So recently I've been utterly addicted to Twilight all human stories! I had an idea a few weeks ago and I decided to give it a try. Tell me what you think!


Birthday

BPOV

The mailroom. That is what four glorious butt-kicking years at college, an internship at Random House Publishing, and the absence of any personal life got me. I was newly graduated from my full-ride scholarship at Washington State, and was now working as the new mail girl at Cullen Publishing. It wasn't all that bad. I had some fun co-workers, I made enough money to get a decent sized apartment in Seattle with my best friend Rose, and I was well on my way up to the top of the pyramid.

It was my dream since I was a child to become an editor. My bedroom back at Forks housed thousands of pages to which I had read and re-read happily through my childhood. Why not make a profession out of something you love so much, right? Plus my job at the moment wasn't too stressful and I was able to make a few notes during my break attending to my own attempt at a novel.

I remember back to my last semester of College in my Advanced Creative Writing class. My teacher Professor Harris had become quite a fan of my little story that had just started as a hobby and used as something to pass the time.

"You have to send me a copy of this story once it's completed Bella, I'm just dying to see how it's going to end!" he said. I had started the story as a warm up exercise for one of our classes, and had completely not anticipated for it to become what it now was; a 567 page story that had yet to be completed. I was a little OCD about my editing process when it came to my own work, but I just wasn't fully content with the ending quite yet. My head was always brainstorming different ideas, and thinking that certain characters wouldn't act a certain way. This resulted on endless re-writes and filled journals on my part.

I had gotten this job at Cullen Publishing on a complete fluke when I ran into my co-worker Jake grabbing lunch one day. After standing behind him in line for nearly five minutes to make my Subway order, he turned to me to start some small talk.

THREE WEEKS EARLIER

"This line never seems to end, does it," he commented a little nervously.

There wasn't really anything to comment back to, so I replied "yeah" and gave him a small smile. Obviously that conversation didn't work too well for him so he moved onto the subject of weather.

"Crazy weather we've been having lately huh? For August in Washington, you'd think it would be raining every day. It's nice to catch some sunshine for once."

"Yeah, I'm not complaining about the lack of rain. I think our state has gotten enough for a few years that we could survive a drought no problem. I just hope the sun can keep up throughout the rest of the summer."

"Yeah that would be nice…What do you do? I mean, do you work around here or are you just visiting?"

He was kind of cute…I didn't normally take to small talk with strangers, but there was just something about his friendly demeanor that led me to think I could be comfortable with him.

"Oh, I'm a waitress at the Olive Garden down the street." I replied. "I'm absolutely dreadful at it because I'm probably the most clumsy person on the planet, but they haven't fired me yet and it pays the bills."

"Oh really? I like Olive Garden. Are you a student around here?" he asked.

"No, I actually graduated from Washington State last semester, and have been fighting to find some type of job as an editing assistant or something, but nothing is open right now."

"Oh, you like reading? I work at Cullen Publishing right now. I'm head of the mailroom. Not the most fancy job, but I enjoy it. We have a good crew, and the benefits are more than generous. We actually have an opening right now if you're interested. It's not an editing job, but at least it would be a start."

Wow Cullen Publishing. They were the latest and greatest Fortune 500 company that was slowly climbing to the top of the editing totem pole. I just nodded, unable to think of anything intelligent to say back to him when we were interrupted.

"Excuse me sir? What'll it be today?" A frumpy subway employee stood in front of us, probably eager to get through the lunchtime rush.

Jake spoke up. "Oh, I'll have a turkey on wheat. Provolone cheese, not toasted. Light mayo, tomatoes , lettuce, and olives." Pretty simple order. The man I had been chatting with seemed like a "give me everything on my sandwich" type of guy.

I followed behind him with my turkey club and we walked to the cash register.

"My name is Jake by the way. I'm serious about the job too. If you want it, I'm the one who hires for it, and you could start as early as you want. We pay $15.00 an hour, but you also get full benefits as well. Do you want to join me for lunch? I don't have to be back for another half hour."

"I would love that!" I exclaimed. We spent the remainder of our lunch hour going over details and he asked me about my previous employers. By the time I headed out towards my car, I had Jake's business card, and a new job. I could hardly wait to call into Olive Garden when I got home to give my notice.

When I got home a few minutes later, my roommate Rosalie was immersed in a pile of sketches dawning our apartment floor.

"Rose, what on earth is all this stuff?" I asked.

