This story is loosely based on the 2007 movie, "Perfect Stranger", directed by James Foley and written by Jon Bokenkamp. Very, very loosely based. More like inspired by that movie.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters.
Trailer for this story on YouTube:
"So what's your story?" Jasper Whitlock asked me for the hundredth time.
"If anyone asks, I quit my last job as a secretary because my boss tried to feel me up," I repeated my memorized line, handing the cabdriver the fare money. "Keep the change," I said and got out.
"Good," Jasper said. "Everything will be alright, Bella. Your fake résumé got you hired already, didn't it? The hardest part is behind us now."
"I'm not worried, Jasper. I usually leave that part to you," I rolled my eyes, even though he couldn't see it through the cellphone.
"Okay, that's good. Now remember, keep your eyes on the prize. This story will launch our careers," he said.
"Of course. Besides, as responsible journalists, it's our duty to expose Masen Developers for the environment-harming monsters they are, isn't it?"
"You bet," he snickered. "Now go get those sharks, Swan."
"I will, Whitlock," I said and snapped my cell shut, shoving it back inside my Prada purse. I wiped imaginary dust off my black Calvin Klein pencil skirt, adjusted my white blouse, and walked toward one of the tallest buildings in Manhattan, where I'd spend the next months working in.
Probably not a good idea for someone who feared heights, especially since I'd be working in one of the uppermost floors. I'd just have to deal with it, though, because there was no way I was willing to pass up this story when my editor chief offered it to Jasper and me.
You see, Masen Developers, one of the biggest real estate development companies in the country, has recently purchased the 250 acres of land that sit above the Twilight Wetlands. What are the Twilight Wetlands? Simply the largest coast of wetlands in the state of California, home of the purple pelican and, my personal favorite, something called the pink swamp rose - both endangered.
The Twilight Wetlands are the key to water quality in the county, and, not to mention, they're kind of pretty, attracting hundreds of tourists every year. So, naturally, they must be destroyed by a bunch of rich people who want to build condos, shopping centers, and even a bloody golf course.
I'm not a tree-hugging crusader, I admit, but I think tearing down the wetlands is outraging. It's like selling off the rainforest to profit a few wealthy individuals and asking generations and generations of others to pay for it.
So when the president and founder of Masen Developers, Charles Masen, stepped down from his position and left the company in the hands of his only son - shortly after buying the wetlands - it gave us the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the company. The Masen boy, Edward, is only twenty-three and bound to be less experienced than his father at managing the company's businesses. It came as a huge shock when Charles Masen renounced, due to severe lung cancer. That was a month ago, and I remember covering that story. Masen was advised to leave the position to someone more experienced than his son, but he would not have it.
And that brings me here now, as Edward Masen's new personal assistant. My job is to find out the details of the plans for the Twilight Wetlands. We'll publish them all, expose the company, and, who knows, maybe even bring down MD. This will surely be a policy-changing, career-making story, and I'm oh-so eager for it.
I had to take two elevators to reach my destined goal: floor 108. The first trip took me to floor 56, and from there, I had to take another one to reach MD's level. When I finally reached my destination, I got off the elevator and went past the glass doors that greeted me, always trying to keep my eyes away from the many windows that lined the exterior wall. Okay, here I am. Now I have to pull my act together.
"Good morning," I smiled at the woman who sat behind a huge counter, with the words MASEN REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT on a light marble panel behind her. She looked a few years older than I was, 30 maybe, and beautiful with her cascading blonde hair and baby-blue eyes. "It's my first day here. I'm Isabella Swan."
"Oh, hey there," she smiled nicely, showing perfect white teeth, and stood up from her chair. "I'm Rosalie King," she introduced herself, coming around the counter at me and extending a hand, which I politely shook. "We've been waiting for you. Come with me."
I followed her as she gave me a quick tour of the place, telling me what I'd most likely need to do and where to find things. "You know, I think you'll be perfect for the job. The other people interviewed didn't have such a flawless record. Or so I heard," she told me.
"Thanks," I smiled. "I hope this works out better than my last job."
"Did something happen there?" Rosalie asked.
