A/N: Okay, this is completely AU... and completely ridiculous. Let's just say that it was hard to imagine Edward as a cowboy...until I ate a large plate of Sweet n' Sour Chicken, had three glasses of pepsi and sat upside down on my couch for a while. Then it was disturbingly easy.
It's not my favourite, but it suffices.
And so, without further ado, I present...
Western in a School
Back in the day, the town of Forks was a might different than it is now- if you looked at a picture of the place in 1889, it would be like seeing a photograph of your parents in the eighties. Of course, most of said snapshots would probably take place in front of a dusty place called Gottschalk's Saloon, home to the most adulterers, bachelors and Penny Whores in all of Washington. Run by Godfrey Gottschalk II, (who would later go on to be the great great grandfather of Godfrey Gottschalk IIII) it was the place to be at the time. And that is where we set our story, beginning with a young girl named Emmeline Hicks and the stuffy man Clarence Ackerman.
Emmeline was a young girl of 20 who lived in the upstairs of Gottschalk's. Some said she was Godfrey's own personal...girl, but nobody believed it. She was beautiful and aloof, which drew most men to her immediately, but with the added quality of being dangerously independent and pricey, Em drove most of them away within the first few minutes.
Clarence Ackerman was, at 6:00pm that evening, quite drunk. A stout, portly man with thinning hair, the cheapest and homeliest of all girls wouldn't have him without a jacked up price- even his wife, after fulfilling her duty and having his children like any good woman should, refused to get anywhere near him aside from cooking poor Clare breakfast, and lunch- he usually stayed at Gottscalk's for dinner, and Mrs. Ackerman didn't mind all that much.
So when Clarence spotted Emmeline, his alcohol muddled brain made him uncharacteristically confident- usually he knew girls like Em would turn him down on the spot, but something about the way she sat on the table a few paces ahead of him, chatting happily with Micheal (one of the town hoodlums) made her simply irresistible.
"Hullo there darlin'" He slurred, standing between her legs. Emmeline didn't try to conceal the grimace that swept across her features when she gave him a good look. "Howsabout you n' I get outa here, eh?"
"It's going to cost you." She blanched "A lot."
"Fifteen." Clarence's face clouded over with anger.
"No whore's worth that much, missy." He growled, grabbing her wrist. Mike started up a protest, but settled down when Clare gave him a glare "How. Much?"
"Fif. Teen."Emmeline remained completely impassive, causing the portly man to turn purple with booze induced rage. His grip on her dainty wrist tightened, causing the girl to frown in discomfort "Let go of me, you drunk old bastard. I wouldn't even screw you for twenty, if you asked real nicely. Thirty, if you begged real hard."
And that was the last straw. Bringing his hand up, Clarence struck her in the face with a chubby fist. Em's head jerked to the side, blood mixed with saliva dripping from a split lip.
There was a moment of stunned silence as every man and woman looked at the drunk man in awe and anger, but it only lasted a few seconds before an uproar started.
"We respect our women here, you asshole!"
"Get him the hell out of here! Get him out!"
"Somebody get Emmy a bandage and throw him out on the street!"
"I say give him a good roughing up! Punch 'em in the face, just like he did to Emms!"
Before the beffudled man could become befuddled, Godfrey had pulled a shotgun out from under the cash register and had it trained on his head.
"Leave and never come back, or your wife is going to be one very unhappy widow. Hear me, Ackerman?" He motioned with his gun and two men rose from their seats, grabbing Clarence under the arms and dragging him to the door "You step one foot in here and your brains are going to replace my wall hangins!"
The man stumbled around the streets of Forks for a few more minutes before he saw smoke rising in the distance like a beacon. He couldn't go back to Millie like this, when Clare got hammered he usually just slept it off with some cheap whore and returned by morning. But there was no other place to go...he'd have to sleep on the streets...
"'lo there." He followed the trail of smoke to find a boy sitting on the sidewalk beside the school house, horse beside him, cigarette in hand. His eyes were trained on the stars, green and flashing with intensity. The kid wore a pair of faded suspenders and a greasy cream shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. His legs were splayed in front of him, presenting a pair of time worn boots. "Doin' a bit of stargazing, kid?"
The boy looked up, face impassive as he took a long drag from his cigarette. Smoke puffed from his lips like rising smog, engulfing the clear night air.
"I guess you could call it that." He replied coolly, tapping the ashes onto the cobblestone street. His horse whinnied in the background "Shush, Thermando."
"Thermando?" Clarence mosied over and plopped down beside the kid "'Aint that just the strangest name I ever heard. What's yours, kid?"
"Edward Cullen. You?"
"Clarence Ackerman. Good to meetcha." There was a pause as Edward offered him a smoke. He declined politely "I heard of you, Ed. You're quite the legend, it turns out."
"Hear tell you're wanted by the sheriff."
