A/N: yeah...so the whole "hope to update daily" thing? not so much. i suck. life's been super busy (yadda, yadda, yadda). here's a chapter for you, though. :) many thanks to kristenlynn for all her help on this chapter. it was invaluable! thanks for reading!


"Have you thought about what exactly it is you want to do after graduation, Jessica?"

I scanned the resumé that sat on my desk and eyed the young coed sitting across from me. Bright-eyed, blonde, and clueless. And she was wearing a tutu...or what looked to me like a tutu. It was a short, fluffy tulle skirt. There were sky-high platform heels on her feet. Who does she think she is? Carrie Bradshaw? I thought. These thoughts were abruptly interrupted by her not-surprising answer.

"Well, I'd love to be a top buyer for a major department store. Move to New York and work at Barney's or Nordstrom or something like that."

I tried to contain the eye roll that threatened to break through. "Well, that sounds like an interesting career," I began for what felt like the millionth time, "but you have to understand that most likely won't happen right from the get-go. We all have to start somewhere, right?"

Her starry-eyed expression didn't falter one bit. "Oh, I have confidence."

I couldn't deny her a bit of admiration on that front. "Let's take a look at your resumé."

It was pretty bleak. A coffee shop waitress for two months and basic retail for three. No internships or experience in her marketing major whatsoever. I wanted to bang my head on my desk.

Jessica had emailed her resumé to me a week prior in preparation for our meeting. I'd made some corrections and suggestions and emailed it back to her. Apparently, she hadn't taken any of them into consideration.

"Did you receive the comments I sent? I noticed that it looks pretty much the same as the copy you emailed."

"Umm...well, I don't really have any other experience or skills to put on it."

"Let me tell you a little secret about resumés, Jessica. You can turn almost anything into experience. Look at you and your...sense of...style." I cleared my throat. "Have you tried for any internships?"

"No. I don't really have the time between classes and sorority events."

My nostrils flared, and I fought to keep from heaving a sigh. "Well, you might want to consider trying to fit something in. Internships can give you invaluable experience."

"I don't know. I think I'll be okay without one. I'm moving to New York right after graduation. How important is a resumé, anyway? Won't most places have an application for me to fill out?"

I tapped my pen rapidly on the desk. "Some might. If you're satisfied with what you've got here, there's not really much more I can do for you. You can log onto the website and look around for job openings anywhere in the country, so..."

"Oh. Well can you just print me out a list or something?"

I couldn't stop the sigh this time. "Let me level with you. If you want to make it in a big city like New York City, you're going to have to learn how to do things for yourself."

"Well, my boyfriend lives there, so he can help me–"

I stood held up a hand, making my way around the desk, refusing to waste any more of my time. "Say no more. That's great. I'm sure he'll have all kind of connections and be very helpful. It's been a pleasure, Jessica. Good luck with your job hunt!" I shook her hand and rushed her out of my office.

She started to say something else, but I told her goodbye, closed my office door, and collapsed onto the small couch. I almost felt badly about cutting her off, but that lasted for about three seconds. I wondered briefly if anyone would mind if I just curled up there on the couch and napped until it was time to go home.

No dice. My office phone buzzed, and our receptionist's voice announced the arrival of my next client. "Bella, Lauren Mallory is here for her appointment."

I got up and opened my door again to see my new client locked in a hug with none other than Jessica.

Oh, goody.

x-x-x

Just like most recent days, the dogs came bounding toward the garage door when I walked into the house. It brought a smile to my face after a long day.

"Hey, pups," I said, bending down to scratch behind each of their ears. Luna had never been one for this type of greeting, but Indy's typical puppy enthusiasm had obviously been a good influence on her. I had an inkling that it was more about jealousy than anything else.

Indy barked his yippy greeting, which set Luna off as well. They started chasing each other around, making a giant loop through the kitchen, under the dining room table, into the living room and back to the kitchen, then up the stairs. I giggled as I watched Indy's giant puppy feet sliding along the slick hardwoods.

"How can I concentrate with all this noise around me?" came a teasing voice from the stairs.

I looked up to see Edward descending the back staircase into the kitchen, hair disheveled and glasses on. Damn, I loved those glasses. My lady parts tingled a teeny bit whenever he wore them. They'd been a recent addition; so many years of staring at computer screens had done a number on his eyes.

