A/N: Hello, my lovelies!

I've been in the mood lately to write a longer story, and I just can't seem to get this idea out of my head for some reason. This will serve as the first chapter, and I'll add other chapters as I go along. I don't have the whole plot figured out yet, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go with it.

The whole thing will be written in Bella's POV. The characters will be slightly OOC and AH.

Hope you enjoy!

"Is not general incivility
the very essence of love?"

- Jane Austen


"Shit, shit, SHIT!" I screamed in my head. I was going to be late for work… again.

If it had been another day, any other day but today, I would have considered this a relatively common occurrence. It was not unusual for me to oversleep or forgot to set my alarm. I could be considered scatterbrained at best in my natural state.

But today was not just any other day. It was the day – the one for which I had been preparing for months, years even. I finally had the chance to leave my job as lowly copy editor behind and move up the ladder as a writer at the Seattle Sun. Today could very well turn out to be the most important day of my life – it was the interview of a lifetime.

An interview for which I was about to be very, very late.

It did not help that the shoes I was wearing were entirely impossible; the surface of the icy sidewalk clashed dangerously with the thin stiletto heel of the deep blue satin pumps. I would kill Alice for forcing me to wear these insane death traps - in the middle of winter, no less! I tried desperately to move forward, but only felt as if I were squirming in place. My movement was severely constricted by the skin tight black pencil skirt Alice had insisted that I wear. It felt very uncomfortable, as if I were wearing a full body condom or something equally as ridiculous. But I knew I would receive zero sympathy from my pixie-haired best friend - In the world of Alice, there was no sacrifice too great for the sake of fashion.

She'd kept me up late last night, pestering me with wardrobe decisions while I tried to work on my portfolio – tried being the operative word.

"Isn't this a bit unnecessary?" I'd complained. "I mean, I'd like to think that these people will be judging me based on my writing, not how cute my outfit is."

She sighed, her expression exasperated. She came to stand in front of me, gripping my shoulders tightly. My eyes widened as she shook me violently with her tiny arms. "Bella, do you want to be a successful writer?" I nodded mutely. "Well, then you need to dress the part! You want to be memorable."

I'll admit, she had a point; but I didn't exactly want to be "memorable" because of two broken ankles, either.

I suddenly felt my phone vibrate inside my purse. I absentmindedly dug around in the enormous bag - I was far more concerned with not falling at the moment. After several seconds of rooting around, my fingers closed around the small buzzing object. I pulled it from my bag, and the name Alice flashed across the screen. Ah, speak of the she-devil…

I flipped my phone open and held it to my ear.

"Good morning, sunshine!"

I groaned inwardly. How could anyone be that enthusiastic so early in the morning?

"Hi, Alice."

"So, did you have your interview yet?" She was still bubbly. I could picture her practically bouncing with excitement.

"No," I answered, glancing at my watch, "and I'm probably going to be late. These shoes are ridiculous."

I heard her sigh dramatically into the phone. "It's you Bella, not the shoes." I could picture her martyred expression.

"Sorry, Alice."

She sighed again, softening a bit. "It's alright, you just need some practice."

I almost laughed out loud at the thought of willingly putting myself through this ever again.

"I want those back, by the way… intact," she added. "I'm going to wear them Friday night."

I was only half listening to her as I struggled to cross the street. I filled in my side of the conversation with what I hoped were genuine sounding uh huh's and yeah's.

"Are you coming over tonight?" she asked as the conversation drew to a close.

"Definitely. I'm assuming that I'll need some wallow time after I successfully botch this interview."

"You'll be great, I know it," she reassured me. "Good Luck! I'll see you tonight."

"Okay, bye," I replied, and snapped the phone shut.

I sighed, and turned to replace my phone inside my bag. As I did, my foot came down at an awkward angle on the pavement, directly onto a slick patch of ice. My foot lost traction with the ground as my ankle twisted sickeningly, and I yelped as an excruciating pain shot up my leg. I felt my body lurch backward, and I lost my grip on my purse and my portfolio, both of which flew up into the air. I squeezed my eyes shut and tensed my muscles, preparing myself for impact with the hard, frozen ground.

It never came, however. I kept my eyes squeezed tightly shut, fearing the worst. Why wasn't I in pain? Had I fallen and broken my spine? Was I paralyzed?

I opened my eyes slowly, carefully, and was stunned to find a pair of sparkling emerald eyes staring down at me. I gasped as I studied the face that went along with those eyes: a narrow, angular nose offset by perfect, high cheekbones and a strong, masculine jaw line; deep, gorgeous eyes framed by a set of warm bronze lashes which matched the color of his soft, tousled hair. My breath caught in my chest. Who was this person? I had never seen anyone so beautiful.

I blinked, and suddenly became acutely aware of the fact that this gorgeous stranger was the only thing holding me above the ground. His strong arms wrapped tightly around me, fully supporting my weight. Suddenly, he spoke.

"Are you alright?" he murmured. The velvet tone of his voice shot an unexpected thrill through me.

"I'm fine," I mumbled, disoriented. I struggled to straighten myself, and he let me, but the throb in my ankle flared painfully. I stumbled forward, directly into his chest. He caught me by the arms and steadied me.

His brow furrowed. "Are you sure? It looked like you twisted your ankle pretty badly."

He was right, of course. But I forced myself to ignore the pain in my ankle, which was getting worse by the second.

"I'm fine," I stated firmly.

Something akin to annoyance flashed in his emerald eyes. He was obviously the knight in shining armor type. Well, that was unfortunate, because I refused to be the damsel in distress.

"If you say so," he replied skeptically.

As the fog in my brain began to clear, I realized that the ground was littered with the contents of my purse, not to mention the pages of my portfolio, which were now strewn across the wet, frozen street. I groaned, and bent to pick them up. The stranger helped me, and although I was reluctant to accept his help, I was grateful for it. He picked up a few of the scattered pages, and I was horrified as he began to scan his eyes across one of them. Despite the fact that I read other people's writing for a living, I considered my own writing to be very personal. I rarely let strangers read my work.

"This is quite good," he noted. He almost sounded reluctant to admit it.

My cheeks flamed with embarrassment. "Thank you," I murmured, to the ground rather than to him directly.

He noted my embarrassment and changed the subject abruptly. "Why do you wear shoes like that, anyway?" he snapped, nodding toward the satin heels. "They're dangerous."

"Well," I defended, "I don't usually wear shoes like these…"

"I can tell," he muttered.

Anger flared in my chest. What was that supposed to mean?

I straightened then, my purse and portfolio in hand. I continued to ignore the throbbing in my ankle.

"Well, Thank you for your assistance, Mr. ---"

"Cullen," he replied, extending his hand toward me. "You're welcome, Ms. ---"

"Swan." I took his hand, and was immediately eager to release it. An inexplicable spark of electricity shot through me at the feeling of having his skin on mine.

"Well, Ms. Swan, you ought to be more careful. Try watching where you walk next time; sometimes it helps."

Resentment flared in me again. I raised my chin defiantly.

"Thank you," I replied coolly. "I'll try to remember that."

He smirked, and then stalked past me without another word.

I stood frozen for a moment, unable to move. I realized suddenly that I was trembling, my hands shaking uncontrollably.

I had never felt such resentment before… or, as much as I hated to admit it, such attraction.

I turned and stared after him as he strode away from me in the same direction I had been traveling.

A/N: Did you like it? I really hope so.

Show me how loved I am by sending lots and lots of REVIEWS! I want to know if you guys would like me to continue the story.