Since "Scout's Honor" is winding down, I decided to take a chance and start another story.
This one…well, it actually makes me feel like I'm slipping into a hammock in the sun with a lovely breeze to rock it to and fro while enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. It's about an idyllic small town in Nebraska…you know my love of geography…where the townsfolk are a bit quirky. It's got a little bit of everything, I think. We'll see what you think.
SMeyer owns. I made Edward the handsome mayor of a tiny town. Not infringing at all.
1. Talk of the Town
"The welcome sign needs to be updated since the McCarty's had Lizzy," Charlie Swan, the town's Sheriff stated. We were having our monthly town hall meeting and there was an agenda to cover.
When you live in a town as small as ours, strange things show up on the agenda for a Town Hall meeting…like changing the population at the bottom of the Welcome sign from 1,104 to 1,105. No one else in town was expecting as far as anyone was willing to admit, so the motion was passed unanimously.
"Motion passed. Next order of business," I requested.
I happen to be the Mayor of Evening Shade. It was absolutely nothing like being the Mayor of New York, or even the Mayor of Lincoln, the closest big city to our little hamlet. I was made aware of town issues not by members of a large staff who'd tried to handle the problems first. I was made aware of town issues when someone dropped a note in the small wooden box at the Town Hall. Every Monday, I opened the box and pulled out the little slips of paper from written from the pad that rested on top, and I went about my week taking care of what my fellow citizens perceived as problems.
Most of the problems were nothing more than a burned out bulb in one of the quaint street lights that lined both sides of Main Street and around the town square…which my cousin, Emmett, usually handled when I asked. He was the City Manager…second in charge as I liked to remind him all the time…and since we only had twenty-two street lights around town, it wasn't a very taxing job.
His real job was practicing law, but in a town as small as Evening Shade, there wasn't a lot of practicing to do, so he agreed to act as City Manager when he and his wife moved back three years earlier.
The history of our small town wasn't much different than any other town in the country except for the fact it was founded by my great-great-grandfather in the eighteen hundreds. Much like the town's history, his reason for establishing the small town have been morphed and exaggerated over the years, but the family story seems to fall along the lines of Carlisle Cullen, Sr., got tired of living in Boston and decided to become a country doctor in the State of Nebraska after it was admitted to the Union.
It's always been home-base for the Cullen family, and each member has, over the years, left town and struck out on their own, me included. But, there's just something about the small town that brings us back at one point or another. I came back five years ago.
I saw Emma Cope raise her hand in the back. "Mrs. Cope," I acknowledged. She stood from her chair and cleared her throat, but unfortunately, she was a tiny lady with a very soft spoken voice…must have been all those years running the library…so no one at the front of the room could hear what she was saying, including me.
I held up my hand and scanned the crowd, seeing my brother-in-law, Jasper Whitlock, sitting near her. "Jasper, do you mind relaying Mrs. Cope's business? I can't hear her." I heard Emmett on one side and Charlie on the other side both chuckling.
Jasper leaned down and listened to her, nodding a few times before turning to address the council. "Mrs. Cope wants to know if there's been any word on hiring the new librarian. Her daughter is eager for her to move to Sioux City before the baby's born, and she doesn't want to leave the town without access to the library." I nodded in acknowledgment as Jasper and Mrs. Cope both took their seats.
"We've bought ad space in Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World-Herald, and even the Kansas City Star. Unfortunately, small-town libraries aren't a huge draw, so I'll close the book store every day at three o'clock and open the library, and we'll just offer limited hours until we get someone on a more permanent basis," I offered. The job only paid fourteen-thousand a year, but the library offered WiFi, so a lot of kids stopped by after school to use the media center for homework.
Technologically, we were still a little backward, but Emmett had been soliciting a cable provider to consider submitting a bid to bring the world of cable to town because satellite was currently the only option, and with the ever-changing weather in our part of the country, reception wasn't the greatest, and it certainly wasn't consistent.
Everyone seemed satisfied with that solution, so we moved on. My sister raised her hand to speak, and just as I was about to acknowledge her, we heard the police sirens screaming toward the city jail. Charlie shook his head, rose from the table, and left the room.
Being the mayor of a small town full of nosey citizens, I knew no more business would be conducted because everyone was more interested in what was going on at the jail, so I quickly adjourned the meeting, and we all made our way out of the hall.
"What do you think Waylon's done now?" Emmett asked as we gathered files and left the room together before I turned off the light and locked the door. We both turned in the direction of the jail, which was situated right next to Emmett's store-front law office.
