***This was written for aThe 30 Days of Emmett challenge. Find more great Emmett stories here: http:/www(.)fanfiction(.)net/s/6476118/1/30_days_of_Emmett

***Thanks to JulieGirl for betaing this for me, you are awesome!

The Love of a Man

I met him when I was thirty-three years old. It was Black Friday and we were standing in line at Toys R Us. He was holding a baby doll, one of those that cried whenever you moved it. His face was pink as he fidgeted with the doll, trying to get her to stop crying.

"Here," I said, handing him the box of Legos I was holding, taking the doll from him. After successfully finding and hitting the off switch, I looked up at him.

His eyes were crinkled and his mouth turned up into a generous smile. "Thank you." His eyes met mine and for a minute I forgot to breathe. Their intense color reminded me of warm summer days spent on the beach in Mexico. They were the same shade of blue as the ocean and just as clear. I must have been staring too long, because he blushed again and shifted his gaze to the doll I still held.

"You're welcome."

The line finally moved, forcing me to look away from him and take a step forward. We stopped again and I handed him the doll and took my Legos. I shifted nervously from one foot to the other, desperately wanting to talk to him but feeling completely out of my league. He was gorgeous and young, probably around twenty-five. I secretly tried to check him out from the corner of my eye.

Damn, he was big. Not just tall, but muscular and solid. His jeans hugged his hips and I wondered how obvious it would be if I slipped behind him to check out his butt. I was sure it had to be something spectacular. His shoulders were broad and his chest defined. The winter coat he had on was unbuttoned and pushed back, allowing me to take him all in. And there was a lot to take in. I felt my self grow warm and quickly averted my eyes, but I was too late. I had been caught.

He cleared his throat and looked up from the floor, his eyes flashing amusement. "See something you like?" It could've sounded cocky, but it lost its effect when his voice cracked at the end. He rolled his eyes and gave a quiet chuckle before grinning and looking at the floor.

"God, I'm such an idiot," he mumbled so lowly I could barely hear him.

My throat suddenly felt quite parched from the mortification I felt at getting caught ogling him. I reached into the cooler next to us and pulled out two Cokes. I offered him one and he took it, nodding his thanks.

I decided to just go for it and hoped I didn't make a total ass out of myself. "Actually, yeah, I did." He raised his head as his eyes widened and his moth formed into a slow grin. The smile showed off two deep dimples, one on each side. "I'm Rose."

"Emmett."

The line began to move and he was next. I watched him pay the cashier, wanting to say something before he left and I never saw him again. "Wait!" I called out and immediately felt like a complete fool. "I mean, don't leave. Wait until I pay and I'll walk out with you."

I quickly paid for the Legos and we walked outside. It was freezing, so I pulled my coat around me tighter, shivering.

Emmett stayed close to me as we walked to my car. I unlocked the door and as I opened it I felt a warm hand touch mine.

He closed his eyes briefly and I watched his Adams apple bob as he swallowed. "Would you like to go for coffee? It may warm you up."

Would I go for coffee? With him? Hell, yes. "Sure, I'd like that," I managed to calmly say, while on the inside I was freaking out. "There's a Starbucks inside the mall." The mall was still open and it was right behind us, so it sounded like the most logical place to go.

"Yeah. I guess we should both drive over. I'll follow you?" His eyebrows rose in question and all I could do was nod.

I parked my car and he pulled in next to me in a Ford F-150, obviously new. I shook my head and wondered if this man was for real or if I was caught in an elaborate dream.

The cold air forced me to realize that I was awake and when Emmett grabbed my hand to lead me inside, I knew for sure I was not sleeping. My heart wouldn't be pounding this furiously if it was a dream.

Emmett insisted on paying and also ordered a couple cookies to nibble on. We sat a table just outside the store inside the mall. It was busy and I liked watching the crazies run by, trying to get to the next big sale.

I settled my gaze on Emmett. There was a nervous flutter in my stomach and I clutched the coffee cup harder as I tried to come up with something witty or intellectual to say. Instead I blurted out something completely stupid. "The mall is really busy."

The corner of Emmett's mouth turned up slightly as he looked around him. "Yeah, Black Friday is usually a day I avoid places like this, but I had to get the doll for my sister and I was afraid if I waited, it would be gone."

"You have a little sister?" That mystery was solved; I had wondered if he had a daughter.

"She's three. She was a… surprise."

Laughing lightly, I took a sip of coffee. "I guess so."

"The Legos, they're for your son?"

"Yeah." I nodded and eyed him apprehensively, waiting for a crack in his perfection. Maybe he didn't like kids. Maybe he wouldn't want to talk to me now.

