What would you do if you found out that an event that had the potential to be devastatingly life-changing for thousands of people was about to happen, but you weren't able to do or say anything to anybody without risking your life or liberty.
This is Edward's dilemma, but for the first time in his life, his own well-being is not his only priority.
This is a Twilight story set in Seattle and is rated M for all the usual reasons. There will be lots of drama, a touch of angst, a nice dose of romance, a few laughs and plenty of excitement along the way.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stephenie Meyer - I just have a lot of fun with them. I hope you do too. Enjoy x
His cell phone was dead, so he dropped it back in his jacket pocket and took a guess it must be somewhere between five and six in the morning by now. The air temperature had noticeably dropped in the last half hour indicating dawn was approaching, so he figured he'd been out here for at least five hours, possibly more.
From where he was floating about half a mile from the shore, the familiar hum of the city on the horizon, which on most nights was faintly audible even at this distance and hour, was strangely absent. Even the gulls were silent tonight, so the only sound breaking the absolute stillness in the freezing, moist air, was the constant slap of waves against the side of the boat, and the groaning, creaking noises the hull was making as it drifted aimlessly in the water.
Above him was a clear, moonlit sky, drenched in velvety cobalt. Bright enough to conceal all but the most brilliant stars but deep enough to allow the 21st century glass and concrete monoliths filled with wasteful light, to stand out like beacons against the blackness of the distant hills, while illuminating the sprawling urban landscape which stretched across the familiar coastline.
As he gazed at the city that had been his home for the past thirteen years, the natural force of a seventh wave rocked the boat from behind. His body lurched forward and his hands instinctively gripped his seat, even though there was no danger of him being tipped into the water as the jolt would only be considered a ripple to experienced sailors like him. The soft light of the full moon glinted off the slow moving peaks of the dark surface of the sea, which allowed his eyes to easily follow the trajectory of the guilty, black wave as it rolled gently towards the shore, until the next seventh wave hit the boat even harder, breaking the mesmerising spell the undulating water had on him.
It was plainly obvious to him the tide was turning and the moon was losing her influence on the pull of the waves, which in turn meant his boat would soon be dragged inland if he allowed it to drift for much longer. He sighed as he realised the moment had come when he would have to make the return journey, even though he was still no closer to coming to terms with what he'd learned approximately five hours ago, which was why he had sought the solitude offered by the dark and deserted ocean in the first place.
He had always been respectful of the power of the sea, which was patently obvious to anyone who lived near it or sailed on it, even on the most tranquil of nights. He'd experienced its tremendous energy and witnessed its destructive force while on land and from various boats, but tonight Neptune and his nymphs weren't interested in testing his skills to the limit as the gods of the water were graciously allowing him to drift unbothered on the serene surface. But his experience as a sailor meant he was only cautiously confident there was no immediate danger. A curious whale could decide to surface directly beneath his small vessel and knock him into the sea, which would be a first for him but not an uncommon occurrence in this area.
He glanced over his shoulder at the twinkling shore behind him, where the wealthy residents of Bainbridge Island were no doubt sleeping peacefully in their sought-after properties, comfortable in the knowledge that their ludicrously expensive real estate was growing more and more valuable year-on-year. To his right was Vashon Island, almost completely invisible in the darkness; its comparatively lightless shore melding into the darkness of the mainland directly behind it. Beyond the island and rising above everything else in its vicinity, either man or nature-made, and totally dominating the endless horizon, the icy summit of Mount Rainier sparkled in the moonlight; her huge mass dwarfing all that lay within sight of her impressive snow-covered slopes.
Rainier, the undisputed Queen of the Cascades and the highest peak in the Pacific Northwest. Any human would clearly have a heart of stone if he or she wasn't moved by her magnificence. Her brooding presence loomed over the sprawling landscape surrounding her, reminding anyone who was aware of her history that she had the ability to erase from the face of the earth the vibrant city nonchalantly residing in her shadow, if she had a mind to.
He stared at the dormant volcano in wonder, as if he had only just noticed and appreciated her proximity to his home before. When he turned his gaze back to the city, he pondered whether the light-hearted and happy-go-lucky residents of Seattle disregarded the danger that living within striking distance of the most dangerous weapon in Mother Nature's arsenal posed, like the residents of Vesuvius had back in 79 AD.
