Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

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


9. Chapter 9

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1884   Review this Chapter

CHAPTER NINE

Alice’s idea of “something more Bella”, and my own, were diametrically opposed. But I gave in to her without much of an argument, as I was just too tired to put up a fight. The three of us headed back towards the lodge, meeting up with Rosalie and Emmett as they crossed the lawn. There was a lot of laughter and joking as we all jostled stooge-like, through the big lodge door. To keep me from being crushed in the wave of hard vampire bodies, Emmett lifted me off my feet and slung me over his shoulder, my feeble protests not withstanding.

Once inside a sudden hush fell over the assembly. Hanging upside down, I couldn’t see what had caused the conversation and laughter to come to such a screeching halt. In fact, the only thing I could see, was Emmett’s denim clad butt. I squirmed to be released and felt Emmett loose his hold on me, letting me slide to the floor. I grinned up at him set to scold him for his familiarity, then noticed the expression on his face. Glancing to either side I saw the same expression mirrored on the other Cullen faces. Perplexed I opened my mouth to question him when he said, sotto voce, ”Uh oh, little brother is pissed about something.” He dropped his big hand onto the top of my head and turned me towards the room.

Edward stood by the fireplace, his arms crossed over his chest and a look like thunder on his face. Unconsciously I edged a little closer to Emmett, and to my surprise, Jasper smoothly stepped to my side and positioned himself in front of me. I peered around him at Edward, whose look had gone from thunderous to murderous. I was at a loss as to what could have prompted the anger when Jasper said,” Edward…all I said was that she looked stunning in the dress, there’s no need to get your boxers in a bunch.”

Comprehension dawning, I was suddenly just as angry as he was. “THAT is what has you in such a foul mood?! Your brother paying me a compliment?”

Fierce eyes shifted to mine and a curt nod was all the answer I received. I put a hand on Jasper’s arm and smiled gratefully at him as he shifted away from me, which only made Edward angrier. I was perversely pleased by his reaction, but had had just about enough of his attempts to control every facet of my life. “Edward Cullen…we need to talk,” I addressed him sharply, “Alone, and right this minute.”

Emmett chuckled under his breath, ”Uh oh, now baby sister is pissed off.”

I turned away from Edward and grinned up at Emmett with a wink, then smiled warmly at Jasper,” I won’t forget that Jasper,” I said when our eyes met,”Thank you.” Then I did something I knew was going to make Edward livid, and Jasper uncomfortable, but which would make my point. I gave Jasper a hug. He patted me awkwardly, but affectionately and replied,”My pleasure Bella, any time.”

Emmett and Rosalie were grinning like fools, Rosalie’s expression shaded by a grudging respect and she gave me an impressed smile. “Not bad for a human,” she snickered.

“Odds Alice?” Emmett asked without taking his eyes off of Edward’s rigid form.

I glanced at my best friend and watched her eyebrow arch and a smirk form on her lips,”My money is on Bella.”

I glanced over my shoulder at Edward, a slight scowl on my face, and inclined my head toward the door to indicate he should follow me. He nodded once and skirted his siblings to come and walk beside me. I wasn’t going to speak until we were well away from the lodge, knowing it was probably futile, but wishing to preserve some privacy for the tongue lashing I was about to give my boyfriend. Besides, something very important had just happened between myself and Edward’s brothers and sisters. A thing to ponder.

When Jasper had stepped forward to place himself between me and an obviously angry Edward, something heavy I had been carrying around inside me, came unmoored and drifted away. Fear…my fear was gone. Like Livvy, I still had respect for the limitations necessity placed on the relationship I had with all of the Cullen’s. But there was no longer any fear. Like a snake charmer or a lion tamer, the danger was always present, though much of it was circumstantial. Under the right conditions, it was conceivable that I could be killed . But it was a chance worth taking. Somewhere deep inside me, I knew I belonged with these people. They and their lifestyle were my fate, and while I knew the consequences attached to that choice, I found the gains far outweighed the losses.

Edward would have argued that I was looking at the short term, and only the plusses. There were many more deterrents than I had yet conceived. I disagreed. It was a balanced and informed decision on my part, to request he turn me. After all, the paramount consideration involved, was the way I felt about him. For me, there would be no one else. Ever.

Perhaps he would tire of me and move on. As a human, I would be dead long before he had a chance to get too attached. Eternity stretched before him in endless waves. Time enough to grieve my loss, get beyond it and find someone else. Someone sturdier, that didn’t need so much looking after. One of his own kind.

