Rating~M

Summary~AH/AU. Rosalie is set up with Emmett for a blind date. But will her haunted past ruin her future happiness?

Title~Defining Rose

Song Used~Blood Bank by Bon Iver

Lyric Used~I'm in love with your honor.


Rosalie never agreed to blind dates. Not once. In her whole life, she'd never resorted to such a tactic. She had her charm and her natural good looks. But lately, ever since the incident, she'd been charmless. She was no longer friendly, not even in the stand-offish way she used to be. She no longer had a dazzling smile. Every grin was forced and eventually turned to a grimace. There was no spark in her eyes. She could tell that as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. They were hollow. Her cheeks were hollow. Her chest was hollow. She gave a rueful laugh at the reflection. Even that was hollow. The emptiness echoed in her ears. It was like she was the hollowed out corpse of the girl she used to be, and she was supposed to hold her head high and be proud of it. She had trouble with that. Her head felt too heavy. And she was nowhere near proud.

"Go. Have fun," Alice, her best friend, prodded her. Alice was the only person who knew everything. Alice was the only person who knew what had happened. Rosalie's dark secret. Rosalie was envious of how the secret hadn't also burrowed deep into Alice's chest and hollowed her out. Left her empty. Aching for the ability to feel something, anything, and yet feeling so much that she prayed for numbness. But Alice was still Alice. Still smiles and vibrancy, and little kid enthusiasm. And Rosalie envied it.

"Not likely," Rosalie bit out derisively, like the mere suggestion was ludicrous. Truth was she was afraid. Afraid to feel. Afraid to be caught not feeling. Afraid of the possibilities. She just wanted to stay home, safe, warm, in a place where only her own reflection mocked her. Not other people.

"You can't go on like this forever," Alice said softly, care and worry in her voice as she ran her hand through Rosalie's hair in a gesture of comfort. But part of her begrudgingly knew it was true. She couldn't hide in her apartment and let her whole life pass her by. Even if Rosalie wanted to do nothing more than just that. So, giving Alice one final glare in the mirror, she pulled away, frown fixed on her face, yanking her purse off the hook by the door as she left. Slamming the door with a finality that made Alice jump.

Emmett had always thought that blind dates were a sign of desperation. He had considered himself never before pathetic enough to go on one. But for him, this wasn't truly a blind date. Rosalie didn't know him. But he knew her. Or of her rather. He was one of Jasper's childhood friends. Jasper was head over heels in love with Alice. They seemed to be a contradiction to almost everyone. The Southern army boy and the New York fashionista. On the surface it all made no sense. But Emmett had seen it. And they were like magic. She brought much needed excitement to his life of routine, and he kept her from being too grandiose, head in the clouds. And he'd never seen Jasper so soft. It was the real thing. And watching them together Emmett realized he wanted the real thing.

They often told stories of Alice's best friend Rosalie. She sounded edgy, brazen, bold. He had developed a secret crush on the girl he built her up to be in his imagination. But none of that could have prepared him for the gorgeous girl he saw in a picture of a New Year's party he couldn't make it to. He had commented. They told him, that was Rosalie.

Rosalie parked in front of the restaurant. It was nice. Fancy even. Exactly what she would have demanded once, in her imperious tone, the one that said if you didn't, you weren't good enough. But it was now that she wished she'd insisted on just coffee, so that Emmett wouldn't try to impress her. She wished for her jeans and sneakers. Maybe even her sweats. Not a tight dress that Alice had chosen to fit the atmosphere. She wanted to shrink. Blend into the background. She did not want to make an impression. She wanted this Emmett friend of Jasper's, the oh so great guy that he supposedly was, to be unimpressed. To never call her again.

She debated leaving, pulling away. Going to the movies. Telling Alice it hadn't worked out. Riding the lie until Jasper made her face the truth. It seemed like a workable plan. Until she thought of the feeling she would give this guy. Her rejection, her not even showing up. It would hurt. It would be painful. For a time it would probably even leave him hollow. She didn't want anyone else to feel hollow. Not truly. Even if she envied their ability to be whole.

As she approached, Emmett remembered back to that night. The night he had seen the picture of Rosalie. He had insisted on meeting her. Alice and Jasper had almost immediately fallen into awkward silence.

"That might not be the best idea…." Alice had hedged, shaking her head. Jasper pulled her closer, rubbing her back, like he was both comforting her and protecting her. Emmett didn't really understand it. After all, he wasn't a bad guy. He was even fairly charming. And he would never force his company on anyone. Rosalie would be free to make her own choices. He just wanted a chance to be one of those choices.

