I'M BACK AFTER A LONG DELAY! THIS IS THE SEQUEL TO LOST. THESE ARE MY AWARDS FOR LOST:#1 MOST FAVORITE STORY AND HAS BEEN SINCE OCTOBER 2007! #3 MOST READ #7 MOST REVIEWED Summary: Simmons is introduced to a certain female vampire that we all know. He has been a player, but what happens when he meets her? ~~~~~~LAST CHAPTER AND EPILOGUE~~~~~~~ Chapter 15:MAGNIFICENTChapter 16:(EPILOGUE) HEADLINE
Wow! This sequel has been a long time in coming. I want to thank everyone for keeping this story alive. I have loved reading every single one of your reviews! I have had everything from awesome people translating LOST into other languages, to yucky people plagiarizing my story and calling it theirs. No kidding! I started this just a few months after LOST, but I didn't think anyone would want to read it. It was just for me. But, I kept writing and many asked for a sequel, so . . . . . . . . If you hate it, I will understand. 3 REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT READ THIS STORY: 1. SIMMONS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER, EDWARD AND BELLA ARE ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, BUT IT IS IN SIMMONS POV. 2. IT HAS BEEN LIKE A YEAR AND A HALF SINCE MANY OF YOU HAVE READ LOST. FOR SOME IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY, BUT FOR THE ORIGINAL READERS, YOU MAY NOT EVEN CARE ANYMORE! 3. I CAN'T THINK OF ANOTHER REASON. SO I GUESS THERE ARE JUST TWO. Lost is long, and I would never make you read it again. To help the original readers, I have given you a quick summary: Bella and Michael Simmons worked for a NYC firm called Berkshire-Hathaway. Bella was heartless and vowed to take down C-Corp Edward was C-Corp (yikes!) Bella had started to date a hot guy named Thomas Vaughn Bella ended up breaking Vaughn's heart Bella gave Edward back his company - after she put Edward through a lot Bella left to be with Edward after she quit the Firm Bella and Edward got married (yay!) E & B set Vaughn up with his first love from High School - Kristin Roberts Alice is very mad that she was not Bella's bridesmaid - it was Simmons Lola is the boutique owner who helped Bella pick out her dresses Rosalie wants Bella's awesomely expensive shoes - - - - - - - Simmons is a player, but he is also sweet and intelligent He is a 6'2 surfer boy from California He is very hotly handsome *Lucky for you this story is about 20,000 words shorter than LOST *THIS STORY IS ALREADY DONE. I WILL UPDATE EVERYDAY!
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 4416 Review this Chapter
Chapter 2 - INVITATION
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Saturday turned out to be rainy and windy, but the weather did nothing to dampen my mood. I was on my way to see Bella. I seemed to get more anxious with every stroke of the windshield wiper. When the taxi pulled in front of her building, I paid the driver and practically jumped out of the cab. As I pushed through the revolving doors and into Bella's lobby, I was met with a familiar voice.
"It's about time, Simmons."
I felt myself let out a big sigh. Bella looked absolutely happy. Happy didn't quite cover it. It was still hard to get used to seeing her that way. The vacant, desperate look I saw for two straight years was completely gone. It was obvious she had the life she'd always wanted. There was something else in her face too. There was peace.
I smiled. "It's 7 am on a Saturday morning. I would think a huge thank you and very large cup of coffee would be the correct way to greet me."
Bella laughed. She was taking a step towards me, but then moved back as Edward stepped between us.
"Excuse me," Edward said politely.
I was a little startled. I hadn't even heard him coming. He was carrying three boxes on each arm. They were balancing perfectly. I guessed the boxes were pretty light, probably full of bedding. But still . . . I worked out everyday and my chest was bigger than his, and I was pretty sure that I couldn't carry that many boxes.
"Hello, Michael," he said as he passed.
He wasn't even watching the boxes. I warily stepped back thinking a box was sure to fall. I squared myself and got ready to catch anything that came my way, but the boxes never swayed in the slightest. I brought my face back down to meet his.
I tried very hard to keep my thoughts as harmless as possible, just in case.
After Edward passed by, Bella stepped forward and grabbed me by the arm and pulled me towards the elevators. "It's really great to see you," she said. "How are things at Berkshire-Hathaway?"
"Boring as hell without you," I muttered with a half smile on my face. We had just entered the elevator, when Edward smoothly glided in before the doors slid shut. My eyebrow raised. How did he load those boxes on that truck so quickly?
