'phfina prelude: What follows is an exact copy of the ghost-written chapter that Jocelyn Torrent published for her story Rose Read. Verbatim.
A/N: There's really no excuse for this delay. I'm sorry that it happened but this chapter is quite long and I hope it can satiate you until the next chapter arrives. I expect it will be much sooner. Thanks so much!
Bella and Rosalie were in their favorite position on the couch in the Cullen's living room.
Bella was snuggled into Rosalie's body, and Rosalie had her arm wrapped around Bella, protectively. They could have had more privacy at Charlie's, but talking with Charlie about their, well, what do you call it if it's not a relationship, but it is, but it isn't?
Their whatever-it-was was well-known, and accepted, by the Cullens. But Charlie? Bella cringed at the thought of saying: "Dad, um, when I say that I'm going out with Rosalie, it really means, um, like, um ..."
'Coming out' to Charlie? Bella just didn't know how to do that, because she just had no idea how he would react. It wouldn't be positive: his ambivalent feelings toward the Cullens (except Alice) were rather out in the open, and he grew up in a time where if a daughter said to a father: "Um, I guess I'm gay, Dad"? Those kids were sent off to the hospital in his day.
Bella didn't feel she could talk to anybody for help, either. Ask Alice? Sure ... but no. This was her own problem, between herself and Charlie. How could Alice help when Alice herself had such a horrible legacy left from her still unrecovered memory: "Mom, Dad, I can see the future" was what she said, and what they did was drop her off at the asylum where they burnt her brain to a crisp. Bella felt she could impose neither on Alice nor her gift to help solve this particularly thorny issue.
Besides the fact that all too recently Alice had told Bella she needed to work on solving her own problems herself more often.
Anyway, Rosalie was dead-set against any kind of any father-daughter talk until their relationship was more firmly settled. Rosalie refused to see what they had was a relationship until it was so mutually declared, and she absolutely refused to allow Bella to say "I love you" until Bella really knew what she was saying, and not just muddled from the emotions of rebounding from, well, somebody else and the disaster of a wedding and marriage that was just two days away from happening.
This was very, very frustrating for Bella who felt two months now — one month so alone at home, and then, that is, now, a month of doing things with Rosalie — was enough time to know what her feelings were. Apparently, Rosalie disagreed.
But that didn't stop them from letting their, well, feelings grow for each other, and spending time together, and doing stuff.
For Bella, 'doing stuff' or chilling or just relaxing was what they were doing now: watching a horror film. Bella loved reading, but that seemed to her to be a solitary enjoyment. Sure, she could read one of her classic romance novels, and Rosalie could read whatever she read in whatever language she read it in (Bella saw something that looked maybe like German? She wasn't sure. Then there was that book of squiggles that Rosalie absolutely refused to talk about at all with Bella), but that didn't give her a good excuse to snuggle into Rosalie like a good horror film did. And they decided to do this at the Cullens.
Sure there were the intrusions of Cullens coming and going, and sometimes staying to watch along with, but that was really fine. Bella and Rosalie, as they watched the movies, didn't grope or kiss or, well, neck. It was really just two girls watching horror films on the Cullen's TV, a bowl of popcorn cradled in Bella's arm, and Bella, wrapped in a blanket, cradled in Rosalie's arm.
And what a TV it was: Plasma? A 50" monstrosity? If Bella dared to think of the number she saw when she looked up the model on the internet, it was the number twenty, followed by three more zeros.
Twenty-thousand dollars for a television. That was more than half of Charlie's annual salary.
Charlie's TV didn't cost that much. Charlie's TV was bought years ago, and it was a good model, at the time, but now it seriously showed its age: there was an ever-present green splotch on the lower left corner, and the scan lines of the standard definition screen were now appallingly large.
Besides which, Charlie sometimes came home for lunch, just to spend time with his daughter, which was odd, because 'spending time' amounted to Charlie looking away from Bella looking away from him. And they didn't talk. Not that they were uncomfortable talking ...
Well, they were uncomfortable talking about anything dealing with ... anything in Bella's life. Girl things? Charlie avoided those topics like the plague. And if Rosalie were present, she became all stiffly, politely formal with him and with Bella. Putting Charlie off more, and leaving Bella really confused as to what to offer Rosalie. Something to eat?
So it turned out that when Charlie turned up, Rosalie always left soon after. So they were here, at the Cullens, in their favorite position.
Because they had recently just had their first fight, where they hadn't spoken for days! it seemed (actually it was hours, but for both, those hours were tortuous), and having made up, they couldn't get enough of each other's presence, and the contact through the bundling blanket was reassurance to both that the other was here, was real, was there ... for her.