"Why not?" he asked, confused. Rosalie had never seemed shy or even confused in any of the stories that they had told him. "Does she have a boyfriend?"

Alice and Jasper stare at each other, like they were having a silent conversation with their eyes for endlessly long moments before Alice answers. "No," Emmett looked hopeful, "But she did."

Jasper supplies to make this all make more sense. "It ended badly not too long ago."

But Emmett had managed to persuade them. Saying he just wanted the chance to meet her. He wasn't expecting anything. Just the chance.

One second Rosalie was approaching Emmett and the next she had breezed past him saying simply, "Let's get this over with, shall we?" She barely even paused to look at him as she walked into the restaurant. Emmett had to jog to catch up to her. And still when he got there, he found her glowering at him, hands on her hips, impatience etched into every muscle, bone, and fiber of her being.

He cleared his throat nervously, "McCarty." He gave his name to the maître d'.

"Yes, sir. Right this way." Emmett reached out and placed his hand on the small of Rosalie's back, to lead her towards their table. She jerked away from him, almost as if his hand had burned her. And her body stiffened even more, her jaw clenching.

She allowed the maître d' to pull her chair out for her as they both sat down. She spared him a dazzling smile, though it seemed forced around the edges, along with a thank you before she turned hard, scrutinizing eyes back on Emmett. Emmett had never before felt like he was under a microscope like this. And he'd never before felt like he'd made such a bad impression already. When he hadn't even said a word.

Rosalie had recognized Emmett almost immediately. Not because she knew him. Or even knew his name. But she knew she was meeting Emmett. She knew Emmett was one of Jasper's friends. And the man she was now sitting across from she had seen in numerous pictures all over Jasper's walls. Pictures of them at fraternity parties in college. Pictures of them on fishing trips. Pictures of them at Emmett's sister's wedding. She had always been with Royce, so she hadn't ever analyzed it much. But she had developed a crush on the stranger in the pictures with the warm smile. A crush she had kept entirely to herself. A secret from everyone. Because it had never mattered, not really, she was with Royce.

The universe had a sick, twisted sense of humor. Now that she didn't want to have anything to do with him, here he was, sitting across from her; a choice.

He gave her a smile that seemed forced. And her emotions were torn. Part of her was glad. This is what she'd set out to do. To discourage him. To get rid of Emmett. Now that she knew who Emmett was, though, it felt bitter sweet to succeed. "Alice said this place was your favorite."

It was obvious he was nervous. She liked having him jumpy and on edge. Maybe even a little afraid. She felt it made the playing field level, if he felt the same way she did. She gave him a small smirk and shrugged. "It's okay." A lie. Another lie. She detested the lies that she seemed to tell almost constantly lately. She lied that she was okay. She lied almost every time she smiled, or laughed. Everything she did had to be a lie. It was the only way to exist anymore.

The smirk playing across her lips was the first sign Emmett had even seen that the Rosalie he had heard stories of even still truly existed. But her next words had left him feeling empty and cold. It's okay. Would he manage to do anything right for her tonight? Something told him not to hold his breath. Something told him that even his best efforts would be for not. "This is for you," he added, handing her the single pink rose he had purchased earlier that evening before the date. He had not expected her to swoon exactly. But he had expected her to be pleased. But he had expected a lot of things from this evening that didn't seem to be panning out. He had thought he'd have to work hard to get her to see him as a worthy opponent. That was the way of the Rose he had always heard about. Not that he would have to work hard, against a current, to barely stay afloat all evening. But he had expected her to at least take the flower.

Instead her hand shot out. "Don't," she said, her tone cold, her eyes like ice as they met his before falling down to the table.

Emmett was confused. His brow drew together. "Don't what?" he asked, not understanding.

"Give me that rose. Don't give me that rose," Rosalie responded. Though now she just sounded sad, her tone lack luster. When she looked up at him, her eyes were dull. She eyed the pink rose like it was a monster sitting between them. With a haunted memory dancing behind her eyes. Emmett reached out and touched her hand gently. "Rosalie?"

She jerked her hand away from him. She took a deep breath, the hard, cold glare back. Completely composed again. And then as he reached out to comfort her again, she sneered at him. "What did you think would happen here Emmett? That you'd give me some rose and I would melt. That maybe it would buy you false love. Present me with false promises." She shook her head. "I'm not interested in anything from you."