Like Seattle, the ancient Italian town had been recklessly built in the shadow of an active, smoking volcano, and had grown in wealth and prosperity until the day Vesuvius exploded and consumed everything and everyone in a pyroclastic cloud of ash and pumice. He shuddered as he recalled his visit to Pompeii some years ago, where he had observed the plaster reconstructions of the twisted bodies of several of Pompeii's residents which almost two-thousand years ago had been turned to ash; imagining what agony they must have gone through before death relieved them of their suffering.
These grotesque relics were unashamedly displayed for the voyeuristic and, some might say, morbid delight of tourists who visited the ancient site, and he recalled shaking his head in disbelief at the complacency of people who day by day traipsed past these pathetic objects. Either they were completely oblivious as to the current status of Vesuvius, or were totally unconcerned that the same volcano that petrified these bodies was, at that precise moment, smouldering ominously less than five miles from where they stood.
As he thought about a similar catastrophe happening to a 21st century city like Seattle, he knew it would be virtually impossible for the same type of disaster to happen today. Seismologists using state-of-the-art equipment constantly monitored Rainier and other active or dormant volcanoes for warning signs of an impending eruption, which meant the carefree residents of Seattle and other similar cities could carry on with their daily lives, blissfully content in the knowledge they would receive adequate warning if their slumbering neighbour suddenly awoke and decided to blow its top. Their city would probably be destroyed but the loss of life would be minimal.
He dragged his eyes away from Rainier and viewed the city once more, fixing his stare on the aircraft warning beacon flashing on top of the Space Needle, rather than allowing his gaze to traverse the length of the horizon and risk being distracted by anything of note happening on the shore. He needed to concentrate. He'd come out here to think and hopefully make sense of the disturbing information he'd learned several hours ago. He'd got over the initial shock and had almost come to terms with it, but now he had to decide what to do about what he'd learned, which if true, would be life-changing.
He had no reason to doubt the person who had inadvertently disclosed what she had obviously been trying to keep from him, but what to do with that knowledge was what was tearing him apart. How could he carry on with his day-to-day life and function like a normal citizen knowing what he now knew? How could he tell anyone else what he knew without disclosing the part of his life which he kept private to anyone outside his family? More importantly though, if he told anyone, who in their right mind would believe him?
He placed his head in his hands and squeezed his temples as if he was trying to erase from his brain what he had learned, but he knew for certain he would never be able to forget, or even ignore what he now knew. The only decision he had to make was to either do something or do nothing, and if it was something, what to do and how to do it, and also whether taking that proactive decision would have an irreversible impact on his own life. He laughed to himself then as whether or not he did anything at all, his life was going to change whichever road he took.
If she'd known for a while, he was at a loss why she'd kept it from him. How long had she known? Had she decided to do anything about it? Had she told anyone else? These questions were still scrambling his thoughts as the light from the Space Needle bored into his brain.
He'd only been aware for five hours of what she'd been keeping secret for … he didn't know how long, but he couldn't think of any reason why she hadn't told him straightaway. She must have realised he would find out eventually as it was virtually impossible for her to keep anything from him, so why she had chosen to keep it to herself was a mystery. He knew he needed to confront her and to question her for more information, but before that event he would have to take the irrevocable decision whether or not to take any action on his own.
Then he wondered whether she would try and prevent him from doing anything by informing on him. That would be catastrophic of course, so if he did do something he would have to be covert in his actions so no-one knew it was him, including her. But how could he do this without attracting attention?
He'd spent most of his life trying not to stand out and doing everything he could not to be noticed; in other words he had successfully avoided becoming 'someone'. He was supremely talented at his craft but he had never sought fame. He just wanted to live a mediocre and anonymous life in the shadows. He was happier with his life now than he had been at any other period, but already he had accepted that whatever decision he made, he would have to re-think his future sooner rather than later and this knowledge depressed him greatly because for once he had a purpose; something to live for; something that made him happy.
As the boat bobbed on the water and his mind dissected every possible scenario, the sky gradually brightened and consequently the brilliance of the lights of the city lost their dominance as the first hint of morning touched the hills in the east. As he began to think about returning, he was jolted out of his musings by the blaring horn of the first Bainbridge ferry of the day to make the crossing to the mainland. From past experience he was aware he would have to rapidly move away from the busy shipping lanes which were marked out by buoys, before he was mown down by something much larger than his tiny-by-comparison vessel.
