Title: The Red Shoes
Which fairytale inspired you: The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen
Rating & Any Needed Warning: T
Word Count: 6208
Pairing: Rosalie & Emmett
Summary: Rosalie is a spoiled girl who loves parties and her fancy red shoes. When her mother becomes ill, will a handsome doctor help her learn that there are things more important in life than being beautiful to look at?
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight, Hans Christian Andersen owned the original 'Red Shoes'. We own all the original twists and turns.
The distinctive sound of flesh meeting flesh resounded through the downstairs, and my wife put down the mending she was working on to quickly go see what was wrong. Our granddaughters were in the playroom, supposedly playing house. We had heard raised voices a little bit ago, but never had one of the girls struck the other in the past.
"Alice! Stop pulling my hair!"
"Stop being such a brat, Bella!"
"I'm not a brat, you are!" Bella cried. "It's not fair that you always get to be the mommy! You are too short to be a mom!"
"You aren't pretty enough to be the mommy!" Alice retorted, "besides, I'm older than you!"
"Girls, that is quite enough!" I heard my wife say, as she waded into the midst of our fighting granddaughters. "What is going on in here? I thought you were playing house, not engaging in professional wrestling!"
Covering my mouth to keep from chuckling out loud, I settled back in my armchair with the paper, confident that she had everything under control. The girls were still stifling sobs and trying to get their grandmother to listen to their side of the story. We adored our granddaughters, as different as they were, and she wasn't going to tolerate either of them being ugly toward the other.
Alice, although older than Bella by two years, was the tinier of the two. At nine, she was almost two inches shorter than her sister. She looked, and acted, much like the Disney fairies she loved to play with. She was always ready for fun and loved to play outside. Bella, on the other hand, although only seven, loved to read and play quiet activities. She was a little clumsy, so she tended to shy away from playing rough and tumble games outside with her cousins, Seth and Collin. My wife would set them straight, I was sure.
"Girls, you're both beautiful. But what have I told you about basing who is better on your looks?"
"Not to." I heard them reply, sullenly.
"And, what have I told you is more important?" she asked.
"That it's more important to be pretty on the inside," Bella said.
"Because outside pretty goes away, but inside pretty lasts forever," Alice finished
"Exactly." I could hear the sounds of my wife pulling both girls to her. "And, even the most physically beautiful woman in the world will be ugly if she isn't pretty inside, too."
Standing, I walked over to the doorway, standing to the side so I could watch without being seen. She had both the little girls pulled in tight against her, smoothing over the red hand print on Bella's arm, while drying Alice's tears. Giving them both a kiss on the cheek, she set them slightly away from her so she could see their eyes.
"Girls, have I ever told you the story of The Red Shoes?" she asked them.
Both girls shook their heads, but their eyes lit up. Their grandmother was a wonderful storyteller, never using books. She always told them stories about pretty princesses rescued by their princes just in the nick of time.
"Does it have a princess in it?" Alice asked, as she twirled in a circle on her toes.
"Well, she was treated like a princess most of her life."
"Oh, like Sarah Crewe," Bella, our little bookworm, sighed.
"Yes, Bella, much like Sarah. But, unlike Sarah, this girl did not keep a good heart, even though she had everything she could have ever wanted. Instead, when things became hard, the girl in my story became a not very nice person. It took the honest words of a wonderful man for her to see that she was wrong, but she was almost too late to change. Do you want me to tell you her story?"
Both girls immediately began clamoring for their grandmother to tell them more. She had them settle down on the floor in front of her, and when they were quiet, their grandmother began the story of The Red Shoes.
There once was a girl named Rosalie. When she was just a little girl, no more than the age of four, her family disappeared. One morning when she woke up, they were nowhere to be found, not her mother or father, nor her brothers and sisters. She stayed put in the house, remembering the rules about not going outside without permission, but as time passed, Rosalie became hungry and there was very little in the house to begin with, never mind things she could eat without cooking. After a few days of hunger pains in her belly and a pantry with not a crumb left, the girl let her house in search of her family and food.
