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 5/5 Word Count 3758 Review this Chapter
Chapter 4 - UNEXPECTED
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I was understanding Bella a little bit better these days.
Before Edward came back, I used to watch her when some boring speaker was droning on in the conference room and she thought no one was watching. Or when we were having one of our late night meetings and I would catch her staring out the window. I wondered what made her eyes look so vacant. I didn't understand why, at times, her face looked so haunted. I honestly thought she had an ulcer the way she would sometimes wince and wrap her arms tightly wrapped around her middle. It was almost as if she was trying to stop from breaking in two.
Now, I understood.
"Bella, how did you endure this for seven years?" I was sitting on my couch, elbows on my knees, with my head in my hands.
I felt her hand touch the back of my neck.
It had been a week since Tanya walked in and out of my life. I was still coming to terms that someone I barely knew could have such an effect on me. I felt restless and agitated knowing she was out in the world somewhere and I had no idea where she was. In the middle of a sleepless night I actually cursed Edward for inviting her to the Ball. My life would be perfect right now. I would be gearing up for the Versace runway show and planning to make my move on a Belgian supermodel. I would be up to my ears in work with nothing to take my mind off of it. I would be blissfully ignorant of the fact that a person named Tanya even existed.
I would be ignorant of her cold skin.
I never would have seen her hair.
I never would have felt my arms around her.
I never would have known what it felt like to be with the one person in the world that could make me feel like the most powerful and yet the weakest of men.
That when you were with that one person, there was truly nowhere else you wanted to be.
That all of the sudden forever with someone didn't seem long enough.
Now, each minute felt like a tortuous lifetime.
I got up and stared out the window. I had only known her one night. It was ludicrous that I should feel this way.
Bella came and stood beside me.
"You want to know how I handled being apart from Edward for seven years?" Bella answered. "Simmons, you witnessed firsthand how I handled being away from Edward." She looked out the window with a wry smile on her face.
I rested my forehead against the glass and sighed.
"Honestly, Bella. Now that I see it from this side, I think you handled it pretty damn well."
She laughed. "I don't think Peter Graves would agree."
I had to chuckle a little myself. Peter Graves was the high power attorney for Morgan Chemicals. A former business giant that was Number 113 on the Forbes 500 List. Peter was arrogant, and very sure he would have no problem blocking Bella from the acquisition of his client's massive corporation.
I say former, because when Bella was through with him, Peter had to move to some little town in Iowa where no one knew him, to start over. She was brutal. She was barbaric and irrational even. She sucked every drop of blood out of him. It would have been nice to let the man keep his dignity, but she wouldn't allow it.
When she was through with Peter Graves, his name was on the front page of all the major newspapers blasting him for the poor job he'd done in defending his billion dollar client. He was laughed at on the morning talk shows, and scorned on the evening news. That all happened shortly before we began searching for Mr. "C". I am pretty sure that Peter Graves' demise was what convinced good ol' Mr. Hathaway to put Bella's name on the building.
Now, looking back, it seemed as though Bella was about to break. It was as if Edward came in the nick of time.
There would be no one to come and save me from this.
"Edward won't be back until tomorrow," Bella said. "Let's go to a movie tonight or something."
"Nah." I mumbled.
Her eyes lit up. "I know. There has got to be a model shoot happening somewhere in this town. Let's go crash a party, or find a runway show. I hear that Gazelle model is in town."
I laughed in spite of myself. Just the thought of Bella crashing a party or having any idea what celebrities were in town was actually quite hilarious. I turned my head to look at her. "You don't have any idea who is in town, and for the last time . . . . her name is Giselle!"
Bella's mouth twisted and she flopped herself back on the recliner. It was still so strange to see her this way. A month ago, I never would have thought I'd see her so relaxed, so at ease. It was like we had traded places.
Edward and his brothers had gone on some backpacking trip in Upstate New York. They had been gone all weekend, and wouldn't be back until tomorrow. I realized somewhere in the crevices of my memory that I had wanted to talk to Bella about starting a firm with her. It seemed a lot longer than seven days ago that we had started that conversation.
