“Danielle! Come on! We’re going to be late for work!” I yelled up the stairs.
“I’m coming. I’m coming. I couldn’t find my name tag. Although I really don’t see the need for it anymore, I’ve been at Eclipse Records for 3 years now and all of our customers know me on sight.” She yelled as she came flying down the stairs. She hadn’t changed at all since I’d met her, sophomore year. We had just graduated a few weeks before and were enjoying our new found freedoms; including living on our own. Well, almost on our own. My older brother Jasper, who had just turned 25, was living with us. My sister Rosalie had been killed in a car accident six months ago and we felt the loss drastically, and I think the reason he decided to live with Danielle and I was because he didn’t want to have to face life in the house they had shared alone. The three of us were very close and I was devastated by the loss of my beloved older sister.
“They make you wear it for the same reason I still have to wear mine at Twilight; just in case someone new comes in.” I was the assistant manager of a local book store named Twilight Books and Café. Since the two stores were right next to each other, we alternated who drove to work. Today was my day and I wanted to get there a little early. We had a new guy starting today.
“Jesus, Jess. Do you think you two could be any louder?” Jasper practically growled as he came out of his room. While Jasper is a very good looking man, standing at six feet even, with blonde hair and the Whitlock blue eyes, today he looked like hell and I didn’t hesitate to tell him so.
“God Jazz, you look like death warmed over honey. Did you not sleep again last night?” He’d been having nightmares ever since Rosalie’s death.
“No. I can’t sleep. I read all night.” He looked at me and sighed. “Why are you yelling at seven in the morning?”
“Because, if Danielle doesn’t get her ass in gear, we are going to be late for work. We have a new guy starting this morning and I want to get there before he does.” I yelled back into the kitchen.
“Oh. Well, have a good day at work. I’m going to the library to work on my thesis.” He told me.
Jasper is working on his Master’s Degree in History. He wants to teach high school history. Of course none of us actually ever have to work. Mine and Jasper’s parents had left us more than enough money to get by. Daddy had made all his money in Oil in the early nineties. We owned the house we were currently living in plus the one Jasper and Rosalie lived in and one across town which was currently being rented by Jasper’s best friend and Danielle’s oldest brother, Dean. Her other brother Sam, who I am quite fond of, is currently attending school across the country at Stanford. Danielle’s family was very well off also, her dad teaches mechanical engineering classes at Dartmouth on top of running his own company.
On that note, Danielle and I were out the door. We climbed into my lifted Nissan Titan and headed out. The drive to work was totally uneventful and we spent the whole ride rocking out to “Carry on My Wayward Son” and “Eye of the Tiger”. I pulled into the parking lot to discover that there was a huge Jeep parked in my usual parking place.
“Damn it.” I muttered “looks like new guy beat me here”.
“FUCK” Danielle whispered. “Look.” She pointed at the battered old truck that was parked next to the front door. It belongs to my crazy obsessive ex-boyfriend, James. And he was parked just exactly so that I’d have to walk right by him to get to the door.
I pulled my truck in right next to the massive jeep. The guy inside looked over at us and I waved. I felt Danielle freeze next to me. I looked at her and she was sitting there staring at new guy with her mouth hanging wide open. I reached over pushed her chin up. She finally took a breathe. “Ohmigod. He is gorgeous!” She whispered.
I started laughing and got out of the truck. I walked around to the driver’s side door of the jeep. The guy inside immediately jumped out. I gasped and took a step back, he was huge. I thought my brother was tall but this guy had like four inches on him. He was also really broad. He looked like he could wrestle a grizzly bear and win. “Hi!” he said in a loud voice. “I’m Emmett Cullen. Are you Jessica?”
He was certainly outgoing. His good mood as infectious and I was already laughing. “Why yes, yes I am. Jessica Whitlock” I reached out to shake his hand. Danielle had finally gotten out of the car and was standing next to my tailgate watching James intently. “This is my friend Danielle Winchester. She works at the record store next door.” She shook his hand but didn’t take her eyes off of James.
