The Short Human Life of Rosalie Hale
Chapter 20: Halo
Remember those walls I built?
Well, baby they're tumbling down,
And they didn't even put up a fight,
They didn't even make a sound.
I found a way to let you in,
But I never really had a doubt.
Standing in the light of your halo,
I've got my angel now.
Halo by Beyonce
It had been a couple of weeks since that hunting trip and everything had changed. Now, I knew something I had always been terrified to admit.
I was attracted to Emmett McCarty.
There was something in the way he looked at me, something in his now golden eyes that made me shiver. Emmett would talk to me and I would find myself staring at a feature of his face, a foreign feeling burning in the pit of my stomach. I never knew if he caught me or not, but curiously I found him staring at me just as much. There was mounting tension between us; I was absolutely horrified at the aspect of possibly falling for another man, considering what happened to me the last time I did. So, I figured I better keep my feelings hidden. However, this was easier said than done.
Every time we were alone, I felt an urge to take our friendship to the next level. Things got especially difficult when I was thirsty; it was like the thirst controlled my body, too. Ever since that moment in the woods, there were these feelings I couldn't even begin to understand; I recognized small underlying emotions I could detect that were similar to how I felt about Royce roughly two years ago; however what I felt for Emmett was something different... something more.
I was still in charge of Emmett for hunting trips, which mildly annoyed him, but he never really expressed these thoughts in words. Edward would chuckle when I asked him if he knew the reason for Emmett's silence, which only confused me more. Edward admitted to me that he hadn't intended to read Emmett's thoughts, but apparently Emmett was harder to ignore than all the rest. 'It's like he's shouting them at me,' Edward moaned one day after a particularly long hunt. 'I can't block him out.'
I was stupefied at Edwards actions throughout the first week; when he went to Carlisle over Emmett's 'crude' thoughts, I started to become angry. Edward had always told me everything before, but now it was like he wanted to talk to anyone but me. I gave it a few more days, but there wasn't a doubt in my mind; Edward was avoiding me.
Then, things became stranger as I noticed something new. Not only was Edward staying away from me, but he was avoiding Emmett as well.
Fed up with his actions, I was now standing at the door to the kitchen. My fist was raised and if I were to move it slightly, it would knock on the door. I knew that Esme would be in there, cleaning the already spotless counters, and I didn't know anyone else that I could talk to. She would know better than anyone what to do; from what I remembered, she had been through the same issues. Now she was perfectly happy with a husband and family; something I knew deep down that I really wanted. Although, I knew a husband was the last thing on my mind right now, I needed to sort out my feelings about Emmett fast before they grew into anything I couldn't handle.
I took a deep breath, closing my eyes and gathering my nerve; would Esme really understand? She was the only one in this house that could possibly sympathize with me, so I would take my chances. It was times like these were I really missed Vera; before, when I was human, I would always go to her with my problems. Now, my best friend wasn't an option. Of course, things had changed now and Emmett was my best friend. Therefore, I couldn't possibly talk to my best friend about my feelings, since these feelings were about my best friend.
Taking one last deep breath, I smelt the distinct scent of chocolate and cinnamon. Just like I thought, Esme was in the kitchen. I listened closer and I heard her soft voice humming to herself a tune I had often heard Edward play. Before I could convince myself otherwise, I moved my knuckles connect with the glossy wood of the door. Repeating the motion twice, I heard her gentle humming stop.
"Come in," Esme said, no louder than if I had been right beside her.
Hesitantly, I opened the door. There was a light creak in the door jam, that no human would've been able to hear, but Esme still murmured a quiet, "I should fix that."
I stepped through the threshold, unsure and timid, though I had never been that way around Esme. I could see that my lack of self-assurance startled Esme as she looked me over. Her eyes widened as she glanced at my face, which I was sure looked terrified.
"Rosalie?" She asked, her voice full of doubt. She cleared her throat, "What do you need, sweetheart?"
I took in a shaky breath, although I wasn't entirely sure why I was scared. After all, this was Esme, the closest thing I had ever had to a mother. Weren't teenage girls supposed to rely on their mothers to help them through times such as these? My human mother hadn't ever done anything of that nature for me in my previous life, Vera had always been the one there for me in moments of hardship (not that their had been many of those times when your family gave you everything you could ever want). In truth, I just needed someone to assure me these feelings I had so recently discovered weren't going to hurt me in the end. I could even begin to think about trying to control them, they were raw and more intense than I had ever experienced. I had let these emotions fester up inside me like a deadly disease waiting to consume my body, they had manifested to such a point where I knew that while I should hide them, I would never really be able to do so.
