Contest Entry for the Deep South Contest

Title: The Cowboy Rides Away

Name: CullenSweetheart

Pairing: Edward and Bella

Rating: M

Beta(s): AlbertaGirl78 and edwardrocksmysocks

Summary: Bella Swan's world is rocked by Wrangler wearin' bull rider, Edward Cullen when her band, Swan Song, gets their dream gig playing at the famous Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Will the Cowboy ride away with the Country Girl's heart or will they ride off into the sunset side by side?

Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.

BPOV

I threw my keys onto the kitchen island along with my purse and the mail. This job was going to be the death of me. When I graduated from college with my degree in Accounting, I knew it would be well worth all the hard work and study time I had put in. I was able to start working two weeks after I graduated and soon after that I became a CPA. So basically, I made a great living here in Houston. My passion though, was what I did on the weekends.

I was the lead singer of Swan Song, the country music trio I formed three years ago along with my two best friends, Alice Brandon and Rosalie Hale. We had a pretty good following in our area and all the surrounding small Texas towns. While I was the lead singer, Alice played guitar and sang backup and Rosalie was our drummer as well as a backup singer. We had done our time in the small honky tonks and county fairs and this year we were doing something we had only dreamed of. We were invited to perform at The Hideout. This was basically a large white tent situated outside on the grounds at Reliant Park, where all the major concerts were held. The Hideout was known to showcase up and coming talent on the Texas music scene and Swan Song had been invited to play several nights this year. We had been rehearsing nonstop along with holding down our regular jobs.

Later that night as I snuggled down into my bed I wondered what it was going to be like to play to the crowd that attended the rodeo. We had played for some pretty good sized crowds but this was a big deal. The HLS&R was something huge in Houston every year. Some people had been given their big breaks after playing at The Hideout. I could only hope this was our year. I had a feeling my life was going to change no matter what.

EPOV

"Emmett, get your fucking big ass off me. I'm trying to fucking drive here dumbass!" I tried to move the large motherfucker that was currently asleep on my shoulder. He was my brother, but he was a pain in my ass. I had been driving for seven hours straight since we left our home in Lawton, Oklahoma. I was tired, but I could just make out the Houston skyline in the distance and I knew we were almost there.

My name is Edward Cullen and I am the 2012 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Bull Riding Champion. I've been riding bulls since I was fourteen years old. Last year was absolutely my year. All my rides had been perfect and I was finally able to win that buckle. My dad, Carlisle, had been a bull riding champion in his younger days and I always strived to be like him. He was my hero. My brother Emmett, the large asshole I mentioned earlier, is my agent and travels with me. Our cousin, Jasper is a champion steer wrestler and also travels with us. Together the three of us navigate the highways across the country going from rodeo to rodeo winning money and prizes, but more importantly respect from our competitors. The HLS&R is one of the grandest stages of all. If you make something of yourself there, well, you've made it to the big time.

"Shit, are we fucking there yet?" Jasper asks, his voice thick with sleep.

"Yes we are. Thank God. Help me get this big ape off me." I tried to wiggle out from under Emmett and he barely stirred. Finally with Jasper's help we managed to wake up Sleeping Beauty.

"Dude, you are like a fucking zombie when you sleep." Jasper pushed Emmett's shoulder as the giant asshole finally became coherent.

"Are we at the hotel? I'm hungry. Fuck Edward, what time is it?" The jackass was completely confused, so Jasper and I decided to fuck with him a little bit because we were assholes like that.

"Emmett, we are about to head out to Houston. It's a little after five in the morning. We have a seven hour drive ahead of us so you better go piss and feed yourself." I fought the snicker that threatened to escape as Emmett tried to reason out what I had just told him in his mind. Jasper was quick to add to the charade.

"Hey Em, do you mind if I take the front seat this trip? I'll help Edward drive this time." The look on Emmett's face was priceless, but it didn't take long for him to realize we were pulling his dick.

"Oh, fuck you assholes! Do you think I'm so stupid that I don't recognize Reliant Stadium? We're here dickheads. Now move, I gotta piss." He stumbled into the lobby of the hotel we were booked at and began searching for a bathroom.

Jasper and I grabbed our suitcases and walked into the lobby to check in. After a few minutes we had keys to our individual rooms and Emmett was back from his trip to the bathroom.

"I'm going to bed guys. I'll meet you two in the morning about ten. Don't wake me up before then." I gave them each a pointed look and they knew I meant business. I was not a morning person. Ever.