Young Rosalie was found wandering around the town square by a police officer. When he asked her where her parents were she cried. The young officer was so unsure about what to do; he scooped her up and brought her to the station.
Rosalie sat wide eyed on a desk watching the hustle and bustle of the uniformed men around her. A few of them tried asking her more questions about her family, but she had no answers to give them. The only thing she could remember was playing hide and seek the night before with two of her brothers. She hid in a closet, but then fell asleep. When she awoke her family was gone.
The officers were puzzled. They couldn't figure out which family the small blonde girl belonged too, and even if they did, there was little way of tracking them down. The economy was bad and many families moved out of the upper-middle class town every week. From their known estimates no less than five men had packed up their wives and children and fled the area over the past month. With no answers as to where the girl came from or for how long she had been left alone, the police chief made the decision of placing the girl in an orphanage.
Rosalie had heard the word before, but had no real idea what an orphanage was. She thought it was a place for naughty kids to be punished, just like a time out. Her mother and father used to tell her siblings they would be sent away to one when they were bad or when money got tight.
So the surprise that met her eyes when the chief pulled up to the building was great. There were children outside laughing and playing on jungle gyms and swings. Though the happiness and joy she felt when she first arrived did not last long.
The occupants of the Cray Street Home for Children had arrived there through varied circumstances. Though they all shared one thing in common, they were unwanted and had no one to call a family. They trusted almost no one, especially new comers, but the treatment of younger and exceptionally cute children was the worst.
Sadly for Rosalie, she not only fit the level of extreme cuteness, but she was also in a prime age range for adoption. Though rare, adoption during these trying times did happen. Babies were the first to go, because they could easily be fronted as a biological child. However, up until the age of six an orphan still stood a chance, all be it a small one. Every day x'ed off a calendar diminished that percentage greatly, but it seemed once the age of seven rolled around any dreams of a new family and home went right out the window.
The moment the cruiser pulled up and the uniformed officer escorted the young blonde haired girl to the front door; there was a target on her back. The children approaching the dreaded seventh year immediately set their sights on her. They all knew she was competition, possibly of the highest degree.
After her first day at the home, which had been wonderful, Rosalie noticed a change. The children, who the day before played with her, now ignored her and stole her toys. Any time she would say hello, she was met with an annoyed request for her to shut up. The only things she was able to play with were the broken, battered, and forgotten toys that no other person would pick.
All of these things would have been fine with Rosalie, she was content to play by herself, pretending her doll with a ripped off leg was simply a baby born without one. Even a small section of cut jump rope could become a make believe pet snake. So despite their efforts to outcast the girl, Rosalie still gained attention from visiting prospective parents.
The other children, not happy with how much of the spotlight Rosalie still held, upped their game. They took to ripping and staining her clothing, to make her look tattered. In the play yard mud bombs and dirt balls were often thrown her way. Sometimes they would even walk up and smear the earthy substances on her face and hair.
This was the daily treatment Rosalie faced for years. Even when her seventh birthday passed, the others were so set in their ways that the habit of humiliation continued. Most days Rosalie could handle it, simply taking the malice dished her way silently. She'd learned early on that the bigger deal she made of it, the worse and longer her torment would last. Eventually, she just internalized all they said and truly believed that the dirty broken girl they claimed her to be was exactly who she was.
On her ninth birthday the teasing was getting to be much and Rosalie's already tried emotions were being pushed. All she wanted was one day to just relax, without worrying about being a proverbial punching bag. The other residents knew what today symbolized thanks to the morning announcements and went out of their way to be more cruel than normal.
As Rosalie sat near a tree in the large backyard reading book, globs of mud began to rain on her. In an attempt to save the book's pages from the damage Rosalie made the mistake of not shielding her face. One of the many mock bullets coming her way contained a small rock inside. As it connected to the area underneath Rosalie's eye, she let out a loud shriek and started to cry while clutching her face.
