AUTHORS NOTE: This is my first story. Edward is an actor. Bella lives in Forks, the location of his next movie. Will things always stay this easy?
The first few chapters are an introduction to the main and supporting characters.
Rated M for: Angst, language, violence and lemony goodness...eventually.
I've made my own playlist to go along with the story, so just hit play when the song is mentioned to get a full experience.
http://www (dot) playlist (dot) com/playlist/18746192139
Words and Paper
Could this get any worse? Yes, sadly it could.
Still, this isn't what I signed up for. I just want to act. I just want to inspire. I just want to entertain. This was getting out of hand.
I made a hard stop and turned around. Twenty-seven girls. I wouldn't have guessed that many people lived in this town.
"Will you sign this?" a young girl begged.
"Will you marry me?" another asked.
"I love you!" the others screamed.
It was time to plead. "Please, if you will leave me in peace, I will sign whatever you want – NO, NOT THAT!" Throwing my hands up motioning her to stop, I had to revise my statement immediately as a girl, no older than 15, started lifting her shirt to expose her breasts. God, what makes this acceptable these days?
I started signing books, photos, shirts, you name it. Looking up from the items I was signing, I noticed these girls weren't leaving, and if I wasn't mistaken, their numbers were growing. Stupid cell phones. My mug was probably plastered on 20 Facebook pages already.
To try to distract my mind from the pain in my hand and my desire to curl into the fetal position, my eyes meandered around to the shops in front of me. It was quaint. If you were looking for a postcard from small-town America, this would be the place to set up your camera.
There were seven shops on this side of the block, all connected like row-houses. Each had large windows and three steps leading to their doors. A doctor's office. A lighting store. A shop that sold bath oils and soaps. A video store. A photography studio. A clothing store. And, directly in front of me a bookstore named Words and Paper. I made a mental note to find this block again and check it out. I was in desperate need of new literature.
The shrieks snapped me back to my current, undesirable state. There were at least fifty girls screaming they loved me now, and all it took was one shove at the back of the herd to send me and everyone else into a frenzied panic. Bodies were set in motion like dominoes and hands flew up so that they could catch their balance on the person in front of them.
Good God, I wasn't going to get out of this alive. Hopefully my family knew I loved them.
From out of nowhere, I heard a piercing holler, and the chain reaction stopped.
"Get the hell off my stoop! You're blocking my customers! I will call the police if you're not gone in 12.3 seconds and have you all arrested for loitering!"
I stood there stunned. The owner from the bookstore had left the comfortable confines of her words and paper and was making it clear that we were not welcome on her block any longer. It took approximately 8.7 seconds for the crowd to head down the block. She obviously meant business.
The angry woman and I stood there staring at each other. Her long hair whipped in the wind, and her gaze was assertive as if she was challenging me to not follow her orders. She didn't seem to know who I was, and for that I was grateful.
I looked down at the ground immediately, scared to look any longer at the deep brown, animated eyes of the exasperated woman in front of me. I nodded, and as I turned to walk away, she cleared her throat. The sound made me pull my head up to see she was jerking it toward her shop, silently telling me to come inside. Shit. Maybe she put my face with a name.
I looked at her for what seemed like forever, unmoving. Did I trust this woman not to attack me and call her friends? If she got me inside, would I be able to leave? Did she have a torture chamber hidden in the basement? Jesus, she's gorgeous.
She spoke warmly, snapping me out of my thoughts. "We've only known each other for a minute, Mr. Cullen, and I know there is no reason to trust me, but I'm only one girl compared to the fifty or so that have stationed themselves down at the stop sign waiting for you to rejoin them."
It didn't go unnoticed that she did in fact know who I was. Looking down at the street corner, I saw that the wolves had all regained forces and had ravenous, hungry eyes directed at me. That's all it took. One girl wouldn't harm me, especially one this small. So, I took a chance and bound toward her open door. Torture chamber, be damned.
The second I closed the door behind me, I was pleasantly assaulted with the smell of leather, old paper and ink. My eyes adjusted to the lighting, and I couldn't help but get giddy at the sight before me.
Fifteen foot bookshelves graced the perimeter walls with ladders to the top. Strings of exposed light bulbs and an amazing exposed light bulb chandelier that was at least ten feet wide hung from the ceiling. I stepped forward on the old, creaky wood floorboards and glanced at the books that occupied the smaller shelves in front of me. In the back I could see a small raised area with brightly-colored children's books. Large mismatched sofas and chairs dotted the remaining space. I could spend all day here.
