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Between Love and Survival

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Rosalie's POV:
Trees....Trees, and more trees. Trees are all that I see as I run through Mount Baker faster than any human could see. As I use my vampire speed to race home, I'm reminded that this isn't home....at least not yet. As a vampire family we move every few years. This time we moved just outside of Spokane, Washington. My father figure and sire Dr. Carlisle Cullen has taken a new hospital job, but this isn’t just any job. He now is working for the Unites States Air Force. That's the reason for me racing home after a nice long hunt.
You see my family and I are vampires, but not the same ones from old folk lore. We don't burn from sun light or sparkle like diamonds the way they've portrayed us in recent literature. The sunlight has no effect on us at all. My family's diet mostly contains human blood, but only old or diseased blood that would just go to waste anyway. Most vampires choose this method. The only exception are those few vampires that hunt or torture humans for fun. My family and I do mix animal blood into our diets so that we are able to blend into the human population better. Most covens are nomadic or stay out of the public's eye so they don't generally consume animal blood. You see human blood turns a vampire's eyes red but adding some animal blood will turn them golden or amber colored. It's easier to blend in with humans with golden eyes than with red eyes.
I didn't realize that I had made it home, because I was so consumed with my thoughts until I smelt muffins that my "mother" Esme had made. That's another misconception; we can eat and taste human food. It just doesn't have any nutritional value, so why bother.
As I step into the kitchen I see my two "brothers" Jasper and Emmett. They are by far the most excited about today's excursion to the Air Force Base.
When they realize that I have returned from my hunt, they all say good morning to me.
"Good morning. I see that you have been busy baking in my absence. Who are they for?" I say as I take a seat at the counter.
Emmett excitedly explains that they are for the SERE School, and starts going on and on about how he can't wait to finally be seeing the school house.
"What exactly is this SERE School?" I asked still confused over this whole concept.
Jasper steps in and explains that SERE stands for Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape. In the Air Force, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) specialists serve as subject matter experts who train all aircrew personnel (and others at risk) on how to handle themselves if they're ever caught up in hostile territory. They also work as personal recovery experts. They truly are a special breed of people."
"They sound like badasses" exclaimed Emmett which resulted in a look from Esme for the use of language.
"Your father should be here any minute so make sure that everyone has their ID Cards so we can leave as soon as he gets here."
"Yes Mom" we all reply.
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*TIME SKIP*
Rosalie's POV
Esme, Alice, and I are being shown around the school by one of the sere specialist. He's trying to be as respectful as possible, which is hard to accomplish when being surrounded by the enhanced beauty of 3 vampires. When all of a sudden I smell a fragrance that has me quite literally stopping in my tracks. The next thing I know is that I'm in the arms of someone almost in a dancing dip position and I'm looking up into what I can only describe as wolf eyes and an almost wolfish half smile to go with it.
Alice POV
After I see Rosalie freeze up I smell this truly unique smell. The next thing I realize is that it's accompanied by the sound of boots running. Before I can have another thought I see a figure run into Rosalie, but that wasn't what had me in a state of wonder. It was the fact that this person ran into Rosalie and knocked her over. Though I can't actually say that Rosalie looks distressed in the embrace that they are in.
I realize that the figure is a woman in an Air Force uniform. They both seem to be lost and frozen in place. That is until a coughing sound is heard, which seems to make this unknown girl come out of her gaze as she straightens up and puts Rosalie back on her feet. But not before muttering softly "Talk about fallin’ for a girl" while staring into Rosalie's amber eyes, though only a vampire would barely be able to hear it. She's tall, about 6”1 or so (most likely around 5"11 without the boots) and with a body and physic that I can only describe as a living Viking. Big broad shoulders that anyone can see are full of muscles, with arms to match, that taper down like a V at the waist. Though you can tell she is muscular she doesn’t look overly muscular like those body builders that you see. The unknown name of this strange girl isn’t unknown for long as she immediately apologizes with a "My apologies Ma'am" and introduces herself as Amber Becole with a Texas twang that I would be able to spot anywhere thanks to my mate Jasper. You see Jasper is a Texan born and raised and I know that no matter what comes out of meeting this Amber that my Jazz will most likely gain a new friend. Though from the look that's on Rosalie's face I would wager that I'm about to have a new sister down the road. I don't know how I didn’t see this one coming.
After my inner musings I hear our tour guide which Amber calls Mike say "Leave it to you Becole to always make an unforgettable impression".
Amber chuckles and smiles then she turns to Rosalie and asks if she's sure she's alright. In Rosalie's state of what I can only call shock she doesn't answer. We can all tell that Amber is getting uncomfortable and nervous that she has offended or worse hurt Rosalie. Before anything can be said we all hear a shout of "Becole" down the hall. Amber curses under her breath. She turns back to us and apologizes again and asks if we're sure that everyone is ok. Thankfully Rosalie has regained enough senses to at least nod. Which makes Amber smile and say "Are you sure, because we can exchange insurance information if you're not" before anything else can be said we hear another shout of "Becole, come on, we gotta go". Amber sighs and apologies one more time, which I know now for certain that she is a Texan (because only a Texan would be that polite), does this funny hand movement with Mike and then she takes off running towards the yelling people down the hall.
I realize that Rosalie had kept her eyes where Amber was standing only moment ago and didn’t move until after Amber was half way down the hall to stare after her.
I may not have seen this coming but I do know that things are about to get a whole lot more interesting for our family.

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Rosalie didn't see Amber again the rest of the time that they were there touring the schoolhouse.
When everyone left after the tour Emmett and Jasper kept talking about the combatives class that they got to whiteness. That's where Amber was running off to in such a hurry. Apparently she was helping with some of the more advanced fighting techniques. Though Rosalie wanted to know more about this girl that had her head spinning, she didn't have a lot to go on. Carlisle would be the only one that could possibly have any more information.
That's why when he finally got home later that night he was cornered almost back into the front door that he just closed.
Sadly Carlisle didn’t have much information to go on besides she was a Sere Specialist and seemed to be an enigma. Carlisle wished that he was able to give his daughter more insight, but it seemed that this was one mystery that everyone would have to help solve. He didn't have any specific information about this Amber, but he did talk in great length about the things that he noticed regarding the members of the SERE Squadron. It seemed like everything was in uncharted territory. One thing was certain though; Rosalie had found her mate, and so talking to her seemed to be the next logical step. Unfortunately for Rosalie that may be easier said than done.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2
Trying To Make an Impression Part 1

Frustration seemed to be a reoccurring theme for Rosalie. Frustrated that she wasn't any closer to finding more out about her mate. Even more frustration over the fact that whenever she saw her mate she seemed to freeze up, which doesn't sound as bad of a problem as it actually is. With every interaction that she's had with her mate, which is 6 and counting. Her freezing up has lead to her mate avoiding her, because she either can't say anything or when she finally can speak Rosalie is clipped and sharp with her words. That has resulting in her mate thinking that she hates her, and that just shatters Rosalie. Which has led to where she is now, holed up in her room going over every interaction she’s had with Amber so far.

