So, I watched The Green Mile tonight, hoping to get my thoughts gathered for Drifting Through...but no...I got about one paragraph added to it and instead, this one-shot took over my evening. It was weird. I've never really wanted to give much thought to William Wharton. Sitting in my bed watching the movie, however, I started wondering what his life was like beforehand. He couldn't have been a total douche his entire life. And, like it always does in my mind, I instantly jumped to a romance fic idea. Lol. So here's an energizer plot bunny that kept me up until 3:30 AM. Not my best work, but it's not too shabby. :) Feel free to leave reviews with questions, comments, complaints, concerns, or anything else you can think of. Enjoy!
"What're you doing?" Six-year old William Wharton looked up at whoever interrupted him. It was some girl, her brown hair pulled up in pigtails. Freckles dotted her tanned cheeks and nose and her two front teeth were missing.
"None of your business." He retorted, turning back to what he had been doing. He grabbed the rabbit by the ear, laughing as it tried to pull out of his grasp.
"That's not very nice." The little girl said matter-of factly, smoothing a wrinkle out of her jumper as she took a step forward.
"Well, you're supposed to be nice."
"Everybody!" she said, stretching her arms out; her voice made it sound like that was obvious. Turning back to the rabbit, he switched his hold from its ear down to its tail.
"Why would I want to do what everybody says?" He looked at the girl as she bit her lip and thought.
"Because being nice is what's right." She took another step forward and sat down beside him. Reaching out, she put her hand on his. He wanted to swat it away and tell her to beat it, but something stopped him. Slowly, she loosened his grip on the rabbit, finally releasing it. Upon its freedom, it bounded away and disappeared into a burrow.
"Why'd you do that?" he asked, his voice less fierce than he wanted.
"That bunny didn't deserve that and you know it." she said, her voice taking an authoritative tone similar to a mother's. They sat beside each other for a moment before she stood and spoke again.
"I'm Mary Ann Robins." She introduced herself, brushing dirt off her knees.
"I'm William Wharton." He answered back, rising to his feet as well.
"We just moved here. My Daddy bought a house and a farm across the road." She pointed in the opposite direction at a two story farmhouse. "Where do you live?"
"Down the road." Before she could answer, a shout drifted through the air.
"Mary Ann! Lunch is ready!" She whirled around, barely seeing her mother on the porch.
"That's my Momma. I gotta go eat. But I'll see you later William; maybe we could play sometime?" She waved as she skipped away, leaving William staring after her.
William stared blankly at the chalkboard. He didn't like his teacher, Ms. Bradley; sure, she was a pretty thing to look at, but she was tight lipped and so stiff you'd think a board was shoved up her ass. She was rattling along about a story some dead guy wrote a long time ago. Not that he cared.
"Alright class, I think that's enough for today. Be sure to study your readers for your test tomorrow." No sooner had the words left her mouth, William Wharton was out of his seat and through the school house door. Pulling a ball from his pocket, he started bouncing it against the dirt.
"Hey look, it's Wild Bill!" Whirling around, he glared. Blonde haired Tim Bradshaw stood with his arms crossed across his chest, smirking at the smaller boy.
"Go screw yourself, Bradshaw." He spat out. The bully's two cronies appeared at his side, their dumb expressions never changing.
"Better shut your mouth or I'll shut it for you!" Tim growled, waving a clenched fist at him threateningly. Without warning, William swung his fist and connected with the other boy's jaw. His head snapped back, clearly surprised by the blow. Stumbling backwards, he only stayed on his feet because his friends grabbed him. Steadying himself, he reared back and slung a punch back at Whorton. He knocked William flat on his back and jumped on top of him. "You no-good, dirty—"
"Tim! William!" To be such a small, skinny woman, Ms. Bradley was strong. She yanked Tim Bradshaw clean off of William, pinching the latter's ear as she hauled him to his feet. "You're parents will hear about this, you two! Now head straight home or so help me, I will make you sorry!" Both boys pulled from her grip, rubbing wherever she had clamped down.
Shoving his hands in his pockets, William headed down the lane and turned left on the road to go to his house. He was stewing angrily, never hearing anybody following him.
"William!" He slowed his steps as he looked over his shoulder. Mary Ann Rogers was jogging up the road after him, clouds of dust kicking up from her steps. Her dress flared out behind her as she moved.
"What?" She stopped a few feet from him, looking down at her feet shyly. Digging into her school bag, she brought out a blue rubber ball.
