Thanks to those who reviewed, and to those who added this story to their alerts and favorites.
A/N: Sorry it took so long for me to get this chapter out to you guys. I had a kind of writer's block. I didn't know how I wanted to execute Rosalie and Emmet's first interaction and what she would think of him. This is what I ended with. Now we'll know where he's been. I hope the wait was worth it. Also fanfiction is messing with my story breaks, I don't know what the deal is.
And stay tuned for a special message at the end of this chapter. =)
Disclaimer: My name is neither Stephanie nor Nora, nope, just Amanda.
With nothing but the pack on his back and music playing in his ear, Emmett Cullen was enjoying his morning hike. Doing a good ten mile trail up the mountain, the sun was high in the sky. He mentally kicked himself for leaving his camera at home, because there was a great view of the Olympic Mountains from where he stopped for lunch.
He spotted his forest green Jeep Wrangler in the distance, hitching up his backpack as he continued down. Usually, he would go for a good run or bike expedition up these trails; but he just wanted to have a nice leisurely walk up the trail with a packed lunch and his iPod. A good way for a guy like him to wind down after a week-long venture through the Grand Canyon.
He was enjoying the much needed time off from work. The vacation was not spent lying around his apartment. He just came back from a six day trip where he hiked, rafted down the Colorado River, and slept under the stars. The 80 plus mile trip of climbing through the best of the canyon was the best trip he'd ever taken. With the adrenaline of it still pumping through his veins, he thought an early morning hike up the Olympic Mountains would help appease.
He enjoyed the group he was with and the guide was very knowledgeable and energetic. They swam in the clear turquoise depths of the Little Colorado. They went alongside the river and up steep hillsides. Ventured to ancient Native American ruins- which Emmett noted he needed to tell Jacob about.
It was his first trip to Arizona and it was worth every penny he saved.
He reached his jeep, tossed his pack in the open back seat where other bags from his vacation still lay, and hopped in. He knew that he would need to put the top back on soon. The warm summer air would soon turn nippy.
The radio blasted as he turned the key, but the engine didn't kick over. He tried a few more times, but without success.
He swore loudly after his six failed attempt to start the car. "Great, now I'm stuck here." There were a scattering of few cars around but their owners were deep in the park, leaving Emmett alone with his problems.
He retrieved his pack and took out his cell phone. He called Paul Atkins from Blacks since he was the one who drove the tow truck. He just had work done on his jeep beginning of the summer. The last thing he need right now was to have a repair bill, especially after his amazing trip. He spoke with Paul for about a minute, telling him the problem and his location. Paul said he would be out there in no time at all, no more than thirty minutes.
"Fuck!" He cried out once he threw the phone on the passenger seat. He sat back in his seat.
"At least he's coming for me. Wouldn't want to take my baby anywhere else. Isn't that right, baby?" He said patting the dashboard.
Half an hour later, Paul arrived in the old black tow truck bearing the Black Automotives logo. He hopped out of the truck and walked towards Emmett.
"Cullen," He greeted. "Having some trouble with your jeep there?" A sarcastic tone in his voice.
"Not at all. Just didn't feel like driving back after my hike," he countered.
Paul chuckled at his long time friend and took a look at the jeep. "What's the matter with her?"
Emmett shrugged, "She won't start. I tried like six times."
"Maybe, she's out of gas or the oil's low."
Emmett rolled his eyes. "Not possible. I filled up the tank this morning and put oil in her before I left."
Paul looked at him. "Didn't you just get back from Arizona, or wherever you backpacked to this time? How much driving did you do?"
Emmet rubbed his hand on the back of his neck and calculated. "Uh, I only drove to Portland to catch my flight. So what's that… nine hours both ways?"
Paul nodded his head. "Yeah, it shouldn't be that. Well, I can try to jump the battery and see what happens." Paul went to get the battery charger and Emmett popped the hood.
Emmett's glimmer of hope diminished. Even though the battery was fully charged, the jeep still wouldn't start.
"That didn't work, definitely not the battery. Must be the connection." Paul clapped his hands together. "Let's get her back to town then so Jacob can have a look."
Emmett watched as Paul hooked up his jeep to the back of the truck. He really hoped it was nothing too serious.
Paul asked him about the trip and Emmet relayed his tale of rafting down the Colorado and of the ancient ruins he's seen. They talked as they drove back into town.
