Welcome to my first attempt at fan fiction! Hope everyone enjoys my little playtime with the my favorite characters. Most of the usual characters will make an appearance, though this will be all human, alternate universe and sometimes non-cannon pairings, and there will be some lemony goodness.
Please feel free to review, leave suggestions or questions. I appreciate any input. I'm also entering this first chapter without a Beta, so I'll apologize for any mistakes in advance, and if anyone is interested in the job, let me know!
The title of this fic was taken from the King's of Leon song of the same name, just in case you were wondering.
Definition of Notion: an idea, opinion or concept; a vague understanding or impression; a sudden desire or whim.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of it's characters, but I do own the concept of "Notion".
- NOTION -
Bang, bang, bang!
"Ugh. Go away."
Bang, bang, bang!
"Don't make me come in there," a loud, deep voice boomed from the other side of the door. "Pull those covers off of your head and get your skinny ass out of bed before I come in there, pick up the whole bed frame and dump you on the floor!"
He knew me so well. The covers were pulled over my head. So was my pillow.
How Emmett McCarty was such a morning person, I'll never quite understand. Maybe it's genetic. Maybe it's some form of mental instability. Either way, his chipper A.M. attitude always pissed me off.
"Isabella Marie Swan…" he half sang as the door to my room creaked open.
Before my brain could process my internal curse and interpret it into the threat I knew was coming, I felt my bed being heaved into the air, effectively allowing my body to roll to the floor, completely entangled in my blanket. I hit the hardwood floor with a loud thud.
"Ooaff…ouch! You motherf-" before I could finish my profanity and scramble to my feet, Emmett had grabbed the ends of my blanket, encasing me within. Then he slung it over his shoulder, carrying me like a sack of potatoes out of the room.
"Emmett! Put me down! I swear to God, when I get out of here…" I yelled as I struggled and squirmed inside the down comforter.
"Okay, whatever you say my dear," he drawled.
When I hit the floor again, I began flailing my arms and legs, trying to free myself from my feather-filled confinement. When I finally managed my escape, I realized that I was sitting on the bathroom floor, feathers from my blanket floating through the air with my hair standing out in every direction from static electricity.
Emmett was standing over me, covering his mouth and trying to stifle the snickers that were shaking his huge, six foot three inch linebacker frame. He wasn't having much success, which only fueled my anger.
"You look hideous, Bella. You better get cleaned up. We can't have you scaring the calves right out of the pregnant cows while we're riding fence today. I'm sure they'd suffer some kind of permanent mental scarring from seeing you like that," he giggled as he backed slowly out of the doorway and down the hall.
"You jerk," I screamed. "I'm so going to get you back for this. You wait, I will find an appropriate punishment for you in due time. Sleep with one eye open, dill weed!"
I heard his throaty laugh as he trotted down the stairs.
Oh, I'd get him. I always did. And this time he'd be so sorry that he may decide to finally concede and stop messing with me.
But joking and pulling pranks was just how Emmett and I were. We had always laughed and carried on together, and had always been able to find the lighter side of things. Well, he found the lighter side anyway, and I enjoyed the benefits of a perpetually happy go lucky best friend.
I finally drug myself to my feet, peeking out the window to find that the dawn was just starting to edge over the horizon. I let out a small smile, knowing that I'd get to see another gorgeous display of reds, oranges and yellows from the sunrise as I started my day here in north Texas. Emmett's ranch, or rather, his family's ranch, had always been my home, and I was grateful for every day that I could be allowed to wake up to such an overwhelmingly striking country sunrise.
I still wasn't a morning person. At least, I wasn't until I had some coffee in me, which I could now smell brewing from the kitchen below.
As I began to wash up for the day, I let my mind wander back to my childhood, growing up in such a wonderful place.
My mother and father had worked for the McCarty family for a few years before I came along. My father, Charlie, was a skilled ranch hand that worked his way up to foreman in a short amount of time. Renee, my mother, had an accounting degree and took care of the ranch finances as well as overseeing all of the reproduction aspects with the horses and cattle.
