Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, only the story
Here's the new story – Bella Swan is a young woman in her mid-20s and a successful romance novelist. She created a strong, courageous young heroine named Emma Malone, an every-girl who always manages to win the dashing young man with her brains rather than her looks. However, Bella's life is nothing like her books – in fact, it's pretty mundane.
But, will a dashing young man come out of nowhere and change her life in ways she couldn't even dream up in one of her books?
…Simon took Emma into his steel embrace and kissed her thoroughly.
"Tonight, Miss Malone, I will make all your dreams come true," he promised in between his fevered kisses.
"It's Ms. Malone," Emma corrected as she began to take control of the situation. "And, on the contrary, Mr. Andrews, I will be the one fulfilling your fantasies tonight."
Emma tore at Simon's white, button-down in her haste to rid him of this bothersome clothing…
OK, just a few more chapters and I should have this one all wrapped up.
This is my fourth book, Emma Malone: The winds of change, and I was hoping to get it into my publishers before the New Year. But, since I've had such writer's block lately, I'm afraid I won't have it finished until Early February.
Though, I can't really complain, I'm only 25-years-old and I've already got three books under my belt. Some people called it a fluke when a 22-year-old unknown got her first book not only published, but put into the New York Times bestsellers list. Well, I'm getting the last laugh now.
And, it's not like I'm some overnight sensation, or anything. I've been cultivating everything about Emma Malone since I was 16. I was just a junior in high school, and I was having daydreams about what adventures she would have. I was madly scribbling these thoughts in my journal every night in hopes I could one day string all of the stories together and churn out at least a book or two.
Turns out, I had enough material for four books. Well, three-and-two-thirds…maybe. This fourth book is just so difficult to finish because every time I write something new, I feel like I'm just dipping back into the same old well. I need some fresh ideas, but I'm tapped out at this point. Maybe all the naysayers were right – maybe I am just a flash in the pan, an overnight success that fizzles out the next day.
I shook my head of such foolish thoughts and got back to writing. This is what you're meant to be doing, Swan! After all, a woman isn't blessed with an unbelievably romantic name like Isabella Swan for no reason. I either had to be an actress on a Soap Opera, or a romance writer. And, seeing as how I get nervous just speaking in front of a group of more than five friends, the whole acting thing was just a pipe dream.
I'm a writer, through and through. It's the only real outlet for the shy and dispossessed, anyway.
I wrapped up the chapter I was working on and shut my laptop with a flourish. It was good to get that love scene out of the way. When I dream up scenes like that, they cloud my every thought for days at a time. And, trust me, there's nothing more embarrassing for a shy girl than getting lost in an erotic fantasy when you're waiting in line at Starbucks. Especially when the very cute young man behind the counter looks like he can read your thoughts and smirks at you when he hands you your Chai tea.
At least I don't have to go out too much. It's nice to be virtually self-employed and work from home – I get to roll out of bed anytime I want and work in my pajamas. And, with the last paycheck I got for my very successful third book, I can afford some nice, comfy PJs, let me tell you.
I looked down and admired the lush, cashmere of my pajama pants for a moment before I stood up to get some more tea. I make at least two pots a day, and my first batch was down to its last drop. After I poured the remnants in my cup, I refilled the kettle and set it back on the stove to boil.
The mail carrier waved at me through the window as I sipped my tea, and I nodded in response. He slipped my mail through the slot in my front door and skipped away down my steps. There seemed to be a couple of fan letters in the mix, which I smiled at wryly before I tossed into the trash. I don't read fan mail address directly to my home – my house number is unlisted, and fans know if they want to reach me, they should go through my agency.
The stray letters like this are kind of frightening in a way, they could be stalkers or who knows what else. I shuddered to think what people could write in a letter to someone they're obsessed with; being a solitary person myself, I can understand the connection – to an extent. But, I was still too scared to chance a look at those letters.
The other fan mail I got ranged from very nice and complimentary, to critical in good and bad ways, to just downright funny. Particularly the women who wrote assuming I am the living embodiment of Emma Malone herself. They imagine I must lead a very romantic and adventurous life. Wouldn't they be surprised to find out I've never even been outside of the continental United States.
And, as far as all of that steamy, erotic sex I write about? Never happens. Ever. I am, in fact, a virgin – I've just never found the right guy. Oh sure, there have been times where I've debated just going out and losing my virtue, just to get the whole thing over with. I'm not an unattractive girl, and I could surly find a guy who'd have no qualms with sleeping with me. But, deep down, I couldn't do that. It wouldn't feel right.
