Ficawesome Gift Exchange- 3some

Title: Classic Case of Cornflakes

Written for: MZB

Written By: Scarlettplay

Beta and banner maker: AcrossTheSkyInStars

Rating: T, but probably best for readers over age 18, since adult situations and conversations occur throughout the story. No hardcore lemons or vulgar language (along the lines of Twilight series)

Summary/Prompt used: Concert goer ends up on stage (characters Em/Rose)

~ooOoo~

CLASSIC CASE OF CORNFLAKES

Chapter 1: FAGE3SOME

"Cooowrndog."

Pause.

"Cwraaaackwhoooore." She giggled at that one, adding a wet snort for good measure at the height of her enjoyment. It was rare she laughed at herself, but this was funny.

"Cornflakes." She shook her long blonde mane around, like a racehorse, warming up for the showdown. Finally . . . third word; she got it right. Her warm-up exercises were a little rusty. It had been weeks since she'd said more than a few sporadic monosyllabic responses to anybody other than the three foot person she lived with. Not since her job interview.

"Pppppppuuuuuubbbbbbb," her lips reverberated nicely. Not hard to do when you had plump ruby lips like hers.

"Classic caaaase oooof cornflaaaakes," she said very carefully, each syllable meted out and measured precisely. If she could say that without flubbing it, she could say anything. All of her hardest letters to pronounce were flounced in that silly little sentence. And she said it without a hitch.

"You'll do fine, mama," her little girl signed to her.

"Thanks, pumpkin," she signed back and then smoothed her own hair back in place.

Clarissa was used to her mom gearing up for events such as these. It should have been nothing at all to go to the park and watch an outdoor free concert. Peanut Butter and Jam or Jelly or whatever it was called, concerts were not selling out around the country by any stretch of the imagination, but Rosalie would most likely have to talk even if the patronage was miniscule. The thought had her in a tailspin. Talking. Ugh! No thanks.

"When can we go?" Clarissa signed impatiently.

"Soon, I promise." Heart pounding was not enjoyable, nor was dealing with a frustrated little kid.

"We'll miss it," she whined.

"I know. Sorry. I'm trying," Rosalie apologized. Her hands were shaking so bad even her flawless sign language was looking muddied.

New place. New faces. New ears to hear her sound like a bleating walrus.

Rosalie leaned over and checked her daughter's hearing aid. Everything looked good.

"Okay. Ready." She took her daughter's hand and headed out to her old faithful nineteen eighty-eight Honda Accord LXI. It was her pride and joy. Even though it was getting up there in mileage and years, the red bucket of bolts was in perfect running order. Something Rosalie was proud of, because she was the sole person who kept repairing it. She didn't ever have the desire to learn how to switch out a battery, let alone change the oil, but times were hard and being a single mom with disabilities meant money was even less abundant. Fixing a car herself was not optional—it was required. For no fault of her own, she had to become a mechanic practically overnight. And miraculously, she was really good at it. It seemed she was talented with a wrench under the hood of a car.

When Eric disappeared she was left to her own devices, and thrift became her middle name the second she figured out she was pregnant. It was shocking to say the least. She, Rosalie Hale was pregnant? Inconceivable! Not after years of being married to Royce and never having any glimpse of children anywhere in sight. They tried for so long to conceive and nothing ever happened. She screwed up; threw it all away, having a one night stand with her boss. It was like an imitation soap opera the way it all played out.

Rosalie shook it off. Men in general didn't cut it in her book anymore. She didn't trust them. Too many times she was fooled into thinking a man was nice, only to find out he was only interested in what he saw in front of him—a busty blonde with legs a mile long and an ass that didn't quit.

Rosalie didn't try to look sexy. She just was. End of story. And she was soooo over it. Sex appeal meant nothing when you could barely stay afloat with the necessities of life and had a daughter to take care of.

Rosalie strapped Clarissa in the car, gave her little button nose a wink of a kiss, and drove off to some park she wasn't familiar with.

Why had she moved here again? She felt fake in this place. And Rosalie did not do fake.

~ooOoo~

"Wradiohead, wwwright on!" Emmett said, his lisp breaking through.

His guard was down. Hanging out with his kiddo did that to him. Never was he more relaxed and prone to slip back into bad habits than when he was with Lucas, his little dude.

"Dad, this song is lame," his son whined.

"I'm a cwreeep! I'm a looooser," Emmett sang like his life depended on it. To add a little embellishment, he moved the steering wheel back and forth in time to the music, making his bike zig zag a little.

"Next," Lucas told him, bidding him to skip to the next song on his iPod. He watched the spokes of his wheel carefully so he wouldn't crash into his dad. If he was toppled by all six foot five and two hundred plus pounds of his dad he would be obliterated. Lucas was tiny for a five year old. All twigs for legs and flagpoles for arms. Beanpoles were akin to a mirror image of him, except a little more brown and less green. If Lucas didn't have the same dark hair and eyes as his dad, he wouldn't pass for his kid at all.

Where Emmett was about as good looking as they came, rugged and oozing masculinity, Lucas was nerdy with his buckteeth, deep set eyes, prominent cheek bones and was as frail as could be. If the kid could pack on some weight he wouldn't look like his dinner was habitually taken away from not scrubbing the floor.

