Once again, a shout out to my lovely beta! Couldn't have done this without her! Also, thank you to those who actually took the time to read/review/favorite this! I really do appreciate it! Now, here's chapter two!
"Alice, it just wasn't a fun night," I sighed the following morning. We'd been treated to yet another bright day and Alice and I were once again taking full advantage-as were the rest of the city goers. It was barely ten AM, yet the small sidewalk café was nearly filled. "As much as I would love to say it was, it just wasn't."
"You can't give him just one more chance?" she begged, her head placed on her folded hands. Her dark eyes were pleading as a small grin played upon her lips. "Edward may be quiet when you first meet him, but after a while, he's a fairly stand-up guy."
"And I'm sure that he is, Alice," I told her as I stood from my chair. "But, I just have a lot to focus on right now. I have to find a new job and there's just a bunch of other shit I have to get in order. Alice, I'm thirty now."
"I know." She rolled her eyes dramatically. "I just think you should consider giving him one more chance, before you pass any judgment. But, I have to get to work so I'll talk to you later."
I shrugged and hugged her quickly before we parted ways. I sighed quietly as I walked her hail her cab and drive away. Such a young girl she was. She still had so much going for her. If she kept going on the rate that she was, she would be on the top in no time. I, however, was now at the bottom and I would have to climb my way to the top.
The fact that I was jobless didn't quite set in until this morning when my alarm blared and I quickly realized I had no where to be. It had been years since I was able to slam the snooze button and fall back into the unconscious bliss. I wasn't out long, as my phone rang loudly just an hour later.
Yes, loosing my job was a major setback, but I couldn't let it throw me off track. With a new found confidence, I pressed my lips together and began my rigorous job search around the city.
It was, however, to no avail. It seemed like I visited every location, yet nothing seemed to work out. Either they weren't hiring or I didn't quite have the credentials to the fill the job. The only employer I'd ever had was Rosalie, and I would never think twice about using her as a reference.
"I don't know, Jake," I said that night as I scrolled through the many posts on my Facebook. As much as I would have loved to criticize those who spent the greater part of their life's on Facebook, I couldn't say much. When I was given an ounce of free time, the social networking site was a constantly open tab. "I think I'm gonna be jobless for the rest of my life."
He stared up at me with his large does eyes and whined lowly. I sighed and looked back towards the screen. Realizing that there was nothing interesting happening in the world, I moved my mouse to log out, but I was stopped immediately by one of the meaningless ads in the corner.
Start your own business today it read in large, bold letters. Curious, I opened the link and was redirected on how to run a private business. My eyes scanned over it for what seemed like hours until it finally occurred to me that I could start my own business. I could put myself out there and find my own success.
No Rosalie Hale needed.
After coming to the conclusion that I would begin my business venture the next morning, I shut the computer and fell asleep with a new found sense of hope.
The next morning I was up bright and early, already preparing the large spare bathroom. It would be the ideal dark room, with no light and the perfect amount of ventilation. I worked for a good while, clearing out all that wouldn't be necessary. I figured it would be the best room in the house for the darkroom. With no windows, plenty of counter space and running water, it was perfect.
The camera I'd purchased when I first started working for Rosalie was digital, though I was much more fond of the classic film. I'd insisted upon using the film camera I already had, but I lost that argument and ended up stowing it away in a box in the hall closet. Today would be the day I finally got to hold it again.
It seemed like I spent the entire day in the city, running from store to store, collecting all the necessities. Once finally home, I placed everything on my kitchen table and let out a long sigh of relief.
I would save the rest for tomorrow.
The next day was nothing but putting together the dark room and acquiring the business license I would need. The process wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be and I left city hall with a brand new spring in my step.
Though, it all seemed so easy, maybe too easy. Was starting your own home business really as simple as purchasing the supplies and getting the permit? But, I knew that even getting hired for a job would be the most difficult part of the whole experience. I would most likely end up putting an ad in the paper and taking the first job offered to me.
