It's all Rose really ever knew. Not in some metaphorical manner but very literally. Ever since her birth, she had never been able to see anything; complete and utter blindness, a total eclipse. This caused her to develop a bit longer than most children. She couldn't really run like other children until she was about five, and that was only after extensive hands-on training from her father. She didn't learn how to properly write until she was around nine, but she found quickly she preferred typing, as most told her that her handwriting was completely illegible. Her father always told her that it was the best she could do, and it was something she couldn't help. Still, it felt draining feeling at such a disadvantage from the rest of the world.
It didn't take long in her life until she began to pick up music. Music had an appeal to her that she had never really felt before. It was something that she could grasp without the use of eyes. Rose was never really great in school. In general, she would keep most of her grades at B level if she could. Her main passion throughout school was music, and it always managed to supersede the importance of her grades. She picked up new instruments with ease and enjoyed playing many different types, but her real passion was stringed instruments and pianos. She loved to sing along with her music. The only time she really felt grounded to the earth was when she played different melodies and sang along with them. At around age sixteen, she was deemed a protegee of music by many of her music teachers. She could play a large arrangement of different instruments at almost professional level and had won multiple awards for her talent. It felt like she had finally found her purpose in life, that was until her father died. After he died so suddenly, Rose's life began to take a slow spiral into chaos. He had always been the main supporter of her dreams. Her mother never really approved or disapproved. She just stayed in the background for most of her life, but once her father died, her mother began to voice her disapproval of Rose's life choices more and more often.
Rose's mother insisted she get a job that can pay better money. She never believed Rose could support herself on a musician's income. Rose didn't ever think much of her mother's disapproval until her mother remarried. Her step-dad, Tom, voiced his opinion on her music even more than her mother. He would actively try to force her to search job options she never wanted, and he would take away her instruments whenever she did something to displease him. It didn't take long for his verbal abuse to pass into the realm of physical. He never hurt her too badly. At most, he would do something like slap her for back talking or lock her in her room for over twenty-four hours with nothing to do except school work. However, this often only caused her to allow her grades to dip into Ds and Cs just to spite him. Still, Rose didn't like to think back on it too much.
Once she was 18, she took a full ride scholarship from her musical abilities and moved into a dorm far away from her mother and step-dad. During college was really the time of her life. She could play music all she wanted, and some smaller coffee places and bars were already requesting that she play and sing for them.
After graduating from college with a Bachelor's degree in Music, she had already built up a large resume of different places that she would sing and play at quite regularly. It was about a year after college that the world suddenly went into a widespread panic. A new race that had deemed themselves as "Monsters" appeared from a hole in the side of Mt. Ebott, a mountain relatively close to the city that Rose lived in. They claimed that all they wanted was to live in peace with the humans and Rose didn't see any reason not to believe them. Regardless, as there always is, some people were adamantly against the monsters. They were convinced that the monsters were there to steal everyone's souls as silly as that sounded, and quickly there were multiple cities that were deemed anti-monster. Thankfully, Ebott City, the city Rose lived in, welcomed monsters with open arms.
It was also by this time that Rose's music carrier really began to kick off. She was requested to sing at most bars in the city and received handsome checks from these gigs. It didn't take long for her mother and step-dad to hear wind of this and begin to try to "reconnect" with her...
Ring... Ring... Ring...
Rose lept up from her spot on the couch, and slowly worked toward her buzzing phone. She reached her arms out, careful not to bump into anything by accident on her way over because of her sightless eyes. Once she felt the slick countertop below her hands, she began to prob for her phone until her hands happened upon it. She had made a habit of instinctually answering her phone since it was normally her manager asking what clubs she wanted to sing at that month, and because of her blindness, she never really knew if it was someone that needed to be answered or just a telemarketer. Often times, it was just a telemarketer, but she always wanted to be sure. She clicked the side of the screen that she knew would answer it and held the device to her ear.
"Rose? Honey?" Rose stared ahead into the darkness of her vision trying to decipher who called her and was automatically naming her honey. She clicked her hands along the counter until a realization finally hit her.
"Mom? How'd you get my number?" She responded quietly. She hadn't talked to her mom since she was eighteen, moving out of her mother's house. She never dared to visit for holidays without invitation, and they never made a point to invite her. So, their connection to one another was quickly severed.
