It was already dark when Rose finished up at the auto repair shop. She wiped the grease and grime from her hands before fishing her phone out of her pocket. She had one text, from her brother, Jasper. He was confirming that he had picked up Abigail from school. Thank goodness, she thought as she quickly shot him back a text confirming that she had just finished at work and that she would come to pick up Abigail soon.
It was Abigail’s 5th birthday in a month, and then Christmas two months after that. Subsequently, Rose has been working longer hours so that she can afford a proper birthday and Christmas for her little girl.
She hadn’t heard from her ex-husband, Royce in months. He sends the bare minimum in child support. No doubt he wouldn’t show up for Abby’s birthday and neither of the two of them was invited to the King’s for Christmas, not that Rosalie would want to go anyway. Abby missed her dad, however. The little girl missed the little presents her daddy would give her, she missed the kisses he would give her when he got home and sitting with him at night as they read together.
Abby deserved the world and now that Rose was a single mum, it became harder and harder to provide the life they once had. Royce’s family was rich, and as such, they were used to living in a big house with every amenity available to man. Now Rose and Abigail lived in a small apartment just outside of Boston, pushing to make ends meet and pay their bills.
“You heading off Rose?”
A voice broke her from her thoughts. She looked up to see her friend and coworker, Jacob calling at her from across the shop.
“Yeah, yeah. Just lost in my thoughts.” She responded, sticking her tongue out at him and tossing her dirty rag at his face.
He caught it easily with a chuckle, “Go get that little angel of yours, enjoy your weekend off.”
Abigail was a charmer and had captured Jacob’s heart in the few occasions that Rose had brought her to the shop. Rose smirked at the tan-skinned man, before quickly saying goodbye and walked off to change out of her work clothes.
Suddenly Rose was enveloped in a tight hug, her daughter’s curly blond head pressing into her belly with her skinny arms locked in a vice around Rosalie.
Rose chuckled, catching Jasper’s eye from across the room before scooping her daughter into her arms and walking over to her twin.
“Hey baby, how was school?”
“Good mummy, today we did maths and it was really hard.”
“Well, she certainly doesn’t get that from her mother. You were always good at maths and science, Rose.” Jasper said, kissing his sister on the check before ruffling his niece’s hair. “Ok Abby, do you want to go get your things packed up? I’ve got to talk to your mummy.”
The girl smiled up at them, before wriggling to be put down. Rosalie complied and the little girl quickly ran from the room in a rush.
“How was work?” Jasper asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Long and hard, but it’s good. Jacob’s got me doing more hands-on work which I’m happy about.”
“Well tonight you are relaxing and coming out with Alice and me I. We’ve booked a table at il Cuoco and I’ve organised a babysitter to mind Abby.”
“Jazz-“ Rose interrupted exasperated, puffing out a breath of air. “I don’t want to go out, I just want to go home.”
Jasper chuckled before slinging his arm over his twin's shoulder, pulling her close.
“Too bad, Rosie. Everything's all booked and confirmed. Plus, I’ve invited a mate from work who is very excited to meet you.”
Rosalie groaned and pushed her face into her brother’s chest. For the past six months Jasper and his girlfriend Alice had been playing matchmaker. Rose had been set up on no short than 10 bad dates. It was getting ridiculous at this point.
Jasper laughed, pulling his sister into a tight hug before continuing- “This ones a good one, Rose. His name is Emmett and he’s a good guy. He’s funny and hardworking.” He tussled Rose’s hair just like he had tussled Abigail’s hair moments before. “The bookings at 7 and I’ll text you the address. Babysitters coming at 6:30.” He looked at his sister, smiling at her. “You need a night off Rose, loosen up and live a little.”
Rosalie snorted at that before playfully punching Jasper in the arm. “I guess I’ll see you at 7 then.”
Il Cuoco was a homely Italian restaurant about half an hour from Rose’s apartment. Once she parked her car and headed into the restaurant she quickly spotted Jazz and Alice sitting at a table near the far wall. There were two empty seats at the table, signalling that Rosalie’s date had not arrived yet. Rose removed her jacket before embracing Alice, who eagerly hugged her back.
