Business Class Girl @lamomo
Chapter 3

Chapter 3, revamped!
Your eyes are not deceiving you. I am reposting Business Class Girl from scratch, sprucing it up with the help of Alice's White Rabbit and Sunflower Fran.
The updated version will post weekly on Mondays and, once the first 22 chapters are posted, they will be followed by new chapters until completion, since the story is now entirely pre-written.

Thank you to Sally and Fran for editing and beta'ing, to RobsmyyummyCabanaboy and Deh for being my plot coaches and shoulders to cry on.

Disclaimer: *checks notes* It still all belongs to Stephenie. I just like to play in the sandbox.

BUSINESS CLASS GIRL – CHAPTER 3

[September] – Edward's POV

London in the rain, what a classic scene. What a nightmare to get to Heathrow in a minicab when downpour grinds traffic down almost to a halt. Once in a blue moon, though, I'm not my usual clueless self, and I'm not late. I get to Heathrow with plenty of time to spare. For once, my security guys quirk an eyebrow as they nod their silent salute.

Not that I can claim any sort of personal credit for my timeliness. I didn't catch a wink of sleep last night. When I gave up trying, I just figured I could get ready earlier and called the minicab to pick me up in advance.

Well, I called Angela, who yelled at me because she was in a meeting, who called Jessica (her receptionist), who called the minicab company to reschedule. The chain of command may seem tortuous, but it's the only way I know. Angela is the go-to girl. Without my agent, I'd be lost. I am lost most of the time. Lost and clueless.

I've spent another eventful week in London. Of course, I was involved in all sorts of promotional and press events during the day, but this time, I put my foot down. No posh hotels, no dinners, no after parties. I wanted to stay at home with my parents, have dinner with them every night, and sleep in my old room.

I needed to be normal again, even if only for a week. When I'm back in L.A. next week, I'll be catapulted into mayhem again. The teen-movie franchise I signed on to last year has been my breakthrough, but since the hype began, I've had no peace whatsoever. This brought on a landslide of other opportunities, but along with it came the security guys, the crazy schedule, the media circus, and … no peace.

I slump in my seat in the VIP Lounge. It will be a while before my flight to N.Y. is called for boarding. I'm not used to—not anymore—having spare time on my hands. It feels foreign.

While I try to think of something to do, I scan the room out of habit. People-watching will definitely be my guilty pleasure forever. The VIP crowd always looks the same to me. Businessmen in pinstriped suits, briefcases at the ready, Financial Times clasped tight in their hands, the works.

One slight, petite figure stands out, though. She looks vulnerable and fierce at the same time. She's calm, collected, and poised, with her head held high and her mahogany hair twisted in a serious bun at the nape of her neck. I don't need to look farther to occupy my time.

Cullen, can you believe your good fortune? It's her.

Again.

My Business Class Girl is here again. But wait, before I get all excited …

And I mean that literally, Cullen!

Before I get all excited … she may be here to board another flight. So I'd better make the most of it since I might only catch this glimpse, and then none forevermore.

Damn. How pathetic can you be, Cullen?

Meanwhile, Business Class Girl has chosen a seat at the other end of the room but still in a convenient position for me to continue gawking at her. Good thinking because her seat is next to the restrooms, and as it happens, nature is calling. I answer promptly. It would be unhealthy to wait.

You mean, it would be unhealthy not to stalk her while you can, Cullen …

As I walk to the men's room, I happen to overhear a scrap of conversation.

"Hi, Rosebud. It's me. Yes, I'm checked in and ready. I'm trying not to work. No, Jasper hasn't called. Yet."

Someone speaks at the other end of the line. She's silent as I enter the restroom. A few minutes later, I extricate myself from the cubicle, and she's still on the phone.

"No, Rosalie. I'm not going to hide. I'm going to do something worthwhile, but before I do that, I need closure. Otherwise, Jacob will never understand. I need to do this in person. And Jake isn't the only person I'm meeting in New York."

Silence. She frowns. My dazzled brain replays this random sentence again to try and grasp its full import. "I need closure. I need to do this in person". Sounds like she's breaking up with the Jacob guy. Way to go, Business Class Girl.

