Chapter summary: "Rosalie Hale, you are a good person!" Bella had mustered everything she could in telling me that as she drifted off to sleep in my arms. But she was wrong. On both counts. I'm not good. I'm not a person. I'm a ... monster.

Setting: Dartmouth, Whittemore Hall. Very early Thursday morning, November 9th, 2006.

Story WARNING: This chapter is a sweet trifle, but subject matters rapidly descend to the extremely graphic. I don't know if there's anything redemptive in here. This may be a bad read for you. But any story that has Killing Fields in it as a backdrop? This story unabashedly goes way past "cringe inducing territory."


That was my thought as I held my sleeping Bella in my arms. We were in our favorite position. Okay, my favorite position, and since she was asleep, and since I was holding her, it was her favorite position, too. And the position? Me: wearing a slip, and her: all bundled up on her topside: wool sweater, scarf, pajama top, tee under that, and down below just her cotton panties.

But on top of all the clothing she was wearing, we had layers of blankets: a quilt her mother had made for her with her quilting bee club, a duvet, and a blanket, all piled on top of us.

And to what end? For, yes, there was a chill in the air, a coldness that Bella Swan from Phoenix, Arizona would have gone into shock from if she hadn't had the slight adjustment from Forks, Washington, but with all this covering her body she would have suffered from heat exhaustion and the strong possibility of death.

That is, if I weren't here, and holding her.

Because that's the only way she could sleep. At all.

Do you know how impossible that makes hunts for me? To come back to our dorm to have Bella dressed lightly, facing away from me in bed, pretending to be asleep, pretending not to have just been crying, crying all night?

And why? Because of her abandonment issues. I've told her, over and over again, that I wouldn't leave her, and as patiently as I could at that. But I totally understood her fears, particularly because some asshole of a brother of mine takes her to the middle of the forest, tells her he's leaving her forever because, get this, he doesn't love her, and just leaves her there to die.

So I have this mess to deal with, every time I leave her side, her asleep, to go on a hunt, and I come back hours later, hearing the quiet, gut-wrenching, sobs as I approach the dorm, and then the quiet gasps as she realizes I've returned and she tries to hide her sorrow, and tries to pretend to have been sleeping through the night.

But she can't hide anything from me: not the scent of her tears, not her rapidly fluttering heart, not the circles I see under her eyes the next day from lack of sleep, not the desperate jolt of relief as I slip into bed next to her, pretending along with her pretense.

But hunting during the day? With her begging me to take her with me onto my hunting grounds? With her trying desperately not to cling to my arm as I'm vibrating with the pain the emptiness inside that must be filled calling me away from her? With her just waiting at the edge of the campus, just waiting there, just waiting for my return, and when I do return her utter failure at playing cool? 'Oh,' Bella just lights up when she sees me, like she's surprised that she would have ever seen me again. 'How did your hunt go, Rho... Rose?' she tries to ask casually. 'Try' being the operative word.

Bella is just such a pain in the ass.

So, when I am with her, I am with her. And it's not enough that I'm in the same room, or on the same bed, no: she needs the physical contact. She needs the touch of my 'skin' against hers.

But this would cause problems ... eventually, because I would just suck the heat right out of her. Completely. Because no matter how much heat the human body generates, ... well, when you say vampires are monsters, do you know what you are saying?

A vampire takes, it doesn't give. We are cold because when we are not sucking your life from your body, we are sucking the heat from the very air. All the time. A vampire is colder than its surroundings. A vampire is Death.

Bella doesn't get this. No, Bella refuses to get this, and she won't settle for my explanation, and she won't sleep without me holding her, even after I voiced my concerns about frostbite and hypothermia. And Bella is smart. 'It's all in the layering,' she says with that sage look in her eye.

I smirked at that image: my sage little Bella.

So now she's bundled up like a research scientist in Antarctica, and now the only way she can live through tonight is if I hold her to me, my cool stone self being a heat sink, drawing the heat radiating from her.

