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Welcome to Camp Cullen

Summary:
Bella takes a vacation with the Cullen's during the perfect summer after her junior year. new chapters are up, and more on the way. Thanks for reading. ")


Notes:
This story takes place during the summer between Twilight and New Moon. It is light and hopefully amusing, I was aiming to ease off the angst and portray the characters "happy". There will be some conflict, and it wouldn't be Edward without a little angst remission,so look for that in future chapters


7. Chapter 7

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1880   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER SEVEN

Carlisle and Livvy chatted about the horses. Livvy stepped to the fence, agilely climbed it like a monkey, and dropped to the other side among the horses. She turned first this one and then that towards Carlisle, illustrating the features and characters of each horse with easy familiarity. She reached up and tugged the forelock of one small horse, and led it to the fence where I stood. It ambled along behind her docilely until it stood facing me, our eyes level.

“Bella,” Livvy grinned, “This is Zephyr. I picked her specifically for you. I think you’ll like each other.” She rooted in her pocket and pulled out a small wad of what looked to be tobacco. From another pocket, she produced a penknife and cut a chunk from the wad, handing it to me through the fence. The mares’ nostrils flared and snuffled at the familiar scent. “This one is a fool for tobacco. Give her that piece and you’ll be friends for life. Zephyr never forgets a benefactor.”

I looked into the mares’ deep brown eyes, noted the ears that pricked forward in interest. The beautiful buttery amber of her hide and the glinting silver of her mane and tail. She was lovely. She stretched her nose out, reaching through the fence and I met her halfway with the tobacco. She took it gently from my fingers and began to chew with a rapt expression. I couldn’t help but laugh and stroked her velvety muzzle in delight. I grinned at Livvy over the top rail, “I think you might be right Livvy, I think we will like each other.”

Edward stood behind me, his arms around my waist, his chin resting on my shoulder, our cheeks pressed together, and as enchanted as I was by Livvy’s presentation, I was having a difficult time remaining coherent. He was quite aware of the effect he was having on me, and smugness radiated from him like a force field. I dug my elbow into his stomach, knowing it was going to hurt me much more than it did him, but wanting him to back away from me enough for me to catch my breath. He chuckled quietly, and released me. Before I could protest, he took my hand and drew it to his lips, pulling me around to face him. My voice dried up completely when I saw the look in his eyes, and I could only stand before him, speechless, and wait for him to break the silence.

“Shall we head back to the cabin?” he asked softly, “I’d like to spend some time alone with you.”

How was I going to refuse that? Still unable to speak, I just nodded and turned without another glance at the horses, or Carlisle or Livvy. They had all ceased to exist when I became immersed in the wonder of his fiery gaze, and suddenly it was imperative that I heed that gentle voice and it’s oh so reasonable request.

Still connected by our clasped hands, I practically drug him back the direction we had come, but at a much faster pace.

Behind me, I heard the muffled chuckles again, but this time they didn’t register at all. The only awareness for me was the man I was pulling along behind me. Of him, I was very aware.

Edward kept step beside me, our hands entwined and swinging slightly with each stride. I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye, shielded by my hair, and found him wearing that smug smile again. I would like to have been annoyed, but the fact of the matter was, he had every reason to be smug.

Having been an Austen fan from the time I could read, words like “breathless” and “mesmerizing” had been just words. Until Edward, and it was only then that I began to understand the context. With a simple look, he could stop my heart. In a normal person that would have set off alarms, red flags, all manner of self-preserving deterrents. In a normal person.

But we had already established that I wasn’t, in fact, normal.

I let my surreptitious gaze travel over his beauty. Ethereal, he seemed to me. Like some tangible manifestation of my subconscious desires. My ideal, personified. Tactile, and yet I constantly felt the need to reassure myself that he was real.

That he stayed with me was a concept beyond my comprehension. Despite his self-loathing and his assurance that his association with me consistently put me in danger, I was sure that the opposite was true. It was I, who put him in precarious situations. My fragile mortality and his insistence on keeping me frailly mortal, kept him dancing on the knifes edge. To be with me, he must fight his very nature. It was a monumental sacrifice I was all too aware of.

God…how I loved him.

We had nearly reached the cabin before Edward spoke again, “Bella?”. He had slowed to a stop and I turned to face him. I searched his expression resignedly noting the insecurity and worry that lined his perfect features. I knew, without asking, that his fears were surfacing again. I decided that this time, I would be the strong one. I would shoulder the responsibility and not let things get out of hand. I knew that our inability to move our relationship forward was due to those insecurities. On his part, at any rate. I was as sure as I could be about what I wanted, and where our relationship should be going. But I needed to move slowly, clearly, he wasn’t comfortable with the pace.