He sighed as he reached over to the ignition switch and flipped it up. Instantly the boat's motor sprang to life and filled the air with a deafening roar, which after the peace and tranquillity of the previous hours sounded harsh and abrasive to his ears. His long, slim fingers gripped the smooth, polished steering wheel which was icy to the touch, but he ignored the pain as his mind was still fixed on his unresolved problem.
As the boat picked up speed, he had to turn sharply to avoid hitting a buoy which he hadn't spotted until he was almost on top of it as its warning light had been smashed. As he passed it on his left, he noticed it had been vandalised by someone who obviously didn't like a local politician, as a derogatory message had been painted onto the floats. His boat made an impressive spray as he swerved it out of the way and he spun around the buoy several times to make note of its serial number so he could report it to the authorities, but also for a bit of fun as he enjoyed performing 'donuts', especially if he had passengers he wanted to impress.
As the beautiful white and silver craft bounced across Elliott Bay heading towards land, the bitter morning air stung his face and ruffled his already unkempt hair. But he wasn't concentrating on the journey as the first seeds of an idea were beginning to gather momentum in his head. As the outline expanded and became in his mind achievable, he began to feel tentatively hopeful that for the first time since he'd run from her to the jetty he may have found an answer to his dilemma.
If what he was contemplating were possible, it would need careful planning and preparation and he would need to be stealthy and secretive, but it could possibly be the only chance he had to do something, and he had come to the conclusion that whatever the consequences for himself, he had to do something.
The powerful motorboat cut effortlessly through the water on its return journey, weaving its way through a phalanx of early-morning sailors who were waiting patiently in their skiffs and dinghy's for the first rays of sunshine to appear from behind the hills which would bring with them the wind and warmth required to fill their fluttering and snapping sails. As he turned towards land and approached the familiar stretch of water which led to his home, he could see her sitting on the wooden landing which jutted out from the bank; her bare feet dangling over the edge but still at least six feet clear of the water. She raised her head when she saw him approaching but she didn't smile or wave, but waited for him to come alongside the jetty and secure the boat.
She stared at him hard and he returned her stare, knowing she was searching his face for clues as to what he was thinking. She spoke first.
"So you know?"
"Is there anything you want to ask me?"
"Only how long you've known."
"About a week for definite, but I've suspected for a while."
"Were you going to tell me?"
"I presume when it was too late for me to do anything about it."
"I suppose so."
"Aren't you going to ask me whether I'm going to do anything about it, now I know?"
"Because I'm not sure yet whether I want to know what you're thinking."
He scratched his head as he digested her response before asking the next question.
"Are you going to tell anyone else?"
"Yes, but not yet. Are you going to spill the beans anyway?"
"I don't know. I don't know anything at the moment, apart from I just want you to be totally honest with me. Tell me the whole story. Tell me everything you know and then I can decide what to do, if anything."
"Alright, and if it makes you happier, I'll also promise to tell you immediately if anything changes between now and then. Deal?"
He clambered onto the jetty and sat down next to her, pulling her into his side and giving her a lingering kiss on the top of her head. She sighed and grabbed hold of his free hand and laced her fingers with his, not caring they were still icy cold.
"We'll be okay, won't we, Edward?"
"Yes, we'll be fine, Alice, but what about everyone else?"
"I don't know. Nothing's cast in stone, so maybe there's some way. Only time will tell."
They sat on the landing as the sun slowly crept up the sky and the thick mantle of dew coating the immaculately kept lawns on either side of their private inlet sparkled in the morning light. As the air warmed and the dew melted she told him all she knew, starting with when she had begun to suspect, which was almost six months ago. When she'd finished her story they sat in silence as he digested what he'd learned, and he was now even more determined to formulate a plan. What he had in mind though was risky, but most importantly he knew he couldn't do it on his own; he would need her help if it was going to work.
Whether or not she would be prepared to become involved he couldn't guess at this time, so he would have to present her with a clear and concise plan once he had got the details straight in his head and then convince her to help. If she refused, there was no point in him starting this journey.
Fortunately for both of them, time was on their side.
MYSTERIOUS GRAFFITI - CHAPTER ONE
Monday 24th April 2017
I'm standing on the curb of 5th Avenue swallowing hard, attempting but failing to get rid of a massive lump lodged in my throat. I know I've got no other option, but I can't find the will to take the final but hardest steps of a journey that effectively started three months ago, which has culminated in me being somewhere I really don't want to be.
