A/N: I know, I know. I shouldn't be writing. But I am. This story is a look at Rosalie's view of her family in those first few years between her change and her engagement to Emmett.
Engaged. Again. It's an absolute miracle. After I woke up, before I even saw my glowing scarlet eyes, I had already decided I would never contemplate any sort of relationship ever again. I didn't know if I was alive or dead, whether the pain had driven me mad and I was somehow hallucinating; I didn't care, it didn't matter. Whether I was in heaven or hell, or by some hideous twist of fate still living, I would never look at another man the same way. They could look at me all they wanted; I would never look back.
Though I've changed over these past few years, I still haven't let go of that mentality. I've become less shallow; even if I don't show it often, I do think deeply. Such a violent change in my life fairly forced me to start thinking. I'm still vain; I freely admit it. I still value myself higher than anyone else, with the obvious exception of my fiancé, but I have changed, because I look closer now at the world. At people. My family in particular. Such different people, thrown together by chance, fate, and always by death. We were all traumatised in one way or another.
So I stuck to it. Behaving flirtatiously, provocatively, was my way of asserting the fact that they couldn't have me. I was a newborn vampire—I could kill any of them as soon as I could look at them. So I treasured my beauty, holding it as my only trump card, my power over the world. There was nothing to rival me, and I would let nobody, no ignorant, insensitive, immoral, cruel, deceitful, arrogant, aggressive man even attempt to become my equal.
Esme, I loved immediately. She reminded me so much of my own mother, but closer. More caring towards me, rather than the opportunities I presented. She sympathised, but more than that she empathised. She knew what it was like to be betrayed by a man you thought you loved. She knew what it was like to lose not only all my unborn and never-to-be-born children, but to lose a child who she had already known, and loved. She sat and talked to me for hours on end, paving my way to as accepting a resignation as I could manage. She treated me as a daughter from the very first day, and I filled the role easily, though I was older now than I ever could have been at home with my biological mother.
Carlisle, I came to trust. He accepted calmly and compassionately that I needed to storm and rage to deal with what was described in hushed tones as "my ordeal". He had tried to save me. And I could see even in the way that he moved around her that he loved Esme with everything he possessed. Still, I was wary of him at first. I was proud and passionate; I didn't deign to respond to his kindly words. It wasn't until Esme sat me down and spoke to me as an equal, as a female vampire, that I finally broke down and allowed him to become the father that he would remain for the rest of eternity.
Then there was the other man in my new so-called life.
Edward understood. I hated him for that.
I hated him for a lot more, too. I hated that he was unattached, and yet he didn't respond to my full curves, to my flowing hair, to my full lips, to my thick eyelashes. I hated that I couldn't hold any power over him because he wasn't vulnerable to me. I didn't want him to love me, I wanted him to want me so I could turn him down.
I was most probably being vile to him. I knew it, and didn't consider changing. He understood that, as well. And he didn't hate me for it.
That was why I hated him, I think. He knew everything I ever thought, everything I ever contemplated thinking. He was an intimate witness to the ordeal. All the thousands of times I played it in my mind, committing it to memory as a warning to myself, he saw it again and again and again. He saw every kiss, every touch between Royce and myself, every loving gesture that I tainted now with my bitter memories, every aspect of my violent hatred. He knew everything, and he didn't hate me for it. He understood.
He wrote me a piece of music. He never told me, he never acknowledged any of the thoughts that told him we all knew. It was the most frightening thing I had ever heard. The lilting, light opening, then the dark crashing chords and leading to the haughty, controlled coda. He wrote it down once, without a title, but I had been educated in music enough to recognise it and tear it into a thousand pieces when he was out hunting and couldn't hear me. He returned to find the pieces strewn across his piano bench, saturated in my scent. I knew he could have played it perfectly from memory, but he never did. He understood.
How dare he understand? He was not my equal. No man was my equal, even those ones who were impervious to my charms. How dare he know my darkest thoughts and fantasies and never once hate me for them? Neither did he pity me. He knew that I did not want or need pity;I was not pitiful. How dare he know that?
It was only two years between my 'ordeal' and the day I found Emmett, but it was enough time for me to start to understand him.
Edward was a strange creature. His brief foray into a human life and now this darkened existence made him that way, I suppose. He lost so much when he was changed, without even the reassurance that those he had been close to were alive still. At least I knew that my friends and family were alive to grieve me; I understood that he missed his parents dreadfully, even though he would never admit it. He gave it away when I asked why he had a jewellery box and just said in that quiet, completely unemotional trademark voice of his, "It was my mother's."
He did that whenever his human past was mentioned. He would shut his emotions down completely, rather than let the memory hurt him. He did it, too, when anyone thought of his 'rebellious years'. No one mentioned them, of course, except when Esme recounted me the story, and she made sure to do that when he was out of the house. When Edward shut down, we all knew that he was feeling too much, and living in the past. He was the complete opposite to me; whereas I take my feelings out with passion, he quietly ignores them and pretends they don't exist.
Edward was a strange thing, and still is; not a boy, but not a man either. He was only seventeen when he was changed, still a child. He still lived with his parents, never had to take on any true responsibility, never had to consider the rights and wrongs and morals of the world around him though it was true that he must have thought about them a great deal more than I had, when suddenly he was thrust into a world that was really far more adult than he could ever have dreamt of. A world of compulsory blood and murder. A world where he could hear the thoughts of everyone, whether they liked him or loathed him, whether what they were thinking was benign or malevolent, whether or not they would provoke memories he tried so hard to bury.