It seemed to take a lot of energy to think it through now.
"You know that Edward and I are leaving tomorrow. Are you going to be okay?" Bella sounded concerned.
"Peachy." I retorted.
She sighed hard and said, "Simmons, I know that Tanya had an effect on you, but . . . . ." She swallowed nervously as if she were holding back on something as she said, "Trust me, this is for the best."
I turned and stared at her incredulously. "That was a really stupid thing to say."
"Someone had to say it," she shot back.
I came and stood right in front of her as she sat in the chair. "What do you mean, ‘it's for the best'?"
Her eyes darted away from me as she searched for the right words. "I just don't think that you and Tanya would work out."
I had only seen Bella lie once before. It was the morning after she first saw Edward again. She had tried to convince me that she wasn't in love with him. Now I knew why she didn't lie very often. She was terrible at it.
"Now tell me the real reason, Bella."
"The two of you just shouldn't be together, that's all," she stammered.
I folded my arms angrily. "You think she's too good for me, don't you?"
She looked up shocked. "No! That's not it at all!"
I got down in her face and put my hands on each side of the chair. "There's something about Tanya that you're not telling me."
"No there isn't," she said forcefully.
"Is she in trouble? Is that why she left so quickly?" My hands were digging into the arms of the chair.
She shook her head slowly. "No, Simmons. She isn't in any trouble. Just forget I said anything, okay?" She put her hand on my wrist and said, "Calm down."
"Bella, she talked about fate and how it had been cruel to her. She seemed really upset about something, but she wouldn't talk about it."
I straightened up and ran my hand through my hair as I sighed hard.
"Bella, right before she left, she told me she wouldn't pull me into her world." I put my hands back on each side of her chair and said, "If you tell me, I'll do anything I can to help her."
I would do anything. Anything. I just needed to see her again.
Bella sighed hard and looked me right in the face. "Look, I was just trying to cheer you up. I didn't mean anything by what I said. I think you're a great guy, and anyone would be crazy not to see that. I just think that you need to move on and start dating someone else, okay?"
I straightened up and put my hands on my hips. "I recall a certain ice queen practically biting my head off when I helped her get a date with Thomas Vaughn. What if someone had told you to move on when you were pining over your long lost Edward? Do you even want to help me?"
Bella turned her face toward me. I recognized the look she was giving me. It wasn't good.
"What if I'm doing this for your safety? Have you ever considered that?" She shot back. "Maybe I have been thinking of you all along, and don't want to see anything happen to you."
"What in the hell are you talking about?" I asked harshly.
Bella backed down. It was as if she knew she'd said too much. "I can't say or do anything about this, Simmons. This is all in Tanya's hands."
I looked at her accusingly. "You've heard from Tanya, haven't you?"
She shook her head slowly. "No, I swear that I haven't."
I didn't want to get in an argument with Bella. That was the last thing I wanted. I drew in a long breath and let it out slowly.
"Bella," I said softly. "I want you to remember back to the first time that you and Edward really connected. The first time he touched you. The first time he held you. I am assuming that was fairly early in your relationship."
Her brow creased and I heard her whisper, "I remember. I will never forget it." She looked up at me and nodded, not really sure where this was going.
"Bella, If Edward had left you right after that amazing first time of showing how you really felt about each other, instead of later on, would it have made his leaving any easier?"
She swallowed hard. "I would have been devastated," she whispered.
Her eyes closed and she shook her head in irritation. "Still, you were only with her for one evening."
I sighed in frustration as I slunk into the couch behind me. "I know, it's ridiculous."
"Whatever happened to a beautiful new girl every few weeks?" She argued.
I leaned my head back against the couch so I wouldn't have to look at her as I spoke. "I don't know how to explain it. As soon as I saw her, I knew something was different. She changed me." I was embarrassed just to say the words.
"Changed you?" She was asking it as a question, but I could tell she knew exactly what I was talking about.
I looked back over at her. "Yeah, Bella. Changed. It was pretty much love at first sight."
