Chapter summary: I didn't know I could court death so many times in one day. Well, this would be the second day for that dance. I didn't know an indestructible vampire would hurt so much. And I didn't know I would be the cause of it. Again, and again.


Rosalie marched toward me more quickly this time — but this time I noted she was back to walking on top of the snow, and not shaking the forest plowing through the snow, thank God! — and alighted on the tree near its base. She then reached down and into the tree and pulled up. About four feet of thick and scaly bark came off the trunk in Rosalie's hands, and she tossed it aside. The bark hit another pine, which shook on the impact, causing more snow to dislodge around us. Rosalie flicked the snow off her shoulders, then knelt on the trunk and pushed down gently with her palms.

'Gently' seemed to be a relative term. The tree buckled under the pressure, and went concave under her steady push. She dismounted and came to me.

Well, I reasoned, I hadn't died yet, so there's no need to flinch now.

She scooped me up — I was rather proud that I didn't, after all, flinch — and placed my backside on the trunk. It was about as cold as the snowy ground. Which was warmer than her hands. I didn't see any positive results of me complaining about a comfort issue, so I kept my mouth shut. She swung my feet up on to the branch, and then pointed at me and then the trunk. She then opened her palm, facing it toward me in a stopping motion.

Sit, Fido; stay! Great. Well, the play dead command hadn't come, still. So there was that. I nodded my head, obediently. A blur: she was gone.

So, what now?

"What is your problem, girl?" Her voice, clear, bell-like, and sounding as if from some distance, rang through the forest. "All I asked of you is one simple thing: no talking!"

Ah! So it was to be the lecture, then. Well, okay: no talking. I guessed if I played along like she wanted me to — as a nice girl — I'd get back to the warm cabin sooner rather than later. I bit my lip to stifle any hint of a retort.

"Apparently that was too hard for you to understand?" She was just raring to go, wasn't she? "What? Did you think your 'please's and 'thank you's would soften me up? Did you think you could take advantage of my self-imposed silence? Did you think it gave you permission to parade your ignorant assumptions in front of me?"

"Ignorant assumptions!" I roared, incensed, before I realized I had drawn breath.

Yup, that's me, sticking with the game plan of getting inside that toasty-warm cabin sometime this year. Did I mention I really, really, hated the cold? Apparently not enough. I should have bitten my tongue off while I had the chance.

She roared right back. "Ignorant, yes! and assumptions, yes! And insulting, too, let's not forget!" How come she gets to sound so terrifying, yet her voice gets to sound like angelic choirs? I was cold; I realized my excursion to the outhouse, where Rosalie had in fact done everything for me, left me weakened, and I was tired. Did I mention I was a bit on edge?

"Oh, so you're not a vampire?" Getting back into the cabin. Right. Why couldn't I have just said, "Yes, mother." and be done with it? Oh, no: not Bella-the-Swan!

"You're so sure that's what I am, a vampire? You're positive?" she shot right back.

"YES!" Well, no, actually: not everything added up, but I wasn't going to back down from my epiphany or be tricked or confused out of it. I had uncovered her now obvious secret, and she would just have to live with that ... or not exactly live with that, being that she was undead and all.

"Oh, so you could use a cross to ward me off, then, right?"

Before I could answer, she was right in front of me. I added that to my list: the list of "Things that Rosalie does that irritates the hell out of me." Rosalie appearing and disappearing at will: that would be something like number twelve on the list. I had already catalogued something like twenty items. Although "saving my life", "getting me pads" and "making and then hand-feeding me soup" were not on that list, I reflected ruefully. Why couldn't she be just evil? Why did she have to do nice things or surprising things all the time and mess with my desire simply to hate her?

She pulled me off the trunk and set me — gently, dammit! Hate her! Hate her! Hate her! — on the ground. She then jumped up on the tree and then began carving the trunk with her finger. I looked on. She was carving a cross, right into the trunk. She then used both hands and made scooping motions along her outline. Her last motion lifted the cross out of the tree: it was about one foot across by two feet in height. I noted the top of the cross was a bit wider. She held it out to me with a triumphant smile wreathing her face. There were letters carved into the cross at the top: "I.N.R.I." She didn't seem to have any trouble holding the cross she fashioned. She handed it over to me — I had to hold it with both hands to keep it upright ... she didn't, she only used one hand (number 21 on the list) — and said through gritted teeth: "Say 'vade retro Satana'"

"What?" She couldn't be serious.

She nodded her head. She was.

