Contest Name: Mix It Up
Title: Swan Farm
Rating/ Disclaimer: Rated M; due to my paranoia. Twilight does not belong to me; I'm just one of the many people who likes to manipulate the characters into doing what I want.
Summary: After being caught vandalizing, Edward is sentenced to community service on a local farm. There, he meets Bella; the daughter of the owner. However, she has already formed an opinion of him and it isn't good. An entry for the Mix It Up Challenge.
Okay, before we start the story I would like to say a couple things. First, this story was written for the Mix It Up Contest on FWC. Visit www (dot) fanfiction-challenges (dot) blogspot (dot) com. I'll put a link for it on my profile too. Second, it is All Human. Third, the story contains some controversial issues. Mainly, the misuses of the word 'retard'. So no offense is intended, just read on and you'll see what I mean.
I drove up the dirt road and glared at the trees lining the lane. The sun was shining and the breeze messed up my hair even more. I was dreading this; I didn't enjoy being outside. I was more of a 'stay inside' person. I only went outside when I had to go somewhere, like school or the store. Even when I did venture out of doors when it wasn't necessary, it was usually when it was raining, or when it was night. My sister Alice teased me and called me a vampire.
Glancing between the trees, I could see meadows with horses grazing. Coming here was a part of my sentence. The judge told me that I would be doing my community service here, at Swan Farm. At first I thought it would be some crazy place that breaded swans. Alice laughed at me when I said that.
Apparently, it's just a regular farm. They're dedicated to helping people. Mostly, they help autistic children. I read on their website that they have a summer program every year in which the children can learn things about farms. They can feed animals, collect eggs, and most importantly, ride horses. That's the big thing about the farm; their horses.
So after I spray painted 'retard' on the car of a boy from school, the judge decided I needed this. In hind sight, I shouldn't have done it to begin with. He's a nice boy; but that day he had annoyed me too much. In a drunken rage, later that night, I stupidly listened to my friends and vandalized the vehicle. I was caught driving away. I suppose spray painting the car of the police chief's son was a bad idea. Not to mention drinking and driving.
I got charged with a D.W.I and vandalism. Maybe my punishment would be different, if the judge didn't have an autistic daughter.
"Do you realize what that word means to some people? Did you know that it hurts them?" Judge Stanley asked me. I knew her daughter, Jessica, a little. We had been in the same class in fourth grade. We also went to high school together and I saw her in the hall way sometimes, but she was in the slower classes. I never thought anything of it.
"No, ma'am," I said, not making eye contact with her. I had done that when I first walked into the court room, and I didn't want to experience the cold glare again.
"Edward Cullen, I give you community service at Swan Farm, in hopes that you will realize how wrong you were and change your ways."
I pulled up to the farm and turned off the ignition. I looked through the windshield up at the building. It was large, and mainly wood. I could see a small barn off to the side, a larger one past it. Exhaling through my nose I opened my door and got out. I walked around to the trunk and opened it so I could retrieve my bags. Staying here is part of the torture- er, I mean, community service. Judge Stanley arranged for me to stay in their guest room. She says that living here will give me the whole experience.
"Here goes nothing," I grumbled. I slammed the trunk and locked the car. I hefted my bags onto my shoulders and walked up to the front porch. I hadn't seen a soul since my arrival. The only living beings were the horses, grazing in the distance. Through the door I heard a high pitched ringing and suddenly the front door was pulled open.
"Fucking, son of a bitch," a small girl said. With the front door open, I could hear that it was a smoke alarm that was going off.
"Can't cook a goddamned thing," she kept muttering, as she waved air out the front door. I seemed to have gone unnoticed, so I took the opportunity to look at her more closely. She had long brown hair and her eyes were a deep chocolate color. She was wearing jeans and a tank top and her skin was slightly tanned.
"Uh, excuse me," I said; finally deciding that I should make my presence known. She looked in my direction and her eyes widened.
"Oh, sorry, hello," she said just as the smoke detector stopped its blaring. She looked up at me and smiled. "We're actually closed today. I don't know if you saw it but there's a sign at the end of the road with all our hours."
"I did see, but I need to be here. I'm Edward Cullen." When I said my name her eyes grew darker, if that's even possible. She narrowed her eyes and her lips grew thin.
"Oh, it's you," she said.
"And you are…" I still had no idea who this beautiful girl was, but it seemed like she knew me pretty well. Or thought she did. It was obvious she already had an opinion of me.
"Isabella Swan." She looked at me for another moment before turning around and going back into the house. "Well come in," she snapped, not looking back at me. I walked in and she slammed the door before I was barely inside, I swear it almost hit my heel.
I looked around the foyer and was impressed. The ceiling was high and lofty and light streamed in. There was a large stair case leading upstairs. I looked at Isabella, standing with her arms crossed.
"So… it's nice to meet you Isabella. Should I call you that? Or do you like to be called something else? Izzy? Bella?" I rambled, not sure of how to handle the awkwardness in the air.
"Only my friends and family call me Bella," she said curtly. I raised my eye brows; there was obviously something about me that she disliked.
"Well, then, you should know that my friends and family don't call me Ed, or Eddie. It's just Edward." I mentally kicked myself. What a stupid thing to say.
"That's great," Bella said. I didn't care if she didn't want me calling her Bella. She couldn't stop me from thinking of her as Bella.
"Come on, I'll show you your room." I followed her up the stairs and down a long hallway.
"Here," she said, opening a door. I walked into the room. It looked out to the meadows. I could see the drive lined with trees that brought me up to the house.
"Thanks," I said.
"Yeah, whatever. Dinner is at five thirty." Then he left me alone. I wondered if I would get a tour of the house. I wondered what we would be having for dinner. I thought of all these things and more as I unpacked my bags.