My parents and Emmett's parents were extremely close. They both decided to try for a baby at the same time, saying that having two "little ranch hands" at once would be like pairing a good team of driving horses. Leave it to ranchers to compare their children to livestock.
I was born right here on the ranch, exactly one month after Emmett, both of us delivered by the same midwife. I'm fairly certain that my mother timed and calculated both pregnancies as if she were breeding for an early foal.
If she only could see how close Emmett and I are now, she'd know that her logic was dead on.
I shook my head and quickly squelched out any of those sort of thoughts. No sense in starting the day off depressed about that part of the past.
Stop it, Bella. Move on.
I took a deep breath and willed those thoughts to a tightly sealed drawer in the back of my mind. They needed to stay locked away.
The smell of bacon joined the coffee aroma coming from the kitchen, and it was enough to snap me out of my deluge to change my into my clothes - faded and worn Wrangler jeans, a thermal long-sleeved top and my favorite over sized button down flannel shirt that I stole from Emmett last year. Then I headed downstairs toward the delicious smells.
After I made it to the first floor and turned the corner, I was faced with site of Emmett flipping over some eggs while wearing a huge grin…and my pink "kiss the cook" apron.
"Well 'Suzy Homemaker', what's for breakfast," I snorted.
He spun around, using his spatula as a pointer. "To make up for throwing you out of bed, I decided to make your favorite bacon and extra cheese omelet. Coffee's on the counter. Ice pack for your bruised ass and ego is in the freezer," he grinned.
"Yeah, yeah. No icepack needed at the moment, but the day is young," I replied. "So what's on the agenda for today, Emmy-bear?"
He scraped the eggs around the pan giving me a side glance as he answered.
"First, don't call me Emmy-bear; we're not twelve anymore. Secondly, we're going to ride fence and check on the herd this morning, see how many calves have dropped overnight. Then I figure we'll take the rest of the afternoon to work out the horses and pack up the trailer for the trip tomorrow. I'm not contracted to take any stock up there, so we'll just have the horses, which is good because I really didn't feel like dragging two trailers through New York City," he relented.
"I wholeheartedly agree. I was dreading having to drive one of the trailers through those Godforsaken streets. Now I can quietly gnaw off my fingernails in the passenger's seat while you navigate around all the crazy city slickers."
Emmett sighed and shook his head. "If we didn't need to stay in the hunt to qualify for the NFR, we wouldn't be making that two day trip into the city from hell with a dually truck and a thirty five foot horse trailer, that's for sure."
I sighed as well. The NFR - National Finals Rodeo, held in Las Vegas - was the culmination of a very hard year's worth of being on the road nearly every week. Rodeoing was a passion for Emmett and I. I loved the thrill and speed of the only women's event, barrel racing. With his huge frame and massive muscles, Emmett tore up the steer wrestling and even did some dabbling in the calf roping. He was surprisingly quick for his size, and he and I were steadily climbing the rankings in our respective disciplines in an effort to get qualified for the "big show".
It had been our dream to make it to the NFR since the first time we watched Ty Murray and Charmayne James take home tittles on TV when we were twelve years old. Emmett's family was completely supportive, and gave us a full year to chase down our dreams. They even hired on extra hands to take our place on the ranch while we traveled the relentless rodeo circuit.
We came home when we could between events, mostly just to pick up a fresh horse or two or to haul some livestock that Emmett had been contracted to bring in. He had finagled his way into the rodeo scene as a livestock dealer, mostly steers and a few bucking bulls here and there, to help offset our hauling costs and entry fees.
This time we had been home an entire week in preparation for this long haul across the country. After the rodeo at "The Garden", we would be hitting some other smaller circuits on our way back home. So this trip we decided to each take two horses with us - our primary mounts and our back up mounts. The back up horses would come in handy in case of injury to our main rides, and we could even rent them out to other competitors to catch ride since many of them were flying in instead of driving their own rigs. Bringing an extra horse for someone to catch ride fetched us a little extra pocket money, too.
So, after finishing out breakfast, we headed straight for the barn to saddle up for our daily rounds on the herds. The round orb of the sun was just beginning to pierce the horizon, sending brilliant orange rays across the scrub brush and cacti.
