So this isn't my first fanfic but it's my first ExB one so go gently on me please.
My first story is called Caius and Aurora and centres on the Volturi and one OC. A not so subtle hint there…
Summary: "Swan! Can you not see my office just out there to your right? I wanted that file ten minutes ago, on my desk, it's outside my door, are you fucking blind?!" "No Cullen, I cannot see your office, because yes, dickhead, I AM blind and I don't want to walk in and listen to you fucking Tanya Denali!"
Here we go with Chapter 1 – Bella Swan, in BPOV.
I hate my job.
No, I don't hate my job, I hate this job. I love global finance and project managing but just hate this place. Well, mainly, I hate my job.
I am a senior project manager, contractor of course, and I work at Jameson International Banking. JIG. For real. I work for a company whose abbreviations spell out…JIG.
And my boss, get this, his name, is James Jameson. I believe his parents were either very cruel or drugged up. Either way screwed in the head. I mean who on God's green earth would name their kid James with the surname Jameson. Mr and Mrs Jameson obviously found no issue with this. The nickname JJ was evidently ok with them, to be honest, it just made James seem even more like an idiot.
Not that he was stupid, don't get me wrong. He was an extremely competent global finance director for the company. He didn't fall down in that area, he was just…well…life that he wasn't so hot on. James had slight communication…or miscommunication issues. He didn't really understand it when he asked someone out for a drink and they said no. What further perplexed him was even when he asked almost every day and was still turned down.
Somewhere along the line, that shit just didn't compute.
As Bella Swan I'm British, bright and bubbly, and blind. Oh yes, did I mention that before, well, yeah, I'm blind. I'm 24 years old and I lost my sight all of 8 years ago in a car accident. I lost my mother and step-father in the accident. They lost their lives and all I lost was my vision. I was very lucky to have only escaped with that; looking back I would have expected severe head trauma and memory loss. At least I was still compus mentus. At least at the weekends, during the week, I went a little crazy at work. Just a little.
Like right now, it was Thursday lunch time and I was due to give a presentation in half an hour. I had to present a review of my teams' performance throughout our project. They didn't care that I basically hadn't slept for four months because I was up to my blind eyes in work. That I stayed at this goddamn office every weekend to make sure the bastards in my team actually did what they were told.
I was so tired and so incredibly ready for the weekend that I didn't want to face my boss, of all people, and the associates and shareholders. They were all bastards. I was being incredibly prejudiced since I barely bothered to remember what they were like, but they were all the same anyway.
I exhaled as if I had the weight of the world on my shoulders and fumbled around lazily for the coffee on my desk. Good thing I had Sheila with me, she always me a little indication if something was going to fall over or spill. Incredibly intelligent. Sheila is my trusty guide dog.
Really I'm very lucky that she's allowed to come into the office at all with me. When I started at the JIG *snort* six months ago I didn't give a shit about what they paid me but I needed Sheila with me. I came very highly recommended and my reputation to get a damn project successfully finished on time preceded me. Most employers would have probably forced me to get a cane or have an aide. I wasn't having any of that shit. My only condition was Sheila and before I knew it I was hired. Excellent.
Now I couldn't wait to leave.
One week left. I could tell Sheila agreed with me. We were allowed half an hour for lunch break, it doesn't sound like much but that shit is like gold dust in London. Each day I took my customary cab to a local park and she ran around like the hell raiser she was. If the poor thing was stuck inside this miserable office then the least I could give her was a little time out.
I gulped down the last of the shit they had the decency to call coffee, more like gritty bath water, in this place but presumably it had caffeine in it which was great for me. I readjusted my sunglasses which I had to wear because the damn strobe lighting in the offices gave me the worst headaches. And since my surgery I was more prone to migraines. One lesson, migraines + Bella Swan = bad times involving breaking things, preferably people but more importantly, delay in project time.
So, yeah, I'm a bit of a workaholic, but I'm good at it. I'm good with people and my blindness has never hindered me in my job. Sure people sometimes thought they could get away with hell just because I couldn't see but the bastards were found out in the end. I work hard, incredibly hard at my job and I don't take shit, from anyone.
"Meeting reminder for Bella Swan, the time is 1.45 and you are due in the conference room at 2 o'clock." Ahh Renee. Some people thought it was kind of sick that I'd named my EPA (electronic personal assistant) after my mother. I figured that even beyond the grave, she was still looking after me, and I reminded myself of her love everyday. Even if technically, at this point in time, she was a computer chip that I had installed into my desktop to do pretty much everything for me.
"Excellent, thank you Renee, system standby." Renee's job currently involved inhabiting my blackberry and keeping me up to date with everything. A downgrade of her program was on my computer but I never used it that much, only to control things like light and security cameras in my office.
The conference room was only just down the hall and since we were basically on the top floor, Sheila could sit in the corner and stare out the window while I told management how their over-paid employees did a really great job.
