The Twilight Twenty-Five
Pen name: in..bathrobe
Pairing: Rosalie and Emmett
I don't own their names. Pity.
Thank you to ElleCC for beta'ing this, even though it's non-Jasper-centric.
I managed to get the Jeep into the parking garage at SeaTac before it started to pour, but all the spaces on the lower levels were for compact cars only. I spiraled up the corkscrew ramps between the levels, but finally gave up. We pulled into the fourth level across two little empty spots, straddling the yellow line between them, and Rosalie and I put the top up, making quick work of the zippered windows. It had been stupid to leave Forks with it down, and we'd come close to freezing on the highway. I was hoping this Indian summer would hold out for one more day, but November was a fickle bitch, and Rose would have to drive home in the rain.
We continued up to the roof, and found a spot close to the door. I didn't have to be inside the airport for a few minutes; I turned off the engine and listened to the drops hitting the canvas top, beating a solid rhythm that changed tempo with the wind. The blonde next to me said nothing, maintaining the norm, but she fidgeted, which made me curious. She fiddled with the keys, and tucked her hair behind her ear, and squirmed in her seat, until I finally caught her chin in my hand and turned her face gently, to make her look at me.
Her eyes, usually crystal blue, were grey with the weather, and as silent as her lips. I looked for a clue into her head, but her thoughts weren't on the surface. I don't know why I thought they might be; she was as much a mystery this morning as the day our parents moved in together, a year ago.
"Rose," I started, trying not to beg her to tell me what was on her mind, "I have to do this. We can't just wait for them anymore."
Sane choices. Attainable dreams. That's what we had to focus on.
She looked away from my eyes, and I sighed, and let go at her smallest resistance. We hadn't talked about our losing at the Blues Festival competition, or at least I hadn't, because I knew she wouldn't speak at all, and I didn't feel like having a one-sided conversation. The others hadn't seemed to care - they were just excited to have been on stage and been seen - but they were juniors and still had another year before they had to decide about college and what the hell they were going to do after graduation.
The band had done well, but we hadn't won the summer tour, and we didn't even have a good demo CD to give to the label scouts. So after the loss two weeks ago, the back-up plan moved to the forefront, and now I was flying to Massachusetts to look at schools.
"You'd get accepted at Berklee College of Music in a heartbeat," I said. "Or New England Conservatory, if you like it better. I'll check them out, take a quick tour while I'm there."
My test scores would get me into any math program at any school I wanted; MIT had sent me letters earlier this fall, and I'd set up an interview at Harvard and a few smaller schools in the Boston area, while I was there. I'd study wave theory or statistics or some shit like that. Rosalie could study music anywhere, or even start a solo career. She could have her first pick of any band in need of a guitar player, though I shied away from the thought, feeling a little guilty for hacking on Edward for being all emo about Bella singing with someone else.
I shook my head a little, trying to clear it so my thoughts would lay in one clean direction.
Rosalie watched me, and when I took a breath to speak, she put a finger over my lips. She smiled a little, and tilted her head, and then leaned in and kissed me. I closed my eyes in relief, and enjoyed heaven for a few seconds, which this morning tasted faintly of coffee with cream and sugar. I pulled away a fraction when things started to get heated, trying to keep it light, but then she bit me, trapping me with her hard teeth clamped onto my bottom lip, and a bolt of lust shot straight through my entire body.
I gasped, and she let go, and I pulled away, staring at her. She knew better than to push my self control. What was she trying to do to me?
She stared back, eyes wide, breath all shaky, and I couldn't tell if she wanted me or was afraid.
Two weeks ago, in the hotel room in Olympia, I'd been so keyed up that I was pretty rough with her, and she'd fought me when I'd lost it at the end and pounded into her. She'd practically screamed, grabbing at my arms and sinking her nails in, and now I was afraid to hurt her again. We'd had sex only once since then, an awkward lukewarm meeting of skin that left me frustrated and worried that she was losing interest in the big dumb brute living over the garage.
The alarm on my phone rang, jarring through the tension in the Jeep, five minutes until I had to check in and get my boarding pass. I grabbed my duffel from the back and we ran through the rain to the elevators and then jumped on the shuttle bus to the airport.
The queue at the ticket counter was small, and I had no luggage to check. I held back from the line at the security for a moment, and turned to the tall girl next to me. I tried to think of something clever to say, or even something idiotic and funny, but all I could do was stare at her.
"I made you something," I finally said, and handed her my old iPod Shuffle. I'd filled it with songs we liked, and several we'd recorded together, and a few I'd made of just my drumming. The last one, a take on Hossam Ramzey's "Halloween," was new; I'd recorded it last night after she had gone to sleep.
She looked at me with a question on her brows, but was silent.
"Just in case you miss me," I said, shrugging.
She looked offended, and punched my arm, finally breaking through the tightness of the past few days, and I grinned at her, relieved to have back the usual thorny Rose.
I pulled her to me, and kissed the birthmark above her lip, and then her mouth, and whispered, "Just sayin'."
She stroked my face with her fingertip, where the ridiculous dimple pocked my cheek, and then pulled something from her satchel. She handed it to me, almost hesitantly, and I frowned. When was Rosalie ever tentative?
"What is it?" I asked, opening the brown paper lunch bag. I caught a glimpse of an apple and some cookies before she twitched it out of my grasp and tucked it into the pocket at the end of my bag.
Just lunch. I'd complained that my two flights were just short enough that the airline didn't have to provide a meal, not that the dinky boxed snacks they served could be called food anyway, and my change at O'Hare was too short to stop and eat. It was a practical gift, and Rose all over: no nonsense, no fluff. What was I expecting?
