Three weeks… it had been three weeks since our fateful conversation, and I hadn't given him much since then. We weren't even on a talking basis; I left Seattle within that hour, not even giving him an excuse or the time of the day. Did he truly expect me to abandon every single moral and scruple I had, just for some easy money and a quick fix? He was horribly stupid if he thought I was that kind of girl! I angrily threw the ice cream scooper into the metal skink before washing my hands and drying them with equal brutality- three weeks, and I still couldn't stop thinking about him. "Leave the poor scooper out of it." Rosalie teased me softly from behind the counter, where she stood looking gorgeous and otherworldly. My best friend was akin to the models that graced the runway, so why she neglected all opportunities to become a model was beyond me. Instead, she owned a small auto repair shop on the north side of town. "Something definitely has your panties in a twist." Her manicured eyebrow rose at my sour look, but it was beginning to be too much to hide.
"Did you come to gossip or get ice cream?" I asked finally. She usually didn't close shop until five o clock on Fridays, and she knew my shift at Newton's Creamery didn't end until six.
"Neither." She shrugged easily. "I came to steal you away."
"Rosalie." I warned her softly, looking back at the closed door of Michael Sr.'s office. The Newton's hardly ever stopped by their store, so I knew the chances of me cutting work early and getting caught were slim… but I would have to lie to them, and that was something I wasn't too good at. "You know that I can't."
She rolled her big, blue eyes and leaned over the mid-length counter in a bored manner. "Look, its forty-five degrees out tonight; you think anyone wants some ice cream right now?" Forks was always cold- if cold weather meant no ice cream, then the Newton's would have been out of money before the bank opened. "Plus, you've only got two more hours on the clock. And, guess who stopped by this morning to get her car tuned up before leaving to St. Helen's for the weekend?" My friend had a mischievous glint in her eyes, but I wasn't up for games. The bank called the night before, warning us that they were foreclosing within thirteen days- along with my third fifteen day notice of the week, I wasn't up for anything. "Mrs. Newton and the little pimple, Mike." We both heavily disliked Mike Newton, but obviously for different reasons.
"Rose, I would love to skip out and have fun. But I've got so many bills its not even funny. Two hours on my timecard makes a difference." Last night was spent with a bottle of wine and many, many tears shed over my current situation. Charlie was slowly losing his hair and some weight due to stress, so I refused to lay anymore of it on him. But things were so messed up! I needed someone.
"Bella." She sighed deeply, resting her chin on her open palm. "Come work for me, just as a side job. I know this dump isn't cutting it."
I laughed harshly at her proposal. Work with cars, auto parts, and gruffy men? "I am the clumsiest broad to walk the face of this planet, Rosalie, I'll end up costing you more money in damages than anything." I would probably trash the poor place and turn it into a hellhole before I made her any profit at all. "But thanks, you know I appreciate the offer. I cant go anywhere today anyway, Charlie doesn't have dinner or lunch for tomorrow-"
Rosalie scoffed at me. "Bells, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! C'mon, I promise you that you will not regret leaving with me… I'll even go back there and help you out for the next two hours if you want me to." When I shook my head with a solemn no, her face contorted in that old look she once had. No one really ever challenged Rosalie anymore, and it couldn't be helped- she was a beautiful kind of bitch, one that got exactly what she wanted. "Fine. Let's make a deal."
I rolled my eyes and started wiping a spot on the counter for the hundredth time. "What?" No matter what she said, I knew I would still be saying no. There was just too much to do and too little time to do it!
"How about I go to your place while you finish up- I'll cook a dinner, pack up the leftovers for Charlie for the next, grab some of your belongings and come back here to whisk you away for three days. How does that sound?" My eyes were probably three seconds away from bugging out and rolling around on the floor. Rosalie, cooking? There was the risk of her burning my house down, but I nodded slowly despite myself. Why the hell not? Even if she set everything on fire, I was losing the house in a matter of two weeks anyway. Might as well go out with a bang! Charlie made it painfully clear that we wouldn't do any gift exchange this year, since he would be on an "after hours" fishing kick this week. And I suppose it was his way of releasing me from my worry over gift giving- I had no money to divulge, and he knew that. "Great." Her Cheshire grin reached from one end of her face to the other. "See you then!"
If I had known where she was taking me, what she had planned for my future… I would have thrown her out of my workplace without even a spare glance. Rosalie was a slithery bitch, but I loved her for it- except during the Christmas of 2013. I hated her.
If I had known she was taking me to Seattle… I would have gladly spent Christmas Eve alone in what was left of my childhood home.
A/N: So, we learn that she did NOT take his offer.
And what is Rosalie up to? Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! I love you all!