"Love at first sight is a pretty rare thing," she said cautiously.
"Then help me get her back." I blurted.
Her shoulders fell, "I don't think I can. I would if I could. I promise I would."
I leaned forward in my chair. "Then make Edward do it."
This time she just stared at me impatiently. "I'll do everything I can, but like I said, Tanya won't answer his calls, and her family doesn't know where she is."
I fell back in the chair despondently. I ran my hands through my hair and muttered, "I know, I know."
She looked at me more gently as she said, "Look, I know at some point she will check in with her sisters, and she is really close to Edward's family. Just give it time. I am not saying that you will get to see her, but I promise I'll let you know when we contact her."
If she did manage to talk to Tanya, I pretty much already knew what she would say. "So, Edward, thanks for setting me up on a blind date with some obsessive psychopath. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!"
I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer as to why she sprinted away from me. But still, I hoped there was a chance I would see her again.
"Promise?" I asked pathetically.
"Absolutely," she stated.
That was something at least. A small glimmer of hope. Give it time.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Seven months later . . . . . . . . . . . .
Another meeting had ended. I stood up and gathered my things.
"That should just about it wrap it up, people. I am going to turn this meeting over to my staff to handle all the details. It has been a pleasure working with you."
I walked out of the conference room and handed my briefcase to my assistant. I turned the corner and quickened my pace as I made my way to Mr. Hathaway's office. He had demanded I inform him the moment I had closed the deal on the merger.
I anxiously checked my watch. It was 10:00 a.m., and my flight for Rome left at 1:00. I had left barely enough time for making my way through traffic to the JFK airport.
I bypassed Hathaway's four secretaries and lightly knocked on his door.
"That you Simmons?" He growled.
I stepped in and said, "Just wanted to report that all went as expected this morning, and as of noon today, you are the proud owner of Lehman Industries."
"Good work, my man." He stepped out from behind his desk and crossed the room to heartily shake my hand.
Hathaway was looking much better these days. Since the dark days after Bella left, he had recovered nicely. He was a little thinner (probably due to his not drinking 6 or 7 scotches a day). His eyes were a lot clearer (definitely due to his drinking less), and his paranoia had subsided somewhat. He had seemed completely relieved when I had told him that Bella had been in town, only to pack up her things and move out of state.
Hans Grunderman had continued to be as abrasive and repugnant as ever. For the first few months I had been forced to work with him on a daily basis. But then a position had opened up in the international market and I had jumped at the chance. Hathaway had seemed all too eager to have me heading up his foreign team.
I usually traveled three weeks out of the month and averaged a new time zone every three or four days. I had seen more of the world than I ever thought I would. I had also transformed the European branch of our operations into a money-making machine. Overall, the last several months had been great for my professional life.
My personal life?
Well . . . . .
I was realist now.
I had kept in touch with Bella for a few months after that night. At first, she would tell me right away that she hadn't heard anything from Tanya, then as the weeks went by, she would call just to say hello, just to "check up on me."
Three months ago I got my first news of Tanya. Bella called and told me that Tanya's sister, Kate had heard from her. Tanya was living in Russia. Kate was upset because Tanya had no immediate plans to go back to Alaska any time soon. I pressed Bella for information and she finally told me that it wasn't normal for Tanya to spend so much time away from her sisters. All that did was make me more concerned for her. Russia, it was so far away. Why was she so far away from those that meant so much to her?
There was so much about Tanya that I didn't know.
Correction. There was so much about her that I would never know.
When Bella called, Edward wanted to speak to me. His message was very brief, and very clear. Tanya didn't want to talk to me. She didn't want to see me.
Time had changed my perspective of what had happened that night at the ball. I had convinced myself of the way things really were. That night was no big deal. I'd had a good time, but I was sure that even if Tanya had not run away that night, it would have lasted just a few weeks. She was no one special.
It was a relief when I finally talked myself into that.