Bella, my Sun.

And I'm holding her thus: my hand has snaked under her shirts and is cupping her little breast, and every few moments, I gently shift from one hot (now cooled) breast to the other hot breast, my arm sweeping across the fire that is her stomach.

My other hand and arm rest against her back, gently sweeping lightly, gently massaging her.

And when she cries out from her sleep I pull her whole body into me, and wrap my leg around her legs and whisper to her that I'm here. 'I'm here, Bella,' I whisper right into her ear, and that settles her and she sighs with relief and returns to a deeper, restful sleep.

She sometimes, even now, cries out 'Edward, don't leave me!' and I do the same thing for her, even as she says this: I hold her to me and I whisper to her that I'm here and that I won't leave her, and I let her sleeping mind take what comfort it will.

I wasn't so generous the first time I heard her plead thus, because it was our first night, and ...

Well, I needed to destroy something, and it would have been Bella if Jasper wasn't there, talking with me, taunting me, being exactly what I needed him to be: Edward Cullen.

Good thing Jasper was there, because I took out every last bit of hate I had bottled up against Edward I had held in me for the last seventy years, and the rage that I could barely contain these last two years. Well, 'good thing' for me and Bella. The looks I got from Alice as she worked on helping Jasper to reconstitute ... well, she sent me back to Bella who had wakened, and was calling out for me — not Edward, ME! — sensing my absence.

Alice and I had often had spats, and I had often been cool to her, but this was the first time that Alice was cool to me, and it was only for a few hours, and it took a great deal of effort from Alice to apologize to me for being angry with me, but it was a relief to see perky-Alice back, as much as I find it annoying, because cool-and-distant-Alice was just so jarring on the whole family.

But Bella wasn't sighing Edward's name tonight. She hadn't sighed his name in a while. No, she sighed my name, and every time she did, although it sounds impossible, I loved her even more, even more desperately.

For I had been thinking about Antarctica tonight. For I had been thinking about The Plan.

And The Plan was to crash a chartered plane into the forests of Denali, but that plan had too many holes, because people would look for remains, and remains could be identified, and when they didn't find ours ...

So the plane would have to go down in water, but then with an egress point obviously used, it would have to go down in deep waters where the plane would be irrecoverable.

But what if the plan went a-rye? Best-laid plans tend to do that. Particularly for me. Particularly when Bella's involved.

And thinking that?

Well, Bella had done her homework and her chores, so I was rewarding her with a fuck. Just a tender fuck. Just a 'sweet and gentle' fuck, as Bella would call it, if she could ever bring herself to say the word 'fuck.' But then I thought of the plane going down, and Bella getting stuck somehow, under all that water, in a way where I couldn't rescue her in time, like a piece of the fuselage slicing her in half as the plane went down. And then I thought of that, looking at the two halves of Bella, her top half and her bottom half, drifting away lazily in the current, her dead, staring, senseless eyes frozen in the confusion of her last moment, looking lifelessly at me.

And that's when, when I realized, again, that at any moment, she would be lost to me forever, that's when the fuck got serious and desperate. And needy. And very, very demanding.

'Whew!' Bella had sighed, staring up at the ceiling, utterly exhausted. 'That was ... something ...'

'Did I hurt you?' I turned from the mirror and looked at her with concern, my brush stopped in its stroke, half-way down my hair.

'Hurt me?' Bella asked surprised, then she became thoughtful. 'No, ... it's just that you were all sweet and gentle and then you got really, really, you know, intense!'

I could feel the heat of Bella's blush from across our room.

I smiled wanly at her, and returned to looking into my mirror, brushing my hair.

Bella watched me for a moment.

'You're in front of that mirror a lot,' she observed.

I hummed a non-committal agreement as I looked at myself. My eyes weren't pitch black, but they were starting to become noticeable, for anybody who wished to notice. I'd have to hunt soon, in the next day or two.