"Got any plans with the family this holiday weekend?" Paul asked.
"Not really. I haven't talked to my folks… or Alice yet. I should do that. I did just get back yesterday. But I'll probably just hang around my place though, watch the Nationals game." He was strongly considering calling his mom. She would worry otherwise. Even though he was twice her size and rather independent, he still cowered when his mom berated him.
Paul nodded and drove on. They drove in silence until a thought occurred to Emmett.
"Hey, can you drop me at my place, I didn't unpack my car yet, and I should do that now in case you guys keep my car for several days."
"No problem, pal." Paul turned a corner and took a beeline path for the apartment. He lived off the main road in town. He loved the location. It was a good walking distance to his job- Forks Community Hospital- and close to the businesses, but far enough to enjoy the serenity.
Once Emmett unloaded all his belongings and took keys needed, Paul called out to him. Emmett looked through the open window. There was a smile on his face that Emmett knew meant something was up. "Make sure you stop by real soon. There's been some… changes from Jacob. Additions I should say. And I think you particularly might like it."
Emmett arched his eyebrows, intrigued. "What kind of changes?"
Paul gave him a wide impish grin and raised his hands. "Can't say, but you'll see."
Emmett rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the cryptic ass message, Atkins. See ya."
Paul waved goodbye and drove off, leaving Emmett to ponder whether he should go today or not. But he decided whatever it was could wait and was probably nothing special anyway.
Emmett went to the shop early Saturday afternoon to check on the progress. With Friday being a holiday and the place didn't open on Sundays, this was his only chance before he went back to work.
There was a variety of cars in the lot, some with prices written on the windshields and others that were in for repairs. He entered the door on the side of the building that leads to the sales office.
"Hello. Anyone here?" He rang the little bell on the counter couple of times and waited. Nothing.
He was whistling as he waited. He then realized it matched music coming from the back.
"Someone is here after all."
Since no one was coming, he decided to make his way through the hallway and out to the garage. When he entered, he was met with blaring music and several cars up on the lifts.
Walking further in, he looked around, trying to find Jacob, or Leah, or anyone at all. Emmett knew it would be pointless to try and yell over the music.
He walked around a Mazda and stopped dead in his tracks.
There was someone working under the hood of a blue Chevy. Their back was to him. From where he stood he could tell it was a woman working.
That's not Leah however.
A smile slowly danced across his face at the sight of the ample ass waving at him.
He marveled at the sight before him. There were long legs encased in dark denim. A rag hung on her hip.
Emmett didn't realize he was walking towards her until he was a couple of feet away. From where he was, he saw blonde hair in one long braid. Definitely, not Leah.
Black never hired outside the clan. But he liked the change. Equal opportunity employment, a marvelous thing. He'd have to thank Paul for the heads up.
He looked down and found the source of the music on the portable stereo sitting on a stool. He reached over and turned it off.
Rosalie straightened at the deafening silence. She turned to the intruder, clutching the wrench in her hand. Jacob said he'd be back by one and she didn't expect anyone else for another hour so. When the music cut off, her worst fear was racing through her mind.
But instead of Royce standing before her there was a taller, much broader man. She subconsciously tightened her hold on the wrench.
"What are you doing back here?" She asked in a harsh voice, trying not to let the fear show though.
Emmett raised his hands in surrender and backed up a step. "Hey… sorry to scare you." He pointed to the door. "I was at the front desk, but I heard the music. I knew that little bell wouldn't stand a chance over the Sheryl Crow. So I came out here to see if anyone was around." He eyed the wrench. "Are you going to put that down?"
Rosalie didn't realize she was still clutching the wrench with her life and loosened her grip. She didn't take her eyes off the stranger nonetheless. She tried to convince herself it was because of the lingering fear, but actually she just couldn't look away.
He had gorgeous sea green eyes. They looked vaguely familiar and seemed to be piercing into her soul. Her gaze travelled to the rest of his face. He had a prominent chin and some stubble. He was much more muscular than Royce, she noted. Those muscles looked to be as hard as marble and just as solid. His complexion showed that he was a man who loved spending time outdoors.