"What's his name?"

"Trevor. He's six. All he's been asking for is that damn Harry Potter castle and I hadn't been able to find one until tonight."

He smiled and cocked an eyebrow at me, his lips turning up into a sexy smirk. "I think it was Hogwarts... the school, not a castle. Did you see the new movie yet?"

I nodded, gaping at him. He liked Harry Potter?

I was more amazed as he continued to speak. "It veered from the book a bit, but I still really liked it. What did you think?'

The conversation continued as I gushed about my love of all things Potter. He listened and teased, but he obviously had a thing for HP as well.

As we sat quietly talking, I leaned in closer to him and he to me. Soon our arms were touching, then our knees. I dared ask the question that had been hovering in my mind. "How old are you?"

He smiled, his teeth lightly gnawing on his lower lip. "Twenty-five."

I nodded and he watched me closely. "Well?" he questioned, waiting expectantly.

I sighed and quickly spit out, "Thirty-three."

His finger ran down the back of my hand, and I shivered slightly from his touch. "Not much of a difference," he murmured.

He sat quietly, studying my hand and then he lifted those blue eyes to mine and asked, "Is this real or is it all in my head?"*

My eyes met his as I turned my hand over, palm up, my fingers wrapping around his. I swallowed once before answering, "Of course it's all in your head. But what makes you think it's not real?"*

His smile broadened, his dimples deepening and he leaned in, kissing me lightly on my cheek.

He showed up for our first date clutching a bunch of yellow daisies. He took me to a baseball game and fed me hot dogs and nachos. We drank beer and sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame as we stood during the seventh inning stretch. He was baffled over my inexhaustible knowledge of baseball.

The second date he took me roller-blading in the park. I took my own pair and again left Emmett shaking his head as I spun circles around him. "Okay, this is not fair." He skated after me and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me in close. His smile faltered while his eyes focused solely on my lips. I impatiently waited, wanting that kiss, but instead he let me go and zipped away.

He showed up for our next date sporting a suit and tie, and damn did he look handsome. His eyes were set off by the blue shirt he wore. He was coifed and gentlemanly and surprising. He had tickets for a play downtown, but first we had dinner at a posh restaurant I had never been to.

"Have you been to a musical before?" he ventured. His head cocked to the left, his gaze meeting mine.

I had to swallow before answering as my pulse hummed. "Yes. I've seen Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Les Mis, and Cats, among others of smaller names."

His mouth fell open and a look of disappointment filled is eyes. "Damn it, Rose. Will I ever find something you haven't done or something that you don't know more about than me?"

"I've never been to this restaurant."

He smiled brightly, just like that the disappointment leaving his face. "There is that, at least." He took a drink of wine and smirked, the right corner of his lip lifting slightly. "I promise though, I will find something you've never experienced."

After a month I loved him, after three months he met my son and I loved him more.

Emmett insisted we stay at my place; he didn't want to overwhelm Trevor and he thought it was a good idea to keep him somewhere familiar. Of course he was right. After introductions, we sat down to a feast of spaghetti and meatballs. Trevor sat by me and Emmett sat across from us.

Emmett rolled his meatball around his plate and smiled kindly at Trevor. "Ever heard that song about the poor meatball that got away?"

Trevor shook his head and eyed Emmett skeptically, still unsure what to think.

Emmett began to sing. Right there at the table, loud and off pitch. "On top of spaghetti… all covered with cheese.."

Trevor giggled, and watched as Emmett sang, occasionally glancing at me, wide eyed and happy. After finishing the song, Emmett made a big point of twirling as much spaghetti as he could on his fork and shoving it in his mouth. He slurped at the strands left hanging out and if it wasn't so cute, it would've been disgusting. Trevor thought it was hilarious. He and Emmett hit it off rather well after that.

They bonded through dessert, licking their ice cream bowls and seeing who could drink their milk the fastest. I shook my head and smiled; it was wonderful to see Trevor having such a good time with him.

Afterwards they convened to the living room where Trevor brought out his favorite game - Hungry Hippos. A spirited match broke out, but sadly Emmett lost to my son's skills.

As we sat on the couch after Trevor had been tucked into bed, I kissed him lightly on the lips. "You did it."

"What?"

"You gave me something I've never experienced before. Seeing Trevor like that with you… it means a lot to me. He never had…" my voice trailed off and I closed my eyes.

His fingers wiped at the tears that were trailing along my cheek. "He's a great kid, but what do you expect? You are his mother."

That, after three months, 2 weeks and 3 days we finally made love and it was amazing.