"How is Mr. Hathaway handling everything?" Bella then asked me.
I laughed a short laugh. "Well, he's paranoid, bitter, desperate and drinking."
"So, nothing's really changed," said Bella.
"Oh, it's definitely kicked up a notch," I said bitterly. "I am actually seriously thinking about other professional options."
Bella's eyes opened a bit wider. "That's great!" She said with enthusiasm. "You would be an asset to any company."
The doors opened on the 67th floor, and we were met by Edward's brother, Emmett. He nodded his head at me in recognition as a large smile spread across his face. He was just heading for the stairway with Bella's couch on his shoulder. His muscles pushed their way out of his shirt, but he didn't appear to be straining under the weight of the large leather couch. I had forgotten just how big he really was. I watched him swiftly descending the stairs until the door swung shut.
"Hey, Simmons, you coming?"
Bella was holding her door open, waiting for me to follow. As I entered her apartment, I looked around appraisingly. I had never been in her place before. My eyes went directly to windows that took up the entire North side of the Penthouse. I walked straight into the great room and went to look out at the cityscape. She had a very impressive view.
I was picking out buildings and streets that I knew, when I heard a voice from the kitchen.
"Hey Rosalie, come here for a second."
I heard a bored sigh from my left, and as I turned my head, I completely forgot about the view. For what I saw in front of me was the most amazing view my eyes had ever seen. Her iridescent blond hair reflected every facet of the light. Her legs were the reason legs were invented. I felt as if my blood had frozen in my veins.
And she hadn't even turned around yet.
A strange sound came out of my mouth.
She turned her head and I was able to see her face.
Oh . . . . wow. That was all I could come up with.
I had always been very good at the "Approach". I would slowly walk up to a woman as I casually ran my hands through my hair, letting a slow smile spread across my face. I would say something clever that would inevitably break the ice and turn her attention to me. I had to admit I was quite the master. I had seduced beautiful women from every continent. I had chased, and been chased by the most alluring creatures this world had ever produced. But this woman, this vision, was totally out of my league.
I had never seen skin like hers before. Her eyes were hypnotic. Her lips formed into a pout so perfect that she only had to tilt her head to get any man to do her bidding. I, for one, would crawl on my knees and fulfill her every wish.
She began to walk towards me, and I tried to recall anything remotely clever I had said to a woman in the past. It was taking all my energy to hold my desire in check.
She was a few feet away when her eyes fell on me. She quickly looked me up and down as the corner of her mouth went up in a sneer. She never even slowed down as she glided past me.
I turned around and stammered out in a high voice that was far from masculine, "Hi, I'm Michael."
She looked back at me, and her eyes narrowed, as a noise that sounded like a hiss escaped her perfect lips.
I stared after her trying to figure out what my next move should be, when suddenly Bella stepped into my line of vision. She had a knowing smile on her face. She walked up and took me firmly by the shoulders.
"Snap out of it, Simmons. There's not a chance."
I opened my mouth to protest, but she interrupted me.
"That is Rosalie. I warned you about her." She was shaking her head forcefully.
"Bu . . . bu . . . but Bella, I have never seen anything like that in my li . . ."
"And chances are you never will again," she interjected. She squared herself in front of me and tightened her grip on my shoulders. "Simmons, listen to me. Remember how I behaved? She-devil, take no prisoners? Do you remember that one corporate CEO that ran from the conference room in tears?"
Of course I remembered. There was a new saying going around the firm whenever someone got fired or an opponent was beaten in a spectacular way. The interns said that person got "Swanned".
"What does that have to do with anything?" I asked impatiently. I wanted to get in the kitchen and talk to that beautiful girl again. I moved to the side to go around her and once more, Bella stepped in front of me. She looked right into my eyes as she spoke. There was a sad smile on her face.
"She is 1,000 times worse than me on her best day, and she is like that all the time. It's just her normal way of behaving. . . and besides . . . she's married to Emmett."
My head snapped around to look at her, and then I froze. The image of that walking muscle carrying Bella's couch on his shoulder was making me think twice. I could still recall the crushing handshake the first time I met him. I glanced at Bella. She was grinning slightly.
"Come help me pack up my office stuff," she said with a sigh.
I couldn't believe it. I knew I would never see anything like her again. It was unimaginable for me to know that I could never have her. I looked back longingly at the kitchen as Bella took my arm and led me down a hallway and into the first room on the right.
