Note: I just want to say thank you to my wonderful, amazing Beta! She has been a huge help!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight
We all had dreams of sitting in the one and only Rosalie Hale's cushy desk chair. She was the epitome of success, the definition of the word bitch, but she was damn good at everything she did. Rosalie not only was a fashion icon by the mere age of twenty...she was a fashion mogul by twenty seven. Those of us who were granted the opportunity to work for her, you know the mindless and pathetic underlings who had taken on all the "meaningless" jobs that actually kept the business afloat, were treated more like work horses than anything else. But we were all smart enough to know that nobody started on top.
We also knew just as well that we would never reach such great heights. We would never become Rosalie Hale. With her haughty persona and striking beauty, she was an untouchable.
And then, there was me. Having worked under Rosalie for nearly three years, I was positive that Rosalie did not, nor would she, ever learn my name.
"I think you're close to being one of the big photographers." Alice grinned one rare warm early September day. She'd whisked me out of the office to bask in the sunlight before it was quickly stolen away by Autumn's cruel clutches. "You've been working for her for almost three years."
Fresh out of college, Alice was wide eyed and naive. An intern who rarely saw Rosalie herself, Alice was still somewhat oblivious to just how Rosalie could and would be. We'd all tried explaining to her that once put in
a position, you would most likely be there until you left Eclipse.
"One of these days, you'll be as big as Irina Decker." she beamed, licking the plastic spoon with a grin. "I know it."
"Right." I laughed. Irina Decker was the top photographer of the company and the runner up for Rosalie's main affection. Irina was Rosalie's number two bitch, aside from her overly perky assistant Jessica. "That's gonna happen.."
Alice shrugged her shoulders and looked to her watch. I was surprised by her suddenly frantic expression as she tossed the ice cream in the trash bin and began pulling me down the sidewalk.
"What the hell, Alice?" I asked as she pulled me into our building. She was continually glancing at her watch, as if there was little time left in the world. As far as I knew, our lunch breaks weren't over for a good ten minutes.
What could she possibly be hurrying back for?
"I forgot about…something," she muttered, whisking me into the elevator. Once inside, she tapped her foot nervously with her arms folded over her chest. "Alright, please don't hit me."
"What-?" Before I could continue, her hands were shielding my eyes and I was being led blindly down the hall way. Normally, around this time, the office was alive and bustling, never silent, never stopping.
But it seemed dead, completely desolate. Where had everyone gone?
"Alice, will you please tell me what's going on?" I huffed once we'd finally stopped. Still blinded by her hands, I had no idea where in the office we were.
"Alright," she said, this time much happier. Seconds later, her hands were removed and was taken aback by the sudden outburst of my co-workers and colorful decorations strung throughout the office. "Surprise!"
Rather than bursting out in excitement, I scrambled to find the nearest calendar. I was never one to pay attention to dates, and I hadn't seen today as any reason to change that. How could I have missed the fact that today was my birthday.
My 30th birthday.
"Bella?" Alice asked, noticing my distress as the September 13th date stared up at me menacingly. "What's the matter?"
"It's my 30th birthday," I sighed, gazing around at the expectant crowd. So many different thoughts were running through my mind, such as the goals I'd yet to accomplish or the plans I'd yet to follow through with. But they were expecting a party, so I would save my woes for when I was alone in my apartment with my dog and best friend, Jake.
While I wasn't fond of celebrations that involved gift giving, celebrations were so limited around here, so I decided to fake a smile and throw my hands up in happiness. Once they saw that I wasn't against the party, the fun finally began.
Even while celebrating, I couldn't help but wonder what Rosalie's reaction would be if she was to walk in and see a party. Very much a workaholic, she wouldn't be pleased to see us off task and actually having some sort of fun.
"Time for presents!" Alice exclaimed once all the typical party games had been played and the sweet cake had been eaten. I couldn't imagine how she and the others had managed to put this all together under my nose. I knew the cost would be nothing but another mood killer in this day, so I decided against asking. "Okay this one is just from me-,"
The party was suddenly interrupted by the clacking of heels upon the tile flooring and the whooshing of a door. Nervously, I looked over to see Jessica and Rosalie standing, their faces showing annoyance and impatience.
"What's going on here?" Rosalie finally asked, her dark glasses falling to the bridge of her nose. Her weight was shifted onto one leg and her hand was propped up on her hip. It was easy to tell when Rosalie wasn't happy. This was one of those times.
"We were just celebrating Bella's birthday," Alice chirped, stepping forward. My arm flew protectively across her chest, keeping her away from Rosalie's wrath. "I thought it would be fun!"
"Did I say you could throw a party?" she spat, her eyes upon Alice. I could feel Alice shrinking back behind me. "No, I didn't. Now you all need to get your asses back to work before I fire each and every one of you."
And just like that, our party was over and the day had returned to normal. I knew that the day would only get worse when Rosalie's piercing glare found Alice and she called her over with the wave of a hand.
"The party was my idea!" I called out before she could steal Alice away into her office. With wide eyes, she shook her head and quietly mouthed no. I held up my hand and walked to her side.
