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After Office Hours

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Rosalie Hale was totally fucked. Which was not a feeling she was familiar with. Rosalie Hale thought herself as poised, well-mannered, charming, reserved, proud, and a wonderful collection of other positive attributes. And those children at high school who called me aloof, cold, bitchy, mean, and a “thot” (whatever that means) were wrong and they should eat shit and die.

 

But for now, Rosalie Hale was totally fucked. In about five seconds, the sun will light up her face like a solar panel in the middle of the desert. What the fuck, Alice? What was the point of having a psychic sister if she couldn’t pick up her phone and give you a ring to let you know not to stand in the middle of the fucking central quad of Cornell University when the clouds are rapidly clearing.

 

Four seconds.

 

Surely Alice wouldn’t withhold this critical weather update out of malice. After all, when Rosalie had announced to her family that she was temporarily leaving the coven to explore her own path, Alice had been surprisingly supportive. She had expected Alice to beg Rosalie to stay, to call her selfish for leaving the family that was so sacred to her, but Alice defended her decision. In hindsight, it made Rosalie’s eyes narrow in suspicion—she must have seen something that made her want Rosalie to pursue this new journey.

 

Emmett, of course, was devastated, and she, too, felt upset about leaving her best friend behind. But she assured him it was just for the next four years so she could get a new undergraduate degree. Her “twin,” Jasper, had simply nodded at her announcement, murmuring a quiet suggestion to take an American Civil War history course. Edward seemed grateful to be rid of her, asshole, not that his opinion mattered, as her brother was completely irrelevant to her. She still hadn’t forgiven him for attempting to date that measly human girl five years ago and forcing them all to leave Washington.

 

She had been the most nervous about the reactions of her “parents.” Carlisle, of course, supported her interest in academia, stuffy scholar that he was. Esme was distraught but understood her daughter’s need to make a space for herself. Back in the early 20th century, while Edward and Carlisle were off frolicking with their medical degrees and pursuing their scholarly dreams, it was unusual for women to receive higher education training without the expectation of finding a husband at the end. By the time Rosalie could control her bloodlust in the early 1950s, she had enrolled in a Seven Sisters college to pursue a degree in chemistry. She graduated, but with a warning from her professors: men might find her intellect too intimidating. Good—I have more smarts in my pinky than they have in their whole bodies. She attended a larger university in the 1970s, this time for mechanical engineering. Rosalie timed her attendance with the “counter-culture” from the 1960s and the rise of the women’s liberation movement in an attempt to avoid the sexist environment of her first college. As it turned out, men understood the women’s liberation movement as a sexual liberation movement, and while Rosalie supported the women who went in that direction—their bodies, their choices, of course—if one more man told her she was being a bad feminist for refusing to suck his dick, she was going to go on a mass murder spree. So yes, Esme entirely understood why Rosalie was going for a third time to obtain another college degree. Fucking patriarchy.

 

Three seconds.

 

Rosalie was standing across from Professor James C. Brann, professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Cornell. The older man was blathering away about Being-in-the-World, when in reality it looked like he hadn’t been “Being” in a long time: the man was thin and frail, with whiskers emerging below (and inside?) his nose, receding hairline bursting into a shock of white hair that stuck straight up. He was gesticulating wildly, his wire-rimmed glasses shaking this way and that with every motion. The poor man’s heart would surely stop upon seeing her skin sparkle like a thousand diamonds.

 

Professor Brann was assigned to be her freshman academic advisor. She had applied to Cornell with an interest in the humanities. In all honesty, she had no interest in humanities or humanists—or humans at all, really. Rosalie liked engineering. Rosalie liked medicine. Rosalie liked science. Rosalie did not like some trivial pursuit of speculative thoughts about culture and the like. But she wanted to try something new, something that supposedly would challenge her superior critical thinking skills, and make her more in-the-World.

 

Two seconds.

 

Rosalie contemplated whether or not she could fake a fainting spell, citing the heat of late August, or the unbearable prating of Professor Brann. She could shove her hands in her pockets to hide them from the sun and strategically faceplant to hide her exposed face. Ideally, then, she hoped that the students and faculty who filled the quad would take her to be dead and leave her corpse where it was until the sun came down. That was reasonable, right? Humans were idiots.

 

Rosalie wonders what the protocol is for exposing oneself to a hundred or so humans in the middle of a university. The Volturi would surely kill her, that much was a given, but what about those she exposed herself to? Would she be the singular reason why all these students and professors were hunted down and killed? But surely that would bring even more attention to the situation, making the Volturi’s job even worse. She can already picture the headline now: “mass murder at Ivy League, FBI flabbergasted, POTUS to make memorial speech, parents riot.” I mean, really, vampire exposure must happen all the time, Rosalie reassures herself, there must be some better protocol for this sort of situation. Maybe I won’t doom all these people.

 

One second.

 

Rosalie Hale is totally fucked. For all her wildly spinning thoughts, she is now totally stunned into inaction and silence as she sees the sunshine rapidly crossing the grass toward her, merely a few feet away. Professor Brann was droning on. Another professor was teaching her class outside. Some students were lounging on the quad while others swiftly walked to class. A group of athletes was informally practicing with their lacrosse sticks. And here she was, about to light up like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center that her father had taken her to a hundred years ago. I can’t believe I’m going to die listening to a man give me an unsolicited introduction to philosophy. Rosalie slammed her eyes shut, not wanting to see the shock splash across the faces of the humans around her. The ringing in her ears caused by her internal panic prevented her from hearing the purposeful patter of shoes racing across the quad, until suddenly:

 

THWUMP. A black umbrella opened up over her head, blocking the sun that had just reached her spot on the quad, saving her.

 

“Wow, this sun is something else, eh Jim? Really just sets my skin alight.”

 

Rosalie’s eyes flew open, mouth slightly agape, and turned to her savior. Holy shit, it can’t be…

 

“My dear Isabella Swan!” Professor Brann exclaimed loudly.