"Oh you know that huge client the Denali house I've been working on?" she said gesturing towards the mess on the floor. "Well this is it."

Rose had gotten an amazing job at an interior designing company in downtown Seattle. It was no surprise. She was absolutely talented and they would have been fools not to hire her. She was a hard worker too; completely dedicated and self-reliant.

When I had first met Rose, I walked into my apartment my first semester of college to see her sitting on the bed opposite of mine. She was breathtakingly beautiful, and I became quickly self-conscious being in the same room with her. Turns out though, she was totally humble and the nicest girl I knew. Although she loved to party, our personalities seemed to mesh well together so we always got along. We became quick best friends and lived together ever since. Her twin brother Jasper sometimes hung around us as well, but his personality was completely opposite of Rosalie's. He was reserved, quiet, but ridiculously smart. He was finishing up his last semester of College getting his master's in Business Management. He was going to be one of those super successful people on the cover of Forbes Magazine one day, I just knew it.

"Wow Rose, when did they want their house completed by? The 17th? That's just over two weeks away!"

"Tell me about it. If you find me dead underneath a pile of floor plans in a few days, tell my brother I love him for me."

"You got this Rose. You're a star, and you won't mess this up."

"Thanks. How was lunch? What did you end up getting?"

"Oh my gosh you wouldn't believe my luck. I just ended up going to Subway and I ran into this guy in line who worked in the mailroom at Cullen Publishing. He offered me a job!"

"Wow are you serious? Did you take it?"

"Of course I took it! Anything is better than waiting at Olive Garden. I think it's pretty much a liability for them to keep me on staff there anyways."

"That's seriously fantastic Bella! When do you start?"

"As soon as I give my notice and check with my supervisors at the restaurant. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Jake said I could start whenever I wanted."

One phone call later, I had gotten a hold of my supervisor to give her the news of my new job. Turns out, she was incredibly happy for me and I only had to work five days before handing in my apron.

PRESENT DAY

I was getting ready to head out on my lunch break when I was caught off guard by Jake while gathering my bag.

"Heya Bells, do you want to go catch lunch with me? I was thinking of heading down to the Food Court down the street if you want to join me."

"Oh gosh Jake, I actually brought a lunch today. Maybe tomorrow okay?" In all honesty, I had had an epiphany of something to add into my story, and I was just itching to write it down before it was forgotten. I would eat my sad little homemade turkey sandwich in the company cafeteria while I scribbled in my notebook.

"Oh, no problem. See you in a bit then." Then Jake walked out the door, but not after giving me a big goofy grin and saying "try not to get too much ink on your hands today. It smudges all the letters."

I jokingly threw a crumpled piece of paper in his direction but he dodged it quickly jumping behind the door.

When I arrived at the company cafeteria, I couldn't help but relish in the comfortable atmosphere. It wasn't a crappy cafeteria with flood lights and greasy foods. The walls were painted a crimson red and pendant lights hung from the ceiling. Modern artwork adorned the walls, and gave the impression of a fancy uptown restaurant. The chefs behind the counter wore tall white hats and fancy aprons and the food here was actually pretty spectacular. I however opted out on purchasing any today to give my bank account some legroom. Because it was nearly two in the afternoon, I missed the majority of the lunch rush, and there were only a few stragglers left at a few tables.

I settled in a corner table and rummaged through my bag, fishing for my lunch and notebook. That's when I overheard two girls caked in makeup in a nearby table gossiping about our new senior editor.

"Have you seen him yet today? I passed by his new office as he was unpacking a few boxes. Utterly gorgeous of course. Can you believe our luck? Tanya was picked to be his assistant. I can't believe it!"

"Seriously Jessica, I don't see what the big deal is. Sure he's cute, but he's probably a prick. Most guys with lots of money, looks, and a prestigious job normally are."

"Gosh Lauren did you see him? I about swooned when he walked past my desk the other day. And senior editor at 26? I guess it's good his dad owns the company huh. I wonder what kind of excuse they gave Paul to get him fired? He was SE one day, and the next he wasn't."

I vaguely remembered reading something about a new senior editor in the newsletter this morning. I looked in my bag again pulling out the stapled package of newsletter from this morning.

On the cover, a very good-looking young man stood with his arms folded with a little crooked smile. They weren't wrong about his handsomeness. I would probably be rendered speechless at the sight of him too. I read further into the article where it explained he had moved up from assistant editor to Senior Editor when the company found his skills for discovering some great manuscripts. His latest accomplishment was editing the novel "The Empire's Last Stand." It was a new trilogy that was basically the next greatest thing since Harry Potter. I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet, but I heard it was superb.