If that asshole was a living, breathing being, I would cheerfully murder the bright green walking-man who's encouraging me to cross the street. He's taunting me, the bastard. He knows this is my last chance to run away screaming in the opposite direction. If I don't escape now, I'll be submitting myself to being totally consumed by the sixty-six storey monster towering above me. It's filled my field of vision since I turned onto 5th Avenue, like a threatening, abusive middle finger, and I really don't want to get any closer.
This isn't what I'd planned for my life after almost three years of intense study. I should be flitting between one European city and another, soaking up knowledge from museums and art galleries, spending endless hours investigating and researching so I could write books about the loves of my life. Instead, I'm standing on the windy sidewalk of 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, trying to pluck up the courage to enter the city's municipal building, to start a job which is so far removed from my dream career ... as ... as ... as ... the coffee-making responsibilities of the Starbucks' Barista who served me my hazelnut latte yesterday afternoon.
"I really, really, shouldn't be here; there must be some other way," I mutter to myself. "I just need a saviour, or some sort of sign from above which will convince me I don't really need to do this."
I feel my cell phone vibrate in my pocket so I clumsily take a step back from the curb and collide with a smartly-dressed woman who gives me a filthy look because I've stepped on her foot.
"Shit, shit, shit; who the hell's messaging me now?" I mutter after apologising profusely to the injured pedestrian who's now limping towards the very building I'm heading for.
I drag my embarrassingly ancient cell from my pocket and flip it open, hoping it's the imaginary saviour I've been praying for, but I sigh when a familiar number is displayed on the cracked screen. I hit the button and read the heartfelt message sitting there and the lump jumps back in my throat and almost chokes me. He's thanking me for everything; for putting my life on hold and for not following my dream. He knows what I've given up to be with him and he's grateful, and he says he loves me.
I wipe my hand across my eyes, and I'm thankful I don't need to wear mascara or I'd look like a Giant Panda by now, then tap a brief response and turn the phone off so I don't have to look at the image on the screen which reminds me of what I've lost. I take a deep breath and return to the curb then wait with the other worker-ants for the annoying green man to appear again so I can walk towards my doom in safety.
"Okay, Bella, you can do this. Just get a grip – it's not the end of the world."
I inadvertently say this out loud, and get a weird glance from a slightly scruffy young man who seems to be heading in my direction. I follow him along the street, past yet another Starbucks, then across Columbia Street and finally through the etched glass doors which open automatically as we approach. He sprints towards the elevators where he slides into one just as the gleamingly shiny doors close, leaving me to wander over to the reception desk so I can make myself known before I'm obliged to follow him and all the other worker ants up the icy tower that's about as welcoming as Isengard.
The over-friendly receptionist hands me a security pass which miraculously was ready and waiting for me, plus a map of the building showing my floor, then wishes me good luck. I mumble a 'thank you' as I unhurriedly stroll across the marble floor and stand amongst a small, silent crowd who are gathered waiting for the next available elevator which arrives after two to three minutes. While I'm standing there, I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, my blood pressure throbbing in my ears and my temperature starting to rise. If I was thirty years older I would think I was having a heart attack or a stroke, so I'm guessing this is what a panic attack feels like.
I wriggle my way into the confined space while trying not to make eye-contact with my fellow travellers, most of whom resemble lifeless zombies from The Walking Dead, but it is Monday morning I suppose. After stopping at practically every floor, the elevator opens on the twenty-fifth, which is the one I've been informed houses Seattle's Public Utilities Department. I'm met by a smiling, casually-dressed, tall, ginger haired and heavily tattooed receptionist who I guess is roughly my age and who has obviously been waiting to greet me.
"Hi, Isabella. Welcome to S.P.U., or Spew as its better known." She giggles at her own joke and I can't help but smile. Her voice is musical and carries a faint but familiar accent just in those few words. She bounds over to me and grabs rather than shakes my hand.
"You don't mind me calling you Isabella, do you?" she gushes boisterously. "We're all on first-name terms here. I'm Kirsty."
"Hi Kirsty," I reply in a hopefully friendly tone. "I prefer being called Bella if that's okay?" I add, then enquire, "Is everyone on first name terms here; even the boss?"
"Ach yeah. We may be government employees, but we're not stuffy like some departments in this building. You don't have to power-dress to be good at your job and we all work as hard as the suited brigade in HR or Finance."
"Great," I respond genuinely as having a relaxed dress-code pleases me no end because my closet at the moment is tragic.