We all went to our rooms and I slipped into the shower to rinse off the "where I came from dust". I laughed thinking of the Jason Aldean song I had quoted in my mind. Jesus fuck, I must be tired because I'm talking to my damn self and answering. Not even bothering to put on any clothes, I threw myself into the bed butt assed naked and quickly fell into dreamland. Tomorrow was the beginning of the biggest rodeo in Texas and I was the reigning championship bull rider. I had a title to defend and I meant to do just that.

BPOV

"Hey Bella, do you have my hot pink Cruel Girl shirt?" Rosalie was digging around in my closet like she owned the place. Good thing I didn't have anything to hide because her nosy ass was all in my shit.

"Why would I have your shirt Rose? It doesn't even fit me, remember? Your boobs are way bigger than mine."

"Oh yeah. True. I bet I left it at my fucking apartment. Shit. Oh well, I'll find something else." She went back into the bathroom to finish straightening her long blonde hair. Rosalie Hale looked like a damn supermodel. Bitch.

Tonight was opening night at the rodeo. We were playing a couple sets at The Hideout and we needed to be there in an hour. Alice was meeting us there since she had to work late. She said she'd change before she left her office and we would have thirty minutes to do a quick sound check before our set started. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I was terrified. I hoped my voice would be strong and not shaky with nerves.

"Damn girl that looks fucking hot. We're gonna kick some ass tonight Bell. This is our year. I feel it." Rosalie looked stunning. She was wearing a skin tight pair of blingy jeans with a studded belt, a dark red sequined halter top and her red high heeled boots. I had decided to wear a denim miniskirt with a blinged out royal blue tank top and a sheer black shirt over that tied at my waist. I had my new black blingy boots on and I felt amazing. I curled my hair and clipped it up so it fell down the center of my back and my smoky eyes finished out my look.

"We better get a move on. Alice is going to have our asses if we're late." Rosalie agreed so we piled into my brand new 2013 Indigo Blue Metallic Chevrolet Silverado and were on our way to Reliant Park.

"It's about time ya'll decided to get here! I've been going nuts." Alice Brandon was what you would call a little stick of dynamite. She barely weighed 100 pounds and at only five feet two inches tall she was a force to be reckoned with.

"Oh keep your hair on Alice. We aren't that late." Rosalie never was one to mince words.

A tall man wearing a headset came over and asked if we were Swan Song. I told him we were so he led us to The Hideout and helped us get set up for our sound check. An hour later the tent was beginning to fill up and Rosalie, Alice, and I were in the trailer parked behind the stage entrance touching up our makeup before we went on. We had our customary beer before the show and Alice finished out our routine with our group prayer. It was time to rock this place.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Hideout!" The crowd roared as the emcee made his way to the stage. "Taking the stage now is Houston's very own version of sexy as hell. Please give a warm Hideout welcome to Swan Song!"

We made our way to the stage and I was immediately aware of a pair of green eyes in the front row as they followed me to the microphone. There stood the most beautiful cowboy I had ever seen in my entire life. He was wearing painted on black Wrangler jeans, black boots, a deep forest green western shirt, a black and silver belt with a large platter belt buckle in the front and a black felt cowboy hat. My eyes found his and I couldn't look away. It appeared that he couldn't either. I had to collect myself as Rosalie counted off our first song.

We started off with a cover of Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Casanova. As I sang, I took the microphone off the stand and walked around the stage singing. I noticed that Cowboy Hotness had two friends with him. One was a large good looking guy with muscles on top of muscles and what looked like dark hair peeking out from under his cowboy hat. I noticed he had dimples and a really adorable face. The other guy was blonde, lean, and tall. He was really cute too. Without meaning to, I found myself standing right in front of Cowboy Hotness while I sang. Apparently the beer I had before the show was making me feel really uninhibited, because I crooked my finger in a come-hither motion and the gorgeous cowboy complied immediately. He was holding a Miller Lite longneck in one hand and reached out to take my offered hand with his other. I hopped down off the stage, microphone in my hand and wrapped my other arm around his neck and ran my fingers through the short hair at the back of his neck. He wrapped a possessive arm around my waist and pulled me to him and we began to sway to the music. Singing directly to him, our gazes never wavered. It didn't escape me that he was running his hand up and down from my waist to the curve of my ass. It also didn't escape me that it felt like fucking sin and I loved it. Too soon, the song ended and I took the beer from his hand and downed the rest of it quickly. I handed him back the bottle and winked at him as he tipped his hat to me.

