Summary: Rosalie Hale and Edward Cullen have always had a strained relationship. But when she reaches her breaking point, she finds an unsuspecting comfort in the brother she thought she hated. Written for That Thing Called Love Contest.

~*~*~*~

Shoes – boxes of them.

Pinks one. Blue ones. Short ones. Tall ones. They sat in the hallway across from his room, mocking him with the question of why women needed so many. Edward scowled at the various decorative containers, wishing that his presence alone would smite the inane objects before him.

Unfortunately, it didn't work.

"You're in my way," she hissed, breezing past him in a flash of snow-white skin and platinum blonde hair, her thoughts solely on retrieving the remaining bags from her shopping spree with Alice.

He watched her race down the stairs, tossing her hair flippantly behind her shoulders. "Your human's here," he heard her sneer.

Sure enough, the sound of old, rusted metal whined under the pressure of Bella's hand as she closed the door to her truck just outside. Edward moved to the stairs, his eyes watching the way his sister glared daggers towards the front door before making her way to the other end of the house. The boiling temper within his frozen nerves threatened to escalate. But the sweet cadence of Bella's heartbeat calmed him in a way that nothing else could.

Determined to not let his sister's mood spoil his pleasant day, he raced toward the front door, a smile lighting his face as he drank in the sparkling brown eyes before him. Because when it came to Bella Swan, Edward would let nothing stand in his way.

So, he would do what he did best.

He would ignore Rosalie Lillian Hale.

~*~*~*~

Emmett was lounging lazily on the living room sofa, a remote control in one hand and a football tucked under his arm.

"Emmett, I need your help… now." Emmett swung his massive legs off the couch and ambled along behind Rosalie as she entered the garage to retrieve her bags.

"How was shopping, babe? You and Alice spend more than most people have in their bank accounts?"

Rosalie slammed the trunk, lifting an armful of brightly colored bags and heaving them at Emmett's chest as she marched past him without a single word.

"Did I say something?"

She breezed up the stairs and into their bedroom, where she began unloading her packages and putting the merchandise in its rightful place.

"I love weddings!" Emmett boomed excitedly from the bed, looking into a bag full of even more bridal magazines and grinning foolishly. He pulled one from the stack and began perusing its pages with excitement.

Rosalie moved to the window and looked out into the gloomy skies of Forks, Washington. Below, she could hear Edward and Bella's soft, loving murmurs from the yard, and Bella's squeal of happiness when Edward mentioned, again, how she would be 'Mrs. Edward Cullen' in just a few short weeks.

"What's wrong, Rosie? Aren't you excited?"

Her ire boiled from the depths of her soul. A low, feral snarl began to build in her gut, burning, rumbling, fighting its way to the surface. Between Emmett's excitement and Edward and Bella's happiness together, Rosalie was going to snap. The growl burst from her lips and she rushed at Emmett, ripping the magazine from his hands and tearing it right down the middle. He stared up at her with shocked eyes, his empty hands turned up in disbelief, his mouth agape in surprise.

"No, Emmett. I am not excited!" She was seething. Furious. Her beautiful face twisted in pain and misery… and hate.

Emmett's wide eyes narrowed into furious slits, and he returned her anger with a quiet rumble of his own, his jaw clenched tightly around his teeth. She didn't flinch or fumble or fear at her mate's returned aggression. Her chest rose and fell with her unnecessary breaths, her fists clenched into tight balls, and she could hear the anxious footsteps of Alice.

The door tore open, bouncing off the wall to reveal Alice's horrified gaze, directed at the shredded bridal magazine lying on the floor in a tattered heap.

"No! Rose!"

Emmett's eyes turned sharply to Alice, sending daggers towards her petite frame. Though Jasper stood behind her, ready to protect her if need be, Emmett knew that Alice could kick his ass thoroughly if it came down to it. He relaxed his jaw and took a deep breath, Jasper's magic calming everyone in the room. Rosalie's breathing slowed for the moment. The disdain on Alice's face melted away at his hand on her shoulder.

"Alice, it's fine. I'll get you another magazine. Rose and I need to be alone right now."

She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off with an exasperated sigh and mouthed the word 'please.'

Jasper curled his fingers around Alice's bicep and whispered quick words in her ear before pulling her from the room, the door clicking shut quietly behind them. When he left the room, his influence over the two lovers left with him.

Emmett glared in Rosalie's direction again, and she glared right back.