What could I have been thinking, right? It was so stupid. I must have been under some serious stress with the paranoid Hathaway and all. Walking the streets of Paris, taking in the seashores of Greece, breathing in the clear air of Sweden reinforced my thinking even more. I was only 25! I had my whole life ahead of me. So many women, so little time.
I tried not to dwell on the fact that since that night I had not dated once. I hadn't even looked at another woman. I hadn't even thought about another woman. After a few months, my phone stopped ringing with calls from former girlfriends. As each one called to tell me they were in town, or to make plans to see me, I would tell them I was no longer interested, that I didn't want to see them again.
One fear outshone all the others. That she would just fade away. That a few years from now, I would realize at the end of the day that I hadn't thought of her. I didn't want other thoughts to come and push in on her. I wasn't going to remember exactly how she looked when I was 75 or 80 years old. I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember what it felt like to have her in my arms. I knew in remembering her, it guaranteed that I would never find anyone else. I didn't care. It hurt to remember, but I couldn't forget. I just couldn't.
Every once in a while I saw someone with a similar nose, or hair that was close to her strawberry blond color. It was never as breathtaking as hers, but close enough to make my teeth clench. Close enough to take me back for one searing second where I could feel her cold breath on me again.
I had never thought of myself as being alone before. I kept waiting for the spell to break. I kept waiting for the release. I kept hoping that some other woman would come into my life that would take away the burning. I wanted to be attracted to someone else. Anyone else. I didn't understand why this yearning for her wouldn't leave. It had been months. It didn't' make any sense.
What added to the injury was that I had not talked to Bella since she had called to tell me that Tanya was in Russia. It had been three months. Three whole months. She had completely cut me off.
But, I was fine.
I was moving on.
Things were good.
- - - - -
I had been in Rome for almost a week. I was beat when I returned to my hotel room that night. It had been a tough two days of negotiations, and I wasn't making much progress. Hathaway had wanted this company for months, and I was doing everything I could think of. Well, almost everything. I knew that if I used some of the tactics that Bella had used that I could have this company, but I just couldn't make myself do it. There had to be a way to do this business and not be just another corporate rat. I doubted that even Bella would use those tactics now. I had faith in myself that I could still be tough, but not vindictive and heartless.
I had just ordered room service when my phone rang.
"Simmons." The growl would have let me know who it was even if I hadn't recognized the phone number.
"Yes, Mr. Hathaway."
"I am having trouble in my Eastern sector, and I need you to go and iron out a few problems for me."
"Of course. But, Mr. Hathaway, I have not been able to close with Barrino-Tech yet. I am meeting with their lawyers tomorrow."
"This is too important, Simmons. Send one of your assistants to that meeting. You're the only one I trust on this."
It wasn't like him to take me off a deal. I gathered this was rather important to him. "Sure thing, when would you like me to leave?"
There was a slight pause and then he said, "I am looking at a memo right now, and you are leaving for Moscow tomorrow at 12:45 p.m."
I felt my chest tightening up. That characteristic hole in my middle that I had become so good at ignoring, began to burn. "Moscow . . . . . you need me in Russia?"
"Is that a problem, Simmons?"
I coughed. "No, no. I just uh, haven't really had any dealings with Russia. That was always Conner's assignment. I'm just a little surprised, that's all."
In truth, I had done all I could to make sure that Russia was nowhere near to becoming my responsibility.
Hathaway's voice lowered. "Conner is no longer with the firm. I fired him today and that's why I need you there. He's messed things up pretty badly, and it is going to take a while to get things back on track."
I felt a twitch behind my left eye. "A while?" I managed.
Hathaway let out a large sigh. "Simmons, I need you there long term. This is going to take months to fix. Frankly, we are in danger of losing all our holdings there, and Russia is just too valuable to lose. You're the right man for the job."
I was pinching the bridge of my nose between my fingers, as I spoke. "Mr. Hathaway, I will call you tomorrow night and let you know what I find when I get there."
At least I sounded like I was the right man for the job.
"That's my boy," he barked. "I'll be waiting to hear from you." The loud click was all I could hear as I sat frozen on the edge of the bed.
I called up and canceled room service.
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