I sat on my couch and switched on my TV to Food Network. It was Tyler Florence making his ultimate chicken salad sandwich. He even slow-roasted the chicken himself, which made my mouth water almost uncontrollably. But, then he had to go and ruin it by throwing grapes into the mix. I mean really, grapes and chicken? They don't go together; I don't care what anyone says.
My cat Luna walked out of her hiding place then and jumped directly into my lap. After I finally get out of bed in the morning, she likes to take my place – since I've done such a great job of keeping the sheets warm for her. She looked up at me with her big green eyes and meowed musically.
"What? Do you not have food?" I asked as I looked towards the kitchen.
From where I was seated, I could tell her food bowl was more than full of the ridiculously expensive cat food she likes so much. I shrugged at her and held up the remote to flip through the channels. And then, from across the room I heard the soulful strains of Kanye West blaring from my cell phone.
I set the cat on the couch next to me slowly stood to answer it, "Hey Alice."
"How's my favorite client?" My agent asked too cheerfully.
"I'm your only client," I replied flatly, "What do you want?"
"Just checking up on you," she said. "The publishing company is breathing down my neck, babe. They want that fourth Emma Malone book, pronto – like, yesterday."
"Mary Alice Brandon," I scolded, "Are you going to tell me that you're letting the blood-sucking, soulless book execs get to you? For shame!"
"Hey! First of all, the only person who gets to call me by my full name is my mother when she's mad at me," she shot back defensively. "Secondly, those soulless blood-suckers sign our checks, Missy! Show some respect."
"I give them all the respect they deserve," I replied as I took another sip of tea. "Besides, if they give you anymore crap, remind them that after this book my deal with them is done; and, if they want me to sign on for another round of oh-so successful novels for them, they'd best step correct."
She was silent for a moment, "Watching "Undercover Brother" again?"
"There was nothing on TV yesterday," I replied.
"Look, just give me some bullshit estimate I can throw at them so they'll leave me alone," she begged.
"Three weeks," I said.
"Thank you," she replied. "Now, resume whatever activity you were engaged in that doesn't include finishing what could possibly be the most important book of your life."
I hung up the phone without another word and set it down on my desk. I sighed and turned to see Luna stretched out across the cushions I had just vacated.
"Am I just a seat-warmer to you?" I asked as I lifted her off my spot and tossed her lightly to the floor.
She meowed at me again before heading to the kitchen for some food. I decided to check one of the movie channels to see if that could inspire me to write another chapter today. I had a rough idea of how I wanted to end my book, but getting from where I was to where I wanted to be seemed like a daunting task at this point. About an hour later, after flipping through every channel and rifling through my movie collection for ideas, I decided to take a shower and go out.
I sped through the shower, just really making sure I washed my hair, and then I threw on some jeans and a t-shirt and grabbed my lap top before heading out to the coffee shop just around the corner from my townhouse. I decided to forego makeup and just put my hair up into a messy bun, it wasn't like I was going out to snag me a man, anyway.
I sat at my usual spot and the waitress, Lisa, brought me a regular cup of coffee with a smile.
"Working on that book still?"
"Yep," I said. "I've hit a bump in the road, so I need some inspiration."
She stood back with a salacious grin, "I could tell you what I was up to this weekend."
"No thanks," I replied quickly. "I'm writing this for housewives and single gals like me, no ménages à trios allowed."
"Suit yourself," she shrugged as she walked away.
I leaned back against my chair and looked around the shop to people watch for a moment. In the corner, a guy and a girl talked quietly over their coffees. The girl was the most typical blond I'd ever seen – tall, skinny and fake-tanned. She had long nails painted in a French manicure, which constantly pushed her long hair around her ear where some of it tangled in her dangly earring.
I was so busy coveting just about every aspect of the girl's being I almost missed the guy she was with. He was typical of the men you usually find around gorgeous blonds. Tall, as well, with expertly tousled bronzed hair and piercing green eyes. I say piercing because I generally wouldn't be able to notice someone's eye color, considering the distance he sat from me. But, I could definitely tell they were a beautiful, deep, emerald green. And they were staring right at me right now.
I turned my face back to the lap top screen quickly and pretended to be engrossed in my work. I ignored the flush of embarrassment that swept across my face. But, I was finally inspired to begin another chapter – at least that was something.
About an hour later, I had the first four pages of my chapter finished. Though, that was on a Word document – in novel terms, that would translate to about 10 or 12 pages. I decided that was a good enough start and shut my computer down to head on home. But, as I packed my lap top into my bag, I heard someone to my left clear his throat.
