|Elevators, Blackouts, and Strangers
Author: Emmeline Rose PM
Bella Swan is a successful editor at The New York Times, and her life is only getting better. But when she gets stuck in an elevator during a summer blackout with a mysterious stanger, everything gets complicated.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Bella & Alice - Chapters: 15 - Words: 80,034 - Reviews: 672 - Favs: 446 - Follows: 578 - Updated: 08-01-09 - Published: 09-20-08 - id: 4549875
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters.
Elevators, Blackouts, and Strangers
Chapter 1- Sound, Sight, and Words
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP! BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
I groaned as my obnoxious, yet effective, alarm startled me awake. Rolling over on my bed that was empty besides my pillows, sheets and myself, my hand flung onto my nightstand, and smacked it a few times, searching for the alarm clock, then more precisely, the snooze button. Upon remembering that this alarm clock was new, a gift from Alice that did not actually have a snooze button, I reluctantly swung my legs over my light blue sheets, letting my feet touch the floor as I rubbed my eyes. My fingers found the dismiss button, and my ears revelled in the silence. Forbidding myself to fall back asleep, I stood, too quickly, making myself dizzy. Steadying myself, I checked to make sure I was still fully dressed in my girl boxers and ribbed, white tank top before creeping into the rest of the apartment.
Tiptoeing on the maple floor so as not to wake my two roomates, Alice and Rosalie, I headed toward the miniscule kitchen. Slipping through the open wall and past the refridgerator, I found the coffee maker that already had grounds and water inside, and flipped on the switch, making it bubble to life. Sneaking back into my room, I grabbed my clothes from our joint, ridiculously large closet that led to each of our rooms, and headed into the bathroom. Sure, many people thought it was ridiculous that we all used the same, walk-in closet, and had plenty of room, but our bathroom, though it had three sinks, was barely adequete for three girls in their early twenties.
Dropping my clean clothes on the counter beside my sink that was the farthest right, I hung my fluffy pink towel over the shower door and twisted the knob allowing water to gush into the shower. Kicking off my clothes, I enveloped the room with clouding steam. The hot water pounded against my back, reddening my pale skin, and rinsing away the last of my grogginess. Because I was the only one of us that had a typical nine-to-five job Monday through Friday job, I was also the only person who had to wake up at six in the morning. I gave myself about an hour to shower, dry my hair, put on the touches of mascara and lip gloss, dress, another to pour coffee into a Thermos, search for my keys that were in my purse the entire time, grab some breakfast, grab my briefcase, and say 'good morning' to Alice who had her alarm set to the time when I left in the morning, eight am. Another hour was allotted to walk the two blocks to the subway station, and to get to the office about half an hour later, and a half an hour before the elevators became crowded with employees.
Sliding on my black, pencil skirt and throwing a metallic, silver blouse over my head, I watched myself in the mirror, thinking about how to adjust my hair. Clicking the curling iron on to heat, I pulled my black tights over my hips, and slid into my favorite white ballet flats that were made formal by white lace. I curled the ends of my hair, and threw it up into a ponytail, leaving my over-grown side bangs hanging free to my jawline. Without the need for a coat in the summer heat of New York City, I instead slid on my black-rimmed reading glasses that I insisted on wearing to the office to give me more of a professional look, and less of a 'please flirt with me even though we both know you are married' look. Long story. Sipping from my Thermos of Italian roast coffee, I snatched an apple from the kitchen table, and slid my purse over my shoulder, dropped my apple into it, and held my briefcase with my one free hand.
As I made my way to the front door of the apartment, I heard another bedroom door click open and saw a very tired, and slightly hungover Alice emerge from the room. She wore a white tank top to sleep in as I had, but in the heat had just worn her hot pink Victoria's Secret panties instead. We had air conditioning, but it never seemed to be cold enough to wear even the thinnest of pajamas.
"Morning Alice." I greeted her as she rubbed her eyes.
"Huh? Oh, hi Bella." Normally she was a morning person, but the exception was when alcohol was involved the night before. Rosalie had invited her to this party that I had refused to attend, and had returned late last night with a stumbling Alice. Rose always forgot that she could hold her liquor a lot better than the tiny Alice could. Even if she had remembered, she probably would not have stopped her. In truth, Alice was quite amusing when drunk, and often ended up singing karaoke very loudly with her high pitched voice. This would not be abnormal except for the fact that we never went to karaoke bars.
