The First Night
The First Night
A/N: The songs for this chapter are 'Hang On' by Smashmouth, then 'Black Orchid' by Blue October. I seriously recommend downloading these songs before you read. Or pick a bubbly, happy, shorter song for the first one, and a depressing, slow, long song for the second one. This story is for Maggie, my superstar –applause-!
Disclaimer: I don't know why, but I don't own Twilight. I blame karma.
I absently swirled my red wine in the overly decorated crystal glass. I could hear Monique's annoying duck like laugh as she caused the entire couch to rattle. My wine sloshed over the side and splashed onto the beige carpet beneath my feet. I quickly looked around making sure nobody saw.
Random guy number one slapped his knee at the supposedly funny thing. Another guy broodingly stared into his cup. There was a brunette girl who was frantically rubbing at the carpet with her shoe, covering her own spill, as she tried to talk with a silver haired man who was leaning in very close.
I decided I was good, and leaned over to Monique, loosening my tie. "I'm getting another drink, I'll be back in a minute," she waved a dismissive hand in my face, and I heaved myself off the plush sofa. The room was filled with people like Monique. Wannabes. Posers. Stuck ups. They were swarming about like flies at a horse race.
I could feel the pressure building as the party became longer and longer. It was only 9 at night, but I felt like I had been here for hours. I finally reached the banquet table, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that piqued my interest. There were two bowls of punch, completely identical, except one was clearly labeled "Alcoholic", and the other "Non-Alcoholic".
My hand twitched towards the labels, and before I could stop myself I had switched them, as I would have at any other party. I instantly felt ashamed of myself, how old was I again?!
Twenty-nine and a half, a voice in the back of my head offered. Ah, yes, much too old to be switching labels. I switched them back. Then I realized that someone else probably switched the labels, so I was really doing a favor by switching them. I switched it again.
No, no, no. This is not a frat party, nobody did that. I switched them again.
But I want to. Switch.
No, bad karma. I switched the bowls this time.
I looked at the bowls. I couldn't remember where the labels went at first. I tried to count the times I switched them. Seven, right? I switched them back. No, wait, it was definitely six. I was just about to switch them again when a voice interrupted me.
"Aren't you a little old to be pulling pranks like that?" I turned to face the distinguished gray haired gentleman behind me, cheeks flaming, and mouth open. "I'm twenty-nine and a half," I said, and his eyebrows slightly rose. "I mean, I can't remember where these go," I said, gesturing to the bowls of punch, knocking over a stack of plastic glasses, which I fumbled to catch.
"Why don't you taste them?" he asked, befuddled by my confusion.
"Clever," I congratulated him, almost putting out my fist to smack knuckles, but turning it into an ear scratch at the last moment. I reached over and gingerly picked up a plastic cup, afraid it might topple off its perch once more, but it stayed.
I tasted the one on the right first, because right is always right. Then I sampled the one on the left. They both tasted terrible. I couldn't get past the chunks of apple, lemon rind and cantaloupe to even taste the alcohol.
"They both taste the same," I admitted, ducking my head.
" I guess you'll have to drink all of them," he said, and I blanched, feeling sick already. Disgusting. He laughed, as he reached to pour himself some punch.
His laughter turned to coughing as he tasted the vile beverage, and I allowed myself one grown up, mature, gloating, "Hah", before turning on my heel and returning to Monique.
"Wow, do you really know him that well?" random guy number two said to Monique as I sat down.
She placed her perfectly manicured hand on my thigh and smiled at me amicably, "And he probably knows me just as well, too, right Emmy?"
Ugh. Not that name again. I could see random guy number one stifle laughter as he lifter a cup of punch to his lips. How he could stand that horrible stuff was beyond me.
"Of course honey-bun," I said, being as sickly sweet as she was, "Probably better."
I nuzzled my head into the crook of her neck until she said, "Prove it." I was momentarily stunned. I racked my brain for any information about Monique. Nearly nothing showed up.
"You have brown eyes," I stated proudly, and random guy number one chuckled, saying, "I knew that!" Random guy number two averted his gaze, clearly unbeknownst to the color of her muddy eyes.
I couldn't think of much more. "You… um, you like ice cream!" There, everybody likes a nice bowl of ice cream.
She frowned, "I am allergic to milk products." "Oh, I meant that soy milk stuff, yum yum…" Her eye twitched. Hurry, hurry my mind whispered.
"Oh! Got another one!" I leaned in to the random guys, and they leaned in, eager for my next blunder. "Monique waxes her-"
I was cut off by a sharp pain in my cheek, and the resounding crack that only occurs during a hardcore bitch slap.
I turned to face Monique and her face was bright red. "My. Name. Is. Mandy!"
I stood up quickly, my mind racing. How can I make this better? I took a step towards her, and she took one away from me.
"Mon-Mandy, I am sorry, I was just kidding. I thought it would be funny," I lied, and hot tears began running down her face. "Oh please, don't cry! Just don't cry." I noticed that the room had grown unusually quiet, and the only noise I could hear was Mo-Mandy's choking sobs.