Which means I'd have to tell Bella. Which means Bella would immediately send me off, push me away, politely demand that I go, all the while with her little hummingbird heart beating as to burst. All the while the strain trickling into her voice.


'What do you see in the mirror, Rosalie?' Bella pleaded.

'Noth-...' I began, but then I stopped and looked at Bella apologetically.

I was going to say, 'Nothing,' for that was indeed my answer, and was entirely accurate, if I were to look at myself as void.

Which I do.

But it was an answer that would start another long, pointless argument, with the only possible outcome sadness and anger on both sides, and Bella really needed to sleep, particularly after this long, grueling day.

Well, a 'long, grueling day' for a college student who particularly would find death preferable to being called to the front of the class, as she was today.

'Myself,' I answered her, smiling lightly for her sake, turning back to the mirror and staring back at the monster with the empty eyes staring unwaveringly back at me. 'I see myself, Bella.'

'You must really like yourself a lot, then,' Bella chuckled at her little poke, but then my lips twitching wistfully upward silenced her laughter, and I felt the thoughts whirling around in that head of hers and I felt her thoughts starting to coalesce into concern, so I turned on her and waved my brush at her as a fencer would wave an épée at his sparring partner.

'You,' I commanded her, 'need to get to sleep now!'

Bella had smiled warmly at me. 'Okay,' she acquiesced easily to me, as she always did.

And then her eyes got big and pleading, and she begged a whispered, 'Sleep with me?'

I felt it incumbent upon myself not to remind her that vampires don't sleep.

So I merely murmured an 'of course' that succeeded in putting a huge smile on her face. I pulled out her winter-wear — or is it more accurate to call these clothes 'Rosalie-wear'? — and helped my exhausted and turned into jello Bella get into her night clothes.

We had learned, from lots of experience, to do her night toilet before the sex. Brushing teeth seemed a monumental task for a girl whose arms I had turned to rubber. But I still gave her a glass of water, and still made her use the potty now.

Her, getting up at three of the clock in the morning, rushing to the bathroom and on the way, tripping in the dark and cracking her head open? Unacceptable. She could do that now (excepting the tripping and bashing head open part), grumbling notwithstanding.

We settled back into bed, and Bella hummed with contented pleasure and my arms found themselves on her skin, gently caressing it.

After a moment, Bella asked tentatively, 'What are you thinking?'

I sighed with exasperation and growled a petulant, 'Nothing!' knowing this was a trigger word for her.

Can't a girl be thinking of nothing? Particularly when she's annoyed at her girlfriend getting all curious about what she's thinking about, which is not that image of her leagues under the sea, sliced in half and dead?

Bella herself sighed in response and said, 'I wish you would tell me, Rose. Even when you're beating yourself up, you know?'

'Bella,' I tried to explain patiently, 'I'm really thinking of nothing now, okay?'

Bella was quiet for a long while, then she said sadly, 'I wish you were here with me.'

I snapped. 'Bella, I am here with you now, okay?'

'Yeah,' Bella acknowledged, but didn't agree, 'but I wish you were here when you're here.'

'Oh, for goodness sake!' I muttered annoyed.

'Oh!' she exclaimed.

A lightbulb went off in Bella's thoughts, for I felt the physical change in her when she has these sudden, profound realizations.

I wondered, idly, what this one would be.

'Now I see,' she said, then paused for a second and ventured a Bella-brave, which for most people would sound timid: 'Do you need to go now and, you know, hunt?'

I smiled and kissed Bella's rich hair. She always had to care, it was her nature.

'Not tonight, sweetie, ...' I said, but since she did offer, I felt that this was the best time to tell her, 'but I do have to go in the next day or two, okay?'

'Um,' Bella ventured, 'why not tonight? You're hurting; go. Go now.'