"Coffee's ready, and there's Tylenol in the medicine cabinet. Bye Alice." I said before I shut the door behind me.
"Thanks." Poor girl. Knowing Rosalie, she would wake up looking fantastic, and without even the barest hint of having drank the night before. Maybe the term 'blondes have more fun' was because for some reason, there was an aversion to hangovers that came with the lightness of her hair. It would not matter if I were blonde, brunette, or even red-head, I never drank anything heavier than wine or beer on an average night, risking only a martini when I was only with Alice, not Rose. I loved Rose, but she was more adventurous than I was.
The shops down the street from our Columbus Circle apartment were just opening, and the few store owners I knew gave me a friendly wave, not out of friendliness, but of all the money I had spent during the six years we lived there. The three of us were from a small town in Washington called Forks, where rain and clouds were consistent, and moss grew on the trees in the many forests. We were friends for as long as we were alive, and had even gone to college together. Though we loved Forks, universities, careers, and adolescence called us to NYU, and later on to live in the heart of Manhattan.
The three of us were lucky enough to have scored a three bedroom apartment in Columbus Circle for a very low rent due to a typo in the ad. We had signed up with an online rental application site, and were the first ones to hear about an apartment that would normally be four thousand dollars a month had been mis-typed to be only four hundred a month. Due to the rent control laws in New York, the renter was not allowed to raise the rent after we applied for it. I did not feel guilty about it though, for the building was huge and the owners were in the same social class as Donald Trump--utterly worthy of being taken advantage of in our views.
Sitting on the rumbling, relatively clean subway seat as it raced me to my office, I bit into the sour green apple, and sipped my coffee. I worked at The New York Times as a junior editor. Basically that meant I reviewed some of the hundreds of columns that were written by the people who one day wanted to publish their columns into the newspaper, fixed and edited them, and the few of them that were good enough were published. Only the sad part was was that I was not the only junior editor, in fact, there were tens of them. Only a few of the articles or columns I have edited were worthy of the New York Times, and they were of course cut out and scrap-booked by Alice. My boss told me, however, I had great potential, and that someday soon the time would come when I would get assigned a permanent column to edit every week. Well, someday soon had turned into one year. I had been working there for two.
My professors at NYU pulled some strings and got me the interview for this dissapointing, yet still my dream, job, and though posh as the office was with sleek decor seen mostly in fashion magazine offices was still serious and was a place only for serious writers and editors. Did I want to become Editor in Cheif one day? Maybe, but that would have to wait. The pay was terrible now, and thank goodness my friends also had incomes, small as they were.
Rosalie had chosen to become a model/spokesperson/waitress. Specifically, a waitress at one of the swankiest restaurants in Manhattan. With her good looks and uncanny memory and ability to get orders correct, she was instantly hired. With the outrageous prices, there were outrageous tips, especially from the gentlemen she served. She shamelessly wore low-cut, yet still appropriate, shirts, which had exponentially increased her tips. Often she used this as an excuse to go shopping with Alice.
"I am shopping for work clothes, it's practically a tax deduction." Rose would say. Though it was true, between the high tips grossed by the waitresses at that restaurant anyway and her modelesque appearance, she was by far the richest waitress I had ever heard of. And then there were her modeling gigs. Though they were rare, maybe three a week, she could easily be paid a few hundred dollars for a few hours while in her favorite place--the camera lens.
Alice was an up and coming fashion designer, and was currently interning at Vogue. She had been promoted from office work to freelance design, which meant that Alice worked her ass off all week to have maybe a design or concept chosen. There was very little in common with Alice's work and mine, but what there was in common was that of how much we worked and how little was noticed. Of course, that did not phase Alice. One of the things I loved most about her was that she never gave up. Not that I would let her, her designs were incredible. She could draw anything from a ballgown to street wear, and avant garde couture to lingerie. Whenever her bosses liked one of her pieces, she would sew her fingers to the bone to make the sketches come to life in fabric, and casually use Rose as a model.
In fact, thanks to Alice, Rosalie had a job about once or twice a month garaunteed. Vogue told them that if Alice were to become an official designer they would pay Rosalie for her should she want her as a model. I hoped that this would one day happen, for they were both perfect at what they did, and worked so hard that they deserved it more than anyone. I may have been a little biassed, but I did not care. In my fantasies, they got everything they ever wanted. As for me, I got promoted as well, but could not see anything else besides that. Right now, work was my only priority.
