Chapter Summary: I seem to remember some girl wishing Rosalie could speak again so we could have a conversation. If you see that girl, could you send her my way? I have a few words for her.

I looked at the door Rosalie had just closed. She had asked that I not ask for any more promises as she left, because she had no more to give. She had given me her only promise.

I had asked for it, and she gave it to me, but I didn't know it was so serious when I asked. I didn't know it was her only one.

I just couldn't wrap my head around what was happening. Here she was, shouting at me, being so mean, but, at the same time, she was giving me all that she could give me.

Her only promise, and she gave it to me. I had asked, and she had given it to me.

She even gave me the sweater. She gave me her sweater, even though it was painful for her even to be near it.

She couldn't love me. She couldn't. She was just so mean and so angry at me. Ma and Pa never fought like that. Ma and Pa never shouted at each other like that. Ma and Pa loved each other. I mean, they loved each other while they were together. It was just the hardships of the New West that drove Ma away, ... not Pa. I never heard them say a bad word about each other. Even after she left, Pa never said one bad thing about Ma. Even after she remarried.

Not once.

But Rosalie was always shouting at me. Rosalie was always doing mean things to me. Always! I looked over at the triptych and remembered the torture she put me through last night. And for what? To show that she was beautiful and that I was ugly.

You can't get any meaner than that. Nobody had ever been that mean to me ... until Rosalie.

Heck! She kidnapped me away from Pa and put me in this dangerous situation where I was always dying. That's mean, too!

She couldn't love me. Nobody that mean could love somebody, especially not Miss Meanie, Rosalie Lillian Hale, who was always so mean and angry at me.

But then she gave me her only promise forever.

And she was washing the sweater to give to me.

I wonder if I could ask her to wear it before she gave it back to me, so her scent could be on it when I got it back.

I wonder if I could ask her to wear it occasionally ... you know, like, at least every time it needed to be washed?

I sighed. This was getting me nowhere, and Rosalie was expecting my hair to be washed. I had better rinse off the soap sticking to my body and get on that before Rosalie came back. No reason to give her more excuses to shout at me.

I looked across the table and saw the two cups. They were filled with liquid, and I was very, very thirsty.

They were by her ... was she drinking from them? Were they filled with blood?

I approached the cups cautiously. Picked one up, cautiously. And sniffed. Cautiously.

It didn't smell like blood. It didn't smell like anything. Maybe it was water?

I dipped a finger in ... no color. I tasted what was on my finger ... no taste, so I risked taking a sip.

It was water, ... not blood. And not her voice.

Of course it wasn't her voice: she was talking now. Duh, silly! Boy, I'm really smart, aren't I? No wonder why Rosalie was always shouting at me. It was like she had to explain everything to a baby.

But Pa didn't shout at me ... even when I was learning to cook, and I burned the loaf of bread in the stove because I forgot about it.

I finished off one cup, then finished off the other. Both were water. Neither were her voice.

But my throat was a little bit raw from all the screaming I did last night ...

I went to the boxes under the sink, and sat on the floor beside them. I lifted out the shampoo beside the Listerine, right where Rosalie said it would be, then I looked at that brown, squat opaque bottle containing Rosalie's voice.

I pulled it out and unscrewed the top.

The sweet smell of honey wafted out as I waved it under my nose.

Perhaps one sip would do me good. She wouldn't mind if I took one sip, would she? I mean, what was the worst that could happen?

The I quickly spun the cap back on the bottle and replaced it in the box in the exact place it was before, because I knew exactly what would happen. I'd take one sip, stagger all over the cabin, bleeding because I cut myself somewhere, and then I would give the stove a big old bear hug.

But that wasn't the worst thing. The worst thing would be Rosalie would walk in right then, see me burning on the stove, and kill me. And then she would start shouting at me. And then she would kill me again. And start shouting at me again, and I wouldn't hear the end of that for weeks, or until she killed me for real ... whichever came first.