"Hey, babe," he said with a kiss to my cheek. "How was your day?"

"Okay." I sighed. "Yours?"

"Stressful. I spent most of the day trying to instruct a boardroom full of whiners about–" He stopped and looked at me with an amused expression, knowing full well that I wouldn't understand a single word of the technical mumbo jumbo he was about to spew. "Software stuff," he finished.

"Speaking of whiners," I said as I opened the fridge, "I had an appointment with another hopeful senior today to go over her with her resumé. I emailed her with some suggestions to make it more impressive, right? She brought a new copy in with her, and she hadn't made one single change. Not one!" I stuffed a few grapes into my mouth. "I mean, what the hell is the point of her asking for help if she's not going to take my suggestions? It's stupid, not to mention a waste of my time. And when I told her she needs more experience in her field if she expects to find a job, she told me she has 'confidence.' What the hell is that? It's my job to help get these students ready for real life, and none of them seem to care! It's a thankless job. I hate this time of year, when they're all scrambling to figure out what to do after graduation." I growled in frustration and coughed when a grape almost went down the wrong pipe.

"Calm down there, stress eater. Chew your food before you inhale it," said Edward.

I shot him The Look. You know the one...eyes narrowed, nostrils flared, lips slightly pursed, sometimes with a raised eyebrow thrown in for good measure. But I knew he was right. I was a stress eater, and I did tend to get on a roll and forget that I had food in my mouth when ranting.

"Sorry," he said, coming over to embrace me. He pried my white-knuckled fingers from the refrigerator door and closed it gently, then kissed each of my knuckles. "So we've both had stressful days. Why don't we get takeout and watch a couple of movies?"

I nodded into his chest. "Sounds nice."

x-x-x

Nice was definitely not how it started out. I dished out the freshly delivered Thai food onto plates while Edward perused both our DVD collection and Netflix, calling out titles periodically. I'd nixed almost everything he'd suggested. Braveheart. Waterworld. The Three Musketeers. Three of his favorites. The ones he watched most often when he woke up before me on Sunday mornings.

"Pride and Prejudice?" he called.

"Keira or Colin?" Like I even needed to ask.

"Keira."

Of course.

"I hate the old one," he said.

"First of all, it's not old. And it's more accurate."

"Bella, what a snob you are!" He chuckled. It was one of his favorite quotes from the movie.

"No," I said, flipping through Netflix's suggested titles. Let's pick something else. We watch that one all the time."

"The Time Traveler's Wife!" he said. "We haven't seen that one."

"God, no," I said with a groan. "Please, no sappy movies."

When we were first dating, my husband was notorious in my circle of friends for his tolerance for girly movies. None of my friends' boyfriends would take them to see movies like Mean Girls. But they had no clue. He didn't just tolerate them. He loved them. Loved them. I had to admit it was endearing at first, but as the years went by, it got kind of annoying. I loved a good artsy film. Something that made me think. It wasn't that I hated the kind of movies he liked, but chick flicks and action movies (God, if those weren't the antitheses of one another...) all the time got old.

"How about Exit Through the Gift Shop?" I suggested. "It's a documentary about street artists and stuff."

"Really, Bella? A documentary?"

I shrugged. "I don't see us agreeing on anything in the near future. How about we just watch old South Park episodes?"

"What about this one?" I looked up to find Edward holding up my prized copy of one of the best movies ever made. He was grinning and waving it back and forth slowly. He knew he had me. It was the best compromise – romance, mystery, and action all combined into one. A formula that many modern moviemakers tried to emulate but never perfected, in my opinion.

"Casablanca! Yes, I vote yes!"

"But we watch it all the time," he said in a high voice that I assumed was supposed to be an imitation of mine.

It wasn't a good imitation. I didn't sound that whiny.

Did I?

"Okay, we'll watch Casablanca. But only because I know your crush on Bogie could never come to fruition. You know, since he's dead and all."

"Um, how about the fact that it's your favorite too?"

"That too," he said, taking his plate and sitting next to me on the couch.

As the credits began to roll, Edward hummed and put an arm around me. "Bella," he began in another poorly imitated voice. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful compromise."

If I didn't know better, I'd think my husband was made of cheese.