Why are we here?
Because we're here, roll the bones, roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens, roll the bones, roll the bones.
Roll the Bones
Chapter One: A New Job, A New Town, A New Beginning
It had been a long flight from Ohio to Washington, and now I had a long three and a half hour drive from Seattle, where I came in, to some town called Forks. I still couldn't believe I was doing this, leaving my entire life behind me in Ohio, and starting over again so far away. My mom and dad were gone now, and my brothers were all distant. I hadn't seen any of them since last Christmas. It was hard to believe that it was August already, nearly a year. Things weren't great in Ohio at the moment. Jobs were getting harder and harder to find, and I'd been laid off from where I worked as a computer graphics designer for a local advertising company. However, if this little business in Washington proved to be what I hoped for, maybe I could get back on my feet again and start over.
Already rain began to beat down harder and harder on my little rental car as I navigated the slick and treacherous roads. I drove for a good while, but the rain seemed to refuse to let up even for an instant. Kyle Morris, the man that I contacted about the job in Forks, had warned me that this part of the country was the rainiest place in the U.S. I have to admit that I didn't entirely think about what he was telling me, and now I really wish I had considered it more.
Forks was a tiny little place, just like my hometown of Coldwater. I had to admit that I really liked that, as I was not a particularly big fan of larger cities. I made my way through town, until I came to a rather new looking office building, with a giant sign reading "Wulgar Industries" over the main entrance. Maybe they want me to redesign their sign? I thought to myself, seeing how unremarkable it was. Just big square Egyptian-style letters, colored blue, on a plain white backing. Obviously, the sign lit up at night.
A petite older woman was standing at the door, umbrella in hand. When she saw my car pull up, she smiled and waved. Despite the rain, I was definitely glad to have a chance to finally get out and stretch my legs. I climbed out of the car, grunting a little bit. I wasn't a small person by any means, almost 325 pounds of fat. The car was not comfortable at all to climb in and out of. Despite my troubles, I smiled at the woman, and offered my hand, which she took and shook vigorously. "Hello, I take it you are Mr. Orious?" She asked me.
"Yes ma'am, I'm Owen Orious. I have an appointment with Mr. King today. 2:30...but it might have been 3. I hope I'm not too early!" I said to her, my heart pounding away nervously in my chest.
"No sir, not at all, you're running just fine. Mr. King has been extremely interested in finally meeting you! He's been asking about you for the past 2 weeks." She said.
"Really?" I frowned. That was extremely puzzling. I didn't know this Mr. King, never even talked to him. I wasn't some huge renowned designer from California or anything, I was extremely small time.
As I wondered to myself in silence, the woman shrugged and gestured for me to follow her. Obviously she didn't want to keep standing out here in the rain while I pondered the mysteries of my new employer. We walked into the office building and I waited silently as the woman closed up her umbrella and lead me down a short hallway to a receptionist's desk. The inside of this place was extremely...red. The walls were covered with wood paneling; I suppose to try to make the place more appealing. The rug was a sickly bright red color with ugly yellow specks. The small paintings on the wall were all created with variants of red and a little brown. The place was definitely new; I could still smell the pungent aroma of paint from the ceilings, and above the wood paneling where the pictures hung. I noticed there weren't any windows anywhere to be found, even when I peeked into the open doors leading to various cubicles...all of which were carpeted with a darker red.
"Mr. Orious, this is Angie Hanover. She's Mr. King's personal assistant, and she'll be helping you with anything you might need." The woman said to me, pointing to the young receptionist sitting behind a vast desk, work papers and electronic gizmos piled up all around her.
"Thank you, Ms..." I started to say, but the woman had already turned and left. I looked back at the secretary who only smiled and shrugged.
"Sorry about that, she's a manager looking to get higher status in the company. She doesn't like to be away from her work for very long." She told me. Pressing a button on her speaker phone she spoke again. "Mr. King? Mr. Orious has arrived; do you want me to send him in?" She released the button, and the two of us stared at it, uncomfortably for several moments. There was no answer. Angie grinned sheepishly up at me. "I know he's in there, I saw him only a little bit ago and I would have known if he left..." she mumbled apologetically to me, before pressing the speaker button again. "Mr. King..." but a deep voice interrupted her.
