AN: Okay, I know I haven't been around since I removed All Work and No Play from this site but that's because I've been trying to figure out JBNP. Don't worry; I'll get the hang of it. I was originally going to post this on that site but I thought I might as well post it here as well, right. So while I try getting the hang of the new site, you can all just enjoy the story here for now. Enjoy!
The Hollywood Reporter
The venue was large, loud and crowded but not at all rowdy. Despite the excitement and upbeat atmosphere, the event taking place around me was an elegant affair. The ladies wore long, flowing designer dresses and walked with grace and poise. The gentlemen were dashing in their expensive suits and thoroughly polished shoes, each with a gorgeous date on his arm.
My feet were fucking killing me as I worked the extravagant events' hall, approaching these beautiful people, interviewing anyone I could recognise. I'd been scanning the room for familiar faces and pouncing before the other journalists got their hands on them.
Recorder, pen and paper, I interviewed Hollywood's finest, most rich and famous, then stepped aside so that my colleague and best friend Angela could capture the moment on her camera.
Angela and I had been lucky enough to get chosen by our magazine editor, Aro Volturi, to cover the Hollywood Screen Awards after-party. We were surrounded by all the A-listers, the big guns. This was the crème de la crème and it was our job to talk to them and report back to our readers.
We were dedicated to fulfilling our civil duties and we had been all over the place. We definitely were not motivated by the possibility that could end up interviewing some of our favourite Hollywood heartthrobs: wink, wink.
We made our way to the bar and seated ourselves at two stools at the end of the counter. Angela looked amazing with her blonde hair falling over her shoulders in rings and her long black single-strapped dress complemented with black heels and a golden clutch. It made me feel a little underdressed in my shorter sapphire blue dress, black heels and shoulder bag, all chosen by her. She had to force me into this outfit, saying I would probably pack something boyish.
My feet were dying, so I ordered us some drinks for a job well-done and let my legs rest.
"Oh my god, Bella, can you believe this?" Angela swooned beside me as she looked around herself in awe. "I've never seen so many gorgeous people in one room." Her blue eyes were wide and sparkly as she waved at someone I didn't know. "I swear to you, I think I brushed up against Tom Cruise five minutes ago!"
"I know exactly how you feel. I'm just so glad Aro chose us to go. Jane's eyes were practically popping out of their sockets."
I remembered our bitch of a co-worker's face when our editor announced that we would be the ones covering the after-party for the Hollywood Screen Awards, the article Jane had been dying to get, even though she'd been there the past three years. She'd already chosen what she was going to wear and who she was going to take.
The bitch was an ass-kissing hag from hell who was determined to be Aro's favourite. She always got jealous of anyone who was praised by Aro and made life a fucking misery for whoever the poor bastard was, which was usually me. Angela and I had gotten an earful before we left Seattle and I was certain she'd still be moaning when we came back.
"Jane has to get the hell over herself," Angela muttered as she took a sip of her pink drink, complete with a twisty straw and tiny umbrella. "I might just strangle her skinny neck one of these days."
I laughed because that was how the entire magazine staff felt, even Eric and Mike from accounting. "Trust me, Ang, I'm not gonna stop you. But if the cops come around, you're on your own."
It had been a very productive night for the two of us and we went over all the material we had together. Angela asked me which pictures I liked for my article and which ones Bree could have for the fashion segment. We agreed to pick out best and worst dressed later on. We also pointed out all the people we didn't get to talk to or who weren't there at all. Angela was disappointed because the star of her favourite soap opera, Embry Call, had left right after the awards were over. I hated the damned show but she always made me watch it with her.
After a few drinks and laughs, the venue started emptying out slowly, though there were still quite a large number of people. Angela decided that she was getting bored so she was heading back to the hotel. It was only a block away from where we were so I told her I would catch up with her later.
She rolled her eyes at me dramatically. "Really, Bella? How many times have I dragged to parties and clubs and you always want to leave right away? Now when nothing's actually happening, you want to stay?"
"No, I just think I'll sit just a moment longer."
"Are you sure? I mean, I don't want to leave you here on your own." Her irritation had turned into genuine concern. "I can stay if you want."
I waved her off. "I'll be fine. Promise I won't take long," I reassured her with a smile.
"Okay then," she shrugged. "Remember that our flight back is at 10:45 tomorrow," she reminded me and gave me a kiss on my cheek before leaving.