The poor kid looked like a starving Russian peasant.

Emmett tried to feed the boy any chance he got, but it was no use. Lucas had a metabolism that wouldn't allow for any substantial weight gain. Unlike Emmett, who could pack on muscle fairly easily. The problem was getting overly bulky. It was his experience women were put off by men who lacked necks and thighs so thick their groin was a game of Where's Waldo. Proportionate and lean was his motto, and he stuck to it. So, he didn't go nuts with the weightlifting, and kept it reasonable. His meticulous workout routine was working for him.

"I don't belong heeeere," Emmett continued to belt out the tune. "Well, hello," Emmett said in passing as they moved by a leggy auburn jogger with her dog. She didn't acknowledge them.

Eh! Who cared? Plenty more where that one came from, he surmised.

The only good thing about going to this early morning concert was the possibility of eye candy in the form of scantily clad female joggers. He would much rather they sauntered by him slowly so he could get a good eyeful, rather than race by in a blur of bulbous material bouncing up and down in a fashion that looked most uncomfortable. It reminded him of that stupid show his friend Jasper used to watch, Girls on Trampolines. Good Lord, that show was heinous; even after three beers Emmett couldn't fathom how those mammaries were not being turned black and blue after pounding up and down like that. Bruises were not worth entertaining a bunch of hormonal men with nothing better to do than watch bouncing girls. Silly.

But he wasn't going to complain about the joggers today. His dry spell had officially turned into a drought. Not one lay in over a year. It wasn't because he didn't date. He dated as much as he could for a single dad, but it was hard to find Miss Right. His ex-girlfriend, Lucas's mother, wasn't it, even though she was decent, hardworking and easy on the eyes. There was something missing, and he was ready for more. More than a pretty girl with a few fun times to be had in the sheets. He was a dad now, and he had to look out for his son's best interests, and that meant he had to quit dicking around and date somebody worth while for him and his son. Lucas and Emmett—the package deal.

It was harder to sell than he thought. Women didn't care anymore what a fabulous guy he was. He came with a price—one gangly high strung five year old, and it was too high a price to pay.

Emmett soldiered on. "What the hell am I doing here?" he sang ever more boisterously. His lisp vanished due to the proximity of the next cute jogger sprinting by, but his booming voice did not, much to Lucas' dismay.

Lucas hated this playlist. Almost as much as he hated it when his dad sang in public. What a mess. His dad was going to embarrass him at the park . . . again.

Emmett's song seized control of him now. He was absolutely grooving on his bike, making it bounce a little with each pedal push. He noted the annoyed look on his son's face, but it was only fair he enjoy himself. Since Emmett was going to have to sit through a nail-biting concert like the PB and J wieners or whatever they were called, he might as well get in some real music on the ride over.

Lucas sighed deeply, wishing he had asked his aunt Alice to accompany him to this event instead. Not that she wasn't ever embarrassing in public either. On the contrary. Being theatrical and gregarious seemed to run in their family. Somehow Lucas did not own that gene. He owned the 'leave-me-be-until-I-say-boo-to-you' gene.

And that gene he lacked had suddenly spoken. It was precisely the reason they were riding to the park today. Lucas asked to go out and do this thing. Emmett wasn't about to say no. Yes, it was hotter than hell outside. Yes, the music would suck pond scum. Yes, Emmett would be bored stiff, but would pretend not to be for the sake of his son. It was all for a good cause. Putting bonding time coins into his son's social bank was very important to Emmett.

The song ended and some other equally horrific song came on. Lucas rolled his eyes and sped up. They were almost to the grassy area where they could watch the show.

Thanking his lucky stars, Lucas moved quickly to the bike rack and started chaining his bike up the way his father showed him. Without waiting for his dad, he bolted off to the grassy mosh pit of kids. It was a sea of toddlers frothing at the mouth, pacing and waiting for the concert to begin.

Right on time, Emmett beamed at himself.

Father of the year, for sure.

Got my kid here in one piece.

Check.

Didn't crash into him when he lost his balance.

Glory, glory, halleluiah! A first.

Check!

Got to check out a few hotties along the way.

Cheheheck!

If it wasn't as immature as a three year old, he'd have fist bumped himself.

Instead, he sat his fine ass down on the hard grassy knoll and watched his son act like he was one of the rest of them: a kid who didn't mind getting dirty, acting silly, and not worrying about a damn thing.

About freaking time.

Emmett smiled in appreciation at his son cutting loose and decided he would make a more concerted effort to bring him to events like this. It wasn't enough to wait for Lucas to bring this up, since it rarely happened. For cripe's sake, the kid was five. He didn't have any real way of knowing what kind of social events were going on around the town. Granted, it was the end of July and school would start soon, but still . . . there was still time to do fun 'summery' things. Swimming all summer long wasn't enough for Lucas. It was obvious from this little display the boy was starved for peer interaction.

Okay, so Emmett had to give himself a demerit and take away one of his scores for Father of the Year for not being more proactive on the social front, but he was still in the positive as far as scores went.