It was a large room with a wall of windows facing West. A massive dark wooden desk sat in front of the windows, and on top of the desk sat a computer with the cords wound around it. The walls were covered with built in shelves that were full of books. There was a stack of empty boxes sitting in one corner.
"Okay," Bella said. "How about you start on that wall and just start filling up boxes with books. I will start on this wall over here."
She turned and began clearing a shelf when Edward walked in. He walked straight to Bella and gently kissed her on the cheek. He then took her right hand and held her wrist up to his face and inhaled deeply. I turned around and concentrated on the books.
Just as I reached around for another box, I saw Edward effortlessly lift the huge desk and sling it under one arm. I quickly moved across the room to help him, but he waved me away as he shook his head.
"It's hollow," he said as he knocked on the desk to prove his point.
It didn't sound hollow.
"At least let me help you get it through the doorway . . . ." by the time I finished, he was already out the door and heading down the hall.
"So," Bella began. "How is the Gazelle supermodel . . . or was it Sasha you are dating now?" She spoke with a tease in her voice.
"Actually," I paused slightly for emphasis. "I have been seeing a model from Belize. Her name is Lanita." I raised my eyebrows and tried to make the relationship sound more important than it was.
Bella wasn't fooled. "Ooooooh, Lanita." She sounded all breathy as she held her hands to her chest.
I laughed as I started in on another box. The truth was, Lanita wouldn't last the month. Versace was showcasing their spring line in three weeks, and there would be scads of runway models in town. They were always a little more temperamental than normal models, but well worth the extra trouble. They would be coming from all over the world. I hadn't dated anyone from Belgium yet. Perhaps I would try a new country. I breathed a large sigh as I winced a little. This all used to be so much more fun. Lately, I had been wondering if this was all life had to offer.
Bella finished a box and I heard her grunt as she pushed it to the side and reached for an empty one. "So," she said matter of factly, "I want to hear all about your plans. Are things really as bad as you said?"
I turned to look at her as I let out a frustrated breath of air. "Hans Grunderman is ridiculous. He is every bit as mean as you without any of the charisma. He is hated by one and all."
Bella looked at me with a knowing expression. "They hated me, too."
I shook my head. "No, Bella, they never hated you, they feared you. There's a difference."
She laughed with a scoff. "The ones I fired hated me."
I was about to protest, but I shrugged my shoulders instead. I couldn't argue with that one.
"So, are you interviewing with anyone?" She had stopped packing and had come over to stand by me. I raised an eyebrow as I shook my head.
"Hathaway is so paranoid right now. He calls me in every week to ask me if I've talked to you. I can't risk anyone finding out that I'm looking while Hathaway is watching me so closely. I would like to have a new job before I quit my old one."
Bella's face fell. "I'm so sorry I've made things this hard for you. I didn't think through that part very well." She shifted her feet uncomfortably as she whispered, "I guess at the time I wasn't thinking about anything except getting Edward as far away as possible."
I gently shoved myself into her side with my shoulder. "You're forgiven," I said softly. I swallowed nervously as I tried to gather my thoughts. I wanted to talk to her about an idea that had been running though my head for the last month. This seemed as good a time as any. I cleared my throat and began.
"Actually, I have an idea of how you can make it up to me."
Bella tilted her head in confusion.
"Well," I stammered, "How about you and I start our own firm?"
Now it was Bella's turn to stammer, but I wasn't finished. I started to talk faster.
"We work so well together, and we would already have a reputation before we even started. With your client list and my social skills, we would be hard to beat. I bet some of the Berkshire-Hathaway employees would even jump ship and come with us."
I took a breath and finished my haphazard proposal. "I was walking past Battery Park the other day and I saw a sign advertising the perfect place for an office." I got more animated as my excitement rose. "It's on the 54th floor and looks out on the Statue of Liberty. It's only about 1500 square feet, but it's just the launching pad. And" . . . . I paused for effect. "You would get your name on the building after all, or in this case, on the office door. But I know that in time it would be on a large building some where."
I framed my hands like I was reading a marquee as I breathed out the words, "Swan & Simmons."
I looked down at her to try and gauge her reaction, and I wasn't encouraged with what I saw.
"I can't, Simmons," she said quietly.
I blinked in surprise. "Can't?" I questioned.
She tried to backpedal. "That was the wrong choice of words. What I mean is, I don't really have a desire to do that anymore."
All the air came out of me as I said, "But Bella, you are so good at what you do. You're the best."