"Umm, va-day retro satana?" I felt utterly foolish.

She walked toward me, dripping menace. I stumbled back a bit, almost falling, but then her ice-cold hands caught mine. When she brought me back to a standing position, the cross came to rest against her chest. She held my hands against the cross which was against her chest for several seconds.

I became aware of our proximity as her scent began to intoxicate me again. So, I was scared out of my mind, angry, tired, and filled with scented honeysuckle-rose well-being. In short, a confused muddle.

Hey, maybe that's how vampires hypnotized their victims: the scent?

She was looking into my eyes intently and with a smug superiority. She looked down at the cross pressed to her chest and shrugged.

Yeah, yeah, Bella-the-dummy. I was so looking forward to the "I told you so" lecture that was sure to come.

She took the cross from my hands and with one easy and swift motion buried about three inches of its base into the fallen tree. She then lifted me back to my seat. My two foot wide, hundred feet high, seat. I noticed Rosalie had embedded the cross in my plain view. Nice. Thanks for that. She then blurred away, and the forest rang out again with her voice.

"Don't you dare box me into you convenient little definitions of the world!" Ah, yes: the 'I told you so' lecture. "Do you think that's all I am, a vampire?" She's more than that? "And what about you! Do you like me boxing into being just a nameless girl?"

"NO, I DON'T!" I screamed. That was right up there around number 1 on the list, in fact.

"Well, then, earn it! Earn your name!"

"HOW!" I wish I could make the forest ring like Rosalie did when she spoke. She didn't even need to shout to do it either. My shoutings, however how much I tried to make them ring, were dull and flat. That would be number 4: her voice verses my voice.

"First by doing what your told to do! Which means, second, thinking rightly more and speaking wrongly less!"

"What? How am I supposed to do that? How do I know I'm saying something ignorant, as you say, if I don't know that I'm saying something, um," oh, shoot! "ignorant!" Well, that didn't end as well as I wanted it to. Cold: freezing brain ... not good.

"That's easy!" Easy for you! "What did you say?"

"I called you a vampire!"

"No, you didn't!"

"Yes, I did!" This whole shouting across the forest thing was getting old.

"No, you said that I was kind for a vampire! Do you know what the kindness of vampires is?" So, she has vampire friends? It was so easy to get lost and confused by the turning and twisting of her words, but she didn't wait for an answer.

"The kindness of vampires is a swift death! Have you received that kindness? Have I? NO!"

"And what about being a vampire or being a human or being an elephant, even, constrains kindness? Have you thought about that, girl?" I was back to being called girl I observed, although, come to think of it, I didn't recall a vacation happening anywhere in this conversation. "When I fed you and when I helped you in the outhouse, did it matter if I was a vampire or if I was human or if I was Kaiser Wilhelm? Kindness is kindness! And you got it all wrong anyway! The one in the outhouse who was kind was you, girl, not me! When you said that I was kind and you cried in gratitude, it was out of the kindness of your heart! Didn't you see that? I did! and something stirred in this cold, dead shell of mine that I didn't think that could: I hoped!"

Suddenly my snide and sarcastic internal monologue became very still and quiet.

"I didn't want to dare to hope. I was almost afraid to want to hope. Imagine that, me, Rosalie Lillian Hale, afraid! A Hale may fear, but a Hale perseveres! So I took that baby step forward, toward hoping that you would give me something to hope for. But then you took it all away, didn't you? Kind for a vampire! If I knew that wasn't in your nature, I would have accused you of toying cruelly with me, giving me just a taste of hope and then crushing it as I reached out for it."

My superiority at figuring everything out dried up and blew away. I felt very small. Very small, indeed: "I'm ..." I tried to get something past my constricted throat, but my voice didn't work past a whisper which I knew she couldn't possibly hear. I cleared my throat as discreetly as I could, but she had already moved on.

"Why didn't you destroy me in the outhouse? That would have been more merciful, you know! Or were you trying to destroy me with your words as we were returning from there? You nearly succeeded! Did you assume that I would be happy that you figured everything laid out so obviously in front of you? Did you think I would be pleased by your acumen? Do you think I delight in this cursed existence of eternal want? That I would delight in you proudly parading that in front of me? 'Oh, look at Rosalie, the vampire!'"

I wrapped myself in myself, arms encircling knees again. I was cold and tired. But that didn't matter anymore, because I was stupid, stupid, stupid, and I had kicked my vampire kidnapper in the face as she reached up to me from the fiery pits of Hell for help. This morning I had wished I could have died from embarrassment, but my embarrassment then was only because of the nakedness of my flesh. Now I was looking at the nakedness of my soul, and I didn't like the small, mean, disgusting rat that I saw.

