Disclaimer: I realized earlier that I hadn't put a disclaimer on this story. Oops! At anyrate, like all the stories on here, I don't own the familiar characters/names, but I do own the plot.
A/N: I LOVE reviews...They really do encourage me to keep writing...just sayin'
The week both dragged and flew simultaneously. Rosalie spent some time in her parents' music room, working on a piano piece that she was supposed to perform at the university after Christmas. Otherwise she mostly kept to herself, seeing her mother for evening meals, and her father far less frequently. She checked her cell phone as infrequently as possible to save herself the pang of disappointment when she saw, yet again, no messages or calls from Emmett.
And if she was completely honest with herself, she was waiting, expecting a call. That was Emmett. He was a chaser. She'd say no, and he'd come on stronger. And he wasn't this time, which made her nervous. It made her realize that they were really, truly over. And that thought was like driving a hot knife through her heart.
And to make matters worse, on Wednesday she had an appointment with Dr. King. Dr. King made her extremely uncomfortable, but in order to stay in Lillian's good books, Rosalie had agreed to therapy with him. Remaining in Lillian's good books was pertinent, as she had no other place to live. If she needed to sit through an hour a week with Dr. King to keep a roof over her head until she was ready to live alone, she wouldn't hesitate to do so. She wasn't willing to take her mother's money to pay rent, or to buy a house, and deal with the ever present scrutiny that would come with living somewhere her parents' had paid for, but she was willing to allow them to pay Dr. King for his useless services.
And to make matters even worse, it was Wednesday, and she'd just heard Magda let Dr. King in and show him to the study. As she entered, she noticed him seated before her, hair slicked back harshly, too dark against his sunless skin, waiting for her.
"Good afternoon Rosalie," he greeted her smoothly. Rosalie stood in the doorway, eyes hard, looking past him towards the outdated dusty rose drapes blocking the sun. "Have a seat," he requested jovially, showing her the sofa with his right hand. She glided effortlessly and silently across the room and folded herself to a sitting position across from him. "Your mother tells me you've agreed to weekly sessions. I think that's a great start. If you're uncomfortable in anyway having the sessions in your mother's house, please let me know and we can arrange for us to meet at my home office instead." His lips curved up into what appeared to be a placating smile; one intended to smooth everything over and make the patient comfortable and warm. Rosalie marveled at Dr. King's nearly flawless acting skills.
"I think I prefer the convenience of home," she informed him, her twisting fingers the only outside clue to her discomfort.
"Good good," Dr. King muttered, tapping his heavy pen on his legal pad. He shifted in his chair and looked back up at her, pale eyes piercing. "Is there anything you'd like to talk about today?"
His body language was open, welcoming, calm. His legs were crossed over at the knee, his shoulders back but not tight, and his gaze soft. Rosalie didn't doubt for a second why people were comfortable talking to him. He was attractive, but his good looks weren't intimidating. Rather his friendly smile put people at ease, and his pale eyes, though cold in colour appeared happy. To see Dr. King walking down the street, he appeared an upstanding, average citizen. There wasn't an air of drama or trauma surrounding him, no signs of discomfort or unhappiness. He appeared completely the content middle class gentleman with a liking for khakis.
But although Rosalie could view him like an outsider would consciously, subconsciously she was anything but comfortable in his presence. She found his smile too friendly, bordering on intimidating, and she didn't like the fact that he already knew all of her family's secrets. The kind of power that gave him terrified her.
"We could talk about why you chose to move back in with your parents," he suggested. She watched his tongue dart out to wet his lips and she felt her back prickle nervously.
"I needed a change," she replied quickly, hoping if she answered some questions she'd be free to go.
"A change," he pondered aloud. "You needed a change, and so you returned to what was once familiar. Why do you think that was, Rosalie?"
"It means it was my only viable option," she snapped, dark eyes rising to meet his light ones, facing him down in some kind of undetermined challenge.
"I think it's because you missed something," he paused for effect and leaned forward, tenting his fingers. "Or someone." She watched his mouth quirk up into a half smirk, unable to look away, feeling more and more uncomfortable with every passing second. "Is there someone you missed, Rosalie?"
Rosalie sighed a deep sigh, and leaned back, away from him and into the back of the sofa. "I didn't miss anyone. I just needed a change," she droned, wishing the hour was over and her discomfort could be ignored for another week.
She watched him, eyes widening as she saw him push himself from the chair and cross the room towards her. He crossed his arms over his chest and peered at her through his glasses. "Perhaps you missed me, Rosalie?" His voice was soft, but she thought she detected an underlying threat. She felt cold, as though he was blocking the sun, and she shivered despite herself. "I can't imagine a better reason to enroll in therapy sessions you clearly feel you have no need for. You've spent the past twenty minutes staring at me, taking me in; your longing obvious. You're unhappy not because of what has or hasn't happened in your past, but of what you haven't had." He reached out and cupped her chin between his thumb and forefinger, taking in her wide, scared eyes and her pinched mouth. "Relax," he crooned in a voice that was anything but soothing. "Your secret's safe with me."
