|The Man in Black
Author: prettykittyff PM
Bella returns to Forks after graduating NYU. She had given up on love, until a gorgeous mechanic walks in to her life and turns it upside down. He falls hard for her but will his secrets tear them apart? EXB AHRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Edward & Bella - Chapters: 38 - Words: 247,059 - Reviews: 3,083 - Favs: 2,579 - Follows: 1,635 - Updated: 05-16-13 - Published: 09-25-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6351601
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN TWILIGHT BUT I DO OWN THE MAN IN BLACK
Okay here we go...my next adventure in twific. I'm really excited to start this story, and I hope you all like it.
A Special THANK YOU to my HBIC... and power pre-reader LOVINJIM. I couldn't do this without her!
Thank you to my betas on this chapter: Mel (MC101180) and Bailey (Showtunesjesus) they made this all perdy for me :)
And to my awesome pre-readers, Miracle1901 and Skyebella98. Thanks for you help and eyeballs!
The sound from my alarm clock screamed throughout my room. The noise pierced my brain and shocked me out of my peaceful sleep. I was rather disappointed that I hadn't gotten to sleep in. It was the first night in a while that I had actually slept peacefully. Actually, it had been weeks since the last time I slept well. I tried to shield my eyes from the sunlight that was invading my room through the mini blinds. As I turned over to look at the clock, I shot out of bed with a jolt. It was already 7:15. Shit!
I struggled to loosen my legs from the sheets and let my feet hit the floor with a loud thud. The hard wood floor was cold and uninviting, especially this damn early. I scrubbed my eyes with my fists and trudged into the bathroom to start getting ready. I flipped on the light switch and groaned as I took in the sight in front of me. I needed to destroy this stupid mirror. Although the usual dark circles that had taken permanent residence under my eyes looked lighter than they had yesterday, the bags that held the darkness were more pronounced than ever. My skin had taken on a faint grayish-green tone, and my hair looked like I had plucked the straw from a broom and used it as a wig. I was a lovely sight, I thought sarcastically to myself. I looked like death warmed over. No wonder I hadn't been able to land a job yet, I looked like a coke whore. There wasn't a huge possibility of snagging the job of my dreams when I looked like a strung out homeless person. I needed to get a grip.
All this stress over not working had really taken its toll on me. I was losing it, figuratively and literally. I was going to end up without a place to live soon, and not only that, but my pride was going to take a serious hit. No one explains just how hard it really is in the real world. It's like some sick joke.
I bent over the edge of the bathtub and turned on the faucet. I held my hands under the water and waited for the water to warm up. How pathetic was it that I couldn't even make the rent on this crappy studio apartment. I had no heat, the water pressure was less than a trickle, and I had about a two-minute time frame to take a warm shower. It was sad, and it was humiliating.
I had been dreading this interview for weeks. I should have been ecstatic, but I wasn't. It was a good opportunity, and the only reason I had been given the interview in the first place was because the owner was a friend of Alice's father. If I didn't get this one, I would most definitely have to leave New York. I wasn't really ready to add another defeat to my already growing "you are a failure" resume. My self- esteem had seriously taken some major hits already. This was my last chance to make it.
Once the water finally warmed up to the right temperature, I pulled the shower curtain closed and hopped in. I welcomed the steady stream of water against my skin. The warm pellets of water beating against my back and shoulders felt wonderful. After soaping up and washing my hair, I rinsed clean and stepped out. I wrapped up in my towel, threw my hair up in a knot on top of my head, and went off to venture into my closet.
I rolled my eyes as I looked at the current state of my wardrobe. I had been a college student for four years, and since I had been unable to find employment there really wasn't any way to remedy the situation. To say that it was a joke would be insinuating that there was a laughing matter. This was not funny. I needed to look my best, and I had very little in the form of professional attire. This would not do; I needed to look like I meant business.
After attending more than ten humiliating interviews and countless "we'll let you knows," I was still jobless and out of options. It was make it or break it time for me, and if this one fell through, I would have to hang my head and crawl back home with my tail between my legs. Not a happy thought…at all.
I was quickly running out of money, and the the mounting debt from my student loans looming over my head was like a thick blanket of grief. I had no other choice.
I finally settled on my grey wool dress with a black belt at the waist. It was classic and professional, but very feminine. It was always my good ol' faithful. I paired it with a pair of black patent leather kitten heels, a black bangle, and my black drop earrings. It brought the outfit together but didn't make it look like I was trying too hard. I dried my hair, blowing it straight, pinned up the sides to keep it out of my face, and let the rest fall down my back. Once I had some make-up on, I headed out the door.
The giant brick red door of the Volutri Investments Agency taunted me as I trudged up the steps. I felt a lump develop in my throat and swallowed hard. I could do this; I was practically a professional interviewee at this point.
A beautiful young girl with platinum hair and pale blue eyes greeted me as I walked through the door. As our eyes met, she waved me over toward the reception area.
"Hi, how can I help you?" She asked cheerfully.
