Story summary: Isabella Swan moved away from the world she's known, trying to move on from the loss of her parents and raising her baby sister, Katie. She's always seen the best in the world, but she's struggling in coping with all of the changes in her life. A new start was needed and she packed up, moving from the small town of Forks to Chicago to work as an advertising junior executive at Masen Advertising Corporation.
Edward Cullen, CEO of Masen Advertising Corporation, is a cold-hearted, uncaring, hateful asshole. An orphan and living in foster care until he turned fifteen, he was adopted by Carlisle and Esme Cullen. Edward struggled with forming relationships. All he wanted was a partner, a friend, a lover, a wife, a mother to his children. He lost his wife, Tanya, when she was found screwing his partner, Jacob Black, on his desk. She also shattered his heart, ending several pregnancies, even though Edward had pleaded to start a family.
What happens when Edward bumps into Bella in the hallways of Masen Advertising Corporation? Will she be the chink in his armor, shattering his carefully constructed walls? Or will he bring her into the darkness, shattering her optimistic view of the world? It's uncertain, but she's Falling for a Dark Soul.
Disclaimer: None of this mine, nor do I claim to be Stephenie Meyer. I just like to dabble in the playground that she created with Bella, Edward and her Twilight characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
Falling for a Dark Soul
"Are we there yet, Bella?" whined my four-year-old sister, Katie. "I want to play. I gotta go potty, too."
"Ten minutes, Kit Kat," I responded, following the directions provided by my navigation system. "Can you hold it?"
"Yeah," she muttered. "Mommy would have stopped. I want Mommy."
"Me, too, kiddo," I said under my breath. I was grieving, lost at what to do with my sister and my life. I'd just finished my MBA, and was looking forward to making a new life for myself in Seattle, working for an advertising agency. But that changed with a phone call from the Chief of Police from Forks.
My mother, along with my stepfather, Phil, had died in a car crash. They were driving back from a date night and were hit by a log truck on the road back to the small town where I'd grown up, Forks. The truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, trying to get back to his family. In reality, he'd pushed himself too far and took away mine, except for my baby sister, Katherine Marie Dwyer, who had been with a babysitter while they were out. I'd lost my father, Charlie Swan, before I could even remember. He'd died in a domestic violence call when I was a baby. He was shot to death by the man while my father tried to protect the wife, who died, as well. .
"Bella," Katie cried.
"We're here," I said, pulling up to the brownstone I'd purchased with the life insurance money from my mother's death. I'd tried to stay in Forks to keep things normal for Katie, but living in that house was like living with one foot in the grave. I couldn't stay there. I was floundering, personally and professionally. Working at Newton's Sporting Goods brought back too many memories from when I worked there in high school, none of them pleasant. I was too qualified for my job. In addition to that, I was dodging Mike's constant flirtations, despite the fact he was married to his high school sweetheart, Jessica Newton, née Stanley.
The man was a walking, talking sexual harassment suit.
If he touched my ass one more time …
I needed to start fresh. I needed to get away from the place where I'd lost both of my parents and my stepfather who'd loved me like his own daughter. My position at the advertising firm in Seattle had been filled, but the woman who'd hired me had passed my name along to a college friend, to another company in Chicago. I was offered a position at Masen Advertising Corporation as a junior advertising executive. It paid more than I was offered in Seattle, but I learned why when I went to look at real estate.
It was expensive to live in Chicago.
"Bella, there's no green. I miss green," Katie grumped. "It's all cars and buildings. Can we go back to Forks? I want more green."
"Kit Kat, we've got a new place with a backyard and there's a park nearby," I explained. "It's not as green as Forks, but it's still pretty cool. There's also a lot of stuff that we can do on weekends."
"Why not during the week? I want to be with you, Bella," Katie sniffled. "Please? I'll be a good girl."
"You're always a good girl, Katie. I love you so much," I breathed, turning to look at her. I smiled at her, staring at her ice-blue eyes, pale skin and chocolate brown curls. She was the very best of my mother and Phil put together. I hated that she'd never know them; never know how much they adored her. Shaking my head, I said, "I need to work, Kit Kat. I wish I could be with you all day … I can't, though. I'm so sorry."
The psychologist that I'd been seeing with my sister, and on my own, had said that Katie would be clingy since she'd lost her parents so abruptly. It wasn't so bad when we were in Forks. We had the continuity of her spending time with Mrs. Cope, the sweet old lady who'd worked in the elementary school when I was there. After she'd retired, Mrs. Cope had opened up a day care. Mom had decided to stay at home with Katie since Phil made good money as a surgeon who'd worked at Forks Hospital and moonlighted at the medical center in Port Angeles.
"Mommy stayed with me," Katie said, her lips jutting out. "Daddy was there, too, but he had to work. Why can't you stay at home like Mommy?"