And when a Cullen came in, Rosalie didn't feel the need to leave Bella. Just like now, when Alice came in. "What're you two watching?" she asked perkily.
Rosalie scowled at Alice over Bella's head — giving her sister a buzz off look — but Bella didn't see this at all, as she was staring intensely at the screen, absentmindedly moving popcorn from the bowl to her mouth.
"Alien," Bella answered distractedly, not taking her eyes off the screen.
"Ooh!" Alice squealed and sat down on the couch next to them, "one of my favorites! I don't know which I like better," she continued, gabbing, "this one or Aliens; they're both so good!"
"Shhh!" Rosalie hissed at her sister, not wanting Bella to be distracted from her position.
Alice gave Rosalie a look that was both amused and cross, a look filled with implications of talks to come after Bella was out of hearing range due to her being back home or asleep.
Rosalie raised an imperious eyebrow to her feisty sister. The look couldn't have articulated bring it on any clearer.
Bella, that oblivious human, furrowed her brow, as she was so lost in her movie and so slow compared to how vampires conveyed whole worlds of meaning so quickly.
"How can you say Alien and Aliens are both good?" she demanded, then explained: "Alien is the real movie; Aliens is like this stupid Starship Trooper knock-off. And how could you get worse than that movie? 'Go, citizen-soldiers, against bugs'? Please!"
"Uh, Bella," Alice corrected, "Aliens preceded Starship Troopers by more than a few years, and I think it was meant to be a parody."
"Huh?" Bella asked stupidly, eyes glued to the screen.
"Alice does have a point, Bella," Rosalie admitted gently to Bella and grudgingly to Alice. Rosalie hated admitting anything, even for another. "More than a few people prefer Aliens."
Rosalie grimaced here. One of the people that preferred Aliens was ... was, well, Emmett, of course. And he liked playing that game inspired by Aliens on the XBox called Halo. Who would have thought that Emmett, the sports jock, would have turned out to be quite the video game nerd?
But here Rosalie grimaced again, because she knew he wouldn't have distracted himself playing video games as much as he did ... if he had been otherwise occupied, as was so obvious to see that was what he really wanted.
And that was what Rosalie really couldn't give him.
Rosalie wondered sadly if Emmett was playing his beloved Halo in Denali now, or if he was otherwise happily distracted ... with Tanya.
"That's just silly," Bella huffed, "Alien and that third movie are way better than Aliens."
Here Rosalie and Alice looked at each other in disbelief. So, a case could be made for Alien over Aliens, perhaps, but Alien³? Neither vampire could justify any defense of that movie.
"Bella ..." Rosalie began gently.
But then Bella shrieked and Rosalie quickly grabbed the popcorn bowl away from Bella's flailing hand before popcorn went everywhere — this was a well-practiced maneuver on Rosalie's part, for she had learned to expect Bella's jumpiness when she watched horror and suspense movies ... Psycho, anyone? — and then Bella buried herself into Rosalie chest.
For on the TV, the cat, having been just found by the poor schmuck of the ship's janitor, or whatever he was, hissed as the alien lowered itself down from the overhead, right behind its intended victim.
When the man turned around and said 'Oh, my ...' Bella screamed and buried herself into her protector from that bad monster.
Alice looked over at the scene, not the one on the screen, but the one on the other side of the couch and smiled at Rosalie.
Rosalie rolled her eyes at her sister.
But then she turned tender. "It's okay, sweetie, it's over now, all right?"
Bella wasn't reassured. "You sure?" she demanded disbelievingly.
Rosalie sighed. "Yes, Bella, I'm sure, you hear that, they're onto the next scene already, okay?"
"But is the next scene scary?" Bella asked tentatively.
Rosalie smirked. Actually, she didn't find any part of the movie scary at all. The obvious comparison of alien-as-vampire could be made, and the alien, with its caustic blood, razor-sharp teeth, and well, total un-humanness, just didn't stack up against real life. Aliens may be more than a match for people with flamethrowers and cattle prods, but as Rosalie recalled from this movie's sequel, bullets tore them up rather effectively, and it required hundreds of aliens to take out a few space marines.
Bullets affecting a vampire? Not likely. And one vampire could take on that marine contingent, and hundreds more, without batting an eyelash.
What was on the screen, after all, was just a silly movie. The actor was now probably at the commissary buying lunch from the paycheck he just cashed.
But in the real world, vampires were preying on people just like that space-janitor. This movie didn't hold a candle to the real world.
Rosalie chose, however, to address Bella's question as it was intended. "No, sweetie," she said softy, "see, it's just a bunch of people talking, no big deal."
