First things first…..as always….
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Twilight or The Harvey Girls. I'm just having a little fun mixing them together for awhile and making my own story.
Hello there my wonderful readers! Yes, I am back and so is Leap of Faith. I have missed writing this so much. This story will be replacing the previous version of Leap of Faith, so I encourage any of you who were reading that version to re-read each chapter as it is posted. This story will be changing somewhat from the original. The first chapter is mostly the same but a bit more detailed and a bit more polished. It actually ended up being about 1,000 words longer than the original Chapter 1. I was not happy with the way the story was going and I felt like I wasn't really giving all of you the best of what Leap of Faith could really be. I hope you'll enjoy this version! To all of you who are returning to read the new version, thank you for sticking with me! For those of you who are new to Leap of Faith, welcome, I hope you enjoy my story and I look forward to getting to know you. Once again, this is loosely based off of the movie The Harvey Girls. All links pertaining to the story are in my profile. Alright….enough of my jabbering! Ya'll wanna read right?!
I watched the landscape pass by in a blur as the train rumbled down the tracks. I was leaving my home in Ohio far behind to move to Sand Rock, New Mexico in search of a new, hopefully, better life. I'm sure most people would probably think I'm crazy but I have a good reason for uprooting myself. I needed a fresh start away from the haunting memories I faced each day I remained in my hometown. Two years ago, at the age of 17, I lost my parents to a gang of bandits hell bent on revenge. My father had been the Sheriff in our small town and had made many enemies during his years of service. This particular gang turned out to be his most fatal enemies. He and my mother had attended a party those two years ago and never made it home. On their way back, they were attacked and viciously murdered by the Dean Gang who wanted revenge for the death of their leader. My father had shot and killed him only a few months prior as he was breaking up their attempted robbery of the local bank. The community was devastated at the loss of such a fine lawman and his beloved wife. My heart had been completely shattered at the loss and no one seemed to be able to pull me out of my deep state of grief.
Immediately after their deaths, I had been sent to live with our family friend Billy Black and his son Jacob. They loved me and treated me as their own but I always felt like an outsider. I desperately longed to feel like I belonged and that wasn't happening here. Sure, Billy treated me like his own daughter and, if I was being honest, he would love to latch that title to me legally by marrying me off Jacob, his pride and joy. That wasn't going to happen. Jacob was a great friend and the brother I never had but always wanted. I cherished the bond I had with him and I knew marriage would ruin that. I knew I would be absolutely miserable being with him in that way. Happiness definitely did not lie in matrimony to Jacob Black. Luckily, he felt the same way about me. He had his eye on a girl he had met in town a few months back. Everyone called her Nessie. Her family had moved here shortly after the death of my parents when her father was hired as the new Sheriff, obviously replacing the empty post left by my father. I had never met her but Jacob talked about her as often as possible. The glow that emanated from him as he talked about her even made me happy. I just hoped that Billy would be as welcoming of Jacob's newfound love; that he would see past his own wants to support his son's choice and let him be happy.
During my first year living with the Blacks, I pretty much secluded myself and stayed as close to the house as possible. I thought it's what I wanted, to be away from people and just be alone. It wasn't. My self-imposed seclusion only made me even more lonely and depressed as each day wore on. One day I decided I was tired of wallowing in my misery and asked Billy if I could go and spend the day in town. He was thrilled that I wanted to get out of the house for a change but refused to let me go alone. He sent Jacob along with me as my escort but I could see the underlying intentions in his eyes. He gave a wink and a pat on the back in encouragement to Jacob when he thought I wasn't looking.
"Have fun kids," he yelled to us as we made our way out the door, rolling our eyes but grinning in amusement at good ole Billy. He was not nearly as sneaky as he thought he was and he was definitely not subtle in the least bit.
Since town was not that far, Jacob and I decided to walk and enjoy the nice day. He was nearly skipping the whole way there in his excitement to possibly see Nessie. I laughed at him and teased him for being such a girl. Once we finally reached town, I could see him craning his neck as he search for her in the crowd. Soon, his eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across his face as a beautiful girl approached us. He introduced us and I could see she was as smitten for him as he was her. I was happy for them but I could not stop the pain that violently twisted my heart as I longed for that kind of love in my own life. I had to escape from their happiness for awhile and, after a lot of nagging, I convinced Jacob to let me wander a bit on my own while he visited with Nessie.