"Amazing," I gushed, peering at the golden rays illuminating the sky.
"I know I am, but thanks for reminding me," Emmett said with a haughty tone.
I stopped mid stride and slapped his arm. "Not you, you big lug. The sunrise!"
"Sure. Just keep telling yourself that, little girl. You know that I am utterly amazing…and smart, and funny, and talented, and a sex God…"
"And delusional," I added.
"Hey, me and all the voices in my head resent that."
I laughed. "Well I resent you insisting you're a sex God. I definitely don't need to relive all your conquests, especially since I usually hear them through the thin walls of our cheap hotel rooms."
We reached the barn then, both pulling two of the ranch stock horses out of the stalls to cross tie and saddle.
"Don't judge me," he snorted sarcastically. "And don't knock it 'till you try it, little girl. You've never had a ride on the 'Emmy-go-round', so you have no basis for your insane accusations."
"Oh that's a pretty picture, an Emmett merry go round. Exactly how many seats have been taken on that ride already?"
"Like I said, don't judge me. And I can't help it if the ladies flock to me like sheep. They love the big, dirty bull dogger," he exclaimed, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"Those aren't even considered ladies, Em. Those are buckle bunnies, only after the trophy of having bagged the winning cowboy so they can go back and gush to all their little buckle bunny friends," I said, rolling my eyes as I slipped the bridle onto the gray gelding next to me.
"Playboy bunnies, buckle bunnies…whatever. All I know is that humping like rabbits does a body good. Mostly my body."
I had to laugh. I knew what he was going to say next. He always had some smart remark about how the last girl that enjoyed the ride on "the E train". Most of the time he just referred to them by hair color or a visible tattoo since he never bothered to remember their names.
He sauntered up next to me, his horse in hand, and leaned down to whisper in my ear.
"You know, you could always do your own body some good and jump the E train. I know how to keep all my bunnies satisfied."
That was not what I expected. I was braced to hear about the latest blond or redhead who was so blown away that she couldn't stop screaming his name. Instead, he was asking for me in that scenario.
I stared straight ahead for a minute, trying to collect my thoughts. Sure, Emmett was an extremely attractive guy - muscles exploding out of his massive frame in places that I didn't even know a person could have them, ice blue eyes that pierced your soul, and that cocky attitude that could make a woman melt into submission. But this was also my Emmy-bear, the guy that I had grown up with practically as my brother. He was the one who could cry at sappy movies when two hours before he was hitting someone on the football field so hard that they got a concussion. I knew all of his dark little secrets and he knew mine. So what the hell was he trying to say to me?
I turned my head and backed away so I could look at his face. At first glance I saw something I didn't recognize - vulnerability, or desire maybe? - but it was gone in the next second, replaced with his usual sarcastic smirk. Seeing that familiar expression return, I was finally able to exhale the breath I had been holding.
I needed to break the tension I suddenly felt.
"Whatever. Come on, Em, let's get moving. We've got a long day."
He simply nodded, still smirking, then lead his bay mare out of the barn and effortlessly sprung into the saddle. I shook my head, trying to jar any extemporaneous thoughts from my mind as I followed suit.
The morning went smoothly with only two new calves out in the herd, both seemingly making it without complications. Emmett and I hadn't really talked in depth since leaving the barn, so I wasn't surprised when he couldn't keep his mouth shut on the way back.
"Hey, I forgot to tell you, I talked to Jasper last night."
"We're going to meet up with him and Rosalie in New York and travel with them for a while. Plus I figured you could work on that humping like rabbits thing with him," Emmett sneered.
My head whipped around to face him as I shot daggers at him with my eyes. "There will be no humping of any kind, Emmett McCarty!"
"Come on, Bella, you know Jasper has been in love with you for years. He follows you around drooling like a lost puppy for Christ's sake. It's obvious and pathetic if you ask me. But I bet he'd drop his drawers in the middle of the arena if he thought he had a chance to be with you," he said in a matter-of-fact tone.
