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
9. Chapter 9
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3307 Review this Chapter
“Emmett, how many of those did you eat?” Charlie asked, motioning to the mushrooms scattered across the table. We’d all forgotten about them, and hadn’t touched them since he’d put them there; the mouse incident had distracted us.
“Quite a few, they’re very good,” Emmett lied. “Help yourself.”
Charlie chuckled, shaking his head. “I’d rather not...they’re actually mildly poisonous,” he said. “Nothing serious, but you will be...indisposed for a while this afternoon, I’m afraid.”
Emmett stared at him, confused. Carlisle was studying the mushrooms, comprehension crossing his features. “Yes, he’s quite right, Emmett - I don’t know how you could have missed that. I can give you some medicine to help, I’m not sure it will do much good. Digesting this particular type of mushroom is quite uncomfortable; it will just have to pass through your system...the natural way,” he added, trying not to show his irritation at Emmett’s mistake.
So now Emmett was going to have to fake being sick for the afternoon? This was really getting out of control.
The first half of the afternoon following lunch was fairly uneventful. Charlie dozed off in his chair in front of the fire, while everyone else carried on a rather heated, but hushed conversation behind of the tents.
“I can’t believe he’s staying - what do we do now? There’s no way I’m sitting in a tent all night, pretending to sleep,” Emmett whispered.
“I thought we were going to be able to go get all of our stuff back - we can’t possibly do that now,” Alice whimpered, distressed. Jasper leaned over and placed a soft kiss atop her head, offering his comfort to her.
“I refuse to stay away from Bella all night - it’s completely preposterous,” Edward uttered, pulling me closer as if to demonstrate his point.
“Alright, that’s enough. Obviously, this isn’t an ideal situation, but we are more than capable of handling it - it’s for one night,” Carlisle said. “It’s not the end of the world, after all. We will all do whatever is necessary, no complaints. Think of how much this time will mean to Charlie. Now, let’s get back out there, so Charlie doesn’t wake up to find us all huddled behind a tent.” Esme nodded in agreement with him. “Oh - and remember, Emmett, you’ll need to disappear for a couple hours - you’re supposed to be getting rather ill some time soon,” he added.
“But I don’t want to sit in the woods by myself all day - there’s nothing to do, and I’ll get bored,” Emmett complained. “Can Rose at least come with me?”
We all looked disbelievingly at him. “Emmett...with the condition you’re supposed to be in, nobody would want to be anywhere near you - how would that look to Charlie?” Carlisle asked seriously, before motioning to all of us to resume our positions around the fire. Grumbling, Emmett followed.
Charlie woke up around an hour later - he must have been tired from his trip. “So, what’s on the agenda for this afternoon?” he asked eagerly, looking around.
“Well, some of us will have to go fishing again, for dinner,” Carlisle replied. Emmett immediately perked up, probably thinking he’d get his rematch with Edward.
“Fishing - that sounds perfect. I’d love to go,” Charlie said, grinning. Emmett’s expression fell as he realized it would involve the traditional fishing poles, and that there could be no rematch in front of Charlie.
In what I could only assume was an attempt to escape the monotony of fishing the human way, Emmett suddenly seemed to recall Carlisle’s previous reminder, and doubled over, groaning loudly. As the rest of us annoyingly watched Emmett’s over-the-top rendition of stomach cramps, Charlie gazed on sympathetically, shaking his head.
“Poor guy - he’s got some pain ahead of him,” Charlie said quietly. “A buddy of mine made that same mistake once, and let’s just say, he won’t make it again. He was in the can for hours,” he added.
If we hadn’t been aware that the entire show was fake, we might have missed the sudden gleam in Emmett’s eyes as he got up and loudly excused himself, heading towards the woods.
“Son,” Carlisle called out, causing Emmett to pause. “Don’t forget the shovel,” he said, motioning to the spade that was still in a pile of assorted objects near the Jeep. So that’s what that was supposed to be for...eeww. I don’t think I’d ever appreciated my lavatory more.
Alice was the next to hop up, desperate to escape the fishing escapade as well; she had been acting nervous ever since Charlie had announced he would be staying. With a couple blinks of her wide, not-so-innocent eyes at Charlie, and some made-up excuse about needing her rest, she’d managed to get Charlie on her side, and he insisted that she stay behind and take a nap.