At five o'clock I was done putting my things in the now full dresser. I sat on the bed and looked around the room. The room had a brown and white color scheme. The bed was low to the floor, but quite comfortable. The view was amazing and I had my own bathroom. If I could just stay in my room the whole time, it wouldn't be so bad. But I had to face my duties at some point and leaving my room meant seeing Bella. She didn't seem to like me and that irked me. Most people liked me; it always seemed like a sure thing.
Five minutes before dinner, I left my room and went downstairs. I searched for a dining room, or kitchen of some sort, but I couldn't find one. It seemed like I kept going in circles, always ending up in what appeared to be the living room.
"Heads up!" someone yelled. I whirled around, in time to see a big brown blur coming toward me. It ran right at me and jumped at me. I lost my footing and fell right on my ass. The creature licked my face and now that it wasn't charging at me I recognized that it was a dog; a black lab to be exact.
"Napoleon, get off him," a man said as he pulled the dog, Napoleon, away.
"It's okay," I said, standing up and brushing myself off. The man was tall, muscular, with curly brown hair and hazel eyes.
"I'm Emmett, by the way. Bella told me you were here. I was about to come get you for dinner," he said, smiling and holding out his hand. I shook it as Napoleon came back and started sniffing my feet.
"Don't mind Napoleon, he's just a pup," Emmett said, patting the dog on the head.
"He doesn't look like a pup," I said, smiling and petting the dog. He looked full grown.
"Eh, he's about one. Come on, we're eating in the kitchen tonight." I followed Emmett through various rooms, Napoleon stayed close to us. Sometimes he went ahead and sometimes he was behind me, sniffing my feet.
"This is the dining room. We usually eat here, but since Mom and Dad aren't home tonight we're going to eat in the kitchen." I looked at the large table and amazing view out the large window. The wall was practically all glass.
"And this is the kitchen. I bet Bella didn't give you a tour, so I'll show you around after we eat," Emmett said, sitting on a barstool at a long counter.
"Are you Isabella's brother?" I asked, taking my seat and figuring that since she wasn't around it was safe to talk about her.
"Yes I am, and I see she isn't letting you call her Bella."
"No, she's not."
"She'll come around." Emmett smirked, like Bella being stubborn was a typical thing.
"Why does she hate me?"
"She heard what you did."
"She works with the kids during the summer; as a camp counselor. 'Retard' is a sensitive word around her. Hell, it's sensitive everywhere; especially here."
"What is it you guys do anyways?"
"Well we're open all year, for special needs people to come and ride the horses. That's our specialty. But during the summer, we have a day camp for kids to come and help with the animals and ride the horses. It's kind of therapeutic; at least, those are the theories."
"Yeah, well, just try to watch what you say."
After dinner, Emmett showed me around and then we played Black Ops. It was fun playing with someone. I usually ended up playing alone, back home. I tried playing with my dad once. However, when he ended up being better than me I avoided that.
I hardly saw Bella at all. She was silent during dinner. After I finished, Emmett dragged me away quickly and I didn't see her since. I found myself thinking of her a few times during the tour. Like when I saw a picture of her on a horse in the living room, or when I saw her outside, throwing a ball to Napoleon.
When I went upstairs I heard music playing in the room across from mine. When Emmett showed me around upstairs he didn't show me this room. All he said was, 'Bella's room' before he walked on to show me his room.
I leaned toward the door, listening to the music. I could hear "Penny Lane" by The Beatles and I smiled. Well, at least she had good taste in music. I opened my door and went into my room. Walking to the window, I looked out at the stars. I liked the night. It was peaceful and serene. Swan Farm was secluded; there were no city lights that obstructed the brightness of the stars and the moon.
I rested my head on the glass. Bella was definitely a mystery to me. She seemed so cold around me. However, when I saw her playing with Napoleon, she was so cheerful. In that picture, she had the most dazzling smile I've ever seen. I know that her first impression of me was a heartless, rude person, but that was before she even met me. It was hardly fair of her to form an opinion of me before she could meet me and know the true me.
The true me, however, was someone hardly anyone knew. Sure my parents knew it and so did Alice. Besides them, though, people thought I was different. To my friends, I was a badass that enjoyed rule breaking and bullying. Of course, that wasn't true, but I felt like I had to be that way to fit in with them. It was kind of clichéd.
"Wake up, dick face," someone said. That's a new one, I thought, they haven't called me that before. By 'they' I meant my friends. They were always calling each other insulting names. The person kept shaking me before it finally stopped.
"Seriously, dude, you better wake up, Bella just went to get a bucket of water." At the mention of her name, I remembered where I was. My community service and how much Bella hated me all flooded back and I groggily sat up. I did not doubt that she would dump a bucket of ice water on me.
"What time is it?" I asked, rubbing the back of my neck before looking around the room. Light was barely coming in the window and I had a feeling that it was very early; too early for my liking.
"Six o'clock," Emmett said. I looked at him. He was still in his pajamas so I could tell he hadn't been awake for long.
"You just wake up?"
"Yep, Bella woke me before she woke you. She was shaking you for, like, ten minutes man." I groaned and pinched the bridge of my nose.
"Edward you better be up or else I'll-" Bella stopped talking when she saw me sitting up in bed. I noticed her eyes glance downward and remembered that I didn't sleep with a shirt on. I smirked at the idea of her checking me out. Then I noticed the bucket in Bella's hands. Holy shit she really would've done it, I thought.
"Well, anyways, get dressed we have work to do," she said before turning and walking away.
"I thought you said she's come around," I grumbled as I got out of bed.
"I never said it would be easy. You're going to have to change her opinion of you," Emmett said before leaving so I could change.
"Remind me why we're awake so early?" I asked Emmett.
"Today is the first day of camp for the little kids. We have to make sure everything is ready."
