A/N: So, I tried to be stern with myself and NOT post anything new until I'm at least nearly done with MBH but I couldn't help myself! I started this a while ago and I'm really loving it. It's an idea I've had for a while and kinda reminds me of how I met my real life love.
In a nutshell, my bf (of five years now) found my MySpace (back in the day! Lol) and my status said that I was lonely cuz my current jerk of a bf had just broken up with me. He sent me a message, asking if he could cheer me up, we had similar friends and were from the same town (at the time I was living farther north) and BOOM! Within a week, I was back home and with him. So, technically we met online. Never thought I'd say that... I've always had more friends online than off so I guess it made sense.
Anyways, enough of my talking. I hope you enjoy my newest creation! And, as always, I don't own anything but my imagination.
Chapter 1: Saturday, Day One
"Mike, are you kidding me!"
I scramble out of my office and towards the smoking toaster oven. Halfway there, I feel my feet slip out from under me. My hands flail uselessly, trying to stop myself from falling. My fingers latch onto the clear bagel display case but, yet again, the door wasn't closed all the way so instead of holding me upright, the door opens, causing my fingers to slide along the edge and down the rack of pastries.
I fall flat on my ass, a deluge of sesame seeds and bread raining down on me.
"Oh shit, Bella, are you okay?"
Jacob is suddenly behind me, his strong arms gripping me and pulling me back up before I get any more soaked in what turns out to be a puddle of milk on the floor. He looks around in confusion but his eyes quickly light up in comprehension when he spots the growing black cloud. In a single bound, he's over the spill and unplugging the toaster.
"Mike!" I yell again, spinning around and catching him across the room, chatting up some blonde bimbo—again.
"Sorry," I hear him mumble at her before sprinting to the counter. He leans over it, taking in the scene behind the register. "Oh, shit."
"Yeah, oh shit," I say sarcastically, putting my hands on my hips. "Care to explain?"
" Well, I was just warming up a bagel-"
"On full power?" Jacob interrupts with a laugh, opening up the door to let some fresh air in, apologizing to a few disgruntled customers as they rush out the door.
"It was on full power?" Mike says with a nervous laugh.
"Alright, so you don't know how to use the toaster oven," I grumble, waving my hand at the mess on the floor. "Do you also not know how to pour milk? Or close the damn pastry door?"
"Well, I just... I mean, there was this-"
"Save it Mike," I snap and shake my head. "Just... clean it up and let Jacob take care of the actual preparing and serving. You can just run the register—just give exact change today. Count it twice if you have to, I don't care."
"Yeah, okay," Mike mumbles, glancing forlornly at the retreating form of blondie as she leaves the coffee shop.
I had never thought running my own coffee shop would be so hard. It's located in the heart of Seattle, surrounded by plenty of office buildings with busy businessmen that need a constant supply of good, strong coffee at their fingertips. Plus, the nearest shop was an overpriced Starbucks who's employees seemed to hate the world.
Maybe hiring Mike was a bad idea... Two weeks here and he still couldn't seem to figure out the difference between decaf and regular coffee.
Never mess with a coffee addict's caffeine.
Without a second glance—even after I hear Mike drop yet another coffee mug on the ground—I rush into my office, trying not to slam the door behind me. I search in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet where I keep my extra clothes, needing another pair of jeans, but I only come across a few shirts.
"Damn it!" I cry, slamming the drawer shut. Maybe I should just skip out for a bit to change.
Sighing heavily, I throw my soggy apron on the floor and turn to my computer to send out an email to our bagel supplier. Thanks to a certain blue-eyed idiot, we're in need of a fresh supply of bagels. Again.
Making sure not to describe a certain employee with unflattering names, as well as using a ton of inappropriate expletives, I write out the email and figure I'll just surf Facebook for a few minutes. Hopefully one of my online friends is having a worse day than me.
Just as I'm exiting my email, a new one pops up.
Subject: About last night...
"Last night..." I say in confusion. Last night I had been cuddled up on the couch with the newest episode of Cupcake Wars and a big bowl of popcorn. Not to mention I was asleep by ten.
Yes, I lead a very exciting life.
I consider deleting the email since I have no idea who the person is. But then I hear the sound of more ceramic breaking. I squeeze my eyes shut for a moment, tell myself Jacob will take care of it, and open them again. With a shrug, I open the email, curiosity and procrastination getting the better of me.
I normally wouldn't stoop to this kind of communication regarding these issues but we're swamped at the bar this weekend and plus... well, you have my phone, I believe.
To get straight to business first, while I did enjoy your very unique brand of wine, I don't think that the regular clientele at Double E Bar would appreciate the boldness of the flavor. I do admire your tenacity and persistence to find a kind we would be able to stock but at this time, Emmett and I both agree that while we thank you, we won't be able to take your winery on.
