This was supposed to be for the Friendship is Key contest. I failed on the turn in date. I turned to the A Rose by Any Other Name contest, and couldn't find the criteria. So, I said Phukit, Thailand, and decided that rainy days are too far away, and there really is no time like the present. For now, this is going to be a one-shot, but eventually it'll turn into something more substantial.
Rosie and Emmett need some words. I'm only trying to do them justice. Hold my hand? I'm nervous.
Stephenie owns what we all don't.
I walk into the school lunchroom, one foot in front of the other. My canvas shoes make a small pitter-pat on the linoleum. My head is held high. My lips form no words. Eyes glue to my form like bees to their honey. Black pupil and colored iris take in my every step. This place is too small for the tall. Everyday it's always the same. In a town this condensed, novelty is appreciated, but true originality is too hard to find. And, when they do find it, they're scared of the unknown. I know because I've been there and back again.
That route is a constant from where I hail.
I continue my elongated strides until I reach my table. They're staring, still. In some places, I would be considered normal. I'm dressed in all black with the white straw of my hair plaited down my back. No make up plagues my face unlike the mediocre woman-children who believe in their own superiority religiously and decorate themselves with rose and lilac shadows. Here, in this place, I'm considered an outcast. I would say that it bothers me that they stare, that I find it concerning, that self-consciousness overwhelms me. I won't, even if it does sting some days. Those days are few and far between, only coming with the turning tides of a blue moon, twice a year at most.
In my head I hear the chords thrumming, a soft beat. The rhythm isn't quite staccato, but fast. It reminds me of a summer in Boston not long ago, fast, but not fast enough, too soft, and not hard enough. People underestimate the power of a firm touch, the difference between abuse and ecstasy. They can never get enough of trying to comprehend something they never will. To them, they're living in black upon white, and I thrive in shades of grey. They can try to see my hues from stormy to light, but that's not how it operates, not even close.
Things aren't completely black and white, nor are things all grey. It's up to me to distinguish what exactly will be going to play.
Little Bella is lingering at the table in the corner, the lost little sophomore who needs a mother hen more than the air she breathes. She's talking to Alice and Jasper, so I know she's safe at the moment. I shouldn't be helping her if I can't help myself, but someone like Bella needs someone like me. We, in turn, need each other. I'm not only ashamed to say it to her brave soul, but also to others. The depth and complexity of our friendship isn't something most would respect like it should be respected. I cannot bring myself to say that I am dependent upon her as she is on me, but it holds true regardless. Bella makes her way towards our table by the window, and sits down across from me. She may not dress just like me, or act just like me, but we have similar pieces fitting into our unique puzzles.
"Hi, Rose," she says with a small but timid smile. On those first days I thought she was still afraid of me because her voice is nearly muted, but now I am able to recognize that's who she is. Demure – that's how one would describe petite Bella, demure. Her smiles are rare creatures, so the timid things I can extract from her are worth it on sully days like these.
"Petite," I answer with a nod. I took a liking to calling her petite at the end of last year when she was the scrawny freshman begging to be trampled by the sadists unaware of how sick they are. I like to think that she was drowning, and I saved her. But, I'm not sure credit should fall upon me because she might as well have saved a larger than miniscule part of myself in the process. This tiny girl gave me a reason to keep my stunted roots planted one year longer. I'll be taking off sometime or other, but for now, little Bella needs me until her spirit has grown out of petite and flourished into something grander.
While she eats her sandwich, takes her time pulling apart a perfectly nice muffin, and swallows the pills that haunt her thoughts and change her for better and for worse, her body tells me that petite has had a day. Little Bella is upset about something, and I'm going to take that secret from her. This morning she was having a pleasant time; I don't want anyone to take that from her, not if I can help it. Petite deserves to be happy more than the scum milling around the school will ever be able to see.
"Petite," I say. Her head perks up and salty tears swim in a pocket of brown behind black rims, pledging to silently flow down her apple cheeks at a moment's notice. "What did I tell you?"
"Use my words," she mumbles. Her muffin suffers the wrath of her child-like hands. One day we compared, and hers were half the size of mine. I felt like a giant, and she felt inadequate. That was the day we talked about how the aspects of you are made at the tailor shop specifically for one person, and that person should love what they have. We've been making up her lessons slowly, but the one she can't grasp is that she is beautiful the way she was born. No one can take that from her, even if they try.
