A/N: I know I shouldn't start on any more stories (I say this all the time) but, I don't know, this idea just can't get out of my head. I'm blaming it on the show Bonanza and the song Shady Grove. So I'm gonna try it out and see if it's any good. It probably won't be but I don't really care, I'm still posting it. :P

This first chapter is mostly an introduction and just the background of it and yeah, I'm gonna try and stop rambling.

So to any of you reading this, I hope you enjoy it. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Unless my name is Stephenie Meyer…which it isn't. I'm Tessa. Hi.


"Well, she was an American girl,

Raised on promises.

She couldn't help thinkin'

That there was a little more to life somewhere else.

After all, it was a great, big world.

With lots of places to run to.

And if she had to die tryin'

She had one little promise she was gonna keep..."

American Girl-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


From the moment I met my husband, James, I knew one thing for sure and that was that we were complete opposites. He was wild, loved partying, and was always out late into the night. I, on the other hand, was much more meek, shy. I was not into his seen at all. On top of our differences, which could be easily dealt with, there was one major problem: I was not in love with him, not one bit.

This issue, however, was not something anyone in town worried about. Love did not matter, as long as you were with someone who was capable of taking care of you. And I couldn't very well leave James either, not even if I wanted to. Another thing about this town is that rumors would fly. Rumors that I'd heard before, just not about me. They were all about my mother.

It was not my idea to marry James, nor was it his to marry me. It had been my father. Everyone in town had come to the conclusion that no one was good enough for Sheriff Swan's daughter. But when my dad met James, who had just moved from Texas into Phoenix a couple years back, he saw something in him. He felt as though James was the son he never had.

James and I were introduced and I knew right away that we would not be able to get along the way my father would have liked. But he was kind enough and was known to have a good work ethic so I obliged my father and gave James a chance. Shortly after that, James asked me to marry him. I most definitely did not want to be the talk of the town so I felt forced to say yes, even though I was barely sixteen years old.

So after two years, we had gotten used to each other, had a routine. We were still unable to fall in love.

Everything was normal as I prepared our dinner. James would be returning any minute from work on the farm. It seemed as if he was running late but I could not be sure. Besides, it would not have been the first time, nor would it be the last, I figured.

While I was pulling the pot roast out of the oven, I heard someone on the front porch knocking.

Who could that be? I thought to myself. I wiped my hands on my skirt and pushed the loose strands of hair out of my face.

"Isabella, Isabella!" the voice outside shouted, an urgent tone to his voice. "Isabella, open up!"

"Coming!" I called out a few seconds before I opened the door. "Laurent," I said, shocked. "What are you doing here?" Laurent was one of the men who James had hired to work on the farm with him. I had not seen him often but I did know that he was closer with James than the rest of the workers.

Leaning on the door frame, Laurent was breathing heavily. "Miss Isabella," he said between pants. "It's James."

"Yes?" I questioned. "What about him, what happened?"

Laurent straightened up and looked me in the eye. "Your husband and I, we went into town because there wasn't too much work left to do, you see. And when we got there we decided to go to the saloon. And Miss Isabella, you know how James is. Always being rowdy..."

He was rambling on now. "Laurent, out with it. What happened?" I demanded. I was getting irritated now.

"Well, you see, miss, James had a bit too much to drink if you ask me. If you ask anyone there, they'd tell ya that, too. But anyway, um...Well, uh...James, he, uh...He got into a fight."

"A fight?" I asked.

Laurent nodded vigorously. "A fight," he confirmed. "With some outsider. And it got a little out of hand. And well..."

"And?"

"James pulled out his gun." He swallowed. "And so did the other guy. And James isn't exactly the best at aiming, ya know."

"Yes, yes, I know. Now, you tell me what happened right this instant, Laurent."

Looking down at his feet, Laurent said slowly, "Now, Miss Isabella, I hate to be the one to tell you this but...James got shot. And, well, he didn't make it."

My eyes widened. "What?" I wondered aloud. "He didn't make it?"

Laurent still was not looking at me. "N-no, ma'am, he didn't. But you gotta know...I tried. I tried so hard to make him stop the fight. But he just wouldn't, he just wouldn't..." As he continued to speak, his voice got more hushed and I could see tears beginning to form in his eyes. At the same time, I couldn't help but feel guilty, for I felt no tears in mine.

Was I upset? Yes, of course. But I found myself incapable of crying. I told myself that it was because I did not want to cry in front of someone, but I was unsure of whether or not I was just lying to myself.

I smiled sadly at Laurent. I could tell that he was blaming himself. "Oh, no, dear, it's not your fault. Like you said, you know how James is." I frowned then. It was true that James had brought this on himself, and while I was not happy about it, it was done. I did not want to sound cold but over the past couple years, I had figured something like this would happen. "You did what you could, Laurent."

"Still, Miss Isabella, you gotta know just how sorry I am."

I patted him gently on the arm. "I know. I do, really. But I do have one question for you." He waited for me to ask it. "Where was my father?Why didn't he stop it?" Considering the sheriff's department was just a little ways down from the saloon, there was no reason my father would not have heard about the fight instantly.

"He tried, miss, he really did. At least your father was able to lock away the other guy. But he couldn't stop it. James...James just wouldn't quit. I don't know how that man has stayed alive this long anyway." Laurent looked up and then back at me. "Probably 'cause of you."