Now, I have had a lot of fun getting to know you personally and though I was wary about it at first, your form of entertainment was, to say the least, interesting—or at least what I remember was. Back in my college days, I was known to attend the occasional pub crawl, but bar-hopping was a totally different experience. Same thing with Karaoke. Wow. Please, tell me I didn't sing anything too embarrassing? I'm not holding out too much hope for that considering I woke up with my jeans pockets full of phone numbers—half of which were from men. But speaking of clothing... In the addition of my mobile phone, do you also have my t-shirt? I don't remember taking if off last night but, apparently, I did. And someone wrote, "I'd take the midnight train going anywhere just for you, baby" in permanent ink on my chest. What the bloody hell does that mean?
Hope you can get back to me soon. You can call me at the bar or just email me back.
Owner, Double E Bar
I couldn't help but laugh. Sounds like this guy had one fucked up night. And who doesn't know Journey's Don't Stop? Doesn't he watch Glee?
Oh wait, he's a guy... Probably not.
I think about deleting the email (again) but realize this guy is needing answers. He lost his phone, his shirt and probably his pride all in one night. Gotta give the guy something.
My fingers hover over the keys before swiftly typing out a reply.
Subject: Re: About last night...
Sounds like you had quite the experience last night. Sorry to say, you got the wrong email address. I spent my night at home last night and my name is not Jessica. I also do not have your cell phone or your t-shirt.
I do, however, know about what was written on your, uh... body. It's a line from a song by Journey called "Don't Stop". It's a rocking song; you should look it up. I have to admit, I'm curious who wrote the note for you. If it's a guy, unless you swing that way... well, I hope you don't come across him again because it sounds like he's really into you.
I hope you find what—and who- you're looking for.
I look over my email, knowing I sound dorky and not at all as clever as I was going for, and send it off, figuring he doesn't know me and we'll probably never talk again so what the hell.
I hear yet another something being dropped to the floor and groan. Pushing away from my desk, I grab a clean apron and wrap it around my waist before going back out into the cafe.
I hate to find out how much Mike is costing me in one day.
After another milk fiasco, two more shattered dishes and a broken coffee bean grinder, my patience is gone so I take off for home. In fact, Jacob offers to close up for me so that I can leave before I kill Mike. The guy has the nerve to smile and wish me a good night like today was a fucking great day.
Ugh. And the two of us open in the morning.
Someone needs to tell me why I hired this guy... and why I haven't fired him yet. He couldn't even remember what time we open. Jacob actually hissed it in his ear before I could throw something at his head.
Seriously. Mike basically owes Jacob his life.
There are some nights that I really need the six block walk home to clear my head. Today was one of those days. I pop my ear-buds in my ears and play something loud and angry on my iPod while I walk home in the cool night air.
Sadly, even over the booming bass of my music, I find myself thinking of the mysterious Edward. I wonder if he'll find the elusive Jessica that has his stuff hostage. I also wonder if I'll hear from him again.
"Pffft, doubtful," I say, making the old man standing next to me glance over in confusion. I blush and lock my eyes on the walk signal as we wait for it to change. When it does, I hurry away, tripping slightly as I step off the curb.
My bad mood is only slightly better as I step into my apartment building but I get a bit annoyed when I see that the elevator is broken. Again.
Well, at least I don't have an arm full of groceries like I did last week.
I trudge up the three flights of stairs and arrive on my doorstep only a little winded. I dig out my keys—which have fallen to the bottom of my purse, of course—and let myself in.
I flip on my lights to my tiny, shabby apartment. It's really only three rooms: the living room, complete with a small kitchenette like in hotels, a little bedroom and a bathroom. When I first moved in, I opted for the smaller apartment with the bigger bathroom which had a decent sized tub I could soak in. All the others had larger bedrooms but a standing only shower.
Not gonna happen.
Especially if I have to deal with Mike. I need my soaking tub.
I toss my keys onto the counter next to the coffee-maker—because running my own coffee shop does not fill my need for the drink—and dig in the cupboard for some dinner. I pull out a can of chicken and dumpling soup and my small soup pot and set it up on the stove.
As the soup heats, I rummage in my fridge for my last beer, hoping it'll relax me. I crack open the can and settle onto the couch, pulling my laptop onto my lap and propping my feet up on my ridiculously small coffee table.
I sip my beer and boot up the computer. Once it starts, I open up my email and gasp.
He sent me a reply.
"Oh, shit," I mumble and then hear my soup bubbling over. "Oh, shit!"
I slide the computer off my lap and sprint across the room, turning off the burner before my dinner can make too much of a mess. I look at my laptop from across the room, feeling like he's in my apartment here with me.
For some reason, while at work, it was no big deal. Here, in my home, this now feels personal. Sure, he doesn't know where I live or who I am—hell, he doesn't even know my name.
It just feels... different.
