Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyers owns Twilight, you know that. I just like the characters! ENJOY!
A/N: I will be posting another story as well. Only one will be continued you're your opinions for now. Let me know what you think! Should I continue? Do you want more? This was beta'd by the awesome mauigirl60 and Dolphin62598.
"Are you sure you don't want me to just drive you?" asked Alice, my best friend and roommate.
"Jake said the part will take at least a week to come in. It would be too much hassle for you with the hospital being out of the way from my office," I sighed. "It's not your fault my truck is a piece of crap."
It wasn't. My dad had bought it as a gift for me when I was seventeen, and had come to live with him. To some, the truck would be considered a classic; to me, it was junk because of the way it was always breaking down. I lost count of how many times it had broken down on me in college. I ended up only going to places on campus within walking distance.
"The bus can't be that bad and maybe I can get myself on a routine once I know the schedule better," I assured both her and myself. "Save on gas money."
The truth was I hadn't once used Seattle's public transportation since I moved downtown two years ago.
"Just remember, wear ear buds at all times and no eye contact…with anyone!"
"Thanks, Mom," I said dryly as she pulled up to my new bus stop.
"Anytime! I just don't want you to end up in my ER."
That was a phrase always out of Alice's mouth. She was a physician's assistant at Seattle General Hospital. Between her and my Police Chief father, I didn't know who was more protective of my safety in this city.
"I know, and thanks," I said honestly.
I got out of Alice's car and, with a wave, she was off. I felt a sense of déjà vu from when Renee would drop me off at my bus stop when we lived in Phoenix. There were two girls dressed exactly like me in flats, pencil skirts, and button-down blouses. They also had Longchamp bags like mine. I suddenly felt like I was definitely just another worker bee. I had no individuality, just like them. There also was a guy in khakis and a polo, and another who looked like a bike messenger, standing next to his bike.
The girls were talking and the guys were standing there, ear buds in just like me. Needing something to distract me while I waited, I pulled my phone out of my cardigan pocket. The bus pulled up five minutes later and we all filed on. Most of the seats up front were filled so I moved directly to the back where there was a seat right in the middle of the row of five.
I hadn't hit play on my iPhone yet so I could still sort of hear everything around me. I looked around, noticing the bus half-filled with young corporate drones like myself, while the other half were from the grittier neighborhood on the edge of mine.
A little boy stood up in his seat and a woman I assumed was his mother yelled, "Marcus, what the fuck did I tell you?" No one around me seemed to care.
I diverted my gaze to my phone and hit play. The next time I looked up was two stops later. I watched more people file on and my eyes landed on a guy in the front, holding onto the bar at the top. He had chaotic auburn hair and a nice charcoal suit. He was also wearing ear buds.
I stared at his profile until I noticed my stop was next. I stood up and excused myself, as I tried moving toward the door. I held onto the thick handles attached to the bar, but it seemed I was way too short. My shoe caught and I pitched forward, but avoided hitting the gross germ-ridden floor.
"You okay?" asked the suit guy I'd been staring at.
"Uh-huh," I mumbled dumbly.
He smiled, letting me go and gesturing for me to move in front of him. I tapped my bus card to the machine by the driver and got off.
The universe had given me a chance to be smooth and I blew it. I tended to be socially awkward; Alice got it because her boyfriend, Jasper, was the same way. We stuck together when Alice dragged us out. I sighed as I watched the bus continue down the streetbefore entering the front lobby of my office building.
I'd been a Marketing Assistant with Newton's Outfitters since I graduated college. I never thought Charlie would be a network contact for me, but he was. I'd worked for Newton's corporate store in high school, which was founded in Forks the year I was born. Mr. Newton was a fishing buddy of my dad's as his company was rising to the top. I was ten when they left Forks to branch out nationwide.
I headed up the elevator to the tenth floor, my floor and hurried to my cube. For some reason, everyone was always very chatty in the mornings. I liked to check my email and send out a few reports to my department, before being bothered by my coworkers, maybe even run out and grab a coffee.
"Hey Bella, how's the world of public transportation?" Mr. Newton's son, Mike, asked as he took a seat in the chair beside my desk.
"Invigorating," I said dryly.
He snorted. "I'm surprised the Chief let you ride the bus."
"The Chief doesn't know."
"Oh, really?" he asked, clearly fascinated with that revelation.
"It was last minute and I didn't think it was necessary to send Charlie into a frenzy."
"That's very considerate of you," he grinned. "What about your boy toy?"
"Jacob Black," he clarified.
"We're not seeing each other anymore," I mumbled.
Mike's face looked hopeful. It had been two months since I broke things off with Jake. He'd been smothering me, throwing around terms like living together and marriage. It was stifling…he was stifling. Alice was the one who'd asked him about bringing my truck in and the next thing I knew, he was outside my building, eager to look at it.
Jake knew my truck better than anyone and I trusted him with it, I just didn't want him getting the wrong idea. I didn't want to lead him on and it was the same with Mike. I knew he had a crush on me, which was another reason I didn't say anything about Jake. I wanted to take some time for myself, to figure out who I really was before I became serious with someone else.
"Such a shame; you guys looked happy," he sighed, laying his act on a bit thick.
My phone started ringing and I saw it was Rosalie, the woman whose cube was next to mine. "I have to take this," I said, giving Mike a smile.
