Story Title: Dinner Dates
Author: Nolebucgrl and rameau
Pairing: Emmett and Rosalie
Vamp or Human: Human
ram: Nole, do you own Twilight?
ram: That's what I thought, neither do I. Too bad Stephanie Meyer proved to be a psychic...
 [√] 
We were walking down the street and Esme was raving on about this dinner party she and Carlisle were throwing. Now, I don't usually have anything against a decent get together, but this time was different.
"Do I really look like someone who needs help finding a date?"
"No", the honey haired woman acquiesced, "But Rose, you forget that I know you. I know what you try to hide."
Instead of gaping her in disbelief I scowled and gave her my best I can't believe you just said that pout. Esme just shrugged and kept moving, because as much as I hated to admit it, she was right. She knew me.I hadn't wanted to let her in, but the sweet woman was as tenacious as a pit bull when she set her mind to something, and she'd set her mind to befriending me.
We had been working together for two years when I missed work for the first time in my life. She was the one who made her business to stop by and make sure I was all right. I wasn't. She took one look at me through the gap of the door, pushed her way in and demanded that I tell her everything. And she held me when I cried and I told about man on the street that had followed me home and raped me. Then she told me about her ex-husband and the abuse she had suffered. One of her friends had pushed her to report him and it gave her back some semblance of power. She accompanied me down to the police station to file a report and we've been friends ever since.
But not even the strongest bond could entice me into agreeing to go on a blind date.
"Michael is a friend of Carlisle's and you know my husband is a good judge of character", Esme prattled on and on, "Michael just got divorced but he's been practically single for almost two years and he's a really good father to his son. I've met the boy and-"
"A single dad? You've got to be kidding me", I sneered. "You know I can't stand kids."
Esme just glanced at me knowingly. She had seen me rush from one relationship to another each time thinking; this was it, he's the one, I can finally have the family I've always dreamed of.
"Fine, what do you want me to say?"
"Just admit that you want a family and children", Esme said when reached the coffee shop.
"Yes, I want a family, someday, just not a ready-made one. I can't see myself being a step-mommy to a spoiled brat whom I'm not allowed to discipline. If I have kids, I want to be the one to give birth to them", I conceded reluctantly trying to ignore my skipping heartbeat. I liked the idea of becoming a mother a lot more than I cared to admit. I conjured up the image I'd had in my mind too many times to count; a little girl with my blond hair and bright blue eyes in a pretty pink ruffled dress and patent leather shoes.
"I told you, the ex isn't in the picture. He's taking care of his son all alone", Esme reminded me as we ordered our drinks. Just what I needed, a man who would put me in second place all the time, the kid always comes first. Rosalie Hale comes second to no one.
"I- I just don't think I want to start anything with a man who isn't ready to commit. His first priority will always be his son, how do I know he has time for both of us?"
"But what's the harm in meeting this man? You can't plan out your whole relationship before you've even spent a second with him, don't presume to know what he's like before you've even met him. You of all people know what it's like to be judged by appearances."Esme continued to argue her case. "His son won't be there, it'll be just us adults and you two can get to know each other, as friends. He's charming and funny and you know he likes children. That puts him ahead of all the candidates you've waded through these past three years."
She had a point but I gave her a nasty look at her last comment. "Just because the men I've dated in the past have all been shallow minded bastards, doesn't mean I don't want more."
"Then give him a chance."
"No." I wasn't about to lose this argument. "Look, I've got to get to the gym and work out. I'll see you tomorrow at work, okay?"
"Sure. Just promise me you think about it."
I shook my head as we parted ways and headed towards the gym. I may have been blessed with good looks in birth but I worked damn hard to hold on to them. My life was more than pampering visits to beauty salons or exhausting shopping trips to keep my wardrobe up to date. Not that I didn't enjoy those too.
I jogged three miles several times a week and went to the gym on alternating days in between. I had learned the hard way to keep up my upper body strength and I wasn't about to neglect it. Never again would I be a victim.
