Author: Lalina PM
Bella chances upon Edward in a chat room and despite the distance they begin to fall in love. But what secrets is Edward hiding and can they overcome the obstacles standing between them? AH BxE Rated MRated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 33 - Words: 153,050 - Reviews: 2,263 - Favs: 2,338 - Follows: 727 - Updated: 10-31-09 - Published: 02-16-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4869538
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Dear Translators: Thank you for your interest but I am not interested in having my stories translated. No offense meant. I had issues in the past with translations when I allowed them, and I would just prefer not to deal with the hassle of trying to keep track of my stories.
WARNING: This story contains graphic content not suitable for those under the age of 18
Twilight = Not mine
My alarm went off and groaning I rolled over to hit snooze. Just five more minutes I told myself, even though fifteen to twenty minutes would be more like it. I snuggled down into my bed and tried to ignore my beeping alarm. Realizing I wasn't going to get any real sleep this way I sighed and rolled out of bed.
Stupid Christmas week, I thought to myself. Besides spring break it was the worst time to be a travel agent. Everyone called expecting amazing last minute deals when in reality, most of the inclusive trips and airfare had been sold out long since. Occasionally there would be a cancellation, or a Tour Operator would release new space, but this close to the holidays there was nothing.
Try letting clients know that! Everyone expected me to pull something out of my ass and when I did have something to offer, they complained about the price. Damn tire kickers. They were the worst type of clients. They squeezed every dime out of you by using other travel agents against you and then with the invent of travel websites? Don't even get me started. No one seemed to realize prices listed were usually set for specific dates and didn't include taxes.
Sighing I walked into the bathroom and wondered why the hell I stayed at this job. I was all set to go to college till Charlie got sick. Cancer. It ate him alive right before my eyes and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. After he died, I just didn't have the drive or passion anymore. I had been Daddy's girl and now it felt like my life was a faint echo of what it used to be.
Feeling the familiar prickle of tears whenever I thought of Charlie I jumped in the shower, hoping the hot water would distract me. If nothing at least the water would wash away my tears.
I had fallen into the travel business completely by accident. I met James Carol, the owner of TDG, at Alice and Jasper's wedding. He was a long time friend of Jasper's family. His wife Victoria was also in the wedding party so we got to know each other a little during all the pre-wedding parties.
James had asked me to dance and while we were making slow rotations around the dance floor he was curious about my future plans. At the time I was just working as a receptionist at Jasper's parents' warehouse. When I said as much he clucked his tongue and told me he thought it was such a waste of talent. He started to talk about his business and how he needed fresh faces and thought I would excel and possibly be management material. I just smiled and nodded, travel wasn't something I was particularity interested in.
When the song ended I said my goodbyes and went back to celebrating my best friend's wedding with the massive bottle of champagne sitting behind my seat. I was going to be chauffeured back to the hotel so I took full advantage. It was a great night, overall.
I hadn't given James' offer any more thought until he called the warehouse looking for Mr. Whitlock. Before I passed him through he asked me again if I would be interested in coming to join his team. I told him I still had to think about it.
To be honest I hated my job, I loved the Whitlocks to death but it was an old family business and there was a lot of nepotism. My presence felt like a risk to some of the other girls who had only been hired due to their connections.
Now I know I originally got my job in the same manner but I was a hard worker and wanted to prove myself worthy, possibly even move up in the company. After 2 years however, I was still a receptionist. Whenever there was an opportunity opening up for me I was deftly blocked by Lauren Mallory and her sidekick Jessica Stanley. Lauren was the President's sister-in-law and knew his balls were firmly socked in her sister's handbag.
Since my duties were few and far between I made it a habit to let it be known I was open to help anyone who needed it. I would use any excuse to get out of the monotony of my job. Scott approached me - he was a newly hired accountant -to help him get organized and I jumped at the chance. We built a quick rapport and I enjoyed working along side him immensely. It was always very professional but we were still able to have fun.
It didn't take long for Lauren to start complaining that I was shirking my duties in order to work with Scott. At the time, my 'duty' was to rip the perforated sides off of the old style of printer paper the company still used. Boxes and boxes of reports were stacked behind my desk chair. It was demeaning work and given to me strictly to make a point.
Scott went to the President and asked for me to be appointed as his assistant but the request was turned down and someone else was given the job.
That was the last straw. After telling Lauren and Jessica off, I walked out of there with my head held high. I didn't start sobbing until I got onto the street. I felt like I had let Jasper down but he was quick to let me know he was more upset at how Lauren and Jessica had treated me and he wished there was something he could do.
