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Cullen Family Camping Trip

Summary:
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 Cullen Camping Banner


Notes:
Cullen Camping Banner


5. Chapter 5

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2837   Review this Chapter

Chapter 5

Saturday morning, I awoke abruptly, as two icy hands covered my ears, and low growls rumbled from Edward’s throat. Blinking, I adjusted my eyes, and met his gaze questioningly.

"Edward? What are you doing?" I asked, disorientated. I was back in our new tent now, covered in mounds of blankets, instead of Alice’s - he must have moved me in the middle of the night, after he’d set it up.

He sighed, lowering his hands. Almost immediately, I understood what he’d been trying to spare me from.

Emmett’s loud voice boomed into the quiet air. "GOOOOOD MORNING, BELLA SWAN!!" I was reminded of a movie I’d seen on tv - ‘Good Morning Vietnam,’ and covered my head with my hands in embarrassment.

Just as soon as Emmett finished, loud, clear music rang out across the campground, and as I recognized the tune, I rolled my eyes, groaning. ‘Reveille,’ the traditional trumpet song for camps to play in the morning, was blaring through the thin fabric of our tent.

DUN DUN DA DA DUN, DUN DUN DA DA DUN, DUN DUN DA DA DUN, DUN DA DA!’

Slowly, I moved toward the entrance, and unzipped the flap of our tent. There was a large CD player that proved to be the guilty party, it’s speakers pointed directly at us. Eyes narrowed, I looked past the stereo, and saw the conspirators - Alice was sitting around the fire, waving enthusiastically at me, and Emmett was there as well, holding some kind of wireless microphone, clutching his sides as he laughed relentlessly. I guess Alice had forgiven him for the canoe accident.

"Good morning Bella! Wake up!" Alice trilled, as she jumped up at the sight of me. Before she could move any further, I pulled the flap shut, re-zipped it, and fell back on the mattress, huffing.

Edward smiled ruefully at me. "I tried to stop them, love, but it was nearly impossible. I even broke the first two stereos Alice set out, but she just kept finding replacements, and Esme was getting irritated at the mess I was making. I’m sorry, Bella," he said, as he pulled me close to offer comfort. After making sure I was alright, he offered to leave, so that I could dress for the day. Knowing what would happen regardless, I shook my head, and made my way to the food tent in my pajamas.

Sluggishly, I ate my breakfast. Esme had again gone to a great extent to make me happy, cooking eggs and bacon over the fading fire. I found it odd that they were all so comfortable around fire, but I let it go - I was immensely appreciative for Esme’s efforts, as the food was incredible.

Edward was back in our new tent, dressing for the day. Alice sat directly across from me, watching me eat my food with a politely repulsed look upon her face - I was still glaring at her, but she didn’t seem to notice my irritation. I’d noticed when I’d made my way to breakfast, that Carlisle and Jasper were sitting in the chairs outside Carlisle and Esme’s tent, reading the paper. How on earth they’d managed to get the newspaper was beyond me, but seeing how things were going, I’d decided that it was best to leave it alone. Rosalie remained unseen, so I could only imagine she was hiding in her tent.

After a few minutes, Edward appeared, his arm circling around my waist as I finished my meal.

"Any thoughts on what you’d like to do today?" he asked, seemingly innocent.

"Well, if I say that I’d like to just sit around here and read, you’re not likely to agree to that, are you? So shouldn’t I just ask you what we are doing today?" I replied, eyeing him suspiciously.

Edward smiled crookedly. "Well, first of all, your book isn’t done drying out, and even after it has, it may not be readable anymore after it’s little swim yesterday," he said, feigning seriousness. He’d managed to salvage my book and backpack from the water, but neither were in very good condition now. Thankfully, I’d emptied most of the contents of my backpack into our tent before we’d even gone canoeing.

Sensing my disappointment, Edward chuckled quietly, brushing my jaw with his fingertips. It’s really not all that bad, Bella. Today is a new day, and I say we make the most of it," he encouraged.

My eyes rolled toward the sky as I sighed heavily. "Edward. We’ve been here one day, and so far I’ve managed to cause a giant canoe accident, and destroy one of the tents - well, actually, that was you," I added sarcastically.

My summary of our trip so far only made Edward laugh more. "Everything will be fine, Bella - I’ve already checked with Alice," he reassured.

"Right, cause that’s entirely foolproof - honestly Edward, do you expect that to make me feel better?" I asked, incredulous. Was he forgetting yesterday entirely?

"Silly Bella, you’ll be fine. Just don’t make any - " Alice started to say.

"I know - don’t make any last minute decisions - got it, thanks," I interrupted irritably. I hadn’t slept well, and that whole phrase was beginning to make me so paranoid, I was afraid to even move. "So - tell me then, what’s it going to be? What new torture are you going to inflict upon me today, so I can prepare myself for what’s to come?"