His backwards blue ball cap hid his hair, but she saw strands of dark hair. He was smiling at her too and Rosalie noticed the faint impression of the dimples on his cheek. And she couldn't help but stare. Henry had dimples and she hasn't met another male to have them either. She always thought dimples on a grown man were a bit of a turn off, but it worked for this guy. And boy did it work.
She came to the conclusion that this guy was too attractive for his own good…and hers too.
"Hey, I think I lost you there for a minute." He teased waving his hand in front of her.
Rosalie, embarrassed at being caught staring, composed herself before she made a bigger ass out of herself. "Sorry," she apologized. "You just reminded me of someone I… know." She finally set the wrench down on the stool.
She hated being caught off guard, and this guy definitely did that.
"Is there any particular reason why you came back here?"
"Yeah," he answered, liking the way her crossed arms flaunted her assets. "My jeep was brought in the other day, and I just came to see what the damage is."
Emmett flashed another killer smile. Rosalie had to will herself from looking at it. She looked at the personal stereo beside her and ran her hand down the long braid.
Clearing her throat, she thought of the cars that were brought in the past few days. "Jeep… the Wrangler, right?"
He nodded. He wanted to flip the braid off her shoulder.
"Follow me." She instructed.
Emmett followed, walking slightly behind her, enjoying the way she walked. There was a sort of poise in her steps. He liked it.
"So, why are you here all by yourself on a beautiful day like this? Where's the rest of the gang?" He asked. But he really wanted to know why a gorgeous girl like her worked in a place like that.
"Jacob was here, but had to take his dad to a doctor appointment. And I'm sure others will start sprinkling in soon." Rosalie was very aware of his stare. She could feel it like. Used to being ogled by guys, it usually annoyed her. But she didn't mind it so much from him, and that thought is what scared for more. The last guy she didn't mind that with was Royce.
And look what became of that.
They stopped when they reached the jeep outside. It was sitting next to a Hyundai for sale. Rosalie opened the door to pop the hood. "You need a new ignition coil. That's why your car won't start. The old one is fried." She said lifting the hood and setting it in place.
"I also noticed that your radiator is very muddy. That needs to be flushed. And you should really replace the timing belt soon." She spoke into the engine, not trusting herself looking at him.
"That doesn't sound too bad. How long and how much?" Even though she wouldn't look at him, Emmett couldn't take his eyes off of her. He watched her full mouth, wondering how soft it felt.
Rosalie told him the price and estimated two days for repairs, the parts wouldn't take long to get. "Other than that, your car runs rather well. You must take good care of it."
He shrugged his broad shoulders. "I have too. As much driving I do in her."
"That explains the mud and dirt." She looked down at the dirty tires. She glanced at him. He was still staring at her. "What?"
"Nothing. You are just very beautiful. You obviously haven't been here long. I would have remembered seeing you around." He crossed his arms, causing the muscles to ripple against his t-shirt. "Where are you from and what brought you to Forks?"
What did bring her to Forks? Rosalie has been wondering that too for some time now.
"New York. And I'm just passing through." She said, not wanting to indulge more.
Those cute dimples showed again. "I thought your accent sounded familiar. You're a long way from home. I hope you're not hopping from one motel to the next."
She was actually until a week ago, but she didn't want to give him the satisfaction. "I'm staying with a…friend…actually." She inched up her chin at him.
He raised a very dark eyebrow. "Mind telling me who this 'friend' is?"
Rosalie narrowed her eyes and smirked. "Not really."
She couldn't deny the attraction to this person and he was obviously a local. She was hoping that her playing hard to get routine would have him give up quickly. She was not fit for a relationship right now. And she wasn't going to be tempted neither. Even if the man before her had killer dimples and a gorgeous smile.
A car pulled up just then. Jacob Black got out of the car, seeing his friend he made his way over.
"Emmett," he called out. "How was the trip?" They both slapped hands and embraced quickly.
"It was good. Saw lots of cool sights, including this ancient Native ruin…"
He continued, not believing that these two guys were friends. She still was not use to small towns where everyone knew everyone else.
"I see you've met, Rosalie, my newest employee and your sister's roommate."
Her face paled. Sister? His sister, her roommate? "Alice is your sister?" She asked perplexed.
"Alice is the friend you're bunking with?"
"Why am I just finding out about you?" She tried to think back on conversations with the Cullens where something this vital might have been mentioned.