I looked at the bottle sitting in the box and then looked away. Yeah, probably best to let Rosalie decide when I needed her 'medicine.'

'Medicine.' Yeah. Right.

I wonder when she'd tell me that was really her voice. I wonder when she'd tell me anything. She was always thinking, but she was never telling me anything. And then, like this morning, the dam broke loose and all I could do was weather the storm of her angry words ... that didn't tell me anything other than I was stupid and that she was angry at me for being stupid.

Yeah, I shook my head regretfully, definitely didn't love me.

I picked up the bottle of shampoo and took it over to the tub with me. I removed the towel, and folded it neatly into a square, laying it beside the tub.

I still had soap on me from my dash to rescue my sweater. Ick. I stepped back into the tub.

Hm. There was just one pitcher of water left, but I still really needed to soap down more everywhere, but especially the private areas. I took the empty pitcher, dipped it into the tub and wet myself down with that gray soapy water and took the bar of soap and reapplied it everywhere thoroughly this time, really cleaning those stinky armpits and stinky ... well, I was clean now, okay? Besides, the other parts weren't so stinky because Rosalie always cleaned me after I ...

Why am I telling you any of this?

Anyway, I rinsed off the soap from my body with the pitcher of clean water. I stepped out of the tub, using the last bit of clean water in the pitcher to rinse off my feet. Ah! Clean!

But what to do for the shampoo? I looked at the empty pitchers. Ah, well, I could rinse my hair with the water in the tub. It wasn't too dirty, really. Just mostly soap. I filled both pitchers with water in the tub, knelt down on my towel, and poured a pitcher of water over my hair.

This did nothing. My hair was that oily and dirty. I refilled the pitcher and poured the soapy water over it. That did nothing, too.

This was going to be one of those really long hair-washing experiences, wasn't it? Arg! I refilled the pitcher, brought it up to my head, started pouring, and that's when I hear the door slam open.

"What in the WORLD are you DOING!" I heard Rosalie shrieking.

This is when I realized that I was mooning her. Again.

I scooted around the side of the tub quickly so my backside was facing the triptych. I don't think it would mind as much, and turned my head to look at her. She stood ramrod straight, wet sweater in a death grip in her right hand.

"I was rinsing my ha-..." I explained. Or at least I tried to.

"With DIRTY WATER?" Rosalie seemed beyond reason in her anger.

"It's not" too "dirty!" I shouted back. "There wasn't any more clean water," Miss Bossy-pants, "so I was saving water by using the water in the tub!" I tried to look as fierce as she looked, but that was kind of hard blinking not-too-dirty water out of my eyes and being naked as a jay-bird at that.

"You were WHAT?" She angrily tossed the sweater toward the table, and even though I expected it this time, it was still amazing to watch it unfurl perfectly over the back of the chair farthest from us.

But why did Rosalie have to be shouting all the time? I had had enough.

"Look, Miss High and Mighty, there's the Depression on; haven't you heard? You shouldn't waste water!"

"'You shouldn't ...'" Rosalie repeated my words in disbelief. She blinked once, then her features settled from confusion of what I said to angry determination. She marched right up to the tub and pointed down at the water, as if she were accusing it of something.

"Do you see this water? Do you see it?" I saw the soapy water just fine, thank you. "This is waste water." She picked up the towel at her feet and jerked me to mine, wrapping me in the towel, disgust written across every line in her face.

But then she stepped back. No, she staggered back.

"Oh, my God. OH, MY GOD!" She nearly screamed.

"What?" I shouted, shocked, surprised, scared.

"Tell me you didn't rinse yourself in that water. Tell me you didn't do that!" She stood as far back from me as the cabin allowed.

I glared at her.

What? What was I supposed to say? She told me not to tell her.

She stood there, vibrating in place, seeming barely in control of herself.

I couldn't stand it anymore. "I used soap, and I did use the pitcher of clean wa-..."

