Millions of greetings to you!
Yeah, I know. I know. I know. It's been a while. I've missed you, but I've been a busy bee. Even now, it's hard for me to get back into TD mentality but...*spirit fingers* we have a short update. But an update is an update, righttttt? :-) I promise it won't take so long to get another one. Hopefully within a week or two. I'd like to wrap this baby up before I'm thirty (still three years away *gag*). Anyway, I'll let you get to the update. More information on other stuff later.
My eternal thank you to everyone that have stuck with me through this, and Facebooked me, sent me messages on Twitter, emailed me, etc. to let me know how much you enjoy To Destroyward. Seriously. I wouldn't be sticking to my guns to finish this if it wasn't for you. You guys are the best.
Disclaimer: I own lots of things but I don't own Twilight. That sound so pretentious but I don't mean it that way, haha.
I wonder if this moment, with Alec Fleming standing right by my desk, was similar to when people found out that they'd been switched at birth.
He looked so...natural.
Like he belonged there, in the midst of the expensive cabinets and desk. The wood-panelled walls. The sleekly understated decor.
While I'd always felt like an imposter of sorts.
And what surprised me was the long sigh that I let out when I realized how easilyy his presence adapted to my area.
Our area now.
I'd spent the better half of the day before recovering from the late night Rally's run, staying up until almost four in the morning, and the soreness that radiated from my toes as a result of the heels I'd worn at the gala. Along the day, sneaking in between moments, I ignored the fact that my thoughts kept going back to Alec's first day. To the trip to Florida. To having to start all over again...kind of.
This next week was the beginning of the end in a way.
And though I was genuinely excited about starting to work for crazy, laid-back Jasper with his love for hair metal...I was leaving my comfortable little world. Okay, it hadn't always been comfortable. Mostly, it'd been a pain in the ass and it was only a miracle that I hadn't gotten violently ill from the stress or come down with an ulcer.
But the point was, toward the end, this had become my space. My challenge to overcome. My mountain to climb.
And I'd triumphed in my own little way.
And now, I was leaving.
Who would've known I'd be looking at my overqualified replacement like a mother lion eyeing a strange lion that was too close to her cubs.
"Good morning, Isabella," he greeted me from around the desk, tipping his chin down.
"Hi, Alec," I plastered a smile on my face, swallowing down the weird feeling in my stomach.
Fleming flashed me a slow smile. His blonde hair was combed back neatly, giving him a clean look that only heightened the professionalism that seemed to seep from his pores.
As if getting to work twenty minutes early wasn't enough. Show-off.
God, what was wrong with me? He was perfect. P-e-r-f-e-c-t. It was only the memory of that airhead Irina girl that tamped down my sudden possessiveness.
"Go ahead and pull a chair around," I told him, circling around to stash my things in the usual drawer I put my stuff, noticing the iPad sitting on the desk, already opened up to the Notes application.
He moved to the side, pulling a chair from against the wall to place it right next to mine. "Do you tend to arrive at the same time each morning?"
I nodded to him, watching him take everything in. Looking, inspecting and analyzing. "Usually. I like to get here before Mr. Cullen does." My eyebrows went up playfully. "Ready to learn one of your most important tasks?"
Tilting my head in the direction of the doors, I smiled at him again. "Cullen Coffeemaking 101."
Alec didn't even bat an eyelash, he reached for his iPad and held out his opposite hand. "Lead the way."
It became apparent almost immediately that he was either an extremely quick learner or he had a photographic memory. He learned how to do everything on the first go around. Ranging from knowing the correct proportions of sugar to even knowing how to open up damn inDesign, the guy was on top of it.
So when Mr. Cullen showed up late that morning after a meeting with the men upstairs, talking on his BlackBerry, giving me signals with his dark green eyes to go into his office, I had a good feeling Alec's meeting with him would go well.
And it did. Kind of.
The tension and professionalism in the grand office was stuffy. "Mr. Fleming" and "Mr. Cullen" were tossed back and forth constantly. The man I'd shared my milkshake with two days before was cool and distant. And he was such a total, alpha ass.
Halfway through the meeting I was worried the two of them were going to whip themselves out of their pants and compare lengths.
It was fate.
They were a match made in heaven.
"You have big shoes to fill," Mr. Cullen noted once he'd gone over all the things that would be required of him. The travelling, his insistence on punctuality, and putting up with his mood swings—at least I'm pretty positive that was apparent.
I might have smiled a little to myself at his comment.
He slid a folder across the desk in Alec's direction. "I need five copies of this for my next meeting."
"Yes, Mr. Cullen," Fleming said before excusing himself.
I rubbed my hands on my skirt and started to shift my weight to get up. There were about fifteen other emails I'm sure I'd gotten over the last hour. I wanted to try and get as much done so that I'd be caught up as soon as possible.
Hearing it, my name, for the second time...
It wasn't exactly awkward but it was... different. Not entirely uncomfortable but more like when you bought a new pair of tennis shoes and you were breaking them in. They fit but they weren't your favorite pair of shoes yet.
"Hey," I answered him in a lower voice, testing the Edward out in my head but not allowing it to slip.
Mr. Cullen...err...Edward... was sitting casually at his desk, his expression open and a little unsure. Was he feeling as strange as I was being on a first name basis? I mean, Isabella didn't really count. It didn't. He might as well been calling me Ms. Swan.
"Will you be ready to leave at seven?"
I hadn't even bothered packing yet for our trip to Tampa but it wasn't like it would take me long once I got home to get my stuff together. We'd opted on leaving that night to avoid traffic. The idea of waking up at the crack-ass of dawn hadn't sounded exactly appealing either so we'd compromised on working a full day, and then leaving.
"Yes." His name was right on the tip of my tongue.
He nodded curtly, bringing my attention to the light reddish brown color of his hair.
He and Alec styled it the same way. I almost laughed but managed to keep it under control. The look he gave me said he'd caught onto the shift of my facial muscles. Would I point that out to him? Maybe later. If he asked, but I knew he wouldn't when there was a chance Alec would hear him.
"Good," he replied, sitting back in his pricey leather chair.
That familiar weird slash awkwardness that fell between us felt like a sudden veil. That I was friendly with. That felt normal.
But I didn't want it to and I suddenly didn't completely understand why. It was a security blanket I'd outgrown or something.
So when the next few words just kind of flew out of my mouth, it was unexpected. I'd reached for something that wasn't business-related. That didn't belong in the land of Mr. Cullen and Isabella. It was Edward and Bella territory. Friendly territory. "Would you mind stopping at Rally's on the way down there?"
The answering smile he gave me had me eyeing more than the pearly white teeth he flashed. I took in the crisp navy blue suit he was wearing. "No problem."
We were going to Rally's.
Oh, how times had changed.
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