A/N: Sorry for the lag…it's been difficult to sit down and actually do some writing. But I have a day off so here you go! I will be updating this one along with my story "Falling Forever" tonight. I also have a new idea for a brand new AU story but no hints sorry! ^__^ Enjoy this update and I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday.
Lots of Love,
PS - This chapter proves I know WAY too much about shoes *headdesk*
It was quite difficult to pay any attention to the new trainee while a beautiful bouquet of flowers was sitting behind the counter waiting for me to take them home. But I did my best to keep the thoughts of Edward and the night we had spent together at bay while I trained James in the art of selling shoes.
"To be quite honest, it's not that hard. You just have to know how to talk to people. Even if you have no idea what they want, or if we even have what they're looking for, it doesn't matter. As soon as you get them to sit down then you can go to the back and panic." I told James. He chuckled a bit,
"I think I can talk to people. It doesn't seem that difficult." He said. His voice was raspy and his shirt smelled like cigarette smoke. Still, he seemed nice enough that I fairly confident he would be a good edition to our team. At least I hoped…I was getting tired of working thirty hour weeks.
The night ticked on slowly. We did some rapport building exercises and I went over "tech specs" about each shoe,
"Now Eccos' are really cool because they have a polyurethane sole so it holds up much better than regular rubber. Plus, the soles are attached to shoe by a process called 'vulcanization' so there isn't any stitching so it's basically all one piece." I was explaining the aspects of our highest selling dress shoe when it dawned on me that I knew way too much about shoes, "Wow I really need to get a life." I said. James let out a laugh and smiled at me,
"Nah, you're fine. I need to know this stuff right?" He asked. I nodded,
"It helps when you know things about the shoes. It makes you seem more…professional I guess. You don't look like an idiot when someone asks you a question." I said.
"I don't think you could ever look like an idiot." James said. For some reason that made me feel a bit uncomfortable and I moved on to the next shoe so I could shake the strange feeling.
"Now, Keens are really cool the soles smell like vanilla." I told him as I picked up one of the water shoes from the shelf and held it out for him to smell,
"Is this some sort of newbie prank?" He asked a little wary. I shook my head,
"No, I promise." I shoved the shoe in his face and he was forced to sniff it,
"Wow…the supervisor does not lie." He said. I smiled and repositioned the shoe,
"No I do not. And yes, we do find this stuff out by standing around smelling the shoes. It can get a little slow in here." I confessed. James chuckled again and looked at me with a indescribable expression. Once again, for some reason, I felt uncomfortable…what was worse, I felt bad for feeling uncomfortable.
"So should we move onto cleaners?" I said trying to break up the strange feelings I was having.
"You're in charge." He said. The mall was dead that night, we hadn't had a customer in about an hour and a half which made me happy. It was so much easier to train someone when there were no customers and I really didn't feel like dealing with any difficult customers that evening, not after the amazing and exhausting time I had experienced the night before.
"So, do you go to school?" I said, trying my best to make small talk as I demonstrated how to correctly shine different kinds of shoes.
"Yeah, I just transferred actually so I guess we'll be going to the same college." James told me.
"Yep! Considering there is only one college in this town I would assume so." I said as I vigorously scrubbed a Doc Marten.
"What's your major?" He asked as he was doing his best to clean a stubborn pair of Nike Shox.
"Journalism actually. I minor in Theatre and Classical Studies…basically I read for a living." I joked. "How about you?" I asked,
"Undecided at the moment. I really can't figure out what I want to do with my life." He told me.
"I'm sure you'll figure it out." I told him with a smile. Then, came the question that I knew traditionally followed the 'So what's your major?' question,
"So do you have a boyfriend?" He asked.
"Am I interrupting an important training session?" The sound of Edward's voice brought an immediate smile to my face. He had never had better timing.
"Guess that answers my question." I heard James whisper as I sprung up to greet Edward.
"Just cleaning some shoes. Thank you for the flowers…they're beautiful." I said. I still felt a bit shy around him, I wasn't entirely sure why besides the fact that he was beautiful, talented, and could kiss better than anyone I knew.
"Just like you." He said with a smile. "Has she fallen off any ladders today?" Edward said speaking to James. I bit my lip, embarrassed.