"Oh! Me and your father-"
"You mean Tom?" Rose cut her off quickly, refusing to recognize that brute as her father. Her mother paused a moment, and Rose swore she heard a sarcastic sigh come across the line.
"...Yes... Anyway, Tom and I happen to be in Ebott City, and we were wondering if you would want to meet up for lunch, so we did some searching and eventually found a number we could contact you through." That was a secretive answer if Rose ever heard one. Her mother paused a moment and Rose could hear a nervous sigh. "We just... We haven't talked in so long and I wanted to know if you're doing well. I know Tom treated you poorly, and we both just feel like we need to reconcile for how you were treated when you lived with us." In the end, a small sniffle sounded from her. She sounded genuinely concerned, which was more than what Rose could say about her when Rose lived with them. Maybe she really did just want to reconnect, and maybe Tom really did want to apologize.
Rose paused for a minute with a feeling of victory resounding through her soul. This was it. This was her chance to turn her down and severe the connection forever. Her mother sounded genuinely apologetic, and Rose could finally tell her how horrible they both were and her mother might actually feel remorseful about it.
But... When she went to speak about how horrible they both were, she couldn't seem to find her voice. She hated to admit it, but she really did hate how everything ended between them. There was no closure, and thinking back on her teenage self, she could feel a strong desire for a mother that actually seemed to care.
"... Yeah, I think I'd like that." Rose finally answered back after an eternity of silence.
"Really?!" Her mother squeaked up from the other side, obviously not expecting such an easy agreement.
"Mhm. If you are actually wanting to apologize, I'll listen. Where do you want to meet?" She questioned and began to filter through the list of better places to meet throughout the city.
"I'm not really sure... Tom and I haven't really gotten a chance to view the city yet, so we don't really know what's around."
"Hmmm... How about this restaurant called Poppers. It's downtown, and they have really good food there. We can actually go there tonight if you'd like. This is the one day I leave open for myself every week." It was a Monday, which meant that this would probably be the slowest day anywhere she might normally sing. It allowed her a little break in between all her performances.
"Yeah! Yeah, that'll work." She sounded quite excited by the ease of the meeting. "We'll meet you there... Say, six?" She added in a question.
"That works for me," Rose answered back.
"Great! Great... We'll see you there, and I'd like to thank you for so being so open to talking to us after... Everything." Rose answered with a curt "Mhm" and promptly hung up.
"Ugh... Why'd I agree to that???" Since she was little, Rose had always been somewhat of a pushover. She knew that it was uncharacteristic of them to be so open to apologizing to her, and something tugged at the back of her mind telling her this wasn't normal, that they were planning something. She just wanted so badly to have some closure on the horrible relationship between them that she had given in too easily, but it was too late for those thoughts. After all, maybe they really did just want to apologize?
While in her own thoughts, she felt something soft brush against her leg, and give a small yap afterward. She knelt down to pet the fluff that touched her leg. It was her seeing eye dog, Mr. Chasekitties. "Hey, buddy." She responded to him. "You ready for an adventure tonight?" Rose questioned and felt an affectionate tongue brush across her hand. She stood back up and trotted toward her room to pick out clothes for the night with Mr. Chasekitties leading the way.
Once in her closet, she began to brush her hand against all the different letters in braille as she tried to determine what would be best. Some musicians that she often played with had been quick to befriend her and had helped her with things that her blindness kept her from doing, like choosing matching outfits and labeling them within her closet. If nothing else, her blindness did allow her to have an extremely organized apartment. She eventually settled upon a dress in the category of "Casual Dresses," and placed it to the side to put on later. Now, all that was left was to sit back and wait.
She felt around the couch in search of a remote for her TV and eventually found it hiding within the cushions. She clicked through channels until she heard the familiar voice of a famous monster, Mettaton, and decided to listen to his cooking show. An hour or two of laziness passed until she used text to speech on her phone to read out the time to her.
"It is 5'oclock." A robotic voice answered her. She made her way back to her room with the help of Mr. Chasekitties and put on the dress she had strewn across her bed. By the time she had the dress situated correctly, it was 5:10, meaning she should probably start towards Poppers. She grabbed the smartwatch that laid across her counter and navigated it until she was sure she had pulled up the GPS and input the address of Poppers. She felt a bit silly using a smartwatch, but she had to admit it was quite useful when it came to giving her directions. It was definitely easier than holding a phone out the entire time. She grabbed onto the handle that was situated on Mr.Chasekitties' back and allowed him to begin leading her out of the apartment.
