Iteration: The Perks and Pitfalls of Talking Too Much

Disclaimer: Any Twilight characters that may appear in this story belong to Stephenie Meyer. I adopted this plot bunny from my dear friend and beta, xsecretxkeeperx, who was going to idiotically throw it away. The remainder is my original work. No reproduction is allowed without my written consent.

A/N: This story is complete and will be posting one chapter per night for nine nights. Information about updates to An Introduction to Swirl and Daisy can be found on my profile.

An endless thank you to xsecretxkeeperx and MariahajilE for all of the hard work they poured into this story. They made these words pretty for you. I want to keep gushing, but I also want you to read the story. These ladies are astounding, wonderful, fantastic people. Okay, I shall go gush them out on Twitter. Enjoy!

. . .

Not Exactly a Prologue, But Definitely Not a Chapter: A Lesson in Persuasion

. . .

Craigslist. com

Seeking Capable Sales Representative

Date: 2010-11-04, 3:43PM PST Reply to: job-ptext-2045558325 {at} craigslist. org

Expanding Internet company seeks talented sales person in Seattle area.

Must be charismatic, personable, and available.

Acting experience and an attractive physique are preferable.

Age range is 20-26.

Please send resume complete with prior job experience, employment recommendations, and character references to aliceknowsall {at} bite. com.

Location: Seattle
Compensation: To be negotiated
This is a full-time job. Principals only. Recruiters, please do not contact this job poster.

. . .

RE: Craigslist Job Posting

From: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)
To: aliceknowsall {at} bite. com

Thu 11/04/10, 3:59 PM


I'm contacting you in regard to your posting on Craigslist about a sales position in your company.

I think you will find I have all of the mandatory qualifications you listed, as I am charismatic, amiable, and have all of the time in the world. As for acting experience, I do not have much. I did, however, play the White Rabbit in a highly acclaimed school production of Alice in Wonderland.

I've attached my resume to this email, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time,

Edward A. Cullen

. . .

RE: RE: Craigslist Job Posting

From: Jasper Whitlock (aliceknowsall {at} bite. com)
To: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)

11/04/10, 4:05 PM

Dear Edward A. Cullen,

You didn't mention whether you were attractive or not.

Please respond ASAP.

Jasper C. Whitlock

. . .

RE: RE: RE: Craigslist Posting

From: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)
To: Jasper Whitlock (aliceknowsall {at} bite. com)

Thu 11/04/10, 4:11 PM

Hello, Mr. Whitlock.

I'll let you be the judge. I've attached a recent photo of myself.


Edward A. Cullen

. . .

RE: RE: RE: RE: Craigslist Job Posting

From: Jasper Whitlock (aliceknowsall {at} bite. com)
To: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)

Thu 11/04/10, 4:14 PM

Dear Edward A. Cullen,

Do you like pancakes?

Jasper C. Whitlock

. . .

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Craigslist Posting

From: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)
To: Jasper Whitlock (aliceknowsall {at} bite. com)

Thu 11/04/10, 4:18 PM

Hello, Mr. Whitlock.

Yes, I do.

Edward A. Cullen

. . .

RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Craigslist Job Posting

From: Jasper Whitlock (aliceknowsall {at} bite. com)
To: Edward Cullen (edwardcullen {at} yahoo. com)

Thu 11/04/10, 4:21 PM

Dear Edward A. Cullen,

Please meet me at the IHOP on E. Madison Street at 11:30 A.M. Friday afternoon.

I'm sure it will be a pleasure to meet you.

Jasper C. Whitlock

. . .

It was like a public service announcement about why one should never meet people over the Internet.

"You're Jasper Whitlock?" Edward croaked.

"Just hear me out."

Oh, I am so fucked, Edward thought. "Dude, I cannot be here right now." He scanned the restaurant, paranoid. "Do you know what happens to adult men who interact with little boys they meet over the Net?"