"Use your words, Bella," I insist. Petite wants to write plays and romance novels that have happier endings than her own. Sometimes we put our words together. The mix is intriguing. Her words are truly petite, and mine are more symbolic than they'll realize. My words tend to be giantess, yet silent. It's a mash of light and dark. Petite and I have such different styles, yet they're alike in so many more ways than one.
She sniffles a little and pauses her hands, but I need to push. Part of loving and protecting this child is making her spit out what needs to be spat. She may not appreciate it now, but come later, she will. She's never known a mama's love, and I have excess. I'm giving her some of mine every instance I chose to make her swing the bat and come clean. She may strike out. She may get a foul ball, but everything's progress. That's all I can ask of her.
"Petite, stop hiding and swing."
Her lips move, but it doesn't quite stick in my ears. I don't want to lose my temper, but she knows how I feel about quiet. It has a time and place, and it's not now when speaking her mind is imperative. "Again, Bella. Louder, please."
"Emmett McCarty," she whispers, a tad forlorn, a tad enraged.
I clench my fists. Someone like him shouldn't be gunning for someone like her. The bear hunting the fawn isn't right. But, I can't judge the case without all the evidence, so I press again. She got her first base; second's not that far away. "What happened, petite?" I answer with a strained voice. She is my friend, but she is also my family underneath it all.
Her voice cracks, and my blood boils. In my life, I have had little to love. For what it's worth, it has made me loyal to the select things I have to cherish. Petite is one of those things. She's one of the only friends I have. It bothers me that she isn't able to stand on her own two feet, but I look at her circumstances and remind myself that's why I'm teaching her. She's been teetering on the cliff's edge for long enough, and if I have to pull her back onto hard land, I will. "Well," she begins, "he was going on about Phoenix – him and Felix. I-I didn't want to let it get to me. I did what you said, Rosie. I ignored it the best I could, but he saw my scars, and –"
I stop her because I've heard enough.
We all have the ghosts attached from our pasts. I have mine. She has hers. Emmett McCarty and Felix Zappizo have theirs. What I have, and they don't, are the tales behind the ghosts. Petite's specters and suitcases of emotion are only privy to a select few, but those who have opened her pure white floodgates belonging to the sweetest person with the worst memories know it's not something to be taken lightly. When Bella told me about the chapter of her arid desert life, I cried for her, and it was the first time I had shed tears in the past five years. She evoked the natural saline when others couldn't, but it came at a price. Her story isn't something to mock or mention in passing. Petite is strong because she has to be, but you better think again if doesn't eat away little bits of her soul every time it's brought up and relived through words.
Bella may have a noteworthy poker face, but I invented it to begin with. I can always tell when she's fibbing for the sake of others. Her bottom lip will have imprints of teeth. Her speech will increase to mortifying rates. I admire that she makes the attempt to be courageous in the face of adversity. Right now, the façade has slid, melted into a puddle by the rain of a hurting choice like the wicked witch in Dorothy's story. I stand up and gather her things. Her lunch is unpacked, so I take her things and place them in the lunchbox, and stuff it back into her backpack. With my own murderous emotions under tight wraps in a card face all the same, I say, "C'mon, let's sit with Alice today."
Alice is a doll, literally and figuratively. She's thinner than petite with a smaller frame. Alice is perfect for the role. Like porcelain dolls, she doesn't judge who plays with her. She's happy either way. None of the trivial stuff is able to leak in and faze her. I can say that she is someone that I admire. Alice also has the talent for saying the right thing at the right time, and her happiness is infectious. She spreads disease of the best kind. At the very least, the doll will help petite banish all previous thought from her mind.
Petite wipes her eyes from under her frames. One or two rogue tears escapes to freedom, but the rest remain jailed. Bella stands and takes her bag when I offer it to her, and we walk over to Alice's table in silence. Again, every pair of eyes watches us as if our skin is encoded with the cure for cancer, or as if we were anyone but the same girls who come here every day, just like them.
Alice sees us approaching, and clears her papers from the far side of the table. Her best friend Jasper is across from her talking about whatever new plan he and Alice have cooked up in their insane bakery of novel ideas and plans. I envy Alice and Jasper. His cool demeanor always sets whomever at ease, and Alice's joy is able to motivate the apathetic better than any antidepressant. They fit each other like locks to keys. The steadfast peanut butter always tastes better with the sweet tang of temperamental jelly oozing from the sides in one cohesive mess.