"I don't get you, Rose. Edward is our brother, our theoretical flesh and blood. And ever since Bella came into his life, you have been hell on wheels. You have tried to scare her away, to make her miserable, to make her feel like she is unworthy of joining our family. She makes him happy. Why can't you be thankful for that?"

Her bottom lip quivered then, in sadness or in fury, he couldn't be sure. He watched as the lines of her beautiful body began to shake with her rage. She turned to the floor length mirror and trained her gaze at the reflection before beckoning Emmett to her side with one slender finger. Hesitantly, he moved to stand next to his wife.

Rosalie momentarily watched the glistening tawny shade of her irises as ghostly memories flitted through her mind. And if she looked more closely within the glass reflection, she could almost make out the harsh features of a love that was eternally lost to her. His demonic eyes stared through her as if, even in her immortal state, he owned her – body and soul. Forever. More than seventy years had passed and still his spirit, his stain on her once beautiful life, haunted her.

Even after she killed him, Royce King was an ever-present nightmare.

Bella had learned of true love, yet she knew so little of life. To have it taken from her so willingly was almost like a sin. It was one that Rosalie would have taken back in a heartbeat - if she only had one.

"I never wanted this, Emmett," Rosalie uttered, her eyes sadly traveling down the length of her alien body. "I never wanted this life. I was never given the choice."

Emmett paused for a few quick seconds, his eyes stuck on the glorious creature reflected next to him. He thought of all the memories they shared, the tender and not-so-tender moments flashing through his mind. Finally he turned to her, gripping her shoulders gently so that she faced him.

"None of us asked for this, Rose. None of us necessarily wanted it. But you saved my life that day all those years ago. And I regret nothing. Why can't you? You're beautiful and I love you and…"

She was out of his arms before he could finish; her features darkened with resentment. She was quick to grasp the full-length mirror before she sent it crashing to the floor, a high-pitched snarl ripping from within her as glass shattered in a crystalline cloud.

"THIS," she made a violent gesture at her own body, "IS ANYTHING BUT BEAUTIFUL, EMMETT! And Edward is a fool for agreeing to make Bella like us… He will never be able to live with himself if he goes through with it. Don't you see? She has the choice! She has what we all wish we could have but are too damned afraid to admit it! We are not mortals, Emmett. We merely pretend that we are for the sake of making our existence more tolerable. But in the end, Bella will start to feel the regret. Maybe not in the beginning, but for those first few years where she's hidden away, deep in the woods, far from civilization, she'll begin to contemplate what made her want to have such a life. And when she can finally acclimate herself with society again, will she be happy? Will it not bother her to see her father in passing, to know that she could never show herself to him again? She couldn't even be close to where either of her parents live!"

Unnecessary gasps of breath, cold and harsh, issued through her crimson lips. Rosalie displayed a severe, callous outer shell to those around her. But deep inside, there was a doubtful, self-deprecating soul that was too frightened to break free. Bella shouldn't have to be like her. And though she found the frail human an inconvenience at best, she couldn't watch her give up her humanity.

Rosalie's eyes locked on Emmett's and in that moment, she made her point clear. "Bella. Does. Not. Belong."

The room buzzed with stunned silence. Emmett could do nothing to reason with her and he knew it, deep in his bones. Rose was hard to reach on a normal day, but madness like this made it an even more difficult task. His frustrated sigh signaled the end of his war of words with her. The rope had completely unraveled, and they were on a downward spiral.

The quiet was broken by the sound of a door slamming and human movement in the house. Bella. She had heard. While most of their conversations were uttered too quickly for human ears, Rosalie had delivered her words loudly and deliberately. Bella's hushed tones were still clear to their ears, however, Edward begged her to ignore his petulant sister, pleaded with her to stay.

"Edward… I just want to go home…"

Emmett's eyes fell on Rosalie once again, who now had her head in her hands, fingers mussing her vibrant blonde strands. Now he was angry. Now he felt no pity for her situation, no desire to jump to his wife's defense. As he moved to the door at last, he looked back over his shoulder before having his final say.

"Perhaps Bella won't be as bitter and hateful as you."

A broken sob escaped Rosalie Hale's perfect lips, her eyes shone with the tears that would never fall, as her husband left her there to help the brother she thought so foolish.

~*~*~*~

Emmett found Edward perched on the top step of the staircase, his head in his hands, shoulders hunched in defeat.