"Don't wait. Go home," I said.
"It's not home without you," she said, her voice low and husky, and my heart beat hard, the way it always did when she finally spoke. I kissed her again, and got into the line at the security gates, and looked back only when I got to the x-ray machines. She was gone.
I laughed good-naturedly with the tiny Latina guard who marveled at the size of my shoes, but the short man running the metal detector was less friendly when I set off the walk-through machine. I didn't have Jasper's ability to say the right thing to put anyone at ease, but I knew "little man syndrome" when I saw it, and called him "sir," and acted appropriately dismayed at the mention of a strip search until his aggression faded. His hand-held wand blipped over my left thigh, and then screamed in protest at the surgical steel and titanium that held my lower leg bones together after my fall this past spring.
They let me have my wallet, and I fished out the card that Dad had given me that explained the metal content in my calf. He hadn't done the surgery himself, but no one seemed to notice that my doctor and I had the same last name. They waved me through, and I deliberately hiked my pant legs up to show off the scars when I was putting my shoes back on, and I wished I'd had the foresight to do that when I was taking them off.
I fell into line behind a group of cute little Asian girls, all dressed in Seattle U. sweatshirts, chattering about their Thanksgiving plans. I was careful to take small strides so I wouldn't step on anyone, feeling like a Clydesdale caught in a stampede of delicate ponies.
The wheels on their cases clicked over the breaks in the floor with a steady cadence, a marching paradiddle beat leading soldiers on a crusade, and then shifted to an even faster rhythm as the tiles got smaller, reminding me of the opening of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and I smiled to myself at the irony as the song bounced through my brain.
"Sister-Lover" I called Rose sometimes, but never near Esme. My stepmother seemed to approve of me, and us, but watched her daughter with a hawk's vigilance, waiting for sudden moves.
I was very careful to give her her privacy, even after we started having sex. We rarely slept together, and if we shared a bed, it was usually mine. I never went into her room without knocking.
It was so strange to know someone so well, and then not at all. I knew what brand of toothpaste she used, and how her pinky curled out on a B minor chord, that she seemed to like it from behind a lot; she didn't eat things with raisins, and she snored a little if she'd been drinking.
I didn't know what she wanted for Christmas or what she thought of my music, if she liked my hair short or long, or who her first boyfriend had been, or if she even wanted to come away to school with me next fall.
I wished she was coming with me today, but the schools she was interested in didn't have student auditions until January. She was still undecided about her plans, or at least she hadn't voiced any of them to me.
I hoped they were practical goals.
I reached the gate and the throng waiting to board, and found an empty seat at the row of vinyl coated metal chairs, stretching my legs into the aisle so I wouldn't crowd the woman next to me. The people around me looked at me in distaste and fear, hoping they wouldn't have to be the one to sit next to the big guy. I put them out of their misery, and got on when business class was called. It was a necessary expense when I flew; I simply did not fit in the main cabin seating. My head was too high for the backs and my knees could not wedge into the space between the seat and the one in front of it.
I shoved my duffel into the overhead bin, closed the flimsy lid, hit my head on it as I sat down, and strapped in for take-off.
The ascent was easy, hardly any dips, and I watched Seattle drop away into a smear of silver just before we broke through the grey cover into sun.
I stared at the clouds, strange random masses with no pattern or substance - when I was little I thought this was what Heaven must be like, and I would look for angels playing harps through the tiny oval windows. Now I knew that angels played acoustic guitar; I heard one for three days straight: the only thing that had kept me from going mental from the pain as they put me back together and marveled how the fall hadn't killed me.
The flight attendant came by with the cart and caught my instinctive glance at her cleavage. She smiled a little and gave me more snack pouches, murmuring something about me looking hungry, bending deeper. I got that sometimes: cougar women flirting. Alice would make sarcastic remarks about them looking for an extra-large experience. This one was barely five-foot-two and I'd probably break her just by looking at her, not that I was interested; she wasn't blond with electric blue eyes, and she talked too much.
Although, I did appreciate the extra peanuts.
Something to drink was out of the question, even though the salt made my throat burn with thirst; the risk of having a full bladder was not worth the quenching. I don't fit in airplane lavatories.
The snack made me hungrier, though, and my stomach growled audibly over the low roar of the engines. The older lady across the aisle looked at me wide-eyed, and I shrugged, grinning in apology. She offered me her untouched packet of nuts, but I shook my head. I stood and fumbled in the overhead compartment, digging in my bag for the lunch that Rosalie had packed, feeling like a bear pawing a tree for honey.
The plane lurched with a bit of turbulence before I sat down, and I stumbled on my bad knee a little. I apologized profusely to the person whose seat I grabbed, keeping my expression vague. Folks are less intimidated by a large man if they think he's stupid.
I closed the overhead bin and sat down, knocking my head again, and tried not to sulk. I was frustrated by a universe that was too small, doorways that I couldn't squeeze through and ceilings that were too low. The only time I felt like I fit properly was when I was with Rosalie, and her silence kept me as shut out as the rest of the world.
I rummaged through the lunch she had packed, an apple and a banana, a bag of cookies and two cheese sandwiches, but there was something else in the bottom of the bag. I pulled it out, and my hunger fled as I stared at it, my heart pounding.
The small book was dwarfed by my hands. The classic red leather was worn smooth at the corners, and the ribbon tying it closed was frayed at one end. A silhouette of a rose was embossed on the diary cover.
She'd let me in.