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
3. Chapter 3
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2625 Review this Chapter
"Canoeing? I don’t think that’s a very good idea," I mumbled. I’d probably drown myself, or knock myself out with the paddle. Reluctantly, I followed a very excited Alice back out to join the others.
"Bella, you’ll be fine - I don’t see anything happening to you, so just be careful, and don’t make any last minute decisions," Alice chirped, laughing lightly.
"Don’t worry - I wouldn’t let anything happen to you, love," Edward murmured softly into my ear, as I reclaimed my place next to him. "So then - are we all decided? Canoeing is our choice?" Everyone nodded eagerly, except for myself and Rosalie, who didn’t appear to be looking forward to the activity either.
"Carlisle, you called ahead and had four canoes delivered down by the dock, right?" Edward asked.
"Yes, they should be there by now," Carlisle reassured him.
"Wait a minute! We can’t go until I put Bella in her canoeing outfit," Alice said, dragging me off to the tent labeled ‘Wardrobe.’ Why I had even bothered changing out of my pajamas was beyond me - I should have known Alice would make me change for some reason.
Thirty minutes later, we made it out of both the ‘Wardrobe’ and ‘Dressing Room’ tents somehow. I was a bit dazed - there had been racks of clothes everywhere, and I’d been shoved into many outfits. I’d given up trying to fight them off after a while...even Rosalie had found some humor in being able to control my appearance.
I was sure I looked ridiculous - they’d put me in small jean shorts and a short sleeve button down, khaki colored top, with my hair in two loose braids that each fell forward over my shoulders. There was even a red silk scarf fastened around my neck. I felt like a girl scout, while the two of them looked like they had just stepped out of a trendy magazine - some things never change. Edward tried to ease my mind by telling me how adorable he thought I looked, which helped, but only for a second.
As we were preparing to leave, I hesitated. I had another problem, one I’d been dreading since I’d first heard the words, "we’re going camping." Sighing, I prepared myself for the oncoming embarrassment, and went to collect my backpack. Squatting outside to have to pee was definitely going to be humiliating.
Edward looked at me questioningly as I reappeared, my face at least five shades of red. "I have to...have a human moment," I explained in hushed tones, waving the few squares of tissue in my hand. His expression changed to one of comprehension, as he began to smile.
"Bella’s gotta go potty! It’s like having our own giant-sized Betsy Wetsy!" Emmett exclaimed loudly, guffawing, as Rosalie smacked him and Edward growled. Jasper shuddered and looked at the ground, obviously overwhelmed by my embarrassment.
Carlisle and Esme stood off to the side, smiling comfortingly at me. As if I didn’t feel stupid already, now I felt like they were encouraging me - like they were thinking, ‘It’s ok, just go on and use nature as your bathroom, Bella, it’s perfectly normal.’
Alice began hopping up and down excitedly, as she chanted, "Show her Edward! Show her! Show her, show her, show her!"
If I thought I’d get away, I would have run, but there was no outrunning anyone here. What on earth could they be talking about, and why was Alice so excited about me having to go to the bathroom? What did she think Edward could possibly show me that would help? This was humiliating - I didn’t want anyone even thinking about me having to go to the bathroom, and now it had become some great event. Why was everything ‘human’ so amusing to them? Stupid vampires - stupid camping vampires.
Finally taking pity on me, Edward pulled me to him, slung me over his back, and took off running into the woods. Eventually, he began to slow, and I raised my head from where I’d tucked it into his shoulder. My vision slowly clearing, I blinked repeatedly at the sight in front of me.
It was a very small building, basically, the size of a little storage shed. It was painted in a bright, cheery yellow, (suspiciously similar to the color of Alice’s Porsche), and sat up on a small platform, with a couple of steps leading to the doorway. Another sign hung above this doorway - it read, ‘Bella’s Lavatory.’ Oh my god.
Edward slowly lowered me off his back. "I thought you might want a more - private - place to have your human moments... I didn’t want you to be embarrassed, so when I realized we would be camping, I came here a couple of nights last week when you were sleeping to work on this. It’s made from a kit I found online called a ‘Portable Lavatory Building.’ The paint and sign are Alice’s doing - once she figured out my plan, she insisted on helping," he rolled his eyes. "Go ahead - look inside," he added, his eyes full of anticipation.