He could hear Emmett's thoughts, echoing his embarrassment at Rosalie's behavior and his concern for Bella.

"Emmett… just… don't." His brother lowered himself on the step, and placed a hand on Edward's shoulder.

"Man, I'm sorry. I don't know what got into her. Neither of you deserve all this, but I'm sure Bella will be fine. She's gonna be a true member of this family whether Rosalie is on board or not. You know how stubborn Bella can be…"

Edward could also hear Emmett's anger at Rose, his frustration with her attitude, and the fact that he had no desire or energy to try and comfort her. It put Emmett in an extremely awkward and difficult circumstance, straddling the fence between brother and wife. It made Edward feel heavier with guilt. Not only was the decision to change Bella weighing on him, but also on his family.

"Come on," he said, patting Emmett on the back. "I'm feeling like we need a mindless distraction. How about a game of Mario Kart on the Wii?"

Emmett's eyes lightened at the idea, and he nodded at the suggestion. He was thankful for anything that would take his mind off the situation at hand. Emmett was king of glossing over the tough times.

As they settled on the couch, Mario Kart steering wheels in front of them on the coffee table, Emmett smirked at Edward mischievously and said, "Ready to be my bitch?"

Jasper joined them a few moments later, settling in the armchair across the room with an old history book in his lap.

"Edward… is Bella okay?"

He paused his game-playing long enough to look over at his brother, noting the troubled glint in Jasper's gaze as he looked back and forth between Edward and oblivious Emmett. Jasper would have felt whatever Bella was feeling as she left, and even Edward wasn't sure what that was.

"Well," Edward focused his attention back on the game as Emmett's kart rammed against Edward's. "I don't really know, Jazz…"

She was hurtin', brother. But she won't let anyone influence her decision to become like us. Her choice has been made.

Jasper's thoughts flooded through Edward's mind, as Emmett laughed loudly after running Edward off the animated road once again. He was able to nod once in Jasper's direction, a silent thank you to the more gentle of his two brothers.

"What about Rosalie, Emmett? Is she okay?" Jasper quirked an eyebrow at the burly vampire, picking up on the tension between the married couple. Emmett didn't speak but simply continued steering his Mario Kart around the racetrack.

In a flash of pixie-like energy, Alice came flitting into the room and stopped right in front of the television, obscuring Emmett's view of his game. She placed her hands on her delicate hips and gave her brother an expectant look.

"Well?" she asked. "What about Rosalie? Aren't you even going to try and reconcile with her?"

"Alice, I can't see through you. Mind scooting slightly to the right for me please?" Emmett stretched his neck in an attempt to regain his visual on the screen. Alice didn't budge; instead she began tapping her toe impatiently against the hard floor.

"Emmett. This game is not important right now. The future of this family…"

"Alice! I cannot see the television. Fuck."

In a huff, Alice picked up one of Esme's heavy interior design magazines and used it to smack Emmett in the head repeatedly until he lifted his hands in defense.

"What the… Alice! Stop!"

Edward could not only hear Emmett's disdain for Rosalie, but now for Alice as well. He leaned out of the way as Alice nearly elbowed his head in her attempt to smack Emmett at a better angle. Jasper merely shot a curious glance in their direction and continued to peruse his book.

By now, Carlisle and Esme's thoughts drifted through Edward's mind, as they were currently standing near the stairs, wide-eyed and curious about the commotion.

"Alice, calm down," Carlisle commanded. Alice stopped mid-swing, her tiny arms poised right over Emmett's head.

Jasper smirked.

"What is the meaning of all this?" the blonde vampire demanded, his golden eyes grown weary with too many years of watching his children fight.

Alice lowered her arms as she shot a pointed glance towards her brother, who still did not come out from under the cover of his uplifted hands. "Ask your son."

I can't handle this.

"Emmett… is this in reference to what happened earlier?" Carlisle questioned.

I need to get out of here.

"With Rosalie?"

Edward frowned as the whimpering cadences of his sister's thoughts traveled from the floor above them, intermingling with the present conversation at hand.

"I hope everything is alright." Esme stepped forward, the hint of concern lingering on her sweet voice as she placed a delicate hand on her husband's arm.

Emmett shifted his posture to one of severe rigidity. His eyes squeezed shut as the muscles in his jaw clamped down tightly.

"Maybe now is not the best time…" Jasper uttered, slowly placing his forgotten book on the coffee table, his own muscles contracting with the sheer pain radiating off of his brother.