When I hopped back on the stage both Rosalie and Alice had their mouths hanging open. I'll admit I normally didn't act like that. There was just something about this cowboy that had me acting wanton and crazy. The rest of our set went quickly and we thanked the crowd, who applauded loudly, and made our way back to the trailer out back while the next act took the stage.

"What the hell was that all about Bella?" Rosalie's eyebrows were almost in her hairline.

"Shit, I don't have a damn clue. I locked eyes with him the minute we stepped on stage and never stopped. Fuck if he didn't smell good too. I practically dry humped him on the dance floor."

"Hey, did you guys see the two guys with him? They were damn fine too. Come on girls. Let's go back out into the crowd and catch us some cowboys." Alice said with conviction.

We all looked at each other and nodded our heads in agreement. This was turning out to be an interesting night for sure.

EPOV

As soon as she stepped on the stage, my fucking world stopped. Her brown hair was pulled back away from her face and soft curls fell down her back. She had on the tightest, shortest fucking miniskirt I had ever seen and legs that went on forever. Fuck, my cock took notice for sure, and these goddamned jeans were way too tight when I didn't have a fucking boner. Now they were almost unbearable. As if that wasn't bad enough, before I knew it, she had hopped off the stage and began dancing with me. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I pulled her to me and began to rub from her waist down to the curve of her ass. God she felt amazing in my arms. Her voice was angelic and I was mesmerized by it. It was a peppy, upbeat song but I was merely swaying back and forth with her. Then to my surprise, when the song was over, she winked at me and drank the rest of my damn beer, handing me the empty bottle back and she was gone. What the fuck just happened?

I stood there with my mouth open trying to figure out how to speak. I barely noticed when Jasper and Emmett stepped in front of me. I saw Jasper's mouth moving but I couldn't hear anything he was saying. Suddenly I felt Emmett's large hand slap me across the back and effectively bring me back to reality.

"Edward! Dude, are you ok?" Jasper was looking at me like I was insane.

"Hell if I know Jazz. Did you see how fucking beautiful she was? I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful woman in my life. I have to see her again. Come on guys. Let's see if we can get over by where they left the stage." I began to make my way to the side door behind the stage with Jasper and Emmett following behind me. As soon as we made it to the door, it opened and my world stopped yet again. There she was. I quickly tried to remember my own fucking name and how to vocalize. Fortunately for me, Emmett was quick on the draw.

"Ladies, we were just looking for the three of you. We'd love to buy you a beer and maybe steal a dance or two?" I noticed he was looking directly at the tall blonde drummer. She was hot, no doubt about it, but I was more into brunettes. The beauty standing in front of me was staring at me like she wanted to eat me alive and I was all over that shit.

"Well hey there Cowboy. Thanks for the dance and the beer. I guess I owe you a cold Miller Lite don't I?" She reached out and ran her hand down the front of my shirt causing my stomach muscles to clench and I may have shuddered. Come on Cullen, pull it together.

"Well now it wouldn't be right for you to buy me a beer little lady, but I'd be more than glad to buy you one. I'm Edward Cullen. This big guy here is my brother Emmett, and that's Jasper, our cousin." She was still touching me and I fucking loved it.

"I'm Bella, this is Rosalie, and that's Alice. So now that the pleasantries are out of the way, how about that beer and another dance Cowboy?"

"Lead the way Miss Bella." She took my hand and led me to the dance floor just as George Strait's Amarillo by Morning started to play. I pulled her to me as close as I could get her, with my arm securely around her waist and her arm laying against my chest with our hands joined over my heart. She put her other arm around my neck and started playing with the hair at the back of my neck. It felt fantastic. We moved together across the dance floor like we had been partners for years. There was nothing like a Texas Two-Step snuggled up close to a gorgeous woman who smelled amazing. She laid her head against my chest and I brought my cheek down to rest against her hair.

"You know Edward, you smell so damn good. I nearly lost my place in the song when I got a whiff of you." She looked up at me and smiled. I was fucking gone.

"Thank you Sweetheart. You smell real good too. Bella, I have to tell you, you feel like heaven in my arms. I hope that's not too forward of me, seeing as we just met and all, but I haven't been able to take my eyes off you all night." God I wanted to kiss her.

"I feel the same Edward. I saw you as soon as we stepped on stage and I had to meet you." She moved her arm down and placed it around my waist, threading her fingers in my belt loops at the back of my pants. As the song wound down, we just stood staring into each other's eyes. I wasn't sure what was happening but it was unlike anything I had ever felt. My heart was pounding in my chest.