Emmett took his hand back, as they ordered. The rest of the dinner passed in mostly awkward silence. But he couldn't get that haunted look in her eyes out of his head. He couldn't deny that something was wrong with Rosalie. Even if he had never known her before. He could still tell she wasn't herself. He had never before been treated so badly. And he had never before been called out so baldly on his intentions. Even if she was wrong. He couldn't help himself. He was intrigued nonetheless. The ice around Rosalie hadn't done as she intended. It only made him want to chip it away to find the amazing person underneath that he heard of from Alice and Jasper.

The night was finally over. Rosalie was finally home. She walked in and went to the bathroom, immediately stripping off her dress, the rest of her clothes, and kicking off her heels. She didn't care that the clothing items were strewn about in her haste, and not neatly tucked away in the hamper. She turned the shower on. She wasn't sure why, but every part of her felt put together wrong. Put together wrong. And dirty. She had lusted for Emmett before. Had a crush on him. And she was sure both emotions still existed, deep down, underneath it all, to the part of her that still wasn't terrified of feeling them. It felt wrong to feel them though. Like a sin. And thoughts of sex, of kisses, of rough hands over smooth skin, made her remember that night. Made her skin crawl. Made her ashamed. It was hard to even look at Emmett tonight without feeling shame. Without feeling fear. Without feeling dirty. And worse, unworthy, damaged. Even if she could get passed her own fear, he would never want her if he knew. He would discard her as Royce had. Call her names.

She stepped under the hot water, it rolled over her skin. She closed her eyes against it all, the water scalding her, running hot enough to burn. She thought of the rose. The pink rose Emmett had handed her. How it had once been another man's favorite flower to give her. Because I love you Rosie, he would say, stroking her hair, kissing her cheek. And she'd been dumb enough to believe his words. To believe in love and happily ever afters. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She cried for the lies, the betrayal, her losses, her loss of future possibilities. She cried for herself. And she cried for Emmett. Hopefully he wouldn't be hung up on her for long.

Rosalie had been surprised when Emmett had called her a few days later. "What? Glutton for punishment?" she'd asked. She had wanted to tease, but it came out sounding superior, condescending. He had agreed he was. And she had found herself unable to say no. She had hated herself for agreeing to hang out with him, go out with him, again. It was torture. Looking at him, his dimpled smile, it was like looking at hope. It was blinding to her, she'd been so long lost in the dark. And in the dark is where she was comfortable. She didn't want to come out. She didn't believe there was truly hope for a bright future, for ever after.

It had been months since they had started hanging out. Rosalie was more comfortable with him, but she still kept him at a distance. At arm's length. She still didn't truly trust either him or herself. She opened the door to him and he handed her roses. Yellow. "Friendship," Rosalie said to him with a grin, "I approve."

He smiled back it was bright blinding. He stepped inside. Taking the roses from her again, grabbing the vase off the top shelf and filling it with water for her. "You didn't have to," she said. He shrugged it off, "I wanted to."

She'd never given him any reason to be kind to her. In fact she thwarted him and his advances at every turn. Yet still he came back. It made her sad. Her possibility for happily ever after was gone. But he could still have his.

Emmett couldn't stay away from Rose, as he was allowed to call her now. She kept him at a distance. But every time they were together, he learned something new about her. Rose hated pink roses, and she hated male posturing in almost any form, and she liked the smell of lavender the best, red was her favorite color, she was an only child, she'd once slapped Jasper for hurting Alice, she slept with a night light on, she hated anything in her house to be out of place, her favorite food was seafood, her favorite movies were comedies, especially romantic ones, even though she usually only watched them with sadness, her favorite books were classics, she loved the theatre, she wasn't close to what little family she did have, she liked the beach best at night because she liked to watch the stars, when she got quiet she looked like she was far away, but wherever she went was a secret, she had a great sense of humor, but she was even better at being cold and distant, she hated to feel helpless, and she loved him. But she didn't know that yet. At least not that Emmett could tell.

She looked down, she looked far away again. He stood patiently, waiting out her silence. When her eyes met his again they were filled with sadness. "You shouldn't waste your time here," she said simply before turning her back on him. She moved to the couch. The moment gone as she spoke again, as if the previous comment hadn't been made. "I picked out the movie already," That was the plan tonight, to watch a movie, order some take out. Just be together. Her company was truly the only company Emmett wanted.

He knew she didn't want to talk about her earlier comment, but he couldn't just let it sit. Like she was a waste of his time. She was the single strongest person he knew. He was pulled in by everything that was a part of her. And one day, she would be pulled in by him too. "There's nowhere I'd rather be," he tells her honestly.

