------------| Sold, Sight Unseen |------------
Summary: The odds of him dialing her phone number are 3,720 to 1. But he does. Their chance conversation leads to something more. Something silly, then serious and a little scary. But in a good way. AU
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight; it owns me. I also don't own anything else publically recognizable in this story (e.g., Superman or the two Stars, Trek and Wars).
Note: Because of the short, punchy style, this story will probably look best on your screen in 1/2 view.
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Like many love stories, this one starts unexpectedly. Unlike many love stories, this one starts with a phone call.
I've just gotten home from work and am shedding all of Work Bella's accessories to the floor as I make my way back to the bedroom.
I kick off my heels in the foyer. I set my laptop down on the ten-person dining room table. I drop my burnished silver purse into the wingback chair next to the bed. More Work Bella accessories spill out of my purse, but I don't stop to clean them up.
Already, I feel ten pounds lighter. My job is fast-paced and stressful. I hold the fate of a team in my hands. I don't always like the weight of that fate. I don't always like feeling like Work Bella.
For that matter, I don't always like Work Bella.
Sometimes, it's nice to be just Bella.
I could watch TV. I could make some food. I could take a hot, strawberry-scented bubble bath in my jetted garden tub.
Instead, I fall face-first into my downy white comforter. I luxuriate in the feel of the softness and the weight of my legs hanging off the edge of the bed, an impromptu stretch of my aching calves.
Right then, of course, my cell phone rings.
I'm comfortable, and it's somewhere behind me, out of reach, so I decide to let it ring. I remain, immobile, in the center of the king-sized bed. As always, it makes me feel small. Even the sound of the ringtone echoing through empty halls makes me feel alone.
The phone rings only once. It cuts off right in the middle of the next ring.
Telemarketers usually let it ring at least three times. Someone from work would have let it ring until the voice mail picked up. I'm not expecting a call from anyone else.
I army-crawl myself around on my bed until I can see my phone.
It's on the floor; it was one of the accessories that had spilled out of my purse in my haste to shed the day like a snakeskin.
Only vaguely curious, I poke the phone with a nylon-encased toe until I can see the screen from my vantage point on the bed.
It's currently lit up with the words, Unknown caller. As I watch, the screen fades to black.
Probably a telemarketer.
Nevertheless, I expend the energy necessary to pick up the phone. I flip it open to get more details, like maybe the area code.
Definitely a telemarketer.
But why the single ring?
I rub the Call button lightly with my finger, debating.
What the heck, I could use a good survey right now. It's not as though I have anything else to do.
I hit Call.
And you never know; maybe it wasn't a telemarketer.
For some reason, that first ring causes my heart to jump into my throat.
I let the phone ring twice, three times, four. I expect an answering service to pick up, but none does. Five, six, seven.
Definitely not a telemarketer.
I'm just about to hang up.
I pull the phone away from my ear, and my thumb is on the End button.
I've resigned myself to yet another evening alone.
"Hello?" a small, tinny voice says from my hand.
I whip the phone back to my ear, but I don't know what to say.
"Hello?" the voice says again, and this time I can tell that it's male.
Definitely not a telemarketer.
"Uh, hi," I say.
"Who's this?" the male voice says. Oddly, the voice sounds almost as nervous as I feel.
"This is…the person whose phone you just called."
"Oh," he says.
"Any particular reason you were calling my phone?"
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I…had the wrong number."
"Oh," I say.
Worse than a telemarketer, then—someone who hadn't even meant to call me at all.
My life rocks.
"Any particular reason you called back?" the guy asks.
Good question. I feel all kinds of stupid.
So I lie.
"I was…just expecting a call from someone. Thought you might be him."
"Oh. Sorry I'm not him…?" The guy chuckles.
Bless him, he's playing along. Most people would have said "Okay then" and wished me a good day.
But not this guy.
I like him.
On a whim, I decide to run with this. I did call him back, after all.
I blurt out, "Do you have some time to talk?"
He pauses for a moment. "Yeah, I have some time to kill."
I suck in a breath. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. "I realize this is completely weird."
