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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.

3. Chapter 3

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2560   Review this Chapter


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…

Chapter 3:

Edward pulled his car into the gravel lined parking area carefully. He didn’t say as much, but the crease in his brow told me he was thinking of the marks the tiny stones could leave on the Volvo’s pristine finish. A moment later, Emmett’s new Jeep spun in beside us with music blaring, sending gravel flying everywhere. Edward growled under his breath as a wave of pebbles bounced off the exterior of his car.

"Edward, it’ll be ok - you know Rosalie can buff any marks out easily, don’t worry," I whispered, hoping to calm him. The last thing we needed was an altercation in the parking lot to alert the camp owner that something was amiss with the new counselors.

Edward took a deep, unnecessary breath. "Of course, love. You’re right. Now - let’s go see what this place has in store for us, shall we?" He was out of the car and opening my door before I could blink, all while grinning crookedly at me.

Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice all piled out of the adjacent vehicle. Alice was squirming uncomfortably, tugging at her midsection.

"What’s going on with Alice ? Why does she keep fidgeting and squirming like something’s bothering her?"

Edward glanced at his favorite sister, his expression full of humor. "She’s got her new Blackberry duct-taped to her stomach," he whispered, chuckling quietly.

Unsure of how to respond to that, I merely blinked while shaking my head.

We left our bags in the cars, unsure of what was expected of Edward’s lead, we made our way up to the cabin marked "Office." We’d barely set foot on the first step when the screen door flung open, and a large, burly woman appeared, grinning widely at us. Alice ’s eyes widened at her appearance.

She was wearing a sleeveless flannel shirt and cut-off cargo pants. Her sandy colored hair was wavy, and had been cut in the style of what I’d heard referred to as a mullet. She had heavy black combat boots on, and striped tube socks stuck out the tops of them. She was almost as big as Emmett.

"Welcome! Seeing as the other volunteers have already checked in, I’m guessing you all must be the bunch Chief Swan recommended, am I right?" the woman questioned, still grinning.

"Yes...that’s us," Edward replied. He made all the appropriate introductions, each of us nodding as our names were spoken.

"Well, that’s great. The name is Sue – they call me Big Sue. I’m the new owner, but I’m not around much – I live a few miles down the road. I’ll only be checking in a couple times during the camp session, but there’s a phone in the mess hall cafeteria in case of emergencies - my number’s at the top of the list. The Chief said you all were impeccable outdoors men - and women," Sue chuckled, then paused, glancing around at all of us again. "Not to be rude, but was the Chief actually right about that? You all are awfully pale to spend much time outdoors..." she trailed off, looking confused.

"Sun screen," Alice chirped, still squirming slightly. "As you know, our father is a physician, and we’ve always been told to apply, then re-apply - you can’t be too careful."

"Oh - right, of course!" Sue replied, looking relieved. "Well, you all should be of great help around here – this camp likes to teach the campers as much as we can, and give them a break from all the technology that tends to overshadow our lives these days – hence our strict packing restrictions. Ok then, let’s get you all registered and settled in." As we signed some forms, Sue explained what we’d already been told - that the kids wouldn’t be arriving until the following day, which caused Rosalie to sigh impatiently.

After the forms were completed, we collected our bags from the vehicles and then returned to Sue, who led us down a windy path into the woods. As the trees thickened, various images started popping into my head...poison ivy, mosquitoes, ticks, leeches... As if sensing my internal panic attack, Edward reached down and took my hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly. I reminded myself to apply more bug repellant once I had the chance – I’d be bathing in it this time if necessary.

As we stepped into the clearing, I began to fully take everything in. It was a huge area - there were eight cabins, all spread out in a circular format with a giant fire pit in the center, dividing the cabins into two groups of four. There was also about a half dozen large picnic tables dispersed throughout the clearing.

The cabins themselves looked somewhat run-down. Each had a small front porch on it, and a tiny sign on the porch post that had a number on it, ranging from one to eight. Their appearance alone had my curiosity getting the better of me, and I couldn’t help myself from glancing over at Alice to see how she was coping. What was strange was that she was gazing at Edward as if watching for his reaction. I could only imagine what she was thinking, which made me turn my focus to Edward to see if I could get any clues.

Oddly, when I glanced over at Edward, I noticed he’d become quite still. His expression was one of pure stone, and he was currently glaring in the direction of the cabin marked Cabin #2. Curious, I turned my attention back to Alice, who was now almost smirking, her gaze also focused on Edward.

"So, did everyone get that? Any questions?" Sue asked, interrupting my thoughts. Crap - what had she been saying? I frantically looked back at Edward, who snapped out of his glaring to whisper what I’d missed in my ear. Sue had just been going over basic rules, and letting us know that we’d get our daily schedules the following day.

"Well, I guess I’ll leave you to it, then. You can choose what cabins you want, just remember the rules - girls on the right side of the circle, boys on the left. Oh - I probably should introduce you to the other three volunteers that are already here – I got lucky, and the other counselor was able to get some additional help to come along with him," Sueadded, as if it were an afterthought.

"Newton ! Stanley ! Weber!Front and center!" Sue barked, loud enough for the next town to hear.

What? Did she really just say those three names? As Edward began to tense again, suddenly it made sense. He’d already heard their thoughts, and knew who the other volunteers were. Obviously, he wasn’t thrilled about Mike Newton and Jessica Stanley - none of us would be. Angela Weber, however, would be a welcome addition - at least to me.