"This isn't some Dateline special, so take a pill. And also, I'm almost eleven years old," the kid said, pulling out a folder from his backpack.

"You know that doesn't make a difference, right?"

"Look, Mr. Cullen, this is still a job interview."

He cannot be serious. "You cannot be serious!" Edward said, his voice reaching an indignant octave.

The kid pouted, setting the folder down on the table and glancing up at Edward from behind large, black-framed glasses. "Please, hear me out, and if you still aren't interested, then we'll part with no hard feelings. Just… please."

A brief moment of indecision gave the kid an opening to latch onto Edward's arm. "Please! Pa-lease. Pleeeease. Uh, por favor. Pretty please…"

Smiling coolly and shaking his head in a "those darn kids" sort of way, Edward tugged away from the kid and took a step toward the door, hoping to let the curious onlookers see that the show was over, which, of course, backfired.

The kid slid from the seat cushion, collapsed to his knees, and clasped his hands together in front of him. "Oh, please, PLEASE, sir! I'm begging here. Please don't leave. Just hear what I have to say. Please, please, please!"

At least I'll be wearing my best suit for my mugshot, Edward thought as the disapproving glares of the patrons forced him into the booth. He shushed the kid and tried to reassure him, but Edward's panic melted into awed disbelief as the kid scraped himself off the floor with a triumphant smirk.

"You've done that before," Edward stated, wondering how many poor Craigslist schmucks this kid had scammed.

"Not personally. Just seen it in the movies."

"Which movies?"

"Down to business. Here is my proposition." In the folder the kid handed to Edward were several printouts of charts, outlines, and animated characters, none of which made any sense to Edward. "I've created the vampire version of World of Warcraft."

An order of pancakes and bacon landed in front of the kid, who then doused the pancakes with ketchup in lieu of syrup. Edward was sure it had to be some kind of symbolism for his life. In an effort to distract himself from gagging, he asked what World of Warcraft was.

The kid's glasses magnified his thunderstruck eyes when he looked up from the heaping mess on his plate. "You don't know what World of Warcraft is?"

"Have you been livin' under a rock?" the waitress, an older woman who Edward hadn't realized was still standing there, asked at the same time.

Edward looked between the two of them at a loss. "Yeah. Because I have a life," he lied. Three months ago, Edward had dropped out of school due to financial difficulties and had spent the majority of his time since seeking out a job. The only entertainment he could afford was the free Internet he mooched off the school's library with his old ID code. Edward missed money. "What is it? A movie?"

The waitress scoffed. "No, it's not a movie."

"Yet," the kid cut in. "There've been rumors."

"No way that's happenin'," the waitress said. "Some things are sacred and shouldn't be made into movies. Ever seen the D&D movie?"

The kid adjusted his jaw. "Renee, we've had this discussion so many times, and I'm sorta in a business meeting. Can't this wait 'til later?"

Instead of upsetting the waitress, the reprimand seemed to amuse her. She turned to Edward with a dry smile and asked, "Can I get anything for you this mornin'?"

"Nothing for me. Thank you." Committing a possible felony had eviscerated Edward's appetite. "So, what were you saying about vampires?" he asked, unsure of himself as he watched the waitress walk away. It was obvious she looked out for the kid.

"I modeled BITE—that's the name of my ORP—after World of Warcraft. It's an online role-playing game, an entire cyber reality."

Computers were not exactly Edward's forte. He could barely understand social media, and now this kid was going on and on about quests and network setups and a few things Edward was ashamed to admit went straight over his head. He focused on the title page of the packet, on the words that made up the anagram BITE. Words, he could do; Edward had been a Russian Literature major and considered himself something of a word-slinger.

"The Brethren of Immortal and Tabanid Everlasting," Edward read. "Do you even know what 'tabanid' means?"

"Yes, of course I do. It means blood-sucking."

"Actually, it means blood-sucking insect. It's short for 'tabanidae,' which is a horse fly." Showing off for a ten-year-old was a new low for Edward.