I shook my head and groaned, trying to deny what I already knew to be true. Jasper Whitlock, all-around cowboy extraordinaire, had been crushing on me since our high school rodeo days. I was always flattered, especially since he was one of the most sought-after cowboys by the buckle bunnies.
He truly was gorgeous - six feet of long, lean, bow-legged muscle. He had chin length, wavy blond hair, deep blue eyes, a small batch of freckles dotting his nose and cheeks. He could've easily been some kind of male model, but, just like his father, he was a true cowboy through and through.
Following in his father's footsteps, Jasper loved rodeo and ranch work and lived on his family's cattle spread in southern California. His father had been one of the rodeo greats who happened to meet and fall in love with a beautiful, young TV actress while he was taking his own tour of the NFR in Vegas. They were married by a cliché Elvis, which of course made it into all the tabloids, and promptly settled on their newly acquired southern Cali ranch so she would have an easy commute to L.A.
With Jasper's genetics and California upbringing, you could easily see the surfer boy meets cowboy look he had going - and, God, did it work for him. He was attractive, charming and at the top of his game on the national rodeo standings. Everyone wanted a piece of him, and apparently he wanted a piece of me.
I knew I should be elated that a great catch like Jasper could be mine, but for some reason I was stalling. On paper we were well suited for one another, and every time I was near him I could feel the chemistry between us. But something was missing; something not quite tangible. I was probably just being stupid and stubborn, just like Emmett and Rosalie had always told me.
His main rodeo events were bull riding and saddle broncs, but Jasper captured many an all-around title by placing just as well in the roping, steer wrestling and bareback broncs. He was good, and like any good cowboy, he knew it; they just seemed to come with that cocky swagger that pushed women to near orgasm by their shear presence; well, it was either that, the huge silver buckles or the skin tight Wrangler jeans that left nothing to the imagination.
Jasper's twin sister, Rosalie, was another could-be model. She was the spitting image of her flawless mother - five foot eleven, long, strawberry blond hair, hazel eyes and a Barbie doll body. She was a smart, witty and tough chick, having done the high school rodeo scene with us before accepting early admission and finishing her degree in journalism. When she graduated, she combined both ends of her family's spectrum and became a sports anchor for ESPN's rodeo division. They struck gold with her since she was physically stunning, plus, with all of her connections in the industry, she definitely knew her way around behind the chutes.
So, with the promise of Emmett's never ending teasing and both of the amazing Whitlock's for company, the trip to the big apple was going to be interesting, to say the least.
Emmett and I finally made it back to the barn around noon. As soon as we finished helping the hands with some barn chores, Emmett began packing our tack and gear in the trailer while I exercised our horses.
I had decided to take Penny - a smaller, catty red sorrel mare - and Copper - a taller and leaner red dun gelding. Penny was a younger at six years old and was small with a low center of gravity. Copper was long and sleek, and was my "go-to" horse. He could easily handle any size arena, any type of footing - hard clay, deep mud, loose sand, whatever was thrown our way - and was a solid, seasoned citizen at the ripe age of twelve. Because he was older he was prone to a little more soreness, and he required a lot more maintenance and care than the mare. Penny worked best in smaller arenas, and I used her as my backup in case Copper needed some time off.
Scarlet and Rhett were Emmett's mount choices. They were full brother and sister, born only a year apart. Both were dark bay with two white stockings, only Scarlet's stockings were on her front legs and Rhett's were on his back legs. Emmett had bred them, raised them and put all of their training on himself, and those horses were quite a pair. They were some of the best steer wrestling and calf roping horses on the circuit, and Emmett had no shortage of cowboys wanting to catch ride his horses to compete on.
I rode one of my horses and ponied one of Emmett's off the side, switching to the back-up horses and letting the main ones cool down after the short, twenty minute workout. I mostly long trotted and cantered around the oversized round pen, keeping it short and easy since the long trip was going to be tiring enough for the animals.
Emmett pronounced the trailer officially packed just as I was finished rubbing the last horse's legs down with liniment and wrapping them with cotton bandages for support. We put the horses in their stalls for the night, then started walking back to the bunkhouse for dinner.