I began to panic. There was almost nothing I could do to fix this. I took another step towards her, and she stayed. Progress! I opened my mouth to say something else, but her eyes wheeled towards me. I stared at her red eyes, her mottled skin, her blue veins bulging out of her forehead.
She started to scream profanities, stomping her feet. I just let her take out her anger at me on the floor, because carpet can't get bruises. She quieted, and again I noticed the extreme silence of the room. "Emmett," she said quietly, "It's over." Then she turned and ran from the room.
The noise abruptly was turned back onto max, as the people in the room decided it was done, and they could go back to impressing each other. I froze for a moment, and then followed after Mandy. I ran down the stairs, through the revolving door, just in time to see her legs disappear into a yellow taxi.
I was so annoyed at her. How dare she break up with me! How could she expect to just end our relationship with out a backwards glance! We had been going out for… two months. Well, that doesn't seem like a long time, but it feels like it is. The anger dissipated, leaving me with sadness.
How was I supposed to tell my father? It was him I was really worried about. He would shake his head, demote my allowance, tell me I was incapable at being an adult. Then, thirty seconds later, he would have a blind date lined up with another of his client's daughters. It was the same story every time.
I felt really, terribly empty. I fell against the brick wall of the building, and slouched to the ground. Who cares if my pants get dirty? Not me. I sat there, alone, and quiet, for several moments. I began to get a bit restless. My leg twitched. I felt like singing, or yelling. Anything to break this awful silence. Then the door burst open on the opposite side of the street, and a blond fell out. I could hear loud noises and catcalls from inside the building.
I decided to investigate. I sat up, and began to saunter over, when I heard her muffled crying. Then I broke into a quick jog, which turned into a sprint as I saw the bruises on her face. She lay broken, and crying beside the door, and it was one of the saddest things I had ever seen. I leaned over her, and mumbled, "Are you okay?"
She turned her tear-ridden face up to me, and said, "I'm fine. Don't worry about me." My mouth nearly dropped open at the sight of her. She looked nothing like Mandy when she cried. She was beautiful. Her silky golden hair was knotted up, and it smelt of alcohol. Her mouth was red with blood, and her blue eyes, the color of faded violets, matched the blossoming bruises on her cheeks and eyes.
I checked her body for more injuries, finding only small cuts and slight discolorations. My eyes lingered over her long legs, covered in pale smooth skin, flawed with only shadow bruises. I pulled my eyes back up to her face, and was stunned once more.
"What is your name?" I asked, trying to sound professional and in control, and not as if I was drowning in my own mind. She smiled a little, and replied, "Rosalie." Rosalie. Rose. Rosie. Rosalie.
"My name is Emmett, could you tell me where you live, I think I should take you home."
She jerked a thumb at the door she was just thrown out of. "Back there?" I asked, horrified.
"Well," she smiled beautifully, showing off her blood-spattered teeth, "Not anymore." I looked down at her, staring into her clear eyes, trying to see into her soul. She started to try to stand up, and I tried to help her up. She pulled her arm out of my grasp, and said, "I can take care of myself, thank you for trying to help."
She wobbled away; still managing to sway her hips in a way that made me unable to follow her for several moments. "Rose, wait!" I called as I ran after her retreating form. She glowered at my slightly as I caught up with her.
"So it's 'Rose' now, eh?" she asked, raising one eyebrow, pulling at her torn skin. I winced at the sight of her.
"Shouldn't we get you cleaned up?" I asked, ignoring her question. She opened her mouth to retort, but closed it again, closing her eyes softly as well. She nodded, her mouth set in a grim line, as if admitting she needed help was causing her pain.
I looked at her again, admiring her beauty, before her eyes snapped open. "Let's just go already," she said, trying to be tough.
I wavered between taking her to my place, although that might scare her a little, or to the hospital, although the injuries weren't to a bad extent. I definitely needed to take her to the police, but I wanted the whole story first. Plus I just wasn't ready to let her go.
I saw salvation at the end of the street. A buzzing neon sign, clearly stating 'Coffee.' Perfect. We were only moments away, and far enough from the house she came from to not hear the laughter inside. It took everything I had to not go back there, and hurt the men who did this to her. Instead I focused on the top of her head, the golden hair turned blue under the florescent lighting.
Finally we were inside, and I marched her past the stares of the waitresses, and the customers finishing their grimy dinner. I pulled her into the unisex washrooms, and sat her down on the toilet. Her chin was up, as if she knew she was better than everyone else, but the tears in her eyes gave way her façade.
I looked away, grabbing at the paper towels in the dispenser, and soaking them with warm water. I handed them to her, staring at the ceiling. "Here you go," I said gruffly, counting the specks on the roof. She gently pulled in from my hands, and for a moment there was silence.
Then I could hear the soft sound of the wet paper wiping up the lost blood, trickling down her limbs in gory patterns. I watched her out of the corner of my eye, still not trusting myself to look at her head on, and not lose my semi clear state of mind. She had cleaned off her arms, and thighs, but when she tried to bend down to reach her ankles, she stopped. An expression of pain crossed her face. My resolve crumbled, and in one movement I was kneeling at her feet.
