Author: lalalanerd PM
Bella is a woman in New York City with a lot of debt and a strong dislike for the "Stupid pretty boys with their stupid money and stupid jobs". Will her attitude change upon meeting the mysterious and wealthy Edward Cullen? ExBRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 27 - Words: 92,204 - Reviews: 1,906 - Favs: 1,428 - Follows: 1,608 - Updated: 01-09-09 - Published: 02-21-08 - id: 4086816
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Don't own Twilight.
Chapter One: A Day in the Life of a Fool
"No." I said, brushing him off as I continued walking.
"One moment of your time—"
"I'd really appreciate—"
"I don't give a damn what you appreciate."
"Just one comment—"
"Mr. Clemons, do you understand English?" I asked, upon reaching the door to my office, spinning around quickly with the file that was in my arms. "I said no. Go on, skidaddle." I shooed him away with a flick of my free hand, and slammed my door in his face.
This was always happening. Since my father's recent death, I took over his company. I didn't really want to, but he'd been raising me for this sole purpose, since I was fourteen. I mean, what did my life goals and plans matter. This was the family business, one everyone in my father's half of the family had sold their soul to for at least a hundred years.
You see, my father had two businesses. One was the newspaper, and the other was a sort of loan business that controlled other businesses through financial means. Kind of like the mob, only this was legal. At least I think it was. Or it had been, once.
Anyway, it collapsed and went into bankruptcy, and I had inherited all the massive debts it had. With that kind of business, if you suck at managing your business, you get into a lot of debt. So my father had had a lot of debt that I was now supposed to be paying off, on top of managing a ruddy newspaper that nobody read.
At least, that's what it seemed like to me.
It's all really very simple.
Money is power. Power is respect. Respect is what you need to do whatever the hell you want.
Well…almost whatever you want.
Whatever you want, within reason.
Strange. My father had always told me that exact phrase, and here I was with no money, limited power, and zero respect.
Great job, Daddy-o. Nice to see you thought that one through all the way…
Since his death a few months ago, I was in the middle of selling the paper and finding a new job, a real job.
I'd gone to college for journalism, changing my major from culinary as soon as my father got sick. I knew it was coming. It'd taken him three years to kick it, but I'd made sure I was ready. Charles Swan had worked his whole life to repay his adoptive parents for their generosity, and it was his hard work that killed him.
He didn't die in some dramatic city death or anything. With all the long hours he pulled, he was overly stressed and developed a heart condition along with several ulcers. He had several strokes in succession over the past three years, and the last one killed him.
I sighed heavily, and placed down the file I'd had in my arms. I'd get to that later. What I needed right now was time to go over my article.
My father's newspaper, had employed me right out of college. I enjoyed writing, but not as much as I'd loved cooking. I'd had it in me to be the top chef in New York City. But all dreams come to an end. In the end, you wake up and realize it was only a dream.
And I'd learned since my not so hostile takeover, that everybody employed by this newspaper sucked at writing. I'm not conceited, but my writing was the only decent part of the newspaper, and probably the only reason why it was still being read. Which is kind of sad, because I never thought I was anything special.
So being the paper's editor was borderline painful.
I hit the button on my desk that buzzed to my secretary.
"Robb, is the paper set for tomorrow?"
"All set and ready to print, waiting on Clemons' story, though." He said with a sigh. "When are you going to can him? He always holds you up."
"Tell him to have his story on my desk by the time I get here in the morning or he's fired." I said, pinching the bridge of my nose.
I checked the clock, and saw that it was six thirty already. And I hadn't gotten any work done. How did time fly so quickly? No wonder my father killed himself working too hard. By the time you realize you've done nothing, you have to make up for it pulling long hours…
Long hours that I hated. Charlie had more debts than there were minutes in the day. And I was stuck paying them off, because he was a lousy businessman.
So currently I was working three jobs. I often slept in my office at the paper, before waitressing / bartending at a chic hotel ballroom downtown and managing a flower shop my mother's family owned on weekends. I was getting rid of the paper, but I wanted to keep the flower shop. It was cute, and an escape. And since it was run by my mother's family, it wasn't in any sort of financial trouble.
Imagine that, a woman knowing how to run a business. How unsurprising, that my mother managed her business better than my father.
Well…it was my father. He was the most scatterbrained individual ever on the face of the planet.
Alas, I digress.
I changed clothes in my office, as I usually did, and put my hair up in a bun.
On to job number two…
With my old wool peacoat, that I'd had since high school, over my night's attire, I took the bus to the hotel where I worked as a waitress for the dining hall tonight.
I hated waitressing. I liked bartending better. It was more entertaining, and slightly more dignified. I'd originally applied to the hotel as a cook, but they wanted a degree for that. Well, I had a degree…why couldn't journalists cook?
So I was stuck waitressing in this way to expensive place.
I wish my life were like the movies. Things would be much easier. I wouldn't have to deal with all this crap, and I could just sit and wait for my prince charming to come, and whisk me away to a magical place with no problems…
Wow. I sounded delusional. Who was I kidding? I was twenty two, single, a workaholic, and living out of my office because I couldn't afford to pay my electric bill at my apartment. Or my water bill. Or my gas bill…or my rent. Currently, I showered at my mother's apartment every day, and I was also in the middle of moving back with her.
So much for independence.
Time to get back in the game. No time for daydreaming.