"Nobody knows that."

"I knew that."

"What kind of person knows that?"

An unemployed, ex-Russian Literature Major who carries a dictionary in his back pocket and has access to his mother's old crossword puzzle books, Edward thought as he bypassed the question out loud.

"Your game is called The Brethren of Immortal and Blood-Sucking Flies Everlasting."

"Well, what do you suggest?" the kid demanded too loudly. "I needed a word to fit the T, and that was the only thing that remotely worked."

"Okay, okay, okay." Edward held up his hands in surrender, so the waitress wouldn't have a reason to come back. "We can figure something out later. I'm, um, kind of good with words."

Placated, the kid said, "I've been pretty fucky with my—"

"You've been what?" Edward interrupted.

"Fucky. I like to sometimes combine my words together since it saves time."

"I'm not following."

"For instance, fucky is actually 'freaking lucky' smashed together."

"Kid, that does not mean what you think that means."

"Mr. Cullen, if we end up deciding to work together, I will technically be your boss. It's best if you refer to me as either Jasper or Mr. Whitlock." Apparently, the kid could tell that he'd stepped a toe over Edward's patience meter, because he quickly went back to talking about the business. "I've been very lucky with the actual coding of the website. Everything is perfect."

"So, what are you? Some kind of prodigy?"

The kid took a bite of his pancakes and ketchup, chewing slowly as he contemplated his answer. "I wouldn't say that. I just have a lot of spare time, and I spend it on the computer." That was obvious. "And Alice is always there to help me out."

"Alice is… your sister?"

"Alice isn't my sister," the kid said, closing the subject with a secretive chuckle. "The only problem I'm having is getting start-up financing for the servers and distribution."

"And why is that?"

"Well, look at me." He cast a self-conscious glance down at himself. "I'm…"


"Ten years old. I've tried meeting with some buyers. I've sent them demos of the game, and they've loved it. But when I meet them in person, they think it's a joke from their co-workers."

"Why don't you wait a few years and try again?"

"Because now is the time of the vampire," he said passionately. "We need to capitalize on how popular they are at the moment!"

"You don't find it annoying?" Edward asked, curious. "I find vampires kind of lame."

A shadow passed over the kid's face.

"I meant overdone," Edward tried again.

The kid's face only got redder. "Vampires are not overdone. They are misunderstood."

"Right," Edward said, deciding to let it drop.

"You don't believe me!"

"I didn't say that."

"How many times do I have to reiterate that vampires are here to stay? They literally cannot die."

"Iterate," Edward mumbled.


Edward cleared his throat. "Iterate," he said. "You were iterating, not reiterating that vampires are here to stay. I don't understand why people don't ever just iterate when they talk. It's like they forget it's a perfectly good verb."

The kid stared at Edward. Perhaps he had rambled somewhat, but it was still a valid point!

"That's where you come in," the kid continued as if Edward hadn't spoken, "I need someone to be the face of the company. Someone who can be a sharp salesman, is decent looking, and doesn't mind saying everything I tell him to."

"You expect me to say everything you tell me to?" Edward asked, entertained that this kid believed he had a snowball's chance of convincing Edward to do something so absurd.

"You didn't even know what World of Warcraft was. If we expect to sell this thing, you need to sound at least a little intelligent."

"Hey!" Edward sat up. "I'll have you know that I am—" was "—a Russian Literature major. I also have bills to pay. I can't work on your little pet project."

"Did I not say in the Craigslist ad that your salary was to be negotiated?" the kid said, the frayed cuffs of his faded and worn-thin hoodie clenched in his small fists.

Edward wanted to groan or maybe laugh. "What can a kid really afford to pay me?"

"Well, nothing at first—"

"I thought as much."

"But if you do everything I say, this idea is potentially worth millions."