"We don't know each other."
"But could we just talk?"
"Like, have a conversation."
"I thought we were." I think I hear a chuckle.
"I mean, could we continue this conversation?"
"On whom I'm talking to. I'll introduce myself if you will."
"Okay," I say, feeling unexpectedly shy. "I'm…Beth."
I don't know why; this doesn't feel like a divulge-your-real-name type of moment.
"Drew," he says.
Hm, he doesn't sound like a Drew. I wonder if he thinks I sound like a Beth. The silence stretches on for a moment.
"So, Beth, what would you like to talk about?"
The anonymity of it all is making me feel bold. "I'd like to talk about you, actually."
"Me?" He seems surprised.
"Yeah. What do you do, Drew?"
He's silent for a moment, perhaps contemplating how much to tell me. Perhaps contemplating if I'm some type of psycho stalker.
"If you don't mind me asking," I add.
"I don't," he says quickly. "I was just…thinking about how bizarre this is."
My heart sinks. "That you're sitting here having a completely meaningless conversation with a total stranger?"
"Well…there is that." He chuckles again. I'm really starting to like the sound of his laugh. "But it's not all that. I wasn't completely honest with you earlier."
I frown. Our conversation hasn't been all that long. What could he possibly have not been honest about already?
"I didn't mis-dial. I actually dialed your number on purpose."
"Uh…what?" Now it's my turn to think that maybe he's the crazy psycho stalker. I sit up a little straighter on my bed.
"Well, not your number, exactly. I dialed a number at random. On purpose."
"Gosh, I probably sound crazy."
"The thought had crossed my mind," I tease him. Or, at least, I'm sorta teasing. "I was actually thinking about the probability of one bored person sitting around at home on a Thursday night happening to call another bored person sitting at home on a Thursday night."
"If you think about it," he says, "the probability is actually pretty good. I'll bet a lot of people are sitting home bored right now. Being bored is like…the American pastime."
Good to know that he's at least on the same continent.
"True," I say. "So why were you randomly calling numbers?"
He sighs and seems to come to some sort of decision.
"Well, like you said, I'm bored. I'm sitting here on a Thursday night watching TV, and this show comes on. The characters are betting each other that if a girl were to call any random guy and ask him to have sex with her, he would say yes."
He must have interpreted my surprised laugh as shock because he makes a strangled noise. "Oh crap. I didn't mean it that way. I mean, not about the sex…I was just thinking that it would be totally weird to just randomly call some number."
When I don't answer immediately, he plows on, "I'm not going to ask you to have sex with me, I swear."
His stumbling is cute. I wonder if he's blushing. I wonder what I would say if he did ask to have sex with me.
"I thought it was the girl who is supposed to call the guy and ask to have sex." It must be the anonymity thing again. I'm not usually this daring. Something about this whole situation has my adrenaline going.
He laughs, clearly relieved I'm not completely weirded out.
"Maybe we should just drop the whole sex thing," he says.
"At least until we know each other's full names," I deadpan.
He laughs again. I like the sound of his laugh even more than I do his chuckle. For some reason, neither one of us volunteers our full name. I think we both feel it. I don't know what this is, but I know it's not something we need to rush.
I have hours before anyone will need me.
He says, "Sorry about this, but I actually have to get going."
"Okay." I say.
Obviously, someone needs him.
"It was nice talking to you."
"If that's what you could call it."
There's a pause.
Then, "Can I call you again?" he asks.
My heart skips a beat. I know I should say no. I know this is completely crazy. But I look around at my lonely house and my lonely life. I don't even have a cat.
We hang up without saying goodbye.
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Note: My apologies if a Phoneward story has already been done. If it has, I haven't read it. I started writing this story as a time out from the drama of my other story, AiTIC. Unlike what I normally do in these types of situations, I'm not going to sit on this for months while I think about whether I like it or not. I'm going to share it. All 10 chapters of the story are complete; they're just going through beta now. I'll post them as they're ready, at least once a week. Probably more often because I'm impatient.
Thanks to the ever-lovely betas moonlightdreamer333 and CapriciousC.