Wait, who is she going to meet in New York? Any chance we might run in the same circles?

My flight is called for immediate boarding, and I dash back to my seat, gather my backpack and carry-on items, and follow my security guys. Special stardom treatment begins here. I don't overhear the rest of the conversation, and I can't take one last look at her.

All I can think of as I am ushered through the secret doors that are closed to mortals but open to A-listers who need to travel far away from the public eye is the look in her eyes, the lines of her face, the mass of mahogany silk on her shoulders.

Business Class Girl, will this closure give you what you want? Will it make you happy? I hope it makes you happy.

Cut the emo crap, Cullen! You want to make her happy!

I'm now safely boarded on the plane. My security guys have been herded down to the coach section, and I try to make myself inconspicuous. No mean feat—courtesy of Angela and her cut-throat skills, my face graces the cover of GQ, US edition this month. I had to don a monkey suit or two, got too much gel in my hair, looked mean and brooding like Jimmy Dean, and there went anonymity. Plus, how well can you hide a mop of unruly, bronze-coloured locks? It does stand out in a crowd.

On top of that, add the studied obsequiousness of the flight attendants and their unstoppable litany of "Mr Cullen this, Mr Cullen that," and I am definitely through with hoping I could get away with it. Everyone within a ten-foot radius knows who I am and where I'm sitting.

I plan to catch up on sleep anyway, and the seat beside mine is usually empty. I keep wondering whether it's a coincidence or not. Surely, Angela doesn't book two seats for me to make sure no-one sits beside me?

This time around, though, I feel a gust of air moving in close proximity. It's a scented gust of air. I breathe it all in because it feels oddly familiar. A shiver that has nothing to do with the pressurised air of the plane runs down my spine to my toes. I venture one peek at the source of this tantalising scent.

Someone is watching over me. I may be a believer yet.

Because the source of this heavenly fragrance—flowery but not too sweet, fresh but not too sour; in a word, a spellbinding scent of summer, sun, and morning air—is none other than my favourite obsession. Business Class Girl is sitting right beside me. No aisles, no empty seats. She's right beside me. For an eight-hour flight.

What will I do with the object of my obsession and the target of my stalkerish compulsions here beside me at close range, within reach of my hands?

I haven't been this nervous since the auditions and screen tests that ended up giving me the role of my life. The one that made it happen. I haven't been this nervous since the first time I kissed a girl back in school when I was a gangly and awkward teenager with unruly, unfashionable hair. I draw a deep breath that fills up my shoulders and muster up some semblance of courage. I'll need it for the next eight hours.

Sleeping never seemed so attractive, but somehow, I don't think I could manage to sleep now even with a deadly cocktail of sleeping draughts. Every nerve in my body, every cell in my brain, even the ones that are irrevocably hard-wired to my traitorous dick, is standing at attention.

Roll call, guys. This is gonna be hard work.

And through what is becoming the ordeal of the century to yours truly, what does Business Class Girl do? She ignores me. Blatantly and flatly. The seat beside her could be empty for all she cares. The plane rolls on the tarmac as the flight attendants go over the pre-flight routine, security arrangements, captain's announcements, how long the flight will be, what movies we will have, duty-free shopping, and whatnot. We're airborne. And she still ignores me.

With a pang of annoyance, I register that I'm not used to being ignored. No-one ignores me, most of all when I want to be ignored. The one time I fervently want to be noticed, the one time I would crawl on my knees for miles for a look of recognition and a shy request for an autograph, I'm met with a wall of indifference. She completely blacks me out. I don't exist in her world. She's too wrapped up in her own bubble to notice me.

I'm slightly pissed off because I definitely want her to notice me, but whatever rational capacity is left in my brain finally sends a memo to my baser instincts, and I realise that maybe not everything is lost. If she keeps ignoring me throughout the flight, I can keep keenly observing her as I always do, without creeping her out and notwithstanding our forced close proximity.

I try to make myself less conspicuous by retreating to the very corner of my large seat, right against the window. I can't keep my knit beanie on my head indoors because it would be impolite, so I must reveal my very tell-tale hair against my will, but I can try to disappear in a corner. I'm so nervous that probably some lost ability from an earlier life will resurface and help me out with that.

