Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer
Don't Shoot My Dog
Chapter One: New Neighbours
I had just finished cleaning the kitchen when Alice popped her head through the door, smiling brightly. I was surprised that I didn't hear her car, but then again, it had been unusually noisy around here this morning.
I live in a really small town about 50 miles from the nearest city. It's a small community, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I've lived the city life and found rural life more appealing, less stressful. My house was a few miles down the road from the town and one of two houses out this way, though the house next to me has been empty for years.
"Hey Bella." Alice chimed, walking in and placing herself down on the kitchen stool. "I have some town gossip for you."
"Do tell." I wiped the counter off and took out two glasses and a pitcher of lemonade for us to drink.
"A guy has moved into the old ranch next door. Apparently he's good looking and single." She raised her eyebrows at me. "So expect every single female in the town to be coming around here in the next few days."
"Great. That's just what I need, the town floozies hanging about." She rolled her eyes at me and took a sip of lemonade. "What's his name?"
"I have no idea. All I know is that he just moved here and is staying there." She pointed out the window to the house you could see through the few trees that separated the properties.
"How do you know he's single?"
"He stopped off at the gas station and one of the girls there checked him out. The news of his arrival is spreading like wildfire."
"Well, no wonder. It's been a while in this town since any eligible men came around. No doubt he'll have hoards of women through his door."
"So are you going to go and welcome him to the neighbourhood?" She had a twinkle in her eye.
"You want to see if he's as good looking as everyone's saying he is." I accused. Alice feigned hurt by dramatically placing her hand over her heart.
"How could you accuse me of such a thing? I was just being a nice friend and came over to fill you in on what's going on." Her eyes were wide with innocence.
"Mm-hmm." I said, shaking my head.
"Fine, I was curious and you live so close that I thought we could go over and greet him." She shrugged her shoulders casually and waited for my verdict.
I walked over to the window and peered out. My kitchen faced the back of his house and from what I could see, the backdoors were all open and furniture was still being brought into the house.
"I say we give him a few more minutes to get settled; the movers are still with him. You want to stick around?" I asked as Alice nodded and poured herself some more lemonade.
We spoke about the other things going on in the town, like the local fundraiser for the church, the annual bake sale happening in two weeks, and the garden party that Lauren Mallory is holding next Saturday. About twenty minutes later, Jake wandered over and put his head in Alice's lap, giving her his puppy dog eyes.
"Well, how are you?" She asked in the tone only used when talking to dogs. Jake yawned and shook his head a bit. "Were you sleeping? I bet you were. What do you want now?" Alice scratched behind his ears and let him smell her before he walked over and sat in front of the back door.
I got Jake when he was just a puppy. One of the truckers passing through had his dog with him, who had given birth a while back so he brought all the puppies along for the ride. He asked around if anyone wanted some and a few of the townsfolk took one.
My father, Charlie, got two. The older dog, who was the father to the puppies, was getting too old to be travelling so much and the guy was going to give him to the local shelter, so my dad took him and since there was one puppy left he got Jake as well.
When I first heard of the dogs I wasn't particularly excited by the thought of having one. It seemed like so much work. But when I stepped into my dad's house and was met with the little ball of fur I completely changed my mind. Charlie, noting the bond I had with the puppy, asked if I wanted him and so I said yes.
He's been with me ever since and is a part of the family. Jake is exceedingly big and looks more like a wolf than a dog but has the personality of a saint. He's too friendly for his own good and I wonder that if anyone broke in whether or not he would lick them to death rather than scare them off.
I opened the back door and let Jake out to pee. He was good like that and always told me so there were no accidents, which I was very thankful for. No doubt he'd be back in a few minutes, lounging around in the sun on the porch.
"So how's Jasper?" I asked Alice.
"Very well. He has interns at the practice and is struggling with the extra chaos they are causing. Also he's got a lot of work since a few of the ranchers have pregnant cattle. It's a busy time for him right now."
Jasper was the local vet. He wanted to be a history teacher when growing up but just had a knack with animals that he changed his mind. For some reason even the most aggressive animals are calm when he's around. It's like he has this power to control what their feeling. I always notice it when he's around Jake, who's usually a troublemaker when he's awake, but when Jasper is around he's completely relaxed and never bothers anyone.
"So are you seeing a lot of him?" She shook her head.
"He's been staying out late with a few of the more risky births and coming back the next day, usually when I'm at work. But then when I get home he's always asleep. It'll pass, I hope. I'd like to be able to see my husband again sometime soon."
"And Emmett?" Alice grinned and rolled her eyes.
"Causing trouble as always. Some guys bet him in an arm wrestle; Emmett won but they didn't want to pay. It got a little physical and your dad had to give him a warning for assault. But no charges were pressed, like usual."
"How's his busin-" I was cut off by a gunshot and both Alice and I whipped out heads towards the kitchen window.
Without even thinking we both raced out the kitchen, through the trees towards where the noise had come from. "Jake!" I screamed, hoping he was okay. I forgot he likes to wander over here. When he didn't come running I got more nervous.
Alice and I jumped the white fence and sprinted across the grass round the side of the house. I was so surprised I hadn't fallen yet but was praying I wouldn't just in case Jake was in trouble. Alice stopped dead when she saw the scene before us. I kept running however.
The guy, whoever he was, was standing on his porch with a rifle in hand, aiming at Jake. He was lining up his next shot, luckily he didn't have a scope on or I wouldn't have got there in time. Just as he was about to pull the trigger I lunged at him, knocking us both to the ground.
The gun went off but I don't know where it was aimed. The guy grunted from the blow and looked positively livid when our eyes met for the first time. He was tall, had a rock hard chest that you would never have guessed beneath his black shirt. His auburn hair was tousled and in disarray but certainly the most gorgeous thing about him were his eyes. They were a rich emerald that just made me melt. I probably would have felt attracted to him if he hadn't just shot at my dog.