“Jess. He’s getting out of the truck. He’s got a tire iron in his hand.” I turned around reluctantly to see what he was up to.
I groaned when I realized that he was walking towards us. “Damn it. Call the cops please.”
Emmett immediately pulled me behind him. “Who is that guy?”
“He’s my ex. He’s psychotic and possessive. Which is why I left him. I couldn’t take anymore. I took out a restraining order but it doesn’t stop him even though I’ve had him arrested twice this month alone.”
“Ok” Emmett answered. “So I can kick his ass if I need to?”
“Yeah. I’m calling Victoria. She’s not going to be happy when I tell her that I had to call the cops again. She hates him enough as it is.” Victoria owned Twilight and Eclipse and she was super protective of Danielle and I.
She answered on the first ring. “Victoria? James is here again. Dani’s calling the cops and Emmett is standing between us and him but I doubt that’s going to do anything. In fact I’m pretty sure that seeing me talk to Emmett is what set him off.” I was rambling and I knew it, but it was the only thing that was keeping me from breaking down and crying.
“Jess, honey. Breathe. Are you inside?” She asked. I could hear her car starting up in the background.
“No. We’re in the parking lot. He’s between us and the door. He was here when we got here.” Victoria didn’t say anything for a minute. She knew my entire history with James. The jealous, possessive rages, the crazy, psychotic mood swings. She hates him almost as much as my brother does.
“Ok. I’m on my way and I’m calling Jasper. We’ll be down there ASAP.” And with that she hung up the phone.
I closed mine and looked up for the first time since Emmett had pushed me behind him. I was startled to note the appearance of three new people. One of them was very familiar and standing right in front of me. I was relieved to see Dean standing there, shoulder to shoulder with Emmett. Where did he come from? I wondered, not that I wasn’t glad to see him, he is quite possibly the only person James is afraid of besides my brother. The other two were total strangers to me. One was a guy, standing on Emmett’s other side. All I could see was that he was tall and slim with the most intriguing messy bronze hair I had ever seen, but I couldn’t focus on that right now. The other was a very short girl with black hair who was standing right next to me, her hand on my arm and her gaze full of the strangest mixture of concern and curiosity. I gave her a small half smile but turned my attention back to the scene in front of me, well what I could see of it through the tiny gap between Dean and Emmett.
I finally heard the sound of sirens approaching us. James stopped where he was, stared at all of us for a moment and turned to run. Before I even knew what was happening, The boy standing next to Emmett had taken off after him. He caught James in a matter of seconds and pinned him to the ground.
The next few minutes flew by very fast. I wasn’t paying close attention to what was going on around me. The local police were very familiar with this routine and barely questioned me. I had him arrested at least eight times in the six months since we broke up. They all knew that I had a stalking order against him and that he wasn’t allowed with in a thousand feet of me.
I climbed up into the bed of my truck and tried to catch my breath while everyone else filled out their statements. This had not been the best start to my day. I snorted quietly. So much for making a good impression on Emmett. The first thing he has to deal with at Twilight is his new co-worker’s crazy ex.
“You’re going to pay for this Jess! You still belong to me!” James screamed out as they loaded him into the squad car. I didn’t even look at him. No one was ever going to let him get near me. There was a reason why I never went anywhere alone. Jasper and Danielle wouldn’t let me.
I put my head down on my knees and focused on breathing. I didn’t want to think about this anymore. I wanted to go home and put “The Princess Bride” in the dvd player and zone out.
There was a thud next to me and I looked up to see the girl who had been standing next to me earlier vaulting into the bed of my truck.
“Hi! I’m Alice Cullen, Emmett’s baby sister. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself earlier but you looked like you were a little busy” She quip in an amazingly cheery voice considering what had just happened.
I gave her a real smile this time. ‘‘Hi Alice. I’m Jessica Whitlock.”
I put my hand out to shake hers but she shocked the daylights out of me by launching her self forward to hug me. I hugged her back lightly.