"Sure, maybe we can grab a coffee or lunch later," he offered.
"Hmm," I said picking up my phone. "Hello."
"He was getting pathetic. I needed to intervene," she mumbled into the receiver. Her voice was low enough that I knew Mike couldn't hear her.
"Thanks," I breathed.
"So, how about coffee or lunch?" she asked, making me giggle.
"It's a date, let me grab my bag."
We hung up and Rose came around to the doorway of my cube. "Hi, date," she said, winking at me.
"Thanks for that, by the way."
"You didn't need to explain your relationship status to him and he was making himself look like an idiot knob," she said with a snort. "So, you took the bus today?"
"I did," I said with a nod. "Kind of daunting."
"I take the bus every day, daunting is an understatement."
"You take the bus?"
"It makes the commute faster," she said, shrugging.
I nodded in understanding. Today, at least, I noticed that the bus cut twenty minutes off my commute. We stood in line together. Rose was recently single after breaking up with her boyfriend of five years. She explained that she wanted things he wasn't willing to give her. He only wanted a girl on his arm who made him look good.
I looked up for a moment, and noticed my White Knight from the bus. His posture was stiff as a tall strawberry blonde rubbed his bicep. She was dressed in a sleek charcoal dress that matched his suit. Her hair was pin-straight and lips painted ruby red.
I frowned. As perfect as they appeared, they didn't look like they fit together at all. She was murmuring to him and he looked annoyed, moving away from her. He did pay for her drink, though. She sauntered over to the barista who was making her drink at the end of the coffee bar.
I ducked my head before Rose nudged me. "What is it?"
"Nothing, it's stupid," I mumbled.
When I looked up, White Knight was passing us. His green eyes smiled. "Twice in one day, huh?"
I shrugged. To be honest, I didn't want to sound as unintelligent as I had earlier. It was embarrassing for me.
"Edward!" the woman he was with called haughtily.
"Coming," he sighed, giving us a wave.
"Who was that?"
"He saved my face from hitting the floor of the bus this morning."
"That's the kind of guy you need," Rose said, wide-eyed.
"Yeah, right!" I snorted.
"Bella, he looked genuinely happy to see you," she insisted.
"Barbie at his side would beg to differ."
"You're selling yourself short; I bet you he's interested."
I shook my head, moving up to the cashier to place my order. Rosalie was delusional. White Knight, Edward, was too good looking and I was too awkward and low maintenance for him. The woman with him exuded confidence.
The rest of my Monday went by slowly. Mike peeked in a couple times, asking if I wanted to grab lunch again or if I wanted a ride. I declined explaining I already had plans with Rose and a bus pass; if I didn't use it, it would be kind of a waste.
To my disappointment, I didn't see Edward on my commute home. I also had the pleasure of having to stand the whole ride. Jasper was waiting for me where Alice had dropped me off.
"Was it as entertaining as you thought?" he asked with his trademark lazy smile.
"Everything I dreamed of and more," I answered dryly.
We spent the rest of our ride back to the apartment discussing work. Jazz was a CPA uptown for a law firm, which was actually pretty close to my office. He went in later and that was the reason I hadn't ridden in with him. Before Alice and Jasper moved in with me, Jake and I lived there. We weren't living together; however, he just stayed way more than he was welcomed. My grandmother once owned the building. When she passed away, she it to my mother in her will. Renee hadn't lived in Washington since I was a year old, so she had given me the building. My dad wasn't happy about it. We hired someone to manage it and I lived there rent-free.
It was a huge studio; we lived on the top floor and had six other tenants in the building. Alice and Jasper slept in the upstairs loft I added on about a year ago. I stayed in the downstairs addition I'd put in next to the kitchen. I had my privacy and they had theirs.
I went to the bathroom and took a shower. When I stepped out, I stared into the mirror, thinking about what Jake and Mike saw when they looked at me; what Edward saw. I had long, wavy brown hair. Brown eyes, small nose, bow lips. I was short…petite with curvy hips. I always wore flats because they were comfortable; if I were meant to be tall, I would have been born that way. I sighed, wrapping a towel around myself.
As I walked into my room, I saw Alice was on my bed, watching TV. "Can I help you?" I laughed.
"Jazz is making dinner. You look different," she accused.
"Well, I'm not wearing much," I said, gesturing to my towel.
"Not that," she said tilting her head. "Something happened to you today."
I looked at the pixie in front of me. "Did you do a rotation in psych or something?"
"No, don't be smart. You know how my feelings are," she added pointedly.
"Jake called again?"
"No, Mike knows that Jake and I aren't together. He seemed very eager."
"Just be upfront with him, tell him you're not interested,"
"He's my boss' son and our dads have known each other forever."
"Billy and Charlie have known each other since kindergarten," she pointed out. "Charlie told you that whomever you date is up to you, but it's a need-to-know kind of thing, as long as he treats you right."
"I know," I said, puffing out a breath.
"How was the bus?" Alice asked, switching subjects.
"It was okay. I'll be on it tomorrow."
And I was.
I sat in the same general area as yesterday. Edward got on at his same stop, though today, he had a place to sit.
Two stops down the road, an elderly woman got on and he gave up his seat for her.
She squeezed his forearm and he gave her a polite smile. That, right there, melted me. I passed him again when I got off and he nodded at me. There were no words exchanged between us.