A/N: The Great Stephanie Meyer owns all Twilight characters. I just like to play with them. Also, all songs/ poems/ lyrics used in this story will have proper credits to their original artists. No copyright infringement is intended.
I would like to thank Patty (Aciepey) for taking the time to beta for me! And to Lee (Pixiebella88) and Ashley (Twilife2011) for pre-reading! I dub you all Team Victoria! ;-)
This is a story that's been running through my head for a while so I figured I'd attempt to put it down. Please remember these are MY VERSIONS of the characters. I am trying to keep them as close to normal in their personalities as possible, but some WILL be OOC. I will do my best to keep cannon couples, but you never know where a fic will go! I am trying to keep chapters short and sweet. Please bear with me here!
The first few chaps are introductory ones, please stick with it though! It WILL be worth it!
Follow me on twitter RobinsFF I will try to follow everyone back, and maybe share some teasers!
"I love rock n roll! So put another dime in the jukebox baby… I love rock n roll, so come and take your time and dance with me!"
I have a huge grin on my face as the Joan Jett song fades into its final few notes. I love singing. Always have, hopefully always will. It's not a talent that I share with many people. Just a few close friends and my family know about my skill. I don't like to draw attention to myself, so even though I have a decent voice, I've never sung in public. It's not that I didn't want to, I just can't.
Oh, I'm Bella, by the way. I'm in my apartment in downtown Seattle playing "Rock Band" with my two best friends, Alice and Rosalie. Alice is playing drums and Rose is on guitar. Of course, I am singing. It's a typical night here in our condo.
"God, Bella!" Alice shrieks as the song ends. "Remind me why you don't sing in public again?"
"Yeah, what gives? You're still not hung up on the stage fright thing are you?" Rosalie asks.
Here we go again… I thought to myself. This always happens after we play "Rock Band" or host our own private karaoke session in our living room, and sometimes even when I get out of the shower.
"Guys, you know I can't do it!" I practically yell. "It doesn't matter what I do, every time I get in front of an audience I freeze up and get laughed off the stage! I just can't do it!" I'm starting to get mad.
I have known these ladies for twenty years now. We all grew up together in the small town of Forks, Washington. We met in kindergarten and have been inseparable ever since. We all went to the University of Washington in Seattle after high school. Our parents even chipped in and bought us a beautiful condo in downtown so we could all live together during school without having to worry about paying rent. In fact, we still live together now.
They're my best friends, my sisters. Right now, though, they're the most annoying people I know.
"Isabella Marie Swan CANNOT perform in front of a crowd!" I screamed as I headed into my room, slamming the door shut for good measure.
Yeah, I realize I'm acting like a petulant twelve year old right now. I don't really care. Those two know me better than that. They know better than everyone else that I just can't deal with being on stage. Plus, I'm tired of having this argument.
The last time I tried to sing publicly was about three years ago. We were still in college and went to some bar with a few guys we had classes with. It happened to be karaoke night. There was some girl who kept singing Carly Simon tunes all night long. Perhaps singing is the wrong word. Butchering might be a better fit.
In an attempt to alleviate their ear drums, Alice, Rose and the guys had convinced me (with the help of beer and tequila shots) that I should go sing. Alice got my name on the list, and chose one of the Carly Simon songs the other girl had already done. She had to bribe the karaoke host to play the same song again, promising him that I would do a much better job.
There were four others to perform before me. I was feeling pretty good about it. There weren't a lot of people in the bar. It was maybe half full. That's not horrible. I knew in my head and my heart that I was probably the best singer here. I was full of alcohol and I was ready to belt out "You're So Vain" to the absolute best of my ability.
Before I knew it I was standing on the stage, microphone in hand. I was staring at one of the neon beer signs that lined the wall opposite me. I was going to do this! I was finally going to be able to sing in front of a crowd.
Shit! A crowd? I can't do this!
I looked at the audience. Everyone was watching me, waiting for what had been promised to be the best song of the night. I could hear my friends cheering my name from somewhere in the middle of the crowd that was beginning to look like one big blur.
Get a grip Swan! You can do this! Just pretend it's only Alice and Rose. YOU CAN DO THIS! You WILL do this!
I give a tight smile and a small wave to the faceless crowd. I was trying to psych myself. It wasn't really working. I was on the verge of freaking out.
I heard the opening music to the song. I know in my head I can belt this song out as well as Carly can. I pull the mic up towards my lips. And… nothing.
No matter how much I willed myself to do so, I couldn't seem to produce a sound from my mouth. I could no longer hear the music playing. All I heard was the pounding of my heart and the rushing of my blood. I couldn't move.
I am now once again standing on a stage, with dozens of people looking, pointing and laughing at me. I've been in this exact situation more times than I care to remember. I can't do this. I just can't.
My fight or flight instinct finally kicked in. I dropped the microphone and ran off stage. I ran out the side door of the bar and into the cool, damp Seattle night. Behind me I could hear the karaoke host making sarcastic jokes about how wonderful that performance was. All I could do was sit in the alleyway feeling like a big time loser.