Pffffffttttttt.PFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTT. My eyes widened in horror, as I realized what the sound was supposed to be. From somewhere in the woods, Emmett was making fake, rude sounds on his arm - very loudly.
“Aarrrgggghhhh.....the pain,” Emmett’s voice moaned from the shadows. Pfffftttttt. “Oh, the humanity...aarrgghhh.....” he continued on.
Almost immediately, I flushed a deep crimson, Charlie started shaking his head again in sympathy, and everyone else looked nothing other than extremely annoyed. Clearly, Emmett was eager for us to be on our way, so he could come out of hiding, and do something more entertaining - he was trying to embarrass us out of the campsite.
Before anyone else could try to come up with another excuse as to why they shouldn’t have to go, Carlisle quickly declared that the rest of us would all be going fishing, and he started to pass out the equipment to everyone, in order to get us away from Emmett’s ridiculous antics.
As another loud ‘PFFFFFTTTTTTTT’ echoed in the wind, everyone moved just a little bit faster towards the river - who knew what else Emmett would come up with to portray his apparent sickness, especially when he was bored. It was best not to find out. At least fishing the human way would take a few hours, which would be enough time for him to be ‘better,’ and we wouldn’t have to endure any more of his nonsense.
After we’d been sitting on the embankment for over two hours, absolutely nothing had even pulled on my line. I watched as the others all reeled their catches in, my impatience growing steadily. Most of them were all fairly successful. I was doing everything they were, so what was the problem?
Edward had just caught another, and was removing it from his line. He smiled at me, and walked over to the bucket to add it to the collection.
Maybe if I moved out onto the dock, where the water was deeper. I pulled my line in, and relocated myself, hoping I’d found the answer. Charlie had begun talking to Edward, who didn’t look happy with my move, and was trying to extricate himself from his new conversation. Charlie continued on though, and Edward had no choice but to stay put, or risk coming across as rude - something that went against his very nature, especially when concerning his future father-in-law. His worried glances became more frequent, so in an effort to calm his nerves, I made a show of slowly sitting down, hoping to reassure him that I wouldn’t fall off the edge of the dock now.
Carefully, I tossed my line back out, and looked over my shoulder at Edward, who after seeing me sit down with no further trouble, appeared to relax a bit. As I tried to readjust the grip on my fishing pole, I noticed the line seemed to be stuck. Had I caught something? I tugged experimentally - it was definitely resisting. Excited, I pulled harder, but it wasn’t budging. Slowly rising back up, I planted my feet and pulled again, this time with everything I had - there was no way I was going to lose this fish. Just as I leaned forward to prepare myself for another pull backward, something gave way, and I tumbled forward, straight over the edge of the dock into the water.
I gasped and spluttered, trying to adjust to the shock of the cool water. Moments later, Edward was there, his arms around my waist, lifting me from the water back onto the dock as he whispered into my ear.
“Sorry about the delay, love, but I had to reach you at a human pace, what with your father watching. Are you all right - what were you doing, anyway?”
“I had a fish, Edward, what do you think? I finally caught something, and I just didn’t want it to get away,” I huffed in response. Charlie was laughing off in the distance, the others watching Edward’s human-like rescue attempt with humor in their eyes.
“That wasn’t a fish, Bella. That last time you tugged, it came flying up out of the water - there, love, is your big catch of the day,” Edward chuckled, pointing to something laying on the dock.
It was an old water sodden leather shoe. A freaking shoe. It wasn’t even that nice of a shoe. This was why I hated fishing.
A few hours later, with our caught fish in the bucket, we made our way back towards camp. Although boring, fishing went well for most, and we still managed to catch quite a haul; with eight people sitting around for three hours, tedious or not, we were bound to catch something. Charlie had fared the best - he caught five. Carlisle and Esme had each caught two a piece, while Jasper had caught three. Rosalie didn’t catch any; she hadn’t really been participating, she’d just been pretending. It wasn’t a surprise - did anyone really expect her to touch the slimy bait after all the issues with Emmett’s salamanders and snails?
Edward had caught two, although he probably could have caught more, if he hadn’t been so focused on me.