Footsteps raced down the stairs, catching the attention of all in the room. Carlisle and Esme, shocked, stepped back.

"Rosalie?" Esme called out.

The sound of wooden heels danced across the foyer, accompanied by a blaze of champagne colored hair. Her pace could have matched that of her mindreading brother as she focused her attention on the front door.

And just like that, she was gone.

Cool air wafted through the open entry to the Cullen home as the gnawing tone of a grackle penetrated the sudden silence.

Without another word, Edward stood, placing the gaming wheel on the table. He moved swiftly to the front door and as Emmett opened his mouth to speak his thoughts, Alice placed a hand on his large shoulder and gently shook her head.

Turmoil seemed to hover over the family that day, staking its claim as a blanket of stormy clouds that rolled high over the land surrounding their home. Edward, disliking what he was about to do, quietly cursed his irritable sister and the way she always made his temper boil.

Despite their differences and her resentment towards his fiancée, Edward was going to break the promise he had made earlier that afternoon.

Rosalie Hale would be ignored no longer. And with that thought in mind, he stepped outside.

The sky opened up; mourning over the many tragedies that the world had endured in that single day, its tears dancing across his frozen skin.

Edward stood at the bottom of the front stairs, his gaze searching the tree line for any sign of his distressed sister. Slowly, he breathed in, searching for her scent. His eyes fluttered shut… patchouli, mixed with the smell of fresh rain, engulfed his senses. Edward, without a doubt, knew that scent belonged to Rosalie.

Cool liquid dripped from the soaked tendrils of his hair, clinging to his lashes as he opened his eyes. Quickly, he raced towards the forest, its musty damp air clinging to his drenched clothes.

Onyx wings flapped ahead of him as a crow took flight, its caw a haunting lullaby. Edward stopped in a small clearing, his gaze narrowing in on the place where the sinister bird had departed. A few stray, midnight feathers floated carelessly in the air.

Glimmering traces of blonde hair flickered in and out of the trees as a figure moved soundlessly away from him.

He wasn't that far behind her.

Go away, Edward.

In any other normal circumstance, he would have loved to. It would have taken him less than a second to turn around and go back, but he couldn't. Instead, he took a step closer to where his sister was. He could clearly see the back of her rigid figure, now standing still beneath the rain as its crystalline drops cascaded off of the canopy of leaves overhead. She was only twenty feet away from him.

"Were my thoughts not clear enough for you?" she called out, her back still facing him. "I told you to go the hell away."

Still, he kept moving forward, the fallen branches and leaves never making a sound under his weight.

When he was nearly five feet from her, her fists clenched tightly by her sides. "Edward," she growled lowly, her cold voice issuing a warning.

"Rosalie."

Her body trembled at the sound of his voice and she spun around quickly, throwing her fist out to hit his face, but he was too fast for her. Edward held her forearm tightly within his hand, their bodies now merely inches apart.

She jerked her arm free, her stunning features contorting into a scowl. "Why are you here?"

"I was worried about you," he said, though the words sounded strange in his mind.

Rosalie threw her head back, the wet strands of her hair sticking to her neck, and laughed. "You? Worried about me? Go fuck yourself, Edward."

He smirked, her insults doing little to damage his self-esteem. After several decades, Edward had become used to Rosalie's petulant attitude. Choosing to ignore her last remark, he asked her what her mind wished he would question. "Why are you out here, Rose?"

She stood still, her full lips shaping into a frown as the rain slipped over her porcelain skin. "Why ask when you already know?"

"Because I want to hear you tell me."

Rosalie looked down; her eyes examining her now ruined Gucci shoes. Though, she couldn't find it in herself to care. "I don't understand."

Edward's brows knitted closely together as he silently waited for her to continue. Her thoughts would not give him a simple answer this time.

"Why are you not angry with me?" Her voice was small and hardly like the garish woman he knew her to be.

"Why would I be angry with you?"

"Oh, don't give me that bullshit, Edward," she hissed, the timid side of her now gone. "I know you heard everything that Emmett and I said about Bella."

The sound of her name was like a curse on Rosalie's tongue and Edward winced despite himself. "I did hear you," he told her. "Bella heard you too."

"Good," she muttered. "She needs to hear these things."

"Rosalie, it's her choice."

"I don't give a damn!" she shrieked, her tawny eyes glowing in brilliant shades of gold. "Even talking with her about what happened to me as a human clearly didn't seem to change her mind. Though, I guess it doesn't surprise me that she would be so ignorant as to how her life will end."