As per usual I started with jump rope to warm my muscles and get my heart pumping. It's quite effective in that it jump starts my body and has the side benefit of bringing me an appreciative audience. Even with the best support available, a certain part of my anatomy was in the center of the attention. I doubt anyone noticed my smug grin.
Or maybe someone did.
Over by the weights, there was someone I'd never seen before. He was tall, dark and burly and he could have appeared on the cover of any fitness magazine. I thought I caught an amused twinkle in his eyes before he turned away and started his regime. Interesting. He was deliberately ignoring me, I was sure of it.
Men didn't ignore me; I simply had to meet him.
Quickly formulating my plan I abandoned the rope and made my way to him. Pretending to catch my breath, I waited until he was about to move on to the next muscle group.
"Could you help me?" I asked, "It's been a while since I last worked with dumbbells and I need someone to tell me if my reps are correct or not." It didn't escape my notice that I was practically begging him to ogle me as I worked on my arms and shoulders.
"Sure, I can do that", he flashed me the cutest, boyish smile and I found myself returning it. Dimples. I felt my knees give out a little. "I'm Emmett by the way."
Even though I racked my brain I couldn't come up with anything naturally flirtatious to say, so I had to rely on my body to speak for me. While he was watching me and correcting my posture I let my eyes roam over him.
He was my idea of perfection from head to toe. His brown hair was fairly short, but not so short that you couldn't see he had natural curls, giving him a pretty wave and some nice definition. His eyes were the color of a placid lake, a bluish gray. The dimples, right below the apple of his cheeks, almost drew me with a physical force; I wanted to put my fingers in those little dents. His jaw was chiseled, just begging a girl to run her tongue along it. Emmett's body…he was like one of those models on the cover of a romance novel, the man who would sweep the woman into his arms and carry her up the staircase. Just swoon worthy. Thank God no one could hear my thoughts because this man was turning me into a lovesick fool without even uttering a word.
I had to find out if the man inside was remotely as attractive as his outer appearance. As I lifted the weights I pondered how to go about seeing him again. I didn't want to express my interest before he did; men chased me, I didn't have to pursue them. I shot him my best come-hither look in the mirror as he reached around me to correct my form. He caught sight of the clock in front of us and grimaced.
"Rosalie, I'm sorry but I've got to get going, I have somewhere I need to be in half an hour, time just got away from me." Oh no, he was leaving and he'd yet to ask me out.
"Oh, okay, well thanks for your help, Emmett. You're a very good teacher." And I'm hot for teacher!
He blushed and shot me this adorable half smile. "Listen, I don't want you to think that I do this often, you know, hit on women at the gym, because I don't. But I was wondering if maybe we could get together sometime?" He was absolutely adorable, speaking rather quickly and looking so nervous.
"I'd really like that, Emmett. How about you give me your phone and I'll program in my number?" He looked so relieved that I had to suppress a giggle. What was the matter with me? I never giggled. He handed me his cell and I entered my number in. "I look forward to hearing from you soon."
"You will." He flashed that beautiful half grin at me and waved as he jogged toward the exit.
The next day I couldn't wait to tell Esme about the hunk I had met at the gym. And I was anxiously waiting for his call. I was sure that by the time I got home that night I would have heard from him. I was wrong. I spent the evening in anticipation of the phone ringing, constantly checking to see if the battery had died. I had been so sure he would call me as soon as possible. Maybe he was trying to play it cool and would call me the next day. I needed to start playing it cool myself, since when did I spend an evening waiting for the phone to ring? Maybe he'd call me tomorrow.
Unbidden, my mind filled with images of all the things we could do together. Dinner at fancy restaurants; long drives up the coast in my convertible BMW, the wind whipping through our hair; romantic picnics at La Push beach, holding hands and kissing in the moonlight. Tongues tangling as he lay on top of me on the blanket, lowering that muscled body on mine and molding to me. Running my fingers up his bulging biceps and getting them lost in his curls. I had to have this man. Calm down, Rose, he'll call you anytime now.