Well, it just goes to show that it's all about who you know, and not what you know. Maybe one day that could be me. A girl can dream.

Turns out, I had wasted my lunch break reading silly articles about charming senior editors and completely disregarding my notebook. I'd have to get to it later, I thought.

The rest of the day went fairly quickly. Sorting through mail wasn't as mundane as it sounds when you've got Jake and Seth throwing friendly banter back and forth. As the day came to a close, I retrieved my jacket and started out the door.

"Let me get that for you." I turned my head and saw Jake holding the door behind me.

"Thanks," I smiled back.

"How about I walk you to your car."

"Okay." There was no harm in that. Sometimes I got the feeling Jake thought more of me. Rose would be completely ecstatic to find that I actually maybe might be interested in someone, even better, someone interested in me. She had been trying to line me up on dates since the day I met her.

"So do you have any big plans tonight?" Jake asked.

"Not that I know of. Probably just get some writing in, maybe make some dinner and curl up in bed with a book. Don't make fun!"

"Oh I wouldn't make fun, I know that's kind of your thing. I just thought that maybe you had something planned… It being your birthday and all." He smiled weakly as he held out a small blue-wrapped package in his hands.

"Jake how did you- -" I was cut off.

"Now now Miss Swan. It is the responsibility of every supervisor to know his employee's birthdays. Go ahead and open it."

I fumbled through the wrapping paper, careful not to give myself a paper cut. Inside was a small leather bound notebook and a very nice pen with my initials engraved on it.

"Wow Jake, I don't know what to say."

"Just say thanks and say that you'll write an amazing story about Seth being a cowboy, rounding up unicorns or something."

I busted up in laughter. I imagined our friend Seth in chaps and a cowboy hat, sitting atop a white unicorn, lassoing a heavy rope.

"I'll have to brainstorm on that story for sure," I joked.

"Well if you want anything to do tonight, we could go to dinner or something."

"Thanks Jake, but I think I'm going to forego the birthday sing-along at any restaurant tonight. How about we make plans for another night? I just want to relax a bit I think."

"Sure, sure. Have a great night Bella. Happy Birthday."

I slid into my car and headed home, hoping by some miracle Rose was too wrapped up in her project to remember what day it was. If there was anything she loved, it was the opportunity to throw a party.

EPOV

The situation was silly, really. Son of the President of Cullen Publishing to receive a promotion as the new Senior Editor when the latest Paul Falcon was mysteriously fired. What I hated most was the misconceptions of how I had gotten the job. Sure, it was definitely an added bonus that my own father was CEO, but I had worked hard for this position. In all reality, I definitely deserved it. I worked as Paul's assisting editor for three years prior to his termination and my promotion.

For years, I picked up the slack on numerous projects, and read a majority of the manuscripts that he was supposed to. Several books had fallen into his junk pile that I had found. I re-read them, and sent them through to more of our supervisors to approve for print. It wasn't until four months ago when I came across The Empire's Last Stand in the garbage. The poor manuscript was lying at the bottom of an empty recycling bin in Paul's office. I had made an effort to scan his office every day before leaving to see if there was anything I could pick up on and read when I retired to my apartment that evening so I picked up the manila envelope with the unread pages still inside.

Upon taking it home, I became absolutely immersed in the tale, and wondered how on earth he could have let this one slip. I had to think to myself what he did in that office of his on the company's dime. For the first time, I decided to put my own name on the editing form, and remained in correspondence with the author. I was tired of not receiving the work I was doing. Who knew the book would become the next big thing? The book's sales had brought countless success to my father's company, and when he overlooked the work that had gone through to get the book published, he dug deeper into the story.

The tech team looked into Paul's internet browsing history, and phone records revealing his endless hours spent watching movies and skyping some random woman in Australia. My father is a compassionate person, but slackers were not tolerated in this company. On my third year anniversary, my transcripts were reviewed and I was given the position as senior editor. Today was my first official day.