The door to Cabin #2 swung open, and three of my previous classmates emerged. Upon first glance, they all looked curious, but as each of their gazes settled on us, their expressions began to change. Angela looked pleasantly surprised and waved excitedly at me, Jessica looked what could only be described as resentful, and Mike looked both eager and irritated, as his gaze shifted back and forth between Edward and myself.

"Well...it seems as though you all already know one another - that’s good, it will help with the spirit of the camp," Sue said. "Here are your camper information sheets – study them thoroughly, we like our counselors and volunteers to know each kid by name – it makes them more comfortable. I’ve matched the kids’ personalities to each of your own personality traits listed on your applications, so you should all have lots in common with your campers."

Huh. Charlie had filled out our ‘personality traits’ for us – I hope he got everything right. If nothing else, I suppose it would show how well he actually knew the Cullens.

Sue made a few more comments, explaining that Mike was a counselor, and Jessica and Angela had volunteered to help run various camp activities, then awkwardly excused herself, and headed back up the path that led to the office. Halfway up, she turned back around. "You’ll all need to report back up front this afternoon for orientation. Oh – and you – Hale, isn’t it? Yes you – you need to come with me. The groundskeeper’s accommodations are separate from the counselors and volunteers. Come along and I’ll show you where you’ll be staying," Sue huffed, motioning for Jasper to follow her.

With one last wistful glance at Alice , Jasper hung his head and took off after Sue. Alice waved at him, and then turned her attention back to the cabins.

Alice tilted her head to the side and politely asked Jessica and Angela about their living arrangements, even though I was sure she already knew which cabin they’d claimed. They revealed that they would be sharing cabin #7 since they wouldn’t have any campers in their cabin. Alice nodded, and then turned to the rest of us.

“Mike, I assume you’re in Cabin #2 since you all just exited it?” Alice asked. He merely nodded in response.

“Ok. Well, with that being taken into consideration, I think it’s best if the cabins are distributed as follows,” she began. She turned to the guys first.

“Emmett, you take cabin #1, Mike, of course you’re already in cabin #2, cabin #3 will just remain empty, and Edward you should take cabin #4.” She paused, and then turned to the girls.

“Bella, you take cabin #5, I’ll take cabin #6, of course Jessica and Angela are in #7, and Rosalie will take cabin #8. That should settle it,” she surmised. In a matter of seconds she had us all assigned as she saw fit, and I couldn’t help but notice that my cabin was next to Edward’s, or that Emmett and Rosalie’s were also adjacent to one another. I had no idea how she’d sorted it all out so quickly, but I wasn’t going to argue.

Later, as I was placing my belongings into the worn, tiny dresser by the side of my bed, I turned to place the empty duffel bag under my bed when my peripheral vision caught sight of Edward, who had somehow not only entered my cabin, but was lounging quite comfortably across one of the adjacent beds, watching my every move.

"Edward! What are you doing in here? I thought we were supposed to be unpacking and learning about our future campers?" I asked, still amazed at his ability to practically materialize out of thin air.

He grinned crookedly in response. "Well, Bella, no one ever said we couldn’t learn more about our campers together, did they? Aside from that, I have a perfectly good reason for being here," he added, his gaze shifting towards the cabin door.

Before I could ask what that reason was, there was a knock on the screen door. "Bella? Just thought I’d stop by and make sure you’re settling in ok," Mike’s voice drifted through the door’s mesh covering.

My eyes wide, I turned back to Edward, who was already off the bed and moving towards the front of the cabin. What on earth was Mike doing at my door?

"Hello, Mike. Was there something you needed?" Edward asked, glaring purposefully through the screen at Mike. "Bella’s settling in just fine, you needn’t worry. As my future bride, I’ve ensured that she has everything she needs to make her stay quite comfortable."

"Err...of course. Sure. I just thought I’d check..." Mike trailed off, clearly put off. He turned and left almost as quickly as he’d appeared.

"Did you really need to make him feel so intimidated, Edward? The poor guy looked scared to death," I said disapprovingly.

"Bella, trust me, it was necessary," he responded, and at that, I let it drop. I didn’t have the luxury of reading minds, so I guess I would have to trust his judgment.

We spent the next few hours pouring over the information charts of our campers – we would have ten kids each. Edward had his completely memorized within no time of course, but he helped me go through mine and even came up with creative ways to remember who was who, and all of their characteristics. It was extremely helpful that pictures had been included, so we could recognize the kids when they arrived tomorrow. It would surely make them feel special to have their counselors already know them by name.

When I was fairly sure I knew everything about every camper that would be under my care, I put the sheets down and looked up at Edward. "I wonder what everyone else is doing. It’s odd to have Alice leave us alone for so long...surely she’s bored by now?" Not that I was complaining - it was just quiet...very, very quiet.

"She’s gone to hang out with Jasper. Emmett and Rosalie are hanging out in his cabin. Angela is reading, and Jessica is helping Newton look over his camper information sheets," he explained. "It’s actually about time for us to head back up to the main office for orientation."

"Oh - that’s right," I replied, grabbing my notebook and pen, causing Edward to look at me curiously.

"I might need to take notes - not everyone has the impeccable vampire memory that you do," I said, huffing as I moved towards the front of the cabin.

Edward chuckled quietly as he beat me to the door, holding it open it for me. Once outside, he silently took my hand in his as we made our way to the main office.