"How about that beer Darlin'?" I didn't bother to remove my arms from around Bella.

"Sounds good Cowboy. Let's go." She took me by the hand and led me to where the beer was flowing. I noticed a table off to the side where Emmett and Jasper were sitting with Bella's two friends. We walked over to join them.

"And Edward here is the 2012 bull riding champion. He's here to defend that title and win it again, right man?" Emmett slapped me on the shoulder as I sat down. Bella sat directly in my lap.

"Wow, really? You're the reigning champion?" She looked at me with wide eyes, then looked down at my championship belt buckle. When she reached down and ran her hands over it I nearly came in my jeans.

"Yes ma'am, I surely am." I leaned up to whisper in her ear so no one else would hear. "Does that turn you on Sweetheart? Because that would be fucking amazing." I took a swig of my beer and waited for her to answer.

"I think you should dance with me again Cowboy." She stood up and grabbed my hand, intent on leading me to the dance floor.

BPOV

Being in Edward's arms as he twirled me expertly around the dance floor was unlike anything in the world. I wasn't sure why this cowboy affected me like he did, but for once, I was going for it. Reckless Bella was here for now and she made sure to beat down Realistic Bella. Sure I knew whatever it was I was feeling for Edward wouldn't last most likely through tomorrow. But I always lived my life with caution. Tonight, I was throwing caution to the wind in the arms of a sexy cowboy.

"So, how about we get outta here and go somewhere we can talk? I'd like to get to know you better." I looked up at Cowboy Hotness and batted my eyelashes.

"Ok, that sounds good. Um…Bella, look, I'm not trying to take advantage of you, I swear. But how would you feel about going back to my hotel room? We can grab something to eat and just hang out. Would that be ok? I promise to be a gentleman." He appeared nervous.

"Well, I wouldn't mind spending some time with you Edward. Sure. Let me go tell the girls I'm leaving." He twirled me one more time and then we walked back to the table to let the others know we were leaving.

When we walked out to my truck, Edward pulled on my hand so I would stop. When I turned around to see what was wrong, he pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around my waist. God I wanted him to kiss me.

"Bella, would it be too forward of me to ask if I could kiss you?" Wow, was this guy a mind reader?

"I think I'd like that Edward." Apparently that was all he needed because the next thing I knew, my back was pushed against the driver's side door of my truck and Edward's delicious body was pressed against me. I could feel everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. And let me tell you, Cowboy Hotness was packing.

His one hand landed tightly on my hip while his other hand wound itself around the back of my neck. When he lowered his mouth to mine, I nearly came undone. Edward's kiss was soft but firm. His full lips felt amazing as they caressed mine. He softly ran his tongue along my bottom lip and I opened my mouth for him without reservation. When I heard Edward moan and when I felt him tighten his grip on my hip, I wanted badly to just tell him to fuck me hard right where we stood. Luckily before I could vocalize that thought, he pulled back and looked at me with hooded green eyes. I was breathless.

"Fuck, you taste like heaven Darlin'. I'm finding it hard to remain a gentleman like I promised I would. You're just so damn tempting." He ran his thumbs along the apples of my cheeks.

"Mmm Edward, your mouth is amazing. Come on, let's go before we defile each other in the parking lot." Smirking down at me, he reached for my door and opened it. I climbed in and he ran around to the passenger side quickly.

Edward told me where his hotel was and we made our way there quickly. Once we parked and got out, he grabbed my hand and led me to his room, stopping and dropping my hand only to take his key card from his wallet to open the door.

"Make yourself at home Darlin'. We can decide what we want to eat and have it delivered if you would like." He walked over to the table and took his cowboy hat off to set it down. Holy shit. When he ran his fingers through his hair I nearly came in my skirt. His hair was the most unique color I had ever seen. It had shades of red, blonde, and some dark brown. It almost looked like a copper penny. It was longer on top and very short in the back and stood on end after he ravaged it with his hand. Fuck I'd love to ravish it with my own hands.

"Um..whatever you want to do is fine. God Edward, has anyone ever told you that you have sex hair?" Oh yeah, my verbal filter was still AWOL.

"Well now Miss Bella, I can't say anyone ever has. Tell me though, what exactly does sex hair do for you?" He stalked toward me like I was something to eat. Little did he know that I would have no qualms about being his dinner.