As I placed all of the shots I'd kept from the magazine in the photo album I'd purchased, I couldn't help but think of Alice. We hadn't really talked all day. I hoped her day at work was alright and Rosalie wasn't too much of a prick towards her. She didn't need that.
Thinking about Alice brought on sudden thoughts of Edward. I knew I would never see him again, but I couldn't help but picture his angelic face. There would be other handsome guys, but Edward wasn't just handsome. He was otherworldly. If only his personality had been as beautiful as his features. With his green eyes still shining in my mind, I turned off the light and fell asleep.
The ad was out, the portfolio put together and bound. My business was up and running, yet I had yet to hear from any customers. It had only been three days, but I was becoming anxious. I was more than ready to put myself out there, for more people to see my work. I was no longer an underling to Rosalie Hale, a pawn in her satanic game. This was my time.
If only someone would call.
The words they'll call became my mantra over the course of the next week. I would repeat the words to myself silently as I preformed remedial tasks around the apartment. Each time my phone would ring, my heart would begin to race. It would then fall when I realized it was only my mother, or Alice or someone else that I knew wasn't calling because they needed a photographer.
"Bella, if you just keep your hopes up, they'll call you," Alice said cheerfully over dinner one night. The Orange Chicken she'd surprised me with was the only thing keeping my spirits high at that moment. "I promise."
"I wish," I muttered. "I thought that starting my own business would make me feel great, but I just feel down."
"Don't! You just need to stay positive and keep up that pretty little head! Nobody starts on top."
"Stealing my words, Cullen?" I laughed at the quote I frequently used. "Anyway, I give it another week and then I'm done. I'll take out the ad and just forget I started any of this."
As fate would have it, exactly one week later, I received my first call. At one of the local middle schools, a dance was being held and they needed a photographer. More excited than I'd been in some time, I quickly agreed and proceeded to call Alice.
Our excitement fest was short lived, as she was at work and was already on Rosalie's hit list. Rosalie hated cell phones and if Alice was caught on hers, she'd be out of work too. I quickly let her go and fell into my couch.
The dance was on Friday and it was Tuesday. I needed something to occupy my time with until then, so I grabbed my camera and headed out to snap as many pictures of the city as I could.
Friday evening came quicker than I expected. I rushed through the apartment, packing up my equipment and making myself look somewhat presentable. I was out of my apartment and at the school in just fifteen minutes.
"Ms. Swan," the principle Mrs. Stanley smiled at me as I entered the building. The event didn't start for another twenty minutes but I liked the fact that I was early rather than late. "So glad you could make it. If you'll follow me, I'll show you to the gym."
I followed her into the minimally decorated gymnasium. Blue and Red balloons had been placed throughout the gym and in the corner was a small drink table. The DJ on the stage looked positively bored and I knew then that I was in for a lackluster night.
Once the kids started pouring, I figured the atmosphere would become a bit more exciting, but the girls and the boys seemed afraid to dance with each other so there was a clear divide between the two sexes. They stood against the walls, looking as bored as I felt. I did my best to snap nice photos but I knew I wasn't getting any good material.
I was ready to go home before I saw Edward walk in with a small girl pulling at his hand. Obviously expecting a wonderful night, her hair had been done and she'd dressed in a light blue outfit that was obviously new.
"Jane, this looks kind of boring." I heard him tell her.
"Don't say that!" she cried. "You promised you would chaperone! All my friends think you're really cute."
I stood just feet away, chuckling at the little girl. He let his shoulders fall as he followed her to the drink table. Her excitement gave me at least one good photo. But, my smile faded when he finally spotted me and walked over to where I stood in the corner.
"Fancy seeing you here." He smirked
"I could say the same to you," I retorted, willing him away silently. "Creeping on a middle school dance? Classy."
"Right," he laughed. "It's my sister."
I'd completely forgotten that Alice had a much younger sibling. I'd only met her once or twice but she was for sure a Cullen. Outside of her own family, her looks had no parallel. I hadn't seen her since she was much younger.
"Well that's nice," I muttered. "I'll be seein' ya."
Just as I'd done after our date, I walked away before Edward could say anything.