I was wrong again. After the third silent night I was ready to give up. I had been looking forward having a date this weekend but I guess it wasn't meant to be. Maybe I could call some of my single friends and arrange a girl's night out. I wasn't going to spend another minute home alone waiting for a call that might never come.
Then came Friday. I was occupied with a stack of forms HR wanted me to fill out, when my cell rang. Without checking the caller ID I answered.
"Rosalie? Please don't hang up."
"Who is this?"
"Emmett McCarty, the guy from the gym. We met on Monday. The jerk who was supposed to call you three days ago. Please don't hang up on me and let me explain." An involuntary smirk twitched my lips. I was mad, I reminded myself.
"Give me one good reason why I should listen to your excuses." I demanded.
"Because I'm not offering any excuses. I'm begging you to give me a chance to explain. Meeting you is the one good thing that happened to me this week and I'll be crushed if you don't go out with me. On a real date. In a nice restaurant."
"I don't know."
"Please say yes, please say you'll go out with me."
"I don't think I can wait another week", I did my best to muffle my chuckle. He sounded so earnest and I couldn't hold out against his pleading tone.
"Then let's go out tonight."
"That's a bit short notice. I've already made plans for tonight", I hoped he couldn't tell I was lying.
"Then cancel them. I'll make it worth your while."
"It's too late to make any reservations, no, I don't think-"
"I know people. I can get us in, just say you'll meet me at seven and that you'll listen while I explain at length and no details will be spared as to why I've behaved like an ingrate."
"Only if you agree to help me work my extensors." I couldn't make it too easy for him.
"It's a deal. Where should I pick you up?"
"How about I just meet you there? I have some things I need to take care of after work, so it'll be easier. Just text me the reservation information, okay?"
"Will do. I'm really looking forward to tonight." I said goodbye and hung up, biting back a yell of triumph. I had a date with a gorgeous man tonight; there was much to do.
When I told Esme about my date, she practically squealed and scared half of the staff on our floor. We tried to keep it down but I know our hushed tones carried further than they should have because I saw my boss look at me with a quirky smirk on his face. It didn't matter though, because when I realized I needed a new devastatingly sexy dress he agreed to let me leave early.
I made my way to downtown and was just about to cross the street when I spied a familiar frame moving on the other side of the street. Emmett looked so handsome in the warm sunlight and I could see he was smiling. Apparently I wasn't the only one eagerly waiting for our date. Just as I was about to call out his name I noticed a dark haired woman waving at him and responding to his smile. And then I felt my heart shatter.
I had been so busy admiring his beautiful face that I had failed to look down and see that he was walking with a small boy in tow. The boy obviously saw the woman and took off running. She crouched down and picked him up into a tight embrace after his small and delicate frame slammed into hers. She ran her hand through the boy's hair and I noticed a sharp glimmer moving with her hand. Even from the distance I could tell it was a huge diamond on her left ring finger that refracted the light my way.
I tortured myself further by watching my date walk to the woman and the boy and enveloping them into a bear-like embrace. I swear I saw her kiss him and heard him laugh in response.
Emmett had lied to me. He had a wife and a family and he had asked, no, begged me to go out with him tonight. Technically he hadn't said anything that wasn't true but he should have told me about his family. Or was that his plan? To seduce me and then tell me he wanted me to be his mistress?
Rosalie Hale was nobody's fool and I was about to show him that.
Few hours later I dressed with deliberate care for the evening. I was going to drive Emmett wild, make him think he was going to get lucky and then crush him under my stylish heel. I poured myself into a low cut black silk Prada dress and 4 inch Manolo Blahnik heels. I curled my blond locks, pulling my hair back but leaving little tendrils framing my face. I knew from experience that those curls made me look approachable. I wanted him to think I was.
