I just moved to Los Angeles eight months ago from Forks, Washington.
And what a culture shock that was. I mean it's only been eight months, I'm still getting used to it.
I've lived in Forks my whole life, it's all that I've known, and it's a big part of who I am. So why, one may wonder, did I move away from the one place I've ever called home?
Well, I graduated from the local junior college almost a year ago, and came to LA to partake in an internship with the Los Angeles Times.
So here I am at one of the most prestigious newspaper corporations in the country. The halls are busy, journalists everywhere trying to scrounge up stories, any stories, filling up all the odd gaps here and there in the paper, people on the phones, trying to dig up the latest dirt on the crime scene at a local 7-11 hold-up, the presidential campaigns, etc. It really is a madhouse in here, a quick-paced and loud environment. Everything I've dreamed of as an aspiring journalist, and here I am.
"BELLA! You are a lifesaver!"
"You got that extra shot of espresso in there right?"
"I asked for a hazelnut latte, Ms. Swan, not toffee nut!"
"Is this soy?"
"Oh! I am absolutely ADDICTED to the new Christmas blend!"
Yes, here I am at one of the most prestigious newspaper corporations in the country, playing barista, and taking up orders. I guess you can say I'm pretty much living the dream.
"I asked for no whip Bells! You know I'm trying to fit into that dress for Jazz's family thing!"
This last comment is directed from my roommate, Alice Brandon.
"Alice I highly doubt you won't be able to zip up that dress just because of a few extra calories from the whipped cream."
This is true. Her metabolism's probably faster than a cheetah on crack.
Moving to Los Angeles has made me feel like I've been aging too fast and I barely turned 23 two months ago. I got so caught up with the "life in the big city" and did not plan the most important things properly, i.e. my living arrangements. Before I answered Alice's roommate ad I'd been living in a motel for little over a month. But after that last cockroach in the shower I knew it was high-time I got my ass a place of my own. Alice was a godsend.
"Bells, you'll be home in time to make sure the plumber comes in to fix the leaky faucet right?"
I nod my head in reply. I'm in a daze, daydreaming of all the good things I expected from the internship. I remember ripping open the letter, ecstatic for my big break. Looking around at all the writers' fluid movements, I am reminded of my place here, and that internship roughly translates into gopher girl.
"Oh good! You know I would have let him in since it is my bathroom and all but this new editor is a real bitch."
Alice has recently turned from gopher girl to editorial assistant. Though she tries to comfort me and tells me it is not at all a glamorous job, it is a big step up. It took her a year to earn her keep. Hopefully, I don't die of starvation by then.
My frequent trips to the copy room make the time pass by ever so slowly. Lunch soon comes and I'm back to passing out subs and sandwiches. How did Alice keep up with this for a year?
As the big hand on the clock turns to three I am out of there! Driving in Los Angeles is a real bitch, especially with all those damned left turn yields, not that I know of course. I take the bus. Honestly, do you really think I could afford a place to live and a car? I'm made of anything but money.
"RRRRRRRRRR," my stomach complains. All I had was a bag of Cheetos for lunch. I glance at my watch. The plumber is coming at 3:30 and it is now 3:32. Damn. And with all these stops we're making I doubt I'll make it there by four.
I close my eyes and lay my head against the window anticipating the long ride to my temporary home.
"GRRRRRRRRR," my stomach yells all the louder. Well if I had enough money to afford the bare necessities like FOOD for example, then maybe I would have been able to splurge and buy that Snickers bar in the vending machine earlier. Lucky for me I get a free meal every shift from waitressing at the bistro around the corner from my apartment. Unfortunately, tonight is not a night I will have the privilege of fine dining, or dining at all. I suppose I could take up Alice's offers of take-out and the like, but I'm already a big enough mooch as it is. I could barely afford rent last month. I still owe her a bill.
I doze off for a few minutes only to be disturbed by an extremely cold liquid penetrating through my good white blouse.
"HOLY SHIIIIIIIIT!" I screech, bumping my head on the window as I attempt to sit up.
"Fuck," I say as I grip my aching head. I take a peek at the culprit drink spiller and see that he can be no older than four or five.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," he starts repeating after me, singing it along to the tune of the French nursery rhyme Frere Jaques. Great. Now I'll look like the guilty party here trying to seduce this little boy with my wet, see-thru blouse, teaching him dirty words.
"OLIVER! OLIVER! What are you…oh crap! I am so so so SORRY!" A man says taking the swearing, jumping boy off the seat next to me.
"I swear I was just at the front of the bus trying to scrounge up some change for the bus ride and I turn away for one second and Oliver just disappears! He's been doing that all day! I don't know how my brother keeps up with him."
I am temporarily mute as I stare at this man open-mouthed, my string of profanities for giving him a piece of my mind, forgotten.
He is really one beautiful piece of-
"Oh shit! And your shirt! Really, I apologize." His ranting disrupts my thought and I blush hoping it goes unnoticed. He continues speaking frantically, reaching into his pocket, taking out a tissue or napkin or something. I am not kidding when I say that he begins patting my front side dry with the napkin.
"…really! I'll buy you a new shirt or something! How much do you…oh shit!" he swears again, realizing that he's molesting me. His hands fly away from my chest and behind his back.
'No!' I think, 'don't stop!'
"Unk-uh! Unk-uh Edwad!" the curly-haired boy screams from behind me.
My face is probably red as a cherry now.
"Oliver! Settle down! I told you I didn't want you eating that extra cotton candy at the park! Please try and stay quiet! Just for a half an hour! Until we get home! Then we can play anything you want!" the man tells the boy, putting a finger to his lips to silence him.
"Okay," the little boy whispers back intensely, imitating the man's actions, putting his finger to his lips.
"Really, I am truly sorry. I've been sitting my nephew all day and usually he's not this hyper and it's my fault for giving him the extra sugar, but really, how can you say no to a face like that?" he asks me.
We both look back to his nephew, making faces and sticking his tongue out.
"OLIVER!" he whispers vehemently. "Behave!"
"So how much do you want for the-" I cut him off.
"No. It's not a problem at all, I promise. Sure, this thing happens all the time. And I agree with you, it is impossible to say no to a face like that," I smile, reassuring the man that no harm, no foul.
"Are you sure? At least let me pay for dry-cleaning. I-"
"Honestly, I assure you," I tell the beautiful man, patting the sticky lemonade off my blouse. "It is entirely okay. I'm just trying to get home."
The bus comes to a halt. I look up.
"Here's my stop," I say reaching for my bags.
"Here's my card," the man says, placing it in my hand. "Call me when you need that new shirt, or let me know about that dry-cleaning bill," he says in all seriousness.
I blush, at the warmth that consumes my hands from the gentleness of his own. I snatch it back and he slightly frowns at my gesture.
"Th-thanks," I manage to get out, staggering to the front of the bus.
I put my belongings down, recollecting myself, as the bus doors close.
As I begin gathering my things again, I see the blonde, curly-haired boy waving profusely from the back of the bus.
Smiling, and shivering slightly from the cold air hitting my shirt, I begin to walk the remaining block on my journey toward home.