I bit my lip a little too hard but hardly noticed, as my hands tried to find a decent grip on the ragged rocks below me. My feet were slowly sliding behind me and I didn't have time to look for the absolute right spot.
That's what I get for being a perfectionist.
As soon as I saw that amazing view, over the blue ocean, I knew that it would fit right in with the book I was currently compiling. With this shot, I could start considering an editor and get my photographs published for the rest of the world to see.
If only I could get a better view.
This is how I found myself dangling dangerously atop a high mountain, near the Washington forests.
I could feel the weight of my bag hanging on my back, as I struggled to find a place to step that wouldn't land me on the sandy ground, with a snapped neck.
But this just wasn't my day.
"Holy crow!" I cried out, my arms flailing all around me as I toppled over the mountainside and just kept falling.
A harsh thump followed, along with a searing pain that shot up my right leg. I bit through the agony, trying to keep a horrifying scream in my throat, just in case there was anyone in the area.
Turns out I did the right thing.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" A shrill, female voice almost yelled and I pushed through the pain to look up at the stranger.
Holy fuck, she was gorgeous.
Long, flowing blonde hair, almost reaching her firm ass, big, round blue eyes set in a lovely, heart-shaped face. And she was tall as hell, too. At least a head taller than me, with legs that went on for eternity and a body to die for.
Great, just great. I finally met a beautiful woman and this is how it happened.
With me, on the ground, eyes stinging with tears of pain as I tried not to scream my lungs out.
Great, now she probably thinks I'm mental or something. I still haven't answered her.
"Yeah, I think I'm okay. Except my leg is probably broken."
Her eyes widened further and she crouched down beside me, her gaze fixed on my leg, which was definitely not bent in the way that it's supposed to.
"Wow, I think you're right." She looked behind herself for a moment, thinking. "Do you think you can walk? Or, y'know, hobble. My car is parked not too far from here and I can take you to the hospital."
I let out a stressed chuckle; she seemed more worried than I was. "I won't know until I try, right?"
Walking behind me, she put her arms under mine and helped lift me up, until I was standing on my left foot, right one bent slightly at the knee.
I hopped forward a few times, but the pressure shot pain straight through my bashed leg and I let out a small cry.
"Christ, this is bad," the gorgeous woman said, coming up close as she wrapped one arm around my back. "Put your arm around my shoulders, okay? I think that's the best we can do until we get to my car."
I did what she said and it's suddenly much easier to move, though the pain is definitely still present. I hopped along on my one good foot, the warmth of my companion so close it almost made my mouth water.
God, she's hot.
Both literally and figuratively.
But then she stopped, suddenly. Turning to look at her, I saw that she was assessing my injured leg, with scrutinizing eyes.
"I think we need to remove your shoe. Your foot is probably swelling and it'll make it less painful," she said, very clinically I might add.
"Okay." I had no idea how she knew this, but who was I to argue?
It's not like I knew better, anyway.
Telling me to stand as still as possible, she slid down my body until she was kneeling by my injury. I placed a hand on her shoulder and tried to avoid the mental picture that appeared at the sight of a gorgeous woman on her knees before me.
Ever so slowly and carefully, she unlaced my boot and removed it, until it came off with a near-silent pop. Her fingers wrapped around the laces as she held it in her left hand and returned to my side.
After another two minutes of walking, I can't keep quiet any longer.
"Hey, so, with you helping me, and all, maybe I should know your name?" I suck at flirting.
She laughed a lovely, velvet sound that flowed right through me. "That's a good point. I'm Rosalie Hale." She glanced at me with a small smile. "And you're Bella Swan."
I wondered if my mother had sewn my name into my clothing, shoes, or bag, as she used to do when I was a kid, because how else would she know something like that?
"Uh, yeah, I am," I said, unsure of what more I could possibly say.
Rosalie laughed again. "Oh, that look on your face is priceless. Don't worry, I'm not a stalker or anything, but I am a frequent customer at your mother's gallery on 3rd street. I think I've bought seven photos, so far."
Oh. "Oh," I said. "That certainly explains it. You like art?"
