Cullen Family Camping Trip
Charlie insists Bella go camping with the Cullens, in order to acclimate herself with the great outdoors. After all, the Cullens are practically revered in town for their family camping trips, so they must know
what they're doing, right? *Post Eclipse
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2222 Review this Chapter
With graduation behind us, and Victoria no longer a problem, Edward and I were finally enjoying a moment of peace. As we lay across the couch in my father’s living room, lazily watching an old Buster Keaton movie, I heard a car door slam outside, signaling Charlie’s return home. Edward tensed for a moment, then turned his gaze back on me, a knowing smile stretching across his face. What could Charlie be thinking that was causing Edward so much amusement? This couldn’t be good; I sat up, glaring at my beautiful fiancee - I was still trying to adjust to that word - and waited for the axe to fall.
Moments later, Charlie came in, removed his jacket, and wandered into the living room. He wore an expression similar to Edward’s - he looked far too smug for there to be any good coming out of whatever situation I was about to be put in. This was strange though - very rarely would both Charlie and Edward find something to be amusing...uh oh. I braced myself as Charlie began to open his mouth.
"So....Bells, I’m going to have to go out of town next weekend. There’s a seminar I need to attend in Seattle, and I don’t want you staying here by yourself," he said, pausing as his gaze lowered to my hand, which was linked with Edward’s. Sure, dad - you mean, you don’t want to leave me alone in the house with Edward all weekend.
"Anyway, I spoke with Carlisle this morning, and we agreed on the arrangements. You’ll be staying with the Cullens for the weekend, alright?" he asked, the smirk reappearing on his face.
Why on earth would I have a problem with that? Was he crazy? Let’s see...an entire weekend with Edward, at his house. Nope - I didn’t see what he thought I would be objecting to here, yet he looked like the cat that swallowed the canary for some reason. I glanced over at Edward, he was watching me with humor bright in his eyes, looking completely irresistible.
Apparently, Charlie assumed the Cullens would be as strict with our relationship guidelines as he was. He must be feeling so smug because he thought he’d managed to ruin any chance of us being alone while he was gone. He’d probably visited with Carlisle to make sure we’d have constant supervision; little did he know, I already spent every night in Edward’s arms. Now I saw the humor in the situation as well, but I didn’t want to ruin my dad’s moment of contentment - I’d let him think he’d won.
"Ok, dad. That sounds reasonable. I’d be happy to stay with the Cullens for the weekend," I replied. "Alice will be thrilled," I added as an afterthought.
"Yes, I’m sure she will be," Charlie murmured, his eyes sparkling mischievously. That had no doubt been another part of his plan - he knew Alice would keep me busy all weekend, leaving little time for Edward and I to spend together. He might be right about that...I’d just have to deal with Alice later - this would still be the perfect weekend, and I wasn’t going to let any worries of my overactive pixie friend’s shopping habits cloud my thoughts.
Shortly after that, Charlie disappeared into the kitchen, mumbling something about an empty stomach. That was my cue to get up and start dinner, so I reluctantly pulled myself away from Edward, and followed my dad out of the room to begin the preparations.
After dinner was finished, and Charlie had offered to clean up, I wandered back to the living room, eager to regain my place on the couch next to Edward. He was waiting patiently, and pulled me into his arms, so I could lean up against him.
"You know, Bella...I’m really quite surprised you agreed to his terms without hearing exactly what they entailed," Edward spoke softly into my ear.
"Well, how bad can it really be, Edward? I get to be with you, at your house, all weekend. Sure, he probably made the ‘sleeping arrangements’ clear - me in a guestroom - but since you don’t technically sleep, I’m sure we’ll find a way around that. I assume Alice will be trying to occupy much of my time too, but again, we can always seek Jasper’s help there. Charlie is under a misapprehension, that’s all - he assumes that we won’t have any time alone this way," I finished, feeling satisfied at my cunning ability to thwart my dad’s plans.
Edward chuckled quietly, the sound a low rumbling in his chest. "Well, I guess you’ve figured it all out, haven’t you? You’re quite diabolical," he added, reaching his hand up to lightly touch the tip of my nose.
"Just because I can’t read his mind doesn’t mean that I catch on to his plan," I whispered back, giggling.
Edward began trailing his fingertips up my arm very slowly, leaving a trail of fire as they went, then back down, completely making me lose my train of thought. "Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever underestimate you, Bella...I’m very aware of how clever you are," he murmured, his fingers retracing their blazing path. "There’s just one thing...one infinitesimal detail that I’m afraid you may have overlooked in your hasty decision, love," he continued, his tone light.
My eyes rolled as I played along with his silly game; there wasn’t a detail that could bother me as long as I got to spend the entire weekend with the man I love. "Really, Edward? What would that be, then?" I asked, indulging him further.
He paused, letting the silence settle around us, before he whispered into my ear. "Well, Bella, you see...Charlie never actually said that we’d be staying at my family’s house."
"Of course he did, Edward. He said I would be spending the weekend...." I paused, trying to recall Charlie’s exact words.
"He said that you would be spending the weekend with my family. He never said where, love. That was merely an assumption on your part," Edward finished my sentence for me as he silently shook with laughter. Wait a minute...
Abruptly, I twisted myself around so that I was looking Edward directly in the eye, almost knocking myself off the couch in the process, which only made him laugh more.
"Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. What’s going on? Where, exactly, are we all going to be this weekend?" I hissed. I should have been more suspicious - Edward hadn’t been so smug because he thought Charlie was overlooking something. It’d been because I was the one missing something - something he found to be completely amusing. Crap.
Edward just continued to laugh, the expression on my face only making it worse.
"Tell me, right now! What is going on, Edward?" I urged, starting to panic. Edward reached out, smoothing my hair, trying to calm me. My heart was crashing through my chest, suddenly terrified at the possibilities - an entire weekend in the city shopping? A slumber party marathon of some sort? Becoming a life-size Barbie for Alice, running from store to store, fashion show included? Images of snapping curling irons swam menacingly through my mind, clouding my thoughts; I could feel my eyes glazing over.
"Bella, please...calm down. It’s really not that bad," Edward whispered, running his hands down my back. "Everything’s going to be fine. You’ll see - we’re going to have so much fun. We’re going camping, love," he added, as if as an afterthought.
As that final sentence left his lips, my fears of crowded malls were dismissed, a new horror taking their place. Did he say camping? He was right - this wasn’t at all as bad as I was thinking it would be...it was much, much worse. Slowly, as if in a trance, I turned my attention to the kitchen, where my dad was still cleaning up from dinner - now that made more sense too - he must have felt guilty for tricking me.
"DAD!!" I roared, stomping out of the room.
The rest of the week had gone quickly. I was so consumed with irritation at what was coming this weekend, that days seemed to slip by without my noticing. Perhaps I was overreacting, perhaps not - anyone who knew me at all would know that camping and I do not go together. It was just downright dangerous.
After my tirade with Charlie, Edward and I had left to go to his house for the rest of the evening. Actually, I had stomped out, and Edward had followed, muttering his apologies to Charlie. Later that night, after returning home, I’d made up with Charlie and forgiven him for his deception; he really did have my best interests in mind, after all, which I’d discovered from further discussion with Edward, Carlisle, and even Charlie himself.
It turned out that my dad was simply worried about me. He knew I was an adult, soon to be married, but the idea of me not being under his supervision made him nervous for my well-being. He wanted to be sure that if my car ever broke down, or I decided to take up hiking again, (not likely, but he didn’t need to know the real reason I’d had that fixation anyway), and something happened, that I’d be able to take care of myself, and survive. After all, the last time I’d come back from ‘hiking,’ I’d claimed to have run into giant wolves, I was covered in dirt and blood, and completely panicked.
Everyone in town was aware of the Cullensinclination to the outdoors; they were always going off on ‘family camping trips,’ or so everyone thought, including Charlie. If they only knew the truth - most of those ‘trips’ involved the Cullens lounging around their house, playing video games, reading, or listening to music, hiding from the sun. Sure, they went outside for periods of time, but that usually involved slaughtering a few animals, then returning home,to the comforts of finer living. Of course they did occasionally go on actual outdoor adventures, but those were really just extended hunting trips. Anything the Cullens did on their hunting trips would differ greatly from a human’s idea of camping.
It was only natural that Charlie had come to the conclusion that he had. If he had to go away, the weekend would be a perfect time for the Cullens to try to teach me their ways, to influence my chances of survival in the wilderness. The entire irony of the situation was utterly ridiculous.
So here I was, late Thursday afternoon, waiting for Edward to come pick me up. My dad would be leaving tonight for Seattle, so I was to stay at the Cullens tonight, and we’d be leaving early in the morning - to go camping.
It wasn’t long before Edward arrived, and I said goodbye to Charlie. As we went to leave, Edward glanced around, inquiring as to where my bags were. Rolling my eyes, I picked up my backpack and made my way to the door.
"Bella, where are the rest of your things? We’ll be gone for three days, you know," he pressed, disconcerted.
"I have a pair of jeans, sweat pants, three t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and my toiletries. That’s all I need - we’re camping, remember?" I replied, casting my gaze slightly in the direction of my father, who was watching our exchange with interest.
Edward nodded, slightly snickering to himself. "Right. Let’s go then, shall we? Goodbye Charlie, have a safe trip," he added, leading the way to his car, deftly lifting my backpack from my shoulder as he went.
Once inside the car, I turned to him. "Edward, I know you may not be in tune with the reality of how humans actually camp, but the general idea is to pack lightly."
In response, Edward simply raised his eyebrows. "Well, it’s a good thing we’re not human, then," he muttered quietly, leaving me perplexed at what was yet to come.
As he pulled into the driveway of his home, I began to take notice of the chaos around me. Emmett’s jeep was out of the garage, with an unusual amount of bags and boxes attached to the top of it. What was even more noticeable, was the new monstrosity next to it - a brand new black Hummer. It amazed me that something could actually make the Jeep look small, but it did. Something whirred around it, catching my attention.
"What was -" I began, then stopped mid-sentence, as the whirring ceased, and things became clearer.
"Hi Bella! Aren’t you excited? This is going to be spectacular - the best time ever! I had to buy a bigger car so I could fit everything in it, but this way it all works out. I’ve packed everything you’ll need, so don’t worry about forgetting anything," Alice exclaimed at an alarming rate, her words running together. She flashed one last smile, and the whirring began again as she flew around the giant SUV, leaping up and down from the roof as she secured a ridiculous amount of luggage to the top.
Shaking my head lightly, I turned back to look at Edward, and our eyes met. "Alice," we both uttered simultaneously, his voice full of humor, mine full of disbelief.