"Emmett," I moaned, as he rose above me. His lips left a trail along my neck and across my shoulder and I couldn't take much more.

His eyes met mine, as we came together. There was so much love there, shining down on me, his eyes midnight blue and swirling with passion.

We fell apart in each others arm, quickly loosing ourselves and collapsing together, sweaty and spent.

"I love you ," he whispered for the first time as he pulled me close and wound his legs and arms around me,

After six months I knew I could never let him go. I was completely and utterly in love with him. We spent everyday together and most nights he would stay at my place. Trevor grew to love him and they were a perfect match. Emmett enjoyed spending time with my son and showing him new things, like how to swing a baseball bat.

I thought I knew everything about him, that we had no secrets. I was wrong and shocked to learn there were still aspects of his life that I knew nothing about.

I stopped by his house after work to check on him because he hadn't been feeling well this week. He'd had a fever yesterday and was really tired. I was worried and asked him to see a doctor. Maybe he had the flu and could get some antibiotics to help move it out of his system.

I stopped first to pick up a few things at the store - some Tylenol Cold medicine and chicken noodle soup. I wanted to baby him and help him to get better, but I didn't have much time before Trevor's school let out.

His apartment was dark so I flipped the light on in the kitchen and sat my bags on the counter. The first thing I wanted to do was make sure he was okay so I went into his bedroom to see if he was sleeping. He wasn't there, but there was a small light shining out from under his bathroom door.

As I walked over to it to let him know I was here, I heard a loud heaving noise and a faint call, "Rose…"

Dread swept over me as I tried the knob; it was unlocked and I opened the door to see Emmett sprawled out on the floor, facing the toilet. His head was over the rim and his body was heaving with spasms as he heaved dryly. "Emmett?"

I knelt by him and touched his forehead. He was clammy and his face was drawn and pale. "Call my dad," he managed to get out between the shakes and heaves. I took his cell phone from his pocket and dialed for Carlisle.

"Hello?"

"Carlisle, it's Emmett. He's sick. I thought it may be the flu; he's been feeling badly, but he's not doing so well right now. His skin is clammy and he's really pale..."

Carlisle interjected before I could go any further. "How long has he been sick?"

"A few days with a fever and he's been really tired."

"He didn't go to the doctor?"

"No."

"Damn it, Emmett." Carlisle sounded frustrated and upset and he was scaring me.

"He's in the bathroom, on the floor. I can't move him. Can you please come over?" Emmett groaned lowly and slumped forward, his arms sliding off the toilet. His head landed in my lap. His eyes were shut and his breathing was shallow and fast.

"Carlisle, I think he passed out…" I was starting to get scared. "Emmett? Emmett?" I shook his shoulder trying to revive him. His body started to jerk, his head rose and flopped back down onto my lap. "He's shaking… or seizing… I… oh my God! What do I do?"

"Turn him on his side, carefully, and protect his head. I'm going to call 911 from here, but I'll stay on the phone with you okay?"

I tried to do what he said, but Emmett was too big. I would have to drop his head to get him to move and everything in me told me not to do that. I knew I had read somewhere to protect the head when someone was seizing. "I can't move him." My hand stroked across Emmett's head as I cried. "Emmett?" I tried to rouse him, rubbing his shoulders, speaking his name, but there was nothing. "Carlisle, I can't wake him up. I'm scared. What do I do?" Emmett's body kept jerking uncontrollably and all I could do was sit there and watch. I was helpless.

"Just stay with him. Watch his breathing. If it stops let me know and we'll start CPR."

CPR? I stared at his chest, watching it rise and fall as I heard Carlisle speaking on another line. It seemed like hours that I sat there listening to him talk to me calmly, explaining that he had sent an ambulance and it should be there soon. When the knock sounded, I didn't know what to do. No way was I letting go of him.

Somehow the paramedics got in and took over. I was forced to release him as they worked over him. I stood there crying, still holding the phone and asking Carlisle what the hell was going on. What was wrong with my Emmett? I didn't wait for him to answer, my sobs too loud to hear him anyway.

They allowed me to ride with him, and I was at least relieved to see he had stopped convulsing, but he was still out. I sat by him, holding his hand as the paramedics discussed his condition. Words like cancer and leukemia, remission, floated around me and I felt nauseous and terrified. Why were they saying these things? Emmett wasn't sick. He would have told me.

Once at the hospital, I was left in the waiting room as he was rushed into the ER. My unfocused brain suddenly reminded me of a little boy who would be waiting on me to pick him up. Thinking of Trevor I began to sob again, wondering what I would tell him if Emmett…

My breath caught and I suddenly found it hard to breath. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest and I bent forward, gasping, as the tears poured down my face. I had to stand and run to the restroom before I threw up all over the floor.

