Standard disclaimer applies. Sadly.
So this is my first full length story, and it is based on the one-shot I posted for the Age of Edward contest, Going to Sleep.
Chapter 1 – Moving
We pulled into Fort Nasqually utterly exhausted. It had been a long five months on the Oregon Trail and that didn't count the month it took to get from Chicago to the Shawnee Mission in Kansas. I looked over to Alice, barely clinging to the wagon rail in her excitement to see the fort and meet all the people. A chuckle escaped as I watched her take in everything around her. She had been this way the entire trip.
We left Chicago in April 1859. Pa had been a lawyer there, working with the engineers to put in the line that took the sewer out of the city into the middle of Lake Michigan. When that work was done he was invited by the governor of Washington Territory, Richard Gholson, to be a judge overseeing the homesteading of the territory. Pa thought it would be a good place to finish raising his family, so we packed up and went.
We had been required to parse down our belongings to what would fit into a wagon, and Alice had insisted that she just had to have the dresses and bonnets that had recently arrived from Paris. They had been designed by Frederick Worth and had been shipped over the Atlantic, taking months to reach us. We were all allowed one item that we couldn't live without, that package was hers.
Mine was my horse. Pa had wanted to sell him in order to use the money to purchase another team of oxen but had relented. I had convinced him that Manitou would be good to have once we arrived. I did have to leave my piano behind, however. Ma was unhappy about that but hoped to be able to order one up from San Francisco once we were settled.
At first we had thought the journey would be easy. It only took us a week to get to Alcove Spring after leaving Shawnee Mission. It was truly a lovely place; waterfalls, fresh water springs, and lush fodder for the animals made it ideal. Alice had danced in the river along with others from our company. She was a sight to behold as she pulled her skirts up to keep them dry and waded as deep as she dared. There were many young men our age willing to hold her hand lest she fall in but she had laughed gaily at them, refusing all with a smile. I had asked her why none pricked her fancy and her reply had been cryptic and short, "None of them are right."
We re-supplied at Rock Creek station, and then we resumed what became an arduous journey. Alice and I became quite grateful to have Manitou; we did not have to walk the 2000 miles as many of the others our age did. Quite a few of the girls on the trail had tried to have me give them rides, but they were rude to Alice so I paid them no mind. Besides, Alice was always telling me they weren't right for me. I knew Alice was a might bit different than most, but I knew I could trust her judgment. Alice was not quite a year younger than me, Ma and Pa had us quite close together hoping we would be as close emotionally as we were in our physical ages. She was happy and sure; I couldn't have asked for a dearer sister.
Now this isn't to say we didn't have our spats. I'll never forget the time we were camped outside Chimney Rock; it was my sixteenth birthday and in a show of what I was sure to be manliness I declared I was going to climb as high as possible. She had laughed, then argued, and finally cried, begging me not to go. I just told her she was annoying and went along anyway. Then I spent the next two months with my left arm in plaster due to the break I suffered. She was certainly smug after that. Although, I didn't go peer over Devil's Gate like I had wanted when she asked me not to.
Upon arriving at the fort, I found myself in as high of spirits as Alice. This was the place Pa had been asked to report to; surely this was to be the end of our journey. Ma and Alice noted a bathhouse and laundry, and quickly drug Pa and me over to it. After months of bathing only face and arms, or washing in the cold rivers that flowed from the mountains, the idea of soaking in a tub was appealing. Alice pulled out clothes we had been keeping nice to change into after our bath. She was quite particular with Pa's outfit, as he was to meet the governor. We chuckled about that with each other as we soaked away the dirt of the trip.
After our bath Pa took off to meet the governor while Alice, Ma and I went to check into the hotel. The very thought of sleeping on an actual mattress made us giddy with delight. But first, the smells of the kitchens downstairs were calling to us.
"Alice, I'm starved! Can't we go down now?" I complained loudly.
"All in good time! I've not met these people before, and must look right. I wouldn't want them thinking less of me," she answered in her sing-song voice. "Besides, you look healthy enough to me. Fifteen more minutes won't make here nor there of difference to your stomach."
"Alice, you've just arrived from the trail. We are amongst the best dressed of the newcomers, so I don't think they will look down on you," I replied while grabbing her hand. She giggled at me and allowed me to drag her down to the food. We met up with Ma and Pa there. Ma looked none too happy.
"What's the matter, Ma?" I inquired as we sat at the long table amongst the other travelers.
"The governor has asked me to take the seat in Seattle," Pa answered. "It's a logging community at the end of the sound, and they've been having problems with—"
"PA!" my mother admonished in a forced whisper, "That's not appropriate discussion for the dinner table." She turned to me, "Edward, we will tell you the rest later. Eat now."