"I'd rather show you Cowboy." I closed the distance between us and claimed his lips with mine. Quickly our kisses became heated and before I knew it, we were both naked and writhing around on the bed. I had never in my life had a one night stand. I knew I would regret this in the morning, but the moment I felt Edward's tongue lapping at my slick folds all rational thought left.

"Mmm God Bella your pussy is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. Does that feel good Darlin?"

"Edward….yesssss…..fuck." I was completely lost in what he was doing to me. How could someone be so damn good with their tongue and fingers? I felt the coil winding up deep in my belly and knew it wouldn't be long before I was flying over the edge.

"Come on Sweet girl. Give it to me. Give me that orgasm that I know you have in there. Let me pull it out of you Darlin." His words were my undoing as I came hard around his fingers and mouth.

"Fffffuuuuuckkkkkkk!" My voice cracked as the intensity of what he did to me crashed down upon me. "Shit, Edward that was fucking amazing." Before I knew it, he was hovering over me, his hard cock pressing at my entrance.

"Darlin are you sure? We can stop anytime you want to." He looked at me with such intensity. For a moment I could swear I saw something in his eyes that was akin to love. I quickly pushed that thought aside because I mean really? This was a one night stand with a hot cowboy and that was it. I answered his question by reaching over and grabbing a condom off the nightstand and handing it to him.

"Come on Cowboy. Put that condom on and bury that cock deep inside me now." A slow smirk spread across his face as he rolled on the protection.

"Yes ma'am Miss Bella." He leaned down and captured my mouth in a searing kiss at the same time he slowly sheathed himself inside me. I moaned loudly against his mouth at the feeling of being completely filled by him. He shuddered above me and stopped all movement. I was about to panic when he spoke.

"Shit Bella, give me just a second baby. If I move right now, this shit will be over before it starts. That would be embarrassing if I shot my load after ten seconds." He leaned down and kissed me slowly, careful not to move his pelvis.

"Take what you need from me Edward. I want this badly." I stroked his cheek as he took a deep breath and slowly he began to move inside me. The sensations were off the charts as my cowboy slowly made love to me.

"Damn baby, you are so tight. God you feel like a dream around my cock." His thrusts became a little erratic and I could tell he was holding himself off. "I need you to come again Bella. Come for me Darlin"

"Almost….there….Edddd…..ward." I was teetering on the edge and needed just a little bit to push me over. As if he really could read my mind, Edward sat back on his knees and brought my legs up over his forearms. He began to pound into me with reckless abandon. The new angle and intensity was just what I was looking for, and before I knew it I was flying.

"Oh god oh god oh god Edwarrrrddddd," I screamed as the most powerful orgasm I had ever experienced completely took over my entire being.

"Yeah….fuck yeah….shiiittt…Belllllllaaa!" Edward's orgasm washed over him a moment later as I was still reeling from mine. He looked amazing as he came, the veins in his neck sticking out and his entire face flushed with passion. He collapsed on top of me and I welcomed his weight.

"Shit darlin', I'm sorry. I must be crushing you." He pulled out and went to discard the condom. When he came back he slid under the covers and pulled me to his chest.

"That was beyond amazing Edward. Thank you baby." I reached back to cup his cheek and he kissed me slowly and gently.

"That it was Miss Bella. That it was." He placed a tender kiss on the side of my neck and pulled me tighter against him. When he sighed I felt him relax and soon I heard his breathing even out. Unsure of what to do, I relaxed against him and let sleep take me too.

The room was still dark when I opened my eyes. Glancing at the clock, I noticed it was just after four in the morning. Edward was sound asleep with his arm still wrapped around my waist. I thought back to last night and how good it felt to be loved by this cowboy. He had been so gentle and sweet while he made love to me. Of course my brain kicked in and I realized that I needed to get out of here. I couldn't allow myself to fall for Edward. This was simply a one night stand. I couldn't feel anything more for him. Our lives were going in different directions. Hell, he probably had a girl in every city. I'm sure he wouldn't expect me to still be here when he woke up. Hoping to avoid all that awkwardness, I gently removed his arm from my waist. He briefly tightened his grip again but then relaxed. I managed to find my clothes and went into the bathroom to quietly clean myself up a bit and dress. Once I was done, I walked back out and noticed Edward had rolled over onto his stomach and wrapped his arms under his pillow. His muscular back was illuminated by the moonlight coming in through the curtains. I shook my head at how stunningly handsome this man was. As quietly as I could, I walked back to the bed and placed a gentle kiss on his back and whispered "thank you". I made my way out of the hotel room and headed to my truck to make the short trip back to my place, feeling completely satisfied by the gorgeous cowboy named Edward Cullen. But as much as I wanted to deny it, a part of me was sad that nothing more could come of us as a couple. Despite what my brain decided, my heart already fell for Edward, if only a little bit.

