This was not happening. This was not happening. This. Was. Not. Happening.
Sure enough, it was happening.
Jasper, my boyfriend, said that the economic failure wouldn't last, that I would be right back on my financial feet in no time. That I wouldn't have to worry about being evicted from my apartment since I couldn't pay rent. I knew this would happen.
Ever since I lost my job in August, I was prepared for the worst. Maybe cancelling my gym membership, or hell, even selling last year's Versace. But never was I prepared for losing my apartment-my baby.
I glanced at the large pile of boxes along with a suitcase and duffle bag as I waited for Jasper to come pick me up. He'd been so sympathetic and had offered me a chance to stay with him in his apartment. I couldn't turn it down, even if his studio apartment was a bit small for two people.
I heard the horn honk outside as I saw Jasper's mom's SUV pull up just outside the revolving door at the front of my building. I waved wearily at him as he got out of the passenger's seat and jogged quickly through the door.
"Hey, Al," he said in his sexy Southern accent as he pulled me into a tight embrace.
"Thanks again for letting me stay with you, Jazz. It really means a lot," I said, lightly banging my head on his hard shoulder. He chuckled and rubbed my back.
"Anything for you, Al," he said, releasing me and turning his attention to the pile of boxes in the middle of the lobby. "Which ones are the fragile ones?"
I pointed to the group of about six smaller boxes on top of the pile that were labeled "FRAGILE" in bright red lettering. I gave him a ‘duh' look.
"Right. Sorry." He lifted up two of the boxes from the top of the pile and proceeded to carry them out to his mother's SUV. His mother, Lula Whitlock, who preferred to pronounce her name Luler instead of the correct pronunciation, was outside waiting patiently in her car, neglecting to help us with the large task at hand. She was a tad out there, but I never told Jasper that.
I sighed and picked up two more of the boxes and carefully maneuvered my way through the revolving door.
"Jasper! What do you think you're doing?" I exclaimed at the sight of him loading my fragile boxes into the open trunk.
"Uh, isn't this what you called me to do? Help you load up your boxes? And isn't that what I'm doing?" he asked, confused. I rolled my eyes and snatched the box from his hand.
"You can't put the fragile stuff on the bottom, silly. Especially my bras," I said, pretending to pet the box like a cat in my hands. Jasper raised an eyebrow.
"Bras are fragile?" he asked, putting his hands on his hips.
"Yes, that's why they're called delicates," I said, snatching the other box from him and smiling to myself at my corny joke. As I put the boxes in the backseat of the SUV that smelled like cigarettes and old people, I felt something warm up against my back. I smirked and turned around to see Jasper's perfect teeth gleaming in the early morning sun.
"I will never understand you, Mary-Alice Brandon," he said. I scowled at him. Was this his idea of flattery? "But I love you anyway," he said, kissing my lips quickly. I giggled, but was interrupted by the doorman behind us.
"Excuse me, miss. You really should get your personal items out of the lobby. It's disrupting the residents," he said. How the hell could a pile of boxes be disrupting the residents? Jasper and I made our way back into the lobby and found a small group crowded around my boxes. They seemed to be going through my things! How dare they!
"Excuse me, miss. You really should get your personal items out of the lobby. It's disrupting the residents," the doorman said. Uh, oh. This had happened before to a friend of mine. She was moving out to live with her new husband and left her stuff in the lobby, when people started going through it and taking things. As we made our way back into the lobby, my suspicion was soon confirmed, and Alice was floored.
"Hey! Get away from my stuff! Can you read? Property of Mary-Alice Brandon, you idiots. Get the hell away!" she snapped, causing the group of people to scatter quickly. There was one guy, probably about seventeen or so, who picked up a pair of pink lace panties from an open suitcase and tried to sneak them into his pocket.
"Hey, kid! Put that down! You don't go around taking other people's delicates, you perv!" she exclaimed, pointing at the kid. He dropped the panties and walked away quickly, glancing over his shoulder a few times. Alice was fuming.
"Ugh! I hate people!" she said, sitting down on a box and putting her head in her hands. I crouched down in front of her and put my hands on her knees.