"Whatcha cookin' for me tonight, Bella dear?"
I snorted. "Oh, I suppose you think you can weasel your way out of making dinner since you made breakfast, huh? I don't think so, Emmy-bear. Today - the whole day - was supposed to be yours, just like yesterday was my day, remember?"
"Hmm." He pondered for a moment before answering. "How about I race you for it," he taunted with a devilish grin.
Without even replying, I pushed off of his arm and took off for the front porch. I heard him grunt and come stomping after me at full force. Cheating with a head start was the only change I had with him, so I tried to take full advantage.
It was no use, though. Emmett caught up to me and tackled me to the ground, making the red dust of the earth fly into the air. We were both laughing and swearing and pushing and shoving, trying to get back on our feet.
Emmett was the first to start running again, but made a fatal mistake by slowing down to look over his shoulder at me. I quickly closed the gap and leapt onto his back, wriggling around and trying to force him down. But the former linebacker wouldn't sway and simply grabbed my legs and ran with me on his back all the way to the porch.
When we got there we were both out of breath from running and laughing. Then he turned around and sat down on one of the rocking chairs with me still on his back.
"Oh, God, Emmett! You're too damn huge! I can't breathe," I groaned.
"Yeah, that's what all the girls say to me," he laughed. "I can't help it I'm well endowed"
I smacked his shoulder playfully and he finally stood up, leaving me panting and laughing in the chair.
"You win," he conceded, "I'll fry up some steaks and home fries."
"Sounds good, Em."
I stayed slouched over in the chair, holding my side that was aching from laughing and running so hard. I brushed the stray pieces of my long, chocolate brown hair out of my eyes and I felt the metal of my pinkie ring graze across my forehead.
I looked down to study the little copper circle. A flash of my memory trying to force me to think about where the copper wire had come from to construct it, but that was too heartbreaking of a memory. I quickly repressed it, but let the recollection of who gave it to me and why I wore it take me over.
It was Emmett who gave it to me when I was sixteen, during a time when I felt utterly alone and hopelessly lost. He slipped in on my pinkie, never taking his eyes away from my tear soaked ones and had said, "This is to remind you. Remind you of where you came from, but most importantly remind you that you are not alone. I will always be here with you, always."
"But you won't always be here, you won't, Em," I sobbed. "Someday you're going to find someone else, some pretty girl and you'll forget all about me. I'll just be that girl that you grew up with and nothing more!"
"Shh, Bella. That's bullshit. You know you're my girl, and no one will ever come before you." He paused as he pulled me in close to his chest. "I'll make you a promise right now. We'll make a promise to each other."
Then he held up his hand in front of my face, showing me the identical copper ring situated on his pinkie. There were two. We both had one.
"I promise that if I will not leave you until you're ready to leave me. If you can find someone you want to marry and spend your life with, then I will go and find my somebody. But if you don't, then I promise I will not leave you. You and I will live out our days here on this ranch, together. I don't care if a supermodel is banging on my door, ready to shove me down the isle of the nearest chapel. It's you and me, little girl. You will never be alone, I swear…"
I looked down at the little copper gift as I spun it around my finger. Six years and countless missed opportunities with several good women later, Emmett was still here, true to his promise to me. I suddenly felt guilty for having denied him the opportunity to find some love in his life. But even with the guilt, I still couldn't bring myself to let him go. I needed him. I was selfish and I needed him
Just then the screen door pushed open.
"Hey, little girl, steaks are just about-" he cut himself short after seeing the expression on my face as I looked up to him from my chair.
"Bella, what's wrong? Are you okay?" Concern was dripping from his voice as he knelt in front of me. He grabbed my hands in his. I looked down at our intertwined fingers and saw two copper rings - one on my pinkie, and one on his. He never took it off either.
His eyes followed mine until he caught the object of my stares. Then our eyes met and I could see worry and confusion melt into understanding. He pulled me to him and hugged me to his chest. I rested my head in the crook of his neck like always, sniffling and fighting back tears.
