TITLE: Riptide

PAIRING: Bella/Rosalie

GENRE: Romance/Angst




SUMMARY: Seeking inspiration for her newest novella, bestselling author Rosalie Hale travels to Santa Catalina Island. What happens during her stay at Twilight by the Sea is completely unexpected, but more so for Isabella Cullen—the owner of the aforementioned resort. Both women learn that much can happen in one week, invoking a riptide of emotions to overcome them.

It was a sunny afternoon in Santa Catalina Island while Isabella Cullen prepared for Rosalie Hale's arrival. As the owner of Twilight by the Sea, a beach cottage resort by the marina, she was in charge of making sure that everything was ready and done as her guest had requested. Her small crew of four worked extra hard that Sunday, tidying the six cottages that were available for rent to customers.

Yet Emmett, one of Isabella's employees, wasn't too happy about it and he had no qualms voicing his displeasure.

"Are you even sure that she's gonna use all of the cottages? She's only going to be here by herself."

Isabella shook her head. "That doesn't matter, Em. Mrs. Hale asked that all the cottages be available to her, so whether she uses them or not is not our problem; they simply have to be ready and clean. End of the discussion, you understand?"

"Yes, boss," he annoyingly retorted, "whatever you say."

"Exactly, you do whatever I say, so lose the attitude," she warned. "And please, please promise me to be on your best behavior while Mrs. Hale is here, okay?"

Emmett waggled his brows. "What is she wants me to misbehave with her?"

"You know what?" Isabella said exasperatedly. "I don't want you here this coming week."

"What?!" he exclaimed. "Why?"

"Because I don't want you accosting her, alright? I know you, Em, and the last thing I need is for you to give the resort a bad rep."

Emmett gasped in mock shock, but before he could say anything else, Isabella did.

"Shut it, kid." She gave him a pointed look. "Like I said, I know you."

It was rather amusing that Isabella referred to Emmett as a kid given that at his 6'5" height, he was easily at least a foot taller than her, yet she called him that because he was younger than her, but more than anything since he truly behaved like a child.

"Fine, whatever," he grumbled. "You're still paying me."

"I am," Isabella sighed. "Just stay away from here for the following week."

"Paid vacation," Emmett boomed, smirking. "I like the sound of that!"

Isabella stood in place, shaking her head as he walked away and resumed his task. For a brief moment, she wondered how she was going to survive the rest of week without his help if Mrs. Hale actually did use all the cottages at the resort. None of the other crewmembers would be around to help her due to Mrs. Hale's request that she be attended by as few people as possible.

Sometimes celebrities are too demanding, Isabella thought.

Well, Rosalie Hale wasn't exactly a celebrity per se, but as a bestselling author, she was definitely popular, and anonymity was something that she was seeking. That's why she had chosen the remote island in California to vacation while she wrote her next novella.

Rosalie hoped that the warm weather there would help her relax and serve her as inspiration given that the rain in her native Rochester dispirited her. She had packed a multitude of bathing suits and sundresses that she imagined she'd wear to Descanso Beach if the opportunity arose. Or maybe she'd go there to write, although she'd have to camouflage herself in order to not be recognized by tween fangirls that read her books and knew who she was.

She didn't dwell thinking about that, however; she was determined to make the most out of her week at Twilight by the Sea.


After an hour-long ferry ride from San Pedro to Avalon, Rosalie finally got to her destination. She'd had flown into California the night before, but since her flight took six hours long, she'd just made it to the island a little past noon. Thankfully, the resort's owner had scheduled a cab to pick her up, so not having to wait for it had been pleasant.

Talk about customer service, Rosalie thought.

Pulling up to the resort's curb, the taxi driver got out and helped Rosalie with her luggage, following after her as they approached the entrance. As they did so, Rosalie noticed a brunette woman waiting for her there. She seemed to be in her late twenties—petite and dressed casually in shorts and a tank top—with an air of authority that surrounded her. Rosalie was certainly intrigued by her, but she tried not to show it.

The woman stepped forward, greeting Rosalie. "Welcome to Twilight by the Sea, Mrs. Hale. My name is Isabella Cullen, and I'll be glad to help you with anything you need during your stay."