As the campgrounds came into sight, we noticed that Emmett was back, sitting in one of the chairs, whittling another piece of wood. Alice emerged from one of the tents as we got closer, stretching her arms as she pretended to yawn, as if she’d just woken up from a nap.
“Alice, did you get some rest?” Charlie asked, concerned about his favorite Cullen. She nodded happily, then linked arms with Charlie, and demanded that he recount everything she had missed on the trip. When they passed Emmett, Charlie smiled at him. “Glad to see you’re feeling better, Emmett. That can be tough,” he said.
“It sure can, Charlie,” Emmett replied, nodding his head. “Wasn’t sure I was gonna pull through that for a while there. If I were you, I’d steer clear of that section of the woods - it got pretty ugly,” he grinned, motioning vaguely to where he’d hidden before. Charlie nodded seriously.
Rosalie stalked past us, heading for one of the tents, muttering to herself. “Ridiculous...completely ridiculous.” Her expression left little to the imagination - she was beyond annoyed.
Charlie watched Rosalie’s display of irritation, then turned back to Emmett, his eyes full of more sympathy. As Alice continued to tug on his arm, they headed off toward the rest of the chairs. “You’d think she’d be more understanding,” Charlie muttered in wonder at Alice.
Eventually, after another hour had passed, the fish were all cleaned and prepared, and we repeated the ritual of earlier that day, gathering around the table for dinner. Charlie had found some mushrooms on our way back to camp - ones that he assured us we could eat safely - and Esme added some packets of the dried vegetables to the table as well.
The Cullens once again put on the charade of eating, while Charlie and I gulped down the meal in earnest. This meal wasn’t nearly as eventful as the last one, as Emmett was behaving himself, sitting quietly at the end of the table; Edward had told me that Carlisle had pulled Emmett aside upon our return, and made it a point to quit drawing needless attention to himself.
Once the table was cleared, and the remains of the meal had been properly discarded, we all settled in to enjoy the warmth of the fire. Charlie was stretching in his chair, happily patting his stomach.. “So, who’s going to bunk with me, then?” he asked. Seven pairs of golden eyes flashed around the circle, all studying one another warily.
“That’s really not necessary, Charlie. We’ll make do perfectly fine,” Carlisle said, trying to spare anyone from having to become my father’s tent mate.
“No, I won’t have it, Carlisle. You’ve been kind enough, making room for me, allowing me to stay unexpectedly, not to mention feeding me. Surely one of the boys can stay with me, that way you won’t be so cramped in the other tent,” Charlie insisted.
Edward suddenly tensed, and when I turned to look at him, his eyes were narrowed dangerously in Emmett’s direction. Before anything else could happen, Emmett’s voice boomed out into the night.
“Jeez, you two, enough already. We’re sick of seeing the constant public displays of affection, - that’s all you’ve done this whole trip,” Emmett said, his eyes gleaming at us.
Immediately, Charlie snapped out of his fog, his eyes focusing on Edward and I, taking in our close proximity, and eventually restingon Edward’s encompassing arms. His eyes narrowed infinitesimally.
“Edward, why don’t you stay in my tent tonight? It will give us some time to talk, before you marry my daughter,” Charlie said. “As I said earlier, I don’t want to overcrowd the rest of you in those two tents, so this should work out best,” he added; his tone didn’t leave much room for argument, and from Edward’s expression, I’m guessing his thoughts didn’t either.
“Of course, that will be just fine, Charlie. I look forward to it,” Edward replied, the epitome of politeness. He turned his head to the side, so that Charlie couldn’t see his face, and murmured quietly enough so that only I could hear, “Don’t worry love, I’ll slip out of the tent the moment he falls asleep - we both know what a sound sleeper Charlie is.”
The rest of the evening progressed, the Cullens encouraging my dad to tell stories of my early childhood. Embarrassing tale after tale was told, almost all of them inevitably ending with me and a trip to the hospital, which of course Emmett found to be highly amusing. Although Charlie seemed to be enjoying himself, chuckling along with the others, I noticed his gaze never shifted far from Edward and I, constantly studying our behavior.