I had not always been a workaholic, only as long as my love life had diminished into dry, sometimes repulsive even, dates on Saturday nights. Lately, Rosalie, Alice and I had given up on dating, and instead spent Saturday evenings huddled under a blanket with 97 fat free microwave popcorn, diet Pepsi, and a chick flick or old movie. Usually we would do each other's toes and fingernails, and would talk about the most random things, like the expression 'dead as a door nail'. If door nails were never alive, how could they be alive? We always blamed these thoughts on the Pepsi. There had to be some kind of chemical that we ingested on those Saturday nights that would make our minds completely free of any normality.
Stepping into the humid air, I rushed toward the towering, glass building of The New York Times, eager to escape the spongy heat that felt like a moist sponge that had been soaking warm water and then thrown in your face. Not that I knew what that felt like, but the metaphor seemed accurate when talking to Charlie on the phone. Renee understood, of course, living with Phil in Florida.
Making my way into the cool lobby, I said 'hi' to the familiar security guard, and clicked the button labeled 13 in the elevator. The elevators were lined against an outer wall, and had walls of glass on two sides, allowing a beautiful view of New York in the summertime. The white marble floor echoed my footsteps, and was always somewhat embarrassed when wearing heels, but often was forced to by my friends, or by the lack of formal flats. Due to my early arrival, I was alone in the small space. I leaned against the round, metal railing and let the cold steel cool my sweating palms. It was only the morning, and already I was sweating.
I made my way to my little gray cubicle that had various articles and schedules and phone numbers tacked onto the walls. I slid into the black leather swivel chair, and taped a post-it note onto my lunch that I had snagged from the fridge that morning in the apartment, and labeled it as mine. I put it into the mini fridge in the office kitchen when I heard my phone ring. I jogged over to my desk, and answered it.
"Miss Swan, this is Angela Weber." Angela was my boss, and possibly one of the nicest people I had ever met. It was rare that both of these things were included in one person.
"Good morning, Miss Weber, how are you?" I asked politely, wondering why she was calling me, and not her secretary, Jessica Stanley, who was also the biggest office gossip of the century. Literally.
"Very well, and yourself?"
"That's great, well I think you are going to feel even better soon."
"Um, why?" I asked, keeping my voice formal and polite.
"I would like to tell you in person, if that is alright."
"Yes, of course."
"Alright, can you stop by my office in about...ten minutes?"
"Great, see you then."
"See you then. Bye." We exchanged goodbyes, and I hung up the phone, wondering what the reason for this was. She did not seem upset with me, but I could not be sure. Whatever it was, it was certainly important. I did not bother setting up the rest of my things, for fear of being 'let go', and simply spun around in my chair foolishly like a child a few times when the clock read fifteen minutes to nine, the time I was supposed to see Miss Weber. I knocked on her office door, and she answered with a friendly 'come in.'
"You wanted to see me?" I said, poking my head in through the door.
"Yes. Come in please, and have a seat." She motioned with her hand toward one of the chairs before her mahogany desk. On it were organized piles of papers, and a gold plaque with her name inscribed in black. "I don't suppose you know what this is about?"
"No, I don't." Angela took one look at my widened eyes, and gave a chuckle.
"Don't be frightened, Bella, this is a good thing." I sighed, and sank into the chair as I smiled.
"I think I had too much caffeine this morning." I admitted, making her laugh.
"Well, I looked over your most recent edit, and loved it. You really worked the author, and made some spectacular out something dull." She complemented me.
"It was all the author's doing, not mine. He was very compromising. What was his name again? Oh, yes, Mike Newton." I answered myself.
"Now, don't be modest, Bella, it was really fantastic. And don't lie about Newton, I worked with him before and he can be a pain in the seat. You have done a great job, really." That made me smile and blush a little. Of course, many things made me blush.
"To be honest, I love all of your work. We have a new columnist transferring here to write the new New York Arts column, focusing on music, art, and literature in the city, and is very promising. Well, I want you to be a permanent editor, and assign you to this new column. The author is supposedly easy to work with, and should be a great start. Your new office is just down the hall, about twenty feet from your cubicle, and of course you will get a substantial raise. Substantial meaning this one you can actually live on." Angela joked.