Bella dared a peek at the screen, then satisfied no monsters were jumping out of closets, she readjusted her position in Rosalie's lap, and Rosalie returned the popcorn bowl to Bella's expectant arms.
Bella resumed munching on the popcorn, once again absorbed by the movie.
Alice looked over at Rosalie, smirking, and buzzed an accusing: 'You are glowing!'
Rosalie snarled a hum in return: 'Don't you have somebody else to bug? Like, right now?'
Alice was unmoved. 'I have front row seats to the best show in town, do you think I'm just going to ...' she began.
But Bella interrupted her, waving toward the kitchen. "If you two are going to be buzzing to each other, do it over there and grab me a coke while you're at it, okay? 'cause somebody's watching a movie here!"
Alice couldn't have been more pleased at Bella's rebelliousness, as her tinkling laugher testified, but then Rosalie appeared very affronted.
"Excuse me?" she demanded coldly, her body becoming rigid.
"Uh," Bella backpedalled, "I meant ..."
Rosalie began to move Bella off her so she could stand up.
"I don't appreciate that tone, Bella, nor being taken for granted," Rosalie fumed. "You want to watch the movie by yourself, you go right ahead and enjoy it alone."
"No, please," Bella's demeanor entirely changed as she pleaded, "Rosalie, I'm sorry, I just ..."
But she didn't get to finish, for the alien now attacked the ship's captain in one of the shafts.
Bella screamed again, wrapping herself into Rosalie.
Rosalie looked down at Bella, angrily at first, but then shook her head. Rosalie was no stranger to carrying grudges, but the only way to carry this one would be to pull Bella off herself and push her away, when the only thing Bella wanted right now was Rosalie's comfort.
Visibly controlling her displeasure and forcing the grimace off her face, Rosalie sighed and wrapped Bella in her arms. If it was at all possible, Bella snuggled more into Rosalie's protective embrace.
"Is it over yet?" Bella asked meekly.
"Not quite yet, Bella, there's still some rending of limbs and ..." Rosalie answered.
"Don't describe it!" Bella cried, aghast, burying her head right into Rosalie's ... 'chest.'
"What are you talking about, Rosalie?" Alice whispered in a confused voice. "Everything's all clear again ..."
Rosalie shrugged, ever-so-slightly and whispered back: "I like the hugs," she explained.
Alice tsked. "You two!" she exclaimed as she rolled her eyes.
Rosalie smiled a very tiny smile. "Alice, dear," she asked in a normal voice, "would you mind, terribly, getting us a coke?"
Alice sighed, but she was clearly pleased as she got up, went to the kitchen and returned with the desired beverage. She even opened it for Bella, too.
"Here you go," she chirped at Bella, whose eyes were now glued to the screen again. Bella held out her hand absently. "Now, Bella, don't spill that on yourself," Alice warned. But for naught.
"Huh?" Bella asked again, as she raised the coke can to her lips but poured a good deal of it down her front before it reached her lips.
"Shoot!" she exclaimed.
Rosalie instantly paused the movie and grabbed the can right out of the air. It was still spilling and had somehow managed to slip from Bella's fingers.
"Oh, man!" Bella exclaimed. "I didn't know it was so full! I am such a klu-..."
"Bella!" Rosalie snapped. She couldn't abide Bella denigrating herself. Bella shushed, looking contrite. And wet, being covered in coke. In a more consoling tone, Rosalie offered: "I'll get you a new tee shirt, Bella." But as Rosalie offered this, she couldn't resist taking a very quick look.
Yes, indeed: the wet tee shirt ... accentuated Bella's elfin beauty.
"Um," Bella hesitated, "I'm not exactly your size, Rosalie." Bella couldn't help looking over Rosalie, but just to compare shirt sizes, of course.
Alice jumped in to the rescue: "I've got a spare!" she offered and was off in a flash.
But not before filling in the details in her own mind that Bella's wet tee shirt hid. And wondering when those two love birds would stop admiring each other from a distance and engage in more intimate admiration. Alice was so tempted to check here, but she was actually rather very much enjoying the anticipation of it all.
That, and all the UST that Jasper was picking up was making her own nighttime activities with Jas rather wild, randy and adventurous.
Alice couldn't help but wonder, with so much ... anticipation in the air ... would somebody spontaneously combust in the consummation? For surely, Jasper was on fire on the nights of Bella's visits.
Alice returned with one of her tee shirts. "Here ya go, Bella!" she practically vibrated with pleasure.
Bella cocked an eyebrow at her littler best friend. "Thanks," she said in that ever-cautious voice she said whenever she accepted anything from Alice.
Then: "Uh, I, uh, I'll just change shirts in the kitchen." Then Bella's lip stiffened and she pointed at both of them: "No peeking, you two!"