"Who are you?" He demanded, brushing his dark grey Levi's down. I momentarily paused to take in his full figure now that he was standing, then realized he was waiting for me to answer.
"Bella Swan. And you?"
"Edward Masen." He said curtly, noticing the frost in my voice.
"Well, Edward Masen, I don't know how you do things where you're from but around here you don't shoot other people's dogs." He frowned and pointed to Jake growling at him as he sat between Alice and me.
"Yes, and you shot at him. Why?" I asked angrily putting my hands on my hips.
"Because I thought it was a wolf, he certainly looks like one, and he was on my land."
"So? You don't have any livestock." I pointed out. Jake was doing no harm whatsoever.
"That doesn't matter; this is still a ranch and there are horses on the side field. They may not have been in here but he could still get to them, I was not having that mutt hurting them."
"He wouldn't. Jake is very good with other animals."
"Well I wasn't going to wait around to find out." He scowled at Jake and picked up his rifle. "Keep your dog on a leash next time you're out walking him."
"I wasn't walking him; I live behind your house." He didn't seem happy about that.
"Then chain him up. I don't care. Keep that dog off my land or next time I'll shoot to injure and not to scare." He stormed back into the house and slammed the door shut behind him.
"Welcome to the neighbourhood." I said icily, taking Jake back through to my house with Alice.
"As good looking as he is, he's not nice at all is he?" She said, ruffling Jake when we were back in the kitchen. "I can't believe he shot at you." She mumbled kissing his head and rubbing his belly as he rolled about on the floor.
"That wasn't what I was expecting." I sighed and shook my head. "It may seem like I have the neighbour from hell whose intent is to kill my dog."
"Don't worry, Emmett can kick his ass if you want." Alice said reassuringly. I smiled and shook my head.
"Nah, I'll leave it and see if he warms up. We may have met on bad terms but it doesn't have to stay that way. Plus we will be seeing a lot of each other. Every time I look out one of my windows I'll either see him in his house or when he drives into town."
"Well if he causes any trouble just give Jasper or Emmett a call and they'll jump to help you out. Let's just forget him now."
I nodded but still thought back to his piercing green eyes. I doubt I'll be able to forget them any time soon.
"Who the hell were you yelling at?" Rose asked as I traipsed in the living room after locking the rifle in the gun cabinet.
"The neighbour." I said gruffly, sitting down in one of the armchairs.
"We have neighbours?" She asked, frowning. "Since when? I don't remember there being another house around here when we were growing up."
"It's behind the property. There used to be an old barn out there until it was knocked down and a house was built there instead. Our parents sold that land just before the house was built." I reminded her.
Every year since Rose was five and I was four until we were thirteen we spent our summers out here. Our grandparents had bought the house and passed it on to our parents in their will. Our father didn't want to sell it as it was a part of his family history so we kept it. When our parents passed away Rose and I decided to do the same, keeping it rather than selling it.
I would have sold it and spilt the money with Rose but she insisted she wouldn't take any as it's not rightfully hers, which I disagree with. When I was four my parents adopted Rose into our family and she became my big sister. I've always considered her my family even though we are not blood related. The only difference, apart from our looks, is our last name. I have my family name Masen but Rose's last name is Hale. It's the only reminder of the family she once had so she refused to change it.
"So why were you yelling at the neighbours?"
"I shot at her dog."
"Why? I thought you went out to shoot a wolf." She frowned, confused.
"I did. Turns out the wolf was her dog and she was pissed that I tried to shoot it."
"Well no wonder. Did you not see its collar?"
"Nope, his fur is quite long. All I know is that if he steps on our land again I won't miss him next time." Rose rolled her eyes and pulled herself up with a blanket wrapped around her.
"Does it really matter?"
"Yes. The horses could be at risk from getting injured or spooking."
"And you didn't spook them with the gunshots." She shook her head and walked slowly up the stairs wincing every so often.
I felt helpless watching her. The only reason we came out here was for her. I would never choose rural life over city life. But Rose needed some time after what happened, which was perfectly understandable. Plus there were less people to stare at her here, not like she planned on going out much.
My sister was always beautiful but her beauty has been marred by some bruises around her right eye and cheek, a burst lip and a few cuts on her head, and that's only her face. She has several bruises over her thighs and legs, scraped knees from trying to crawl away, cut arms and bruised knuckles, marked wrists and a very bruised back.
The one time I truly hated the city was the night she came home cut, crying and hysterical. Some asshole attacked her then let her go once he was done. I took her to the hospital immediately and they checked up on her at the same time the police asked her questions.
It's now a touchy subject and we don't discuss what happened. Rose just wants to forget so I try my best. But some days it's harder than others when she wakes up in a cold sweat screaming and crying out. We came to escape, and to some degree we have. Unfortunately the reminders are still on her face and in her head, making it impossible for it to totally go away but I am hoping that after a few months here we'll be able to return to normal.
This was meant to be a peaceful retreat from the struggles of daily life. No conflicts, no problems, no hassle. But already I've encountered those. That bloody dog and his owner, what was her name? B-Bella.
Well, as far as I'm concerned she should keep her dog on her property and we won't have any trouble. Though I was not at all pleased to be knocked to the ground, which did take me by surprise. What was a little more surprising was the way my body reacted to her being so close to me. My heart sped up and my palms became sweaty. I was nervous and I didn't know why.
I shook my head, trying to clear the thoughts of my attractive neighbour and how damn good she looked with her hands on her hips from my head. Surely no good was to come of this.
Thanks to bronzehairedgirl620 for beta-ing this for me.