Under a False Name
AN: Hello! This is my first stab at an All Human, Alternate Universe. I hope you enjoy it. This was some fun stuff to write :)
Summary: Bella Swan works at a famous author's (Anthony Masen) publisher. He is totally withdrawn. She loves his works but notices a flaw within them. Bella pulls some strings and goes to meet him. What she expects and what she finds are worlds a part. Can Bella, with problems of her own, help Anthony Masen come over his own troubles?
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, or any of the characters that fill its pages. I'm just borrowing them and having some fun.
Chapter One: Tired
"Here we have it, another great novel by Anthony Masen. Matchbox is the latest thrilling book that will keep you on your toes while reading it – all the way up until the end!" the man in the commercial screeched at me from the television.
Of course I would have gotten it, just like I'd gotten all his other books – there was no doubt about that. And I would be first in line to get it like the seven previous times. Anthony Masen did that to me; his books made me want to scream like a school girl, the first time I opened his latest book up. They also made me cry in frustration at the end.
Sure the great and mysterious Anthony Masen was a talented author; his plots were an intricate puzzle, that each little detail was important in one way or another. And when it came time for you to see the details in a new light, it suddenly all made perfect sense. All the clues and little nothings were their right in front of you, but you couldn't see it.
But they were also so very annoying. In a total of seven - I hadn't read the new one yet- there were only two books with a female protagonist – and they were cruel to men, and met the unhappy ending of spinsterhood. In three separate books, men all shied away from a relationship commitment, and in two of the three books relationships were broken by cheating. This man had no hold for love, or any variation of it. But I was never one for gushy cliché relationships, but this… that was painful to read.
Or happy endings; each book, left you raw. Sure all problems were fixed, but the characters themselves were almost… empty. They'd gone through so much hardship and suffering, so when everything was fixed, it wasn't as satisfactory.
And the worst thing about it was that it was the publishing company that I worked for published Anthony Masen's work.
I'd never seen him in person, just the picture on one of his books. And I'd heard from a good friend that worked with the head who worked with Masen, that the publishers begged Masen to take a picture and stick it on the back of the book. So finally, he agreed and the picture we got was in black and white, with a shadow covering only half his face. How was that supposed to help anybody? Even if you had seen him in the street, you couldn't be sure it was him, because you didn't know what colour his eyes were or what colour his hair was. It was so amazingly frustrating.
"C'mon Bella, time to go to work!" My roommate Angela yelled, banging on my bedroom door.
"Jesus, I'm coming. Hold your frigging horses," I shouted in the general direction of the door. I was knee deep in the mess that was my closet, trying to look for something that said 'I take work seriously, yet I want to be comfortable while doing so'. I had succeeded in finding the right jeans – I just needed a shirt.
Angela seemed to know what was going on in my room. "The pink three quarter button down; you can wear it with a simple black cardigan," she said.
"Thanks, I owe you one."
"You owe me a really big one, since it's my shirt and cardigan," she said, and I heard the smile in her voice. She opened the door and chucked it in.
Angela Weber was the nicest person I knew, and had Mother Hen-itis from the time we were children. She's been taking after my scatterbrained self since we left the rainy middle-of-nowhere town Forks, Washington to the big city, Seattle. We were inseparable since we were kids and we've always looked after each other.
I walked out of my room, with my shabby purse in my hands. "How do I-"
"You look wonderful. Now go. Or you will be late again!" she said, pushing me through the living room to the door. She paused by the kitchen and gave me a travel mug filled with tea, and a blueberry muffin.
"You baby me. I can take care of myself," I said, but took the breakfast all the same.
She snorted. "You said that the last time you were running late and ended up arguing with the guy at Starbucks over your muffin!"
"He was wrong" I muttered under my breath, walking to the door.
"Tonight Ben is going to take me out for dinner, so I'll be home late. Would you like to come?" she asked.
"Nah, you two have your couple time. I'll stay here. I think I'm going to buy a book," I said. That was another dateless Friday night for me. And I would spend it reading and eating dinner with Ben and Jerry.
"Why don't you call what's his name...Yorkie and get together with him?" she asked, concerned. She didn't like it when I was by my lonesome.
"Eww, I think he did the pick and flick a couple of times. I'm good. Why do you think since I left Jacob, that I need someone? I'm good, just taking a break." I smiled weakly. I said good bye, sensing that our conversation was definitely not over.
The two buses and train ride were of the usual variety. Our apartment was on the outskirts of town, and my building was right in the heart of the city. I was quiet, eating my food, and thinking about Masen's new book. I had secretly been hoping that this would be the book that had ended differently, just like I had when I first waited for his second book, and third and forth. It was like that with every book. The publishers/editors at the top were so tight lipped, and wouldn't share a single thing – with the press, with other departments, with the employees that signed the full discretion agreements.
"Hey Isabella, you're cutting it close. Again." Jessica Stanley smirked as I walked in. The bubbly woman with her many brown ringlets manned the welcome desk.
