*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 6 - SCARY STORIES
That night at dinner, Charlie seemed enthusiastic about my trip to La Push in the morning. I think he felt guilty for leaving me home alone on the weekends, but he'd spent too many years building his habits to break them now.
Of course he knew the names of all the kids going, and their parents, and their great-grandparents, too, probably. He seemed to approve. I wondered if he would aprove of my plan to ride to Seattle with Edward Cullen. Now that I was going to tell him.
"Dad, do you know a place called Goat Rocks or something like that? I think it's south of Mount Rainier," I asked casually.
"Yeah - why?"
I shrugged. "Some kids were talking about camping there."
"It's not a very good place for camping." He sounded surprised. "Too many bears. Most people go there during the hunting season."
"Oh," I murmured. "Maybe I got the name wrong."
I meant to sleep in , but an unusual brightness woke me. I opened my eyes to see a clear yellow light streaming through my window. I couldn't believe it. I hurried to the window to check, and sure enough, there was the sun. It was in the wrong place in the sky, too low, and it didn't seem to be as close as it should be, but it was definitely the sun. Clouds ringed the horizon, but a large patch of blue was visible in the middle. I lingered by the window as long as I could, afraid that if I left the blue would disappear again.
The Newtons' Olympic Outfitters store was just north ot town. I'd seen the store, but i'd never stopped there - not having much need for and supplies required for being outdoors over and extended period of time. In the parking lot I recognized Mike's Suburban and Tyler's Sentra. As I pulled up next to their vehicles, I could see the group standing sround in front of the Suburban. Eric was there, along with two other boys I had class with; I was fairly sure their names were Ben and Conner. Jess was there, flanked by Angela and Lauren. Three other girls stood with them, including one I remembered falling ovver in Gym on Friday. That one gave me a dirty look as I got out of the truck, and whispered something to Lauren. Lauren shook out her cornsilk hari and eyed me scornfully.
So it was going to be one of those days.
At least Mike was happy to see me.
"You came!" he called delighted. "And I said it would be sunny today, didn't I?
"I told you I was coming," I reminded him.
"We're just waiting for Lee and Samantha... unless you invited someone," Mike added.
"Nope," I lied lightly, hoping I wouldn't get caught in the lie. But also wishing that a miracle would occur, and Edward would appear.
Mike looked satisfied.
"Will you ride in my car? It's that or Lee's mom's minivan."
He smiled blissfully. It was so easy to make Mike happy.
"You can have shotgun," he promised. I hid my chagrin. It wans't as simple to make Mike and Jessica happy at the same time. I could see Jessica glowering at us now.
The numbers worked out in my favor, though. Lee brought to extra people, and suddenly every seat was necessary. I managed to wedge Jess in between Mike and me in the front seat of the Sunburban. Mike could have been more graceful about it, but at least Jess seemed appeased.
It was only fifteen miles to La Push from Forks, with gorgeous, dense green forests edging and road most of the way and the wide Quillayute River snaking beneath it twice. I was glad I had the window seat. We'd roll the windows down - the Suburban was a bit claustrophobic with nine people in it - and I tried to absorb as much sunlight as possible.
I'd been to the beaches around La Push many times during my Forks summers with Charlie, so the mile-long crecest of First Beach was familiar to me. It was still breathtaking. The water was dark gray, even in the sunlight, white-capped and heaving to the grsy, rocky shore. Islands rose out of the steel harbor waters with sheer cliff sides, reaching to uneven summits, and crowned with austere, soaring furs. The beach had only a thin boarder of actual sand at the water's edge, after which it grew into millions of large, smooth stones that looked uniformly gray from a distance, but close up were every shade a stone could be: terra-cotta, sea green, lavender, blue gray, dull gold. The tide line was strewn with huge driftwood trees, bleached bone white in the salt waves, some piled together against the edge of the forest fringe, some lting solitary, just out of reach of the waves.
There was a brisk wind coming off the waves, cool and briny. Pelicans floated on the swells while seagulls and a lone eagle wheeled above them. The clouds still circled the sky, threatening to invade at any moment, but for now the sun shown bravely in it's halo of blue sky.