"Rosalie?" Esme asked again, he voice was so full of worry. " What's happened? What's the matter?"
I looked at her, not saying anything because I wasn't exactly sure how to begin. Her face grew more and more worried with the time that elapsed. I wanted to tell her, to get it off my chest, but I couldn't do it, the words caught in my throat. I felt my venom prickle the edges of my eyes, like tears would if they were possible. However, the moisture would never spill past my lower eye lid, no matter how much I wanted it to. Would it really help me to cry? I didn't understand what I was feeling, all the pent up emotions just kept adding to the fire that was almost as intense as the flames that had changed me into a vampire. Yes, it would be wonderful to cry.
I just kept looking at Esme's face, not sure why this was so hard to talk about. Then, the answer came to me as quickly as I had thought about it. Royce's laughing face shone in front of my empty eyes, his body torturing mine to near death, and I would've died if it hadn't been for Carlisle. I saw Royce's light blue eyes morph into the familiar gold I had grown so accustomed to. I saw his face slowly morph into Emmett's, still laughing still laughing as he beat and raped me, leaving me dying in the cold, dark streets of Rochester. This was my worst fear; I was terrified that if I let my feelings be known for Emmett, then I would end up even more damaged than before, if that was even possible.
I continued to remain silent, debating my choice of words. Esme's expression was now one of pure terror.
"Rosalie... Did you?"
I saw her carefully examine my eyes, looking for something as her tense body relaxing as she either found or didn't find what she was looking for. It took me a second to comprehend what she was asking.
Then, I put the pieces together and was immediately alarmed at Esme's assumption.
"No! I would never!" I thought the fact that I had carried a bleeding Emmett hundreds of miles by myself was proof enough that I would never, under any circumstances, hunt a human. Then again, what else had I expected Esme to think? My hesitancy to answer could've proposed numerous outcomes to someone unaware of my current situation.
Esme frowned. "Then what's wrong?" Her motherly worry soothed my fears and gave me the courage to speak.
I took a deep breath before I began, closing my eyes like what I was about to say hurt me tremendously, but maybe it did. If I told Esme, I wouldn't be in denial anymore; someone else would know about my feelings.
"Esme, can I ask you something?" I asked, my voice small and scared. I opened my eyes to look at her, hoping I would see something in her face to keep my talking. I needed a mother right now.
She placed her cleaning tools carefully on the counter, giving me her full attention. "Of course," she said.
"Well," I said, taking another deep breath. I knew for sure that if I were human, I would've hyperventilated. "I wanted to ask you... about you and Carlisle." Esme's eyebrows shot up at this.
"What about us?"
"I-I know you had the same... problems as I did in the past. I wondered how..." I trailed off, leaving the question open ended because I wasn't quite sure how to ask it. Thankfully, Esme apparently understood what I meant. She looked at me in all seriousness as she chose her words carefully.
"When Carlisle saved me, I wasn't sure about my feelings for him anymore. You see, I had waited so long for him to return when I was sixteen that I eventually gave up hope. When I awoke to this life and Carlisle was the first thing I saw, I thought I had died; here he was, the man I had fallen in love with at the young age of sixteen, the man who had left me without a word. Naturally, after all the pain and suffering, I thought I finally was given a reward. When I discovered that I wasn't dead or dreaming and was in fact alive with Carlisle, it created a distance between us. We hadn't talked in so long, and I wasn't sure of his feelings for me anymore. I doubted him when I shouldn't have. The rift between us only caused this pain for the both of us, and for Edward, too. Our pain was his pain, he could hear all the thoughts we had, though he tried not to. Soon, he began to avoid us both, and later left to begin what he calls his 'rebellious period'."
I at Esme, and saw a piece of knowledge there I had hoped she hadn't picked up. Edward had avoided them, too? Could this possibly tie in with his strange behavior at the moment? Then, I thought even harder; Esme said that the tension between herself and Carlisle eventually caused Edward to leave. Would that same tension between Emmett and I result in the same disastrous consequences?