Rosalie held up her hands diplomatically, and Alice nodded enthusiastically. When Bella had turned and exited to the kitchen, a very wicked smile crossed Alice'sface.
'What?' Rosalie buzzed angrily.
Alice hummed a little tune, automatically masking her thoughts, even though Edward was no longer with them, because ...
The front door opened, and in walked Carlisle and Esme from their hunt. Carlisle kissed Esme and raced up to the library. Esme made to go to her study, but then smiled and turned to the kitchen.
"Esme ..." Rosalie called out, but too late.
"Bella," Esme said she walked into the kitchen, "can I make you someth-..."
There was a little gasp and a pregnant pause. Then a little Bella-squeak. Esme came out into the main room. She looked from Rosalie to Alice and back.
"Hm," she said, then she added, "I guess Bella doesn't need to wear a bra if she doesn't want to ..." then she shook her head: "What? Is this practice for when she's changed? I just don't understand the way people comport themselves these days ..." and was gone.
Alice tried very hard not to laugh ... too loudly.
Rosalie sighed: "Is Bella ever going to come out of there?"
Alice sniggered: "'Ever'? Well, maybe someday..."
Rosalie looked heavenward and stomped off to the kitchen. "Bella," she called, "the coast is clear now."
Bella was in the corner by the refrigerator, hands covering her face: "Oh, my God!" she whispered, in Alice's tee now, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"
"Bella," Rosalie said reassuringly, "it's okay now, okay? You're dressed again; Esme's gone."
Bella lowered her hands, she was holding her soaked tee shirt and bra. But Rosalie didn't notice this so much. What Rosalie noticed was that Alice's tee was Alice-sized. So it hugged Bella's form, rather tightly at that. Sure, Bella wasn't all that big, for she had paid a price for her lack of eating during Edward's long absence, and ... well, she wasn't as 'gifted' as Rosalie was, being an A-cup, but calling Alice a 'pixie' was entirely accurate: she didn't quite reach five feet, and if Bella was on the thin side, well, Alice resembled a bean pole.
So Alice could buy and wear the tee shirts modeled in Vogue by Elle and other supermodels all of whom ate a salad once a week, but Bella? In Alice's tee shirt?
Rosalie wondered, idly, if Esme saw Bella before or after she put on the new tee. Judging from Bella's mortification, it seemed that 'before' was the more likely answer, but seeing her with Alice's tee on, she also had to concede that it didn't matter much either way. It was very clear to Rosalie what Bella was wearing under that tee ... or more accurately, what Bella wasn't wearing under that tee.
Rosalie also noticed that Bella had had her appendix out, she could see the scar tissue ...
Then Rosalie's thoughts took a rather undisciplined turn about how she could help Bella change for the sleepover, well, maybe 'change' was the wrong word, just removing that tee to help Bella avoid suffocation and ... well ...
Rosalie's thoughts went from undisciplined to unmentionable, because she could see more than just the scar tissue from Bella's appendicitis. Rosalie noticed how the tee shirt outlined Bella's belly button, which was obviously an innie, and raking her eyes up quickly from there, she couldn't help but notice that the air conditioning in the house was affecting the stiffness of Bella's ...
Then she forcefully corralled herself. "Bella, come on now ..." she said consolingly, forcing her eyes level with Bella's eyes.
"My bra got wet, too!" Bella exclaimed pitifully.
Rosalie did in fact notice this detail, along with other details.
"Yes, Bella, it's o-..." Rosalie began.
"And Esme saw me!" Bella wailed.
Hm. It would appear that 'before' she put on the tee was how Esme did come across Bella, after all, then.
Alice's tinkling laughter in the other room, although too soft for Bella to hear, didn't help Rosalie's very precarious hold over her temper.
Rosalie sighed in exasperation. "Bella, do you want to call it a night?"
"Maybe I can just crawl under a rock?" Bella countered. "Do you think Esme would find me if I hid in the brook outside? Water masks scent, right?"
Rosalie shook her head sadly. Water did mask scent from predators if they were some animals ... but from vampires?
"Did you want me to just take you home now?" Rosalie offered solicitously.
"What?" Bella asked shocked, snapping out of her self-absorption. "We haven't, like, finished the movie or anything!"
Rosalie held out her hand. "Well, then, come on," she said as patiently as she could.
'Patiently' for Rosalie, that is.
Bella looked fearfully at Rosalie's hand. "Esme's not out there, is she?"
Rosalie worked hard at not stamping her foot. She wondered if reminding Bella that she had already mentioned that Esme was gone would help.