"Hey, cheer up, Al. At least your moving out of this horrid building away from all of the horny teenagers and cranky retired people," I said, lifting her chin up. I knew she hated that building, and I was a teeny tiny bit pleased that she got evicted. She was always stressed out from the annoying people in her building, and it always brought her mood down a whole lot.
She smiled at me. "Thanks, Jazz."
I took another gulp of beer and jumped up, fists in the air.
"YES! Ha! Take that, you damn Pats!" I screamed at the TV. Edward and I hi-fived as I sat down again, taking another large gulp of beer.
"Damn, the Giants are on fire this year," Edward commented, stuffing his face with another handful of cheese balls. I nodded in agreement. Edward has been my roommate for the last year and a half, and we'd become extremely close. We were both big football fans and we were both bartenders at the same bar. Although Edward wasn't really fond of my wife, Rosalie, he tried to get over it whenever he could, since she'd been living with us for the past six months.
"Dude, do you think Jazz'll mind if we're in his house?" Edward asked, shifting his position on the couch. Jasper had been my neighbor for the whole time I'd been here, and recently became my brother-in-law. That's right, kids. Jasper Whitlock, twin brother of Rosalie McCarty.
"No," I replied. Jasper had this kickass flat screen TV with hi-definition and surround sound, along with the most comfortable couch and the best stocked refrigerator.
"He sure has been gone a while," Edward said, looking at his watch. "Where'd he say he was going?"
I waved my hand and stuffed my face with cheese puffs, "I don't know, something that had to do with Alice, I think." Edward nodded and we continued to watch the game.
About ten minutes later, we heard the front door open and the squeaky crying of someone.
"Dudes," Jasper said. His hair was all disheveled and messed up. Probably from the awful weather we'd been having. "What the hell are you doing in my house?" Some girl who was crying hysterically walked in behind him and leaned into his side.
"Ugh, more idiots that I have to deal with," the girl cried dramatically.
"Dude, who's the chick? And don't you think Alice might have something to say about that?" I asked, not recognizing the girl. Jasper gave me a look and the girl walked right up to me and smacked me on the back of the head.
"Emmett, you're such an idiot! It's me! I am Alice! And I'm disgusted that you'd think Jasper would cheat on me!" She smacked me again. I recognized her hi-pitched voice, then.
"Ohhh, hi Alice. How was your day?" I asked happily. Jasper groaned and Alice let out a loud cry, smacked me again, and stormed off into Jasper's room.
"Who pissed in her dinner?" I asked. Edward pinched the bridge of his nose and started mumbling something about having a migraine from all of this ruckus and exited out the door to our apartment across the hall. I turned to see Jasper banging his head against the wall.
"Jazz?" I asked. I almost shit myself when I saw him look at me with the scariest face I'd ever seen in my life.
"Emmett," he said calmly at first.
"Jasper," I mimicked him tentatively. Apparently, mocking Jasper when he's angry probably isn't the best idea in the world.
"GET OUT!" he boomed. I nodded at him and quickly walked out of the apartment, closing the door behind me.
I tied my hair up in a ponytail after wrapping my apron around my waist at the first day at my new job. I didn't want to be a waitress; I kind of had to. If I wanted to survive and stay in my apartment. Besides, waitressing could be fun. Maybe I could meet a guy or something and put some life into my extremely boring love life. Or meet some friends. Besides the girl on my floor who has different colored hair every time I see her, and the sixteen year old bimbo who lives across from me and always pays me to do her homework for her. I wanted real friends.
"Bella," my new boss, Shawna, called. She handed me a pen and a pad of paper. "All you really need to do is go around and refill people's empty coffee cups. If they have regular coffee, their cup will be tan. If they have decaf, their cup will be dark green. If they have anything else like a cappuccino or something like that, they'll have a different cup. All you need to worry about is the tan and green cups. Make sure you're friendly, too," she finished and disappeared into the back room. I took a deep breath and made my way behind the counter where the coffee was supplied. I had the evening shift, so hopefully I wouldn't get that many cranky old people looking to be woken up.
I looked up and saw a tall and extremely beautiful girl walk into the café followed by a big burly guy whose hair was covered by a wool cap and his head was down, so I couldn't see his face. The girl held her head high and strode right over to the dark green couch that sat in the corner and sat down; the guy sitting next to her.