Another clearing of her throat interrupted my thoughts and excitement.
"So, what brings you to this part of the country?" she asked, like a member of the welcome wagon. She was stacking papers at the cash register, not paying a whole lot of attention to me.
"Ummm... I'm here meeting with someone about an upcoming job." I kept my eyes wandering, trying to take in everything around me.
"Yeah, a movie." I'm forced to be a little short with her on this because I'm not really supposed to release information.
"Why Forks, Washington, for a meeting? Seems to be a little far away from Los Angeles."
"Well... they are wanting to film here. Something about capturing real small-town life. The producer was here once, and it always stuck with him."
She simply nodded her head. I watched as she picked up her business phone and dialed a number. My body tensed in anticipation for her to tell her friends that I was here.
"Alice, my dear! Can I ask a favor of you? Can you go take a gander outside your front window and see if there happens to be a gaggle of young women still afoot?" She giggled lightly, obviously at her choice of words, and then paused while I assumed Alice walked to the front of her store. This friend of hers must work at the clothing store at the end of the block.
"That's what I figured," she continued. "Oh, no. I have no idea why they are out there. They must have thought they saw someone. I ran them off my front stoop about five minutes ago. I know. Yeah, it's odd. They all got scared when I told them I'd have the police arrest them for loitering...I know! He would only be able to fine them if anything. Well, hey, I'm going to close up shop a little early today. I wanted to make sure we were still on for tonight?... Wonderful. I can't wait to go out. It's been too long... I love you, too. See ya at nine."
She hung up the phone.
"I guess they are still down there," I stated, already sure of her answer.
"You guess right," she said.
"Well, I want to thank you for the reprieve at least for the last few minutes. I'll go feed myself to the wolves again."
"Whoa! Wait a second, Mr. Cullen!" she blurted out, taking a step around her counter. Her finger was waving in the air. "I'm not allowing you to go out there and get involved in that again. It would take a couple of seconds for them to rush you, and I don't want you to sue me for damage done on my property." She finished with a small smirk.
"Okay, then what do you propose to get me out of here without a lawsuit?" I asked, leaning toward her on the chair back in front of me.
"I have a secret passageway reserved just for moments like this," she whispered, as though she was trying to keep the secret from listening ears.
I stared at her, wide-eyed, completely befuddled. "A secret passageway?" I couldn't help but whisper back. It only seemed appropriate.
"Yes," she declared, with a head nod. "The back door." And, then she laughed at my expression.
"Just turn the open sign around for me while I finish this, if you would sir," she said, walking back around to her cash register. "And, secure the three locks. If you don't mind, could you flip the left five light switches leaving the right one on? Thanks."
I did everything as she asked and turned around to notice the chandelier was still lit, casting a soft golden hue into the room. For it's size, it didn't give off much light, though. I wanted one of those for my apartment.
I stepped aside as she led me toward the back, and as we got to the small hallway, she reached her hand back and grabbed mine before slowly opening the door and peeking her head out. I was stunned by her gesture, but I don't pull away because she wasn't a harm. Maybe she was doing it to calm me, or just maybe she needed to feel protected from the throng of girls outside her store. I'd protect her any day.
"The coast is clear," she whispered. This time, her hushed voice seemed completely necessary. We were on a secret mission through her secret passageway.
She hit the button on her key chain and a vehicle came to life in front of me. Excellent. A bronze Volvo XC60... with tinted windows. Praise the Lord! She dashed out, releasing my hand and jumped in the driver's seat without hesitation. Taking her lead, I ran to the passenger side and flung myself into the seat, slamming the door behind me.
"Why are we running? There isn't anyone back here!" I laughed.
"That was fun. I felt like a teenager trying to sneak out of my dad's house again. There's not much around here that's a lot of fun, Mr. Cullen. I take what I can get."
"Please stop calling me Mr. Cullen," I said. It felt too formal coming from someone like her, though I was called Mr. Cullen by most everyone in the business. "Just Edward, please."
"Okay, Just Edward, where am I taking you?" she smiled. "I'll drop you off wherever you were headed."