"I wish I could, Kit Kat," I breathed. I got out of the car, opening the back seat and picking up my sister. Her whole world had been upended in the past six months. "Mommy was able to stay home because she had help with Daddy. It's just the two of us and last I checked; you don't have a job."
"I can't. I'm four," Katie snorted, giving me a wry look. She looked so much like my mother when she did that. "I … I just …"
"I get it, Katie," I said, kissing her cheek. "Now, we've got a new house that's a blank slate. We can decorate it any way we want. You said you wanted a new bedroom. Your room in the house in Forks was a baby room. I'm thinking purple, what do you think?" I put her down and we made our way into our new home in Bucktown.
After a week of painting, unpacking and organizing, we were settled in our new place. Katie had a beautiful purple and grey bedroom, along with a fully stocked playroom. I registered my sister at the local preschool for morning classes and arranged for daycare in the afternoon.
The following week, I was starting work at Masen Advertising Corporation. I needed to make sure my sister was cared for and protected, even though my heart was shattering in two at the prospect of leaving her in the care of others. The teachers at her preschool and daycare were competent, but they weren't me. I was comfortable with Phil and Mom's life insurance policies. I also got a monthly stipend for Katie's care from a trust that was set up prior to their deaths. Phil was adamant on making sure his girls were covered. I also got a check from social security until Katie turned eighteen which I deposited into an account to build a college fund for her. I would also have more money coming in once the house in Forks was sold and that would go into the college fund, as well.
The Sunday before my first day at work, I was playing with my sister at the neighborhood park. It was a warm, perfect day. We were laughing, running and enjoying the sunny skies. Katie was starting to come out of her shell, becoming the giggly, happy girl that I remembered before we'd lost our mom and stepfather. Katie made some friends at the park, playing an intense game of tag while I sat in the shade of a nearby oak tree. I sipped on some water, eating some grapes that we'd picked up from a farmer's market the day before.
A tall man, with dark sunglasses, a black t-shirt, artfully distressed jeans and messy bronze hair smiled wistfully at the children playing gleefully. He had a golden retriever attached to a leash with his tail wagging. Katie looked over at me and squealed. She left her new friends, skipping to me. "What a cute dog!" she sang. "Does she have a name?" Katie looked up at the man, giving him an infectious smile. "Can we get a dog?" she asked me.
He returned it and chuckled deeply. "His name is Sam. Sam, sit," he commanded. His voice was deep and it did things to lady parts. When Sam sat his furry butt down, Katie went to pet him. "Hold out your hand first, little one. Sam's friendly, but not all dogs are. He'll want to smell you."
"I took a bath this morning," Katie giggled, holding out her palm.
"More like gave us both a bath," I deadpanned. "Move slowly, Kit Kat." Katie held up her hand and the dog sniffed it. He gave her fingers a sweet doggy kiss and she giggled. "Is it safe?"
"You can pet him," the man snickered, but his laughter was sad. Katie rubbed behind Sam's ears, which earned her more doggy kisses.
Katie squealed and pet the dog until her friends got eager to play the game again. "I love you, Sammy," Katie said, kissing the dog's forehead. "But, I've got to go. Bye, mister!"
"You have a beautiful daughter," the man said, his voice filled with longing and thoughtful. He gave a sharp tug to Sam's leash, who stood up immediately.
"She's not my daughter," I argued, but he was already striding away. I narrowed my eyes, watching him make his way through the park and into a sleek-looking SUV. He had a nice ass, but confused the hell out of me.
"Bella! Bella! Bella!" Katie sang, running back to me with a little girl in tow. She had caramel skin and gorgeous green eyes. A woman was following her, with darker skin and a beamingly white smile. "Tia's in my class tomorrow and she'll sit with me!"
"That's so great, Kit Kat," I said, waving at Tia. I blinked to the girl's mother. "I'm Bella Swan. I'm Katie's sister and guardian."
"I'm Senna," she said, shaking my hand. "Welcome to the neighborhood. Did you just move here?"
"Yeah. We got here a couple weeks ago. We moved here from Forks, Washington," I replied.
"Forks?" Senna asked.
"The rainiest place. Ever," Katie answered, rolling her eyes.
"Sadly true," I snorted. "Have you lived here long?"
"Born and raised," Senna answered. "My husband, Nahuel, works for the Cubs organization." She took out her phone. "Give me your number. Since Katie and Tia are apparently becoming fast friends, we should plan a play date."
"Awesome. I don't know anyone here in Chicago, except for the painters I found on Craig's List, the staff at the preschool and daycare, and the mail guy, who is a bit creepy," I deadpanned, giving her my cell phone number.
"Well, I'll give you a word of advice. Edward …" she trailed off, jutting her chin.
"The guy with the dog," Senna said flatly. "He's an asshole."