I entered the kitchen through the side door, as usual, and took off my jacket, before adjusting the funky little bowtie we were forced to wear with the dress shirt and vest.
I hated these elitist social gatherings. All they did was remind me of how in debt I was, as stiff old men and snobby old women flashed their money around carelessly.
Funny. Tonight's gathering was a gala with several prominent figures in the world of journalism speaking. And here I was, waiting tables instead of sitting at them.
But it was good money. The people here gave very generous tips, especially if you smiled nicely and flirted a little. If I didn't have my father's debts to pay off, I could get away with working just this job to get by.
Of course, it wasn't that simple. I had three jobs, and a lot of debt.
Taking the tray of hors d'eurves, I worked the room, hearing snippets of elitist conversation, concerning the national gold standard, the stock market, and something about how the Camerons had unleashed a loose cannon of a daughter on society.
I passed a group, and wished I hadn't. I recognized a tall man having drinks with other men of his age group.
"…excuse me, Bella?" he said, cutting off his conversation completely to address me.
"Oh, hello Jacob." I said, forcing a smile. He was nice enough, we'd grown up together, but he now had a job with his father's law firm, one of the best in the city. He was too tall, I believe his heritage was Quileute Native American, and looked like a linebacker, not a lawyer.
"What are you doing here? I thought you left town…"
"Nope. Still here. Waiting tables."
"I thought you had a journalism degree."
"I do. I work for the paper. My father's."
"Oh." He said, taking several of the hors d'eurves off of the tray and munching them while I was stuck holding the heavy thing. "So what are you up to these days?"
"Selling the paper. Trying to find a real job. The works."
"That bad, huh?"
"No, I just like poverty." I said sarcastically. I didn't care that I was being mean to him. He'd changed a lot since he went to Harvard. He wasn't my childhood friend anymore, so why should I try and be nice? "If you'll excuse me, I have food to serve."
"Good luck." He said absently, before turning back to his boring friends.
"Who was that?" one asked, as I walked away.
"Bella Swan. Her father owns the East Side Herald. Or he did, until he died a few months ago."
"Oh, so she's a nobody." Another one of the men said, and they all started laughing. I gritted my teeth, and kept walking. Stupid pretty boys with their stupid money and their stupid jobs…
"A pretty good looking nobody. It's a shame."
Correction: Stupid horny pretty boys with their stupid money and their stupid jobs…
Why, oh why did I have so much debt!
Yeah. I was exhausted. These days, there wasn't enough caffeine in the world to wake me up.
I was aware that I was overworking myself. I was aware that I was rapidly losing weight I really shouldn't be losing, due to exhaustion and not enough to eat because I'm poor. I was aware that if I kept this up, I'd probably develop an ulcer (my father had had several by the time of his death) within the year. But I didn't really have a choice.
I was walking out to the bus stop and taking my hair down when I noticed someone familiar waiting on the corner.
Why oh why was Jacob Black waiting for me?
"Bella! Good, you're still here. I wasn't sure which way you went home." He said, walking with me as I walked the two blocks to the bus stop.
"What do you want, Jacob?" I sighed, not in the mood for this.
"Wait three hours and look on every street corner. It's called Starbucks to us commoners."
"No…" he laughed, easily keeping stride with my fast paced, leave-me-alone walk. "Would you like to get together for coffee sometime? You know, catch up…"
"If I had time to go out for coffee, then maybe I wouldn't have all these problems." I snapped, stopping at the corner. "No. The answer is no. I will not go out with you for coffee, I do not have time for you to follow me around like a lost puppy, thinking I'd actually date you, I do not have time to even be talking to you right now. I have a bus to catch."
I probably shouldn't have been so harsh, but I was irritated. And he was rich. And I was not. And I had better things to do…
"Oh…well…see you around, Bells."
…cue the dejection in his voice, and the kind of morose shuffle away…
I sighed, not even turning around as he left, and my bus pulled up. I felt kind of bad. He was only trying to be nice, and we had been best friends once…you know, when I had time for friends.
He didn't even know I was in debt, I guessed. Or rather, he didn't know how badly I was in debt.
I got off at my apartment, where I was slowly moving out day by day, and found all my stuff out in the hallway. At least, all the stuff I'd left, which wasn't a lot. There was a note on the door.
"Miss Swan, in response to your inability to pay the following, you have been evicted." It read, with a list of all the bills I hadn't paid. I tried to open the door with my key, and found that they'd changed the locks.
"Oh, come on!" I shouted, banging on the door.
I slid down the door to sit on the floor, defeated. Now I was homeless. Not only was I in debt, I was homeless.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid." I muttered, banging my head on the door as I sat there, wondering what to do. I didn't have much of a choice. I had to get my stuff out of here, and my mother had guests this week…so I couldn't put my stuff there…
Scrounging for change, I went to the payphone to call a cab, and waited.
Cab drivers in New York City are mean. And grumpy.
Especially at…two forty five in the morning.
I bullied the one that came for me into helping me get all my stuff in the cab, using the trunk, the front seat, and the squishing myself against the car door to do so. And still made several trips back and forth to my office, where I would now really be living out of.
I paid the man with money I couldn't spare, and checked my watch. Four forty five. It had taken two hours to move the rest of my stuff into my office, two hours where I would normally be sleeping.
At least Clemons' story was sitting on my desk, ready for print.
I didn't bother reading it, I was too tired, and took it with me as I went to the printing room.
Might as well start the day…who needs sleep anyway?