"Its only 7:56. I start at 8:00 sharp," I said, biting my tongue, so I wouldn't stick it out. She always called me Isabella. That name made me sound so old. I hadn't gotten in her good side, since I accidentally tripped her that one time she couldn't walk to begin with; her shoes were way too high, she was wobbling every other step.
I took the elevator to the Children Department, my home away from home. I loved it here; it had so many different kids' books there; some classics and some new ones, all here for me to edit. I looked at every aspect of the book; the pictures, the content the message. Was it to wordy for four year olds? Were the pictures to vague? My favourite books had always been the ones for toddlers – especially the feeling ones or pop ups. I was a kid at heart, that's why I loved it here so much.
But I was starting to get...bored of it there. Not that I hated it; quite the contrary. I just wanted more of a challenge. I was hoping for a part in the Young Adult Department (there was a boom in that age group of books).
I had taken this job during university – I was working on my bachelors in English – that I found this job. So once I completed my bachelors' programme I came here as a full timer-and never regretted the choice. Diamond & Stone Publishing was the best place I ever worked at. At age twenty-four –two years after graduating – I was still here. I also had a degree in the Culinary Arts, but I liked the publishing industry too much to go into the restaurant business. I enjoyed cooking, but for the fun of it. I wasn't about to go into a restaurant and a make money off it.
"Hello Isabella. How are you today?" A co-worker, Mike Newton, asked as soon as I got to my cubicle.
"Please Mike, its Bella. And I'm fine. What's up with you?" I asked, while changing my shoes. I always kept a pair of slippers here. Mike had been working in this section for five months and always called me Isabella. He also has been trying to woo me for the past five months too.
"I'm good. Listen – I'm having a party tomorrow, why don't you come over? There are a lot of people coming from D&S, like Lauren and Jessica. It'll be fun," he said, giving me a smile that showed too much teeth.
"Um, no thanks Mike. I just want to relax this weekend. No wild parties for me," I smiled, putting my feet up on my desk and picked up the first book I saw.
He looked dejected as he left my workspace. Poor you, I thought.
My work day was uneventful, as it usually was. On my lunch break I went to visit my friend up there. Michelle Dylan was the sixty-five year old woman that was my inside man on the entire goings on with the bosses. She was head secretary to Joshua Diamond and Herald Stone. She did all the minutes on the meetings, and took notes on just about everything else.
"Hey, Mrs. Dylan! What's cracking?" I laughed. She thought it was amusing when I used this day and age's slang.
"Hello Bella. Not bad, the arthritis is attacking my old bones, so I'm literally cracking. How about you? Any men in your life?" she asked. Mrs. Dylan was the only one in the building that called me Bella. I asked her once and she took on, but others in the building were so incompetent, as I thought back Mike and Jessica.
Mrs. Dylan firmly believed that by age twenty-four that I should be married, or at the very least have an engagement ring to flash people in the face with.
"No Mrs. Dylan, not at the moment. How's the Mr. Dylan? You said he was becoming a compulsive gardener," I said, slyly changing the subject.
"Gardening isn't the only thing," she sighed exasperatedly. "He turning the shed into a work shop. Raymond recently went to a hardware store, and purchased every type of saw imaginable. He was saying something about a jig saw, so I asked why on earth he would need a puzzle in there for. He laughed in my face and said he was going to Harvey's." I couldn't contain my laughter any more.
"That's cute, Mrs. Dylan. It's time for lunch. C'mon lets go, it's my treat." I chuckled as I walked around the desk to get her stuff.
"Relax Bella; I didn't realize how much you liked food. I'm going, I'm going!" she huffed.
We went to our usual cafe and sat inside the cafe. It was an especially cold November day.
"Bella, I have some news about that author you're so obsessed with. Anthony Masen was in yesterday and had an argument with Diamond; about his new book. He didn't want the picture on the back, but seeing as it's already been printed, he hasn't much of a choice." She finished with a smug smile.
"I'm not obsessed with him. I just really, really like his work," I muttered. Mrs. Dylan had seen Masen once, when the company had first agreed to publish his work. But it was ages ago, and she tried to describe him to me, but to no avail. "Anything else?" I asked.
"No sorry, dear. Its time for coffee and that will be my treat." She got up and ordered the coffees.
"It's going to have to be to go, Mrs. Dylan. I have lots of books to go through," I called.
We got out coffees and split at the front desk. Once Mrs. Dylan was gone Jessica came up to me.
"You should really get some friends your own age. Its bad for your image when people see you hanging out with somebody triple your age." She sneered.
"And it's bad for your image when people see you drooling-"I snapped.
"There you are Isabella, I've been looking for you all over the place!" my Department head Nicolette Daniels exclaimed.
"I just came back from my lunch break. Anything you need, Nicolette?" She had insisted that I call her by her first name.
"Actually, I need the ABC'S feeling book on my desk pronto. Okay?" she asked as she turned around. Her many beaded bracelets and necklaces jingled as she did so.
"I'm almost finished." She nodded and left. Her high heels clicked on the marble flooring. I quickly followed, not wanting to continue talking with Jessica.