She looked at me with even eyes. "Was the best."
At that moment, Edward came into the room, and his face was full of concern. He looked first at Bella, and then at me. His lips were in a hard line and I wondered if he had been listening to our conversation. I was afraid he was angry that I had asked Bella to join me. I hastily began filling my box with books.
Edward left with the computer, and Bella and I spent the next thirty minutes on safer subjects. It was great to have an intelligent conversation with someone again. Hearing about the horrors of bikini waxes for models and the ever-present fear of gaining an ounce were wearing on me.
We cleared all the shelves and I followed Bella out into the main part of the Penthouse. I looked around in surprise. Less than an hour earlier, this place had been full of furniture, and now it was completely bare. I guess when you had people that could carry down couches and large desks single-handedly things went a lot faster.
A voice came from behind us. "Bella, we left your bedroom and bathroom intact so that you could get ready for tonight."
I turned my head in surprise. The person speaking sounded like a child. The voice was much too high for an adult. I then saw a small girl with a lovely face come bounding gracefully around the corner.
"Thanks, Alice," Bella said. She then gestured towards me. "This is Michael Simmons."
I put out my hand to say hello, but she stood there with her arms folded and her lips in a tight line. Bella looked at me with a smirk as she pointed at the girl and said, "This is Alice."
I studied her a little closer, and saw that her face had that same pale look that the rest of Edward's family had. I was beginning to notice too, that they all had the same strange purplish bruises under their eyes. I blinked in confusion as her eyebrows drew together and she frowned at me.
"Nice to meet you," she said flatly.
She moved gracefully past me, and I could have sworn she muttered something about "maid of honor". I turned to watch her leave, and was about to ask Bella if I had offended Alice in some way, when Alice suddenly turned back around and looked at me.
Her face looked so angelic, she had a smile that told me there was a secret that only she knew, and she wasn't about to clue me in. Her eyes narrowed as her smile turned mischievous. Again, I heard that silver voice.
"Have fun tonight."
She turned back around and gracefully flitted from the room.
I stared after her completely confused. What in the heck was she talking about?
I jumped out of my confusion to see Edward and Jasper standing behind me. I was standing right in their path to the front door. I moved over and then saw that Edward and Jasper were carrying all the boxes Bella and I had just spent the better part of an hour packing.
Those boxes were completely filled with books. Big books. Bella apparently didn't like to read short stories. Between the two of them, they were carrying every box we had packed. Edward walked casually past me and stopped to kiss Bella before he and Jasper glided out the door. I let out a frustrated gust of air as my hand ran through my hair. Hanging around with these deceivingly strong guys was starting to hurt my ego.
"Hey, did you hear me, Simmons?" I jumped slightly as Bella touched my arm.
"Wha . . . Oh, sorry, Bella. Did you say something?" I gave her my full attention.
"Would you like to go somewhere with me and Edward tonight?" She looked at me expectantly.
"Sure, what do you have planned?" My answer was yes, no matter what she wanted to do. My chest already felt heavy at the thought of having to say good-bye to her.
Her face twisted a little as she said, "Well, Edward really wanted to take me to a fancy place and dance with me tonight." She grimaced slightly as she said, "He surprised me this morning with tickets to a ball. It's at the Woolworth building. Edward bought six tickets, and Rosalie and Emmett are going, but Alice and Jasper have made other plans. Would you like to bring Lanita and come with us?"
A ball. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind. I was hoping for a quiet dinner, and perhaps late night drinks. I knew I wouldn't get much alone time with her. I really wanted the chance to talk more to Bella about my plans. I felt that it would take just a little more convincing for her to see how perfect our working together would be.
"I thought you were done with the whole dress-up thing," I teased. "You always hated that stuff."
Bella rolled her eyes. "The things you do when you're in love."
I laughed smugly. "Yeah, well, I can honestly say that I'm glad that I don't have to worry about that ‘love' business."
Bella smiled and looked me seriously in the eye as she said, "Simmons, someday, you will fall in love, and you will go to the ends of the earth for that lucky girl."
I looked at her doubtfully. I had dated so many women, and none of them had ever made me feel anything close to what Bella and Edward had. Once or twice I thought maybe I had found someone special, but it always died quickly, and within a few weeks I was ready to move on. Maybe some people just aren't made to find a true love, I reasoned. That just made the argument for dating the most beautiful women on the planet all that more appealing. I would just go for the best and get as much out of life as I could. There were worst ways to spend a life.