"Hi, Ali, Jaz," I greet while pulling out my chair. Bella shares a watery smile, and Alice looks on with sympathetic eyes. Jasper's head is now buried in a book, but he looks up and grins his sweet Texan grin. Jasper loves Bella, even if she doesn't notice the blatant flattery and unabashed ogling. The thing is, Alice also loves Bella. She's less obvious, but her lips have wanted Bella's since first sight, the same as Jasper's. Petite is unaware of Alice's want, and rejects Jasper's advances via a distinct lack of response, so there is no ill will to be had between the two. The both acknowledge that petite is somewhat asexual, and have given up to a degree. But, if there was one thing that could tear these two apart, it would be petite.
Jasper and Alice are proud bisexuals. They have been friends since the sixth grade when Jasper moved up from the south. She had been a tiny little wisp of energy without direction, and he had been a shy boy who was rather confused about nothing in particular. Somewhere between eighth and ninth grade, they had discovered everything there was to discover about the matter, and have lived the lifestyle of ultimate sharing from then on out. They aren't your average bi teens. Alice and Jasper go beyond that. They love everyone, regardless of who they are. However, they do have their favorites. They're still people with solid opinions, and have the integrity to know who's a Maleficent and who's not. What they lack in fidelity they make up for in the quality of their adventures. They're experts in pleasure, but they aren't completely promiscuous. As far as I know, they're still virgins, and plan to keep it that way until the right time comes along.
I wonder if it's because they're so capable in the art of acceptance that they're friends with black sheep like Bella and I.
True to form, Alice sets us off of our squabbles. "Guess who came to our last meeting? You'll never get it right. Think along the lines of when Jessica admitted she was favoring the femmes." Jessica Stanley, the closet lesbian no more, had come to Alice and Jasper last year. She was the head cheerleader, popular through and through. This year she sits in the corner of the caff with her lover Lauren. They couldn't be happier. I'm glad for them.
The dynamic duo has taken their amity towards all to a new level. Twice a month, Alice and Jasper hold soirees in Alice's basement for any gay, lesbian, or bisexual students. I've never been. I've never had a reason to go, but hearing Alice spout off the new attendees is interesting enough. They've had their club since they were petite's age, and the past two years have proved to be successful. They haven't ever been deluged with members, but the numbers have crept steadily. It's refreshing to see people who are accepting of themselves. What Alice and Jasper do could be compared to Mother Theresa. They give kids the tools to make it with their choices in the real world as a homo- or bisexual concerning ill-informed parents and confounded friends.
Jasper's answer rushes in before any of ours. Apparently, this is a big discovery. "Mike Newton. He's gay. Who would've thought that the quarterback was into dudes? I think it explains the football thing. That's the only reason why I watch guys in spandex. God knows it's not because he enjoys being tackled, or maybe he does? Don't those things usually hurt? Perhaps it's a fetish of his…" Alice swats at Jasper's chuckles from her side of the table unsuccessfully. A smile settles itself on my face without my permission. Mike has a reputation for switching up girls at the rate he changes his overpriced, designer boxer briefs. He's fucked half of Forks and then some, and it repulses me to no certain end. Now I can see that he was only making sure he liked playing for the other team rather than his own. It doesn't make it okay in the slightest, but it's promising that no other girls will be marred by becoming another notch on his belt.
Petite mulls something over in her brain. A faint touch of amusement lifts the corner of her mouth, and she joins into the mesh with a hushful comment as she looks down at the table. "Last year he had a fashion magazine under his bio book. I've never said anything, but he was reading Vogue. Umm, and it was the, uh, edition with that one actor from the vampire books?"
Jasper and I snicker while Bella's smile hides the now forgotten tears. Even that is a bit extreme. "Oh! I love him! He's gorgeous!" Alice exclaims in a frenzied state. Chatter picks up from there filled with trivial school gossip, which teachers are dating and having elderly person carnal relations, which students have found themselves fucking the ever-living daylights out of each in uncleanly broom closets, and etcetera. I sit back and think for a bit. Emmett McCarty's and Felix Zappizo's names are swirling around my cortex. They're deserving of some serious retribution, but I'm not sure how I should go about finding it. They hurt petite, and that's motivation enough. If I had it my way, there would be blood being shed. But, of course, this isn't Fight Club, and my name isn't Tyler. It would be unethical considering I don't have the resources to launch my own Project Mayhem.
