New idea. Plot that just wont die. Review if you please! Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of their affiliations.
Park Bench Portrait
Chapter one: Montage
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Reaching a half asleep arm towards the bedside table, I wafted my hand drowsily to silence the irritating alarm clock that my father bought as an 'apartment warming' present three years ago. After a few seconds of fruitless attempts to grasp the damn alarm clock, I sat up from the comforting warmth of my bed and took the irritating gift into my hands and removed the batteries.
That should do it.
Just as I placed it back onto the bedside table, the high frequency beep echoed through the room once again. That's when I realized- it was my pager. The evil little chain and ball in my life.
Where did I even put it?
Sifting through yesterday's discarded wear I fumbled through the pockets of my black work trousers and grasped the monotonic, little devil in my hands. Flipping the cover, I loaded the screen to find a message from my boss:
It was something that I should have been used to. My boss sends the same message every morning; its as if I have the memory of a goldfish. I'm still not trusted to remember that R.L.H needs a lukewarm latte with vanilla and hazelnut syrup, bought from the coffee house around the corner from R.L.H Enterprises. I've been working for 'The Bitch' Rosalie Lillian Hale for three years, that's over one thousand and ninety five pages. No wonder I hated the blasted thing.
Chucking the pager to the floor, I stood up wearily and stumbled out of my bedroom and into the kitchen. The clock read five minutes past eight, leaving me just under an hour to get ready for yet another day of lonely labor. Lucky me.
Grabbing a bowl and some cereal, I ate quickly and hopped into the shower a few minutes later. I always took showering time as a way to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. I worked for Rosalie Lillian Hale Enterprises (R.L.H Enterprises) aptly named after my boss- who I had the misfortune to P.A for. I admit, the salary is more than enough for me to be pleased, yet, the atmosphere in 'The Bitch's Workplace' is less than…friendly. In all honest truth, I have no friends in that mockery of a place. Iron curlers, expensive Armani suits and a list of endless dates are not my definition of a worthy friendship.
Once the shower had run cold, I hopped out with a frightened shriek and ensconced myself in a towel to retain body heat. I should also highlight the fact that I am somewhat clumsy. Equilibrium is nonexistent in my life.
By quarter to nine, I was out of the apartment and on my way to the coffee house across from my own personal hell. Why had I even lasted so long in that place? Not even I had an answer for that. The usual tingle of the bell above the door interrupted the bustling crowd around the till and the shop owner contorted his face as if to say 'Not another one'. I hate this place. It is the most expensive, jam-packed and noisiest of the three coffee houses on this street, yet it seems as if every single employee from Enterprises flocks here for their morning coffee.
I'm always the last in line, due to the fact that I'm invisible to just about everyone. I usually escape the establishment with minimal bruising- a feat in my eyes. The jabs, shoves and stomping on my feet are only a reminder that I'm just another soul in this world.
When I reached my thirty-fifth floor office station, I quickly discarded my bags and shoved my copy of 'Wuthering Heights' under my desk; work tends to become rather repetitive. The latte was still in my hand and I found it a miracle that I still had anything left for The Bitch to drink. I remembered that my first attempt to buy her a latte ended in disaster when I accidentally spilt it onto a rather burly man in an expensive looking suit. I scarpered so quickly, I didn't even have time to apologize. Although, it was later embarrassing when I realized that he worked on my floor and even more so when I walked in on Rosalie and the aforementioned man in a rather…risqué position in her office. I am, undoubtedly- fortune's fool.
I knocked on Rosalie's door and proceeded to place her drink in the usual spot on her desk. Once again, she was off, doing who knows what in who knows where. Returning to my desk, I loaded my provided laptop and set about checking e-mails and whatnot. I wasn't surprised when my inbox read zero. Just as empty as yesterday. I quickly glanced towards my junior assistant and noticed her fingers tapping away at her laptop keys furiously. Even though I was ranked higher in the hierarchy of this business, Lauren 'unrelenting seductress' Mallory seemed to steal my credit and my workload. I know she wants my job and I have an uneasy feeling that she altered my e-mail address that I told her to give to the technician the other day, the confirmation of the change still hadn't come through.