"Come here!" She shouted at me as she closed the distance between us. She grabbed my arm and pulled me to the door, opening it.

"What do you see outside?" She demanded angrily.

Okay, Bella, calm down. Deep breaths. She's angry, but that doesn't mean you have to be. She's shouting at you. She's always shouting at you. That doesn't mean you have to shout back. Don't descend to her level.

She's always shouting at me. That doesn't mean I have to cry, either.

I bit my lip, and held my tears in with all my might, and tried to respond as calmly as I could.

"Um, clouds?"

"And?" Well, at least she wasn't shouting anymore. Maybe it would be nice if she were nice, but beggars can't be choosers.


"AND?" So much for not shouting, although I guess that wasn't a shout, technically.

"Um, snow?"

"Ah-maz-ing!" She twisted the knife of that word with enough sarcasm to ... to I don't know what ... but it didn't kill me. For a vampire hell-bent on killing me, she was either doing a terrible job or she was taking her own too sweet time, God damn it.

"Now, girl, tell me how much water that snow could make. Enough potable, clean, water for you to drink for the rest of your life?"

She didn't even pause to let me answer.

"Enough potable water for you to drink for the rest of your life if you had never met a vampire and died a natural death seventy years from now, and bathe, and wash your hair with ... FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? CLEAN WATER, JUST OUTSIDE THIS DOOR?"

"And, oh my!" It looked like she wasn't finished with her speech nor with her sarcasm. "Did it snow last year? Might it snow again next year? So that means that every year there's more than enough water for you to bathe and wash your hair with clean water and have enough water left for you to drink for the rest of your life ... every year just right outside this door?"

She glared at me, and I dropped my eyes.

"But the Depression," I argued meekly.

"'The Depre...'" She gaped at me, open mouthed, then brought her palm to her forehead, slapping herself soundly. It sounded like two boulders careening off each other in an avalanche. I flinched back at the sound.

She noticed. She was about to do more shouting I was sure, but she snapped her mouth shut, swallowed hard, closed her eyes, becoming utterly still. She stood there for one second, then opened her black eyes and regarded me with an indecipherable look.

She picked me up, placing me by the triptych and went back to the door, hanging her head outside, breathing in big gulps of air.

"Listen to me," she commanded when she turned back to me. "The Depression is a convenient little economic fiction invented by fat little pin-headed economists in Washington, D.C., dressed in their pin-striped suits so they can continue to suck money away from real commerce to line their fat little pockets with their fat little paychecks. The Depression talks about the economy of the Nation, it doesn't talk about you, and it doesn't talk about me. Do you know what this means?"

She stared at me intensely, seeing if I was following what she said, but then turned thoughtful.

"It means," she said quietly, "that you don't have to economize, because of this abundance right here." Here she waved out the open door to the snow-covered ground. "That is the reality you face, not this set of economic indicators called the Depression that has nothing to do with you here."

And then she almost looked mournful. "And haven't I provided every material need you've requested? Haven't I provided the sheets for you to sleep on? The wood to keep you warm? Haven't I given you the food you need to eat? And even the tooth powder for afterward?"

I wanted to respond: 'No, you gave me more than what I asked for,' but I didn't get to say that because she was still going on her tirade.

"You don't have to have to live a rationed life, as if you were saving supplies for the soldiers in the War. You don't have to live your life small, as if some economist dictated that you could go only so far, and no farther ..."

She was looking like she was going to continue on how I could live this wonderful and grand life, but I interrupted her quietly.

"I don't have to live my life as if some vampire was going to kill me someday soon?"

Rosalie's face hardened. She crossed her arms, and they hardened into place, too.

"Every mortal dies, girl. That's why you have to seize today, because you're not guaranteed tomorrow. No mortal is. Think! and understand this."

She marched right up to me in that powerful, graceful and commanding way she walked.

But my voice stopped what she was planning to do.

"Just say it, Rosalie," I whispered.

Everything about her changed: she went from furious to cautious in a heartbeat.