Sooner than expected, the lunch period is over, and petite and I are bidding our au revoir's to Alice and Jasper before exiting the room filled with staring in exchange for a hallway instead. To lessen the amount of controversy Jasper and Alice deal with, we usually don't sit with them, save for needy days such as this. The majority of school has only recently come to terms with their bisexuality, and it would be a shame for them to have to fight another uphill battle on our behalf. Their hearts are too admirable for something like that.
Last year, they were ousted in a whirlwind of scandal. Jasper had been caught behind the bleachers with Aro van Merr by two curious freshmen that spread rumors like fire in a forest of dead wood dotted with kindling. Alice kept by her friend's side. The succeeding day at lunch, all ninety-four pounds of Alice leapt onto the center table in the cafeteria and yelled that she was a bisexual. Jasper, following her lead, joined her and shouted that he was as well. They shared a kiss, and then left for the student body of Forks to ponder their thoughts. The room had been so silent, pins dropped and it sounded like a sonic boom. No one had so much as uttered that another member of his or her own sex was remotely attractive before that day. They had been treated like lepers in ancient Jerusalem, but with time, others came to join in acquiesce that they were the same Alice and Jasper that they'd always been. The next day, Lauren Mallory's cat was let out of the bag, and the pattern had continued from there on out.
On normal days, petite and I amble towards the east hall together. She's in bio two with those who underestimate her, and I'm in AP chem-bio with people who won't accept I'm anything more than the crazed blonde. Our classrooms run parallel to each other, but I don't think I'm going to be visiting the chemicals today. Mr. Banner is entertaining monotony with a movie on something his students couldn't care less about. It's something I can afford to forgo. My grades hint at adequacy more than often not, but even so, it wouldn't make much of a difference. Once I'm out of Podunk, BFE, I'm taking my words on the lam. I've always had bigger fish to fry, and I plan on finding them in the ocean rather than this pond. I was bred for saltwater and the Atlantic versus the tide pools and chill of the Pacific.
Bella gives me a funny look as I halt in front of the path leading to the science department and my proper route for this time of day. "You need a ride home today?" I inquire in a voice that is leaking in my impatience not meant for her to hear. She nods her head, so I tell her that I'll see her at three, and walk out the side door adjacent to the student parking lot. Felix and Emmett are in my advanced chem-bio class as well, and if I've learned anything from my education at this fine institution, they won't be in room 208.
Emmett McCarty and Felix Zappizo aren't exactly the cream of Forks's miniscule crop. Felix Zappizo is notorious for deflowering innocent and virginal girls without a second glance after he splits them in two. Emmett's just as cruel as his abominable comrade. His staple is using his strength for the wrong motives at wrongful times. He may draw the line at hitting a woman, but coming from him it only makes my stomach want to give my breakfast back to the earth in one lurch. Emmett has put kids in the hospital before, blinded by sheer rage over a minor offense. He's a brute, and nothing more. Randall Harrington still can't take a straight line without the help of his crutches, and Jared Polito suffered from internal bleeding. He forfeited his football scholarship over a bar fight. The University of Notre Dame really will miss him.
My sneaking suspicions were correct when I assumed that Felix and Emmett would be blowing off Banner's movie for a toke under the blanket of rain known as the Washington sky. They're sitting by their cars, packing a bowl filled with buds of Jamaican strains that taste like bubblegum and send you to the moon. If I was a normal girl, I would have turned around and let it be, but I've never fit the mold of someone sane. I didn't in Boston, and I don't now.
I'm strolling across the lot in a haze of red. My vision bleeds scarlet. They've had this a long time coming. They see me coming, and have smirks plastered on their ignorant faces. I stop in front of them, just as Emmett lights his first hit before handing it to Felix. "Well, well, well," Emmett sputters in small cough as he releases his ball of smoke, "Rosalie Hale, is it? Frigid ice bitch come to join the party?"
My insides are burning with rage in my veins, but I manage to hold on. I cross my arms in front of my chest as Felix adds in a slick tone that makes me violently ill to the sound, "If you wanted to see the back of the Jeep, you should have asked earlier. We could have had lunch and Banner's class. It's a shame you're always too busy with that weird ass sophomore, a crying shame. You seem like someone who'd like it rough. Not to mention your outstanding rack, sweetness."