Grabbing my files and clicking my fingers to get Sheila up and ready to go, I reached down for her lead and felt instant comfort. She gave me such security; I literally trusted that dog with my life. I reached into my pocket with my key card and slid it into my office door to look it shut. Not that there was anything interesting in my office, it's just that it was my space, and if anyone they only had to buzz my blackberry which was permanently attached to my hip in my pocket.
Like I said, workaholic.
"We're just going to talk to them about the team She. Conference room." I laid a lemon scent cloth under her nose so she knew where to go. I had installed air fresheners in the three main rooms I would be using, my office, the conference room and the dealing room. James' office was only one turn 90 degrees to the right and seven steps forward from my office, so I didn't bother with getting that one a scent. The lemon air freshener was placed in the conference room so Sheila knew to take me there. Clever girl. I swear if my dog was human, she'd rule the world, solve world peace and be sipping pina coladas in the pool.
I walked briskly down the corridor as I wanted to make sure my power-point would be up and ready before anyone got there. Sheila was trotting lightly beside me and she only did that when she saw someone we knew. Or someone she knew would give her food. Probably the latter.
She slowed and then stopped right in what I presumed to be the middle of the hallway. If they were making bloody adjustments to the strobe lights again I was going to hurt someone. The amount of times poor Sheila had yelped when they dropped shit on her head, well, that got me mad.
"How's my two favourite bitches?" The voice was from Washington and no one else I knew had the balls to say that other than…
"Carlisle, is that you?" I felt the smile spread over my face at the knowledge that my old friend was there. I felt Sheila jumped up at him and she probably licked his face. Hussy. He laughed and stepped forward a few paces.
"Who else Bella, come give Papa Cullen a hug." I laughed at my nickname for him and let myself be embraced as I hugged him tightly. It had been too long since I'd seen my old friend. Well technically, not old, by now Carlisle must be mid forties, he didn't sound old and in a non-perverted way, as I hugged him, well, it felt like he'd kept his shape.
I had met Carlisle and his wife Esme when I was in my third year of my Finance and Business Management Masters degree. I had a placement year and was somehow the lucky bitch out of thousands of applicants who got a year's apprenticeship at CGB, Cullen Global Banking.
I was stationed at the London headquarters, my first ever job, all alone, just Sheila and I, my first time in London. Well, other than scaring the shit out of me, it made me swallow my fear and get on with it. It was the best possible opportunity I could have had; I shadowed Esme who was Carlisle's PA, who I soon learned were the happiest married couple ever. I soon became close to the Cullens and even sooner, they became the only family and friends I had in the city.
I loved it, every gruelling hard working minute of it. Carlisle taught me so much about the business, what I'd be getting into. He gave me real insight into the male dominated world of banking but more specifically project managing. I even had the chance to shadow the PM (project manager) at the end of my placement. Aro was equally a wonderful teacher, but he never made me as comfortable as Carlisle.
Esme probably helped the most. I had told her my situation with my family, my father Charlie had no possible way to support me and as this was my first job and I could barely cover my tuition fees for my classes. At the time I was renting an apartment that was barely big enough to stand in, we both hated it, Sheila and me.
At the end of our day one Friday she drove me approximately ten minutes away from the offices and we pulled up at an apartment building, or so she told me. We got out, climbed the lift, Sheila looking around nervously, and came to a door where the corridor smelt of lavender.
"Bella, honey, don't moan, don't complain, look, I know things aren't exactly easy, but Carlisle and I, well, we wanted to give you something."
She swiped a key card through the door and nudged me inside.
"Welcome home Bella."
"Holy fu--, oh my goodness Esme, I can't accept this, I have to pay you something, I can't, this is just…ah--." At this point, words failed, at the time I had no idea how much I had needed a proper place to stay. But Esme did, she always looked after me and I came to love her and Carlisle like my own parents.
This was so much and I had nothing to give back. I broke down and sobbed in the middle of the, no my new foyer. I was only 21 and I had no idea how to thank them.
End of flashback
But everything turned out alright after that. I moved in that weekend and never looked back. That's when we installed Renee, a state of the art EPA who could help me with everything. Esme and Carlisle even installed a Kaleidoscope which could select my clothes in the morning, voice automated in the morning. I called her Alice, because she sounded cute and dainty like I imagined Alice in Wonderland to be.
I graduated from my university a year early thanks to the stellar recommendation I received from the CEO of CGB. I was the luckiest girl in the world.
And three years on here I stood, with quite frankly Zeus in my opinion, or more casually Papa Cullen welcoming me home. Metaphorically of course, I was still at JIG, shit hole and major CGB competitor. There was no competition in my opinion, Papa Cullen could kick little JJ's ass at anything.
"So how have you been, are you ok? How's Esme? Is she still working? Did you guys finish the house? I feel really bad I haven't seen you since my going away party."