"Uhhhhuuuuh!" he sighed. It was already hotter than a dragon's tonsil. That's what his mom liked to say on muggy days like these. Arizona was normally known for its dry heat, but there were the beginnings of monsoons, which meant the cicadas were now at deafening ear splitting levels and the sweat was rolling off him disgustingly. It would not attract the ladies today. Great, deaf from loud goober music, sweaty and alone.

Oh well. It wasn't like Lucas asked for much. All he wanted to do was play on the computer at home. Emmett really didn't get it. He thrived on the dynamics of a group. Maybe this was a glimmer of hope today, he wondered, as he watched Lucas shouting and jumping with the best of them.

"Boys and girls, you ready for the show?" an announcer asked, getting them all pumped up.

Like they needed that. Were Pixy Stix being handed out amongst these trusting souls? 'Cause they sure were all psyched up.

It was unreal, like the mini version of a Pearl Jam concert, minus the bongs being passed around. Emmett chuckled at the sight. It was borderline bedlam, and Emmett reveled in the fact his son was in the mix of it.

While he was busy watching his son partake in his childhood, a nimble curvy blonde entered with her little girl very slyly from the other end of the conglomeration of limbs and pigtails.

"I want to stay with you," Clarissa said aloud to her mom.

Rosalie didn't hear it. It was too noisy; but fortunately, she read her lips. A talent Rosalie honed over the years. It came in handy more so at work than in loud environments, but today she was glad she owned the skill.

Rosalie grabbed her daughter, picked her up quite easily and put her on her shoulders so she could get a spectacular view of the stage above the tops of all of the parents and children who were swaying about.

Picking her daughter up like that did two things. One: it made her stick out even more than she already did. Rosalie was by far the absolute hottest mom there. Her shocking bright blonde hair demanded attention. Two: it made it more difficult for her to talk to her daughter and hear her, so they would have to sign, another thing to make them unwittingly stand out.

Emmett was scanning the crowd, people watching. There was no shortage of beautiful women. Oddly, there were a lot of dad's in attendance today. Was this the best kept secret for single dads to meet hot women? Who knew? He definitely got the feeling the mingling going on was more than innocent. Flirtations and whisperings were ensuing and he felt almost voyeuristic. It left him feeling a little uneasy.

As he was trying to figure out if should get his son to remain by his side and stay focused on the stage with 'music' playing, so as to avoid the strange meat market scene playing out in front of him, he was accosted by the vision of the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.

Her golden hair was almost glowing in the slivers of sunlight that kissed each silky strand. Was there some secret to making her hair gloss like that? The strangest desire to touch it filled him up, and almost took control of him.

Oh no . . . he was walking. Towards her, and her daughter. Then he stopped.

They were talking. And he knew what they were saying. But they were having their own private conversation with their hands.

Great. What kind of a prick would he be if he strode right over and joined their conversation unannounced? Only rude, arrogant SOBs did that kind of garbage. And he was not like that, but something inside of him told him he should introduce himself.

I'll wait.

He looked for Lucas and found him fully engaged by the show.

Emmett stood awkwardly a few yards away, trying not to make it obvious he was waiting to hop right into their world.

What would he even say to this Aphrodite and her little girl?

Hi, I'm your dream come true, baby. Rub my bottle and make a wish . . .

Ha! She would not be amused, and most likely she'd lean over and take her stiletto to his head.

Wait . . . Why was she wearing high heels at a park? Not that he was complaining. The combination of her skinny jeans, a stretchy tee and red stilettos was a killer look on her, and my God, those curves were tantalizing, but still, not very practical. How was she even balancing her daughter on her shoulders in heels?

Like she was a mind-reader and could hear his thoughts, the blonde kicked her shoes off to get more comfortable.

Emmett stared. It was kind of creepy in a way, because he was stuck in one spot, smiling at a stranger like he was in on some dirty secret.

And that's what it looked like to Rosalie too.

After realizing this freak hot man was not going to leave and quit gaping, Rosalie decided to send him the universal sign language signal he'd understand.

Clarissa didn't see it; thank God, because it was not done in a very friendly manner at all. Crude. Too crude for someone who looked like an angel.

Emmett was not offended or deterred, though. Instead of sending the little birdy right back at her, which he was sorely tempted to do for kicks, he signed some little message which was slightly less rude.

"You teach your daughter that one?" he signed animatedly.

Her cornflower blue eyes went wide in astonishment.

Who was this guy, that he thought it was perfectly acceptable to interrupt her morning and tell her she was not being a good example to her daughter? The nerve of him!

So, Rosalie gave him a piece of her mind. Only first . . . she slid her little girl back down to the ground. This was going to take two hands. The girl didn't mind. She was enraptured with the concert.

"I teach her how to fend off idiots like you who think it's okay to talk to strangers and stare at them like they are a piece of meat!" She glared spectacularly at him, all the while looking even sexier. And that was hard to do when you were at a PB and J concert.

Dammit. Woman was a keeper.

Emmett threw his head back and laughed. Loud.

A few perturbed parents cut him a look of frustration. He didn't care. Why should he? He was suddenly having the time of his life.

Oh, it was on!