He shrugged. "I've been out of town." Then he turned to Jacob who was still standing there. "I just came to check on the progress of my jeep. And I see she's in very capable hands. Give me a call when she's finished."
Emmett turned and gave one last grin to Rosalie. "I guess I'll be seeing you around then. Rosie." He let her name roll off his tongue.
Saying a farewell to Jacob, Emmett left. Jacob went to his office to finish paperwork. Rosalie just stood next to the Wrangler. There was a strange fluttering in the pit of her stomach, but she squashed it and went inside.
"Alice!" Rosalie called as soon as she entered the emptying diner. She spotted Alice wiping down one of the tables, humming to herself and smiling. She didn't even notice Rosalie storming in. She called her name a few times, but she was tuned out. It wasn't until Rosalie was next to her, waving her hand in her face that she noticed.
"Oh, hey, Rosalie. I didn't see you there." Her green eyes were sparkling and a smile danced across her face.
Rosalie was interested about the smile and noted to ask of it later, but she was more interested about the man she met earlier. "You never told me you have a brother." She accused.
Alice's smile slid off her face. "Yes I did."
"No, you did not. I would have remembered that tiny bit of information." She put her hands on her hips and glared at the petite girl before her.
Amused that Rosalie was so adamant about this, she said. "There's no way, you have been in my home for a whole week and not know that I had a brother." She went back to wiping tables. "Haven't you noticed the picture of us on my dresser? Or the fact that I wouldn't not tell you."
"You didn't tell me, that's the problem." But now that she thought about it. She does remember seeing a picture of Alice smiling with an unknown male. She just assumed it was an old boyfriend. And it didn't peak her interest enough to ask.
Alice paused and looked at her friend. "Why are you asking anyway? Did you meet him today? He's back in town?" Her excitement bubbling back.
Rosalie leaned against the table. "Yeah, I did. His jeep was towed in on Thursday and he just came in today to see how it was."
"He's been back since Thursday? And he didn't call mom? He's going to get an earful now."
"Where did he come from, anyway?" Rosalie asked. Emmett and Jacob's brief conversation mentioned something about ruins and hiking, but she didn't know specifics.
"Vacation. He went on some rafting trip down in the Grand Canyon. Something he's wanted to do since forever. He always takes crazy trips like that. Last year he went skydiving. Gave mom a heart attack. She always tells him to call her so she can have a peace of mind and know that he's alive, but he never does.
"And can you believe he tried to get me to go with him? I was like 'nuh-huh, you will never, ever, ever see me jumping out of a plane'. No way. Also, he, Jacob and them likes to go cliff diving when the temperature permits." She said shaking her head.
"What's cliff diving?"
"Just what it sounds like. You take a bunch of guys, put them on a cliff, and watch them jump off into the ocean. Leah actually does it too. It does look like fun, somewhat, but I have a terrible fear of heights." She shuddered at the thought of being so high up.
Rosalie smiled and looked off to nowhere. "Sounds like he likes the thrill. He obviously stays in tip top shape to do all that he does."
Alice looked at her and saw the faint smile on her face. "Oh, my gosh. You're into my brother aren't you?" Rosalie tried to deny it, but Alice wouldn't listen. "That's why you were upset to know we are related. You like him, admit it."
"No!" She exclaimed and when Alice raised her eyebrow at her, thought it wise to defend herself. "It's…I- uh…he's kind of cute alright. That's all. That does not mean I'm into him. And you better not say anything to him either."
It was bad enough, what Emmett did to her when he thought she wasn't interested. Just imagine if he did know.
Alice mimed zipping her lips and throwing away the key. "I won't say anything I promise."
But there was a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Royce hasn't been sleeping well for the past few days. Ever since he went out for drinks with Josh, he couldn't get what was said out of his head.
Maddy's twin? A look-a-like? Walking around, across the country? No, that couldn't be. His Madison was one of a kind. Unique. No other woman matched her in beauty.
Sitting in his leather computer chair, he ran his hand through his shoulder-length dark hair. What if she was still alive? He wondered. Out there in the world making him look like an idiot.
What if she left me for another man? Another bitter thought emerged. Lying on her back, spreading her legs for him. Talking and laughing about what a fool she made out of me. His blood began to boil as he fisted his hands until his knuckles turned white.