"Rosalie," Edward growled, stepping closer. "I came out here to help you – to listen to what you have to say, but I will not tolerate you demeaning Bella like this. Do you understand me?"

"Then why in the hell did you come out here?"

"Because Emmett wouldn't!"

His words struck her violently in the gut and she stumbled away from her brother. "Please leave me," she whispered, her eyes straying away from his enraged features.

Guilt raked through Edward's body, coursing along the network of his nerves and igniting flames that ate away at his soul as he watched his sister crumble before him.

"Rose…"

She held a hand out to him, signaling him to stop. "Don't. Just… don't."

Clenching his jaws, determination sweeping over his face, he moved closer as she backed away. "Rosalie – "

"Leave me!" she yelled, her eyes glistening with tears that would never fall.

"I – "

"Edward, leave me alone!" She flew at him, throwing her fists against his chest.

And he let her hit him. "I know you never wanted this."

A cry of agony escaped her lips as she backhanded his flawless face. The pain stung under the surface of his skin and Edward was sure that the blow had cut his cheek. He could feel his broken skin stinging beneath the cool rain before it quickly healed into a light scar. "You can hurt me all you want to," he ground out. "But it still does not change things."

"I hate you!" she spat in his face, feeling more like a five year old in her rant. "Edward Cullen, the one who lived so long in solitude, is now the center of attention. Yet you wallow in your own damned guilt and depression and still you would let her give up her life for you."

"I would rather die than to see her do this!" he cried out. "I could kill her, Rosalie! Every day it tortures me."

"Then why do you do it?" her voice had lowered but her eyes still blazed before his.

"Because it's her choice. I've tried to talk her out of it, but in the end it's her decision."

"Don't lie to me, dear brother," Rosalie seethed. "Don't tell me that you don't dream of her being by your side for eternity."

Edward lowered his head. "I will not deny that I have. But leaving her again is out of the question. I love her and if this is what she wants…"

"She has no idea what she wants," Rosalie uttered, her voice pained. "All she sees is you."

"What would you have done if it was Emmett?" he asked her. "What if you never changed him?"

"He had no choice, Edward!" Even as she said it, she felt like a broken record, put on constant replay to remind herself that she couldn't have changed fate. Yet, Edward was, once again, the one to contradict her.

"Yes, he did. We all did."

Rosalie stared sadly at her brother, unwilling herself to believe what he was saying.

"Death would have been better than this," he whispered.

She backed away from him again, turning her back on him. "Go."

"You are my sister," he said, ignoring her attempted departure.

"I am not your sister," Rosalie hissed, spinning around to face him, the pupils of her eyes shrinking to small, ebony pinpoints. "We are not kin, Edward."

It hurt to hear her say such things. More than Edward thought it would. Still, he did not falter. "Regardless, you are apart of my family… and…"

"Stop it," she ground out, shaking her head violently, as thunder rumbled overhead.

"Rosalie, I - "

"I said, stop it!" Again, she flung herself at him, but he restrained her flailing arms from smacking at his chest.

"I lo –"

"Shut up!" Her body fought weakly against his and she began to whimper quietly as she finally sagged against his chest, small quivering tremors raking through her limbs as she silently cried.

Edward pulled her to him tightly, turning his face towards her soaked hair as he whispered in her ear, "I love you, Rose."

She cried out then, her hands slipping down his arms as he lowered them both to the forest floor. Pulling her into his lap, Edward consoled his sister in a rare display of affection. He brushed the damp waves of her hair away from her eyes and rocked her back and forth as she let her head rest on his shoulder, her body almost drained of life.

"Why?" she whispered. The rain slid down her pale cheeks acting as the tears that she could not shed.

He hummed softly, his head resting on hers. "Why what?"

Her thin fingers curled around the wet sleeve of his shirt. "Why do you love me?"

"Because…" he murmured, pulling her closer to him. "… despite the fact that you can be frustratingly insufferable at times, you have become an intricate part of this family. You mean a great deal to every single one of us. Even to me."

She felt little in his arms and gripped him more tightly.