As usual, my workload is limited, leaving me to ponder some more. I offered to share Lauren's towering work pile and received a hasty glare. She only ever talks to her co-worker Jessica Stanley and the various specimens of the opposite gender that may pass her way every once in a while. Rosalie strolled in a few minutes later and nodded a greeting in Lauren's direction, passing my station without so much as a glance.
Bored, I took my book from under my desk and flipped through to my favorite section. It was only seconds later that my pager buzzed its frantic screech.
Close the damn book and get to work.
WHAT?! I flushed a deep red and snapped the book closed. How could she see me through stained glass office doors? I could hear Lauren snicker gently and I huffed a frustrated breath. Rosalie doesn't need a surveillance camera to watch her employees, she has Lauren.
I placed my book back into my bag and opened a new document on the laptop. I might as well finish the five thousand word report on how R.L.H Enterprises should invest in the new range of Jaguar cars. It was beyond me over why Rosalie chose to run a car business. She seemed so feminine and too prim and proper to look as though she owned a successful car trading corporation. I supposed that it drew in the male attention, although, not on my part.
I feel like a lonely old spinster in this place. Twenty-four years old and not one measly date (I refuse to mention Mike Newton two years ago, his testicle retrieval operation was successful and that was the end of our relationship) No, I stopped trying to mingle a few weeks after accepting the P.A. position. I'd exhausted all attempts take make conversation and I wasn't even a social person. In the world of R.L.H Enterprises- Bella Swan didn't even exist. Although, a "Bell…Bird….whatever" sometimes managed to escape Rosalie's lips.
I looked back at my screen and noticed that I had three sentences written down. I used word count religiously and noted that I had managed to write forty-eight words, only another four thousand nine hundred and fifty two left to go. Go me!
I shook my head at the oh-so-lovely name Rosalie had recently acquired for me, ignored Lauren's snicker and traipsed my way into The Bitch's office.
"Yes, Miss Hale?"
She never even attempted to raise her gaze from the screen of her computer and tapped away at the keys with her daintily polished nails. Red to be exact. I'd seen a similar shade on Lauren's nails- another of her traits; Lauren absolutely and devoutly followed Rosalie's fashion sense. Consequently, this left Lauren and Rosalie in almost matching outfits, which Rosalie found absolutely "Fantastic!" as she paraded the fact that she could bring Lauren to her next shopping trip, seeing as they shared the same style. Lauren was only too pleased to worm her way into another of Rosalie's niches.
"Did you hear what I said, Birdie?" Rosalie asked impatiently. I blushed furiously and stuttered a pathetic response.
"N-not quite, Miss Hale."
Her fingers seemed to type faster.
"I said, you will accompany me to 'The Muse Canvas Gallery' tonight. I have a series of clients who are expecting my presence there," she hesitated, "Please, dress up for the occasion. This is a formal event."
Ha! Take that Mallory!
I nodded and turned swiftly to exit, only to slam into the closed glass door. Damn.
"Even a pigeon could see that the door was closed." Rosalie muttered, too distinct to be subtle about her remark. I hurried back to my desk and rubbed the sore spot on my head. Just another day at work I chanted. Just another day at work.
I almost cheered when the clock on my laptop signaled my lunch break. I was free. Well, for an hour at the most. I snapped my laptop shut and grabbed my work satchel. My only advantage to working in this abhorrent hell, was the fact that it was close to my favorite spot in the whole of Forks. I crammed into the elevator occupied by most of the upper floor and found myself pressed against the far elevator wall. The elevator usually wasted ten minutes of my lunch due to the numerous stops and my failed attempts to exit the lift when it first reached the ground floor. There were just too many other ignorant people who ignored my valiant attempts to reach the doors. Therefore, I had to wait for my salvation.
After another five stops, I managed to exit the elevator and stomped my way across the shiny marble floor to the gigantic revolving doors at the entrance of the building. Now, this was a challenge. I breathed deeply for a few seconds, then manically, jumped into the throng of employees and tumbled my way out of the exit.
I hoisted myself back up and cried in triumph. A few onlookers watched me with bemused looks, although, the majority jabbed me out of the way. It was a dog eat dog world out there. I was the dog crap that no one ever seemed to treat nicely.