"You dropped this." She said, extending her arm out in offering. Sighing, he swiped it from her hand.
"Thanks…" he murmured, turning and continuing down the road.
"Why'd you hit Tim?" she asked, keeping stride with him as they headed home.
"Because he's a jackass and deserves to have his nose bashed in." William replied shortly. Glancing at her, he caught her frowning.
"No need to be so vulgar William." Of course, Mary Ann would want to be a goody-goody. They continued down the road, silence filling the space between them. At the end of his driveway, he got ready to leave her when she grabbed his arm.
"Hold on." She dug in her bag and pulled out a handkerchief. "Try to clean up before you talk to your momma and daddy. You look a mess." Looking down at the cloth, he grinned.
"See you tomorrow Mary Ann."
William grabbed a stone from the driveway as he snuck around the Robin's house. The full moon was high in the sky; it was late as the crickets chirped lazily in the darkness. Rounding the house, he stopped at the south corner. Rearing back, he hurled the stone at the second story window. It hit the glass with a loud PING! He stood in the inky blackness, waiting. Grinning, he saw a shadow cross in front of the window; seconds later, he heard the wood protesting as she forced it open.
"Mary Ann!" he called out, barely keeping his voice at a whisper. In the moonlight, he could see her brown hair spilling over her shoulders as she leaned out the window.
"William?" Stepping out of the shadows, he waited for her to see him. "What're you doing here? Do you know how late it is?" He smirked. She was still as big a goody-two-shoes as when they were kids.
"I know it's late. Now come here." There was silence for a moment.
"You've got to be joking."
"Nope." She disappeared back into her window, reappearing a few moments later. He saw her swing her leg out on the window sill and couldn't help but be surprised. He expected her to put up more of a fight; after all, she'd never snuck out of her house in her life. She carefully dropped onto the porch's roof, pulling her robe tightly around her as she neared the edge.
"What do you want William?" Her white nightgown caught the breeze, billowing around her ankles.
"Just come down here."
"How am I supposed to get down there? I'll break my neck trying to get down!" Even though she was protesting, she had bent down and sat on the edge of the roof.
"Just jump. I'll catch you." She hesitated for a moment before pushing away from the roof. He didn't anticipate her agreeing so soon and barely got his arms out in time to catch her. His lack of preparation caused both of them to fall backwards on the ground. Instead of being upset, however, she erupted into a fit of muffled giggles.
"I thought you'd catch me?" She grinned down at him as she pulled herself to her feet.
"I didn't say I wouldn't fall afterwards." He answered back, getting up.
"Now what did you want?" she asked, crossing her arms across her chest to ward off the chill in the air.
"Come with me." Taking her hand, he led her away from the house.
"William, you know I don't like the dark." She said nervously, slowing down when the moon slipped behind the clouds.
"Mary Ann, I've told you: There's no reason to be afraid of the dark." She didn't look convinced. "Come on, we're just going to the barn. It's not that far." Soon, they were outside the weathered barn that belonged to the Robins family.
"Why did you want me to come to the barn?" she asked as he pushed the latch and opened the door.
"There's something I want to talk about." He had led her inside and up to the hayloft before she realized what he wanted to 'talk about'. She was about to protest when his lips touched hers. Just like always, it seemed to wipe her mind clean. Leaning closer, she pressed against him. Swinging his leg across her, he loomed over her.
Looking up at him, she saw her William Wharton. Not the one that got into fights all the time and had nearly been expelled from school countless times. No, the William before her was the intelligent, humorous, and loving person she had come to know. The side nearly nobody else saw. Within seconds, his lips were on hers again. That night went down as the wildest night in Mary Ann Robins' life.
"William!" she squealed when a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. Setting the tray of fried chicken down on a table, she turned around to face him. "You better behave, we are in church after all." She said, her tone playful yet chastising. He looked around at the older women heading out of the kitchen.
He hadn't been too thrilled when his mother drug him along for the church dinner. Not until she let slip that Mary Ann was going to be there. Leaning in to kiss her, he was met with a finger.
"Not here." She whispered, pulling from his grip and grabbing the tray of chicken again. Sighing grumpily, he followed her out into the makeshift dining room. His mother was already sitting at a table, chatting it up with Ms. Pearce, a lumpy woman who looked like she was melting. He had never liked her; she pinched his cheeks when he was younger and constantly prattled on about some granddaughter she wanted him to meet.
