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 approve of my plan to ride to Seattle with Edward Cullen. Not 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 of town. I’d seen the store, but I’d never stopped there – not having much need for any supplies required for being outdoors over an 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 around 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 over 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 hair 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 wasn’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 two extra people, and suddenly every seat was necessary. I managed to wedge Jess in between Mike and me in the front seat of the Suburban. Mike could have been more graceful about it, but at least Jess seemed appeased.