As Rosalie took the extended hand that Isabella offered, she smiled at her and took a moment to appraise Isabella. While doing so, Rosalie became entranced by Isabella's chocolate brown eyes and the peculiar freckles underneath them; her long hair matched in color, falling in waves around her oval face. What captivated Rosalie the most, though, was Isabella's content smile—it truly expressed the passion she felt for her job.

"Nice to meet you, Isabella," Rosalie said. "And thank you for sending someone to get me."

Isabella smiled at the cab driver. "Well, Waylon here offered to help me since my regular staff isn't around as you requested."

"Was that too much trouble for you?" Rosalie asked, chagrined.

"No, not at all," Isabella told her. "My working crew is very small, so there's really no reason for them to be around if they aren't needed. The only person that will be coming in is the housekeeper; I hope there is no problem with that."

Rosalie shook her head. "Of course not, and if you need anyone else, please feel free to call them in. I thought there'd be more people around, hence my silly request."

"I wouldn't consider it silly given all the social media nowadays and your need for secrecy—which I completely understand, Mrs. Hale."

"Please call me Rosalie, Isabella; 'Mrs. Hale' sounds much too formal."

Isabella smiled abashedly and said, "So does 'Isabella,' so please, call me Bella, Rosalie."

All the while, Waylon stood by, watching their first encounter as he patiently waited for them to be done.

"Okay, well, let me show you to your cottage," Isabella said, leading them to the third house on the right.

Rosalie's face lit up as she remembered the cottage that she'd requested while making her reservation. As she'd looked at the photos on the lodge's website, she had been fascinated by them, convincing her that this lodge was the place where she needed to stay.

As Waylon set her bags down, she took a moment to look around the house's living room. "Wow, this is amazing, Bella," Rosalie told her. "I knew that the house would be beautiful, but the pictures on your website certainly don't make it justice."

"Thank you," Isabella replied, blushing slightly. "We do try our best to give our customers the best, and you are definitely not an exception."

It was Rosalie's turn to blush. "Thanks."

"Well, if that will be all, I'll be on my way," Waylon told them.

"How much do I owe you for the cab ride?" Rosalie asked him.

Waylon shook his head, smiling. "It was on the house."

"No, Waylon," Isabella interjected. "I told you I was going to pay you."

"And I said it was on the house, so don't worry about it, Bells."

"You stubborn, old man," Isabella grumbled, "always doing things your way."

"Well," Rosalie said, handing him a twenty-dollar bill, "at least allow me to tip you properly." She covered his hand with hers as he tried to give it back. "Please," she said. "It's truly the least I could do."

Waylon grinned at her. "Thank you, Miss," he said, tipping his head before making his exit.

Isabella looked over at Rosalie and said, "Well, I'll be on my way, too. I just wanted to let you know that you're more than welcome to join me for dinner later if you'd like, since meals are included in your package, but you're also not obligated to do so."

"Thanks, Bella." Rosalie smiled. "I think I'll pass for tonight since I want to head into town, but I'll most definitely join you for breakfast tomorrow morning. At what time shall I join you?"

"Anytime after nine is good," Isabella replied. "That gives me enough time to prepare and set everything up."

"Alright, I'll be there at that time," Rosalie promised.

"Okay, well, I'll see you at the main house, then," was Isabella's reply, marking her exit from the cottage.

Rosalie then proceeded to go around the house, observing all the small details inside it. One of the first things she'd noticed when she entered was its openness and the great deal of light that came into the living room through several large windows. The décor had a shabby chic feel to it with its white furniture and matching wood-beamed ceiling, as well as the light turquoise painted walls that held framed images of the sea. On the opposite wall from the entrance, there was also a sliding glass door which led to a small, enclosed patio.

Skipping on looking outside, Rosalie headed to her room, passing the small kitchen that looked similar to the living room in its furnishings. When she reached her destination, Rosalie gasped. She found herself at a loss for words to describe its beauty, and for her, that was saying something. Following in the same pattern as the rest of the house, the room contained a white wooden bedroom set that was adorned by simple, yet elegant, maritime details such as seashells and starfish.

Rosalie was astounded by how much detail had been put into every room, knowing that Isabella had been behind it. It was at that moment, that Rosalie knew she had made the right choice by staying at Twilight by the Sea.

After she unpacked all her belongings, Rosalie took a shower and got ready to explore the small town. Her plans were to eat dinner and then maybe catch a movie at the Avalon Theatre before returning and maybe getting a head start on her writing.


