Stephenie Meyer owns the characters.
Feel the Wind
I sat in the corner office, in front of the huge plate glass window, watching the stream of traffic outside on the sidewalk. Most of the people dressed in professional clothing flowing into the modern high-rise building across the street from my window to the world. Cullen Enterprises was where the elite movers and shakers of Chicago worked; most likely lining the pockets of the various aldermen around the large metropolitan area.
I was cynical and a bit bitter. I would never fit in with the Y generation; I didn't even have an ipod and my phone still had a flip front. I had to be content to watch them out my window and find fault wherever I could.
A tall blond, in a dress which most likely cost more than my rent, walked up and pressed the button to cross the street. She pushed it several times, as if the button would somehow believe a throng of people were waiting to cross and immediately turn the light red. She moved close to the crosswalk and waited while bouncing her knees back and forth.
She was the type of woman who always got what she wanted and when electrical devices wouldn't respond immediately she became impatient. I silently wished I had a remote control for the light. I would let her stand there annoyed while I took my small revenge on the 'haves' in the world.
I didn't have a clue what she was really like and cast dispersions to make myself feel better. Nobody ever turned to see me watching intently out the large window in front of them. I was part of the landscape, another piece of architecture in a city so beautiful that old, obsolete, buildings went unnoticed.
The light turned and she took long strides with her statuesque legs making it across the street ahead of the crowd. A large man met her on the other side and kissed her cheek. He was wearing a tailored suit perfectly fitted to his large frame. He seemed uncomfortable despite his beaming smile and deep dimples. He kept pulling on the collar of his shirt; I immediately thought he would be comfortable in jeans and t-shirt.
I called him Cuddles, because his boyish face made you want to cuddle him in your arms. The girl I called She-Ra from the old He Man cartoon. She seemed fierce in a Nordic kind of way. I watched them head into the huge metal building and became sad to lose sight of my fantasy couple.
"Bella," my boss yelled. "I need a copy of the files I finished yesterday."
I wanted to scream. He had no idea about the hunk of technology sitting on his desk in front of him. He still believed I kept files in a desk somewhere and magically loaded them onto his computer when he needed them.
I pulled them from the shared drive and emailed them to him. I had confidence in keeping my job since he had no idea everything he needed was sitting right in front of him. I turned back to my window and saw a stream filing from the big building signaling lunch. I opened my desk drawer and pulled the brown bag containing my simple sandwich and apple.
I saw the Scarecrow come through the doors. He stood straight like he had a stick up his back making it impossible to slouch. He walked as if he was marching into battle, always with a purpose. His blond curls fell around his angelic face but his eyes were constantly moving, searching for some unseen danger. He marched past my window and I smiled at his beautiful face. He never turned his head, maybe it had been wired in place due to some tragic accident and only his eyes could move.
A tiny girl ran across the street just barely making it to the curb when the light changed and traffic began its slow crush deeper into the city. She had spiky black hair and she moved with amazing grace considering her heels were thin as a pencil and just as tall. She called out to the Scarecrow and he stopped, waiting for her to catch up. They stood inches from my window, oblivious to my intrusion into their lives.
He spoke as she jumped and bounced and moved continually. She had a beautiful smile and looked much older up close. From the sidewalk she looked to be thirteen or fourteen but in front of my window she was obviously in her twenties. I called her Bubbles.
I watched as the Scarecrow obviously gave in to some wish Bubbles had and she threw her arms around him. He pulled her close and shut his eyes as if touching her body was a sacred experience. I bit into my apple and wished I knew what it was like to have a man touch me like that.
"Bella," the ogre yelled again, "have we paid the light bill?"
Again, the invention of the desk top computer made everything accessible online. I found my copy of the online receipt and emailed it to him. We could go on like this for days, he would scream and I would send an email. I'm sure nobody speaks to anyone in the distant future.
My life was a version of the Sims game. Someone created a beautiful world for me to watch outside my window. It wasn't real, for me at least. My world was dark and lonely and full of angst and regret. But all I had to do was look in front of me and watch love, and tenderness, and art, and beauty.
A crowd pushed towards the sidewalk and I watched as their anxious, stressed faces passed with important business or errands to finish in a predetermined amount of allotted time. A man headed right for my window. He was wearing a head set and talking animatedly to someone in China, or possibly just down the block.
He sat his briefcase down right against my window and his eyes raised just enough to see me staring. He winked as he continued his conversation. I felt my face blush and I lowered my eyes to stare at the processed meat sticking out of my sandwich. My heart was racing. My world had been invaded by one of the perfect people and I felt vulnerable and exposed.