It was unusual unpacking my things in Paul's old office. I unveiled a framed photo of me and my sister Alice on vacation in Italy. She was there for the shoes, and I was there for the sites. However, she did grant me a few hours on non-shopping, riding a gondola down a small river while a gondolier wearing a black and white striped shirt sang love songs. As awkward as it was spending this romantic vacation with my little sister, I still had a blast. We always had fun together. My older brother Emmett had skipped out on that particular vacation because he played football for Washington State. He was huge and burly, a typical older brother that always gave me a tough time. Right now he was finishing up his MBA, hoping to pop in somewhere into our family business.

Alice was already working for the company. She worked in PR and was fabulous at it. Her likeable persona and feisty attitude left people wanting more of her. She was brilliant at planning company events and putting a good word out there for us. There couldn't be a better job out there for her; except for maybe wedding planning. God only knows what it will be like the day she actually gets engaged. I was all but anticipating Bridezilla to the extreme.

I chuckled at the thought of any of us kids getting married. Emmett committed to his schoolwork, me to my job and Alice to hers, I almost felt bad for my mother who was eager to see us happily married like her and my father. It would be a miracle if I could find someone to love as much as my parents loved each other. I personally thought that I got along just fine with the women in my books, but none of them had ever appealed to me in real life.

For right now, I would have to do with trying to ward off my obnoxious new assistant who was quickly approaching my door.

"Good morning Mr. Cullen. I see you've already started unpacking! Is there anything I can get you? A cup of coffee, some breakfast, or maybe free up some meetings for some fun time?"

I secretly rolled my eyes at her sad attempt to flirt. She was hired by HR, not by me personally, although I regret the decision I made to let them pick someone for me. She had platinum dyed hair, an over revealing pink blouse, and a skin tight mini-skirt with heels. My idea of a perfect woman couldn't be any further than what she was. First off, I preferred brunettes, and secondly, the voluptuous getup was somewhat of a turn off.

"No thanks Tanya, I'm all set. I'll let you know if I need anything."

"Sure thing," she replied jaunting back to her desk, pretending the hallway was a catwalk.

I spent the remainder of my day unpacking my things, catching up on congratulatory emails, and finishing some old projects. Tanya bugged me a few times sending cryptic flirtatious messages. My mother also called somewhere in between asking me how my first day went. I told her it seemed exactly the same, except I was sitting in a different desk.

When I was just about ready to head out the door, I was again approached by Tanya standing in the door frame.

"Mr. Cullen, could I have a minute?" she asked.

"Sure, come on in."

"I just want to apologize for seeming a little too headstrong earlier today. I really am interested in this industry and want to be as productive as I can with you. I've spent a year as a secretary downstairs and I really am thrilled to have this new position. I was wondering if maybe we could talk business over some dinner tonight if you have time? I just wanted to pick your brain."

I didn't really have anything going on this evening. Just as long as she wasn't getting any wrong impression, I didn't see any harm in having a chat with the person who would be assisting my work in the foreseeable future.

"Sure, I think I have a few hours. How about we meet at Jazz Alley? My friends have been suggesting it for ages and I hear their food is pretty good. They also have good entertainment if you like Jazz."

"Sounds fantastic. I've actually been a few times and it's one of my favorite little places in the city. I'll see you there around six. Thanks Mr. Cullen."

"Tanya, you can call me Edward. No need to be formal." I gave her a small smile. No harm in making friends right?

A half hour later, I was parking in the driveway of Jazz Alley. I had already made a reservation so we could skip any possible waiting. When I walked in however, Tanya was waving at me from the bar, shirt slightly unbuttoned, ushering for me to join her. I had a bad feeling about this.

APOV

The day had gone by easy enough. Three boring meetings, a couple phone calls, and a head start on our fall charity ball coming up at the end of October. But now, I was completely worried about the state of Emmett's new apartment. He had just moved in with a new roommate last week for the new semester and I couldn't possibly allow him to live in less than spectacular conditions. Boys just didn't know how to coordinate colors. I bet their apartment was a mess.

I had left work with the intention of surprising my brother. I had in my back seat of my new silver Audi a new comforter, some matching lamps, and some fabulous pictures to hang. Emmett had enough nice things that I was fairly certain I could make everything else work just swimmingly with it, as long as his roommate wasn't completely oblivious to the world of interior decorating.

I parked in front of the apartment building. It was brand new, and the stucco and shiny light posts stuck out on a street of rundown buildings. I knocked on apartment 18, unwilling to wait for a response and just walked in.

"Em!" I yelled. "Your favorite sister has come to visit you wilst bringing amazing goodies to shiny up your new home!"