Isabella hummed as she moved around in her kitchen while preparing breakfast. She was playing it safe by making her signature french toast in hopes that Rosalie would like it.

Rosalie, Isabella thought. God, she's so beautiful.

Isabella had certainly never met someone like her, and it wasn't because of her looks—although that had to do a lot with it—it was the poise with which Rosalie carried herself. From the way she spoke, one could clearly note that she was well educated, yet that didn't seem to be something that Rosalie liked to flaunt. From the first encounter over the phone that they'd had, Isabella had been able to deduce what Rosalie was like, but she had never expected her to be as stunning as she was.

Rosalie's long, blonde hair framed the most intense grey eyes Isabella had ever seen, and her bright smile lit up the room whenever she was in it. That caused Isabella the desire to make her laugh as much as possible just as long as she could see it.

It hadn't crossed Isabella's mind to do a Google search on her, despite the fact that it was something very common nowadays. Although, now that they'd actually met in person, that had changed. Isabella was truly fascinated by Rosalie, and she wanted to know everything about her that she could.

"Good morning," Rosalie greeted upon entering the kitchen, causing Isabella to return to the present.

She turned around and smiled at Rosalie. "Hi, good morning," she said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Go ahead and take a seat at the table; I'm almost done here."

"Are you sure?" Rosalie asked. "I could help you to serve if you'd like."

"Thanks, but I'm used to it," Isabella said, looking down at the plate of french toast that she was garnishing with powdered sugar and berries. "It's actually kind of my routine."

"Oh, okay," Rosalie said quickly. "I'll just go ahead and take a seat, then."

Isabella looked up, and grinned at her once again. "Thanks, I'll be there in a minute."

Rosalie walked over to the table as Isabella grabbed the pot of coffee that she'd brewed earlier.

"Would you like some coffee?" Isabella asked, walking over to her.

"Yes!" Rosalie begged. "I stayed up all night writing, so I'll take the largest cup you have, please."

Isabella chuckled. "Authors really do that?"

"What? Pull all-nighters writing?" Rosalie nodded. "All the time, especially around deadlines—they're the devil."

"You'll have to tell me about all those things someday if you have the chance," Isabella told her as she served Rosalie her coffee. "Well, if you don't mind, that is."

Rosalie waved her off. "Oh, not at all, but trust me, it's not as interesting as it seems."

"I'd still like to learn about it one day." Isabella shrugged, returning to the kitchen for their plates. "What mostly intrigues me, though, is where you get all the words to write out beautiful stories."

Putting down the coffee that she was sipping, Rosalie said, "It varies for different authors, but I can tell you that in my case, being inspired by something or someone helps a lot."

"And what inspired you?" Isabella asked as she took her seat across from Rosalie.

Rosalie looked down as she placed her napkin on her lap. When she looked up again, she replied, "The hydrangeas that are in the bathroom." Rosalie grinned. "They're truly beautiful, Bella; thank you for putting them there."

Isabella blushed slightly as she returned the smile, remembering how she'd placed the flowers in antique jars that she'd painted in pastel colors. She had put them along the vanity, hoping that Rosalie would like them, which she clearly had.

"You're welcome," she replied. "So, tell me now, what story did the hydrangeas inspire?"

"It's a tale about lovers," Rosalie answered excitedly. "About newfound love and hope, and all those corny things you find in my books!"

Isabella couldn't help but laugh. "Your books are not corny, Rosalie."

"You've read my books?" Rosalie asked.

"Only a couple of them, but they're enough to know what they're not clichéd," Isabella reiterated. "Do you think you'd be a bestselling author if they were?"

"People will read all kinds of crap these days, Isabella. Full proof of that are the Fifty Shades of Grey books," Rosalie said pointedly.

Isabella guffawed. "Oh, God, don't remind me of those awful books. My sister-in-law tried to get me to read them, but that was an epic fail. I couldn't get past the first chapter, and just thinking that she might try to make my brother reenact some scenes from those books with her makes me wanna puke."

It was Rosalie's turn to laugh then. "Oh, man, I can just imagine," she said. "So, you have a brother?"

"She has two," Emmett replied as he entered the kitchen. "One of them is hotter than the other, if I may say so myself."

Both women seemed surprised, having been too engrossed in their conversation to hear him come into the house, yet Isabella was not amused. "What are you doing here, Em?" she asked.