"Oh." I rubbed my eyes and followed Emmett outside into the large driveway. A truck pulled up and a man wearing a cowboy hat stepped out. He was tall and had long blonde hair.
"Hey Jasper, this is Edward," Emmett said. I shook Jasper's hand and looked up at him. His eyes were an icy blue as he stared at me, assessing.
"So you're the delinquent," he said. I recognized his accent as something southern; Texas probably.
"Uh, kind of," I said, looking down at the dirt.
"'Kind of'? Vandalism is a crime, dude."
"It was only once."
"Drinking and driving is too; I'm surprised you're license wasn't taken away."
"I can't drive at night, but I had to drive to come here," I said. Jasper was really making me feel bad about myself. Of course, I had already felt bad about what I did, but he was the second person in twenty four hours to make a snap judgment about me.
"Well, that's fine I guess," Jasper paused and then, as if he read my mind, he said, "I'm not judging you man, I've done stupid things when I'm drunk. Nothing as stupid, of course."
"Anyways," Emmett said, saving me from having to respond, "Jasper works for us, and is a camp counselor with Bella."
"Are you a camp counselor too?" I asked Emmett.
"No, Rose and I work more in the field, doing gardening and fixing the equipment."
"I'm Rosalie Hale; I like Rose though," a blonde girl said as she walked over. Emmett hugged her and gave her a kiss.
"I'm Bella's friend," she said.
"I'm Edward Cullen, Bella's… um-"
"Object of loathing?" Emmett offered.
"Yeah, that," I agreed. Rose laughed and smiled.
"Hey, it's alright. Bella just has some attitude problems. She'll come around."
"Sure she will," I muttered. Emmett and Rose started back toward the house and Jasper followed them.
In the following two hours I found out a lot about this group of people. Emmett was twenty-three and had already graduated from college. So had Jasper and that's how they met and how Jasper started working at Swan Farm. Apparently they were roommates and got into some crazy things while in college. Rose and Bella were nineteen years old and had been friends since grade school. They had just finished their freshman year in college. Rose told me they were going to Montana State University Bozeman. I suspected that they would go there. Many of the people here in Philipsburg attended MSU Bozeman. With it only being about two hours away, it was convenient for those who still can't get over it and cut the cord. I was going there too, but that had nothing to do with my statement about the cord.
But anyways, my point is that I got to know them better. Bella was still a bitch but at least she talked to me. At eight thirty Emmett had me come with him and Rose. Some of the other workers had started arriving and campers would be coming at nine. Apparently, however, I would not work with the campers until next week. Instead I would be mowing lawns and feeding animals with Rose and Emmett. Not that I minded that, they were both very nice and funny.
By lunch time I had worked up a sweet. We ate sandwiches under one of the trees that lined the drive and made small talk. I barely saw any of the kids, but I could hear laughter in the distance.
"My sister would like it here," I said after a long, stretched out silence. It was true, Alice would like it here. Alice is twenty-two, so she's older than Bella and Rose but I think she would like them. Plus, she's into horses.
"So, Edward, how old are you?" Rose asked.
"Twenty one," I said, picking at pieces of the grass.
"So you're in college."
"Yep. I go to MSU Bozeman actually."
"Really? That's cool."
"It's really nice. I like it a lot. I'll be a senior in the fall, so it should be interesting." Rose wrinkled her nose and I wondered what I had said wrong. Then I noticed that she wasn't looking at me, she was looking at Emmett.
"Sorry, babe," he said. I looked at him, wondering what had happened. "Excuse me."
"Burping in public is rude, Em," Rose said and I tried not to laugh. From the look on Rose's face, I could tell she thought it was funny.
My bed feels like an ocean, John texted me later that night. I rolled my eyes; he was definitely high.
What are you smoking man? Leave my stash alone. No, I didn't have a stash. My friends didn't have to know that though. If they at least thought I got high by myself, they wouldn't endlessly ask me to do it with them.
I wish I was a fucking monkey. I didn't respond to that one. Usually when it was that bad I just left him alone. He wouldn't remember texting me in the morning anyways.
I opened my bedroom door and walked downstairs. Everything was quiet and I figured everyone was asleep. It was nearly midnight and Bella promised we would be waking up early again in the morning. I just couldn't fall asleep. I wanted to, but I couldn't. So I decided to get up and get a glass of water. I considered giving Alice a call.
As I made my way toward the kitchen I heard some noise. At first I assumed it was Napoleon, playing with some toys or something. However, as I rounded the corner I could tell that the kitchen light was on. I figured someone was awake and braced myself. If it was Bella, I wouldn't be able to stay. If it was Emmett, I would never get back to bed. However, when I opened the door, it was someone else entirely.
"Oh, hello, did we wake you?" asked a woman sitting at the counter. She had the same hazel eyes as Emmett and her hair was short. Her heart shaped face reminded me of Bella. The man that was standing on the opposite side of the counter had curly brown hair and deep brown eyes. I could tell that these people were Mr. and Mrs. Swan.
"No, I was already awake. I'm Edward Cullen," I stepped forward and shook Mr. Swan's hand and then shook his wife's.
"Nice to meet you Edward. I'm Renee Swan and this is my husband Charlie," she said, smiling warmly at me.
"Have you enjoyed your time here?" she asked as I got out a cup to pour myself water.
"Yes I have."
"Has Bella given you a hard time?" Charlie asked. I stared at him. How did he know?
"Not really," I said.
"Emmett said she almost used the bucket," he said.
"Don't worry, she won't be using it anymore," Renee said. I nodded my head and smiled at them. They were being very welcoming.
"Sorry we weren't here when you arrived. We were visiting Charlie's parents in Forks." Forks? What's a 'Forks'?
"It's not a problem, really. I'll, uh, see you in the morning. Nice to meet you," I said.
