A/N: I wrote this because the beautiful and talented littlesecret84 asked me to.
Rosalie hears her before she even turns into the driveway. The engine in the old Chevy has a distinctive rumble, and Rose has to give the mutt some credit for tuning it right. She doesn't get out from under the car, continuing to work even as the truck door slams and Bella crunches toward her over the gravel.
"He's not here," she says as Bella's sneakers shuffle into view. Her gait seems nervous, but then, Rosalie reasons, Bella always looks like she's about to trip over her own feet.
"I know that." Bella's voice is aiming for a confidence her pulse doesn't match. "I'm here to see you."
Rosalie sighs, and slides out from under Jasper's Mustang, wiping her greasy hands on her already filthy jeans. She looks up at Bella, taking in her unflattering plaid shirt, brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. God, what does he see in her? she thinks, not for the first time. It's ridiculous, the way Edward moons over this girl. She looks even paler than usual, a light dusting of freckles standing out across the bridge of her nose.
Rose scowls at her. "Look, if you think we had a moment the other night, you're wrong. I'm not interested in braiding your hair. Alice is the one you're looking for."
This is ridiculous. She only told Bella her story because she wanted the stupid little girl to understand. This isn't a decision you make if you have a choice. It's certainly not a decision you make because your head is clouded with teenaged notions of romance and eternity. In this, at least, she and Edward are on the same page. Bella's vote was the first time Rosalie and Edward have agreed on anything in decades.
Bella crosses her arms defensively, but doesn't leave.
Rose gets to her feet, kicking the creeper aside and dropping her wrench back into the tool chest. She walks around the car and cleans her hands at the sink. Even with her back to Bella she can hear her uneven breathing, the sluggish pull of blood through her veins.
"Did you mean what you said about choices, about giving things up?"
Bella's voice is quiet, unsure. Rosalie thinks back to their earlier conversation. Bella had seemed more confident then, had more conviction. She wonders what has changed in the interim.
"Yes." She grits out as she dries her hands on a chamois and wishes she'd gone hunting with the guys after all. Rose isn't cut out to play anyone's undead agony aunt.
"What is it that you miss most?"
Rose sighs and throws the cloth back onto the counter, turning to face Bella. Clearly this conversation isn't going to go away even if she wills it to.
"Missing things is different from passing things up, Bella."
Bella shrugs slightly, a frustrated expression wrinkling her forehead. "I know. I know you wanted to be a mother. That you won't get to do that. But what do you miss? What are the things that you did get to experience that you can't have any more?"
Rose stops for a beat, thinking about the distinction. What does she miss? It's been so long. Her memories of a human life have blurred, smudged over time. It's harder to make comparisons now. Only one thing stands out.
"The taste of anything other than venom and blood."
Bella's expression clouds a little. Apprehension, confusion? Rosalie can't really tell. The girl is so closed, it must drive Edward insane. She wonders if that's the attraction. This mousy little creature is like a safe he can't unlock, while her own thoughts are on display at all times. Every insecurity; every narcissistic wave of jealousy.
"What are you scared to give up, Bella?"
Bella flushes instantly, blood coloring across her skin, tempo of her heart stuttering. Rosalie arches an eyebrow, taking in Bella's physical response. This conversation is suddenly interesting. No one flushes like that because they don't want to give up ravioli.
"What is it? What do you want before you die?"
"Edward won't..." Bella stutters with embarrassment, looking down at her feet, out the door of the garage, anywhere but at Rosalie. "I want to ..." she trails off again, losing her nerve.
"Spit it out," Rose sighs. She lives with an empath, a mind-reader and a psychic. She has zero patience for fumbled attempts at communication.
Bella looks mortified, like she will turn and bolt at any second. She runs a hand nervously over her hair, smoothing it back, anxiously reaching back to refasten her ponytail. Suddenly Rosalie understands, a disbelieving laugh escaping.
"Oh, my God. You don't want to die a virgin."
A look of horror floods across Bella's features. As if she suddenly can't believe she's raised this with Rosalie, of all people. Rosalie doesn't want her pity, her remorse.
Rosalie takes a step toward her. Bella really does smell good, better than she'd thought before now. Her throat itches, thirst flaring.
Bella's eyes are impossibly wide, her breathing shallow.
"That's not exactly what I meant," Bella stumbles over the words, looks down at her hands, twisting them together.
"Edward spends every night in your bed. He won't touch you?" Rosalie doesn't bother to keep the note of disdain from creeping into her voice. Her brother is more lovelorn than she'd thought possible. How ridiculous. He won't change her, so what is he proposing to do? Spend the next seventy years as the world's most frustrated vampire? Pathetic.
Bella tugs at the sleeve of her shirt. "It's...hard for him. The amount of control it would take."
Rosalie smiles unkindly. "Yes, I suppose that's true. Vampires have sex with humans all the time, but ... well, the humans don't usually survive."
Bella swallows hard.
Rosalie steps forward again, invading Bella's personal space, marvelling at the way her breath catches. At school, Rosalie keeps her distance, bored by the teenage inanity that surrounds her. School is a means to an end. She tries to be around them as little as possible. Never this close, never close enough to pay attention to the effect she has on them. The way their hearts race, the slight rise in temperature, the bloodscent that rolls off them in waves. Something else, something darker.
"What is it that you want, Bella?"
"I don't know," she murmurs, her voice low, uncertain. Whatever she wanted when she drove here, she's changing her mind. Rosalie doesn't need Edward's gift to see that. Rose reaches out to tuck an escaping strand of hair behind Bella's ear. Her tiny intake of breath is sharp, as if Rosalie's touch has shocked her.
"Edward won't ..."