A woman who was visiting the orphanage, in hopes to find a small bundle of joy in its nursery had just walked into the yard when Rosalie started to scream. Her eyes dashed to the shaded ground underneath the tree. Easily, she spotted a young girl on the ground crying while the other children continued to throw mud and laugh. Without a conscious thought, she found herself running to the girl's side while yelling for the others to stop. Reluctantly, they ceased fire, but more due to the fact that they knew this woman was a prospective parent and they all wanted a chance to leave the home for good.
Leaning against her grandmother's leg, Bella sighed, "She was a nice lady to save Rosalie from the mean kids."
Her grandmother smiled and placed a gentle kiss on Bella's forehead. "Yes, she was a wonderful woman with a heart of gold."
Rosalie felt herself being scooped up into someone's arms, the embrace was tight and something she hadn't felt in such a long time. She could barely make out the sound of a woman's voice whispering sweet words of comfort over the cries of pain that left her lips. It took a few moments, but with a hand gently rubbing her back, Rosalie was able to calm herself down and get a peek at the woman soothing her.
Upon seeing the bright eyes of the young girl in her arms, the woman knew that her plans for this trip were changed. The shade of blue that peaked through light lashes made the woman's heart ache. They were an eerily reminiscent shade of her late husband's. She was so enamored, she found herself telling the small girl her name was Esme.
Esme continued to speak to the girl, who eventually told her that her name was Rosalie. It was evident to Esme that this little girl was special and in need of a mother's love. And while she had the intentions of adopting a newborn, they were soon changed. Her heart, which had been fractured and aching since her husband Carlisle's murder, was calling her to claim this sweet child.
Later that day when Rosalie was told of Esme's pending adoption of her, she was confused. Who would want a dirty, sad, broken nine year old over a small baby, new to the world, she'd thought. Whatever Esme's reason, however crazy Rosalie believed them to be, she was grateful. For the first time in close to five years, she knew that there would be a day, not far off, that she could wake up and not be attacked with hate.
Esme found herself excited for the arrival of her daughter, so much so that she paid triple the fees to get the process expedited. A few weeks later, Esme found herself walking the familiar rout to the orphanage, she barely had to think about her path having taken it every day to go and visit with Rosalie. Today though, there was an extra spring in her step because she had been informed that all she needed to do was sign a few more forms and she was free to bring her daughter home.
So with a few scribbles of her name, Esme became a proud parent. The joy she felt at earning the title of mom was like nothing she had ever felt before. Her only moment of gloom was when she thought of Carlisle. It was such a bitter sweet time for her, while she was excited about her daughter, it hurt her heart that Rosalie would never meet the man whose name she would share.
It took Rosalie sometime to acclimate to being outside of the children's home. She wasn't used to being able to do things without worrying about the repercussions from her peers. It amazed her when she could eat all the food her belly could handle at a meal or play with toys new from the store. These were things that she hadn't even experienced in her life before the orphanage.
However, as she grew more comfortable in her new home things began to change. The little girl who only had a few ripped and stained outfits now had a closet of the prettiest dresses to wear. And her skin, which was always caked in dirt and grime, was actually a delicate shade of porcelain. It was truly a sight to behold, watching this small, scared, introverted child blossom into something more.
Esme was astounded when it came to Rosalie's achievements. She was such a bright girl, earning high marks in school, always making the honor roll. There was not one thing Esme could think of that her daughter would not be able to do if her mind was set to it.
"She was beautiful!" Alice exclaimed.
"She was smart, too," Bella interjected.
"Yes, girls. She was smart and beautiful, but she wasn't happy, as you'll soon see," answered their grandmother, before she continued.
But it broke poor Esme's heart to watch Rosalie's self-hate and shame fester inside. As her mother, she felt at fault for any problems her child had. Despite her efforts and words of love and encouragement, nothing broke through the walls Rosalie held around that part of herself.
Rosalie had always been an adorable child, growing older only added to that. Her blonde pigtails giving way to long, silky, flowing tresses. The skinny, lanky stature she had carried as a young girl transformed into the soft curves and ample mounds only found on a true woman. She was the epitome of gorgeous.