I took a deep breath. "No, it couldn't have been just me. There was just someone looking down upon him, I suppose."

Laurent closed his eyes for a moment, not wanting to show the emotion that was there.

A little bit after that, Laurent left. I could not eat the dinner I had been preparing. I had completely lost my appetite so I went upstairs, to the bedroom James and I had shared.

It was there, as the darkness began to creep in, that I allowed myself to show some form of emotion. Staring out the window, I finally let myself cry. Cry for a man I cared for-not loved, but cared for.

It was a sharp realization that came to me. With James gone, I basically had nothing. I could not handle the farm on my own. That would be near impossible. Besides that, I was not sure of how I felt about staying in this house anymore.

I got up off the bed and walked over to the dresser. I had one drawer that was reserved just for me. Not for my clothes but for personal items. After opening it up, I pulled out a letter.

It was from my mother. She had sent it to me right after James and I married. It was short and simple, completely unlike my mother, who made a point to leave here, leave my father, leave me all those years ago. She had wanted to leave more desperately than anyone ever had here. Maybe it was because of the town, maybe it was for she had fallen out of love with my father. Sometimes I believed it was because of me. She had left just a year after I was born. She did not care to take on the responsibility of a child.

I read the letter to myself.

My dear Isabella,

It pains me truly that I could not attend your wedding. I hear it was quite the event! You must forgive me. I trust all is well with you and your new husband. I'm sending you my love and well wishes.

-Renee

Honestly, it was not the letter itself that I was interested in. It was where it came from. I remember thinking about it a lot at the time but after a while, those thoughts were gone. It told me that my mother was in Nevada, around Virginia City. There was a time when I was very interested in finding her. I had wanted to know her. And now that James was gone, if I wanted to, I could take the chance that I could not before.

I could find my mother.

x-X-x

The funeral was a few days later.

I didn't have to do much to plan for it. My father seemed to take care of that. I had never seen him busy himself over planning anything before.

All of James' friends and family were there, many of whom I had never met nor heard of. There was one that stuck out to me, a redhead, who introduced herself as Victoria.

"A cousin of your husband," she had said with a small smile, reaching out to shake my hand. "We were very close as children."

"Oh," I said. "Pardon me, but I do not recall James ever mentioning a cousin named Victoria. Where did you say you were from?"

Her smile faltered for just a second but was back right away. "He hasn't mentioned me? Why, that James! He was probably still angry that when we were little, I used to always steal his candy. Oh, you would think that boy would get over a silly thing like that." She sighed. "And where am I from? I came from Texas, Isabella. Just like James."

"Right, of course," I said, returning the smile. "Maybe he had talked about you a couple times. What with everything that's been happening, I...I cannot keep anything straight."

Victoria gently pulled me into a hug. "It's all right, dear. I know you're under a lot of stress. But if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to let me know." She pulled away and looked at me.

I could not place my finger on but there was something about her-something in her eyes, perhaps-that left me feeling quite uneasy.

"Isabella!"

The sound of my father's voice stopped my thinking for the moment. "Yes, father?" I said, turning to where he now stood beside me.

"How, uh...How ya holdin' up, huh?" he asked. He was not one who was good at showing his emotions, especially in public, one of the many traits I inherited from him.

I leaned my head on his shoulder. "I'm as good as I can be in this situation."

Moving his head so it rested on top of mine, he hugged me close. After a couple minutes, he pulled back slightly and looked at me. "Well, what do you plan on doin' now?" he asked. "You know, after all this is over? I can help you out. I can get some people to help you with the farm."

"Father," I interrupted but he was not listening.

"Or if you don't want to stay over there, you can always come live with me. That is, if you wanna."

"Father," I tried once more, this time making my voice louder. "That is unnecessary."

Confused, he stared at me. "What do you mean? What do you have in mind? You don't plan on runnin' that whole farm by yourself, do you?"

"No," I said. "That's not what I'm thinking of doing."

"Well, then what are you going to do?" he pressed.

I took a deep breath. "Father, before I say anymore, I just want you to know that I love you," I said in a rush.

"I know, Bells," he said softly, using the nickname he gave me when I was little. "And I love you, too."

I nodded. "I'm going to tell you something," I said slowly. "And I do not want you getting angry or worked up about it, okay?"

He rose an eyebrow in question. "What are you blabberin' about, huh?"

I looked up into his eyes, brown just like mine, and as calmly as I could, I told him what I was planning on doing. "I'm not staying here, father. I have to go." He was getting ready to say something so I held up my hand to silence him. "I cannot stay here. No matter how much I love you, I just can't. I'm...I'm going to Nevada," I finally told him. "That is what I'm doing when this is over."

"What?" he asked. "Why?"

"I'm going to look for mother."

Um...I don't know. I didn't really wanna dwell too much on the death and stuff so yeah...Was this any good? Any good at all? Tell me, please. I want to know. Like, even if you're saying it's crappy. Just let me know.

Oh, and I'm sorry to anyone who reads my other stories and stuff 'cause I'm such a fail at updating and don't really know where to go with them anymore. Maybe some inspiration will hit soon. You never know with me.

But anyway, if you read it, let me know what you think in a review and I'll love you forever and ever and ever. :)