AN: Thank you for continuing to read this story. Enjoy!

A big thank you to mauigirl60 for helping me with this chapter! I really appreciate it!

Chapter 3

The breeze was soft in her hair. Isabella took a deep breath and attempted to take in everything around her. The town was a flurry of activity for a hoedown in a local rancher's barn. Emmett came up to her with his arms filled with supplies. "Getting excited about this shindig, Bessie?"

"Bite me, Cullen!" She was finally getting used to the big oaf's jokes.

"Aww girl, I'll leave that for Eddie. Thanks for the offer, though!" He gave her a wink, clicked his cowboy boots and away he went.

It had been two weeks since she'd taken over the daily operations of the newspaper. Though his office might have been an ungodly mess, it was nice to learn that Jason Jenks had run a tight ship. James was an idiot, but making him run to the local diner for coffee was an awful lot of fun.

"Hey, Miss Bella, are ya sure ya want me ta write about the hoedown?" Jessica Stanley asked, pushing her brown curls away from her face.

Everyone had started calling her Bella and it was all Edward's fault. Good thing she was so enamored of him.

The first thing Isabella noticed about Jessica was that she was a quiet and nervous girl, but a girl who also had amazing writing skills. It had made Isabella inwardly curse Jenks for stifling this young woman's obvious skill with the written word. She also had a sneaking suspicion that James might have a crush on her. He was like a schoolboy pulling the braids of the girl he liked. Jessica could never get away from his teasing.

"You'll do great!" Isabella was becoming her biggest cheerleader. "Right, Alice?"

"Yo! What?" Alice poked her head out the door. "Stupid-ass hoedown!"

Jasper hadn't officially asked Alice to the hoedown, causing her to be in a foul humor.

"Al, who else is he going to ask?" Isabella rolled her eyes. "Stop being silly!"

"Did you see that hussy flirt with him by the horses yesterday?" Her tiny face wrinkled up unpleasantly. "Some idiotic ski bunny from Aspen flips her blond 'fro and he just smiles. Fucker!"

Jessica looked back and forth between them as if she was watching a tennis match.

"Al..." Isabella started trying to calm her friend.

"I'm sure you just loved the bimbo friend who kept 'tripping' so Ed had to catch her." Alice gave a tiny smile. "Remember how he called her 'honey'?

"I wanted to throw a horseshoe at her head!"

"Exactly! Has Ed even invited you, yet?" Alice asked.

Isabella shook her head. "No. I just assumed."

"You know what happens when you assume, Izzy?" Alice smirked. "You make an ass out of you and me."

Isabella thought long and hard; though she knew they were going to the hoedown together, it would have been lovely to have been asked.

Of course, at that moment, both Edward and Jasper strolled up, with big smiles for the ladies they adored.

"Hey, honey, how ya doin'!" Edward tried to kiss Isabella's mouth, but she turned her head away swiftly. He ended up kissing near her ear. "What's wrong?"

"Don't you have some flirty tourist to call 'honey'? I bet she's practicing her fake tripping so you can catch her!" Isabella crossed her arms over her chest with a huff.

Alice called out, "They call that gangsta trippin' in da hood!"

"They do not!" Isabella corrected her hot-headed friend.

"I like it, my little Ali Bug!" Jasper tried to kiss her.

She put her hand in his face. "Talk to the hand, buddy! You're in the dog house! Not the cool Snoop Dogg one either!"

"What did I do, darlin'?" Jasper was feeling very confused.

"Flirting with a ski bunny! I bet you're taking her to the country two-step cow tipping!" Alice cried.

"What?" Edward asked. He had no clue what the hell was going on.

"You and Romeo, here, are planning on taking the tourists to the dance!" Alice was turning red. She had a temper, that one, an irrational temper.

"You can't believe that, my Ali Bug!" Jasper exclaimed.

"Bella, darlin', you're goin' with me and Alice is goin' with Jazz!" Edward tried to grab Isabella's hand. "You girls are our sweethearts!"

"It would've been nice to have been asked!" Isabella huffed. "Come on, Al! We have a paper to run!"

The two women stomped into the newspaper office, as the men looked at each other in confusion.

"What just happened?" Edward asked Jessica.

She shot him a dirty look. "You obviously don't understand these things!"

Jessica frowned, trailing after her new role models.

Edward shook his head and grinned. He laughingly said to his brother, "Women!"

XXXXXX

The first thing that Isabella noticed in the Zuckerman's barn was the twinkling lights decorating the rafters. They were magical.

The second thing Isabella absolutely didn't want to notice was the denim skirt-wearing trollops giggling over her man. It seemed that Edward and Jasper Cullen were quite the catch of the town and the local girls were going fishing to reel one of them in.

Even though she gave him a hard time about the tourists, Isabella knew Edward was true in his intentions and he clearly was in love with her. She felt the same, but after being wrecked by Jacob, she was definitely gun-shy about romance and relationships.

He squeezed her hand. "Stop it, darlin'!"

"What?" she asked in a distracted tone. She was trying to stare down a big-haired strawberry blonde.

"If I wanted to be with Tanya, I would be with Tanya."

"Who?" Isabella looked at him in confusion.

He grinned and pulled her close. "That woman you're staring at like ya want her ta explode. That's pretty hot, sweet Bella."

"I'm so embarrassed!"

"Don't be! You're the prettiest gal in here." He chuckled and pointed to Jasper holding back Alice, dressed in her New York finest, from pummeling a fox-faced woman. "Your spitfire best friend sure does keep things excitin'!"

"Shit! Jasper isn't going to put up with jealous Al for long." I looked worriedly at my dearest friend.

