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Future Promises

When a nerdy older man, Owen Orious, comes to Forks to begin life anew, destiny ties his fate to the Cullens. Unknown to him, Owen's family possesses deep secrets of their own, and all the while danger lurks in the shadows. Can true love stil triumph in the end?


1. Chapter 1 and 2

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Future Promises

By: Richard Klosterman

Why are we here?

Because we're here, roll the bones, roll the bones

Why does it happen?

Because it happens, roll the bones, roll the bones.

Roll the Bones

Rush; 1991

Chapter One: A New Job, A New Town, A New Beginning

It had been a long flight from Ohio to Washington, and now I had a long three and a half hour drive from Seattle, where I came in, to some town called Forks. I still couldn't believe I was doing this, leaving my entire life behind me in Ohio, and starting over again so far away. My mom and dad were gone now, and my brothers were all distant. I hadn't seen any of them since last Christmas. It was hard to believe that it was August already, nearly a year. Things weren't great in Ohio at the moment. Jobs were getting harder and harder to find, and I'd been laid off from where I worked as a computer graphics designer for a local advertising company. However, if this little business in Washington proved to be what I hoped for, maybe I could get back on my feet again and start over.

Already rain began to beat down harder and harder on my little rental car as I navigated the slick and treacherous roads. I drove for a good while, but the rain seemed to refuse to let up even for an instant. Kyle Morris, the man that I contacted about the job in Forks, had warned me that this part of the country was the rainiest place in the U.S. I have to admit that I didn't entirely think about what he was telling me, and now I really wish I had considered it more.

Forks was a tiny little place, just like my hometown of Coldwater. I had to admit that I really liked that, as I was not a particularly big fan of larger cities. I made my way through town, until I came to a rather new looking office building, with a giant sign reading "Wulgar Industries" over the main entrance. Maybe they want me to redesign their sign? I thought to myself, seeing how unremarkable it was. Just big square Egyptian-style letters, colored blue, on a plain white backing. Obviously, the sign lit up at night.

A petite older woman was standing at the door, umbrella in hand. When she saw my car pull up, she smiled and waved. Despite the rain, I was definitely glad to have a chance to finally get out and stretch my legs. I climbed out of the car, grunting a little bit. I wasn't a small person by any means, almost 325 pounds of fat. The car was not comfortable at all to climb in and out of. Despite my troubles, I smiled at the woman, and offered my hand, which she took and shook vigorously. "Hello, I take it you are Mr. Orious?" She asked me.

"Yes ma'am, I'm Owen Orious. I have an appointment with Mr. King today. 2:30...but it might have been 3. I hope I'm not too early!" I said to her, my heart pounding away nervously in my chest.

"No sir, not at all, you're running just fine. Mr. King has been extremely interested in finally meeting you! He's been asking about you for the past 2 weeks." She said.

"Really?" I frowned. That was extremely puzzling. I didn't know this Mr. King, never even talked to him. I wasn't some huge renowned designer from California or anything, I was extremely small time.

As I wondered to myself in silence, the woman shrugged and gestured for me to follow her. Obviously she didn't want to keep standing out here in the rain while I pondered the mysteries of my new employer. We walked into the office building and I waited silently as the woman closed up her umbrella and lead me down a short hallway to a receptionist's desk. The inside of this place was extremely...red. The walls were covered with wood paneling; I suppose to try to make the place more appealing. The rug was a sickly bright red color with ugly yellow specks. The small paintings on the wall were all created with variants of red and a little brown. The place was definitely new; I could still smell the pungent aroma of paint from the ceilings, and above the wood paneling where the pictures hung. I noticed there weren't any windows anywhere to be found, even when I peeked into the open doors leading to various cubicles...all of which were carpeted with a darker red.

"Mr. Orious, this is Angie Hanover. She's Mr. King's personal assistant, and she'll be helping you with anything you might need." The woman said to me, pointing to the young receptionist sitting behind a vast desk, work papers and electronic gizmos piled up all around her.

"Thank you, Ms..." I started to say, but the woman had already turned and left. I looked back at the secretary who only smiled and shrugged.

"Sorry about that, she's a manager looking to get higher status in the company. She doesn't like to be away from her work for very long." She told me. Pressing a button on her speaker phone she spoke again. "Mr. King? Mr. Orious has arrived; do you want me to send him in?" She released the button, and the two of us stared at it, uncomfortably for several moments. There was no answer. Angie grinned sheepishly up at me. "I know he's in there, I saw him only a little bit ago and I would have known if he left..." she mumbled apologetically to me, before pressing the speaker button again. "Mr. King..." but a deep voice interrupted her.

"I heard you the first time, Miss. Hanover. Send Orious in." the voice said in a very unfriendly manner.

"Sounds like a real sweetheart." I said frowning, and pulling at my lower lip...a habit I picked up whenever I was worried or in deep thought, and never got over.

"He...he isn't the nicest man, I admit." Angie shivered. "You can go on in, Mr. Ori..." but this time it was I who cut her off.