"Mommy! Bad word," Tia chided, putting her hands on her hips and glowering at her mother.
"Sorry, pumpkin," Senna responded placatingly, running her fingers through her daughter's curls. "But, Miss Bella needs to know the tea." Tia shrugged, taking Katie back to the playground. "Now that they're sufficiently occupied, Edward is a cold-hearted, unfeeling asshole. It's rare that he actually talks to anyone. He usually walks his dog and avoids all human contact. If he does talk to someone, he's usually cussing someone out. The language that man uses …"
"He seemed okay," I shrugged. "He was really sweet with Katie."
"It may be a fluke, but I'd steer clear," Senna said, her brows furrowing.
"Thanks for the advice," I smiled, but I was put off by her harsh criticism by the man who'd been very kind to my sister. "It was nice to meet you, Senna. I'll give you a call to plan that play date." I called Katie over to me, and we packed up our snacks. I said goodbye to Senna and Tia, walking us back to our house. My sister chattered nonstop about her new friends, Tia and about Edward and his dog, Sam.
"Bella, can we please, please, please get a dog? A big dog like Sam? He was so cute and he kissed me. I want doggy kisses. I loved the doggy kisses," Katie sang as I tucked her into her bed.
"Let's get settled first, Kit Kat," I said, kissing her forehead. "Now, we've got a big day tomorrow. It's your first day of school and my first day at my new job."
"I wish Mommy and Daddy could see me," Katie whispered, her eyes welling with tears.
"They're watching over you. Every moment of every day," I whispered back to her.
"How, Bella? They're in heaven with the angels," Katie frowned.
"Mommy and Daddy may not be here, but they're always in our hearts. They loved you so much, Kit Kat. Even if they're not here, they still love you. I love you, too."
"I love you, Bella," Katie said, hugging me tightly. I snuggled next to her, holding her tightly until she eventually drifted off. I gave her a brief kiss to her forehead and I left her bedroom. Once in my room, I allowed myself to fall apart. I couldn't really do it in front of my sister, who was relying on me for everything. I had to be strong for her. I had to be her rock.
But, who was mine?
xx FFADS xx
Walking through the offices of Masen Advertising Corporation, I was eager to start my new journey as a junior advertising executive. My attention was divided, focused on my sister and her first day at preschool. I took pictures of her in her adorable outfit, too-big backpack and half-hearted grin, met with the teachers to explain our situation and gave her lots of kisses and hugs before I left to go to work downtown. In the office, I was going to be working with a team, whom I had yet to be introduced. The head of Human Resources, Rosalie Hale, gave me the lowdown on the company I was working for.
"I've heard nothing but amazing things about you from your references, including the advertising firm you'd agreed to work for prior to the death of your family," Rosalie said. "Your portfolio is varied and your ideas are new and fresh. I think the team you'll be working with will be excited to get to know you."
"I'm eager to put my degree to good use," I smiled, smoothing my hands down my pencil skirt. "Working for Newton's Sporting Goods, creating their advertisements and running their social media was not that much of a challenge. Plus, I worked there when I was in high school. It was a blast from the past, to be honest. I'd rather move forward in life, not backward."
"Well, Linda Newton gushed about how brought in a great deal of more customers and created a booming online store, increasing their sales ten-fold," Rosalie grinned. "Regardless of your time traveling adventures, you made positive changes for them."
"Thank you," I said, a blush creeping over my features.
"Now, you'll be working with Alice Brandon, Jasper Whitlock, and Emmett McCarty," Rosalie said, a secretive smile spreading over her face.
"What's that smile for?" I asked.
"Emmett and I are dating. We just celebrated our year anniversary," Rosalie giggled. I kept quiet, but was confused by her admission. She saw my blank look and shook her head. "We have a pretty flexible fraternization policy. As long as you disclose your relationship to HR, you're fine. Now, before you meet with your team, the CEO, Mr. Cullen, would like to meet with you. He does this with all new hires. Let's have you fill out your paperwork and then eat some lunch before your one o'clock meeting with Mr. Cullen. After that, you'll meet with Alice, Jasper and Em."
"Lead the way," I grinned.
"Actually, why don't I meet you in my office? I need to stop at the bathroom. My assistant, Jane, will give you the paperwork you need to start filling out."
Rosalie showed me the direction back to her office and I made my way to human resources. I settled down with the hiring packet that I needed to complete. While I was doing that, I got a text from Senna. I'd asked her to pick up Katie from daycare if I was running late and Senna was willing to do so. She also sent a photo of Tia and Katie playing in the preschool yard.
"She's adorable," Rosalie said, peering over my shoulder. "Your daughter?"
"No, she's my sister. My mom and her husband, Phil, had Katie late in life. In fact, my mom thought she was going through menopause when she discovered she was pregnant with Katie. I became my sister's legal guardian upon their death," I explained. "I tried to make it work in Forks, but … other than my job at Newton's, there was not a lot of call for an MBA in advertising and finance."
