Title: A Startling Infatuation
Word Count: 3,371
Summary: An unexpected meeting in a low-key bookstore ignites sparks between an arrogant businessman who is stubborn enough not to believe in love. But can a certain brunette change his mind and introduce him into a world of romance? AH
Authors Note: I know I have other stories which need completing, and I will, but I have to admit I have writers block so hopefully this creativity will help me out. Depending on how much attention I get for this story, and if a lot of readers do wish for me to continue it, I will have to make the decision on whether to give it a proper go or not. So if you enjoy it PLEASE let me know.
It wasn't unusual for it to be quiet in my place of work, that my small business at times was a cosy and quiet place due to the lack of customers I seemed to attract. It just turned out after weeks of deduction that people just didn't seem to want to purchase books on a Monday morning.
Growing up in a small town of Forks, Washington, I was used to not being around a vast number of people at once, what with the population total not going far beyond 3,120 and even that was pushing it. But it was home; even if it had seemed to gather the brunt of the rainy days.
When Charlie and Renee divorced I was left stuck in the middle, something which I had never quite forgiven her for. She was a good mother, and while she had been, and still was to a certain extent both skittish and irresponsible at times I knew she had tried her hardest to raise me. Even so, moving back to Forks with Charlie when I was seventeen was something I knew I would never come to regret. He acted like he cared and I knew he did, something which Renee tended to forget at times.
One of the main reasons I had decided to relocate from Phoenix was because of my mother's new sudden love interest in a minor league baseball player, however, it wasn't the soul reason I wanted to give her some space away from me. Every girl wanted to spend time with her daddy and it still saddened me that I had thrown away years when I had cut contact with Charlie when I was a mere toddler.
I shook my head at the memories, happy where my life was at the moment. It wasn't perfect by far, but it was enough to keep me more than a little content with what I had.
I had moved to Seattle after I had finished a business degree at university, having decided to go into a field which could help bring out my passion for reading and literature. I was a fan of the old classics, 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Austen,' and personally I thought I had done quite well for a woman in her early twenties if I did say so myself.
I heaved a collection of books resting on the crook of my elbow as my eyes scanned the bookshelves, the layout of my store not having a single book out of place. I had the entire set out memorised perfectly by now, it seemed to impress the customers when they asked for a specific book and I could locate it almost on instinct. It was amusing to say the least.
It must have been quarter to ten when I heard the small ding of the bell which rested on the frame of my door, signalling that I had my first customer of the day. It was surprising, what with a Monday morning normally being the worst day of the week when figures were taken into account.
Not wanting to harass the poor soul who had entered my domain I left them to their own devices, but kept an ear out for the sound of the distinctiveness of the bell which was placed neatly on my desk. If they wanted help, they would ask for it.
It was something I had learnt the first few weeks I had opened my little shop, having asked who soon became regular's about what they were after when they came into a bookstore like my own. Apparently hovering was not an attractive quality, a comment I made sure to put into use since that very day the shy elderly lady had mentioned it.
It wasn't that I couldn't see where she was coming from, because I did. I wasn't running a music store, or a generally loud place so it would make sense that people would want to be left to their own devices. I didn't blame them, not to mention the technique seemed to work a treat.
After a few minutes went by and I didn't hear my bell I shrugged it off, going back to shelving some of the best sellers to make good use of the quiet atmosphere. I had a new delivery in the back stock room which had arrived last night and my target was to get it all unpacked by the time tomorrow came around since statistically I tended to get more people in Tuesday and onwards. I didn't want to run out of time.
It was when I heard the rather loud conversation between what seemed like two sibling's that I couldn't help but listen in. I wasn't normally so rude but it was early and I had yet to meet Angela for what had soon become our regular gossip luncheon.
"Why are we here, Alice?" a gruff voice asked which clued me into the fact it was a bloke. Clearly he didn't seem to appreciate the quality of my store, instantly putting him into my bad books.
"Because we are buying Esme a book, you know how much of a fan she is of reading Edward" this 'Alice' seemed to sigh out frustrated.
"And we couldn't simply buy one offline because-"
"Stop being so moody, god you remind me of the Grinch you know that" Alice seemed to snort back making me have to fight back on the urge to snort out a laugh. Luckily they couldn't see me, what with the rows of thick and tall bookshelves blocking their view of me as well as mine of them.
"Just pick something!"
"It has to be perfect," Alice replied shortly. "Should we get her more than one? She was reading that novel the other week; you know the one with all the sacrifices."
"How do you even know that?"
I heard the girl sigh in frustration, my fingers going to the next book in the pile before I scanned the authors name so I could find its correct location. "Because unlike you I actually take the time to ask," the couple continued to argue. Maybe they were married? They sounded like a married couple with the way they argued with each other.
Edward scoffed. "It's a book Alice; it's hardly worth asking about."
