[Disclaimer] Everything Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer
[A/N] Welcome to my new story, my dear readers. I've decided to make it a Rosella fic, and hope you're going to enjoy reading it.
The prologue here is dedicated to Leslie for making the pretty cover for me. I adore your skills, hun.
On a rainy Tuesday in November 1987, Charles Swan asked his friend Jasper for a favor. A favor, Charlie was going to regret for the rest of his life.
"Can you cover my shift next Thursday, Jasper?" Charlie had asked taking a hearty gulp from the thermos he was balancing between his knees. The hot drink would help both of the young police officers to make it through this nightshift. Outside the cruiser the icy wind was howling around with a storm that was about to build.
Jasper reached out his hand to turn the heat a bit higher. Even after almost a year in Washington the cold still wasn't something the native Texan could get used to.
At least the people were good people here, he thought. The people of Forks were the hard-working, simple kind of people you would rarely find these days. They had welcomed the Hale family with open arms into their little community.
So, how could Jasper deny his partner Charlie the small favor?
"I know it's Thanks Giving." Charlie stated, taking another gulp from the coffee. "But Renee's parents are coming over and you know how she's like."
Jasper played around on the leather cuff around his left wrist. He was wearing it to cover up a tattoo. It was a youthly sin that didn't quite match with his profession as a police officer.
"You'll do Christmas for me?" Jasper asked after a small pause.
"Sure. Then, it's set. I'll let the boss know you'll be working for me next week. Thank you, man. I owe you big." He handed Jasper the thermos. "Drink up. It looks like you're about to fall asleep any minute."
The blond man took several gulps from the coffee, enjoying the warmth that filled his stomach a moment later. Charlie's wife was a bit too crazy for Jasper's liking but that woman sure knew how to make some decent coffee.
"Lucy wants to move back to Austin. She thinks it's better for Rosie's career or some crap like that."
"Still?" Charlie asked, shifting on the uncomfortable seat in the car. "I thought you've talked her out of this nonsense."
"Working on it, man." Jasper murmured. "I'm still working on it. The kids love it here in Forks." His mouth twitched. "I have no desire to go back."
Charlie and Jasper finished their shift without anything exciting happening. Night shifts in Forks were mostly quiet. The small town was a safe place to live.
Thanks Giving came and Charlie was enjoying a peaceful evening among his family. He had just treated himself to a third piece of pie when the phone rang. His boss, Chief Martin was so agitated, his voice shaking to a point where it was difficult to understand.
"He's dead. He's dead." The officer called out again and again, barely able to grasp the situation. "I can't believe the boy is dead. Shot in the head like a goddamn dog."
Twenty minutes later, when Charlie was standing next to the grey-haired officer, he had trouble to hold back his emotions.
There was blood all over the floor inside the empty warehouse. Charlie saw a red trail from a broken window over to the door at the other side of the room.
"This is where we found him." Chief Martin stated, pointing to the lifeless body on the floor. They had already covered it up with a grey plastic foil. The blond curls that were sticking up at the top were red with dried blood.
Charlie felt his stomach churn and swallowed back a bit of bile. "What happened?" he asked, kneeling down next to his dead partner.
"The janitor of the building called the station. He lives next door and got alarmed when he heard someone breaking into the window."
The chief of police sighed, leaning back against the wall behind him. "We've found a footprint and a pearl ear-ring."
With shaking hands Charlie reached for the already cold hand of his partner. If only he hadn't asked him to cover the shift tonight. The guilt was eating Charlie up deep from the inside. Jasper was the same age than he. How was he supposed to tell Lucy her husband was dead? Jasper was dead because the young officer had obviously gotten in the way of some random burglars.
"I'll find your killer." Charlie vowed, clasping Jasper's hand tightly. "I promise that I'll find the bastard."
A week later the entire community of Forks was gathered together for the funeral. Everybody was whispering. They were unable to believe the horror. Forks was not a big city with a lot of crimes happening. Some of the elder ones had even been joking that they should abolish the police in town altogether. It was a terrible waste of money in their eyes.
Now, everyone was fearful. The murder on young officer Hale was the first capital crime in the city in over thirty years. Chief Martin had gotten so overwhelmed with the situation he'd decided to retire early. Now, Charles Swan had taken over the job as Sheriff. He was determined to find Hale's murderer as soon as possible.