Her head shoots up, as if stunned. "Why?" she asks him, point blank, unable to keep the curiosity from her tone. She must be thinking about all the things she keeps from him. But she gives him just as much if not more.

His eyes find hers, latching on, he notices she's leaning closer, like for the first time ever, his words truly matter to her. But he knows her well enough to know she'll hate them. She despises the idea of love. That much he's learned. "Because I love you."

Never had any one said such terrifying words to her. He stayed because he loved her, even if she was mean and nasty and broken and unable to love him back. Why was love always a curse? First someone's love had stolen everything from her, including her peace, her solace. And now she was stealing everything from someone because of their love, unable to give back. She despised him for saying such words. Love was a dark and dirty thing. Love could not be trusted. It always betrayed, left you alone, with less than you started with. But there was a part of her buried deep that wanted it, craved it, screamed for the chance to be broken again. "What is it about me you love?" Rosalie asks, wondering if it would even be worth the risk.

Emmet's lips lower to hers. Seeking out her own. But she tilts her head away. No kissing allowed. Even if he did love her. Even if maybe she could love him back. And then he answers. "I'm in love with your honor."

She feels tears sting her eyes. It's all a lie. It's all false. It's all untrue. He doesn't even know her at all. He's mistaken her fear, her distance, her desire to crush him for honor. He doesn't see what it really is. He thinks that the dark coiled snake that Royce has left inside of her isn't something to fear or despise. He mistakenly thinks it's something to adore. He doesn't recognize that she's full of darkness, that it pervades every part of her being, that it's the darkness that makes her honorable. That her honor comes from the most unhonorable thing one can imagine. But he must know. He should know the truth. He should not love her for something she doesn't possess. "I have no honor," she barely whispers before rising to her feet and storming out. She knows it's her house. But she knows he won't leave. And right now she needs to be alone.

Emmett knows her well enough to know not to push. But as days turn to weeks and weeks into a month, he worries he'll never hear from her again. He had stayed for hours the last night he'd seen her. Sitting in her empty house. Staring at the walls, listening to the silence, as the daylight outside began to fade and the room grew darker as night settled in. When it became too late, he'd given up his vigil, knowing in his gut that while he was waiting Rose out, she was waiting him out. And she always had been more stubborn. And he couldn't keep her from finding peace and comfort in her own home.

The knock sounding on his door startles him, brings him back to reality and away from echoing memories of a night over a month ago when he had unwittingly destroyed the woman he loved. But the even more startling surprise was what lay on the other side of the door. It was Rosalie. She looked small, which was something he'd never seen before. He had never, though he had wished she would be comfortable enough to, seen her without make up, perfectly managed hair, or a matched wardrobe. But today she stood before him. Her eyes unlined, her lips their natural shade, her hair thrown up in a messy bun, a sweat suit on, with sneakers. "Rose?" he questioned. She looked unsure of herself, and that also seemed unfamiliar. Seemed to not fit her.

Rosalie looked up into Emmett's eyes as she stood on the other side of the threshold. Violet eyes meeting green ones. She was scared and unsure of this move. But at Alice's prodding, she had decided she needed to take the chance. At least just this once. Just to see. "Emmett," she said softly in way of greeting.

She looked at the ground again. Maybe he didn't want to see her. Maybe he didn't still love her. After all, she herself knew how fickle love could be. Nothing it did would surprise her anymore. But she had realized with stunning clarity in Emmett's absence that she loved him. She wasn't sure when, or how it had happened. She still didn't trust it. She wouldn't stop fighting it any time soon. But she wanted him to know. She wanted to try. She wanted to include him in her life. But for that to happen, he had to know. Which meant that she had to tell him the single hardest story of her life. "Come with me," she said quietly. She didn't wait for a response as she walked away, towards her car. He could follow of not, but either way, she could say she tried.

Emmett stared at her as she walked away. His heart thundered in his ears, even as he tried to make sense of all of it. He wondered if he was imagining it. If he was dreaming it. Was this really happening? Was Rose really on his doorstep, telling him to come with her? Follow her? He had to know. Whatever this was, he had to know. He jogged after her, after fumbling to lock his door. "Rose, wait," he called out. Anyone else would say that he was crazy to think that the person who had driven all the way to his house and invited him out would leave him there, but he knew Rose better.

She started the car. Revving the engine. But she waited. He got in next to her. "So where are we going?"