The truth was that I rather preferred to start working on my articles wherever the stories took place, while everything was still fresh in my mind. I pulled out my notes and a pencil and started reading through them again in more detail than I had with Angela. I scratched on my note pad with my pencil, correcting spelling mistakes, finding synonyms for the words that I didn't like, figuring out which parts I was going to include or leave out. I was so preoccupied with my work that I hardly realised the man sitting beside me until he groaned with his head pressed to his arms on the bar counter.
"God, just leave me alone."
It seemed like he was talking to himself because it was just him, the two bartenders and I sitting at the bar. He wore a pin striped jacket over a golf shirt with jeans, going with the semi-formal look. He had a cap on, clearly using it as a disguise. Having harassed many people myself, I could tell when someone was on the down low.
"Who you hiding from," I blurted out of curiosity. The picture in front of me was just so amusing that I had to ask. Also, his face was completely out of view, making my inner snoop lean in closer to see.
"My publicist," he murmured, peeked at me sideways and I immediately recognised that little part of his face, just from that tiny glimpse of dark skin.
I sat there a moment before a wicked grin crossed my face. "You're Jacob Black," I thought out loud. I was sitting next to Hollywood's former child-star-turned-director Jacob Black.
His sigh was tired and audible over the music playing in the background. I noticed that his shoulders were sagging. "Yeah, that's me. Just don't tell my publicist that I'm here. She's been dragging around the whole night, interview after interview. I don't think I could live through another one."
His pocket started vibrating so I guessed she was trying to call him on his phone. I turned my body so that I was facing away from the bar and looking towards the crowd. I stretched my neck over the sea of heads, searching for I don't know what. I saw a tall woman with a phone to her ear and the devil's scowl on her face. She looked terrifying but she looked stunning doing it in a deep red wrap dress. She looked like she was about to bust a vein in her forehead, her silky dark hair in curls just above her chin.
"Is she the scary one in the red dress," I asked Jacob without looking back at him.
"The one with the bitch eyebrow?"
At that I noticed how high up she had her dark eyebrow lifted, almost touching her hairline. "Yeah."
"That's definitely her, then," he sighed again. He sighed a lot, I noticed. He just seemed so down and out, like he could seriously use a break.
"I could get rid of her if you want," I offered before I could stop myself.
He lifted his head off the counter to glance at me sideways. "And how are you gonna manage that."
I thought about it for a moment then had an idea come to me. "Tell me her name," I demanded.
"Her name, please," I repeated.
He hesitated before muttering the name Leah Clearwater with uncertainty. He probably thought that I might be a weirdo or something.
Thanking him, I hopped off the stool with a "Be right back" and headed off with my purse. I pushed through the crowd towards the spot where I thought I had seen this Leah Clearwater, hoping she hadn't moved from where she had been. It was a struggle but I eventually got to her just in time before she could go for the bar.
She was taller than I thought, even though I had been expecting her to be wearing high heels. Her face sent chills down my spine with how angry yet beautiful she could be at the same time as her eyes darted around the room searching. I almost lost my nerve but I swallowed down the intimidation and opened my mouth.
"Are you Leah Clearwater?" I asked loud enough for her to hear.
She glanced at me briefly then went back to watching for her client in the room. It was as if she hadn't really seen me. "Uh, yeah, I'm Leah . . ." she confirmed distractedly.
Okay. "Yeah, this guy, um, Jason or Jackson Black or whatever," I pretended to forget his name as her eyes darted at me and I jumped back a little at how Intense they were.
"Jacob Black?" she asked hopefully, scaring me little.
"That's it," I snapped happily as if she'd reminded me of the name. "He said he has a message for you."
Suddenly she grabbed my shoulders and shook my body like it was an emergency. "What did he say? Tell me!"
Damn, freak out much? "Well, he said to tell you that he was leaving."
"Did he say where he was going?" She towered over me with her perfect body and I struggled to speak clearly while she rattled mine.
I shook my head and she let go of me immediately. "He just said that he was "going back, whatever that means."
"That bastard!" she huffed and marched off without a second glance in my direction. She left the venue and I made sure she was gone before I returned to my seat at the bar. Black was still with his head down.
"She's gone," I announced, getting onto my stool and sipping from the drink I'd left there.
A second, and then he lifted his head off the counter completely, looking right at me now. It was him, alright. I'd know that face anywhere.
"Really?" he asked, seeming unsure.
"Saw the taxi leave with my own two eyes."
A crooked grin crept slowly across his face and he nodded in appreciation. "Thanks," he said, then held out his hand. "I'm Jacob Black."
Duh, captain obvious, I thought as I accepted his hand for a handshake. "I'm Isabella Swan, but just call me Bella."
"Alright then, Bella. Let me buy you a drink."
AN: PLEASE! Your thoughts, everybody.