"I heard you the first time, Miss. Hanover. Send Orious in." the voice said in a very unfriendly manner.
"Sounds like a real sweetheart." I said frowning, and pulling at my lower lip...a habit I picked up whenever I was worried or in deep thought, and never got over.
"He...he isn't the nicest man, I admit." Angie shivered. "You can go on in, Mr. Ori..." but this time it was I who cut her off.
"You can just call me Owen. Mr. Orious was my dad." I said grinning. She smiled and went back to working on whatever it was she had. "Um...I don't suppose you'd be interested in maybe...grabbing a bite to eat later??" I asked her, blushing sheepishly after checking to see if she had any rings on her fingers or anything.
She looked back up at me and cocked an eyebrow, examining my obese overweight body in a matter of seconds. "I don't date anybody I work with. Sorry." She said, trying to give me a nice pity smile before returning to work. I hovered over her for a few seconds more, before she spoke again. "Mr. King really isn't a patient man, you shouldn't keep him waiting." She told me. Sighing quietly enough so she wouldn't hear, I thanked her and entered Mr. King's office.
It was as if I'd walked into the Twilight Zone or something. King's office was completely different from all the rest of the building. Instead of being covered in the sickening red, his office was all black and white. The file cabinets were all black; his desk was a deep brown...resembling black. The walls were white and cheerless, and there were no pictures or paintings anywhere to be found. King's desk was the exact opposite of his receptionists, completely clean except for a sophisticated computer on the right side, and a very old typewriter on the left side. It looked like it was made in the early 1900's or so. All in all, the office was completely devoid of any happiness at all.
King himself seemed perfectly suited to this sort of work place. He wore a very expensive suit, and had his pure black hair slicked back away from his face. His skin was an unsightly pale...almost grey color, while his eyes were black and empty, as though he'd never known joy. He seemed like he would have been perfectly dressed for a funeral, and save for the aura of cruelty that surrounded him, he might have been a mourner at one. Behind him was another man...standing about 6'8, and built like a rock. The giant was completely bald, not even having any eyebrows; his left ear was extremely deformed, like it had been ripped off or something. He wore simple black jeans and a white tank top. His skin was bronze colored and the whole time I was there, his brown eyes glared a hole through me as if he wanted nothing more than to murder me. Suffice to say I was a little scared of this guy. Ok, I was petrified of him! He seemed totally out of place within this building.
"Sit down, Mr. Orious!" King growled, his eyebrows narrowing, and his hands clutching the sides of his desk as if to stop himself from jumping over and slapping the shit out of me. Startled by his sudden outburst, I immediately sat down in one of the two chairs he had in front of his desk.
King glared at me for several more moments, before finally lowering his eyes and looking at some papers he had laying in front of him. I managed to sneak a look at what he had...just my resume and cover letter. "You have a very nice background, Mr. Orious. I see you have lots of experience...quite impressive, considering you finally finished college at the age of 29, and are now 38 years old." He commented.
"Yes sir, I was late going to college...really late. I didn't think I needed an education until I realized how hard it was to get a decent job. I went back...got my associates...worked for a few years, and...here I am." I told him.
"Yes...may I ask you a question, Mr. Orious?"
"What is your father's name?"
King nodded but his piercing gaze continued to glare through me. "And what was your grandfather's name...your father's father, I mean?"
"Thomas." I said, frowning. What did this have to do with anything at all?
"Ah, excellent!" Mr. King exclaimed, managing a very sly looking smile. "Tell me then, where is your family from? Orious is such a strange and interesting name. It almost sounds Greek perhaps."
"No...my dad's family came from Germany, and my mom's family came from England, Scotland, and parts of Ireland."