Edward smiled beautifully. "We’re going on a nature walk, love."

My eyes narrowed. Nature walk? That sounded suspiciously like another way to phrase ‘hiking.’ Would they never learn?

After being dragged back to ‘Wardrobe,’ with Alice, and making my morning trip to the bathroom, we gathered together in preparation for our hike. I still couldn’t believe we were doing this. Emmett and Rosalie had made peace with one another, and she had reluctantly agreed to join the day’s activities. Carlisle and Esme were opting to stay behind; Esme said she would have my lunch ready when we returned. Personally, I think they chose not to go because the canoe incident had opened their eyes to reality.

"Ready, everyone? Let’s go!" Alice exclaimed enthusiastically, practically bouncing into the woods, tugging at Jasper’s hand, with Emmett and Rosalie following them. Emmett had the sapling that had fallen victim to him the night before in one hand, claiming the tree was now his walking stick. At least he wasn’t being wasteful.

Edward took my hand in his, and we went after the others, slowly approaching the slightly worn path through the forest. Before we disappeared completely, I turned and waved at Carlisle and Esme. Who knew what would happen by the next time I saw them?

We’d been walking for about 30 minutes now, keeping a leisurely pace. I had to admit, this really wasn’t hiking. We were taking our time, and everyone was pointing out the various trees and plants, trying to see who could recognize them first. It was as if they’d spent half the night studying manuals, and were now having some sort of identification contest. I suppose taking science courses over and over again for decades paid off after all.

Jasper and Alice were still leading; Alice had hopped onto his back some time shortly after departure. Rosalie seemed to be tolerating the activity; Emmett was trying to stay on her good side. At one point, we’d come across a very unusual tree - it’s trunk was split, and the limbs were twisted and contorted strangely, making it look like a heart. Alice had pointed out the resemblance, and Emmett had glanced at Rosalie, then darted up the trunk, and carved ‘Rosalie & Emmett’ into the bark just where the limbs split. She’d looked very pleased.

Edward was being just as wonderful. He was making sure I didn’t trip or fall; every time the forest floor became too uneven, or a root threatened me, he would scoop me up against his side, swiftly maneuvering me away from the danger. He had also begun picking every variety of flower we saw, and gathering them in a random bouquet for me, which I was holding in my hand. Each time he handed me a new one, he’d kiss me; this nature walk business was turning out much better than I expected.

When Edward informed me we’d walked about two miles, I was shocked. I hadn’t noticed, it had been so enjoyable. The slow pace wasn’t tiring, and I was even beginning to feel comfortable in this environment. The only annoyance were the mosquitos - I’d put on bug repellant, but the further we progressed into the forest, the more mosquitos there were. Every time I reached up to smack one away, Edward would glance worriedly at me, but I just dismissed it - I wasn’t going to let something so stupid ruin the day I was finally enjoying.

"Bella, are you sure the mosquitos aren’t bothering you too much?" Edward asked after another few minutes. I thought I was hiding it fairly well, but I suppose I should have known better. Smack.

In response, I just waved my hand, and shook my head. "I’m fine - they’re hardly even noticeable, Edward." He didn’t look convinced, but thankfully he was distracted a moment later.

"Bella, do you hear that?" Edward asked, smiling down at me. Off in the distance I thought I heard the sound of rushing water - maybe a waterfall?

Smack. Nodding, I looked around, my search rendering itself useless. "Is that a waterfall? Where is it, Edward?" I asked eagerly. Smack.

He smiled crookedly at me, just before tossing me onto his back, and running off ahead of the others. I heard them as they ran closely behind us, probably happy to abandon the tedious human pace for a bit. As Edward slowed, I raised my head and wondered at the beauty surrounding us. Smack.

Across a deep gorge, there was an incredible waterfall, which Edward informed me was around 250 feet high. It was surrounded by lush greenery, and at the bottom of the falls was a large, peaceful pool of water, that branched further out into a swirling white stream. It was amazing. Double smack.

Out of the corner of my eye, a beautiful purple flower caught my attention. Edward was gazing at the waterfall, and I was suddenly inspired. Taking a note from his book, I turned and leaned over to pick the tiny treasure for Edward. As I moved, the toe of my shoe caught on a rock I hadn’t noticed, and I started to tumble over. Edward reacted quickly, and caught me securely in his arms before I could hit the ground. He looked at me incredulously, and motioned to the forest floor, suggesting we sit while we enjoy the view so we could avoid that situation again. I lowered myself to the ground carefully, and looking into his eyes, I began to laugh at the hilarity of it all.

"Edward, I can’t believe I almost fell over again - it’s like a curse," I managed, my laughter increasing as I thought how ridiculous it was. Smack. After all, that had to have been the twentieth time he’d had to catch me today. The others, who were nearby, all joined in my laughter, including Rosalie. Smack. The lighthearted moment had me gasping for breath, laughing so hard my sides ached, so I threw myself back, laying against the ground, enjoying the silly moment - I couldn’t believe I was actually having fun.