The first try was only 2 days later after a lot of practice and pep talks. With a plan in place Rosalie strutted into the front doors of the Sere Squadron’s lobby with a bag in hand. Pretending to be a bit lost and looking around for any sign of her mate. After wandering around for about 10 minutes she did find someone, sadly it wasn’t who she wanted so desperately to see. It was Carlisle and he was very confused when his eldest daughter dejectedly shoved what he was sure was an empty bag into his hands. They had a quick conversation at vampire speed where Carlisle discovered that the bag was indeed empty and was only apart of a ruse that Rosalie had come up with to visit her father in order to hopefully run into her mate again. Rosalie’s hardened facade crack quite a bit when Carlisle explained that Amber wasn’t anywhere near the school at the moment. Amber and some of the other sere specialists had taken some of the sere candidates out early this morning to some of the training grounds. Apparently sere candidates were people who were training to try and become sere specialists. According to Carlisle it’s not uncommon for a sere candidate class to reach a 70 percent or higher drop out rate.
When Carlisle realized how crushed his daughter seemed to be after learning about this information he promised that he would let her know as soon as he sees her mate and try and stall her so she would be able to conveniently be there and hopefully make some head way with trying to get closer to her.
Understanding that this was the best offer she was going to be able to get, Rosalie hugged her father and with a soft thank you and a kiss on his cheek, she left.
Rosalie decided to try and drive around and see if she could pick up her mate’s scent. Knowing full well that she wouldn’t be there, but hoping to gain some insight into Amber’s life. Rosalie found a lot of scent trails to places like The Commissary (a military grocery store), The BX (a military version of wal-mart), the golf course, and the bowling alley. Sadly this didn’t tell Rosalie a lot of information. About 2 hours later Rosalie received a text message, but didn’t want to get her hopes up. She did almost hit a tree when she saw that it was a text from her father stating that she needs to come to the sere clinic. It serves her right for using her phone while driving.
-Meanwhile back at Carlisle’s Office-
Carlisle heard the radio call from his office about several injured people headed to the sere clinic. He didn’t think anything of it. That is until he recognized the voice of Amber Becole. He was an anxious mess waiting the appropriate amount of time to be able to show up. Sometimes being a vampire can so tedious. When he finally arrived at the front of the clinic after hearing the commotion, he was briefed about the situation. Apparently while some sere candidates where being shown how to repel off the side of a cliff, they didn’t follow all of the directions. Thankfully their ropes saved them from plummeting to the ground; sadly the 2 sere candidates have a nasty case of cliff rash. In the corner of the room he saw Amber harshly yelling with another sere specialist about “the stupidity that occurred” according to Amber’s description. Thanks to his enhanced senses he could see that Amber had a nasty gash on her neck and some significant cuts and scrapes on her arms.
Carlisle knew that his first order of business needed to be to text Rosalie. He did not want to be on the receiving end of her anger if she found out he delayed in contacting her.
Thankfully he was able to assess and take care of the injuries of the 2 sere candidates fairly quickly. While he was doctoring his patience’s he was able to gather what had happened thanks to his eavesdropping. The 2 sere candidates had not followed the directions when trying to repel down the cliff and they collided. This resulted in them almost becoming disengaged from their ropes. Thankfully Becole was the instructor on the cliff wall as a safety precaution. Sadly that resulted in Becole doing everything she could to keep the 2 candidates safe and still on their ropes. Ending with Amber being pretty torn up by the cliff’s wall.
Rosalie would not be happy with this outcome at all. Which was proven when she burst through the open door with her eyes wide and sweeping the room for any threats. Regrettably I was in the middle of cleaning and bandaging Amber’s wounds. I quickly explained at vampire speed that her mate was fine and what had happened. Sadly that did little to calm my daughter, especially after she smelt her mate’s blood. For the benefit of Amber I quickly re-laid what had happened, while keeping patient confidentiality of course. Amber embarrassedly looked at the wall when I explained that thanks to her the 2 candidates would be just fine, as I was bandaging her last wound. Amber hops off the table and shakes my hand while saying “thanks Doc, I appreciate the help with making my Mummy dreams come true.” As she holds up her arms wrapped up in gauze. After chuckling I turned to Rosalie and ask her if she has met Amber yet. Knowing full well that they had. Amber turns to the both of us and smiles stating “Yes, I have had the pleasure. It’s nice to see you again, Rosalie.” Rosalie awkwardly didn’t say anything, but after a few seconds finally nods her head. Thankfully Amber doesn’t seem too offended, that is until Rosalie actually opens her mouth. Unfortunately Amber had no way of knowing that Rosalie’s mating instincts at seeing her mate bleeding and injured were at play, because it would have soften the blow of what Rosalie has to say or more accurately shriek at her. My daughter all but demands to know why Amber thinks falling off a cliff is funny. At Amber’s confusion and utterance of “no one fell off of a cliff”, Rosalie was already talking over her and making accusations of Amber’s irresponsibility, carelessness, and just plain stupidity that got her wounded. Within seconds Amber’s chest puffed out and her eyes hardened. With a calm but firm authoritative voice said “I honestly don’t care what you think of my intelligence, Ma’am, but don’t you ever say to my face that I was being irresponsible. The safety of every student and every sere candidate is in my hands, and that is one responsibility that I will NEVER shirk. And as for my wounds….I’ve had worse as my scars will attest to. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go check on my class.” Amber goes to step around us and out into the hall, but not before thanking me one more time for taking care of her students and herself. Then promptly leaves my office with two stunned vampires in her wake.

After the family was filled in on what had happened and were informed that Amber will indeed be alright, Emmett and Jasper took it upon themselves to try and smooth over any hostility that Rosalie’s mate may still hold towards their sister.
Thankfully the boys had “conveniently” run into Amber the next day at the commissary. They said that they tried to explain to her that Rosalie doesn’t deal with worry well and sometimes that worry and concern can express it’s self in a negative way. The boys also urged Amber not to take it personally and that she should feel special, because Rosalie doesn’t usually care about anyone outside of the family. The news gave Rosalie some hope that she didn’t completely ruin her chances with her mate before they even really had a beginning.
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Rosalie decided to be more careful when she planned their next encounter.
From the intelligence and snooping that the whole family took part in, they were able to gather enough insight for Rosalie to form a plan.
Apparently, her mate was a bottomless pit and a sucker for food. It reminded the family of the wolves back in Forks. Which led to the women of the Cullen family holed up in the kitchen all of Sunday trying to come up with the perfect dish. They have narrowed the possibilities to a baked good, because according to Alice’s observations Rosalie’s mate had a big sweet tooth. The old saying of sweets for the sweet had all the women giggling.
It was Jasper that finally came to the rescue with the idea of a pecan pie. According to him it’s the perfect thing for a Texan.
By Tuesday afternoon the Cullen women had baked 8 pecan pies and were headed to the sere school to deliver them to the kitchen. Thanks to Alice’s timing using her visions and Carlisle’s insider information they knew that Amber and a few of the other sere specialists were headed to the kitchen at that very moment. Esme decided to get the last 2 pies out of the car while Alice and Rosalie greeted Amber and her colleagues.
The vampires didn’t need enhanced hearing to notice when the pack of sere specialist were getting close to the kitchen. From the group’s laughter and loud talking they knew that Scott, Kevin, Jake, Tom, Mike, Kyle, and Amber were the one’s approaching the kitchen. When they finally entered the room the whole group seemed to stop for what seemed like minutes, but it was closer to about 6 seconds. Rosalie and Alice couldn’t blame the humans; after all stumbling onto to vampires without notice ahead of time can be very disarming.
One thing that the Cullen have noticed about this unit is that unlike other humans all of the sere specialist seem to snap out of the glamour stupor caused by the vampires unique beauty a lot faster than they have seen any other humans.
Jasper and Carlisle have theorized that it has to be related to their special training. As Jasper has stated before, ‘Sere specialists are a very special breed’. Which seems to keep being proven to the Cullen’s.
Once the group had entered the kitchen Alice and Rosalie greeted everyone, though Rosalie’s eyes were practically glued to Amber as she walked around the kitchen and grabbed some food out of the pantry. Once everyone was in the room Alice took the lead and explained that they had baked them several pies, which seemed to excite everyone. Rosalie’s heart warmed when she noticed her mate was also excited. Tom was the closest to the cupboard so he grabbed some plates and silverware while Scott got out a cutting knife. Kyle turned to Alice and asked her “what kind of pie?” and with her normal exuberance replied “pecan pie”. Everyone responded with enthusiasm, well everyone but Rosalie’s mate. Rosalie was making sure to memorize every movement and what she had hoped would be joy that passed over her love’s face. Unfortunately her mate didn’t react at all upon hearing the words pecan pie. While the rest of the guys dived in with vigor over the pies all saying different complements and assurances that the pie was delicious and lots of thank-yous thrown in, Amber continued to pull snacks out of the pantry and onto the counter next to Rosalie. After some calming breaths that had more to do with the fact that she was inhaling her mates scent more than anything. Rosalie finally softly asked Amber if she could get her a piece of pie. That’s when Amber politely declined and said “no thank you ma’am, though I do appreciate the offer as well as the time and effort that it took to make them.” Rosalie must have looked confused, because Amber decided to elaborate. “I’m not a fan of pecans. I’m actually kinda picky about nuts. I don’t really like the taste.” Almost as an after thought she smiled and said “well, except walnuts”.
Sadly Amber mistook the look on Rosalie’s face from Rosalie’s own self loathing towards herself for not only not knowing enough about her mate and the fact that she made something for her mate that she doesn’t like, for a loathing of distain for the fact that Amber refused to eat the pie. So Amber excused her self as fast as she could and told her friends that she would be back later as she walked out of the room. With Rosalie looking helplessly down at the pecan pie in front of her.
Rosalie didn’t know how long she stared at the pie for but it must have only been a few minutes, because she was soon wrapped up in a one arm hug from her mother. Having heard everything and getting the rest of the interaction from Alice via a quick text message, she tried to comfort her daughter the best that she could. Esme was also disappointed that she had missed another opportunity to meet Amber.
After berating herself for the next week for her lack of language skills and the insufficient knowledge about her mate’s preferences that resulted in her mate’s unhappiness Rosalie decided to try and do something special for her mate.