I walked over slowly with my two pitchers of coffee in hand, catching snippets of the conversation.
"I'm really sorry, Rose. I didn't know she was so upset," the guy said, hanging his head. That voice. That voice sounded extremely familiar, but I just couldn't place it.
"You should've thought, Emmett. She was crying. Alice never cries. Didn't you think it was out of the ordinary?" the girl said, putting her hand on the guy's shoulder. The guy shrugged just as I reached them.
"Hi," I said in a friendly voice. "Coffee?" The guy looked up, his eyes huge. Emmett McCarty.
"Bella?" he said, his eyes growing wider by the second. I smiled at him. Emmett was my old lab partner from my freshman year in high school. We'd only been partners for a semester, but we'd become good friends throughout high school. We'd lost contact just before college.
"Emmett McCarty? I can't believe this!" I put down the pitchers of coffee just before Emmett stood up and enveloped me in a huge bear hug.
"How're you doin', Squirt?" he said, finally putting me down.
"Alright, just tryin' to get by in this horrible economy," I said. He nodded and gave me a knowing look. I looked around him and saw the blonde girl scowling on the couch.
Who the hell did this girl think she was? And how does Emmett know her? They can't be that close. I've been with Emmett since the beginning of college and he's never mentioned a long lost friend or girlfriend.
I saw the girl look around his muscular body at me and I scowled at her. Emmett whirled around and offered me a hand. I stood up without taking his hand.
"Rose, this is Bella, an old friend from high school. Bella, this is Rosalie, my wife," he introduced us. Bella waved at me and I nodded a little in her direction. Just an old friend from high school? Oh, I had nothing to worry about. The girl was pretty, but not nearly as stunning as me, and I got a brother/sister vibe from them, so I was alright.
"Well, I'd better get back to work. It's my first day," Bella said, picking up the pitchers from the coffee table.
"Sure, well it was great seeing you, Squirt." Emmett sat, patting her head. I almost started laughing at the look on her face. It was a cross between ‘are-you-being-serious' and ‘did-you-just-pet-me?'
"Emmett, I am not a dog," she said, clenching her jaw playfully. He rolled his eyes.
"Bella, before you go, can I have your address?" I asked, trying to be nice. The girl seemed decent and maybe Emmett wanted to know. She nodded and scrawled something on a piece of paper and handed it to Emmett.
He examined it for a moment, and his eyes lit up. "Hey! You live in our building! And on our floor!" Emmett exclaimed happily. He looked like a five year old on Christmas. He must've really been close to this girl.
"Wow, really?" she exclaimed, surprised.
"Yeah, have you ever met Alice Brandon?" he asked. If she hadn't met Alice, then she was seriously deprived. Although she'd just moved in with Jasper today, she'd always be at his apartment.
"Is that the really short girl with hair all over the place?" she asked. Emmett nodded.
"Then I've met her. She seems nice," she said, filling two cups on the coffee table near the couch where we were sitting with coffee.
"Oh, she is. She just moved in with her boyfriend, Jasper, because she got evicted from her old building," Emmett told her. I rolled my eyes at his usual routine of telling random people other peoples' problems. Bella made a face.
"Is Jasper the blond guy? I think I've met him a couple of times. I think he helped me when I locked myself out of my apartment," she thought out loud, tapping her chin. Emmett opened his mouth to ask about that incident when Bella held up her hand.
"Don't ask," she said. Emmett nodded.
"How come I've never seen you around?" Emmett asked, sitting back down on the couch.
"Um, I never really go out much. I don't really know that many people around here," she said, her head hanging like she was ashamed.
"Well now you have Rose and me! And I can introduce you to Edward! And maybe re-introduce you to Alice and Jasper!" Emmett became excited. Bella giggled and rolled her eyes.
"Well it was nice seeing you, Emmett, but I really should get back to work," Bella said, looking around the café.
"It was nice to see you too, Bell. Come over anytime you want. Just make sure you knock." He shot me a suggestive look and I rolled my eyes. "We're the third door on the right."Bella nodded and waved shyly at us before getting back to work.
"I like her," I said, as soon as she was out of earshot. Emmett smiled at me.
"That's good. She's been through a lot in her life," he said, putting his arm around me.
It was so nice to see Emmett again. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad at this new job.