The funeral was held inside the town hall. Flower bouquets decorated the closed coffin. Charlie had insisted on a closed casket ceremony. There was no need to agitate the poor widow even more than she already was. Lucy had gotten a nervous breakdown when Charlie had brought the fatal news home to her.
Now, the tall woman was sitting in the first row, her red eyes hidden beneath huge sunglasses. Next to her were her sons. Mrs. Hale was grasping the hand of ten-year-old Emmett so tightly it must be hurting the boy. He was quiet today. His mouth not curled into the usual cheerful grin.
Emmett was old enough to grasp the situation more than his younger siblings. Their father was dead. He was dead because someone had killed him. Dying in the line of duty made Jasper Hale a hero. But it made him dead nonetheless.
Jasper Junior, a chubby four-year-old tugged on the sleeve of his black shirt. It was too big on him. The seat next to him was empty. Only a Barbie doll was lying carelessly forgotten on the pillow.
"Emmett, where's your sister again?" Lucy asked, cleaning her nose loudly. She felt like she had no more tears left to cry. Twenty-seven was definitely too young to be a widow. It was too young to be left alone to care for three little kids.
If only they'd never left Austin, if only…
Lucy's eyes moved over to where Charles Swan was sitting with his wife. In a dark suit the man looked as if he was uncomfortable to being dressed up.
Sheriff Swan. My husband dies and Swan gets a promotion, Lucy thought with bitterness. How is this world any fair?
In a small room, next to that where the funeral service was about to take place in a few minutes, a little blonde girl was hiding underneath a table. She was scared. Not because of the amount of people who were present. Rosalie was used to having a crowd staring at her when she was on stage. Nobody was going to give her a tiara at the end of this day. The girl was sure about it.
Today was a bad day. Rosalie's mother had cried the entire morning before she had forced her daughter to put on a new black dress. It was itchy and too tight around her arms. Rosalie hated wearing it.
She didn't want to be there at all. Why couldn't she just make herself invisible? What she really wanted though was her father to come down the stairs in their house and tell her mother to stop dressing the girl up like a doll. He knew how much Rosalie hated that.
Her little heart cramped inside her chest. She had been cross with her Dad because he had to work on Thanks Giving. She hadn't even told him goodbye. She was mad at him, because him working had ruined her plans of helping him work on the rusty Mustang in the garage. Now, her Mom would probably sell it off soon. The thought made Rosalie sadder than she already was.
"What are you doing here?" a light voice startled Rosalie in her hideaway under the table. Hesitantly, Rosalie raised her head, finding herself looking into a wide, toothless smile.
No one had smiled at Rosalie like this in the last time. A lot of sad-looking people had come to her house and petted her head, telling her what a good man Rosalie's Daddy had been. She didn't know what to respond to them. She couldn't even cry. Everything was too much for a eight-year-old to deal with.
"What are you doing here?" the brown-haired girl asked again, plopping down on her backside. Rosalie had seen her in school before but never spoken to her because she was a class below her. That basically made her a stupid baby. Didn't it?
"Hiding," Rosalie whispered, pulling her knees to her chest. "I'm hiding."
"Can I hide with you?" the smaller girl asked, moving a bit closer to Rosalie. "I'm Bella."
She smiled again and pulled a package of Oreo cookies out of her pocket. "Want some?"
Rosalie shook her head. "My Mommy doesn't allow me to eat candy. She'll be angry."
Bella opened the package, biting off half of a cookie. "Here. We can share one, if you want to."
After hesitating for a minute, Rosalie took the other half of the cookie and stuffed it quickly between her lips. If she only had half a cookie, her mother could only be half angry at her.
"It's mean that your Mom doesn't allow you to eat candy." Bella mumbled with a full mouth. "My parents let me eat whatever I want."
"My Daddy too," Rosalie told her, licking a few cookie crumbles from her fingers. "But he's dead."
"I know," Bella said. "My Dad told me. Your Daddy is a hero now. All heroes go to heaven. Did you know that?"
Rosalie cleared her throat. "No, I didn't know that. Can we share the second cookie too?" she asked. Bella nodded her head and smiled. "Of course, we can. You and I are friends now, right?"