"Good night, Edward," Renee said. Charlie just nodded at me and I left with my water.
The week passed by slowly and I found myself counting down to when work ended. At four o'clock Emmett declared we were done for the day and I practically ran away. I was getting sick of baling hay and feeding chickens. Rose wouldn't let me work on any of the tractors. She said that was her job. Emmett didn't interfere with it, either.
I went to my bedroom and flopped onto the bed. I was tired and hot. The week of physical labor, outside in the sun was draining. I decided that what I needed was a nice, relaxing shower.
I stripped down and got in the shower. For a moment I simply stood under the water. The hot water, pelting my skin was relaxing. After a long time of standing there naked, I hurriedly washed myself before the water could turn cold. I stepped out, wrapped a towel around myself and returned to my room. I slowly got dressed; thoughts of what dinner would be tonight floated through my head. When I was fully clothed I decided to take a walk.
"Hey, Edward," Jasper said when I went outside. I waved at him and said hello. Then Jasper got in his truck and left. I made my way toward the barn. Then, on a whim, I passed the small barn and made my way toward the larger one. I had spent so much time in the small barn through out the week. I never really went to the large one and I was curious.
When I walked through the wide open doors I smiled. There was a small pig trotting toward me, snuffling at the floor. Around me there were paddocks for the horses. I could tell this wasn't as much a barn as it was a stable. The little pig got closer and suddenly I saw Bella. She stepped out of a paddock and picked up the pig. She rubbed its head and then looked at me. For a moment I was sure she would ignore me, but then she spoke.
"What are you doing here?" Bella put the pig down and he continued his snuffling.
"Just taking a walk," I said lamely, her eyes narrowed and she turned and started walking away. I had two options, leave or follow her. I chose the later.
"What was his name? The pig." I caught up with her in a paddock. She was brushing a beautiful chestnut colored horse.
"He doesn't have one yet."
"We just got him."
"Yes. But I'm thinking of naming him Edward." Bella said all of this without even looking at me. I stood there, not sure what to say. What does one say when they find out a girl wants to name a pig after them?
"Why?" I asked.
"Because," she said slowly, turning to face me. "You're a pig. You're selfish, ignorant and you disgust me. This, now that I think of it, makes you worse than a pig and that little guy does not deserve to be named after you."
"Well, I think you're a brat." Smooth, Edward, that makes you sound very mature.
"Oh really? And why is that?"
"You make snap judgments about people! You're all about being kind and caring, but you won't even give me a chance!"
"Why should I?" she asked and I simply stared at her. Why should she give me a chance? After all, I was the one who spray painted offensive words on other people's property. Shouldn't that be condemning enough? However, even though I probably wouldn't give her a chance if the roles were reversed, I was furious that she kept judging me.
"You have a lot to learn Edward," she said, before she brushed past me and left me standing there with the horse.
"The kids will be here soon, just be friendly. They're great kids," Jasper said. I nodded as I tugged at the hem of my shirt. The Swan Farm logo was on the front and it read 'counselor' on the back. It was a dark green color but I wished mine were blue like Jasper's.
"Are they… you know… bad?" I felt awkward. This was when I started to work with the kids, show them how to collect eggs and help them feed the animals. Although, I wouldn't be helping them ride the horses. Charlie and Renee told me I would work up to that and could only do it when I was comfortable with horses as well.
"Only a couple of them are severely autistic, Edward, and one of their parents usually ends up hanging around. The others aren't so severe." Jasper said it so calmly, I felt embarrassed. I could see Bella talking to Rose and smiling. She never smiled like that when she was around me.
Finally a car pulled up and I clenched my teeth. This was it. I wondered if the parents of these children knew why I was here. I wondered if they would hate me as much as Bella. A slight woman got out of the driver's seat and opened the mini van door. A little girl got out and looked around. She smiled when she saw Bella and ran up to her. Bella crouched down in front of her and they had a little talk. The mother, meanwhile, walked toward Jasper and me.
"Hello, Jasper," she said, glancing at me, confused.
"Hello, Mrs. Greene it's nice to see you. This is our new counselor Edward. He'll be with us for the rest of the summer." Jasper shook her hand and then I shook it. She smiled at me, but warily.
"Yes, well, Abby's lunch is in her back pack. She has a yogurt, so it should be refrigerated." Then Mrs. Greene went over to her daughter and kissed her goodbye. Abby looked just like her mom. Her hair was red and curly and she had round, brown eyes. However, neither she nor her mother's eyes had as much depth as Bella's.
"I'm Abby," I heard and when I looked down she was standing right in front of me. I noticed her hand flapping and wondered what she was doing.
"Nice to meet you, Abby, I'm Edward," I said. The little girl smiled at me before another counselor, Jake, took her to the barn.
Other people kept arriving. Each one of the kids either introduced themselves or was introduced by their parents. A couple seemed very shy, like they didn't want to talk to anyone. A few recited things to me, such as all the postal codes in Montana. One boy started to spin and his father smiled and started to lead him back where the other campers were.
At last, Bella came over and told me that was the last of them. I had counted twenty in all. Bella and I stood there for a moment before she started to walk out back.
"Isabella, do they know?" I asked.
"The kids don't. They're a bit too young to know things like that and some wouldn't understand anyways. Their parents though, do know. We had to tell them. You're a criminal. They need to know you'll be around their kids."
"And do they mind?"
"They think you were wrong, but they're not going to deny their kids the opportunity to enjoy themselves here." I nodded and walked over to where Jasper, Jake and Molly stood with the kids. They had big buckets with corn kernels and were talking about chickens.
The day went better than I expected. Bella even spoke to me once. Granted, it was to ask me to go inside and get the kids' lunches from the fridge, but it was a step forward. As the kids were picked up, I felt a little sad. I had actually enjoyed spending the day with them. As the last car drove away, Bella walked over and looked at me. I didn't see the coldness in her eyes. All I saw was exhaustion. She nodded once and then went inside.
