So...here we go! I've started editting. Here is the new and improved chapter one! Ash beta'd this.
In case you're a first time reader of Speechless, let me fill you in. You see, I've officially completed this story, but, reading over it, I discovered I made a TON of mistakes with dates and such, so, I'm going back and fixing things, and just generally improving the story.
Have fun reading!
I was sitting on a stool behind the counter reading my favorite book. It had been a slow day at the bookstore I worked at, in a corner of New York City. I glanced up at the clock on the wall above the door and brushed a piece of my brown hair behind my ear. There were fifteen minutes until nine. Fifteen more minutes until I could lock up and go home. The book was truly captivating – after seven times of reading, it still hadn't lost the heartbreak and suspense. It was one of those calm sort of days – customers were few and they had been scattered around the bookstore, browsing through our vast collection of books. They had mostly been regular customers, smiling at me as they paid for their books, not trying to start a conversation as they knew I wouldn't answer.
I looked down at my book again and read a few lines before I heard the bells on the door tinkle softly, like wind chimes as the door opened. They were soon drowned out by the burst of noise the open door let in. It was hard to escape the noise in the city that never sleeps. I looked up hesitantly, out of habit, to see if the customer was a new face or not, and then had to catch my breath. A man had just walked into the shop. A beautiful man. I'd guess he was around 6'2. He was wearing a pair of plain, dark-wash jeans and a long sleeved, dark green shirt that clung to his muscles. He had bronze colored, thick, messy hair and striking, bright green eyes. He had a jacket slung casually over his right arm. I'd guess him to be in his early twenties. He looked around the shop for a minute before he saw me, staring at him. I blushed and averted my eyes quickly.
"Ah. Hello." He smiled and I had to stop to catch my breath again. I could describe his appearance in one word: Dazzling. His vivid green eyes were twinkling. He walked forwards and held out a slip of paper in his pale, strong hands. I took it very slowly, trying and failing to keep my fingers from trembling as his cool fingers brushed against my warm hand. I read the neat writing on it.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle.
"Can you help me find that book?" The man asked me, slipping his hands into his pockets. He had artist's hands; they were strongly built and his fingers were long. His voice was pure velvet – smooth and musical. I nodded, mentally shaking myself, and slid down from the stool, placing my book hurriedly on the counter after glancing at the page number. The man glanced at it briefly, and I think he chuckled under his breath, but I chose to ignore that. I knew there were a couple of copies of this book somewhere…the problem was I wasn't sure where. The shop was never really in good order, with books shelved in the wrong spots, and stacks of books towering in random spots where they couldn't fit into the shelves. I was never bored, at least.
The stunning man followed me as I wove through the bookcases. I could feel his eyes on me and a blush started to creep up my neck. I busied myself in trying to remember where I'd last seen the book, and focusing on not tripping.
"So…I'm Edward. Masen. Edward Masen." He said, stuttering a little. I sighed. I'd been worried that he would try to start a conversation with me. I turned my head towards him and smiled, showing that I had heard him, and then went back to my search. There was another moment of silence.
"Do I get to learn your name?" He asked. I could practically hear his amused smile. From the corner of my eyes, I saw an amused expression play around his beautiful face, and again, my breath disappeared. What was with me today?
I traced my fingers across the books by Madeline L'Engle and halted at the book he was looking for. Ah. Here it is. I shook my head as an answer to his pending question and I pulled the book off the shelf and handed it to him. He had an eyebrow raised and he glanced down at the book. I walked to the counter and he held out a twenty for it. Glancing at the clock, I was happy to find that I could leave as soon as he did – the fifteen minutes had passed as quickly as I had wanted them to. I gave him his change, and while he put the book in the laptop case slung over his shoulder and his wallet in his back pocket, I walked hurriedly to the door, took my coat off the rack and pulled it on, then my hat. I checked my pockets. Phone, wallet, keys, chapstick...I had everything. The man, Edward, shifted from one foot to the other. He was behind me as I checked for a second time.
"May I have your phone number?" he asked. The words were rushed, like he was nervous. I chewed on my bottom lip. You just met him. You know nothing about him. He could hurt you. The last thought settled it. The painful spasm of fear and dread paralyzed my muscles as I saw the recollection of the last time I had done this and I made up my mind immediately. He didn't know anything about me – we had just met, and for all I knew, he could be a two timer – he must have a girlfriend, or even a wife, as far as his stunning looks went. I shook my head, a little regretfully. His face fell and he heaved a nervous sigh, and then smiled.