"I never used to and I'm still not much for paintings. But last year I happened to pass by the gallery and there was this photo in the window; it just pulled me in. I've been coming in ever since when I'm in the mood for some redecorating at home."
"What was the photo in the window?" I asked, curiosity burning deep.
"It was a middle-aged man, though you only saw him from behind, walking through a forest. Also in the picture is a large, grey wolf, bigger than I think I've ever seen. It struck me; how those two could walk so peacefully next to one another, when they should be, well, attacking instead."
I smiled, suddenly very happy. "I took that picture when I was fourteen," I said, proud of myself.
She turned to me, eyes slightly wide and a lovely smile on her red lips. "Really? Wow, that's so...wow. What's the story there?"
"Well, the man is my father; he lives here in Washington, in a small town. And the wolf is called Seth. My father rescued him on a hike, years back. Seth's paw was shattered and he couldn't walk. When he was back to full health, he just kept following my father around, even though he was let back into the wild. So, my dad kinda adopted him, I guess."
"I like that. It's certainly better than any story I've tried to come up with," she replied, smiling sweetly at me and causing my heart to stutter.
Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing if she was simply being kind, friendly, or if there really was something more, like I was hoping for.
I had the worst gaydar of any lesbian woman, without doubt.
"We're almost there," she said, and I looked ahead to see a large Humvee parked not too far away.
"That's a big car."
"I know," she giggled, also looking ahead. "It belongs to Emmett, my brother-in-law. My own car is currently in the shop, so to speak, so he let me borrow his. It's great for this type of terrain," she said, obviously talking about the mountains all around us.
"I guess that makes sense," I replied, trying to find a way to keep her talking.
But it was unnecessary.
"So, Bella Swan, what do you do when you're not out risking your life for a photograph?"
I turned and saw real curiosity in her eyes. But the question still remained; why was she interested? Again, was it kindness or more? I was going to drive myself insane with thoughts like these.
"Uh, I'm a senior at Seattle U and I work part-time at my mother's gallery," I finally said, feeling uncomfortable, suddenly. It wasn't exactly the most exciting life.
"Then you've met Alice!" she announced, a wide smile on her face as she turned to me.
I thought of the tiny, yet exuberant, girl who worked for my mother. She was a bundle of energy and I had always made sure to watch her to make sure she wasn't drinking any boosters; she definitely didn't need them - she was naturally hyper.
"Yeah, I have. How do you know her?"
"She's my niece; my sister's a good deal older than me. I was a bit late to the party and was only five when my sister was pregnant with Alice. I was the one that got her an interview with your mother."
"Wow, small world," I said, thinking of that elfish girl, who I knew was about to enter her senior year in high school.
This made Rosalie about twenty-two or twenty-three. My age. Nice.
"Here we go," she spoke, as we reached the passenger door of her borrowed vehicle.
"Maybe I should ride in the back," I said and wondered if I had imagined the way her face fell. "I'll be able to stretch out my leg and not worry about jostling it too much."
"Right, good idea," she replied, helping me into the back.
I couldn't really strap myself in, so I reached behind me and grabbed a good hold of the seatbelt, just in case. Not that I expected Rosalie to be a careless driver, but here on the mountain side there were a lot of bumps coming, before we hit the main road.
Since I couldn't see my driver from my place lying down, I listened carefully to hear what was going on. I heard her door slam shut and her seatbelt click in. Then, the key turning the ignition on and the gear shift being moved.
I pushed myself up slightly, knowing I would get car sick if I didn't look out a window while we drove. When I could just glance outside, I relaxed and waited for Rosalie to leave the small parking lot.
"Off we go," she said, turning the car around. Before we left, though, she turned to me with a smile. "And then, once you're back on your feet, I'm taking you out. How's that sound?" she asked, finishing it off with a saucy wink.
I liked the sound of that. "Sounds good," was all I croaked out, though.
How could I not be nervous around her?
I took one last look at the mountain I had recently been crawling all over and realized something; I had found the perfection I had searched for.
And her name was Rosalie Hale.