I arrived at Le Petite Bistro, the best French restaurant in town. I was fifteen minutes late on the dot, nothing wrong with making the man sweat a little, then giving him some relief, then making him sweat again. I was a master at this little tactic. I gave Emmett's name to the maitre'd and was escorted to the back of the restaurant; a private booth in the corner. He would arrange to be in the back of the restaurant, wouldn't he? Couldn't have anybody seeing him out with the mistress while his cuckolded wife and kid were at home clueless.
Emmett's eyes widened in appreciation as he took in my appearance. I sauntered slowly to the table, letting him enjoy the view.
"Wow, Rosalie, you look incredible." He popped out of the booth and smoothly guided me into my seat. I felt a jolt of electricity at his touch but ruthlessly cut that feeling down before it could take me over. I didn't care if my body wanted him.
"Thank you, Emmett, so do you." He did, too, damnit. He wore a gray suit jacket with a white button down shirt underneath. Matching charcoal pants completed the look. Bastard. He didn't have to look so damn edible when I wasn't going to get to enjoy him.
The waiter wanted our drink order and I told Emmett just to get me whatever he was having. I didn't plan on drinking it anyway. "So, Rosalie, please tell me about yourself, I feel like I've spent hours thinking about you but I don't really know you at all." Oh, wasn't he quite the smooth one? Was he thinking about me as he tucked his son into bed? As he made love to his wife? Prick. I couldn't let him have it yet; I had a plan that had to be implemented.
I decided to test him; maybe I would take pity on him if he came clean quickly. "Well, I come from a broken home." He made a sympathetic face and gestured for me to go on. "My father cheated on my mother repeatedly, he didn't even attempt to hide it. It took her far too long but she finally booted him out." I lied without a qualm. Jasper and Alice Hale had been happily married for 35 years.
That bastard had the nerve to reach across the table and take my hand in his. "I'm sorry, that must have been very hard for you." So, he wasn't going to take the easy out I'd just given him. Fine. He would pay then.
I gave him a heartbroken smile, letting my lower lip quiver. Meryl Streep had nothing on me. "It was. It made it very hard for me to trust men, naturally. I've had far too many bad relationships."
He grimaced at that. "I can definitely relate there." Oh, was his relationship with his wife a bad one? It sure looked friendly to me. I bit back a sarcastic remark and gave him an understanding smile in return.
The waiter appeared and asked to take our order. The menu was in French but the prices were in English and rather than bother to find out what anything was, I just picked out the most expensive item on the menu. I couldn't hurt him physically but I'd put a dent in him financially anyway.
After the waiter left, we resumed our conversation. Emmett told me a little bit about his childhood, his brother Edward, growing up on the east coast. I pretended to be hanging on every word as I waited for the right moment to let him have it.
Our meals were placed in front of us. I cast a baleful eye at my plate; it appeared that I had ordered some kind of slimy looking seafood dish. No way was I going to eat that. Fortunately Emmett took that moment to bring up why he hadn't called me until today.
"Listen, there's a reason I didn't call you before today…"
I cut him off, happy to finally have arrived at this moment. "I already know that reason."
He blinked in surprise. "You do?"
"I do. And you have real balls calling me at all."
"You, Emmett McCarty, are an asshole."
"Now wait a minute, I know I should have told you but it's not the kind of thing I like to bring up in a first conversation."
I blew my top at that one. "Um, actually, it is EXACTLY the type of thing you should bring up in the first conversation! When a man has a wife and a kid, he should make that known before he asks a woman out! He shouldn't be asking women out at all!" I was screaming and every eye in the restaurant was on us but I didn't care. I took a certain grim satisfaction in the audience.
Emmett looked horrified. Good, he should be. "Look, I don't know where you got that idea…"
"You're still lying? Jesus, you are some kind of jerk, you know that?"
"I'm not! You don't understand!"
"I understand perfectly well. I saw you with her! I saw you and your son meeting your wife downtown today. Are you going to deny that you have a son?"