"Do you know what's funny, though?" And she laughed. It was a laugh filled with sadness. "We are entirely opposite. You give and give and give and never think of yourself. You give yourself completely to your Pa and to your horse and to Edward. You even made me biscuits! And do you know why? You are entirely selfless. And you don't even know it! Me, I've always known who I am and what I wanted. And do you know what I always wanted, since I was eleven years old? Do you know what they called me in finishing school, behind my back, even the teachers? They called me the Ice Queen! I knew that, and I had the means to call them out, but I didn't. Do you know why I didn't? I WAS PROUD OF THAT TITLE! I fit that title! As a human, I did everything I could to be cold and hard and beautiful. I wanted to be THIS! And I got what I deserved! Am I not BEAUTIFUL?"

Maybe I could start making amends, starting right now. I bore down hard and pulled myself together, shouting with feeling: "You are the most beautiful person in the world!" because I believed it. Because it was the truth.

"What! Are you blind? Open your eyes! I'm not beautiful, and I'm not a person! I AM A MONSTER!" God! I couldn't do anything right! I couldn't even attempt to console Rosalie without screwing up. I buried my head between my knees, but that didn't stop the sound of her voice penetrating the forest and my heart.

"I've always known what I wanted, and now that I'm cursed with this existence, I want nothing more than to be you! Well, not you, I know I don't deserve to be you: you do. Your body cannot even contain the great soul of yours: I see it spilling out of your kind, caring eyes all the time! But I want to have your nature again ... just even for one year ... just even for one hour. I would take that and die a happy death! Look at you, so alive! Your skin, so beautifully creamy white and smooth. I can't hold it without the risk of crushing you, but I have never felt anything so soft and warm. O! to be human again and to have soft skin to be caressed! Is my skin soft? I don't have skin! I just have this outer impenetrable marble shell! O! to be human again and to feel warmth coming from inside me! Do I have warmth inside me? No! The snow that so chills you to the bone is a velvet blanket to me. I cool the snow! And your heartbeat; o! your glorious, wonderful, enchanting, vibrant heartbeat! O! to be human again and to feel a heart pumping life through my veins! Do you know the only time I feel life in my veins, girl? It's when my teeth are attached to your neck! The only life in my veins is the life I suck away from others! Do I want to do that? YES! There is nothing that is more ecstatic than to feel the vitality of another being draining from them into me. There is no drug more satisfying. There is no elixir more desirable. But what does that make me? I'll tell you what that makes me, because you don't have room in your kind heart to speak the truth! It makes me a monster! You said I was the most beautiful person in the world, but I am pure evil, through and through! You give, but I am Death: all I do is consume; I take and I take and I take and it is never enough! And you, innocence personified, remind me of that with your every necessary breath, your every sigh in your sleep, your every blush."

"O! your blush! Do you know what your blush means?"

I didn't, but I was pretty sure I was going to find out. And I was pretty sure, that in finding out that I was going to hate myself more for hurting her.

"O! your beautiful, perfect blush, girl! You probably don't know this, being here in the hinterlands, but in society, the blush was an open sexual invitation."

Hate myself, and be so much further embarrassed. I couldn't believe the heat on my cheeks. I had entered my own personal Hell.

"That where the term 'blushing bride' came from, did you know that? Because she could only blush for her spouse in the wedding chamber! A girl in society could not blush to any man at all, she had to paint her face to be pale. And, boy, did I ever attack my face with the trowel! Not too much, of course, just enough to bring out and enhance the natural beauty. Natural beauty!" She spat these last words out.

"And I was appropriately painted that night ... you know the date: April 3rd, 1933 — the day I died. O! I was modest and appropriate and blush free! But did that stop my fiancé, that sadistic murdering rapist? You know his name, too: Royce King the Second." She hissed out his name like a rattler stepped on by a horse's hoof.

My world suddenly turned upside down. I remembered words I had said to her in another forest in another age, and began to taste the bitter rusty flavor of regret as she now sang the song of her own doom that I had so callously miscalled to her face.

