Sooo. It's been a long, long time since I posted anything here. Really, really sorry about that -RL can do weird things to your life, and I finally got out of hiding to try and test the waters of the non-fanfic literary kingdom, so it's not all bad! This little fic was actually supposed to be a contest submission for the 'Love in Bloom' contest(Spring-themed fanfics), but since that's done, I thought I might post this here!
This was basically supposed to be a Rose/Em pairing, but it's a lot more Ed/Rose since I just love their bickering and can't seem to get enough of it! For those of y'all reading Triumph, all I can say is: a little more patience, please, I'm really, really sorry, but I've kinda hit a block right now, so I'll post ASAP.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer. Not me. C'est tout.
It was a bright, cool morning. Mist still pervaded the as-yet bare fields; the sun, while promising to shine in full glory later on in the day, was still hiding behind a silvery sheet of early morning clouds.
Two people, a man and a woman stood under the bare branches of a tree, watching the sun rise in the sky. And that was all they seemed to be doing. Holding hands, standing remarkably still, solemn expressions on their hauntingly beautiful faces.
Presently, the man took in a deep breath of the cool air, and exhaled loudly. "This is why I love early mornings," he said softly. "Until you came into my life, I never really appreciated how… wondrous this all is."
The woman smiled. "Don't tell me the air is doing you any good, because it isn't. It's scientifically impossible, as you very well know."
"Of course I know that," the man quipped indignantly. "I'm not that dumb, you know."
She giggled, her voice echoing strangely through the silent fields. "No. Not that much, but just a little."
The giggle seemed to soften his handsome features. Gently, he drew her closer, and whispered into her hair, just above her ear, "I love you."
Her response was a softer "I know. So do I."
They remained frozen in that position for a moment, arms entwined and bodies barely apart by inches –a chaste, intimate embrace.
"Do you know what day today is?" –she asked suddenly, her musical voice complementing instead of disrupting the silence.
"It's been exactly a year since… we first met."
He chuckled. "What a day that was!"
His chuckle did for her what her giggle had done to him. As she smiled up at him with obvious affection in her tawny eyes, his smooth marble brow crinkled with a small frown.
"Wait –did you say a year since we first met?"
For a split second he seemed lost in deliberation, then, with a sudden movement that surprised her, he let go of her waist and pulled away from her: their stone-hard skin screeched slightly as they grazed apart.
"I have something I must do. I have to go."
Again he surprised her by cutting her off with a quick, hard kiss. "I'll be back soon." –he said softly, gazing solemnly into her confused eyes.
And before she could say another word, he was gone.
"You look distracted," the beautiful young man remarked, watching her work her frustration away.
The blonde beauty straightened up with an exasperated click of her tongue. "Why don't you save yourself the trouble of asking and see for yourself?"
The man grinned. "I'd rather not, thanks. Still recovering from what I saw last time."
Thankful that it was physically impossible for her to blush, she turned back to the exposed engine of the roadster in front of her.
"It helps to talk about it, Rosalie."
"I know. Just not to you."
The grin on his face grew. "Believe it or not, you're the first person to say that to me."
Resisting the urge to stick her tongue out at him, she remarked dryly, "You're in a chipper mood today."
"Must be the momentousness of the occasion."
In a flash, she was facing him, curious. "Momentousness?"
"Spring equinox, and all. Oh, and the day you found Emmett, of course."
Rosalie Hale turned away again, trying to repress the worry that sprung up in her mind at the sound of his name.
"So, where is the big guy?"
"I don't know," she answered, too concerned to let the query pass.
"He'll be fine," his voice was smooth, perfectly reassuring, but it did nothing to calm her worries. Only Emmett could do that.
"He's been gone all morning. And he's by himself."
"He'll be fine, Rosalie," he said again. "It's been a year. He can control himself."
"You don't know how much he struggles to do just that, Edward! How much self-control and concentration he sacrifices into his efforts!" –Rosalie snapped, his condescending tone irking her.
"I do know all about his considerable efforts, Rosalie. My mind-reading trick is not exclusive to you, so don't flatter yourself."
The half-gibe only served to incense her more. "Oh, just leave me be," she snapped and returned to her tinkering. To her relief, she heard him leave, but was surprised to sense his approach again, barely five seconds later.