EPOV

I woke up when the light coming through the curtains became too much. I hadn't slept that well in a very long time and I knew it was because of the gorgeous brunette lying beside me. I rolled over on my side and reached out for Bella but was met with only cold sheets. I quickly sat up and looked around. The light was off in the bathroom so I knew she wasn't in there. She left. She was gone without so much as a goodbye. My heart broke just a little bit with this revelation. We shared an out of this world night last night. I felt like we connected on so many levels. Was I wrong? I guess I was only a one night stand for Bella. But fuck, the way she touched me and loved me there was no way what I was feeling was wrong. Never in my life had a woman so completely consumed me like Bella Swan had in only one magical night.

Acceptance didn't come easy for me but I had to concentrate on the upcoming rodeo. I had my first ride later this evening and needed to get myself in the right frame of mind. After a quick shower, I got dressed and texted Emmett to see about meeting for breakfast.

I arrived at IHOP before Emmett and Jasper and got us a table. I had just placed my order when the two of them strolled over.

"Ed-man! What's up?" Emmett fist bumped me as he sat down and picked up a menu.

"So, what happened last night after you and Bella left?" Jasper asked while helping himself to my cup of coffee. Fucker.

"We went back to my room and hung out. She left early this morning. That's about it." I lied. I wasn't going to go into detail, that wasn't my style. What happened between Bella and I was private and nobody else's business. "How about you two?"

"The four of us went out to a club and danced some more and then we grabbed a bite to eat. That's it." Emmett said as the waitress brought more coffee.

After we all got our food, Emmett and Jasper went on and on about how much they liked Rosalie and Alice. I was pretty quiet the rest of the meal because I was trying to prepare for my ride tonight. This was proving to be easier said than done as visions of mahogany hair and chocolate eyes kept flashing before me. I couldn't get my mind off the beautiful cowgirl that had stolen my heart in one night.

As much as I tried to concentrate on my ride, I ended up fucking it up. I hadn't had my hand secured tightly enough in the rigging and my balance got thrown off. In order to steady myself, I touched the bull with my other hand. That is an instant disqualification. So, the reigning champion wasn't even scored on his first ride. Motherfucking yee haw.

The days of the rodeo past quickly. I had one more ride to complete and was currently sitting in first place. The competition hadn't been as tough as it was last year and I was grateful for that because my head and my heart weren't completely in it this year. No matter how much I tried to erase Bella Swan from my mind, it wasn't happening.

We hadn't been able to catch another Swan Song show since that first night simply because we were always busy. Emmett and Jasper had seen Alice and Rosalie a couple of times after their initial meeting but said Bella was never with them. I was beginning to wonder if I had dreamed up the beautiful brunette.

It was the last night of the rodeo and I was preparing to make my final ride. Emmett and Jasper were hanging out with me trying to help calm my nerves.

"Hey Edward, man, don't worry. You got this. You are the best out there and all the rest of them know it. All you gotta do is stay on that bastard for eight seconds." Jasper was always my biggest cheerleader. He had completed his events last night, finishing in second place.

"Thanks man. It's been one hell of a rodeo this year huh? Definitely one I will never forget." I felt my chest tighten as I said the words. I quickly pushed the lump in my throat away and got ready to climb up on the meanest motherfucker they had in the bullpen. Naturally, I drew him. Bushwacker. This was fifteen hundred pounds of mean, nasty, American Bucking Bull. I tried not to think of the fact that so far in 2013, nobody had successfully ridden him. His Buckoff rate was a staggering 92.31% and the average time for staying on this bastard was just over three and a half seconds.

"Cullen, you're up. Get up on that motherfucker!" Emmett was at the stall waiting for me. As I walked up to the back of the stall, Bushwacker made his entrance, snarling and spitting the entire way. I stood silent and sent up a prayer to make it out of this one alive. This was a mean son of a bitch.

"You got this Cullen. You fucking got this man. Ride that bastard!" Emmett and Jasper were psyching me up and helping me get settled on the back of the beast. He was fighting me every step of the way as he tried to get his horns into the gate and anybody near it. I was so focused on not getting myself killed that I hadn't even heard the announcer.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, up next is your defending champion Edward Cullen! Edward has drawn the meanest, nastiest beast we have on the circuit, Bushwacker!"