Meanwhile, she's getting ready for her flight, and after hauling her large briefcase up into the overhead locker—which prompts me to think I'm a jerk because I could have helped her, but since I don't exist, I can't help anyone—she gracefully settles back in her seat and places a heap of papers and a book on her tray.

She isn't wearing work gear today; no designer pantsuits, no Jackie O flowery dresses. She's donning a well-worn pair of stone-washed jeans, with a strategically placed rip on one knee, and a pair of golden ballet flats. This breath-taking outfit is completed by a cream cashmere top that hugs her curves gracefully and leaves little to the imagination. Now I have to stare at this masterpiece for eight hours.

Keep your eyes away from the rip on her knee, Cullen.

She fishes out an iPod and a black case from her purse before devoting her full attention to the wad of papers in front of her. The case is actually a glasses case, which holds a pair of black-rimmed, professional-looking spectacles.

Damn. She looks hot in those librarian specs, Cullen.

She fiddles with her iPod for a few seconds, her earbuds already in place, until she successfully locates the playlist she wants. Of its own accord, my gaze wanders to the screen of the iPod. The playlist is called "Angry Songs" and it appears to be replete of all sorts of grunge and punk anthems, with more than a smattering of Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam thrown into the mix. Business Class Girl has unexpectedly good musical tastes for someone who always appears so uptight and classy.

She scrolls down the playlist to locate a specific song. Once again, my eyes do not fail me.

Stone Temple Pilots, Still Remains? Fuck me sideways. "Stabbing thorns and you become me …"

She is innocently torturing me to a slow death by unresolved sexual tension. One of the greatest bed songs ever written, and I'm condemned to contemplate the object of my obsession while she listens to that very song less than a foot away from me while I don't even know her name. I've never talked to her, I may never see her again, and she is ignoring me like the plague.

Not fair, Business Class Girl. Not fair at all.

I imperceptibly shake my head to clear my terribly lewd thoughts and fail miserably. She is impervious to each and every one of my movements. The music blaring in her ears further isolates her from me. I don't exist in her world.

She's fully engrossed in the papers in front of her. A fountain pen and a pencil in her hand, she carefully reads through every line and occasionally jots down some notes on the margins. Sometimes, she makes heavier corrections, crossing out entire lines and writing in her own text. Her additions are written in a neat and clear hand, every note and symbol scribbled down in what seems like a well-oiled correction method with symbols and numbers to locate additions and moved paragraphs.

She could give a few screenwriters a run for their money, Cullen.

She doesn't lift her head from her work for hours, and I drift off to sleep somewhere above the Atlantic until a voice stirs me from my dreamless, uncomfortable sleep.

"BeeBee, is that you? How long! How have you been?"

Of course, with my luck, she had to meet someone she knew on this very flight. I open my left eye a crack to size up the competition, as envious as ever. Business Class Girl leaves her work behind and stands up to greet this stranger.

"Kevin Maxwell, I could say the same to you. Fancy finding you on this flight, how have you been?"

Yeah, Kevin. Fancy finding you on this flight. Now get the hell away from my girl.

AssKevin hugs her, and she hugs him back. AssKevin kisses her on the cheek. AssKevin's eye and his filthy hand linger on Business Class Girl's forearm for a second too long.

AssKevin, say goodbye to your filthy hand.

They talk for a few minutes until the flight attendant interrupts their friendly conversation because she needs to roll the refreshments trolley down the aisle. I do a little covert happy dance. I might actually decide to be nice to this particular flight attendant until we land at JFK.

AssKevin returns to his seat, business class as well, unfortunately, with an eager proposal to meet up for lunch sometime while they are both in N.Y. Business Class Girl tries to answer politely, but she still sounds non-committal to me. Why do I get the feeling she's letting him down easy? Why am I so pleased?

Because you want to take her out for lunch, dinner, and then breakfast, Cullen. Be honest.

Business Class Girl is back in her seat and is back to ignoring me steadfastly. We still have two hours before we land. I try to get some shut-eye. I'm still watching her, though, through a crack in my eyelid. The same crack that glared at AssKevin so furiously that, if I had some superpower, he might have spontaneously combusted.