"We like to have fun as well," Kirsty continues enthusiastically, "and it really helps morale as we see the least glamorous side of Seattle life. If the Mayor or any of the big cheeses honors us with their presence, then we'll refer to you as Ms Swan, but until that happens you're just Bella. Anyway, let me take you to your office so you can chill before the staff meeting at ten. I'll show you where to get coffee and where the loo and the fire escapes are and then later on I'll run through the safety procedures with you."
"Safety procedures?" I query.
"Yep! Ever since 9/11 all tall buildings are supposed to have regular evacuation drills. Also we're in an earthquake zone, but this building is okay up to at least an 8.5."
"Ah right, I know all about earthquakes, Kirsty. I was in Italy when there was a big one not far from where we were staying, just outside Florence."
"Italy! Oh God, I'd love to go to Italy. All those gorgeous looking, stylish men with that fabulous, sexy accent. Are they really like that?"
"Yep, the men are very smart and good looking, but some of them tend to be quite short. I'm five-five, and even without heels I could look many of them in the eye."
"Och no. I'm five-eight. No chance for me then."
I admit I'm giggling as I take my jacket off and begin to feel relaxed already. Kirsty's friendly welcome has taken the edge off my mood and brightened the oppressive cloud of gloom that's been hovering over me for the past few months. But it'll take more than a cheery receptionist to make me enthusiastic about what lies ahead of me.
I quickly look around my new office which has a wonderful view over the city but unfortunately not towards Elliott Bay and the Olympic National Park. I notice there are two desks; one littered with paperwork and unwashed coffee cups, the other pristine. I hope mine is the latter.
"You've got an accent, Kirsty. Are you Scottish?" I ask as she turns to leave.
"Yes and no. My parents are from Fife but I was born in Seattle and haven't made it to Scotland yet. Mom and dad still have strong, thick accents, so I mimic their phrases, like 'och' and 'aye' and the bathroom is the 'loo' in my world, and of course I've inherited the red hair and freckles.
I chuckle again as I sense I'm definitely going to get on with this girl, especially as we now have something in common.
"Fife! I exclaim. "I spent nearly eight months there at St Andrew's University as part of my degree course."
"Wow! Really? What's it like – I've never been, obviously."
"Fu… freezing! Sorry – I've answered that question so many times I automatically curse. Scotland is beautiful but so cold, especially on the east coast. I love it though. I hope you can get there one day."
"Me too. Anyway, just give me a minute to check there isn't anyone waiting at reception and I'll be back to show you around."
"Thanks, but before you go, who am I sharing with?"
"A guy called Jay. He's okay – no sense of humor but I'm sure you'll get on with him. Back in a jiffy."
After Kirsty the Whirlwind disappears, I turn around on the spot a couple of times so I can take in my new surroundings. At least my office is warm and clean, apart from my absent colleague's desk, and I can stare at the view if I get bored, but it's still a modern box - not an ornate 19th century gallery where I could travel back in time and summon up the souls of the painters and sculptors whose works are displayed in the silent halls. I shake my head to dislodge these images as I can sense tears forming in my eyes again and take a deep breath to calm myself. The last thing I want is for Kirsty or anyone else to suspect I'm a blubbering mess.
"Hopefully this is only temporary," I muse in an attempt to placate myself, but then a wave of remorse washes over me as I contemplate the implications of those five unfortunate words.
I can't help jumping when I hear a man's voice behind me. I spin on my heel to see who has interrupted my selfish thoughts. Standing in the doorway holding a steaming mug of coffee, is the slightly dishevelled young man who crossed the road with me. I can tell he's assessing me, but definitely not in a creepy way. He slowly walks towards me with his other hand outstretched and a warm smile on his face.
"Hi, I'm Jay. Welcome to the pleasure dome."
"Bella Swan; pleased to meet you. Are you a Frankie fan by any chance?"
"No, I'm not, but Kirsty is," he replies. "That's what she calls this place for some reason, or Spew which I prefer and I'll tell you why later. Frankie Goes to Hollywood 'frankly' isn't my musical taste."
"What is your taste, or is it too personal a question to ask since we've only just met?"
Jay sort of grins at me and scratches his head while he decides whether to part with information about himself only ten seconds into our working relationship.
"You shouldn't have to ask, Bella. Nirvana, obviously; Seattle is Grunge-City."