"You can just call me Owen. Mr. Orious was my dad." I said grinning. She smiled and went back to working on whatever it was she had. "Um...I don't suppose you'd be interested in maybe...grabbing a bite to eat later??" I asked her, blushing sheepishly after checking to see if she had any rings on her fingers or anything.

She looked back up at me and cocked an eyebrow, examining my obese overweight body in a matter of seconds. "I don't date anybody I work with. Sorry." She said, trying to give me a nice pity smile before returning to work. I hovered over her for a few seconds more, before she spoke again. "Mr. King really isn't a patient man, you shouldn't keep him waiting." She told me. Sighing quietly enough so she wouldn't hear, I thanked her and entered Mr. King's office.

It was as if I'd walked into the Twilight Zone or something. King's office was completely different from all the rest of the building. Instead of being covered in the sickening red, his office was all black and white. The file cabinets were all black; his desk was a deep brown...resembling black. The walls were white and cheerless, and there were no pictures or paintings anywhere to be found. King's desk was the exact opposite of his receptionists, completely clean except for a sophisticated computer on the right side, and a very old typewriter on the left side. It looked like it was made in the early 1900's or so. All in all, the office was completely devoid of any happiness at all.

King himself seemed perfectly suited to this sort of work place. He wore a very expensive suit, and had his pure black hair slicked back away from his face. His skin was an unsightly pale...almost grey color, while his eyes were black and empty, as though he'd never known joy. He seemed like he would have been perfectly dressed for a funeral, and save for the aura of cruelty that surrounded him, he might have been a mourner at one. Behind him was another man...standing about 6'8, and built like a rock. The giant was completely bald, not even having any eyebrows; his left ear was extremely deformed, like it had been ripped off or something. He wore simple black jeans and a white tank top. His skin was bronze colored and the whole time I was there, his brown eyes glared a hole through me as if he wanted nothing more than to murder me. Suffice to say I was a little scared of this guy. Ok, I was petrified of him! He seemed totally out of place within this building.

"Sit down, Mr. Orious!" King growled, his eyebrows narrowing, and his hands clutching the sides of his desk as if to stop himself from jumping over and slapping the shit out of me. Startled by his sudden outburst, I immediately sat down in one of the two chairs he had in front of his desk.

King glared at me for several more moments, before finally lowering his eyes and looking at some papers he had laying in front of him. I managed to sneak a look at what he had...just my resume and cover letter. "You have a very nice background, Mr. Orious. I see you have lots of experience...quite impressive, considering you finally finished college at the age of 29, and are now 38 years old." He commented.

"Yes sir, I was late going to college...really late. I didn't think I needed an education until I realized how hard it was to get a decent job. I went back...got my associates...worked for a few years, and...here I am." I told him.

"Yes...may I ask you a question, Mr. Orious?"

"Of course."

"What is your father's name?"

"My father?"



King nodded but his piercing gaze continued to glare through me. "And what was your grandfather's name...your father's father, I mean?"

"Thomas." I said, frowning. What did this have to do with anything at all?

"Ah, excellent!" Mr. King exclaimed, managing a very sly looking smile. "Tell me then, where is your family from? Orious is such a strange and interesting name. It almost sounds Greek perhaps."

"No...my dad's family came from Germany, and my mom's family came from England, Scotland, and parts of Ireland."

King frowned and risked a glance at the huge bald headed man. The man continued to glare at me, until he met King's eyes. He then nodded once, and King cocked an eyebrow, as though the two were having a totally separate conversation from what was supposed to be my job interview. However, King immediately turned his full attention to me, and this time he was all smiles and looking reassuring. "Well, I must say, Mr. Orious, looking at your papers and your credentials, I am very impressed. Forgive me for all the questions about your private background, but I only hire people from the highest quality stock. I think our business is concluded now, please return tomorrow at 9:00 in the morning, and we can get you to work." King nodded to me, then turned and walked back to his desk, never bothering to shake hands or anything like that.

"Um...Mr. King...what about papers, y'know, tax forms and all that stuff?" I asked him.

"Miss Hanover will handle that when you leave here. Good day, Mr. Orious." He replied.

"Oh, uh, ok! Hey, thank you very much, Mr. King! I appreciate you giving me a chance and all that stuff. See you tomorrow?" I offered my hand to him, smiling. He looked at it but did not shake it. He merely nodded again.

"Good day, Mr. Orious." He repeated and continued to watch me...waiting for me to leave. Feeling uncomfortable as I did, I wasn't about to make him wait long. I chanced one more glance at the pissed off bald guy then rushed out of the office.

I met Angie Hanover at her desk, and breathed in deeply. King's voice came over the speaker phone as I moved away from his office door. "Miss Hanover, please make sure Mr. Orious gets all the proper forms to fill out, and welcome him as the newest member of our team. Thank you."

Angie smiled at me and pulled out a big bulky folder stuffed will all the usual boring W2 forms and crap. I sat down at a little table next to a fish tank filled with all sorts of exotic red colored fish and began to fill the papers out. I breathed in again and looked uneasily at Angie. "Um, Miss Hanover, can I ask you something?" I said meekly.

"As long as you aren't asking me out again." She replied jokingly.

