Disclaimer: SM owns Rose and Em and the rest of the Twilight crew. I own a dog-eared copy of The Maltese Falcon which is studied before writing this.
Thanks so much for reading this story! This is Rose and Em's Happily Ever After.
I'm sitting in my living room, stomach bulging with my first child and thinking back on my life with Em. The baby is due any day now and I've been full of nervous energy for the last three days. "Nesting," Mother calls it. Whatever it was, it has eased up for a moment and given me time to just sit and be thankful. Who'd have thought three years ago that I'd have anything to be thankful for?
That man has changed everything.
I remember our first date…
Emmett is full of nervous energy when he shows up at my door. He's dressed to the nines in spats and a pin-striped grey suit. The grey fedora tipped low on his head doesn't hide the thin line of perspiration above his upper lip.
"Emmett McCarty!" I exclaim. "Are you nervous?"
He chuckles bashfully.
"I guess I am," he admits, pulling me close to him.
"Em, what on earth are you nervous about?"
He shrugs and steps away.
"I don't know … I just want to do this right, Rosie."
He walks over to the closet and pulls out my fur wrap. I step into his warm arms as he wraps it around my shoulders.
"Let's go, baby doll," he says quietly. "We have reservations to keep."
He takes me to a swank restaurant someplace uptown. He shouldn't be spending his dough like this and I tell him that. He smirks and shakes his head.
"I just took a rich dame for a lot of money, baby. I want to spend it on my girl."
He makes me laugh in spite of myself. Royce has been dead for under a month and here I am out on the town with the private eye I hired to get me off on murder charges. I shouldn't be laughing; I should be hiding. People are going to talk about me, but I can't seem to make myself care. Em wants to be with me and that's all I want to focus on tonight.
"What a lucky girl I am," I say coquettishly.
"I'm the lucky one," Em says, reaching across the table. "Thanks for giving me a chance, Rosie."
"I should be thanking you," I say, rubbing my thumb over his fingers and noticing how perfectly our hands fit together. "Nothing was tying you to me. Why'd you stick around?"
"Baby, I think you had me wrapped around this little finger from the moment you walked into my office." He holds up my pinky finger for inspection. "Sure. I tried to play it smooth, but I was a marked man. Did you know it?"
"I didn't know much of anything that night," I say, pulling my hands away from his so I can light my fag. "I was trapped and scared. You were my ticket out of that hell, Em; that's all I cared about then."
"And now?" he whispers.
"Now … things are so different I feel like I've lived a few years since that night. I still can't believe that nightmare is behind me."
"It is, Rosie," he said. "And it's never coming back."
He told the truth. He's always kept my past at bay, sheltering me from the demons of my past even when doing so tore him to pieces.
I remember our first night together …
He holds me after love, the safety of his arms like an invitation to drift into dreamland. I go easily, blissfully unaware of who's waiting for me.
He's nightmarishly huge. His hot, stinking breath fans over my face as he screams at me over and over that I'm a whore and I'm no more than trash. I thrash and scream, my legs sluggish the way they always are in dreams as I try to run away. I can hear Em but I can't see him. I want to get to him because I know he is safe. He is real. I know, even in my dream, that Em's my reality. Royce isn't real anymore.
Em's large, warm hands are holding my shoulders, anchoring me in the bed we are sharing. Anchoring me in the present. My eyes open and I see him. He's blurry because of my tears, but he's here.
Royce is gone.
Em holds me as I sob for the first time since I found Royce dead. I press my face into the comfort of his shoulder and cry my heart out. He shushes me, stroking my hair, kissing my forehead, and finally loving me until I stop crying. His love heals me and sets me free.
I remember our first fight…
We're sitting in the back of Jas and Alice's tea house, talking in hushed voices with the cop and his girl. I don't say much. I still don't trust the bronze-haired pretty boy who would have locked me away if Em hadn't seen the truth. But Em likes him, so I don't complain.
The men are talking and the girl and I sit quietly and listen. I can't tell if she's taking anything in, but I hear every word. And I'm livid.
They finally leave and Em and I sit alone drinking tea and smoking.
"So," I say coolly. "Tell me more about Emily."