Rosalie backed the car out of the drive. She didn't say anything, didn't answer his questions. Didn't trust herself to tell him later, if they started talking now. Being friends. And she didn't want to waste her voice on inconsequential how are you's, or we're going to the beach's when she already didn't trust it to say what was important. The top was down. She could feel the cold breeze all around her, harsh and unrelenting. She accepted it. Because she feared her future. She feared Emmett's coldness. If she was chilled to the bone already, he couldn't make her colder, his ice couldn't hurt.

She stopped the car at the beach and soundlessly got out. She began to walk away, to the sand, towards the water. She sat in the sand, mere feet from the waves washing in. She took off her sneakers to reveal bare feet, she placed them in the damp sand, letting the occasional wave brush against them.

Rosalie loved the beach at night. But as she sat in silence, bare feet in damp sand, eyes staring out unfocused beyond the horizon, he realized it was because of the solitude, the soothing sounds, not the stars, even if she did love to watch them. He made move to speak as he sat next to her, but then her voice sounded out instead.

"A few months before I met you, I was dating Royce," her tone sounded stiff, monotone. Emmett didn't like it. But it was with shocking clarity that he realized he was going to hear her secret. The one that clouded her mind. And fucked with her honor. But to hear her voice like this, he knew it had to hurt her. And that he didn't like.

"Rose," he reached out and put his hand on her arm, "You don't have to."

She looked over at him, her eyes almost vacant as he once again saw a haunted memory dance behind her eyes. She shook her head. "You should know," she said, her voice still sounding detached from her body, "You should know what you love. Who you love."

Emmett closed his mouth and nodded. But he was confused. Did this mean that she was accepting his love? Or was she setting him straight? Explaining why she had no honor. He realized it didn't matter. Whatever she wanted to share, he would accept. And at least she was talking to him. Maybe they could move forward from here.

"Royce was everything my family wanted for me. I was never closer to them, than I was when I was with Royce. I think part of the reason I thought I loved him was because he had made them love me finally," she took in a shaky breath. Emmett wondered if the break up had anything to do with the estrangement. "My parents wanted me to marry young enough to have children and to marry well. Someone from a prominent family. Someone who had money. I was raised to be a part of that world. That life. Though I'm not sure I ever really wanted it."

She worried she didn't make sense. But she didn't stop talking. Didn't look to see if he was following along. She just leaned back on her elbows and closed her eyes, letting the waves soothe her, before opening them and tracing familiar patterns in the sky; Cassiopeia, Gemini, and the little dipper. Then she spoke again. Her eyes entranced with the twinkling lights above her. "He loved me. In the beginning. He brought roses. Pink ones. And we slow danced when there was no music playing. He held me close. And he listened. But men like Royce, they aren't truly made to be romantic. To woo for too long. They're made to find a mate, get married, make babies, and drift as far away from their wives as possible."

She sat up again, the stars no longer holding her attention even as she continued to trace their familiar shapes in the sand. "I was falling out of love with him. I felt trapped. I told him that I wasn't happy. That I wanted more. That I wanted the passion back." She bit her lower lip. "He transformed then. Told me I wasn't allowed to leave. That I was as good as his. That he would slander me to my family if I left. So I stayed."

She wished there was something she could do other than just sit here. Next to Emmett, bearing her soul. Like a TV she could pretend to be distracted by, or a radio she could turn on. Instead, she straightened her legs and went on a mission to pick every piece of sand off of her sweats one by one. "I stayed until I was suffocating. Until I couldn't stand it anymore. And then I left." She tucked her hair behind her ears. "And he was mad. We had been together for years. And I knew he was going to destroy things with my parents. So I leaned heavily on Alice and Jasper. They helped me through it. Through all the horrible things he said. All the things he did, trying to ruin my reputation."