When I reached my desk, I immediately finished the ABC's book that was needed. I gave it to Nicolette's secretary and started the other books. The rest of the day passed slowly.
On my way home, I went to the little book shop by my favourite deli. The sign read Marvin's Best Books, and underneath it, New and Used, Classics and New Releases. It wasn't a chain like Barnes and Noble, so there weren't huge line ups when a new book came out.
"Hello Bella!" Marvin, the storekeeper, called to me as I walked in. This was my favourite shop in the whole city. I could spend hours in here walking slowly up and down the aisles reading every title and summary on the back of the book.
"I have just what you're looking for. I saved it especially for you!" Marvin smiled as he strolled up to me.
"Let me guess... Matchbox?" I asked, though I already knew.
"Yes! I pulled it out of the box and stashed it under the front desk. Come with me," he said, turning around to get the book.
"You are simply the best Marvin!" I squealed.
"Just for you, my dear!" he grinned. "That would be twenty dollars."
"Here, and you don't need to bag it, I'll need it for the last leg of the ride home. And thanks Marvin, you made my day." I laughed in delight as I walked out the door. Marvin always did something to make me happy.
During the last stretch of my way home, I devoured the book; greedily tearing through the pages.
It was six o'clock when I entered the kitchen. There was a note on the fridge door from Angela reminding me about her plans. I decided to cook my own dinner and settled on chicken in the oven. I opened up the bag of chicken, and took out one and I thawed it in the microwave. I put on the last of the seasoning, vaguely thinking I needed to get more. I set the timer on the microwave, so I wouldn't forget the meat. While I waited for the chicken, I got the salad ready. After, I greedily went back to my book.
Again, I was astounded by the plots little intricate details. I was mesmerized every time I found out a clue on my own – it didn't happen often. The characters were woven to perfection. Except for their inability to love, and be loved.
The timer on the microwave beeped. I was fifteen chapters in, and was absolutely hooked. I was in hate with the main character, Leslie. He was cheating on his girlfriend, and that reminded me of my ex. I shook my head, physically removing the painful thoughts of my past.
I ate my dinner and read at the same time, making sure my clumsiness didn't get any food on the book. I was always falling, dropping things and knocking stuff over.
When I was finished washing up, I took a bubble bath. I brought my stereo onto the counter – far away from the bathtub so I wouldn't get electrocuted- and put in my collection of Muse CDs. I loved the English band with my whole heart; they were amazing and always managed to soothe me.
I put in strawberry and freesia bubble bath. I got it in a kit that had the same scent for a body wash, bar of soap, shampoo, conditioner and hand/body lotion. It also came with a body mist and sponge. It was a gift from Angela and Ben from last Christmas.
I stayed in the bathtub for twenty minutes, reading Matchbox. I finally got out, after I started feeling prune-y. I wrapped myself in my towel and went to my bedroom. I got changed into my old holey sweats, ready for bed and hours of reading. I brought in a plate of assorted cookies and a huge glass of milk.
I was pulling my fleece throw out from under my bed and something fluttered out with it. It was a picture with me and my ex-boyfriend, Jacob Black. I broke up with him in September, after two years of being in a relationship. He was always a little bit jealous – but I thought it as cute, so I never berated him about it. Then I found that he was cheating on me. I ended the relationship, and it nearly killed me. I was fuelled by my anger at the time, but after that I was a total wreck. After a week of moping around the apartment, Angela sent me to work telling me to buck up. At work I wasn't much better. I was robotic, doing my work and when somebody talked to me, I sounded hollow. But I got better, because I realized that I wasn't the first to suffer a break-up, and I was happy with the fact that I told him to leave my life.
I wrapped my self in the blanket, banishing all the negative thoughts. I finished reading right up until the last pages, and was thoroughly pissed off with the ending. The main character, Leslie was found out by his girlfriend that he was cheating on him with a second and third woman. It tore Mercy (what an ironic name, because she showed none and was given none) up. It ends with her tiptoeing along the railing of a balcony fifteen stories high.
Did Jacob Black have more than one girlfriend, apart from me? The thought popped up in my head so suddenly and violently. I had never thought of it until now, and a seed of doubt was in my head. I thought to myself, He's not with me now; whatever happens to him is not my problem. That seemed to nip the doubt right in the bud.
I was so irrationally angry. It was disconcerting that something as simple as a fictional book was able to spark a strong fury in me. No more than paper and ink. But it went deeper. The author had no hold for happiness – it was deeper than that, too, I thought. And I knew I was going to do something about it.
When I was going to sleep, there was already a plan forming in my head. And Monday, it would all begin.
AN: Well, what do you think? Leave a review please. I must tell you that I have 5 and a half chapters done. BUT, two and a half are on another computer, and that one is currently dead. I'm looking at bringing it back to life, so it will take a while to update after chapter 3. Please be patient. Thanks :)
P.S. I'm NOT a Jacob hater, but I did need Mike to fill the spot of 'annoying co-worker', and someone else to fill in the spot of 'hated ex'.