The Middle of Nowhere
He was the first person I thought of as soon as my boss mentioned the project in the staff meeting.
“Hey,” I said, half raising my hand to get his attention. “I can do this. I have the perfect subject already.”
Mike looked at me with interest.
“I mean, if he’s still living in the same place. I’d have to check.”
He dipped his head in acknowledgement.
“Excellent, Bella. I’ll leave that one with you then. ” He scribbled something on the notepad he held and moved on to describing the next assignment. I didn’t hear anything after that though, as my mind wandered back a few years.
I was in the final year of studying for my degree in journalism when I’d first encountered Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. Working part-time as a junior probate researcher, or heir hunter, I’d been given the task of trying to find the only son of one Elizabeth Masen, who had died in Chicago without leaving a will to her considerable estate. It had taken a while, but eventually I had managed to trace her estranged son to an address in Washington State.
After a long, and at times terrifying, journey, I had eventually found myself standing at the end of a track. With a last glance back at my hire car, tucked into the side of the narrow road, I hoisted my bag higher up on my shoulder, and began to make my way over the rough ground.
At last, a tired looking wooden cabin became visible through the trees ahead of me. A plume of smoke rose out of the chimney, and I couldn’t help but be cheered at the prospect of somebody actually being home. This was going to be one of those instances where the news that I delivered was going to be life changing to the beneficiary. I was stupidly excited about being the one to break the news to this man, that he could pack up and leave this hell hole where he was currently living.
The porch steps creaked as I climbed up them, before making my way to the front door. I knocked on it and instantly a dog started barking inside the house.
Footsteps echoed within and then the door opened in front of me, letting the barking dog out to tear around my legs, threatening to knock me flying at any moment. The figure that stood there, was more than a little scary looking, a baseball cap covering longish bronze hair, and an unruly beard on the lower half of his face. His eyes though: My God those eyes. They were the most beautiful shade of green I had ever seen, and through them shone an obvious intelligence.
Had I not been in possession of his personal details from my investigations, then I would have probably placed him as at least ten years older than me, rather than the five he actually was. Life wasn’t being kind to him, of this I was sure.
Well, buddy, this is your lucky day!
I learnt a lot from my visit to Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. The main thing was that money can’t buy you happiness; not like the satisfied kind of happiness that I saw he possessed during my stay (yes, stay, not visit). The second was that there are actually people out there who don’t even want to test that theory out; people you can offer money to, who turn around and decline your offer. Now that, I have never for the life of me, been able to figure out.
I’d thought a lot about Edward during the intervening years; what he was doing, what he looked like now, whether he regretted turning down that couple of million dollars I’d been all set to present him with. I hoped that I would be able to find him for my assignment. He fitted the bill for the ‘Riches to Rags’ story brilliantly. Nobody would ever guess the privileged upbringing that Edward had as a child.
Back at my desk I pulled a list of flights up on my computer. Finding exactly what I wanted for the next day, my stomach flipped as I wondered exactly what would greet me back in Washington. I was desperate to know now whether I would be able to persuade my reclusive former lover to let me use him as a subject for my work, and whether he had forgiven me for what I did.
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