"You'd be surprised, you know mum is really passionate about her new hobby" Alice spoke and I could picture her shrugging her shoulders and rolling her eyes. She just had that kind of voice, one which seemed to suit her actions perfectly. Then again I had never met the girl, hadn't even seen her, so what did I know?
"Reading is not a hobby" was his short reply making me frown. This bloke really seemed like an arse. "And I would hardly call it new," he continued before the girl could interrupt. "She was knitting last month, then before that it was cooking, and then before that-"
"Alright I get the point, Edward. You know what, just go find the owner or a worker and ask them what they would recommend. I need to call Jasper, he should be getting off his flight in a few minutes and I don't want him to beat me to the punch."
After that I heard the doorbell go again, signalling that she must have made her exit leaving me with what I now guessed to be her brother by how she mentioned their mother. Great, alone time with the jerk.
Not really in a rush to go track him down, not wanting him to get the impression that I had been listening to their conversation even though I had, I continued with tracking down the placements for my books. I had only shelved several since my shift started but I had other errands to complete beforehand. Basically, this was a much easier job which I could put up with which would settle for a breather before I hit the number crunching again. I hated doing the books.
His shout startled me somewhat, my upper body jolting at the sudden sound causing me to lose my grip on the books I was holding. I yelped as they tumbled to the ground, thankfully not landing on a random page but on their covers since I would hate to have to relocate them to the second-hand section simply because I dropped a brand new book and bend a couple of pages.
"I'm here!" I called out to the jerk as I bent down to carefully pick up my books. Let him come find me, it wasn't like my store was big or anything so he shouldn't have much trouble tracking me down between the rows.
"Finally, don't you know it's rude to leave a customer waiting" Mr Jerk scolded me as his voice grew closer. Would it be unorthodox of me to smack him?
Deciding that it probably was a bit of an extreme to abuse a hopefully paying customer I slapped on a forced smile before straightening up. Turning around I felt my mouth drop open in an unattractive manner at what was presented in front of me, and what I sight it was.
Now I had been with a few men in my life, a few men totalling two if I was being exact which even I had to admit was a bit pathetic on my part. Especially since one of my bed partners actually had the nerve to fall asleep on me as soon as he had finished, without pushing me over the edge I might add. It didn't exactly do wonders for a girl's confidence.
But this guy was just…wow. It was as if I was looking into the face of a GQ male model, and that was an understatement. What with the handsome man, I mean jerk, dressed in a sharp black tailored suit which seemed to fit him to a T. I had no qualms that it was expensive and probably worth a fortune, way out of my own personal budget range.
Letting my eyes rake over his tall form, another attractive quality I took note of, I almost fainted when I reached his face.
Jesus Christ; is that was heaven looked like?
I was greeted with a pair of deep brown eyes which seemed almost amber under the lights. They were a vision I knew I would have no trouble what-so-ever letting lost in. Fuck, I already was.
Shaking my head I had to remind myself that this bloke was a jerk, a very delicious looking jerk, but a jerk all the same.
"Uh…" I stuttered like a pre-teen fan girl. I cleared my throat before attempting once again to string together a full sentence, hoping that I wouldn't embarrass myself further. "What can I do for you?"
As I was successfully patting myself on the back internally I almost missed it when he started speaking. "I said, are you always so tardy when it comes to dealing with a customer?"
Oh, he had to open his mouth didn't he? I mentally sighed. Why were all the attractive blokes I found myself acting like a fool around always such arseholes?
"I don't know, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter?" I raised a brow, not in the mood for his attitude. He may have been a customer, a rich one by the looks of it, but I was not the kind of girl who let a bloke, or anyone as a matter of fact, treat me as if I was an inconvenience. It also helped that I didn't have to worry about getting the sack; I mean I could hardly fire myself could I?
I fought back a smile when I saw the shock plastered on his pale features, a feeling of both satisfaction and amusement running through me at the sight. I had a feeling he didn't get spoken to like that very often.
It seemed to take him a few seconds to respond before he managed to string a sentence together. "I would like to speak to your boss" was what he managed to come up with. I smirked.
"Sorry," I drenched my tone in mock sympathy which was impossible to miss. "But I believe she is busy right now,' I shook my head before turning back to my previous job of shelving up my books.
I watched him frown. "Well I am sure she would be interested in hearing about her lack of polite staff" he spat.
"I'm sure she would" I agreed, not looking at him.
The next book in my pile turned out to belong in the autobiographical section, a book which strangely I had been running out of quickly for the last few weeks. Why it seemed to be so popular I had no idea, but if it was what the people wanted then who was I not to make sure I constantly had it in stock.
Heading over to the other side of my store I heard him following behind me which for some reason surprised me. I pictured him to be the type to do a dramatic storm out, but again, what did I know?
"Can you stop ignoring me?"
Breathing heavily through my nose I stopped in my tracks before turning to face him, an 'oomph' leaving my mouth in a rush when I collided with his chest. His nice, firm chest…
Jeeze, why did my mind suddenly seem to be stuck in the gutter?
