A little bit of a filler chapter. One or two more chapters to go... ;)
Chapter 18 – Good Morning
Slowly, I opened my eyes. Actually, this time it really felt like I had gotten some sleep during the last few… hours? I wasn't sure.
"Awake again?" Alice asked. She was lying on her side, facing me. Her voice was slightly muffled by the pillow under her head.
I turned around, mimicking her pose, facing her. Smiling, I nodded my head.
That was, when it occurred to me.
"I'm back in the cabin?" Had last night been a dream? My hand reached up to my elbow and surely, the band-aid was still in place. So, last night hadn't been a dream at all… But how did I come back to the cabin?
Alice smiled warmly at me. It was still silent in the room, apart from our whispering. I guessed, the others were still fast asleep. "Edward brought you back almost an hour ago."
I raised my eyebrows. "You let him come into our all-girls-fortress?"
Her shoulders moved slightly, as she stifled her laugher. "Well, yes. He asked if it would be OK, though. He's already been in here, so where's the point in keeping him outside? And I knew no one would know he was here, the girls were all asleep. Ah, by the way, Lauren stopped snoring almost two hours after you left. She started drooling on her pillow soon after. Trust me, I was on the edge of being grossed out." She wrinkled her tiny nose at the thought of it and it was my time to keep the snickering noises I made low.
"How's your arm?" She asked, looking intently at the skin-colored band-aid on my arm.
"It's fine, I think." I wasn't surprised that she knew about it. I was more curious about the "when" – did she know what would happen before I left the cabin? But it didn't really matter.
"Edward… tasted it?" She asked, her eyes concerned but curious.
I nodded. "He said it was clean."
"Sometimes, I wonder where he gets all that restraint from. You would think that he would run out of stock at some point."
"Hopefully not too soon." I whispered even lower than we were talking before.
She gave me a small grin in return. "You haven't been scared?"
"Scared? Not really. Surprised? Yes, utterly. I mean, hey, he could have warned me beforehand, couldn't he?" I thought back to the feeling of his deadly teeth grazing the tender skin on the inner side of my elbow. It gave me Goosebumps. "It's not like I have felt his teeth before…"
"I guess it's a miracle that you didn't cut yourself on them."
"Hearing the word 'miracle' falling from your lips is kind of unsettling, Alice."
She just shrugged her shoulders but didn't say anything more.
The sun filtered through the small windows into our cabin. I chanced a look at my watch – half past eight. We should get up soon.
As if on cue, Angela's mobile rang. She had set the timer and – was that Linkin Park?
As the music – or more: noise – grew in volume, the other girls in the cabin began to stir. I sat up and could see how Angela reached out for her mobile, trying to hit the snooze-option while still being half asleep.
"Angela… Turn that off…" Jessica mumbled into her pillow, without a doubt trying to drone the noise out.
Lauren rolled over, landing with a loud thud on the floor in front of her bed. "Ouch…" She mumbled and sat up.
Finally, Angela found the button she was searching for and hit it. The same second, the music stopped.
"Good morning ladies!" Alice exclaimed merrily. She stood up and began pulling away the covers from the girls and I had to laugh at their reactions. Angela just curled into a ball, whereas Jessica tried to attack my vampiric friend, fighting for her comforter. Alice just stepped to her right and with a thud, Jess landed on the floor of the cabin just like Lauren. She let out a long groan, scrambling to her feet, pulling together what dignity she had left after that not-so-graceful stunt.
"Girls, we have to get moving if we want to be ready with our tasks when we have to make our way back to Forks." The tiny vampire instructed while throwing the blankets on one pile farthest away from the other girls in the room.
By now, they all looked more or less awake, even Angela had started to sit up and rub the sleepiness out of her eyes.
"How late is it?" Jess groaned while plopping down on her bed again.
"Quarter to nine. We are already behind schedule, so please, get a move on." Alice was already at her dresser, pulling out something to wear for today.
I let out a last sigh and stretched my arms and legs, then I got up and got my clothes as well. Mike had said, he and I had to make sure that the sleeping cabins were back in their original state before we would leave. So, probably, I had to help the others to clean up our rather… messy cabin. Hell, I wouldn't believe what a mess five girls could produce in so little time hadn't I seen it by myself.
"Do we have at least the time to breakfast, Alice?" Lauren asked groggily when she, too, tried to get some clothes out of her drawer.
"Hmm…" Alice mused. "Yes, I think, we'll have at least half an hour. We may be a little behind our schedule but since no one of the boys made an effort to wake us up, I guess they just overslept, too. But we should hurry up, my head tells me that it's going to rain later and we wouldn't want to have to pack all our belongings in the cars while being drenched."
Angela shot her a sympathetic look. "You're sensitive to changes in the weather pattern, too?"
Alice looked at the pathetic small dresser right in front of her and fought a grin. "I guess, you can say that, yeah."