"Well then…Good night." He inclined his head towards me and walked past me, out of the shop, the bells on the door tinkling softly. I exhaled slowly to myself and felt a little guilty. He hadn't done anything to deserve me thinking of him like that – thinking of him like him. Edward seemed pretty well mannered, and I felt ashamed, considering the fear I felt when he had asked me for my number. Oh well. Nothing you can do about it now. I looked down at the slip of paper still in my hands with his writing on it. It fit with his grace and the sense of decorum and music that went with him. I placed it in the back pocket of my jeans. The bells tinkled faintly as I shut and locked the door. I turned to face the busy street, where the crowd surged and the headlights lit phone buzzed in my pocket as I started walking towards home. I took it out and found that Emmett, my brother, had texted me.
Bella, are you almost home? You're running late…
I smiled. It felt nice to have someone looking out for me, but, at times, it got on my nerves. I was nineteen, I didn't need a babysitter. I wrote the reply as I leaned against the wall of a building. I wasn't all that great at texting and walking at the same time.
Yeah. Someone came in just a few minutes before closing so…But I'm on my way now. I'll come over and say hello before I go to bed.
I was able to put a couple of blocks behind me before I got Emmett's reply.
Okay. See you soon.
I slid my phone back into the pocket of my jacket and made my way through the crowded sidewalks of NYC, inhaling the cold gusts of wind that blew across my face. The wind felt cool and fresh, tingling my nose and tickling my skin. I was thinking about the long day I'd had. But who was I to complain? Without the job, I would be back in Forks with Charlie. Visiting, I could handle. Living...I don't think so. And it was a good job. I didn't have to do too much, and I didn't really need to talk either. And most of the regulars had caught onto a few bits of sign language, and I had a small dry erase board to use if I needed it, so I could have short conversations with a few. My thoughts drifted back to Edward. I hardly saw guys like him any more. His eyes were beautiful, and if this was a few years back, I would have been more than glad to give him my number. I sighed and shivered a little, pushing the thoughts of my past out of my head. I don't even know why someone as gorgeous as him would ask for my number…Edward Masen. It was weird how I still managed to remember his name – and then perfectly recall his face in my mind. It kept popping up in my mind at random times as I branched on the different things in my mind…like how I needed a new jacket...
And then, I found myself flat on my back on the ground, looking up towards the sky, the back of my head hurting. Damn it. This is why I should keep my thoughts on my feet. I started pick myself up from the ground. I carefully sat up, then stood, only to lose my footing and crash down again. I swore in my head, then found someone running to help me, the pitter-pattering sound of their feet on the sidewalk. A pale, familiar looking, male hand appeared in front of me and I looked up into a pair of very familiar eyes. Stunning green eyes. Edward…? I took his hand and he helped me up. I felt the back of my head and winced. No blood, but it was tender. Soon to be lumpy, and bruised and hurting through the night. Edward watched with concern flitting across his face as he pulled and I found myself safely on my feet, his hand in mine and his other hand on my shoulder.
"Are you alright?" his voice had almost the same effect on me his eyes did. I nodded slowly. Thank you. I mouthed the words and walked away as quickly as I dared. I risked a glance back when I got to the corner, and he was still standing there, watching me. I crossed the street. The encounter had jolted another memory in my mind, with the way his hand rested on my shoulder while the other warmed my own hand. It seemed there was no escaping my memories tonight. I glanced at him from the corner of my eyes again as I turned to go home, and he looked crestfallen, as if it was his fault that my reaction had taken place. He was still standing in the same spot as I walked around the corner.
I had a strange feeling that this wasn't going to be the last I saw of Edward Masen. And, even stranger, I was kind of glad.
I watched the nameless woman walk away. She was moving so quickly, it was like she was scared of something….me? I didn't think I'd done anything unusual. I didn't move from the spot, being jostled by people walking around me. She glanced back a couple of times and I continued to watch her until she rounded a corner, passing out of my sight. I sighed and looked down at the sidewalk. I was about to turn around and start walking again when a flash of blue caught my eye. I stooped and picked up the object. It was a girls' wallet. I opened it and staring at me from a drivers' license photo was the girl. Her name was Isabella Swan. I stared at the photo a minute more before flipping the wallet shut again and pocketing it. I smiled.
I don't know what it was about her, but she was different than other women. I just couldn't let her go...I needed another chance to get to know her, just to see her again.
And, I now had the perfect excuse to do just that.
There we go, chapter one! I hope you like it so far. Don't forget to leave a review!