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Cullen Family Camping Trip II: Back to the Woods *Comedy, PG13

CFCT II After the first disastrous camping trip Bella and the Cullens are ready to put it behind them and move toward the upcoming wedding, until Charlie's 'thank you' present sends the household back into a panic - and back to the woods. Uh oh.

The entire story will be in Bella's POV.

2. Chapter 2

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2683   Review this Chapter

Chapter Two:

When Edward was driving me home, he explained that Rosalie was thrilled at the idea of having children to care for - I should have realized that, I suppose. I was just shocked that she was so accepting of the idea that I hadn’t taken the time to think why she was. It made perfect sense, now - the only thing she’d ever really wanted was to have children, and now she’d have a whole group of them following her around. If only the rest of us could be so enthusiastic - because we weren’t, not at all. I was dreading the entire thing.

Someone was really going to have to talk to Carlisle about his compassion issue - after our last excursion I surely thought he’d learned his lesson. I mean, really, how hard would it have been for him to simply say that they would be busy that week, or something - anything.

"Bella, we’re here...did you want me to come in with you?" Edward said, breaking me from my reverie.

I sighed. "No, just meet me upstairs as usual. I’ll talk to Charlie myself." Not that there was anything to say - the plans had been made, the forms filled out. Not to mention I couldn’t bear to make my father feel bad...and Carlisle had pretty much laid down the law anyway. Still, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe it was all just a horrible mistake, and Charlie would clear everything up.

Upon entering the living room and seeing my father’s expression, I instantly felt bad for being upset with him. He looked so happy; he was grinning from ear to ear, lounging lazily on the worn sofa. I tried to cement the image in my mind, worried that I’d forget it after becoming immortal.

"Hey, Bells. You know what happened today? Well, I guess you do - you just came from the Cullens, so you probably already know all about it," he chuckled. I smiled faintly at him and encouraged him to recount the events of his day, as he was clearly eager to share the details with someone. Putting my own issues aside, I sat down and listened to him patiently, knowing that no matter what the upcoming week held for me, it would be worth it to see my father so relaxed and happy…hopefully.

I spent most of the night staring at my ceiling while Edward continually tried to calm my nerves. Of course, like any teenager, I had babysat when I lived in Phoenix so I was familiar enough with children, but that didn’t mean that I actually liked them - nor did I dislike them, I guess I just didn’t know how to relate to them. I hadn’t been a very popular babysitter; it had been a short-lived career. Now I was facing a week with an entire group of children all under my care. As I began to wonder if Rosalie would be willing to take my group in with her own, Edward reached over and hit a button on the alarm clock, signaling that it had been about to go off. I hadn’t slept much anyway – I’d dozed in and out, images of kids falling off cliffs and plunging to their deaths while everyone pointed accusing fingers in my direction kept popping into my head.

I sighed, and swung my legs over to the edge of my bed abruptly.

"Bella? Are you all right?" Edward asked, concerned.

"I’m fine. Just a bit apprehensive about what’s to come next week," I answered truthfully. As I began to rise from the bed, my wrist was lightly secured within Edward’s as he gently pulled me back to him. The concern was still etched across his features as my reluctant gaze met his.

"Really, Edward, I’m fine. I’m just so nervous - what if I injure one of those kids by accident?" I asked, trying to force down the anxiety.

"Bella, love, you’ll be fine. I promise - we’ll all be watching out for you. Please don’t worry so much," he soothed, and as my eyes slowly became lost in his I almost began to forget what I’d been worrying about - almost. Snapping my attention back to my current predicament, I gently tugged at my wrist, and he willingly let go.

"I’m going to go get ready. I’ll be fine, Edward - it’s just nerves." He still looked slightly uncertain, so I pulled his hand up to my lips and placed a kiss on the back of his hand.

After getting dressed, I returned from the bathroom and began to pack for the night. I would be spending tonight at the Cullens – under the pretense that Alice would be sharing her room with me, of course. These days my weeks were typically split in half - the nights Charlie would be working late I’d just sleep at Edward’s house, and the nights when he would be around I’d spend at home.