"So, no candy to your little one then? Darn, I have a whole pocket full of sweetness," he flirted, throwing out a slight innuendo, seeing if it would trigger a little more wrath from this tiger in front of him.

One foot in front of the other, Emmett was wandering ever so slowly towards her, without even realizing it.

The closer he got, the more intrigued he was with her. Her long flowing hair made it not so obvious, but he saw it.

Hearing aid.

She could hear. Not completely deaf. So, why was she choosing to sign to her daughter who was within hearing distance?

Very odd.

"Go to hell," she signed furiously.

"You sure we're not there already? It's hot enough, and you're here, making it seem pretty convincing that's exactly where we are," he joked.

Her expression softened a little. Not sure what that was all about, Emmett proceeded.

He took her expression as his 'in.' "Hi, I'm Emmett McCarty," he introduced himself, "resident idiot."

She signed back enthusiastically, "Nice. You pick up random moms at kid concerts? Very subtle by the way, and smooth that you look for the disabled ones who are more likely to cave to your 'charm.' Do women actually fall for this?"

He smiled thoughtfully. "I don't know. You tell me. This is the first time I've been to one of these and hit on a woman who thinks she has a disability."

Rosalie swallowed hard. Damn, he was smooth. What was she supposed to say that?

She settled for: "I don't think, I know who I am."

"Well, honey, from where I'm standing, you seem absolutely perfect," he said with a fabulous grin.

She blushed and broke off the conversation, grabbing her daughter's hand like she might bolt.

Emmett casually, or so he thought, jogged over. His idea of 'loping' was more like a frightening bear charge. Clearly, he was not always aware of how intimidating his stature was when he was running straight at somebody.

Rosalie jumped when he skidded to a stop right in front of her.

This fool had the audacity of . . . well, she didn't know what, but something out of control. Maybe like a chimpanzee juggling knives and smoking, fully unaware of how dangerous he was. It was alarming having him right next to her, breathing hard like that.

Rosalie wanted to slink away and go back to attending to her daughter, instead of dealing with this buffoon. Admittedly, it was impressive he knew how to sign so well, but she wasn't interested, even if he was completely deaf, which she surmised he must be, since there was no hearing aid to be found.

But why would he be at a concert if he couldn't hear?

Oh, yes . . . he's got a kid. Most likely his kid wasn't disabled. A sudden influx of warm, enamored feelings flooded her heart for this stranger. How sweet of him to think of his son first and ignore his own uncomfortable feelings. She didn't want to come, dragged her feet and had to give herself a severe pep talk to get dressed to come to this little event. She couldn't imagine how much harder it must be for him.

Wow, she was impressed, and that never happened, not since things went south with Eric.

So, she did something she didn't want to do. She smiled at him. And it wasn't just a 'nice to meet you' smile. Oh no. It was a 'goddamn, you are gorgeous and sweet; how is this possible?' smile.

Rosalie's eyes roamed freely over his hulking frame. He was the stuff legends were made from; towering over her five foot seven frame. She wasn't short, but he looked to be almost a complete foot taller than she was. Drool! And then drool some more, because his broad shoulders complimented his height perfectly. And those pecs? Oh man, they looked rock solid. Could she touch them to make sure they weren't a gimmick? Was he wearing some kind of body armor under his shirt? 'Cause he looked to be made of granite. As she was contemplating how best to get a little test feel, he crossed his arms over his chest and unintentionally flexed.

Good Lord! Her eyes bugged out of her head. Muscles like those were steroid induced surely. Yes, that was his problem, his flaw, besides butting into private conversations, he was some kind of drug addict, she convinced herself. There had to be many, many things wrong with him—he was not worth her time.

Dismissing the pull she felt to him, she turned away from him and pretended to enjoy the tunes playing.

Just as she was dropping all thoughts of him and shelving him as unworthy of any more time, a little dark haired, waif of a kid loped, yes, he knew how to lope, unlike his father, up to them.

He yanked on his dad's cargo shorts in quick, rapid successive bursts of energy. "Dad! I need to pee!" he howled.

The burly man's arms stayed pressed into his chest, folded in on himself. Almost protectively. Was he intimidated by her?

That was laughable. The man probably bench pressed cars for fun, he was that riddled with sinew, muscle, flesh and some kind of magic she'd never encountered before.

Emmett opened his mouth to speak but then snapped it shut. He knew she was sizing him up, and had wrongly thought him hearing impaired. It wasn't his fault if she jumped to conclusions about him. He never said he was deaf. So, when he took a breath and told his son there was a bathroom up the hill behind them, her face dropped, along with her jaw, and her hand holding her daughter's did as well.

Emmett smiled apologetically. He didn't want to make her look like a fool; not his intention at all. But what was he supposed to do? She was too busy silently yelling at him and entertaining him as a result in the process, so the topic of his hearing status never came up.

"But, daddy, I . . . I . . ." Lucas stammered as he hopped around from foot to foot. The peepee dance was never pleasant, especially not when it was happening in front of a leggy blonde with eyes of blue fiery flames.