"It's none of your concern, Rosie," he says with the same bravado he uses with Masen. "Forget about her."
I stub out my cigarette and I look him levelly in the eye. His entire body reacts to the weight of my stare.
"Don't you tell me what my concern is, Emmett McCarty," I seethe. "Tell me more about Emily."
He lets out a shaky breath before filling in the holes of her story. She's destitute. Everyone in the Yards knows now what her man was involved in and why he got killed. She's lost all of their respect and all of their help.
"I need to help her," I say, leaning forward.
"Rose, you can't," he says, his head in his hands. "You can't just sweep in there, the widow of a man she blames for her husband's death, and offer her a bunch of dough."
"Why not?" I ask hotly. "She's in need and Royce had a hand in making her that way. Why shouldn't I try to make it better?"
"Because she's just as proud as you, dammit!" he bursts out. "And if you go in there waving cash in her face, she'll spit in your eye and tell you to take your charity somewhere else."
He's panting and flushed in anger. I know I'm deathly white. Fire and ice. And neither of us will ever back down. I smile at him.
"Leah will know what to do," I say.
He stares at me for a moment and then begins to chuckle. Instantly, the tension breaks.
"You're as smart as you are beautiful, you know that?" he asks, shaking his head.
"We can go there today?" I ask.
"Impatient, too," he growls, taking my hand.
But he's smiling and I know we're okay.
I remember meeting Leah …
I haven't met Leah before we ask for her help with Emily, but I've heard of her. I know she's important to Em; I know he trusts her. I find myself nervous, like I'm meeting a part of his family. I want to make a good impression.
"So you're the one," she says.
Her face is a study in hard and soft: clean, hard lines for her cheeks and nose; softness around her lips and eyes. I smile at her and she weighs me with her eyes.
"I am," I reply.
We regard each other for a few moments before she looks over at Em. She accepts me … for now. Em tells her why we're here and she listens quietly, thoughtfully. It's clear that Leah knows Emily and knows of her situation. When Em finishes, she turns to me.
"Why?" she asks. "Why are you doing this?"
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"I mean, why are you giving money to this woman? You don't know her. What is she to you?"
I think about my answer for a moment and then I look at her levelly.
"A sister," I say, holding her eyes steadily with mine.
She looks me over and I feel naked in her gaze. I know she's looking for signs of abuse, but Royce was never that careless. She's just going to have to read between the lines; I trust that she's more than capable.
"Masen," she says, looking away from me to Em. "Have his daddy go to Emily and offer her funds from a trust for victim's families. Have him draw it up in legal-speak and present it officially. Make sure neither of you ever go near her. She'll take it then."
Em nods and I get up, happy to have accomplished my goal. I take Em's arm as he thanks her and she turns back to me.
"Come back in anytime, Ms. Hale," she says with a quiet smile.
It's all the thanks I need.
I remember the night he proposed…
We're at his apartment in his bed. As many times as I've tried to persuade him to give up the apartment and move into my house, he's refused me. He has "principles," he tells me with his devilish grin. Then he kisses me and I forget to argue with him. Tonight, I start in on him again. I kneel on the bed and I run my fingers through my hair.
"Damn," I sigh. "I forgot my night shirt. You'll have to take me home."
"You can wear one of mine," he says, his eyes hooded as he reaches over and strokes my hip.
"But I don't have fresh clothes for the morning," I pout. "And I didn't bring my toiletries. I'd love to stay, but I just … can't."
He sighs, knowing where I'm going with this.
"It'd be so much easier if we just stayed at the same place all the time." The words are familiar and I say them the same way I've said them eighty times before. I wait, ready to the patent response he always gives me.
"Marry me, Rosie," he whispers.
I'm shocked into speechlessness. It's not that I don't want to hear it. I want it more than anything. I'm just completely unprepared.
"What?" I ask shakily.
"I said 'marry me.'"
He looks up at me, his blue eyes vulnerable, pleading with me to give him the right answer.
"Of course I'll marry you, Em," I reply, cupping his cheek with my hand. "Yes."
He gathers me into his warm, familiar arms and covers my face with kisses, thanking me over and over again. In a rush of whispering covers, he's gone from the bed.
