Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, Rosalie, Bella, Emmett, or really anything except some of the cool phrasing that I might steal for my own use someday… Nah.
There are no BD spoilers until chapter three. The beginning can stand on its own until that point.
I would like to dedicate this chapter to BabelFish42, who is amazing, for having the patience to read through this section and give me an honest and indepth opinion. Go read her fics- she's amazing, like I said. You can find her via my favorite authors.
"That's the funny thing about knowing you can't have something. It makes you desperate." -Leah, Breaking Dawn, page 320
Rosalie hated the idea of scrapbooking. It was disorderly, little snips of paper and ribbon, spots of glue, and other tools that quickly took over her workspace, creating more havoc than anything else. It was nothing like working on a car, when the end result was absolute order. There, she was god. There, she was in control. Control was a necessary part to surviving. But this, too, was necessary, this miniature sphere of chaos. One reason it was her secret.
Only Rosalie knew about The Book. That was how she referred to it— The Book. It was more distanced than the title suggested, and that was how she liked it. It didn't hurt to call it "The Book". Alice might have known about it; she had more of a chance of knowing than Edward did. When the pain became too much, Rosalie waited until Emmett and Edward were gone before she poured herself out onto the clean, white pages. She closed it away in her mind, otherwise. It was easier, sometimes, to refuse to think of it. Edward didn't have much of a chance to find out, even living in the same house. Alice probably did know. There was an unspoken rule between them that gave Rosalie a chance to hide her grief. Alice knew far more about anyone than the rest felt comfortable with her knowing. Sometimes privacy demanded secrecy, and Alice understood that. Rosalie was grateful.
She cut another picture and carefully glued it onto the page. When she was sure that it had dried enough to stay, she quickly captioned it. Even if it produced chaos, this part was organized. That was why she continued. That and the fact that it gave her a hollow feeling of satisfaction, a false sense of happiness.
Her fingers brushed over the pictures. This one had the wrong coloring, this one had the wrong face shape. She turned the page, and then the next, scanning the pictures for that sense of rightness that would make her feel complete, just for a little while. None of them were perfect, none of them quite right. None of them would ever be quite right. This is just the closest she could come. She closed her eyes, imagining them as perfect.
She started as Emmett's voice came from the doorway. Rosalie whirled around, and jumped up when she saw him standing there. He couldn't see this. He couldn't know. Panic overtook her. She had to hide this.
"Yeah, Rose, I'm back." Normally Emmett's voice was calming, but not now. The cautious tone of his voice, as if he was trying to calm a wild animal, scared her.
Rosalie shut the book, and frantically gathered the rejected scraps of paper, all the pictures that didn't look right, trying to hide them from his eyes.
"What are you doing?" he asked, coming up behind her and resting a hand on her shoulder.
She didn't answer, reaching for the last magazine, trying to pull it out of Emmett's line of sight. Emmett stopped her, laying his hand on hers as it reached the tip of the page, stopping her.
Rosalie closed her eyes for a moment, before she turned to look up at him. "I didn't want you to know," she whispered. He didn't move, his eyes locked on the magazine, still lying open to show the children's missing faces, the empty spaces gaping at him. Then his eyes slid to hers, and Rosalie tried to read their expression. Disappointment, maybe?
"Oh, Rose. You didn't have to hide this from me."
Rosalie hesitated, held in his gaze. It was sadness, there in his eyes. The very thing she wanted to keep from him. "I didn't want to hurt you," she said, and looked away.
He moved his hand to cup her face. "It's okay, Rose. Show me?"
How could she refuse when all he wanted was for her to be happy? She moved back, and grabbed the thick scrapbook, opening it to the first page. Emmett gently touched the yellowing sketches, from a time before photograph ads had been common. "How long?"
How long had she been hiding it from him, or how long had she spent creating it? The distinction was important, even if the answer was the same.
"Since we were married," Rosalie admitted. "I didn't do this often. There were so few pictures that fit…" She turned to him, looking at his face for clues to how he felt.
"I wish I'd known about this," he told her softly.
"I-" She stopped. "You are… all I need. I didn't want… This…" She fought for the words. Emmett was all she could ever want in a husband, but he was not all she could want out of her life. There would always be something missing.
Emmett stopped her again. "It's alright, Rose. I know you love me. I also know that you need more than me. I want this, too. But more than that, I want to be there for you."
Rosalie took a deep, shuddering breath, and began to tell him about the pictures. "This is the first one that reminded me of you."
"Emmett Cole," he read. "You named him after me?"
"Yes." She brushed her fingers along the sketch of the little boy's smiling face. His curly dark hair and light eyes were what she treasured the most about this particular one. He looked so much like Emmett.