I nod my head as Jay might as well have 'grunge' tattooed on his forehead. He does have a 'Cobain' look about him as his fair hair is long and stylishly unkempt.
"Nirvana was a bit before my time, Jay, but I don't think I would've been a fan. I much prefer classical music to today's pop."
Jay gives me a surprised look then wanders over to the cluttered desk, clears a space so he can put his mug down, flings his jacket over the back of his chair then drops down into it. He nudges his mouse and the screen flashes into life. I can see a list of unopened emails and wonder whether these are new messages, or ones left over from last week. I don't know yet what Jay's job title is as there aren't any clues on his desk, or a name-plate on the door. I'm sure I'll find out pretty soon what he's responsible for.
Looking at the way the desks are arranged, I'm surprised he hasn't bagged my vacant desk as mine has a much better view over the city. I have to ask the question.
"Do you prefer to sit away from the window, Jay? I only ask as I would've swopped desks if I'd been sitting at yours."
Jay's turns his head towards me and gives me another odd expression, like I'm mad or something.
"Seattle's a shithole, Bella. Why would I want to look at that dump all day?"
"Pardon!" I respond and I know I sound shocked.
"You're not a city girl, are you?"
"No, I'm from Forks, why?"
"Do you know the city well?"
"No, not really; what I mean is I know the Pike Place Market area and the waterfront, and I've been to quite a few Mariners and Seahawks games with my dad. I've been up the Needle as well and seen the whole city from up there. I would never refer to Seattle as a shithole though."
"Well, Isabella Swan from Forks, I'm afraid you're going to see another side of Seattle when you start working here, and I'm afraid you're in for a nasty shock."
"Oh!" I respond as I can't think of anything to say in Seattle's defense. I only moved into my tiny studio apartment on Saturday evening and hadn't had a chance to have a proper look around and make my own assumptions about the city. I just hoped Jay was exaggerating as I didn't need any more negativity in my life at the moment.
Jay spins his computer screen around so he can show me the list of emails he was looking at.
"Do you know what these are, Bella?"
I shake my head as I guess just 'stating the bleeding obvious' wouldn't be the answer he's looking for.
"These are messages from irate residents or businesses complaining because some out of work, irresponsible, idiotic, probably drugged-up-to-the-eyeballs half-wit, has plastered graffiti all over their property and they want it sorted immediately if not sooner. This is just what's come in over the weekend. Like I say, Seattle's a shithole, but our new, trendy, down-with-the-kids, barking-mad Mayor seems to think this is 'Art', and that these youngsters are just 'expressing themselves', which I'm sure is why you've been hired. The world's gone fucking mad."
"Oh!" I say again and instantly feel the urge to pick up my purse, grab my jacket and make a bee-line for the elevator. I'm saved by Kirsty who bursts into the office and links her arm through mine and drags me out into the corridor.
"Don't listen to Jay," she says very loudly to ensure he can hear her. "He's a miserable S-O-B. He listens to Kurt Cobain every weekend so has to offload all the melancholy that's been absorbed into his wretched soul onto anyone who crosses his path every Monday morning. DON'T YOU JAY," she shouts even louder.
"Eff-off you Scottish harpy," he retorts, and I can hear a trace of humour in his voice which cheers me slightly.
Kirsty shows me where to make coffee and where the restrooms, the photocopiers and the fire and emergency escape plans are, then walks me around the department so I can say a fleeting 'hello' to the rest of the staff who vary in age but all seem very pleasant.
One thing I have learned though from all the friendly and supportive comments I've received from my new colleagues is that I've already got an alternative job title. In other words instead of being known as Isabella Swan, Urban Arts Consultant, which was how the job was described on the internet, I'll apparently only be referred to as …
'Isabella Swan – Graffiti Queen'.
This is not how I thought my life would turn out.
I hope you've enjoyed the first chapter. It's quite a long one, but I wanted to set up both sides of the story. Most of the chapters are long as I prefer to give readers a good chunk of the story at once when it's being uploaded.
Bella obviously has something going on in her life which has forced her to take a job she doesn't want. You'll find out very soon what it is. We'll be staying with Bella's story for a while, but Edward will be loitering around every chapter until he takes over the tale.
I never ask/beg/plead for reviews, but I do love getting them and hearing your comments on how the story is going, especially if you'd like to guess where it's heading. In this case what is the secret that Edward has found out from Alice? Hmmmmm!