I took a final look at Emmett and Jasper and sent up one more prayer then nodded my head and the gate flew open. I had studied enough film of this bull to know which way he was apt to turn right out of the gate, so I was able to anticipate his movements. He twisted and turned and switched back and forth faster than you would think an animal that big would be able to. I felt like I was having a really good ride and fuck surely it had been eight seconds already, right? I felt my arms and legs burning as I tried to hang on to the monster taking me on the ride of my life. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard the buzzer sound. I had done it. I fucking rode Bushwacker. Fucking A!

The roar of the crowd was deafening as I leapt down off the monster and watched the rodeo clowns corral him back to the pen. When my score flashed on the board, the words that flashed after it almost did me in.

Your Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo 2013 Bull Riding Champion for the second straight year is EDWARD CULLEN!

I threw my cowboy hat in the air and fist pumped. Before I knew what was happening, Emmett and Jasper were running onto the arena floor along with several of the other riders and everyone was yelling and congratulating me. I could barely make out the sound of Garth Brooks' Rodeo blaring through Reliant Stadium. Beer and champagne was flowing and it was a good fucking night.

The stage was set up for the interviews. As I waited for my turn, Rosalie and Alice came up and were immediately wrapped in hugs by Em and Jazz. They both came and congratulated me. I looked around, hoping to see Bella, but to my disappointment she was nowhere to be found.

"Congratulations Edward! That was damn good ride." Alice wrapped me in a tight hug, quickly followed by Rosalie.

"Thanks ladies. I'm glad ya'll are here. Um, listen, have you seen Bella? I'd really like to see her again." Ok, so I was a desperate man. Rosalie quickly answered me.

"Actually I haven't seen her since our last show. And before that since the previous one. She's been really busy I guess." She shrugged her shoulders like it was no big deal. Fuck, it was a very big deal to me. I needed to make sure Bella knew what I was feeling for her.

"Cullen, your interview is next. Get up here son." The announcer waved me over. I excused myself from everyone and made my way to the stage.

"So Edward Cullen, two years in a row now. How does it feel?"

"Man, I'll tell ya, it's a sweet feeling for sure. I always know Houston is gonna be a tough place with tough bulls. I don't think 'ol Bushwacker will ever be the same now though."

"So you seem to have had a great rodeo this year. Your first ride was a little off but you more than made up for it. Tell me, what will you remember most about this year?"

"Well, this year has been bittersweet for me. See, on my first night in town, I met a beautiful, talented, sweet dark haired cowgirl. We spent some time together and it was without a doubt the highlight of my life. Unfortunately, we didn't get to say a proper goodbye and I haven't been able to get her out of my head." I turned directly to the camera for what I was about to say. "Bella Swan, the time I spent with you will never be enough for me. You quickly became so much to me and I need to see you again. There are things that need to be said. But I will never be sorry for what we shared, because it was so right."

"Ok then, who said the rodeo wasn't romantic? Edward, I think you just broke a million hearts with that little declaration."

"I'm sorry ladies, I don't mean to break any hearts. My heart got spoken for a couple weeks ago at The Hideout by the gorgeous lead singer of Swan Song."

I finished up my interviews and told Em and Jazz that I was going back to my hotel room to shower and relax for the evening. We were pulling out tomorrow morning and heading back home to Lawton. Truthfully I didn't feel like watching the guys fawn all over Rosalie and Alice. It was just too much.

BPOV

After I left Edward's hotel room and went back home, sleep didn't find me. I couldn't get the bronze haired cowboy off my mind. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to see Edward very much at all anymore, as his rodeo schedule would take up most of his time, and my regular job was about to kick itself into high gear. It was tax season and I was a CPA. I would be holed up in my office until at least midnight most nights working on taxes. The nights we were booked at The Hideout I would have to cut short and only be able to arrive, sing, and leave.

Rosalie and Alice had spent a little time with Emmett and Jasper, but not much. Still, I was insanely jealous of that. They never mentioned Edward so I assumed he hadn't mentioned or asked about me. To say I was a little disappointed was an understatement. Finally though, I was able to catch up on all my work and make time to attend the final rodeo performance. I was excited about possibly seeing Edward even if I didn't understand why. Just as I was about to head home for the evening to get ready for the rodeo my boss came in and dropped a couple more client folders on my desk. Fuck. They needed to be done immediately. There was no way I was going to make it to the rodeo now. Sighing, I sat back down and got back to work.