In a daze, I somehow made it inside, which revealed a sink and toilet, as well as a counter area that had a mirror installed above it. The counter was full of different soaps, lotions, and bug repellant, as well as a pile of soft washcloths and towels. Normally I’d be mortified that so much thought was put into this particular part of me being human, but suddenly that didn’t seem to matter as I compared it to my previous option of the forest floor. I could only imagine Emmett would have run through the woods, pointing out all the various places I’d gone, yelling idiotic things, like ‘Bella owns this part of the forest, she’s marked her territory!’ No, this was much better - this was heaven.
Back outside, I thanked Edward profusely, but insisted the sign come down. What was with Alice and the signs anyway? He was thrilled he’d made me so happy, and upon questioning him further, he’d explained how his sensitive hearing had allowed him to search the grounds for the waterlines he needed to connect to - there was a public campground off to the east, so he’d been able to tap into the lines that ran from them. He truly was my hero.
Shortly after that, we caught up to the others at the river, where they were setting up the canoes. Emmett looked like he was about to make another one of his comments, but Rosalie smacked him again before he could open his mouth. She was still refusing to go, and had laid out a blanket on the embankment, insisting she would just wait there.
"Aw, c’mon, Rosie! I’ll be all alone out there - I won’t have any fun," Emmett continued to pout in an effort to coax her into the tiny excuse for a boat with him. "Please? I’ll do all the rowing - you won’t have to do a thing, babe," he promised, trying to look impressive.
Rosalie was adamant, shaking her head in refusal, while making herself comfortable on her blanket and reopening her fashion magazine. "No way, Em. I’m not getting in that thing with you - I’ll bet anything you end up tipping it, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my day trying to pick river debris out of my hair, thank you," she replied cooly.
I was trying to rebel against the canoeing too, but after much reassurance from Edward and the others, I tossed my backpack in ahead of me, and cautiously lowered myself into the tin deathtrap. Edward reached out and yanked a bright orange life vest over my head, which only caused Emmett to break into another round of laughter; I couldn’t blame him this time.
The trip down the river actually started relatively smoothly. Carlisle and Esme were in the lead, and the rest of us were following, mostly equal with each other. Alice was painting her toenails while Jasper rowed, and more than once I saw her eyeing me across the river - thank goodness I wasn’t in the same canoe with her, where she could reach my toes. Emmett was messing around with everyone, pretending as though he were going to ram into our boats, rowing himself in circles at times.
"See, Bella? This is relatively painless...and the views are beautiful, aren’t they?" Edward motioned to the cliffs and forests surrounding us. "Now, aren’t you having even the slightest amount of fun? I might be insulted if you’re not," he jokingly added, flashing my favorite crooked smile that always made me melt.
"Well, when you put it that way," I began, smiling back at him. "I guess it’s not too bad, I’ll admit. Although, I’d feel a lot more useful if you’d let me help," I said, frowning slightly, as Edward chuckled at the idea of him actually needing help.
I had made an effort to pick up an oar when we left the shore, but Edward had immediately taken it and placed it out of reach, claiming it was best not to tempt fate. I would have probably been irritated at that, but it really did look like a lot of work, so I gave in easily.
"Just relax, and enjoy yourself, love," he murmured, still chuckling slightly. Nodding, I decided to take his advice, and took out a book from my backpack to read.
Edward was becoming increasingly annoyed with Emmett; he’d hear Emmett’s silent plan to try and scare us by getting too close over and over again, and move to avoid him, which only agitated Emmett. Thankfully, he grew tired of it eventually, and fell back to put his efforts to use on Jasper’s canoe, even though Alice kept telling Jasper what Emmett was about to do.
We were now the closest to Carlisle and Esme, who were quietly enjoying their leisurely pace, and the others were right behind us. My back was beginning to hurt from sitting the same way on the tiny seat for too long.
"Bella, are you too uncomfortable? Is there anything I can do, love?" Edward asked, concerned, as I stretched my hands up into the air, still clutching my book, trying to ease some of the tension in my back.