However, on the inside, Rosalie never felt what the other people saw. All the clothes and makeup did nothing for disgust she felt for herself. When she looked in a mirror she could not find a thing she liked. Her lips were uneven, her eyes too close together, and her nose too fat. She couldn't even think about the rest of her body without feeling sick. In her head every mean word thrown at her through her life was true to image she faced.
Rosalie's belief was that she was still an unworthy person. She didn't deserve the love of her mother, or the all the opportunities that her last name brought. The little girl who had mud thrown at her and did nothing about it was all she could ever amount to be. Try as she might, the dirty, broken little girl was still there and she desperately wished she would go away.
On her eighteenth birthday, Rosalie was given a pair of bright red heels from her mother. They were by far the most glamorous shoes she had ever seen. When she wore them an air of confidence exuded from her, but it wasn't enough. Rosalie soon turned to risqué clothing to make herself feel wanted. Men looked at her inappropriately and it made Rosalie fell pretty.
Rosalie went out to clubs and bars, drinking and dancing until all hours, many, if not all, nights of the week. Even though she had more than enough money, she got a thrill out of flirting with men to get them to buy her a drink. It was a rare night that went by when any of the currency in Rosalie's purse found its way onto a counter or bartender's hand.
Seeing her daughter transform from the little girl that used to cuddle and read books to a woman that society frowned upon had Esme frustrated to no end. On many occasions she found herself begging Rosalie to think about the way she was presenting herself to the world. But all her pleas fell on deaf ears. Rosalie brushed off every one of them and continued to do what she thought made her happy.
Not even the news that Esme was ill changed Rosalie's ways. While her mother was laid out in bed, being tended to by a visiting doctor for tuberculosis, Rosalie was sleeping the days away and partying through the nights. Very rarely did she make time to check in on Esme, let alone see to her needs. She left checks for the doctor and maid who cared for the sick woman, but couldn't be troubled to help care for the woman who had given her so much.
Bella's eyes filled with tears as she interrupted again, "Her momma must have been very sad and hurt."
"She was, pet, but Rosalie chose not to see anything that would make her sad." The older woman added, unshed tears in her own eyes.
One morning, while waltzing in from her previous night's activities, Rosalie was startled to find a rather large man sitting at her dining table. When asked who he was and why he was there, the man stood and stuck out a hand. He introduced himself as Dr. Emmett McCarty, her mother's physician. Emmett apologized for frightening Rosalie and asked if she'd like some of the tea he had just made.
Rosalie hesitantly said yes and joined him at the table. Her normally confident demeanor was nowhere to be found though. For some reason this handsome man flustered her insides and made her mind feel like mush. These were not feelings she was used to. It was rather unnerving if she was being honest.
Emmett cleared aside some of the papers and books that were scattered across the table. After setting a steaming cup in front of the younger lady Cullen, he resumed his position at the head of the table reading through a medical journal. He was so invested in the article he was reading, he didn't notice Rosalie's curious stare.
As she sat gazing at Emmett, Rosalie wondered why she was so drawn to him. There were the obvious reasons, like the striking set of his face or the brawny strength barely hidden by his clothes. But something else she could not pinpoint was pulling her in his direction.
After finishing the lukewarm liquid in her mug, Rosalie got up and started the kettle again. While waiting for the kettle to whistle, she made her way back to the dining room and asked Emmett if he would like some more. He didn't even look up when he answered her with a distracted yes.
When Rosalie came back in with his tea, she slid the cup in front of him. Emmett's head whipped in her direction just in time to watch her sit down in the chair next to him. Rosalie smiled, seeing his attention on her for the first time since she walked into the house. As he started to pull the book back toward himself, Rosalie placed a delicate hand on his arm. Leaning closer toward the good doctor, Rosalie informed him, using the most seductive voice she could muster, that he should take a break.
Emmett's brows furrowed as he took in the daughter of his sick patient. It was clear to him that she was interested in him, and under normal social circumstances he would be receptive. He could not deny she was a beautiful woman to look at, but there were more important things that took precedence over such a dalliance. And right now, that priority was the ill woman upstairs that he was being asked to bring back to health.