William sat down stiffly in his chair, wanting to do nothing more than leave this damn get-together. Times like these made him want to burn something…
"Good evening Mrs. Wharton." He could recognize that voice anywhere.
"Good evening Mary Ann. My, that dress looks divine on you! Doesn't she just look gorgeous William?" His mother said, smiling at the young woman. Her cheeks blushed as she laid her tray down on the table.
"She certainly is a fine sight." He said, his grin twisted slightly as he looked at her. The fact that their parents didn't know about their relationship tickled William pink; he always managed to sound like a complimentary gentleman when he was really thinking about her being stark naked in their barn.
"Why don't you and your mother sit with us? I haven't got to talk to her in ages!" His mother continued, seemingly unaware of the blush on Mary Ann's cheeks.
"Umm, sure. I'll go get her." And so the dinner went. Mrs. Wharton and Mrs. Robins caught up on all their news and gossip, while Mrs. Pearce chimed in frequently. William and Mary Ann sat quietly, speaking when they were spoken to.
"Billy boy, I don't know if I've told you about my granddaughter, Evelyn. She is one beautiful girl; I should have her come up and see you sometime. I'm sure you'd like her." William rolled his eyes as Mary Ann covered up her laughter with a few fake coughs. He had seen her granddaughter. She looked like she had fell from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Leaning back in his chair, he frowned at his now empty plate. Now that he had ate, he was starting to feel irritated with the get-together again. It was like an itch he couldn't scratch; almost like he couldn't scratch it unless he wrung Mrs. Pearce's fat, wrinkly neck in the process...
"William, would you help me carry some dishes?" A soft voice brought him out of his homicidal thoughts, a pair of green eyes smiling at him.
"Sure." Standing from his chair, he followed Mary Ann around the tables as she stacked dishes in his hands. Ducking into the kitchen, he dumped the plates into the sink. Turning, he took the dishes from her hands and set them in as well. When she pulled a dishrag and soap out of the cabinet, he caught her wrist.
"Why don't you ditch kitchen duty?" She quirked an eyebrow at him in question.
"And do what?"
"Run off with Billy the Kid of course." He said, grinning at her.
"I don't know…" she answered, looking over her shoulder at the door. Sounds of the women eating and gossiping streamed through to them.
"Oh, what're yah worried about?"
"Getting caught! Remember how my Daddy almost caught us in the barn!" she said, her whisper attempting to pack the ferocity of a yell and nearly succeeding. William waved off her concerns, grabbing her hand. Sure, it had been close. If her momma hadn't yelled for her daddy to come back to the house, he'd probably still be picking buckshot out of his ass. They'd been more careful since then, even by William's standards.
"Your daddy ain't here and your momma's gonna be gossiping for a while. Let's go have some fun." His voice was devious and he could tell she wanted to go. Biting her lip, she looked back at the doorway leading to the dining room. She met his eyes and nodded.
"Okay." Just as they opened up the door leading outside, somebody came walking into the kitchen.
"And where are you two going?" the older woman asked primly, eyeing them suspiciously. William had a few choice words for her as Mary Ann stiffened beside him. Thinking quickly, he plastered a would-be charming smile on his face.
"Well ma'am, there's a chicken loose outside that needs catchin'. He managed to hop out of the fryer earlier." The woman's eyebrows shot skyward; the look of confusion on her face was priceless. Before she could form an answer, William drug Mary Ann out the door.
"Shh!" he shushed her, trying to hold in his own laughs as she tried to stifle her giggles. Squeezing her hand, he tugged her around the church and they ran into the shadows. She slowed for a moment to kick her pumps off, scooping them up with her free hand as they continued.
"Where are we going?" she whispered, leaning against them as he led her into the darkness of the woods. William quickly found a game trail, guiding her until it was wide enough to walk beside her.
"William, I don't like this." She said nervously, clutching at his arm. He smirked; he never did understand her fear of the dark.
"Nothing's going to happen. It's just dark." She squeezed up against him even tighter in response, her cheek resting against his arm. They continued on in silence, following the trail until they came up on the shore of the lake. The crescent moon was reflected on the surface, the mirror image tarnished slightly by wind driven ripples. The breeze was warm, the summer air pleasant against their skin.
"What are you doing?" Mary Ann asked, her voice confused. William had untucked his shirt and pulled it over his head, glad to have the scratchy plaid dress shirt off. Without missing a beat, he undid his belt and slid his slacks off as well.