Emmett stood in front of the kitchen sink looking through the window into the back yard. He was mindlessly twisting a dish cloth around a coffee mug for what seemed like the thousandth time, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. It had been nearly a month since Rosalie left, yet it seemed to him like her ghost still hung in the air around him, taunting him. He washed the dishes only because he knew that she hated them left cluttering up the counter, he sat on his end of the couch, still uncomfortable with stretching out to take the whole thing. Once he swore he saw her blonde curls disappearing through the bedroom door, but when he got there he realized it was just a trick of the light. He was missing her far more than he was willing to admit to anyone and his inability to move on even in the smallest of ways terrified him to no end. Just the other day, for instance, he had taken the laundry out of the dryer and began to fold his t-shirts. Half way through folding them in triangles, the way he had always preferred folding them, something struck him and caused him nearly to choke back a sob, and he realized that Rosalie hated when he folded t-shirts in triangles. He'd gone back and re-folded all of his t-shirts into neat squares because the pain it caused him to do anything that might upset her, even in the tiniest way, was too strong. It was as though she'd never left, except to anyone else Emmett just looked like an obsessed man with an empty house.
He put down the now sparkling coffee mug and swiped his hands dry on his jeans. The sun was setting and he could barely see the swing where he hadn't sat since the day she'd spilled those fateful words. He turned away; glad that darkness was shrouding the memories, letting them sit away in a closed box for another night. He wandered across the house and down the hall, passing the bathroom and the smaller bedroom, and stopping at the end. To the right was the room they'd shared, where love had been made, and shown and spoken of. And to the left was a door that hadn't been opened in a month. He'd come home after she had gone, and closed the door to the room, not bothering to check whether or not the window was open to the elements. It had always been her room. He'd never ventured into it much before, and he certainly hadn't since, but on this particular night the door was calling for him, appearing eerie with the shadows and the street lights coming through the windows of the house. Light danced across the door knob, warping it and making him want to reach out and stop the psychedelic patterns from making him queasy. Against his own will his arm reached out and his huge hand hid the door knob from view, the light dancing now on his taught skin instead of the metal of the handle. He turned the knob slowly, afraid of what kind of emotions might run through him when the door opened completely. He acknowledged, if only to himself, that the fear of facing her, or the lack of her, was crippling him. His performance at work was suffering, he hadn't spoken to his friends save for a few quick text messages since before she'd left, and he'd been ignoring his family. The messages from his mother were piling up on the answering machine, sounding more and more worried as the blinking red number grew. He knew he should call her, but part of him wanted the other people in his life to feel just as unhappy as he was. He didn't want to be alone in his edginess, teetering on that fine line between angry and scared and just plain devastated.
His brief conversation with the bartender had been his only real social interaction in the more than four weeks since Rosalie had left. No. Since he'd sent Rosalie away. He hadn't been back to the bar, though he often wondered if maybe he should go back. He'd always found bar tenders the easiest to talk to, whether it was because he'd never need to see them sober, or because it's easier to talk with strangers he wasn't sure, but he was sure if he went back to the bar to talk to Bella the bartender, it wouldn't have the same effect the second time around. She wasn't a random stranger if he sought her out specifically.
His mind drifted back toward the door to the music room and he pushed gently, feeling the door give way. The room was cool, having been closed off for so long, but stuffy. The window was tightly shut and the curtains drawn. The desk in the corner where she'd spent tireless afternoons writing and rewriting and erasing was bare. A lone pencil, sharpened to a stub was unceremoniously placed in the open space. Emmett wandered slowly over to the desk and looked carefully at the pencil. It was one that had once been pink and shiny. It probably came from Rosalie's dentist, she still got to go through the treasure chest after a check-up and she always took pencils. He lifted the stub up in front of his face and looked closely. It was a pencil, sharpened perfectly as only Rosalie managed to do. He remembered she used an make-up pencil sharpener, claiming they were better balanced and the lead would always stay tight and in the center, unbreakable. The eraser was still pristine. She never used the erasers on the ends of pencils. She hated the way they smudged.
He twisted the flaking, pink cylinder in his hands thoughtfully. It was the only non-photographic evidence he had that she'd even existed in his house. He thought for another moment, and then dropped the pencil in his pocket. Then he walked back out, and closed the door.
Later that night he opened the door of the smaller bedroom across from the bathroom, and climbed into the small single bed with the red IKEA duvet cover. He didn't set an alarm.