"I have an appointment with Aro Volturi; my name is Bella Swan." I told her as she raised her finger.
"Please, have a seat and someone will be with you shortly." She lowered her head as she began dialing the phone.
I took a seat in one of the leather chairs in the lobby. The place was rather beautiful, and I had to admit that I was impressed by the décor. I started bouncing my knee and playing with the hem of my dress nervously while I waited. It seemed like I had been sitting there for hours, and just as I was ready to bolt, a door to the left of me opened, and an older man stood in the doorway.
"Ms. Swan, right this way please," he said as he waved me toward the door. I grabbed my purse and made my way inside.
The man introduced himself as Marcus Volturi. He and his brother Aro owned the agency. He informed me that Aro would be running late, and I was to have a seat in his office to wait.
I looked around the room as I waited. The office was cold and enormous. There was a massive, mahogany desk in the middle of the room, and two chairs across from it. Other than that, it was bare. There were paintings on the walls, modern, colorful abstracts. I let myself get lost in them.
It was only a few moments later when a tall, slender man opened the door and entered the room.
"Ah, Isabella. So wonderful that you were able to make it today. I've heard wonderful things about you from Henry," he said with a smile. He held his hand out for me to shake, and I accepted it. I made sure that I looked him directly in the eyes as I did so, just like Jasper had always taught me.
"So, Ms. Swan, tell me a little something about yourself," he said as he took a seat behind the desk.
He gave me a strange, somewhat creepy smile, and I tried to compose myself. He made me feel uncomfortable, and I couldn't really place the exact reason why. I didn't have time to worry about it because I needed this job, so creepy or not,,, , , I was going to try my best to get it. This was my last resort, and I could not screw it up. I had no real interest in working in investments; shit, I didn't even know what the hell they really were. I was interviewing for a job as an assistant, a, nd I really hoped I would be able to bullshit my way through it.
"Well, I'm 21; I just graduated with a degree in Education and plan on applying to the Master's program next fall. I'm working on getting my credentials right now, and I hope to eventually teach primary level once I finish."
I always hated this part of the interview. I never knew what to say and ended up feeling embarrassed. I never knew what to say. He nodded as I finished and gave me another wry smile.
"That sounds very interesting."
I nodded and diverted my eyes this time because he was staring at me with a weird look on his face. This was not going well at all.
I hoped that he was buying my line of crap because I was not running on all eight cylinders at this point. I could feel the beads of sweat on my forehead, and I felt my hands turn cold and clammy.
This job was completely out of my realm of knowledge, and I had absolutely no experience. The only reason I was interviewing for the job at all was because of Alice and the con job she laid on her father. She was just as desperate for me to stay in New York as I was.
"So Ms. Swan, do you have any experience in the financial field?" He asked.
I shook my head, indicating to him that I did not. He didn't seem to be bothered by that and started rambling off information about his company and the types of things that would be required of me as his assistant.
Alice was meeting me at the coffee shop so that I could give her the rundown after the interview. I knew that it had not gone well. I was sure he would have kicked me out immediately once he found out that I was completely inexperienced, but he didn't. I found that odd myself, but he was an odd guy.
I was uneasy about the whole situation. The warning signs were all there. There were his creepy looks, and especially the outrageous salary he was offering me. I would be answering phones and sorting mail, so that hardly warranted an enormous paycheck. Most people would have just been happy to be offered such a hefty paycheck, but I knew better. This was too good to be true, and there would be repercussions. I was uneasy about the offer and could not help the bad feeling I got from Aro. Alice was going to be pissed. She wanted me to get the job so badly so that I could stay in New York. I did not want to disappoint her or myself for that matter.
I left the agency an hour and thirty minutes later, and caught a cab over to the coffee shop. I spotted Alice as I walked past the front window and gave her a small wave. I sidled up next to her on the velour sofa and dropped my purse loudly with a huff. She gave me a hesitant smile and placed her trademark cinnamon spice tea on the table in front of us. I slumped down into the sofa next to her and gave her an exasperated look.
"Alright, spill. What happened? I can see that it did not go well."
I looked up and smiled at her sympathetic eyes. This girl always knew, and that was why I loved her.
"Alice, seriously! How can you be so bubbly? Can't you see my life is circling the drain right now?" I whined.
She patted my knee lovingly and smiled. "Okay, I'm composed now. Please continue, Drama."
I sighed at her and rolled my eyes.
"It was bullshit. You know when they say something is too good to be true? Well, yeah, it's that place. I sat there for over an hour while Mr. Magoo did nothing but ask me asinine questions and ogle my rack. Then I had to listen in detail to the descriptions of his house in Brazil, his villa in Italy, and his ski lodge in Aspen. They want to pay me almost a hundred grand to file and answer the phones! Can you believe that? The guy is a crook and creepy as hell. He asked me out "afterward" for drinks, and when I declined, he got all asshole-ish and gave me the 'you'll be hearing from us soon' speech."
I took a deep breath and focused on Alice's hand on my leg.