"No, I'm not going to deny that but…"
"Enough, Emmett! You kissed her right there on the street for the world to see. I may have been fool enough to think you were a nice guy but I'm not fool enough to listen to you for another minute!" With that, I tossed the wine he'd ordered me in his face and turned on my heel and strode out of the restaurant. I could hear him calling after me but I wasn't stopping. I got in my car and tore home, finally allowing the tears of hurt and humiliation to fall.
I stumbled in the front door not caring what happened to my Manolo Blahnik's or to my Prada dress. Wanting to kick myself I went to bury myself under the covers with a bottle of dry white wine and tried to convince myself that there was nothing to be upset about.
Emmett was a no-good cheating bastard and he didn't deserve my pity or time. The pep talk worked for a while and then I remembered how his hands had felt on my skin. I remembered how patiently he had guided me through the motions at the gym and how he had smiled that adorable smile of his when I finally got the moves right without any assistance from him. Even more painful was to remember how he had looked at the woman holding his son. He probably was a wonderful father and would have given me a beautiful family, if there weren't the fact that he had a tendency of cheating on his wife. I took another swig.
In the morning the ringing of the phone sent my neurons firing randomly and painfully in my brain. I was hung over. I reached for the phone and brought it to my ear before whispering carefully:
"This better be important."
"Good morning sunshine", Esme greeted me with her clear voice. "How was the date? I didn't interrupt anything did I?"
"Esme, will you keep it down. I have a headache."
"Stayed up last night did you? Tell me everything."
"No actually. I had too much to drink and passed out."
"But why? I don't understand. Didn't you have a date with that hunk you met at the gym? What happened?"
"Yes, I had a date and we went out. He took me to Le Petite Bistro and he acted all gentlemanly until I told him to take a hike and never to speak to me, look at me or even to think of me again."
"Is that all you said?" She asked.
"I might have used a little more colorful language and a volume reaching the kitchen staff when I said it."
"But why? I thought you liked him."
"I do, did. That was until I found out he had a wife and a kid."
"How exactly did you find that out?"
"I saw them, on the street, when I went picking up my new gorgeous Prada dress for my date with Emmett."
"My words exactly."
"I hope you told him that."
"That's pretty much all I said but not all I did", I admitted with a grim smirk bending my face until it hurt.
"Rosalie, what did you do?"
"Nothing too bad. I ordered the most expensive item from the menu and I threw a glass of wine in his face."
"Good. Are you going to be all right?"
"I will be, in a little while."
"Then you can come and spend the evening with us." I hated to shootdown her plans when she sounded this hopeful.
"I don't think so. I'm not ready to meet another young father looking for an easy lay."
"I told you Michael isn't like that."
"If you say so", I filled my voice with all the distrust I could muster.
"Just friends. Please Rose, I think it'll be good for you to spend an evening with good people. It's just what you need to restore your faith in humanity. I promise, I'm not setting you up but think how you would feel to be the only single in the room filled with couples. Say you'll come."
"I'll think about it."
Esme knew me well enough to know she had won. I was in no shape to fight her further and the idea of seeing Carlisle worship his wife was just what I needed. I would be going, although not for the reasons Esme thought. I needed to remind myself just how lucky my friend was and how unlucky I was doomed to be. No man would ever look at me like Carlisle looked at Esme, with depthless love and adoration. I might be more beautiful on the outside, but Esme was the most beautiful person I knew in the inside and you could tell that's what Carlisle saw every time he looked at his wife.
By the time I got to the Cullen residence, I had recovered enough to appreciate the distraction. This dinner party was just what I needed to put yet another disappointment behind me and help me to look into the future. Who knows, I might even end up having fun. Michael might not be dating material but that shouldn't stop me from flirting with him to make myself feel better. I needed to feel irresistible.
Esme answered to door and welcomed me as I stepped in. She took my wrap as we heard laugher from the living room. I gave Esme a quizzical look to which she just shrugged:
"Michael was telling us a hysterical tale of one of his more disastrous dates. Apparently the woman was quite a harpy. Go on and join everyone. I'll be right there; I just need to check on the dinner first."