"May I ask when we leave?" I dreaded the thought of more travel. I had hoped we had reached the end.
"Tomorrow," Pa answered, "so sleep well tonight. We get up early, and should reach the house set up for us late. It's only another 35 miles, so not too bad."
Alice had remained silent during the exchange, and I glanced over to her to assess her mood. She was beaming. "What's got you so happy?"
"It's a new place with new possibilities. I think we could be very happy there," she replied. She rose, having finished her repast. "Also, there's a dance tonight. Would you accompany me?"
I immediately agreed. She knew how much I loved to dance and she made an excellent partner. We tended to stick together, both avoiding the attentions of those that held no interest for us. I hated to be cornered by simple-minded, giggling girls who wouldn't know the difference between Shakespeare and Faust. She despised boorish boys who looked at her clothes and started to imagine the size of her dowry; speaking to her as if she were possessed of little or no intelligence. It was our job at these occasions to rescue the other if the need arose.
We sincerely enjoyed ourselves at the dance. While we did share many dances together, we were happy to find that there were others who shared our interests in music, literature, and in Alice's case, fashion. Alice's dance card filled quickly, and I was sure to request the attentions of girls who seemed to be shy and retiring. Alice often pushed me toward those she noticed, indicating it was my responsibility as a gentleman to ensure they had a pleasant evening. I usually acquiesced, knowing these girls tended to be better read and not as vapid as the more forward young ladies.
My family arose early the next morning; they climbing into the wagon and me upon Manitou, to face the last part of our journey. It appeared we would not be traveling alone. Seattle was a rich and growing logging community, and there were many lone men in the company seeking their fortunes, as well as a few other families.
We arrived late in the day and Pa received directions to both the home of the sheriff he would be working with as well as the location of the jail. Sheriff Swan's home was on the outskirts of town, but the jail was close, so we found our way there. We were unsurprised to find him still there. A sheriff's days were long, especially in a logging town with many saloons. I went inside with Pa to meet him and found him at a desk, chatting amicably with a local native.
"Sheriff Swan?" my father inquired, "I'm Edward Masen, and this is my son, Edward, Jr. I was instructed to meet with you upon arrival. I do presume you were expecting me?"
The sheriff rose quickly and walked to my father with a warm smile and his hand extended in greeting. "Yes, sir, we have been expecting you," he answered while shaking Pa's hand. "May I present to you the chief of the local native tribe, William Black?" he gestured to the man nearby. "His tribe is centered a couple hundred miles from here, all good people, and the chief is a man of honor."
"A pleasure, sir," Pa answered. "I take it relations between our people and yours are good?"
"There is a treaty, and the sheriff ensures it is honored. We are content," he answered my Pa. "However, the sheriff here does tend to violate it on occasion. Mostly when the salmon are running," he added teasingly, glancing at the sheriff. I looked over to see the man chuckling at the chief's obvious ribbing. I could easily see that these men more than respected each other, they were friends. That spoke well for our safety here. We had been beset with a few skirmishes with natives while crossing the plains, and I was pleased to find that wouldn't be a concern here.
Releasing my father's hand the sheriff inquired as to our journey and the general well-being of my Ma and sister. He procured a set of keys from his desk, and handed them to Pa, along with instructions as to the location of the house that was an endowment that accompanied Pa's appointment as judge. "It's a fine home," the sheriff explained, "built as a local residence for the last governor. It is fully furnished, but feel free to make any changes you like. It is set up on the hill, so the view is something your wife will enjoy."
He then turned to me, "School started a few weeks back, but they are used to new students, and Mr. Banner is expecting you and your sister. I have a daughter around your age who attends there as well. She is excited to meet your sister, as there are so few families in the area." He then informed me as to the location of the schoolhouse.
Pa and I returned to the wagon, him climbing up next to Ma and me mounting my horse, and finished our journey to our new home. Ma was so excited when she laid eyes on it. It was impressive. It stood three stories tall with a kitchen out back; there was a walkway between the house and the kitchen. A carriage house stood separate, and an ornate carriage stood within; Pa would have to purchase a team of horses. There were gardens surrounding the house and Ma went back to examine the kitchen garden for anything that might be remaining. Large glass windows framed the bottom floor, with smaller ones on the upper floors. There was a porch that wrapped around the side and, from what I could see, continued on around back. A matching deck followed the roof of the porch for the second story and I could spy a small balcony extending from doors on the third floor.
