a/n: This is the final piece in the series. I hope you've liked it.

If you're looking for more Esme storyline, Bethaboo is working on a pre-Twilight in-Canon story on Esme titled Eve, The Apple of My Eye. If you aren't already reading it, I recommend doing so.

I present to you part four of Snapshots

A Moment in Time

Rose and I pretend we are human, and can sleep.

Her head is on my lap where I stroke her golden hair gently, smoothing errant strands from her forehead. I'm relaxed against the headboard of the bed I share with Carlisle, my legs stretched out in front of me and my head tilted back to rest against the dark cherry wood. We are in soft, comforting night clothes and the radio hums in the living room below us, softly filling the air with the sound of the A&P Gypsies.

Carlisle and Edward have taken Emmett hunting tonight. The newest member of our family had been ecstatic about going hunting with 'God' and his 'older younger brother,' much to Edward's irritated amusement. Emmett has accepted our life far more easily than the rest of us did when we were first changed. He has been so easy for me to take in as an errant, eager son. I was twenty, and human, when he was born; he could be.

Edward tells me Emmett plots to get me to climb a tree soon. He'd greeted the tale of my initial meeting of Carlisle with a booming laugh and a confession of admiration for the girl I'd been, the girl who'd been climbing trees at sixteen, an age when I should have been at home helping my mother. It comes as little surprise to me that he wants to get me in a tree again.

With the men gone, the house is quiet. Peaceful.

With the men gone, Rose and I try to ignore our nature and pretend we are human.

We are two damaged women, both in different stages of healing, in a house full of men who we love and who love to aggravate us.

Wonder fills me because the simple act of caressing Rosalie's hair is so soothing, because I appreciate her presence here so very much, because I cherish the trust she shows me by placing her head in my lap and just letting go.

I close my eyes and let the darkness I see behind my lids absorb all my attention until I am almost able to leave the turbulent thoughts of my brain behind. This is as close to sleep as I am capable of, now.

Humans do not, can not, appreciate what a profound gift sleep is. The respite of a solid night's sleep is a waking dream for me at times.

In a house with one newborn vampire, another who is still coming to terms with her immortal fate, and yet another who has angrily resigned himself to his own immortality, these moments of calm are precious.

So I smile into the darkness of closed eyes and a shared need to pretend, and enjoy the quiet.

Some time later I feel her shift. Her shoulders tense in the way that they do when she talks about her change, our immortality, our odd-numbered family.

"He should've let me die," she whispers. "He had no right."

It is an old thought, one she used to voice in anger and rage and directly in the face of Carlisle, who so often wore expressions of guilt, sadness, and regret when she raged at him. I have a certain amount of sympathy; it is not a life I would have chosen. Given the option, I know all of us would have chosen the normal path of life and death.

I continue to run my hands over her soft hair, offering what comfort I am able. A few years have passed since Carlisle and Edward found her, battered and bloody and barely alive in the street, and she is still processing her fate. I know that her violent loss of innocence is as much a source of her rage as her unhappy transition into immortality.

It is not the first time Rosalie has said these words. It is, however, the first time she's said them since Emmett joined us.

I keep my voice as low and soothing as I can make it; I want to make it clear what I am about to say is not an accusation. Coming from Edward, it would have been. Even voiced by Carlisle, she might have taken it as such. But we understand each other in a different way, so I hope that she will hear not only my words, but my intention behind them.

"You could not let Emmett die," I say quietly.

Rosalie's entire body stiffens. "It's not the-"

There is a long pause.

She brings her hands up to cover her face and her body convulses into a tear less sob. "It is the same. I didn't change him, but I caused him to be changed. I'm just as selfish as Carlisle." She brings her knees up to her chest and rocks back and forth on her side as she cries the dry cries of our kind.

I fold myself over her and allow my embrace to comfort her as it can.

"Selfish, perhaps," I murmur. "Perhaps even wrong, to bring others into this life. But Rosalie, my daughter, this life brought Carlisle and I together, allowed you to find Emmett, and joined us as a family. It is not all bad." I rock with her, hoping the gentle movement will soothe as I doubt my words will.

She takes a deep breath and blows it out slowly.

"I miss crying," she whispers, almost soundlessly. "I would feel so much better if I could just cry, truly cry. I never understood how much good it could do until I couldn't anymore."

"Sleep," I say in a sympathetic voice. I know just what she means. "Sleep is what I miss the most about being human. You can escape so much in sleep."

Her voice is small, vulnerable. "Can we go back to pretending, Esme?"

"Of course dear."

I've learned that it is in these little moments that we forge our bonds as family members and loved ones. They are precious slices of time.

So Rose and I try to ignore our nature and pretend we are human.

Thank you for your thoughts!