"Mind much if I ask why?"
"I do, actually." Thermando whined again, nuzzling the top of his owner's head. Edward reached into the pocket of his suspenders and pulled out a biscuit, holding it up to the horse's mouth. He ate it happily. "Sorry."
"No, no problem. Another question, maybe? Why you out here by the school house? Waiting for Miss Isabella?"
The boy flushed red, clearing his throat. "Er...just, y'know...looking at the stars. Like you said."
"No you aint, boy." A sly grin flew across Clarence's face "You in love with Miss Isabella Swan, you are. I been in love before, long time ago. I know how it looks, so don't you try to hide it." He shrugged "Can't say I blame you. She's pretty fine looking, for a school teacher."
"I don't love her." He tried weakly "I just fancy her, is all."
Suddenly, gunshots erupted in the background, a bullet wizzing right by Clarence's head "Jesus Christ My Soul!" He exclaimed, watching as Thermando bucked and charged in the other direction "It's sheriff Black, you'd better run, kid."
Edward Blanched, hopping to his feet and looking around wildly before making a beeline for the schoolhouse. He could only hope that it was unlocked.
Isabella Swan was the newest and youngest schoolteacher to ever come to Forks. At eighteen, she was smarter than most of the town locals and got the job as soon as the old teacher kicked the bucket. She was given a property a few miles in the back of the schoolhouse, but often stayed late to start on her lesson plans.
So, when the bullet rain started, followed by Edward Cullen charging in the door, she was standing at the chalkboard writing a few simple sentences for her students to copy the next day.
"'scuse me, Miz Isabella. I hope you don't mind me going on the lamb in your schoolhouse."
Eyes as wide as sauceours, Isabella calmly dropped the chalk and took a deep gulp. Edward had been kind to her ever since she had first come to this town, she couldn't just deny him a favour.
"Yeah sure I guess." She babbled, ushering him under the school desk just as the door burst open and in walked sheriff Jacob Black, followed by Sam Uley and Quil Aearta.
"Evenin', Miz Swan." Sheriff black greeted with the tip of his hat "Sorry to interrupt your night, but we was wonderin' if one Edward Cullen came by here?"
"I haven't seen him." She replied evenly, surprised at how steady her voice was "Although I thought I saw a flash going to the Buck's Head."
Jacob looked at her skeptically, sniffing indignantly "Listen, Miz Swan. I know you and this Cullen kid have been friends since the beginning, but he went to far this time." He paused "You wanna know what he did?"
Isabella wasn't sure she did. She knew that Edward had done some bad things but...she had never asked for specifications, liking to keep her image of the boy clear as day.
"What could he have possibly done that's gone and put the sheriff on his wily little tail?"
"He done stole Clementine and Jack Kohl's horse Thermando." Sniffed the man "We followed him all the way back here. Now, Miz Swan, you teach our kids here real well and I trust you more'n I trust any other woman." He paused "You tell the right truth. Now."
"I haven't seen him, might've gone to the Buck's Head. That's all I know." She relented, smacking her hands onto the desk. "Now,Sheriff, that's all I have to say. Please leave and let me go on with a bit of peace."
Jacob narrowed his eyes, but motioned for the other two to follow him out the door and too the Buck's Head. Once they were gone, Isabella helped Edward out from under the desk.
"Edward." She sighed "Why did you go and steal a horse?"
"I'm leaving." He blurted, taking both of her hands into his "I'm taking the horse and going so far away nobody will ever find me. And- and I'd like for you to come with me, Isabella. I'd like it terribly." He paused "We'd marry and settle down. I've got a little money saved, and my pa's got his farm three states over. Maybe you could teach there. Maybe you could build a school, I could do it. Just...please. Come away with me."
"No." She said gently "I've got the kids here...and we're both so young. It's not that I don't want to Edward, but you've got...there's nothing stable about your plans."
"What if I left and sent for you when I was all...stable." He blurted "I'd settle in the farm, and make good profit. And as soon as everything was good and set up, I'd come back for you. I'll build you a schoolhouse, right by our home, one that's bigger and better than anything you'd ever seen before. It's going to have a fireplace and a desk and logs that don't let that fierce winter wind in. There'll be hooks for the kids to put their warm things in and bookshelves stocked with novels. Even that one you love so much, the book by Ellis Bell. Wuthuring Heights wasn't it? And his brothers, Acton and Curur, I'll purchase theirs, too."
"You send for me then." She said with a smile "As soon as all this happens you send for me and I'll marry you, I swear it."
He grinned brightly, kissing her gently. "I'll be back sooner'n you know it, Isabella." Edward said as he turned to the door. "It won't even be a year."
"You'd better go before Sheriff Black becomes the wiser." She said, ushering him out the door. He turned to her one more time.
"I'll be back."
"And I'll be right here."