I pondered on that once, and immediately decided that it would be the most horrible thing in the world, to hear everything. He walked past at that point, caught my eye and just nodded.
He was a child, really, and yet he didn't let Carlisle and Esme become his parents. He treasured the memory of his mother and father too much, was my guess, but even then I doubted he would have let it happen anyway. Part of it was knowing what they were thinking—he couldn't place himself below them when he knew more about them than they themselves did—but there was more to it. He was too old to need parents, and too young to live without them. I couldn't give name to their relationship; maybe he could have been a nephew? There was also the fact that he considered himself far below them because of those rebellious years. He had been like a brother to Carlisle before, or so I was told, but when he returned he could not bring himself to reprise that role. He could have been a son to Carlisle, and in ways he personified the perfect son: always looking up to Carlisle, always trying to emulate his compassion, his self-control, but he didn't seem to consider himself a son to Carlisle, no matter if he considered Carlisle to be a father.
The strangest thing was the way he placed himself on the outside of our nuclear family, and yet Carlisle and Esme tried to draw him in. They firmly placed him at the centre of the family, and he firmly placed himself at the very edges. To him, I only served to push him further away, hating him as I did. To them, I could have been the key to bringing him closer.
In a way, they were right. I filled a gap in his life, not that I liked it. I gave him a definite status in the family, because I became his younger sister. Of course, I was older than him in one way at least, but his gift gave him misplaced maturity and set him above me. Therefore I let him feel secure in that odd place of his, almost below Carlisle and Esme, almost on a par with them. I think I was his way into really feeling part of a family. Not the solution, but a hint. I don't know if he'll get there. I don't know if my marriage to Emmett will change that.
So far, if anything, Emmett has brought Edward even closer into the family. He's on familiar territory for the first year or so, dealing with a newborn. And they do seem to get on. Edward never had a brother; I think the experience is doing him good.
Emmett has been a blessing to all of us. Esme delights in mothering him, Carlisle finds his joy and enthusiasm infectious, and I've found my soulmate.
To think that I ever could have pretended to love Royce King! Even before I found out that he was more a monster than I ever could be, I was never in love with him. I know that now. I knew it then, really, when I looked at Vera and her husband and saw how they were together; I knew that was love, not this marriage for convenience and status that I so nearly went through with. I don't think I believed I would find it, though. I knew in my head that Royce was the perfect beau, so I never stopped to think or feel with my heart, foolish girl that I was back then. So innocent, so naive and so close to losing any chance of what I share with Emmett.
Emmett is nothing less than a miracle. The only one of us who has entered into this life and loved it. The only one of us who didn't spend the first few days completely distraught. The only one of us who doesn't feel he has given anything up. He is everything I could ever have asked for, had I known what to ask for. He is a child for Carlisle and Esme, he is a brother for Edward, he is a protector, a lover for me.
I pushed him away at first. I was horrified at what I'd done. I had changed him on a whim, on a selfish impulsive decision that would have been typical of my human self before I understood the consequences. And then... he was a man. Not attached, like Carlisle, not invulnerable to me, like Edward. No, Emmett was so vulnerable to me and I behaved as I had always done. I flirted with him coldly, then caught myself in horror as I realised I was doing this to my own chosen victim and completely ignored him. The cycle was interminable.
How silly that it was Edward who brought us together. He talked to Emmett only a week or so after his change, told him my history, explained why I acted the way I did. He told him not to pity me, but pity is not in Emmett's nature. When he heard of the ordeal, he reacted with sympathy, true, with horror, and with rage. Rage against the men who had dared to touch me against my will, who hadn't appreciated me for what I was.
When I first saw that rage, it was when I would walk into a room and it would fill his eyes, scarlet and glowing, iridescent with ire. I thought he was furious with me to begin with. I thought he had decided I was not worth pursuing and so had begun to blame me. It was Edward again who told me the truth. I began to love him then. No, I began to love him the minute I saw his face. But I began to love the man behind the face then.
Edward sent us hunting together that same night, assuring Carlisle and Esme that he would go with us to help me control Emmett if needs be. He promptly deserted us as soon as we were out of eyeshot; he was fast enough to get away with it. To this day I don't know if he stayed close enough to avert any potential catastrophes or if he did truly leave us alone. He was right, of course; Emmett and I needed the time together, alone. Even if we hadn't been on the very brink of falling in love, we needed to make clear where we stood.
On that first hunt, we were both a little afraid, I think. Unusual for the both of us. But somehow the conversation, which had previously been stilted and awkward, turned to how Emmett had felt upon my finding him, and he told me he thought I was an angel. He told me how I looked to him: beautiful, but broken. Those were the words he used.
"You're so beautiful, but... oh, I don't know. You just seem...kind of hurt. Scared of hurting more. Broken."
He understands. I love him for that.
A/N: This may stay a oneshot, may not. Tell me what you think. And do tell me if you disagree with any aspects of Rosalie's character. This is just my impulsive, instinctive interpretation, typed without any sort of plan at all. I just started and then stopped, and this is what came out.
Update: A couple of minor changes there. And further to reviews I've decided that this chapter will become a sort of summary, and this will turn into a multi-chaptered fic documenting Rosalie's first two or three years as a vampire. Who knows when I'll start, but start I will, I promise!