I clench my fists and strengthen my resolve to do what I promised myself I'd do. Before I can respond, Emmett continues, "Seriously, if you didn't have that freak attached to your fucking hip, the emo bullshit wouldn't even be noticeable, and I agree with Felix here. You do look like a good lay." As if for emphasis, he looks me from head to toe, lingering on my chest and hips, then settling on my eyes with an even broader grin. I can only guess that the navy blue of my irises is close to black with the unadulterated rage filling my every thought.
Felix blows out some smoke and tacks more on. "On second thought, that Bella girl would look rather nice spread out in the backseat. Don't you think, Em? I'm pretty sure she's untouched, unless Rosalie here is learning tips and tricks from Brandon. Then again, she did have those things on her wrists. They kind of looked like they came from handcuffs. Pretty kinky if you ask me."
I know my limits, and I've surpassed their ends. He's landed too close to home. I smack the glass bowl, still burning, to the ground. "What the fu-" Felix starts, but I cut him off. My open palm meets his face, and he staggers back. He's holding his cheek in what must be pain, and I face a laughing Emmett. I haven't said a word, but I'm hoping the message will be received.
"Don't even think about talking to Bella," I hiss, staring at him. Emmett is easily six four, but I'm six even. The difference isn't that great, and his size doesn't frighten me.
"Or what?" he continues to smirk, unaware of how he's pushed me. My limits are miles away now. I raise my right fist with tucked thumb and use all my force. He isn't expecting the blow, and I don't think I am either. There's a distinct cracking of bone, but I can't tell whose. My hand is throbbing on contact with the blunt trauma, but I welcome the pain. Emmett flinches, and looks up at me with an indescribable emotion. His eyes are vacant, but I can tell he's enraged. He steps towards me, but I knee his groin quickly, immobilizing him for the greater good.
"Miss Hale! Mr. McCarty! Mr. Zappizo!"
Principal Weber is yelling obscenities, and the next few minutes pass by in a fog. She saw the whole exchange in perfect detail and clarity. I'm sitting on a three-day suspension for fighting on school grounds, while the boys are nursing icepacks in the nurse's quarters. I can't say that I'm upset because the truth is that I'm not. I'm waiting for Vera to get here as I sit myself in front of Principal Weber's office with the ice on my right hand. I could tell that the nurse wanted to congratulate me for a job well done, but ol' nurse Renata substituted a wink instead as she cleaned the irony red off my hands. She sees too many casualties coming from those Neanderthals. It must have been nice seeing them being put in their place, by a girl no less.
The ringing of the bell alerts a change of classes, and an out of breath petite turns the corner facing the main office towards my perch in front of Principal Weber's. It's obvious she's made a sprint to find me, but I'm not sure why. I'm touched by her concern, but I find it almost unnecessary and a bit daunting. A part of me wishes Bella wouldn't have to see me like this, bruised and bloody. "Rose! Oh my God! What happened? Look at your hand!"
"Hush, Bella. We'll talk about it later," I try to soothe to no avail. This can wait for another time. I'm reluctant to let her know why this afternoon occurred the way that it did.
"Oh, Rose! It was Felix and Emmett! You shouldn't have! Alice told me they're at the nurse! You shouldn't have done that, Rose! I can't–" Bella babbles on incoherently until the thought finally crashes into me like a Mack truck. I've been going the wrong way without my headlights on. Felix and Emmett won't be suspended, but I will be.
"Bella? Bella. Petite, listen!" I seemingly shout. It takes a moment to calm her down. I've finally got her attention, so I tell it to her straight. I can see Vera coming around the corner with Principal Weber… "Hit me."
This day is anything but what I had expected when I first woke up this morning to another cloudy piece of time. I've broken my writing hand, gotten my first Forks's suspension, been punched in the face willingly by my shy friend who packs a wallop behind her hands, and been grounded for the next two weekends. It's been anything but what I had expected, and I have to smile at the simple fact that life has decided to liven things up. The clock on my bedside table reads 11:13, and any minute I can count on a creaking door and the tapping of small feet on the ancient oak of the attic steps.
Tap, tap, tap.
The wooden door whines, and a burst of light shines through before black comes again. I lift the covers to my left, and a small body wrestles its way onto the mattress. I pull the down comforter tight around us in a cocoon as the little thing crawls closer to me, hugging to my side and smiling against my stomach.
"Night, night, Rosie. Love you," it mumbles, a child's voice.
I sigh a quiet and content sound. Some things never change. "Goodnight, Liam. I love you, too."
This is going to turn into something worthwhile. I hope. Have you ever been in a fight?