We picked our way down to the beach, Mike leading the way to a ring of driftwood logs that had obviously been used for parties like ours before. There was a fire circle already in place, filled with black ashes. Eric and the boy I thought was named Ben gathered broken branches of driftwood from the drier piles against the forest edge, and soon had a teepee-shaped construction built atop the old cinders.
"Have you ever seen a driftwood fire?" Mike asked me. I was sitting on one of the bone-colored benches; the other girls clustered, gossiping excitedly, on either side of me. Mike kneeled by the fire, lighting one of the smaller sticks with a cigarette lighter.
"No," I said as he placed the blaxing twig carefully against the teepee.
"You'll like this then - watch the colors." He lit another small branch and laid it alongside the first. The flames started to lick quickly up against the dry wood.
"It's blue," I said in surprise.
"The salt does it. Pretty, isn't it?" He lit one more piece, placed where the fire hadn't yte caught, and then came to sit by me. Thankfully, Jess was on his other side. She turned to him and claimed his attention. I watched the strange blue and green flames crakle toward the sky.
After a half hour of chatter, some of the boys wanted to hike to the nearby tidal pools. It was a dilemma. One one hand, I loved the tide pools. They had fascinated me since I was a child; they were one of the only things I ever looked forward to when I had to come to Forks. On the other hand, I'd also fallen into them a lot. Not a big deal when you're seven and with your dad. It reminded me of Edward's request - that I not fall into the ocean.
Lauren was the one who made my decision for me. She didn't want to hike, and she was definitely wearing the wrong shoes for it. Most of the other girls besides Angela and Jessica decided to stay on the beach as well. I waited until Tyler and Eric had committed to remaining with them before I got up quietly to jion the pro-hiking group. Mike gave me a huge smile when he saw that I was coming.
The hike wsan't too long, though I hated to lose the sky in the woods. The green light of the forest was strangely at odds with the adolescent laughter, too murky and ominuous to be in harmony with the light banter around me. I had to watch each step I took very carefully, avoiding roots below and branches above, and I soon fell behind. Eventually I broke through the emerald confines of the forest and found the rocky shore again. It was low tide, and a tidal river flowed past us on its way to the sea. Along its pebbled banks, shallow pools that never completely drained were teeming with like.
I was very cautious not to lean too far over the little ocean ponds. The other's were fearless, leaping over the rocks, perking precariously on the edges. I found a very stable-looking rock on the fringe of one of the largest pools and sat there cautiously, spellbound by the natural aquarium below me. The boquets of brilliant anemones undulated ceaselessly in the invisible current, twisted shells scurried about the edges, abscuring the crabs within them, starfish stuck motionless on the rocks and each other, while one small black eel with white racing stripes wove through the bright green weeds, waiting for the sea to return. I was completely absorbed, except for one small part of my mind that wondered what Edward was doing now, and trying to imagine what he would be saying if he were here with me.
Finally the boys were hungry, and I got up stiffly to follow them back. I tried to keep up better this time through the woods, so naturally I fell a few times. I got smoe shallow scrapes on my palms, and the knees of my jeans were stained green, but it could have been worse.
When we got back to First Beach, the group we'd left behind had multiplied. As we got closer we could see the shining, straight black hair a copper skin of the newcomers, teenagers from the reservation come to socialize. The food was already being passed around, and the boys hurried to claim a share while Eric introduced us as we each entered the driftwood circle. Angela and I were the last to arrive, and, as Eric said our names, I noticed a younger boy sitting on the stones near the fire glance up at me in interest. I sat down next to Angela, and Mike brought us sandwiches and an array of sodas too choose from, while a boy who looked to be the oldest of the visitors rattled off the names of the seven others with him. All I caught was that one of the girls was also named Jessica, and the boy who noticed me was named Jacob.
It was relaxing to sit with Angela; she was a restful kind of person to be around - she didn't feel the need to fill every silence with chatter. And I was thinking about how disjointedly time seemed to flow in Forks, passing in a blur at times, with single images standing out more than others. And then, at other times, every second was significant, etched in my mind. I knew exactly what caused the difference, and it disturbed me.