Emmett shrugged. "I just stopped by to see if you needed anything," he replied, flashing Rosalie his dimpled smile as he winked at her.

Rosalie grimaced, as she looked at him. "Are you actually trying to flirt with me, or is that a nervous tic you have on your face?"

As Emmett gasped in horror, Isabella broke into a fit of giggles while Rosalie watched both of them. When Isabella finally recovered, she told Emmett, "That's what you get for coming in here uninvited."

"Dude, I can't believe you just said that," Emmett told Rosalie. "I had never been turned down before."

"Well, there's always a first time for everything, right?" Rosalie sneered.

"Definitely," Isabella agreed. "But seriously, what are you doing here, Emmett? I thought I told you to stay away from the resort for the rest of the week?"

Emmett rubbed the back of his neck, looking chagrined. "I actually came by hoping that you'd let me eat breakfast with you guys."

Isabella shook her head. "No, you can't do that, but since I won't allow you to starve, I'll let you take something to eat with you, alright?"

"That's good enough for me," he replied, smiling.

Isabella stood from the table and headed to the kitchen where she plated some extra french toast into a Tupperware container. "Here," she said, handing it to him. "And make sure you do stay away this time. I'm not above firing you, you know." But that was a complete lie, for as much as Emmett's antics irritated her, Isabella didn't have the heart to fire her own brother, and he knew it as well.

When Isabella returned to the table, Rosalie was eating her breakfast with much gusto. "Oh, my, God, Bella, this is so good," she moaned.

"Thanks," Isabella replied, looking down at her plate. "It's a recipe my mother taught me."

After wiping her lips, Rosalie asked, "So, Emmett's your brother? I never would have figured."

"That may be because he looks like his father and I look like mine," Isabella replied.

"Oh," Rosalie gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to—"

"It's okay," Isabella told her. "I know your intentions weren't to pry; I was just telling you how it is."

"So, how old is he? Emmett doesn't seem too young, but he's definitely immature."

"Tell me about it," Isabella scoffed. "For a twenty-three-year-old, Emmett sure lacks maturity, although men aren't really known to excel when it comes to that."

"Exactly," Rosalie agreed, "And that's why I won't deal with them—too much drama."

That comment reminded Isabella of something she'd found during her search. "Wait," Isabella said, looking at Rosalie. "Aren't you married?"

"I was married, but that ship sailed a long time ago, and the only reason nobody's heard about it is because my publicist is adamant in keeping my good image." Rosalie snorted. "I don't know what that has to do with my book sales, but she's the one with a degree and plenty of experience in the field, so I guess she does know what she's doing."

Isabella frowned. "Have you ever thought about the possibility that your ex-husband could speak out and say the truth?"

"If he does, I'll sue him." Rosalie shrugged. "Confidentiality clauses sure come in handy when you're dealing with contract marriages."

"Oh, wow," Isabella gasped.

"Yeah, Royce King was my 'beard', and that's why I kept my last name when we married," Rosalie continued. "That was the only thing that fucker couldn't take away while depriving me of publicly being with someone I loved."

Finding herself shocked and at a loss for words, Isabella simply blurted, "That really sucks."

Rosalie nodded but remained quiet as she finally began eating her now cold french toast. She appeared to be lost in a world inside her head, so Isabella didn't prompt her for more conversation as she herself seemed to be doing the same.


"We didn't finish our conversation yesterday," Rosalie told Isabella as they sat at Isabella's dining table again, but this time they were eating a light lunch.

Isabella looked up at her, not expecting Rosalie to open their conversation with that sentence, especially since she hadn't seen Rosalie after she left her home the previous morning. Trying very hard not to sound rude, Isabella simply said, "Neither one of us said anything after your confession, and since you left, I thought you didn't want to talk about it anymore."

"I was feeling inspired," Rosalie said after sipping her orange juice. "And I needed to capture everything that was blooming in my mind!"

Isabella grinned, admiring the passion with which Rosalie spoke about her work. "Well, that's great."

"Yeah, and I actually finished the story I started on Monday, so I was thinking maybe we could celebrate tonight?"

"What did you have in mind?" Isabella asked as she cut a piece of her broccoli quiche.

"Well, how about dinner and a movie? The Great Gatsby is showing and I'd love to watch it," Rosalie said before taking a bite off quiche.