Using his opposite hand, Emmett gently peeled Rosalie's fingers away from his arm. Before saying anything to her, he hardened his features and looked her directly in the eye. He couldn't believe how little she seemed to care when told her he was looking into new ways to heal her mother. His temper seethed upon hearing the woman before him brushing off his concern and telling him he was no fun.
With anger that he rarely showed, Emmett unleashed a tirade that left him winded by the end. The harsh words that spewed from his mouth made Rosalie balk. No person had ever treated her so rudely. So despite the attraction she felt towards him, Rosalie decided she would not give Dr. McCarty the time of day. So with a huff of indignation, she stood, knocking her chair to the floor and fled the room.
Alice's eyes were wide when she spoke, "Oh, he was a mean man."
Her grandmother sighed, "No, darling, he wasn't. He was an honest man who wanted to help Esme get well and he knew Rosalie's actions were hurting her momma's heart. He wanted to make Rosalie see that, but she was too stubborn."
I smiled as my wife defended Esme's doctor to the little girls.
After watching Rosalie walk away, Emmett made a dramatic show of pulling the book back toward himself and starting to read, even though he was left alone. It took quite a bit of time before his brain could refocus on the text in front of him. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get past the thoughts of Rosalie. Her physical beauty captivated him, but the ugliness under it repelled him. Right then he made a vow, no matter what, he would focus solely on healing Esme. He wouldn't let Rosalie's pretty face and ugly heart distract him from his duties.
Over the next few weeks Emmett and Rosalie did just as they'd resolved, and avoided each other. They rarely saw each other in their comings and goings at the Cullen home. Unfortunately, their luck didn't hold, and one night as Emmett came over late to check on a steadily deteriorating Esme, he ran into the woman who still plagued his thoughts.
Descending the stairs, Rosalie was surprised to see Emmett walk through the front door of her home. She had never seen him over so late before, as she was usually gone by that time of the evening. Pausing, she watched him as he hung his jacket, taken back by the feelings that pulled her toward him. But, when Emmett started moving up the stairs and didn't acknowledge Rosalie's presence, her blood boiled.
Rosalie called out to the man who had just passed her, leveling a glare at him when he finally met her eyes. She demanded to know why he was there but was not prepared for the wrath he laid before her.
Emmett's anger got the best of him. He honestly did not believe he could have stopped the words that flew from his mouth. Telling the spoiled girl that he was there because her mother needed more intensive care as she grew sicker only made him feel ill. Any hope he had of gaining some joy from telling her off was lost when he remembered the sweet woman lying in a bed upstairs, struggling to stay alive.
Rosalie was taken aback by his hostility. She understood her mother was sick. What was there to gain in pointing out something she couldn't fix? A fire ignited inside of her, preventing Rosalie from controlling the nasty words from passing over her lips. After uttering a bunch of disparaging remarks about his ability to be a successful doctor, including the ability to heal Esme, Rosalie flipped her hair over her shoulder and made a quick getaway. Her timely escape left the good doctor no chance to reply.
Her insults hit Emmett like a punch in the stomach, leaving an aching sting long after she left. As he went through the motions of tending to Mrs. Cullen's needs, his mind was still riddled with doubts. He worried if he was really capable of helping his patients get better. Trying to dislodge the destructive thoughts, Emmett took to reading the latest treatments to help Esme.
"Why was Rosalie so mean to the doctor? He was just there to help her momma," Bella questioned her grandmother.
Stroking the little girl's hair, the older woman replied, "Sometimes, when someone is doing something they know they shouldn't, they lash out and hurt the people who are trying to help them. A part of Rosalie knew that she should be helping care for her momma, even if she wasn't doing it."
As Rosalie meandered toward her favorite bar, her mind was still on the confrontation she'd had with Dr. McCarty. The only thing that let her forget about it was when she finally entered the tavern and sipped her first martini of the evening. The cool feel of the liquid sliding down her throat brought the peace she was looking for.