"Really? Thank you so much! I will not let you down, I promise!" We shook hands, and left her office as if I were floating on a cloud. It took me only minutes to transfer my tiny cubicle items to the office desk, and was surprised when it still looked empty inside. The space was limited, but it had a door, and a window to the outside world that was actually the entire northern wall. A light brown corner desk cut off half of the window along the bottom four feet, and a short, white futon was lined up against the west wall, one of the armrests pushed up against a small, square table that stood before the window.
A silver, bendable lamp sat on the corner of the desk, and the gold plaque that should have been on top of it was replaced by a folded piece of cardboard with my name written on masking tape in blue Sharpie. Unofficial as it was, I loved it more than anything, and promised myself that when I would get a permanent name plaque, I would take home the cardboard for Alice to paste into her ever-growing scrapbook.
A plush, black leather chair twice the size of my old one was before the desk, and looked onto New York below. File cabinets of flimsy, thin, gray metal lined three feet of wall, and were about four feet high. A key to the locked drawers rested on the top, and found them empty of everything but blank files with stickers on which to write names. Everything I needed was there, or had been transfered from my cubicle to it. The first thing I did as the editor of the New York Arts column was not to Google my author as I should have, but called Alice instead.
"Hello?" Her chipper voice had returned, as her mild hangover had worn off already. Apparently Rosalie had taken better care of her than I gave her credit for.
"Hey Alice! It's Bella."
"Bella, hi. What's up?"
"You're not working today, right?"
"God, I hope not. It's Wednesday, right?"
"Yeah, you're fine." Alice worked only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Lucky duck.
"So...everything alright?" She asked, sort of sounding concerned. Rarely did I call her from work, normally I was too busy.
"Better than alright. Guess who's the new editor of the new New York Arts column?" I pulled the black phone away from my ear so as her scream would not deafen me. "You do know you have another roommate, Alice."
"I don't care!" She exclaimed. In the background, I heard a bang, and another voice.
"Alice! What the hell are you doing yelling at nine in the morning?" Rose. I feared for Alice's life.
"Shut up! Bella got promoted!"
"Gimme the phone! Bella? You got promoted? That's great!" Rosalie had taken command of the phone.
"Thanks! Listen, I have to go, but I will be back at the same time, and just wanted to tell you guys the good news. I'll tell you about my office later!"
"You have an office? Like an office office?" Alice squealed.
"Is there any other kind? Sorry girls, have to go. Have to work. See you two tonight. Bye!"
"Bye!" They both said simultaneously. I set the phone on the receiver, and sighed as I sank into my leather chair, and stared at the city below.
The rest of the day passed by uneventfully, as there was no real work for me to do, what with the arrival of my new author not being until tomorrow, and all there was to do was to look over my new salary and benefits from my promotion. Every time I looked at those numbers, I smiled like a schoolgirl in love. And I was in love--with hardcover books and the shoes Alice wanted for her birthday that cost a month's worth of rent. I also set up my new computer, personalized the settings, and added the best websites to my favorites. I enjoyed the day, for it was nice break from sweating over hundreds of crappy articles all day that weren't even worthy of the National Enquirer, no less The Times. I now even was at the liberty to play music with the door shut. I made a mental note to bring my iPod and my sorry excuse for iPod speakers tomorrow.
The illuminated sky mislead the time, and before I knew it it was five in the afternoon, and was heading home after a great day. I was smiling contently to myself the entire ride home, and made no effort to stop. Why should I? I might as well enjoy it before I would be swamped with work again tomorrow when the author arrived.
That night I cooked for Alice, Rosalie and myself, and fell asleep with a smile for the first time in a very long time. I just hoped that my happiness would not be balanced out with additional stress the next day. Oh well, I would just make a post it note of my new salary to calm me down, that would be sure to help. Just think about Alice's birthday gift, I told myself. It was always difficult buying gifts for my friends without going bankrupt, and this year I could finally make up for last year's impersonal lotions and soaps from Bath and Body Works for Christmas. They loved them, of course, but they were painfully generic. This year was going to be the hottest shoes in a size six and an iPod Touch for Rose. An inside joke; she always wanted to touch things, whether we be at a museum, or at a bar, her fingers craved for touch. She was never embarrassed by it, but strangely, I was.
I told my friends about my new job, and went to bed at ten last night. Snuggling into my lavender-scented sheets, I slept soundly until my alarm blared once more. Tomorrow morning, however, would be different. Tomorrow, I would meet the person I would be editing. Tomorrow, I would begin the first full day of a window office and a respectable title.
All I could do was sleep, and invision what sort of 'art' I would be reading about; art in sound, sight, or words.