"What now?" –she half-growled and straightened up to be met with a surprising sight. Edward, with that superior smile on his face, was offering her a bunch of-
"Are those geraniums?" –she asked, shocked.
"But it's too early for them!"
"Esme's growing them."
"And you're giving them to me?"
Edward cocked his head to the side. "You're slower than usual today," he said, mock-thoughtfully.
She let the comment pass again. "Why?"
"Shouldn't a brother do something nice for his little sister every now and then?"
"Shut up, Edward," she said bluntly. "What is this about?"
"I told you. A heartfelt offering from a brother to his sister."
"I'm not your sister," she scoffed.
To her surprise, his face darkened. "Watch your words, you silly fool." –he snapped.
Shocked by his harshness, she responded, "How dare you-"
"Now you've gone and upset Esme," he cut in, and thrust the flowers at her. "Here," he said shortly. "Happy Spring Equinox."
Before she could say a word, he was gone. She heard the back door of the main house open and close a split second later and she knew that Esme's favourite son was consoling her.
The thought only irritated her more. Really, Esme was much too sensitive at times, and Carlisle and Edward simply coddled her. Urgh, stop, right there –she couldn't even begin to think of that irritating young man…
Then she remembered the flowers in her hand. She gazed at them critically for a second, and then with a sigh, she emptied a right-sized can of bolts and placed the flowers in it.
"That'll do," she muttered gruffly and went back to the roadster's carburettor.
"She's just very frank, Edward, and I admire that about her," the woman said gently, brushing her honey-coloured hair off her face.
"She's also very shallow and that's not very easy to admire," the young man quipped petulantly.
"She simply has a lot more personal interests than you and me. Must we hate her for that?"
"How irrational of you. I find her characteristics very enviable."
Edward snorted. "Enviable? You have to be joking. She's vain, impetuous, arrogant and vocal about it, and always thinks of hers and herself first. How could you envy her?"
Esme smiled fondly. "Dear Edward, don't you see? She is the most human of us all, and that is what I envy her for."
There was a small pause, then Edward said grudgingly, "You have a point."
Esme smiled as she pruned a shrub. "Of course I do. I always have a point."
Edward grinned. "Carlisle wouldn't argue with that."
Esme laughed, and they both sat in companionable silence for some time.
"Well, your garden's getting along nicely," Edward said after a while, glancing around.
His foster mother smiled. "Thank you , dear. In about a month or two you'll see it in its full glory."
"That's assuming we'll still be here in a month or two."
Esme nodded, then sighed. "I do not wish to complain, but… it would be nice to have a permanent residence somewhere. Some place we could call home."
Edward grinned. "Took you long enough to admit it."
She frowned at him. "You know how Carlisle would take it," she said. "Far too seriously."
"Don't forget the tendency to somehow hold himself culpable for your disappointment."
She raised her eyebrows. "You're one to talk. You are far more self-effacing than Carlisle ever could be."
He sighed dramatically. "And you are far too good to place the blame where it's due."
With a responding sigh, she stood up gracefully. "We are not having this conversation now. It's a beautiful day, and I do not want to spend it debating virtues and sins, of all things."
"I agree," the young man said, and smiling, stood up too. "Let's spend this time being productive. How may I help in the garden?"
Before she could answer, they heard an approaching motor turn into their drive from the main road.
"He's back," Edward smiled.
"So soon?" –the joy in Esme's voice was evident.
They both waited silently, listening to the motor near the main house. Twenty seconds later, they heard it stop and its driver disembark. Soft footsteps that would have gone unnoticed by humans were perfectly clear to them, and the patriarch of their unusual family was soon standing at the glass doors that opened into their lawn.
"Carlisle," Esme smiled beatifically and flitted over to greet him.
The blond man with god-like features greeted his wife with a warm kiss. "Surprised?"
"It was a slow day in the hospital today. And apparently I've been putting in a lot of extra hours lately, so they decided I deserved this half-leave."
"Of course you do," Esme told him proudly. Carlisle smiled and turned to his oldest adopted son. "Edward. How was your day?"
Edward shrugged. "Meh. So-so. Had the usual tiff with Miss Perfect, which reminds me, Emmett's gone off somewhere."