But, no, looking at Bella, Rosalie decided a reminder wouldn't help Bella's very delicate ego.
"Yes," Rosalie said calmly, "Esme's gone, Bella, so you can come out and finish the movie if you want."
"Can I ..." Bella essayed, "can I get another coke first? I spilled the other one before I got any, but I won't spill this one, huh? Please?"
Rosalie sighed, but then waved at the refrigerator, caught between amusement and annoyance at Bella's timidity. Bella was so much like a little girl! Could she have a coke? She could take home the refrigerator if she wanted to, or a new bed, or one of the cars to replace that hulking deathtrap of a truck she insisted on driving. She could even take two cars, if Charlie wanted one.
But that was the way Bella was. Here she had been practically living here since March 13th 2005, more than a year, but sometimes she even asked permission to use the bathroom, as if she were in high school still and needed a hall pass, or something.
Bella got out another can of coke. She then carefully approached Rosalie's extended hand. She put her hand in Rosalie's and gripped it very, very tightly. But she refused to step out on her own. Instead, Rosalie had to lead the way back to the TV, with Bella furtively peeking over Rosalie's shoulder, confirming for herself that the coast was clear.
When the wet clothes were taken from her from an outwardly disinterested Alice, Bella had to explain again to all present that she had to take off her bra because it was wet, too. Alice, cool as a cucumber, said she would have the wet clothes washed, and raced off, but not before raking her eyes appreciatively over Bella's very clearly delineated figure.
"Thanks for the help with the tee shirt," Rosalie called after her sister sarcastically.
"Entirely my pleasure," the impish reply floated back. "Oh, and good luck tonight, huh?"
Alice was very, very lucky Bella was now ensconced in Rosalie's lap, for if Rosalie was unencumbered by the delicate mortal parcel, Alice may have to have practiced her inimitable dodging from a furious Rosalie lunging at her for the rest of the night.
As it stood however, Rosalie had to suppress any outward sign that her sister's barb got to her, as the already skittish Bella didn't need any more encouragements away from a peaceful and calm environment.
That façade of calm Rosalie projected worked. It calmed Bella from her nervousness, and she returned to watching the movie.
They actually watched (nearly) three movies that day and into that night. It was movie night at the Cullens, and Bella, despite her usual reticence, chose all of them. The first was Alien, but then she chose a different kind of movie entirely: Near Dark.
Alice came in while it was playing and raised her eyebrow at Rosalie. "Is this ...?" Alice asked.
Rosalie rolled her eyes as Bella answered, "It's Near Dark, it's like really ..."
Alice interrupted, addressing Rosalie: "You're letting her watch this?"
"The problem is ...?" Rosalie demanded.
Apparently, Rosalie hadn't seen Near Dark. And apparently Alice had, for she just shook her head at her sister, and exited the house, car keys in hand, Jasper in tow.
If Alice's actions could be interpreted, then it could be thought that most anything was better than watching that movie, including, particularly, shopping with Jasper. Or maybe they would make a night of it?
But Rosalie discovered what the problem was with the movie herself when it got to the bar scene, where the civil war vet had the waitress put the empty glass down on the table, then he took out his knife ...
... and filled the glass with her blood. Or what used to be the blood of the now dead waitress.
That's when Rosalie took the remote and turned off the TV.
"What? Why?" Bella demanded, her brow furrowed.
Rosalie put Bella on the couch so that she could talk with Bella.
"Enough, Bella, that's enough of this crap!" Rosalie chided.
Comprehension dawned on Bella's face.
"Oh," she said, "you didn't like it because it was so gratuitous? So fakey?"
"Bella," Rosalie sighed, "It wasn't fake. I didn't like it not because it was so fake, but because it was so accurate."
"Huh?" Bella demanded, confused again. "But, you know, you're not like that ..."
"No, we're not," Rosalie agreed forcefully, "but vampires are! Are you forgetting James? And Victoria? Bella, sweetie, that movie we were just watching? Those poor, destitute vampires making sport of people? That's what being a vampire is. You've been so, so sheltered because you've encountered the civilized vampires, like the Cullens, and you'll meet the Denali coven, and the Volturi, but ..."
"The Volturi are civilized?" Bella countered hotly. Bella crossed her arms. Rosalie was quiet for a moment.
"Bella, sweetie," Rosalie answer quietly. "Yes. Yes, the Volturi are the height of refinement and civility in the vampire world, because they have, and follow, rules, but most vampires?"
Here, Rosalie waved at the screen.
She shook her head sadly. "Bella, you don't need to see this; you don't need to know this is how it is for almost all vampires in existence, okay? Because I have seen this in Atlanta and New York, and Alice has seen this all over the country. Why do you think she left with Jasper just now? And down South? Talk to Jasper when he gets back. Being a vampire is a horrible, terrible, pointless existence."