Edward shuffled through the presentation packet one last time. He landed on an illustration of a man standing shirtless in the middle of a meadow… sparkling. "What is this?" he asked bleakly, holding up the picture.

"Vampires in BITE are different from other vampires. They don't die in the sunlight. Their skin reflects light and makes them shimmer."

"Look, kid," Edward said, having hit his breaking point. "You have quite an imagination, and in a way, I'm sure that's a good thing. But this," he gestured to the pile of papers scattered over the booth table, "is absolutely crazy."

"I'm not crazy!" the kid shouted, looking suddenly wild. "Don't ever call me crazy again!"

"Not a problem." Edward stood. "Obviously, this isn't going to work, but good luck. And uh, stay in school, okay?"

Because he figured it was right, despite having barely enough money to feed himself, Edward found the waitress to pay for the kid's food. He watched from the front register as the kid, his posture utterly dejected, collected his presentation papers and straightened them back into the folder. When the kid's shoulders lifted only to hunch even lower over the table, Edward sighed too, an uncomfortable tension forming in the pit of his stomach.

"Hey, Miss?" he asked the waitress. "Do you know if that kid's parents are coming to pick him up soon?"

She shook her head as she swiped Edward's debit card. "Jasper's been comin' here every Saturday for nearly two years. Walks here from wherever he lives, I suppose. Won't let me drive him home or anythin'." She handed the debit card back but didn't let go when Edward clutched it. "You're the only other person I've ever seen him talk to."

Despite his best efforts, Edward couldn't stop thinking about the kid as he made his way out of the restaurant and onto the misty streets of Seattle. Certainly he had no reason to feel guilty. He was the injured party in this mess, for goodness' sake! The kid had tricked him into coming, wasted his time and his money. So why, why did Edward feel like he'd done something wrong?

Edward approached his car, held the key up to the lock, and then let his hand fall. Maybe he should go back into the restaurant and give the kid a pep talk or some such nonsense. Maybe his guilt stemmed not from turning down the kid, but in how he had discouraged the idea (and the kid along with it). "No," Edward said to himself. "Let it go. There's nothing you can do. You'll only make it worse."

Shaking off the bout of gloom, Edward got into the driver's seat and pulled away from the restaurant. He would not dwell on this. He would forget this nightmare and go find a real job. And perhaps that might have happened if Edward had made a left turn instead of a right. As he pulled around the bend in the road, he spotted the backpack… then the hoodie… then the glasses.

"Damn it, Edward," he growled, hazardously parking his car and jumping out. "Hey! Wait up!" he called. "Hey, kid! Jasper!" The kid turned around, startled.

"So, so…" Edward said breathlessly after jogging to catch up. "So, this idea's worth millions? How do you figure?"

Jasper looked like he couldn't believe what was happening. "You really want to know?"

"Yeah. Tell me. Tell me everything."

Jasper fumbled with his backpack to pull out his folder. "World of Warcraft has over twelve million subscribers, and they sell those subscriptions for a pretty hefty profit each." He had statistics at the ready, but Edward didn't need to see them. "If we can get the proper funding, we could really pull this off. I'm willing to offer you half of whatever turnover we make."

"I don't know," Edward said, not wanting to get Jasper's hopes up that they'd make a dime on this.

"Sixty percent."

"Look, Jasper—"

"Seventy percent."

"Jasper, I—"

"You can have it all," he said, his desperation becoming palpable. "Just please help me out?"

"What do your parents think about this?" Edward asked.

"They don't really care what I do with my time," he said, elated as if he knew Edward was on the brink of giving in. "You can even meet them, if you like."

Edward hesitated a moment longer to process the decision he knew he had already come to. His answer hinged on only one question. What the hell did he have to lose?

. . .

Two years, twenty-three changes to the T in BITE, and over one hundred interviews later.

Ten million subscriptions to BITE sold.

Over three hundred million dollars in Edward's bank account.

Jasper C. Whitlock was one fucky genius.