I stayed in the General Store for a bit browsing but not finding anything of real interest. I was beginning to think this outing might have been a waste of time. I felt no better now than I had before I left Billy's house. I had decided to leave and was nearly out the door when the stack of newspapers there caught my eye. I figured it was time that I got myself caught up on what was going on in our small corner of the world so I purchased one. With my new purchase in hand, I found the bench right outside the door of the General Store. I settled myself in and relaxed as I read. Most of it was boring and I was just about to toss it aside until something in the middle set my curiosity ablaze. It was something called a Matrimonial Ad. As I read the ad several times over, my heart raced and screamed at me that I had finally found that something that could be what I needed to make the change I had been longing for. There was only one ad listed for this edition. It was for a man in New Mexico, Carlisle Cullen, who was seeking a kind, intelligent woman to be his wife. He owned his own ranch and was tired of living alone. There was an address listed where interested parties were asked to send their letters. I immediately tore the ad from the paper tucking it away and setting off to find Jacob. I was anxious to get home and write to this gentleman to see if something could work out for us. My face must have shown my newfound hope as Jacob noticed a change from my previous demeanor. I brushed his observation of simply telling him that the outing had been good for me. Thankfully, he believed me without needing any further convincing.
Once we were home, I quickly made my way to my room. I read over the ad again, feeling doubt beginning to taint the hope that had been welling up inside of me since first reading the ad. I fiercely beat it back, letting all of my hope push it to the darkest, quietest corner of my mind. It was time to take a leap of faith; to stop being idle and letting life pass me by. With a deep breath, and a quick pep talk to myself, I pulled out a piece of my stationary and began writing what would become the first of many letters to Mr. Carlisle Cullen.
Over the next year, we wrote to each other as often as possible and I found myself falling completely in love with this wonderful, eloquent man. The letters he sent were full of beautiful words and imagery as he told me all about himself, his life in New Mexico and the little valley he frequented as an escape from the world. I never knew such passion could reside in one man and my heart longed for him. For the first time in two years, I felt truly alive. I felt wanted. I thought I would burst with complete and utter joy when I received his last letter.
Dear Ms. Swan,
This past year of correspondence with you has been the happiest I can remember. When I first set about this Matrimonial Ad business, I never imagined I would find someone as caring and wonderful as you. I can no longer withstand the distance between us. I ask that you please come to New Mexico to be my wife. I hope you will accept my request, for I'm sure my heart will break if your answer is no.
I had quickly written him a letter accepting his request. I was in far too deep now and knew I could never reject him. Once he received my acceptance, we both began to make arrangements for my travels. I worked diligently for nearly a month getting my affairs in order so I could leave this place and finally have the life I hoped for. The day I was to leave, I had pulled Jacob aside telling him my plans and giving him a letter for Billy. He was nervous for me to make the journey by myself but happy that I had finally found joy in my life. He gave me his blessing, made me promise to keep in touch and took me to the train himself. We said our tearful, on my part, goodbyes and I settled in for the long journey away from the only life I had ever known.
It didn't take long for the rocking motion of the train to lull me to sleep. With sleep came beautiful dreams of my upcoming wedding and the life I would have as Mrs. Isabella Cullen. My time in dreamland was cut short, however, by several loud giggles. I scowled in annoyance as I looked around to see exactly who was responsible for waking me away from such pleasant dreams. I looked towards the end of the car where I noticed a large group of beautiful girls who were all laughing and talking together as they ate their dinner. As I continued to observe them, my stomach growled loudly making me blush as the man in the seat next to me snickered. In my rush, I had forgotten to pack enough to eat for my journey and I had eaten the last of my supply last night. Planning obviously wasn't my strong point. I turned to stare out the window as I focused on the passing scenery hoping that, if I ignored my stomach's demands for food, the hunger would pass. I quickly drifted off into daydreams again, completely shutting myself off to my surroundings.
I yelped loudly, nearly falling out of my seat at the sound of the voice. I was so far into my daydreams that I had completely forgotten I was surrounded by people.
"Oh! I am so sorry! I didn't mean to scare you. We just saw you sitting here all alone and wanted to introduce ourselves."
I looked at the girls standing in front of me. They were two of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. The one who had startled me was short with, green eyes and dark black hair that was shorter than I had ever seen on a woman. I wasn't even certain it was proper to wear your hair in such a fashion but it looked like it suited her well. The other woman was tall, with long, flowing blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
"Oh, it's okay. I was just lost in silly daydreams and you startled me a bit. A good fright now and then is good for the heart though. Don't you think?"