"He really didn't even qualify for any of those things. If he had been alone or if I had been properly escorted — like I should have been if I hadn't been stuffed so full of my pride and self-absorption! — nothing would have happened because he didn't have enough courage to fill a thimble. But that night, he had his four buddies with him and was filled with his courage, his single malt scotch. I'm shocked that he could even get his limp little prick up to do the deed, he was that drunk! After he took his half-turn, he passed me off to his friends for their turns, and they all left me in that gently falling soft snow, bleeding out and dying. Blushing bride? No, that wasn't an option for me. Not after that. Not for eternity!"

I'll never be able to look at myself again! I remember how I had told her that she faked her death to avoid her wedding to Royce, and I wished somehow I could eat my words, even as they now knifed me, slashing my worth to ribbons.

"O! to be human again and to blush once, bride or no, just one single time! Can I blush, girl? No, marble doesn't blush. Marble doesn't change. Marble doesn't live. Just to be alive again! Just to feel the change of time, instead of float above it in this accursed eternity. To be a woman again! O! Just to have your menstruation!"

I muttered under my breath, "You can take it."

There was silence. Rosalie had stopped her rant. I looked up. She was standing right in front of me, with her arms crossed tightly over her chest.

Oh, God! She had heard me, or she had read my mind, or something. I had done it again. I had so casually hurt her. And so soon on the heels of knowing how badly my last ignorant pronouncement had struck her to the core. I buried my head back between my legs and shut my eyes tightly. I couldn't take the shame any more. Please, just kill me. Please, just kill me. Please, just kill me.

"Please."

I didn't realize I had spoken out loud. But the voice was wrong, it wasn't mine, and it had come from beside me. Rosalie had just said 'please'. Why? My head snapped up quickly, and I found myself looking into the saddest eyes in the world. I started to move my head back to its hiding place, but her hand flashed out too quickly and caught my chin. She looked right into me, and my soul lay bare before her and she enunciated each syllable as if the sounds were somehow essential:

"Please don't say that, yes?"

Tears rolled over my eyelids. I nodded mutely; contrite. She looked at me for a second and then flashed away before I even realized her hand was gone.

"To be alive, girl," she continued, somewhat more evenly, but as if we hadn't had that moment, "even to feel the pain you feel now. But I'm not alive now. Oh, no! Because who happened along that alley that night as I lay dying? The good Dr. Cullen, hunting for a beautiful little girl to mate to his beloved Edward. He found and turned me, and for what? The first thing that smug little princeling did when he saw me was to scoff in disdain: 'What were you thinking, Carlisle? Rosalie Hale?' But I could take that, because the second thing I would do, after I took a life to satiate my thirst, would be to rip his superior little face right off. But what I couldn't take was Esme. Do you know what the worst thing you can do to me?"

Besides the three blows I had hammered on her? Well, then, no, I didn't, but I figured I knew who did, although I couldn't imagine Esme, who looked like kindness herself, could be connected to any crime Rosalie was heaping on herself and the world.

"The worst thing you can do to me is to pity me. A Hale is not to be pitied! We take our drubbings with the rest of them, but we always overcome! But not for me on my death day: I had the world at my feet that morning, and that night I was begging for Carlisle or Edward or Esme to kill me, because I didn't want to go on. Not like this: tainted ... damaged goods. Not forever. I couldn't bear it. But then Esme pitied me in my misery! And so I knew there was no more overcoming for me: I would always be this way, trapped in eternity as a beautiful, cold, tainted monster; I would always be Esme's object of pity. And I couldn't even tear her face off to improve my lot because she pitied what I was. It would not alter me one bit, so the only recourse was for me to take that kind, caring, passionate pity of hers. HOW I HATED HER!"

I was glad she wasn't poking the hot irons of her words at me, but it hurt for her to be attacking the others, who I didn't know as well as her, but seemed to see in them things differently than what she said.

"Kindness and hope, girl. The Cullens weren't kind, but from them, too, I had a glimmer of hope. I was all alone: Carlisle and Esme had each other, boy! did they have each other, those two little love birds cooed day and night with their lovey-dovey talk. Gah! Edward seemed to be self-sufficient, that is, until he fell over himself to be with you. Foolish of him, but I understand better now what the draw was, with your sweetness and sweet scent. And my eyes were just turning from the blood red that they were when I was newly created to the golden hues of a mature vampire. And I had vindicated myself in Rochester. Smooth sailing in a new part of the world, right? I could live with them: I would be alone, yes, because they didn't really love me, but they accepted me as a companion."

She paused. I knew what was coming now. The dread filled me as I waited for me to appear in her story.