I had flipped the television on to the local news station just so I could at least listen to what was going on in the world around me. I heard the announcer talking about the bull riding finals and that caught my attention. I looked up just in time to see the most beautiful cowboy I had ever seen filling my television screen. Edward had won the title again.

"Bella Swan, the time I spent with you will never be enough for me. You quickly became so much to me and I need to see you again. There are things that need to be said. But I will never be sorry for what we shared, because it was so right."

I sat there stunned. Edward was talking directly to the camera. He was talking to me. My heart was in my throat as I digested what he had said. I was more than a one night stand. He hadn't been able to forget me. I hadn't forgotten him either. Suddenly it was clear. I needed to get to Edward. I needed to get to him now.

I packed up my work and threw it in my briefcase. After locking up my office, I ran to my truck and drove as fast as I could to Edward's hotel. I didn't know if he'd be there but I was going to check his room first. I had to know how he felt.

When I arrived at his hotel room I briefly wondered if I should be here. But I know I felt something for Edward and it seemed like he felt something for me too. Before I could chicken out, I knocked on the door. It only took a couple seconds for him to answer. The door swung open and there was my cowboy, wearing plaid sleep pants and nothing else.

"Bella? Baby?" He stood staring at me as if he wasn't sure I was real.

"Hi Edward. Can I come in?" He looked stunned but nodded his head and stepped aside for me to enter. The room was so familiar, like I had never left. It smelled like Edward, his cologne, and soap. Apparently he had just taken a shower.

"I can't believe you're really here." He tentatively reached out to touch my cheek but put his hand back by his side. No sir, that will not do. I reached for his hand and pulled him toward the bed to sit down.

"Can we talk a bit Edward? I think we have some things that need to be said." He sat down quickly and took my hands in his. "First, congratulations! I saw your interview while I was at work. What you said, about me, about us, it was really sweet."

"Bella, why did you leave? God, baby I wanted to wake up with you in my arms. We shared an amazing night and when I woke up, you were gone. There was no note, nothing. Please tell me it meant something to you, because it meant more to me than I can say." He reached up and stroked my cheek and I could feel the energy between us that I felt the first night.

"I panicked. I didn't think there was any way we could make something between us work. I started imagining you had a girl in every city. I didn't want to be a one night stand to you Edward. Mostly, I was afraid of what I was feeling for you. I never act the way I acted with you. It's not me. But things with you just felt so.."

"Right. They just felt fucking right Bella. Nothing has ever felt so right in my life." And just like that, he was kissing me. I melted into his embrace. Before I knew it, we were lying in bed curled up around each other, Edward gently rubbing lazy circles on my arm while I laid against his chest.

"Where have you been Bella? I've asked about you, but nobody would tell me anything. I couldn't make it back to The Hideout to see you because of my schedule. Baby, I felt so fucking lost."

"I was working. It's tax season and I've been working every night until midnight at least. Oh hell, I guess I never told you what my real job was huh? I'm a CPA Edward. This is my busiest time of the year. Between that and performing, I haven't had time to do anything." I looked up into his relieved eyes. "I wasn't purposely ignoring you."

"Fuck. You don't know how that makes me feel. But baby, I have to ask. Would you be willing to give this, us, a try? I mean, I'm heading home tomorrow morning. I live seven hours away from you. It could be worse you know? I think we could make it work."

"I'm willing to give it a try Edward. We can meet in the middle somewhere, one of us can fly to the other. We can see what happens. I know that if I don't give this relationship a good try I'll always wonder why I let my cowboy ride away."

"Oh I assure you Miss Bella, this cowboy will never ride away from his brown eyed, sexy as hell cowgirl. Especially now that I have you back. I'm afraid you're stuck with me baby." He winked at me and squeezed me tighter.

I wasn't sure where we would end up. Hell, I wasn't even sure we would survive the distance and keep a relationship intact. But what I did know was that this sexy, green eyed, gorgeous cowboy had ridden in and stolen my heart in a matter of one night, and I wasn't about to let him ride away.

A/N: Thank you so very much for making The Cowboy Rides Away the 3rd Place Public Vote Winner in the Deep South Contest! It also won the 2nd Place Judge's Choice Award, so my heartfelt thanks to the Judges as well. My plan is to turn this into a multi-chapter story. I'm not sure yet when the next chapter will post but hopefully I can establish a timely schedule. Remember to add it to your story alert! Also, many thanks to the incredible Mina Rivera for the beautiful banner she made. There will be a link to the banner on my FF profile. Smooches to all! XOXO - Shannon