"Sure. Don't be long", I said to her and walked in the direction of the muffled voices. I wasn't scared to go in alone, but I had a feeling I needed Esme to smooth things over with Carlisle's friends.
"And then she takes the wine and throws it in my face!" I heard a distinctly masculine voice recount. I wondered where had I heard that sound before? By the time inspiration hit me it was too late to back down. I was standing in the same room with Emmett 'the adulterer' McCarty and everyone was looking at me. The couple watching our silent sparring exchanged a meaningful glance. I froze my eyes locked with Emmett's as I waited for the inevitable humiliation when he would name me as the harpy of his story.
Instead it was Carlisle who spoke: "Do you two know each other?"
Emmett shook his head like he was laughing at me. "No, we don't, not yet."
"In that case, welcome Rosalie, Esme was expecting you to arrive earlier."
"I know, Carlisle. I'm sorry I'm late, but the traffic was, horrid." I smiled at the host and looked around in the room. My mouth dried and my face froze as I recognized the woman sitting on the love seat with a vaguely familiar young man. She was Emmett's wife, the woman I had almost cuckolded. I prayed for the ground to open up and swallow me. That or a lightning striking me dead would have been preferable to this moment.
Carlisle followed my gaze and spoke again. "Rosalie, this is Bella Swan, Edward's fiancée. And Edward McCarty is Michael's brother. Bella, Edward, this is Rosalie Hale Esme's friend and co-worker."
I nodded to them stiffly trying to hide my confusion. Bella was engaged to Edward? But I thought she was married to Emmett? Michael? Whoever the man claimed himself to be?
"Who exactly is Michael and where is he?" My eyes flew to Emmett and my brow furrowed. The colors differed as did their build, but their facial features were strikingly similar. And hadn't Emmett mentioned something about having a little brother on our unfortunate date? If Edward and Emmett were brothers, that would explain the resemblance.
Carlisle walked to stand by Emmett as he said: "And this is Michael McCarty the second. I doubt the hospital could run without him." I heard the pride in Carlisle's voice as he made the introduction. I found myself having difficulties acclimating. "Michael, this is Rosalie Hale, the fierce woman I told you about earlier."
"Please Carlisle, Michael is my father. All my friends call me Emmett. It's an absolute pleasure to meet you Miss Rosalie." He took my hand and brought it to his lips, which were curved in a cordial smile. I was mesmerized.
"Likewise", I muttered barely audibly. I had to get out of here. "I think I'll go and see what's keeping Esme."
"You don't have to do that", Carlisle objected immediately. "Stay and socialize and I'll fetch my lovely wife."
"No, I insist. Truthfully, I forgot to tell her something and I'd rather not share it with the rest of the class. If you'll excuse me." I didn't give them the chance to object as I turned on my heels and walked out of the room.
"Did anyone else see the sparks flying?" I heard someone, who I assumed was Edward, asking before I was out of earshot.
I was heading towards the front door, mentally scolding myself when I felt a huge, warm hand grab my elbow and turn me around. Suddenly I was closer to Emmett's well-defined figure than I would have liked. But I did like it and that was the problem. I hoped he would read my blush as a sign of anger rather than what it really was: a sign of desire.
"I need to talk to you", he whispered as he pushed me through the door into a room, which I assumed was Carlisle's study. He shut the door behind him and leaned against it. His eyes traveled upwards from my toes finally landing on my eyes. I couldn't decipher his expression. "You left before I could explain. After you left me in the restaurant I did go after you but you were already gone by the time I reached the street."
"You don't need to explain." I shifted uncomfortably on my feet. Part of me wanted to hear what he had to say and another part wanted to run away and never look back.
"I disagree", his voice was gentle and his demeanor softened as he took a step closer to me, "After what you said-"
"Please, don't remind me", I begged looking into the corner of the room and was rewarded with a relieved laugher. I had to have heard wrong. What did he have to be relieved about?
