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
4. Chapter 4
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2111 Review this Chapter
Thankfully, on our way back to camp, Alice suggested we all stop by my Lavatory and clean up. We were even able to wash our hair in the sink; personally, I was getting quite a bit of satisfaction from the fact that even the perfect vampires were in need of human amenities, and more than once I made comments alluding to just that.
Upon returning to the campsite, my stomach had begun growling violently. Esme took it upon herself to prepare my meal, despite my objections. It was done quickly, thanks to all the available amenities, and Esme set the meal down in front of me, complete with chopsticks. Alice, grinning proudly at the Chicken Lo Mein dinner from Schwann’s, paused, her eyes blurring over. Shaking her head, she promptly got up and replaced with the chopsticks with a fork. I didn’t even want to know what she’d ‘seen.’
After the canoeing episode, everyone decided it would be best if we just stayed around the campground for the rest of the night. The Cullens had all hunted before we’d left their house, so only Jasper and Emmett went off to find a quick snack, probably just for something to do. When they returned, we were all lounging comfortably around a campfire Edward and Carlisle had built, except for Rosalie - she had gone into their tent, in search of something.
"What would you like to do tonight, love?" Edward asked, absentmindedly playing with a strand of my hair. We’d been enjoying some quiet time, cuddled up in blankets, gazing into the flames.
"Oohhhh....a campfire - we have to tell scary stories!" Emmett exclaimed excitedly before I could respond.
Alice jumped up, clapping her hands excitedly. "Yes - that will be fun!"
At Alice’s words, Edward turned his gaze to Jasper, and shook his head. I sighed internally - more silent communication. Jasper merely met Edward’s gaze, and rolled his eyes slightly.
"Jasper, you’d better watch it," Edward warned. I decided to ignore what they were arguing about - this happened far too often for it to really concern me anyway, so I returned my thoughts to the newly suggested activity for the night.
"Sure, fun for those of you that don’t have to try and sleep, fighting off nightmares," I grumbled, mostly to myself, even though I knew each one of them heard me. Personally,
I wasn’t sold on the idea - I’d seen too many horror movies that I’d been terrified of, and wondered just how much this would interfere with my ability to fall asleep tonight. However, I felt that I owed them, after the day’s earlier events.
Edward pulled me close, leaning my back against his chest. "I’ll help you fall asleep, and I’ll always protect you from your nightmares," he whispered softly. That convinced me, so I decided to play along.
Suddenly, Edward paused, and became still, then began chuckling quietly. As I raised my eyebrows in question, he held up his hand. "Wait for it..."
"EMMETT!! GET IN HERE RIGHT NOW!!" Rosalie roared from inside their tent.
Emmett looked positively bewildered, then he seemed to remember something. Instead of following Rosalie’s orders, he scooted closer to Jasper. "Help a brother out, man," he pleaded, causing Jasper to chuckle along with Edward.
"She’s really angry, Emmett. What did you do?" Jasper asked curiously, shaking his head.
"I’m sure you’re about to find out," Emmett mumbled irritably in response. Just as soon as the words left his lips, an irate Rosalie appeared in the tent’s doorway, holding her favorite sweater out by her fingertips repulsively.
"Can you please tell me why," she hissed, "my cashmere sweater, among countless other belongings, are covered in snail slime, Emmett? What possible reason could you have for deciding to make a snail-home in our tent?" She continued to glare at him, waiting for some kind of response.
Emmett paused, then carefully smiled at her. "I thought I’d try to make Bella escargot tomorrow?" he offered, apparently deciding humor was the best approach. Wrong.
"EMMETT!!" Rosalie screamed again, shaking her sweater at him.
"Ok! Ok - I found them earlier, after canoeing. One was all by himself, and didn’t seem like he could keep up with the others, so I felt bad. What if that was his family? I thought if I brought them back here, they could stay with us - we could protect them. In a confined area, they’d all be able to keep together easier..." he trailed off, now looking unsure of his own argument.
Rosalie slowly walked over to Emmett, still carrying the offensive sweater. She leaned over, close to his ear, and whispered, "I don’t care why you tried to adopt the damn snails as pets - you have five minutes to get that slime out of our tent, and remove those - things - and put them back into the woods. Trust me, if you don’t, you will be very, very sorry," she hissed, as she draped the slime-covered sweater over her husband’s head.
Within a second, Emmett was gone, having disappeared into the tent to clean and remove his new ‘pets.’ Five minutes later, all was clear, and we waited while a seething Rosalie, and a shameful Emmett, settled in around the fire before resuming our activities.
Emmett gave Rosalie his best puppy dog look. "Sorry, babe," he said, and she seemed to soften slightly.
Known for his storytelling capabilities, Carlisle agreed to go first. He re-told a classic horror story, ‘The Vampyre,’ by John Polidori. Given the audience, it almost ended up being comical to us, as we listened to this version of vampirism.
Edward went next, and he chose a classic as well, reciting ‘Alone,’ by Edgar Allan Poe, practically verbatim. Of course I’d read this story before, but it still managed to unnerve me a bit. It has such a dark nature, and it was beginning to make me feel nervous.
Picking up on the tension, Jasper chose to go next, and decided to stick with Poe. We all listened intently to ‘The Pit and the Pendulum,’ and all of our anxiety began to grow. Jasper seemed to be using his natural talent to help his selection along. By the time he had finished, we were all silent, feeling more than a bit cautious of the eerie atmosphere.
