Written for the No Kid Hungry Compilation. Our goal was $2,000, and we raised $3,926! Thank you all so much for contributing to such an amazing cause! I hope you enjoy the first chapter of a funny fic I have in the works. Beta'd by my lovely friend, shelikesthesound and banner by the amazing ChristagBanners.
Much love, and please review.
It made absolutely no sense to put the new girl on truck shipment the second week of her new job.
Hence, why I could totally blame management for what happened during said truck shift.
I was poised and ready to do some hard manual labor. I'd been psyching myself up all morning, chanting confidence boosting mantras like they were the next Top Forty Song.
Then he showed up.
My confidence went out the window the second he walked around the corner. Normally, I would've passed off the movement out of the corner of my eye as an early morning mall walker, but since I was anticipating my manager, Emmett, to show up, my head turned in that direction.
But it wasn't Emmett. It was a tall, dark-haired young guy. He was easily my age, maybe a year or two older. I cursed mall management for not having the lights on before the mall was officially open. I wished I could've seen what he looked like up close in the right lighting.
He had a bag slung over his shoulder, holding onto it with one hand on the strap, as he slowly walked in my direction.
Jesus, I was staring. Look away, woman; look away! My head snapped down to toy with my phone as I felt my heart pound in my chest. My cheeks heated with the blush I knew I was sporting. A minute later and I would've been caught oogling him red-handed. I fully expected him to walk past me and head towards the exit but was surprised when he stopped a few feet away from me and set his bag down on a bench.
I was hyper aware of him, even though I couldn't see him. I could feel him behind me, could feel his heat against my back as if he was standing right behind me.
My feet shifted of their own accord as I hoisted my purse higher on my shoulder and continued to stare down at my phone, counting the minutes down until Emmett would hopefully show up.
Honestly, I felt as if the guy behind me was a creeper. I leaned a few inches closer to the store, shying away from him.
Seven fifty-four. Come on, Emmett. Hurry up!
I heard him clear his throat behind me, the subtle cough catching me off guard as I involuntarily looked for the source of the noise.
My eyes connected with his dark ones, a half tentative smile gracing his perfect lips as we looked at each other. I was sure I looked petrified.
"Edward, dude, how was vacation? Did you score with any hot chicks?" Emmett's boisterous voice echoed through the skylight above us as he came around the corner.
I nearly jumped out of my skin, from either nerves or surprise, I couldn't tell you.
From only working with Emmett for less than a handful of days, I knew the kind of person he was. His energy matched his size, big.
"Em, man, don't get me started on the ladies of Cabo."
Shit. Emmett knows this guy? Wait, Edward? Wasn't that the name of…? Oh, holy hell.
There was a person named Edward on the schedule; he was slated as a manager in training. The store had another manager in training, Alice. If how much she was at the store was any indication for how much I'd see Edward, well, I was fucked. It seemed that Alice never left the place.
"Oh, shit, Bella. Sorry about that; I mean—well, hell, we're not on the clock yet. I can talk however I want to. I just don't mean to be offensive," he said apologetically, a plea on his features. He had dimples I couldn't resist. Couple that with his short, dark, curly hair and I forgave the big lug with a shrug of my shoulder, acting like I didn't care the way they talked in front of me. And truthfully, I didn't. I was the new girl, the one who had to fit in with them.
Plus, it wasn't like I wouldn't have said the same thing to one of my friends who'd just gotten back from vacation. My dad did always say I was as bad as the boys I grew up around.
I smiled, trying to hide the terror that was running its way through my nervous system. I would see this guy every day that I worked, most likely. I would have to stare at his gorgeous face, and lean frame, all eight hours of my shift.
I was going to die.
"It's fine, really," I replied, ducking my head down and hiding my face from them, trying to seem interested in my phone but failing miserably.
"Good, good. I'm just gonna go in and turn off the alarm. Wait here with Edward until I come back," Emmett explained, relief on his face as he walked to the front doors and let himself in.
I'm not afraid to admit that it was completely awkward standing there with Edward all alone.
My mumbled 'okay' fell from my lips as I shuffled nervously from one foot to the other. My hands fidgeted of their own accord, and I barely resisted the urge to start chewing on my fingernails.
My hand was making its second attempt back to my lips when he cleared his throat. My overactive brain hadn't heard him approach, at all, and suddenly, he was standing right behind me.
"I don't think we've met before," he said hesitantly, like meeting me was something he would remember.
Ducking my head down and sliding a piece of hair behind my ear, I turned around slowly and stuck out my hand to him, all the while still looking down. "Bella. I just started this week."
"Oomf," he grunted.
He was softer than I thought he would be.