"Where are you going?" I ask with a laugh.
"To get your damn ring," he mutters. "I can't believe I asked you without the damn ring."
I'm laughing so hard I'm crying now, watching him rummage in his drawers, his naked backside facing me. God, he's so beautiful. And he's mine.
Again, I thank God for the twist of fate that brought this man into my life. He rushes back to the bed, holding a box in his hand. It looks tiny in his hand and his face is sheepish.
"If you don't like it, we can go out and get you a new one," he says, still holding it tightly in his hand. "This is just … it's special to me."
He opens the box slowly and I stare, speechless again, at a ring too beautiful to be new. I can see immediately it's an heirloom. It's either silver or platinum with a single diamond in the center. Blue sapphires frame the stone.
"Do you like it, Baby?" he asks.
"It's perfect," I whisper, holding out my hand to him.
His fingers shake as he puts the ring on my finger and then he pulls me close.
"I was so afraid it wouldn't be enough," he mumbles into my hair.
I pull back and look at him.
"Why wouldn't it be enough?" I ask him.
"It's not fancy and it's old."
"You know me better than that," I say with a frown. "This is part of you and your past, isn't it?"
"It's my grandmother's," he admits, looking down.
I grab his chin in my fingers and make him look at me.
"There is no part of your life that isn't enough for me, do you understand?" I say sincerely.
"I always wonder why, Rosie. We come from two different worlds … I'm always amazed when I realize that you want me."
I turn over and fit myself into his arms so he's spooning me. My head is cradled on his shoulder and his arms surround me.
"Me too, Baby," I say, a tear rolling out of my eye. "You amaze me, too."
I remember our first Christmas …
We're surrounded in wrapping paper, the house smelling of good things, and Em is holding me on the couch while we talk about the upcoming wedding. We're pulled out of our reverie by the phone ringing. Em kisses me on the forehead and tells me to relax.
I hear his deep baritone voice as he picks up the phone with a merry greeting. My body is relaxed and my mind is at ease. But when I hear the change in his voice, immediately I'm on alert. Something is happening.
I sit up and strain to hear him, but it's impossible. All I can hear is the familiar cadence of his voice as it rises and falls in his conversation. I hear him end the conversation and then I hear the sound of him dialing quickly. I wonder who he's calling. The pitch of his voice is raised, almost excited. Again, I wonder what is going on and whether his excitement is good or bad.
When he walks back into the room, his expression surprises me. He looks relieved.
"Who was it, Em?" I ask, my voice betraying my nervousness.
"I know we planned to stay in, Rosie," he says with a smile. "But do you think we could go out? Something amazing has happened."
"Of course," I say, standing up. "Can you tell me what's going on, because honestly, you have me a little spooked."
He chuckles and walks over to me, enveloping me in his warm, spicy scent. I can feel his happiness radiating through his embrace.
"Don't be spooked, Baby," he says quietly. "It's the best gift anyone could have given me. That was Edward. Esme Platt is finally being released from prison."
I pull back with a gasp.
"That is amazing!" I say, touching his face. "Who did you call?"
His face is lighter, as though finally he had let go of his guilt.
We show up at the jail at the same time as Edward and Bella. An older version of Edward is standing with them and I guess that is the great Tony Masen, DA. I internally chastise myself for the sarcasm. The man had worked tirelessly to get Esme off. I should be thankful for his work. Still, there was residual angst from when he was fighting to put me behind bars.
After we gathered in the waiting room, the doors open behind us again. A tall, thin man I had never seen before walks into the room and looks nervously around. Em and Edward exchange a look before both walking over to him.
"Dr. C.," Em says, holding out his hand. "Merry Christmas and thanks for coming."
"Merry Christmas indeed," the doctor replies. "Thank you for calling me, Emmett."
The doctor shakes Edward's hand next.
"Are you the young man responsible for getting her released?" the doctor asks Edward.
"No," Edward says, shaking his head. "That'd be my dad, Mr. Masen."
Edward turns and gestures to his father.
"Dad, this is Dr. Cullen. He provided funds for Ms. Platt's defense."