Emmett jumped up. "Oohhhh - scary. Alright, time for a real story. Enough of these classic tales - we’ve heard them all before," Emmett proclaimed, an evil smile spreading across his face. He leaned closer to the fire, the flames casting strange shadows upon his skin, adopting a deep, spooky voice. Emmett chose one of the stories I hate the most, only because it scares me to death. He chose the stupid urban legend, ‘Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn on the Light?’ When he started speaking, Rosalie stood up, muttering, "Not this one again, Emmett." She’d had enough, and dismissed herself back to their tent, saying she’d rather do something else. After a few complaints that she’d miss all the fun, he started his version of the story again.
Suddenly, a huge tremor of terror overwhelmed me, and I screamed, clutching Edward’s arms fearfully. Edward flew to his feet, his arms protectively around me, trembling slightly. Esme was hiding behind Carlisle, who was looking around uncertainly, and Alice had hopped into Jasper’s lap, curling herself into a tiny ball. Emmett stopped mid-sentence, the same panic coursing through his system, looking around confusedly. Just as quickly, the environment stabilized, and we regained our composure. Edward glared at Jasper accusingly, who merely shrugged.
Emmett continued his story, and not two minutes later, the terror washed over us again, only this time it was twice as intense, and had a much larger impact. I desperately latched onto Edward, screaming again, as he threw me behind him, crouched, looking for trouble, his entire body shaking. Esme squealed and ran into her tent, arms flailing, Carlisle chasing after her. Alice hopped onto Jasper’s back and was yelling at him to run. Emmett jumped up, growling fiercely, and took off after an imaginary target, which turned out to be nothing more than a sapling at the edge of the woods, which he completely knocked over upon impact.
Jasper began to chuckle quietly, as he took in the scenario around him.
The panic subsided, and we all began to relax before the anger set in. Edward glared at his brother again. "Hilarious, Jasper...hilarious," he seethed. "I warned you not to."
"Jasper Whitlock Hale! That was not funny!" Alice spoke next, her irritation clear. "I didn’t think you’d take it so far - you had me terrified!" she concluded, pouting. Edward began reprimanding Jasper again, while we heard an exasperated sigh come from Carlisle within the confines of their tent.
"We should have known we’d never be able to provide a normal camping experience for Bella with our children," we heard him murmur to Esme.
"Carlisle, I knew that the moment Alice started packing," Esme replied quietly, laughing lightly now that she was calm again.
This broke the rest of our anger, and we all erupted into hysterical laughter, realizing how funny the situation had been.
An hour later, after another trip to the bathroom, as I lay on the giant air mattress that took up most of the interior of our tent, my suspicions were confirmed as I struggled to fall asleep. It wasn’t for lack of comfort; Edward had done an excellent job with our tent - almost every surface was covered with something soft and plush. I also found it slightly humorous that in every corner of the tent there were giant piles of heavy, warm blankets.
Sensing my troubles, he reached behind the mattress, and switched on a small, portable CD player. My lullaby filled the tent, and he hummed along with it, running his fingers softly through my hair. Eventually, I drifted off into sleep.
Hmm... What was that? Was it Edward? Something was tickling me lightly on the forehead. I’m trying to sleep, for goodness sake...stop it. It was hard enough falling asleep in the first place, I thought. I moved my hand up to my face to brush it aside, but my hand only swept through empty air. Well that doesn’t make any sense... I tried to ignore it, my mind willing me back to my peaceful slumber. Ugh. Why won’t it stop? What the heck could it be? It’s tickling the top of my nose now...moving, almost as if it were crawling... With sudden clarity, I shot straight up, and let out an ear-piercing scream.
Within an instant, everything around me turned to confetti, and I was surrounded by fierce growling. Frozen in place, I moved my eyes slowly to meet Edward’s. He was looking all around, searching for the threat that had alarmed me so. Seeing and sensing nothing, he looked back at me, perplexed.
"Bella?" he questioned warily. "What’s wrong? I was only gone for a minute, talking to Carlisle, and you screamed as if you were being murdered."
Feeling a bit silly as everyone watched from what used to be the front of our tent, I returned my gaze to the mattress, searching for the offender that had caused this incident. Shakily, I raised my finger and pointed to the large, hideous spider that was trying to make a desperate escape across the floor of the had-been tent.
Edward’s expression went from concerned to disbelief, then to agitated all within a second. Silently, he stepped over to the spider, and pressed his foot securely down on it, before turning his gaze back to me. "Better?"
I nodded, reaching up to brush the tent scraps out of my hair.
"Perhaps you should go to Alice’s tent and sleep there, then. I’ll clean this up - there are some extra tents in the Jeep still. Do you think you can avoid anymore dangers for the night?" he asked, somewhat dryly.
"Hmph. I’m not the one that seems to have a tent shredding problem, am I - overreact much? Seems like I recall this happening before," I responded, grabbing my pillow before huffing off. Pausing, I looked around. "Where is Alice anyway?" I asked suspiciously - surely, she could have seen this and helped to prevent a couple of things here.
"Alice got bored, so she and Jasper went to hunt. Oh, and by the way, the last time this happened, I believe there was an actual threat, love...not merely a spider who lost his way," he murmured, trying not to laugh at my antics.
One day down, two to go. This camping trip was going to be the death of me.