**Not mine, it all belongs to YOUKNOWWHO**
Special thanks to Becky_Boodles & Smutty for pre reading & beta-ing my mess.
Shout out to LovesHerRomeo for giving me her two cents about it!
Irritable Grizzzly owns me. She fixed this whole damn thing.
Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones,
as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
~Francois de La Rochefoucauld
The window seat was mine. I loathed having to sit in the aisle. I needed the visual stimulation of the outside world on my daily commute. Why I still rode this train day after day was a bit of a mystery. I guess I enjoyed self punishment. That and I was cheap.
I had been working in Seattle at the same law firm for almost two years. I tried practicing for a year in Forks near Mom and Dad, but to no avail. There wasn't a big enough client base in the small town, plus living near them any longer would have pushed me over the edge.
After being hired, much to my surprise, at Whitlock & Associates, I sold my vintage truck and moved. I rented a small loft apartment just outside of downtown Seattle and began a new life.
My life was content at best. I did nothing exciting and kept to myself. Since Mike and I divorced, I didn't have much of a desire to experience any thrills in life. Every time it seemed that I would try to put myself out there, I would get hurt. Whether it was the few times I dated, or when I tried to bond with the ladies at the office, it just wasn't for me. I hated the back stabbing and the cattiness of female relationships, and as for men - UGH! I swear I thought I would be better off switching teams than trying to find any man that could make me happy. I'd probably be alone when I turned eighty, have a few cats and some dogs and maybe a parrot. Yeah, I'd buy one of those parrots that talk a lot so I could have a bestie.
I enjoyed my job. Being a family lawyer specializing in adoption gave me much needed hope and joy in a dark world. I had assisted with a few divorces in the past, but my thoughts were too hateful for the male race to be unbiased. So I just stuck to adoptions and a few name changes here and there. It's so satisfying to be able to announce to that mother or father that it is done, complete, final - that child is theirs forever. To be able to give such a gift to a person that could be only be trumped or out done by a blessing straight from God was euphoric. I did that. I worked it out. It was my purpose in life and I embraced it.
Because I absolutely loved kids, I had to keep my feelings in check. More than once I had gotten too close. When I represented a client I became a part of their life and they a part of mine, mainly due to the fact that our firm values itself on dedication and commitment. I only took on one client at a time and spent countless hours, sometimes even months, evaluating them and their life. Some needed counseling to help prepare for a future with a child, others needed someone to baby-proof their home and then there were a few who just needed reassurance and support. I could do it all, but most importantly I made damn sure that they were deserving and ready for an angel to call their own. It is a life altering responsibility that is not for everyone and I did not take it lightly.
I stepped off the subway and walked the half block to the office. Much to my surprise you could see the sun this morning peeking from behind the clouds. It was breathtaking and it made me want to stay out here until it disappeared. My office view was shit; all I could see was the next building which was so close you could practically reach out and touch it. I missed seeing the sun; it was like a stranger to me. Hell, I would have settled for looking at clouds all day long, anything but the dull gray wall I stared at now.
I took the elevator to the sixteenth floor and made my way through the hall to my office. "Good morning Angela. Have anything for me?"
"Good morning to you Ms. Swan. I do have something for you. Um, Mr. Whitlock sent this file over. You have an appointment with the client in an hour. He said it was urgent."
Angela was my assistant, she was probably the closest thing to a girlfriend I had, well, besides my neighbor Rose and we were not really that close. I liked Angela because she didn't lose herself in the office gossip. She was genuine and loyal.
"An hour is cutting it kinda close isn't it? I hope they don't live too far out."
Another perk of our firm was that we traveled to the clients for home visits instead of them having to come to the office. It was especially beneficial for me and my clients. I had to observe them in their daily living environment anyway so this first meeting was like an interview of sorts. Not only did I interview them, but they had the opportunity to 'try me on for size' too. It was easy to know in the first few hours if we were able to work together or not.
"No, ma'am, they live right here in Seattle. I think the address is on 21st Street."
"Oh, that is close! So what is so urgent about..." I turned the file over to open it and read the name, "Edward Cullen. Hmm, that's strange, I graduated with an Edward Cullen. It's probably not the same one though, I doubt he would be adopting." I shook my head as I opened my office door. "Thanks, Angela. Could you get all the paper work ready for the meeting?"
I set my briefcase down as I entered my office. It was on the small side but it was like my second home. I had painted the walls a deep red and decorated it all by myself. Yeah me!