He had to make sure. He wouldn't be able to move on with his life or let this matter go until he did.
And there was only one way to be positive.
He didn't want to charm her with his presence. She was the last person he wanted to see. She detested him and his feelings were mutual. He always told Maddy to lose ties with her and her middle class husband and that child of theirs.
But if anyone would know anything at all about Maddy's strange disappearance, he hoped it would be her. She was after all, Maddy's best friend and the last person to see her alive.
But what would she know?
He didn't want to think of the possibility of Vera aiding in the scheme, or worst talking Maddy into it.
Royce didn't even know where she lived. He had to ask Maddy's parents for the address, telling Catherine not to worry that he just wanted to pay a friendly visit. And this was a trip he had to make. This couldn't be done by phone. For one he knew she would most likely hang up on him. No, he had to talk to her face to face, to see her expressions; to watch her as she tried to lie to him.
He went to his car and gave Tom the address. The drive took only twenty minutes. They arrived in the nice, clean suburban neighborhood with the picket fences and manicured lawns. Children playing in the street and dutiful housewives were talking to each other over their petunias and rosebushes.
The car pulled up and parked across from the three storied detached home. Royce got out of the car, told Tom to wait, and walked across the street and up the steps. He rang the doorbell and waited.
A woman of average height with strawberry blonde hair answered the door. She narrowed her eyes when she recognized her visitor through the screen door. "King," she said with a hard edge in her voice. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Royce put on a false modesty. "Good afternoon, Vera. It's nice to see you too. May I come in?"
Vera crossed her arms and planted her feet. "No, you may not." She said. "I just put Henry down for a nap and I don't want you in my home."
Royce pursed his lips together. He didn't have time to deal with her today. He just wanted to get the information he came for and be on his way. "Well, how about you come out?" He said snidely. "Surely nothing can happen with witnesses out here."
He gestured to the surroundings. Some of Vera's neighbors were already looking in their direction wondering who the unknown man with the fancy suit was.
Vera really didn't want him in her home, but she knew if he stayed where he was, talking to a screen door; the neighbors would be suspicious. They were nosy as it was and she didn't want to fuel the gossip fire.
But why is he here? She wondered. They haven't seen each other since the funeral much to her delight. And she knew he wasn't paying a visit to see how she was dealing with the loss.
Dejectedly she opened the screen door and allowed him to enter. "Don't make yourself comfortable." She said to his back. "My husband will be back shortly and I want you gone before he gets back."
"Don't worry," He said touching a figurine on the mantel. "I don't want to be here just as much as you." He took a look around. Knick knacks were displayed everywhere in the quaint little area. Evidence of children was obvious. There was a playpen near one of the overstuffed couches and toys scattered everywhere. Royce wrinkled his nose in disgust, criticizing the upkeep.
"Then why are you here? I know you're not here on my well being." She stayed by the door, hands on her hips.
He turned to face her. "No, I'm not and I don't care about how you are. The only reason I put up with you at all was for Madison's sake. I always wondered what she saw in her friendship with you."
"Hm. What a coincidence, because I always wondered what she saw in her relationship with you." She reciprocated.
She crossed her arms and shifted her stance. "What do you want, Royce?"
"Information." Royce answered.
"Information?" She repeated. "About what?"
Vera dropped her arms and gaped at him. "What do you mean?"
"I want to know about her last visit with you. The one before she disappeared. You were the last person to see her alive. Did she say anything unusual or seem weird to you?"
She rolled her eyes. "You're kidding, right? You want me to convey to you the last conversation I had with my best friend? The police already asked me these question a hundred times. If you want my statement, then go get the report."
Royce scowled at her. Why can't this bitch just be cooperative? He started walking towards her.
"If I wanted to go to the police, I would have. But you know the NYPD is no help in matters like these. I just want to know what my fiancé was like before she disappeared. You have the memory, I know you do. I know you think about that day all the time."
Vera stood her ground, not intimidated in the slightest. If it was anyone else, she would have considered they just wanted closure, a peace of mind. But she knew Royce better than that. She knew he had some other reason. "Why are you asking this now, after all this time?"
"Let's just say, I want to sleep better at night. I've come across some rather… interesting information from a friend of mine and I want to make sure it wasn't true."
Vera pressed her brows together. "What kind of information?"