"Edward's not here," Rosalie states the obvious. Not here. As if that matters. As if he won't subsequently see exactly what she's done. Alice guards her thoughts - translating sonnets, reversing alphabets - but Rosalie's never bothered. Why should she care if Edward knows her errant thoughts, her misdeeds. Edward's keeper of the family secrets. He knows Rosalie loves Emmett with all her heart. He also knows she takes what she wants occasionally. Because she can.
Rosalie places her hands on Bella's hips, her thumbs resting just above the waistband of her jeans, beneath her shirt, skin impossibly soft beside the rough denim. She waits for Bella to protest, to say anything at all, but she's just staring up at Rosalie with those wide, dark eyes, as if Rosalie holds the key to everything. As if Rosalie can make her understand.
She spins, lifting Bella effortlessly onto the hood of the car. Bella weighs nothing, her body so tiny, frail. Rosalie doesn't touch humans, as a general rule. She's forgotten how malleable they are, how light. The muscles in her forearms are taught from straining not to crush her. A month ago she wouldn't have cared. She'd have disposed of Bella's body and convinced Edward she'd done him a favor. He was going to kill her in the beginning anyway, Alice told her. But now, with the grand self-destruction of Italy behind them, she needs to be more careful. She never wants to see Esme look that way again.
Bella's leaning away from Rosalie even as her hips press forward into her hands, biting at her lip. Rose doesn't bother to ask her if she's sure.
She places one palm flat against the center of Bella's chest as it rises and falls, heated fabric covering her thundering heart. "Listen, " she says softly, "This is what you give up." Her hand slides down across Bella's breast, thumb deliberately drawing across her nipple, coming to rest back at her side. Rosalie's fingers splay across her ribcage as it expands and contracts. Such flimsy protection: like toothpicks or spun sugar.
Bella's breathing has become ragged.
"Feel this," Rosalie instructs, tracing the line of her ribs as they move. Bella gasps on cue as Rosalie's thumb runs under her breast. "Feel the air that you need, that you cannot do without. This is what you give up."
With her other hand she turns Bella's wrist, running a finger over the dark veins beneath the skin. "Feel what it does to your blood, the heat of it." Even Rosalie is surprised by the searing flare of Bella's skin under her icy touch. "This is what you give up."
Bella's thighs tremble on either side of Rosalie, her eyes sliding closed, tongue sliding out over dry lips. Rosalie doesn't wait for a further invitation, one hand stilling Bella's shaking leg as the other reaches up to cup her face, kissing her soundly. Blazing, soft, fragile. Nothing like Emmett's unflinching brawn. Nothing like Edward's cool confidence.
Bella's hands fumble, pressing against Rosalie as if to push her way, and then thinking better of it, tracing her curves over her t-shirt. Rose presses into her touch, wants more of her heat. She pulls out of the kiss to allow Bella to breathe, the sound of her gasps resonating around them, filling the stillness of the garage. Rosalie has stopped breathing altogether, the scent of Bella too much for her razor-thin control.
Rosalie reaches between them, swiftly unbuttoning Bella's jeans, dragging the zipper down as she claims Bella's mouth again. Bella arches sharply backwards, her legs tensing against Rosalie's. Trying to close them in protest, trying to draw Rose further in, her palms flat against the hood of the car.
Rosalie slides one hand up underneath the ugly plaid shirt, dragging the cup of her cotton bra down, rolling her nipple in a way that causes Bella to groan and shift, to kiss her back more ferociously. Rosalie dips her hand, knuckles grazing against the zipper, pushing inside. She stills instantly, her fingers sliding into the incandescent heat of Bella. Sliding, scorching. There's a sheen of perspiration across Bella's skin, and she bucks up into Rosalie's hand, forcing her further inside. Slick, molten. So soft, too soft. Too fragile. The way she stretches for Rosalie, the throbbing press of her blood. The cacophonous heartbeat.
Rosalie kisses her jawline, her earlobe. Bella's voice is a song of murmuring nonsense, of groans and exhalations, as Rosalie slides and thrusts. Rose drags her tongue along Bella's carotid artery, laving venom and attention. So easy, she thinks. It would be so easy. This tiny girl, so full of life and misunderstanding. So young.
Bella has wrapped her legs around Rosalie's waist, sinking back on her elbows, shaking and clenching, keening. Her head rolls back, exposing yet more of that pale throat. Rosalie kisses every inch, twists her wrist, her thumb skating and pressing.
Bella's heels dig into the small of her back. Rose feels her straining, trying to get traction, reaching for something, relief, release. And with a gasp, a small sob, Bella relinquishes everything. Pulsing, searing, collapsing.
Rosalie slowly withdraws her hand, smoothing slick fingers across to Bella's waist, helping her up. Holding her gently as slumps against her.
"This," she whispers softly, her tongue tracing Bella's earlobe one last time. "This is what you give up."
She pulls back and Bella looks up at her, her face gorgeously flushed.
"Don't get me wrong, Bella. It will be amazing, but it will never feel like this. Like you're truly alive. Like you truly might be dying."
Bella bites her bottom lip. Stutters out, "Do you want me to..."
Rosalie laughs abruptly. As if this tiny thing could satisfy her in any way except a gruesome death. She shakes her head. "Edward will be back soon. You should go." Rosalie steps away from her abruptly, instantly feeling the loss of warmth. Bella slides from the hood of the car onto shaky legs, tugging at her shirt, staring at Rosalie. She's almost impossible to read, but there's no sign of regret.
"Thank you," she manages.
Rosalie leans past her to pop the hood on the Mustang, and reaches for her wrench. She doesn't turn to look at Bella as she leaves.