A dinner and a movie, Isabella thought. That sounds like a date to me…

In an attempt to disguise her true interest in doing that, Isabella simply shrugged. "Okay."

"It's all set, then." Rosalie smiled. "So, back to what we were talking about…"

Isabella raised her brow. "Yes?"

"I told you my darkest secret, so it's only fair that you tell me yours."

"I don't have any secrets," Isabella shrugged. "Anybody that knows me will tell you that."

That was partially true because while Isabella didn't hide anything, she wasn't being honest about her sexuality with Rosalie. And it wasn't for fear that Rosalie would judge her since they were both interested in women, it had more to do with the fear that she felt of showing the interest she felt in Rosalie when confessing it.

Somewhat aware of Isabella's hesitance, Rosalie said, "Okay, well if you don't have any secrets, why don't you tell me more about yourself. You said that Emmett had a different father than you?"

"Yeah, our mother wasn't very reliable when it came to matrimony until she met Carlisle, our stepfather. Emmett and I were born from her two previous marriages, and after she married Carlisle, she had twins."

"So that's the other brother you were referring to the other day?"

Isabella smiled. "Yes, he's Edward, and Alice is his twin. We're all pretty close despite our age difference, but Edward is my go-to person. I don't know what I'd do without him when either Alice or Emmett get into trouble."

"I can see totally see that happening," Rosalie said, grinning. "Emmett seems like a handful."

"Oh, trust me; he is," Isabella confirmed. "And don't even get me started on Alice."

"What kind of trouble has she gotten in?"

"It's not so much as trouble as it is suddenly disappearing without telling anyone." Isabella shook her head, wistfully remembering her sister's antics. "She often forgets that she has a family, so she just takes off on her adventures around the world."

"Wow, that does seem wearisome," Rosalie told her. "I don't know how you do it."

Smirking, Isabella told her, "It's called love, and it makes you do the craziest shit."

"Of course; it's what stories are made of!" Rosalie teased.

Isabella looked down, thinking of her late stepfather. "Carlisle was really good for my mother—for all of us, really. After their marriage, he adopted Em and I, and that's how we inherited this resort. Edward and Alice got a small food store downtown, although Edward and his wife Tanya are the ones in charge of it."

"So, that's why you dedicate all your time to the resort," Rosalie observed.

Isabella nodded. "It's the only memory I have of him, and it would be a shame if I couldn't honor his name."

"Are you happy, though?"

"I love my job, so I guess in a way you could say that I'm happy." Isabella shrugged, cutting another piece off her quiche.

"I bet having someone other than Edward to confide in would be nice," Rosalie prompted. "I find it hard to believe that a beautiful woman like yourself doesn't have men lining up to take you out on a date."

Isabella smiled mischievously, deciding that it was her turn to drop a bomb on Rosalie. "Oh, men definitely do ask me out on dates, but I never accept."

"Why not?" Rosalie cried. "Time is precious, and we're not getting any younger."

Shaking her head, Isabella said, "I'm not worried about being neither single, nor about marrying soon, but if I don't accept their invitations, it's because I'm not interested in men."

There, Isabella thought. Let her do with that what she pleases.

Rosalie looked at her in shock. That was definitely not the explanation that she was expecting, yet she was decided to run with it. "So, if a woman asked you out, would you accept then?"

Isabella gazed at her, replying, "It would depend on which woman asked me out; I'm very picky when it comes to dating."

"Hmm," was all Rosalie said out loud, because in her head, the words "What if I asked you out?" resounded loudly.

As they finished their lunch, Rosalie and Isabella discussed where they could go for dinner, both of them pretending that they weren't a bit excited about spending their evening together.

They could lie to one another, but not to themselves.

They both looked forward to it.

They both wanted it more than anything.


"You should be a chef, Isabella!" Rosalie exclaimed after she tasted the stuffed Italian chicken breast that Isabella had prepared for dinner. "Your food is absolutely scrumptious."

Isabella grinned at her sheepishly as she laughed and blushed. Whether it was from her compliment or as an effect from all the wine that they'd been consuming, Rosalie didn't know. Their carefree attitude from the night before seemed to have stayed with them throughout the day, and now, as they found themselves at Isabella's dining table once again, it was also present. They had planned to go out again, but an unexpected storm had hit the island, causing them to stay in all day.