"Uhm, Alice?" This time, it was Jessica who spoke up. "Did it cross your mind by any chance that the guys may be too scared to even knock on our door? I'd bet, Mike or Edward wouldn't dare to get 'caught' right outside of our cabin after yesterday." She grinned and winked at me.
"Oh. Yes, I hadn't considered that… Anyway, I'm fairly sure they'll be at the kitchen cabin by now, too. I think, I heard a plate shatter right before you girls woke up."
About ten minutes later, we were fully dressed and stepped out of the cabin and made our way towards the kitchen. The weather was nicely overcast but the clouds didn't look like rain yet. But I knew better than to doubt Alice. Surprisingly, the air was rather warm. I stretched one more time, then sauntered over to the biggest building of the campsite.
It wasn't until I almost reached the door, that I noticed someone at the side of the cabin, leaning with his back against its wall. Emmett.
I watched as the other filed into the building but I chose to walk to Emmett instead. I was feeling slightly bad for last night when he had caught Edward and me near the lake, watching how Edward sucked some of my blood.
"Emmett." I said as only a few feet parted us. He had is eyes closed, but I could see a faint smile on his lips. His strong arms were crossed over his chest, making him look a little intimidating. When he heard me saying his name, he gazed down at me but held his stance.
"Good morning Bella." He greeted and I could see how his gaze went from my eyes to the small band-aid on my arm. "How's your tick bite?"
A little self-conscious, I put my left hand over the place where that stupid bug had bitten me. "It's fine. The band-aid is there so I wouldn't scratch there until I would bleed… I guess, Alice wouldn't have liked that."
He let out a short laugh. "No, she wouldn't."
For a moment, no one of us said anything. "Uhm… Emmett?"
"Thanks for last night." I whispered, while my hand reached to the back of my neck, rubbing it slightly. "I mean, for being there and keeping tabs on me. I know it was pretty reckless and stupid from Edward and me to do… well… what we did." Edward getting the bug out of my vein and sucking my blood, while I gave my okay.
Emmett reached out with one of his massive hands and lightly ruffled my hair. "Good that you realize a mistake once you made one. Bella, you two really scared me last night. It's a mystery to me how Edward keeps so in control around you that I didn't think he would really get an idea as idiotic as sucking your blood. I mean, even if he 'had to', like he told me this morning. Hell, he reminded me of the time I slipped on someone who smelled to me like you smell to my little brother and for a moment, I really considered ripping him away from you."
I dropped my head a little, looking at the gravel at my feet. "I'm sorry." I whispered, feeling ashamed.
He slid his index finger under my chin, lifting my head so I would look at him again. "It's okay. Edward had told me about his reasons for doing it and I have to say, his idea bore some logic. But please, little sister, promise me that something like that won't happen again. Promise me that his next bite into your flesh will be the last one."
I chewed on my lower lip. It was rare to see Emmett concerned like that. And I knew what he meant with his last remark: The next time Edward would bite me, it should be the time he would let his venom spread. "I promise." I said with as much sincerity as I could muster.
Emmett took a second to think this over, than his smile widened. "Thanks, Bella." And with one swift movement, he had me pressed against his chest, pulled into a brotherly hug.
I smiled up at him when he let go of me again and something occurred to me. "You're eyes are a lighter shade of gold than yesterday."
He half grinned at me. "Yeah… I told you that Edward had spoken to me this morning? Well, we chose to have a snack, too. Apparently, he had to get a certain taste off his mind." He winked.
"You went hunting? I thought you wouldn't do that while humans are around?" I asked, puzzled.
"Well, I wouldn't call it 'hunting'. It really was more of 'taking a snack'. There's a slight difference, but I guess, you should better ask Edward or wait until you'll figure that out by yourself. I don't really know how to phrase my explanation without giving Edward a reason to have my head." He laughed and it was contagious.
I was so absorbed in our little dialogue, that I didn't notice Edward's approach until his cold arms were snaking around my shoulders, pulling me to his stony chest. "Good morning, love." He breathed right next to my ear, sending butterflies into my stomach.
I reached up and since I couldn't move my head, I touched his arm, looking at him from the corner of my eye when he put his head on my shoulder. "Good morning." I whispered, getting a little lost in the moment.
Emmett pointedly cleared his throat, grinning at our display of affection.
"Don't worry Emmett, we'll behave." Edward answered and I could feel him grin next to me. "Besides, I guess, Bella needs to keep her thoughts in order a little longer… I still have to work out my revenge on her and it certainly wouldn't do anything good if she would already get too intoxicated by now, ruining my plans for later."
I stiffened in his arms. Edward's revenge – I had almost forgotten about it since the tick-incident. I tried to struggle free and simultaneously, I thought up several ways to escape from my impending doom.
Of course, my attempts to free myself were fruitless. Edward's embrace was like steel, there was just no way for me to fight him.
I could feel him chuckle, since his breath sent the air around me swirling and his chest moved behind my back.
"Need help, Bella?" Emmett asked, still leaning on the wall of the cabin, grinning at my failing attempts.