Carlisle seemed alarmed. "Where?"
Edward hesitated. "I'm not sure. He had a vague idea in his mind, which, by the way, I won't say out loud, so you can get back to that spark plug, Rosalie." They clearly heard someone hiss a profanity from inside the garage and increased sounds of tinkering metal. Carlisle raised his eyebrow. "Must you really rile her up so much, Edward?"
The man grinned. "I'm bored."
Esme frowned disapprovingly. "You were saying. About Emmett."
"Yes, I don't think we should worry about him. He knows what to do, or more precisely, what not to do, and I think he's perfectly capable of controlling himself now. See, he had a purpose, a little something in his mind, something he didn't want Rosalie to know about." With an exasperated sigh, he raised his voice slightly, "It's not a secret, Rosalie, it's more like a surprise, so stop attributing atrocities like mystery and intrigue to poor, straightforward Emmett."
"One of these days, Edward, I will tear your tongue out and burn it." –her voice sounded.
"The feeling's mutual, sister dear."
Carlisle and Esme finally stepped in. While the good doctor simply uttered a reprimanding –"Children", Esme was more vocal in her censure –"Enough. It's bad enough that you two won't stop snapping at each other every time you find yourselves in the same room –I will not have you fighting across rooms now. Apologise."
There was a split second of silence before Rosalie's surly "Sorry", after which Edward complied as well.
Esme nodded, unsmiling. "Good," she began, when she stopped abruptly. All three vampires froze simultaneously, even as the fourth in the garage drew in a sharp breath loud enough for everyone in the garden to hear.
"Look who's back," Edward muttered, a small smile curving his lips.
"Emmett." –A soft whisper sounded from the garage, and in the next split second they heard her leave, making for the familiar strong scent that each of them had so promptly sensed.
"Has he accomplished what he set out for, Edward?" –Carlisle asked as soon as Rosalie was out of hearing range.
With a look on his face that seemed a strange amalgamation of admiration and respect, Edward nodded. "He has."
Esme smiled proudly. "That's my boy."
They met under the same tree, the sun now already on its descent. Both were running, and while he slowed as he neared the tree, she didn't; as they crashed into each other, a low rumble sounded and echoed around the bare fields.
Rosalie Hale felt like she was coming out of a drought. Emmett was her elixir, her life-force, and in just a half-day of separation, she felt like she had endured decades of agony. Warmth, that was in reality an impossibility where her body was concerned, spread through her at his every touch. Her hair, in which one of his hands were tangled, seemed to be sparkling with electricity. Her lips felt open and raw where he scraped them with his own, and every inch of her exposed skin that his other hand caressed seemed to burn with a pleasurable cold fire.
More. She wanted so, so much more. She hungered for him, desperately and constantly –often she was offered instant gratification, but today –oh, this, barren, awful day, she had to wait for hours and hours…
"Baby, stop," he rasped suddenly, and at the unexpected words, she did indeed stop. Never, never had she expected him to say this, of all things, at such a time.
Hurt and pain jolted through her at that thought, and she whispered timorously, "Emmett-"
"Or you'll crush it," he said softly. Slowly, he reached inside his trouser pocket, and drew something out.
Rosalie could do nothing but stare at it. "Happy Spring Equinox," he said.
It was a violet. A lone, small bloom, its distinct colour vivid against his marble white skin.
For the first time in a while, she was completely at a loss for words. "I'm sorry it took so long, but I couldn't find not one of these anywhere nearby," he said anxiously after a moment.
Rosalie could only manage to ask, "Why?"
The question flustered him more. "Well, it was Esme's idea, you know, exchanging flowers to mark the beginning of spring or something like that-"
Her simple interjection seemed to take away all his bluster. A sort of grimness descended on his brow as he said, "Because I think it's stupid, why you hate these flowers. The reason doesn't even count now."
Immediately Rosalie's head flashed up, her tawny eyes burning with anger. "Are you telling me my past means nothing now?"
"No. No!" –he said hastily. "I'm saying the past belongs in that past, Rosalie. What happened, happened. There's no point in prolonging the pain."
"Emmett, you know this. I've told you a million times. I don't want to forget."