He wasn't ready to leave just yet. What if he came back and she was gone? Most likely that's what she would do since he obviously made her a little uneasy. It wasn't uncommon for his presence to intimidate women. But this one . . . he didn't think she had anything to worry about. She could take him down, no problem. She already was with her words and eyes. Only she didn't realize it. He was already salivating over the thought of getting her phone number. Pathetic. His sexual drought made him mad for any drop of attention from any female at all, but this was a full bodied proposition that offered an oasis replete with tropical shade as shelter, and fresh, full pools of deep water. Damn, he was not leaving. Not if he could help it.

"DAD!" Lucas yelled, his legs shaking as they pressed frantically together.

"Yeah, just a second." Emmett pulled a little at his shirt, lifting it so he could pull out his wallet. It was a long shot, but what did he have to lose?

Thankfully, he had a nub of a pencil in his wallet Lucas shoved in there recently. He used it to write down his name, number, and a quick note about the school for speech and hearing impairment his son attended. Without a thought, he plucked her hand up into his, gingerly enfolding her hand around his note.

There was no guarantee she could lip read, but he was willing to bet she did.

"Call me." He looked into those deep icy blues and wasn't afraid. "Please."

She nodded ever so minutely, but it was enough.

He was satisfied he did all he could to make his mark; to get her to admit he existed and they had something in common.

Emmett paused for a moment. Crap! What if she was married? He hadn't even thought of that. Glancing down at her hand, he was relieved to see she was ringless. A good sign.

Hopefully she'd take him up on his request and contact him. What would it hurt her to drop him a line?

After all, how many good looking, heterosexual, non-gropey men where there in the Phoenix area who knew sign language and weren't afraid to use it in the open when they didn't have to? He could have tried to force her to talk to him, use her words instead of her hands. But how telling was that about a man's character?

No, it was arrogant to force somebody to speak his preferred language. Not all hearing impaired people were alright with using their words. And this blonde vixen definitely was not comfortable even talking aloud to her daughter.

He wondered why.

Before he could learn anything more, he was being dragged as if on a leash by his little tyke. All Emmett could do was crane his head over his shoulder, wave like an imbecile and flash his dimples.

Oh glory. Rosalie was a huge sucker for dimples.

Ugh! Stupid dark haired man with flickering dark eyes and pitted cheeks who made her interested.

She unfolded the scrap of paper he handed her. A small giggle escaped her when she saw it was a receipt for two Circle K slushies this morning. Great breakfast for his kid. No wonder the kid's bladder was bursting.

She shook her head in judgment of him. What did she say? Something wrong with him. Now she knew—deadbeat dad who gave in to his son's sugary impulses.

Not interested.

Curious though as to what he wrote, she flipped the small offensive slip of paper over and saw his very tidy penmanship sharing exactly the information she needed.

Rosalie gasped and then covered her mouth immediately—sure she sounded like a beached porpoise.

How did he know . . . ?

~ooOoo~

When Emmett came back from the 'bathroom', if that's what Kiwani's park called those cement slabs with pseudo toilets, she was gone.

He didn't notice her boogying on the stage with her daughter. Rosalie was letting go completely, and damn, the woman could get down!

Clarissa was laughing so hard she could barely move. Rosalie was crying happy tears from her hysterical cackling. Dancing was Rosalie's gift. Oh, how she loved to shake a tail feather.

She cabbage patched like a dorky mom, did the running man, because she was old school. She even considered breaking out the centipede, but there wasn't enough space on the stage for those kinds of shenanigans. She'd save that move for later at home when she was dancing with her little girl in the safety of their living room. Rosalie ended the spirited romp with some serious hip grinds and booty shakes. Her backside lent itself well to those vigorous, slightly erotic moves. The crowd loved it and clapped furiously.

Emmett chalked the crowd's boosted levels of hooting and hollering up to it being the end of the number.

He didn't have the strength or care to see what was happening down the hill from him.

It was too bad he didn't see it, or he would have thought a little differently of her. She wasn't as uptight as she seemed. In fact, she had a little bit of a wild side to her.

When he finally looked to the center stage, she was exiting out the back. The concert was wrapping up.

He was frustrated as he searched for her in vain.

Trying to beat the rush, that's why she left so hastily, he fooled himself into thinking. It was oddly necessary—his lies to himself. The thought of her fleeing away from him was depressing. So, he took the more optimistic viewpoint.

Or . . . naptime. That's it. He extended his benefit of the doubt even further. Her daughter was tired and in need of a nap. Although, a few minutes ago her little girl seemed content to stand obediently at her mother's side and watch the concert all starry eyed.

Argh! This blew. She seemed very interesting, and Emmett was feeling something around her he'd never felt before. Vulnerable? He cared what she thought and felt, and he wasn't sure why. Surely, a stranger's opinion didn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

But hers did. Very much so.

God, he was a fool.

His head ducked down a little in disappointment as he took little Lucas, now empty bladdered, and freed their bikes for the hot ride home.

She wasn't going to call. Why would she?

The stark reality stung him as they rode home alone, just the two of them. That woman was not interested, not in the least.

Emmett tried to make polite conversation with his little boy to get his mind off what transpired.

"Did you like the concert?" he asked his son.

Lucas wobbled on his bike. Talking and riding was not his forte. "It was fun!"

Point for dad.