"How many people live in Forks?" Rosalie asked, giving me a wry look.
"3,872," I deadpanned. "Well, 3,870. Two of us moved out and to Chicago."
"With your sister, I'm assuming you'll need some flexibility with your schedule?" Rosalie questioned.
"That would be appreciated," I said, giving her a grateful look. "I'm still trying to build a new community for me and Katie … traveling for business would be a challenge. I'd also like the flexibility to telecommute, too. If Katie is sick …"
"Understandable. You're a single parent and you need to be able to care for your sister," Rosalie smiled. "Despite the prickliness of our boss, we are a very family friendly workplace."
"Mr. Cullen, he's … well, I'll let you make your own decisions about him. Just be forewarned, he'll push your buttons and not in a good way," Rosalie said, wrinkling her nose. She waved her hand. "He's brilliant, devoted to his work and has brought this place back from the brink of bankruptcy. We've landed national ads for some heavy hitters and we're continuing to grow."
When I finished filling out the paperwork, I was issued an ID, given a swipe card and a set of keys to my shared office. We rode down to the cafeteria and I was introduced to Alice, Jasper and Emmett. Alice was a petite woman with dark hair and bright blue eyes. She was pretty and reminded of a fairy with delicate movements and a soft, tinkling voice. Jasper was a tall, lanky drink of water with messy blonde hair and hazel eyes. He had a deep voice which had a southern twang. He explained that he was born and raised in Texas, but went to college in Chicago and fell in love with the city. He was also in love with Alice, too. Emmett was the last member of my team. He was huge, with an overabundance of muscles and a large personality. He has dark curly hair and blue eyes, which twinkled when he looked at Rosalie.
Clipping my ID card to my waistband after lunch, Rosalie showed me the way to CEO's office. "Come find me when you're done, Bella. Good luck."
"Do I need it?" I asked.
She didn't respond verbally, but gave me a smile and an awkward side hug.
I made my way to the CEO's receptionist. She was an older woman, with grey eyes and a dour expression. "Um, I'm Isabella Swan. I'm supposed to meet Mr. Cullen at one?"
She looked at me, her lips pursed and she looked like she was sucking on a lemon. "You're an hour late."
"It's not even one," I said, arching a brow.
The phone on her desk chirped. "Yes, Mr. Cullen?"
"Send her in, Shelly," responded a honeyed voice. "And reset your watch to central standard time."
"Yes, Mr. Cullen," she snapped. With an evil scowl, she gestured to the door behind her. "Go in."
"Thank you," I murmured, letting myself into a lavish, beautifully decorated office. "Hello? Mr. Cullen?"
"Come in, Miss Swan," said my boss. His back was to me, looking out the windows to the lake. He was well over six feet tall wearing a perfectly tailored suit. His hair was artfully tousled and was the most unique shade of bronze, red and chocolate brown. "Have a seat, please?"
I sat down in front of his desk, looking at the accolades adorning the walls and in the shelves of his office. He had completed his undergraduate degree at University of Chicago, with his MBA from the Wharton School of Business, graduating with honors. "How did you like Wharton?"
"Challenging, but effective," he responded, turning around and walking toward me. I still couldn't really see him. He was in the shadows of the window. "What about you? Did you enjoy your time at Stanford?"
"Very much so. I liked the program and loved the weather even more," I chuckled. "Growing up in the Pacific Northwest …"
"I know where you're from, Miss Swan," he said coldly. He sat down at his desk and spun his chair to face me. I recognized him immediately. Mr. Cullen was the man from the park. Edward … the man that Senna said was an asshole. In his office, I recognized that behavior immediately. His green eyes were devoid of any emotion and his jaw was clenched as he stared at me impassively. "I know where you're from and I don't honestly care. What I do care about is your work ethic and devotion to your craft … will you be able to do your job?"
A/N: And here's the first chapter for a new story. I wrote the first three chapters for the Fandoms for Hope and Relief, for the Australian Brush Fires. I'm expanding it into a full story, maybe? I've yet to work on that expansion, but I wanted to get the first chapter up.
Now, pictures are on my blog. You can access that from a link on my profile. I'm also on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Twitter, too: tufano79. Also, thank you to Clo for the beautiful banner. She also introduced me to a new way of handling graphics. I'm in no way as talented as here, but with this online platform, I can better organize my picture teasers.
Thank you to Christina Downs for betaing the first three chapters of this story for the compilation. Girl, even a world away, you are a rock star. Hugs to you, sweetie!
This Edward will be pretty unlikeable … he's got his reasons. I swear. Sometimes, they aren't the right reasons, but they're his reasons. You'll hear from him in the next update. Thank you for reading and leave me some loving! Much love to all of you!