Author's Note: I'm extremely sorry for not updating sooner. I've been so slack about it, and I'd lost my muse for a while. Anyway. I hope you guys like this chapter (if you've returned after such a long time lol). Reviews will encourage me to write up another chapter *grins*


THIS DAMNATION

Chapter Six – No Quiet Nights and Fireplaces

The house in the woods was dark and silent. Standing by the gate, any passerby would assume it had been abandoned many years ago. But any vampire would know from the scent that many of their own were residing there.

I stood just outside the Cullen property, pausing only because Emmett stepped forward to open the gate for me.

"Thank you." I smiled up at him, speaking in a low voice. He smiled back, shutting the gate behind him. I surveyed the house from afar. From the sounds of things … the house was empty. Emmett must have realized the same thing at the same time, because he grinned openly down at me. The two of us had been out hunting. It had been two weeks since Edward and Carlisle had spoken of Hoquiam and the topic was never mentioned again.

"Where is everyone?" Emmett asked as we made our way up to the house. The night was so cool and pleasant that we slowed our pace to a humanly stroll.

"Carlisle and Esme wanted to visit some of their friends up north," I answered. They had mentioned it this morning but I hadn't realized they had meant so soon. With the house stone cold empty, I couldn't think of any other place they would be. "Edward must be with them."

Emmett didn't miss a beat. "So they'll be gone for quite a while then?"

"A few days, I think." I couldn't help but smile. A few days alone with Emmett? No annoying, mind-reading brothers? No one to badger me about going to school? My mood lightened considerably over a period of three seconds.

We reached the house then and, again, Emmett opened the door for me. I reached my hand automatically to the left, to switch the light on. Edward had made sure we had the best system installed when we moved to the house, and I'd learned my fair share about electrical systems. But as the switch flicked down, the light remained dead. I frowned. We didn't need light, but it was a human habit – much like breathing even when oxygen did nothing for our bodies.

"It's okay," Emmett said immediately. "We'll … build a fire in the fireplace." I smiled into the darkness – that seemed very romantic. I thought, for a moment, of Royce King Junior. When he had begun our courtship, there had been no quiet nights and fireplaces. I remembered almost never spending time alone with him.

"Rosalie?" Emmett pulled me back to the present. I looked up at him and found that I could see him much easier than before. My eyes travelled down to the fireplace, into the fire he had just built. He held out his hand and I lifted mine gracefully, placing it atop his. I liked the feel of his hand – his smooth skin and strong fingers – against mine. It filled me with heated passion, just to feel him touching me so innocently. Even when Royce kissed me, it had never been like this. Emmett pulled me over to the couch and we sat down together. I stared into the fire, wishing for the hundredth time that I could still feel its warmth for all it had to offer.

"Rose?" Emmett spoke again.

I looked up from the flames. "Yes?"

He looked slightly uncomfortable. That was strange, I'd never seen him like this before. "Why did you bring me to Carlisle?"

Oh. He must have been thinking about this for quite a while, to bring it up now. But of course, when I was first changed I knew why Carlisle had picked me. For Edward. For my beauty. It wasn't exactly a good choice, but it had been explained to me by Esme nonetheless.

"Emmett," I started. Could I really admit to him just how selfish I was? It would change his impression of me completely. This fragile romance that was beginning to develop between us … it would all have been for nothing.

"I'm not questioning you," he responded quickly, perhaps to the panic in my eyes. "I'm glad you made that decision. I wouldn't have it any other way."

I scowled, even though part of me soared. It felt good to know that he wanted to be with me. But when would he learn just how horrible this existence was? I'd stripped him of his future and he was thanking me! I wish he understood that I was a monster, and that because of me, he was one too.

"You never told me why you saved me," Emmett went on when I hesitated.

"You reminded me of someone," I said without thinking. He looked a little disappointed. "No," I revised, shaking my head. "Nothing like that. You see, I had this friend back in Rochester …" I told him about Vera, and her son Henry. Just recounting that small part of my old life brought Royce to the fore of my thoughts again.

"You saved me because I … looked like a child?" Emmett asked, humour in his voice and on his lips.

I shared his teasing smile. "No …" How could I explain this? Esme had understood it immediately. She knew how much a child would mean to me, just as it would mean the same to her. "Emmett … did anyone tell you that I was engaged?"

His head snapped up and I suppressed a wince. There was something in his eyes, something that I had never seen in a man's eyes before. A recoiling, sort of like something snapping inside of him. He didn't like hearing that I had once been engaged. And, for a reason I couldn't quite comprehend, that made me feel wonderful.

"Just before I was changed, he proposed and I thought I had everything I wanted." I emphasized that one word so strongly that it was impossible for Emmett to miss it. He frowned, his eyes softening very slightly. "You've seen the way Carlisle and Esme are around each other, haven't you?" I continued on before he nodded. "Well this man, Royce King Junior, he wasn't like that around me.

"He didn't love me the way Carlisle loves Esme. He didn't look at me the way Vera's husband looked at her." I paused, realizing that my voice was becoming more and more strained. My eyes flickered from the fireplace to Emmett. I wondered what he was thinking. "I realized then that I wanted to be with someone who loved me, not someone who treated me like a painting he won at an auction."

Emmett nodded solemnly. "And I wanted a child. A baby of my very own, just like Vera had. So when I saw you … and you looked just like Henry." I stopped again. Why exactly did I save Emmett? "There was something about you. I couldn't let you die." I stopped and bit my lip. I had just confessed to him how I felt.

This was different. I was nervous and I was almost never nervous. I could have had any man I wanted, because of my beauty, but did Emmett care for me? Could he see past my lovely features and truly … love me?

Emmett remained silent. He leaned forward. One of his hands lifted from his lap and I thought he was going to touch my cheek. But the base of his palm only tickled my jaw as he placed his hand gently along the curve of the very nape of my neck, his fingers tangled in my hair.

I could feel my body react as he continued to lean in closer. It wanted to flush hot and tremble but it couldn't anymore. Instead, I felt venom well in my mouth, and wondered if this was normal. My eyes fell closed and then he was kissing me. A slow, gentle kiss that I hadn't expected from him. He looked like the type to kiss roughly, to follow his instincts and press hard.

But his lips were feather light against mine and it was I who urged him for more. I parted my lips against his mouth and he obliged, doing the same. The kiss turned from chaste and sweet to breathlessly passionate. I felt the strength of his arms as they curled around me like a protective cage.

My own hands travelled up to his neck, one twining its fingers into his hair, and the other tracing patterns on his jaw. When we broke apart – and I wasn't sure who it was who pulled back first – his eyes were blazing. Yes. This was the kind of love that I had yearned for.

"I think," Emmett whispered, his face still very close to mine, "that this human was a fool not to love you."