"No, no...I just was wondering...who is the great big guy that's in Mr. King's office? The guy looked like he wanted to kick my a...err...butt. I really wish Mr. King hadn't let him sit in on our interview. He was freaking me out."

"Oh...that's Hector. He's supposedly Mr. King's bodyguard, and you aren't the first one to be terrified of him. He's always hovering over Mr. King...I remember how I felt when I had my first interview! After a while though, you just kinda learn to ignore him. He's the quiet type and he never leaves King's side...so he never bothers anybody." She reassured me. Somehow I wasn't quite convinced.

"Is there anyplace to unwind around here? After this, I think I just want to get out and grab a bite to eat." I said, taking off my thick glasses and rubbing my eyes wearily.

"Well, I don't know around here, but there's a nice shopping center in Port Angeles. You should check it out! There are some great places there, and it's not too far a drive. Let me print you out some directions."

I thought about it as Angie was already looking directions up on Mapquest. What the hell, another little drive would do me good, and getting out and seeing the how the locals lived could be fun. I thanked her when she printed the directions out and handed them to me, I then gave her my completed tax forms and headed back to my car...immediately drenched by the relentless rainfall.

It was only a little over an hour's drive to Port Angeles from Forks, but thanks to the rain, I made it there in about an hour and a half. The city was a decent size, and I cruised the streets looking at the places they had to eat and the shopping areas. I kept going and going, until I actually found myself leaving the city. There just seemed to be nothing that really caught my interest. The restaurants looked so busy and expensive. I kind of lost the desire to actually eat out, and figured that I might as well go someplace and grab a TV dinner or something.

As I continued my drive, I saw a Wal*Mart. At least some things are universal no matter where you go... I thought to myself with a smile. Just wanting to escape the car and rain, I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car, and hurried into the store.

The place was very busy, as many people were off from work that evening and shopping needed to be done. I walked slowly towards my destination, but turned for a detour, casually looking at all the "back to school" sales and "fall specials" they had that day. I couldn't have cared less however. Deep inside, I'd always been a big kid. My passion was collecting, anything from action figures of super heroes, to the new LEGO Star Wars sets, to the latest rock and roll guitar game.

I strolled through the action figure isle, and to my great surprise, they had a ton of new ones that I'd never seen before! The comic book "The Mighty Thor" had always been my favorite title, and I tried to collect as many issues of it as I could...and Wal*Mart had an entire section filled with Thor figures! Thor himself was there, of course, looking bad to the bone, as was his evil brother and arch enemy Loki. The Warriors Three, Sif, Balder the Brave, and even the Absorbing Man were all present! It was going to cost me a ton of money, but I had to buy these guys! Immediately I started piling the figures into my arms, looking on the backs of the boxes to see if there were any more available. Thunderstrike and Hela were also in the collection, and as I grabbed figure after figure I found both of them! The last ones they had! Jackpot!

My arms overflowing with figures, I decided I'd had enough and that I needed to head over to the electronics department. I could pay for the heroes, have them bagged, and maybe look through the games afterwards! Thor threatened to slip through my fingers...if I dropped him, I'd lose it, and I knew I'd drop all the figures so I hurried out of the isle, and went to make a sharp turn towards electronics.

Thor was going to fall, I couldn't hold onto him, I picked up my pace, and I ran into something...something BIG. I lost my balance, and tumbled over onto the ground, figures spilling everywhere. There were gasps all around me, as my body collided with the floor. My fellow fat guy, the action figure of Volstagg the Vainglorious, one of the Warriors Three, was the only figure I'd been able to hold onto, as I groaned painfully. When I got my bearings after a few seconds, I looked around to see what I'd ran into, and when I did, I immediately became very afraid. It was an Indian...excuse me...Native American...and the guy was HUGE! He could have easily matched Hector back at Wulgar's. He had to have been nearly seven feet in height, and probably a few inches taller than that even. His hair was long and pitch black, while his muscles were huge and well defined. Off on his left was a very hot looking blond girl of about 17 or so and on his right was a drop dead gorgeous woman of about 25. She looked like maybe she was only half Indian...excuse me...Native American, because her skin was similar in color to his, but much paler. She shared many of the giant guy's features, and was certainly not lacking in the height department either. She must have easily stood at 6'6! I figured they must have been brother and sister or something. All three of them were staring down at me, shock etched on their faces.

Slowly but surely the big guy reached down for me. Please don't let him crush my head like a grape! I prayed silently, just before his huge hands took me gently by the arms and lifted me to my feet. After a few more of the cobwebs cleared from my head I finally managed to say something. "Oh man...I'm sorry about that! I was carrying too much, and didn't see where I was going! I hope you're alright! Sorry!!" I stammered

"Hey, it's alright! You had a bunch of stuff...looked like you were losing your grip on it. Just be more careful next time!" The giant said, smiling and infectious grin, while helping me pick up my stuff. The young blond girl frowned and scowled at him, obviously annoyed. As we were picking up my figures, she silently placed her hand upon his forehead. His eyes were looking at me...but it seemed like he wasn't seeing me. He suddenly blushed and smiled again. "Heh, well, I have to admit, it probably wasn't your entire fault. I was talking to my girlfriend and not paying attention. Uh...actually, I think I ran into you by accident." He said sheepishly.