King frowned and risked a glance at the huge bald headed man. The man continued to glare at me, until he met King's eyes. He then nodded once, and King cocked an eyebrow, as though the two were having a totally separate conversation from what was supposed to be my job interview. However, King immediately turned his full attention to me, and this time he was all smiles and looking reassuring. "Well, I must say, Mr. Orious, looking at your papers and your credentials, I am very impressed. Forgive me for all the questions about your private background, but I only hire people from the highest quality stock. I think our business is concluded now, please return tomorrow at 9:00 in the morning, and we can get you to work." King nodded to me, then turned and walked back to his desk, never bothering to shake hands or anything like that.
"Um...Mr. King...what about papers, y'know, tax forms and all that stuff?" I asked him.
"Miss Hanover will handle that when you leave here. Good day, Mr. Orious." He replied.
"Oh, uh, ok! Hey, thank you very much, Mr. King! I appreciate you giving me a chance and all that stuff. See you tomorrow?" I offered my hand to him, smiling. He looked at it but did not shake it. He merely nodded again.
"Good day, Mr. Orious." He repeated and continued to watch me...waiting for me to leave. Feeling uncomfortable as I did, I wasn't about to make him wait long. I chanced one more glance at the pissed off bald guy then rushed out of the office.
I met Angie Hanover at her desk, and breathed in deeply. King's voice came over the speaker phone as I moved away from his office door. "Miss Hanover, please make sure Mr. Orious gets all the proper forms to fill out, and welcome him as the newest member of our team. Thank you."
Angie smiled at me and pulled out a big bulky folder stuffed will all the usual boring W2 forms and crap. I sat down at a little table next to a fish tank filled with all sorts of exotic red colored fish and began to fill the papers out. I breathed in again and looked uneasily at Angie. "Um, Miss Hanover, can I ask you something?" I said meekly.
"As long as you aren't asking me out again." She replied jokingly.
"No, no...I just was wondering...who is the great big guy that's in Mr. King's office? The guy looked like he wanted to kick my a...err...butt. I really wish Mr. King hadn't let him sit in on our interview. He was freaking me out."
"Oh...that's Hector. He's supposedly Mr. King's bodyguard, and you aren't the first one to be terrified of him. He's always hovering over Mr. King...I remember how I felt when I had my first interview! After a while though, you just kinda learn to ignore him. He's the quiet type and he never leaves King's side...so he never bothers anybody." She reassured me. Somehow I wasn't quite convinced.
"Is there anyplace to unwind around here? After this, I think I just want to get out and grab a bite to eat." I said, taking off my thick glasses and rubbing my eyes wearily.
"Well, I don't know around here, but there's a nice shopping center in Port Angeles. You should check it out! There are some great places there, and it's not too far a drive. Let me print you out some directions."
I thought about it as Angie was already looking directions up on Mapquest. What the hell, another little drive would do me good, and getting out and seeing the how the locals lived could be fun. I thanked her when she printed the directions out and handed them to me, I then gave her my completed tax forms and headed back to my car...immediately drenched by the relentless rainfall.
It was only a little over an hour's drive to Port Angeles from Forks, but thanks to the rain, I made it there in about an hour and a half. The city was a decent size, and I cruised the streets looking at the places they had to eat and the shopping areas. I kept going and going, until I actually found myself leaving the city. There just seemed to be nothing that really caught my interest. The restaurants looked so busy and expensive. I kind of lost the desire to actually eat out, and figured that I might as well go someplace and grab a TV dinner or something.
As I continued my drive, I saw a Wal*Mart. At least some things are universal no matter where you go... I thought to myself with a smile. Just wanting to escape the car and rain, I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car, and hurried into the store.
The place was very busy, as many people were off from work that evening and shopping needed to be done. I walked slowly towards my destination, but turned for a detour, casually looking at all the "back to school" sales and "fall specials" they had that day. I couldn't have cared less however. Deep inside, I'd always been a big kid. My passion was collecting, anything from action figures of super heroes, to the new LEGO Star Wars sets, to the latest rock and roll guitar game.