“Sorry” she laughed seeing the expression on my face “Edward is always telling me that I’m to forward with people I’ve just me but I can already tell that you and I and your friend are going to be the best of friends.”
I had to laugh. I think she was right, I already liked her and I knew that Danielle would too. “That’s good. I always need more friends. Who’s Edward?”
“Edward is my twin brother. He’s the one who caught that guy when he ran.” she told me with a grin. “ I guess we can give you a pass on not paying attention to the people around you.
“I was paying attention!” I said indignantly. “Nobody was using names.”
“That’s true.” She conceded.
“I’m glad he’s the one who caught James. Dean would have killed him had he been the one to catch him.” I paused to take a deep breathe “or God forbid that Jasper had been here, there wouldn’t have been any stopping him.”
“Jasper?” Alice questioned regarding me rather intently.
“My older brother. Dean is Danielle’s oldest brother.” I explained wondering why she was so interested.
“Oh. Does he drive a huge Dodge Truck?” She asked her eyes going wide.
“He just pulled in and boy does he look pissed. Wow you two look alike. Same eyes. Same hair color.” She looked over to me and then back at Jasper.
“ I know. We get told that a lot.”? I had to smile. She looked very interested in my brother and this little bundle of energy may be just the thing he needs to snap out of the depression he’d been in since Rosalie died.
He walked straight over to the truck. “Jessica Ann!” He started yelling at me half way across the parking lot. I cringed. I didn’t want to hear this right now. “Why the hell didn’t you call me right away? I do not ever want Victoria to be the one to call me when he shows up. He could have killed you this morning. Dean said he was holding a tire iron when he called me.” Jasper paused to take a breath.
“Jasper Whitlock! You can stop yelling at me right this minute!” I cut him off. “I had to call her first. It’s her business. By the time I got off the phone with her Dean was here. Where did he come from anyway? By the time I had enough breath to call you it was over. The cops were here and Edward had him pinned to the ground.”
He was now standing against my truck and we were practically nose to nose. I was livid now that the shock had worn off. I wasn’t actually mad at Jasper and I think he knew it just like I knew he wasn’t mad at me, but we couldn’t vent our frustration on the one person who deserved it.
“I don’t care. You still should have called me. I’m dying to get my hands on him.”
“That right there is the reason I didn’t want to call you. I can’t deal with you going to prison for killing him. I can not lose another sibling this year. Do. You. Understand. Me?” I was right in his face now. I had reached my breaking point and I dissolved into tears. There was another thud as someone landed in the truck next to me and pulled me into their arms. I didn’t recognize whoever it was but I didn’t care. I just wanted someone to hold me as I cried. My biggest fear was losing Jasper. He was my family and practically all I had left of it.
I cried for about five minutes before I began to calm down enough to hear the voice in my ear. Someone was murmuring in my ear in a voice that sounded like chocolate melted on sex. It was comforting and arousing at the same time. I also could hear Dean giving Jasper what-for for making me cry like that.
“I know you are scared but Jesus, that girl has been through hell this year man. You cannot yell at her like that. You know that she is terrified of losing you. Stop threatening to kill James. It only upsets her…” I stopped listening at that point. I didn’t need to hear anymore. I chose instead to listen to the beautiful voice in my ear. He was singing. It sounded like he might have been singing my favorite song.
“Carry on my wayward son. There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest . Don’t you cry no more.” I gasped. Holy cow! He was singing my favorite song! I pulled my head back to look into his face only to be met with the most startling pair of green eyes I had ever seen. The were such a bright, brilliant, emerald green that were quite literally sparkling. I was lost, drowning in his gaze, I couldn’t form a coherent thought let alone say anything to him.
