"Have you lost your mind?"
I shushed my best friend, who also happened to be my coworker, and ushered her into my tiny cubicle. Alice grumbled while she practically crawled over my chair and then shoved my stapler and tape dispenser into my arms. I took them and peeked above the top of the partition while Alice made herself a seat on the only empty surface of my desk. When I realized no one was watching us, I turned around and asked her, "What did I just agree to?"
Alice, who was now twisting a paperclip into an origami shaped mess, only shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I am pretty sure that you just volunteered for an assignment in which you would have to interview one of the most eccentric men alive while accompanying him on a sail boat."
I opened my mouth to say something but Alice kept talking.
"While you we're throwing your arm in the air and practically begging Withers to give you this assignment, did it ever cross your mind that you can't swim, Bella? Or that you have an innate since of fear for water that is more than 4 feet deep?"
I leaned back against fabric covered wall of my cubicle and sighed. "I… what… shit!"
Alice nodded her head. "Exactly."
"I don't know what happened... it was like… everything sane thought in my head just-"
"Oh, I know what happened!" She found my cell phone amongst the mess of paperwork littering my desk and chunked it at me. "While everyone else was paying attention to the fact that this assignment would include sailing, in the dead of winter, in Seattle, you were day dreaming of Boy Wonder who just happens to live there!"
I wanted to lie… I wanted to tell Alice that it wasn't because of him. But she would know I was lying… so really what was the point? While our editor had been talking about the details of the interview, I'd only been focused on one specific detail. If I did this, if I took this assignment, I would have an all-expense paid trip to Seattle. I could finally meet Edward and we would finally know if this… if we… were meant to be more.
Never, in all my life, had I ever thought that I would meet someone on the internet. In fact, I'd always been pretty cautious about it. But when I was eighteen, I'd randomly met someone in an AOL chat room. We'd started out talking occasionally when both of us had been online, and then it turned into a weekly occurrence. Within a few months we were talking every day, then on the phone, and now… it was like Edward had become a permanent fixture in my life. It been ten years since I'd "met" him, and after several failed attempts at relationships with other men, I had to start wondering if Edward was more than just the best friend I'd shared some of my deepest secrets and most precious dreams with…but hadn't ever met.
"Are you even listening to me?"
When a paperclip hit my forehead, I focused back on my friend. "What?"
She shook her head. "You do realize you'll actually have to do this assignment, don't you? This can't be some glorified booty call that-"
"Alice!" I hissed in a whisper before looking over my partition to make sure no one was listening.
"What?" She laughed. "You're the one that said the phone sex with him was better than any of the actual sex that you've ever had."
I didn't need a mirror to know that my face and neck were the color of a tomato.
"I'm just saying, as your friend, I think you're in over your head."
I sighed before agreeing with her. "I think so too."
"Which is why I convinced Withers to let me go with you."
I pushed away from the partition and practically yelled, "You did?"
A few spaces over, I saw Caroline raise her head and look in our direction; I lowered my voice and smiled. "You did?"
"We leave next Sunday." Alice stood up and crawled over my chair again. "Call Edward and make reservations for your booty call. Then call the YMCA and make plans to take swimming lessons. I'll start researching this Jasper Whitlock that we're supposed to be interviewing and we can get the portfolio together before we leave."
I wrapped my arms around her tiny shoulders and hugged her tightly. "Thank you so much, Alice!"
She muttered something about me being an idiot, but I felt her smile against my shoulder. When she pulled away from me, she fixed her skirt and then shook her head. "Can't let you go gallivanting around the country meeting weirdoes from the internet, now can I?"
I watched as she made her way back to her own desk and then sat down. With nervous fingers, I typed out a hurried text message to Edward.
Guess who's coming to Seattle.
AN: Took a nap and had a dream about this fic. I just had to write it down. More to come!