After a few days, I called James and let him know I would love to join his team at TDG. I started the following Monday. It had been a hard road at first. There was so much to learn, so many world destinations, so many hotels, so many Tour Operators, so many rules and regulations and that didn't even include learning the software to book airfare and trips. It took awhile and a lot of frustrated tears before I finally got into a groove.
I was the first agent to be given the Million Dollar Club Award, which was pretty prestigious for our company. I was also in charge of all new hires and helped to manage one third of all the VIP clients of the company. Things were going well so I couldn't complain.
Jumping out of the shower, I towel dried my hair and went to get dressed. One good thing about working with clients over the phone was that I didn't need to dress to impress. I threw on a pair of jeans and long sleeved cotton shirt. Grabbing a bagel, I ran out the door to my truck. It was an old clunker but Charlie had bought it for me when I first moved in with him and I didn't have the heart to replace it. I was always grateful whenever the engine roared to life in the mornings.
It was my turn to open today. The office would only be at half-staff since it was just a few days before Christmas. Usually the employees with families took Christmas week off while the single employees, like myself, took New Year's week off. A girl had to have priorities.
I unlocked the doors, turned off the alarm and went to go start the coffee. A client had sent in a bottle of Bailey's so I made my coffee Irish, I would need the extra boost. Shortly after I set everything up Angela and Mike ambled in. I waved the Bailey's bottle at them and wiggled my eyebrows, eliciting cheers. Good thing only our VP Jeffrey was working, he was a big lush and didn't particularly care if we all partook in a little celebratory imbibing so long as it didn't impede our sales performance.
I sat in a cluster of desks, Angela was to my left, Mike and Eric sat across from us making a quartet of desks. We all were pretty close; all of us were single so we often went out after work for a drink at the local pub. I really enjoyed the camaraderie especially on days like these when the calls were few and far between.
"Oh man, I'm so bored!" Angela whined at us.
"Yeah, I know. I don't even know why we stay open, it's not like we're going to wrack up the sales today." Eric joined in.
I was on a call at the moment, telling the customer that all vacation destinations were sold out for Christmas and New Years. I was nodding my head and rolling my eyes. At one point I made a gun with my hand and pretended to blow my brains out. I had to mute the phone when the giggles of my co-workers started to make me snicker. I finally got the man to understand he was stuck here for the holidays and tried not to sound bitchy as I told him to try booking earlier next year.
"Ugh." I said pulling off my headset. "What the heck is wrong with these people? What about SOLD OUT don't they understand?" I watched my friends nod sympathetically.
I noticed Mike was clacking away on his computer keys looking too busy considering there was nothing to be busy about. I got out of my seat pretending to get a coffee and snuck behind him to look over his shoulder. It looked like he was in a chat room.
"Hey! What are you doing?" I asked him.
He jumped guiltily and minimized the screen. "Nothing."
"Bullshit, I saw you chatting. You holding out on us Mikey?"
"Shh Bella!" he looked around guiltily. "Do you want to get me in shit?"
"Shit by who? Jeffrey is in today he won't care. Come on, where are you chatting?" I pushed.
"If JC finds out about this…" Mike started.
"He's not going to find out, we want to have fun too." I pouted. By this time Angela and Eric joined me. Finally, Mike threw his hands up in the air and gave in.
"Fine! Ok, I'll email you the link, then just register and sign in. I'm in the Jungle Room." Mike said sheepishly.
"Jungle Room?" All of us chorused loudly.
"Shut up!" Mike ground out between clenched teeth. "Ok, it's sent."
Angela, Eric and I scrambled to our desks. I opened my email, clicked the link Mike sent over and registered myself. Hrm, what to pick as a screen name? I just went with my nickname Bells, not very original but it'll do.
Soon, all of us were giggling and snickering at each other. It added a new dynamic to chatting when half the people you were talking to were sitting beside you and laughing at the stupid stuff you were writing. Angela and I were inundated with private chat requests from horny geezers, which we promptly clicked out of.
"Holy, Bella, how many private requests do you have?" Angela asked wide-eyed, looking at my screen. Mike looked up slightly annoyed. He had asked me out on several occasions but I always turned him down. He was a nice enough guy and even good looking but there just wasn't that spark. Not to mention I felt weird dating someone I worked so closely with.
"You need me to tell any of these losers to back off, Bella?" he asked teasingly. I could see however he wasn't completely joking.
"It's Ok, Mike. I'm a big girl."
I had pretty much deflected most of the private chats, telling the anonymous users that I preferred to chat in the main room. Some took it well and some not so much, but I was having too much fun to care.
I noticed a new tab blinking at me. MethodMan wanted to chat privately. He had intrigued me in the main room so I was hoping he didn't turn into a creep like so many others. Hesitantly I accepted and we started chatting.