I take my time setting up the rest of my dinner, actually ladling the soup into a bowl as opposed just eating it straight out of the pan, and throw a few Saltine crackers into it.
I stand with my back against the counter, balancing the soup on my palm with a towel beneath it to protect my skin from the heat. I hear a jingling sound and my fat, black cat, Benjamin, comes padding into the room, his green eyes shining.
"What?" I say defensively. He blinks at me and yawns widely. "Should I check it?"
Benjamin sits down, licks his front paw and rubs his ear clean.
"Some help you are," I grumble, knowing it's pathetic that I talk to my cat.
I also tend to talk to myself a lot. In public. Around other people. At least when I talk to my cat, I look a little less crazy... right?
My heart is beating faster than it should be and I force myself to walk at a normal pace back to the couch. I ignore the way Benjamin squints his eyes at me as he follows my every move.
Taking a deep breath, I set my soup down on the table and pick up the laptop again.
Subject: My apologies
Dear Not Jessica,
I apologize for my stray email. I forgot I had saved her email in my contacts list and her name is coffeegirl87, so I was only a little off. I hope you understand.
I am happy to report that I did get my phone back already. Just after sending the email, the real Jessica actually came into my bar to return it. Sadly, she's insisting on keeping my shirt, which is too bad because it's my favorite Stoli shirt. I'll get it back somehow. Maybe she'll request a ransom. I don't have much money but I do have a large supply of liquor, seeing as I own a bar. Maybe I can pay her in tequila shots. Perhaps I could get her completely smashed and she'll give up the hostage's location.
I'm rambling now, aren't I? Let's get back on track here...
So you recognized the song? I asked her about it and I did in fact sing "Don't Stop", and very well, I might add. I never thought of myself as much of a singer but when you've attended three different bars in as many hours, you ingest a lot of liquid courage. Apparently I sang the song with her and after the fourth male phone number was inserted in my pocket, she wrote the line on my chest to... how did she put it? "Claim me" I believe is the term she used. I'm not sure how I feel about that. She laughed about it so maybe she was joking? I kind of hope so.
I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time here. There's a band playing at our bar tonight and it isn't quite my taste so I'm hiding in the office. My partner—but only in the business sense—is running the place on his own so maybe I should get back to him.
Sorry... again... for the miss-sent email and for now sending you another that you probably just skipped over. If you did, I don't blame you.
Oh, bugger... The crowd is getting rowdy out there. I better go. I don't know why, but I hope to hear from you again. At least to know you accept my apology and maybe even so I know your name. It's bothering me a bit. I don't know why I feel that way either. Maybe we should chalk it up to the shots I took earlier to calm my nerves about tonight. Crowds and emailing random girls makes me nervous, or so it seems.
Right, I was leaving now. Have yourself a good evening, Not Jessica.
I gape at the email, at a loss as to why this man feels the need to apologize to me over an accidental email. It does make me feel a little better that he seems to be as nerdy as me when it comes to talking to the opposite sex. I'm amazed to find someone else that rambles more than I do. If he talks this much just in an email, I wonder what he's like in real life...
Benjamin meows at me, breaking me out of my thoughts. He's now sitting at my feet, his hungry eyes staring at my bowl of soup. I glance across the room and see he has a full dish of kitty kibble.
"Go eat your own food, dude," I scold, pointing at his food. He just licks his lips and looks at me sadly. I sigh and fish out a piece of chicken, setting it on the hardwood floor by his feet. He laps it up happily and when he's done, he jumps onto the couch next to me.
"Should I answer him?" I ask, gesturing to the email. Ben simply stares at my dinner again so I gently tug his face to look at me. "I could really use some feedback, my friend."
Ben closes his eyes and purrs loudly, the sensation making my fingers on his chin vibrate. I laugh and shake my head.
Yes, Bella, let's listen to the cat. What harm could it do?
I re-read the email and eat some of my meal before it gets cold. Once I'm down to the broth, I set it on the coffee table and nudge Ben. He immediately jumps onto the table and begins licking up the soup.
"Make sure to clean that bowl," I tell him. "You know I hate doing the dishes."
Wow. I must be losing it. Maybe I do need to answer Edward, just so that I can have some human contact for a change.
I sip my beer, take a deep breath and begin typing.
Subject: Apology accepted and not accepted
I accept your apology but at the same time I don't. Please don't feel bad about sending me the email, it's really no big deal. In fact, it kind of made my day. I'm about ready to chuck one of our employees—or kill him, whichever happens first—and I was actually hiding in my own office when I read your email.
I'm glad Jessica gave you back your phone but it's a little messed up that she's keeping the shirt. Stoli is my favorite brand of Vodka, so I'm assuming it's yours too. Sounds like she's into coffee, too and I own a coffee shop. Maybe I can send you some beans as payment for the captive. Hey, it's worth a shot!