And I stopped dead in my tracks. Upon entering the apartment, I wasn't surprised by the new hardwood floors or the perfectly painted charcoal walls, but at the appearance of it as a whole. Tasteful artwork hung on the walls along with matching bookshelves. The carpet had a colorful rug that spun in different patterns of red and pale gold. The couches were a dark brown leather and on it sat several decorative pillows and a throw blanket. In the kitchen hung several state of the art pots and pans from the ceiling, and a scented candle was burning somewhere in the room. It was…nice! Nice wasn't exactly the right word. Everything was placed so perfectly it looked professionally decorated.

I looked down at my sad looking box of pictures and thought of the lamps in the back of my car. I guess they'd have to find refuge in my office because they wouldn't fit in here.

"Em?" I said again looking towards the two boys sitting on the couch, completely enthralled in some new Xbox game.

Emmett turned his head and paused the game.

"Alice!" he screamed hurdling towards me. He picked me up and started twirling me incessantly, sat me down and gave me a noogie to my head, messing up my perfectly styled hair.

"Gah! Emmett! I was going to go out tonight and now I look positively ridiculous!

I looked over back to the couch where his new roommate stood up, starting at me. And he was positively beautiful. He wore a pale blue button down shirt while his golden wavy hair hung barely past his eyebrows. He cleared his throat and walked forward holding out his hand.

"Nice to meet you. You must me Alice, I'm Jasper Hale."

With my mouth still gaping open, I held out my hand to shake his. "Nice to meet you," I said.

Emmett barked out with laughter and pointed to my head "Oh Alice you should see your face right now! With your mouth hanging open like that and your hair flying in all directions! Priceless!"

"Shut up Emmett!" my hands flew to my head, trying to tame my messy short locks.

I had to get my bearings in order. "So who's your professional decorator Em? When was I replaced?"

"Oh that's my sister." Jasper said. "She's ruthless when it comes to decorating. She's a professional interior designer."

"Yeah I moved in last week with Jasper already fully moved in with the whole place fully decorated." Emmett explained.

"Well she has good taste," I replied. "I like her already!"

"So Alice," Jasper motioned me to enter the room further and he took a seat on the couch. "I hear you work in PR for your dad's company? Any fun upcoming parties we should know about?"

I still stood there in front of him wondering where on earth this beautiful human came from. And he was asking about my job and seemed completely sincere about it!

"Umm, actually yes. I just started planning our Fall Charity Ball. It falls around Halloween so we try to make it pretty big."

"It's seriously spectacular Jasper. You should see the tricks this girl has up her sleeves. Don't let her underestimate you. For as small as she is, she is highly intimidating." Emmett nudged me and I nearly fell over. It was not a small nudge.

"I don't doubt it. I'm already feeling a little flustered." Jasper commented with a small smile. Swoon! This man was beautiful!

"Oh come on," I joked. "I bet you are pretty daunting yourself Mr. Hale! I was very intimidated by the outfits of your place when I first walked in."

"Hey, you know you don't have to keep standing there like the vacuum salesman. There's plenty of room on this couch for you." He patted the cushion next to him and I sat down gladly, trying my best at my first impression.

"I know you said you already had plans tonight, but if you decide to skip out on them, maybe we could go out for dinner or something?" Jasper was asking me out now? I might die right here right now on this beautiful leather couch. Now I was beginning to hate my brother Edward for the text he sent me minutes before I arrived.

"Actually I promised my other brother I would save him from some nightmarish date thingy downtown. He's at some Jazz club with one of his secretaries and got bamboozled into having drinks with her. I told him I'd rescue him. I guess you could join me if you want?"

"Wait wait wait..." Emmett bellowed. "You're telling me that Ed got himself invited to have drinks with some smokin' hot secretary chick, and he wants you to bail him out of it? Sometimes I wonder if we're even related."

At that moment, the door had burst open, and in walked two more very attractive girls. I scooted closer to Jasper. If one of them thought they were stealing my spot next to him on the couch, I was ready to put up a fight.

EMPOV

Alice and Jasper were already canoodling on the couch and I knew my Xbox buddy would be otherwise preoccupied for the rest of the night. Figures... just when I was going to beat him too. I was somewhat tempted to join them as a third wheel just to watch Edward suffer on a date when our door again opened.

First entered a petite brunette who looked a little out of place. She was pretty cute, but not necessarily my type. Right behind her, this bombshell of a babe walks in and I momentarily thought I had choked on the almond I was snacking on and perhaps died.