"Well…" I paused, getting into character. "My last boss didn't respect my personal space, if you know what I mean." I sighed and said, "I'd rather not talk about it."
"Oh, poor thing," she patted my shoulder lightly. "But you don't have to worry, Edward is a wonderful person."
"Edward?" I questioned. "Are you two close?"
She laughed, "Oh, no, it's nothing like that! I'm happily married." She raised her left hand and showed me a ring. "I thought it was weird, too, when he asked that we all call him by his first name, Mr. Masen never gave us that liberty, but you'll get used to it. We all did."
We reached another set of glass double doors, which Rosalie opened to reveal a large room with more windows overlooking the city. "Here's where you'll spend most of your time," she pointed at a desk right in front of the windows, "And there's Edward's office," she pointed to yet another set of closed double doors at the end of the room, but these ones were made of what seemed to be hardwood.
"Now I have to go back to work. Just knock on his door and introduce yourself. Let me know if you need something, okay?" she said.
"Okay, thank you, Rosalie," I smiled.
"Oh, please, call me Rose," she smiled back and patted my shoulder for the second time that morning. "And relax, dear. I know you're nervous, but you'll have no problems here. Everyone's really nice."
I nodded and felt my cheeks start to throb when I forced myself to smile again. "Thanks for everything, Rose."
"No problem, Isabella," she turned around and left.
When I was alone in the room, I took my time to analyze it. The floor wasn't the pristine wood I'd seen everywhere else, it was a white carpet that muffled the sounds of my heels when I walked. The walls, where not made of windows, were painted white. I dared to steal a glance at the windows and decided the view would be pretty - if it weren't nauseating.
"Beautiful, huh?" I jerked my head when I heard the voice, only to find Edward Masen standing there, the wooden doors that led to his office now opened.
"Yes, very," I nodded. "I'm Isabella Swan," I walked towards him, my hand extended in front of me.
He was lean, and taller than I expected, about 6' 2", dwarfing my 5' 6". His smile was stunning; it lit up not only his impossibly green eyes, but his whole face. His hair was an unusual copper color, and gelled to perfection. He wore gray dress pants and a white button-down shirt, rolled up at the sleeves to show the creamy skin of his forearms…
"I figured," his voice snapped me out of my analysis. I'd seen millions of pictures of this man, I knew he was handsome, but nothing could've prepared me for the real-life him. He was utterly drop-dead gorgeous. "I'm Edward."
He took my outstretched hand and shook it. His hand was really warm, I noticed, like he'd been bathing in midday sunlight for the last hour. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Masen."
"You people and your formality," he chuckled. "My father always told me that calling people by their last name is a sign of respect, but I don't understand that. I'd like you to call me Edward, Isabella. Please. Mr. Masen makes me sound old."
I couldn't help but laugh softly. "Whatever you say, sir."
He smiled again, and his face lit up once more. "How do you like it here?" he asked, motioning to the carpeted room. "We didn't change it since the last woman who worked here decorated it, and, since you'll be working in here, you might want to give it your personal touch."
"It looks nice," I said, looking around again at the various abstract paintings that hung from the walls.
"Okay," he clamped his hands together and exhaled loudly, "So I'll be back there in my office if you have any questions or need anything at all… alright?"
"Alright," I nodded. We stood there for an almost awkward moment before he gave a little laugh and went into his office, closing the doors behind him.
I finally let myself relax as I made my way to my desk. It wasn't very big, but still bigger than the one I had at the newspaper. I also had my own iMac, with an exceedingly big screen. How nice was that?
I sunk back in my chair and resisted the urge to put my feet up on the table.
I have to admit, the Masen boy was charming. Hell, his looks alone probably had his employees flinging their panties at him. Edward Masen was your ordinary rich playboy, living off Daddy's money. Seriously, '"Mr. Masen makes me sound old'"? This man would probably bring down his father's company all by himself. Poor Charles, fighting cancer and completely oblivious to the direction his golden boy was taking his baby.
A/N: I'm not sure I'm continuing this. It's an idea that's been swimming in my head since I watched the movie I mention on the disclaimer. The movie isn't even that good, but there's something about it that sticked with me. I think I'll just leave this in here for the moment - it's better than having it sit in my computer, isn't it?