"You and your big words," Isabella teased.

Rosalie shrugged. "I'm simply stating the truth, and as I told you last night at the restaurant, your food is much better than that poor excuse of Chicken Alfredo they served us."

"Thank you," Isabella said, taking a sip of her white Chardonnay. "I know that I'm nowhere near being a chef, but I do know that everything I prepare, I do it with love. Cooking is something that I greatly enjoy, so it's not too hard."

"That's how things should be done," Rosalie told her. "When you do something you don't enjoy, it's reflected in what you do, so why bother?"

"Carlisle used to say that, too." Isabella sighed, smiling gloomily. "I miss him a lot, but some days it's harder to believe that's he's actually gone."

"What happened to him?" Rosalie asked, hoping she wasn't crossing a line with her question.

"He died in a car accident," Isabella sighed. "My mother was never the same afterward, not that anyone expected her to, you know? As we speak, she's travelling the word to escape from her woes."

"I guess I know who your sister got it from," Rosalie said, attempting to lighten the rather gloomy mood.

Isabella scoffed, taking another drink of wine. "Those two couldn't be more alike. Well, personality-wise, because both Ali and Edward look a lot like Carlisle did."

Rosalie smiled, gazing at Isabella. "And who do you look like?"

"Definitely like my father," Isabella told her. "Same hair and eyes as him."

"He must definitely be handsome, then."

"Rosalie Hale," Isabella began in a teasing voice, "are you flirting with me?"

"Definitely," she replied, smirking in a naughty manner. "I've been trying to do that since yesterday, but I had obviously failed."

That was probably not completely true given that Rosalie had indeed been flirting with Isabella throughout their dinner, and Isabella had smiled back at Rosalie when she did, yet

she hadn't acknowledged it until now.

Isabella laughed loudly, tossing her head back as she did so.

Rosalie shook her head, looking down sheepishly. "What's so funny?"

"You are."

"Me?" Rosalie asked, pointing at herself.

"Yeah, you crack me up."

"Is that a good thing?"

"Definitely a good thing."

After that, their conversation shifted to Isabella's experiences at the resort as the thunder came down upon them. They continued to drink and eat, and when it was finally time to clear the table, Rosalie offered to help with the dishes.

"I'm just going to put them in the dishwasher and get to them tomorrow morning, so don't worry about it," Isabella told her.

"Okay, if you say so." Rosalie looked around, trying to find some other excuse to stay longer.

Isabella picked up on it immediately, asking Rosalie what was wrong.

Rosalie shrugged. "Nothing, but I really don't want to go back to my cottage."

"Then what do you want to do?"

Feeling bold, Rosalie leaned closer into Isabella, placing her lips on Isabella's mouth.

"That's what I want to do," Rosalie whispered against Isabella's lips before kissing her again. Isabella didn't hold back, kissing Rosalie with as much fervor as she was receiving.

Soon, what started as out as a kiss turned into feverous make-out session that led them to Isabella's bedroom. There, they carefully removed each other's clothes, kissing every each of their bodies. Rosalie took over the reins then, bringing Isabella various times before they both succumbed to sleep.


Isabella turned in her bed, facing the window that was closest to her. She shut her eyes as she tried to stop the images from the events of the prior night to replay in her head.

What have I done? Isabella thought, mortified as dread crept over her.

Different scenarios flipped through her mind, but none had a good outcome for her. Sighing, she briefly contemplated what to do, yet she couldn't do anything but panic.

I need to get out of here, she told herself. I feel like I'm suffocating.

Impatiently, Isabella waited as she figured out how she'd escape from her room until Rosalie stirred behind her. Since Rosalie did not awake, Isabella took the opportunity to get out of bed quickly. After wrapping herself in a blanket, she headed to her bathroom and locked the door.

"This is all fucked up," Isabella muttered as she sat on the toilet seat. "I can even lose my business because of this."

While it was true that she was concerned about the repercussions the lodge could suffer, it wasn't Isabella's biggest concern. Falling into bed with someone she barely knew wasn't something common for her, but that didn't terrify her—it was her feelings toward Rosalie now that they'd been intimate that did. She never expected to fall so hard for her in such a short time, but it had happened and now she didn't know what to do about it.

She couldn't just tell her now that Rosalie was supposed to leave the following day, and it wouldn't make a difference if she did, because surely, Rosalie wouldn't be able to reciprocate those feelings. The most logical thing to do would be to pretend as if nothing had happened, and that was what she would do.