"Hey Jazz!" the blonde smiled walking in, making herself at home. She looked over at me and I swear I saw her gasp. Did I do that to her? Did she think I was hot too?

Jasper peeled his eyes from Alice for a split second, and threw a pillow at the blonde's head. He threw a pillow at her head? Why oh why would he torment and joke with this beautiful woman?

"Emmett, that's my sister Rosalie, and her roommate and my friend Bella." I glanced at Alice who seemed to take in a sigh of relief. There would be no competition for her tonight.

I decided that a cheesy introduction was in order. I couldn't pass up a laugh. "Mademoiselle," I said in my best friend accent, picking up Bella's hand and bowing.

She giggled and replied "Nice to meet you too monsieur."

I smirked and moved towards Rosalie who seemed to be watching my every move. "Mon Cherie," I said in an even deeper accent. Rose however, lifted her hand to my lips, waiting for her to kiss it. I brushed my lips across it gladly, wondering if maybe she'd let me move onto those perfectly sculpted lips.

"Well Emmett," the beauty spoke. "It's nice to finally meet you. Jasper has said nothing but good things. I'm glad he finally got a good roommate after all the assholes in the past."

I laughed. "Yeah, my favorite story was the roommate who liked to shampoo with his toothpaste and made beef cobbler."

"Oh there are worse stories, trust me." I hoped if she would give me the opportunity to ask her what those were. I'm sure they were much more entertaining coming from her mouth rather than Jasper's.

Rose spoke again. "Hey Jazz, it's Bella's birthday! The big two-four. I wanted to take her out for a big birthday dinner. Would you like to join us? You could bring your friends too if you'd like."

I also couldn't pass up an opportunity to embarrass someone on their birthday. I swooped up the tiny figure that was Bella in a huge hug and twirled her like I did Alice. "Happy Birthday Bella! I hope you spend it with us. We're a blast, I promise!"

I watched Alice stand and walk towards the two girls who just walked in. "Hi!" she said in her cheerful Alice manner. "Forgive my obnoxious brother. My name is Alice! I actually just met your Jasper like ten minutes ago. I came to help Emmett decorate his apartment but it seems you beat me to it! Very impressed by the way. It's good to know someone is looking out for them."

Rosalie laughed and gestured to Jasper. "Yeah he couldn't decorate a house if his life depended on it. Bella and I often come over to make dinner and hang out, so I thought that if we didn't want to suffer through his sad attempts to coordinate colors, I'd just do it for him."

"Well thanks all the same! So Bella, your twenty-fourth birthday huh? I think that deserves a celebration. We were just headed out to this Jazz club down the street. They have amazing music and pretty good food too. How does that sound? I suppose it's kind of a sad sounding party, but I promise we'll have a good time."

The little Bella girl shyly smiled saying "that sounds pretty fun. I'm always in the mood for some good jazz, just as long as you don't tip them off that it's my birthday."

"Deal." Alice replied, putting her arm around her shoulder.

I didn't really care where we were going, so long as the lighting was low, and I got to take Rosalie to the dance floor.

BPOV

I wasn't much of a club goer, but when I saw Rosalie's face light up at the opportunity to go out with Emmett, I couldn't say no. I was now beginning to wish I had just ushered them ahead and told them I'd catch them next time. At the moment, I was sitting in a corner booth sipping a lemonade by myself while the two new happy couples slowly danced to the live music. I wished I would have brought my notebook at least, but Rose took it from me before we left saying I needed to take a break from it. I gave up arguing against Rose a long time ago. So now I sat pondering how I could get out of this situation unscathed. The two couples were so enveloped within each other; I found it a little awkward to be sitting here in the first place.

When we arrived, Alice had hoped to find her brother introduce to me, but he was nowhere in sight. Oh well, I thought. It was probably a good thing cause then I wouldn't have to weasel my way out of a pathetic attempt of a blind date. I hated being set up, especially if it were for pity reasons.

I took a ten from my wallet and left it on the table, sliding out of the booth and heading out for some fresh air. Denny's Park was just around the corner, and it was one of my favorite places to walk around and think. It was only about three blocks from here, so the walk wasn't all that daunting.

As I passed the corner entering the park, I was slowly approaching a bench with a man on it. He was still wearing his business suit. He had beautiful copper hair that was perfectly quaffed. I couldn't see his face though. His head rest in his hands that were positioned on his knees. Was he sleeping? Crying? I wasn't sure if I should approach him, but I definitely think I wanted to. Who said New Years was the day for setting resolutions? I was setting one now, and I wasn't going to be a scaredy cat in front of boys anymore.