The air was warmer in Forks, July was the only month that the sun seemed to make an appearance. I reveled in the warm breeze and hobbled a few blocks to the park. Everything was so... green. It was refreshing, I used to hate the color, but 'The Bitch's Workplace' soon righted that. Now, I loved the mossy representative.
I strolled down a worn gravely path and through a winding of trees to a clearing. There, my usual park bench resided, overlooking a steep hill where families tended to gather at the bottom. Here, I could sit content and watch the happier half of Forks. I sat and pulled my sandwiches from my bag, unfolding the tinfoil I smoothed it out on my lap and sighed. The dull ringing of phones could not fine me here. The noisy banter between colleagues now silent. I was at peace.
Smiling to myself, I watched as a toddler chased after a Labrador. It was a beautiful and innocent sight. I scanned the clearing of trees towards the bottom of the hill and focussed on the rusty bench I knew to be there. I nodded. There he was. Frederick the Tramp. I had never spoken to him, and named him Frederick for no apparent reason, but I thought he should have a proper name- as anyone should- cough-cough- Rosalie.
He wore the same outfit as always-green faded trousers and a holey gray polo neck. I felt for the poor man, yet he seemed quite hostile sometimes, bashing his usual bench and urinating in public- I gathered it was something alcohol related, he always seemed to be waving a can of some sort. It was quite amusing to watch the local sheriff escorting him off of the premises. Frederick could always count on a hearty laugh on my part.
My gaze left poor Frederick and honed in on 'Bag Lady' and her trolley. I swear she and Frederick escaped the same loony bin together. Bag Lady tended to roam the park with her trolley and copious amounts of filled-with-god-knows-what bags. She had accumulated the bags from litter-bugs on the park and instead of throwing them in the trash- kept them as some sort of a collector's item. It was a strange sight to behold. Forks certainly had its fair share of oddities.
I finished my sandwich and placed the foil back in my bag, my watch read twenty minutes to two, so I had time for another scan of the park. Bag Lady had disappeared and in her place, Jogger Man Joe had appeared. This certain, middle-aged man tended to pop up ever now and then. I'm certain he's training for the New York Marathon in a few weeks. I don't think he'll get that far, his legs seem too bow legged for him to be able to complete the race.
I'm not a doctor though. I could be wrong. I'll have to watch the race on the television, I'll cheer him on anyways.
Just as Jogger Man Joe finished his lunges, my pager beeped frantically.
Lunch over, Birdie!
I need the Lowman File Immediately.
My sanity was hanging in the balance; I had an hour! An hour to get ready for a formal event with The Bitch. Doomsday was certainly on the horizon; I had nothing to wear, little time to decide and the looming threat of 'salary dockage' if I were to ruin anything this evening.
My alter ego: Klutz, would have to be buried deep within myself tonight. I would not allow Rosalie another bird related jibe. I needed it for my sanity.
It was at times like these that I wished for a friend. Someone who would notice me and offer some assistance. My father told me that I would settle in soon enough, however, the prospect of such an occurrence has now faded into nothingness. Three years later- I doubt it'll ever happen.
With time running out, I selected a formal dark blue dress and a jacket to match. I rarely trusted myself in heels but the occasion called for it and therefore, I ended up in my barely used black heels.
A walking, talking disaster waiting to happen.
I locked the apartment and made my way to the sidewalk outside of my building. 'The Muse Canvas Gallery' was too far to walk on foot, and so I needed to hail a taxi. Difficulty usually surfaced on this situation; taxis rarely ever noticed my frail attempts to hail them. Instead, I called a Taxi service and waited vigilantly for my ride.
It took a few minutes but the taxi soon arrived and I stumbled inside, giving the driver my preferred destination. My location for a night of pure torturous hell.
"Birdie! Over here!" Rosalie called once I entered the establishment. My cheeks flared at my work based alias and I hung my head mournfully. I would have to endure her bitchiness.
"Yes, Miss Hale?" I asked monotone. Her company eyed me suspiciously and one tried to subtly whisper to Rosalie,
"Your P.A. needs a thorough speaking to. That tone is unacceptable."
I ignored his comment and looked toward Rosalie. She wore an almost…embarrassed look.
"Never use that tone with me again," she spat. Her company appraised her reprimand and she nodded to the corner of the gallery and excused herself for the moment. I smiled sarcastically towards the men and followed her lead.