She's switched to another pastime—the wad of papers has been put back into her briefcase and replaced by a black notebook. I know the shape and feel of this kind of notebook because I myself go through tons of them.

She's writing in a Moleskine notebook. With a fountain pen. She's filling line after line with neatly penned sentences. I can't bring myself to read them. There's a precise code of honour for us keen observers, and reading over her shoulder would definitely break some golden rule of conduct. Something stops me, and I have to look away. I pretend to sleep, but before I do, I take one good look at her while she is writing.

She looks so spontaneous, so peaceful and at ease while she's writing that my heart swells with pride and joy. It doesn't matter that I don't know her, it doesn't matter that I don't know what she's writing, but of all the times I've seen her, spied on her, observed her, hung on her every word, looking for every clue and every hidden meaning that could bring me closer to her and her secrets, I've never felt so close to violating her sphere as I am now.

I have to look away until a strange sound calls my attention back to her. She stifles a sob and brings her hand to her mouth. A traitor tear runs down her face, and she's unable to stop it from falling. I'm aching to wrap her up in my arms and comfort her, but I can't do it. I'm stuck with witnessing her pain. My eye falls on the screen of her iPod again. The Angry Songs playlist does include some unexpected gems, and one of them is playing right now—Placebo's cover of Running Up That Hill.

Why do I feel that this song is uncannily ominous? Why do I feel that it might have something to do with my girl's crying jag?

Then my memory is assaulted with the lyrics to this song, and somehow, a light bulb blazes in my brain.

You don't wanna hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware that I'm tearing you asunder.
There's a thunder in our hearts, baby.
So much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?

###BCG###

Business Class Girl's POV

I don't know why I let Jake pick the venue of our dinner—our Last Supper, as Rosalie has ironically codenamed it. Though he's not privy to this valuable titbit of information; for our Last Supper, Jake decides to go to Del Frisco's just because it's within walking distance of his office.

Unless Emmett is grilling, I'm not a great fan of US steaks myself, so I go for the lobster tail, and my inner bitch rejoices over the prospective amount of the check Jake's going to have to pick up tonight. Rosalie's rubbing off on me, or at least her "dump the guy in style" techniques are.

We eat in silence. I'm too caught up in eating my lobster tail with style to multitask and keep up polite, meaningless conversation with Jake at the same time. Besides, I really love lobster, and I'm trying to relish it to the last morsel without attracting Jake's attention to my subdued expressions of culinary delight. He doesn't think it fashionable to express one's pleasure with food when eating at a location that is thronged with clients, work associates, and prospective clients.

I've worked with Jasper for years, so I know the drill. You don't just eat; you mingle because that's how business is done. Except you should probably refrain from pitching for business when you take your girlfriend out on a date, at least.

Nonetheless, Jacob works non-stop. He's worse than Rosalie, Jasper, and I put together. He's taken his investment banker success to a whole new level and has dragged me through the dust behind him for a year or so.

He resents the fact that I work as an assistant. The fact that I work for Jasper is an added curse to the mix. Yes, because Jacob works with Rosalie—works for Rosalie, might be more correct—because Rosalie is his boss. The fact that his boss is my boss's sister doesn't sit well with him. The fact that the three of us have known each other for years doesn't sit well with him, either. The fact that Jasper and I are practically joined at the hip makes him positively furious.

The fact that my job is worth shit in Jake's opinion makes him look bad. The fact that he thinks my boss is "taking advantage of me to further his career," on the other hand, doesn't sit well with me. The fact that he's been goading me for months to drop everything and follow him to N.Y. to start "a new life together, free from the strings that bind me to London" doesn't sit well with me, either. The fact that he thinks I came to N.Y. to cave in to his proposals makes me positively furious.

Tonight is the night I put my foot down. Tonight is the night I call it off. Utterly and irrevocably. Tonight is going to be the first night of the rest of my life.

Songs cited in the chapter are Stone Temple Pilot's Still Remains and Placebo's cover of Running Up That Hill.
There's a link to a Spotify playlist on my profile that includes all the music featured in this story.

Talk to me, people. Otherwise, see you next week.

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