He smirked, "Don't worry about it. Just tell me what Maddy was like that day, eight months ago."
She let out a deep breath and moved past him. Thinking, she started pacing the floor. She hated to admit he was right, but he was. She did think about that day quite frequently. The police suspected suicide, and even though she knew Madison would never do it. That dreadful conclusion did creep its way in her mind once or twice.
Vera missed her friend dearly. She cried herself to sleep for the longest time. Maybe it was the lack of closure one gets when they lose a loved one; especially when the lost is unexpected. It wasn't like Maddy was dying and she was better prepared for the inevitable. She literally saw Maddy several hours before the police came, asking questions about a supposed suicide.
"She did seem a bit off that day… I just thought it was pre-wedding jitters or something. That's what I told the detectives. She didn't say anything that would suggest I'd never see her again. She didn't say much actually." She stopped, wrapping her arms around herself. "All she did was hold Henry. She wouldn't put him down, even after he fell asleep in her arms."
Vera gasped and put her hand over her mouth.
"You think she did kill herself, don't you?"
Royce didn't know what to think as he watched the woman before him almost break down. If she knew anything at all, then she was a damn good liar and needs to go into politics. He thought. But he couldn't beat around the bush any longer.
"No, I don't." He finally answered. "I don't think she killed herself. I think she just wanted everyone to think that." He moved towards Vera.
"I think, she left me. I don't know why and I don't know how." He stopped when he was inches from her. "But I think you do."
"You think Maddy faked her death and I helped her with it?" She was backed into the edge of the couch and slowly starting to panic.
"If she did pull it off, I know you had some part of it." He sneered.
Vera looked into his dark hazel eyes. She was scared now, but didn't show it. Would Maddy do something like that?
She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of the fear growing inside her. She squared her shoulders. "I have no idea on what you are talking about. But I will say this…if she is elsewhere. I'm sure she's very happy."
Whatever Royce was about to say was cut off, by the front door opening and closing. Both looked to see Cameron walk in the tense room.
He sensed something was wrong as soon as he saw the two practically toe to toe.
"Dear, is everything alright?" He asked, not taking his eyes off the unwanted guest.
Royce took a step back and turned, walking towards the door. "I was just leaving." He brushed past Cameron and opened the door. With his hand on the screen door, he turned back to Vera. "You have been very helpful, Vera. Oh, and when I do find her. I'll make sure you will pay."
And with that he walked out. Vera slid to the floor, confused as to what just happened. Cameron went over to comfort her and asked why Royce was in their home.
Royce left and returned to his car. He told Tom to go back to the apartment and they drove off. Maybe she didn't know anything, but that last thing she said fueled his curiosity more. Maybe this trail will lead to a dead end, but he wouldn't rest until he was positive.
He took his cell out his pocket and pressed a number on his speed dial. After a few rings, someone picked up.
"Josh." Royce said in the receiver.
"Hey, man. What's up? Are we still on for the Yankee game?" Josh asked on the other end.
"Yes we are, but that's not why I'm calling. I need your brother's number."
Royce shook his head. "No. Bryan."
"Oh, okay. Sure. But what do you need it for?"
"I'll tell you at the game." He smiled into the phone. "I'll see you later."
They said their good-byes and disconnected. Royce looked out the window of the dark sedan. He looked at the city, wondering if Madison was still alive, where was she hiding and how long would it take to find her.
Wow, longest chapter ever. Did you like? I hope you did.
Lots of stuff in this chapter. We meet Emmett and Vera, aren't they awesome? We see Royce again, did you miss him? I bet not. But most importantly, Rosalie met Emmett and boy did he have an impression on her. She will be seeing a lot of him too. What can I say? The guy's hooked, who wouldn't be?
Oh, if interested this is the trip Emmett went on: http:// www (dot)oars (dot) com/grandcanyon/rafting/leesferry-phantomranch (dot) html#Trip-Reviews
And some of you already have, but for new readers, I want to advertise my other story I just started. It's called The Diary of Alice Brandon. It features my favorite couple Jasper and Alice. So if you're Jalice fans as well, check it out. It's not as serious as this story, very lighthearted and fun.
Also, I was thinking of compiling outtakes for this story. Like if you want the full account on how Rosalie fell in love with cars or how she faked her death. Or anything at all, let me know.
So you know what to do…