He grinned back and shrugged; my arms once again full of figures. "It doesn't really matter. Thank you so much for helping me pick this stuff up! Sorry again!" I told him, but he didn't let me walk off.

"Hey, hold up a moment. Let me at least grab you a cart!" He told me, running off before I could even say anything. The next few minutes were very awkward...it was just me and the two super models. Both girls were quiet the entire time, the blond just stood there, smiling politely at me with her hands behind her back, while she waited for the guy to come back. Her eyes were a rich honey brown color, and her skin was soft and pale looking. The super tall girl just gaped at me. She was lighter in color than her brother, and also seemed to be very athletic and shapely. Both women were breathtaking, and wearing the absolute latest fashion styles...expensive looking clothes. The big guy, in contrast however, was just wearing simple stuff, jeans and a t-shirt, nothing really fancy like these gals. It was like I was a total freak or something, as the tall girl just kept standing there, staring, with her jaw dropped open. I looked over at her, and she realized she was looking too long. She immediately closed her mouth, and smiled the same infectious grin as her brother. She then looked away from me, blushing deeply, then looked back to see if I was still watching her. Of course, I blushed even deeper and quickly looked away. She was so pretty...I really didn't want her brother catching me checking out his sister, and kicking the crap out of me. Strangely, the blond kept glaring at her, as though disapproving.

It wasn't too long before the big guy returned, pushing a cart, and he was all smiles as he parked it right next to me. I was more than happy to dump all the figures into the cart, as my arms were starting to get tired from holding them all! "Whew, thanks..."

"Jacob! Jacob Black!" The big guy exclaimed in his friendly voice. He extended a hand, which I promptly shook.

"Nice to meet you, Jacob, I'm Owen Orious."

"Nice to meet you too, Owen!" Jacob said. "This is my girlfriend, Renesmee, and my...uh...er...cousin...Alicia." He continued, introducing me to the blond...Renesmee, and the tall girl, Alicia. Nice names, I guess, I couldn't say I was thrilled to hear that Alicia was Jacob's cousin and not his sister. Still family, still would probably be over protective.

"Nice to meet you all! You'll have to excuse me for being kind of shy and stuff. I'm new in town. I just moved here from Ohio." I explained.

"Ohio? That's a long trip." Renesmee commented.

"Yeah, I got a new job here...I work in computer graphics and design. I was ready to head to my new apartment and unpack my stuff, but I thought I'd go eat first."

"So...you came to Wal*Mart?"

"Well...I didn't mean to...I just didn't see anyplace that really caught my eye, and I just sort of absently drove here. I'll probably just grab a frozen dinner or something."

The three of them chuckled, and then Jacob slapped me on the shoulder. "Well, nice meeting you Owen. Good luck with the new job and stuff! C'mon girls, let's get out of here!"

"Are...um...are those super heroes for your son?" Alicia asked me, blushing deeper red than ever before. It was the first thing she'd said the entire time.

Now it was my turn to feel utterly embarrassed. A 38 year old man buying toys...for himself...not a great way to make a first impression. "Oh...uh...ha ha...well...no, I've never been married or had any kids or anything. Err, I'm sort of an avid collector of super hero stuff, and these are some of my favorite heroes and villains." I told her shyly.

"Who are these guys?" Alicia asked, staring blankly at the powerful looking figure of Thor, even though his name was clearly on the box.

"Well, that particular guy is Thor...god of thunder! He's awesome!" I exclaimed, probably with far more enthusiasm that I should have.

Jacob rolled his eyes. "Cool. Alright Owen, maybe we'll see you later!" He took Alicia by the hand and started to walk away, but she wouldn't budge! To everyone's surprise, she actually yanked him back when he tried to pull her away.

"What sorts of...um...super powers does Thor have?" She asked, her huge bright honey brown eyes gazing at me. They were almost exactly like Renesmee's...same color and shape and everything. It was extremely weird to have a girl acting this way with me. She seemed to hang on my every word, even though I was completely out of her league.

"Ha ha ha! Honey, we've got to get going...let's leave Owen alone, alright?" Renesmee told her...almost lecturing. Really weird to see a 16 or 17 year old almost disciplining a 25 year old. "It really was nice meeting you, Owen." Jacob and Renesmee then exchanged a quick and very troubled look, before grabbing Alicia by both her arms and pulling her along.

"Wait! Wait! I want to talk some more! Let me go!" She yelled, actually struggling against them. They held her fast, but...I dunno...it looked like she could have easily broken free if they hadn't really held her tightly. I couldn't believe Jacob was struggling. He was almost twice as wide as she was...damn that guy was big!

I smiled and waved, a little disappointed to see her go, but a little relieved as well. I shouldn't flirt like that...as horrible and as clumsy as it was. The tall girl was probably just making fun of me or something anyway. It wouldn't have been the first time I'd built my hopes up, only for some girl I was chasing to break my heart. "See you around, guys! I'd love to talk some more some time!" I called after them, before grabbing my cart and pushing it towards the electronics section.