At that moment, Rosalie came around the corner. "Bella, we need to get to that boutique if we are going to find a dress for tonight."
I suddenly became intensely interested in the design on Bella's ceiling. No reason to tempt myself any further. Emmett seemed like a pretty easy going guy, but I was fairly certain that if he found out I was making a play for his wife, he would become a different person. Frankly, I liked my arms attached to my body.
I heard Bella and Rosalie talking and turned away and left the room. The view of the city was a much safer place for me. As I looked out at the seemingly endless sea of buildings, I laughed at myself. I could never have dated Rosalie anyway. Being with Bella's sister-in-law couldn't be a good thing. I knew that if Rosalie and I had dated, it would have inevitably ended, and then things could have become awkward. She was the just high maintenance type I always seemed to be attracted to. I had already experienced first hand the rage of a super model when the relationship turned sour. Rosalie seemed like a fairly temperamental package. I was pretty sure she had hissed at me earlier.
Bella came into the room chuckling. "You did a nice job resisting temptation there, Simmons."
I looked down at her. "Thanks for talking some sense into me. It would have been a train wreck anyway."
Bella laughed again as she said, "I'm taking Rosalie to the boutique where I always used to buy my dresses. Lola is reserving the whole afternoon for us." Bella didn't look all that enthused. She started walking me to the door as she finished. "Edward and I will come to get you around 8:00 tonight, is that okay?"
"Yeah, sure, that sounds great," I answered.
"Thanks again, for helping me today. This went a little faster than I thought it would. I'm sure you had much more important things to do with your Saturday morning."
I was grateful she didn't know just how boring my life had become since she left.
"Well," I said with a smile, "If I can't help a former ice queen move out of her Penthouse Suite because she got married to a guy who owns a multi-billion dollar company that she let slip through her boss's fingers, then honestly, what kind of person would I be?"
She laughed heartily, and I realized I had never heard her do that before. I waved good-bye and headed to the elevator.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bella and Edward were coming to pick me up in twenty minutes. I was in the bathroom using the mirror to get my bow tie just right, when I heard my cell phone ring in the bedroom. It was Lanita. There was a huge amount of static on the phone. I could barely hear her. All I caught from the conversation were small pieces of sentences. The fact that she spoke with that heavy Spanish - Creole accent didn't help matters. "Flying to Rome . . . . .Tommy Hilfiger shoot . . . . . .sorry Baby".
I yelled into the phone for about half a minute before I realized she wasn't there anymore. Great. There was no way I was going to be the third wheel with Bella and Edward. This was ruining all my plans. Lanita didn't matter, but I had really counted on getting some more time to talk to Bella about my business idea.
Fifteen minutes later, Bella and Edward were at my door, and I began explaining my predicament. I was about to apologize for not coming with them, when Edward said, "Would you mind if I invited someone to take Lanita's place tonight?"
I stared at him warily. I was not much of a blind date kind of guy. I saw Bella turn to him in confusion as she asked, "Whom did you have in mind?"
Edward smiled as he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Tanya."
I saw a smile spread across Bella's face as she looked at me and said, "Say yes, Simmons. We'll have a great time."
My eyes narrowed suspiciously as I silently debated. Bella explained that Tanya was a close family friend, and had come with Alice and Jasper to visit the City.
On the one hand, a ball was probably not the ideal event for a first date. On the other hand, all the women that Edward had ties to that I had met, were stunning. I decided it was worth the risk.
"Okay, I'll trust you guys," I said with a sigh.
Edward was already on the phone. He was talking too fast for me to understand what he was saying. A few seconds later, he hung up.
"She will meet us there. Probably in about an hour."
Bella, who looked beautiful in her blue dress, smiled and took Edward and I both by the arm as we headed for the door.
Tanya. She sounded harmless enough. I would go on this blind date, and try to salvage what I could of the night. I wasn't going to let this chance go by. I would find a way to talk to Bella. My goal was to convince her to join me as business partners before the night was over. I hoped I wouldn't appear too rude to Tanya when she didn't receive my full attention. It wouldn't matter. I was sure that after tonight I would never see her again anyway.
I looked down at Bella and smiled. Sorry Tanya, I thought. I would put on a half-hearted show of charm and wit for her, but tonight my priorities were on planning for my future. Bella and I could be legendary. We could go down in the record books.
Tonight I would be working on my destiny.
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