I would let my eyes lift just enough to see the bottom of his tan trench coat and go immediately back to my lunch. I called this man David. He was a perfect sculpture of what a man should be and the thought he could look right at me made me want to run from the room.
I ate slowly, trying way too hard to be engrossed in a ham sandwich praying he would walk away, or be suddenly struck blind, so I could stare without him noticing. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up to see him bend down to his brief case. He pulled a stack of papers out and tried to juggle them on his knee as he continued talking on the head piece. The papers fell from his hands and scattered around him.
I could tell which expletive he said in anger and watched him put his fingers to the bridge of his nose in frustration. I couldn't help but laugh, feeling secure behind my glass disconnect, but gasped when I saw him staring directly at me.
I used the same expletive and lowered my head. He put his knuckles to the window and knocked lightly. I looked up in shame and he stroked his index finger at me chastising me for my language. I laughed and turned a very ugly shade of red.
He bent down and gathered the papers sticking them back into his case and then stood to face me again. "Have a great day," he mouthed through the thick glass.
"You too," I returned, wishing I had a mouth like Angelina Jolie's.
He winked and headed back across the street, halfway through the crosswalk he turned to catch me watching his perfect body in retreat. My window had been breached. He might as well have shattered my protection for all the good it did now.
I spent the afternoon reading online. I shopped a little, listened to various artists on youtube, and pulled up bogus spreadsheets whenever Mr. Newton came into my corner.
A small transparent box came up on the corner of my screen with a simultaneous bing. I stared at the email alert coming from Cullen Enterprises. I looked up to see the big shiny building looking exactly the same, expecting some blur or hue to signify I was being hailed by the mother ship. I was as bad as Mike sometimes.
I clicked on the box to read: I love your blush; it is refreshing in today's world.
It couldn't be my David. How would he know my email address? Shit, shit, shit, why am I as dumb as Mike? Anyone could go to our online site and find my name and email. His address said E. Cullen. He was one of the prince's from the magic kingdom coming to the peasants to prove his kindness.
I tried to think of something clever to say. There had to be some unknown word or phrase to sweep him off his feet, sending him charging across the street on his white steed to save me from my ogre holding me hostage in this dungeon. I settled for teasing him.
Just so you know, I said "fork" not what you thought you read on my lips.
I hit send and felt my hands shaking. Not only did my window just shatter but I felt the wind on my face. I was jumping right out into the world and I knew nothing good could come of it. My heart would be broken. The fortress I had built brick by brick around my weak, pathetic heart was going to come crashing down and at that moment I didn't really care.
A reply came right back. Hum…you use a fork to eat a sandwich?
He was so observant, not that I couldn't give a detailed description of his beautiful face to a police sketch artist, but I didn't think he had paid that much attention to what I was doing.
I giggled and hit reply. You don't? What has happened to manners these days?
I waited, holding my breath for his reply. It came quickly. You make me want to use emoticons :-) Why is that?
I laughed loudly hoping Mike didn't come investigate the unrecognizable sound coming from me.
I think that is something you need to take up with an expensive therapist. I'm sure there is a proper pharmaceutical for it.
His response was better. Naw, if there was, Cullen Enterprises would own it.
You have a goal now, I teased. Are you the company stripping the world of the rainforests and bringing global warming?
Oxygen is overrate. He said in response.
And dirty water never hurt anyone. I typed.
Exactly, great minds think alike. Can I take you to dinner…I promise to use a fork.
I froze. I sunk into my chair and was afraid to look out my window. I felt like the curtain had just risen on the stage of my life and the spotlight was in my eyes as everyone waited for my lines, but I had never been given a script. I had no words and no understudy stood in the wings to help.
My hands were shaking and my heart was racing. "Mike, I called out. I feel sick, I have to go home."
He walked to the doorway of my office and stared into my face. "You're pale." Always the master of the obvious.
"I have to go home, right now," I replied as I made my way around him. He stepped out of my way and went back to his office. I exited out the back of the building like I always did, into the dingy alley of the seamy side of the city.
I stared at my van, wishing I had a flashy, sexy, sleek vehicle that gave me another level of intrigue instead of the angry stares from the environmentalists. I strapped myself into the van and backed out of the urine soaked alley to face the giant metal glory rising high into the sky in front of me.
I looked at the large fountain behind the red stoplight with the tall letters spelling out the name of perfection, Cullen, to mock me. I reached up and ripped the handicapped sticker from my mirror and threw it behind me, landing on the sheepskin seat of my wheelchair.