Chapter 2: Candid Camera?

The electronics section was crazy! DVDs, video games, and accessories of every sort were everywhere. I checked out the movies real quick, but didn't see anything that really caught my eye...at least nothing that I could afford after I bought all these action figures anyway. I headed towards the video games...when I saw it! The newest Rock Band game was out! Holy crap, this was awesome! As was usual, Wal*mart had the game all set up for customers to try out. It had the drums, the microphone, and both guitars used for bass and lead. Some kids were standing around playing, and having a blast. I laughed when they failed out and started yelling at each other. The person singing didn't seem to get the idea that they had to keep their voice on the level of the song...it didn't matter what words they sang. One of the kids turned around and saw me laughing at them. "What? You think you can do better?" She asked me.

"Heh heh, oh yeah...let me show you amateurs how this is done!" I bragged, grabbing the mic. "Choose ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.' That's one of my favorites."

The kids all grabbed the instruments while the one that sang before sat out. The game began, and I started crooning away.

"And I'm a cowboy! On a steel horse I ride! I'm wanted! Dead or alive! Wanted!!!! Dead or aliiiiiiiive!"

The girl that had sung last covered her ears. "Oh God, you're horrible!"

"Do you see the cursor? I keep it in the green line! And I don't fail out! Fail out! And lose the game! And lose the gaaaaame! AND LOSE THE GAME!" I sung again to the beat of "Dead or Alive" and showed her that my voice stayed on the little green line the entire time. Heh, no failure for me...no matter how horrible I sounded!

"You don't even have to sing the right words?? That's such crap!" The girl whined. The rest of us laughed, or should I say, cackled at her expense. She was a good sport about it, though, shrugged, and laughed along with us.

"Let's do another one, guys!" one of the boys exclaimed. However, the lead guitarist put his instrument away.

"Sorry guys, but we need to take off. See you at school!" He and the girl that couldn't sing then walked away.

"Hey, mister, you mind sticking around? We could do a three person band..." the other boy asked.

I smiled and opened my mouth to reply, when a dark shadow fell over us. We all looked and it was Alicia, towering over everyone. She grinned sheepishly, and took up the lead guitar. "Can I play?" She asked.

"I thought you were leaving?" I asked her.

"I was...but now I'm not..." She said, blushing deeply again, her eyes absorbing my every feature.

I blushed myself and grinned. "Do you all mind if she joins us?" I asked the kids. The boys were both drooling over the tall beauty, and shook their heads. "Alright, you're in! Let's do a random song guys. Guys? Random song. Guys...choose the random song option..." The boys were so busy staring they weren't listening, until I finally started snapping my fingers at them. That woke them up, and the bass player finally chose random song. We all selected the difficulty we wanted to play at...and were all more than a little amazed when Alicia chose "Expert," the absolute hardest difficulty to play for any instrument. "Oh, you've played this before?" I asked her.

"No, but I was watching for a little bit. I think I get the idea, and it looks really easy." She said without a care in the world. The other two kids played it safe and stuck to the easy difficulty while I went with medium...the singer had the easiest job after all. It didn't matter though. If Alicia had never ever played this game, we were going to fail out fast.

The game started...and our random song ended up being "Lump" by The Presidents of the United States of America. I wasn't the biggest fan of the song, so I decided to substitute Weird Al Yankovic's lyrics instead. "Gump sat along on a bench in the park! My name is Forrest he casually remarked! Waiting for the bus with his hands in his pockets, he just kept saying life was like a box of chocolates! He's Gump; he's Gump, what's in his head?" I had the rest of the players rolling in the isles. The bass guitar player was laughing hard, but not missing any notes. The drummer missed a note here and there. But Alicia...holy shit! Her arms and fingers moved like lightning! She was laughing at my tomfoolery more than anyone else, but she didn't miss a beat at all! The colored notes seemed to come at her at a million miles an hour, but she hit every single last one of them! She even did some dancing a little...the speed of the game was nothing to her!

"I...I thought you said you never played this before!" The bass player gasped, actually missing five notes of his own, as he watched Alicia fire off her notes like she was shooting a machinegun instead of a guitar. It normally takes people weeks of practice before they can get that good!"

"I told you the truth! I've never played this before, but I was right...it is easy and fun too!" She said defensively.

At that point, I couldn't help myself. I started looking around for hidden cameras. This gal was unreal. She was interested in me...a fat, unattractive older man who collected little dolls of super heroes. She claimed to have never played an exceptionally hard game (well, to me at least) yet blew the thing away with her breakneck speed and expertise. She was hot, funny, and seemed very kind...all at the same time. Either this was a bit for that show Candid Camera, or I was a character in a bad fan fiction. Suddenly I noticed Renesmee appear beside Alicia.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" She yelled. "We are going home...leave this gentleman alone and LET'S GO."

Alicia turned to Renesmee, and even though she wasn't even looking at the screen, she still hit every note. "We...we're playing a song! It's almost over, and we can go, ok?" She said. I noticed there was more than a little fear in her voice. She easily stood more than a foot taller than the blond. What in the heck sort of relationship did they have that the blond could dominate her so easily?