"Say what?" she asked guardedly.

"Just say I'm stupid." She hissed in a breath, but I continued, looking at her feet, clad in those beautiful leather boots. "I know you're thinking it; you're always thinking it. Just say it and be done with it."

"You're WHAT?" she shouted.

"You don't have to pretend, Rosalie, it's okay." I tried reassuring her. "I can't even answer three little essay questions without you getting angry at me ... I can't even call you kind ... I can't even wash my ha-..."

But she interrupted my explanation. "Who even asks themselves those questions!" See, I couldn't even tell her I was stupid without making her angry. I couldn't even explain the first thing without her latching onto it and tearing it apart.

"Who even contemplates answering those questions, when asked ... even once in their entire life?" she dared me to answer her with her glare.

But then she changed course.

"Listen to me," she started. "L-... girl, look at me," she commanded.

I looked up at her, catching that slip in her words again, but concentrating on concentrating on her. Her black eyes bore into mine as she spoke each word quickly but carefully.

"Who of the three thousand people in your little town discerned our nature, hm? Who saw our differences, went to her library and found every piece of damning evidence over the past year to paint a complete picture? Who?" Her eyes penetrated me.

"Who in all of Rochester did that? Who in all of Atlanta, Georgia? I've passed thousands of humans. Thousands! And how many knew what I was, unless I revealed myself as I killed them? How many? Not one. Not one until you."

"Who sees everything as it is — except in herself, of course ... or maybe you do, but your humility simply refuses to acknowledge the good about your own self? — everything in its purest, most real form? Who looks and sees and is not afraid to look and to see what everyone else turns from in horror or in ennui?"

"Who?" she asked, looking pointedly at me.

"But I don't know anything! You're always saying that." I argued.

"Am I?" she asked in disbelief. "But not knowing a thing, not knowing many things, even, does not make you stupid. Listen to me and understand, you are intelligent, much more so even with your lack of knowledge. For in even this lack you still grasp the essentials, you do not confuse the form with the substance, as most others do."

I shook my head, not understanding a word she said. Not understanding or not believing. "Rosalie ..." I sighed out.

"No," she said, "no: you listen to me now. The worst judge of yourself seems to be you. Don't judge yourself harshly, and don't put your harsh judgments of yourself into my thoughts, because they do not contain them."

"What do your thoughts contain?" I dared to ask.

She picked up the two pitchers by the tub and stepped right up to me.

"This," she said. "You are so concerned about waste?" But then she flinched.

She flinched? Why?

Then she grimaced and took a step back from me. She started over.

"Well, your concern of waste has earned us this: what are these made of?" She held up the pitchers for my inspection, I suppose.

"Um, wood?" I was pretty awesome at guessing the obvious.

She grimaced again. She appeared to be in some internal struggle, which played itself across her face. The struggle seemed to resolve itself into something; I didn't know whether she won against herself or she lost, but she finally did speak.

"You have such a lovely voice," she said quietly.

I laughed. What was with her? One minute she's shouting at me, and the next minute she's onto some other topic which involves complimenting something about me that nobody in the world had ever noticed because it just wasn't there to be noticed. I had a lovely voice? I was smart? She must have confused me with somebody else. She must have confused me with her.

"Why do you laugh?" she asked, confused. Maybe I had offended her, but I just couldn't believe that she believed what she said.

"You voice is lovely; can't you take even one compliment? It's a sweet alto voice, not deep like a contralto, not airy like a soprano, but grounded, assured, steady and calm and at the same time rich and nuanced. Do you sing?"

I shook my head, amazed beyond belief. Did she just say all those things about my plain, plain voice? Was she asking me if I sung? She must be joking, but I managed to squeak out a no in response.

She sighed. "A pity," she said, but then continued down a different track, "A pity not to hear that beautiful voice singing; a pity to hear that voice not saying what it means with confidence, but constantly hesitating over the drone of indecision, hm?"

She looked a me significantly. "Do you take my meaning?"