As I turned to reassure him I was fine, I slipped over in my seat just a little; panicking, I reached out to grasp the edges of the canoe, and in my haste, I dropped my book into the water.
Thankful I hadn’t caused a major catastrophe, I looked up at Edward, smiling. "Oops," I giggled,
as I reached my hand out to retrieve my tattered book.
"Bella no!!" Alice screeched.
The boat started to lean at a sharp angle. Crap.
"No, Bella don’t - !" Edward had started to say.
"What the - ?" this voice belonged to Emmett.
All three voices mixed together at once, as the canoe abruptly tipped over, and I was dumped into the water headfirst, the force pushing me under, despite the stupid life vest that I wore.
I was only struggling in the water for half a second before a pair of strong, solid arms ensnared my waist, and pulled me to the surface. I was spluttering and confused, but I knew I was safe - Edward was holding me securely, asking me if I was alright. As he murmured reassurances into my ear, he deftly pulled the stupid life vest over my head, threw it far off into the distance, grumbling about it’s utter uselessness, as we disbelievingly watched the aftermath of my actions.
Emmett had been right behind us, and when we tipped, he had started to run into our canoe, and reacted by instinctively swerving - hard - to avoid it. Unfortunately, he rammed right into Alice and Jasper’s canoe, and the impact tossed their boat right over. In turn, the force of it caused his boat to rock violently, and mistakenly, he jumped up, muttering, "No, no, no, no," just before he went flying over the side into the water. Simply trying to pick up my book had caused some sort of canoe tipping domino effect. All three victims lay floating in the water, staring at me incredulously, until Emmett began roaring with laughter.
"What the hell was that all about?" Emmett asked, between fits of laughter.
"I thought Alice told you not to make any last minute decisions," Edward chuckled softly in my ear, while glaring at Emmett.
"I dropped my book...I didn’t know trying to pick it up counted - I’m sorry," I uttered, shamefully shaking my head.
"It’s not your fault, Bella - we all know you have coordination issues," Alice politely replied to me, before furiously turning to Emmett. "What the hell were you doing Emmett?! You killed our boat!" Alice yelled back, motioning to the large dent in the side of it, her tiny fists thrashing in the water, as Jasper tried to soothe her.
"Well I had to move - I would have run right into them! Besides, your canoe is fine - we’ll just pop that dent right out," Emmett exclaimed, as if it were obvious.
"Right, so instead of bumping into their boat, which they weren’t even in anymore, you decide to completely take us out?! Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, Emmett - what did you do, use all the strength you have in that turn?" Alice screeched. "Look - you ruined all of the snacks I brought for Bella - she can’t eat them now!" she continued, waving a water-soaked bag she’d dug out of the water as if for clarification.
"Ahem," Carlisle cleared his throat softly. He’d turned their canoe around to come back and get control of the situation. "Bella, are you alright?" he asked. When I nodded in response, he continued. "Alright, Alice, you swim over to Bella and hold onto her while Edward retrieves their canoe. When he returns, you go with them. Jasper, help Emmett right his boat and the two of you get in. I’ll tie the other canoe to the back of mine, and we’ll repair it when we get back. The turnoff that loops us back around to the dock is coming up to your right, don’t forget to take it." He gave one last warning look before he turned them back around and resumed rowing.
We followed his instructions mostly in silence, with the occasional chuckle from Emmett, which was followed by an icy glare from Alice. The remainder of the trip progressed in much the same way, and once I was placed into the boat by Edward, I sat frozen and didn’t move an inch, for fear that it would happen all over again.
When we reached the dock, Rosalie glanced lazily up from her magazine, clearly amused by what she saw. All of our expressions were grim as we each climbed out of the canoe, dripping wet, our hair plastered to our faces. Carlisle helped secure the two canoes near his, then went back to his previous task of repairing the damaged one.
"So....Em. What happened out there? Did you all decide to go for a swim?" Rosalie asked, smirking as she picked a stray leaf from his hair.
Emmett sighed, glancing away from her. She’d been so sure his canoe would end up tipping, and she was clearly enjoying the moment, and he no longer found the situation to be amusing. "Bella decided to read," he stated flatly, huffing away.
Rosalie looked over at the rest of us curiously; we all just shook our heads silently, and made our way back to the campgrounds.