As if she was immune to my internal struggle, Esme continued.
"It was, of course, difficult to learn to trust again after what Charles did to me. It wasn't rape, but it was loveless and so was of equal status. I couldn't help but see his face every time Carlisle touched me, kissed me. I was terrified that if I gave in to my feelings, then I would end up even worse than before." My mouth dropped and my eyes widened; I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Esme's story and what I felt right now. Unfortunately, Esme noticed my expression, acknowledging it with a knowing smile.
"You know, Rosalie, I wondered how long it would take you to realize what I saw from the moment you brought Emmett here, bleeding as you held your breath. Only true love could have given you such restraint, and a love like that should not be taken lightly." Her smile only grew wider as she crossed the room towards me, and enveloped me in a firm hug. I felt the venom prickle in my eyes as I hugged back. Talking to Esme was much better than talking to Vera; sometimes a mother, rather than a friend, was necessary to overcome the demons that plagued this life. I felt Esme's small hand rub my back like a mother would a baby; the gesture made me love her natural affinity to motherhood. It really was a shame that she could not conceive a child of her own, for surely it would be the most blessed child ever to live.
"Esme," I said, my voice soft as though I had been crying, though my face was still dry, "I'm just scared. I don't know how to tell him, or if I want to. What if I get hurt? I see Royce every time we get close, I can feel them beating me all over again... I don't think I could bear it if-"
"Rosalie," she interrupted, "There isn't any sense in being so afraid. I promise, Emmett will show you how to heal. All you need to do is trust him."
I wanted to believe Esme's words, but I knew trusting someone was easier said than done.
However, I knew it had to be done. So, against my better judgement, I let go of my mother and nodded. I felt the terror building up inside me as I headed towards the door to the living room, where the stairs there would in inevitably lead me to Emmett's room.
I gripped the golden door handle, turning it slightly and the door opened just enough to let air from the next room filter in. It was tainted with a fresh mixture of peppermint and sunshine. Emmett had been here not more than a few seconds ago.
My eyes widened as a sudden noise pulled my attention to the front of the room. A door slammed at I saw Emmett himself race out the door and into the nearby forest before I could comprehend what was happening.
He had heard.
I raced through the forest, following the scent Emmett left behind. I pushed my legs faster and faster, the forest around me morphed into a brown and jade blur. I couldn't run fast enough, I could almost feel my dead heart pounding as I ran as fast as I could through the maze.
As I ran, I couldn't help but worry about what exactly Emmett had heard. Did he hear the truth? My mind flashed back to the part in the conversation where I admitted what I saw every time we were close, the thoughts of Royce and his friends touching me sending chills up my spine, causing the rift that was forming between Emmett and I. Was Emmett angry with me for not telling him the entire truth about my past? I couldn't help but acknowledge the feelings of dread that spread through the pits of my stomach, confirming my worst fears. Of course he was mad at me, he had every right to be; I would be furious, too. He told me without hesitation all the details of his past, while I sat there, lying to him. He was my best friend, yet I could not confide in him with my deepest secrets. I was an awful friend; why would he ever want more from me if I couldn't even be an honest friend?
That last thought shook me to my core. Once again, my eyes prickled with tears of hurt.
Emmett didn't want me the way I wanted him. It was an impossible fantasy. I saw all those dreams I had once envisioned of love and being loved in return crashing down on me with the realization of the harsh reality that I was now living. I was incapable of love, a creature of darkness; Esme had tried to show me how to be like her, to be loved, but I failed.
I never meant for Emmett to find out this way, through hearing a conversation about him through a door. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. Despite his lack of feelings for me, I raced on, knowing I had to set the record straight and tell him the truth to his face. It would take all the strength that I had left, but it would have to be done.
I had been running for hours without end, still following the trail of peppermint and sunshine that Emmett left behind. Inhaling the aroma quickly through my nostrils was the only way I could have a chance at seeing him again. I couldn't see him, he was to far ahead, his newborn strength propelling him forward faster than the speed of light through the trees, leaving me behind in his wake.
Soon, night began to fall. Darkness creeping into the trees overhead, stealing the diamonds away from my pores to where I looked remotely human again. In the darkness, I could pretend. However, my new fantasy was soon shattered as a different scent came upon me. It was human.