"I'm sorry, Em," I muttered, "I don't know what came over me. It's just getting close, you know? The anniversary? It brings back all those bad feelings. And I'm sorry that you had to make me that promise. I'm sorry you've had to be alone, like me, all this time. I shouldn't have…you need to be able to be with someone you love and…God Em, I'm so sorry," I cried.
"Bella, honey, don't cry. You have nothing to be sorry about. I'm here with you because I want to be. And I love you, sweetie, you know that. My life isn't missing anything. You and I are not alone, we're here and we're together. That's all we'll ever need, okay? Look at me, Bella."
He pulled me away to wipe the tears from my face and look me in the eye.
"I meant what I said when I gave you that little ring. I couldn't be happy without you here in my life anyway. It's you and me, little girl, remember?"
I nodded, trying to stifle my tears.
"Good. Now, let's get in there and rescue that beef that's in the skillet before I violate the sanctity of this 'kiss the cook' apron and burn dinner," he said with a huge grin, and I couldn't help but laugh.
We ate, we talked about our game plan for hauling the next morning, and I laughed at Emmett's lame jokes My mood lightened, but I was still feeling a little emotional by the time we started to get ready for bed. I knew I couldn't be alone tonight, or else I'd never get any sleep.
I'm sure he knew it was coming - me sauntering into his bed so I didn't have to sleep alone. He knew I felt safer, less alone when I was next to him while suffering through one of these depressing mood swings. So I walked right into Emmett's room, just like I owned the place as usual, donning one of his wife beater tank tops and my favorite pair of flannel pajama pants - the ones with little pink ponies all over them.
Emmett snorted, then busted out into a full on laughing fit.
"Are you serious? You expect me to sleep beside pink ponies?"
"Shut up and get under the covers, dill weed. I refuse to sleep alone tonight and you know you have a secret pink pony fetish you're dieing to reenact with me," I teased.
Still laughing, Emmett shut off the light, pulled back the covers and crawled in bed beside me. Normally we would sleep facing opposite directions - butt to butt - since all I needed to feel better was to hear him breathing and feel his warmth beside me. It reminded me of when I used to crawl into my parents bed at night when I had a bad dream, and my Dad's soft snoring would lull me to sleep.
I assumed my position, facing toward the edge of the bed on my side. But then I felt movement at my back.
Well this is different.
Emmett had shifted so that he was facing my back. Before I could ask what he was doing, he snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me right up against him. My little body fit right inside his, every part of my backside pressed firmly against his front. I heard him let out a deep breath as I was completely enveloped in his warm grasp. I felt a hand sweep my long, loose hair to the side, and then his lips pressed to the back of my neck in a soft, chaste kiss.
My breathing hitched.
What the hell is he doing…and why am I enjoying it so much?
I felt his body relax behind me, his arm loosen slightly from around my waist, and then his breathing slowed to it's familiar quiet snore.
My body responded to his breathing as it always did and involuntarily relaxed. My head, however, was still a swirling sea of emotions and thoughts.
I deliberated my situation with Emmett.
Something is definitely changing between us, I can feel it. He's acting differently. Is he just settling and accepting that he'll have to be stuck with me and my emotional baggage forever? Or is there something there that he's feeling and I'm not seeing?
Then I compared that with thoughts of seeing Jasper again.
I should be shot for not being with Jasper. He's good-looking, talented, smart, good-looking, funny, charming, good-looking, treats me well…and he's fucking good-looking! I need to give in and agree to go out on a date with him. I know him. I know he's a good guy. I would be safe with him. I could be happy with him.
And finally I contemplated the unknown.
But what if there's someone else out there? What if that one true soul mate is out there and I just haven't met him yet? Ugh. Well I'm never going to meet him sitting around the ranch all day. Maybe the Big Apple will be good for me. Maybe I need that totally different scene to really figure things out.
I took a deep, cleansing breath. I felt nowhere near resolved, but I did have the notion that things were going to feel right soon.
Emmett's soft, rhythmical snoring began to work it's magic on my brain, easing it into a peaceful silence. My eyes fluttered closed, my body melted into the bed and my best friend, and I was finally relaxed enough to drift into sleep.