I strolled through the action figure isle, and to my great surprise, they had a ton of new ones that I'd never seen before! The comic book "The Mighty Thor" had always been my favorite title, and I tried to collect as many issues of it as I could...and Wal*Mart had an entire section filled with Thor figures! Thor himself was there, of course, looking bad to the bone, as was his evil brother and arch enemy Loki. The Warriors Three, Sif, Balder the Brave, and even the Absorbing Man were all present! It was going to cost me a ton of money, but I had to buy these guys! Immediately I started piling the figures into my arms, looking on the backs of the boxes to see if there were any more available. Thunderstrike and Hela were also in the collection, and as I grabbed figure after figure I found both of them! The last ones they had! Jackpot!
My arms overflowing with figures, I decided I'd had enough and that I needed to head over to the electronics department. I could pay for the heroes, have them bagged, and maybe look through the games afterwards! Thor threatened to slip through my fingers...if I dropped him, I'd lose it, and I knew I'd drop all the figures so I hurried out of the isle, and went to make a sharp turn towards electronics.
Thor was going to fall, I couldn't hold onto him, I picked up my pace, and I ran into something...something BIG. I lost my balance, and tumbled over onto the ground, figures spilling everywhere. There were gasps all around me, as my body collided with the floor. My fellow fat guy, the action figure of Volstagg the Vainglorious, one of the Warriors Three, was the only figure I'd been able to hold onto, as I groaned painfully. When I got my bearings after a few seconds, I looked around to see what I'd ran into, and when I did, I immediately became very afraid. It was an Indian...excuse me...Native American...and the guy was HUGE! He could have easily matched Hector back at Wulgar's. He had to have been nearly seven feet in height, and probably a few inches taller than that even. His hair was long and pitch black, while his muscles were huge and well defined. Off on his left was a very hot looking copper haired girl of about 17 or so, and on his right was a drop dead gorgeous woman of about 25. She looked like maybe she was only half Indian...excuse me...Native American, because her skin was similar in color to his, but much paler. She shared many of the giant guy's features, and was certainly not lacking in the height department either. She must have easily stood at 6'6! I figured they must have been brother and sister or something. All three of them were staring down at me, shock etched on their faces.
Slowly but surely the big guy reached down for me. Please don't let him crush my head like a grape! I prayed silently, just before his huge hands took me gently by the arms and lifted me to my feet. After a few more of the cobwebs cleared from my head I finally managed to say something. "Oh man...I'm sorry about that! I was carrying too much, and didn't see where I was going! I hope you're alright! Sorry!!" I stammered
"Hey, it's alright! You had a bunch of stuff...looked like you were losing your grip on it. Just be more careful next time!" The giant said, smiling and infectious grin, while helping me pick up my stuff. The young copper haired girl frowned and scowled at him, obviously annoyed. As we were picking up my figures, she silently placed her hand upon his forehead. His eyes were looking at me...but it seemed like he wasn't seeing me. He suddenly blushed and smiled again. "Heh, well, I have to admit, it probably wasn't your entire fault. I was talking to my girlfriend and not paying attention. Uh...actually, I think I ran into you by accident." He said sheepishly.
He grinned back and shrugged; my arms once again full of figures. "It doesn't really matter. Thank you so much for helping me pick this stuff up! Sorry again!" I told him, but he didn't let me walk off.
"Hey, hold up a moment. Let me at least grab you a cart!" He told me, running off before I could even say anything. The next few minutes were very awkward...it was just me and the two super models. Both girls were quiet the entire time, the copper haired just stood there, smiling politely at me with her hands behind her back, while she waited for the guy to come back. Her eyes were a rich honey brown color, and her skin was soft and pale looking. The super tall girl just gaped at me. She was lighter in color than her brother, and also seemed to be very athletic and shapely. Both women were breathtaking, and wearing the absolute latest fashion styles...expensive looking clothes. The big guy, in contrast however, was just wearing simple stuff, jeans and a t-shirt, nothing really fancy like these gals. It was like I was a total freak or something, as the tall girl just kept standing there, staring, with her jaw dropped open. I looked over at her, and she realized she was looking too long. She immediately closed her mouth, and smiled the same infectious grin as her brother. She then looked away from me, blushing deeply, then looked back to see if I was still watching her. Of course, I blushed even deeper and quickly looked away. She was so pretty...I really didn't want her brother catching me checking out his sister, and kicking the crap out of me. Strangely, the copper haired girl kept glaring at her, as though disapproving.