"Alice, this is it. I mean, if I don't get this job… that frankly I don't even freaking want…I am OUT of here."
Just the thought made my stomach turn.
"Bella, don't stress on it. Think positive. I had a vision and your future is looking up. I mean, a six figure income is definitely up, right?" She smiled and gave me a giant Alice- sized bear hug.
"So listen, sugar. You need to let off some steam. I think you need to get laid. I'm not gonna lie. You have been on this dry spell for too long. There is beauty in a one- night stand. Live a little," she said matter- of- factly.
I gave her an incredulous look and scoffed.
"Alice, seriously?" I asked, shaking my head.
"Yes, seriously. You and your convoluted theories about sex! It's exhausting. Not every man is out there to hurt you, Bella. Some of them just want to make you feel goooood. So let them! We're going to go shopping and pick out some smokin' outfits, and then tonight we hit the town," she said with a giant grin.
I shook my head and covered my face with my hands.
"Damn it, Alice. Did you not just hear me? I'm broke, poor, impoverished, in debt, practically HOMELESS, No fucking shopping!" I yelled.
"And getting laid? Really? I can't even stand to be around myself right now much less drag some poor idiot into my shittiness!"
She opened her mouth to interrupt, but I put up my finger to stop her rant.
"I will allow you to get me shit- faced, because let's face it, I really need to. As far as the smokin' outfits go, we are just going to have to rock what I have. And please Alice, there will be no pushing me on desperate club assholes just to clear your conscience. I am not interested in a man right now." I raised my eyebrow and pointed at her nose. "Got it?" I emphasized.
"Got it. Damn, I really love it when you're all fired up. Okay, so let's jam. We have serious work to do; I'm going to need an army to fix those bags under your eyes. You really need to sleep, Bella. Have I taught you nothing?" She said with frustration.
"Fuck off Alice," I mumbled as we made our way out.
We stopped by my apartment to grab an outfit and then hailed a cab to get back to Alice's loft so we could get ready. Alice hated my apartment. She absolutely loathed my bathroom, with its lack of counter space and poor lighting. Who was I to disagree? I knew my apartment was a heap, and her bathroom alone could probably house the contents of said apartment twice.
Once we were ready, we headed off to meet her friends at GLOW. It was a trendy jazz bar uptown. It had the cliché VIP rooms, a great dance floor, and always had live music. It wasn't my cup of tea, but Alice was footing the bill, so I agreed to go.
Her co-workers were fun, and after a few drinks, I finally started enjoying myself. My mood was still somber, but I was trying to let it go. I knew that it was inevitable that I would have to leave New York, so I wanted to make the most of it.
We ended up dancing all night, and I drank my weight in Scotch. We were in one of the designated VIP sections, so that ensured that our drinks were topped off consistently. I'm not sure how I even made it through the night since we closed the place down.
That was officially my swan song so to speak. It appeared that my time in New York was surely ending.
Alice had a driver pick us up, and she dropped me off in front of my apartment. She ended up hooking up with one of the guys from work, so they sped off toward her loft. I was thankful that I was drunk enough not to have been bothered by the panting and groaning coming from the two of them in the back seat on the way home. I was used to it with Alice. She was a free spirit, and if she felt something, she went with it. I was the complete opposite, and sometimes I wished that I could just let loose a little more. It was just not who I was, especially after he happened.
I walked up the stairs with a heavy heart. I started to feel that dull burning in my chest…that nasty evil burn of loneliness. I wasn't trying to deny that it was there anymore; I just didn't know why it kept fucking with me.
I could have easily hooked up with someone at the club; there were at least a hundred and fifty hands that brushed, groped, rubbed, and grabbed at my ass. It just wasn't what I wanted right now; I couldn't add a man to my complications at this point. My life was a pile of shit as it was.
I dropped my bag and tugged at my shoes, tossing them to the floor. I flipped the switch on my lamp and had a sudden vivid vision of my future. It was actually more of a hallucination. I could clearly see at least a half a dozen cats curled up and perched all over the furniture, tacky handmade needlepoint throw pillows on the sofa, discarded trashy novels lying on the coffee table and me…sitting in the middle of the shithole alone.
It was disturbing and sad, and I ran to the bathroom to discard the contents of my stomach. Sure, I could have blamed the puking on the alcohol, but it would have been a lie. I was disgusted with myself. I decided immediately that I needed to get myself together quick.
The next morning, I woke up with a hangover from hell. I was never sure why people were stupid enough to celebrate with alcohol because waking up to a throbbing headache was not my idea of fun.
I spent the day curled up on the couch watching re-runs and stupid made- for- TV movies. It was sad, but so was I.
The next week went by quickly. I still hadn't heard from the company, and at that point, I was sure they weren't going to hire me. I only had another month on my lease, and there was no way I was going to be able to make rent next month.
I knew it was time to call it quits. As much as it pained me to finally realize that New York was just out of my league, I had to admit defeat. I was going to have to tuck my tail between my legs and go back home.