Shivering Through the Storm
Lightning ripped through the sky, tearing clouds apart at the seams and blinding me with the harsh, brilliant light. Shortly after the thunder followed; a barrage of earth shattering rumbles, shaking the very foundations of Esme's beloved house.
I trembled. Even as a young girl I had been terrified of thunderstorms. As an adult vampire, the fear was childishly absurd. Nevertheless, I could not shake it.
I pulled my knees to my chest and stayed huddled in the corner. I had drawn the curtains, but the thin crimson fabric did nothing to lessen the roar of the thunder. They flashed occasionally as the powerful jolts of electricity stunned the Earth. Every flare, every rumble was simply another reminder of my unsubstantiated terror.
Pretending I couldn't hear the noise, and praying Edward wasn't currently listening to my humiliating thoughts, I squeezed my eyes shut. The storm rattled me.
Esme and Carlisle were murmuring quietly a few rooms away. I strained to hear their words, to distract myself from the storm, but they were too quiet. Undoubtedly they were discussing Emmett.
Ah, Emmett. The vampire I had begged Carlisle to change only a few short weeks ago . . .
He was handsome, for sure, and had a delightfully boyish charm. I adored watching him, laughing gently at his antics and scolding him for his occasional blunders. He strained to bear the burden of the appalling bloodlust, and to compose himself whenever his thirst flared up. I helped him best I could, but the only way to truly master one's bloodlust was to do it alone. Emmett would learn. In the meantime he amused himself by cheerfully helping Esme lay the new brick, and teasing Edward about everything from his serious nature to his undoubtedly suppressed sexual needs. According to Emmett, his sexual life as a human had been anything but repressed.
I shivered again, and all humorous thoughts of Emmett momentarily vanished. The storm was creeping closer.
"Edward! Do you know where our payment records for last month's materials are?" Esme called softly. Carlisle chuckled.
"Left drawer in the desk at the top of the stairs," Edward replied shortly. He was currently sitting down in the parlor, more than likely reading a book or all of our thoughts. I still could not quite understand my new brother. He was a dark, brooding enigma.
The curtains lit up, and then quickly went dark. Boom! The wind whipped the trees around angrily.
Against my will, I let out an almost inaudible whimper.
When I was young, my mother and father would console my hysteria, and then put me to bed with my brothers. With their soft, deep breathing I felt less alone. The roaring thunder and flashing lightening was less menacing in the company of two sleeping innocents. I would be able to rest peacefully.
Now, sleep was out of the question. There was no escape from my fears, and no one to console me. Edward knew of my plight, but he was awkward and inexperienced and did not have any idea how to help me. Esme would, but I didn't tell her. I wanted to be strong, not a frightened child that cowered in the wake of a thunderstorm.
Boom! Softly, the rain began pattering on the roof. The wind continued screeching through the surrounding forest.
I took a deep breath to calm myself. I could do this. I would survive the night and live to see the sun and clear blue sky again.
There was a knock on the door. I jumped, startled.
"Rose?" Emmett said softly, "can I come in?"
I frantically struggled to move, to make myself look less pathetic, but Emmett didn't wait for an answer. He opened the door and saw me huddled in the corner like a fearful little girl.
"Rose, what's wrong?" he said, alarmed. Like a blur, he hurried over and knelt beside me.
My voice was trembling embarrassingly, "Nothing's the matter, Emmett. I'm fine."
The door swung shut. He didn't look convinced, his crimson eyes were skeptical as he took in my feeble position and terrified eyes.
"What are you afraid of?" he asked quietly, soft enough that no one in the house could hear him.
For all his buoyant, childish behavior, Emmett could be very perceptive. I shrunk away from his gaze, "I'm perfectly alright."
He chuckled, "Of course you are. Curled up in some dark corner like an animal. What's the matter with you?"
I shivered again, and he got his answer.
"Ah," he made himself more comfortable, leaning against the wall beside me, "freaked out by the storm?"
Not trusting myself to speak, I shook my head no.
"Yeah right," he laughed, "Rose, you don't have to lie to me. Everyone's allowed to be afraid of something."
A vampire terrified by a thunderstorm – how attractive.
"Seriously," he persisted, "I'm scared senseless of some things too. Not thunderstorms, but definitely other stuff. Its nothing to be ashamed of."
"What are you afraid of?" I asked, flinching as the window flashed again.
He shrugged, "Being alone. I've always had a big family, so not having anyone scares me. And I sort of have this hate thing going on with grizzly bears. I'm sure you can understand that one."
I laughed quietly, "Yes, I suppose I can."
"When I was a kid I used to be scared of thunderstorms," Emmett told me casually, "my brothers would tease me about it, but my sister would fend them off and tell me it was all okay. She brought me outside once and showed me how cool the lightening was as it shot through the sky. I wasn't so afraid after that."
"I did the same thing for my little brother," I sighed, "he hated the dark."
"You were probably the best, most beautiful big sister," Emmett grinned, "any brother would be lucky to have you."
The thunder boomed again, but I didn't react. My mind was on the word beautiful, and how he had used it to describe me.