"Don't get Alice in trouble," I pleaded, grabbing Alice's wrist. Rosalie eye's flitted between Alice and I, as if she was wondering what she would do. Most bosses wouldn't fire an employee over a simple surprise party, but Rosalie wasn't just a boss. "The party was totally my doing."
I was fired on the spot.
"Bella, I am SO sorry," Alice cried, following me as I collected my belongings. Normally, people felt low after losing a job, but I felt somewhat relieved. I'd been told my photos were beautiful enough to where I could find a job anywhere I wanted. Maybe I would find a job where my boss actually knew my name. "You shouldn't have lost your job over a stupid surprise party. I'm really, really sorry!"
"Alice, it's fine," I promised with a small smile. "It's better this way. I'm 30, jobless and single. It's no big deal.."
That was a lie. It was a huge deal. Being fired threw me completely off the track of the destination I was trying to reach. By 30, I'd hoped to have married and even had a child or two. But, here I was, jobless with nothing to show for it. My life, already slow-moving, was now at a complete stand still.
"I'll come over tonight!" she called as I began to leave the office. I smiled back at her and continued walking.
The city was alive and well, bustling as the day began to draw near its end. People hurried down the streets and sidewalk, all with somewhere to go or someone to see. You never saw slow walkers. Everybody, regardless of where they were going, was in a hurry. Obviously, the man coming my way was no exception.
He slammed into me in a matter of seconds, sending my belongings flying.
"Hey!" I called after him. Moving to quick for me to catch, I caught only a flash of his Emerald eyes and shining copper hair. He walked off with a look back at the woman he'd just knocked to her feet. "Ass hole."
Miffed at the encounter, I scooped everything back into the box and headed towards my apartment.
The only party I was looking forward to was my own personal pity party.
"I'm making this up to you," Alice said to me later that night as she and I sat on the couch while Jake scratched his ears. "I don't know how, but I will. I just feel so awful about getting you fired. That party was a stupid idea."
"It's totally fine," I promised her, placing my hand on her shoulder. "You don't need to make it up to me. I can find work elsewhere. It really isn't a big deal."
"It is!" she piped, standing up quickly. "I'm gonna call my brother. He's totally single and would absolutely love you."
"No way," I refused, snatching the phone away. "I will not go out with your brother, Alice."
How could I have known that just three days later, I would be sitting in my apartment waiting for her brother to pick me up to take me out to lunch? You could refuse Alice all you wanted, but you would never win an argument. When it came to she and I, she was undefeated.
I knew very little about the man, other than the fact that his name was Edward and was currently unemployed. She never spoke much of her family, but I assumed the two to be somewhat close due to the fact that she was confident enough to set us up. Though, I would've fought harder against it had I known he would be more than an hour late.
"Finally," I muttered under my breath once I finally heard a light knocking on the door. In no kind of rush, I languidly stood from the couch to open the door.
My breath immediately caught in my throat as I came face to face with the single-handedly most handsome man I'd ever seen. With emerald eyes and copper hair, he was truly an angel in every sense.
"Ready to go?" he asked, his hands stuffed in his pockets. I felt severely overdress in the blue dress that Alice had lent me and much too high heels. He was in nothing but jeans, a faded tee shirt and an old baseball cap.
"Yeah," I said quietly, following him as we walked down the hall. Staring at him from behind as we walked, I couldn't help but feel like I'd seen that head of hair before. Even when he'd appeared at my door, I felt a slight sense of familiarity. "So you're Alice's brother?"
I quirked an eye brow and nodded my head lightly. I was beginning to wonder why Alice even considered this to be a good idea. From what I could see, he was a quite reserved, an introvert to say the least. She was smart enough to know that two introverts together makes for a boring night.
Dinner was no different. My attempts at making small talk futile, as he would answer every question I threw out with a 'yeah' or a 'nope.' I found myself constantly staring at my watch, just hoping that I would soon be put out of my misery. While I wasn't the most talkative and out there woman, I appreciated idle chatter.
Edward didn't. Throughout the date, I couldn't help but shake the feeling that he didn't want to be here, and he saw it as more of an obligation to Alice than something he would've like to do. I'd never been happier that a date was over when he finally took me home.
"It was nice meeting you," he said, once we'd stopped at my door. He now seemed nervous, running his hands through his perfect hair and gazing around the hallway. "Sorry I wasn't that talkative at dinner. Crowded restaurants make me kind of nervous."
"It's fine," I shrugged. "Thanks for tonight, Edward."
Thinking he would walk away, I turned around and began fumbling for my keys in the rather unnecessarily large bag. I was just placing them in the lock when that sweet voice uttered my name one more time.
"Since dinner wasn't great," he explained, his hand still tugging at his hair. "Would you wanna head to a bar or something? Just so I can make it up to you. No girl deserves a crappy date."
While he seemed genuinely remorseful for a lackluster night and I did appreciate the fact, I wasn't if sure if I was mentally capable of handling more awkward silences. The call of the pint of ice cream in my freezer was becoming louder and more difficult to ignore.
"I'm tired," I told him, faking a loud yawn. I stretched out my arms and turned myself towards the door. "But thank you anyway."
He opened his mouth to speak but I quickly thew open the door and slid in before any words could be exchanged.