 

The next encounter was Emmett’s idea. Apparently Jasper, but especially Emmett has been getting pretty close to Amber. Hence why Emmett knew that Amber would be at the ballpark today hoping to join in on a spontaneous baseball game. After talking with Esme, she decided to bring orange slices to her mate for an impromptu snack. Not before confirming that her mate liked oranges though. Thanks to Esme they had both cut up enough oranges to feed both teams and then some.
Later on that afternoon Rosalie and Emmett headed for the park where Rosalie hoped beyond hope that she would finally be able to make some head way with her mate. What Rosalie didn’t plan on was being absolutely stunned at seeing her mate. Amber was on the side of home plate stretching and swinging her bat around getting ready to go up to bat. Rosalie was not expecting her mate to be in shorts and a t-shirt. She should have known, but even knowing could never prepare her for seeing more skin of her mate than she has been able to see thanks to the military uniform that she always sees her in. Not only was it the muscle that you could clearly see, but also the raw power that her mate exuberated that had Rosalie going weak in the knees. Rosalie heard the crack of the bat connecting as she witnessed the baseball soar over the fence wall. She was too wrapped up in her hormones to realize that she wasn’t clapping or shouting in victory, but thankfully Emmett had them both covered with how loud and vigorously he was yelling.
Rounding 3rd base and headed towards home is when Amber finally heard and saw Emmett jumping up and down. She smiled and waved as she touched home base. She was congratulated by her team then excused herself once the game resumed to come over and see them.
Rosalie didn’t realize how close Amber and Emmett had become, so when Emmett swept her up into a huge bear hug and swung her around she couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. Even though with her enhanced senses she knew by both of their scents that there was no attraction. That did nothing to quiet the jealousy that was raging through her though. Thankfully Rosalie was able to rein in and keep her jealousy suppressed. When Amber finally was put back on her feet is when she noticed Rosalie. What stumped Amber was the fact that Rosalie thrusted a container into her hands. Amber was so shocked that she just stared at it and then finally shook it. Still thoroughly confused Amber opened the container and smiled when she realized that it was oranges. “Thank you so much, I’ve actually been craving these. Oh sweet they’re even cut up already.” And then proceeded to snack on a few.
Everything was going so perfectly, that is until Rosalie’s brain short circuited when she saw her mate eating in a way that Rosalie can only think to describe as sensual. Rosalie’s pretty sure that her mate could sneeze or read the phone book and she would swoon over her.
Rosalie scrambled to come up with something to say, but all that came out was “It was Esme’s idea”. That made Amber remember the look of distain that Rosalie had given her over the pie last week. Amber figured that the oranges were Mrs. Cullen’s attempt at an apology for making a pie that she didn’t like and Amber realized that Rosalie was the one to bring them, because it must be a form of punishment and so that she could apologize or make peace. She would suspect that Rosalie was to make sure that there are no hard feeling after the two of them had had some harsh words over the few times that they have met.
Amber realizing all of this and understanding the need for everyone to be able to get a long, especially in a unit like theirs. She did what she had to do to help the situation along so she put aside her feelings and helped to mend their differences by saying “thank you, I will be sure to thank Mrs. Cullen the next time that I see her”. Realizing that she needed to get back to the game she excused herself and went back to the dugout.
What Rosalie failed to realize is that her mate had decided the best thing to do is to ignore her. Of course she would be polite and talk to her, but only when necessary. Which was proven with their next two encounters.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2 - Trying To Make An Impression Part 2

What Rosalie failed to realize is that her mate has decided the best thing to do is to ignore her. Of course she would be polite and talk to her, but only when necessary. Which was proven with their next two encounters.
Jasper had suggested "casually" running into Amber and seeing what happens. That led to Jasper and Rosalie walking around downtown following Amber (from a safe distance of course) as she wandered around and waiting for the perfect moment to arise. That moment was when they saw Amber headed into the direction of a popular bakery/Coffee shop. Thankfully they made it into the store before Amber could and had conveniently stood around near the front of the lobby entry way of so that Amber would have to go around them. The plan was perfect, except for one thing. Amber only really talked to Jasper. Thinking on her feet Rosalie decided to say "I'm going to go grab some coffee would you two like anything?" Amber thanked Rosalie but said that she doesn't drink coffee, then proceeded to continue her conversation with Jasper. Rosalie had no choice but to go order her coffee and listen to her mate animatedly talk to Jasper. By the time that Rosalie came back to the pair, Amber was already saying goodbye. Apparently she only came in here to use the restroom. Dejectedly Rosalie walked out the door; thankfully Jasper could send her calm and reassurances all the way home.

-Line Break-

The next idea came from Carlisle. He thought the best approach would be to have Amber put into a situation where she would have to talk to Rosalie more. That plan would have worked if not for the fact that Amber was going to hold firm to her ignore Rosalie plan.
That leaves Rosalie where she is now. Waiting with her father in the sere clinic. Thanks to Alice they knew that one of the students will be coming into the clinic in approximately 46 seconds with a broken finger, then after 22 minutes and 16 seconds Amber will come in to check on how the patient is recovering.
Amber knocked on the doorframe and said "hey doc, how's the patient?" Carlisle looked up from his paperwork and said "Ah, Amber what a pleasant surprise". He got up from his desk and ushered Amber into his office after shaking her hand. As she stepped into his office she realized that there was a woman sitting on his couch, but not just any woman. It was none other than Rosalie Hale. Amber politely nodded to Rosalie and turned to Carlisle "how's Sanders, is his hand ok?" Carlisle said "I'll go check on him for you". The doctor already knew that Sanders was fine and was being given a finger splint, but used it as an excuse to give Rosalie time alone with her mate. Rosalie stood up from the couch and approached her mate. She never actually realized how tall Amber was until she was advancing towards her and had to tilt her head up a bit to look into her eyes.
Rosalie could just picture it now. Sauntering up to her mate and watching as the spark lights up her eyes as they make eye contact. Seeing her mate give a smile that she hoped was reserved just for her. Under different circumstances if they had already been on a few dates. Rosalie would be able to throw her arms around her mate's neck and caress her strong shoulders and back. Play with the hair at the back of her neck. Maybe even caress that strong sharp jaw as she leans up on her tiptoes and gives her a soft loving kiss.
Rosalie is snapped out of her fantasies when her mate had taken a small step backwards to get away from her approach. That made her freeze exactly where is stood. After a few seconds of awkwardness Rosalie decides to ask "How have you been?" Her mate looks startled at the question and takes a few moments to respond with a polite "I'm fine, thanks for asking. I hope that you are doing well."
That's when Rosalie realized that she would have to keep the conversation going. She opened her mouth to speak but before she could utter a word, Amber's radio went off with a request for an updated status on the injured student. Amber said "excuse me, I have to take this, and left the room. Leaving behind a dejected Rosalie in her wake.
Rosalie's only comfort was the fact that her mate did speak to her and Rosalie didn't come across as rude or uncaring towards her mate. Which was a lot of progress and hopefully after a few more of these nice interactions she would be able to make a lot more headway with her mate. With some restored hope that things were beginning to look up. Rosalie left Carlisle's office with a bit of a spring in her step.

-Line Break-

It turns out that their latest meeting happened only 4 days ago, and blindsided both Rosalie and Alice.
Alice decided to get Rosalie's mind off of her troubles the best way she knew how, by shopping.
What they had no way of knowing was that Alice wasn't going to be getting a vital vision, to not go shopping.
The shopping excursion, but more importantly the sisterly bonding seemed to be exactly what Rosalie needed.
Alice and Rosalie were so wrapped up in their giggling as they walked down the street, they failed to notice Amber.
When they did notice Amber, Alice wished they hadn't. Rosalie and looked up when she sensed her mate and froze when she saw her smiling and laughing. To Rosalie she looked breathtaking. Rosalie was truly wonderstruck at the sight. That was until she noticed the person who seemed to be all over her mate. To be fair the woman wasn't technically all over Amber, but rationality and mates don't generally mix. Amber had her head thrown back and was full out laughing while the unknown harlot was grabbing her arm and laughing. Rosalie was too blinded by her emotions to make out what they were saying. What she did notice was that the home wrecker said something while giggling as she tried to get away from Amber, but what cracked her heart was seeing her mate grab another and pull them into her arms while sporting the happiest look she had yet to witness cross her loves face. As the couple laughed and excluded a happiness that Rosalie wished with every fiber of her being that she was the reason for, she could do nothing but stand and watch as with every second her heart seemed to break a little more.
Thankfully the couple didn't notice Rosalie or Alice, which wasn't surprising considering that they were too caught up with each other. After escaping without notice and a heated argument, Rosalie promised Alice that she wouldn't interfere or confront the couple, Alice took her leave.
Rosalie thinks to herself that she must be a masochist to follow the couple. They end up outside of an apartment complex with Rosalie across the street where she can see and hear everything. Though with her vampire senses she could be a mile away and accomplish that. So there she is standing on the sidewalk watching the love of her life walk another woman home. That's where Jasper finds his "twin". He doesn't say anything besides giving her all of his love and devotion he feels for her through his empathic ability. They both watch as Kathleen (the harlot has a name, who knew?) tells Amber that she had a great time. There seems to be an awkwardness where the two don't want to leave the other. Both vampires knew that they were witnessing the end of a first date and that meant that hopefully soon the end of this terrible nightmare of a night would be coming to a close, but those thoughts were dashed with what happened next. Kathleen hugged Amber and was going to head inside but before Kathleen could get any farther than a foot from Amber she was pulled back by her arm. What Amber said next will haunt Rosalie for the rest of eternity.
Amber looked Kathleen in the eyes and said "I love you Kathleen". Kathleen then launched herself at Amber and nearly shouted "I love you too". When they broke apart Kathleen asked Amber if she wanted to stay the night. Amber smiled and said "I have tomorrow off, so I would love to" and gestured for Kathleen to lead the way.
Rosalie watched in horror as Kathleen grabbed her mate's wrist and all but dragged her into the apartment complex.
Without having to say a word Jasper knew exactly what Rosalie was asking of him. And with a broken voice he whispered "yes, they really do mean it". With those words Rosalie and Jasper collapsed into each others arms as both of their hearts broke. Jasper sobbed as he shared in Rosalie's absolutely shattered heartache in a way only he could. There were times when he hated his empathic abilities, but this, this had to of been the worst.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 - We'll Jump the Flag Pole and Light Up the Night