"Who is that?" I asked, seeing Waylon hauling a young woman out of the back of the squad car. She was in handcuffs, and she appeared to be very pissed off, yelling at him like crazy.
Charlie stopped next to the car, and he began wildly gesticulating. I saw him grab Waylon's gun, which was pointed at the young woman, before he ushered the two of them into the jail.
"I guess I better go see if I'm going to have a new client or if I need to start preparing a defense for the city. Why don't we let Waylon run the library and have Emma take over on patrol? She likes to walk around town every morning with Sarah Black. They can check the town while they get their exercise. Women are good at multi-tasking," Emmett teased as the two of us walked down the sidewalk toward the jail.
I'd like to say I was tagging along in my capacity as Mayor, but truth-be-told, I was just as nosey as everyone else in town, most of who were standing outside the jail gawking unapologetically through the large windows.
"Why don't you all go home and let Charlie do his job," I ordered as Emmett and I walked up the three stairs. Just then, I heard the sound of Billy Black's tow truck rolling down the street. It was pulling a bright red BMW convertible, which also piqued my curiosity. Most people owned SUVs or pick-ups because during the winter one was needed to get around, so the sporty car was an anomaly.
As I opened the door to the jail, I could hear a lot of shouting, cursing, and stammering. The shouting and cursing was from the woman who was beyond pissed off, and the stammering was from our own Barney Fife, Waylon Forge.
Emmett and I walked into the main room, seeing Charlie sitting behind his desk with his head in his hands as the woman continued her rant. "I was going twenty-five in a twenty. You said so yourself. That's not a jailable offense, you fucking moron."
"Wow, she's got a mouth on her," Emmett whispered.
"Uh-huh." Oh, she had a mouth on her alright...a beautiful pink mouth with full lips which added to the big brown eyes and light flush of pink on her gorgeous face. She was stunning, even with the scowl.
"Little lady, speeding, even in a school zone like you were, isn't grounds to put you in jail. You kickin' me in the shin with those pointy shoes sure is, though. Assaulting an officer of the law is a very good reason to lock you up," Waylon finally got out once he quit stammering.
The woman started yelling again that she hadn't intended to kick him but when he pulled the "fucking" gun on her, she acted on instinct. Suddenly, there was an earsplitting blast, causing everyone to cover their ears except the young woman, who was still handcuffed behind her back. I saw Charlie standing next to his desk with a blast horn, and I suppose if I was in his shoes, I'd have done the same thing.
"Everybody SHUT UP!" Thankfully, the young woman ceased her tirade, as did Waylon, and we all turned to look at Charlie.
"Let's start over," Charlie ordered. When both parties began speaking at the same time, Charlie held up his hands, silencing them.
"Waylon, tell me what happened." The woman began to protest, but Charlie shot her a look, so she closed her mouth.
"I was parked behind the big DeKalb sign outside town when this little red sports car flew by. I didn't have the radar gun handy, so I don't know how fast she was driving, but I knew it was a lot faster than the posted forty-miles-an-hour. When she hit the city limits, she slowed down, but she didn't heed the speed limit by the school, so I hit the lights to stop her, but she wouldn't pull over, so I finally blocked her car with my cruiser.
"I checked her license and registration, and I asked…" he glanced at notepad, "Miss Isabella Decklan if she'd seen the sign. She said she had but school wasn't in session. I told her it didn't matter if school was in session or not, the speed limit is twenty at all times, and she was doing twenty-five. I paced her."
The woman, who was dressed in a pair of dark jeans with a light blue blouse and black high heels, was still fuming, but her features had softened considerably. She was even more beautiful than when I first spotted her as she got out of the squad car. Her long brown hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, and she looked to be quite sophisticated.
"Okay. When did you pull your gun?" Charlie asked with a cocked eyebrow. Everyone in town was well aware that Waylon was always praying someone would do something so he could fire his pistol. His weekends were spent at the range outside of town taking target practice, and as Emmett had advised Charlie many times, his shaky hand was no one's friend.
He was a decent guy, though, which was why Charlie allowed him to remain on the force. The only order Charlie gave him was not to pull his gun unless someone pulled one on him first.
"Well, after she got out of the car and refused a field sobriety test, I explained to her that I was going to have to bring her down here so I could get a warrant to have her blood tested by Doc Cullen." I saw Charlie lean toward the attractive woman and sniff in deeply.
"Waylon, she doesn't smell like she's been drinking," Charlie stated.
"I wasn't sure she wasn't because she called me everything under the sun. She stumbled a little bit getting out of the car, so what was I to think? When she reached through the window of the car for her purse, I didn't know she wasn't gonna pull a gun on me. I was protecting myself just as I protect the citizens of Evening Shade.