As the fluid in her glass dwindled, two dashing gentlemen took the seats on either side of her. One of them offered her his hand and introduced himself as Royce; he gestured to the other and told her his name was Paul. After the customary exchange of pleasantries the men offered to buy Rosalie another drink.
As the night passed by Rosalie found herself chatting and dancing with both men. It was pleasant and Rosalie was having a great time, but she wasn't looking for anything more than some drinks, conversation and a dance or two. So she was rather frustrated when neither Royce nor Paul would take her answer of no when they asked if she'd like to go hang out at their house.
After telling them no for what felt like the millionth time, Rosalie told the guys she would be leaving for the night. She took her time in gathering her belongings before setting out on the walk home. As she passed an alleyway a few buildings down from the bar two pairs of hands reached out and grabbed her. One of the hands clamped over her mouth preventing her from yelling for help.
As her attackers started leading her further down the darkened passage they whispered crude things into her ears. The soft voices were easy to identify, they belonged to the two men from the bar. When they stopped walking, Rosalie was pushed against a hard brick wall. She struggled to break free from their grip but the two men held her fast and she was unable to get away. The more she fought against them the rougher they became. In the struggle, Rosalie was slammed so hard against the brick wall that she lost consciousness.
Both the girls gasped and hugged onto their grandmother tighter. Lost in the story, she absentmindedly reassured them.
A few hours later Rosalie awoke on the ground in the dingy alley. The slowly rising sun gave enough light for her to see that her dress was torn and her coat was in a puddle feet away. There were bruises all over her body and cuts on her chest and legs. The pounding in her head seemed to stem from the large bump on the back of her head. She couldn't see the damage to her face, but she could feel it. Gathering her things, she stumbled home.
As Emmett packed his books and folders into his briefcase he heard the front door open. He sighed to himself not wanting another confrontation with Rosalie. Walking to the front door, he saw Rosalie limping toward the stairs. He offered her help, but she waved him off, telling him she was fine. Emmett knew she was lying, but knowing how stubborn she was, he didn't push the subject and left.
Over the next few weeks, Emmett noticed a change in Rosalie. She spent more time at the house, only leaving to pick up groceries. Her appearance also changed. The tight shirts and short skirts had been replaced with loose cardigans and hems that flowed past her knees. Emmett wasn't even sure that she was wearing makeup anymore. But the biggest thing he noticed was that, since the morning she came in so late, she no longer wore the red heels that had always adorned her feet.
Sadly, this new Rosalie's heart was as hard as the old one's had been. Emmett could count on one hand the number of times she's inquired about her mother. On one of the days Esme was more lucid than normal, she let it slip that she couldn't even remember the last time she'd seen her daughter. Despite telling him she understood why Rosalie might stay away, it still broke her heart to know that her days were numbered and her daughter was distant. When the confession passed her lips it seemed so did the strength she had to fight the disease. Within days of letting Emmett in on her loneliness, Esme's health plummeted.
Watching Esme slipping away, Emmett's anger toward Rosalie only grew. Emmett reached the end of his patience the afternoon that Esme fainted after a particularly bad coughing fit. After making sure Esme was resting comfortably, he marched down to Rosalie's door and pounded on it until she answered.
Rosalie was shocked when she swung the door open to see Emmett's hulking form. Before she could say a word, Emmett shouted at her, calling her an ungrateful brat. Instinctively she tried shutting the door in his face, but he threw an arm out to stop it. Only after he'd let her know how gravely ill Esme was, did he let go of the door and walk away.
Rosalie stood in the doorway, dumbfounded by his words. Not once had she actually believed her mother wouldn't pull through and get better. Hearing otherwise chilled her to the bone and she shivered in fear of losing the one good thing in her life. On shaky feet, she walked down the hall to her mother's door.
The image of her mother, so small and frail amidst the pillows and blankets, caused a sob to erupt from Rosalie. This was a far cry from the woman who saved her at the orphanage. Rosalie was near hysterical to see her mother in such a state and tears rolled down her cheeks. Her grief was more than she could handle and she backed away from the bed.