You said she wanted to claim you... Does that mean you're dating? I'm just curious. I wouldn't mind keeping up our correspondence so it'd be nice to get to know you. That is, if you'd like. If not, I completely understand. I don't want to come across as a creep or anything.
It's just after eight here so I'm guessing you're a few hours ahead of me. Your concert must be in full swing, seeing as how you're in Chicago. Is it a big party town? I'm in Seattle and for the most part, we're pretty laid-back. Not that I'd really know. I'm more of the quiet type myself and don't go out bar-hopping. Of what you can remember, did you like it? Sorry if I'm getting too personal again. Go ahead and just ignore me if you want.
I should probably think about getting ready for bed now. I have to get up at about four in the morning to open my shop. If I didn't make coffee for a living, I'd probably die getting up so early for any other job.
Wow, looks like I like to ramble too! Guess we have something else in common.
I hope you have a good night.
Your new rambling buddy,
Not Jessica AKA Bella
I look over what I've written and hit send before I can lose my nerve. Ben stares at me accusingly, his kitty tail swishing on the table.
"What? I was just being nice," I defend myself. "He deserved to know that I forgave him."
Ben continues to stare at me so I shove my computer away, cross my arms over my chest and glare back. After about thirty seconds, I can hear him purring noisily again and laugh. He squints his eyes shut and I swear he smiles.
God, I must be crazy.
"Come on, lazy bum," I sigh, standing up. "Let's take a bath and get to bed."
Ben trots after me as I put my bowl in the sink and my empty can in the recycle bin. He rubs between my legs, almost making me trip, so I go back into the kitchen and get out his bag of treats. He meows his little kitten meow and happily follows me into the bathroom.
I set his treat on the counter, out of reach, and turn on the bath. I hang my fingers under the stream of water and adjust the knobs until it's the right temperature and then add some vanilla scented bubble bath soap.
Ben waits on the closed toilet seat as I go back to my purse that I left on the floor by the door and dig out my iPod. When I come back, the tub is full of sweet smelling suds. I hook up my iPod in the docking station on the back of the toilet and switch on my classical mix.
I undress and set Ben's treat on the floor. He leaps off the toilet and begins munching, eating slowly to prolong his joy.
Once in the tub, I feel all my troubles melt away. I sigh as I feel myself sinking into the warm, soothing bubbles and close my eyes, imagining that I don't work with a dumbass that will most likely run my business into the ground if I don't do something about him fast.
Seriously, how could one guy make so many mistakes? He didn't even know what soy milk was and tried to tell a customer there was no such thing as lactose free milk when they told him about their intolerance. If Jacob hadn't been there to quickly make the drink while they were arguing, we would have lost one of our best customers. Unfortunately, we also had to comp his drink but at least Mike offered to let me take it out of his pay.
At the rate he was going, he'd soon be paying me to keep him on.
Ugh. I need to change my train of thought otherwise I'll be too tense to sleep.
My thoughts right away go to Edward. I'm pretty sure his time-zone is two hours ahead of mine meaning it's about eleven there. How late do concerts go on for? He does own a bar and some of those can stay open all night. I wonder if they have a decent closing hour. Three in the morning maybe?
And then I wonder what he's like to talk to in real life. He uses some odd terminology, making me curious where he's from. Do people in Chicago have their own lingo? I'm sure they do.
And what does he look like? Is he tall? Short? He works a bar, is he a badass covered in tattoos that rides a Harley? I giggle at the thought. Judging by his rambling, he seems a bit geeky. Does he wear glasses? Like to read? It'd be nice to find a guy that likes to read for a change. My last sort of boyfriend, Paul, hated to read anything.
Except Playboy, apparently.
Yeah, right. Getting it for the articles, my ass. There's no way an informative article would make a guy go out and find his own Playboy Bunny, complete with fuzzy bunny ears, and fuck her in his own living room. That was a very low self-esteem type of day.
Ugh. And now my relaxation is ruined.
The water is running cold, too, so I give up and pull the plug. Ben runs from the room at the sound of the water being sucked down the drain.
"Scaredy cat!" I call after him, rolling my eyes.
I towel off before I can freeze, turn off my music and head into the bedroom.
The nice thing about having an apartment to yourself above the ground floor is that you can walk by the open window naked. The building across the street is only a one story tall 24 hour laundry facility—at which I do my laundry at—so there's no chance of being spotted.
I dress in cotton boy shorts and a tank top and climb under the covers where my feet encounter a big ball of fur. I wiggle my toes, causing Ben to lick them and giggle, shoving him out of the way so I can get comfortable. I reach over to my short dresser and flip on my alarm, sighing heavily when the screen flashes the wake up time of four a.m.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day, I can feel it already. Let's hope that I at least didn't scare off my new email friend. I get the feeling it may be the only good part of my day.
A/N: So what do you think? Would you like more? Leave me some lovin'!