“Jess? Jess?” Danielle was calling my name. I shook my head a few times to clear it and then broke away to look at her. “Are you ok honey? You look like you need a tissue and some chocolate”
I laughed a little and sniffed. “Yep.” A hankie was pushed into my hand and I looked up again to see those eyes. “Hi.” I managed. “I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. I’m Jessica Whitlock.” I smiled at him
“I’m Edward Cullen. I believe you’ve met both of my siblings.” He smiled back. God he was good looking. Strong jaw, high angled cheek bones, perfect ,perfect lips and pale flawless skin. Then he leaned in closer. “I hope you don’t me jumping in the middle of your conversation, but I had to hold you while you cried. It was very heartbreaking to watch.” He whispered in my ear.
“ I don’t mind at all. I really appreciate it. Thank you for the song. Its my favorite.” I whispered back. He was still holding me in his arms and I liked it.
He laughed. “ Really? Its one of mine too and the first one that popped into my head.” The sound of his laughter captivated me. It was still rich and seductive like his voice but lighter, and carefree.
I finally looked around to see that everyone had congregated around my truck. Dean was still in Jasper’s face down by my the tailgate but he was no longer yelling. Emmett was standing across the bed from me leaning on his arms on the side right next to Alice who was sitting on the wheel well. Danielle had climbed up into the truck also and was sitting my other side watching Edward and I closely, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Victoria was standing next to Emmett but watching Dean and Jasper. I knew she had a thing for Dean, but she was at least ten years older than him and he was still hung up on Rosalie. They had been engaged with only weeks left till the wedding when she died. Looks like we had just added three new friends to our group. Which was good. No one could replace Rose or Sam, but it did give me options besides my way too over protective brother and Dean on guys to hang out with. Danielle and I could use another girl too. We were horribly outnumbered but I had a feeling that little Ms Alice would soon have my brother wrapped around her little finger. He was watching her out of the corner of his eye while he was getting yelled at.
“Well, that was fun!” I said out loud, breaking the almost but not quite awkward silence that had descended since I stopped crying.
“Yeah that was almost as fun as trekking through the Fire Swamp.” Danielle told me with a straight face.
“Well, I think we did just meet an ROUS” I quipped back.
“Hmm, I think you’re right. ROUS indeed. One of the three terrors of the Fire Swamp.” We both broke out into the giggles.
Edward, Emmett and Alice were all staring at us like we’d lost our minds.
Jasper chose this moment to cut in. “Don’t worry. This is how they deal with the situation. Give it about thirty more seconds and it will make absolutely no sense because there will be nothing but random movie quotes coming out of their mouths.”
“Yeah. It starts with The Princess Bride and then goes straight to Disney and 80’s movies.” Dean chimed in.
I broke out of our usual routine for a moment. “Where the hell did you come from Dean? I got off the phone and you were standing there.”
“ I was on my way to work when I saw his piece of shit truck in the parking lot. I pulled in to see what was up and he had the three of you corned by that Jeep. He’s lucky I didn’t just grab him. I knew it would only upset you if I did that though so I didn’t. I just moved to protect you.” He smiled at me. “but speaking of work I have to get going. I have someone bringing in a ‘58 Chevy truck today for a tune up.” Dean owned his own auto shop where he specialized in classic cars. I moved out of Edwards arms to lean out of the truck to hug him.
“Thanks a lot big bro. I’ll see you at the house tonight?” I asked “I’m making enchiladas and apple pie for dinner.”
“I’ll be there.” he told me and the he jogged off to his car, a black ‘67 Chevy Impala.
“Speaking of work Jess,” Victoria cut in “I’m not opening the stores today. You two need to go home and rest and I can’t see opening up to the gossip today. Go home. Watch The Princess Bride for the five millionth time and I will see you tomorrow.” and with that she walked off to get into her car.
“Well, no work today. Enjoy it Emmett!” I told him. “I think she has the right idea. Eighties movie day?” I asked Danielle.
“Hell yes!” She replied
The Cullens looked kind of bereft. “You guys are more then welcome to come hang out with us if you want.” I told them sincerely, seriously hoping that that Edward at least would take me up on it.
“That sounds awesome. We’re in.” Alice answered for all of them.