When we arrived at the Cullens, it was oddly quiet – Emmett was the only one in sight. He was in his usual place - parked in front of the television, watching a baseball game. Edward said that Jasper was hunting again, Alice was in her room fretting over the packing limitations, and Rosalie was on her computer researching six and seven year olds.

As we passed by the couch, Emmett turned in my direction. "What’s up, Bella? Excited about our new adventure? Maybe you’ll find some new kind of bugs that decide to attach themselves to you," he snorted.

"Yeah – right, Emmett. Or maybe you’ll go all Snow White on us and get another weird fixation with the forest animals. Bet Rosalie would love that," I snapped back in response.

If it were possible, I would have sworn that Emmett’s face paled two shades before he quietly turned back to the game on television.

Edward and I spent the rest of the day quietly in his room. After all, it wasn’t likely that we would have much alone time once we left for camp, and I was intent on enjoying every second of it that I could until then. Just before it was time to return home, I realized that we’d made it through the entire day without one interruption from Alice, which was…unheard of, really. Edward chuckled and said that for now, it was best to leave her alone. She really wasn’t taking the packing restrictions well at all. Once ready for bed, I curled up in Edward’s arms for the night; I could only hope that exhaustion would allow for a better night’s sleep tonight.

The next morning, I felt slightly more rested - I’d only woken up twice during the night, each time from some sort of outburst. Edward had quickly soothed me back to sleep though, for which I was thankful.

Before heading into the bathroom to dress for the day, I questioned Edward about the noises that had woken me up. Rolling his eyes, he explained that despite her ability to see the future, Alice had failed her luggage inspection twice and was livid with Carlisle . The first time she failed she’d been caught trying to sneak her laptop into her luggage after he had already approved her bag. The second time, he’d merely found a spare set of keys to her Porsche, but upon watching her reaction as she nervously waited for approval, Carlisle had thought better of it and headed to the garage purposefully, where he found her car overflowing with a ridiculous amount of clothing, makeup and electronics. Had she really planned on coming back to get it after we’d arrived at camp?

While Edward murmured something about her visions not including Carlisle’s decisions therefore not being fool-proof, I had to wonder what state of mind she must be in to not only be trying to pack with a full week still to go before we left.

After I was dressed, I told Edward I thought I should go check on Alice – I was beginning to worry about her. Maybe I could help her some how. Edward chuckled and wished me luck.

I knocked gently on her door, which was closed.

"What?!" her pixie-like voice squeaked in response.

"Um…it’s just me, Alice – are you all right?" I asked hesitantly.

The door cracked open an inch. "Of course I knew it was you, Bella – what I meant was, what do you need?"

"Oh…sorry…umm….well nothing, really. I was just checking on you – you’ve been quiet for a while. I’m sorry, I’ll leave you alone," I muttered, feeling stupid for bothering her. Clearly she was distressed.

"No, wait Bella – I’m sorry, I’m just so frustrated. Come in, maybe you can help me figure this out," she said, obviously feeling bad for being so abrupt.

"Well all right…if you’re sure. I don’t want to bother you," I said as I entered her room. Instantly, I stopped in my tracks, silently taking in the disaster area that now surrounded me.

There were piles everywhere. The entire surface of Alice’s floor was covered with piles of clothes, shoes, accessories, hair products and countless other items, all organized by color. As I glanced back at Alice , I fully took in her disheveled appearance; her usual stylish, neatly orchestrated spiky hair was now sticking up in all directions as if she’d been tugging t it crazily – she sort of resembled an asterisk.

I didn’t say a word. I just stared at her, waiting for some kind of explanation.

"Well, what do you think, Bella?" she asked somewhat impatiently.

I glanced helplessly back around the room, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be offering an opinion on. "Err – about what, exactly?"

Alice sighed. "I’m only allowed to pack so many things, and I don’t know what the campers will be wearing, and since we’re going to be considered a group we should all coordinate but I have no idea where to start – how can I possibly pack anything when I have no idea what I’m going to be working with once I get there?" she rambled, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, her words all running together.

"Nobody expects you to ‘coordinate’ with your campers, Alice. You know that, right?" I asked carefully.

Alice glared at me.

"Ok, ok…well, I don’t know – I guess you could just take a couple things from each pile?" I suggested, knowing there was still no way she’d ever fit even that amount of things into her allotted luggage.

