18: Home

The day was nearly over, by now they had reached their destination: Springfield, Illinois. Several times the carriage had stopped, Tristan leaving for short periods of time, always returning silent, the carriage marched on. He had retired when they were almost in Illinois, coming upon the border between Iowa and Illinois. David had remained with Jack and Rosalie, though he kept to himself, For Whom the Bell Tolls had been replaced with A Tale of Two Cities. Eventually though he too went to his room, leaving Jack and Rosalie alone.
They were on the couch, Rosalie’s head on Jack’s chest, right where his heart should have been beating. It was comforting-laying like this she felt like she was home. She couldn’t even begin to recall the numerous times they had been like this-entwined in each other, feeling his body under hers, listening to his steady breathing, the pulsing of his heart. It was in these times when she could be inhibited and carefree, whether she wanted to laugh hysterically, cry and have fits; she knew she could do so there with no judgment. There, where the sun beat down upon them, the grass younger than them, the ocean in front of them centuries older. There, where there was no eyes watching, no lips gossiping. There, where they could love without restrictions.
There, where they could be free.
She turned her head ever so slightly so she could see his face. His eyes were open, looking up at the ceiling; a crease in his eyebrows told her that he was thinking very hard about something-something he did not like at all.
“What?” she asked him. “What’s wrong?”
Silence answered her at first. She heard him take a breath before he said “I think we should wait.” She turned the words in her mind, sitting up on him, looking at him.
“Wait? What are you talking about?”
“Wait until you’re healed. Emotionally, I mean.”
She climbed off him, standing, her arms crossed over her chest, looking down at him. “I’m fine. And once we’re mortal and married I’ll be perfect.”
He sighed and stood as well, though she simply turned her head up to see his face. “You may think you’re fine now, but what happens when we’re human again? When we feel all the human emotions again? Show them again?”
She looked at him, her eyes narrowed in dangerous slits that made him back away. “I know what I want. Grieve? Been there, done that. The only time I needed to grieve was when I lost you-and that hadn’t stopped until I saw you again. Yes, part of me hurts for what I’ve lost and despite the years Emmett…” Her sentence was cut short but a loud snarl from Jack. She looked at him, a bemused and slightly unnerved smile on her lips. “And I had, it paled in comparison to what we had, no matter how brief it may have been. I’ll take whatever pain comes but you’re worth it.”
He rolled his eyes at her bravado, wanting nothing more than to grab her and shake her, hoping it would jar her out of this place she was in. “I love you, Rosalie Lillian Hale and because I do, I’m going to promise the following to you: marry you, father your children, protect you, love you, cherish you, but I still think you need to grieve first.”
She scowled at him. “Did you hear anything I said?”
“Yes. Did you hear anything I said?”
“Yes.”
“Isn’t that what you want?”
“Yes-with you and more than anything.”
“Fine. Then do as I ask and I will be your slave.”
She stepped closer to him, her eyes wider now and somehow even more dangerous. “You want me to grieve? To get over my loss?”
“Yes, more than anything” he practically whispered.
She smirked and kissed him gently, pulling him on the couch, so he was over her. He instantly stopped, making her sigh. “You’re impossible.”
“No Rose you are. I tell you to grieve and you seduce me?”
She shrugged and he just looked at her. “I’m sorry” she finally said, looking at him. He looked at her and sighed, his head falling to his chest. “What?”
“When did everything get so damn complicated? Remember when we were younger and everything was so much simpler. Well, simpler than it is now.”
She nodded her head wistfully saying “yes, I know what you mean. It was a far easier time than where we stand now.”
“It wasn’t just the time; it was the way we were around each other. Well, once but…”
“Jack, I know I will feel pain for what I have lost but I will be ok. I can’t wait to marry you, can’t wait to have our first child growing inside me. I know this is right. You do too. Maybe you can’t see it but the only time I feel safe and complete is when I’m with you. Being with you feels good. Home”
He looked at her, his body was reacting in a strange way to the way she had said our child…It wasn’t necessarily a bad feeling but it was definitely different. And he liked it. He cocked his head, looking at her still. “First child?”
She smiled. “Did you really think I wanted to stop at one?”
He took a breath and sighed though once again from euphoria, not pain. Not even in his wildest dreams-and they got beyond wild at many points-had he thought that this conversation would happen, that Rosalie would be so close that he could touch her. She looked at him, again worried. “I’m fine…Just can’t believe this is real.”
“I know. Surreal.”
He chuckled and gently kissed her, pressing her body closer to his. “Now who’s seducing who?”
He laughed again. “Oh this isn’t seducing.” She smiled and kissed him once more before she lay back on him, her head going right back to its original position. She felt his body relax, one arm weaving through her hair, the other holding her hand tightly. Yes, this was home.
“Rose?”
“What?”
“Let’s just start with one and maybe work our way up.”
She laughed. “You say that now.”
He kissed the top of her hair and she closed her eyes. “Never leave me” she whispered.
“Never ever.” He sealed the promise with a deep, passionate kiss that made time stand still and the angels in heaven looked down and cheered.