"After what you said and saw", Emmett repeated as his finger touched my chin and turned my face to him, "I can understand how it must have appeared to you. I don't blame you for thinking that I was lying to you about my family, but I do wish you had let me explain earlier. See, everything Esme told you is true. I'm divorced and I have a five-year-old son I'm raising on my own. Bella and Edward just help with him. That's what you saw. Bella was babysitting so I could spend that memorable night with you."
Oh. It all started to make sense now. He couldn't possibly leave his child alone at home while being on a date with me and the ring on Bella's finger had been Edward's, not Emmett's. Then it hit me he had called the night memorable for a reason. "Oh." My humiliation deepened but I couldn't stop myself from asking about his ex-wife.
"Irina, Alec's mother cheated on me repeatedly and chose not to be part of our child's life but she wanted to make me bleed. She would have taken every penny I had and more, if Carlisle hadn't recommended his lawyer to me. So, you understand now that I can truly relate to your parent's situation, don't you?"
I blinked. Then the lie came back to me. "Uh, about that. My parent's aren't divorced, they've never been happier in their 35 years of marriage."
The grin he wore told me this wasn't news to him.
"Testing me, were you? I kind of got that feeling after you stormed out of the restaurant. I began to wonder if anything you told me was true."
Guilt washed over me and I tried to fight it back. Damnit, I may have jumped to conclusions but anybody would have done so under the circumstances!
"Alright, yes, I did lie but it was only because I was sure everything you'd told me was a lie. You have to admit the evidence was pretty damning."
He smiled at me gently. "It was, but why didn't you just ask me about it? Or call me and cancel the date? Why go through with it?"
And here was where I had to show him my true colors. So much for making a good impression. Oh well, I'd never have to see him again. "Because that's who I am. I am Rosalie Hale and I don't let people walk all over me. I wanted to make you pay."
"Pay for what?"
"Pay for lying to me. Well I thought you were at the time. Pay for making me think about you constantly since we met. Pay for making me wait to hear from you. Pay for…" I broke off, I was revealing too much and it wasn't like me.
His hand reached out and touched my cheek. I was amazed to feel wetness; I had started crying and hadn't even noticed. "Pay for?"
I sighed and gave it all to him. "Pay for all the rotten men I've dated in my lifetime, the liars, users, abusers, jerks and assholes that failed to live up to my fantasies."
As if I wasn't feeling bad enough already, that's when he proved himself to be something different, something I'd never before met; an extraordinary man.
"I can take a hit and pay when I've done the crime. I've never claimed to be perfect but misogyny doesn't sit well with me. I don't understand how anyone can justify to themselves mistreating a lady like you." I gaped at him. Emmett was saying things I had unwittingly been waiting to hear. And I had ruined my chances with him before we ever really tried to start something together.
"When I saw you at the gym, with the rope and all the people there looking at you, I had to physically restrain myself from running to you and carrying you to the locker rooms. Not only were you gorgeous and in shape, you knew it and you knew how it affects people around you. But that didn't hide the cynical look in your eyes." He brushed one of the tendrils framing my face aside. "You looked so lonely and forlorn, like no one could possibly understand you."
I had to avert my eyes from his. I felt absolutely naked in front of him and it wasn't because of a skimpy dress. This was something much worse. It had taken months of digging and patient waiting for Esme to grasp the depths of my insecurities and at times, hopelessness. Now here stood a man who had seen all that in just one look. Could he truly understand me so perfectly? Did he truly see through all the masks I wore and the barriers I had built around me? Was he the one? The extent of my mistake was making me feel dizzy.
"Then you walked to me and asked me to help you with the weights. It was a ploy; I could see that much. What surprised me was the change in you. The look on your face was different when you met my gaze through the mirror. You didn't look lonely, you looked-" He paused to choose his words carefully. He couldn't stop there! I had to know what he had thought. I was afraid to hear the words but I knew I had to hear them. Even if we'd never be together, I had to know exactly what I'd lost.