Expecting the typical ASL, what do you look like, and wanna cyber questions, he surprised me. He was very eloquent and well spoken. There was just something different about him. He was able to get to the core of things and before I knew why, I was spilling my life story to this virtual stranger. I didn't even know his real name.
"Bella, where are you?" Angela asked me, pulling me back to reality.
"Hmm?" I replied.
"You haven't chatted in the main room for awhile," she said smiling. "I just wanted to know what or who had your attention."
"Oh, I was just talking to MethodMan." Then a thought occurred to me. A lot of times the same men had approached both Angela and I for a private chat. I wasn't sure why, but I felt a surge of jealousy that maybe he was having the same type of conversation with my friend.
"Are you talking to him too?" I asked innocently. My stomach clenched in a hard knot and I gripped my desk.
"Umm, no," she answered. "Actually, I just scrolled up to see who he was and he stopped talking in the room at the same time you did."
Angela looked up at me and watched as my cheeks flamed crimson and a goofy grin spread on my face. Her eyebrows flew up and she gave me a look. She didn't say anything in front of the guys however, for which I was grateful.
I looked back to my screen and saw the blinking light, clicking the chat window MethodMan was asking if I was ok because I had stopped talking. I replied quickly to let him know someone had needed my attention at work but was back now.
MethodMan: Oh great, I kind of missed you… lol
My cheeks flamed again with pleasure. What was it about this guy?
MethodMan: Do you mind if I send you something, via email?
I gave him my email address and inquired what he was sending.
MethodMan: Just let me know when you get it ;))
I waited impatiently as I clicked my Check Mail button repeatedly. Finally I got an email from MethodMan. It had a picture attachment. I clicked on it after doing a quick virus scan. When I opened the picture it was a headshot of the most gorgeous man I had ever laid eyes on. He had tousled bronze hair, and jade coloured eyes. His forehead was broad and smooth leading down to a straight nose and perfectly shaped lips. He had a square chin with a little divot in the center. I wanted to place my lips there and was taken aback slightly at the intensity of my feelings after speaking with this stranger for less than an hour.
"Wow," I breathed.
Angela peeked over and did a double take. "Who is that?" she asked incredulously.
"That, is MethodMan," I replied in awe.
"Jesus, he could be a model!" she enthused.
"Tell me about it…" I was suddenly disheartened. I knew he would want to see a picture of me in return. What would he think of the plain Jane he was chatting with? He would most likely be disappointed.
MethodMan: Bells? Are you there? I thought you might want to put a face to the name. I hope my pic didn't scare you off!
I stared at the screen dumbfounded. Was he kidding?
Bells: No, deft not scared :P But even tho I've seen your face, I still don't know your name
I smiled as I teased him a little.
MethodMan: My name is Edward :)) Sooo… do I get to see what you look like and know your name?
Grimacing I decided I didn't have anything to lose. Chances are I would never chat with this man ever again. What could it hurt? I flipped through my photobucket account and chose a picture taken recently of me outside. The sun highlighted the red in my hair and I didn't look as pale as usual. I had a smile on my face as I looked into the camera. Quickly, I attached the picture of myself and sent it to his email address before I could change my mind.
Bells: Ok, sent. My name is Isabella, but everyone I know calls me Bella.
I waited for a few moments with bated breath. I thought perhaps he wouldn't even continue with the conversation. Most likely he would make an excuse and leave altogether. It seemed like forever before he replied again.
MethodMan: Did you know Bella means 'beautiful' in Italian? It's a very fitting name.
I stared at the screen for a while longer. I wasn't sure whether to feel pleased that he found me attractive or upset about his blatant lie. While I'd had a few admirers and had been asked out on dates, I knew I was only mediocre in looks. Generally men had to get to know me first before it progressed that far. Not quite sure how to respond I decided to be gracious and accept the compliment.
At that moment James came crashing through the door to the office. As usual he was on the warpath screaming for the daily sales numbers. I hunched up my shoulders against the verbal assault as he stalked past my chair towards his office.
"Ugh, JC is being his usual asshole self," Angela whispered to me. I nodded my head.
Bells: Oops, boss is here… looks like playtime is over. Nice chatting Edward.
MethodMan: Wait! Will I get to talk to you again?
Bells: Not sure, you have my email if you want to keep in touch. CU L8R
MethodMan: Ciao Bella
I closed out of chat and tried to get back to work but my heart wasn't in it. My mind kept wandering back to the conversation with a handsome stranger. Before leaving the office, I clicked on his picture again and sighed. So gorgeous, I thought to myself. And too good to be true. I left work feeling strangely happy.
Reviews = Love! You know the drill! I hope you all love my Edward *sigh*