Upon entry I spied a parlor to the right with a deep fireplace, a drawing room to the left, and in front of me was a large grand staircase that circled up as it reached the second story. Alice let out a squeal, gathered her skirts in her hands, and rushed up the stairs to investigate. I wandered into the parlor and peered through the doors to a room behind. I could see a grand piano located in it, settees and chairs arranged about it. A music room, Ma would be so pleased. I continued through this room to a back vestibule opening out to the back gardens. Through a door across the hall I could spy a dining room, with a table large enough to accommodate at least thirty diners. That room had a door leading out to the kitchen and another connecting to the drawing room, completing my circuit of the first floor.
"Edward!" I could hear Alice calling me from above, "come up here! You've got to see the bedrooms!" I ran up to the top of the first floor stairs, noticing a water closet there. I peeked in quickly, seeing a wash basin with a hand pump. There was even a toilet; I could see the plumbing going through the wall. Looking out the window, I noticed that it continued up to the roof where I barely glimpsed a large cistern for collecting rain water that would be used to flush the toilet. A pipe from below the toilet and wash basin led out to a cesspool down the hill from the house. I noticed there were other pipes on the above floor, which meant there must be a water closet up there as well.
"Edward!" I heard Alice cry, "Where have you disappeared off to?"
"I'm on my way," I called back, following the direction of her voice to the west side of the house.
I peeked into a bedroom to find her gazing out the window at the view of the bay. "If Ma and Pa allow, I think I want this room," she said to me with a smile. "Have you picked out yours yet?"
"I haven't seen any others, but I may go up a floor. There's another water closet up there."
She just smiled to me and turned her gaze back out the window. I went out of the room and continued up the stairs to the third floor. There were two more bedrooms on the second floor, the largest of which I suspected my parents would take. While I could have chosen the other empty room, the privacy afforded by having a floor to myself was alluring. As I suspected, when I reached the third floor I did find another water closet, and two more bedrooms. Looking at both of them, I decided on the larger one, which faced the same direction as the one Alice had chosen. I looked out the window and noticed that I could see the sun sinking over the ocean.
While we had been exploring Pa had hired a local boy to bring up the trunks from the wagon. He was quite large and handled them easily. As I was gazing out the window he walked into my room. "Your sister told me you'd be up here. I'm Emmett by the way." He set the trunk down and looked over to me. "How old are you?"
"I'm sixteen," I replied.
"I'm seventeen, so I imagine I'll be seeing you at school tomorrow. Do you wrestle?"
I smiled. "Yes, I do. Why?"
A large grin broke his face at my answer. "Well," he chuckled, "I'm looking for a boy who can throw me in wrestling. Don't think you can, but I'm willing to give you a try."
Ah, a challenge, I thought. "I haven't been thrown in wrestling in years." I threw the challenge back at him good-naturedly, "I look forward to testing myself against you."
He threw his head back in a laugh. "I look forward to it as well. I hope you're as good as you say." I laughed with him. I was glad to have already found a friend, but then I noticed his face sober up as he looked at me more closely. "Um, there's this girl, Rosalie. I'm sweet on her, but so are most of the guys. If you don't mind, would you mind not setting your sights on her?"
I laughed again at his request. I walked over to him, clapping him on the shoulder, "She's all yours." There was no way I would want to do anything to harm the first friend I made after arriving.
I heard Pa calling from downstairs, and asked Emmett to accompany me. As we walked down he told me of his girl so I could be sure to pick her out as not being available. When we reached the bottom I was surprised when Pa asked Emmett if he could drive a team. When Emmett indicated he could Pa offered him the job of driving Ma around, which Emmett readily accepted. I could tell he was pleased, as it paid better than logging and was far less dangerous. I was heartened by this, for it meant that I could expect to see Emmett, and he had already grown on me.
After accepting, Emmett took his leave, promising to see me the next day at school. I wished my parents a good night and climbed the stairs to bed, calling a good night to Alice as I passed her floor. I heard her response as I made my way up the final flight of steps. As I climbed into bed I wondered what I would find at school the next day, and went to sleep in anticipation of making new friends.
A/N – Manitou (pronounced man - i (like the i in it) - too) is an Illinois Indian word for a supernatural being. I thought it appropriate for Edward's horse. We needed to have something supernatural in a Twilight story, even if it is AH!
A million thanks to the lovely and amazing Stavanger1 for betaing this for me and to whenpoetryrises for giving it a second look. Also, much love to naelany for convincing me to do this (I think. I may hate you later for this bb!).
It is my intention to update once a week, for those who are curious (I know I always am!)
Now, you know what to do! Send me some sugar!