"Vulnerable. You looked open and receptive and vulnerable. It was like you were offering yourself to me and hoping I'd be man enough to take on the challenge."
I bit my lip. Had I really thought that? Had I really hoped he would be man enough to handle me? I must have, because here I was still hoping for the impossible. Only this time I knew he was all those things I had dreamed he would be and I was about to watch him take his final revenge and walk out on me. This time my misery was my own doing.
He reached for my chin again searching for my eyes and he gave out a little laugh. "I wish I had met you years ago, but I'm glad I didn't. I wouldn't have Alec had I met you earlier and I can't imagine you without all the experiences that have shaped you into the woman standing before me right now." Please, kill me now. He was killing me with kindness and it would destroy me when he would finally decide to leave.
"Just promise me one thing." Emmett finally asked.
"What?" I looked hesitantly up to his wonderful gray eyes.
"Promise me that this was the last time you make me pay for someone else's mistakes."
Dumbstruck doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. Was he really giving me another chance, after I'd acted like a raving psycho last night?
"Emmett, are you saying what I think you're saying?"
His mouth lifted in a half-grin that nearly made my knees buckle. "What I'm saying, Rose, is that I would very much like to try again. Another date, another location, another chance to get it right; if you'd like to of course.
Would I like to? He was the one that should be running for the hills. I narrowed my eyes at him. "What's wrong with you?"
He let out a booming laugh that made me jump. "Why do you ask that?"
"Well, I mean, I don't understand why you'd want to give me another chance after the way I acted."
He touched my cheek again. "Rose, while you may have overreacted you went with what you knew. And even though it was at my expense, I have to admit that I admired your style even when you were telling me off in a crowded restaurant."
I giggled, I couldn't help myself. "See, there's something definitely wrong with you if you're still attracted to me after that!"
He shrugged sheepishly. "I like strong, beautiful women who stand up for themselves. I want to get to know you, Rosalie. Will you go out with me again?" Those beautiful eyes of his pleaded with me as his fingers curved under my chin. I stepped closer to him, wanting to answer him with more than words. Just as I leaned forward to press my lips to his the door to the study opened. Esme poked her head in and a smile ghosted over her face.
"I'm sorry, I just wanted to tell you two that dinner was served. I'll just give you a moment."
Emmett pulled back and dragged his hand from my jaw down to my arm, entwining our fingers. I felt the jolt everywhere he touched. "We'll join you now, we have plenty of time to talk, don't we Rose?"
Unable to find the words, I just nodded and squeezed his hand. As we passed Esme she gave me a not so subtle thumbs up. I smiled and whispered "I'm his harpy; he's my married bastard from last night."
Esme's eyes widened with shock and then her laugh tinkled out. "See, I knew you'd like each other!" She led the way to the dining room with a triumphant smile upon her face. Carlisle took in our joined hands and smiled at his wife's obvious matchmaking skills.
"So what have you two been up to?"
Emmett grinned at him. "We were making plans to go out next weekend, provided Bella can sit for me on Friday or Saturday night?"
"Oh sure, I'd be happy to, Edward and I have plans on Friday but Saturday would be perfect." I found myself liking Bella, her affection for Emmett and his son was obvious.
"Emmett, that's a great idea but maybe instead of burdening Bella we could take Alec and all of us go for a picnic in the park." Esme actually gasped at that one. She knew what kind of concession I was making, wanting to meet Emmett's son and possibly become a part of his life. This was a huge step for me and one I wouldn't make for just anyone.
"Rose, that's a wonderful idea and one I'll definitely take you up on in the near future, but I'd really like some alone time with you. So, will Saturday work?" His hopeful smile melted my heart.
"Yes, I look forward to it."
"Great, I know this fancy French place…" I stuck my elbow in his gut and he started laughing. "Bella, I think you should plan on keeping Alec for the night. I have a feeling it's going to be a late evening." His fingers trailed over mine under the table and I felt it down to my toes. A very late night indeed.