- At the Cullen residence -
Emmett's POV

Four days. Four agonizing days Rosalie has been holed up in her room. The rest of us don't need to have Jasper's ability to feel Rosalie's heartbreak pouring out of her room. The emotions are so bad that the rest of the family can barely stand to be inside the house. Poor Jasper had to camp out a few miles from the house.
I can't just stand around and hope that things will get better. Which leads to the family meeting that we're having.
All we seem to be doing is going around in circles. By the tenth time of this ring around the rosie (no pun intended) I've had enough and decide to take action.
While everyone else is going back and forth I decide to go straight to the source and get the information straight from the horse's mouth.
So I scroll through my contacts until I find Amber's number and hit dial.
As I pull my phone up to my ear, I thankfully don't have to wait long for an answer. When Amber answers with a "Hey Em, what's up?" I realize that everyone has stopped arguing and are staring at either me or my phone.
"Hey Am, well I wanted to know if you were down for hanging out?" Amber replied almost instantly "Sweet sounds good to me. Did you have anything specific in mind or are you down for whatever?" I breathe a silent sigh of relief that this plan is actually working. "No, I'm good with whatever; did you have any plans for tonight?" I ask. Amber chuckled and says "naw, not really. I'm at the Class Six picking up some alcohol, and then I was just going to chill at home. Why don't you pick up some food and meet me at my place and we'll watch some movies and play some video games. You're more than welcome to crash at my place." I grin and quickly agree then we both hang up after saying our goodbyes.
As I stuff my phone back in my pocket, I look up at my family who all has a wide range of emotions. Jasper quickly steps up to me and says "this is either the best idea that you've ever had or this situation is about to get 100 times worse" as he shakes his head.

-Time Skip-

Still Emmett's POV
Later into the night finds both of us already a few drinks in and nursing our current beers, so there's no way of actually being drunk, but definitely loose enough that I feel like I can broach the subject that's led me here. I just have to find a way to bring it up in conversation.
20 minutes later we both decide to play some Mario Kart.
"Wait, wait, wait, you're telling me that there's a song called "Hey Mario" and it's about Mario?" I exclaim. "Hell yeah bro, it's by this amazing band called "Patent Pending" and you have to listen to it while you play Mario" Amber replies. "Of course, crank that shit Am" I shout.
Right in the middle of our 3rd race, Amber phone goes off, so we pause the game and the music as she grabs the phone from the coffee table in front of us. As she looks to see whose calling I notice that it's the girl that's caused my sister so much trouble. Amber says that she's sorry, but she has to take this real quick, and I nod for her to go ahead and answer as I pretend to be more occupied with my pizza than with eavesdropping, but I'm so totally listening in.
Amber: "Hey Cat, what's up?"
Kathleen: "Well I called to ask if you could come over. I missed you and I need you"
At hearing this Emmett almost chokes on his beer. Thankfully Amber was too wrapped up in her conversation to notice.
Amber: "Oh, you need me now huh?" (As she smirks)
Kathleen: "yeah, I need you to unclog my drain"
Amber: "already? I mean I just did it 4 days ago."
At this point Emmett thinks he's going to lose his mind. I mean he can only take so much, right?
Kathleen: "I know, but it's clogged again and I'd like to take a shower without also taking a bath.
Emmett feels like his been smacked in the head with a 2 by 4, not that that would hurt him, but he's so confused.
Amber: "Ok, I'll look at it tomorrow after work. Em's over and we're hanging out tonight."
Kathleen: "ok, sounds good to me. Thanks Amber. I love you and have fun."
Amber: "Thanks, we will. See ya tomorrow. Love you too. Goodnight."
Kathleen: "goodnight"
As Amber hung up Emmett wasn't sure how he wanted to approach the subject, but he found himself saying "I didn't know that you had a girlfriend". What surprised him was when Amber gave him a blank stare the proceeded to laugh her self into a stupor.
After she regains her composure, she asks "with Kathleen? Not a chance".
Confusion was plain as day on his face so Amber decided to clarify it for him.
"She's more like the weird sister in law, if I had to describe our relationship. Though thankfully over the last few months our relationship has become more settled." The only thing that Emmett says is "go on". As he swings some of his beer. Amber puts a hand on her forehead and proceeds to rub her face roughly as she exhales loudly.
She sighs and says "well it's a long story"
Emmett chuckles humorously and says "well we have liquor" as he pours a couple shots of whiskey. They clink glasses and down their shots. Amber grabs the whiskey bottle and drinks a healthy bit straight out of the bottle and says "ok, so you remember me telling you about Clay, right?" Emmett has to search his brain, but finally remembers a story about Clay and Amber when they were both sere candidates. "You both were sere candidates together, right?"
"Yeah, we were. Until Clay got injured. He fell off a cliff and into a ravine. His knee just didn't heal back the right way. He was dropped from the sere training pipeline. Clay said it was for the best, because he didn't think he would have actually made it through training even if he was able. He was cross trained into munitions systems. So he works with ammo and missiles. He loved the job right away and never regretted what happened. Anyway, we've been friends since basic. I mean you don't train and go through the stuff you get put through during the pipeline and not become close with your team. So as you can imagine we were super close."
Emmett confusingly asked "were?" Amber shoots her gaze towards the wall and said "Clay was KIA, killed in action. He was killed when his FOB in Afghanistan was attacked. Oh, a FOB is a Forward Operating Base. 3 military members died during the attack. It's been 3 years."
Emmett isn't sure how he can comfort Amber so he does what any "big brother" would do and wraps his arms around her for a hug. After a few minutes they pull apart and Emmett can't help but ask "So how does Kathleen fit into all of this?"
Amber takes another swig from the whiskey bottle and passes it to Emmett while saying "Well when he was stationed in Kansas we visited each other often. And we visited what family I have left down in Texas almost as often. "Emmett can't help but interrupt, because he wants to know what Amber means about what little family she has. Something told Emmett he wasn't going to like that story and he was proven right when Amber told him that one sad story was enough for one night. I assumed it had to do with what Amber had told Rosalie and Carlisle about her scars. I zoned back into the conversations when Amber continued "About 2 years later he met Kathleen. He fell head over heels, but couldn't work up enough nerve to finally ask her out for the longest time but, he finally did. They dated for about 6 months and he knew he was going to marry her. A few weeks before he was set to deploy for his second deployment we went ring shopping and he asked me to be his acting best man. He wanted to wait till after he got back home to ask her. He also asked me to watch after Kathleen, especially if something happens to him. Of course I immediately agreed, even given the fact that Kathleen didn't really like me. It basically boiled down to jealousy. Kathleen didn't understand our friendship. I think she thought that I was going to steal him or something. It caused a lot of fights. I mean unless you've either grown up with it as military-brats, (a kid that has either one or both parents in the military), or you're in or around a specialty unit like the sere squadron you just don't get it. Anyway, so fast forward to after Clay was killed and I have tried to look after Kathleen the best that I could, but she just never really wanted me around. Now I know it had more to do with the fact that I remind her so much of Clay. It wasn't until she was sent here for a TDY (a temporary deployment) for 4 months and she saw first hand what the sere unit was like; did she start to finally understand why Clay and I were so close. Thankfully Kathleen and I are in a good place."
Emmett just sits there, completely shocked. Of all of the things that he thought he could have been told he had no idea this would be the outcome, so I just sit there flabbergasted and I don't say anything at first. I finally come to my senses and whistle slowly, and saw "Man, that's some heavy shit. I'm glad everything is working out." Amber chuckles and says that she totally agrees. She stands up and says she going to grab some more liquor from the kitchen if we're going to keep up with these emotional heart to hearts. Suddenly I had the best idea I've ever had. I discreetly turn on my phone and set it up to record a video and prop it up so that I can hopefully bring Rosalie the proof that the situation with her mate isn't what it seems.
Thankfully I'm able to get the video footage that I need, now all I have to do it wait till tomorrow morning.