It wasn’t until I noticed everyone else had grown incredibly quiet that my laughter slowed. Wondering what had happened, I picked my head off the ground slightly, so that I could look into Edward’s eyes. He looked positively ill with concern.

"What? What’s wrong?" I asked, instantly paranoid. Smack. Was there a snake in my hair or something? Oh no, not another spider? Smack.

Edward hesitated, as if he were struggling over something, then simply offered me his hand. He pulling me up to a sitting position again, and scooted me closer to him. His eyes shifted towards the ground behind me for a moment, and I looked back, worried, but I didn’t see anything except for the leaves and plants. Smack. Shaking his head, he pushed my hair over my shoulder.

"Nothing, Bella, it’s nothing. Don’t worry, everything’s fine," he continued, his gaze settling on Alice, who paused, then nodded her tiny head, which made Edward cringe in turn. Did I even want to know what disaster I’d avoided now? Probably not. Smack. Ignore the mosquitos, just ignore them...was there standing water around here or what? They’re practically swarming now. No, just ignore them...

It could be everyone got so quiet because I’d been laughing a little too much, and they were questioning my sanity. Trying to appear normal -smack- I leaned back against Edward and tried to appreciate the view again. Emmett kept giggling, and whenever I looked at him, he’d turn away quickly, returning his attention to Rosalie, who was starting to look irritated with him again.

Not long after that, we got up to continue our hike. As we moved ahead, they all started their identification game again, and we settled back into the slow pace from before. At least they weren’t acting so strange anymore. Edward pointed out various plants and flowers, and watched my steps so I wouldn’t fall. Smack. Double smack. Jeez, these damn mosquitos were starting to irritate the hell out of me.

"Hey, Bella!" Emmett exclaimed, running back to where Edward and I were. He held up a plant in front of me, as Edward began growling. "Do you know what this is?" he asked seriously, the corners of his mouth fighting to remain straight. Smack.

"Um, no...what?" I asked, confused. Smack.

"Well - " Emmett began, but Edward cut him off.

"It’s just a plant, Emmett - get out of here," Edward growled, which made Emmett laugh even more.

"Whatever - let me know when you figure it out, Bella!" Emmett chuckled over his shoulder, as he tossed it aside, rejoining Rosalie.

I was about to ask Edward what Emmett’s issue was, when suddenly - smack. Smack. Smack. Smack. Double smack. Triple smack. That’s it. "AAAGGGHHHH! Stupid, filthy, disgusting bloodsuckers, leave me alone!!" I screeched, smacking almost every square inch of my body as seemingly tons of mosquitos all chose to bite at the same time.

Five pairs of golden eyes stood frozen in disbelief, eyebrows raised, stunned.

"Nice," Rosalie muttered.

"Mosquitos, guys, I meant the mosquitos..." I trailed off, feeling rather ashamed. As Emmett’s laugh started to boom, I stomped past them, ready for the hike to be over, and to return to the refuge of our cushiony, over-stuffed tent.

We made it back to the campsite in record time; Edward had taken pity on me and ran me back so that I could escape the annoying insects. He had asked why I didn’t just say something sooner, and I told him the truth - I’d honestly been having fun, and I didn’t want the damn things to ruin it. He’d smiled at that, and handed me one last flower, which I greedily took, knowing what would follow. His kiss made me forget everything else.

One look at me, and Carlisle had directed Alice to take me to my lavatory straight away to help with my bites. As she reached in her bag to unload supplies, I’d begun to question her treatment plan. The rubbing alcohol, I’d understood. When Alice got the scotch tape out, however, I had to draw the line.

"What the heck is that for?" I asked warily, as she began tearing tiny squares off at an inhuman pace.

"To stop the itching, Bella - it will make it go almost entirely away, and after a few hours, removing it will also remove some of the toxins that cause the itch," she replied knowledgeably.

"Oh." Well that’s a new one. I wonder how Carlisle came up with that theory.

"Although...." she began, then stopped, glancing at me attentively.

"What? What, Alice?" I asked, wondering why she hadn’t finished her sentence.

"Never mind, Bella - besides, if I don’t get you back soon, Esme will be upset - she’s been waiting to make you lunch."

As promised, when Alice and I got back, Esme had a freshly microwaved portion of Chicken Enchiladas, which I practically inhaled. Maybe I’d have to look into this Schwann’s company for Charlie after Edward and I were married. Edward sat across from me, repeatedly asking how I was feeling. After the third time, I just rolled my eyes at him - they were just mosquito bites, after all, and the stupid tape was actually helping.

It was only the middle of the afternoon, but after the day’s events, I decided to take a much needed nap. Squirming my scotch tape covered body underneath the ton of blankets Edward kept piling on me, I could only hope things would get better after some rest.