Hey all, hope you like this new little fic I'm trying. It is AU and that is kind of new for me. Please let me know what you think! I'm pretty excited to see how this all unfolds...
Thanks for Starshine for the pinch hit beta!
I took one last look in the mirror, quickly adjusting my thick sweater and jeans, before I picked up my keys and bag by the door. I ran down the stairs towards the parking lot, managing to avoid the puddles scattered across the uneven pavement and only tripped once.
I didn't even fall.
Things may just be looking up.
Four years ago I had been awarded one of the coveted positions on campus in the library. It was an easy job yet not too boring. It allowed me time to complete my homework and my co-workers were all nice and pleasant enough. I didn't know many of them well but I preferred to work alone and only had a small group of close friends.
Unfortunately, once I graduated I no longer could work on campus and I was desperately trying to find a full time job in the area. I really had no interest in moving back home to Phoenix at this point.
I had just finished helping a student with reference material and was about to start combing the Want Ads when Mr. Hudson, my boss, came up and asked me to come to his office.
I followed him behind the rows of shelves to a private area that housed the offices of the library administration, wondering what he wanted to meet with me about.
He gestured for me to take the empty seat across from his desk before asking, "Bella, you haven't found a job following graduation have you?"
I shook my head at him, and grimaced, "No, I have sent my application out to dozens of places, and have had a couple of interviews but so far I haven't had much luck."
I'd been completely frustrated at the lack of job opportunities offered me. I was bright and hard working. I had experience and good references but I couldn't seem to catch a break. And I needed one fast, as this job was going to be over in two weeks and I would have rent and bills to pay with no job.
Mr. Hudson had been my boss the entire time I'd worked in the library and he was really more like a mentor than a supervisor to me at this point, so I wasn't completely surprised he had noticed my plight. He smiled and said, "Well, I think I may have found something for you."
"Really?" I said as my mouth broke out into a grin, "That would be great! Tell me about it!"
He sat back in his seat, relaxed and said, "I don't know if you are aware but Pacific Northwest Trust is a large contributor to the library and its programs. They have always been very generous and in return I have assisted them in finding a personal assistant for their CEO every year or so."
I thought about what he was saying. I had never considered being a personal assistant and wasn't sure what that involved, but I was desperate and willing to consider anything at this point.
"I've heard of them, aren't they are involved in a lot of philanthropic work around the city?" I asked, trying to place the name of the company with the programs it funded.
"Yes," He replied, "Mr. Cullen is very involved in supporting the arts and other non-profit organizations. I think you're a perfect candidate for the job. You're very organized and pay close attention to detail, plus you're the most professional employee I've had in years. Mr. Cullen has very high standards and requests only our best. I think this year that person is you."
I felt the heat run up my cheeks, "Wow. Thank you. What do I need to do? Send in my resume or fill out some type of application?" I was a seriously flattered.
Mr. Hudson leaned forward and picked up the phone, "Let me call and make the arrangements. Bella, I think this could be a great first job and PNT will be an excellent referral for future positions."
I couldn't help but think that my luck was running high as Mr. Hudson called Mr. Cullen's office and secured me an interview for a couple of days later.
That night when I returned home I did what every new employee would do before going in for a new job.
I Googled my boss.
I was entering the information when my roommate Angela entered the apartment, dropping her school bags on the couch and plopping down in the thick cushions.
"Hey! I've got great news…" I started smiling at her over the monitor.
"What kind of news?" She asked sitting up a little, intrigued.
"Mr. Hudson has found me a job after graduation!" I squealed a little, because I honestly couldn't help it.
"Wow! That is really great! Tell me all about it," she said excitedly.
Angela was a great friend. A true friend. We both lived in the same dorm freshman year but in different rooms. She had a roommate with a serious boyfriend and things became uncomfortable fast. I had a roommate who set her alarm for 6am regardless of what time she had to get up and had a habit of pressing the snooze button for hours. After two months of this our living situation deteriorated when I threw her alarm clock down the hallway in a fit of sleep deprived rage. Angela and I found refuge in one another and had been together ever since.
"Well it's with Pacific Northwest Trust, and apparently their CEO, Mr. Cullen needs a personal assistant for about a year. Mr. Hudson thinks it could be a great stepping stone for me," I explained.
I saw a flash of curiosity in Angela's eyes, "Mr. Cullen…I went to high school in Forks with some kids named Cullen. They were…how do I describe them….different."
I squinted at her for being vague, "What exactly does that mean?"
"I don't know how to explain it. There was a girl and guy in my grade, Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale. Their siblings were in the grade above. A boy and a girl." She said, walking across the room and getting a Coke out of the refrigerator before coming back over and saying, "They were all very smart and very, very attractive. I doubt I will ever see guys as hot as those two in real life. Or two women as beautiful, but…" she trailed off.
