Hi everyone! Sorry for the late update, but last night, my computer kept making noises like it was about to explode (I wish I were kidding), so I figured it needed the night off. Today's chapter is the second to last story in this arc about the golden cross; next time, Nessie will try to imagine where the cross might go in the future, but this week, we see how Emmett first noticed the cross and how, as he got to know Rosalie a little better in the days after he was changed, he might have asked about it. Thanks for all your reviews, and just FYI: I'm going to go back next weekend and fix a few typos here and there (yeah, I don't think I'm going to have time today)—thanks to everyone who's noticed problems with dates and other details, because I don't always catch my mistakes, so I'm glad you guys do! :) See you next week!
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the author of "Twilight," and I'm really looking forward to the graphic novel version of "New Moon." (The movie version of "The Host" should be really fun too, and I guess she's working on a sequel, so maybe next year or the year after, we'll have a new Stephenie Meyer book! It's hard to wait though... :))
Standing in the sunshine in the forest behind the Cullens' house, Emmett continued to try and accept that he was really a vampire, even though he was standing over the carcass of a dead deer in broad daylight and not bursting into flames. It had been an unsettling few days to say the least, but Emmett was glad that at least now, standing here with blood all over his shirt and face, he wasn't alone. Esme was standing a few yards away, obviously trying very hard not to laugh at him.
"Okay," she said kindly. "That was...much better than last time."
Emmett laughed. "Um, I'm still covered in blood here. How is that better exactly?"
"Well, you didn't get quite as much blood on yourself this time," Esme said firmly. "And your shirt's still...well, parts of it are still intact. So, that's progress."
Emmett chuckled. "Thanks for the encouragement, but I'm still thirsty, even after six deer. Is that bad?"
Esme smiled and tossed him a towel, which he used to dry himself off. Then she handed him a clean shirt. "We're all that thirsty in the beginning, but it doesn't last forever. Come on, let's find you some more deer."
Carlisle was at work, Rosalie and Edward were at school, so it was just Esme watching Emmett hunt today. They lived far enough out in the woods that he hadn't had to smell any humans since he'd been changed, which everyone seemed relieved about. Apparently, the Cullens were trying to avoid having that happen for as long as possible—because of his size, Emmett knew he'd be next to impossible for them to control if he went as crazy as they said he would when he smelled a human.
"Other than the thirst, how do you feel about all this?" Esme asked gently, her voice calm and unlabored even as they ran through the woods far faster than any car could move.
"Well, I miss my brothers, and my sister—you'd like my sister—and my parents," Emmett admitted, "but other than that, I can't really complain. I mean, it's thanks to Rosalie and Carlisle that I'm alive at all now. It's just...a lot to get used to."
Esme's voice (he couldn't see her thanks to the line of trees between them) was sympathetic. "We'll do all we can to help your family, Emmett. I'm just happy that you seem to be getting used to ours. At least, I like to think that we aren't driving you crazy just yet."
Emmett laughed. "Hey, what's not to like? You and Carlisle seem like pretty great parents, and Edward's a good guy, even with the creepy mind-reading thing, and Rosalie..."
Emmett stopped, because he wasn't sure what he could safely say about Rosalie.
"You don't see her as a sister," Esme said gently. "She likes you, you know. To have carried you so far without killing you herself...well, I think she likes you very much."
Emmett grinned at the thought of that. "I like her too, and not just because she saved my life. Did she tell you the stupid thing I said when I first got here?"
"I don't think so," Esme said, sounding amused. "What did you say?"
Emmett rolled his eyes at his own words. "This is gonna sound really bad, but...I told her that as soon as she picked me up, I knew she must be an angel."
Esme laughed. "Emmett, I'm sure she was very flattered. That wasn't a stupid thing to think—I mean, I felt basically the same about Carlisle when I first opened my eyes as a vampire and he was there to explain everything to me. Of course," her voice suddenly took on a teasing note, "wouldn't an angel have wings?"
"It's not like I was thinking very clearly at the time," Emmett said sheepishly, "and anyway, it sort of felt like we were flying, we were moving so fast. And she was wearing that cross—when Carlisle first told me that we're vampires, that part confused me a little."
"I'm not exactly sure how that myth got started," Esme said, "except that it probably comforted people to think that there was something they could do to protect themselves from vampires. But in the end, the cross is just a symbol. It only has as much power as people give it, and that's spiritual power, not literal power to repel us."
"It's sort of comforting, I guess," Emmett said. "I mean, I'm glad that I'm not dead, but I'm also glad that I'm not actually some kind of evil demon either."
"I'm always a little surprised that Rosalie still wears that cross," Esme said thoughtfully. "I gave it to her, but Carlisle gave it to me first, so I used to think she didn't really like it. I suppose I was wrong."
"I'll ask her about that when she gets home," Emmett said. Ever since he'd met her, he'd been looking for things to talk about with Rosalie—obviously he couldn't just stand around and stare at her like an idiot, or endlessly tell her how beautiful she was. It could be hard to think of things to say to a gorgeous woman who'd also saved your life.
Esme laughed suddenly. "Or you can ask her now. Rosalie!"
Suddenly, there she was, running beside them.
"Are you playing hooky?" Emmett asked, delighted at the very idea. He used to do the same thing all the time—here was another topic of conversation he could try.
She smiled at him. "Well, I thought you might still need some help with learning to hunt. Your shirt's still clean though, and it smells like you've already eaten. I'm impressed."
Emmett shrugged. "Yeah, this is actually my third shirt of the day."
Rosalie laughed. "Only your third—then I really am impressed. I'd thought you'd have gone through more than that by now."
"Well," Emmett said, "the day is young, and Esme still has lots of extra shirts in her bag, I think."
"I do," Esme said, her voice amused. "Other necessary articles of clothing too."
"Let's go destroy more of your clothes then," Rosalie said, and then her eyes widened. Emmett guessed that if she could have blushed, she would have. "Um...that came out wrong."
"I'm still thirsty, so it's probably inevitable," Emmett said quickly. He wasn't sure, but he thought that he could hear Esme choking back a laugh. Then, just to change the subject, he nodded at the necklace she was wearing. "You know, I wanted to ask you about that cross. Esme said—"
"Yes, I suppose it's a bit odd, me wearing it at all," Rosalie said, apparently eager to pretend that she hadn't just said something that could be taken the wrong way. (Not that he would. Rosalie might like him, but as a friend, nothing else.) "But Esme gave it to me, so I suppose it's acquired sentimental value over the years."
Emmett smiled. "That makes sense. It's pretty, anyway."
"Thanks," Rosalie said, smiling. "Are you an authority on ladies' jewelry now?"
Emmett laughed. "I just know that everything you wear looks good on you."
Rosalie laughed too, then looked away, her expression uncertain. It wasn't always easy to talk to Rosalie—there were moments like this when he had no idea what to say next, and when she seemed equally at a loss. But he was happy just to be near her, and he hoped that as he got to know her better, he'd learn more about her. It was easy to compliment her physical beauty, but Emmett was just as interested in things about Rosalie that weren't so obvious. He wondered if she'd ever tell him more about why she wore what had once been Esme's necklace: that little piece of gold seemed to be just one of many secrets that Rosalie kept close to her. Emmett wondered how long he would have to know her before that happened—if he could, he wanted to discover everything there was to know about his angel.