"Ummm... I'm staying at The Ephraim Hotel. Are you sure you don't mind? I could call my driver to get me." My hand had already started pulling out my phone.
"Pfffft, it's not a problem at all. It's actually on my way home," she assured me. "Just let me do this for you, okay?"
She backed us out of the parking space, and we headed out in the opposite direction to avoid my adoring fans before she turned herself around and made her way toward the hotel. We sat in relative quiet until she turned up the volume on her CD.
Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da
"Do you like Van Morrison?" I questioned her, slightly excited to be listening to my all-time favorite artist.
"Who doesn't? Wild Night? Someone Like You? Have I Told You Lately? And, of course, Brown Eyed Girl?" She pointed at the stereo, indicating that it was playing. "This is my personal favorite. My dad and I would dance around the living room to this when I was younger. Brown eyes -" she pointed up at her eyes. "Get it? I think we both ignored the whole 'making love in the green grass' part. Gross. Are you a fan?" She swayed a little in her seat. It obviously brought her happiness.
"Am I a fan? Remember those girls?" I pointed behind us. "I'd transform into one of them if I saw him on the street." She laughed at my admission.
Feeling at peace for a change, I rested my head back and closed my eyes to listen to the music. She seemed to understand and just drove while drinking in the greatness. If the drive couldn't get any better, my favorite song came on next, "Beside You." It was a lesser known song than the ones she listed before, but I was glad to know she went beyond the major hits. She was a true fan.
As the song was ending, she turned a corner and I saw the hotel down the street. Her foot pressed on the brake all of a sudden, and we stopped on the side of the road. I turned to face her, confused by this action. She had an almost pained expression it seemed.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"It probably wouldn't be smart for me to drop you off at the front of the hotel, Just Edward. There will be people around... people interested in making a buck. I'm sure you're not interested in you and me gracing the cover of the next gossip rag with the headline IN LOVE."
Her observation stung a little, and I didn't know why. But, she was probably right. I'd had enough of those covers to know that it gets overwhelming. And, it would certainly be overwhelming for her, as she was from a small town and lived a quiet, ordinary life. I was not willing to subject her to what my life was like.
Shaking my head, I agreed with her and met her eyes again. There was something intriguing about this woman. She was obviously smart and kind, but something about her eyes and the way she acted around me told me that there was more to her than a bookstore and her nurturing nature. I opened my door but stopped before I got out.
"You said you were going somewhere tonight?" I inquired.
"I'm meeting my friends at The Library."
I couldn't help but smile. "I get that you love books and everything, but that doesn't sound like a very interesting place to go at nine o'clock at night. You weren't kidding about not having much to do around here!" I laughed as she looked down at her lap and shook her head at me.
"The Library is a local bar, Mr. Cullen. My best friend Alice and I are meeting our other friends Rosalie and Angela to celebrate and let loose," she explained.
"What are you celebrating?"
"Life," she shrugged. "It's so unpredictable and exciting and breathtaking if you just stop and notice everything you're given, don't you think? We get together every now and then to celebrate our friendship, our loves and just plain being able to experience this wild ride with each other because each day we get to live is a gift."
I sat there completely stunned at this. This woman was indeed intriguing.
"Well, have a great time. I'll be stuck in my prison cell. Think of me," I teased while pointing toward the hotel. She smiled at me and grabbed my hand, squeezing it slightly. Her face was serious now.
"I'm sorry you're sequestered in a room while everybody else in the world gets to celebrate life." She shook her head as if in disbelief and a crease appeared between her beautiful eyes. "I can't imagine. I hope you get freedom again some day."
I opened the door a little more and stepped out, releasing her hand with my own slight squeeze on hers. I gave her my sincere thanks for rescuing me and closed the door softly and then waved goodbye as she pulled out into the road again.
As I walked the block to the hotel, I noticed two men with cameras hovering around the front entrance. She saved me more than once today. You aren't getting a news story from me today, boys. For some reason, though, I didn't think it would have bothered me to have her next to me on the next magazine cover. Don't think like that, Just Edward. She's better than this.
I pushed my way into the lobby with my head down and a small smile plastered on my face. I made my way into the waiting elevator, pushed the button to the top floor and leaned back for the ride up. As the doors closed in front of me, I rubbed my eyes with the palm of my hands and said aloud, "I didn't even ask for her name."
AUTHORS END NOTE:
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