"Is this another lecture to talk me out of my decision?" Bella asked crossly.
Rosalie sighed. "Bella, no, honey. I don't understand your conviction on this, at all, but I'm trying to respect it, okay? Besides, the Volturi word is law: they say you have to be a vampire, you have to be a vampire, but this?"
At this point Rosalie waved at the screen again.
"I mean," she continued, "that's an option for you, if you decide to go solo, as was the option for me, but ... you're too sweet," here Rosalie paused and then glared angrily, "and too smart to descend to that, so I refuse to poison your mind with these images, okay? You want to what a scary movie, fine! You can watch a scary movie, but you want to watch a poisonous movie like this? Well, then, I have serious issues with that."
"Okay?" Rosalie finished harshly.
"Okay, okay!" Bella answered petulantly, "I got it, no vampire movies, jeez!"
Rosalie fumed. Bella entirely missed the point, which was it wasn't that it was a vampire movie that made it bad, it was that it was a bad movie that made it bad: it poisoned the mind with a way of looking at reality that was irredeemable.
But arguing with Bella more about this?
Rosalie was very good at arguing — haranguing was more like the correct word — but she saw that if she continued, just to make Bella understand, it would descend to her brow beating, as she always did when she argued with her family, but against Bella?
The night would be just so ruined.
Rosalie sighed and opened up her arms. Bella hesitated, but then fell into that embrace gratefully.
"I'm sorry," Rosalie said apparently so easily, even though those words in actuality were the hardest ones for her to say, "I just don't like that movie, all right?"
"S'okay," Bella sniffed, "besides, I've got one more, can we watch it, huh?"
"Bella," Rosalie scolded, "it's getting late, and you're here on a sleepover, not a movie marathon. Charlie won't be pleased if I bring you back tomorrow all bleary- and red- eyed."
"Please!" Bella begged, then pulled back and gave Rosalie the big eyes.
Rosalie looked away after a moment and muttered, "I can't believe I'm caving here."
Bella heard the mutter, and squealed with delight: "Yippee!"
She went to the DVD player and inserted the new movie, Jeepers Creepers.
The opening scene rolled as Bella snuggled back into Rosalie's embrace, and Rosalie, from the first moments saw exactly how the movie would go: a brother and sister? So affectionately squabbling over nothing? That is, so obviously loving?
One was to be sacrificed for the other, that's how these things always went, right? In horror movies 'love conquers all' has no place whatsoever.
So as the movie progressed as the monster attacked victim after victim, ever drawing nearer to the two siblings, Rosalie kept careful watch on the movie, unlike she usually did. Sure, she enjoyed the scary boo moments when Bella wrapped herself into Rosalie, but she was uneasy during the whole thing, debating with herself if she should stop this movie, too, or if that would be too controlling.
The credits finally did roll, and as they did, Bella wept.
"That was so sad!" she cried.
Rosalie held her.
"Why did the brother hafta die? Couldn't they have gotten the monster or something?" Bella demanded of Rosalie.
Rosalie sighed. Applying logic to a horror movie? Trying to make sense of it?
And the sad thing of the movie was that it, too, was accurate. It didn't have a Hollywood ending, it had a real ending, the monster walked away, and quite easily, too, with its intended victim.
So like what happens with vampires. They walk away with their victims, and it may be a brother or father or daughter, but there's nothing the people close to the victim can do.
Rosalie carried the crying Bella up to her room ... their room now in fact if not in deed.
"Come now, sweetie," Rosalie consoled, "wipe your eyes, wash your face, and brush your teeth, it's time for bed."
Bella went to their bathroom and did as ordered. She came back out, refreshed, face scrubbed, and pulled out her PJs from her duffle bag.
For the first time today, Rosalie looked horrified. "You're not going to wear that!" Rosalie ordered.
Bella looked confused. "What's wrong with my PJs?"
"A 'Colt Beer' tee shirt? Ratty sweat pants with holes?" Rosalie clarified.
"What?" Bella blushed. "They're comfy; and besides, nobody sees them."
Rosalie burst out: "I'll see them! Bella, no."
"Well," Bella countered, "This is what I packed," then she became defiant: "so ... this is what I'm gonna wear."
Rosalie glared at Bella, who quailed under the intensity of the stare. Eventually Rosalie said, "Well, fortunately for you, I have a closet full of nightwear. Stay right there, and do not change into that, you hear me?"
"Yes, ma'am," Bella answered meekly.
Rosalie came out with several options for Bella to wear: a ruby red Hanky Panky lace teddy, a pale lime chemise robe, an indigo baby doll, and an ivory spider web glimpse corset set.
