Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyers. I'm just having some fun with her characters.
I squeeze my way through the subway car hoping that the doors will remain open so I can get off. That didn't happen yesterday and I was stuck on the train for two more stops and missed an interview for a waitressing job I was interested in Midtown.
My dad, Charlie warned me about moving to New York. He thought it was a mistake, telling me I'd be back. I graduated with my Bachelor in Literature from the University of Washington in May. I spent the summer trying to figure out what my next steps would be and New York was what I chose.
I know he wanted me to apply to the open English teacher position at the high school, I didn't want to be trapped in Forks, so I didn't apply.
Living in Washington was like living in purgatory, I felt like I was living the same day over and over again and the weather stayed consistently cold and damp.
New York felt like a place I could get lost, a place to blend in amongst the people. I didn't want to be seen or heard, I only wanted to be.
When I said this to Charlie, he rolled his eyes and said I sounded like my mother.
The mother who abandoned me at school on my first day of Kindergarten, and was never to be seen or heard from again. He liked to throw that detail back at me a lot lately.
From what I remembered about Renee, she had been fun, and carefree. She'd blast the radio in her old yellow VW Beetle and hold on a little too tightly when she gave me hugs.
As an adult, I wonder if those hugs were tight because she didn't want to let me go.
My dad never went into specifics with me about their divorce, I only knew that she terminated her rights to me.
Part of me hated her for it and I think that was the part my dad knew to play on when I made decisions he didn't agree with.
The fact was, she hadn't even fought for me.
But now I see things from her perspective, Forks stifled her, she needed to leave.
Now it's time I build the life I wanted.
I grunt while I finally manage to push past one last bodily obstacle, exhaling once my feet touch the platform.
I shuffle my Docs up the subway station stairs and down the sidewalk keeping up with the flow of foot traffic. I clutch the strap of my crossbody bag to my chest.
I had an interview at Le Cygne today, which meant The Swan in French. If that wasn't a sign I'm not sure what was.
It's a popular bistro in Chelsea, I stalked their Instagram a bit before I applied. The staff wore simple uniforms of black t-shirts and slacks, but all the people I'd seen in posts were practically models.
That only discouraged me a little.
I was petite in stature and wasn't one who focused on outer appearance much. Mascara and lip gloss were about as far as I went with makeup.
My college roommate, Lauren, would whine about my lack of effort and my love of thrifting.
I was more nervous that my only restaurant experience was waiting tables at the Fork's Diner over the summer. Unfortunately, with all the interviews I'd been on, no one has been willing to get me a chance.
The front door of the restaurant is locked when I go to pull the door open. This place opened at five on weekdays for dinner service and at ten on the weekends for brunch. I wasn't sure where the General Manager, Carlisle, wanted me to meet him.
I look in through the glass catching movement at the bar.
I lightly knock.
A mess of auburn hair pops up first, next I'm greeted with a scowl by the owner of the messy hair.
He comes around the bar, unlocking the locks.
"We're closed," his soft voice declares with his scowl still intact.
His eyes are shockingly green leaving me stunned.
He huffs moving to shut the door.
"Wait—" I manage to get out. "Uh, I have an interview with Carlisle Cullen."
He rolls his eyes slightly looking even more annoyed.
"Applicants go through the service entrance," he sighs.
I blink again.
He grunts. "Keep up," he says, letting me in before locking up again.
He navigates his way through the restaurant with ease, I take in that it's spacious and cozy all at the same time. Cherrywood round tables and upholstered forest green velvet chairs and booths litter our path until he guides us through the kitchen where the cooks and dishwashers look to be prepping.
The guy is tall but his shoulders hunch like he doesn't want to be noticed.
"Behind," he calls as we pass.
I watch as they huddle closer to their workstations as they chop, sauté, and clean. My guide stops abruptly in front of a door, he wraps loudly against it.
When it opens a blonde man a little older than him in a white button-down and black slacks glares back.
"Your new recruit," is all he says before he makes his journey back through the kitchen.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Carlisle," he says, cutting me off.