"He liked wrestling with his daddy, and hated bedtime. He would fight sleep until he finally passed out in the middle of whatever he was doing." Rosalie smiled. "He's very strong, and you would pretend to let him win sometimes. When he got older, he actually started winning on his own. All the girls would turn and look at him, because he was so handsome. He would joke around with them, never flirting or interested, until one girl caught his attention, and he had to work to get her attention back. They moved away, started their own family."
"Did he get a nickname?"
Rosalie smiled at the question. Emmett was either humoring her, or he understood better than she thought he would. "We always called him Cole. He didn't care what you called him as long as you made sure he had food to go along with it. He was always hungry."
Emmett turned the page. "And her?" He pointed to a beautiful, laughing girl, her blonde hair in braided pigtails. "Madison Vera?"
"The picture suits her," Rosalie told him. "She's always laughing. Life is a game to her. She doesn't like to sit still, preferring to play outside instead. Climbing trees, races… She's a tomboy. Esme's favorite grandchild."
"She sounds like what Esme must have been like as a girl."
Rosalie nodded. "That's why. Esme can believe she's really her granddaughter, not just adopted. Cole is Madison's favorite brother- the two of them would play tricks on the others. Most of the boys were intimidated by her. It took a while until someone came along who wasn't unsettled by her adventurous nature."
"You named her after your friend, didn't you?" Emmett asked, his voice quiet. "The human girl."
Rosalie noticed how carefully he phrased it, trying not to say the things that he had learned about her or that she had told him, those things that still bothered her. Vera was the girl Rosalie was jealous of. Vera, the girl who had married and had a family. Vera, who had grown old with her children and grandchildren. Vera, the dead girl. Vera, the last kind human face she had seen that night. Even the way he phrased it still hurt.
"Yes," she told him. Emmett's hand on her shoulder tightened as he squeezed it gently.
Rosalie paused for a moment, before she turned the page, trying to gauge her own reaction. She was never good at this, never able to tell what would hurt or help her. More importantly, she needed to stop and ask herself, if this would be helpful to Emmett.
"Do you really want to see?" she asked.
"Yes," he replied.
Helen Chloe was on the next page, a photograph this time. "She looks a lot like you," Emmett noted.
It was true. The blonde, straight hair, the slightly violet eyes… She could have been Rosalie's younger sister. "Yes," Rosalie answered, expecting Emmett to laugh.
"The face that sailed a thousand ships…" he murmured.
"She was spoiled. She liked to sit and let people admire her, or to do girly things. Alice loved her, because she would let Alice do makeovers, plan parties, anything to get attention. She and Madison never got along too well; you were their peacemaker. You were always a wonderful father. So gentle with them…"
Rosalie bared the pages of her soul to him, one by one. The names flashed by, Tristan Nathaniel, Alexa Jade, Devan Zachary, Andrew Justin, Katelyn Hannah, Danielle Miranda, Jonathan Kyle, Natalie Olivia, Jeffrey Brandon, and more the styles of hair and clothing to change with the passing of time. So many years, buried in this book. The smiling girls and grinning boys ranged in age from babies to preteens. Some had her blonde, straight hair, others had Emmett's brown curly hair. Even more had some sort of mix, because Rosalie loved to see the cross between herself and her husband.
Every picture had a story. Every child had some personality trait marking them as hers or Emmett's son or daughter. And every page lulled Rosalie into believing that she was merely telling true stories about their children to Emmett.
Emmett listened to her with an attentive ear, asking a few questions here and there, but mostly letting Rosalie talk. She had not been aware how much she needed to tell him this. Now the words poured out of her, stored up from the years.
And then Rosalie reached the end, turning the page to see blank space she had known would be there, but didn't want to believe existed.
She froze, staring at the white page. "It's not real," she said quietly, the dream fading away into harsh reality. "It's not true."
Emmett gently took away the book and closed it. "No. It isn't."
Rosalie crumpled, her head falling forward, her arms going limp. "Why?" she whispered, so softly she wasn't sure Emmett could hear her. The question kept her knotted up inside, mixed emotions and thoughts that never resolved into the symmetry of perfection. It didn't make sense. Carlisle believed in a compassionate god. But would a compassionate god have given her a desire for something she could never have? This yearning that she would carry with her for eternity, why was it there? Moreover, why was it impossible? Why did it have to be this way?
"Rose…" Emmett soothed, pulling her forward into his arms. "I wish it was true. I wish that I could give you that. I wish it was real, too."
"I'm sorry," Rosalie sobbed. She wanted to tell him that she wished she was stronger, so that she didn't have to drag him into her weakness. He only wanted it to be true for her, not for himself. He would do anything to see her happy, and even though she tried, she couldn't force herself to be happy for him.
"Don't be," Emmett told her. "This is a part of who you are. I knew that long ago. And I still love you."
Rosalie tightened her grip on him, pressing her face into his chest. She believed him.
Well, there is the first chapter. They will be up according to scene, meaning some will be notably shorter than the others. It will be at least six chapters- I am not completely done so far.