It wasn't the first time I had done that. But it certainly was going to be the last. I vowed that night that Bella Swan would never try to take the stage again. That was also the last time either of my friends tried to convince me to sing in public.
A few moments later Alice knocks on my bedroom door. "Bella," she calls, "are you okay?"
"Yeah," I reply. "I'm just going to hit the sack. I have an early day."
I hear Alice's sigh through the door, but I knew she wouldn't press farther. I was left alone for the rest of the night.
It was true though, I did have an early day. I work as a personal assistant at one of the country's top recording labels, Vamp Records. Up until last week I was the PA to Marcus Volturi, the company's Senior Vice President and the one responsible for running the Seattle office. However, he transferred to head up the main offices in New York City. I was offered the chance to move to the Big Apple as well, but I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Washington behind.
Tomorrow I will be meeting with my new boss, and the new head of Vamp Records in Seattle. His name is Edward Cullen. He will be coming over from the London offices. I haven't met the man before but his reputation sure does precede him.
The other PAs and secretarial staff in the offices have been talking non-stop about him since it was announced he would be taking over. In the past week I've heard about what a philandering asshole he apparently is. He's been called rude, crass, arrogant, demeaning and impossible by those who have met him. He's also been called sexy, hot, and drop dead gorgeous.
I'm not one to gossip though. I've only spoken with him over the phone, and so far he's been nothing but professional. I would extend the same courtesy to him. I will be nothing but professional.
Mr. Cullen was to arrive at the office at seven in the morning. I plan to be there by six to ensure everything is in order for his arrival. I want this transition to go over as smoothly as possible.
I am rudely awakened by the sound of my alarm clock buzzing. It's five in the morning and I really did not want to get up.
But I have to.
I shower and get dressed. I want to look my best today, so I don my tight black Calvin Klein pencil skirt and low cut, short sleeved white button up shirt. I slip into a sensible pair of black Jimmy Choo stilettos to complete the outfit. I blow dry my long brown locks. Not bothering to try and straighten it today. It falls in soft waves down my back, just past my shoulder blades. I apply a little bit of makeup. Some powder, mascara and a quick sweep of muted red lipstick and I'm ready to go.
I pick up my purse and head to leave. On my way out the door I grab my short, fitted black dress jacket. It may be springtime, but it's still quite chilly first thing in the morning here in Seattle.
I arrive at the swanky office building at six o'clock on the nose and head straight to Edward's office. I put my purse down on my desk in the outer office area before opening the heavy mahogany doors that will take me into the new Vice President's office. I have already checked to be sure everything was as Mr. Cullen had requested, but I check it once more. Everything seems to be in order.
Satisfied with my assessment, I sit down at my computer and begin perusing the many emails that have already begun to come in for Mr. Cullen. Part of my job requires me to scan the emails that come to his publicly listed work account. If there is anything of importance, I forward it to his interoffice email. It can be tedious work. You wouldn't believe the amount of email that comes straight to the VP's office from starving musicians trying to get a break. I am supposed to delete all of those types of emails. That is not the proper way to go about such things here. However, I have been known to listen to a few every now and then. Some are good, most are horrible. Only one has ever caught my attention. That one I may have accidentally forwarded to the A&R department, who are the folks responsible for finding new talent.
By six thirty, I am already finished with the emails. I had spoken to Mr. Cullen's PA from London a few times over the past week, attempting to get useful information about his personal habits, but failed miserably. She had only been his assistant for a month. The only useful information she could tell me was that he prefers Earl Grey tea over coffee, and that he has a major sweet tooth for Nilla Wafer cookies. Armed with that information I make my way down the corridor to the small employee kitchen area. I fill a kettle with filter water and put it to boil. Next I brew a fresh pot of coffee. Mr. Cullen may prefer tea, but I must have my coffee.
When everything is ready, I place an empty mug, the insulated carafe of hot water and the tea bags, alongside a plate of Nilla Wafers onto a silver tray. I put my own mug of coffee on the tray as well. No need to make two trips if it's not necessary. I glance at my watch, it's six forty-five. Perfect.
Picking up the tray, I walk out of the kitchen. I am lost in thought as I walk back down the hall. I didn't even notice the wall that I ran into until it was too late.
The tray, along with its hot contents, crash into the wall before clattering to the tiled floors.
"Oh my God!" I let out in a startled squeal. My hands move to my mouth in surprise.
Quickly I bend down to retrieve the tray and begin to clean the mess. As I pick up the tray I hear a loud, commanding and angry voice.
"WATCH THE FUCK WHERE YOU'RE GOING!" yells the voice.
The wall isn't a wall. It is a man. He is very well-dressed, wearing a charcoal grey suit with a royal blue shirt underneath. They fit so perfectly I briefly wonder if they're custom made. He has no tie and the top two buttons undone. He's a well-dressed man who now has coffee and cookie crumbs all over his beautiful suit. He is also very angry.