I tried not to blush. I tried not to drop my eyes to the ground when I replied.

I really tried.

But it didn't work out so well, that trying.

"Sometimes," I whispered my answer, "I don't know what to say," and I wanted to add 'because I'm stupid, remember?' but I didn't want another lecture.

But I was getting it anyway. Her hand reached out and lifted my chin, gently. "Then say nothing until you do know, and not one moment before. A lady is admired for her silence, yes, and when she does speak, she is admired more for her wisdom and insight."

Her eyes penetrated mine, and I couldn't drop mine. I swallowed, feeling the power of her intense gaze.

She dropped her hand from my chin and turned away toward the tub, "Now ..." she started.

"But I'm not a l-..." I started to whisper to her back, but she turned around so quickly that it made me dizzy.

"What?" she exclaimed. "What!"

She rounded on me, and her eyes now penetrated mine, but they weren't sharing eyes: they were dangerous.

I looked down, but I did know what I was saying: "Rosalie, I'm not you."

"Thank goodness for that!" she roared, right in my face.

I wasn't getting through to her, so I tried another way: "Rosalie, I'm not a lady."

This, of course, set her off. I should have known that, shouldn't I have?

"Don't ever think that! Don't ever say that again!" She was incensed. "Do you know what a lady is? A lady is a woman — any woman! — who knows she is, who respects others and who demands that same respect! That's all! A lady can come from any walk of life, she could be a scullery maid in New York or a cowgirl in Montana. All she needs to do is drop what rôle others try to force on her and instead seize her own destiny. That is a lady! That could be you ... that is you, but you must choose that on your own. You must make that choice. You must."

I stood there, right in front of an angry vampire, with nothing but a towel wrapping me. I felt at a loss — entirely lost and insignificant, and I was being scolded for being that way.

Two tears stained my cheeks, but that didn't stop Rosalie's determination.

"You must," she whispered fervently, "and, by God, you will."

"Even if you have to force me to?" I asked quietly.

I looked up at her in the surprising stillness and silence that followed my question. She was smiling.

"Yes," she responded evenly. "You will choose your own destiny freely, even if I must force you to do so."

I didn't get it. I didn't get any of it. I was her prisoner, but I was supposed to choose my own destiny freely, even if she had to force me to. None of what she said made any sense whatsoever.

"Why?" I was asking that a lot these days. I had never asked that much at all before my life turned upside down and backwards.

Her smile widened. Was she toying with me?

"You will know the answer to that yourself, for, after all, a lady knows. A smart lady like you knows, doesn't she?" Hmmphf! She was toying with me. "But first we must start simply. It is good and proper to economize where there is a lack, but economy where there is plenty? That exposes one to ridicule and is not smart and is not ladylike behavior." Her tone was gently chiding.

"So," she was back to the businesslike tone, "we will do the bath properly, from the start. But before that ..." She held up the pitchers. "I had asked you what these were made of for a reason, but now I must abandon that Socratic line of inquiry and simply tell you: wood absorbs and then imparts scent. Putting the dirty water in these? Not prudent." I thought she would have said: 'not smart,' but I guess she was done rubbing it in for now. "Now, whatever comes out of them will have that scent. In your attempt to conserve, you actually ended up wasting, for now I must destroy these, because I cannot bear the ..." She broke off, then began again: "because they must be destroyed."

She walked over to the stove, opened the vent and then the front doors, and then sundered the pitchers that she held in the fire.

She looked at me from the stove as I watched the fire lick at the splinters of wood that used to be the pitchers I had just used. The pitchers I had just ruined, according to Rosalie.

"So it goes with all unnecessary scrimping." She closed doors of the stove and dampened it and then looked at me with an almost contemptuous look. A look that said I should have known better.