After about thirty minuted of following the robotic voice of her watch's GPS, it instructed her that she had reached her destination. She checked the time, to which her watch responded, "5:40" in an equally robotic tone. She was a bit early, but she was fine with that. It meant she could choose the table, and go ahead and get situated. As she walked in, she couldn't see anyone for obvious reasons, but she could feel multiple sets of eyes tracking her movement. Almost immediately as she walked through the door, a server greeted her.
"Hello, Rose! It's good to see you again. You're not scheduled to perform tonight are you?" The server, which she recognized as Joey by his voice, questioned in a friendly tone.
"Nah, having dinner with some people. Mind setting me up with a booth? Preferably in a corner somewhere?" Rose decided that the farther she could get from any watching eyes, the better. If something did start to go wrong, she didn't want everyone listening in on her personal business.
"Of course! Follow me, it's actually pretty slow right now, so I can get you seated immediately." As he began to walk away, Rose gave Mr. Chasekitties the command "Follow," and he complied obediently by trailing behind Joey. Mr. Chasekitties promptly stopped when Rose assumed she reached the booth, and she reached an arm out until her palm made contact with a table. She sat down at the booth accompanying the table and felt Mr.Chasekitties lean against her leg as he took a rest as well. She pulled out her phone and navigated the apps on it until it eventually read out "Messages" to her. She selected the messages app and clicked into the most recent contact that was her mother.
"I'm already here waiting at a booth. Tell the server to take you to Rose's booth when you get here." She spoke into the phone and waited until it fully recognized her voice and read the same message back out to her. She hit send and then sat back in wait.
"Rose?!" Rose eventually heard called out, and someone barreled into her with a sweeping hug. "Oh my! You've grown so much! Look at how pretty you are now with your red hair." Eventually, the person Rose assumed to be her mother released her from the hug. She assumed she sat down across from her by the direction her voice came from.
"Hey," Rose answered back shortly, refusing to meet her enthusiasm.
"Hey, kid. You look like you're doing well." A gruff voice responded from across the booth, which she recognized as Tom's.
"Yeah," Rose responded again with an equally curt answer.
The three of them small talked for a while until the waiter came to ask for their orders and eventually brought out their food. Rose noticed throughout the conversation that both of them were much friendlier than she remembered. Their voices were almost sickeningly sweet whenever they spoke. Once the food was out, Rose's mother's tone turned much softer as she spoke.
"So now onto the more serious part of this conversation... Tom and I want to both say sorry. We treated you so horribly, and we know it's inexcusable, but we hope there's just some way you can find a way to forgive us..." Once she finished speaking, Tom let out a gruff "Mhm" in agreement.
"... Honestly, I'm not sure if I can forgive you." Rose answered back unsure. "But... If you both are willing to give me some time, I'll think about it." She finally answered in an unsteady voice. She could tell by the sighs across the table that neither of them were pleased by this answer. Some sort of words began to come from Tom's lips, but he was quickly cut off by Rose's mother in a very chastising tone.
"Yes... We understand." She responded sounding almost as if it was directed at Tom. The rest of the dinner went mostly fine if not admittedly a bit awkward. Eventually, both of them left after insisting to pay for the check.
Once Rose had returned home with the assistance of Mr.Chasekitties, she plopped down on her bed in a fit of exhaustion. Admittedly, they seemed to have changed, almost suspiciously so, but it wasn't Rose's place to judge them. If they were genuine, they would show it in time and vice versa.
The next few weeks were spent with Rose's mother and Tom occasionally coming into town and having dinner with Rose in an effort to reconnect. After about a month, Rose began to think they might have been serious and actually changed. They had insisted on paying every time they went out to dinner, and Rose was happy to let them. It was when Rose finally felt comfortable with them that her mother showed up at her apartment unexpectedly.
A loud knock at the door startled Rose. She left her place in the kitchen where she was about to heat up a meal in the microwave and made her way to the door knowing how to easily traverse her apartment without Mr.Chasekitties help. Once she reached the door, she felt Mr. Chasekitties breath against her leg as he tentatively watched for whoever was at the door. She opened it and was met with a strong hug.
"Uhh? Who is this?" She asked unsure of who just pulled her into a hug because of her lack of vision.