I smiled at the revelation that I would get to see more of the sun today, if it lasted that was. I sat down at my computer and Googled 21st Street to see if it was in walking distance or not. Yes! It was only five blocks down and Angela had said my appointment was at nine. I had plenty of time. I stuck my head out of the door and told her to let me know as soon as she had everything together.
"Give me five more minutes," she said.
"Thanks. Since it's such a lovely morning I am going to walk instead of taking the bus." I sounded proud of myself, almost like me not taking the bus for one day was saving the planet from pollution or an extra "Carbon Footprint."
I walked back around to my desk and opened my briefcase. I went through all the materials that were already in there and then added the forms Angela had just given to me. I checked the battery on my Blackberry and grabbed an extra ink pen, just in case. I was always losing mine so I made sure I kept a few extras in my case. I closed it up and headed out.
"Is this all I have for the day?" I asked Angela.
"Yes, nothing else is on the schedule."
"Wonderful, I'll check in maybe after lunch. If you need me you have my number." I felt stupid saying that, of course she had my number it was an office issued cell phone.
I made my way back to the elevator, smiling in the most polite way I could at all the two-faced whores that worked here. Most of them were just secretaries or admin assistants. I was the only female lawyer on staff. I think that's probably why they didn't like me; they were intimated by me. I would live up to their expectation. If a bitch was what they expected, then a bitch was what they would get.
Exiting the elevator, I smiled smugly as I listened to my heels click across the marble floor. Meeting a potential new client was exhilarating. It was a chance for me to embark on a new journey and work my magic. To prove myself once again. This was what I lived for.
I made the short walk with ten minutes to spare. The whole time I kept my face toward the sun and absorbed the warming energy it gave me. The address was a beautiful brownstone. This Mr. Cullen must have money. I was pretty sure that each apartment here was a whole floor and it would put my little loft to shame.
I rang the buzzer to be let in. I was excited to see the inside of this building, especially since I realized that his apartment was on the top floor. I was nosy like that.
Mr. Cullen instructed me to go down the hall to the elevator. It was at the back of the building and was made entirely of glass. It was set outside the wall of the building and overlooked a private courtyard. All I could think as I rode up to the sixth floor was "wow" and "someday". Someday I would live in a place like this. I was planning it now, as I worked my way up the corporate ladder, my frugal lifestyle would allow me a reward like this. Someday. Wow.
When the elevator stopped and the glass door opened, I took the few steps to the front door. I rang the bell and waited.
I took a deep breath and straightened up my shoulders. It was show-time.
The door swung open and I almost dropped my briefcase.
"It is you!" The words slipped from my mouth in the most unpleasant way.
"Excuse me," he retorted. He had one hand on the door knob and the other was braced against the door frame.
"I am so sorry, let me start over. Hello Mr. Cullen, I'm Bella Swan from Whitlock & Associates. I believe we have an appointment."
"Yes, of course we do. You look familiar. Did you say Bella Swan? I thought Jasper said your name was Isabella..." Mumbling he turned to walk back into the room, not asking me in, but leaving the door wide open.
I followed him in and looked around the room. The apartment looked as if it was straight out of a glossy magazine. It didn't even look lived in except for a few moving boxes pushed up against the wall and a box overflowing with toys set beside the couch. There were a few trucks and cars, a large Buzz Lightyear figure, and a Barney stuffed animal on top of the pile.
"Yes, Mr. Cullen, we actually graduated together from Forks High. When I read your name at the office I remembered I went to school with an Edward Cullen, but I never imagined it would be...well...you."
"Bella...Yes...That's right... I remember. Please call me Edward. Have a seat."
He was still a good looking guy; let's just say he never had a problem finding a date in high school. Back then we were on opposite ends of the social scale.
Looking at Edward now, he looked tired, almost sad in a way.
"Thanks," I made my way over to his over-sized leather couch. I had to will myself to stop thinking about how much that bad boy cost and just sit down and get to business. "So Edward, what can I do for you? I don't know what Mr. Whitlock told you, but I am an adoption lawyer, he may have misunderstood when you called or something, but I'll be happy to assist you in anyway I can."
Edward picked up a small picture that was lying on the coffee table by the couch and handed it to me.
There was a beautiful little boy with fire red hair and sparkling blue eyes sitting on the floor. He was laughing, you could see his single tooth through his grin and both hands were holding on to the socks on his little feet.
"He's beautiful," I gushed.
"That's Ethan. I'm hoping to adopt him. I need your help Bella. He means more to me than the world." He swallowed hard and tears were brimming in his eyes. "I can't lose him. I just can't."
A/N:This idea came to me after reading some of the the DILF contest entries.
Please review! I swear I have the least self confidence for a person you will ever meet!