"Aww honey, Jasper loves it. He's never been so taken with a girl before," Edward stated with a smile.

Isabella watched the action unfolding in amazement. As the band started to play, Jasper swung Alice up into his arms and started dancing with her in the center of the room, signaling the beginning of the night's entertainment. Alice's face had turned bright and joyful. Their laughter and sweet kisses buoyed Isabella's spirits.

"What're ya thinkin', sweet Bella?" Edward turned her face toward him.

She smiled up at him. "I'm happy for her. Al deserves all the joy the world can give her."

"I want the same for you," Edward stated, as he kissed her nose. "Now, I want to spin my girl around the dance floor while Daddy fiddles for us."

He grabbed her around the waist and Bella felt complete contentment and love.

XXXXXX

The hoedown was a constant and dizzying display of excitement. There was a lot of whooping and hollering, making the very-flushed Isabella smile.

She stood to the side, nursing a very strong cup of punch. There was a very good possibility that it was spiked with what could be described as moonshine. It made Isabella giggle as she watched Edward spin Mama Esme around the dance floor.

"Ya just a passin' fancy for him, suga," the strawberry blonde stated with a fake smile. "Ya might as well head back north. Wouldn't want ya feelin's ta get hurt."

"Are you suggesting that Edward is going to be in your bed soon, lady?" Isabella wasn't a scared little flower anymore. She could imagine if Leah walked in the room she would be able to tell her off at this point in her life. Isabella had no problem doing the same with this overly hair-sprayed tart.

"I was thinkin' tonight, sugar." The woman, Tanya, licked her lips. "I would back off. I bite."

"Let me explain something to you, sugar!" Isabella got in her face. "I can take down a 300-pound mugger with my black belt! I won't hesitate to make yourmade-up clown face even less pretty! How 'bout them apples?"

"You wanna start somethin' with me?" Tanya glared.

"Of course not, you bad teen movie star!" Isabella glared right back. "This isn't Beverly Hills, 90210. I'm not fighting you over Brandon or Dylan. Grow up and act like an adult!"

"Who the hell are they?" she asked, twirling her hair.

"Bella, honey what's happenin' here?" Edward rushed over followed closely by Mama Esme.

"Well, you see, tonight I was informed you will be in this...umm...lady's bed and knocking cowboy boots." Isabella pointed at Tanya. "We were having a difference of opinion on the subject."

"Tanya, you know good and well that we ain't ever gonna be together!" Edward rubbed the back of his neck. He was feeling stressed. "Bella is the only gal I wanna be with."

"She's an ugly little yankee!" Tanya growled.

Mama Esme grabbed her by the ear. "Apologize now, Tanya Denali!"

"Oww! No!"

Mama Esme pulled harder. "Girl, I suggest you apologize and leave the lovebirds alone. Nobody here is interested in you."

"Oww! Sorry!" she cried out.

"Now, go find your mama," Mama Esme stated. She let the girl go. "That family is a bunch of no-good dirt farmers. No wonder their child is ruttin' with most of the boys in town. Trash! I'm gonna find Carl."

We watched her give us a wink, as she headed toward her husband on the stage.

Edward pulled Isabella out of the barn and into a field filled with big haystacks. "Ever had a roll in the hay?"

"Are you propositioning me, Mr. Cullen?"

"I am indeed." He lifted her up and helped her climb to the top.

Isabella was surrounded by stars. She felt as if she could touch them and, in a moment of silliness, reached up to try.

"I think God reached down from those stars and brought ya to me, Bella," Edward stated, pulling her down into his arms, making her head rest on his chest.

"It was luck," she said. Isabella kissed his chest.

He snuggled her close. "It was fate. God knew I was lookin' for you."

"Hmm..."

"You don't believe it?"

Isabella looked at him with tears in her eyes. "I haven't had anything to believe in for years and years. I don't think I know how anymore."

"Then, believe in me and believe in us. Darlin' love, I won't let ya down." He pulled her fully on top of his body. Isabella felt his erection pushing against her. "Now that I got ya, I'm never gonna let ya go."

"I don't want to be scared," she admitted, as she stroked his face.

Edward nuzzled her with his nose. "Then, don't. Just trust in our love. We are forever, girl."

Isabella looked into his eyes and felt the love pouring from them. Her kiss was soft, but filled with her emotions. The tears coming from her eyes made their lips salty.

"No tears tonight, ya hear?" He kissed her passionately. Pulling back, he gruffly added, "Let me love ya.'

He slipped her sundress down and slid her down into the hay. It prickled her skin, but she loved the sensation. Edward's mouth peppered kisses over her increasingly heated skin, as she unbuttoned his cowboy shirt and returned the favor with her lips.

Isabella reached into his jeans and gently stroked his hardened cock. "I'll let you love me forever."

He pulled off the rest of his clothing and pushed into her, as he sucked her nipple into his mouth. His tongue teased her, as his long fingers pressed onto her clit.

High up above in the rough hay, Edward came inside her with a happy sigh. He kept her pulled against him. "I do love making whoopee with ya in the great outdoors!"

She pushed at his chest. "That's because you're an exhibitionist!"

"Only with ya!" He kissed her head.

That's when they heard the voice of Mama Esme. A mad Mama Esme.

"Jasper Cullen, I know you're up there with Miss Alice! You get her down here right this instant! You treat that sweet girl like a lady!"

She was very close.

Edward whispered, "We need to get dressed! Fast!"

It was too late.

"Eddie, you better get down here and promise me you treated darlin' Bella like a queen! I swear, I'll get my switch!"

Isabella started laughing. To Edward, that sound was as if the angels were singing.