-The Next Morning-
Still Emmett's POV

I leap from my jeep and barrel into Rosalie's room. I know that she's still in an emotional downward spiral, because she didn't yell at me about knocking first. She just keeps staring out her window.
Without knowing how to snap Rosalie out of it I just rush out that Amber doesn't have a girlfriend.
Rosalie slowly turns to give me the most pathetic look that I have ever seen and quietly tells me that I shouldn't lie to her, she saw and heard it herself as she wraps her arms around her self.
I shout "NO! Rosalie, your mate is single; here watch this and you'll see." As I thrust my phone into her hands and press play for her.
Rosalie caresses Amber's face that appears on my screen. She almost drops the phone when the conversation finally sinks in about what's being said.
Emmett: "So, you're really not dating Kathleen."
Amber: "No, how many times do I have to say it. And like I told you, she's essentially my sister in law."
Emmett: "Are you thinking about dating anyone?"
Amber: "Why? You wanna?" As Amber chuckles and wiggles her eyebrows at him.
Rosalie growls at Emmett, but continues to watch the video.
Emmett with wide eyes replies, "no….I mean not that you're not great but you're just not"
Amber: "my type? Yeah, I feel the same way. Naww, I don't really date."
Emmett: "Why?"
Amber: "Well for starters, I don't believe in just dating just to date. That and my job...it's a hard life, to be in the military, not to mention a significant other having to deal with being involved with a military member. It's hard to find someone willing to put up with it. Throw in my type of job? Where there are a lot of uncertainties? It's even harder. Not to mention I have a lot of baggage. It's just not a good mix. Besides who would wanna date me?"
Then the video ends.
Rosalie stared at the blank screen for a solid 2 minutes, when she finally launches herself at Emmett in thanks. That's when Emmett knows that he's done the right thing.
He doesn't want to tell Rosalie what else he found out. That Amber honestly thinks that Rosalie hates her. That's a problem for tomorrow, because today the Cullen family are going to enjoy and bask in the fact that at least one problem has been resolved.
The other problem is I still don't know what the baggage that Amber talked about, not to mention her sad past.
As I see Rosalie come back to life, I know that by saying something to her about either of those right now is a catch 22. Either way is a lose lose situation. I'm going to let Rosalie be happy, at least for today, because I think her smiling right now is the most important thing.
We'll just have to see what the future holds.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 – A Texas Homecoming

Author's Notes:

There is a National Forest in Texas Called Sam Houston National Forest. The Sam Houston National Forest is 161,508 acres.
Lake Livingston is on the opposite side of the Sam Houston National Forest. If you look at the map - imagine that the property that is owned by Amber's family is all on the right side of the forest and that all of the water that is shown including Lake Livingston is in the center of the property. So imagine that there is a big circle around the lake and that connects to the National Forest. All of that is the property.

-There is some mention of child abuse and violence in this chapter-

Amber's POV

Just a few more minutes then I'll officially be on leave. Within the next 7 or 8 hours I'll be touching down in Texas. I'm hoping that Margaret, my Grandma Mags, will have cooked up all my favorites and I know that Rory, my Grandpa Roar, as I've affectionately nicknamed, will have a list of things that need to be done around the property.
They bought this old summer camp property about a year ago. When they moved in I helped them fix up the few cabins left on the property and the main house. Even though they didn't want to re-open it as a summer camp, they didn't want to pass on the opportunity for buying such a beautiful piece of property to retire to.
I absolutely fell in love with it the first time that I set my eyes on it. There is a lake and the rest of the water was surrounded by a little over 1.400 acres that butts up to the Sam Houston National Forest. To me it's paradise.
As I thought of my Grandparents I also think about how they truly aren't my "Grandparents". I actually don't have anymore blood family. Maybe that's why the people that I do consider my family I hold extremely close to my heart. It's rare that someone has made it passed all of my walls and actually stuck around. For me love is forever and anyone that knows me knows that I don't throw that word around. When I say it, I mean it.
I guess I should start at the beginning. My dad was an Air Force Firefighter, so we moved around a lot, but I spent most of my life in Texas. When I was about ten my parents died in a car crash while we were still living in Texas. Unfortunately I didn't have any family, because both of my parents were only children and their parents died either before I was born or not too long after I was born. So without any family left I was sent into foster care. I was bounced around from home to home. I was sent back for bullshit reasons, like the couple finally got pregnant or I didn't look enough like the couple. Most of the homes weren't too bad. I had gotten smacked around quite a lot and most of the homes didn't feed me on a regular bases but I made do with what I had. Though the last one was by far the worst. The last couple that adopted me were drunks and drug addicts that only wanted a check so they could go on benders. On more than one occasion they beat me almost to a pulp. I have a few scars from their family bonding time as they liked to refer to it as. The worst scars are the 2 lash marks on my back from a branch that they had found. The rest of the lash marks thankfully healed. They also liked to farm me out for manual labor to make even more money off of me. It was at one of these farm hand jobs that I decided to runaway.
That's how I stumbled upon Rory and Margaret. They had a small ranch in Amarillo, Texas. I had been working my way up to Northern Texas on foot for about 3 weeks when I had stopped in a small town and had seen a help wanted sign for a ranch hand. Something had told me to take the job. That's how I stumbled into Rory and Margaret. They saw right through me and I ended up telling them everything. Rory was a retired Navy Admiral so he had some pull and had me placed in their care after turning in my deadbeat "foster parents". I had never been more thankful for my "knowing thing" that lead me to my Grandparents. My knowing thing is what I like to call my just knowing things about things. My mom used to say it was, because I was empathic. Come to think of it I've seen Jasper do the same type of things. I guess I'll have to keep an eye on him to see if I can figure out if he can do the same thing.
Thanks to my Grandparents I was able to find happiness again. They encouraged me to finish my education and with a lot of enthusiasm from my Grandpa I was able to follow my dreams of following not only in my father's steps, but also all my family members that had signed up to defend our country, as well as my new grandfather's legacy and signed up to serve my country as well.
As I'm grabbing my last bag off of the conveyer belt, I can hear my grandma yelling and waving at me. As I throw my bags down I rush to her and grab her into a huge hug as she cries happy tears into my chest. When she finally lets go my grandpa pulls me into a bone crushing hug. It's times like this when I know that I have been truly blessed with a loving family. As I gather my bags back up my grandma grabs my arm as she goes on about all of the latest news that I've missed. As my grandpa pats me on the back and tells me how much he's missed me and that he's so glad that I'm finally home. Being surrounded by this much love bring tears to my eyes, and I want nothing more than to hold onto this moment forever.
As I predicted grandpa had enough work for me to do that helped to burn off all of the food that grandma kept stuffing me with. I loved it.
My latest project was a very special one that I've been working on since they bought this property. My grandparents wanted me to pick a spot on the property for just me, a place that I can find refuge and solitude, and that's what I built. I know that it sounds ridiculous, but I built an almost replica to Percy's quarters that he had at Camp Half-Blood in the Percy Jackson Books.
I've always loved being outside and when you add the lake to the equation it was paradise. Becoming a Sere Specialist only enhanced my love and desire for wide open spaces. Of course I had made a few adjustments and customizations. I made it so that any rain that we got wouldn't be able to get into the building. I also added a gaming area with a pool table and an entertainment area, as well as some fire pit areas. I also added a lot of seating for lounging around, as well as a deck and a massive deck that I use for late night guitar playing and star gazing.
It doesn't seem like it's been a week, but it seems like the next day has me boarding a plane back to Washington. As I'm driving back to my house I can't help but reflect on my life and what has happened to get me to where I am now. I know that my road hasn't been an easy one, but I don't think that I would trade any of those bumps if this is where the road lead me to.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 – Walk Me Home In The Dead Of Night

 

-Edward POV-

 

The family has kept Bella and me abreast to all of the unfolding events concerning Rosalie and her mate. After the latest development concerning Rosalie's crippling depression Bella and I made the decision to go home early so that we could not only be there for Rosalie, but to help out in anyway that we could.

Thankfully by the time that we get back home, Rosalie seems to be relatively normal, thanks to Emmett's head on approach.

For the last 5 or so hours the rest of the family has filled Bella and I on everything Amber and Rosalie related.

With my mind reading ability I was able to gather some oddities that I doubt everyone else even picked up on. The fact that Amber was so in tune with not just the members of my family but with everyone in general was an interesting quality. I can only think to describe it as an extension of Jaspers empathic abilities. Not to mention that Alice has been at a hit and miss with her visions pertaining Rosalie's mate. The only time that her visions were this affected was with the wolves down at the reservation. With Amber's appetite I would imagine that it was a high possibility, but as soon as I brought that suggestion up it was shot down almost immediately. Apparently our family has already ruled out any super natural creatures that Amber could be, and have found her to be completely human; though a very strange and curious human at that.

Bella and I decided to lend ourselves to Rosalie's next idea for getting closer to her mate. It was actually Bella's idea, and it was a brilliant one if I may say so. Bella picked up on a few personality traits through all of the stories and she decided to play on Amber's high protective instincts.

Sadly when Bella relayed the plan to Rosalie, I had to deal with my sister's thoughts about how overprotective Amber would be pleasing in some indecent ways.

Bella's plan was simple enough but logistically it took a lot of patience and calculating luck.

Thanks to Alice we knew that Amber would be downtown browsing through some shops. The used record shop just so happened to be the store that we decided was the perfect atmosphere to initiate our plan.