Before I could say a word, Edward's hand was over my mouth, silencing me.
"No, she doesn't need any help – but thanks for your kind offer." He declared, sounding like a real gentleman while his actions belied his words.
Emmett just laughed and stood up. "Well, I don't think I'm needed anymore. I'll go and pack my things for the way back. By now, the smell of the boys should be carried away by the wind…" Without looking back, my huge vampiric friend walked towards the boy's cabin.
I let out a sigh and Edward spun me around to face him. His eyes were a very light honey-gold from the early 'snack', mesmerizing me. As he felt that I wouldn't fight him anymore, he took his hand from my mouth and quickly replaced it with his lips.
I liked that so much better…
"How are you?" He whispered, after he had to pull away.
"Actually, I'm feeling rather rested – considering that I didn't get as much sleep as I had liked last night."
Edward smiled his crooked smile down at me. "You didn't even talk after you fell asleep in my arms. You've been pretty much exhausted, haven't you?"
I just nodded and snuggled closer to his chest, laying my head over the spot, where his heart lay still in his chest. "Alice let you come into our cabin?" I asked.
His embrace tightened a little, but it felt good. "Yes. She was kind enough to grant me entrance. You were getting cold outside and I figured out I had to get you under the covers of your bed. No one saw me, though. So, as long as you keep quiet, nobody will know I set another foot into your private fortress."
I sighed in contentment. "Oh, I won't tell anyone. But Edward?"
"It felt… so good to fall asleep in your strong arms again." I confessed, waiting for the blush to reach my cheeks. Sure enough, after two or three seconds, it tinted them pink.
I felt Edward's hand stroking over the back of my head. I was in heaven.
"And it felt good to feel your sleeping body next to me again, as well." He whispered and put a gentle kiss on the top of my head.
For a while, we were just standing there but of course, my human needs made themselves known. My stomach grumbled, reminding me why I was standing here in the first place. The other were probably already finished with their breakfast.
"You didn't get any breakfast yet?" Edward asked, pulling a little away from me too look into my eyes. I shook my head no.
"I wanted to talk to Emmett first and then, you appeared out of thin air."
"Well then, let's get you something to eat." He pulled away from me, but instead of letting go of me completely, he held my hand in his.
I just nodded and together, we entered the busy kitchen cabin.
I had been right about the others: They were already finishing their breakfast when Edward and I entered the small sitting room. So, without losing too much time, I made a toast with peanut butter and wolfed it down as fast as I could. Edward looked at me, grinning, though a little bewildered, too. Normally, I was taking my time to eat. But now, I didn't want to let the other girls wait for me so we could finally start to tidy up our room.
When I was finished, everybody else was already filing out of the building again, starting their tasks for the day. Lauren and Tyler went straight to the bathroom building, their shoulders slightly slumped. I couldn't feel sorry for them, though. Well, ok, for Tyler I could manage some feelings of that sort – but for Lauren? Never.
I didn't realize I had a smug grin on my face before Edward commented on it.
"What are you thinking, my love? You're looking rather self-pleased…" But he was smirking himself.
"You know I don't really like Lauren. It kind of feels good to imagine her in 'tidy up' clothes with a shrubbery in her hands…"
With one of his free hands, Edward ruffled through my hair. "Yes… Honestly, I wonder how she could finish her tasks back in the woods anyway. Alice and I had a little too much fun hiding their objectives."
I had to grin – so, I had been right. Alice and Edward really had hidden their stuff… No wonder, why it took so long for Tyler and Lauren to reach the finish.
"Well, I have to get back to our cabin, Edward. It looks as if a bomb has exploded in there and I have to make sure it's clean once we leave the camping ground." To be honest, I was a little sad that our little weekend trip was over already. It had been so much more fun than I had thought it would be.
Edward could see my thoughts in my eyes. "You had fun these days, hm?" He asked while gently brushing a strand of hair behind my ear.
I nodded and pulled Edward into a close embrace. He circled my waist with one of his arms and stroke the back of my head with his free hand.
"I'm glad you liked it." His cold breath tickled my ear. "But I hope you remember that this trip isn't over yet, my love…" As I looked up, I could see the mischievous glint in his eyes.
I wrinkled my nose when I remembered. "Yeah… I know, you still have your plan for revenge. But you won't tell me anything about it, right?"
My beloved vampire shook his head no and released me from our embrace. "I guess, you should get going, Bella. I already told Alice what you shouldn't pack into your normal bag but in a backpack. Just trust her with what she's telling you."
I stepped a few steps back and shot him a wary glance. "Edward…?" I should pack things into a backpack? Why?
His answering grin was wide and a little bit evil, too. "Just do as I ask."
Okay, so he wasn't going to tell me anything else… I took a deep breath and without looking back again, went straight back into our girls-only-cabin. Again, I got that nervous, tingling feeling in my gut which told me to get away from here. Stupid subconscious. It was just Edward, what could be the worst he would do?