“Rosie! I’m so glad you came. I’ve missed you so much.” Alice exclaimed in her high shrill voice. Alice was always excitable and always in a cheery mood. It made Rose laugh just thinking about it. She and Jasper were both rather introverted whereas Alice was one of the most extroverted people she knew. They were very different but the two girls were friends of sorts.
“If you keep hold of her like that Ally, you might suffocate Rose.” Jasper said as he smiled at the two of them.
“Careful Jasper, I might steal your girlfriend away. She surely likes me better.” Rose joked as she sat down next to Alice. Alice giggled at that.
“Don’t worry Rose, I told Alice to be on her best behaviour and not embarrass you.” Jasper teased and was rewarded with a quick kick to the shin by Alice.
Alice turned to face Rose again, chatting easily, inquiring about her work and Abigail settling into a casual conversation.
Jasper stood suddenly, looking behind the girls to the front of the restaurant, smiling.
“Emmett, glad you could make it.” He exclaimed. Rose turned around to look at the man, quickly spotting the hulking figure moving towards them. He was tall, taller than Jasper and stocky. He wore a crisp button-up shirt and jeans, sitting low on his hips. Rose blushed slightly, cursing herself for so obviously checking out the man. He was incredibly attractive, with dark curly hair and blue eyes. But best of all, when he smiled his entire face lit up and revealed a set of adorable dimples.
He walked over, shaking Jasper’s hand quickly before gazing at Rose. She shivered slightly in anticipation before standing to greet him.
“Hi, I’m Emmett. You must be Rosalie. It’s lovely to meet you.”
Rose smiled before responding - “A pleasure to meet you too Emmett, but please call me Rose.”
He smiled at her, dimples showing as he sat down across from her.
“So you work with Jasper?” Rosalie asked, sipping at her wine. She flicked her eyes over to her brother, who had obviously caught her staring at the taller man and smirked at her.
“Yeah, we’ve recently been working together. Technically I’ve taken him under my wing, I am more experienced after all.” Jasper chuckled at that.
“How long had you been a paramedic, Emmett?” Alice asked.
“Well, I started at 21 so it about seven years now.”
Ok, so he’s not much older than me, Rose thought. Only two years difference, I can make that work.
“But enough about me. What about you, Rose? What do you do for work?”
Rose shifted in her seat, suddenly nervous. She loved attention usually but now she was nervous. Why was she so nervous?
“I’m a mechanic, not fully qualified really but I’ve been doing a lot of work to improve.”
She gazed up at Emmett. He was smiling brightly at her, it calmed her. Usually, guys felt intimidated by her choice of work, seeing it as to ‘manly’ a job. They usually also ran as soon as they found out she had a kid.
“That’s cool. So if I ever break down in the middle of nowhere, I’ll call you.” Emmett joked, catching her gaze again.
Rose chuckled slightly, “I’m sure I could help with that.”
The waiter then came over then to take their order.
Dinner passed without a hitch and Rosalie learnt a great deal about her date. She learnt that he grew up in Washington before travelling across the country to study paramedicine. He had a younger brother. He was a gym junkie which explained the muscles.
When the meal was done, Alice and Jasper made themselves scarce, allowing Rose and Emmett to be alone for a moment. Emmett walked Rose to her car, the BMW was a gift from Royce just after they had gotten married. It was a beautiful car, if not a bit old now.
Rose leaned on the car, casual and friendly. She liked Emmett, and he seemed genuinely interested in her.
“Pass me your phone.” She ordered lightly. He gave it to her and she swiftly put her contact information in before handing the phone back. He grinned at her, shovelling his phone back in his pockets. “Call me sometime, I’d love to get to know you without my brother sitting right next to us.”
Emmett laughed before moving to kiss her cheek goodbye. His lips were soft and warm on her skin, even with the brief embrace. Rosalie almost felt like a teenager again, her belly fluttering with butterflies.
“It was really lovely meeting you, Rose. You’ll hear from me before the weeks out.” He walked away then with one final glance over his shoulder.
Rosalie all but scrambled into her car, slumping down into her chair with a goofy grin plastered on her face. She had a text from Alice, a slew of pink love heart emojis. Rolling her eyes, Rose threw her phone on her passenger seat before backing out of her car-spot and driving home.