"Oh, sorry hun'. It's Mom." She responded quietly, and she sounded like she had been crying for the past few hours. Something about her voice immediately set off red flags. Rose couldn't tell what, but she knew something was up. "Uhh... So I have something a bit awkward to ask of you..."
Yeah, something was definitely wrong here.
"What's wrong?" Rose responded cautiously.
"Tom got sent to jail for getting into a bar fight. He either stays there for a month, or I need to start a bail bond starting at 1,000 dollars. I... I would be able to pay it, but without him as my main source of income, I just don't have enough." She began to incessantly sniffle letting Rose know she was crying. "Could you please help? Just the 1,000 and we'll handle the rest! We can e-even p-pay you back!" She began to sound desperate.
Rose should've figured it would eventually come to something like this... But, there was no way they could've planned this out, right? She wanted to think maybe that they really were just desperate, but her brain told her to not listen. She just couldn't stand it though. Even if they had treated her horribly, this was still the woman that raised her, and she couldn't just ignore that, could she? She knew she'd hate herself for it later, but she gave in. She hastily wrote a check and waited as her mother disappeared to go bail Tom out. After this occurrence, they progressively got worse.
They would come to Rose every so often begging for more money, claiming it was necessary, and they didn't have anyone else to turn to. Rose turned back to her teenage habits of just giving in to them. She couldn't figure out why she gave in... She was just too weak, like always. Rose even tried to tell them no at one point, but Tom retorted by asking how it would look for her professionally if she was in his words, "too greedy to help her own parents." She was becoming quite the figure in town, and she knew it would be bad for Tom to go around telling people about this, no matter how distorted his side of the story was, so she just continued to give in time and time again. Before long, they were running her wallet dry, and she was having to work twice as much as usual. She only had one day a month at this point where she wasn't at some bar singing late into the night. She decided to use this one day to go out and get completely sloshed at a nearby bar. She had actually never been to the bar before, as they had never requested her to sing, which left her feeling extremely curious on what type of bar it was. The name of the bar was Grillby's.
She dressed in what was labeled in her closet as "Out on the town." Admittedly, she wasn't really sure why her friends that organized the closet had decided to get her some clothes labeled this since she wasn't normally the type to go out at night and drink often, but she wasn't one to complain. It only took about ten minutes of navigating with Mr. Chasekitties there to keep her from running out into traffic or any obstacles for her to reach the mysterious bar called Grillby's. As she opened the door, she heard the ambient chatter of nearby people. She began to step inside, but once she did, the chatter seemed to cease. She immediately felt as if she had done something wrong, and could feel all eyes on her even though she couldn't see them. She was used to feeling people watching her, but this was something else. The entire place was just suddenly silent.
She awkwardly continued to walk inside, her curiosity revolving the bar filling her with the determination to continue. When Mr. Chasekitties stopped, she assumed she had reached the bar and felt out in front of her until she found an empty bar stool. She sat down and listened as the normal chatter of the bar began to slowly continue around her. It wasn't long until she felt an odd warmness journey in front of her. The warmness was reminiscent of a gentle fire and even seemed to crackle like one.
"grillby is wondering what drink you want." A voice said gently beside her. The voice was a low baritone and rather pleasing to the ear. Rose clicked her finger across the counter of the bar curiously wondering why the mixologist behind the bar didn't ask her themselves.
"Uhh, honestly anything strong." After answering, an affirmative crackle seemed to signal the man behind the bar heard her, and the strange warmth that radiated from him disappeared as he traveled away to get ingredients.
"so, not to be super direct, but i'm curious on whats brought a human into a monster bar. it's not every day we see a human wander in here alone." The man beside Rose questioned, and she tilted her head curiously at the question.
"A monster bar?" Rose questioned back, her voice laced with uncertainty. This seemed to throw the man beside her for a loop, as he could only seem to give a hesitant "hmm?" in response. After a few more moments of silence, he finally seemed to put two and two together.
"this question will probably sound like a monstronsity, but can you... uhh... can you see?" He asked puzzled seemingly not trying to offend her. Rose cleared her throat nervously at the unexpected question.
"No. Blind as a bat." She waved her hand in front of her eyes for emphasis.
"ohhhh. that makes more sense. uhh, i wasn't trying to be rude, i swear. i was just curious." He answered back nervously.
"It's fine, really," Rose answered back with a gentle smile. "Honestly, I'm used to it. Why do you ask though, and what did you mean by a monster bar?" At this point, Rose could pretty much figure out what he meant by a monster bar, but she felt like she needed him to confirm it.