Once I walk into the store I'm able to locate Rosalie's mate almost immediately. I take my time as I work my way around the store and wind up on the opposite side of the vinyl bin as Amber. After a few minutes I notice that she has a "Sleep On It" vinyl in her hands, seeing the perfect opportunity to start a conversation I point to the vinyl and say "Sleep On It is a great band." She looks up and stares at me for about 4 seconds before she can respond. I've been a vampire long enough to expect this. What I didn't expect was what I was able to read from her mind. It wasn't a blank void like Bella's, but it wasn't a buzz of thoughts the way that everyone else's mind seemed to be. I managed to get the word Cullen and then some lyrics and musical beats. They sounded like they belonged to the song "Boom" by the band Simple Plan. Oddly enough I was also hearing the song. It was then that I realized that the sound was coming from Amber. She had one ear bud in and was listening to music.

That's when she held up the album and said "Oh yeah, definitely. If you like Sleep On It then you should check out Story Untold. Their first album is amazing." "I have actually and I agree. Is the pop punk genre your favorite?" Amber smiles and says "It's one of my favorites. I actually listen to pretty much everything." I realize that she's telling the truth, because I can hear an old polka song come through her ear buds. I smile and hold out my hand as I introduce myself. "Hello, I'm Edward" I realize after she grabs my hand that she does have an elevated temperature. For all of our sakes I hope that she's not sick, because Rosalie will not be pleased. Whatever Amber was about to say is interrupted by my sweet wife's voice "Oh Edward there you are. We were wondering where you wondered off to." Bella kisses my cheek and I can't help but feel all my worries and stress melt away. I also can see Amber smiling at our display of affection as she thinks about how love is an amazing and powerful thing. I can hear Rosalie's thoughts asking me what her mate is thinking about to cause her to smile like that, so I fill her in on her mate's thoughts using vampire speed. Rosalie's thoughts are about her and her mate's future vowing to make sure that their future is always filled with love and affection. Just as I think that Rosalie's thoughts will stay in a safe zone they take a turn when she starts thinking of all of the ways she can and will show her mate physical affection. Thankfully Bella saves me, as usual, when she wraps her arms around my waist and turns to Amber and says "Hi, I'm Bella, I see that you've met my husband Edward." Amber sticks out her hand and says "it's nice to meet you Bella. I'm Amber. Edward and I have been discussing our love of music." That's when she notices Rosalie, who she gives a nod to. Rosalie is quick to jump into the conversation, having learned from her previous tries she knows she needs to keep her mate in conversation. "Amber it's great to see you again. How've you been?" Amber smiled at Rosalie, which seemed to short circuit Rosalie's brain, and said "I've been good. I've been feeling restless the last few days so I decided to walk around town and see what I could get into." "Well isn't that lucky for us" Rosalie replied with a smile of her own. We noticed that Amber's heart rate sped up at the sight of Rosalie's smile. This made Rosalie unbelievably happy being able to have any kind of proof that Amber was attracted to her, since her mate seems to be oblivious most of the time.

I decided to keep the conversation going and I couldn't help but tease Rosalie by saying "Oh, so you're the Amber that I've heard so much about." As I glance between Rosalie and Amber. This made Bella giggle, so it was a win all around.

Amber chuckles and gives a half smile while saying "They told you all about me huh? Well I hope that we can be friends anyway." We all laugh at that. The family is right; Amber really is a one of a kind.

The four of us spent the next 40 or so minutes going around the store discussing music. To Rosalie's delight Amber shared a lot of the same musical tastes as she does. On more than few occasions they had broken off on animated discussions about a song or different bands. Right in the middle of our fun my cell phone rings. Which is part two of Bella's plan. "Hello, this is Edward Cullen…Yes…..Today? I was told that it was going to be ready to be picked up on Tuesday… Well.. Yes, I understand. We'll be by shortly." As I hung up I let out a sigh. I turned to Rosalie and Bella and explained that the piano needed to be picked up on Tuesday, is ready now. They said that it will need to be picked up today or I will have to pay a hefty late fee. Everyone agrees that that is pretty shitty. That's when Rosalie brings up the next step in the plan "That means that we'll miss the appointment with the jeweler." Bella jumps into the conversation by saying "I guess we'll just have to reschedule" Rosalie shakes her head and sighs "We can't we need the jeweler to fix Dad's watch in time for his birthday. If we wait any later than today, then they won't be able to get it fixed in time. I'll just go by myself. It's not that far. I can walk there and then walk to my apartment." Amber perks up at hearing that Rosalie will be walking around town alone, and grew concerned with how late it already was. Edward noticed that even though Amber thought Rosalie disliked her she was very adamant that she would go with Rosalie to make sure that she was safe. Bella seemed to be right about Amber's high protective instincts.

Amber turns to Rosalie and asks her if she would like some company. Rosalie absolutely beams as a response, but keeps her composure and says "I wouldn't want to keep you from your plans for today" Amber shakes her head and replies "Not at all, I wouldn't feel right about letting you walk around town at night alone. Please allow me to escort you." Rosalie's thoughts almost immediately venture to thoughts of her bedroom where she wanted Amber to escort her to.

After it was decided that Amber would go with Rosalie to the jeweler, Edward and Amber carried all of Rosalie and Bella's bags back to Edward's Volvo. Edward admired Amber's chivalry towards his wife and sister. Edward took most of the bags, because he was raised to be a gentleman, but he also understood Amber's desire to not make him carry everything, even though with his vampire strength the bags weighed nothing to him.

Edward and Amber followed Rosalie and Bella to where they parked their car. Edward had hardly ever felt this relaxed with another person outside of his family especially this fast. Not to mention that Amber was a human, it was truly miraculous. He still had a hard time understanding why Amber's thoughts were so different for him to pick out. He would worry about that later, because right now he wanted to help push this almost relationship between his sister and her mate farther along.

Edward leaned into Amber a little and said "I want to thank you for taking Rosalie. I didn't feel comfortable with her going alone either." Amber smiled and said "It's not a problem." That's when Edward decided to bring up the uncomfortable part of the conversation. "Emmett told Jasper and me about how you think Rosalie hates you, and for you to want to escort her anyway? That says a lot about you. I can understand what my family meant about you." Amber was confused. She didn't care that Emmett had told his brothers. It wasn't meant to be a secret. But she did feel a little bashful being told that the family thinks very highly of her. Edward could read from her thoughts that she was very proud of her reputation. He could also tell that she had very old school manners and mannerism. Where a handshake and your word was bond. And you stuck to your values and how you acted mattered. He realized that Amber seemed destined to fit in with old world vampires. Amber wanted to clarify though so she told Edward "it's not that I think she hates me. I just know that she doesn't like me. Or at least I thought she doesn't." At Edward's confusion she continued "Well she runs so hot and cold. She acts like it's a chore to even talk to me, but then there are times like today where she seems like she wants to get to know me. She's just so confusing." Edward couldn't help but chuckle. "Oh she likes you; I think you just throw her off balance." This time it was Amber's turn to look confused, so Edward continued his explanation. "Rosalie is very guarded and has trouble connecting with people, but like the rest of the family you're very disarming. All of us find you intriguing and we want to get to know you, but Rosalie just has a harder time bringing someone new into her life. Don't give up on her. I think you're good for her and something tells me that she'll be good for you as well." Amber has a consecrated look on her face and waits a few moments just absorbing everything that Edward has just told her. She then looks ahead of them to where Rosalie and Bella are walking. And softly says "I think you're right, I just don't like it when she pushes me away." Edward nudges her with his shoulder and smiles. "She's working on it, just give her a chance." Amber takes a deep breath and sighs while saying "I will."

With those two simple words Rosalie swears that she can feel her heart skip a beat. Her mate doesn't truly hate her and does want to get to know her. Rosalie feels like she's walking on cloud nine.

Finally they make it to Edward's Volvo, where Amber jokes around with Edward that he should get a better vehicle. After some playful banter back and forth they part ways after Rosalie grabs the watch.

Rosalie can't help but feel love for her father who sacrificed one of his favorite pocket watches for this plan to work. He cracked the glass and wore out a few of the gears on purpose just so that Rosalie could be standing here with her mate. Rosalie knew that her family was special and it was times like these that she grateful for whatever she may have done to deserve them in her life.

After Rosalie puts the watch in her purse she turns to her mate and smiled. She swooned when her mate offered her an arm, while saying that she didn't want Rosalie tripping in her heels.

Rosalie couldn't help but shiver in pleasure when she wrapped her hands around her mate's bicep. Amber thinking that Rosalie was cold due to the late hour and the temperature dropping, quickly offered Rosalie her button up shirt. After a few seconds of silence Amber assumed that Rosalie didn't want to wear it because it really didn't go with the dress that she had on. Rosalie squeezed her mates bicep to get Amber's attention and told her that that would be nice, but only if Amber wouldn't be cold. Rosalie didn't want her mate to get sick, because she was only in a t-shirt. Amber was quick to reassure Rosalie that she would be fine and quickly took off her long sleeve shirt and helped Rosalie into it. Rosalie felt a rush of warmth a safety that had nothing to do with the shirt and everything to do with her mate and being surrounded by her mate's scent. Rosalie couldn't help but bring the collar up to her nose and inhaling the wonderful scent. Thankfully Amber didn't notice or Rosalie would have a lot of explaining to do.