"Going swimming." He laughed out before jumping off the small dock. He hit the water, a loud splash announcing his landing.
"Are you crazy?" she laughed out, walking to the edge of the dock and sitting down. She slid her feet into the water, pulling her dress up enough to keep it dry.
"Nah, I ain't crazy. But you are if you think I won't pull you in."
"You wouldn't dare." She whispered, her eyes narrowing as she grinned.
"Want to find out?" Before she could answer, he wrapped his hand around her calf and was yanking her off the dock.
"WAIT!" she squealed, clinging to the wood for dear life.
"At least let me take my dress off. I don't want to have to explain to my momma why I'm soaking wet." Smirking, he let go of her leg and leaned back. This was exactly what he wanted. Turning her back, he could tell she was fumbling with the buttons. She always did that; she was just too…good to strip down in front of him and be confident about it. Her shoulders pulled forward slightly as the peach fabric slid over her back. He couldn't help but grin; something about the way her dress fell off her shoulders drove him wild. Mary Ann gave a little shimmy, her dress sliding down her curves and landing with a muffled sigh against the dock. Turning to face him, she crouched down on the edge.
"Is the water cold?" As an answer, he reached out quick as a flash and pulled her in. Somehow, she managed to keep her head above water. "William Wharton!" she hissed, her voice angry.
Despite how mad she sounded, her arms had wrapped around his shoulders and her legs around his waist. She knew she was too short to reach the muddy bottom without her head going under. They fell silent for a few moments, her fingers lazily combing through the back of his wet hair. His hands had settled on the small of her back, but now, he let them drift downward towards her backside.
"Your ass looked awful good in that dress. It's a wonder I didn't jump you in the kitchen." He said, laughing. She rolled her eyes at him, remaining silent. Mary Ann hated it when he got vulgar, she had told him before who knows how many times. He tried to keep it to a minimum though. "What I mean is, you looked beautiful." She let an embarrassed smile creep onto her face; she always smiled that way when he said something like that. "Still do." He added for good measure.
"You didn't look too bad yourself. You just looked so miserable being near Ms. Pearce." She said, giggling softly. Her breath was warm against his neck. One of his hands strayed onto her thigh, lazily brushing from her knee to hip.
"I don't want to talk about that ol' hag." Her shoulders shook from silent laughter.
"Then what do you want to talk about?" Her voice had taken on a husky quality before her lips met his.
"I could think of a few things…" he murmured, pulling her tighter against him.
"I have a feeling I know what number one is." He could feel her smirking against his mouth.
"Then let's get down to business." He murmured, wondering if the women at the church would hear her screaming.
"William, I can't do this anymore!" Mary Ann said, pulling her hand away from him. He looked at her, his drunkenness skewing his focus slightly.
"Be with you, I can't anymore. You've changed. It's like I don't recognize you anymore." It was true. Her William seemed to be lost beneath the bad side. Her William had been beaten by the trouble-making…evil William.
"What're you talking about? I'm still Billy the Kid."
"That's the thing! You're not supposed to be Billy the Kid! You're supposed to be William!" They stared at each other for a moment before she turned to walk out.
"Where do yah think you're going?" Grabbing her bag off the floor, she wrenched the door open and walked out.
"I'm going to college William. I'm going to be a nurse." She said quietly, fighting tears as she walked across the lawn.
"I can go with you." Whirling around, her gaze was fiercer than he had ever seen it.
"NO. You've changed. You aren't the William I fell in love with." With that, she turned on her heel and walked down to the road. Mary Ann expected him to follow her, to be the stubborn ass he had been his entire life. Instead, he was rooted to that porch watching her. Walking forward, she never looked back.
That was the last time Mary Ann saw William Wharton until he made the front page for being arrested and sent to death row.
Billy the Kid looked around the ground. Rivers of blood spilled over the wooden floor, the bodies of all those people strung haphazardly throughout the bank. In the back of his mind, he knew he should feel bad about what he did. That didn't change the fact that he thoroughly enjoyed it. Nothing was stopping him from doing what he wanted, no matter what it was.
He saw a little girl through the window, staring in horror at the scene. For a moment, he was reminded of his childhood; of a pigtailed girl stopping him from killing a rabbit. Shoving the memory aside, he walked out of the bank. Nobody was there to keep him from killing the rabbit now.