"But what?" I responded a little irritated. Angela was a very nice person and didn't like to say rude or bad things about people. I felt the same but this was important to me and I needed as much information as I could get.
Angela rolled her eyes at my impatience before answering, "But they were very standoffish. They made no friends the entire time they were there. They kept together and from what I could tell they were split into couples, Alice and Jasper and Emmett and Rosalie. Which sounds odd but they weren't related and were foster children of the local doctor and his wife. It sounds rude but there was just something about them that made me feel uneasy."
"Hmmmm…I don't know if it is the same family or not. All he told me was Mr. Cullen but I can't imagine this being the same group of people, can you?" I said turning back to the computer. "But, I was on my way to finding out what I could when you came in."
I entered in Pacific Northwest Trust, and countless links showed up on the screen. I clicked on the first option and I felt my eyes grow wide.
Mr. Cullen apparently was Edward Cullen and he was gorgeous. I mean, really, really gorgeous.
"Does he look familiar?" I pointed to the screen.
Angela leaned in and said, "Wow. Ummm…no, not really, but he does kind of resemble them. I can't explain how other than, maybe something about his coloring. Wow, he's hot too."
I looked at the picture. I noted he was dressed in formal clothing at some kind of charity event. The most noticeable thing other than his looks was he looked tired, with dark circles under his eyes. And he looked young. Very young. I scoured the information and found mention of his age to be in his early 20's. He must be some kind of prodigy or something.
While reading the information about Mr. Cullen and PNT I found that most of it was very general and not specific at all. It all sounded the same, page after page of press releases, the same two or three photos and general description of PNT and the wonderful work they did in the community.
I was intrigued by my potential new boss and was definitely getting excited about the idea of working for him. This was the attitude I held when I showed up for my interview a couple days later. I had been feeling a bit rejected after so many interviews and no solid job offers. I was encouraged about this one though and tried to keep my spirits up.
As I arrived at the address I had been given I was surprised to find I was at a townhouse located in the historic part of town. Mr. Cullen's current assistant Kim, welcomed me when I rang the bell. As she ushered me inside I assessed that I would be working from his home and not his offices.
Kim took me to a formal parlor off of the foyer and offered me a seat. I was astonished at all of the beautiful antiques in the room. I had never been in a home with such expensive and tasteful décor. But then again, I had never known anyone who had a personal assistant or that was a CEO of a large company.
She was pretty, a tall blonde woman in her mid 20's. She sat down in the seat across from me and smiled. "Isabella, thank you for coming today to meet with me. I've heard wonderful things about you from Mr. Hudson. I used to work for him as well but in another department of the library. I'm surprised our paths never crossed." She mused. I realized how young she was, only a year or two older than myself.
I smiled back, feeling relieved that she seemed so nice and casual, and said, "Thank you for seeing me. It is nice to meet you as well. I also appreciate you taking the time to interview me."
"Let me start by saying, this is not really an interview, Mr. Cullen thinks you will be a wonderful assistant and would like for you to start after graduation. I will be leaving in two weeks and it would be best if you could spend some time with me next week training. It is not a difficult job but Mr. Cullen is very particular about what he needs done around the house."
I nodded enthusiastically as I realized I had a job and I would be starting pretty much right away.
Kim continued, "Honestly, since Mr. Cullen is not here right now I feel free to tell you exactly what is expected of you. If you think you are in over your head at any point tell me so we can make other arrangements.
This revelation stunned me a little but I appreciated her being candid with me. Working for someone in their home was a different from any kind of job I'd held before. Back in Phoenix I'd worked in retail and as a waitress during the summer breaks but nothing like this.
"First, let me explain that he is really a wonderful man but very quiet and keeps to himself. Some weeks I don't see him at all." She paused for a minute and watched my expression. I had no problem with this at all as I preferred to be alone myself. I gave her an encouraging smile and asked her to continue, "He leaves me lists of my duties each morning on my desk before I come in. They're not difficult jobs but he is rather particular about how he wants things done. I will show you more about this later on."
"Kim, I promise you that you can not scare me off. I am pretty meticulous about my work as well, so this sounds like it will be a good fit. Mr. Hudson wouldn't have suggested this job to me if he didn't think I could handle it." I assured her.
"I agree and am glad you feel that way. Now, another thing about Mr. Cullen is that he is an extremely private person. If you want to keep this job you must use discretion about him at all times. He holds a position of prominence in the community and his reputation is very important. Do not go out on a Friday night and talk about him in the middle of a bar. I'm not sure how, but he will find out, and you will lose your job. Furthermore, you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before you start, which is completely standard for a personal assistant." Her voice was serious when she said this and again all I could do was nod my head in agreement and express that I understood.