Rosalie grabbed her mates arm again as they began their journey to the jeweler. They made small talk as they began their short walk. They finally made it to their destination after about 15 minutes. Amber held the door open for Rosalie and for a couple exiting the shop as they were about to go inside. Once inside Rosalie walked up to the counter and said "Hello, I'm here for my appointment with Mr. Plack. My name is Rosalie Hale." The clerk behind the desk said "Yes of course Miss Hale. One moment." Then scurried off towards the back of the shop. Amber couldn't help but ask "Hale? Trying to make sure that your dad doesn't know by changing your name?" Rosalie chuckles and turns sideways to look at Amber properly. "Actually that is my last name. When I was adopted I wanted to keep my last name. Jasper and Emmett kept their last names as well." Amber nodded and said "I get that." At Rosalie's intrigued look she continued "I was adopted too, so I get it." Just as Rosalie was going to ask more about Amber's past, because she didn't like the dark look at took over her mate's eyes. Mr. Plack appeared. Rosalie was really starting to hate these interruptions every time she started to get closer to her mate.

Rosalie took the watch out of her purse and explained that she needed it fixed for her father's birthday. After about 20 minutes of Mr. Plack asking questions and examining the watch. He said that he could have the watch done in a little over 2 weeks 3 at the most. Rosalie shook his hand and they were off to walk back to where Amber had parked. Rosalie once again laced her hands around her mates arm and Rosalie couldn't remember the last time that she was this happy or content.

When they had finally made it to Amber's truck and Amber had opened the passenger seat for Rosalie, Amber asked Rosalie of she was hungry. Rosalie not wanting her leave her mate just yet quickly agreed that they should go grab a bite to eat. They decide to grab some sandwiches and a couple of slices of lemon pie for desert to go from Rocket Bakery.

Rosalie thought it was the perfect plan, all the way up to the point when they ordered and the lady behind the counter seemed to be paying too much attention to her mate. She made sure to stand very close to Amber and softly stroke her as much as possible.

Rosalie knew that the girl, who's name was Katie according to her name tag, noticed her wearing Amber's button up shirt. It was obviously 2 or so sizes too big and didn't go with her outfit. Add Rosalie's close proximity and almost constant contact with Amber made it quite clear that she was staking an obvious claim, but the hussy Katie just kept up with her flirting and inappropriate behavior. The only thing that kept Rosalie's temper in check was the fact that Amber hardly noticed Katie's obnoxious attempt at gaining her attention. Rosalie wasn't sure if Amber failed to notice what was going on because she wasn't interested or if she honestly was just that clueless, but truthfully she figured that it was most likely due to both. Frankly Rosalie didn't care what the reason was as long as Amber didn't show any interest in anyone besides her. Thankfully they were in and out of the bakery fairly quickly.

Amber had a suggestion for a place to eat, but refused to tell Rosalie where. All she asked was if Rosalie trusted her. Of course Rosalie would follow Amber anywhere, so she quickly agreed and allowed her mate to escort her to the mystery location. All Amber would tell Rosalie was that it was about a five minute walk from the bakery and that she would love it.

The secret destination turned out to be the Liberty building. Rosalie was thoroughly confused, but continued to follow her mate none the less. Amber took them past all of the business and all the way to the roof top.

Amber explained that she knew the book store owner and how they let her up here whenever she felt the urge. When Rosalie asked Amber how she had managed that kind of deal, she seemed to struggle with how to explain. Finally she said let's eat while I tell you the story.

It turns out that the couple that owned the bookstore has a 16 year old daughter, named Nancy. What Amber told her next had her seeing red as her mate explained how she had come across Nancy last year while running in the park and heard her cries for help. Nancy's boyfriend Earl didn't know how to take no as an answer. When Amber came across the couple Earl had a knife to Nancy's throat as he held her against a tree. Amber fought Earl off and incapacitated him, but was cut up, because she was trying to protect Amber from his knife yielding. Amber showed her the scar she has on her stomach for her troubles. Rosalie couldn't help but ghost her fingers over the scar.

Rosalie couldn't believe how wonderful her mate was. She was so many things. Kind and generous, as well as brave and chivalrous, so wonderfully strong but so amazingly soft and caring. She was everything she had ever wanted in a mate. Which made sense because Amber was her soul mate and other half.

Amber seemed to tremble underneath Rosalie's soft caresses, they seemed to be frozen in time as they stared into each other's eyes. They seemed to move slowly together but not moving all at the same time. They were broken out of their dazed like state by a car horn blaring as they passed below them on the street.

Amber shook her head to regain her senses and pulled her shirt back down and coughed awkwardly into her wrist.

Amber checked her watch and realized that it had gotten pretty late and decided that it was time for both of them to start heading back.

They walked to Amber's truck in companionable silence, just enjoying each other's company. Amber again opened Rosalie's door and helped her into the truck. Rosalie told Amber that her apartment was near Mystery Loft, so the drive was a very short one only being a few miles down the road.

Amber parked where Rosalie instructed. "So which one is your building?" Amber asked looking around at the different buildings. Rosalie smiled and pointed towards the rear window and said "It's the fifth building on the left."

Amber didn't like the fact that Rosalie had to walk a ways to get to her apartment building. "Would you like me to walk you to your building's door?" Rosalie couldn't help but counter with "How about you walk me to my door?" Amber cleared her throat and said "Yes, of course." Rosalie is pretty sure that her flirtations went right over her mate's head. "If that would make you feel the safest, then I would be happy to." And with that reply Rosalie knew that her mate was truly clueless, but adorably so.

Rosalie took the initiative and grabbed her mate's arm as they made their way to her apartment building. She couldn't help but notice that her mate made sure that she walked so that she was between the traffic on the street. Rosalie swooned for what felt like the millionth time. Her mate really did know how to treat a woman.

After a few minutes they were walking into the lobby of her building and heading to the elevators. They passed by the night security desk and they exchanged their pleasantries. After they set foot into the elevator Rosalie noticed the grimace on her mate's face. Not knowing what could possibly be the cause she decided to be direct. "What's with the face?" Amber hummed and turned to Rosalie "Oh, uh…well I don't think your night guard likes me." Rosalie smiles and squeezes her mates arm and said "Well I don't care if they do or not, because I like you, and that's all that matters." Rosalie couldn't help but love the tender look that Amber shot her way or the bashfulness that seemed to take over her mate's demeanor.

All too soon they were at Rosalie's door. Rosalie wished that this was considered a date so that she could get a proper goodnight kiss or several kisses as they tumbled into her apartment. She settled for giving her mate a lingering kiss to her cheek. To Rosalie's delight Amber gave a full face blush before Rosalie softly said goodnight and closed her door.

Through the peephole Rosalie watched her mate stay in the trance like state that she left her in for a few moments longer. Amber finally shook her head, smiled and sauntered down the hall towards the elevators.

Rosalie couldn't wait to see her mate again. She decided to daydream for a few hours before she went back to the family at the main house. She wrapped herself in her mate's shirt inhaling its magnificent scent and fantasized about how wonderful her future with her mate would be. Then she will fantasize about all the naughty but heavenly things they would get up to.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 – The Night Game

 