"She was belligerent, and maybe I didn't smell liquor, but she might be high on marijuana or something. You were at the town meeting so I couldn't call you. I used my best judgment. When I drew my weapon and told her to freeze, she kicked me," Waylon continued as he hiked up his pant leg and showed Charlie, then me and Emmett, the small nick and the drop of blood under his black sock.
"Why'd you kick him, Bells?" Charlie asked. Obviously, he knew the woman.
"Look, I've been preached at my whole life that if I get stopped in a deserted area, I should slowly proceed to a well-lighted area where there are more people. Hell, it's tattooed on my damn brain. So, that's what I was trying to do when Enos here, pulled the cruiser in front of me, almost causing me to wreck my car. Then, he proceeded with the rest of this fucking circus, handcuffing me and shoving me into the back of the car where I had to wait forty-five minutes for Cooter to come out and tow my car. If there's one scratch on my car, I'm suing this hole-in-the-wall bullshit town," the woman barked out.
I was laughing at her "Dukes of Hazzard" references, remembering the show from when I was younger. I'd always wanted the "General Lee."
"Nobody's suing anybody. Enos…Waylon…take those damn cuffs off my daughter," Charlie snapped, surprising both, Emmett and me.
"Daughter?" three of us asked at the same time. I thought Charlie and I were pretty good friends, but I didn't know he had a daughter, especially a gorgeous, smart-mouthed one who was built like a marble goddess.
Waylon took off the cuffs quickly as we all stood waiting for some sort of explanation. "Bells, what brings you to town?" Apparently, the sheriff wasn't in the mood to give us one.
"I'm driving to L.A. for my new job, and I thought I'd swing by to see you. It's been nearly four years, Daddy." The young woman was looking over Charlie's shoulder in my direction, locking eyes with me. My heart picked up a bit. Damn, she was gorgeous.
"You've been too busy to make time…Let's talk about that at home. So, tell Waylon you're sorry for cussing at him and kicking him," Charlie ordered.
She crossed her arms over her chest in defiance, and I felt my dick get hard. "I will not!"
"Well, welcome to Evening Shade's jail," Charlie snapped, grabbing her by the arm and leading her to one of the four cells in the place.
"Charlie is that really necess…" Emmett began. Charlie shot him a look that let us know it wasn't about her refusal to apologize. There was a history there, and he wasn't about to let us butt in.
He slammed the door and turned to Emmett and me. "Isabella Swan, this is the Mayor of Evening Shade, Edward Cullen, and the City Attorney, Emmett McCarty. Gentleman, this is my daughter, Isabella."
Emmett and I approached the cell, each sticking our hands through the bars to greet the prisoner. Her hand was soft and warm, as was her smile. "Actually, it's Bella. It's nice to meet you both. Can I appeal this injustice to either of you?"
"Well, Emmett's also the Justice of the Peace, so you can present your case at your hearing," I suggested. I really didn't want to cross Charlie. He had his own reasons for jailing his daughter, and while I wished he'd have sentenced her to my custody where I would keep her under house arrest for days, I wouldn't step on his toes.
"When do I get a hearing?"
"I can swing by tomorrow evening. I assume you'll want to keep her for twenty-four hours," Emmett commented to Charlie.
"Yep. That's likely how long it'll take for her to cool down." I saw her eyes bug out a bit, before she stormed over to the cot next to the wall, sitting down and crossing her legs. Apparently, she was just as stubborn as Charlie.
"Okay then. I'll see you tomorrow evening at seven. I gotta get home because Rosie's probably wondering where I am. I'm sure it's my turn for diaper and feeding detail. It was nice to meet you, Miss Swan."
"It's Decklan. Ms. Decklan," she called to Emmett's retreating form. That was another mystery.
"I thought you were going to change your name back?" Charlie asked.
"I was, but for professional reasons, I have to keep it. Part of the reason I got the job in LA is because of Trent. If I go back to Swan, I lose all of the recognition I gained in my time in New York. I oughta get something more out of three years of bullshit besides a half-a-million dollars and a shiny red sports car. Where is my car, by the way?"
"It's safe. Jake towed it to Rosalie's garage. You can pay for the tow tomorrow after you serve your time and pay your fine," Charlie informed her.
"Jake? I don't know any Jake. How do I know that little fucker isn't doing doughnuts in a cornfield somewhere?" That made me really wonder because from what I knew, Billy, Jake's father, was one of Charlie's oldest and closest friends. Billy moved to Evening Shade not long after Charlie nearly twenty years ago, and both men were fixtures in the community.