"Nope I've kept a good eye on her." James said. That feeling crept in again and I saw Edward tilt his head ever so slightly, as if he felt exactly the same way.
"….Thanks." Edward said.
"Oh! Edward this is James…James, Edward." I said. The two men shook hands but said nothing more.
"Are you ready for classes tomorrow?" Edward asked both of us. At least I think he was asking both of us, he could have just been being nice to James.
"I guess, it's going to be different being at a new school." James said. Edward nodded,
"I know what you mean man but…I think this town has some great things to offer." He said flashing me a smile.
"I think you're right." James said. Edward turned to me,
"What about you? Are you ready for classes?" He asked. His eyebrows pulled together though as he stared at me…I instantly felt self conscious,
"What? What's wrong?" I asked momentarily horrified.
"You have a little…cleaner on your face." He said with the chuckle I was so in love with. He scrubbed the dark brown smudge off my forehead and grinned with his eyes,
"To answer your question yes, I am very ready for classes." I said.
"Good." Edward said with a smile. I had almost forgotten that James was there and I felt a little guilty.
"James if you want to go ahead and take the trash out you can." I told him as cheerily as I could. I even hated taking the trash out and I was secretly thrilled that I could order a new trainee to do it instead.
"Sure thing boss." James winked at me and Edward tilted his head again. "Good to meet ya Edward." He said before disappearing to the back,
"Yeah…you too." Edward said a bit quietly. After James was gone I went to the counter and pulled out the paperwork for the night. Edward leaned against the counter and was just about to say something when his phone rang.
"Yes Emmett?" He said unenthusiastically. While his brother's loud, undecipherable, voice came from the other end Edward played absentmindedly with my hair as I counted up the drawer for the night. I smiled as he did, it was a nice feeling.
"Are you sure? Okay, okay, I know 'what brothers are for' I'll be right there I'm just visiting Bella at work…EMMETT!" He scolded his brother for an obviously inappropriate comment. I laughed a bit and Edward rolled his eyes, "I'll be there soon….I love you to uh…man. Bye." He hung up quickly and let out a frustrated sigh,
"Edward to the rescue?" I asked. He nodded,
"His jeep died, I have to go jump him." He said. I detected a hint of pout on his lips and I found it extremely adorable,
"I'm sorry." I said rubbing his shoulder. He sighed again,
"So much for taking you out tonight." He said frustrated.
"It's alright…I have a lot to do before tomorrow anyway." I said. I just didn't want him to feel bad. In reality I was pretty set for tomorrow which made me feel not as nervous as usual.
"Okay, I have to go…I'll pick you up in the morning?" He asked. I laughed, we were both in walking distance of campus so he really didn't need to pick me up. Then again, I wasn't going to deny him if he wanted to walk me to class.
"If you insist." I said. He winked at me, seemed to think something over and then quickly kissed me on the cheek. James walked back in from taking the trash out and Edward quickly glanced at him and then back to me,
"Call me when you get home okay? I don't know if I'll be home yet or not but a call would be nice." He told me quietly, and with a hint of concern in his voice.
"Sure." I said with a smile. Then he left, his hands in his pockets and his mind elsewhere.
We were out of the mall in no time that night and I was happy to get home to a hot shower and a phone call to Edward.
"BELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!" Alice screeched as I entered the apartment.
"Thank God, okay, Bella help Alice choose shoes…I'm going to go back to our apartment, put on a soccer game, and try to see if I can pull my balls out from where they've retreated." Jasper said hopping up from the couch and a sea of shoes.
"Love youuuuu." Alice sang as he kissed her quickly mouthed 'Good Luck' to me and hurried back to his apartment.
"These." I said picking up a small pair of dark blue ballet flats the tied up her ankle.
"OH MY GOD BELLA THESE ARE PERFECT! THANK YOU!!" Alice bounced and I laughed,
"You're welcome." I said retreating to the shower, leaving the joyous pixie to her victory dance.
The hot water felt good on my tired body. It had been an slow, yet nice, night. James seemed like he was going to work out which would free up time on my schedule to spend more time with Edward. Still, one thing was bothering me…
….the way Edward got whenever James would look at me, it seemed like he knew something I didn't.