The bloom drifted gently to the ground as he grabbed both her hands in his. "I'm not asking you to, my darling. Just –to forgive." He stooped and picked the bloom off the ground. "It's just a flower. And a beautiful one, at that. Your eyes matched them, didn't they? What I wouldn't give to see them." –he said softly, and offered the flower to her again.
This time, she took it, gently cradling the bloom in her devastatingly strong fingers. "They were my favourites once. And they were my favourites because he gave them to me."
Slowly, Emmett stepped closer and cupped his hands around the flower, too. "But now he's dead. He's paid for his crimes and now I'm giving you them." His hands left hers and cupped her face instead. "Because, my darling, whether your eyes are like violets, like gold, or like rubies, they're always, always beautiful."
To his relief, a small smile appeared on her perfect lips. "That was the silliest thing I've ever had anyone say to me." She paused, then lifted the flower and tucked it in her hair behind her ear. Then, her smile widening, she continued, "But also the sweetest. I love you so very much, Emmett."
"And you know I love you." –he smiled.
They leaned in to another kiss, one of the rarer ones –a soft, lingering kiss, as opposed to hard and passionate ones.
"How did you know?" –she asked after they broke apart.
"No one knew how I felt about these flowers."
"Oh, that. Edward told me."
Rosalie's face darkened with a frown. "Just can't mind his own business, can he, that interfering –"
"Because I asked him, Rose. I asked him what flowers I should get you and he said you didn't really mind any flowers but hated these. I asked him why, and… he wouldn't tell me. Not at first, but –well, you know how persuasive I can be," here, he winked at her, and a small smile lightened her features, "and he finally told me. Give the kid some credit, he didn't really want to tell."
Rosalie simply rolled her eyes. It was so hard to like Edward, especially when he made his own dislike of her so obvious.
"Was he nice to you today?" -he asked anxiously.
"Oh, he was a perfect gentleman," she drawled sarcastically. "Insulted me only four times, and called me just 'shallow' behind my back. Glowing behaviour today, considering his normal one everyday."
Emmett completely let the sarcasm pass. "I made him swear he'd be nice to you today," he said, eyes narrowing a little.
"Leave him be, my darling," she said simply. "That's about as nice as he can get."
Emmett chuckled. "I guess. Ah, well. He's been a damned good brother to me, on the whole."
The statement seemed to give her something to think about. "Yes," she said meditatively.
To his surprise, after a second, she stepped away from him. "Wait right here," she said. "I'll be back very soon." Before he could say another word, a passionate kiss was pressed on his lips, and she was gone.
He watched her retreating figure until he couldn't see her anymore, then sighed. "I guess I deserved that," he muttered to himself solemnly.
Edward didn't run as far as usual on that day. He attributed this to his 'chipper mood', as that aggravating woman had put it. Yes, he was in a chipper mood, wasn't he?
He had been afraid he wouldn't be. Being the odd one out in a family of soulmates was difficult. He was afraid he'd be even more… contemplative(as he called it –Esme called it brooding and Rosalie called it constipation) than usual today, since they were going to make a special day of it, which would definitely involve more than the usual amounts of overflowing love.
But he wasn't. He'd found, to his secret relief, that just being around said perfect examples of overflowing love somehow calmed him and filled him with –dare he say it? –hope.
Yes. He, Edward Cullen, self-effacer extraordinaire(as Esme would say), was hopeful. He was hopeful that somewhere, someday, he'd find his soulmate, too. His logic was, after all, fail proof –if a woman like Rosalie Hale could find true love and eternal happiness in a man like Emmett, then the world was a far more tender place than he had thought it was.
With an amused snort, he made his way into the main house, trying faithfully to block out Carlisle and Esme's vivid memories of their first encounter. Chuckling at their silly vocal comments about climbing on trees and falling from them, he decided to fetch more music sheets from his room, his brain already churning out a new melody with his foster parents as inspiration.
But he momentarily forgot about music when he stepped inside his room, for he could immediately sense a change in the surroundings, a subtle hint of someone else in the air. Someone had been there.
And they had left something behind. On a small table that bore his latest gramophone player, sat a curious little thing.
It was a pinecone. And on a small card next to it, in elegant script, was written:
Happy Spring Equinox, brother dear.
He stood perfectly still for a moment. Then he burst into laughter.