"But then along came Little Miss Detective, alight with curiosity and motivated to get to the bottom of this mystery. You couldn't resist, could you? You couldn't sit still until you curiosity was satisfied, could you? Well, you know what they say about curiosity!"

Yes, I did know. Just call me "Bella-the-Cat". According to Rosalie, I had already expended three lives. I wonder if the tree I was sitting on that had fallen so close to me counted as another life?

"What was your motivation? Because I really wish to know! Everyone in my life and in my existence has conspired to bring me low, to extinguish any hope I had. You succeeded doing that better than anyone before and only just now! — Kind for a vampire, indeed — and only from that sweetness and innocence of your heart! Are you some trial to test me? Are you some demon to torture me?"

I no longer cared about the cold, but the cold cared about me. She had utterly defeated me. It was funny, she was telling me how terrible she was, and all I could think about was how terrible I was being to her. I started to shake uncontrollably. I tried not to allow my teeth to chatter, she would probably add that to her list of lamentations.

"Rosalie, I'm sorry! I'm really, really sorry!" I shouted with feeling, hoping, somehow, to break through her spiral of remorse.

"Oh! She says she's sorry! How nice! Well, I need neither your contrition nor your pity, thank you so very much!" I couldn't even apologize without infuriating her.

"Well, what do you need from me? Just tell me, and I'll do it! P-p-please!" Staring at the cross the indestructible but vulnerable vampire had planted in front of me, I felt the despair eat away at the edges of my soul.

"Why don't you start by focusing your sharp intuition on yourself for a change? Maybe your natural curiosity has always been focused elsewhere because you're afraid of what you'll see in the mirror? Know thyself, girl. That will be a most excellent start. And then we can hope to be able to start a discussion from somewhere. How about that?"

I could do that. I had never done that before, but this request of hers was something that I could do. I was about to agree, but a blur caught me up and raced me into the cabin in seconds. It was noticeably cooler, and I looked to Rosalie, but she was already gone. I was now shivering uncontrollably, and I wouldn't make it through a cold night.

"R-r-r-r-osal-l-l-lie!" I screamed. Please don't be gone for two hours or more!

Nothing. I was doomed. I started to head toward to bed, shakily, when a blur materialized right in front of me. Rosalie lifted her eyebrow.

"D-d-d-did you f-f-forget the wood f-f-or th-th-the-the f-f-f-fire?" She could see me shaking. I couldn't fight it or hide it, but, instead of reacting to that, she stood in front of me in utter stillness and then, after a second, smiled sadly, and through clenched teeth said:

"O! to be human again, and forget anything at all! Just once."

Her statement slammed into me harder than a maul. I collapsed to the floor and wailed. The blanket from the bed appeared around me, and I was in her arms. I couldn't stop sobbing. She held me in her arms and rocked me, as a mother would rock a newborn babe, and I buried my head into her chest, let her scent wash through me, and cried and cried and cried.

After a long while, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I could look up, although sobs still shook my whole being. She traced one finger from her eye down her cheek, then put it to her lips. Don't cry, baby. Shhh.

This, of course, brought on a fresh round of tears, and I nearly descended into hysteria. The irony did not escape me. I had just insulted her, again, for the fourth time today, yet she, my vampire kidnapper, was the one who was comforting me. She laid me gently on the bed, resting her hand on my shoulder. I grabbed her wrist with both my hands in desperation: "D-d-d-don't g-g-g-o, please!" I kept my eyes shut tightly because I already knew her answer.

"C-c-" then nothing. She had run out of air. In defeat, I opened my eyes wearily, waiting for the bad news. She extracted her hand. I let it go, and watched it leave my side. It killed me as she withdrew it.

She surrounded herself in her arms, and then she shook herself violently. Then she pointed at me. I nodded. She pointed at the stove and then out the front door. I shut my eyes and nodded. I didn't want to watch her leave, even if she left in a blur. I felt the breeze.

"W-w-w-well ... g-g-g-good-d-db-b-bye-ye-ye-ye."

Of course, now was the perfect time for my stomach to cramp up in hunger.

Stay in bed, or eat? Stay in bed, or eat? Did I have the energy to get up to the table?

Yes, I did. I was shaking with the cold and with emotion, but I was a big girl. I could take care of myself.

I opened my eyes.

Yes, she was gone.

Sorrow struck me again. I wasn't so sure I could get out of bed now. This was so unfair.

Oh, don't be such a big self-pitying baby! Rosalie doesn't need your pity, and it's not doing you any good! Just stand up and do at least one thing useful today!