"RIGHT NOW!" Renesmee growled, grabbing Alicia by the upper part of her arm and yanking her...but not moving her. Despite all this, Alicia STILL didn't miss anything!

The song ended just as Jacob was returning. His face was a mixture of anger and relief. "What the hell is going on here? What's wrong with you, Alicia?" The two boys, upon seeing Jacob's size, put away their instruments and ran for it! I also put away the microphone, but didn't run. I didn't want to see Alicia in trouble or anything.

"Hey, Jacob, I'm sorry man, but this is entirely fault. Um...we were playing this game...those kids and I...and we really wanted a fourth person as two people playing with us bailed. I happened to see Alicia, and talked her into it! Uh, she said she really didn't have time, but I wouldn't stop annoying her, so I finally convinced her to come over...and um...well, here we are." My heart was pounding even faster than it did when I went in for my interview. Jacob would knock me out with one punch...but at least I'd keep Alicia out of trouble...and that was really the point of it. Besides...if this was Candid Camera, maybe Jacob would say something funny and wacky and reveal the whole truth and point out where the cameras were hidden. Jacob crossed his arms and glared at me, but he didn't make a move at all. I swallowed a lump in my throat.

"If I thought for a second that that was true, you and I would be stepping outside, Mr. Orious. Lucky for you...and unlucky for her...I know that's a total lie. Still, I'm pretty impressed that you'd stick your neck out for her like that...considering she's a total stranger. Why don't you get out of here?" I winced at his thinly veiled threat, and turned to walk away. This was none of my business, and now I felt really dumb for trying to protect her.

"NO! Don't go, please!" Alicia cried out, and her hand snatched my by the wrist. I nearly fell backward when she pulled me. She was incredibly strong! Her hand felt so strange to me. At first it was ice cold, like the grave, and then very quickly warmed up to almost as hot as a heater. Then it would lower back down to a cold temperature and then back to hot. The best way to describe it is like having an icy/hot patch on. I turned and looked into her eyes. They were pleading, almost obsessed. Was this girl insane or something? I was starting to be more afraid of her, than her cousin.

"You let him go this instant, young lady!" Renesmee cried, prying her hand off of me. I backed away, accidentally bumping into my cart of action figures, and hurting myself. Jacob and Renesmee flanked Alicia, both glaring at her with intense anger.

"You don't understand...neither of you do...I...I..." She then took her cousin by the shoulders and whispered into his ear. I didn't catch what she said...something about printing...but I was already pushing my cart as fast as I could towards the check out lanes! The audience watching this episode of Candid Camera was certainly going to get a big laugh out of all this. Sadly, I didn't find the situation funny at all. Fortunately I found an empty self checkout lane and immediately started scanning super hero after super hero. Out of the corner of my eye I saw them coming...and I groaned, trying to shove my money into the machine. An old lady pulled up behind me, and I thought maybe they wouldn't see me...but as each of them scanned the lanes, it was Renesmee who spotted my location and promptly pointed me out to the other two. I could imagine what she was saying. "There he is, get the normal!" I threw the heroes into the cart, not even bothering to bag them or get my change, and I rushed towards the exit, narrowly missing several bystanders.

I made it outside, where the rain had finally let up, and had become a gentle misting. I tossed the figures into my rental, jumped into the driver's seat, and peeled out of there. Alicia was calling to me, as they ran towards the car. "Mr. Orious, Owen! Wait, please! Let us explain!" I breathed a heavy sigh of relief as she and her weirdo family faded into the distance. Just as I was pulling out of the parking lot, I realized my stupidity. "FUCK!" I didn't pick up my supper for the night! That was fine...it didn't matter. I'd grab a couple of double cheeseburgers from McDonalds, a Coke, and some fries...everything would be just fine. I took out my wallet from my pocket. "SHIT!" Those stupid damn action figures had taken almost all the money I had on me, and I didn't grab my change, when I made my escape...change that would have been $15.00! Cussing like a sailor, I drove straight to my little apartment...I didn't want to max out my credit cards anymore than they already were.

I'd sent all my stuff to Forks ahead of time, and hired some movers to bring all of it to my apartment. Growling about my rotten day, I just collapsed on the couch, not bothering to put my bed together or anything like that. I'd unpack tomorrow after work, after this day my luck could only improve.

The woman I'd first met when I went in for my interview was Samantha Grey. She was in charge of my department, and as such, she kept an extra close eye on her newest underling. I was working on an inspirational poster, the theme being "Persevere and you will succeed!" Not exactly a great topic for me to tackle after all I'd been through so far. I have to admit, I was the talk of the office, however. Several times while I worked away, Hector the body guard had come out of King's office to glare at me, his fists clenching and unclenching. One guy, Roger, made it a point to make fun of me at break. "So that's how you got your job, eh Orious? You and Hector an item or something?" He chuckled.

"Yeah, he wants to nail me alright...probably to a cross or something. What's that guy's problem? Why does he always look so damn pissed off, and what have I got to do with it?"