It wasn't too long before the big guy returned, pushing a cart, and he was all smiles as he parked it right next to me. I was more than happy to dump all the figures into the cart, as my arms were starting to get tired from holding them all! "Whew, thanks..."
"Jacob! Jacob Black!" The big guy exclaimed in his friendly voice. He extended a hand, which I promptly shook.
"Nice to meet you, Jacob, I'm Owen Orious."
"Nice to meet you too, Owen!" Jacob said. "This is my girlfriend, Renesmee, and my...uh...er...cousin...Alicia." He continued, introducing me to the younger girl...Renesmee, and the tall girl, Alicia. Nice names, I guess, I couldn't say I was thrilled to hear that Alicia was Jacob's cousin and not his sister. Still family, still would probably be over protective.
"Nice to meet you all! You'll have to excuse me for being kind of shy and stuff. I'm new in town. I just moved here from Ohio." I explained.
"Ohio? That's a long trip." Renesmee commented.
"Yeah, I got a new job here...I work in computer graphics and design. I was ready to head to my new apartment and unpack my stuff, but I thought I'd go eat first."
"So...you came to Wal*Mart?"
"Well...I didn't mean to...I just didn't see anyplace that really caught my eye, and I just sort of absently drove here. I'll probably just grab a frozen dinner or something."
The three of them chuckled, and then Jacob slapped me on the shoulder. "Well, nice meeting you Owen. Good luck with the new job and stuff! C'mon girls, let's get out of here!"
"Are...um...are those super heroes for your son?" Alicia asked me, blushing deeper red than ever before. It was the first thing she'd said the entire time.
Now it was my turn to feel utterly embarrassed. A 38 year old man buying toys...for himself...not a great way to make a first impression. "Oh...uh...ha ha...well...no, I've never been married or had any kids or anything. Err, I'm sort of an avid collector of super hero stuff, and these are some of my favorite heroes and villains." I told her shyly.
"Who are these guys?" Alicia asked, staring blankly at the powerful looking figure of Thor, even though his name was clearly on the box.
"Well, that particular guy is Thor...god of thunder! He's awesome!" I exclaimed, probably with far more enthusiasm that I should have.
Jacob rolled his eyes. "Cool. Alright Owen, maybe we'll see you later!" He took Alicia by the hand and started to walk away, but she wouldn't budge! To everyone's surprise, she actually yanked him back when he tried to pull her away.
"What sorts of...um...super powers does Thor have?" She asked, her huge bright honey brown eyes gazing at me. They were almost exactly like Renesmee's...same color and shape and everything. It was extremely weird to have a girl acting this way with me. She seemed to hang on my every word, even though I was completely out of her league.
"Ha ha ha! Honey, we've got to get going...let's leave Owen alone, alright?" Renesmee told her...almost lecturing. Really weird to see a 16 or 17 year old almost disciplining a 25 year old. "It really was nice meeting you, Owen." Jacob and Renesmee then exchanged a quick and very troubled look, before grabbing Alicia by both her arms and pulling her along.
"Wait! Wait! I want to talk some more! Let me go!" She yelled, actually struggling against them. They held her fast, but...I dunno...it looked like she could have easily broken free if they hadn't really held her tightly. I couldn't believe Jacob was struggling. He was almost twice as wide as she was...damn that guy was big!
I smiled and waved, a little disappointed to see her go, but a little relieved as well. I shouldn't flirt like that...as horrible and as clumsy as it was. The tall girl was probably just making fun of me or something anyway. It wouldn't have been the first time I'd built my hopes up, only for some girl I was chasing to break my heart. "See you around, guys! I'd love to talk some more some time!" I called after them, before grabbing my cart and pushing it towards the electronics section..