"Was Rosalie's momma dying?" a wide-eyed Alice asked.
"She was, dear. Her heart was broken and she'd lost the will to live," Her grandmother answered, "But, Rosalie is about to realize how serious things are. Shall I continue?"
Both little girls nodded quietly and my wife continued the story.
Turning to leave, her eyes blinded by her tears, she walked into Emmett. Against his better judgment, he pulled the sobbing young woman into his arms to comfort her. He held her tight, whispering words of encouragement, while her tears stained his shirt. When she'd cried herself out and collapsed in his arms from exhaustion, he carried her to her room and laid her in bed.
When Rosalie woke, she was given a new sense of purpose. The traumatic afternoon had shown her that she needed to grow up. Her life was no longer going to be spent in clubs seeking approval from men or locking herself away in shame over her attack. She vowed, in her mother's name, that she would be the person Esme had raised her to be.
Rosalie was unsure how to start her new path in life, but settled for bringing her mother some hot tea when she heard her frail body moving in the bed. Esme's surprise showed on her face when Rosalie walked into the room. Her heart swelled at the thought that, if the Lord called her to join himself and her Carlisle, she would at least have a few more fond memories of her daughter to take with her.
That evening, after Esme had fallen asleep, Rosalie pulled Emmett aside and discussed the options available to help her mother. She knew the chances of Esme getting well were slim, but she refused to believe it was hopeless. In her mind, God wouldn't be so cruel as to take her only family away from her, not when she'd just come to realize how important Esme was.
As days turned into weeks, Rosalie and Emmett worked together to help Esme as best they could. One, if not both, of them was always near to meet Esme's needs. With Rosalie's assistance, her mother was even able to get out of bed for brief periods of time. While she was still extremely sick and nowhere near out of the woods, her health was slowing improving.
Emmett and Rosalie's relationship also improved. They often spent time reading over new medical journals or in quiet conversation while dining together. Their new friendship wasn't always easy. They were both strong willed people used to doing things their own way. But, when the day was over, they both genuinely enjoyed the time spent together, even more so when it benefited Esme.
No one could have predicted how well things would turn out. It took just over six months, but Esme did heal. Some called it miraculous, but she knew it was more than that. Witnessing her daughter's transformation gave her a new will to live. She wanted nothing more than to live to see all that Rosalie would accomplish.
The day Emmett declared Esme cured and no longer in need of his care was bittersweet for Rosalie. She had grown accustomed to his presence, and if she were honest with herself, she'd slowly fallen in love with the gentle doctor. But, his leaving also meant her mother was alive and doing well. Rosalie was thrilled to have the chance to repair the damaged relationship between she and Esme. If heartache was the price she'd have to pay for having her mother, Rosalie would willingly pay. How far she had come for the shallow girl who had only bee nconcerned with her beauty and the attention it brought her. She'd learned to love the lost little girl that Esme had brought home so many years before.
After a tearful goodbye, filled with sad smiles and more thanks than could be counted, Emmett walked away from the Cullen home, away from the two women who'd come to mean so much to him.
Barely an hour had passed, when a knock sounded at the front door. Dabbing her wet eyes and smoothing her tear-stained cheeks, Rosalie reached for the handle and pulled it open, shocked by what she saw. There before her, a bouquet of flowers in his hand and declarations of love falling from his lips, stood Doctor McCarty, her Emmett.
"He loved her right back, didn't he?" Bella asked, her romantic heart touched by the story her grandmother had told.
Stepping into the room from where I'd been listening by the door, I swooped up my granddaughters, their giggles echoing through the room as I kissed their cheeks.
"Yes, girls, Doctor Emmett loved her right back," I answered.
"What happened next, Grampa?" The girls wiggled to look at me, their faces expectant.
"What always happens in fairytales, of course. Emmett and Rosalie were married and lived happily ever after," I replied, smiling at my wife, my heart, the woman I'd fallen in love with, even when she wore red shoes.