I watched as Rosalie inspected her nails, picking away at imaginary faults. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t really paying attention to her nails at all; she was listening to or thinking about something else. I watched, confused, as a flicker of pain shot across her face, but her smooth expressionless face was back so fast, I wondered if I had just imagined it. But, then it happened again.
I felt my brow furrow, and I glanced at the people surrounding me: my family. Esme and Carlisle were in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, talking. Alice and Jasper were holding a quiet conversation of their own, seated on the floor with their backs against the couch. Edward and Bella were perched together on the loveseat, Bella fast asleep in my brother’s arms. I noticed that Edward wasn’t staring down at Bella with that lovesick expression like he usually did. He was looking at Rosalie too.
I glanced at the T.V., which was turned on to Fox News, and listened for a few moments. “…eleven-year-old Abigail went missing on Friday, and police found her bruised and damaged body early yesterday morning, buried in the yard of convicted rapist and child sex offender Thomas...” I stopped listening, and looked again at Rosalie in concern.
When she looked up at me, feeling my gaze, I quickly looked away, but I knew that she saw me. I saw Edward do the same out of the corner of my eye. I was about to say something to alleviate the tension, maybe a cheesy joke that I knew wasn’t funny but would say anyway, when Rosalie stood up.
“I have to work on my car,” she said off-handedly, heading in the direction of the garage. I stood up and followed her, even though Rosalie was always one for being left alone when she was upset. She didn’t turn to look back at me, though she must have heard me following her.
She immediately sat down and slid herself underneath her car once she got into the garage. I came to stand beside her. She was definitely upset—she didn’t even put on a crappy pair of jeans and t-shirt before she went to be with the fumes and dripping oil. I winced as grease splotched onto her designer blouse. I was no fashion aficionado, but I knew that shirt had to cost at least two-hundred dollars, and it now had a large brown stain on it.
“Rose.” I sat down on the floor next to where her slender, but muscular, legs stuck out from under her red M3 BMW convertible. There was no answer, and she kept fiddling with the fine innards of her car’s machinery.
“Rose,” I said again, my voice slightly louder and more insistent. I knew it had nothing to do with whether she could hear me or not—we were vampires, for crying out loud. She could hear me, she was just ignoring me.
I was about to say her name again, but she pulled herself out from under the car in record time. She was sitting across from me, and she looked into my eyes, her own glassy and pained. She didn’t say anything.
“Rosalie, sweetheart. Please talk to me.”
“What do you want me to say, Emmett?” She glared, but I knew she wasn’t angry at me. Her lips were pursed shut, and her eyes burned into my own. Even when she was this distressed, even when she looked like she might burst into tears any second—though that was physically impossible—I had to marvel at her otherworldly beauty for a second or two.
It was no wonder that when I woke up from the three days of agony and saw her face, I thought she was an angel, here to relieve the pain of Hell.
No other words were spoken between us, but the tension suddenly disappeared as she fell into my arms. I nestled her in my embrace. I wanted to protect this beauty, this fallen angel, this woman who I loved. When we had married, we had vowed to be there for each other through all of the pain, all of the woe, and this was a prime example.
Her body shuddered in my arms as she sobbed tearlessly. Her hands gripped and clawed at the fabric covering my shoulders as she reached for something to take her frustration, her anger at the world, out on.
I held her wordlessly—this wasn’t the first time this had happened. The last time had been six years ago, when a girl in our grade had been raped, it got around the school, and the cruel popular girls of the school had ripped into her, metaphorically speaking. Rosalie’s malice couldn’t be contained, and she had stormed murderously out of the classroom when she heard the taunting, leaving a stunned silence in her wake. When I had followed her home, it was the same as this—old memories she wanted to forget were drudged up, leaving her out of the breath she did not need, and unable to speak for her grief.
I stilled and listened to Rosalie’s muffled words, which I could still hear clear as day, as she spoke to me, “Emmett… God, she was only ten years old…”
I ran my hand through her silky, long blonde hair. “I know, Rose, I know.” There was nothing else to say in times like these. I couldn’t say I’d been through anything as heartbreaking or earth-shattering as Rosalie had. But I could try to understand.
“And you didn’t hear what they were saying before… Emmett, the man might not even have to go to jail… they might just let him go…”
“It isn’t fair; I know it isn’t, honey.” I knew right at that moment, Rosalie needed someone just to sympathize and empathize with her, and that was what I was there for.
Rosalie always had had the need to be a center of attention. It was her nature, to have the spotlight shining upon her at all times. And since Bella had become a member of the family, if not officially yet, Rosalie was no longer the star. She wasn’t jealous of the attention Bella got—no, she was simply unused to it. Since her human life, she had been the pretty one to look at, to talk to, and to become friends with. She was constantly being watched by others, and had to be perfect for them.
Now that she didn’t have to be perfect for everyone else, she didn’t know what else to do with her time. She would spend too much time looking back without her petty distractions, and it would bottle up for years, until all the emotions flooded out.
Even then, decades after she had stumbled upon me, dying in the wilderness, resisted that urge to kill me, and brought me back to Carlisle to be changed; even then, decades after we had said our first nuptial vows—she still felt like she had to be perfect for me. And her version of “perfect” was cold and distant.
Even though Carlisle was the one to save and change my wife, I was always the one who understood her best. I saw past the vain façade that she put on for show; I saw through to the real Rosalie, who cared so much it hurt her.
She craned her neck to press a kiss to my lips, wordlessly thanking me with her eyes as her body stopped trembling. I put my hand up against her cheek and kissed her back, trying to express what I could not in words, how much I truly loved her.
She grinned as she pulled away, a new Rosalie for now, before sliding herself back under her car.