"Oh my God," I repeat to The Wall's wing-tipped feet. "I am so terribly sorry! I wasn't paying attention!" I squeak out. "Please, allow me to pay for your dry cleaning, Sir."
"How stupid can one little girl be? How could you have not seen me?" the man angrily asks.
This caused me to stand up straight and face this man head to head. I may only be a lowly personal assistant, but I am still a person. And I do NOT tolerate being called stupid. I may be shy when it comes to being in front of a crowd, but I'm not so insecure that I can't stand up for myself.
I look up to the man's face and am met with furious green eyes. "I am NOT stupid, Sir. I made a mistake and I apologized for that mistake," I begin. I can feel my blood beginning to boil. My voice gets louder as I continue my tirade. "I have no idea who you are, and frankly I don't give a shit. I am a person, and I do NOT deserve to be spoken down to like that."
With that I bend to retrieve the tray and broken dishes.
"Well I never…" I hear come from The Wall, with a faint accent, as he walks off in the opposite direction.
I glance at my watch again. It's only been five minutes since I left the kitchen. I still have time to get fresh tea and coffee before Mr. Cullen arrives, if I can get this mess cleaned up fast enough.
Just then I notice a member of the custodial staff down the hall. I wave them over to clean the mess. I feel slightly guilty about asking someone else to clean up my mistake. I try to hand the young man a twenty for his trouble but he waves me off telling me he's happy to help a damsel in distress. I take note of his name badge. His name is Jacob. I make a mental note to send a thank you of some sort to Jacob in the near future.
I quickly return to the kitchen and replace what I had carelessly dropped all over that wall.
What a gorgeous wall he was.
Shut up, Bella! My subconscious is yelling back at me. This can't be good.
This time, I pay attention to every step I take, and every person who comes into my path as I walk back to the large corner office. As I enter the outer office area I notice that the heavy door leading to Mr. Cullen's office is halfway open.
He's here. Of course he's here. He must be one of those kind that thinks that you're only on time if you're fifteen minutes early.
I step through the doors and place the tray of tea and cookies onto the coffee table in the small sitting area. I glance around, but I don't see any one.
"Mr. Cullen?" I call out.
At that moment the door to the in-office restroom opens.
My brown eyes go wide and my mouth drops open.
Standing in the door way, taking off a royal blue, coffee stained shirt is The Wall.
His gaze is cast downward as he is unbuttoning his shirt. He hasn't noticed who I am yet.
I am sure noticing him though. The Wall, whom I now know to be my boss, is a very attractive man. There are muscles in all the right places, a half sleeve tattoo going down his left bicep, ending just above his elbow, and that 'V' that travels down into his pants is almost tear worthy.
"You must be…" he begins, as his gaze travels from my feet, up my legs, lingering on my chest for a second too long and finally into my eyes. A lopsided smirk crosses his lips. "Miss Swan."
He lets out a humorless laugh as he makes his way over to me. He stops right in front of me, his eyes never leaving mine. I'm sure my heart is about to jump out of my chest. He reaches behind me to grab something and I catch a whiff of his scent. It's musky, outdoorsy and utterly male.
I close my eyes briefly, inhaling subtly to compose myself before I answer.
OK, who am I kidding? I just wanted to smell him more. So sue me.
"Ye… ye… yes. Yes, sir. I'm Isabella Swan," I finally manage to stammer out. I'm still in shock that not only did I spill hot coffee all over my new boss, but I also yelled at him.
As he pulls himself upright again I see he had gotten a clean shirt that had been hanging up behind me. I hadn't even noticed it when I walked in.
"Well, Isabella," he says smoothly. "My name is Edward Cullen. It looks like I'll be your new boss."
"Yes, sir. I'll, uh, leave you to get situated for a moment. Please buzz me if you need anything." I reply as I quickly leave the office. I can hear him chuckling to himself as I shut the door behind me.
Oh. My. God.
That's it. That's all I can think of right now. This can't be good. I'm going to lose my job for sure now.
I'm not sure what to do. Do I go back and apologize again? Do I apologize for yelling at him?
No. I don't think I can do that. I'm not sorry I yelled at him. He deserved it after the way he spoke to me.
I decide to just leave it be for now. If he wishes to discuss it then we will. If he pretends to forget about it, then I will too. I am a professional damn it. I can handle this.
I go about the rest of my day as normal. Mr. Cullen has a schedule full of meetings, so he isn't around the office much. What little communication we have is short and to the point.
I gather my things as five o'clock rolls around. I buzz Mr. Cullen to let him know I will be leaving for the day. As I am putting my black jacket back on his door opens.
"Isabella, can I speak with you in private please?" he asks.
Don't have the cliffy! I already have chapter 2 ready to be sent to the beta! And chapter 3 is being written! All you have to do is leave me some review love to entice me into wanting to post more!
Thanks for reading!
PS: I'm sure you already know, but I don't own any of the songs. No copyright infringement is intended!
Songs in this chap:
"I Love Rock N Roll" By Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon