A/N: Thank you for your condolences. Please keep my family in your prayers, whichever religion you follow.
“This doesn’t feel right.”
Silently, I place a dollop of hair gel on the palm of my hand and start applying it on my hair, trying to calm the perpetual chaotic mess it is.
“This is so wrong.”
As I start brushing my fingers through my hair, I finally break down and say, “You can admit you’re worried about me, Es.”
A huffing noise comes through the speaker. “Oh please! Why would I be worried for your sorry ass? You can go and get yourself in trouble as you like, just don’t expect me to come save you.” A few seconds pass before she bursts out, “Of course I worry about you, you silly boy! We may have a business relationship but you’re like my little brother … like the only family I’ve got.”
I can’t help the smile that comes over my face. “Now now, Esme Platt. Don’t go soft on me.”
“Shut it, Masen,” she snarks, calling me by my real name. “Let someone care for you for once!”
Holding my hands up in surrender, I nod. “Care away, ma’am.”
Once my hair looks completely different from its natural state, I pick up the earpiece from its case and start to put it in when I ask Esme, “Will you be listening to everything that happens at the newspaper office?”
“You’re damn right I will,” she responds. “Don’t forget the glasses. They’ll let me see through the camera installed in them.”
Heaving a sigh, I carefully put on the glasses and then grin. “This feels very Clark Kent, you know?”
“As long as you don’t go and fall for Lois Lane.”
I don’t answer to her teasing as my mind goes to the mysterious DNA girl. What would it be like to work with her … to not have to hide in the shadows? To actually show her my face?
“Virtuoso …” Esme calls my name, a warning clear in her voice. “Don’t even think of it.”
“Think of what?”
“Our work isn’t right for having a social life, kid,” she says, there’s sympathy in her tone. “Unless she’ll go to the island you want to retire to, don’t go and get your heart broken. It’s not worth it.”
Closing my eyes, I picture my angel from my dream and nod. “Yeah. I understand.”
“You’re a good guy, Edward,” Esme tells me. “Go and find out who wanted to get you in trouble, Kid.”
I offer her a mock salute and sling the bag containing my usual change of black clothes on my shoulder to pull off my nerdy look. “Aye aye, ma’am.”
It’s show time. Anthony Scott is about to make his appearance.
The morning after my report about Rosalie hit the world, the office of Inside Out keeps buzzing with the sound of ringing phones. Angela, our receptionist glowers at me as I walk in. “You owe us a lot, Bella,” she says.
I cringe. “Is it that bad?”
She nods somberly. “It’s the webstory with the highest number of hits till date. Ben’s going crazy trying to keep the server from collapsing.” Then she grins at me. “You won’t believe how many hits you got, girl. You’re the superstar journalist who got the scoop first.”
I pull a face. “Bet Leah doesn’t feel that way.”
“No, she doesn’t …” a voice says from behind me that turns out to be Leah. Our Editor stands there with her hands on either sides of her hips and continues, “I’m still wondering whether to punish you for going behind my back or applaud you for having the balls to do so.”
“Well …” I start. “You know … because of this the tabloid is getting good exposure …”
She holds one finger up to my face. “Zip it, Barone. I’ve already got a job for you as a form of punishment.” She moves a little to the left to reveal a man standing behind her. Bespectacled and with his autumn-colored hair brushed back, he looks like a male model … for the geek magazine, maybe, but definitely a model.
“This is Anthony Scott,” Leah says, gesturing to him with her hand. “Anthony, this is Isabella Barone, sadly one of the brightest reporters we have.” She pretends to ignore the 100-watt smile I offer her and continues, “Isabella will be in charge of training you. And you …” she turns to me. “Train him well. He’s our newest member.”
I nod and hold a hand out to Anthony. “Nice to meet you.”
He takes my hand and shakes it vigorously. “Nice to meet you too, ma’am.”
I can’t help but blush at the formal tone of his greeting. “Isabella or Bella is fine,” I tell him. “May I call you Tony?”
He nods. “Yes, ma’am … I mean Ms. Bella.” I watch as the tips of his ears reddens and I can’t hold back my smile. “We’re going to get along great,” I tell him. “Welcome to Inside Out.” As I’m leading him inside to introduce him to the rest of the staff, I can’t help but hope that behind his recruitment is Leah’s interest to expand our business beyond the realms of entertainment.
A girl can hope, right?
A/N: A shorter chapter this time, but I promise the next one will make up for it.
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See you on Wednesday.
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