"But do you know the worst thing about scrimping? The worse thing about economizing? It isn't that the whole concept is simply wrong, for to get more, one needs to expend more, not less. It isn't that. The worst thing is this: the one economizing becomes less than. Oh! they say, I will economize to do my part. But that mantra soon becomes: Oh! I will economize because I am not worthy of my part. And they become less and less, sucking all around them into their pit of wretched economy. Oh! they say, I will wash myself in dirty water, because I don't deserve to be touched by clean water!"

At that last statement, she gave me a hard look, and I felt my worth sink lower than the floor.

"Don't be that person," she commanded. "Your clean heart deserves clean water ... and so much more," she whispered quietly.

Then her attention shifted from me, as I still reeled under the weight of her words.

"Now," she said, "to get rid of that wasted water."

She walked right past me, as if I wasn't there, to the tub. She picked up the tub full of soapy water like she was picking up a glass of water to drink from. She then angled it toward the door and then threw it in that direction.

I looked on in shock. She was there, but then suddenly she was gone. The door was suddenly open. The tub flew through the entrance, unimpeded, and was caught, midair, by Rosalie, standing outside.

I didn't even see her blur. I didn't see the door open, but there she was throwing the tub, and there she was, an instant later, catching it through an opened door that wasn't open before. I swallowed. I also didn't see one drop of water splash out of the tub. Not when she picked it up inside, not when she threw it, and not when she caught it again outside.

From outside, Rosalie's eyes narrowed as she looked at me. She put the tub down and marched through the doorway to stand right in front of me.

"Amazing — isn't it? — what a vampire can do. Makes you wish you could be one, doesn't it! Makes you wish you could be strong and powerful and fast and cold and dead and consumed by want, doesn't it!" Her quiet, angry speech grew and grew in volume until she was shouting in my face.

"Watching everything change and grow and live around you as you are trapped, frozen and unchanging, in this cursed eternity," she continued more thoughtfully, that is if spiteful could be considered thoughtful. "Watching everything whither and die around you, and all you can do is watch, helplessly. Why? Because everything you touch dies." She stared at me with jealous, hate-filled eyes.

"I..." I began, but I didn't get to complete that thought, and my attempt only set her off like an explosive.

"So tempting, being a vampire, isn't it!" She screamed at me, dropping all pretense of civility. "Isn't it!"

I stared at her, stunned into silence.

"Well, it isn't. Don't you ever forget that." She stated forcefully, looking at me angrily then turned, went to the stove and picked up the pot and headed for the door.

"Why are you being so mean to me?" I pleaded to her back.

Why was she so mean today? Making me feel stupid for not being smart. Being angry at me for not being a lady. Accusing me of wanting to be a vampire. I had thought of none of these things before. None of this was my fault, but I got all the blame for all of it.

Her back stiffened, and the pot she was holding slipped through her fingers, crashing on the floor, soaking her. She turned on me, and I noticed steam coming off her soaked half.

She didn't seem to notice that, however: in two strides she was right in front of me.

"'Why am I mean to you?' I cannot believe you just asked me that!" Her beautiful scent was mixed with the smell of the steam evaporating off her body, and I was brought back to the memory of my dream of the rain by the honeysuckle garden that was her. "Why am I mean to you? Didn't you hear what I just told you? Can't you get it through your pretty little head that I'm a vampire? This is what I am! I am entirely your opposite, don't you understand that, girl? The closer you draw to me is the closer you draw to your death, and one day, perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow, but one day, I will kill you. That's what I am, that's what I do."

I recollected myself from her intoxicating scent and from the force of her words.

Wait. Pretty little head?

She stepped back from me, and now I could think a little more clearly other than wanting just to breathe the air she perfumed.

"I am entirely your opposite." She said this quietly, her voice filled with something like regret, but then her features hardened and she spoke normally, her voice clear and determined. "There is nothing in me of kindness, of any good whatsoever, so don't look for it, and don't assign to me things you hope to find, because you won't find them. They are not there to find."

Then she looked at me and said the most hurtful thing: "Stay away from me."