"What did you like about it?" he probed.

"There was a lot of dancing," Lucas said enthusiastically.

Yeah, Lucas liked to groove from time to time. Emmett never thought much of it. Maybe he was ignoring some talent his kid possessed.

His mom liked to dance too. Maybe he needed to pursue this further?

Julene loved going out dancing, and Emmett had some great moves, but even though he was a fabulous dance partner, it made him feel self conscious. Not because he didn't think it was unmanly to dance, or anything like that, it was because he was always afraid if he took one misstep he'd take a toe off his partner. Weight and size like his was not to be taken lightly. Not that he was Superman, the man of steel, but he didn't want to accidently hurt anyone. Especially not a woman. Dancing was a balancing act for him, where he was concerned the whole time and dancing around on eggshells, hoping he wouldn't trample his partner's digits. Nothing spelled disaster for love like a gimpy dance partner he maimed because he wasn't careful enough with where he put his size twelve's.

After a few yards further, his son asked him the following insightful question: "Who was that tall woman with the little brown haired girl? She liked you."

She what? Was Lucas seeing something he hadn't? He inwardly mused his son probably needed to get his eyes checked out. Too much screen time for his little guy.

He made a note to scale back Lucas' computer time yet again. The biggest hurdle was Lucas absolutely loved it, and Emmett didn't want to stifle his son's gift. Not that he was a computer prodigy child or anything like that, but who was he to say computers were evil or not good.

Some would say Emmett was too indulgent, too softhearted, but he disagreed. He fought for justice and equity in his household. Lucas had his fair share of responsibilities and chores. Not a day went by Emmett didn't enforce the rules, or make sure his son respected his rules or other adults around him. Lucas wasn't one to push buttons too much, but he was still a typical whiny five year old. Had the same concerns as most kids his age—playing, playing, and more playing. That and candy. The kid had a sweet tooth like his old man. Hence, the occasional splurge for a sugary junky-slushy.

Man, those were good. Suicides were awesome, no matter what anybody else said. They were the height of fabulous desserts.

"How could you tell?" he asked, trying for nonchalance and failing miserably.

"Da-ad!" Lucas sing songed his response and gave his dad the 'get real' brows.

"What?" Emmett smirked. Lucas was hilarious when he tried to be the parent.

"She looked like she wanted to go with us to the bathroom. She liked you," he reiterated.

Hmmm. This called for another sugary treat. Celebrate!

"My man, we need to get another frosty drink. It's too hot," Emmett offered.

"Okay." Lucas' little beady eyes lit up.

Unbeknownst to Emmett, there was a blonde woman following behind him and pulling into the exact same Circle K he was.

She must be insane! This man was obnoxious, and entirely too hot for her liking. Rosalie wasn't going to call him. Of course not; she didn't do that. And nobody who knew her would ever expect her to. But maybe she could . . . text a little . . . ?

"Mommy, what are we doing here?" Clarissa called from the backseat.

Rosalie rolled to a stop and parked the car. She exhaled noisily. This was ridiculous.

"Want something to drink? It was hot at the park," Rosalie said in her nasally voice. The sound was unwelcome by Rosalie, but since it was only her and Clarissa in the safe confines of the car, she'd spoken.

"Yeah!"

Rosalie unbuckled, helped her daughter out and surreptitiously followed the behemoth of a man who made her feel out of sorts straight into the store.

Yep, figures! Sugaring up his kid again, like some irresponsible jackass. She sized him up a little differently this time. Not falling for his phony charade of niceness and charm, she decided to play it cool, aloof. All she wanted to know was about the school he wrote down. That's it. Nothing personal about him at all—there was no need to know him. He was inconsequential.

Rosalie almost gagged as she inhaled the scent of the artificial flavors and toxic high fructose corn syrup wafting in the air as Emmett and his son were doing inward jigs over their Icies.

Rosalie cleared her throat dramatically to get his attention. "Ahem."

Nothing.

You've got to be kidding me. He is deafer than I am! Maybe I should throw my hearing aid at him and insist he use it?

"AHEM!" she tried again, this time a decibel or two louder.

That did the trick. He turned to her and gave a goofy grin as some of his gooey concoction spilled over the rim of his massive cup. She wondered how he was going to ride his bike with that thing in tow.

He smirked. She was here. In front him. Oh yeah, she was interested. He was glad to be wrong, so glad.

Hiya, red heeled vixen. Come for some sugar?

She knew that look. And it irritated her to no end.

While he was shamelessly ogling her, she began talking rather expressively with her hands. Her mouth was pressed into a thin, hard line, taking away the urge to mouth what she was saying. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of thinking she might slip and speak. "Can you tell me about the school you mentioned on your note?"

He set the cups down to answer her. "Sure. Let me pay for these first and then I'll tell you," he signed back.

She smiled pleasantly and took Clarissa's hand, keeping her nearby.

"Mommy, I'm thirsty," her little girl chimed in.

"I'll get her a slushy," Emmett volunteered.

He would what? That would only cost him one testicle, that's all!