Bella knew more about me than I did sometimes, it was very shocking to hear her, a human, intuit the almost physical pain I felt when the thirst gripped me.

'No, sweetie,' I said, grateful for her offer, 'not tonight.'

'Why not?' She queried, her voice filled with relief, but also with curiosity.

'Because, ...' I began, but then the voice caught in my throat for a second. 'Because I can't stand leaving you now, not tonight, okay? I just want to hold you tonight, please?'

Bella was quiet for a second, then she snuggled into me more, almost purring.

'Okay,' she agreed easily this time, 'but you go tomorrow, you hear me?'

I smiled. My bossy little Bella. 'Okay,' I agreed easily right back.

'Tomorrow,' she demanded.

'Tomorrow,' I averred.

'Rosalie,' Bella sighed contentedly, 'I ... you are ... that is, I ...'

Bella was quiet for a moment. I had learned over time to let her stumble over her words when she felt she was saying something significant. Pushing her along only slowed her down or clammed her up.

'You are a good person, Rosalie Hale,' Bella said.

I was quiet.

Bella sighed.

I held her, gently caressing her back.

'I wish you would hear me when I say that to you,' Bella whispered sadly.

'I did hear you, Bella,' I answered as quietly.

'Yeah,' Bella said, 'but I wish you would believe me.'

I rested my chin on her shoulder, just breathing in her glorious scent, and letting her breathe in mine.

I finally whispered: 'I don't deserve you, Bella Swan.'

'Hey,' Bella complained faintly, 'no stealing my lines!'

I snorted lightly. 'What did I tell you about you getting to sleep?' I warned.

'Okay, okay,' Bella groused, tiredly, but then added, 'one of these days I'm gonna convince you that you're beautiful.'

'Bella, you crazy girl,' I scoffed. 'I've been on the cover of Vogue, everybody knows I'm the most beautiful person in the world!'

I didn't add the words 'after you, Bella' because we didn't need to restart that argument tonight.

Bella thinks I have self-esteem issues? She's wrong. I don't have self-esteem issues: I'm merely a realist. It's Bella who has the esteem issues, not me.

'Yeah, but ...' — Why does Bella always have to add a 'but' to her 'yeah's? — 'do you see yourself as beautiful when you look at yourself in the mirror?'

I felt a jolt stiffen my body as her words washed over me. I pressed my lips together ... hard. Bella had seen right through me and had looked beyond what others saw as vanity to see me, looking at me, looking into my empty eyes to see that pitch-black soul I thought I could hide from everybody.

'Uh-huh,' Bella confirmed to herself and shifted slightly, nestling into me a bit more. 'So, yeah, so one day you are gonna hear me and know that I'm telling you the truth, and I'm gonna keep telling you that until you do hear me.' Then she paused for a second, and added a self-satisfied, 'so there!'

I growled lightly, but pleasantly. Challenge me, will she? She may know she's going up against Rosalie Hale, but she often forgets Rosalie Hale never loses

I put my own dig in. 'And this coming from a girl with her own issues around her own beauty and self-worth?'

Bella shrugged. She was absolutely convinced she wasn't even pretty, never mind beautiful, and her self-effacement she took much too far and did that much too often.

'Yeah, well,' she said resignedly, but then she stopped.

I could complete her sentence for her: she believed I am a good person, which is entirely ludicrous, and that she is an 'ugly duckling' not a 'beautiful Swan.'

How ridiculous!

I blew out a long, long sigh. If I could pound into that stubborn little head of hers the way everybody sees her but herself, I would have by now.

But I knew I wasn't going to succeed in this mission tonight.

'Sleep, sweetie,' I said softly, one more time.

I felt Bella's smile.

'I love you, Rose,' she said quietly.

'I love you, Bella,' I responded from my very being.

Bella's smile remained as she herself drifted into sleep.

Chapter End Notes:

[1] Rosalie finds herself on the cover of Vogue and finds many other interesting things in my story Clubbing.