“Edward?”, I replied, keeping my voice light and my tone level.

His eyes bored into me, probing, then shifted towards the cabin, then back to me, “Bella….you know I want….” His shoulders slumped in defeat, a slight shudder quivered through his body transmitted through our clasped hands, and I stifled a sigh.

I smiled warmly, determinedly hiding any hint of disappointment and replied gently,” I DO know, and I’m ok with this,” I held our hands up before him, drew them to my lips and gently kissed the back of his fingers,” for now.”

He searched my face with troubled eyes until he was satisfied that I meant what I was saying, and then a brilliant smile stretched across his mobile lips, causing my heart to stutter in my chest. Making him happy was the finest thing I had ever done, and the feeling washed away any trace of disappointment I might have harbored. The fact that I could make him smile like that, made my existence seem….necessary.

I grinned back guilelessly and said,” So…what DO you want to do?”

Whatever his answer might have been, it was precluded by Emmett’s bellow, which carried with perfect clarity across the water from the vicinity of the mountain.

“ Edward! Come and playyyyyyyyy.”

High up, amidst the spray of the waterfall, a tiny speck stood on a precipice. It could only be Emmett. Suddenly the speck hurled itself from the cliff face and arced out over the water, plummeting towards the surface with deadly speed. I gasped in horror and turned my face into Edward’s chest, dreading the outcome of such recklessness. Edward’s chest vibrated beneath my cheek, and I glanced up to find him laughing. “ What a dufus,” he said chortling, shaking his head at his brothers’ antics.

He squeezed me gently, “ He’s fine Bella….look”, he turned me sideways to see Emmett the speck, thrashing in the water like a hooked fish, laughing his big booming laugh and taunting another tiny speck that had appeared on the cliff above him. “ Jasper is about to cannonball him.” He grinned hugely, leading me towards the dock by the hand. “ I’d cover my ears if I were you,” he cautioned in amusement,” The impact is going to be very loud.”

The Jasper speck flung itself off the same outcropping of rock and fell like an anvil towards the Emmett speck bobbing in the water. The sound at impact was like a rockslide, massive boulders grating together as they hurtle down a hillside. It was deafening. It made my fillings ache. Water geysered up at least 30 feet, and the sound of vampire laughter carried from all corners of Camp Cullen.

I shook my head in disbelief. NO WAY I was going swimming with these lunatics.

I tugged my hand from Edward’s grasp and he stopped, giving me a quizzical and somewhat disappointed look. Just as with the truck, he glanced out over the water and then back at me, clearly wanting to go fool around with his brothers but not wanting to be parted from me. I made a quick decision and gave him a sincere smile.” Go show ‘em how it’s done, Spidey.”

“But I want you to come,” he pouted adorably, “We can take the boat….you don’t have to get in the water…”

I was already shaking my head before the words were out.” Nah…not this time,” I replied,” Too much noise and that water is subzero.” I laughed at his wounded expression. “You go ahead and play Flying Wollenda’s with your brothers. I’m sure I can keep myself occupied for a while.”

He gave me a penetrating look then squeezed my hand gently. “I can hang out with them anytime….we have eternity to throw ourselves off of waterfalls. I’d rather be with you.”

His not so subtle reminder of the passage of time and the fact that I was keeping pace with it, slowly wiped the smile from my face. In my mind, I heard the insistent ticking of the clock, the accumulating minutes that marked my inevitable rush toward mortality. I looked into his amber eyes, let my gaze wander over his perfect face and felt a gush of sadness steal away my breath. However much I wished otherwise, I would lose him someday. It was a terrifying thought.

He watched the play of emotions across my face trying to work out what he had said that could cause the sadness he now perceived in my expression. He pursed his lips in frustration, almost drawing another smile from me. I loved that he couldn’t read my thoughts, but it certainly tested his patience. Resignedly I placed both hands on his chest and pushed him away, a small smile making its way to my eyes in an effort to mollify him. I really didn’t want to dredge up that old bone now. We were having a good time, and God knew there were few enough of them that it wasn’t prudent to ruin the good moments with pointless arguments.

“Go on and raise Cain with the boys,” I grinned as convincingly as I could, “I promised Alice she could use me as a mannequin for a few hours…now is as good a time as any. I’ll catch up with you later.” I reached up, gave him a sweet, chaste kiss to seal my promise, and turned away. I had only taken a few steps when he said, “Are you sure Bella?”

I spun and walking backward away from him I replied as brightly as I could,” Of course, we have all the time in the world.”