Clarissa didn't drink sludge like that. What was he thinking? Her daughter had never even tasted Kool-Aid. Emmett would have fainted dead away if he had that tidbit of information. Kool-Aid, as far as he was concerned, was a rite of passage for all little rug rats. Was this woman demented, keeping the finer things of life away from her posterity? Some kind of power trip or something? What wasn't to like about cold, fruity flavored drinks?

Hi, I'm Arizona. I'm hot. Ever heard of a cool refreshing drink to take the sting away?

Rosalie stared at him in horror. "No, it's okay, I'll get her something," Rosalie backed down in her aggressive signing.

Rosalie's wallet was looking rather slim these days. She wasn't sure she would even have enough for gas next week, let alone an inflated juice box for her kid. But she bit the bullet, and went after a cold unadulterated organic apple juice for her little princess.

Emmett's smirk grew wider. This woman was pretentious, yet, she didn't come across as snobby. She came across as passionate and caring about her little girl. A little overprotective he surmised, but she wasn't cocky about her parenting style. If she was, she would have shamed him for his choice of beverage. She didn't. Kept her opinions to herself.

Emmett slid their cups of heaven onto the counter and slipped a twenty onto the counter, never fully taking his eyes off Rosalie's backside. And who could blame him? The woman was one sinful curve after another.

Rosalie turned to find his eyes zeroed in on her. It didn't faze her. Men looked all the time. No big deal and she could handle this oaf.

Emmett stepped aside so she could pay for her daughter's goodie. He watched in rapt attention, preparing to hear her say something.

Fascinated at how the blonde woman was able to handle herself with such poise and work her way around avoiding speech so deftly, he found himself chuckling to himself. She probably heard him, but he didn't care.

If she did, she didn't let on.

They stepped out of the convenience store looking like a little disjointed family, but a family nonetheless. Emmett with his dorky looking son, Rosalie with her Asian looking daughter who was mistaken time and time again as being adopted, all that was missing was their nauseatingly pristinely groomed cocker spaniel.

It was too much. Rosalie was not kosher with this scene, so she took a few steps away from him, making her body language slightly more apparent they did not know, or even really like each other.

Emmett chugged his drink down in record time as Rosalie stood in her death defying heels, watching his manly display of bottomless pit stomach taking action. The man was inhaling his drink. She knew the Heimlich, but damn if she'd use it on him. She'd probably sprain her wrists doing something like that, and she needed to be able to type since her trade involved it.

When he was done slurping up the final remnants of his drink, he began explaining, "The school's in Scottsdale. It's kind of a drive, but it's the only one in the valley for speech impediments and hearing impairments. The school is one of the top rated of its kind in the nation. And they have a preschool level as well for little ones like your daughter."

She couldn't help but be impressed with how elegant his hands flowed when he signed. He had his own unique style. It was nothing like she would have guessed. There was nothing brutish about it. It was very startling to see the Hulk sign deftly with grace and with a flow so liquid it was relaxing to watch.

Emmett saw a visible shift begin to happen. The more he signed, the more the elegant blonde bombshell eased up her rigid posture. Her shoulders softened and rounded forward a little, her eyes became more expressive, and less steely. Her jaw slacked a little bit, and her little tongue protruded forward ever so slightly as she focused loosely on him. She almost looked fixated on his hands, in some kind of sensual trance. It was intoxicating to watch her pupils dilate, her knees unlock their pole-like stance, and her body move in closer to his. Like magnets, she shifted in accordance with his movements. Wow, it was like they were mirror images of each other, even though they couldn't be more opposite.

After awhile, Rosalie wasn't sure she was catching everything he said. Something about him was distracting. And it wasn't just the shiny, exciting package of this man's exterior. It was the way he exuded kindness with each gesture, and finger move.

"You should apply, try to get her in the preschool program," he said aloud.

Rosalie heard him, but she was trying to gather what the last several sentences entailed. There was something in his speech at one point about the school costing five thousand per semester, but also that they were generous with grants and scholarships. She inhaled sharply. Money. There was none. And even if they got a scholarship and Clarissa was blessed enough to attend this school, which sounded nothing short of magical, how would she be able to flip the bill for gas each week toting her back and forth across the valley? It didn't seem feasible.

Rosalie ignored his suggestion. She needed to be practical and not get her hopes up.

Emmett looked down for a minute at the kids and watched in amusement at the little girl sharing Lucas' drink. The blonde woman was about to get a rude shock when she looked down.

But Rosalie didn't look down. She was fully engaged in this conversation and the dark haired giant was missing what she was saying since he was gazing at the kids tucked in the shade up against the wall of the storefront.

She stomped her foot to get his attention. Then she added snapping to get his gaze to lift. Blondie was agitated by his lack of focus on her.

"Sorry," he said, shrugging, looking up at her through his dark lashes.

She scowled a little. "How do you get your little boy to and from the school? I know you're not biking it in this sweltering heat. Plus, that kid . . . well, he looks like he would have trouble riding that far." Rosalie tried to be careful. Brusqueness was her specialty.

No need to worry. Emmett was not easily offended, and he agreed. The idea of Lucas riding any substantial distance was ludicrous.

"Bus?" she asked when he didn't answer.

"Nah, carpool," he spoke the words.