"Sorry," I blushed instinctively. A hint of a smile seemed to cross his lips before it was wiped off just as quickly as it appeared, leaving a stony mask in its place. What was his problem?
"Just do you damn job and help me!" he grunted out just as the shop bell rung.
"Edward, are you in here still?" the female from earlier shouted causing me to sigh. Great, just what I needed. To be honest I would prefer not to have any customers rather than be subjected to this.
"Here Alice, I'm still trying to find this bloody book! Maybe we should just try somewhere else." Oh please do, I thought with a roll of my eyes before I went back to setting out the brand new books so they were neatly on display.
"You've been in here for at least a half hour, are you seriously telling me you haven't found a single-"
She seemed to cut herself off all of a sudden causing me to glance in her direction, only to see her watching Edward which a strange expression on her face. Amusement maybe, or happiness? It definitely seemed as if she was up to something, hopefully it didn't involve me ever seeing this jerk again anytime soon.
"Hi, I'm Alice" the small pixie like female introduced herself even though it was irrelevant. Were they seriously related?
Alice couldn't have been much taller than five foot, her tiny frame and pixie cut hair making her look exactly like the perky female she seemed to sound like. If anything, she gave off the impression that she was on a constant sugar rush.
Not liking my judgemental thoughts I smiled politely and rebalanced my books on the crook of my arm so I could reach my hand out and shake hers. I was partly surprised when I discovered that she had a firm and solid handshake, a trait which seemed to contrast her looks extensively.
"Bella," I smiled before getting into business mode. "So, you're looking for a book I take it?" I asked, ignoring the snort from the jerk who was standing to my left.
Alice nodded eagerly. "Our mother, Esme, is interested in the genre of medieval romance. Her birthdays coming up in a few days and we thought it would be a nice idea to get her something she would end up enjoying" she explained.
"What price range you after?" I asked much like I did with all my requests. Customers giving you a price range tended to give you something extra to work on.
"Do we look like people who don't have money?" Edward interrupted causing me to roll my eyes. He really did seem to give off the impression of being a rich snob that was for sure.
I watched as Alice seemed to slap him on the shoulder, a gesture which seemed to have little to no effect on the giant standing next to her. Because he did tower over her small form, hell I wasn't exactly short and he still towered over me since I only just reached his shoulders.
"Sorry about my brother, he can be a real grouch" she apologised causing me to raise a brow. I stifled the urge to give her a look as if to say 'are you serious?' but thought better of it. I wasn't a rude person by nature and I certainly didn't want to take out my frustration with this girl's brother on her. She didn't deserve that.
"Do you want a series or one edition?" I asked as I laid down my very slowly decreasing pile of books on a nearby shelf.
"Doesn't matter" Edward spoke, his tone surprisingly losing some if its bite.
Puffing out a deep breath I strode down the correct row of books before selecting a favourite which seemed to be popular as of late. Medieval wasn't really my cup of tea, but I could relate to wanting to settle down with a good romance.
"So have you worked here for long then?"
I was surprised when Alice seemed to want to strike up a conversation with me, but I went with the flow. "I own it," I confessed.
"You're the boss!" Edward blurted out in an accusing tone causing me to grin widely up at him, not sure what to make of his thoughtful expression as I did so.
"No shit Sherlock" I snorted as I rolled my eyes.
Shaking my head I ignored the giggles from Alice and the twitching of Edward's lips as I went back to grabbing a book off the self. "Here," I gave them to Alice. "The book one is one of my best sellers; there should be another coming out in early May if she likes it."
"Thanks" she spoke perkily.
Nodding I headed over to my desk to ring up their book, feeling a certain someone's stare on me but I refused to look in his direction. Who knows what might come out of that devilishly handsome mouth if I did so.
"That's £13.95" I stated as I bagged up the book she had purchased, internally wincing at the price of how expensive it was. I tended to go for the second-hand books myself.
Taking the twenty which Edward handed to me I made sure our fingers didn't touch as grasped it from his hand, typing the correct digits in the till before I went to hand him back his change.
"Keep it," was all he said before grabbing the bag and heading out the door without a second glance.
Even though I was cursing internally at his behaviour I soon found myself watching him leave, or rather his delectable arse to be more precise. It was Alice who drew me out of my lust filled haze. Oh I was going to dream so good tonight I thought.
"It was nice to meet you, Bella" she smiled brightly at me causing me to shrug.
"You too Alice," I leaned my elbows on the counter as I faced her. "I hope Esme enjoys your gift."
"Oh, she will" Alice laughed. "Well, see you around" she called over her shoulder before following her grouchy brother out.
I frowned at her comment, not sure what she meant since I sincerely doubted that they would be back again. They seemed too, oh what's the word…higher class?
Shaking my head I made a mental note to tell Angela about my more than eventful morning. I knew I would be having thoughts of a certain Edward on my mind for the rest of the day, and I knew I would be lying to myself if I said that they would all be bad.