Bella gaped. Then she gasped, "You sleep in that?"
Rosalie raised her eyebrow in confusion. "I don't sleep," she said.
"Well, I can't sleep if I'm wearing any of those. My God, Rosalie, how can you even look at those?"
"Wearing them is very liberating, Bella," Rosalie said easily. "You should try one of these on, as any of them will really loosen you up, and I've noticed you've been stressed of late."
Bella shook her head. "Rosalie ... no." Bella said firmly. "Wearing one of those things? I'll get more stressed, okay?"
"You could just try one of these on," Rosalie offered, "to see if you'd like wearing them. They are very comfortable ..."
"Rosalie, no. No, thank you," Bella said. "Don't you have anything more, um, ... well, less revealing?"
Rosalie sighed, "Actually these are some of my more demure pieces. I do have some one-piece slips ..."
Bella's interest perked up.
"... but they're all sheer or see-through." Rosalie finished.
And Bella's face fell.
"That's okay, Rosalie," Bella said quickly, "I'll just wear my sweats."
And then she barked out: "ESME!" scaring Bella with the loudness of it.
A quiet knock was heard at their door, and then Esme let herself in.
"Is there something wrong?" Esme asked, her voice filled with concern.
Rosalie pointed an accusing finger at Bella: "She's going to wear that and ... and she refuses to wear any of my decent alternatives!"
If you placed a three-year-old girl right beside Rosalie, you would be hard pressed to determine who would be more mature. Rosalie was being a petulant tattletale.
"Decent?" Bella countered, affronted.
Esme came between Bella and Rosalie and held up two hands. "Girls. Girls!" shecommanded.
When silence reigned, Esme said calmly, "I think I can resolve this little issue. Bella, would you come with me, please?"
Esme escorted the confused Bella out of the room, ignoring Rosalie's glare. She hissed back at Rosalie, 'Change into your night clothes, and change into a nice host, if you please.'
'Hostess!' Rosalie hissed right back, 'And don't you dare harm Bella, or so help me ...'
'Please, Rosalie!' Esme rejoined, 'that was eighty years ago, and Bella is my daughter, okay? Just as you are. I didn't hurt you when you were still human, and I won't hurt her, now. Do as you're told.'
'Don't you ord-...' Rosalie began. But Esme gently, but firmly, closed the door behind her.
"Now, Bella," she said sweetly, as she pulled the newest addition to the family toward her bedroom.
Rosalie fumed for a moment, but then became thoughtful as she returned to her closet. What to wear; what to wear! She thought excitedly to herself. ...
Bella returned dressed for bed. She was in Pine Cone Hill flannel pajama set: a collared, buttoned, long-sleeved blouse and pants with large red and green floral print in a festive spray.
Rosalie looked her up and down. "You look ... nice," Rosalie sounded surprised at this fact.
Bella also looked like a very prim and proper Esme in those PJs, too.
Bella, on the other hand, could not look at Rosalie at all, and colored a crimson brighter than the floral print.
The scent of that hit Rosalie hard before she could hold her breath, and the venom was very painful as she forcefully swallowed it.
"I see," Bella said, "what you mean by 'see-through' on your slips."
"Shall we go to bed?" Rosalie asked, businesslike.
Bella nodded and walked, eyes firmly fixed on the floor, to the bed and quickly hopped under the covers.
Rosalie joined Bella on the other side of the bed. Bella turned to her side, facing away from Rosalie, her most comfortable sleeping position, then snuggled into Rosalie's side.
Rosalie wrapped her arms around Bella. Her body encircled Bella's protectively.
After a moment of silence, Bella asked: "Rosalie, how come you aren't wearing a bra?"
Rosalie was quiet for a moment, then said, "You've felt our skin, sweetie. You feel it now. We are stone. We don't need the support any more than statues do. I don't need to wear panties, either, because vampires don't urinate."
Bella asked humbly, "Does that mean you don't, you know, ... pee?"
Rosalie smiled quietly to herself, "Yes, Bella, that what it means."
"Oh," Bella said quietly.
Rosalie also quietly reflected to herself that she didn't have any kind of involuntary discharge, but although Rosalie didn't necessarily miss her menstrual flow, she did miss what it signified. So she didn't mention this because talking about 'pee' with Bella was already probably too much for her. Talking about menses? Probably too much for both of them, especially as Bella needed to sleep, and lots of thinking and caring woke Bella, not put her in a restful state.
So Rosalie simply said: "Yes, but I felt you would be more comfortable if I wore panties, so I did."
"Thank you for wearing them, Rosalie," Bella said humbly.