Rosalie blew her bangs out of her eyes. The breeze was helping to cool her down a little, but it also was making her hair a nuisance as it swirled around her face. She shouldn't have worn jeans today, but shorts seemed so crass to her. Anyway, she didn't have money right now to get waxed so she was conserving her shaving blade, only shaving every other day. This was one of her off days. Too embarrassed to wear shorts, she went with denim. Man, it didn't breathe enough in this oven of a city.

"Problem?" he asked with his massive hands, signing quickly.

"Yeah. I work. I'm not sure how I would shuttle her back and forth." Never mind how Rosalie would work out time to even go and case the place and make sure it was suitable for Clarissa.

"Easy. Carpool with me. Lucas," he pointed to his son, "needs more friends anyway. We bring a little boy with us by the name of Christian."

The idea of having to participate in a carpool and possibly have to talk to two new children she didn't know, and their parents too, made her squirm inside.

"Does Christian know sign language?" she asked sheepishly, her hands shaking slightly. Was she really entertaining thoughts of going after this?

"Yes, and so do his parents. Lucas isn't as strong as I'd like him to be with this skill, but he can hold his own." He gestured to their two kids who were working out communication just fine.

Rosalie's eyes went agape in terror. Her little girl was greedily sucking at the straw, drinking who knew what kind of toxins into her system.

"Hey," he said, grabbing her arm reassuringly, she looked up at his lips, pretending not to be attracted to them as they formed the words, "it's only a little sugar. It won't kill her, and she'll thank you for treating her."

Rosalie's anger faded when she saw the little girl giggling and even holding hands with the little boy. Clarissa needed friends, and all the happiness she could get. They moved to Arizona under false pretenses. Eric, her father, was supposed to be here waiting for Clarissa. He promised he would help them out financially, be an emotional support for their little girl. But he was barely around at all, and Rosalie had barely seen a penny from him in the two months they'd been here. Moving to Arizona from California was the stupidest thing she'd ever done, well, after having an affair.

"Thank you," she signed simply.

Emmett smiled sweetly, and Rosalie did the unthinkable.

She leaned over and kissed the sucker on the cheek.

No, not on the cheek. On the corner of his mouth, and he reacted very strongly indeed. Dimples shined from his round, happy cheeks.

He pulled her into a bear hug that felt as monumental as anything ever had in her entire life!

"Thank you," she whispered in her very tiny voice.

A thrill ran through him, but he didn't squeeze her tighter, even though it was exactly what he wanted to do. It would scare her off, and he knew it.

Instead, he held the hug firm and taught. Made it feel like a warm security blanket.

And that was how it all started. A classic case of cornflakes.

Rosalie practiced her diction, prepared for a morning of dread, and said the words clearly before she left, before she met this ginormous teddy bear of a man. Now it paid off. She spoke. Two simple words—clear as day and oh so important to a man who wanted to know her.

"You're welcome," he said lightly in her ear, through her satin curtain of hair, and finally let go.

She was going to be his.

"Go dancing with me tomorrow night," he pled.

A simple nod from the contemporary/hip hop dancing queen, a deep inhale of each other, and a final slurp from their kids at their feet ended their moment. And it was a glorious moment, one which would change everything . . .

This wasn't happening. Neither one of them kissed strangers, but this was different.

A slightly awkward pulling back of their heads and before they knew it, they were lip locked; sealed tightly together. They weren't overtly crude or inappropriate, but the sensuality in the kiss was almost crippling. Emmett was grunting loud enough Rosalie could hear it. She didn't stop him. His big arms enveloped her, made her safe and she felt . . . home.

Remembering their children were witnesses to all of this, they pulled away. Rosalie blushed furiously, and a shy little smile lit up her face as she ducked her head down, unsure of what to do now.

Emmett knew. He took her hand, walked her to her car, helped buckle her little girl in, and told her once again, "Call me, please."

Rosalie smiled and gulped a little.

"M'kay," she whispered meekly, and got a kiss on the cheek for her effort.

~ooOoo~

A/N:

MZB wrote 2 stories for Fage this year. One as a pinch author and one as a signed up author. In honor of this fabulous, hardworking author, I am pleased to present this story, which I have already completed. It is 31 chapters long, hovering around 108K words. I will update twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday, since I post my other 2 stories on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Initially, I didn't think I had time to write this story. I was asked to participate in FAGE by Vampmama Fanfiction but declined and accepted to be a pinch author. So this is my contribution when she needed me to step up. As you can see I quickly became engulfed in this story and wrote it nonstop for 8 days until it was finished. I was knocking this idea around for awhile and figured I'd make a o/s out of it. Wanted to branch out and do an Em/Rose fic for some time, one where she was a little more less hard headed and vulnerable. Well, here you go. It definitely flowed once I started it and exploded into a full fledged story.

FYI: I do not claim to know anything at all about being hearing impaired. This is loosely based off a friend of mine I've had over the years who is hearing impaired and who has a daughter who is hearing impaired as well. And I have to say, she is one of the most musically talented women I've ever met. A disability doesn't stop us; it only makes us stronger when we conquer it. That's what I learned from my friend. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy my newfound obsession with Emmett.

Scarlettplay