The others shrugged. "I ain't got a clue, good buddy, but if I were you, I'd stay as far away from that guy as I possibly could! He probably found out you were a Cleveland Browns fan! Ha ha ha ha ha!" Roger quipped, causing the whole rest of the office to burst into laughter.

"Are you kidding me? After I first became a Browns fan, I wanted to beat myself up!" I joked. Again the office exploded into laughter, with Roger slapping me on the shoulder. We finished up on break, and headed back to our cubicles. When I arrived at mine, I was shocked to see $15.00 lying on my desk! Alicia popped in from behind the cubicle and smiled shyly at me. "What the fuck are you doing here? How did you find me?" I gasped. If this was still a practical joke, someone was taking it to the extreme.

"It wasn't easy. My family has friends in high places. One of those friends managed to track you down for me. I came to give you back your money that you left, and to apologize for everything that happened." She replied, her face becoming extremely serious. "My cousin and his girlfriend wanted to apologize too, but they were too embarrassed to come with me. I can hardly believe I found the courage to come."

I took the money and stared at it in my hand for several moments. Then I got out my wallet and put it away and looked at her. "Well, the whole situation was...just odd I guess. Tell your cousin and his girlfriend that I forgive them."

Alicia bit her lower lip and looked at me with both worry and guilt. "What about me?

"You? Well, maybe...um...maybe if you'll...uh...let me...err...y'know...uh..."


"Well, I mean, if you aren't busy or anything like that...I mean, I understand if you don't want to or have a boyfriend or something like that...but maybe you'd want to have supper with me after I get off from work?" I stammered and blushed deeply, looking like an oversized tomato.

She smiled that infectious smile again, blushed, and turned away. "I don't have a boyfriend, and I'd love to have supper with you tonight. When do you get off?"

"In about 4 hours...5:00. Is that ok?"

Alicia nodded. "Yes, I'll meet you here! Did you have any place in mind?"

"Heh...maybe Taco Bell? Those figures were awfully expensive. Um...this $15.00 is all I've got."

"Well, my treat then, to make up for yesterday! I know some more formal restaurants, where the food is so much better. I'll see you here at 5:00?" She asked.

"Until then!" I replied, grinning like a love sick idiot.

"ORIOUS!! Mr. King pays you to work, not talk!" It was Hector, he'd burst into the offices and was not snarling at the two of us. This was just great...the guy supposedly never left Royce's side, and now all of the sudden he was like my personal watch dog or something. He reached over, grabbed my shoulder and forcefully pushed me into my chair. At that moment...something happened. It was like a jolt of static electricity hit me or something. Hector clutched his hand, as though it pain. I was unhurt, but just extremely startled. Something had happened to me...suddenly everything was blurry through my glasses. Hector let loose a snarl like a wild predator and stalked towards me. I took off my glasses...rubbing me eyes, and when I looked up at him coming...everything was crystal clear...as though my eyesight was suddenly perfect. Something was wrong with his hand...terribly wrong...and I swore that I could see a faint cloud of gray smoke rising from it. The bald giant came closer and closer...until Alicia suddenly appeared between us. How was that possible? How could she have possibly gotten around both the cubicle booth, and Hector? I couldn't believe it...but I saw her eyes darken from their gentle honey brown color to nearly pure black.

"Leave him alone." She said quietly, but purposely. "Don't make me hurt you."

Hector stared at her for several seconds, and cocked his head to one side. "Who the hell are you?" He asked; his voice surprisingly calm.

"None of your business."

He smiled wickedly and took a step closer, until they were almost nose to nose. "Do you even know what you're doing? Do you realize how easily I could break you right now? I've wanted murder this...man...since he first set foot here. Are you really willing to throw your life away too? Truly, child, I have no desire to harm you...this is between myself and the obese one. Do have any clue at all about who you face?"

"I don't know, and quite frankly, I don't care either. Back off." Alicia told him, not backing down, even an inch.

"I have vowed never to harm one who is innocent. I sense no...malice within you, young one. Stand aside."

"You'll have to break your vow then. If you kill him...if you even hurt him...you harm me. This is your final chance, back off now."

Both of them were tense, waiting for the other to make one wrong move. It felt like watching two of the most dangerous creatures on the planet squaring off against each other...with no idea of which would win. I can't explain why it felt this way. There was just an aura about both of them. Could I trust Alicia? Why was she doing all of this for me? What exactly was Hector's problem anyway? All these thoughts swirled round and round in my head...or maybe it was an after effect from Hector touching me.

In moments Royce King and Samantha Grey entered. Samantha was whispering in King's ear, point out Hector, Alicia, and I...I could hear every whine and complaint she made about us, even though she was whispering as quietly as she could in her excitement and fear. King strode towards us with purpose, but he seemed completely unconcerned with the fight that was about to break out between his bodyguard and Alicia. "That will be all, Hector. You and the young lady have wasted enough of Mr. Orious's time." Hector turned on him, his face half full of disbelief and half full furious.

"Yes sir, Mr. King. I'll see you later, Orious." He cursed, turning his back and stomping out of the office. Kiss my ass, fuckface. I thought to myself angrily.