"You're welcome, Bella. Will you sleep now?" Rosalie asked kindly.
"Yeah," Bella answered lazily. "G'night, Rosalie."
"Good night, Bella," Rosalie answered.
"I lov-..." Bella began.
Rosalie's finger touched Bella's lips.
"Shhh, honey, sleep now." Rosalie said.
"When can I say it?" Bella asked.
"When you are ready, when you mean it, and when you know what you mean," Rosalie said gently.
"I'm ready now, Rosalie." Bella answered.
"You're ready to sleep, Bella, so do that, and we can talk on the morrow, okay?"
"Okay," said Bella sadly, and then slept. ...
And it may have happened at some point in the night, that Bella may have had a dream, and she may have cried out that the 'Jeepers Creepers monster' was going 'to get' her.
And Rosalie may have held Bella, and rocked her, and whispered consoling words to her and whispered rueful words that the only monster that 'got' Bella was the monster now holding her, but her ruefulness turned to tenderness as she sang Bella a soothing lullaby.
But that may have just been a dream.
And it may have been another dream of Bella's that she sighed, and hummed, and called out Rosalie's name.
And Rosalie may have raised her head to and asked, "What is it, Bella?"
But Bella may have moaned, and rubbed her feet together, and rubbed her body against Rosalie's ...
And Rosalie may have found out from experiencing Bella's dream first hand, and from hearing Bella's sounds of longing, and from feeling Bella's intimate touch, ... well, Rosalie may have found that she may possibly have felt things she never had felt before, felt feelings and sensations, and she may have, at that moment, found that she did need to be wearing the panties for more than just the reason of easing Bella's embarrassment ...
But that may, too, have been a dream that Bella had.
Because the next morning Bella found herself firmly anchored in her protector's arms who kissed the crown of her head and asked if she slept well.
Bella answered, covering her mouth from her human breath that she did, so she received another kiss on the head.
"Let's get you some breakfast and back to your house, Bella," Rosalie said softly, and rose from the bed, dressing vampire-quickly in her private closet that was bigger than Bella's room back home, and then leaving the bedroom to allow Bella her human moment.
But wait. Didn't Rosalie wear lavender colored panties under her slip last night? Because, weren't they pale pink ones as she got up to change this morning?
Bella wasn't sure as she got up to brush her teeth, but she was sure of one thing: Esme was not going to cook her a werewolf-sized breakfast this morning.
What? Did they think her name was Gretel and that she had to be fattened up for the kill?
Hm. Maybe that kind of humor would be out of place here, Bella reflected ruefully ... like watching vampire movies in a house full of, ... well, vampires.
All of whom she loved.
Bella sighed, finished brushing her teeth, got dressed in her jeans and brown sweater, and headed downstairs for breakfast.
A/N: "Book of Squiggles" can be found in geophf's My Sister Rosalie story. I can't say the chapter because A) I can't remember it and B) you really should read the whole thing. Also, if you'd like, don't forget to check out 'phfina's take on what happens after Rose Read :D
'phfina postlude/dedication/end note: Paige, I told you I wrote this story/chapter 'to help you.' That's not my full meaning. I wrote this story for you.
I dedicate this one-shot to the writer Jocelyn Torrent, her story Rose Read, and all its readers and reviewers. I wrote this one-shot for you, for all of you.
I love you all. So much.
And to you, O Muse, you harsh Mistress, how cruelly do you torment us until we write exactly what you want us to write and exactly how you want us to write it, regardless of what story we wish to be working or that we have lives or anything. But then, o! how much crueler you are to us when you abandon us completely, for days, for weeks, for months! Not that we don't deserve your disdain, for we bitterly complain when we are under your lash, but then we lament all the more when you depart from us.
Paige, I am glad you have your Muse back. I put everything that I am into this chapter for you, and I love this work. What I love more? That it has reignited your inspiration. Nobody can write Rose Read like you do, sweetie, so do your finals, and write when you will, and write in the way that only you can, my dear.
 The Agnus Dei is a Latin chant in the Old Tradition, it means 'Lamb of God,' and has, of course, significance to the Twilight canon in that Bella is the lamb always lead to the slaughter or sacrificed to the God-like monsters ever surrounding her. But this chant has significance to this one-shot particularly because Paige asked me to title it with an Alien theme. My story Our First Time, chapter 1 explains the particular meaning of the Agnus Dei to Bella (and the more than a bit of trouble and misunderstandings that preference stirs up), even though she and I may be the only two people in the universe that prefer Alien³ over the others in the 'quadrilogy.' But that's me and that's Bella, sad little girls, sad little lambs that like to read (and to write) sad little stories.