Both Carlisle and Esme were sitting in the waiting room when I came out. I had so many questions to ask them, but first I called my brother, asking him to pick up Trevor and keep him for the night. He asked me what was wrong, but I was unable to go into any details.

I went right to Carlisle after I hung up, demanding to know just what in the hell was going on. "They said in the ambulance he has leukemia. Is that true?'

Carlisle nodded as he took Esme's hand. I searched both of their faces, confused and stricken. "Why didn't he tell me?" I dropped into the seat by Esme, staring at the floor. I shook my head repeatedly, wanting it to not be true. How could Emmett be this sick? How could I not have known?

"At first he was afraid you would run away. Then as he grew to love you, he didn't want to worry you." Esme's hand stroked along my hair, her touch soft as soft as a feather. "He truly believed he had beat it, that it wouldn't come back. We all wanted to believe that."

He didn't want to worry me? What the hell? My stomach clenched again as another wave of nausea hit me. Esme put her arm around my shoulders, pulling me in close. I slumped against her, frightened and exhausted.

A doctor came out and spoke to Carlisle. I didn't understand half of what they said, only that Emmett hadn't woken up yet and he was being moved to the ICU.

He woke up the next morning. When he saw me he frowned, his eyes full of sadness. "Oh, Rosie, I'm so sorry."

I wanted to yell at him, to curse him for keeping this from me, for letting me find out this way. I wanted to jump into the bed with him and kiss his face until I had covered every spot. Instead, I sat beside him and took his hand.

"I didn't want this for us. I didn't want you to have to deal with this." His eyes shone with anger and weariness. "I just wanted to be normal and love you. To have a family. I guess that was pretty stupid of me."

I shook my head, my eyes filling with tears again. "No… not stupid at all."

He stayed in the hospital for two days before they sent him home. He moved in with his parents so he could be monitored by Carlisle. I wanted him with me, but knew it could be hard on Trevor.

They started the chemo therapy immediately. It made him sick and weak, and I was astonished at the amount of weight he dropped. The big man I knew was wasting away in front of my eyes. His beautiful hair fell out, and the blue of his eyes dulled.

I cried every night in my bed. It was the only time I could give into the weakness. With Emmett I needed to be strong, so he could fight. With Trevor, I couldn't show him how scared I was.

My heart constantly hurt and I was filled with such sorrow and fright. I didn't want to lose him. I loved him so much, that the thought of carrying on without him seemed impossible. So we fought it. Chemo, radiation, drugs. And at every doctors appointment we waited to see what his count was. I Googled Leukemia and alternative treatments, desperate to try anything when conventional medicine seemed to be failing us.

"I'm so tired," he whispered one night as I lay close to him.

My hand ran along his arm, lingering on his fingers. He sighed deeply and took my hand, bringing it up to his mouth for a gentle kiss. "Rose, it's not working."

"Don't say that." My voice trembled and tears filled my eyes.

"I'm so sorry you have to go through this." He wiped away a tear that was trailing down my cheek. "I'm sorry this is hurting you and Trevor. I never would have let him get so close to me if I hadn't thought…"

"Shhhh..." I shook my head and frowned at him. He was sorry for what I had to go through? He was the one who was sick. Yet, he was thinking of me and my son.

"Promise me you'll be okay when I'm gone."

"Don't say that… please."

"I know you'll be strong. You're so amazing, Rose. Look at how well you've done with Trevor by yourself. He's your strength. You'll be strong for him. But I want to know that you'll be okay."

I gasped at the impossibility of his request. Of course I would power through and be there for Trevor. But on the inside? Inside, I was falling apart and I couldn't promise I would be okay because I was sure I wouldn't. Yet, this was what he wanted, what he asked. So I put on a smile and nodded, the yes lodging in my throat.

He sighed, his arms worming their way around me. "I wish I could make love to you. I want to feel you with me." His lips found mine and he kissed me before laying his head on my shoulder.

I fell asleep wrapped in his warm embrace. When I awoke it was dark, and I was cold. My eyes lifted to my man. His eyes were shut and there was a small smile on his lips. I took his hand and held it to my chest as tears leaked form the corners of my eyes.

*Quote from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.

****Crap- this may not be what you were looking for with the Emmett love, but I was feeling a bit angst lately and I knew I needed to write about Emmett so this is what came out. Don't hate me. It's a choose your own ending, you can whip it up and make a HEA if you want or go with the tragedy. What do you think happened?