At the time they showed up, my father was the Mayor and was responsible for hiring Charlie in the first place. How I'd never heard about this daughter was beginning to bug the piss out of me.
"If you'd ever have cared to visit instead of looking down your nose at me and this town, you'd have met Edward, Jake, Billy, Sarah, and all of my other friends, but you and your mother decided my life wasn't good enough for either of you, so you only have yourself to blame, just like the reason you're behind bars right now."
"Edward, let me call my mom to come down and babysit her overnight. Law states I gotta have a female matron if I've got a female prisoner. After I call her, we'll go get some coffee," Charlie suggested. I nodded as he walked away to use the phone.
"He's not serious about keeping me here all night and making my grandmother, who I haven't seen in twenty years, come down here, is he?" She had walked over to the bars and placed her hand on my bicep, causing a little tingle up my spine.
I turned to look in her direction and saw panic on her face. Or maybe it was manipulation? I didn't know the woman well enough to be able to tell for certain. "I've known your dad since I was sixteen years old. I've never known him to say anything he didn't mean," I stated as I patted her hand before she jerked it away. I guessed that meant the big doe eyes were meant to win me over. I wasn't getting in the middle of that snake pit for anything.
Charlie walked back to where I was still standing outside the cell. "Waylon!" he shouted.
Waylon appeared from the back, zipping up his pants as he walked over toward us. I rolled my eyes. It was no wonder the guy was still single. "Mom's on her way down. When she gets here, you can go home, but call Riley and let him know not to come by the station. Take the cellphone with you in case anything happens overnight that Riley needs your help with. I'll see you in the morning," Charlie ordered.
Waylon nodded as he took a seat in a metal chair just off to the left of the cell. "I don't think you have to sit here staring at her. I seriously doubt she can Houdini her way out," I commented. I almost wanted to offer to babysit her myself, but that wouldn't lead to anything but a bigger scandal than when the Weber boys got caught stealing gas from Rosalie's gas station/garage.
Their father is the minister at the Methodist church, and their sister teaches grade school where Jasper's the principal. It was the talk of the town for weeks, only to be reignited when Emmett sentenced them to paint the outside of the garage in lieu of jail time. Instead of a fine, they washed cars at the town square every weekend for a month. No one was surprised they were model citizens until they went off to college in Evansville two years ago.
As we were leaving, May Swan, Charlie's mother, walked up to the sidewalk in front of the jail. "Charlie, who's the prisoner?" May asked in her very no-nonsense way. I truly loved the woman, but she was all business when it came to anything related to her son and his job.
His father had been the handyman in town before he passed away, and my dad told me May was the reason Charlie moved to Nebraska from Washington State. I wondered if that was the only reason.
He leaned forward and kissed her cheek. He was probably stalling for time because I was certain the revelation that her granddaughter was behind bars wasn't going to go over well. "Thanks for doing this, Mom. Actually, it's an out-of-towner. She got caught speeding and Waylon arrested her."
"How fast was she going? Usually, don't you just issue a fine?" I'd almost bet May knew as much about the law as Charlie.
"It's a lot more complicated than that. She assaulted Waylon and refuses to apologize, so I gotta hold her overnight. Emmett's going to hold her hearing tomorrow evening. We're going to the diner, so I'll bring her something to eat on my way home. Call my cell if she gives you any trouble."
My eyebrows shot up because it seemed as if he wasn't going to tell her who was inside. He looked at me and let out a heavy sigh. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Mom, it's Bells. She was coming to town for a visit, and things got out of hand. She needs to cool off because she threw a hell of a fit, so I'm keeping her here."
I turned to see May's expression was similar to mine when I heard she was Charlie's daughter. "You've got my granddaughter behind bars?" I felt sorry for him.
"Mom, she's just as stubborn as Renee and…"
"Renee?! She's as stubborn as you, Charles. Renee was high-minded and flighty. The only thing she was stubborn about was wanting to leave Forks. You refused to leave, so she took Bella and left you. Then, you ended up leaving anyway. Give me the keys," she ordered.
"Waylon's got 'em. He's still inside," Charlie responded.
"Oh, good Lord. You left that half-wit in there with my granddaughter. What were you thinking? Edward, give me a hug," she ordered. I leaned down and kissed her cheek, hugging her gently before she bustled inside. When she opened the door, we both heard Charlie's daughter yell, "Quit fucking staring at me, you idiot."
So? Love it? Hate it? Interested in it continuing?
Thanks for giving it a shot. I hope to hear from you regarding whether you'd stick with it.