"I repeat. You shall not ruin this evening for me. I want you to circulate, keep tabs on conversation and keep out of the way. I'll have someone fetch you if you are needed. Now, hurry off and do that invisible thing you do- be gone."
She stalked away and I stared astonished. How-How dare she! I gritted my teeth and turned on my heel, almost tripping over myself. I hate Rosalie Hale. I truly do. I swear, one day I'm going to out her secret liaisons with a certain Emmett Cullen- I will revel in her subsequent embarrassment and regret. It wasn't every day that a multi-millionaire of a wealthy business dated one of her juniors.
Especially when one's father had another suitor in mind.
Smirking, I folded my arms and scanned the gallery. Topics about Rosalie's business and other various conversations flitted around me, and yet never actually decided to include me. Solitude in a room full of sociable persons soon found me once again.
I dismissed the idea of trying to make conversation with a bunch of prissy millionaires and took Rosalie's advice and turned on my 'invisibility'. The gallery seemed quite interesting and I admired some of the pieces. Various artists littered the walls and I found myself drawn to the charcoal depictions. They were simple, yet, oddly full of detail. I never truly understood art- though, that's the beauty of it. I never have one set feeling about any one piece.
Every piece has its own story.
Its own depiction.
I was hopeless at art. My pictures blurred and my drawings resembled a toddler's brave attempt to copy a tree. All in all, useless.
Groups of clientèle gathered around various exhibits, pointing to this, that and the other. I doubted that snobs such as these could see any beauty in these pieces of art, as money was scarce. To them, this art was just another investment. Not a joy. Not an admiration.
The clientèle moved slowly and I kept roaming the walls with my eyes, scanning vibrant contrasts of colors and images. It was then that an exhibit drew my eye. From across the room, I noticed the familiar outline of my usual spot. The park I visited everyday. I was curious; no one ever seemed to bother to trek to the top of the hill. It was always such a secluded spot.
I crossed the room excitedly and planted myself in front of the display of black and white images. I even let a flash of hope ensconce my mind as I thought about being able to buy the piece if I liked it enough. My fingers trailed over the images and froze on impact. My eyes scrutinized the picture and my heart thudded faster than usual.
A lone figure resided in every photograph, in every charcoal drawing.
Alone. Invisible to the people below the hill.
It was me.
Someone had drawn…me.
The pictures showed my solitary figure basking in the sun, watching the park life below the hill, eating lunch, reading various books.
Someone had noticed me.
I held my breath, tracing the images and furrowing my brow. Who would want to study me? The loner of Forks?
I followed the collaboration of images and focused on certain notes within this displayed portfolio.
"Every day, this woman watches others. She has a certain endearing loneliness about her. Today, I decided to observe her."
"Invisible to the world, she's content."
"Today she laughs; loneliness is not always unhappiness."
By now, my heart is thumping painfully and I look towards the title of the piece: Park Bench Portrait.
I desperately scanned the artwork for a signature or an initial…anything.
"Can I help you dear?"
I turned and found a stout woman awaiting my response. I nodded frantically and stuttered a reply.
"I-I would like to know the artist of this piece, please." I told her gently. She smiled, nodding happily.
"It's a beautiful portfolio. Reminds me of a distant love…secretive and untold," she sighed contentedly, "The artist is works through the initials E.A.C…a wonderful man. Quiet though."
Should I feel…uneasy? I shook my head…its an artist's job to capture unseen moments- but why me?
All of a sudden, I have an urge to find this E.A.C.
"Is he here tonight?" I asked hesitantly.
She shook her head.
"No, he rarely visits. Just displays his wonderful work and then disappears."
I thanked her for her services and returned my attention back to the pictures. One charcoal drawing looked so…detailed and intricate; an image of myself, reading in the afternoon sun. The caption read:
"Through books, her attention is captured. A beauty so simple and innocent in today's merciless society."
Tears blurred my vision and I soon found it impossible to look at the images anymore.
E.A.C had touched my heart.
He had noticed me.
I love a mean Rosalie, I really, really do. I hope you enjoyed and please review...Time and effort is always nice to be rewarded! Update shall be in the next couple of days.