The One That Got Away
"Alice, what were you thinking? How could you do that?" Bella Swan pulled her hair back over one shoulder and wedged the phone between her chin and shoulder. She was rummaging through her desk while talking on the phone, looking for the papers that came by overnight mail. The papers that sent her into a panic when she read them. She hoped the distraction of looking for them would keep her from completely losing it and letting her friend know just how upset she really was.
"Do what?" Alice's voice was a little too casual.
She pushed the laptop to the side and looked through another pile of papers. "You know what. I just got the final proofs. How could you put that dedication in my book?" Her office was small, cozy even, and the desk took up most of the room. It was her favorite room in the house, and probably where she spent most of her time, but there just weren't that many places where the papers could be.
Bella stood up straight, not finding the papers she was looking for, and sighed. "I was just joking when I wrote it. I didn't really mean for you to put it in."
Bella's neck was getting stiff from holding the phone, so she put it back in its cradle and hit the speakerphone button. It wasn't like anyone else was there to hear the conversation. "This is going to cause nothing but trouble. Nothing good is going to come from this." She could just picture Alice with her spiky dark hair, sitting in her New York office twirling a pen between her fingers while trying to calm her best friend, client, and favorite author.
"Look, Bella, it's your first romance novel. Forgive me for saying so but it will most likely get lost in the shuffle of all the other romance novels coming out this year, charming though it may be." Alice was nothing if not direct.
Bella glared at the phone and nearly growled at the little pixie. "You're my agent. Aren't you supposed to tell me that my book is wonderful and amazing and that it'll sell a million copies?"
"No, I'm your agent so I'm supposed to tell you the truth." Alice knew that Bella was nervous about this book. "Don't worry; the book is going to sell. It's got just the right balance of sappy romance and passion."
Bella rolled her eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at me." Bella didn't even stop to wonder how Alice knew she'd done that. There wasn't much Alice didn't know about her.
"That dedication is the perfect touch, Bella, and you know it. It stays in."
Bella snorted and Alice laughed in reply.
"Alice, no one is going to pay any attention to the dedication. I'll be happy if they just buy the damn book." Bella knew she was a good writer. After all, this wasn't her first book. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that maybe she'd gone a bit too far trying something so different from her usual mysteries. "I should never have let you put it in the book. Exactly how many glasses of wine did it take for you to get me to agree?"
Alice laughed. "Four, but that's beside the point. The dedication is pure romance, Bella. It adds that certain 'je ne sais quoi.' I mean, just listen to it."
Bella could picture Alice picking up the book and turning to the dedication page. She listened as her friend took a dramatic deep breath and read the words she already regretted using. "To the one that got away, wherever you may be." Alice sighed. "It makes even cynical me want to track down my first true love."
Bella had to laugh. "Alice, you're married to your first true love. I was there when you met Jasper, remember?"
Alice couldn't deny it. She and Bella had been friends since kindergarten. Bella had been standing beside her the first day of high school when Alice first spotted Jasper and declared that he was the one for her. "Well, yes, that's true."
Bella stopped laughing, and turned serious. "Alice, I hope you're right about this."
Alice paused, and then answered quietly. "Bella, think about it. Every woman has one…the one man they loved but didn't stay with. The one they've never gotten over."
"Every woman but you" Bella snipped, but she understood what Alice was saying.
"And besides Bella dearest, when have you ever known me to be wrong?" Bella sighed and said goodbye. She knew better than to bet against Alice.
Bella walked back to her desk, and immediately saw the papers she'd been looking for before. She picked them up, and thumbed through the pages of her newest book. She turned to the dedication page and felt just the slightest pull deep inside her, as if her heart suddenly skipped a beat. She looked from the page to her desk, where a small photograph in a silver frame still sat after all these years. A picture of a young woman with long brown hair and chocolate brown eyes, being held in a tight embrace by a bronze haired man. They smiled as they looked into each other's eyes.
"This is for you, Edward Cullen…the one that got away."