I stopped running, the scent sending a shock through my body into my heart. Something, someone was hurt. I looked around for evidence, immediately spotting the culprit at my feet. The leaves at my feet were colored a dark red-brown. It was blood infused with the curious scent of peppermint and sunshine.
Looking around for the first time since I began chasing after Emmett, I discovered the leaves were not the only thing colored in the blood, but the bushes, the trees and even some of their branches were doused with the peculiar dried liquid. Frowning, I tried to make sense of the scene; Emmett couldn't bleed, he was a vampire now...
Then as soon as I thought about it, it occurred to me; and I saw the setting in a whole new familiar light.
I recognized the trees, the bushes, and the blood. It had been a while since we were here, but the gory scene was so familiar it was like yesterday. I could feel the feather light weight of a human body in my arms, I could hear the labored breaths of the dying man in my arms. The prayers that plead for the survival of this man ran frantically through my head once again. Dazed, I continued much slower to where the fresh scent of peppermint and sunshine led. However, I didn't need the new scent to tell me where to go; I already knew.
Pushing past the fallen trees that increasingly became more bloody as I trudged on, I saw an opening ahead. There was a clearing.
I stopped at the edge, and saw two figures there lying in the meadow. One was Emmett, the other was alarming to say the least. He lay beside the rotting, mangled corpse of the grizzly bear; the body was decomposed after these few months so that I could hardly tell what it was. Emmett lay there, staring at it, and even in the dark I could see the emotions in his eyes. This creature had taken away his life. I sucked in a ragged breath as I felt my throat constrict. I knew Emmett heard me, but he didn't turn around.
"It's strange, isn't it?" He whispered, his voice rough. "How one creature can make such a difference in another's life. How a simple provocation can lead to something that can change a person forever. A touch from a hand or a paw can end a life, just in time to start a new one." I felt a pain in my chest, his voice was so distant, but somehow that was even worse than any rebuke or frustrated yell I could've received. "Rosalie, why didn't you tell me?" His voice was constricted with immense pain. I flinched, the calm accusation burned me like the fire of the transformation. I couldn't answer, so I didn't; I don't know what he took from my silence, but he continued anyways. "I look at this bear, and I see him now. I don't even know what he looked like, this Royce guy, but I see him. He ended your life, Rosie, the way this bear ended mine. But, you know, I wouldn't take it back for anything if it means I couldn't see you again. It was all worth it, all because I met you at this spot right here." I wanted to something, say anything, his words pressing on my heart, almost enough to restart it. I couldn't find the nerve to do anything though, so I stayed where I was, silent as ever. "I didn't know what to do, Rosalie, I started to panic when I felt something. You're so beautiful, Rosie, and I'm sure this Royce guy was handsome. I bet he was rich, had a nice house and all. I wasn't rich, Rosalie. Before all this happened, I lived in a small cabin in the middle of the woods. I'm like that guy your friend married, Benjamin. I don't have anything to offer you but how I feel about you." Feel about me? But he wasn't supposed to return my feelings, that was the whole point. At this point, I decided I couldn't stay silent any longer. I went to sit beside Emmett on the grass the was covered in his own dried blood. I looked up into his black eyes and saw unrestrained emotion there.
"And what do you feel about me?" I asked my voice small and timid. If he hadn't been a vampire, he wouldn't have heard it.
"Well," he said, turning himself to face me, "I'm not quite sure." He smirked before he added, "but I think I love you, Rosalie."
Despite everything that I'd been through, despite that we were in the middle of a bloody meadow where he had lost his life, I smiled. I could see it in his black eyes that he meant it with every part of his being. Seeing his complete sincerity, I responded, " I love you, too."
There, under the stars, I saw Emmett's face illuminated my the white light of the moon, the light creating a halo behind his head. I placed my fingers in his wonderful brown curls, looking into the black pools of emotion that swan in his eyes. He slowly leaned closer to me, inch by inch, before hesitantly touching his lips to mine. I was enveloped by the wonderful scent of peppermint and sunshine.
A/N: I know, I'm horrible for leaving you all for so long. But here it is! I hope you liked it! If you want to know what happens next, please leave me one of those lovely reviews!
Oh, by the way the reason for the delay is the wonderful thing that all students have to go through called final exams for the fall semester. Actually, I should be studying at the moment, so I'll go ahead and do that ;)
Lots of Love,