That last rambling thought was like a strand of barbed wire around my heart. Puncturing, squeezing, drawing blood one drop at a time. The pain was excruciating, but I steeled myself against it. This pain was far more likely, to my mind, than the death that Edward feared delivering.

We had cleared the lodge and were entering the tree line by the time I shook myself out of my musings. I peered over at Edward as he stalked along beside me. His face was a cool mask, he’d had time now to compose himself and I could see that I was in for a debate. “bring it on”, I thought, almost savoring the coming conflict. A new confidence permeated me, based on the subtle acceptance and camaraderie I had just experienced with the other members of his family. It wasn’t enough to fuel any anger, but it was enough to fan the flame of indignation and put a little bone in my spine.

Figuring we were as far away from the lodge as we needed to be, I came to a sudden stop. Edward, even with his predatory reflexes, missed the cue and breezed past me several more steps before coming to a halt. He spun back to me in surprise, but said nothing though his expression was questioning.

I smiled gently and cocked my head to the side, my eyes on his, steady and penetrating. I grinned inwardly when he dropped his gaze and shifted his weight uneasily. Vampires don’t need to shift their weight. They don’t need to blink. Or breathe. Or blush. But the feelings are still the same, despite the involuntary physical reactions being absent.

“Edward?”, my voice was vampire soft, but I knew he could hear it.

He glanced up, but didn’t reply except to quirk an eyebrow.

“Do you love me?”

Surprise flashed within his tawny eyes, then was immediately replaced with indignation that I should have to ask. “ With every particle of my unworthy being,” he replied gently, as if to take the sting out of his expression. Then he gave me his Venus fly trap smile.

I wasn’t rising to that bait just yet.

“Do you trust me?” I asked pointedly, capturing his eyes again and holding them.

“ Of course,” he answered, though it sounded more like a question.

“Do you believe that I love you?” This was where the answers became more circumspect. He has always maintained that he loved me “more”, by virtue of his long existence and supreme arrogance.

His smile became a combination of tender, patronizing and placating all at once, and it put my back up a bit as I could already hear the answer. Yes,” he replied warily,” In as far as you are able at your age.”

My eyes must have flashed in anger, as chagrin colored his expression.

“What, exactly, does that mean?” I asked archly.

“Nothing love…it’s just…”

He spoke soothingly, reaching out to grasp my forearms and surprised when I brushed his hands aside. I stood rigidly, waiting for an answer.

Resigned to an argument, he let his hands drop to his sides and said softly,”It’s just that you have so little to compare to the feelings you have. You haven’t ever been in love before.”

“I see,” I said sharply,” and you, being the experienced and aged vampire that you are, are far more capable of assimilating and analyzing those feelings than a mere mortal such as myself. Are you implying that real love is beyond my ken? That I am incapable of fidelity and devotion? That because I am a human girl, I can not conceive the depth of love you hold in your vast heart?” I poked him in the chest to illustrate my displeasure, though the look on his face assured me that my words had found their mark. “Do you really think so little of me Edward? And if so, then why do you envy me my mortality?”

He wavered between shocked and dismayed as he stuttered for an answer that wasn’t going to make this situation even worse. Judging by the fleeting annoyance on his face, his family had easily overheard our conversation, and were finding his discomfort amusing. I nearly smiled myself as the Superior Edward Cullen, fumbled for a reply that would avert the tirade he sensed brewing. I did smile then, thinking that this was like a scene from the “Taming of the Shrew”. Petruchio dancing like Mohammed Ali, around an irate Kate.

Putting him out of his misery, I took control of the conversation again, sparing him an answer he couldn’t make. “Edward. If you love me, and you trust me, and you believe I love you, however unequal you think that love may be, then you can’t possibly be jealous of the friendships that are forming between myself and your brothers. You know they have eyes only for their partners, and I, only for you.”

He lowered his eyes from mine, but not before I read the shame in them. “ I know,” he replied so softly I had to strain to hear him.

I reached out and put my index finger under his chin, lifting his gaze back to mine, “Then what is the problem? The real problem?” I asked gently.

“ It seems so much easier for them,” he replied sadly,” It seems like you have more “fun” with them, and with Alice than you do with me.”

“Do you want my opinion?” I asked him.

His eyes locked with mine and he nodded.

“ You make it harder than it has to be.” I replied candidly, before spinning on my heel, and walking away. Let him chew on that bit of gristle.