"well, i was mostly just curious on why you didn't seem startled when you first walked in. i mean that this is normally a bar that monsters come to. humans don't come here often, even less completely alone." Rose reached below her and pet her seeing eye dog's head.
"Hey, who said I was alone? I've got the fluffiest companion possible right here. Plus, I normally turn a blind eye to matters of race. Everyone's the same in my eyes." He hesitated a moment which caused her to think he must not have caught the pun, but a second later he let out a hearty laugh.
"dang kid, that one was good. name's sans, sans the skeleton. nice to meet ya." Even though she couldn't see, she widened her blank eyes to his greeting.
"My name's Rose... Are you actually a skeleton?" She responded back curiously.
"shake my hand and you'll see." Obediently, Rose reached out her hand and met the self-proclaimed skeleton's hand. She squeezed it curiously as she shook it.
Did he just? No, he couldn't have... "Was that a whoopie cushion?" Rose voiced her thoughts out loud, and Sans responded with a small laugh.
"old whoopie cushion in the hand trick; gets 'em every time." Rose found herself letting out a loud laugh in response to his practical joke as she felt a glass drink press against the hand she had rested on the counter. She noticed that the odd heat that emanated from the bartender had returned with the drink. Now she could make sense of the fire like sounds that came from him. She figured he must be some type of fire monster, which was an extremely weird thought, but it was the only one that seemed to make sense to her. Sans seemed to notice her curiosity, and answered, "grillbs is a fire elemental, meaning he's basically one big fireball that's shaped vaguely like a human. you wouldn't expect it, but he's hot as hell." Sans punned at her, which elicited another laugh.
"Well, that must be some sansational sight if he really is a fire elemental." Rose couldn't see it, but the skeleton's grin widened ear to ear.
"dang kid, are you trying to out pun me?" He retorted in a sly tone.
"Well, I wasn't before, but I'll be boned if I let you beat me now." Rose paused as a moment of uncertainty showed through her expression. "You said you were a skeleton, right?" The skeleton gave an affirmative grunt while he laughed. While waiting for her new companion to finish laughing, Rose chugged down the drink set in front of her. Once she finished it, she let out a small cough from the burning sensation in her throat.
"woah, go easy on it kid. not trying to pry, but is there a reason you asked grillbs for 'anything strong'? you don't have to say. i'm just a bit of a bonehead sometimes, and get nosey." Rose was fairly certain he said all that just to slip in the bonehead joke, but the drink was already affecting her and making her feel more loose-lipped than normal, so she figured why not.
"Yeah. Just a bit a mixture of money and family troubles." However, Rose didn't feel drunk enough to elaborate on it, and Sans didn't seem like he was going to force her to say anything more.
"that sucks. i know a thing or two about the family troubles. grillbs treat her to another drink on me." In response, Rose felt her empty glass taken away and returned another full one a moment later. She made quick work of downing that one as well.
"Thanks." She responded followed by a small hiccup. "Dang I'm too much of a lightweight." Rose slurred feeling her buzz already transitioning more into flat out drunk. A few more puns and drinks later, Rose was beginning to get really drunk.
The rest of the night spun by in a blur, and the next thing she knew, she was waking up swaddled in a warm blanket. She began to stand but felt extreme nausea force her back onto where she had previously laid. She felt her surroundings and realized that she was in a living room and one that was not familiar to her at that. "Mr. Chasekitties?" She called out nervously, only to feel a wet tongue slide across her face in response. "Where the hell am I?" She mumbled and pet the dog that laid on the ground below in an attempt to calm her nervousness.
"oh, you awake?" An unfamiliar voice called out from a distance. It reminded her vaguely of Sans, but was slightly higher pitched. "you were pretty drunk last night. sans brought you back here cause he wasn't sure where you lived and you seemed in no condition to try to find your own way home." The voice explained, drawing closer as he spoke.
"Uhh, so where exactly is this?" Rose asked feeling a bit of the nervous tension in her relax, but she still wasn't too happy with the idea of waking up in some stranger's home.
"we're right outside of town, in ebott forest. name's stretch. by the way, from what i could hear last night, you are quite the skilled singer." Rose could hear the teasing tone in his voice, but it didn't stop her cheeks from heating up red. She could already tell this was going to be an interesting day.