Alexander Martin, Alexander Martin, where in God's name was Alexander Martin? Bella focused on the filing cabinet in front of her, standing on the balls of her feet as she ruffled through the folders at the back. Alexander Martin's file could not be found, and he was not in the pile waiting to be officially labeled. Great, Paul's been here she groaned and opened a random drawer. Paul was notorious for misfiling and the best method to retrieve anything he had put away was to start at any one spot and then continue to look in an irrational manner. The trick was never to resort to intelligence.
Bella sighed in frustration; she had been unable to concentrate all week and it was making it hard to find the folder. The last 14 days had been exciting but definitely not conducive to maintaining a good work ethic. Edward had texted her every day, lately even twice daily and the anticipation of each call made her squirm inside.
Alice too remained giddy about the situation and every time Bella's phone pinged in her presence, she almost levitated with excitement. She would strategically bounce around and clean in the area of their small dorm room that was behind Bella so that she could sneak glances at what messages were being exchanged. As requested, she had kept the situation a secret and was therefore forgiven the annoying tendency to be far too nosy.
The noise of a telephone ringing in the silent, dusty room brought Bella's gaze to a halt. Sliding the drawer of the filing cabinet she had been searching through shut, she placed Alexander Martin's sheet of paper in the "to do" box and went to pick up the connection. Working in the basement meant no one wanted to come find you and the students were always being given directions via the office phone in the corner.
"Bella Swan here" she murmured as she idly scratched at some tape sticking to the wall, remnants of some sign taken down a few days ago.
"Bella," Norma answered, sounding slightly more hushed than normal "There's someone here to see you." Bella blinked a few times. That was unexpected, who would be visiting her at the admissions office, on a Wednesday, during her work study hours? Perhaps Mike Newton was becoming more persistent in his deluded attempts at winning a date.
"Listen, if it's Mike, tell him I'm not here," Bella hazarded a guess.
"No, no, dear, it's not Mike," Norma giggled but refused to elaborate, even when the silence became awkward. Norma Elwood had always been a little strange, but apparently she's officially gone round the bend now.
"Right," Bella drummed her fingers in frustration and looked at the pile of mail waiting to be sorted, "is it important or can they catch me later today when I'm not working?"
"Dear, why don't you just come on up," and with that Norma hung up. Bemused, Bella climbed the narrow staircase, muttering something about old age and asylums. She really couldn't complain, it wasn't as if the other little jobs she could be completing were at all interesting or emotionally fulfilling.
Rounding the corner she quickly scanned the number of soda cans left and wondered when would be a good time to remind Norma that they needed to order more. Visitors to the college always stopped at the admissions office first and drinks needed to be available. Norma was indispensible when it came to dealing with the hordes of people and knowing all the application information, but she never was able to manage the food and drinks and it was left up to the students to remind her. 5 cokes, 6 sprites, and 10 waters, meant they would need more within the day.
Running her hand across the banister, she was still looking back as she began to speak, "Norma, we're going to need more drinks and have you checked on -" but she got no further because by then she had looked towards the front desk and the sight of the tall bronze haired figure stopped her.
She would know Edward anywhere by now, she had spent enough time texting him and nights dreaming of him, though she would never admit it. The giggling of the visitors waiting for a campus tour simply confirmed his celebrity status. Even Norma was grinning and ignoring the ringing phones.
"Bugger me!" Bella breathed and immediately clapped her hand over her mouth with a groan. "Great, the first thing out of my mouth is a swear," she rolled her eye. "I can't be nice and attractive even when I'm dry and not sleep deprived."
There was a brief silence, in which Bella pressed her hand to a burning cheek and tried to look only at the carpeted floor, before Edward began to chuckle. "You are the first American I know to use English swears, are your parents British?" Bella could only shake her head. "You're fascinating," he continued, and for a moment Edward began to sound a little uncertain himself, "and I was wondering if you would be willing to have lunch with me."
"Oh, well, I guess," Bella awkwardly walked backwards while Edward smiled at her with that indulgent smirk. That was unexpected to say the least. "I have work right now, but maybe in an hour?"
"I'm sure you can put in the hour another time," Norma interjected and Bella shot her a helpless look. While she would have liked to go out with Edward she didn't want to appear too eager, but Norma only grinned indulgently and Bella was forced to concede, "Right. Well then … I just need to get my stuff then. Just stay right there," and Bella rushed down the musty stairs and to her backpack full of school books. Before she headed back, she stopped to check her clothes in the window of an empty office. Becky wasn't in today and her office remained locked and dark, so Bella's reflection, scraggily hair and 5 year old sweater included, stood out clearly. Rolling her eyes and giving up all hope that Edward would ever see her in anything half way decent, Bella tried to breathe calmly.
Silently she smiled at Edward as she rounded the corner for the second time in five minutes and watched as he detangled himself from the arms of a few lingering visitors to the college, now looking for autographs. Her heart felt impossibly heavy and it fluttered especially quickly as he slung an arm around her shoulders and guided her out the front doors.