After this Kim took me on a tour of the house. The downstairs held the parlor, a kitchen, a small office for me and a library. I peeked in the library and was overwhelmed by the amount of books and music he had in there. The shelves were lined floor to ceiling and there was a complicated looking stereo on one end of the room. Kim noted my interest and said, "You are welcome to look at or listen to any of his music. He has encouraged me to do so before. Just make sure you put it back where it goes. One time I put a CD back on the wrong shelf and he spotted it immediately. I swear he has eyes like a hawk."
We made our way to the kitchen and Kim opened some cabinets and the refrigerator which both held minimal amounts of food. She laughed when she saw the questioning look on my face and said, "Mr. Cullen has a specific diet he maintains. I'm not sure what he eats but it is very little and it is never in the house. You are welcome to keep coffee or tea here for yourself and to keep your lunch in the refrigerator if you'd like. Grocery shopping is not one of your duties."
We moved on to the laundry room, storage areas and garage which housed what looked like several expensive cars. I was completely clueless about cars and anything to do with them. I wondered allowed if I was responsible for them in any way. Kim laughed again and said, "The cars are something you have to earn his trust with. But yes, you may have to take them in for service or something now and again."
We went back inside and she explained that the house has a front and back staircase. We took the back staircase to the second floor and she quickly pointed out the areas I was allowed to enter.
Kim waved her hand down the hall to two closed doors, "Those are Mr. Cullen's private rooms. Do not enter them at all. Ever. During my entire time here I have never had to go into his rooms. There is a guest room and bath down the hall if he has a visitor which does happen time to time and well…follow me," she said. Before she opened the door she gave me a look and said, "If you can handle this room you can handle this job," and she gestured for me to follow her to a room to our left. She pushed open the door and I felt my jaw drop.
It was a full sized room that had been converted into a closet or a dressing room. All four walls were filled with shelves, drawers, or rows of hanging racks. I walked over and ran my fingers down a section of suits arranged by color or possibly season. I looked over at Kim and said, "This is unbelievable."
There were lines of shoes and shirts and coats, each with its own special drawer or shelf. It would take several lifetimes to accumulate this amount of clothing and accessories. I couldn't imagine the amount of time or money it would take to shop for a wardrobe like this.
As I inspected the items closer I noticed a trend. Many of the items looked vintage. All were in good condition but clearly from another time or era. I pointed to a row of hats on an upper shelf and wondered aloud if he was a collector.
Kim agreed, "I've wondered this myself. You will find that he is something of a hoarder. I don't think he has ever thrown anything away. And I don't think I have ever seen him wear the same thing twice."
She showed me a couple more areas of interest and then we walked back downstairs. We worked out a part time schedule for the next week since I had to complete my exams.
Kim escorted me to the door and I walked out to my car feeling a little overwhelmed from all the information that had just been given to me. And I was not completely sure what I had gotten myself into. From what I could gather I had apparently just agreed to work for the next year for a reclusive, obsessive compulsive, vintage clothes wearing and special diet eating, boss.
I sighed as I started the ignition on my car. I quiet possibly had made a huge mistake or at least I may have lost my mind. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I needed a job and who was I to turn my nose up at a perfectly good one just because my boss had some strange habits.
I drove down the back alley and clicked the button on the garage door opener. The door slid upwards and I eased the car into its parking space.
It was after five but it was raining so the streets were already getting dark.
I pushed open the door, to the kitchen and listened, noting the quiet.
Kim was gone for the day.
There was an odd scent lingering in the air, like flowers, and I wondered if Kim had brought some in or was wearing a different perfume.
I walked down the hall to the library and chose a couple of CDs for the night. I had work to do from home tonight since I'd been cooped up in a never ending board meeting all day.
My head was pounding from the constant hum. I looked forward to some peace and quiet.
Walking past Kim's desk I picked up the report sheet she left me each day, updating me on messages and paperwork or any tasks not completed.
I scanned her report and noted the new PA had come in and was set to return next week. This was good as I didn't want a disruption in my schedule or routine.
Pushing the door open to my dressing room to change I noticed the scent of flowers was prevalent here as well and I concluded it must be a new perfume.
I liked it, but well, it made me kind of hungry.
I quickly changed, dropping my soiled clothes into the hamper and grabbed the stack of newspapers Kim left for me on the changing room table. I popped in the CDs and searched for the remote on the table by the couch.
Pressing play I settled into the soft leather and began thumbing my way though the huge stack of papers.
Intrigued, I got up and walked into the dressing room again. I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs.
I considered for a moment before I walked out the door and down to my car.
My research could wait, but the sudden, ravenous hunger inside could not.
Hmmmmmmm....i've got tricks up my sleeves folks...I hope to update soon...please review and give me some feedback!!!