"Never mind, Bella…I’ll just have to figure something else out…" she murmured, her brows creasing together in concentration.

“Ok, well I’ll just leave you to it, then,” I said looking around the room again warily.

"You know, you could always just open your own clothing store at the camp,” I added sarcastically, turning towards the door. I didn’t look back to see what I was sure was a look of irritation on Alice ’s face.

Much to my surprise, before I reached the end of the hall the sound of feet lightly padding across the floor warned me only a second before Alice picked me up in an enthusiastic embrace. “Bella! I can’t thank you enough, you have no idea!” she whispered before dropping me and running back to her room.

I heard Edward chuckling from downstairs, and still lost in the state of confusion Alice left me in, I joined him. Carlisle and Esme were with him in the living room, reading the morning paper. They greeted me warmly as I sat down on the couch next to Edward.

Minutes later Alice and Jasper appeared at the bottom of the stairs; Alice ’s entire demeanor was different – she now looked hopeful, her hair was back to its usual state, and there were no more signs of the anxiety attack I’d witnessed minutes before.

Carlisle lowered the newspaper he was reading, watching Alice steadily. “So Alice , you do understand the rules, right? I know last night was difficult for you,” he said carefully.

“Yes, I understand the rules perfectly, and I have no problem with them,” Alice replied easily.

“Well…that certainly is a change from yesterday – what brought about the change in your behavior?” Esme asked.

Alice shrugged dismissively. “Sometimes things just have a way of working out,” she said. Carlisle was about to say something when Alice looked at the clock and turned to the door. “Oops – got to go, it’s a busy day,” she said hurriedly. “Come on Jasper,” she added as she tugged him towards the door, leaving Carlisle, Esme and myself staring after her in confusion. Edward, on the other hand, looked highly entertained.

“Edward?” Carlisle asked expectantly. “I don’t suppose you’re going to offer us any insight as to what that was all about?”

“Oh no – I’m not getting in the middle of this. In fact, Bella and I were on our way out for the day too,” he said. We had plans to spend the day in Port Angeles at a new bookstore that had opened. During the drive there, I asked Edward what Alice was up to.

“Let’s just say that she has an entirely new project to keep her and Jasper busy this week,” he said cryptically.

“Does it involve me and any type of makeover?” I whispered in fear.

“No, it doesn’t involve you directly, love,” Edward murmured, resting his hand on my leg reassuringly. That was all that mattered – as long as I didn’t have to worry about being attacked by Alice with some new wardrobe or hair product then I wouldn’t concern myself with the details.

The rest of the week passed quickly – each day that brought us closer to leaving for the camp became a blur of apprehension for me. I slept at my dad’s for the rest of the week since Charlie was home early those nights, and every morning when Edward and I arrived at the Cullen house, Alice and Jasper were almost always absent. Once or twice I thought about asking for further details about what was taking up so much of their time, but each time I let it go – I was afraid that if I heard about some crazy scheme my anxiety would only further increase, and I was trying my best to appear normal after all.

Eventually the inevitable happened - Sunday morning arrived. The new owner wanted the counselors and volunteers to get there a day before the campers arrived on Monday to get settled in. As predicted, the local forecast for the upcoming week matched Alice ’s perfectly – it would be heavily cloudy every day.

Everyone was hurrying around the Cullen house trying to ensure they had packed their essentials, while Carlisle did a final check of everyone’s bags. As I sat in the corner of the kitchen chewing a granola bar slowly, I couldn’t help but think how familiar this scene was. The very thought gave me chills.

Finally, after an hour, we had all passed inspection and Carlisle had loaded the bags into the cars. He insisted on doing it himself, as apparently he wasn’t entirely trusting of Alice ’s strangely calm attitude. She’d spent most of the morning up in her room, saying she had some last minute details of some sort to straighten out.

Just as we were ready to leave, Alice reappeared at the foot of the stairs ready to go. Carlisle looked at her warily, but seeing nothing suspicious, held out his hand for each person’s cell phone as he waved us out the door – he was being very serious about all these rules. He quickly added that he and Esme would be arriving the following day, and as we made our way to the cars, I couldn’t help but watch Alice ’s petite form as she ever so slightly began to squirm, as if uncomfortable. How odd…