I decided to sit on the bench next to him. "Everything okay?" I asked.

I seemed to have startled him because he jerked his head upward in a surprised reflex.

"Sheesh you scared me!" Oh yeah, I'm fine." He turned his head towards me and he looked crazy familiar. Where had I seen him before? If his suit and hair gave any indication as to how beautiful he was, it did not do him justice. He had these crazy bright green eyes, and a gorgeous pale complexion that settled in perfectly against his sharp features of his face. My heart skipped a beat for just a moment, but I decided to continue on with conversation.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted to make sure you were alright. You look a bit troubled."

"Oh." He commented a bit puzzled. "Yeah I guess troubled is a good way of putting it. I was just promoted and today I had to fire my first employee. I feel kind of awful actually."

"Wow that sucks. I don't think I'd have the guts to fire anyone. I'd turn into mush and probably accept any crap excuse they gave me." I hope he caught my sarcasm.

"Oh? I'm not sure about that, you look like a girl who could hold her ground to me."

I laughed. "How would you know? You've only known me for all of thirty seconds. I'm Bella by the way."

"Edward," he replied. Edward, Edward Edward. Oh. My. Gosh. This was him! The handsome man on the front page of my company newsletter! The very same that the two girls in the lunch room had ogled about. I had just sat down next to my Senior Editor

… Well, I had already been this bold tonight, and it was my birthday. I may as well press my luck and push it just a little bit further.

"Well Edward, my night has been kind of crap too and I thought it was a good time to take a walk. Do you want to join me? We could share and compare stories? I could use the company."

"That sounds actually pretty fantastic. I'd love that." So we stood up and headed towards the depths of Denny's Park.

EPOV

I'm not sure what exactly I had expected upon joining Tanya in a bar. I guess I had been naïve and supposed she really did want to talk business. By the time I arrived at Jazz Alley, she had already had two drinks, and had ordered a third. Twenty minutes in, she tried to shimmy me onto the dance floor, and started grabbing my butt on various occasions. I text Alice to come save me. I wasn't good in these types of situations. It occurred to me that this was never going to change. If I kept her employed with the company, she would always have these urges and never get her work done. I made the decision at the spot to let her go. To be honest, I don't know if she was sober enough at the time to really realize what had happened, so I sent her home in a cab with a handwritten note explaining the evening.

I decided to step out for some fresh air and rest on a bench when this stranger sat down next to me. At first I was annoyed, that some strange person would sit down next to someone that is giving off every gesture stating he wants to be alone. The day had not panned out to be my best…but when I looked up, I was very glad she picked this bench; ecstatic even! The woman sitting next to me was breathtakingly beautiful. She was petite in stature and had long dark brown tresses that hung over her shoulders. Her deep brown eyes bore deeply into mine and I found that I had to fish for words as she asked me questions.

I probably looked like a moron sitting here on this bench by myself and wondered what she thought of me. Her name was Bella, and when she invited me on a walk through the park, I wondered if I would be lucky enough to hold her hand.

We passed a duck pond to our left and I motioned for her to follow me towards it. There were little dispensers of bird food where you fed a quarter into it to get a handful. I fished for a quarter and fed it to the machine. Bella held out her hands towards the flap at the bottom to catch the little brown pellets.

It was nearing nine in the evening now. Still fairly early for the rest of the world, but by now I was usually in bed with a manuscript, reading myself into sleep.

"So," I asked. "I shared my story, now it's time to share yours. I'm quite curious to see if you can pass up firing someone on your first day on the job." My little quibble of a joke was sort of lame, but friendly nonetheless.

"Do you really want to know?' she asked, while throwing a few pellets towards some floating birds near the shore.

"Absolutely."

"Just promise me you won't give me any pity talks or feel bad for me after okay?"

I nodded, staring at this beautiful woman; the first in many years to actually capture my attention without her even knowing it.

"Well, first the day started out with my closest friend at work trying to flirt with me. I think he likes me, but I don't want to ruin the friendship. Then when I got home, my roommate Rose wanted to take me to dinner for my birthday, so we- -"

"Wait a second, it's your birthday?" I asked. "Why on earth are you wandering a park, alone, in downtown Seattle on your birthday?"

"Hey you promised no pity parties and no feeling bad remember?"