She pulled her knees to her chest, resting her chin on them. "It had been a month since our break up. He made things with my parents irreparable. But it was all starting to sort of die down. To fade." Her voice failed her, broke. She closed her eyes tightly, forcing the tears to stay in, unshed. "I saw him at a bar. He was drunk. I went outside for some fresh air. Alone." She had never doubted her safety. "He came up to me. He touched me." She could remember his strong hands against her soft skin. Brushing over her neck. Pushing her hair out of the way. Moving lower and lower, first over fabric, then under. Caresses that once would have turned her on, making her stomach churn as his uninvited hands found her thighs. "I told him to stop." But he hadn't. He had taken all of his liberties. He had taken everyone he wanted. "He didn't listen, pulling me into his car, whispering in my ear." She still remembered his words. He had already destroyed all but two of her friendships. He'd stolen her family. Her world. The life she was raised to lead. She couldn't believe he would take this too. But he had. And as he had he had whispered about love, about missing her, about needing her, wanting her, about how he was showing her now how much passion he had. "I screamed." She had, but no one had heard. She was inside a car outside a club. The sounds of the music and bass, even drowned out most of Royce's groans and grunts, so that they never met her ears. "And then I begged. But none of it mattered. In the end." Royce had been out to prove something. Something cruel and vindictive. Almost like it was a plan from the beginning. From the moment she broke up with him. Don't tell anyone else I'm dispassionate had been his final words as he threw her from the car. "And then it was over." She stumbled out, drunk, and dizzy, unable to think at all. She had walked, stumbled home. She had thrown out the clothes. And she had taken a shower, staying in it long past when the warmth had faded, until it felt like pieces of hail pelting down on her like machine gun fire. She didn't speak of it, or to anyone for days. And then Royce had done it, the final thing to fully destroy her, he'd made sure everyone had known how easy she was. Her hands shook as she raised them to smooth her hair again. "And then it was over," she spoke again, almost as if trying to convince herself that it was fact.

Emmett wanted to cry for her as she struggled to keep her own tears at bay. She thought she had no honor because of what Royce had done to her. But it wasn't true. When someone takes something you don't give, it doesn't count. She hadn't agreed. She hadn't said yes. But there would be plenty of time for that later. "It's over," he assured her gently. "It's over." Emmett reached out and pulled her into his arms. "It's over," he repeated again.

They sat on the beach for a long time in companionable silence. Rosalie, struggling to keep her emotions under control. And Emmet struggling to let her know that it was all okay now, and it was equally okay to feel whatever she felt. After a while, Rosalie started showing Emmett the constellations. And then they spoke. Now Emmett knew even more about Rosalie.

Emmett knew that Rose hated pink roses because Royce gave them to her, that she liked the beach at night for its solitude and peace, that she was sad because of her violation, because of the things she had lost, that she was amazingly strong because she still liked to laugh in spite of it, that she wasn't cold, but afraid, cautiously, and that it didn't matter if she loved him, because she trusted him. He grinned and kissed the top of her head. She had let out a shaky laugh. Then she rose to her feet and led the way to her car, leading him by the hand.

"Thank you, Emmett," she said, as she climbed into the car. His brow crinkled in confusion as he joined her inside. As she closed the top to keep the cold out this time. Right now she felt warm, and accepted. She didn't want to lose that. She wanted to batten down the hatches in hopes of always keeping the cold out. "For listening. You needed to know."

Emmett wasn't sure how to respond. "Thank you," Now she looked confused. "For telling me."

He could see the shame still etched on her features. "Nothing he did to you is your fault. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Or to apologize for."

Rosalie wasn't convinced. In the end it had been her own cruel words to come back and haunt her. He lacked passion she had said. But part of her knew he had a point. "I'm not going to change my mind about that overnight," she answered simply.

And then there wasn't much left to say. They had to agree to disagree or fight. The drive home was silent, but Emmett realized that Rose held his hand the whole way. Their hands resting on the middle console, fingers intertwined. She finally came to a stop in his driveway.

"Oh, this is for you," she said off hand. She handed him a pink rose just as he had on their first date. Only now, he didn't see anything nice in the gesture. He wondered why she would choose this. Why now.

"Don't," he said, echoing her words from before.

"Don't what?" she asked and he saw greater pain there than there had been before.

"Give me that Rose," he mirrored her sentiment. "I know what it means now, Rose."

She shook her head. "You only know what it means in a story about a girl."

But the story was hers. She was the girl. But I couldn't resist asking. "What does it mean?"

"Pink," she said to him, "means love." She tried to hand it to him again. "We reinvent the story. It's not over yet. The girl could smile again. And pink could stand for love."

He stares at her. She despises love. She hates the idea. She hates pink roses. But she's extending it to him. She extending him an opportunity to love her. To change the ending. "She could even get a happily ever after," he said to her, before his lips moved down to find hers, and this time he was allowed access. And they shared their first kiss in the car.

And it was then that Emmett truly understood Rosalie. She didn't hate pink roses. She hated the boy who gave them to her. She didn't despise love. She hated the way it had betrayed her. Abandoned her. She didn't speak to her family because they had chosen Royce over her. She was still the strongest woman he knew of to even try again. She seemed sad because she was, she was still healing. She still went far away though the places were not secret anymore. She wanted to laugh, desperately. She hated being hard and cold and rigid. And she loved him. Even she knew that now.