I got up: it was a lot harder, fighting through the emotions, and the hunger cramps and my other cramps, than I thought it would be. It was also a lot easier, too. I mean, really: standing up from bed — it's not like it was an olympic sport, or anything!

I shambled over to the sink, picked up the basket, and placed it on the table. I sat down. The meat was cold, but tender, having been simmering for God knows how long and then having been shredded by my very own guardian vampire.

I wondered if she would grant me three wishes and my very own ball, just like the balls Lizzy had in Pride and Prejudice. All those weird and wonderful things Rosalie had said to me and about me came back as I ate. Did she really see me that way? As kind? As selfless? Did she see me as special? Could I be a person who could be special?

I didn't know, but nibbling on the meat helped, and the quiet helped settle my unsteady nerves. I only sniffed occasionally now.

Crack! crack-crack-crack! CRACK! Crack!

Distant reports came from outside the house. It didn't surprise me as much as it would have before, because I had see Rosalie uproot a tree today. I was willing to bet that, in her own inimitable way, she was out gathering sticks — tree-sized sticks — for the stove.

Seconds later, Rosalie was by the stove, undampening it and opening up the front doors. She disappeared again, then a pile of logs reaching up to the ceiling appeared just inside and beside the front door.

I say 'logs' so casually: these were limbs torn from the branches and torn or twisted asunder. Some looked like they were sectioned from trunks, sectioned as an orange would be. That is, if the orange were sectioned by a hammer. Saw? Axe? Who needs those things with our 'Coco' Chanel-wearing looks-good-in-lumberjack-outfits Rosalie in the house?

Who, indeed!

She filled the stove, teepee style, but I didn't see how she could start it: just an ember or two glowed a very dull orange. I leaned over and looked, curious.

She looked up at me and frowned.

Oh, God! What did I do this time?

She then picked me up and put me in bed, mummifying me in the folds of the blanket. Then she went to the front door, squared herself to the stove, and spit.

Flames roared out of the stove and reached halfway across the cabin toward her.

Oh, my God!

Well, now I was rather glad she moved me from the table. I may not have been burned, but she probably would have had to restart my heart once again. I guess she wasn't going for the record this week.

Flammable spit. That was a new one. I wondered how you'd explain that to a beau. Oh, yeah, no kissing: I mean it!

The flames disappeared just about as quickly, and I heard a cackle from with the stove. I'm sure everything caught in that conflagration!

Rosalie wasn't so sure, however. She repeated that process twice more before she was satisfied that the fire in the stove was self-sustaining. By that time, the blessed heat had started to refill the cabin. I looked over to Rosalie. She looked at me and patted her stomach. I shook my head no and put both my hands, folded prayer style, on one side of my head. She nodded and smiled, gesturing open handed over the bed. However, before I stretched out and closed my eyes, I had to make sure.

"Stay! please Rosalie, stay tonight." and I patted the side of the bed where I had made space for her curling around it.

She frowned and pointed to the table then to the front door.

I shook my head. "You can do that tomorrow. Stay tonight, please."

She looked undecided. "Please." I said it as calmly as I could, not trying to beg, just, you know, asking. That's all I was doing: just asking.

She rolled her eyes, shook her head, but moved toward the bed. I couldn't help but break into a large smile as I pulled her seated on the bed into my spooned position.

"Stay." I said, more firmly this time. She nodded.

I closed my eyes. She fussed over the blanket and then rested her hand on my shoulder. My cold hand found her colder one, and I rested it there.

I must have drifted off to sleep pretty quickly: I dreamed an angel in a white robe with golden eyes and long flowing hair bent down and kissed me on my forehead with lips of cut ruby. It cradled my cheek with an alabaster hand and whispered in a clear voice ... a voice that Rosalie didn't have when she was controlling her breathing around me:

"O! to be human again and sleep! Good night, my hope."


Chapter End Notes:

I had read a story in which Rosalie was called the "Ice Queen" in finishing school, but I don't have the reference any more. Do any of my intrepid readers have the citation, i.e. story name and author? Imaginary cupcakes await.

Edward's quotation is canonical: it's from Eclipse, chapter 7, Rosalie's origin story.

Vade retro, Satana! means 'Get thee behind me, Satan!' It wasn't very effective in scaring away vampires in this particular chapter, but you may have better luck elsewhere. Let me know, but caveat chanter: YMMV!

Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen is in the public domain. It is available, with commentary, from a popular Jane Austen website, or, of course, from the websites such as Project Gutenberg.