He holds his hand out for me to shake and his smile seems warm.
I take his hand in mine trying to give him a firm shake while I meet his eyes.
He gestures for me to take a seat in the chair across from his desk.
"I'm really sorry I knocked on the front door, I didn't mean to bother–-"
"Edward?" he asks, waving his hand. "Don't worry about him, he's always bothered."
His chuckle at the end eases my nervousness slightly.
Carlisle pulls up my application on his laptop and reviews it in front of me.
"Starbucks in Seattle?"
"Yes, I worked there all four years of college."
"At their flagship?"
"You're used to high volume service," he mumbles mostly to himself before addressing me again. "Can you expand upon some of your experience?"
"I started out working the counter taking orders then gradually moved up to the barista role making drinks within the first six months of working there. Last year I was made a shift lead," I tell him.
He looks up at me before asking. "Forks Diner?"
"I worked there over the summer," I try to explain. "I know that it's only four months experience but—"
He holds his hand up to stop me.
"It's more experience that most of the applicants I've interviewed have had," he responds. "So Forks is an actual town?" he asks with a laugh.
"It is," I say carefully, feeling that this is where things might start to go south for me.
"You've been in Brooklyn for how long?"
"Three weeks," I mumble.
I've been living off the money I made selling my truck when I arrived here. I was slowly depleting my savings, so if I didn't get this job I was fucked and would possibly have to reconsider the teaching job at Forks High.
I wasn't going to share this with him though.
"I'll be honest, we were hiring for a server," he says looking from his computer to me. "I think you'd do better at the bar."
"Like making cocktails?"
His blue eyes shine in amusement.
"We have a brunch service and yes making cocktails will be involved but we also have a variety of coffee-based drinks on our menu. I think you would be an excellent addition on that front," he explains.
"I won't be waitressing?"
"I think we'll start you out on a trial basis," he says while nodding. "A food runner for the bar and a barista for brunch service. Edward and Jasper are our resident mixologists and they can show you the ropes."
"I'm hired?" I ask more than a little surprised.
"Temporarily," he says with a grin. "If you pass your trails the job is yours."
"When are those?"
"A month from your start date," he supplies before a knock comes on the door.
A woman with the same color hair as the man at the bar pops her head in. "Hey, sorry to interrupt," she says, giving us both an apologetic smile.
"We were just wrapping up," Carlisle says, gesturing for her to come in. "Isabella, this is our floor manager and my better half, Esme."
It was the second time he called me Isabella. It was probably best that I tell him what I preferred to be called. "I go by Bella," I correct politely.
Esme holds her hand out to shake mine. "Bella suits you," she says with another warm smile.
I felt instantly at ease with both of them, my hope was the other people on staff were this welcoming.
"Rose called out," Esme tells him leaning against his desk.
I notice his jaw tick but he doesn't comment. "I need to have Bella fill out some paperwork, I'll come find you when I'm done."
She nods before kissing his cheek.
"It was nice meeting you, Bella," she says before leaving.
The paperwork was mostly tax forms and formal new hire forms. I give him my license to scan, while he informs me my first day is Friday evening, but to arrive by three for the staff meal. We also ordered my uniform so I can have it delivered before my first shift.
I nod, taking the paperwork he gave me for my records.
Carlisle walks me out, and I see Esme and the guy Carlisle identified as Edward in a heated conversation. Well, mostly he looked heated and she was rolling her eyes at him.
A group of girls and two blonde guys were watching them from a table in the corner while they ate. They were in uniforms so I assumed this was the staff meal.
"So, I'll see you Friday," Carlisle says with an enthusiastic smile.
He unlocks the door letting me out.
"Thank you," I say earnestly before floating out the door.
I try to process everything that has happened in the last hour, I am now an employed New Yorker. I am on the train back to Brooklyn hoping this is the start of something great for me.
When I enter my apartment, my roommate, Emmett, is sitting on the couch looking at his phone.
"Hey," I greet.