Having found her resolution, Isabella headed to the guest room in the main house and put on some winter clothes she had stored in a closet. Isabella then exited the room and made her way to the den outside. When she reached it, she lit up a cigarette, hoping it would calm her down. It wasn't often that Isabella smoked, yet she did it mostly when she was under pressure. As she looked up at the grey sky above her, Isabella compared it with her future.

That's how it would be without Rosalie in it.

Isabella sighed, closing her eyes as she reclined against a wooden beam. After taking a puff from her smoke, she traced her lips, remembering how passionately Rosalie had kissed her. No one had kissed her like that before—not even Jane, the girl she'd dated the longest, so what did that mean for her?

These thoughts troubled her.

Remembering the decision she'd taken, Isabella opened her eyes only to be found with Rosalie's grey ones.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, startled.

"That's what I should be asking you, don't you think?" Rosalie retorted.

"I didn't even hear you come outside," Isabella said, trying to divert their conversation. "How long have you been standing here?"

"Long enough to know that something's bothering you," Rosalie told her as she stepped closer to Isabella, only to have her take a step back. "What's going on, Bella?"

"I think we should talk about last night," Isabella said.

Rosalie nodded. "We should, and maybe while we're at it, you could tell me why you're acting as if nothing happened between us."

"Maybe that's what we should do," Isabella suggested. "Maybe we should pretend that nothing happened."

Feeling as if she'd been slapped across the face, Rosalie flinched. "Why would you say that?"

"I think it's the best—"

"That's the best for you?" Rosalie sneered. "Because it's clearly not the best for me."

Anger coursed through Isabella's veins, causing her to snap. "How can you say that? You don't even know me."

Rosalie shook her head in disbelief. "I know enough, okay? And aren't I the one to decide what I want?"

"Well, I can't possibly be that," Isabella argued.

Exhaling, Rosalie rubbed her face in frustration. "What's going on, Bella? Why are you doing this?"

Finally releasing the tears that had threatened to overcome her, Isabella said, "You're going to leave tomorrow, so what does it matter?"

"So that's what you're worried about?" Rosalie asked, incredulously. "How can you possibly think that I can leave after everything that's happened between us, Bella?"

"You have a life in Rochester, Rosalie!" Isabella scoffed. "There are people that are waiting for you to return, and what? I'm just supposed to think that after one week together you're willing to change everything for me? Things don't happen that way."

"Maybe not for other people, but it could for us," Rosalie said, hopeful. "Stranger things have happened, right?"

Isabella looked at the ground, shaking her head in denial. "I don't know, Rose... That just seems improbable to me."

"Why? I'm standing here, telling you that I'm willing to stay to make what's happening between us work, so why won't you believe me?"

"What about your work? Aren't you signed with your publisher in New York?"

Rosalie chuckled. "I can work anywhere in the world as long as I have my laptop, so that's not an impediment. If I need to go to a meeting, I'll travel, and maybe then you can join me."

"You make it sound so easy," Isabella whispered, "but it's not."

"Well, it definitely could be, yet you're intent on making things harder, and I don't get why," Rosalie sighed.

Isabella wiped her tears from her cheeks as she looked at up Rosalie. "I'm scared, alright?" she admitted. "I'm scared that this is too good to be true, and then the day after tomorrow, you're going to change your mind and leave everything behind."

"What makes you think that I'm not scared?" Rosalie asked, stepping closer to Isabella so she could cup her face in her hands. As she gazed into Isabella's eyes, she confessed the truth. "I'm terrified, okay, Bella? But I also know that what we have is rare, and not fighting for it would be a huge mistake. Sure, we might have some roadblocks along the way, but we'll overcome them together."

Isabella chuckled. "You really are corny."

"I told you," Rosalie teased. "If anyone's gonna make our story corny, it's going to be me. I'm the author here, remember? And we might just be at the beginning, but I can already tell you that this tale will be beautiful and it will definitely be worth risking everything for. So, what do you say, huh? Will you give us a chance?"

Isabella nodded, smirking as a ray of light broke through the clouds. "Yes," she whispered. "Just don't break my heart, okay?"

"Don't worry," Rosalie told her before placing a soft kiss on her lips. "That is not part of our story."