I didn't know what she was thinking, but I sure did want to. I made my way upstairs to change into less sweaty and dirty clothes. Before I went in my room though, I noticed Bella's door was slightly ajar. I took a deep breath and knocked on it before pushing it open and sticking my head in.
To say that Bella's room surprised me was kind of an understatement. I don't know what I expected. A dungeon with coffins, perhaps? Or maybe I thought she would have medieval torture equipment. Her bedroom couldn't be more different than what I'd imagined. It was girly. Everything was purple and white and there were flowers. Bella was lying on the bed, a book open in front of her and her headphones stuck in her ears. She had already changed out of her work clothes and the shorts she wore revealed the perfect amount of leg. I wondered if she even knew I was in here.
"What do you want?" she asked, not looking up from her book, but taking out her headphones.
"Just to say that I think you were right," I said. She looked at me, surprise evident on her face. I had to admit that I was a bit surprised as well. Bella sat up and looked at me.
"Right about what?" Her voice was cautious and it still held its annoyed tone. I stepped further into her room, but stopped when she narrowed her eyes.
"I have a lot to learn."
"Yes you do."
"So, maybe you could help me?" The idea of asking her for help had come to me around lunch time. I figured it might change her opinion of me. Maybe it would even make me see things better; see things the way she did. For a moment Bella said nothing and I thought she'd deny me.
"Tomorrow. After dinner," she finally said. I stood there, wondering if she'd say anything else about helping me, but that was it. She lay back down and went back to reading. So I left her alone and when I was safely inside my room, I smiled.
"Wanna play Mario Cart, Edward? I bet I'll kick your ass this time," Emmett said the next night as we cleared the dishes off the table. Now that Charlie and Renee were back we had started eating in the dining room.
"Language, Emmett," Renee said, but she was smiling and I could tell she thought it was funny.
"As tempting as beating you again is; I have a prior engagement," I told him as I picked up my plate and the salad bowl.
"Prior engagement? With who?" Emmett seemed disappointed but also surprised that I would have anything to do besides hang out with him.
"He's coming with me," Bella said, walking into the dining room. She had excused herself when she finished eating and I could tell she had changed. She was wearing jeans, a button up shirt and boots.
"You?" Emmett asked; a shocked expression was on his face. "What are you going to do? Kill him?"
"Probably not," she said to him and then to me, "come on."
"Probably not?" I asked as we walked outside, toward the stables.
"Just don't get on my nerves and do what I say and we won't have a problem." She sounded so careless and I wondered if she was still angry with me, or if she had changed her mind a little bit.
"So what are we doing?"
"Riding? As in horses?"
"No cows." Bella looked back at me and rolled her eyes. "Dumbass."
"Now, now Isabella, no swearing," I teased. She narrowed her eyes and I had a feeling I taken a step backwards, just as we had begun to move forward.
"Call me Bella," she finally said, turning her head away from me and continuing to walk toward the stable.
"What?" I was surprised, of all the things I thought she would say back to me (for example: jump off a cliff) I did not expect that.
"I'm getting tired of you calling me that. I hate it when people use my full name."
"You say only your friends and family call you Bella." I started to feel hopeful. Did this mean I was at least being considered as a possible friend?
"Yes, well, you're neither of those. However, since you're going to be around so much I figure you might as well annoy me less and call me Bella." We entered the stables and she stopped in front of a paddock and smiled.
"This is Galadriel," Bella said with a smile as she opened the paddock. The mare neighed and walked up to her. They greeted each other and Bella led her out of the paddock.
"Lord of the Rings?" I asked as we walked toward where I've learned the saddles are kept.
"Of course," she said it and I recognized annoyance, but also amusement in her voice.
"Will I be riding her?"
"No you're riding Sam."
"As in Samwise?"
"Yep." I watched Bella saddle up Galadriel and then she tied her to a post and walked away. She returned a few minutes later with a chestnut horse; I recognized him as the one she was brushing the day she called me a pig. How sentimental.
"Okay, saddle him up," Bella said and I stared at her, shocked. She just sighed and rolled her eyes. "If you're going to learn anything, you're going to have to learn how to ride properly. That includes putting the stupid saddle on the horse."
Then she did it for me, going through the steps slowly. Each time she did something she would stare at me and make sure I got what she was saying. I just started to nod my head. I hoped that would make me seem more intrigued.
"Alright, let's go." Suddenly Bella was up and on Galadriel and I was standing next to Sam. I bit my lip and tried to remember how she told me to get on him. I put my foot in the loop. Bella told me what it was called but it had already slipped my mind. I heaved and pushed and suddenly I had done it. I grinned triumphantly and Bella just snickered.
"It's a stirrup," she said, before flicking the reins and riding off. Sam seemed to know what to do because he just started following her. We caught up and rode side by side with Bella and Galadriel. We were silent mostly and I absorbed my surroundings. It's was amazing being on horseback. I had never ridden before, but I could see what Alice was always going on about.
"So how'd he do that?" I finally asked.
"Sam is one of the horses that the kids ride. He's been trained to follow other horses, like Galadriel and to be gentle and aware with whoever is riding him."
"Oh great, that makes me feel super." I said sarcastically. Bella glared at me and I instantly knew this was another step in the wrong direction.
"You just don't get it do you?" she shook her head and I didn't say anything. "They're not lower than you. Just because they're slower with some things that you find perfectly easy to do; it doesn't make them mistakes. It's not as if they choose to be the way they are-"
She stopped talking and just stared straight ahead. I knew that I was wrong. From just spending two days with those kids, I knew that I had to change my ways. However, once you start thinking something, it's hard to stop. I wanted to be better. I wanted to get something out of this community service and grow as a person. That's why I had asked Bella for her help in the first place.