I took the paper towel out of her hands, and started at her knees. All the blood was dry, which was good, meaning the cuts were trivial. I mopped up her calves, and down to her shoes. The blood hadn't run inside, saving me from more awkwardness. I counted the shallow abrasions down her legs. Three. There was far too much blood for just these cuts. I decided I would ask her later. She put out her hand to get the towel back, but I just straightened up, and started to wipe her face.
Her eyes closed as she allowed me to examine the damage. I couldn't get over just how perfect she was. My hands trembled as I wiped down her cheeks. The cheesy diner music was playing in the other room, but I could hardly notice. I was swept up in the arch of her eyebrows, the angle of her cheekbones, the straight edge of her nose. I followed the curves of her face with my fingers, trying to absorb every detail.
The paper towel fell to the ground.
I leaned in, inhaling the scent of her. She reminded me of a summer night, when the flowers were in full bloom. She made me think of forgotten memories. She enthused the poetry in me. I wanted her to want me in the way I wanted her. The way I seemed to need her.
In my mind we were already kissing, already forgetting the surrounding, she was already calling my name. But I couldn't. I wouldn't.
A diamond fell from her still closed eye. Then another and another. It took me a moment to realize she was crying. I sat back, watching my feet. I felt so ashamed of myself, of what I almost did. She quickly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and stood up. I stayed sitting on the ground.
She looked in the mirror, and there was a flash of delight, that disappeared quickly. She wiped under her eye, removing the last piece of dried blood. She opened the purse she had been carrying, and dug inside. Finding what she needed, she pulled out some pressed face powder. She took the puff from the inside and started putting it on her face, then her arms. She looked down at her legs, at me, and closed the makeup.
The powder didn't conceal much, but it seemed to help her. I got up, dusting off my pants. Quietly, we both left the bathroom, and sat down in a green vinyl booth. A curious waitress came by, offering a pot of coffee. "Cream or sugar?" she asked us.
"Black," Rosalie replied. I just nodded briskly. She poured two cups, and left.
Rosalie cradled the cup in her hands, not taking a sip. I grabbed mine as an example, and took a huge gulp. The coffee burned my mouth and throat. It felt like fire. "Agh!" I yelled, causing her eyes to widen. I coughed and spluttered, until I could breath again. "It was hot," I said to explain my reaction to Rosalie, "I think it burned off the top layers of my tongue."
She giggled. "It's not funny," I whined, sticking out my tongue as evidence. She just laughed harder. I marveled at the glittering music of her laugh. Then I started to laugh with her. Our laughter mingled together, her delightful melody, and my great booming laugh.
She was still chuckling to herself as she took a drink of her coffee, "Ooh, it is hot!" She exclaimed.
"I told you, and Emmett is never wrong," I said proudly.
"You do know that talking about yourself in the third person is really uncool, right?" she asked me.
"Speaking of uncool… who were the men who did this to you?"
"Nice conversation change, real smooth," she retorted.
"Please don't try to change the topic, I need to know," I said. She looked down at her cup. "Please tell me what happened. They can't get away with it."
"Trust me, they didn't get away with it," she snorted. "
What do you mean?" I asked, a little worried.
"Let's just say that you should have seen the other guy."
"How did you even end up there?" I asked another question, not quite wanting to know exactly what happened. Rosalie started to seem more and more like she really could take care of herself. But I wanted to be the one to take care of her.
"Bad luck," she said, "I always fall for the wrong guy, you know, trust fund, likes alcohol, has the wrong friends. They always seem nice at first." I resolved to never tell her about my trust fund.
"I always meet the wrong people too. Or rather I get set up with the wrong people. My father had planned for me to marry one of his most important client's daughter, but when that fell though he tried again. Six years later, and he is desperate for me to get 'serious' with anyone important."
"How many girlfriends have you had?" She asked me, confusing me.
"Thirty four," I replied. I had kept track.
Her eyes widened again. "Wow, and I thought I was bad," she said. "Fourteen," she said pointing at herself.
"And it all ends up like this?" I asked her.
She nodded, Ppretty much. Sometimes I leave before anything bad happens. Sometimes I stay too long." I started to feel nauseous. How could people ever want to hurt her?
She looked down again, and sipped her coffee. I grabbed mine, and took another gulp, grimacing as it burned down. I started to get antsy again, as I do whenever I've been sitting still too long. My fingers drummed against the table, in the lazy beat of one of my favorite songs. She continued to stare into her coffee.
"Do you wanna go somewhere?" I asked, not quite sure what my plan was.
I pointed out the door, "We'll make it up as we go along. Kind of like an adventure!"
She looked out the door into the darkening night, and nodded, "Sure, sounds like fun."
I stood up, throwing a fiver onto the table, and she followed suit, standing beside me. Together we walked out into the dark, the ringing bells of the door the only noise to tarnish this feeling of freedom.
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