King watched him leave for only a moment. But his expressionless face stared only at me. I tried to stand up, and explain my side of things and what had happened, but when I did, I nearly toppled over, my legs feeling like jelly, and my stomach turned as though I would heave at any moment. Alicia caught me, and gently sat me back in my chair, her hand feeling my forehead. Again I felt that strange sensation from her...hot cold hot cold hot cold. Weirder yet, I felt differently about it. The first time it was a strange feeling and frightening...but now it was wonderful...chaotic, random, and wild. I took her hand, and removed it from my forehead...but continued to hold it. I felt the coolness of it run down the tips of my fingers, only to feel my hand begin to sweat as it heated up so quickly and so hot. The more intelligent and gentlemanly side of me screamed that this was not the place for such moments...and I obeyed that voice. But there was a new voice now...a feeling that this was right...that this was what I wanted and I should just take whatever I want. I released her and smiled shyly. "Sorry." I whispered.

Alicia stared at me for only a few seconds, her lips quivered as though she wanted more from me, but dared not let herself go. King cleared his voice, and immediately the two of us stiffened and faced him. "Young lady, it seems you have caused a disturbance in my offices. What is your name, my dear?" He asked.

"Alicia...Alicia Black." She answered.

Royce stared, emotionlessly at her, before cocking an eyebrow. "Black...isn't there a family on the La Push Reservation named Black?" He asked coldly. Alicia didn't answer. Royce approached her, and began walking around her, slowly and methodically. "Yes...I believe there is...I know that one member of that particular family fell in love with and married a girl from Forks...isn't that right?"

Alicia suddenly flinched, and I could tell that her jaw was clenched tight. Her hands shook, and slowly clenched into fists, but she still said nothing to King. "What was her name? I swear I read this in the paper not too long ago...Cullen wasn't it?"

I once again saw Alicia's eyes grow black and cold with rage. My own heart pounded; annoyed at these proceedings...King's bullying nature...every question he asked her seemed laced with pure hate. I stood quickly, my strength renewed and I grabbed Alicia by the wrist, pulling her by the arm and out of the office. She stumbled forward behind me, gasping in surprise. I passed by King, who made no attempt at all to stop me...and I felt it. What was happening? Damn it! I felt pure evil radiating from the man. Hatred, bitterness, vengefulness, these were the only things I felt when I rushed by. It was like King was concentrated evil or something. "I think I'm not feeling too good, Mr. King. I'm afraid I'm going to have to call it a day, sir." I told him, my voice harsh.

"As you wish, Mr. Orious." He responded simply...I didn't see it, but I knew he was smirking. I not only dragged Alicia out of the office, but out of the entire building. I opened the passenger side door of my rental car for her, waited for her to get in, and closed it. I then quickly walked over to the driver's side and prepared to climb in myself. I looked up for just one more brief moment and saw him there...Hector. It seemed that he'd been waiting for me, in the shadows of the alley next to Wulgar's. I wanted to go over there...kick his ass...go inside and beat the shit out of Royce next...but my better judgment told me not to, and again I was wise to listen. I sat down in the car, and we quickly pulled away.

"How did you do that?" Alicia whispered suddenly, staring at me in disbelief.

"Do what?" I asked.

"..." Alicia turned away and watched the road ahead. "Never mind." She said at last. "Don't you need your glasses to drive?" She asked suddenly.

"No." I replied. I wished I could have told her more...explained better...but everything was so weird...

"Listen...I...I know this is going to sound strange, and that we've just met and all that stuff...but I have to tell you the truth, I don't..." she began to tell me.

"...think that I should continue working there?" I concluded for her. She looked at me in amazement and nodded. "Yeah...I think you have the right idea. There's something about that place...about Hector...and especially about Royce King. He just seems..."

"...pure evil." She concluded, this time for me. I glanced at her, frowning, and nodded. "Would you excuse me for a moment?" She asked, pulling out her cell phone and showing me that she was going to make a call.

"Sure, no problem."

Alicia dialed and began speaking to whoever was on the other end. I didn't pay attention, but I could hear both their voices so clearly and loudly. "Yes, I'm with him right now, actually." She was saying. "Are you sure? I could ask him...but...I don't know daddy...we just had a confrontation with his boss at work. He was asking questions about you and mom. I know you do, but I mean...would that be safe...would the others be ok with that?" I winced...I hated how I was eaves dropping on her, but I couldn't help it. Without a radio on and my rage at Royce and Hector coming to a boiling point...I was willing to do anything to distract myself. "I could always ask him...he seems really cool now...sure, hang on." Alicia lowered the phone and looked at me, smiling that darn infectious smile again. "I'm sorry to spring this on you, Owen...but instead of going out to eat, would you like to meet the rest of my family? My dad...err...um...that is to say, we can still have dinner...just with them. My...cousin wants to apologize too."

I smiled at her and nodded. "Sure, that sounds great!" This would be good for me. Maybe I could finally get away from all the insanity happening to me all at once. Sit down with a nice normal family and eat supper. I breathed in heavily, and shook my head in an attempt to clear it. This was going to be great!