"So what's your coping tactic anyways?" he asked curiously, "hiding in a corner and trying to fight through it by yourself?"
"More or less."
He paused, and then looked at me with a puppy-like, pleading expression, "Mind if I stay with you for a little while then?"
How could I say no to that? I smiled grudgingly, "Of course."
He fell silent, and I felt no need to fill the darkness with chatter. I let my gaze stray to the small sliver of window that remained uncovered by curtains. Rain pattered against the glass, whipped into tiny droplets by the unceasing wind. Outside was utterly black.
Although I would never admit it, having Emmett only a few inches away from me made me feel safer. His hulking muscles and easy-going smile were an entirely different world, removed from irrational fears and rumbling thunder. I relaxed.
Then, the window flashed so brightly that the entire room was thrown into sharp relief. Hardly seconds after, a tearing crack of thunder shot through the sky like a cannon.
Involuntarily, I jumped. The startled movement caused me to be hardly an inch away from Emmett. He didn't move.
I let out a tiny breath, shaken by the sudden barrage of nature's fury. However before I could recover, the room flashed again and the floor shook with the thunder. I flinched, and ended up pressed right against Emmett.
Smoothly, he lifted his arm and wrapped it around my shoulders.
I froze, but then eventually relaxed into his side. It was like the spot was perfectly carved just for my shape, the two of us fitting seamlessly and perfectly together. I felt safe.
And so when the next flash of lightning and growl of thunder tore through the window, I didn't jump. Emmett simply held me closer.
Perhaps it was strange that I was so readily accepting help from this goofy newborn vampire, so honest and cheerful that it made my heart ache. I was not one to usually accept any kind of assistance. I was Rosalie – strong, proud, and unafraid of stupid thunderstorms.
But sitting there with Emmett felt so right that I couldn't bear to move. We belonged in that exact position, even though I had never truly been held like that, and Emmett was newly adjusting to our life. We weren't even friends yet, but here he was, sitting out the storm with me and offering any kind of help he could. He was incredible.
"You know, even after figuring everything out these past few weeks, I still think you're an angel," Emmett told me, his tone off-hand.
When he had awoke, with me and Carlisle anxiously on either side of him, he had been convinced that I was an angel and Carlisle was god, and the fires of transformation had been punishment for his sins. Of course the notion was ridiculous, but he had been firm in his beliefs. Angel he called me. The name didn't fit, like trying to force a square through a circular hole. I was no angel. I was a vampire.
But it made me warm to think that even once educated on what we were, Emmett still thought me an angel.
"I think its 'cause you're so strong," Emmett continued, staring off into space, "well, I mean, this is the first time I've ever seen you even close to vulnerable. You're so perfect and amazing at everything – and beautiful to boot – that I just can't imagine you as anything else. You're like . . . flawless."
I pushed away the warmth that bubbled through me. "What do you call this?" I asked dryly, nodding at my current predicament.
He flashed me a dimpled grin, "Sexy."
This boy was mentally unstable.
"You're opinion of me ridiculous, Emmett," I sighed, "I'm far from perfect. I'm a blood-sucking demon, to start. Then there's the cold-hearted attitude, insufferable pride, and irrational fears. Have you seen any of those lovely traits?"
Emmett shook his head, "Nope. I see a beautiful, strong woman who's making the best of what she was given. And you're not a blood-sucking demon. You've never had human blood, right?"
I felt a tiny bit of smugness worm its way into my vulnerable state, "Never,"
"That's better than me," Emmett pointed out, "you're more human than I am."
It was true. Emmett had slipped when a stray hiker had wandered too close to the house. With his unparalleled strength and roaring newborn instincts, none of us could stop him until it was too late.
"Still," I frowned, "you're deluded to think me faultless."
He bent down and kissed the top of my head, "Am not."
I tensed as his perfect, full lips grazed my hair. The spot burst into searing flames, spreading from the crown of my head all the way to my fingertips and toes. I felt full and hot, and leaned closer to him to keep the fire alive.
Boom! The room shook, but I hardly noticed it. Emmett was having the strangest affect on me.
"Are too," I barely whispered.
I could feel his grin. He kissed the top of my head again, "Am not."
Once again, the delightfully scalding flames shivered through my body. I bit my lip to keep from beaming like an idiot.
"You are deluded, Emmett," I told him.
He held me tight, kissed my head twice, and then chuckled, "Maybe, but not when it comes to this. You are perfect. Like a goddess or something."
The combination of his touch and his praise caused me to feel more alive than I had ever felt in all my years of existence – human and vampire included. The rumbling, thrashing storm was nothing but a brief side note as I restrained myself from jumping and running and throwing him down and kissing him for all it was worth.
"Except a goddess isn't as beautiful as you," he added.
Boom! The windows flashed, the rain pattered, and the wind screamed, but I barely noticed any of it.
I smiled contentedly, "You're not so bad yourself."
That made a thrilled smile appear on his dimpled face, "That's the coolest part of this vamp thing. I got the best muscles in the world."
I inspected his bicep, "I suppose you do."