"Then show me how to change," I said, so quietly that I was sure I would need to say it again; however, Bella nodded her head.
"Eddie!" Alice squealed. It was the Saturday after my first ride with Bella. Since that day we would spend time together after supper and she would talk to me. She would tell me everything I did or said wrong and I wouldn't argue. Instead, I listened as carefully as I could and made mental notes to be more aware of my actions.
"I thought you said your friends and family don't call you that?" Bella asked. I glared at her. We weren't friends, but she would talk to me more than before. I figured we were in the middle.
"Alice, don't call me that," I grumbled as I hugged my older sister. I had talked to her a few days ago and she had informed me that she would be visiting. I didn't really have a say in the matter.
"Don't get your panties in a twist, Edward," my sister said, patting me on the shoulder and then looking toward the porch, where Bella was sitting on the front steps.
"You wear panties?" Bella asked, as she stood up to come meet Alice.
"No, I do not wear panties. Bella Swan, this is my sister, Alice Cullen."
"Nice to meet you Bella; Edward told me so much about you. I'm sure he hasn't told you anything about me though. He's a bit shy around the ladies, aren't you Ed?"
"That's enough Alice." Bella started laughing and I had a feeling my earlier intuition about the two of them being friends was right.
"Come on inside Alice, tell me more about Edward and his insecurities," Bella said. The two of them linked arms and made their way inside. I stood there numbly and realized that this would be a long weekend.
"Edward, get off your lazy ass and help us," Emmett said. I rolled my eyes and walked over to Jasper's truck, where they were unloading various bags of feed. I heard the front door slam and looking over my shoulder I saw Alice, Bella and Rose walking outside. Rose arrived earlier, after receiving a call from Bella who said she had to meet Alice. The three of them haven't separated since she got here.
"Yo bro! I'm going riding with Bella and Rose," Alice said, coming over and patting me on the arm.
"You just got here, like, three hours ago. When are we going to spend time together?" I asked. It was lame, but I knew if I didn't seem hurt that I wouldn't be spending time with her, Alice would probably get offended.
"Oh calm down, we have the whole week end."
"Who's this Edward?" Emmett asked. I remembered that I had only officially introduced Alice to Bella.
"Emmett, this is my sister Alice. Emmett is Bella's brother, Ali." Jasper coughed and raised an eyebrow at me. I rolled my eyes and gestured to Jasper. "And this is Jasper Whitlock, he works here."
"Pleasure to meet you," Alice said, doing some weird eye flutter thing toward Jasper. He smirked and I pretty much vomited in my mouth.
"Come on, Ali," Rose said and Alice winked before she turned and went off with Bella and Rose. Seriously? A wink? I turned and smacked Jasper, who was staring dumbly at her retreating figure.
"That's my sister," I said, looking back at the girls. However, I felt my eyes drift to the figure in the middle. I felt a smack and looked at Emmett.
"That's my sister," he said, mocking me. Jasper laughed and I rolled my eyes and glanced back at Bella. Why did I suddenly feel so strange? I looked back at Emmett and Jasper and both them raised their eyebrows and shook their heads.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing," Emmett said, smirking and returning to the contents inside the truck that we were unloading.
"Do you believe in fairies?" Abby asked me one day at lunch time. I soon found out that she was a camp regular. Where some kids only came a few weeks, there were many that came for the entire summer.
"Um, well n-" I started to answer until I felt a sharp jab in my back. I looked behind me where Bella was standing. It didn't take a genius to know that she kneed me, but I wasn't exactly sure why.
"Of course he believes in fairies, Abby." Bella sat down next to me and gave me a look. "Don't you?"
"Yeah, sure, of course." I agreed and Abby smiled, her hand continued it's flapping.
"Meet me after work," Bella said, standing up and brushing off her pants. I watched her walk away. Abby stood up and followed her, talking about the fairy living in her backyard.
I stood, brushing Sam and humming. The sun filtered into the stable and I heard birds chirping. Suddenly, I also heard feet. I looked up to see Bella. She had her cow girl hat today. Sometimes she wore it, sometimes she didn't. I had to admit that when she did she looked adorable. Bella was carrying a basket and I wondered what we'd be doing today.
"Picnic," she said. I nodded and started saddling up Sam. We hadn't gone on a picnic before. I wondered what I was in for. Bella and I were slowly working our way toward being friends. She didn't seem to hate me at much as she didn't a few weeks ago. I could tell that sometimes I still irritated her.
"Ready?" Bella walked over, leading Galadriel. I nodded and got up on Sam. We rode off and I stayed kind of behind Bella. I was able to watch her better that way. It wasn't creepy. It would only be creepy if I watched her sleep. Besides, it was always relaxing to watch her ride. She seemed so natural. It was as if she belonged on a horse. Bella was truly a cow girl. It made me smile to picture her in the Old West.
"Here," Bella said, pulling Galadriel to a stop. Sam stopped as well, without me needing to instruct him. I was starting to get the hang of riding. I could give Sam the proper instructions, but he didn't need them. Like Bella said, he was trained to follow.
"So what are we doing?" I asked. Bella had stopped us in a wide open stretch. There was a tree that provided shade and there was a short fence.
"Picnic," she said again. She put the basket next to the tree and started unsaddling Galadriel. I figured I should do the same for Sam. She put the saddles on the fence and the horses started to graze on the grass. Bella took a blanket out of the basket and laid it out. Then she took out a camera. She patted the blanket next to her.
I sat down and looked at the camera. "What's this for?"
"You're going to take pictures today."
"Whatever you want." I looked at Bella and slowly picked the camera up. "I'll talk and you'll listen. While you listen, take pictures. Take them of anything and everything. Open your eyes to what's around you."