As it reached eleven o’clock, Charlie made his exhaustion clear, yawning loudly. Carlisle took the cue, and expressed that we should all be getting to bed, as we must all be quite tired. I had already begun drifting in and out of consciousness, and was grateful when Edward scooped me up into his arms, and carried me to one of the tents. He tucked me into the blankets securely, then whispered softly into my ear. “I’ll be back as soon as your father falls asleep, love.”
The warm comfort of the blankets pulled me eagerly back into sleep, only to be awoken a second later, as Alice, Rosalie, and Esme filed into the tent.
“Bella, wake up, it’s time to pretend to sleep,” Alice exclaimed, settling in right next to me. She sat with her legs crossed, staring at me expectantly.
Rosalie rolled her eyes at Alice, then nestled herself in between a pile of pillows, and pulled out her hidden laptop. Esme gave her a reproachful look before turning back to Alice.
“Alice, dear, Bella actually needs to sleep, so you’re going to have to be quiet now,” Esme scolded.
Alice sighed. “She’s not going to be able to sleep, anyway - trust me.”
“And why not?” Esme asked.
Alice paused, waiting for something. A moment later, she smiled. “There will be constant interruptions, because of him,” she said, gesturing towards the front of the tent.
Esme listened for a moment, then detected something outside. “Edward, don’t even think about coming in here - get back to your tent,” she whispered. Despite her warning, the flap on the tent unzipped, and Edward stepped swiftly inside.
“I’m not staying over there, I’m staying with Bella. Charlie’s asleep anyway - he has no idea that I’m not there,” Edward said, as he started to move towards me. He was only halfway when he stopped, tilted his head. His expression turned to irritation, and he suddenly disappeared.
Alice began giggling quietly, then motioned for us to move to the front of the tent.
“Damn it, Emmett, get out of there,” Edward hissed menacingly from outside his tent. There were two blurring motions that followed, one fleeing my dad’s tent, the other entering. The one that had fled flashed by our tent, heading back to his own - it was Emmett, and as he stopped in front of the guys’ tent, he clutched his sides, desperately trying to hold his laughter in. I looked in confusion over at Alice, who was fighting the same battle Emmett was, as she held up a tiny finger signaling for me to wait...
“What on earth? What is this - what’s going on?” Charlie spoke into the silence. After a moment, a flashlight clicked on inside the tent, and Charlie sighed loudly. “Edward. For someone who is about to become my son-in-law, I would really expect more. I’m disappointed in you; instead of acting like a responsible young man, you go and pull something like this. It’s entirely immature and juvenile,” he reprimanded, and Edward sighed in response. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?” Charlie added.
“I’m sorry, Charlie. It won’t happen again,” Edward replied, his tone bitter.
Still confused, I waited for an explanation from Alice. She pulled me back to the comfort of the blankets and pillows, and explained that Emmett had pulled one of the classic pranks - he’d put shaving cream on Charlie’s hand while Edward had been talking to us, and started to tickle his nose, so that he would smack himself in the face, spreading the shaving cream all over him. Edward had realized it when Emmett went into the tent; he’d heard his thoughts, but couldn’t do anything to stop it, and had to take the blame when Charlie had woken up. Now I understood why they’d been having a hard time not laughing, as I erupted into a fit of giggles myself. I could only imagine the look on my father’s face, as he awoke with the shaving cream smeared across his features, with Edward sitting expectantly next to him. Alice and I laughed together, while Rosalie appeared to be doing her best to ignore the entire situation.
“Enough, Alice. Bella needs to get some rest,” Esme reminded, gazing at us over her book. Alice sighed, moved closer to Rosalie, and started sifting through the pile of magazines.
Whether from all the recent giggling, or from the glow of the lantern that softly filled the tent, I couldn’t sleep. It had been at least half an hour, and I was tired of laying here. Besides, I could feel Alice studying me every few minutes, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I did actually fall asleep, would I wake up with a new make over? That thought alone was enough to keep anyone up at night.
As soon as I rolled over and began to sit up, Alice was at my side, staring at me with her wide, overly eager eyes. “Can’t sleep?” she asked innocently.
“Not really. I think I might go look for one of those dried fruit packets,” I replied. The meals had become considerably smaller, and not nearly as good since my dad had arrived.
“Ok, good - I’m going to go see what Jasper’s doing, then we’ll meet back here and decide what you want to do next,” she smiled at me, apparently thrilled at my lack of desire to sleep.