He wrapped me even closer in his arms, and whispered in my ear, "You have no idea how happy that makes me. The most gorgeous woman in the world just complimented me."
"And you have no idea how happy that makes me," I said, twisting around and staring directly into his red, playful eyes, "that you think me a perfect, beautiful goddess. Untrue – but very kind."
We were hardly centimeters apart.
"Not untrue," he countered huskily, "very true."
"We could argue about this for a millennia," I warned him casually, hoping against everything and anything that this would be the case.
He looked deep into my eyes; "I'll hold you to that."
"Oh?" I barely managed to say. The eye contact was smoldering, relighting the fire and fueling it at an incredible rate. Our faces were hardly millimeters apart.
Boom! Background noise.
And then before I could breathe, or think, or try to make sense of what on earth was happening to me, his lips were pressed lightly against mine.
And I was in heaven.
It was like every pain that had happened to me as a human, every hurt against me as a vampire, every angry resentful feeling I had ever had – all of it was worth it. Every single terrible life experience had been leading up to this . . . and it was perfect. Flawless. Incredible.
It was so right for us to be sitting in that corner, his arms tight around me, our lips touching. It was right for my fingers to wind through his, and for the lightening to be flashing and the thunder roaring and the house shaking. Everything was brilliant and supposed to be that way. Nothing could ever change.
And when we broke apart, and I looked at his face, he was thrilled. He was so deliriously, blindingly happy that it took all I had not to mimic him. My lips curved upwards, my muscles stretching, trying to accommodate the grin threatening to burst forth. I loved him. More than I loved myself.
"Come here," he said suddenly, breathlessly, standing up and pulling me with him, "I need to show you something."
"Okay," I replied. I held tight to his hand as he threw open the curtains, unlatched the window, and allowed the storm to roar into the room.
I hardly noticed the lightening, the wind, the rain, or the roaring thunder. My entire focus was on the way his thumb was rubbing gently against my hand.
"You alright?" he asked, looking at me with nothing but exhilaration.
I nodded, "Fine."
The mischievous smirk hardly crossed his features before he swooped me up, and leapt out into the storm.
We landed without a jolt, the wind and rain thrashing my usually beautiful hair about. My clothes were quickly soaked, the buckets of water pouring down ruining my dress. I growled, "What was that?"
"C'mon!" he shouted, "follow me!"
He darted away. It took all I had to trail him into the dark, menacing forest, exacerbated by the furious wind, torrential rain, and jagged flashes of light. The second he was out of my sight I became aware, again, of the storm. I sped up.
Boom! The thunder ripped though the sky. I shivered, and placed the memory of my lips against his in the forefront of my mind. I could do this.
I would do this. I would do whatever that crazy, immature, delightfully handsome vampire asked me to do.
When we stopped, we were standing at the top of a rocky outcropping at the summit of a mountain. The trees surrounding us whipped angrily, lashing out at each other with dark, wet branches. Lightening threw the scene into relief.
Emmett grinned broadly, "Look!"
He pointed out at the sky. I moved to his side, wrapped my fingers in his, and watched as terrible, crooked streaks of blinding light slashed through the sky. Following every blinding flash was a terrible roar that shook the rock beneath us.
"Its pretty, isn't it?" he asked.
I watched the lightening again, from an artistic perspective instead of my usual terror. And he was right. There was a strange, perverse beauty to the sheer power of the electric bolts.
He turned me towards him, and held me close, "See, Rose? Its not terrible."
I stood on my tiptoes, and wrapped my arms around his neck, "Is this what your sister did for you?"
"Yep," he said proudly.
"But I'm assuming she didn't do this," I said, and pressed my lips against his again.
This time, with me in control, it was a whole different feel. As the storm raged around us I threw all of my terror, all of my pent up energy into the kiss. The passion nearly caused the fire to incinerate every cell in my body.
He held my waist, responding best he could to my unbridled passion. I clung to him, ignoring the wet and the wind and the resounding thunder. I kissed him as hard as I possibly could – harder than I had ever kissed Royce. Or anyone.
When we broke apart, he gasped, "No, she didn't really do that."
I cut him off and kissed him again. And again. I pushed him against the tree and poured every emotion I could never possibly say into the way I was kissing him. Soon, he was responding every bit as passionately as I was.
And as we fell to the ground, the pine needles and dirt hardly consequential in my haste to kiss him as passionately as I could, I felt a new respect for the storm. I loved how dramatic it was, how nature's fury fit the scene perfectly. Emmett and I, harmonious, fiery in that wild, stormy night.
"You're a goddess," he whispered, awed, in the brief time we were apart.
"Am not," I grinned saucily, and cut off his ability to speak.
Emmett and I loved each other more fully, more completely than was possible for anyone to love each other that night. Our wild, abandoned fervor gave the storm a whole new dimension. We were the storm.
"I love you," I murmured once, as the lightening cracked against the sky.
"I love you too," he groaned, and grabbed me for another kiss.
The storm tore apart the forest, but we were too caught up in sheer bliss to notice. I loved him, and he loved me. And nothing – not even a sickeningly violent, raging thunderstorm – could ever tear us apart.