So I started. I took a picture of the grass. I took a picture, lying on my back, looking up through the leaves of the tree. All the while Bella talked. Sometimes she talked about random things, and sometimes what she talked about related to what we've discussed in the past.
"Do you really believe in fairies, Bella?" I asked after taking a picture of my shoes.
"Of course I do. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient for living, Edward."
"Dr. Seuss?" I stared at her, surprised. I hadn't heard anyone say that quote before. Whenever I said it, people didn't get it or didn't know where it came from.
"Yeah," Bella said, looking as surprised as I felt. I was sure that she had never met someone who knew that, too.
I went back to my pictures. Bella kept talking and whenever she wasn't looking I took a picture of her. I photographed her hair, blowing back in the wind. I took a picture of her hat, resting on the ground beside her. I captured anything and everything, just like she said. Taking the pictures, I really did feel like I was seeing the world. I turned the camera on the horses and photographed them for awhile and before I knew it, Bella had taken our food out of the basket.
"What are we eating?" I asked, setting down the camera.
"Peanut butter and jelly." Bella handed me a sandwich and I took it gratefully. I found that I was actually really hungry. We ate, neither of us talking. I took a picture of my sandwich.
Later, when we finished, Bella got up and walked over to the horses. I took a picture of her as she stroked Galadriel. When she walked over to the saddles I stood up and jogged over. "Stay there," I said. She looked at me like I was crazy, but I took a picture of her anyways, standing beside the saddles, looking serene.
"Edward, not of me, of your surroundings," she said bashfully. I smiled and stepped closer to her. Bella blushed, but it was adorable.
"You're part of my surroundings, aren't you?" I asked, walking toward her, slowly. What was I doing? I didn't know. All I could focus on was her; I didn't spend any time thinking about potentially embarrassing or making a fool out of myself.
"So, if I take a picture of you, that should be okay, shouldn't it?" I was so close to her now. I raised the camera and got a full shot of her face. Her brown hair framed the edges. I lowered the camera and stared into her eyes. I had never been this close to her before. I felt like I was looking into her soul, looking at those eyes.
I leaned in. not really thinking about it, just doing it. Her eyes started to close and a part of my subconscious realized what was happening. Centimeters away from her lips, I stopped. I hadn't wanted to stop but I heard a whiny that jerked me out of my trance. Bella opened her eyes and took a step back. She looked down and I could see the blush growing on her cheeks.
"You almost kissed her?" Alice asked that night when I called her. I had told her about the picnic Bella and I had taken.
"And did she almost kiss you back?"
"Yeah, I think so."
"What do you mean, you think so?"
"She closed her eyes and didn't move away."
"That's a good thing," Alice said. I smiled. Perhaps, Bella didn't hate me anymore. If things were as they seemed, she liked me; a lot.
"Good night Edward." I hung up and looked out my window. These new feelings were strange. I was in uncharted territory now. However, I felt like I belonged there.
"You're going to help them ride today," Jasper said. It had been a week since my 'almost kiss' with Bella. I was still working up the nerve to try it again.
"Help who ride?" I asked as I picked at the hem of my counselor shirt. I had been wearing it so much that it was beginning to fray in one spot.
"The kids, numb skull." I looked at him and then realized what he was talking about.
"Oh right, yeah, cool," I said lamely.
"Hey, while you're in this weird trance, would you mind if I ask Alice out?" Jasper looked so hopeful, how could I deny him? I just nodded my head and he grinned.
I watched Bella showing a group of five kids how to feed Sam a carrot. Sam was great with the kids. He was so gentle. I realized that I was starting to learn a lesson. It felt good to know that I was growing.
"Alright, you're going to help Abby," Jasper said as we walked into the stables. "She's going to ride Sam; Bella thinks that'll be the best for you, since you know the two of them best out of everyone."
"And Bella is going to ride Galadriel in front of Sam. All you have to do is walk next to Sam. Hold Abby a little. Abby has been doing this with us for a long time."
I watched Jasper get Sam saddled up and spotted Bella walking over with Abby. They were holding hands; not using the hand that Abby is always flapping, though. Jasper helped Abby climb onto Sam. Then he told her that I would be walking with her today. Abby smiled at me.
"Hi, Miss. Abby, are you ready to ride?" I asked. Abby nodded her head and took the reins in her hands. It was the first time I had seen her hand not flapping.
"Here we go," Bella said from her place on Galadriel. I hadn't even notice her get up. We started walking slowly. I rested my hand on Abby's back. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing. But Abby was smiling. Something about being on the horse changed her. She was calm and seemed at ease. I guess Emmett was right when he said the riding was therapeutic.
"You're like a flower, Edward," Bella giggled. I looked at her. She had come in my room ten minutes ago and she had been acting strange.
"How am I a flower, Bella?"
"Because you were all closed up." Bella made a fist and looked at me seriously. "But as you grow, you begin to open up."
"That's really deep." Bella nodded and started to giggle again. She got really close to my face and looked into my eyes. Holy shit, I thought, what if she's drunk?
"You have pretty eyes." Bella backed away and blushed. "That's why I gave you the green counselor shirt, because it matches your eyes. Oh! I remember why I came in here."
She pulled a package out of her back pocket and handed it to me. I recognized it as an envelope that pictures come in after being developed. I opened it and started going through the photos I took. They looked amazing. Bella leaned in and took them from me. She frowned and held up the one of her and the horses.
"You took this of me?" she asked. I nodded. "You have talent Edward… Edwardy-ward." Bella started giggling again and I raised my eyebrows. I had never seen her this way. I had never even imagined her like this. It was amusing.
"Okay, I think you should go to bed, Bella." I stood up and looked down at her, sitting on my bed. She could sleep in here. I wouldn't mind that at all.