Jasper's POV

I'm lounging on the couch with my Alice in my arms when Rosalie floats in through the front door. She's practically euphoric and it's very contagious. I think even without my empathic ability I would be able to feel it. I can't help but let the feeling wash over the entire house as I sigh in contentment and bring Alice further into me.
After everyone gets settled into the living room Rosalie begins to relay yesterday's progress with her mate.
Everyone was overjoyed that Rosalie seemed to be making so much progress with her mate.
The women in the family turned into giggling school girls as Rosalie went into detail about her evening with Amber not to mention at the mention how chivalrous and kind she was. The guys and I were just happy that Amber showed signs that she would cherish and protect Rose.
I hold Alice just a little closer to me as the conversation continues when I feel her tense up. We all wait patiently while she has her vision. I look at Edward who is in the recliner with Bella in his lap when I feel his concentration and slight confusing from reading Alice's vision. When Alice comes out of her vision the only thing she said was "hockey" in a very confused voice.
Esme is the one to speak first trying to get clarification by saying "What about hockey sweetheart?" Alice replies "I don't know, all I know is that we were at the Hockey game at Eastern Washington University's Rec Center. I feel like we need to be there."
Emmett always the practical one, pulls out his phone and starts searching for anything hockey related pertaining to Eastern Washington University. After a few minutes he finds a newsletter announcing a practice game between the University's hockey team vs. The Fairchild AFB Varsity Team in two days. Puzzled, but not wanting to bet against Alice we all agree that we need to attend the game.
Which is where we were currently that Thursday night. The stands had a decent amount of people but it wasn't crowded by any means. We all decided to sit in a higher secluded section so that we can see everything going on trying to spot why we might need be here. Shortly before the second period buzzer the reason became obvious when we all saw Amber and Mike walk up to a group of people on the opposite side of the arena as us. We watched as Amber heavily and exhaustedly threw herself into a seat. The sight had Rosalie instantly concerned for her mate.
Rosalie finally sees her opportunity to "accidentally run" into her mate about 6 minutes before the last period started is when she sees Amber get up after telling her friends that she was going to the restroom.
Rosalie leaves shortly after and makes her way out into the outer area of the arena.
The family not wanting to waste an opportunity to not only watch the next episode that is in the "Rosalie and Amber Saga" all decided to walk after Rosalie at a much more leisurely pace.
We can hear Rosalie explaining to Amber that the family decided to check out the game since it's a sport loved by everyone in the family.
When we finally turn the corner I can feel Emmett's joy and excitement at seeing Amber as he rushed forward to wrap Amber up into a bear hug. I also picked up on the family's happiness at seeing the budding best friend relationship obvious on both Emmett and Amber's faces.
Once back on her feet Amber notices the rest of us as we approach at a slower pace. Amber greets everyone with a smile and a wave.
Esme practically floats towards Amber and embraces her. Amber was confused but embraced Esme in the hug that she couldn't help but give to her future daughter in law.
After our mother releases Amber which the bashful embarrassment that is very apparent to everyone looking on at the display. It was quite amusing to watch as Amber turned a shade of reddish pink as she rubbed the back of her neck and hair. It was pretty adorable. When I glanced at Rosalie I realized that that feeling was mostly coming from her.
Esme jumped right into apologizing to Amber for her forwardness. Amber gave an easy grin and replies "Hugs are always a good thing, so don't worry about it."
Esme couldn't help but beam at her and said "It's hard to not want to hug you after all do you feel like part of the family. I feel like I know you so well with the way that my husband and children talk about you."
Amber still had that half smile on her face as she looked at the family and said "Oh they talk about? Well I'm sorry, but I hope that we can be friends anyway."
Everyone chuckles. Esme always the mother can't help but tell Amber that she's going to have dinner with us this weekend. Everyone noticed that she told her, she didn't ask her. She paused for a second or two and ask "You don't have to work, right dear?" This time Amber is the one to chuckle, but doesn't hesitate to agree and says "No ma'am, and I would love to. What should I bring?" Esme beams and tells her that she only needs to bring herself.
That's when Emmett decides to interject into the conversation and says "It's a good thing that you'll be coming over to the house. That way you can finally get your shirt back." Amber is confused for a few seconds then she remembers that she had lent Rosalie her shirt a few days ago.
Edward decided to join in on the teasing and adds "I think you'll have a fight on your hands, because I don't know if Rosalie wants to give up her cuddle buddy." That earned smacks to the backs of both Emmett and Edward's heads. And a smack to the back of my head after I laughed.

-Rosalie's POV –

Thankfully Amber didn't seem to hear my brothers teasing. She seemed to preoccupied with a group of people headed towards our direction. I didn't understand why Amber seemed so concerned with the group of chatting people especially since the group didn't seem to heading towards us specifically. The reason for Amber's sudden stiff demeanor became apparent when the group was about to pass us and a girl towards the back of the group held up her hand at Amber and gave a tentative smile. Amber gave a grimace smile and a brief wave of her own. As my love and this mystery girl held eye contact I couldn't help my protective instincts go into overdrive as I realized that this woman made my mate uncomfortable.
The mystery woman told her friends to go on ahead and that she will catch up. I tensed up as I heard my mate politely excuse herself and watched her walk the 20 or so feet to the woman that she obviously had a history with. I know that I shouldn't be jealous of what was obviously an ex since I had a couple of those myself. I mean it's hard not to when you've lived for over a hundred years. Granted I had only been on a few dates with them and nothing really happened. It was more out of loneliness than an actual relationship on those few occasions.
We all watch and listen intently as we see the pair give an awkward embrace. I can't help but growl lowly at seeing the lingering of familiarity that they embrace with.
"It's good to see you, Mattie" "It's nice to see you Amber" Amber and the mystery girl who apparently named Mattie speak simultaneously after they take a few steps out of their embrace. Amber almost immediately sticks her hands into her pockets and shuffles her feet. If I wasn't so concerned I would find this side of Amber so endearing.
Mattie puts her hand gently on Amber's bicep as she smiles and slides her thumb over it and says "You look good"
Amber gives a tense smile and "Says thanks, you haven't changed much at all" Mattie laughs and asks "Is that a good thing?" "Pretty much" Amber replies as she gives a small smile and a shrug.
"Tina told me about Spain. You know, the Santiago de Compostela train derailment and about how you jumped into the fray to try and pull people out. I wouldn't expect any less from you. I mean I would have been more surprised to find out that you didn't."
Amber confusedly asked "How on Earth did you find out about that? I can literally count on 3 hands the amount of people that know."
Mattie giggles as she says "Have you forgotten that Tony and Tina use to be a thing?" Realization dawns on Amber's face as she sighs.
Mattie curiously adds "From what I heard you should have been given a medal."
Amber gives Mattie a shrug and a small smile as she says "Well I guess people would have to stick around for those. I did what needed to be done and then left when the emergency crews had it under control."
Mattie chuckles and said "Well I'm glad to see that you haven't changed." A bit of darkness clouded Amber's eyes for a moment or two before she replies "Nope. I'm who I've always been."
Mattie sighs as she takes a step away from Amber finally releasing her arm. "I can tell. It was never you that I hated. It was your life." Amber shakes her head and takes a deep breath as she seems to be about to repeat an old argument that the two have had more than a few times. "I can't change who I am. The same reasons why you fell in love with me are the same reasons why I joined up and they were the same why I ran to that train."
Mattie dejectedly says "I know. That doesn't make any of the lifestyle any easier. I hope that you find someone that is able to deal with both.
After a minute of silence Mattie seems to debate with herself before saying "I heard about Clay. I'm sorry."
Amber sadly says "Me too."
Amber glances back at us then looks back at Mattie. Mattie seems to get the hint and says that her friends are waiting on her and that she probably should go.
Amber gives another tense smile and after another awkward hug, at least on Amber's part. Mattie walks away towards where her friends went.
Amber hesitates as she watches Mattie walk away. After she gives a sad sigh, she slowly makes her way back towards us.
That's when I realize how tired she actually looks. My worry for her returns ten fold.
Bella is the first one to speak "So I take it she wasn't a friend."
Amber gives Bella a 'no shit' look and says "It's a lot more complicated than that…. So I hate to cut this short but I'm exhausted and I need to catch some Z's."
Esme ever the compassionate one asks "Will you be alright to drive home dear?"
Amber is quick to reassure everyone that she's alright. "I'm fine. We just had a really long day at the schoolhouse."
Everyone turns when they hear Amber's name being shouted down the hall. Amber waves and the group heads towards them.
There were 3 guys, 2 of which Rosalie recognized as other sere specialists, and 3 women. Kathleen walked right up to Amber and put her arms around Amber's waist and Amber automatically pulled her into her side and kissed the top of her head.
I could feel and hear my families tense body's ready to grab me all while trying to calm me down with their words, thinking that I would become blind with possessive jealousy. They were surprised when I didn't react besides a small discreet smile. The only one that seemed to not be shocked was Jasper. Given his ability he is the only one that was able to tell that I wasn't feeling jealousy, I was only feeling love for my mate and for Kathleen. Not that I particularly liked Kat since I hardly know her, but I knew that she was my mate's sister in almost everyway. That in turn made her important to me.
Kat looked at Amber's tired face and told her "You really should go home. They guys would understand. Besides you did see most of the game."
Mike agreeably said "Yeah Am, besides if you leave now you'll be able to get at least 6 hours of sleep before work tomorrow."
Alice's concern was plain as day when she asked why Amber had to work again tomorrow after pulling doubles and 3 days of triples every day this week.
The group of friends laugh and say "Because it's the military" all at the same time.
Emmett asks Amber "Want me to walk you to your truck?"
Amber quickly agrees having been missing her bonding time with Emmett as she's been working long hours.
I watch as Amber waves goodbye to everyone and her and Emmett walk back towards the parking lot.
That's when everyone hears the buzzer signaling the end of the game.
Everyone says goodnight and the family and I start making our way to our vehicles.
That's when we see Emmett leaning against my BMW.
There is no question that he will be riding with me so that he is able to fill me in on any information that he has gained about my mate.
By the time that we reached the house. I found out that Mattie and Amber did date. It almost broke me when he told me that Amber had thought that she might have been the one, but thankfully they only lasted about 6 months or so. What I wasn't expecting was the reason for their brake up. Apparently it was, because of Amber's military career. Mattie didn't want to deal with the long hours, the sudden deployments, and the many other factors of being with a military member. It brought back the conversation that Emmett told me about when he and Amber were drinking and hanging out not to long ago. Amber's job and her past relationship with this Mattie are some of the of the main reasons why she doesn't want to date.
When Amber finally becomes mine I know without a doubt that I would never let her go, especially over something as insignificant as her job. Though I'm dreading any of the complications and distance that her job brings I know that she's worth it.
I was shocked to hear that the reason Amber came to the game even though she really should have been in bed was because she was on the Fairchild Hockey team awhile back, and she wanted to show her support for her former teammates.
As I parked my car and I slowly made my way into the house as I wondered if my mate had any of her old jerseys. Maybe I would be able to wear one someday.
I just didn't realize that I would soon be wearing her old jersey and hardly anything else.