"Slow down BB" his nickname for me because apparently when I was at work and lined up my team telling them what they had and more importantly, hadn't done, I was like a gun firing them off one by one, ah to reminisce "everyone's fine, Esme's great, no longer working, in fact, I don't really work anymore, I love it but I'm just the owner at this point, I leave all the other shit to Edward." He couldn't help but grumble the last bit.
"Papa C you mean now you're only the major share-holder of a billion dollar banking corp, you've sunk low. I'm disappointed." I tried to suppress the smile but couldn't help letting out a giggle.
Just then my blackberry decided to intervene, "Meeting reminder for Bella Swan, the time is 1.55, and you are due in the conference room at 2 o'clock."
"Oh shit!! Of all the fuckery!"
"I know you're late Bella but I do love that thing, I almost forgot how much fun it was."
"Yeah, fun. Listen I have to do a stupid TRAP (team response and presentation) so sit yourself in my office and we'll talk ok?"
"Sure thing BB." I tossed him my key card and pulled the lemon scent cloth out of my pocket, placed it under Sheila's nose and gave a small tug on her lead, telling her I wanted to get there pronto.
We jogged down the corridor and to the door in under a minute. I entered the room panting and thanked God that no-one was here yet.
"Computer, activate voice control for use with Bella Swan, access code – 2-5-4-6-9-2-44-2."
"Good afternoon Miss Swan, time check is 1.57 and all communications are set up for activation."
"Thank you, system standby for power point activation, and folder code 8709-B in my files."
"File is loaded and ready for use."
Excellent, I had three minutes and as I began counting, the door opened and in shuffled the Dragons, as I had named them. Not because they were any fiercer or better than me, but because they thought they were the rich know-it-all bastards from that stupid TV show, Dragon's den.
And…what's that, overdose on cologne, must be our JJ.
"Miss Swan, is everything ready?"
"Yes Sir, ready when you are." Only one more week of plastering on a fake smile in front of this bunch of idiots. One week, one week.
The meeting went by comfortably, even more proof to them that their well-paid miracle Isabella Swan was worth every penny.
After everyone had filed out of the room, I couldn't wait to get back to see Carlisle, I had really missed him and Esme. I pulled the other scent cloth out of my pocket, strawberry scented this time, which meant my office, and I placed it under Sheila's nose.
"Time to go see Papa C, She."
She wagged her tail excitedly against my leg and if I had a tail, I probably would have done the same.
We glided gracefully back into my office "All systems go Renee, system recover."
"Systems recovered and fully functional. Would you like to update?"
"How was the meeting BB?" I could just tell he was smirking as I heard him experience first hand the shit coffee.
"Oh jesus, that's bad Bella. Honestly, is it really coffee?"
"Evidently. Look Carlisle I'm so glad to see you, but, this isn't just a random visit is it?"
"No BB, cut to the chase, well, I told you before that Edward took over my work post at EGB."
I had never met Cullen Junior before but opinions were mixed. Esme could see no wrong in him; he was the prodigal son who was in her eyes, perfect.
Papa C described him as a womanizer who was never able to focus but they needed to shape up if he ever wanted to earn a living. One thing they both agreed on was that Edward was, kind of brilliant, intellectually.
"Yes…" My interest piqued, I think I knew where this was going.
"And, he needs someone to guide him, he needs a really good SNP (senior project manager) to keep him on the straight and narrow, otherwise, they're going to run circles around him."
"Then why have you thrown him in at the deep end?"
"I thought I'd see how he'd cope, technically he's far more than qualified, and he's still got the Volturi brothers working with us, thank God. But, he needs someone with experience of the company and a good knowledge of how to handle people..." He paused suggestively.
I knew what he was asking, and honestly, after everything the Cullens had done for me, I should be volunteering to do this for free. But I knew that wouldn't happen, I knew if I went to work for Edward, that Carlisle would make sure I was well paid and comfortable. Hell, he's probably put my interests before the Golden Boy."
"So you want me to whip everyone into shape instead of letting Edward fuck anything with two X chromosomes into shape. Correct?"
I couldn't see it, but I could feel Papa C beaming at me, he rushed over and gave me a big hug, I felt home again and knew there was no way I could say no to this job. The Cullens deserved this.
"Thank you Bella." He kissed the top of my head and pulled out my blackberry.
"I'm putting in a few numbers for people to help you get moved from the office, I'll get some people to talk to you about getting system updates for Renee at EMG, you good for a week Monday?"
"Mmmhmmm." For some reason I thought there was something wrong with this, but I didn't care.
Edward Cullen, buckle up and hold on tight, you have no idea what's waiting for you.
Did you like it?
I really hope this goes down well.
Any questions / suggestions, anything at all, don't hesitate.
I'll be eagerly anticipating reviews.