the stairs, but without any warning, lunged almost faster than Bella's eyes could catch at Rosalie.
"You BITCH!" he exclaimed as he knocked her off the chair where she had been sitting, her eyes glowing defiantly. The two of them hit the floor, engaged in a well-matched, tooth-and-nail brawl.
"Edward, what the hell are you doing?!" Emmett demanded, diving into the already confusing battle and attempting to pull Edward off of Rosalie, who seemed to be holding her own well enough already. Edward only clawed back at Emmett too, growling threateningly.
"You guys!" Alice exclaimed, her eyes wide with horror. Before Bella could pull her eyes away from the mass of angry vampires, Alice stood at her side, clenching her hand anxiously. "Jasper, do something!"
Bella hadn't noticed before, but Jasper stood on Alice's other side, his expression tense.
"I'm doing everything I can to calm them down," he insisted. "They're all still that angry."
"Stop it right now!" Esme cried, racing down the stairs to where fight was taking place. All three combatants ignored her.
Though it only lasted a few seconds, it seemed like forever that the three ceased to be brothers and sisters and were really hardly more than wild animals. Suddenly, however, everything stopped, and a kind of eerie silence came over the room.
"Get off the floor, all of you," a voice demanded firmly. Carlisle stood at the front door, looking as angry as any of them had ever seen him.
Emmett got up first, his arms locked around Edward's waist. He stared at the ground. Rosalie and Edward exchanged looks of loathing as Rosalie stood up and straightened her dress. Finally, all three turned to Carlisle, now sharing the same look of shame.
"I drove home as soon as Edward and Alice arrived and Esme called me," he said evenly. "I arrive and see this. In front of Bella, no less! What kind of family do you want her to think she's marrying into on Saturday?"
Edward and Emmett gave one another looks of mixed shame and anger.
"You don't know what Rosalie did," Edward said softly, almost too quickly for Bella to catch it.
"Hell, I don't either!" Emmett exclaimed. "I'm just trying to keep this crazy bastard here from killing my wife!"
"We're all going to sit down in the living room and discuss this like the civilized beings we are," Carlisle said, already regaining his composure. "Bella, Alice, Jasper, we could use your help, though none of you were part of the problem."
The three nodded and descended the stairs in silence.
"Now," Carlisle started, after everyone was settled in the living room, Edward and Rosalie still as far apart from one another as possible. "I want to hear the whole story. Everybody's version. Bella, you go first."
Bella looked around a little bit nervously, but Edward took her hand.
"I honestly don't know," she admitted. "I just came to fix the seam I ripped on my dress when I was trying in on last Thursday. When I opened the bag, it wasn't my dress. It was a lot older and covered in what looked like blood. I guess I fainted, and then, all of this started."
"Thank you, Bella," Carlisle said calmly. "Now, Rosalie – your version, please."
Edward growled in his throat, but only Bella and Alice were close enough to notice.
"Bella still plans on going through with the wedding on Saturday and letting Edward change her into one of us," Rosalie said softly. "You all know how I feel about this decision. To make a long story short, I replaced her dress with my own wedding gown in hopes of giving her a little bit clearer an idea of the brutality that she's choosing to become capable of."
Rosalie's eyes lowered and her voice became more intense. Bella was instantly reminded of the night Rosalie had told her the story of her own change.
"Bella, that's the dress I wore when I killed Royce King. The blood on it isn't even human, I told you I've never spilled human blood because I didn't think I'd be able to resist.But it ties into the story, don't get me wrong.After Carlisle found out what I had done to Royce, he came and found me and took me out hunting so we could talk about it. I stained the dress terribly,being a clumsy newborn.It's only grizzly blood, but that's not the point.I held on to the dress for seventy years, maybe waiting for something like this to happen. Don't you see? You'll want to do that to people. Nothing will satisfy you but blood. Not Edward, not anything. Is that what you want your life to be?"
"Shut up!" Edward exclaimed. He started to get up again, but Jasper placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Edward," Carlisle cautioned. "Think about what you're doing."
"I have a few things to say as well," Edward said softly, taking a deep breath to calm himself. "Mainly, I would like to understand where Rosalie gets the audacity to think she can decide what's best for Bella and me."
Rosalie didn't give him an answer, but simply gazed at him as though telling him he already knew exactly where she was coming from.
"I really don't think we have much to discuss here," Carlisle said softly. "I'm disappointed in all three of you, you understand. I insist that more control be maintained here, particularly for Bella's safety, as long as her safety is a concern. That matter, by the way, is entirely up to Bella and Edward."
Everyone departed silently, leavingthe couplesitting together, still hand-in-hand. Bella's eyes remained teary, Edward's,furious.
"Edward?" Bella asked, looking up at him.
"You'll still change me… won't you?"
"Of course, Bella, if that's still what you want," Edward replied.
"Of course it is. And you'll help me be like you… not like that, right?" she pleaded, gesturing upstairs towards where the Rosalie's dress was likely still in a heap on Alice's floor.
"You'll never be like that, Bella," Edward promised. "Ordinary bloodlust and hunger had nothing to do with what Rosalie did to Royce, and she knows that as well as anybody. She's just trying anything she can to make you decide what she thinks is right."
The two sat in silence for awhile.
"Edward?" Bella split the silence once more, but this time not looking up.
"Yes, Bella?" he replied again.
"You know none of this would have happened if we had just gotten married in Las Vegas last June… right?"