They both laughed and shook their heads in agreement as they sat across from me.
"I'm Alice," the dark haired girl said placing her hand over her heart.
"And this is Rosalie," she said pointing to her friend.
"Call me Rose though, I prefer it," the blonde said, smiling warmly at me.
"It's nice to meet you both. I'm Isabella Swan, but please call me Bella."
"Bella," Alice repeated quietly, "that's a great name."
"Thanks Alice. So, are you both with that big group in the back?"
"Yes, we are. We are headed to Sand Rock, New Mexico to be waitresses for a place called Harvey House. We are going to be Harvey Girls," she said literally bouncing in her seat.
"You'll have to excuse Alice she gets a little too excited. It is pretty exciting though. It's a great establishment to be a part of. They bring their restaurants and waitresses into small, mostly uncivilized towns in hopes to help bring in some class and teach good manners," Rose explained.
"That sounds nice."
"So, where are you headed Bella?" Alice asked.
"Oh, I'm on my way to Sand Rock also," I replied feeling the heat of a blush creeping up to my cheeks.
"Look at her blush Alice! And what, pray tell, brings you on this journey to Sand Rock, Ms. Bella?" Rosalie asked, raising one of her eyebrows in curiosity.
"Oh I, um, I'm going there to get married."
They both squealed loudly getting the attention of everyone in the car and making me sink down in my seat from embarrassment.
"Ladies, please be respectful of others in the car please," I heard someone scold.
"Yes ma'am," they replied as the lady who had scolded them found her way to us.
She was lovely as well, with caramel colored hair and soft brown eyes. She reminded me so much of my mother that I had to fight the tears from coming to my eyes.
"Now, what brought on such excitement?"
"Oh Esme! Meet our new friend, Bella Swan. She is on her way to New Mexico too. She's going there to get married. Isn't that exciting?"
"Yes Alice, that is quite exciting. It's lovely to meet you Bella. My name is Esme Platt. I'm in charge of this giggling bunch of girls," she said as she giggled herself.
"It's very nice to meet you Ms. Platt."
"Oh please dear, call me Esme. I'm sure I'm not much older than you."
"Okay, Esme," I replied as my stomach once again growled loudly embarrassing me in front of my new friends.
"Oh dear, either you have a very sociable stomach who wishes to introduce itself as well or you are definitely hungry! Did you bring anything to eat with you?" Esme inquired.
"I did but I'm afraid I didn't pack enough for the trip, silly me. I was just so excited that I didn't really think that part through. I'll be fine until we reach Sand Rock. We should only be a few hours away by now."
"Nonsense, we may only be a few hours away but I will not let you starve. Alice, go grab the basket on my seat and bring it to me please."
"Sure thing Esme."
Alice quickly made her way to the seat Esme pointed out and was back in record time with a basket full of goodies.
"Now dear, you take what you want and then you can tell us all about your young man," Esme said, winking at me.
I wanted to protest once again but when the smell of food drifted to my nose, I couldn't stop myself. Once I had eaten enough to feed a small army, I began telling them all about Carlisle and the letters we had been writing to each other. They thought it was terribly romantic and demanded that I let them help with the wedding. I was happy to make such great friends. Not only would that mean that I would know others besides Carlisle in Sand Rock, but it also helped my journey quickly pass by as I enjoyed their company.
Sooner than I imagined, the train slowed down. One of the train employees came through to announce that we were preparing to stop in Sand Rock and we all began to hastily gather our things. I had only brought a small bag to carry my everyday items with me and one trunk which held my wedding dress, a few other dresses for everyday use, a few of my favorite books, family keepsakes, the letters from Carlisle, of course, and a few other needed things. I slung the bag over my shoulder as I stepped out into the aisle toward the open door to get my trunk and begin the journey toward my future. I had no idea what life had in store for me outside that door but I faced it with the hope that it had to be better than the existence that I had endured for the past two years. One thing was for certain, once I stepped foot outside that door, my life would change forever and I was ready to welcome that change with my arms and heart open wide.
New Chapter 1, COMPLETE!! I hope all of you enjoyed it. Please leave me a review and let me know if ya'll are still interested in reading this story. I will try to update at least once a week. Thank you all so much for your patience and I also want to thank all of you who had so many kind and encouraging words for me during my Grandfather's illness and death. It's been a hard time but the wonderful memories keep a smile on my face when I think of him. Take care everybody! Remember to review, they make me smile, well the nice ones do anyway, ha. Until next chapter…..