He seems friendly enough, but his sheer exuberance is a lot for my quiet nature. Emmett actually roomed with Charlie's best friend's son, Jacob at NYU. This detail is another reason I thought my dad would be less on my case since he's been his presence a handful of times.
Emmett is a web developer for ESPN's website, sports is something that I'm learning he is truly passionate about.
"Any offers today, kid?" he asks.
I hated every time he referred to me as a kid, he was only a year older than me.
"Uh, Le Cygne is giving me a trial period," I tell him, taking a seat on the arm of the chair across from him.
He lets out a low whistle. "Fancy."
A comfortable silence passes between us while he goes back to scrolling through his phone.
"So, will you be waitressing?" he asks after a few minutes.
"He said I'll be food running at the bar and making coffee-based drinks for brunch," I explain.
"Have you figured out your long-term plan yet?"
"I just got this job. I'm in no rush to delve into being owned by the corporate machine just yet," I mumble, hating that everyone seems to be trying to put pressure on me.
He holds his hands up relenting.
In a perfect world, I would write. In Seattle, I even had a few essays published in a few independent publications. He didn't need to know this as we were still getting to know each other.
Three days later when I show up for the staff meal before my shift, Mike is assigned to train me. Out of all the guys working here, he is the shortest, but still taller than me. He seems nice enough if you like eager puppies.
His blonde hair flops in his eyes as he guides me back to the staff locker room and shows me where to put my stuff.
"Let me guess, you're from Kansas," he says once I have my stuff put away.
"Washington," I sigh.
"Oh, the Space Needle," he grins.
I want to roll my eyes but remember I need this job and choose to be polite.
"You're a woman of few words," he teases, gesturing for me to follow him.
It's when I step out into the hall that I hit something hard smacking my forehead. I fall back on my ass feeling disoriented.
"Fucking Christ," rings out in the small hallway.
I feel hands on me and a rushed 'are you okay?' from Mike.
I look up from my seat on the floor to see the guy from the bar glaring at me. He's carrying his bike on his shoulder but carefully sets it down. "I called out that I was coming through," he snaps.
"We were in the lounge, Ed," Mike barks right back at him.
This Ed person rolls his eyes.
My head starts hurting, I find my fingers touching the tender bump now residing on my forehead.
Mike moves to replace my fingers and I flinch.
"Get Carlisle," Ed orders.
"You did this to her," he accuses.
"Who went to Med School?" Ed asks dryly.
Mike stands, I can tell he doesn't like that he's about to leave me with him, but does what is asked of him, leaving us alone.
I watch Ed fish out his phone from his pocket, he turns the flashlight on. When he lifts it to my eyes they close.
"I need to see your pupils," he snaps.
"Too bright," I mumble.
"I need to make sure you're not concussed," he drolls.
"You have such a wonderful bedside manner," I added dryly. "Are you even qualified to figure out if I am?"
"I graduated Med School, so technically, yes," he huffs.
My eyes open and his flashlight is back in my face.
He holds his finger up, telling me to follow it. "I didn't do my residency," he adds softly. "I think you'll live but we need to get you some ice."
"What happened?" Carlisle asks now joining us.
"She needs to learn how to be aware of her surroundings," Ed tells him as he stands.
I watch him lift his bike again, carrying it into the employee lounge.
I need to watch where I'm going…
Fury builds in me.
"Bella," I hear from beside me. "I need to file an accident report, maybe you should go to the hospital."
"I think I'm okay, he said I was," I tell him pointing toward the lounge. "Did he really go to Med School?"
Carlisle rubs a hand over his face before answering me. "He did," he says sadly. "Do you need to go home?"
I shake my head slowly.
"Let's get you some ice."
He helps me up and has me follow him to the bar.
Today was all about first impressions, my first impression of Ed was he was an asshole.
A/N: In this fic, Bella is meant to be a quiet observer of the world around her before she becomes the person she needs to be by the end of this fic. Edward will be a handful…
The future of this fic is in your hands. Want to thank CoppertopJ for her edits and support as always!
Trails - A trail is a working audition: a chance to show your best work, from knife skills to efficiency to the knowledge of ingredients.