"Oh right, I'll zip my mouth" I made a zipping motion with my hand across my lips.

"Thanks. So anyways, Rose wants to take me to dinner for my birthday and we went to her brother Jasper's house to invite him to come along. When we got there, Jasper had some girl with him and Rose fell in love with Jasper's roommate. So we went to the Jazz Alley club down the corner and at the moment, the two couples are dancing with each other. I just fell a little out of place. Don't feel bad for me, it's totally fine. I just didn't want to be in a room with two happy couples while I sat drinking lemonade in the corner."

"Hmm, I see your point. It's too bad you didn't get there a few minutes earlier and you could have rescued me from the awful woman I had to fire. I would have been delighted to be your dance partner!" I silently wished we could go back to the club so I could escort her across the dance floor to the slow beats of the piano.

"Oh, no you wouldn't. I have two left feet, and you'd be crippled by the end of the first song!"

I laughed. "I don't think so Bella. You see, I'm a very good lead. You'd be Ginger Rodgers by the end of the night!"

"Har har. When pigs fly." She commented.

I felt so comfortable with her. Her joking demeanor and calming body language made me forget the clock. I didn't want to leave her. The night wasn't going to be long enough. I didn't feel claustrophobic around her like I did so many other women. When she threw the last of the duck food out and wiped her hands against her pants, I boldly reached out for her hand, and leapt for joy when her fingers enclosed around it.

I looked down at her face where our eyes met and she smiled. The night was turning out much better than anticipated.

We had now walked around Denny's park twice unveiling different things about each other. She was an employee at my company! She wouldn't tell me what she did, but I was wondering what office I was going to have to send the lilies (she told me they were her favorite) tomorrow morning. I thanked my lucky stars that my father hadn't set any rules against office romances.

She was from a little town in Washington called Forks, and was a big of a bookworm. She had just graduated from college with a degree in English, and she loved to write in her spare time. I asked if I could read anything she had written, but her response was "not yet". We spent a majority of the hour discussing favorite books (some of my favorites were Charles Dickens while she preferred Wuthering Heights. She made up for it though by favoring Austen). She tried convincing me she was nearly handicapped by her clumsiness when I failed to see her trip once. She talked with such expression. Her eyes lit up when she spoke of her parents and she shared stories of Rosalie and herself back in college.

I told her how I got my job as Senior Editor and was pleased when she seemed disgusted at Paul's behavior.

"Sheesh, I'm glad he got fired. He was in such a good position with the job of a lifetime and it seemed like he just took it for granted and threw it away!"

"I know!" I remarked. "I felt really bad for him. He had been with the company since it started, but I suppose he had gotten a little too comfortable with it."

"It sure is pretty tonight," she sighed changing the subject. Her head rose up to look at the stars. They were almost nonexistent in this region because of the constant overcast, but tonight was particularly clear and a few constellations were shining brightly overhead.

"Beautiful," I explained. I looked down at her wondering if I would have the guts to kiss her.

"Thank you," she said. "For making this an amazing birthday. I really had a great time." Was she saying goodbye?

"You know, I hardly think this counts as a birthday celebration. I have these tickets to an art exhibit this weekend and I'd love for you to join me. I would hate to drag my sister to it because she rarely appreciates art unless it has something to do with clothing. You on the other hand, would be an ideal companion for it. That is, if you're up for it…"

"Really? I'd love to!" She looked up at me eagerly, and I was just as thrilled to find out she wanted to spend time with me as much as I wanted to with her.

I couldn't wait any longer. She was standing so close and I could no longer ignore the chemistry permeating between us. I slipped my hand away from hers to cradle her head closer to mine. Her chin lifted slightly and with the gentlest nature I could muster, our lips brushed together. Her mouth was so soft an her breathing sped. I swear I could almost hear her heartbeat increasing as our kiss strengthened. I finally broke away to look at her face where her cheeks glowed a brilliant red. We were suddenly startled by a honking car that had pulled over on the curb next to us, and before I had any say in the matter, a blonde woman jumped out of the back door, running towards us.

"Bella, where on earth have you been? We've been looking everywhere!" The woman grabbed Bella's hand and started pulling her towards the car. Bella looked back in my direction longingly before she was stuffed into the seat and driven away.

I hadn't even gotten her number! I suppose I would be spending the majority of tomorrow's morning sorting through our two-thousand some odd employee's searching for one Isabella Marie Swan.