Mr. Masen walks over and shakes Dr. Cullen's hand. The doctor seems awkward, unused to being around so many people and I begin to wonder what his specialty is that he seems so nervous. Em walks back over to my side and winds his arm around my waist.
"Dr. C., I want you to meet my fiancée," he says with a proud smile. "Ms. Rosalie Hale."
I let Em lead me over to the doctor who is smiling out me broadly.
"Rosie, Dr. C. gave me a lot of help in solving your case," Em says quietly.
"Thank you, Dr. Cullen. It is a pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is all mine, my dear," he says, taking my hand.
Just as he is about to speak again, a door behind us opens and one of the smallest, most fragile women I've ever seen walks into the room. She seems to shrink in upon herself when she sees the gathered crowd. I know immediately that this is Esme Platt. Even if I hadn't known who to expect, I would have known by the relief I see plastered on Em's face. Finally, he has been avenged.
"Esme," Dr. Cullen breathes, removing his hand from mine and walking over to the woman.
It's clear the good doctor is smitten with the woman, but I watch anxiously as he approaches the nervous woman. I expect her to cower in front of him, but instead her face lights up. It's not him that has her frightened; it's the rest of us.
"Come on, Em," I say quietly. "Let's leave them alone."
I leave that night with a different man, a man whose past no longer haunts him. When he makes love to me that night, I know just how much the demons of the past had been affecting him and how much freer he is now that the past is finally resolved.
I remember our wedding …
Our wedding is small. Not because people wouldn't come, but because there are very few people we really want there. Em's parents came from Tennessee, and surprisingly my parents came from Rochester. When Mother showed up at the house, I pulled her into my arms as though she might disappear before my very eyes.
"Of course we came, dearheart," she whispered as she held me. "You're our daughter."
I stand at the back of the church wearing a simpe ivory dress without a veil. Mother wished I would make more of a to-do, but Em and I don't want to gum up the works with formality. Today is about getting married, not about hosting a big wedding.
"Do you, Emmett McCarty, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in richer and in poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish from this day forward, as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Emmett boomed without any hesitation.
There were a few chuckles from our gathered friends and family, but Emmett just stared lovingly back at me. So much is different today than it was when I married Royce and I realize in that moment that the differences are what make it so right.
The present …
Emmett is in the kitchen when the first pain comes. I'm sitting in my rocking chair and the pain hits me as I'm leaning forward with the chair. It's blindingly clear to me what is beginning and I cry out Em's name in terror.
He's by my side in an instant, his large hands covering mine on the arms of the chair and his forehead pressed against mine.
"Breathe, my Rosie," he's whispering. "Shhh, just breathe. I'm here."
And that makes everything okay.
The pains continue steadily and when they get to be too much, we call Alice and Bella, my two unexpected gifts that life with Em has given me. We call my women and they come to help me deliver this baby.
Things happen quickly once they are there and I almost lose myself in the whirlwind of confusion that swirls around me in anticipation of the birth. White towels and basins of water, tea and soothing words surrounded me. Luckily, Em is hard to lose in any crowd and he has always been what grounds me. Even when Alice and Bella try to push him out of the room, he stands firm, holding my hand because he knows I need him.
Through the pain, he is there. Through the screaming, he is there. Through the moments when I think I'm not going to make it, he is there holding my hand, telling me that I can do it. In the end, he wraps himself around our beautiful daughter and me, whispering how proud he is of me and how much he loves us.
And I know that his love will always be my saving grace.
A/N: And so concludes this episode of The McCarty Files. I want to thank each and every one of you for reading this short story. I didn't think I'd ever get into writing Em, but looking back, I can't imagine any other character in the role of the PI. He just fit perfectly. I want to thank Emerald Star73, Swimom7, and Bookjunkie1975 for reading these chapters and giving me the encouragement I needed to write this story. I want to especially thank HMonster4 for taking a chance on someone who'd never written Em in the FGB auctions. This story, I think, has really honed my skills as a writer. I have the ultimate respect now for anyone who writes mystery. It is not as easy as John Grisham makes it look, but it is just as rewarding. I hope you have enjoyed this story. If you have, please leave me some love? It would make my day. :) ~Jen