My head snapped up as I realized that I wasn't shaking his hand. I'd accidentally jabbed him in the stomach when I'd thrown my hand out for him to shake.
"Shit, I—I'm so sorry!"
"It's," cough "its okay, really." cough, wheeze "You just," groan "got my sunburn."
He didn't look red to me, but then again, the lights still weren't on inside the mall. "Jesus, I really know what I'm doing," I muttered sarcastically to myself as my hands clenched to stop from touching him any more.
"Are you okay?"
"Just give me a minute," he wheezed, still bent over with one hand on his side and the other covering his stomach.
I turned around when I heard tapping behind me. Emmett was at the door, unlocking it for Edward and I to head in. "Ed, you okay, man?"
"Yeah, I'm cool." Edward grimaced as he stood up all the way. He picked up his bag and gingerly headed into the store, leaving me standing there, looking like I was stupid.
"Well, hurry up, Bella. We have to get going," Emmett said exasperatedly when I still didn't move.
I scurried into the store, forgetting my bag on the floor where I'd dropped it over my fumbling at Edward's pain and having to go out and grab it again.
I ducked under Emmett's arm as I made my way back inside, ignoring his chuckling as I walked behind the counter and clocked in.
I could still feel the blush on my cheeks five minutes later after I had put away my stuff and was waiting at the back door for Emmett to come back from the office.
"Let's try this again," Edward said as he walked up to me after he'd returned from the bathroom. "I'm Edward. It's nice to meet you."
This time I didn't smack him in the stomach as I took his hand and shook it gently. "Bella. I'm new here and, oh god, I'm so sorry about earlier," I babbled.
His chuckle was music to my ears. "It's okay. Just, uh, don't do it again? Please?" he suggested tentatively, bringing his hand back up to scratch at the back of his neck.
"I'll do my best," I responded with a little laugh of my own.
"Okay, beauties, let's get this show on the road!" Emmett exclaimed as he walked into the backroom with a manila envelope held high in his hand.
"Bella, pick up those bags of trash while Ed gets the cardboard. Before we start unloading truck, we do a trash run so it's easier for us to bring things in," he directed as he bent at the back door with his key in the lock.
I did as was told once Emmett had the back door opened; Edward and I marched with our orders passed the large semi-truck waiting, and toward the receptacles, tossing them inside. We didn't say anything as we made out way back to the store.
Emmett was standing out by the large doors of the truck, talking and joking with whom I assumed was the driver. "Yeah, man. I saw the manifest. It's supposed to be a lot of big stuff, right? Might as well get a move on, then," he said slapping the driver on the back without waiting for an answer.
He turned back to Edward and me, gave us another order. "Put on a weight belt, guys. Corporate will shit a brick if either of you pull something."
Edward led me over to where they kept the weight belts and pointed to the various sizes. "You're tiny, so the smallest will probably be the best fit for you. Corporate says that any object over 40 pounds has to be lifted using a weight belt. So go ahead and pick one."
I pulled one of the beige belts down from the rack where it hung. Sadly, I didn't know that on the opposite end was where the heavy metal clasp was situated. The belt came barreling down quickly and, before I could pull it out of the way, it hit Edward in the face. Hard.
He pulled away with a shout of pain, and the belt flew from my hands as I covered a gasp with my hands.
Jesus, could my day be any more fucked up?
"Christ! Edward, are you okay? I didn't hit your eye or anything, did I?" My hands were moving of their own accord, wanting frantically to check and make sure he was okay.
With his hand covering his face, he sheepishly peeked out at me from behind his fingers. I saw a trail of blood making its way slowly down the side of his face. I watched in horror as it ran along the length of his arm and started dripping off of his elbow.
Normally I wasn't squeamish. But as soon as I saw the second splatter hit the floor, my eyesight became immediately fuzzy. I wrenched my gaze in the opposite direction and tried breathing through my mouth in slow, even breaths.
"Bella, Edward? What's taking you two so long?" Emmett called as he walked in through the opened back door.
"He's hurt, Emmett. I hurt him! What do we do? Should we call 911?"
Emmett rushed over and pried Edward's hand from his face. After a minute of poking and prodding, he walked over to one of the work stations and removed a blue case that had the universal first aid sign on it.
"It's a pretty nice cut, Ed, but it doesn't look like you need stitches. Here, wipe up, and we'll get the bleeding stopped."
Emmett turned to me as Edward walked off into the bathroom to clean up his face with the alcohol swab Emmett had given him. "What happened, Bella?"
I spilled my story, my words running together with no pause for breath in between. Emmett looked at me with a dimpled grin on his face.
"You're just hurting Edward in all kinds of ways today, aren't you?"