"Carry me," she said, holding her arms out and giving me 'puppy dog eyes'. How could I say no to those eyes? I laughed and picked her up. I carried her across the hall and into her room. When I laid her in bed, her eyes had closed. I pulled the covers over her and tucked her in.
"Good night Bella," I said. I brushed her hair away and kissed her forehead. I walked away and shut off the light.
"G'night, Eddy, love you," she said right as I was about to shut the door. I froze and wondered if I had heard that correctly. Sure, people say 'good night, I love you' all the time when they go to bed. But this was Bella and we had just entered that fragile stage of friendship; the kind where it's still kind of weird but you're making it work.
Plus, she was drunk. Wasn't she? I knew she wasn't of legal drinking age but people break that rule all the time. I know I did. So the question was: was it drunk rambling or sleep talking, or did she consciously say it and mean it? It was too much for me to handle and as I climbed into bed myself I thought about Bella. My little cow girl, showing me the ways of the world and opening my eyes. I looked at the top picture on the pile she had given me. It was the one of her, standing by the fence and by the light from the moon that was streaming in the window, it appeared magical.
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient for living. She had said that day. And maybe I was living a fantasy; one where she really did love me and we could be together forever. I put the picture down, closed my eyes and whispered, "I love you too."
I had one week left of my community service. Judge Stanley had called Charlie and talked to him to see if he thought I was growing. Charlie and Renee both agreed that I was displaying model behavior. So, I would be leaving in a week, and spending my last week of summer at home before returning to college. I had to admit that I didn't want to leave. When I had first come to Swan Farm I thought it would be torture. Now, I realized it was far from it.
"So, I hear you've grown," Bella said that night as we unsaddled the horses. We still rode together, every day after dinner.
"Of course, I'm a flower, you know." Bella blushed when I said that. The morning after her little drunk visit, she didn't remember much. So, being the good friend I am, I told her everything; excluding the love part. If she didn't remember that part, I would've felt foolish telling her about it.
"Shut up," she said. Giving me a half hearted shove.
"Hey Bella?" I picked up a brush and started to run it over Sam. There was something that had been on my mind for while now.
"Did you hate me?" she looks at me and then sighs.
"I thought I did. I was angry about hearing what you did. I thought that you were just an arrogant jackass. But then I realized that it wasn't who you really were and that you just needed a little enlightenment."
"So to answer your question; no, I didn't hate you."
"Good." We silently continued cleaning up the equipment. I was happy here, with her.
"Now it's my turn to ask you a question," Bella said.
"Alright." I put my brush away and faced her. She was wearing that hat again, the one that made her even more attractive than usual.
"What happened between us?" I gawked at her. Did I actually hear that correctly? Bella was asking about us; as in, us being… together? Was that what her question meant or was I being delusional?
"What do you mean?"
"You almost kissed me, Edward."
"So, that's kind of a big deal."
"I didn't know you wanted me to."
"Obviously I wanted you to; I didn't push you away that day."
"But you never mentioned it afterward."
"Only because you didn't mention it." was that really all it would've taken? All I had to do was say, 'Oh hey Bella, remember that day we almost kissed? I think we should try it again.'
"So you wanted me to?" I asked, I felt that pull toward her and I took a step forward.
"I still want you to," Bella said softly, looking up at me through her eye lashes. That did it. I closed the distance between us and kissed her. All that time that went by with me wondering what this moment would be like and it was finally happening. I held her face in my hands and she wrapped her arms around my neck. I heard a soft thump and when I pulled away for air I saw that her hat had gotten knocked off. I bent over and picked it up for her.
"Thank you," she said as I handed it to her.
"You're welcome," I said, and before I could over think it, I kissed her again.
As time passed, Bella and I explored our relationship. When my community service time ended, I went home. However, I returned to Swan Farm nearly every day and with me, I brought Alice. She and Jasper were also in a blossoming romance.
When school started in the fall, I took up a photography class. It was Bella's idea and I found myself enjoying every moment of it. I stopped talking to my 'friends' from before. They were the bad influences that got me arrested to begin with.
I also began to look at life differently. I held the door open when I saw a classmate in a wheel chair. I carried boxes for my professors. I called my parents and Alice every night. I was starting to have a feeling that they wouldn't answer on purpose sometimes. However, when they did answer they always commented on the change in me. I never looked at it as a change though, I knew this was who I really was; it just needed to be uncovered.
Bella was the one who helped me discover myself. She opened my eyes to reality. I think that meeting her made all the difference. Sure I would've learned a lesson at Swan Farm without her. However, if she wasn't there, who knows if I would've gone back to my old ways? I may have gone back to hanging out with the same people and letting them influence my decisions.
"What are you thinking about?" Bella asked. I glanced at her and smiled. We were driving home together for Christmas break.
"You," I said. Bella punches my shoulder.
"Ouch! Don't punch the driver."
"Don't be so cheesy." I smiled and just kept driving. Bella was the one I wanted to be with forever. I knew she wanted to be with me too, she had told me so at Thanksgiving.
So I just kept driving, listening to Bella sing along to the radio. Being with her was all I needed. My cow girl had shown me the world and I was determined to keep her in my world always. My fantasy had turned into the best reality imaginable.
Alright, I hope this story was satisfying. I tried not to offend anyone with the subject of mental disabilities. I tried to keep it accurate and serious.
On a lighter note, how did you guys like 'Cow Girl Bella'? It was part of the Mix It Up Contest, changing the personality of a character. You all should check that out and maybe even enter. I had a fun time doing this, so I'm sure you guys will too. Also, I'm going to post links to images of Edward and Bella's room at Swan Farm as well as what I picture the Swan Farm, main house looking like.
Thanks for reading and please review; because reviews make me happy. :)