"For your own good," she continued, "stay away from me, because there is nothing that I ..." and she stopped and shook her head ruefully.

Now her eyes dropped and she stood like this for a long minute, looking so lost.

"Rosalie, you're not lik-..." I started. I just couldn't stop being affected by her loneliness, but, fast as mercury, her mood shifted again and her head snapped up.

"Now, stay right there; don't move," she commanded, back to the cold and distant Rosalie, talking right through what I was saying as if she didn't hear me speaking at all. "Since you seem incapable of bathing yourself properly, you've forced me to do that for you. I'll be back shortly."

She turned and went back to the pot.

"This will not be a pleasant experience," she said as she shot a warning look over her shoulder. Then I thought I heard her mutter something ... something like "for either of us." She put her hand to the door.

"Didn't you ever think," I whispered; Rosalie stopped, back stiffening, but I pressed forward trying to break through the cold and hard Rosalie she was trying to be to the real, kind Rose that I knew to be hiding underneath that façade. I tried, even though I just knew more shouting was in store for me. "Didn't you ever think that maybe you could ease back into to talking again? That you could just not ... you know ..."

Rosalie put down the pot and shut the door and turned to me.

"I do know," she said seriously but not, um, shoutingly ... is that a word? "I have thought about that. I have thought about it for three long days of my Eternity in silence. Have you?"

She didn't wait for my answer, for she already knew how inadequate it would be.

"I thought about me being in Eternity: I have all the 'time' in the world, don't I? So I could just average out the bitter pills — the medicine you need to take — over time, couldn't I? But you are mortal, girl, and this might be your last day. This might be your last second, and I can't average that discontinuity into this moment. I am in the Eternal Now, and you only have now. Now is all we have."

She shook her head and continued: "Now is all we have, and if I don't say the things that need to be said now, then I won't be able to say them later, because later you will be dead and, God willing, in Heaven, and anything I say then will ..."

"Oh!" she exclaimed, suddenly becoming aware of something, shock making her face blank. "Oh! Are you saying my cursed nature is an offense to your purity? Are you saying that the more I talk, the more I corrupt you? That my words damage your hope to obtain Heaven?"

"Is that what you're telling me?" She looked at me in wonder.

I couldn't keep up with her, but I knew I had to speak quickly before she convinced herself never to speak to me again.

"Rosalie, I ..."

She held up her hand, silencing me. "You are right to think that," she stated flatly and turned on her heel. In one motion she picked up the pot and was out the door, not looking back once. The door slammed shut, echoing in the silence of her departure.

Somehow I felt that by slamming the door closed, she was trying to shut herself away from me completely, that she was trying to close off her heart that I knew she had, although I couldn't hear it beating.

I heard that door slam, and it was a painful sound to endure.

A/N: Ever wonder why your parents, or your grandparents, or ... your great-grandparents (Hey, what are you doing here reading this fan-fiction, being under 17 and all?) do those strange things they do?

You know what I'm talking about, right? How they wash the paper plates to use them for the next party? How they save the water from the bath to flush the toilet or water the plants? How they take a bar of soap with them on their swim at the town reservoir? How they eat the whole apple, even the core, and then plant the seeds? How they vote and participate in politics and argue about the issues of the day with passion, as if these issues really mattered? How they honor the veterans, even when it was unpopular? How they turn off the lights when they leave a room?

Why do they do these things in public, embarrassing you to hope that other people will think you're with another group and not them?

Why? Maybe ask them. Maybe ask them what it was like to fight in the Great War (you know: "World War I"). Maybe ask them what it was like to grow up during the Depression, having to share a bed, and being grateful for the heat the siblings gave, and having to watch the rich kids to eat a whole apple, not even giving them the core. Maybe ask them what it was like before TV, when tuning into the calming voice over the radio to hear the fireside chat was a ray of hope in the bleak day after queuing for work that wasn't available for anybody that day.

Maybe ask them what it was to grow up building toward this age of abundance that they maybe didn't have?