"If you truly didn't care for me or Bella, you wouldn't be so adamant about showing your dislike for our wedding. You worry for her because you feel as if she could have a better, human life. And in that way, Rosalie, we are alike, you and I. But you don't entirely push her away because you worry what will become of me if she is no longer around. I will not subject you to the memories of myself last year when we left Bella, but I know you think about it from time to time. You still blame yourself for telling me that she had died before you knew of the whole story. And while you're happy that things did not end badly, you still feel guilty that in the end… Bella will die, though she will walk upon this Earth as one of our own kind. You care for us, despite what you say. And that, Rosalie Hale, is why I love you."

Slowly, she pulled her head up and away from the comfort of Edward's shoulder. The rain still fell, clumping in her eyelashes as she stared in awe at the vampire before her. Her brother.

"You really mean that, don't you?"

"Of course I do," Edward murmured, reaching up to tuck the wet strands of her hair behind her ear. "Besides, who would keep Emmett in line if you weren't around?"

Rosalie chuckled softly, finally allowing a ghost of a smile to sweep across her lips. "Yeah, 'cause your sorry ass couldn't do it."

He laughed lightly, the corner of his mouth twitching into the grin that she knew so well.

"I really messed things up this time, didn't I?" she asked him, her face falling once again.

Edward shook his head. "No. I mean… Esme wasn't too pleased that you broke the mirror in your room, but that's easily fixable. I think she's more upset that Alice used her magazine as a club."

The hard exterior that Rosalie had built upon herself was slowly beginning to break. Though she knew she would never be the free spirit that Alice had claimed, she felt entitled to show more respect to those around her, including Bella. It would take time. She was certainly not ready to run back and call the girl to go out on a shopping spree, but next time… next time, she would smile at her and ask her how her day was. Because deep down, Rosalie knew that the only reason she felt so closed off towards Bella Swan was because she envied her.

Now, looking into her brother's eyes that shone brightly because of this simple human, she no longer needed to envy Bella, nor worry for her. In a matter of months, maybe even weeks, she would be her new sister.

And Rosalie was okay with that. For now, anyway.

"Thank you," she whispered, a knowing smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

Edward grinned back as he pushed himself up from the ground. He held a hand out to her, his palm facing the wet liquid that fell from the sky. "Come on, I'll help you up."

It was strange to hold Edward's hand. They were never ones to show each other any kind of affection – the sisterly duty was usually Alice's job. And yet she couldn't find it in herself to pull away from him, not even as they walked hand-in-hand back to their home.

Edward smirked, his eyes cast down towards the glistening, verdant blades of grass as he listened to her thoughts. "True, you were never the affectionate sister in the family. I guess you could say you were the protective one – like the ones who pick on the bullies in the school playground."

"What are you trying to tell me, Cullen?" she asked him, the light in her eyes dancing bemusedly.

He laughed. "That, I won't tell you. My face already hurts enough from your first punch."

When the moss-covered ground and the feathered leaves of the ferns kissed the border of green grass around their home, Rosalie and Edward stopped.

"You know," she began, staring up at the white mansion before her. "I never thought I'd say this."

Edward turned to her as her mind became unusually silent.

When her golden eyes met his and a deafening silence echoed around his ears, he felt like he was truly seeing her for the first time.

"I love you, too."

And with that, she let go of his hand and raced under the blanket of rain towards the front steps. Her muddied heels clinked on the wooden stairs as a radiant smile lit up her face.

Edward stood within the tree line, marveling at his sister as she entered their home. It was a rarity to see Rosalie in such a good mood and he wondered how long she would stay that way.

"Emmett, you ass! Stop playing around with that shit and help me put away my shoes!"

Nope. She was still the same as she had always been - a sharp thorn digging into his side. He released a soft sigh, casually waving at Alice through the front window as he walked through the rain. Amidst the thoughts that swirled in Emmett's mind, an image of Rosalie stood out the most to Edward, one displaying a beatific smile that reached her eyes as she tugged on Emmett's hand, fingers intertwined.

Standing on the front porch, his eyes scanning the ashen skyline before him, Edward remembered a book of famous quotes that was given to him as a gift from Esme. A small black leather volume that sat, hidden away amongst the weathered pieces of literature that adorned his shelves. There was a proverb that, to Edward, seemed to describe his sister's behavior that day. Regardless of Rosalie's harsh exterior, she had the ability to love more than any of them. And though she had no special gifts like he, Alice and Jasper possessed, she was probably the most powerful of them all.

A vine of roses climbed up the trellis that lay against the side of house. Edward turned to watch the raindrops dance across each scarlet petal, and smiled.

"A thorn defends the rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom."

~*~*~*~

The End.