"Did you like what you saw?" It was the green-eyed man, and he was looking at me like he was terribly amused by what he beheld.
"Beg your pardon?" I asked, honestly confused by his question.
"Well, I couldn't tell who you liked looking at more – me, or my date," he explained.
I continued to stare at him, debating whether to retort or make a run for it. Instead, I just stood there with a dumb look on my face. He laughed again. "Cat got your tongue?"
I finally found my voice, "I just like to people watch…I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
I flung my bag over my shoulder and started out the door. Unfortunately, this guy didn't seem to want to let the matter drop.
"Hey, I wasn't uncomfortable – far from it," he said. "In fact, anytime any female chooses to give me her attention, I'm all for it. I was just wondering if it was me you found fascinating or Chloe."
Of course Blondie would have some über-cutesy name.
"How about both?" I replied sarcastically.
"Really?" He asked, his interest seemed to be at full-alert – guess my sarcasm was lost on him. "You're into that sort of stuff? Wow, it's always the quiet ones."
"Look," I said suddenly, "Do you have something important you want to say to me? Because we're getting very close to my house, and I'd really rather not have some random stranger following me home."
He looked down the street to see the row of very nice townhouses.
"You live here? Damn! Either you're house-sitting, or you're freakin' loaded – I heard these places cost about $2,500 a month!"
"I have a really good job," I replied, insulted that he didn't think I was capable of earning a good living. "Now, is there anything else I can help you with?"
He stared at me for a moment, "What's your name?"
"Bella," I said simply. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, Bella, do you have a phone number? Or does living on Park Avenue here leave you with little cash left over?"
"Why do you want my number?"
"I would like to call you sometime," he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"I'm not really into three-ways," I said, "I was just kidding."
"Oh, I'm sure of that," he laughed, giving me a good once-over. "I just want to buy you a cup of coffee sometime."
I was stuck in that age-old debate again – fight or flight? I decided to just give in; it wasn't like he was really going to call me anyway.
"Here," I said as I found a pen in my bag, "Give me your hand."
He reached his right hand out towards me and I wrote my number down on his palm.
"I'm Edward, by the way," he said. "Edward Cullen."
"Well, Edward Cullen," I said as I put the pen back in my bag, "I'm Bella Swan, and maybe I'll hear from you again some day."
As I turned to walk away, I heard him shout after me, "Oh, there's no maybe about that, Bella Swan."
I scoffed to myself and shook my head slightly. This guy was a real piece of work, definitely one of those guys who always gets what he wants from a woman. I looked behind me as I approached my house and was relieved to see he wasn't at the end of my block anymore. Sure, he seemed normal enough, but that's what they said about Ted Bundy.
I walked in to find Luna sitting on the couch. She turned and meowed as if to say, "Where the hell have you been?"
"None of your damn business," I replied as I set my bag on the floor.
Great, I'm officially in a co-dependent relationship with a feline. I've reached new levels of pathetic. I changed into sweatpants and grabbed my running shoes – at least if I got some time in on my treadmill, the day wasn't going to be a complete loss. My phone started ringing as soon as I walked back into the living room and I realized I hadn't taken it with me to the coffee shop. Alice probably tried to call at least five times while I was out.
"Hey, what's up?" I asked her.
"Bells, can you make that two weeks? Please? The publishers said you get another $500,000 if they can have it ready to go by Valentine's Day – they're planning a huge promotional blitz on this thing."
I sighed, "Yeah, I actually made some headway today; so, it will be done in two weeks, for sure."
"Awesome!" She squealed. "Love ya forever, babe! *Muah*!"
She hung up and I set my phone aside for the night. I set my lap top up on my desk and warmed it back up while I turned to the treadmill that sat just to the side of my couch. I turned on the TV and cranked out a good hour of walking/jogging on the wretched contraption before I got down to work again.
I finished the chapter and laid out a rough outline for the next two before I finally stopped for the night. Somehow, in all of my writing and other distractions, time had just flown by. It was 10 p.m. already, and I hadn't even eaten dinner yet. I heated up the left-over couscous I made yesterday and sat with Luna, watching the news and giving the occasional belly rub.
I set my empty bowl to the side and stretched out on the couch. As Luna curled up against my chest, I drifted off to sleep thinking of a pair of gorgeous green eyes.
So, what do you all think? Now, I'm not one to ask for tons of response, but I gotta say it gets frustrating when you see hundreds – even thousands – of people are, in fact, reading your story, but only ten or so are responding.
Please, even if you hate it, let me know!