"It's not like I'm trying to! How was I supposed to know he has a sunburn? That the belt would be top heavy and swing down at him like that? I'm not freaking psychic!" I complained, throwing my hands up in the air.
Emmett shook his head side to side at me. "Just relax, Bella. It's not your fault; I'm just giving you shit. Go outside and take a minute to cool off. You look green."
I really wanted to wait and see if Edward would come out looking a million times better, but didn't want to contradict Emmett's very wise advice. I grabbed the weight belt and hurried out into the loading area and took some deep breaths.
How did I ever get this kind of luck? It was like one thing after another was aimed in my direction.
I walked over to the white brick wall and settled down so that I was leaning against it.
A few minutes passed by and, while I was waiting for Emmett and Edward to make their way outside, I relished in the cold feeling of the brick wall against my back. The temperature helped me regain what little composure I had left.
"Okay, let's do this," Emmett said boisterously as he clapped his hands and opened the back door to the truck before deftly climbing up inside of it.
Edward walked out behind him with a Hello Kitty band-aid stuck to his cheek from where I'd cut him with the belt. I immediately squelched the urge to laugh outright at that object alone and apologized as quickly as my lips would let me.
"Edward, I'm so, so, sorry! God, I seem to be saying that a lot today. But I really mean it; I don't want you to get hurt!"
Edward stopped and held out a hand to me for me to stop talking. "Its okay, Bella. I'm fine. Let's just get this done, okay?"
I nodded mutely before shuffling to stand up from the wall, not liking the way my shirt stuck to my back. It wasn't that hot outside; why had I sweated through my shirt?
Turning around, I fixed my shirt and pulled my hair into a ponytail. I noticed, as I was gathering my hair in my hand, that it felt wet. Curiosity getting the best of me, I turned back to the wall, looking for any sign of moisture.
"Uh, Bella? You've kinda—you've got some," Edward started saying before he broke off into gales of laughter.
I whipped back around to face him, my eyes wide. "I've got some what?"
Pointing and laughing, Edward grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled it around so that I could see a little bit of it.
I had white paint on my shirt!
Screw that, I had white paint in my hair!
I briefly screamed as I brought my hands down and examined the substance on my fingers.
Emmett poked his head out of the back of the truck at my scream "You've got to be shitting me."
I groaned, barely resisting the urge to hide my head in my hands. That's all I needed, more paint to get on me and humiliate me even more.
Screw it, I thought as I finished putting up my hair. The day was already ruined, and I'd only been at work for less than twenty minutes.
I could still hear Edward chuckling beside me and cast him a dirty look. He shut up immediately, whipping his head to the opposite side and scratching the back of his neck.
Smirking, I turned toward Emmett who was still talking with the driver, counting something or other and writing on a sheet of paper.
I watched as the driver, beefy but shorter than Emmett, loaded up boxes onto a dolly and rolled them to the end of the truck right in front of Edward and me.
"Okay, so there are a couple of categories that these boxes can fall under," Edward explained as he turned around one of the boxes. He pointed to a sticker on the top corner of one of them. "Blue means its clothing, so we put it outside of the swinging door to the left, in the store." I followed him as he carried the box into the store and dropped it off.
"Red stickers are security, which goes across from blue, on the right side." He pointed to a spot on the opposite aisle.
"Shoes are orange ones. They get piled here, next to the inversion systems," Edward continued as we walked into the back room again and pointing.
I nodded, repeating everything in my head as he said it.
"And green tags are for general merchandise. GM for short. We'll pile them down this aisle, stacking them on top of each other to conserve space. Got it?" Edward rattled off, turning abruptly so I ran into his chest.
I pretty much ran right straight into his sunburn again, his agonizing moan making me cringe as I stepped back as quickly as I could.
"I should just run away now, right?" I mumbled, turning tail and scooting for the exit as fast as I could.
Why, why, why, why, why?!
I was screaming in my head, though I really wanted to scream it out loud. Who has this much bad luck in one single day?
"Hey, Bella, where's Edward? We've got to get this stuff off the truck, pronto," Emmett said around a mountain pile of boxes.
"I kind of—well, I didn't mean to—but I ran into his sunburn…again."
Emmett let lose the loudest laugh I'd ever heard come out of any single person's body.
"Did you walk under a ladder on your way here this morning, Swan? Maybe pass by a couple of black cats?" he asked after containing his laughter.
I looked at him in confusion. "What? What're you talking about?"
He rolled his eyes before a silly, dimpled grin spread across his lips. "I hope you're not superstitious, Bella. All of this bad luck; didn't you put two and two together?"
"Two and two…? Emmett, quit being so damn cryptic," I huffed, putting my hands on my hips.
"It's Friday the Thirteenth."